What the Dayton Daily News Editorial board does on a Saturday afternoon

I went to see “Milk” at the Neon movies for the 5pm show.

I highly recommend it as a primer for grassroots activism, and a brief history of the insane anti-gay/protection of marriage movement. From IMDB:

The story of California’s first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, a San Francisco supervisor who was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by San Francisco Supervisor Dan White.

via Milk (2008).

After we took our seats, we listened as a woman was saving 4 seats behind us- and was a little rude about it. Soon, Martin Gottlieb walks in with a cherry red Kangol cap, and then soon after, Ellen Belcher.  I said hi to Martin before the show and Ellen gave me holiday wishes on her way out.

While Ohio jumped on the “protection of marriage” train in 2004- which helped propel GWB to his second term, this kind of stupidity traces back to the early 70’s with former orange juice “spokeswoman” Anita Bryant. Looking back forty years, and we still are struggling with having the State try to make rules about what goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors.

Harvey Milk wasn’t afraid to be gay, risk his life, or sit quietly by while his civil rights were being taken away. However, as Dan White says in the movie- “You have an issue” to Milk- and White couldn’t find an issue to own. When Milk needed a second issue- he went after dog poop- a stunt and a distraction- just to play politics.

That part scared me. Looking at the Presidential election- we still see a “single theme” can trump all kinds of rhetoric. Obama used “Change” and stuck with it- only to be elected and bring in a cabinet of people who have lived inside the system so long they think change is only measured by number of seats the ruling party holds.

Are we such shallow people that single issues are all that matters?

I also started reconsidering my feelings about Commissioner Joey Williams- who I consider a friend and the only member of the Dayton City Commission who has any real credibility on the commission. His abstention on the gay rights ordinance last year was reprehensible. Is that issue enough to vote him off the Commission?

Joey and I had a long talk after his vote- he explained his position to me, off the record, however, once elected, should you really be afraid to explain publicly your reasoning?

I’ve never been impressed with the Dayton Daily News editorial boards questions- or their reasoning behind endorsements. I’ve also never seen them admit they were wrong. I’ll be interested to see what they write about “Milk” and if they will hold Williams or Lovelace accountable for their non-votes/votes against the gay rights ordinance.

I’m also wondering if the editorial board understand that the Internet has changed the political landscape yet. In today’s DDN Belcher was amazed at her recent discovery of podcasts on the iPod. (for the record Ellen- American Public Radio’s Marketplace is my top choice). There is no longer an excuse for a candidate to NOT have answers to all positions on a site- where there can be no confusion about why they did what they did.

I’ve got at least a 4 year jump on any local politician/candidate with ideas and positions on issues- in print, by my own hand. When it comes to the next editorial board Q&A there isn’t anything they could ask that I haven’t covered here- making seeing them pretty pointless.

Their typical endorsement is never about ideas- but of supposed “qualifications” based on some kind of system they believe breeds leadership. Most of the time, that means being a pawn of a local political party. Maybe after seeing “Milk” they will understand that it’s time to examine issues- maybe even more than one- and make their choices based on ideas- instead of some sort of checklist.

Harvey Milk wouldn’t have gotten their endorsement- and maybe they should be thinking about why not?

Leitzell announces bid for Mayor: DDN ignores my announcement for commission months ago

Neighborhood activist Gary Leitzell announced that he is challenging Rhine McLin for her seat next year as an independent. He even got a write up in the Dayton Daily yesterday (amazing since I announced months ago- and told you he was running as well).

I am making an early announcement that will explain why things are slower at the “Crack House”. I am going to run for Mayor next year and have just slapped together a web site and blog to use in my campaign. I shouldn’t have to post to the site very often. It is a tool to allow me to connect with residents of the city. I have added a banner in the right sidebar that links to “Dayton Mayor”. There is a petition process that is quite time consuming. I hope to be through with it soon so that I am ready to do more work on the house. Don’t worry, this won’t become a political blog. I’m really not a politician. Just a mover and a shaker who gets things done.

Now I can say that the worse thing that could happen to me personally is that I get elected, because I would have to do the job and we certainly are facing some challenges here in Dayton. I am willing to face those challenges but I won’t be too disappointed if the voters don’t think that I am the best person for the job. On the other hand, we are certainly going to have the right house if I can just get things finished!

via This Old Crack House.

Leitzell sounds like I did 20 years ago- when I first ran for Commission. I too refused to accept contributions- instead capping myself with spending $1000 of my own money. It was before the Internet, and before I understood what it really takes to win a campaign. Even though the Mayor’s job is part-time, and only pays $36K a year- we’ve seen races cost close to a million (the Capizzi/Turner race, and the first Turner/McLin race).

This isn’t exactly a playground for the feint at heart. In my first run against Clay Dixon for Mayor, I had the windows of my office shot out on two consecutive nights, was attacked by a union chief, attacked by Dixon, received death threats and written off by the Dayton Daily News as an “advertising man with nothing to say” even though my campaign literature was 11×17 and full of ideas for change.

Best of luck Mr. Leitzell, I’ll be running into you a lot in my campaign for commission.

In what we trust

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s long. I hope it’s worth it to you. If you really like it- or hate it- tell 5 friends.

The recent financial market meltdown started me thinking about what makes civilized society possible. It’s not the form of government, even a dictator can make the trains run on time. It’s not the economic system, although, some do seem to work better than others. It’s not based on a religion, or a shared heritage or culture- it’s one thing, and one thing only: Trust.

Trust must be pretty important, since it’s right on our money: “In God we trust”- although in reality, God has nothing to do with it- unless God is an abbreviation for Government Organized Democratically and the Democratically part is a euphemism for equal participation (which we should know is a fallacy by now, although original intentions were good).

We use many factors to measure the success of countries and political subdivisions including:
Wealth, education, productivity, health, population and even “happiness factors”- but for people to live together synergistically and successfully, the most important index we should pay attention to is our collective trust factor.
For all the differences, for civilization to work, for an economy to function, for people to have hope, it all comes down to Trust.

Do we trust:

  • Each other: to be free from fear of crimes against us or our property.
  • Our institutions: to provide for the basic health and welfare for the greater good.
  • Our systems: for providing a framework for commerce and a level playing field.
  • Our government: to be fair and responsible.

Without trust, chaos gets a toe-hold. Chaos is the antithesis of civilization. It grows like a cancer- quickly, in an uncontrolled death spiral, and unless radical procedures are implemented quickly and deftly, there will be no recovery.

Watching the powers that be, at all levels- from global to local, we’ve seen reactive measures aimed at propping back up things that have already failed the trust test:

  • Banks have failed, because we trusted them to make good loans and invest wisely.
  • Insurance companies have failed because they decided to insure things that couldn’t possibly be insured like credit default swaps.
  • Wall Street has failed because we allowed it to become a casino instead of remaining a financial market.
  • The American automotive industry failed to build vehicles that would be desirable when gas prices hit $4 a gallon.
  • The oil companies failed to realize that consumers could only afford their car based lifestyle when gas prices remained stable- and that people would find ways to cut consumption to make ends meet when prices became speculative.
  • And, lastly, our Government is failing- because we’ve lost trust in our “representatives” to make good laws and regulations. It’s becomes obvious that we now have the best politicians money can buy.

When the cancer of the deregulated financial systems struck, our government didn’t do anything (other than outlaw naked short selling) to change the fundamental ways we conduct business. Their best answer has been to throw money at the problem, instead of trying to heal the system through radical surgery.

In less than 30 days, we will have a new president, who has promised change, yet he has surrounded himself with hardened politicians and political operatives who were all a part of the current problem. If we’re looking for a cure for this systemic failure, it’s not going to come from anyone who has “made it” inside the current system. They’ve already been infected by the cancer and are fighting their own battles for self preservation. Karl Marx wasn’t part of the establishment of his time, neither were Plato or Socrates. In fact, revolutionary ideas seldom come from the establishment- hence we must rise up and demand, through revolutionary rhetoric, systemic changes if we want to have civilization continue.

This country was founded by revolutionaries who got it pretty close to right with the US Constitution. Unfortunately, we’ve travelled a long way from those ideals and have become placated cogs in a machine that no longer seems to care about those who it was built to support.

At every turn, what should be basic rights, have been taken over by corporations that get to act like people- with sociopathic tendencies.

We’ve created a system where a company can play god with your health care decisions, yet, you can’t choose how to manage your own end of life scenario.

We’ve created a system where it costs billions to elect a man to a job that only pays $400,000 a year- and holds his finger on a nuclear arsenal, yet, others can make billions (literally, in one year) by playing games with financial instruments without being held personally liable.

We’ve created a system that says it’s ok to be paid millions while shuttering factories that have had tax dollars invested in them, to “guarantee jobs” for communities- only to see the rug pulled out from under those same communities.

It’s time to look at these cancers to our economic health and reassess the system. It’s time to put new rules in place, not to re-distribute wealth, but to restore both a level playing field and trust back into a system where the rules of common sense no longer seem to apply.

It’s time to start evaluating all of our policies based on will they instill or dilute trust into our systems.

If we want to restore health, the first thing we’ll have to do is bring sanity to our election process. It can’t take 2 years to run for an office that only sits for 4 years at a time. We have to shorten the election cycle, totally revise the way that campaigns are funded, and build a new system from the ground up- to include voting by mail.

Once we have leaders who represent us, we may be able to start looking at rebuilding trust in our institutions and systems.
If we cut out the middleman that adds 35% overhead to health care costs for those that are insured- we may make a good start toward universal coverage.

It’s become apparent that what happens on Wall Street is directly connected to what happens on Main Street. Reducing volatility by requiring all investments over $50K in any company to be held for at least a year. Any corporation that uses stock options for compensation, must require that at no time is stock issued if the company cuts employment. It’s time to also create pay ratios. At no time may any public company pay anyone more than 100x the lowest paid salary. If you want to make the big money, you have to own the company, or have a controlling interest owned by a majority of the employees.

It’s also time to stop corporate welfare by government in the name of economic development. No more tax breaks for relocation, investment or job creation. While the next administration is talking about huge investments in green energy as a savior, the real key is energy independence through less consumption. Considerably less consumption. The only tax break should be for employees able to walk to work or take public transit to work.

A massive refocus on walkable communities, with the best, efficient public transit systems would be one of the best things we could invest in now. Task Detroit with building electric trains, trolleys and buses. Build high-speed rail between metropolitan areas. Invest in a complete rewiring of our info backbone, moving to gigabit speeds into every home- allowing more people to telecommute when possible.

We also need to simplify our taxation system and make it easier for small businesses to start and operate. The process of starting and running a business should be as simple as getting a drivers license- complete with a basic training course, a test and a license with special authorizations for specific skills. Small business is the engine that really drives our economy and employees the most people- yet, their voices are drowned out by the behemoths that get all the attention. If you want to really see the economy flourish, give private employers tax credits for each person they employee based on their salary as a percentage of the owners salary. Make it worth the small business persons energy to employ and train workers of tomorrow, with extra credits available for taking interns and recent graduates.

To address areas of historic poverty and under-investment, we need to incentivize investment in new ways. I had proposed long ago to allow unlimited H1B visas for employees who live and work within these federally designated “HUBzones.” In addition, we need to look to re-balancing populations, giving preference to States that have been losing population to entice new blood back to old cities.

Our education system has had a funding problem for years before the current financial meltdown. To move both our education system forward, and to level the playing field for retail, it’s time to introduce an Internet sales tax that is collected federally and disbursed locally per student. By simplifying the collection and distribution, and eliminating local tax levy’s, we may have enough money to properly fund our future leaders education. It’s also time to provide laptops for every student in the country, complete with open source operating systems and open source software as well as open source coursework. We need to move away from textbook based education- and proprietary standards for the greater good and to teach the value of shared knowledge as a basic human right.

These are radical systemic changes for a revolutionary rebirth of the United States of America in a time where nothing less than revolutionary change will work.

If we want to regain our position as a world power, instead of a debtor nation of consumers, we have to learn the old adage “You have to give up power to get power.”

It’s time to provide power back to the people- through a system we can trust again. One that puts basic, individual human rights ahead of the government, ahead of the corporations and is built on a platform so that it’s not in God we trust, but in US we trust. That would be change we can believe in.

Lafayette creates value for citizens: We have fountains that don’t work

I was thinking about how Dayton (macro) could be more competitive in recruiting people and business to the area. The talk about tearing down the truck plant makes no sense- at least until Tata Motors turns it down.

I thought back to the Riverscape Fountains- and how we could have spent the $3+ million on building state of the art playing fields on the Parkside homes site instead.

Or- if you are Lafayette Louisiana- building a fiber optic system to provide real speed to knowledge workers:

Lafayette, Louisiana yesterday revealed that it will soon become one of the first significant US cities to deploy a municipality-run fiber optic Internet connection. Lafayette Utilities System plans to launch the service with a combination of Internet, phone and TV services and will offer them either as part of bundles or as individual options. Internet service tops out as high as 50Mbps both downstream and upstream and will offer more bandwidth still for connections between users on the same network, doubling to 100Mbps.

Early service is expected to start next month and will see a basic 10Mbps symmetric Internet connection cost $29 per month; 30Mbps will cost $45 per month, while the top-end 50Mbps plan will cost $58 per month. Bundles, known as VIP deals, range from a starter $85 deal that includes 80 TV channels, 10Mbps data and phone service to a $200 Gold package that carries 250 regular stations, HD and premium stations, 50Mbps Internet access and unlimited long distance phone calling.

The rollout takes place over four major stages and should be completed by 2011, the utility firm says.

Lafayette’s fiber comes despite significant opposition to the deal and others like it in the US from cable and DSL providers Cox and AT&T, both of whom have publicly objected and are believed to have quietly funded private lawsuits attempting to thwart the plan for city-wide fiber.

via Electronista | Louisiana city offers 50Mbps fiber for $58.

The idea of a free Wi-Fi system died on the vine. If we want to be competitive, we have to come up with ways to differentiate Dayton from the rest of the country- and the current system of offering “economic development dollars” (corporate welfare) is dying as our tax supported checkbook is going into overdraft mode- thanks to short-sighted, paid-off politicians coming up with “silver bullet” style solutions to basic infrastructure problems.

No one is moving to Dayton because we have big fountains that don’t work.

It’s time to capitalize on things that do. High speed access equals a high speed business environment.

Time to speed things up.

Why “health insurance” should be outlawed.

Steal billions from shareholders, lie to regulators, overcharge customers and force doctors to work for pennies on the dollar. Yet, there is one person who benefits from this scheme that is helping bring our powerful employers to their knees- yep, the CEO of the insurance company.

Taking home $100 million dollar plus a year salaries, these modern-day pirates steal, cheat and lie their way to riches, while the rest of us are held powerless and at their mercy.

And even when getting caught red-handed, a few fines, no jail time and no shake up of a system that is killing our country and its economy faster than $4-a-gallon gas. Read the entire article to be totally outraged- but here is an excerpt:

In its suit, the SEC accused UnitedHealth of providing senior executives and other employees with in-the-money options while secretly backdating the grants to avoid reporting the expenses to investors.

“UnitedHealth engaged in a long-running scheme to hide over a billion dollars in executive compensation,” Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said in a statement. “By materially misstating these expenses for over a decade, UnitedHealth breached its duty to shareholders to accurately report its financial results.”

UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) said in a statement it has “substantially improved its governance, administrative processes and internal controls.”

A federal judge in Minneapolis last week gave preliminary approval for UnitedHealth to pay $895 million to settle a class-action shareholder lawsuit related to the scandal. Former CEO William McGuire is paying $30 million and Lubben is paying $500,000 to settle with shareholders.

The SEC last December reached a settlement with McGuire in which he agreed to pay a $7 million fine and repay about $448 million to UnitedHealth.

via UnitedHealth settles with SEC in stock scandal – Dayton Business Journal:.

Health insurance isn’t the same as health care- and the difference in price that you have to pay if you are uninsured vs insured is one of the greatest crimes against mankind. If this slap on the wrist approach by the SEC doesn’t outrage you- you must be dead already. It’s time to demand accountability from Congress- or to vote them out.

It’s time to pay for health care- not CEO salaries or bailing out stock swindelers. One price, one plan, one payer for all.

It’s also time to lock these criminals up and throw away the key. Health care should be a basic right.

Austin Pike: Where is the Dayton City Commission?

160,000 people are being ignored by the Montgomery County Commission, but, I placce the blame squarely on the shoulders of only five people: The Dayton City Commission and its mad-hatter leader, Mayor Rhine McLin.

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin withdrew her opposition to the tax and adopted a neutral stance after meeting with county officials. “We just needed some more conversation and understanding of what it was about,” McLin said.

She said she supports the Austin Pike interchange development, but wants to make sure nothing hurts the city or region.

via Proposal for Austin Pike arena runs out of time in 2008.

It took the city years to warm to, and put the Dragons ballpark into play, yet, it seems this whole ice arena plan has been discussed without any participation or involvement of the City of Dayton. And, in case you forgot, wasn’t Mandalay working WITH the city not too long ago on “Ballpark Village” which also had an ice arena as a component?

I’ve received through anonymous sources the letter that the County has been sending out to “inform” Montgomery County “community and business leaders” of this great plan-here is an excerpt:

We strongly believe it is critical that the Austin Interchange development have an anchor amenity to differentiate the location from other developments along the I-75 corridor. We need something to encourage potential companies and employees to look north on 75 and not south. We must create a sense of “place.” Market analysis and ongoing research consistently indicate that an anchor amenity is essential. We believe the proposed event center would be a key catalyst to creating the identity which is so important to the development’s success. Negotiations are ongoing with Mandalay Entertainment, owners of the Dayton Dragons, to explore the potential of a minor league hockey team to serve as the primary tenant of the event center. Additionally, the event center would fill a current gap in the Dayton/Cincinnati arena market providing a mid-size venue for concerts and other entertainment. Another important use of the event center would be to strengthen our county’s competitiveness in the youth sports market.

What they are really saying is we need to divorce ourselves from the brand “Dayton” and put their faith and our money into a new vision- much like the Greene- building an imitation downtown to replace the one we refuse to take care of and nurture.

What’s even more laughable is that they pin their hopes on three businesses that may not be around for long:

Southern Montgomery County is home to some of our largest high tech companies including Lexis Nexis, Teradata and New Page. These companies represent over 4,000 jobs and from a competitive standpoint, they have consistently told us that access to the workforce along the I-75 growth corridor is essential to their staying and growing in the region. The interchange also provides a strong connection to the Miamisburg Mound and redevelopment there that has created over 250 jobs over the last five years. Any successful plan must be based upon a realistic assessment of the current situation. The facts are that over the last ten years, Montgomery County has lost population. However, the counties directly south of us, Butler and Warren, represent some of the fastest growing areas in the state.

Lexis Nexis is in the business of selling access to public records, something that as government catches up with technology will no longer be needed. Teradata makes massive database tools- and while they are one of the top three in the industry, the reality is that as time goes on, massive amounts of data will be handled by desktop machines. The MacPro you can buy for $4,000 today has more power than a Cray supercomputer of 15 years ago. And, the inclusion of New Page as a high tech company is absolutely laughable- they are a maker of paper.

The idea of government picking a location for building a sports complex based on three businesses is a farce. And, if you think back to less than ten years ago, we were handing money over to GM to build a better paint line at the truck plant to insure it stayed- only to be told now, that we have to tear it all down and never allow another car maker to use the site or equipment that we helped pay for.

Reality: in a time when we should be working on eliminating the distinctions between Montgomery County and Dayton- instead, we are working to align our development strategy with sprawl that was created in part by ignoring our core. Now with the total write-off of Downtown, we are hastening the demise of a sustainable city. Putting Springboro on the map isn’t using our core branding very well- but, then again- some people think we’re thinking too small- we should all “get midwest” and forget about Dayton entirely.

And, in fact, with McLin’s “neutral” position and the rest of the Commissions silence on this project, we’re missing an opportunity to balance our baseball season with a hockey season. We’re missing a chance to build an arena that could couple with Oregon District, the Convention Center and the Transportation Center garage to create a year-round attraction. A group of independent business leaders had been meeting with Dayton Bombers owner Costa Papista and Citywide Development Chief Steve Budd- discussing the corner of Fifth and Wayne for an Arena. Other possibilities would be on the Ballpark Village site, or even on Parkside homes location with great visibility from I-75.

It’s a good thing Rhine McLin, Nan Whaley and Joey Williams are up for reelection in 2009. Maybe, we can get three new faces on the Commission that understand that “neutral” isn’t acceptable.

Tell us how you really feel, Jon Husted.

The Dayton Dragons are one of the most successful minor league sports operations in the country. They are located downtown.

So when “local” State Rep and House Speaker, Jon Husted (R-Kettering?) says the following:

Husted said the interchange is the county’s best chance to see much needed growth in jobs and sales tax revenues.

“We have been trying to make downtown a destination site my whole life that I’ve been here and it gets worse and worse and worse, because people don’t want to go there,” Husted said.

via Proposal for Austin Pike arena runs out of time in 2008.

Either he knows something that no one else knows, or he’s clueless, since he really lives in Columbus and is facing an investigation into his residency.

No one comes to UD Flyer games either Jon-  another prime location for an ice arena. If you think Jon needs to better understand that he works for us- not the developers looking to make a quick buck from your tax dollars- feel free to write: Jon Husted

Not the last lecture. But, some real good advice.

A lot has been made out of “the last lecture” by Randy Pausch- in fact, there is a whole website dedicated to it. Here is the intro:

On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.

Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

via The Last Lecture | Randy Pausch.

Right now, two people I love and respect are battling cancer. It’s a horrible disease. Most of us will experience watching someone we love die from it. It’s why we have hospice programs- because, although we don’t believe in assisted suicide- we have at least learned that people don’t like dying in a hospital bed.

Allan Howard on his BMW- do as he say's, not as he rides.

Allan Howard on the BMW- ride as I say, not as I do.

But- for the rest of us, we have our life to live. And one of my friends who is now in a death match with cancer- had something to say about living that I think is worth sharing. For those of you who know Allan Howard (or Opie, as many call him) you know there is something exceptional about him. From his humble simplicity is great wisdom.

I was honored to be arrested by him– and he considers my arrest part of the highlight reel of his career with the Dayton Police Department. I’ll let his words fill you in:

This was my e-mail to everyone on the police department the day I retired, 03/28/08

I’m sitting at my desk on the morning of my retirement thinking of what the last, nearly 26 years have meant to me. All I can say is it’s been one hell of a great ride. In the last quarter century I’ve learned a great many things. Some lessons I had to learn over and over, others I learned right away. The things listed below are what I truly believe have helped me more than anything else.

  • If it seems like the world is working to keep you down and everyone is against you, have a good look inside yourself. Odds are it’s you working against the world, not the other way around. I can’t tell you how much this single thing changed my life.
  • Don’t lie to yourself about who’s to blame for your own misfortune. I once rode my motorcycle to Alaska and then further north to the Arctic Circle. On the way there I saw a road sign that read “If it happens to you in Alaska, it’s YOUR fault”. That sign hit home and was the absolute epitome of personal responsibility. The moment you become able to honestly assess what YOU did (or didn’t do) that put you in a jam you will effectively reduce your exposure to “bad” situations by 80%. If you choose to wallow in self pity for the bad luck, poor upbringing, bad DNA or whatever else you might choose to blame, settle in, it’s going to be one uncomfortable ride. You make your own luck by either being prepared or unprepared.
  • If you truly hate your job and feel compelled to tell the rest of the world about it whether they want to hear it or not, consider leaving. There have been times when I was exasperated but I always knew this was absolutely the best job I’d ever have. If you truly hate what you’re doing or the people you work with so much that it consumes you, have the courage to leave and go do something else. Keep in mind courage is not defined as claiming to be disabled, seeking and accepting a tax free pension you didn’t earn. While I’m at it, even if you do fulfill the years of service part but take a disability to avoid paying tax understand exactly what you’re doing. You are cheating a Lance Corporal serving as a squad leader in Baghdad (on his third tour) out of his salary while his wife uses food stamps at the grocery back home to feed their two children. If you can live with that, we don’t have anything in common.
  • Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish if you just focus on how to overcome the obstacles in your way instead of looking at them as dead ends.
  • Understand that material things come at the expense of time. Don’t put yourself in a position of having to work the rest of your life for stuff, because in the end it’s just stuff that’s going to belong to somebody else. If you can’t live within your means then get a job that has better means or get used to taking orders and not being able to spend what little time you get doing the things you truly enjoy. You can only spend time and each of us has a finite amount. When the reaper comes near you won’t regret not buying something, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do.
  • Don’t waste your time with hatred. Things or people in the past that have rubbed you the wrong way or outright betrayed you are not worthy of a place in your mind. If you allow those old things to have even a part of your head you’ll miss what’s in front of you. Most of the time, what’s ahead is better than what’s in the past. When I was in the Marines we had a pilot who regularly shuttled us places when we were out of the country. He had a saying that is appropriate here, “There is nothing more useless than the runway behind you”.

I have not lived my entire life up to this point by these observations because I had to learn them the hard way. I don’t consider myself any smarter than the next person so understand I offer this in hopes that it can truly help you complete the career you started. I honestly don’t know what’s next for me and I’m excited by that. I intend to spend time with my children and grandchildren, ride my motorcycle and bicycles, explore the world and live (and I mean really live) right up to moment I die. All of that will more than likely take place where it is at least 70 degrees F.

Good luck to you all, this has been that best thing that ever happened to me and I hope when your time comes you can be lucky enough to say the same thing.

Allan Howard

I’ve spent some of the best days of my life with Allan- riding our motorcycles through the Ohio countryside. I’m not a tenth of the rider he is, nor will I ever match his skills on two wheels. Even though we couldn’t talk while riding- I felt his love of life, and his positive energy as we wound through the twisty-turns that he loved to cut through like butter.

And although you may never meet him, every time you see a Dayton Cop on a bike, you are witnessing just one of Allan’s contributions to this community.

If there is anyone who will stare cancer down, it’s Allan.

And, if you need to give someone some good advice on which road to take through life, well, that’s why I shared his letter.

Maybe we should learn to throw shoes.

Throwing a pie in the face of various famous people is considered funny, doing it to politicians- minor, spitting at someone is the closest we come to showing disrespect. Words have lost their poignancy- with calling someone a “Mother sucker” (in clean terms) no longer having effect.
No, in America, we settle scores by shooting, fighting, knifing, leading us to having a ridiculously high incarceration rate- in the “home of the brave, land of the free.”

No, in the grand scheme of things- Muntadar al-Zaidi spoke to the world- not by blowing up the World Trade centers- or himself- but by throwing his shoes.

In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him.

Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

Muntadar al-Zaidi throws a shoe at George Bush (14 December 2008)

Muntadar al-Zaidi was quickly wrestled to the ground and hauled away

With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”

Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away.

via BBC NEWS | Middle East | Shoes thrown at Bush on Iraq trip.

Symbolic speech without great harm. Much like wearing a mask to a city commission meeting, however this one was better understood.

He’s now facing several years in prison for his action. I’m wondering what we’ve accomplished in Iraq. Would the effect have been the same if he just screamed that Bush was a dog who was responsible for an invasion and occupation that has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?

While we can’t have people attacking foreign heads of state at will- I think I’d rather have shoes being thrown than bullets. If someone threw their shoes at me- would it end up in court? I doubt it. At some point, we have to realize, that heads of state aren’t gods- and the punishment shouldn’t be any longer than it would be if it happened to you or me.

In the meantime- the longer the sentence, the worse the damage to public perception, and the more power earned by the shoe thrower.

The hurling of a pair of shoes at George Bush by an Iraqi journalist has revealed the full extent of the US president’s unpopularity in the Middle East’s media, with newspapers across the region taking delight in his discomfort.

Most commentators see it as beyond doubt that the treatment meted out to Mr Bush by Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi is a just response to the president’s policies in Iraq, although one chides the shoe-thrower for expressing his protest through violence rather than “tough questions”.

via BBC NEWS | Middle East | Mid East press glee at shoe throw.

If Bush is looking to give a pardon before he leaves- he should consider Muntadar at the top of his list. Wasn’t a “Free Iraq” the reason we invaded? And what kind of freedom is there if symbolic speech is punished by years in prison?

In the world of instant communication- these are images that will long be remembered- and it reinforces the power of symbolic gestures. Here is the video:


Now, if we could only have the punks in Dayton trade their shooting for tossing shoes.

A car czar? Or three?

It seems putting such a big, critical industry under one person’s oversight is asking for trouble. Of course, in a country that believes in rock star CEOs – why not?

Since Steve Jobs probably wouldn’t take the job, or be offered it- I was thinking of who I would pick.

First one that comes to mind is “The Great Game of Business” author and CEO of Springfield Remanufacturing Corp.Jack Stack. Here is a genuine turnaround artist with experience in the auto business. His open book management style may be exactly what is needed to mend the rift between (mis)management and labor in the US auto industry.

Second choice would be Ross Perot. His insight into the waste at GM came quickly when he sold his company, EDS, to the auto giant, only to have him running away a few years later. To cut the bureaucracy you need someone with a sharp tongue and his primitive charts.

Third choice would be Lee Iacocca. I’m not thinking of Lee as jumping in with both hands, but as a mentor- to remind people that this has been done before successfully- and to instill faith in the American public.

Put the three men together, and maybe task a few other smart people like Tom Peters with helping the process along, and we may see a competitive auto industry in no time.

Then again, while Congress keeps asking the millionaire CEOs to work for a buck- I’m wondering when some of the millionaire Congressmen will do the same?