September 27, 2010

VYO welcome Ronald interviews

Director Ronald Braunstein's leadership of the VYO at the Flynn yesterday was superb. The orchestra was outstanding, especially with Beethoven's 5th Symphony! Here's what the musicians have to say after the performance.

September 26, 2010

The Recession Is Over, Now Where Are the Jobs? -- Seeking Alpha

The Recession Is Over, Now Where Are the Jobs? -- Seeking Alpha

I have been reading Steven Hansen's weekly analyses over time and he makes more sense than most of what we read, particularly in the popular press. Hansen talks about 'headwinds' in the economy, that cannot be fixed by throwing money at it. He's right. We have serious structural problems that are sapping any recovery. Those include: our political apparatus is in disarray and we seem to have lost our way in regards to the beliefs and values that have made America great.
America suffers from a deficit in values and confidence. David Brooks last week writes a bit about one of those deeply personal values, responsibility ["What the country is really looking for is a restoration of responsibility. If some smart leader is going to help us get out of ideological gridlock, that leader will reframe politics around this end."]
I recommend both Brooks and Hansen's writings this week.
"The “highlight” of this week was finding out the recession ended in June 2009. There is no question that data supports that the recession was over based on established definitions. The complete statement is an interesting read due to the rationalization of the decision.
I was hoping the NBER would call an end of recession, while saying at the same time that we were in a depression. Most likely political considerations prevented this call. Still, we are in a depression. (emphasis added)
Based on the recession ending in June 2009, this continues to be the worst recovery since WW2 – not to mention the Great Recession was the worst recession since the Great Depression.
The debate continues on jobs creation. Most want adjustment to monetary policy to spur jobs growth. This debate would have merit if it occurred prior to 2000 but things are different in 2010 – increasing money flows or increasing GDP are no longer directly affecting job creation (click to enlarge):
Even to the most uneducated, it is obvious the economy everyone is measuring runs through money flows and finance – and it has disconnected from jobs and Joe Sixpack. There is something other than money flows providing the headwinds to jobs growth. Our recovery is hostage until those headwinds are attacked. Trying to correct headwinds with money flows cannot solve structural problems. (emphasis added)
What is worse is that our jobs crisis is disproportionately affecting our next generation and overall social order."

September 25, 2010

What You Need to Know About White Space Wi-Fi - PCWorld Business Center

What You Need to Know About White Space Wi-Fi - PCWorld Business Center

This new free spectrum capacity authorized by the FCC earlier this week is a VERY BIG deal for all the reasons listed enumerated in the story.

We may have to wait for a couple of years for equipment to be available, but strategic deployment in rural areas may be the the best approach to filling gaps in in areas with spotty broadband coverage. Also, perhaps a new business model for suburban neighborhood deployment will be possible which could put a real dent in the revenues of cable and DSL providers, unless they choose to use it themselves to extend their services. I suspect Google will continue to be an active supporter as they move more into the telecom business.

September 23, 2010

We all receive various messages in our inboxes that may appeal to our personalties, beliefs and our politics. This one arrived from a friend I respect.

I also agree that this description of education is what we should expect in our high schools.

If you find fault or praise for this school principal's credo, let's read your comments.

This speech was [allegedly] given by a new HS principal in Florida.
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity -- your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values -- e pluribus unum, "from many, one." And this school will be guided by America's values. This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness. Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America 's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.
Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't speak without using the f-word, you can't speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as "Nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky -- to be alive and to be an American.
Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

September 14, 2010

Gulf May Have Avoided Direst Predictions After Spill -

Gulf May Have Avoided Direst Predictions After Spill -

More opinion that the Gulf is recovering much better and faster from the BP mess than predicted when the well was still gushing oil. Nature has effective ways of repairing itself even when the situation is overblown by the media and the scientists they often feature who hold extreme opinions.
"...Separately, scientists are arguing heatedly about how fast a large plume of dispersed oil more than a half-mile below the surface of the gulf is breaking down and how great a threat it poses to sea life.
Yet as the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.
While its findings were disputed by some, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported several weeks ago that the oil was breaking down and dispersing rapidly, probably limiting future damage from the spill.
And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989..."