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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Green Jobs First Topic For Biden's New Task Force (VIDEO)

Biden and Obama Auto PaintingImage by Jvstin via Flickr

A middle class task force? Good!

It's first meeting focuses on jobs? Great!

Not just jobs, but green jobs? Fantastic! Now this is more like it!

About Joe Biden

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Friday, January 30, 2009

I think I've found Fidel Castro's blog....

The Cuban leader Fidel Castro.Image via Wikipedia

In case you haven't heard, the news has been abuzz Fidel Castro's blog.

I think this is it. Reflexiones del Comandante en Jefe Click here.

Each post is in several languages, so for the English speakers just click the blue Ingles

Click here for his reflections on Obama right after the swearing in. This is one of the posts on the blog. And this was the post that made a lot of news.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What are they thinking?

Experiences from bank runs during the Great De...Image via Wikipedia

The House Republicans are at it again. And I'm totally lost.

The whole world says there has to be a stimulus, and it has to be big. This is really non-debatable. Experts have looked at the global economy and the trends. A stimulus is not a "nice to have", it is a "need to have"

Now here's where the House Republicans have completely lost me. They have ALL, yes ALL voted against it. So, I don't know what point they are trying to make, but here is the point they have made:

1) It was under a Republican government and a Republican majority in Congress that this economic collapse took place in the first place.

2) It is Republican principles of deregulation, self regulation, "all hail to the market", that caused the economic meltdown - no moderation, almost no or inadequate regulation. Now they say that the market isn't perfect. Really? Who knew?

2) It was under a Republican government and a Republican majority in Congress that a surplus became a massive deficit to fund a war in a foreign sovereign state, so now Americans - their own people who vote for them to sit in Congress to represent their own interests - are in danger of facing a prolonged recession and depression. Every American is hurting.

And what have the House Republicans done? Well, first they stalled. Then they said they had a better way. Well, excuse me but if they had a better way why is it taking so long for us all to see it.

I don't know about you, but I wonder if the House Republicans understand that people put their own lives before politics. And people generally think that they vote for people to be Representatives to "represent" them - that's what a "Representative" does.

I made a suggestion earlier that since there is a documentary on the Depression of the 1930s, it should be played on every television station repeatedly until people start making decisions based in reality. Sometimes I think people really do not understand the gravity of the situation.

To want bragging rights if the stimulus does not work is not only petty, frankly it shows little concern for the people who elected them to sit in Congress. Who cares whose fault it is if one cannot eat, one does not have a job or cannot find a job, get loans or get back their savings? Please, fix those problems, and then let's talk about whose fault it is or who could have done it better.

Right now, there is one President and he's going to do something about it one way or another.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Presidency in the age of instant gratification....

Now this is more like it!

Within 24 hours of the new Presidency:

  • White House pay has been frozen
  • Lobbyists have been curtailed with strict limits
  • Trials have been suspended at Guantanamo Bay for 120 days pending review for proposed closure.
  • Definitive statement that government will be transparent with specific directives for interpreting the Freedom of Information Act.
See video and article here

Mr. President, not sure if you can keep up this pace, but this is a great way to start! Oh, and by the way - love the language - simple, straight to the point, and definitive.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama's Call to Action

This may seem strange to some, but I did not have great anticipation for today's speech. Don't get me wrong, I was not about to miss one second of today's Inauguration but I've heard the new President speak many times before. Although he was always impressive and a brilliant orator, the content and tone were always consistent. I felt he did this deliberately to provide certainty to a country and a world gripped with fear of the unknown; where uncertainty was becoming paralyzing. So I was not expecting anything really memorable; but to me it was more than memorable - it was stirring.

As he placed the moment in context highlighting the challenges, I thought that yes, it's true that there are all those challenges, but the tried and true foundation values have made us overcome challenges before

I nodded as he named all the negatives and talked about turning them around...a shift in our thinking, in our outlook, in our views. I affirmed quietly: Unity. No more fear. No more conflict. No more discord.

I could not believe he actually said: "end petty grievances, recriminations and worn-out dogmas....the time has come to set aside childish things"....I wished at that moment that I could have had an Instant Replay or pressed a rewind button so I could hear it again and again.

I captured the words "all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness" into my consciousness to walk with me in my own life journey.

I said to myself that yes, it's true. People do have more in common - we are all generations that have evolved from some kind of struggle. It has been work that has brought reward. We are not given, we have to earn. Our talents have not changed, nor has the ability to apply them....it is the circumstances that have changed and we must adapt. We have done that time and time again for that is the story of mankind

When he decried "narrow interest", I thought that finally, we are going to be led to be our brother's keeper. The environment teaches you of the inextricable interconnectedness of life and yet so often we act as if our actions have no impact on others, and if they do we don't care what the impact is.

The President said "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off..." and I immediately thought of Peter Tosh's "Pick Myself Up" (click link here). And now I had a song to associate with the speech, and have been singing since.

When he said that the question is whether or not government works, I said: That's the point!

In speaking of the market, he affirmed its critical role but made it clear it must provide opportunity for all. And in those few sentences, I was reassured that he understood what had gone wrong in the financial sector crisis, and what must be made better in the future - a subject I have written on many times.

I felt pride to be an American (yes, I was born in NY) whose country wants to be friends with the world. "Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more", he said.

I will never forget: "....power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. ..... power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint." Does not entitle us to do as we please.

I was elated to hear the President speak in respectful tones with respectful content in reference to the return of Iraq to "its" people. "Peace" in Afghanistan, he said. Peace, everywhere I pray.

I felt pride to be an American whose President sees diversity as a strength.

And, I was beyond words and elated to be an American whose President makes special effort to reach out to the Muslim world and those with whom there have been conflicts for it is only through dialogue that we can build lasting peace based on respect. What an image: "...we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist"

I sensed we had a President who had a greater understanding of the complexities of poorer nations. He spoke of how he would help them help themselves; and he said that other nations cannot be indifferent. Development is a two way street.

As a student of the environment, I listened for it. And I heard it. He knows the importance of the warming climate, and importantly the responsibility to use resources sustainably

And then he said the most important sentence of all: "For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies." He continued with a passage that should be repeated again and again: "Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. " President Obama cannot fix the world's problems, or any individual's problems. It is you and I who have to do it. He can lead, he can organize, and he can provide support. But a country is nothing without the people; without the will of the people; and without the work of the people.

And no good speech ends without a call to action: "Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. "

I'm ready to carry "forth that great gift of freedom and deliver it safely to future generations." Are you?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Overflowing with Pride!

Although I decided not to trek to DC for the inauguration, I watched today's pre-Inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial on HBO. My mom and I sang along with the artists, and took in all the sights and sounds right here from sunny warm Jamaica.

And then, we saw Herbie Hancock and heard the first few notes of a very familiar song......"It's One Love", I screamed! Mom screamed! We called for dad!

I am told that the President-elect chose the songs - every selection had to be relevant to the moment. And OUR Bob Marley's One Love was a song for the moment. With immense pride we watched OUR, yes, OUR One Love by OUR, yes, OUR Bob Marley being sung as part of this incredible moment in history. We watched three accomplished and popular entertainers - Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow and will.i.am - in their own individual rights singing OUR One Love by OUR Bob Marley. They could have sung one of their own songs, many artists did. will.i.am did a wonderful addition. The cameras panned and we saw the Future First Lady rocking to OUR Bob's One Love, and then later President-elect Obama was rocking to OUR Bob's One Love. The crowd was rocking and singing. We even saw a small Jamaica flag and a big Jamaica flag. No amount of ad spend can top that!

I can't wait to watch it again, and again and again!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Nine for '09

Happy New Year!

It is clear that the events of '08 radically altered all our lives. As we have ended the typical season for introspection and resolution-making, I decided to do my own reflection on the year and focus not on what happened in '08, but rather what I want to happen in '09. The list is not exhaustive, nor an indication of priority. Rather, it is just Nine things I want to accomplish in '09. My "Nine for '09"

By way of background, the genesis for this list started back when I took a life changing course called Total Leadership (I highly recommend my professor's book - Total Leadership by Stew Friedman) when I was at the Wharton School finishing my MBA. That course taught me the importance of developing a long term vision for myself, aligning my actions to my values, and identifying priorities for four domains in my life - work, family, community and self. Life should be about integrating these domains, not trying to balance them because that will be a never-ending struggle with limited success. You may be interested in this thought provoking piece called "Do Not Waste This Crisis" Stew wrote on the Harvard Business Publishing website.

My "Nine for '09" - in no particular order:

  • Read at least one non-business or non-political book per month. I am an avid reader. I love autobiographies of world leaders (I think I've read all the big ones), and of course I read lots of business books. But I never find the time to read anything else. That changes in '09. January 1st, I spent the day reading Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind". Brilliant book that really peaked my interest in the neurosciences. So maybe that'll be my first book - something neuroscience related.
  • Undertake at least one significant photography project for the year. I love taking pictures. The more pictures I took, the fussier I got about the image quality so I treated myself to a Nikon D300 and the works for my graduation present. Now my objective is to learn to use it properly and focus on a type of photography. I love nature so much that I earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in the environment. I also love black and white photography. So far, I have identified a hands on photography course that runs for a month and I'll be doing that and see where I go next from there.
  • Be consistent with my exercise regime and dietary habits. Right now, I try to workout everyday but it ends up being six days a week. And I have had a strict dietary regime for years - low sugars, no or limited white products, lots of vegetables and fruits and nuts etc. Good for health. Good for nutrition. The difficulty with working out is that it's hard to stay committed - something always comes up. Now that I have a Wii Fit, all that has changed. It's fun and convenient. No excuse. The discipline is really rewarding.
  • Prioritize personal finances. I've been extraordinarily lucky in this crisis. I have had no personal financial crisis of any form and I am still employed. But, this is no time to rest on my laurels. I will be even more careful and prudent, but look out for the investment opportunties that do exist.
  • Learn a new skill/Do a refresher course. For those of you who know me, this may seem really odd since I have four degrees - a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Systems (UPenn), a Master of Science in Engineering Science (Harvard) and a MBA from the Wharton School. However, we continue to live in uncertain times. Record job losses at all levels in all sectors. It is always beneficial to keep fresh with marketable skills.
  • Do at least one unexpected nice thing for my family every month. New Year's Day, I cooked dinner for my family (I don't normally do the cooking), and that felt good. At Christmas, we exchanged presents for the first time in a long time (we had outgrown the tradition because of age). Christmas shopping for them was fun. The nice thing does not have to be expensive. You would never believe which present thrilled my mother the most - it was something really practical and cost very little!
  • Watch at least one new movie every month - DVD or at the cinema. I love movies but always say I am too busy. My normal evening routine is MSNBC - can't miss Chris, Rachel or Keith. But I've watched a few movies recently and I have to say that the animated or kiddies movies have really made me realize how much I miss them. Plus, movies are a great way to put things in perspective and forget about whatever your day to day issues are. Also, kids movies are the best for getting creative juices flowing.
  • Blog. If you have been following my blog, you may note that this is the first entry since December 5, 2008. I'm not much of a blogger - this is my first time at it. Actually, my aunt asked me to do it when I kept yabbering on about the economy and the elections. I only write when something is really bugging me so I resolved to take a hiatus until after January 20th 2009. The President-elect cannot do anything until then. Turns out, I enjoy blogging, and was surprised by how many people actually read the entries, and found them useful. For that reason, I'll keep blogging
  • Maintain my gratitude journal. That's right, I have a book and before I go to bed I give God thanks. I may itemize all the things that I can think of at the time. But usually, I give a general thanks - especially for my family. I make a point of making an entry especially when I can think of mostly negative things so it's very helpful in a economic downturn.
  • This would be 10, but let's call it a Stretch Target (a marketing term for an extremely ambitious goal): Start writing a book. I've actually tried a few times, but never was very disciplined at it. I don't have a topic, and no, it's not about me or my life. But, I've learned at lot and maybe some of that may be useful to someone - written as a novel or something. Problem? I have no idea how to write a book. Never took a class. But, in all my life, there were tons of things I did not know how to do yet I learned how to do them - at school, or on the job, with big responsibilities, or over matters of little import. The fact is that I tried and I did it. Somehow this year, I am going to make a meaningful substantial start. Maybe I'll find a mentor.
So that's my Nine for '09 plus a Stretch Target. What's yours?
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Reasoning The Reasons by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.