Tag Archives: social policy

The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics, and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis by Jessica M. Lepler

Superb! Period!


 

Far too many financial histories inhabit the shelves and stacks that have one thing in common: an intellectual agenda in search of support. This work is a uniquely refreshing exception. It is a work that distinctly deserves the scholarly recognition it has received – from many, diverse audiences.

Lepler Many Panics

I enjoy reading in this subject area. This particular work was delicious for me for a myriad of reasons. Here are a few:

1. Linguistics – Lepler’s appreciation for the words, terms and phrases people used to describe their life experience was precious to me. It is too often overlooked by other authors.

2. The sheer depth and breadth of Lepler’s research was, to say the least, unique and vividly rewarding for her readers.

3. Lepler’s appreciation for the impact of “culture” was quite apparent – again and again – enlightening.

4. AGAIN – Far too many authors who write financial histories seem to have a thesis that they attempt to validate via the introduction of a supporting narrative – such is the human penchant to “be right” and get at “the truth.” Lepler’s methodology and multi-dimensional approach to the issue of “many” panics was terribly refreshing.

5. It was a pleasure to read a financial history book that was authored by a bonafide historian vs. an economist or a political hack with an agenda. The author’s objective dedication to her scholarly craft was apparent on every page.

6. The author’s critiques of other works were, in my opinion, “spot on.” I was grateful for the courage to say what she wrote.

7. I adored the characters brought to life. It made the book fascinating.

8. Lepler’s appreciation for epistemology was apparent throughout.

9. The author’s contributions from the “phrenology folks” were priceless.

10. Lepler’s focus on the impact of communication (or lack thereof) between persons, media outlets of the day, groups and organizations (and governments) is a fundamentally important dimension of the author’s contribution.

As Lepler states on page 253: “Even when economic events seem beyond the control of any individual, the shaping of their meaning remains within our grasp.” – How marvelously this work remained true to this statement – in every sense of the phrase.

My edition of the “Many Panics” by Jessica M. Lepler is marked up like a child writing with crayon on a kitchen wall. This book is a treasure for me and I have learned to become a better researcher and story teller because of it. It is simply VERY rare to have the privilege to devour and digest such a magnificent work. I sincerely hope that Lepler’s dedication to a tireless methodological approach for source documents will serve to inspire other historians and writers – and students – as this work inspired me. This work will occupy a prominent position in my personal library. I will refer to it quite often.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS WORK!!!


 

Racism in High School – A Film – Students Speaking The Unspoken

Speaking the Unspoken

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the final day of the school year in 2007, our local high school nearly had an outbreak of race-based violence. Our son witnessed this. He was very disturbed it. — so was I.

During the summer, I contacted our local school district officials – the outcome of which is this film….the frank testimonies of our students – for students in other high schools – who may face a similar reality.

You can watch the film here on YouTube:

It’s purpose is to be educational, contain uncensored, gritty student expression, cause dialog about race, ethnicity, prejudice, sexual orientation, attitudes and racism — and provide a tool – map — to a bridge — a creative pathway – high school students may use to explore these critical issues in their own lives – in their own school – their own community.

In every sense, this film is intended to be constructive and instructive. It’s when we cower from confronting the tough issues together – that learning becomes diminished.

Please use this tool constructively – and admire the courage of high school students “Speaking the Unspoken” among themselves – for the benefit of all concerned.

Your feedback is appreciated.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

323032-R1-10-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is a letter I sent to our Mayor and City Councilors today, after attending a public hearing on an ordinance to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in our City (Redmond, Oregon USA) for a year. We currently have none.

Here’s the letter:

March 26, 2014

Dear Mayor and City Councilors:

Re: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing in Redmond, Oregon

I brought my 17 year old “son” (international exchange student from Cologne Germany) to the City Council meeting last night – Tuesday March 25th. He had never experienced attending any meeting of elected officials in the U.S. before.

After the meeting, I asked him, “so what did you think?” “It’s a wonderful thing witnessing democracy in action,” he said, bubbling with obvious excitement. “When I return to Germany this summer, I am going to get involved in my local community.” I smiled with pride.

He was also impressed by the dignity that is shared by the Council members when confronted with those who have opinions contrary to those you may hold individually. Finally, he was moved by those clearly less fortunate – who mustered the courage to speak publicly at the forum. “I hope Redmond will provide those who suffer with the ability to buy their medically approved cannabis in Redmond,” he said…staring out the window of the car…

As a resident, voter, parent and father – I would like to thank you all for your comportment – and the impact the same has on a student from another culture and country – who has been positively impacted by your public service. Thank you VERY much.

To Councilor Onimus – your remarks, dissent, informed judgment and compassion  must influence the ongoing deliberations of your fellow councilors on this issue of licensing a regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Redmond.

Please note:

1. There is nothing written in stone that says the proposed “moratorium” MUST be for one year. Why not 6 months, nine or ten months?

2. A publicly declared framework for “educating’ the Council and the Community” may also be a consideration – one that itemizes a timeline along with specific activities, questions and objectives the Council will explore together – toward this fundamentally important end.

3. The ordinance, as currently written, omits the prohibition of “production” of cannabis within the City limits. However, patients with a State approved OMMP card are authorized to do so and/or designate a caregiver or grower to do the same for them – in Redmond. This appears to be somewhat of a conundrum that deserves further  research.

The OMMA clearly states (and I quote): “The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) protects medical marijuana users who comply with its requirements from Oregon criminal prosecution for production, possession or delivery of marijuana.” (end quote).

4. I can only hope that Mayor Endicott’s position that “allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Redmond is a violation of Federal law, and our oath to uphold the Constitution.” As pointed out by a Mr. Matlock during the meeting – Oregon has had legislatively approved/operative “right to die” laws operative for many years – in clear contradiction to existing federal law. In fact, Matlock pointed out, the “right to die” choices have been – and are being made – by Redmond residents, their physicians, caregivers, families, the staff of St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond, and Redmond based convalescent and hospice facilities. “What’s next? Are you going to take this right away from us too?”

There are a myriad of other examples whereby current Oregon law conflicts with the proscriptions of Federal statutes. Again, I can only hope the Mayor will engage in behavior to further illuminate the porosity of his stated position. Yet, I honor his right to his stated position.

Finally, science continues to make advances that disrupt norms, mores, traditions – what we thought we knew – is being replaced by what we now know – it’s a fundamental part of human existence.

My hope is that you will use the moratorium period you decide upon to act in the best interests of those who suffer – whereby new advances in alternative, state approved and regulated medicinal approaches – may provide these sufferers with access to this medicine in Redmond, Oregon.

Remember the testimony of Lois Sweet:

I’m now a participant in life. I want to spend my money in Redmond – NOT Bend.”

Again, I am proud of all you – and City Staff – as the superb public servants – and people – you continue to be.

You represent us well. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

William S. Dahl

 

 

 

The Chrysalis Effect – The Metamorphosis of Global Culture by Philip Slater

Slater, Philip The Chrysalis Effect – The Metamorphosis of Global Culture, SUSSEX Academic Press, Brighton, U.K. and Portland, OR Copyright © 2009 by Philip Slater

Once again, sociologist Philip Slater provides us with a treatise on the metamorphosis of culture – this time – global culture. The book contains a number of little gems. This book is a diamond in the rough regarding perspectives on cultural evolution. Here are a few of my favorites.

Jared Diamond, in his study of failed cultures, observes that what usually decides whether a society survives or collapses seems to be a “willingness to reconsider core values.” P. 5

‘We’re an evolving species…The environment – even social and cultural contexts – can switch genes on and off. P. 12.

Every new culture retains parts of the one that preceded it. p. 27

A cultural system can make people believe the most bizarre ideas – even be willing to die for them, and to kill others for not sharing them. It can transform the most unpleasant kinds of behavior into cherished virtues. P. 29.

Innovation comes from outsiders. Those most deeply committed to, and successful in, an old system will be the last to notice a radically new idea, and will be most resistant to it. When change comes, it’s the outsiders – those uncommitted to the status quo –who are poised to catch the wave. P.53

This desire to cleanse the world of ‘evil’ has led to virtually all the great atrocities of history. P. 74

We’d also have an easier time living if we thought of ourselves as verbs rather than nouns – as events rather than as objects. P.  82

Participating in the evolving Integrative Culture means thinking of yourself as a process. It means thinking of everyone and everything around you as a process. It means becoming a verb. P.83.

Concentration of power equals abuse of power for the only way not to abuse power is to share it. Such concentrations are blood clots in the circulatory system of society. When an artery becomes clogged, blood doesn’t get to the brain or the heart and people have strokes and heart attacks. Concentrations of power and wealth have a similar effect on the body politic. The circulation of wealth, resources, and, especially, ideas, is blocked. In a healthy system, information flows are unimpeded by clots of power or the sclerosis of hierarchy. P.100.

In the old industrial economy workers were expected to be as robotic as possible, and rote training in school prepared them to function well on assembly lines. But in today’s economy the  emphasis is on information, services, invention demanding imagination, creativity, and social skills – diametrically opposite requirements. Adaptation to the future means retooling our schools to make them relevant to the world we live in. p.105.

There’s no way to insulate yourself from the bad things around you that doesn’t at the same time insulate you from the good things around you. A wall protects but it also imprisons. Every fortress is also a jail. p.117.

A lot of wasted energy is required to sustain artificial barriers.  p. 137.

Reading this book is NOT a waste of energy. Invest in yourself – read this book – and bust through some artificial barriers in the process. Like I said – this book is a diamond in the rough and tumble of perspectives on the evolution of cultural change – a perspective distinctly worthy of digestion.

Book Review: When Giants Fall – An Economic Roadmap For the End of the American Era by Michael J. Panzner

when-giants-fall

A Savant’s  Perspective on the Present Entropy

In this riveting, insightful treatise, Michael J. Panzner takes the reader on an incredible adventure exploring the present entropy (‘Presentropy’) engulfing our globe.  The term ‘entropy’ is derived from the Greek and suggests a “turning towards” or confronting the degree of disorder in a system. As Panzner writes: “A look back in time indicates that when a true sea change is in the air, numerous warning signs are apparent beforehand, especially to those who are willing to open their eyes and asses the facts in the cold light of day” (p.182). Well, that’s exactly what Panzner accomplishes, it doesn’t stop there.

I am tired of books that simply shout at the prevailing winds of dissent and discord (including those that possess a clear partisan political ax to grind). “When Giants Fall – An Economic Roadmap For the End of the American Era” is uniquely not “one of those.” It addresses not only the present conundrum but boldly forecasts conditions, conflicts and challenges that we should all anticipate (not simply American citizens by the way – this book deserves a global audience, prompting and a constructive dialogue amongst all concerned).

This book distinctly demands broad audience appeal. It is extremely well written and superbly documented. The subject matter covered includes economic, socio-economic, geopolitical considerations, international relations, national and international security, demographics, energy, natural resources and — how a new reality is upon all of us; a reality whose form and substance have yet to be fully formed.

As Panzner points out, “Calculations depend, of course, on assumptions about the future” (p.128). After laying the groundwork for his prognostications, the author does a masterful job weaving reasonable, yet startling realities that emerge to paint a picture about a very different and perhaps, uniquely foreboding future. Panzner’s capability to characterize the conceptual framework that surrounds concepts, like pressure, equilibrium, and competition for influence all serve to enhance the reader’s appreciation for the legitimacy of the picture Panzner paints.

A phenomenal contribution!!! – A superb addition to your personal library. However, don’t leave it on a shelf when you’ve finished reading. I’m keeping mine handy as I reference Panzner’s prognostications against the new emerging reality that continues to unfold on a daily basis.

Buy one for a friend. They will be thankful to have the opportunity to devour this work.

Vertigonomics

Vertigonomics

Communicable Disease Center

34 Econo Drive

Washington, D.C. USA

January 16, 2009

Bulletin: ETD Epidemic AlertVertigonomics:

It’s spreading — fast.

Lobbies of banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, hedge funds, brokerage firms, law firms, physicians and the emergency rooms of hospitals throughout the U.S. have been inundated over the past week with American consumers afflicted with what is believed to be a highly contagious, life-as-you-knew-it threatening malady. At the time of this writing, public health officials remain somewhat baffled. Although current details are sketchy, the only common characteristic identified among the afflicted is that all claim to be suffering from Economically Transmitted Diseases. Based upon this fact, the following is hereby communicated to the public:

Infectious Disease Alert – CDC #2009-10-4 C:

The CDC confirms that an outbreak of Economically Transmitted Diseases has reached epidemic levels in the United States. According to CDC Director Dr. E. Conomy;  “We have confirmed that this uniquely contagious disease has now infected unprecedented numbers of American families, companies and the financial infrastructure of the United States. It is airborne. Presently referred to as Vertigonomics, officials at every level of both the public and private sector are working feverishly to develop a vaccine to stop the spread of this malady. Unfortunately, our collective attempts to halt the ongoing infection rate have not met with the results we had hoped for. However, we remain dedicated to developing and distribute the essential protocols required to address this national public health priority.”

Epidemiology:

Demographically, there are no identifiable persons, families, companies who have immunity.

Symptoms – Vertigonomics:

· Distinctly elevated levels of anxiety and insecurity.

· Persistent and unrelenting fears and worries about the current state of ones financial situation.

· An overwhelming sense of uncertainty about the future for yourself, your job, family, your employer, community, country, and the world around you.

· A deeply held gut feeling that these are unprecedented times.

· An almost complete loss of confidence that “government actions will get us out of this mess.”

· Rage and a horrifying feeling of exclusion when you hear terms like bailout, rescue plan, TARP, and stimulus.

· You feel that your life has become unbalanced and you suffer from a recurring sense of economic dizziness, unable to regain your previously held financial foothold.

· A cosmic sense that the sky is falling or that life’s rug has been ripped out from beneath you.

· The hopes, dreams and expectations that you held for you and yours have been somehow dismembered by forces outside your control.

· A distinct, paralyzing feeling of helplessness.

· You’ve heard yourself say or think incessantly, “This sucks!”

· You have spoken to a representative of your mortgage holder and have come to the realization that the help they say they are authorized to provide you and yours is woefully inadequate.

· You are seriously considering the cessation of payments to your mortgage holder(s) so you might qualify for federal homeowner foreclosure relief programs that are being debated.

· When you hear the term recession it confirms your own depression.

· When you see the most recent poll on declining consumer confidence in the U.S., you feel good about being included in something.

· Your world today seems upside-down.

Diagnosis – Vertigonomics:

· You do not have enough money to make ends meet.

· Your 401K has lost 30% + of its former value.

· You may have been laid off or legitimately fear the same.

· You have witnessed a distinct increase in the rate of business failures in your community.

· The value of your primary personal residence has declined below what you owe your mortgage holder(s).

· Your company is slashing expenses, has frozen new hires, and reduced employee benefits significantly for 2009.

· When you watch the evening news surf the net or read you daily newspaper, you say “Holy crap!” at least once.

· You read the foreclosure notice section of your newspaper on a daily basis just as you have read the obituary section routinely in the past. You’ve seen the names of people you know in there as well.

· You see ‘For Sale’ signs when you close your eyes in bed at night.

· Foreclosure notices seem to outnumber paid advertising placement in your local newspaper.

· You can’t remember what you spent the last federal stimulus check on that you received in 2008. You certainly didn’t purchase anything that is visible in your current living environment.

Status of Treatment/Immunization/Innoculation/Vaccination

Vertigonomics is a uniquely resistant strain of ETD. As stated by the CDC’s Dr. Fed: “We’ve never seen anything remotely close to this malady before. Our current efforts to contain this contagion have been – well, we’ll see.”

Laboratory trials of the “green jobs” vaccine indicate that this may be an essential and viable part of the treatment protocol. However, the healing realized may take several years. Capital injections into major money-center banks to spur both stabilization and an increase in liquidity in the U.S. financial system have yet to produce the desired results. The merit of continuing these injections is an ongoing debate. A transfusion of funds directed at shovel-ready public works infrastructure improvements is promising; again, as a component of the required formula. The effects of grafting federal funds into the body of the ailing auto industry is considered to be “too soon to tell.” However, common sense suggests that additional taxpayer dollars will be required.

Conclusion:

If you feel forgotten as a law abiding, tax-paying citizen of this country, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are infected with the same malady that you’re currently suffering from. We realize that there is little, tangible solace in the fact that your misery has tons of company.

However, it is our hope that the American consumer, as an individual and familial unit, will receive what you require; the immediate, direct and deliberate injection of a form of relief that may stimulate and restore the balance and confidence that is fundamental to a return to stability, accompanied by a cessation of the staggering sense of dizziness that this affliction continues to perpetrate upon the innocent citizens of this country. The following are pertinent considerations:

  • Cessation of Federal payroll taxes for two years. BOTH companies and employees will have additional cash flow.
  • Extend unemployment benefits for 12 months beyond their current expiration.
  • Fund shovel-ready public works projects designed to address legitimate infrastructure restoration and public education projects in the U.S.
  • Provide residential home builders with tax incentives to design and build smaller, high density primary personal residences that are both affordable for the workforce.
  • Provide tax incentives toencourage enrollment in higher education.
  • Provide federal incentives to spur volunteerism in our society.
  • Re-engineer the healthcare component of the conundrum.
  • Federal Incentives to companies who create new jobs in the U.S.
  • Tangible tax relief for small business and new start-ups.
  • Use TARP funds allowing community banks to swap their impaired real-property related assets and boost their liquidity allowing them to return to lending to the citizens and businesses within which they reside.
  • Stem the swelling tide of foreclosures and the ongoing spiral of residential real property valuations with tangible, systemic relief. Allow lenders to re-appraise residential properties and adjust mortgages down to current market value. Provide tax credits in an amount commensurate to the mortgage relief they provide, allowing them to shield future profits against this sum, while not requiring the loan loss reserves to further deplete their balance sheets and federally mandated capitalization ratios.

Honestly, what has been missing in all our recent attempts to develop a treatment modality for Vertigonomics is the courage to confront the entire spectrum of this malady with the boldness and courage required. As of the date of this writing, the CDC will boldly advocate for the essential political support to enact the measures described above.

We hope you will join us. Call your elected representatives and bring their attention to this bulletin. Perhaps, they might garner a deeper appreciation for the effects that Vertigonomics is having on Main Street vs. the attention they have been providing to Wall Street.

Yes, In God We Trust — the other part of this equation is that God expects us to do something constructive about the circumstances that confront us — together.