Monthly Archives: March 2014

Occupied Territories

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)(Community Matters) It boggles the mind that extremists are screaming with indignation because an elected official called the West Bank occupied territories. So now, there’s a coordinated effort to rewrite the truth?

HuffPost – Appears as if in the GOP primary, they really have learned to bow and bend to Sheldon Adelson. 

Austin’s Entrepreneurs

(Community Matters) The Kauffman report documents what we see every day – Austin has one of the highest per capita populations of entrepreneurs in the country – and the fastest growing.

For every 10,000 workers in the local labor force, the Austin area had 64.6 U.S.-born tech entrepreneurs, topping the likes of Denver, Seattle and Silicon Valley. And from 2000 to 2011, that figure grew more in Austin (+12.7) than any other metro except Seattle (+13.1). None of the other regions posted double-digit increases.

Foreign-born immigrants are measurably underrepresented as a percentage of the entrepreneurial population. And, while Hispanic entrepreneurs comprise the largest segment of foreign-born entrepreneurs, for some reason, our numbers didn’t grown between 2001 and 2011 while the average for Austin increased 12.7%.

Hat Tip: AAS

The Myth of Gay Affluence

gay affluence(Community Matters) Not a surprise that the myth of gay affluence is not accurate. For decades only affluent gays could afford to be out, to show themselves publicly. Even today, too many women are afraid to come out as they worry about losing parental rights in custody battles.

In the Atlantic: nearly 40 percent of all homeless youth are LGBT

there are 29 states where employers are legally allowed to fire someone for their sexual orientation

In reality, gay Americans face disproportionately greater economic challenges than their straight counterparts. A new report released by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 29 percent of LGBT adults, approximately 2.4 million people, experienced food insecurity—a time when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family—in the past year. In contrast, 16 percent of Americans nationwide reported being food insecure in 2012.

Money Magazine: Austin tops list of fastest growing cities

austin fastest growing city(Community Matters) Austin tops list of fastest growing cities.

btw – Austin is also the 11th largest city in America*


City Population Pop. Growth
Austin 1.9 million 2.6%
Houston 6.3 million 2.2%
Raleigh, N.C. 1.2 million 2.2%
Orlando 2.3 million 2%
San Antonio 2.3 million 1.9%
Denver 2.7 million 1.9%
Nashville 1.8 million 1.8%
Charlotte, N.C. 2.3 million 1.8%
Oklahoma City 1.3 million 1.7%
Phoenix 4.4 million 1.6%
Source: Based on U.S. Census Bureau population data for July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013. Rankings are based on largest percentage population growth in metro areas with a population of one million or more.

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs (or not)

productivity and emp(Community Matters) the topic deserves its own posting. I’ve been in so many discussions where it’s presented as a given that technology & increases in productivity destroy jobs. This has always sounded counter-intuitive to me, assuming workers are qualified for more than simply the hours of manual labor. I get why Mexico still employs so many to sweep streets with brooms. I highly recommend this MIT Technology Review article on the topic. 


But it’s hard to ignore their warning that technology is widening the income gap between the tech-savvy and everyone else.


jobs going

What I’ve taken as a given is the ongoing and sure-to-accelerate economic squeeze of exportable and automatable jobs.

The migration of jobs to lower wage countries is an increasing threat to undereducated & experienced Americans and to America’s middle class.

Thomas Piketty: Capital in the 21st Century

capital in the 21st century(Community Matters)  French economist Thomas Piketty’s (Paris School of Economics) book on wealth inequity and the shortcoming of unregulated free market economies was released in English earlier this month. The conclusions he draws from his analysis of 200+ years of data from 2o different countries – that wealth inequality will soar & that we could lose the middle class over the next 50 years – are dependent on assumptions of growth in population and in productivity, according to the Economist. As GDP growth slows, cumulative ROI on capital further concentrates wealth. If growth in wages slows as GDP and competition for labor slows and simultaneously productivity allows for gains in profits . . . I’m asking myself the likely outcome of these assumptions in order to test the intuitive soundness of his forumla. 

Facts concede the slow down in growth of the former (population); I don’t think we have to concede the latter – though theories about the job-killing nature of productivity growth are a whole different debate (*MIT Professor Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine).

Mr. Piketty as interviewed:

The market economy is great at producing new wealth but sometimes it can be quite bad at generating the distribution of wealth that is equitable in the long run. . . . it’s great to have entrepreneurs, it’s great to have new wealths being formed, but this has to be compatible with the size of the world economy. If the top of the distribution is rising 3 or 4 times faster then the world economy if you have that during the next 50 years, basically all the wealth will belong to a very small international elite and basically there will be no wealth middle class anymore. . . . and there will be a level of inequality which is simply not compatible with our democratic and meritocratic values.

Paul Krugman’s column this morning on Piketty’s book:

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year.

The elimination of taxes on interest, dividends, capital gains and estates. Under this plan, someone living solely off inherited wealth would have owed no federal taxes at all.

In 1979 the top 1 percent of households accounted for 17 percent of business income; by 2007 the same group was getting 43 percent of business income, and 75 percent of capital gains.

David Roth’s 6/13 MIT Review article, How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, is an excellent read on the debate.

Senate & CIA Dispute

(Community Matters) Not surprisingly appears it takes revelation that the CIA or NSA spied on the Senators themselves to spark real indignation about out of control surveillance.

Cold Man in the Kremlin

putin 2(Community Matters) I too am hoping we see a real, substantive, nearly overreaching response. Twist European arms hard if that’s what it takes – yes, to the super power falls great responsibility, and if we’re to assume such, then our allies must collaborate acknowledging we’re first among equals. We should have plenty of assets & IOUs to deploy so as to encourage resistive collaboration. Now is the time to use them. Roger Cohen – Cold Man in the Kremlin. 

The Importance of Looking Back as We Go Forward

(Community Matter) Sting at TED Vancouver.

sting at ted

Biggest Threat Yet to the American Dream

koch brothers(Community Matters) Biggest threat yet to the American dream isn’t communism, fascism or Putin expanding Russian territory – it’s the adoption of electoral best grass roots practices by the Koch brothers. They reflect, the worst practices of self-dealing, no hesitancy to completely fabricate information which serves their interests and to exploit real fears of Americans.

Politico’s Playbook: ON THE SECOND EPISODE OF “OPEN MIKE,” we interview Tim Phillips (@TimPhillipsAFP), president of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded group that is by far the biggest outside spender this cycle -$30 million in ads so far, 90 percent of that on TV. AFP’s biggest ground force is in Florida, where 25+ staffers made the group the biggest outside player in last week’s House election. Tim describes a new approach the group took for door-to-door visits in Florida, defends the Koch brothers, admits his pitch to donors now includes Harry Reid’s Koch attacks, and details his Dairy Queen obsession. 3-min. video

Continue reading

Krugman: The Timidity Trap

(Community Matters) I was once ridiculed at a dinner table for answering that Paul Krugman was the most influential, contemporary economist, and I stand by this answer. No worries, being ridiculed for my beliefs & opinions or underestimated is metaphorical viagra.

“powerful pain caucuses — influential groups fiercely opposed to any policy that might put the unemployed back to work. . . . now have truly impressive track records of being always wrong, never in doubt.”

You might ask why the good guys have been so timid, the bad guys so self-confident. I suspect that the answer has a lot to do with class interests. But that will have to be a subject for another column.

Krugman’s column: The Timidity Trap

Mexico City

(Community Matters) Such a blast from the past being here, staying at the Four Seasons on Reforma, dinner in the courtyard, margaritas and, today, walks through Chapultepec Park, the Old Town, the Zocalo and dinner tonight probably in Colonia Roma, Condessa or Coyoacán. Definitely need to find a mezcalería. Last night Gracelda made us the best guacamole.

four seasons guacamole


In the 90s and early 2000s, Steven & I were here 5 to 6 times a year for UT. Love, love, love this world city.

Fabsearch: Travel Guide

Timeout: Mexico City