Introducing the Distinctionary

A few years back, your Conductor had his mental locomotive overhauled and upgraded at CoachU. One of the tools CoachU used was called the Distinctionary (pdf). It was designed to highlight sometimes subtle but important differences between words and ideas.

Failure Without Context

Will history make much of the financial volatility we’re seeing? Will September 15th, 2008, achieve a legendary nickname, like Black Monday, or Black Thursday?

I don’t know. And, despite the huge amount of opining facilitated by the internet, nobody else knows, either.

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Time Horizons

Scarcity today, tomorrow abundance.

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Being a Grown-up Can Suck

In choosing, the wise consider both the seen and unseen consequences. It makes life seem harder. Art Carden, reacting to a hurricane-induced spike in the price of gasoline, gives an example:

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Earmarks in Palin’s Stump Speech

In the previous post, I made a distinction between “pork eaters” and “pork producers”. Palin seems to grasp that distinction. Zip ahead to 2:59 in this clip:

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McPalin, OBiden, and Earmarks

Following are excerpts from the StarTribune's comment section on an Associated Press story titled McCain equates earmarks with corruption even though Palin is seeking earmarks herself.

First, a bit of AP’s reporting for context:

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Not the Sinners

It's not the sinners the world is afraid of— it's the saints.

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If This is Recession, Send More!

Engram, the proprietor of Back Talk, does his usual stellar job finding and presenting facts, this time about the USA economy. His assessment of those facts:

the facts have just not supported the idea that the economy was falling into a recession despite the mortgage crisis. GDP grew at 0.9% in the first quarter and at 3.3% in the second quarter.

My contribution to the comments on that post:

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Mayor Emptysuit is a Hopeless Romantic

R.T. Rybak, the insubstantial Mayor of Minneapolis, thinks he knows how to increase sales of City water. Quality or price improvements are too sensible for R.T. He’s using tax revenue to build pretty fountains.

His (non-)thinking is that if more people knew Minneapolis Public Works sells and distributes water, more folks would buy and use more water. The stuff already flowing from household taps throughout the city and several suburbs isn't flashy enough.

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Jew of the Month

Today I received a notice from United Airlines alerting me that oil speculators are responsible for the hardships of their firm and their industry. The same industry that has seen a major bankruptcy every couple of years for the past quarter century. During most of that span fuel averaged less than 30% of today's price.

Maybe fuel cost isn't the root of airline industry problems.

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Conflating Government with Society

The Government is not the same as Our Society.

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Neighborhood Brands

Can neighborhoods benefit from branding? Amy Sheppard thinks neighborhoods are essentially brands already.

The neighborhood name serves to set the story. It provides an instant understanding of the place, people, feeling, attitude, and reputation associated with the neighborhood—just like a brand of Apple, Sony, and Starbucks.

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Silent Cal Says a Lot

In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge spoke in Philadelphia on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Known as “Silent Cal” for his reserve and discretion in his personal life, Coolidge was an effective orator. His remarks stand as a clear enunciation of the spirit and intent upon which the United States was built.

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Why are Neighborhood Nodes Dying?

This, from the Antiplanner, seems relevant to wondering what
happened to thriving neighborhood nodes in the 60s and 70s and to today's potential for niche districts (kitsch/arts/whatever):

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Propserity at $3 per Gallon

Here's one possible reason for the observed minimal effect of $3/gallon gasoline on our standard of living:

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Worried About Recession?

Amid the overwhelming reports of people concerned about the US economy possibly moving into recession, I have one primary admonishment:

Go do something productive!

The more we replace worry with work, the more productive and valuable each of us becomes. As individuals do more and better, the aggregate measure of all people (The Economy) grows and rises.

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Cruella de Vil is Looking Out for You

On a recent trip to TJICistan, I was struck by this perspective on the tax forfeiture shut-down of an ice cream shop. If government was a person, it would be an evil stepmother.

You see, deprived of $140k, the state can not do necessary things like pay for seven hundredths of one percent of the cost of a new high school in Newton with a restaurant and a “trendy, zigzag shape; and an indoor pool”

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Changing My Mind

I'm in the midst of sorting through a controversial issue. It seems that some of the controversy arises from each side forming an opinion of the opposition without any direct interaction. If they just talked, they still might not agree, but would at least have a better understanding of their differences. This could open the path to some sort of compromise and avoid catastrophe.

Entering a discussion looking for compromise, I imagine my uncle telling me, is looking for defeat. If one is willing to sacrifice a belief so readily, is that belief (or that person) even worth defending?

Tyler Street

On Tyler Street we came across a boy who I now know was 9 years old. He was arguing with his little sister at the edge of a parking lot. As this child finished cussing out a baby girl, he flipped her the finger and stomped away. One of us, “The Shirts”, called over to scold the boy.

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