Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Mar 30th 2011 at 10:30am UTC

The Conservative States of America

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

America is an increasingly conservative nation, by ideology and by political affiliation, according to  polling results from the Gallup Organization. While conservatives have long outnumbered liberals and moderates across the U.S., the study sheds new light on state by state patterns. The map below shows the pattern for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Map via Gallup.

(more…)

Kwende Kefentse
by Kwende Kefentse
Tue Jan 13th 2009 at 11:45am UTC

Life Imitates Art in Baltimore

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ALL FIVE SEASONS OF THE WIRE AND INTEND TO DO SO, AVOID THIS POST.

Let’s take a pause from fashion for a minute and turn our gaze to the fair city of Baltimore, home to one of the finest pieces of drama on television or any medium. The Wire, while Emmy-ignored and critically adored, serves as the one of the more dense and layered deliberations on how a city functions that entertainment has ever produced. No amount of hyperbole can properly convey how much I love this show but, moreover, no amount of hyperbole can properly convey how good this show actually is, whether I fancy it or not. The interconnectivity of the story lines, nuance of the dialogue, and quality of the characters and acting rings out verisimilitude. In five seasons, creators David Simon and Ed Burns laid bare the ways that institutions can fail society through all-too-human lines of desire and corruption.

From the grime of the drug game in the streets, through to the docks where the union gave way to corruption to save their own skin and livelihood and the drugs come in and connect to the big money players, to the development of the docks into waterfront property, through to the school system to see how the streets affect the youth, and finally to the grime of city hall to see where the politics and the media connect to produce and leverage the information and conditions that people react to. When the show ended after season five, the overwhelming sentiment was that the players change but the game remains the same. In the political arena, after dodging a major scandal, corrupt Mayor Carcetti moved to governor, while somewhat conniving City Council President Nerisse Campbell became mayor after years of positioning and planning.

Nerisse’s character was very loosely based on real-life Mayor Sheila Dixon who was also city council president before rising to the mayoral position after then-current mayor Martin O’Malley became governor.  While Sheila Dixon has said on numerous occasions that she is a fan of the show, it does not reflect what the city or politics are like.

Yet three years after the show ended, this:

Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon was charged today with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city’s first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted.

The case stems in part from at least $15,348 in gifts Dixon allegedly received from her former boyfriend, prominent city developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, while she was City Council president. She also is accused of using as much as $3,400 in gift cards, some donated to her office for distribution to “needy families,” to purchase Best Buy electronics and other items for herself and her staff.

Lipscomb was not indicted in the Dixon case, but he and City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton were charged this week in a separate $12,500 bribery scheme. Both cases grew out of a nearly three-year probe by the state prosecutor into City Hall corruption.

No deep analysis here folks. My only question about this is: What do you think that David Simon and Ed Burns are thinking right now?

And now, as always, some music.

Alex Tapscott
by Alex Tapscott
Thu Dec 18th 2008 at 3:21pm UTC

Net Gen Floods the Workforce: Place Influences Choices

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I’m a member of the Net-Generation, people born between 1978 and 1997. At first glance, my cohort seems tailor-made for a decentralized and “flat world,” so we shouldn’t care so much about the place where we work. After all, the internet, like no other technology, has lowered geographical and temporal barriers for communication and collaboration, and N-Geners, like no other generation, are the most comfortable and capable working, learning, and communicating online. Case in point: I recently found myself collaborating on a project with two college pals on Skype (the free online video phone application): one in Palo Alto, California, the other in Alaska, while also chatting and sharing photos with a friend who was in an internet café in rural Vietnam.

However, while technology has lowered barriers and allowed people all over the world to participate in the global economy, it’s a mistake to suggest now that ‘place’ is no longer important for today’s emerging creative workers. Indeed where one works matters now more than ever.

Whether interested in finance, law, politics, computer programming, consulting, or medicine, young friends and colleagues of mine are drawn inexorably to the epicenters and major nodes of their respective fields; in cities, suburbs, and exurbs that also happen to score very high on the creative class index. This is certainly true for my friend in Palo Alto, a city straddling the area between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. He is a talented computer programmer working for an internet start-up. But what about my friends in Vietnam and Alaska, you ask? Did Google just open a server farm in Juno? Is rural Vietnam the new Silicon Valley? Why do your friends want to live there? Truth is they don’t.

My Alaska friend was working for Mark Begich, a Democrat, who defeated the incumbent Senator (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens. If ever there was an appropriate time to say “got out of there like a bat out of hell,” Jeff’s escape from Alaska after the big victory was it. Jeff is passionate about politics, and he is now in Washington, D.C. looking for full time work. Truth is he would rather struggle for a little while in D.C. than be instantly employed anywhere else. After all, every politically engaged young person he and I know wants to be in the U.S. Capitol and, as a result, a burgeoning social scene of smart, creative, and ambitious young people has flourished there. Dave, my friend in Vietnam just graduated from McGill’s School of Management and is wandering Southeast Asia barefooted and bearded trying to ‘find himself,’ but really he’s just on vacation. Like me, he will soon find himself up to his elbows in financial statements and spreadsheets. He is returning to Toronto to work at a boutique private equity group. Jeff was drawn to the epicenter of the political world. Dave, a former business student with an entrepreneurial streak, will return to Toronto- Canada’s financial capital, because he knows the city offers great opportunity for a person with his interests (it also helps that he is a die-hard Leafs fan). In both instances, the where did not merely influence their decisions, it determined them. If anything, their stints in Alaska and Vietnam simply reinforce the notion that the Creative Class, and young people in particular, travel and move throughout the world with increasing ease.

Though not identifying it as the “Net Gen” specifically, Richard Florida presciently foresaw the emergence of a new generation of the “Creative Class” in The Rise of the Creative Class, a theme that has surfaced in ensuing works. His experience interacting with students at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University revealed that young people are drawn to certain hubs, crowding together in thriving and diverse places where like-minded individuals share lifestyles, cultural tastes, and work interests. While the moniker ‘Creative Class’ is not generation-specific, by 2018, when all members of my cohort will be of working age, the Net Generation will, simply put, dominate the creative class. As Boomers retire and Generation Xers fill the ranks of senior management, there will be an overwhelming demand for these young, highly educated people. Attracting them to companies and regions where they can thrive and prosper will be the next great imperative for today’s corporate leaders and politicians.

I encourage everyone to share your thoughts and opinions with me.  If a conversation begins, I will be happy to engage in it with you.