I want you to know and for history to record that we all knew at this time: the selection of the next King of Saudi Arabia is a sinister matter.
Like Darwin, Dyson appreciates top-soil. Like Darwin he sure looks like the upper class Brit.
I am increasingly seeing signs that jurors are using their phones to google information relevant to the trial they are sitting in.
I expect the legal and judicial world to be turned upside down by this development. More than 400 years of jurisprudence and our own Bill of Rights are the product of efforts to make the judicial system fair. Technology is changing all the ground rules of evidence admissibility.
First, the legal Luddites aren't going to stop this trend with any new laws, punishments, rewards or opprobrium. I know they'll waste their time and ours but I also know in advance that they'll fail.
Second, deal with it. The two biggest problems are common sense and misinformation.
The problem of common sense is that nearly all material excluded from trials is of the nature that this trial is about this set of events. Did the burglar commit this burglary? Common sense says a person who committed many burglaries in the past, probably committed this one. The law says juries must ignore the past burglaries in the trial. Technology is the friend of common sense in this matter.
Common sense also says that a woman riding in a car with a man who gets out of the car and, unknowingly to the woman, commits armed robbery, is guilty as an accomplice. Under some laws the punishment is automatically 10 years in prison. No jury will find her guilty knowing the extreme punishment. Common sense will prevail again.
The problem of misinformation. Many people believe that lie detectors are reliable. They aren't but with google it is likely the results of a lie detector will get to jury members. Positive and negative lie detector tests results can be wrong, badly wrong.
Why should this be a unique phenomenon of San Francisco?
Catherine Campbell is due credit for the explanation of this one. Catherine, a brilliant analyst of San Francisco life, used to say: 'San Francisco is a crucible, people come here to find out who they are.' (Then they usually move to where they will most likely succeed.)
Sexuality is indeed one of the most prominent elements of the San Francisco crucible. San Francisco is certainly the center of sexual experimentation on the American continent.
I'm reading a manuscript of a new book by Joyce Appleby, my favorite historian of industrial commerce.
I encouraged Dr. Appleby to write this book because it is very lonely out in the pro commerce world without others to talk with.
Dr. Appleby and I have disagreed slightly on the sources of modern industrial commerce. I placed great emphasis on Holland as the point of origin. She is a true historian and is convincing me in her manuscript that England deserves the recognition as the source of industrial commerce.
All that aside, one of her interesting points is that the booms and busts of early commerce were a constructive development. The boom lead to rapid capital accumulation for manufacturers and new entrepreneurs. The busts lowered prices significantly and expanded markets.
I love the black 'Yo mama...' series so much that when a Chicago Tribune reporter wrote to ask about cussing contests (my grandfather, Henry, was a San Francisco champion in the 1920s) I did a google on 'Yo mama..' which probably grew out of the same cussing contest traditions.
The 95 year old Federal Reserve system failed to halt the most recent financial crisis.
The regulatory world needs to solve multiple financial problems at the same time with a) a single financial auditor's office (b) of the highest quality and c) make use of a competitive whistle blower reward system.
Most SEC, FDIC and other financial regulatory agencies turn over their auditing and investigative work to teams from joint agencies, most often under the Department of Justice which has the greatest enforcement and prosecutorial power. In lieu of the current system:
The NRA won a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court last year in the District of Columbia v Heller case on June 26th 2008. The Supreme Court said the Second Amendment to the Constitution specifically created the right of individuals to own and keep guns.
It is my humble view that the ability of ordinary people to read the Bill of Rights and see this interpretation which flew in the face of the entire Lefty gun control world is what gave the National Rifle Association so much power, vigor and coherence for so many years.
I further believe that now that the NRA's view of the Bill of Rights has been vindicated by the U.S. Supreme court that the NRA will lose members, vigor and political power.
When you are right it is hard to be self-righteous. Even for an organization.
The U.S. State Department has a perverted concept of a peace treaty. These arrogant self-righteous Ivy league people have been pushing Israel to sign a peace treaty with their neighbors (who call themselves Palestinians) for half a century. The reality is that the so called Palestinians are not a coherent people, they are a cluster of Arab tribes, who could never sign anything much less a treaty.
I would like to offer the State Department whiz kids a short course called: The list of wars that have lasted over 100 years long.
Frankly, the so-called Palestinians will be carrying on war against the Israelis for several centuries to come. That is their history, that is who they are. A low level battle is the most to work for.
We've had an epidemic of executive compensation absurdity for more than two decades driven mostly by good old boy networks on boards of directors. Most of the executives I know, paid astronomic amounts, are nothing but competent bureaucrats.
A client took the following material to the top people in the government but didn't present it. I leave it to you to get it to the appropriate people who will carry it out.
The current tax law allows rewards for executive comp when paid in return for performance. The key in the future is to specify performance publicly in advance.
The combination of the IRS and the SEC have the power to create a set of (maybe 5) performance based compensation reward systems. Since compensation over $1 million is only tax deductible if it is performance based:
The goal of this proposal is to take executive performance rewards out of the day-to-day hands of the corporate board members.
Remember, that within the performance measurement mechanisms all comparative corporate scales must be public and based on public data.
Will this fix the executive compensation epidemic? Yes, for several decades.
One of the great puzzles for me has been the stunning increase in the amount of hard work Americans generated in the 1990's.... it extends up to the current time. This is hard work ethic is palpable. It is also measurable and seen in the Dept. of Labor measurement of the number of hours Americans work.
But espresso doesn't explain why people want to work hard.
I have a guess based on looking at people in San Francisco.
After the public schools became integrated in the 1970s (I apologize for my role in that)they became too dangerous for white kids. The white kids' parents who wanted to stay in a city had to opt for private schools for their offspring. Between 1970 the proportion of private school kids to public school kids in San Francisco has gone from 1 in 4 to 1 in 2.
Private schools are very expensive. As expensive as private colleges. A private K-12 school in San Francisco is over $25,000 per year, per kid.
I think, earning money to send kids to private schools, is the reason the generation of workers from 1985 to 2009 have been working so hard....to pay private school tuition for their kids. This is a consequence of public school integration.
Rupert Murdoch recently gave a speech to the American Jewish Committee. The speech is noteworthy because it is so clear in its understanding of Israel, the rise of the 4th Reich and the global Islamicist movement to destroy the Enlightenment.
My question is "Why do pro commerce people (Murdoch is not only pro commerce he is one of the heroes of commerce) have such clear vision of the world?"
Answer, commerce is purely pragmatic. You survive, fail or thrive based on the accuracy of your perceptions of the world. Murdoch, the great hero of commerce, has thrived because of the clarity and accuracy of his vision.
PS: I'm trying out the words survive, fail or thrive in lieu of dog-eat-dog or survival of the fittest.
When I was young, my girlfriend and I took a train from Marseilles to Rome. I didn't like third class so I went to 1st class and hoped the two of us wouldn't be kicked out. We weren't.
A gentleman came into the cabin at the next stop. He must have thought we were interesting enough to share his cabin with him. The gentleman was working on a set of drawings. As we talked he explained how he was buying American Liberty ships and refitting them as passenger ships in Milan.
Once the ships were remodeled, they were taken to Sweden where they were furnished. The ships were then used to transport Brits to Australia. Australia was paying shipping companies $1,400 per person for every Brit who was brought to Australia. The issue the man was working on was calculation of the size of the air conditioning needed to get the ship successfully through the 115 degree heat in the Suez Canal.
The gentleman went on to talk about his next project, growing trees for paper in the Amazon. He was certain trees would grow fast in the tropics and immediately be processed into paper creating a profitable product.
As you can tell from the title the man was Aristotle Onassis, years later to become a household name when he married the stylish and expensive widow of President Jack Kennedy. The shipping project was a great success, the Amazon was a failure. The Amazon rain forest has virtually no top soil for trees or anything to grow as crops.
There is a good site about Israel and a stunning video on the pervasive libels about Israel in the world. This was sent to me by a good friend in Israel.
I only call this to your attention because I see the recent global spread of the 4th Reich to America. (1) The appointment of a strong 4th Reich supporter, Chas Freeman, to head the group that prepares the daily presidential intelligence report and the subsequent blast of Jew hate from the NYTimes, the MSMedia and Freeman himself is bone chilling. (2) The Obama administration's snub of Israel's top general.
Jew hate in Europe is getting worse every day. If anyone thinks it won't get still worse every day and every year as Israel continues to defend her survival militarily....wakeup! The 4th Reich is alive and growing and, as before, there are very few good people who care....including most Jews.
One of the most surprising sights I see as I make my way around San Francisco is the astounding number of people who are reading in public. Reading books and working on laptops. Reading in bookstores that have chairs and in countless coffee shops.
I know of no evidence that book sales are growing. It may be true, but not based on major publisher's actual sales.
My hypothesis is that reading in public is simply a way for people who work at home, to get out of the house and feel sociable.
The same reason people have traditionally gone to pubs and bars.
Twitter: How did one man become a rock impresario?
I photographed this building because it played an important role in the history of American music.
It is the Longshoreman's Hall on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. What happened here is pretty stunning and the story has never been told.
It was early in 1966 and Ken Kesey and Stewart Brand had organized a series of Acid Tests that are well described in Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. I went to the first one in Longshoreman's Hall with the original Grateful Dead playing. It was not called an Acid Test it was the first Trips Festival.
I was early and Stewart asked me, whom he knew as a banker, to take tickets at the door. I did it for a short while then couldn't ignore the lusty excitement of everything going on around me.
I picked one guy, whom I knew to be a greedy asshole, but not a thief, and told him to handle the door. He loved it, did a good job and made it his lifetime carrier. It was Bill Graham who became America's impresario of rock music..then every kind of music.
This is a good time to tell what a scoundrel Bill was. Bill was widely hated. Cecil Williams, a prominent black minister in San Francisco believed he was a friend of Grahams. In the mid 1970's Williams got Quincy Jones to agree to put on fund raising festival for William's church (Glide Memorial) at the giant Cow Palace. Graham promised Williams he would not put on a conflicting show the same night. About a month before the Jones show, Graham scheduled some really big act on the same night. That is what kind of friend Graham was.
Years later when one of Graham's warehouses was robbed, he, a man widely hated by many for many reasons, publicly blamed the robbery on anti-Semitism.
Graham was killed along with a girl friend, Melissa Gold (whom I had met) and his helicopter pilot, when he forced his pilot to fly him home from a concert in Contra Costa to Marin in a dense fog. The pilot refused, but Graham said he would be fired if he didn't fly. The pilot wasn't fired. He was fried... along with Graham and Melissa when the helicopter hit power-lines near Napa, flying as much below the fog as was possible.
There has always been such a sculpture garden house during my life in San Francisco.
Neighbors never succeed in getting rid of them, if they try.
I have coffee nearly every morning in a coffee shop. The crowd is large, dense, mostly gay and very noisy. Kids come in with their parents on occasion, often in strollers,...they could scream and never be heard.
This relates to a quieter coffee shop.
I just happen to love the humor in this sign in a Colorado coffee shop.
I love kids and have eight grand children but many kids have parents who are out of control. This sign, I'm told, works.
There are two American food styles and locales. One style where you can find a restaurant that serves good fruits and vegetables, particularly in the form of a salad, the other being 90% of America. The former is mostly urban, but it is growing (slowly).
Slowly, you bet. Actual vegetarians are an insignificant market. Only 1.5% of Americans ate vegetarian in the past three weeks.
This is a photo of a salad store in a mall on the outskirts of Boulder Colorado. The reliance on fresh fruits and vegetables is growing slowly but it is a positive sign for the weight of Americans.
The first rate study of weight loss and diet published in the recent New England Journal of Medicine put the final flourishes on the reality that I learned many years ago in Weight Watchers: there is only one way to lose weight and that is to count calories and write down the results. Nothing else is relevant.
My long time friend...very reliable and competent, wrote today:
"Over the last few days, the situation in Madagascar has deteriorated to such a degree that we have decided it is best to send my wife and daughter out of the country. So far, our lives have been more or less unaffected by the political crisis that has brought certain aspects of life here to a standstill.
However, last Friday, political partisans of the president's opponent essentially blockaded the school our daughter attends, trapping many hundreds of children inside and preventing them from leaving.
That very unstable situation pushed us to reconsider our remaining in Madagascar. Over the weekend, there was a rebellion within the military that remains unresolved. The result has been that lawlessness throughout the country is on the rise. It is unclear who is actually running the government. (Anyone who thinks that government is a bad thing should try getting along without one.)
As of today, the diplomatic community's effort to bring both sides of the dispute back to the negotiating table have not succeeded. Yesterday, I attended a "town hall meeting" of the American community in Tana. The mood was glum and pessimistic. Normally, I might chide the State Department for over-reacting. In this case, I think they have assessed the situation correctly."
What do other people think? She has a parrot, a pet rat and she is slowly nibbling on a dish of sushi.
God knows who would give her money, nor why she thinks she looks appealing to bleeding hearts (most people giving money to beggars are women).
I am endlessly asked about the current economic situation. So, despite the fact that I may well be on the record for being wrong, (it has happened several times before) I still make judgments, declarations and try to learn from being on the public record as wrong. Being publicly wrong hones the mind when one is willing to admit 'I'm wrong'. Most people keep their minds deliberately dull by never facing their own error or even worse, their own mortality.
I believe we reached the bottom of this recession sometime in mid-February. The recession will not be as severe as the 1980-82 recession.
What does that mean? First it says nothing about unemployment which will continue to grow for the rest of the year and may not start shrinking until 2010. Largely because we are doing nothing to get people to move to where the jobs are and we have a large backlog of productivity gains that mean fewer workers are needed in the high growth fields.
Second, the total economic output, GDP will start growing after the summer, third quarter.
Third, we will start seeing evidence of growth in many high tech parts of the country this month.
Lastly, my projection says nothing about the financial issues, which may evaporate very quickly as the pervasive underlying power of the U.S. economy becomes more evident.
All this despite the stimulus and despite the bank bailout.
The 'old gray lady', the New York Times, the "All the news that's fit to print" arrogant West-side matron, is so out of step with the times, so blind to the world around her that her impotence is evident today.
The NYTimes has tried desperately not to cover a story that has been raging in the blog world for more than two weeks: the selection of Chas Freeman to be the head of the agency that prepares the President's daily intelligence briefing (National Intelligence Council). He is a Saudi puppet with a bad history of statements on China and Darfur.
If you go to the NYTimes search page for Charles, Chas or C. Freeman you will find no mention of this raging issue.
Today, the real pressure from the blog world became so great that Freeman dropped out.
Old gray lady, you are toothless as well as blind. Turning your back on a news story makes you a joke.