The Meaning of Christmas?

it’s a time for reflection, a time for remembering. it’s a time for sleeping and wondering.

No matter what you might think of this time of the year, there is one constant around the world. Winter is a time of renewal for earth and body, in spirit and mind. The utter destruction and chaos as the news relates the daily collapse of the Trump world feels like an end, which it very much is. But in that ending there is the potential and maybe even promise of a better new world.

That is the real story of Christmas – no matter how you want to read it.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Darkness Into Light

Winter arrives on Friday at 22:23 UTC.  From that time forward, the Northern Hemisphere will turn back towards the light.  It has been another warm Winter in Minnesota, painted in dull tones of brown and gray.  This piece from 2011 captures the feelings then and now as this time of light and reflection wobbles back through the grace of our tilting planet.

It is dark outside when the alarm goes off, not at all a time to wake up.  The usual 8 hours and 41 minutes of daylight we can expect on a Winter Solstice is never enough to keep us going, even on a relatively warm and sometimes even bright year like this.  The brown Winter of 2011 is just as dark as any other.

Continue reading

FADS Marketing

You know who you are. At least you think you do, although a lot of marketers think they know you even better. And if you are willing to kid yourself or indulge a little, they have what you are looking for.

That’s the main premise of FADS Marketing: Food, Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, and the New Marketing World Order, a new book by Tony Harris. He’s an experienced marketing professional willing to sharing a few of the secrets of the industry in part because they clearly alarm him.

They should alarm you, too. And that’s what makes this relatively short but dense book a quick but incredible read.

Continue reading

Endgame?

The endgame is approaching. The truth about Trump is being revealed. After disastrous midterm elections he is weak and has the stench of a loser attached to him. The most recent revelations are going to be the the last straw, and his part will finally abandon him. This week showed us why.

Of course, this has nothing to do with what’s been said in court. Nevermind that his longtime lawyer has completely turned on him, or the man who buried his secrets for decades. The Republican Party doesn’t care about illegal activities now any more than they did before the election – when it was just about as obvious as it is today, as chronicled here.

It’s the steep decline in the stock market that is the unforgivable sin.

Continue reading

The Eyes of a Child

This is my first holiday season with no children at home.  So enjoy this piece from 11 years ago, when my life was very different.  Consider this a note to my future self, now being repeated.

This time of the year, the holidays bring back memories that allow us to see the world, once again, through the eyes of a child. This is not some sentimental side effect of the rituals we go through, but is in many ways the reason they are important. A few moments spent contemplating this over a swirling mug of cocoa can show that seeing the world through the eyes of a child is actually a vital lesson.

Continue reading

A Model for Federal Equity, not Debt

Given that the stock market appears to finally be taking a pause after a decade long run, this may seem like a terrible time to talk about subtleties like debt versus equity or how to finance federal debt. Yet this is exactly the time when something like what is proposed here would be useful for the government and investors alike.

Our national debt is financed through a complex system with fixed interest and market trading which is cumbersome and difficult. Worse, it ties the government down to fixed costs which are currently taking up 329B$ per year in interest payments, nearly $3,000 per household.

In short, there has to be a better way to manage the 21T$ or so of debt. Step one would be not creating more, but here is a plan for managing the potentially crippling debt we already have.

Continue reading

GM & the National Industrial Model

The layoff notices came right after Thanksgiving. GM, a symbol of American industry, was going to close four US plants and can over 14,000 workers. Despite the relatively low numbers of people involved, the symbolic value is tremendous. The company was once the symbol of American manufacturing might. Besides, after a bankruptcy and government bailout the company surely has had what it needs to bounce back, right?

Yet there is much more to the story than this. Automobile manufacturing is in a period of massive, completely disruptive change. GM has been in trouble for a very long time simply because it cannot possibly change, and there are reasons to believe that everything is only going to be worse.

Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, has been trying to explain the situation to members of Congress this week. It’s unlikely that she can, especially since the very fact that she is obliged to do so points to the real problem. The national industrial model is dead, and it is being replaced with a global market model. GM’s problem is that it simply has not adapted to this reality in any important way.

Continue reading