On one of my parallel blogs I explained what several dead and dying shopping streets in San Francisco need to be revitalized. I listed the kind of magnet foot traffic stores.
Now one of the worst disaster areas in San Francisco is being discussed. Mid-Market from 5th to 8th. A proposed development could turn six contiguous blocks from dangerous, very dangerous slums into a successful shopping and entertainment area. The development needs parking.... surprise.
The City that knows how (how to drive out the poor, the whites with families and the optimists) is debating whether good parking would harm the City Campaign to replace cars with bicycles.
Yes, a shopping area that would bring in more than a million additional tourists, $3 billion in sales per year, is being pitted against the interests of having a few hundred more bike riders. Believe it.
In my earlier blog I listed several stores that attract foot traffic but I missed the most important one for San Francisco: Fry's Electronics which is in the proposed package for Mid-Market St.
San Francisco is the Internet capitol of the world and Fry's is to Internet geeks what Patagonia and REI are to mountain climbers. Fry's is the most powerful magnet store for San Francisco.
Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial piece that I have reproduced below. It says a Harvard study reports that successful pork shoveling from Washington into the the district of a powerful Congressperson doesn't have a positive effect because private investment thenceforth avoids the pork hole.
I wish to name that the Marin County Effect.
I saw it in the mid-1980s when my friends at Public Advocates brought a case before the California Attorney General in attempting to amend the will that had created the Buck Trust. The Buck trust specified all the money pouring into the trust go to Marin County. The trust, at the time, was part of the San Francisco Foundation but had grown to an enormous size. The S.F Foundation was using the Buck Trust for broad Bay Area charity and Public Advocates supported that behavior.
The move to change the trust document backfired and all the money was court ordered to be given to a new Marin Community Foundation.
Consequence: over the next decade, because the Marin Community Foundation had so much money to give away in Marin, every other charity and non-profit stopped giving money or support to Marin County. The big money drove out the small money.
Same thing, as the WSJ reports, with big money Washington DC pork driving out small local private investment money. Another version of Gresham's Law.
Read on from the WSJ editorial:"For Members of Congress, becoming a committee chairman means more power to spend and thus help for the home district, right? That's certainly the common wisdom. But according to new research from Harvard Business School, the increased federal spending causes local companies to lose sales and cut back on research, payroll and other expenses.
The same kind of mind is required for both. Each is predicated on some alien force that is working against the interests of humanity. Both have a paranoid worldview.
In the conspiracy case there is the requirement that a group of other humans are coordinating the destruction in order to control the rest of us. In the environmental Armageddon that is usually the case (big oil, Sarah Palin, etc) but there are some who merely attribute the impending disaster to the stupidity of the world that doesn't understand the brilliant insights of the environmental elites.
Summary: conspiracy theorists and Armageddon environmentalists drink from the same poisoned well.
(The image is Alfred Dreyfus.)
Israel on the other hand is the hopeful case. Israel was a totally socialize country with nearly every bank and industrial organization run by unions (Histadrut and Mapam).
After Israelis realized that they were stuck in warm socialized tar, but surrounded by murderous enemies, they saw that the way out was economic growth. With some public support, Bibi Netanyahu, in the early 1990s, brought the failing Israel back into the pro commerce world and Israel has been thriving every year since then. A hopeful lesson.
We think of architecture as a form of marketing. It can tell the potential customer something about the company and about the likely buying experience.
I saw an example in the Ginza, in Tokyo, where the relationship between architecture, marketing and retailing were stronger than I had imagined possible.
This store is on the main Ginza street with high-end retailers next to each other endlessly in every direction. The entrance area is open. There are about five circular glass pods, with jewelery like displays of watches in each.
When you walk into any glass pod and talk to the sales person standing there, you learn that the pod is an hydraulic lift that will take you up to the floor above with a complete assortment of the watches and jewelry on display from that manufacturer.
It is your personal elevator to the showroom of the company that is on display in the pod.
I often read some new analysis of the JFK Jr plane crash in 1999 with his wife and sister-in-law on the way to Martha's Vineyard. He was in complete overcast weather, a sunset, over the sound, and did a spiral dive into the ocean from 2,200 feet. Pilots and instructors used to talk about this for the first few years after it happened.
In both Exodus and Deuteronomy the Mosaic commandment is: "You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Jews have always interpreted this to mean no worship of idols and no efforts to paint or create an image that could be used as an idol.
Of course, Christians completely ignore this commandment. Many parts of the Christian church worship a crucifix, often with an image of a man on it. Also images of Mary. I see no need to comment on this.
The issue for Islam is similar to the Jewish model. There can of course be no image of Mohammed because there were none made of him when he was alive. So this is not an image of Mohammed it is a cartoon.
The issue then, is whether the image I have created on this page could be considered useful as an idol. It is not, it is nothing other than an attempt to show the Moslem world that efforts to stamp out cartoon images of Mohammed are a foolish and provocative effort... similar to the Islamic radical effort to eliminate Israel.
My personal interest in this matter is that Islamic extremists targeting cartoon creators is not a whit different from the broad Islamic Jew hate. Its time for everyone to recognize the parallels. Defend the Jews, defend Israel and denounce the extremist interpretations of Islam.
The Left has finally had the heart-lung machine plug pulled.
We have to spend the rest of our lives watching the corpse twitch and spasm just as we do with all the other movements that died in the past two decades. But we can rejoice on its terminal decline.
The best writings on the 1692-93 episode are in Boyer and Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed.
The point I want to make is that the witchcraft hysteria did not end until people of high rank in Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft. Among those accused were relatives of the deputy governor William Stoughton. That put a prompt end to the whole sordid mess.
The same thing happened last week in Spain.
Judge Baltazar Garzon has been on a global rampage issuing warrants for the arrest of Augusto Pinochet, terrorists at Guantanamo and he had plans to issue such warrants for former Bush Justice Department officials and Israeli elected office holders.None of this insanity mattered to the Leftist governments of Spain until Garzon started hearings on Spanish Civil War crimes which had an impact on the entire elite society of Spain. That was enough to remove him from his judicial office.
I have a formerly homeless friend who now has a home, wife, job and a family. But he still looks homeless and gets harassed periodically. He knows his legal rights from years of harassment.
He told me that when he refuses to identify himself or explain anything or turn out his pockets, the police get up close and personal. They are trying to provoke a fight response and the consequent justification for arrest.
This is someone else in the photo.I've never seen this tactic in the U.S., but I expect to see it cross the Pacific.
Did you know that in the late 1990's the U.S. came very close to paying off the national debt?
All the professionals in the financial world were aghast. That would be a horrible thing to do. The national debt provides the secure bottom layer of risk in the financial market and it has done this (in stable governments such as Holland and England) for 400 years.
This is no joke.
We don't have a competent person as President of the United States. The U.S. has become a giant cowardly wimp and every tyrant knows it.
One consequence is that Syria is building a medieval fortress style wall in Lebanon to hide a full military build-up of Hezbollah. Read it and weep. Especially Jews who voted for Obama.
I have done two things in this matter: I wrote a blog proving the elimination of America's hereditary Upper Class and showing the date, 1960, in this blog.
I wrote a blog explaining why this happened in America. The Wall Street Journal reporter on this story finds several explanations for the end of America's Upper Class. He includes changes in religion (end of mainstream Protestants which happened a decade later) and lack of upward mobility for minorities into the Upper Class. No other serious person has thought about this subject nor written about it, so the reporter was stuck with his own nonsense.There was one reason for the end of the American Upper Class and I wrote about it here. In the American army of WWII everyone of talent could become an officer. Not true anywhere else. After the war, these skilled managers, forming a large group, took over American corporations in a 15 year period. They displaced the hereditary American Upper Class by pure numbers and talent.
This photo is from a point near the Uehara station in Tokyo. I took it because I keep hearing false voices in my head, the false voices of people who don't understand business, who say that a big business will drive a little business out of business.
I've already proved that this is nonsense in an earlier blog. Starbucks came into San Francisco, dramatically increased the number of competing coffee shops in the whole city and raised the quality of the coffee business.
In the foreground of the photo is a small book store that specializes in science fiction, exotic foreign titles and children's books (Los Papelotes). It is a very adaptive book store that is personable and warm. It is much loved by the neighborhood.
The bookstore in the background, 50 yards away, (the tiny blue sign under the railway tracks) is a major national chain. Both are surviving well despite Internet competition that impacts both. Japanese are the most hardcore book readers in the world (maybe Israel is in the same league). These book stores have been here for the 15 years I've been watching them. Proximity helps.
When I was in Tokyo I was taken to see a new arts center. It was an old remodeled middle school, with many galleries, studios and offices not far from Akihabara. Visually very well done. I met the paid organizer but it was not a business consulting visit.
Since I played a role in the design and business issues of a major center for the arts in 1978 on Federal property at Fort Mason, I am reminded of some of the lessons.
First, such a center needs an internal traffic flow for both the visitors and resident projects that includes many places for leisure, conversation and food. (That is what led me to organize Greens restaurant).
I had an experience that has parallels to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
The last big difference in taste that I can detect is in brewing. I don't like French press because of the grit that gets through. I do love the AreoPress. It looks like a bong. The temperature of the water makes a noticeable difference. Coffee is important to taste in the AreoPress and from an espresso machine.The machine photographed on this page is the Slayer. Made in Seattle. I went to the factory to see the details. The main advantage is that the operator can set the exact temperature of the water and it remains at that temperature through heavy use. The coffee grounds get a low pressure stream of water to wet them, then the steam is applied in a short burst. The machine in the photos is used in the Intelligencia coffee shop in Venice California. That is where I got to compare the traditional espresso machine with the Slayer. Again, a noticeable difference, so taste matters at this point in the process.
In summary: I can taste
national origin difference in coffee, roasting machine difference and
brewing machine difference. Each has an effect on the coffee.
No, I'm not the handsome Mike Phillips who won the 2010 barista
The review is by Harold Bloom of a book by Anthony Julius on British Antisemitism. Bloom summarizes the book and makes clear that Antisemitism has a long history in England and has been at a ferocious level in recent decades.
I am not surprised about the subject. I have to point out to Lefty Jews that half the Jewish population of England has left in the past two decades.
The two surprises are that a book on this subject is published in England and that it gets a positive review in the New York Times. The NYTimes is almost as vehement in its Jew hate as the majority of the English academe, the BBC and the English upper class.
Of course the NYTimes' excuse is that it suffers from Anglophilia.
For years I read dismaying reports about the inability and unwillingness of young people to read books, to read at all. I still hear the same thing about attendance at symphony, ballet, opera, jazz and theater.
All of these forebodings are unwarranted.
My rule in the matter is: HP and MTT.
Kids from age 7 to 14 started carrying 600 page books with them all the time, everywhere. The books were written by J. K. Rowling, the hero was Harry Potter (HP). There were seven in the series and each was gobbled up like macaroni and cheese.
Got the rule of HP and MTT. Any and every medium can thrive if there is available first rate talent. We live in a time when movies and video offer more interest and challenge than books, so books have to be really good. We live in a time when recorded music and arts are first rate, so live performance must be of higher quality. It is that simple.
All of that is true for every medium I listed in the first line, with the exception of theater. Theater has been a home to Left wing rant for fifty years. Consequently, no intelligent person wants to risk paying for a live stage performance that will insult his values and intelligence. Theater is probably gone for ever.