Monthly Archives: June 2008

Jesse Kornbluth: WALL-E

We saw WALL-E yesterday and I had much the same reaction — it’s a great movie and will really affect you if you let it. We also got the soundtrack, and I am listening to the Peter Gabriel song as I write this. (go to the link to hear the song)

We’re comin’ down to the ground….

Jesse Kornbluth: WALL-E: Why Pixar is More Valuable Than General Motors – Entertainment on The Huffington Post

I have seen — time after time — how marketing departments and senior executives can’t stop themselves from “improving” programming. They smooth the edges, make the message general, find the inoffensive middle. In the process, they remove surprise and originality.

And not just in Hollywood.

So it strikes me as no accident that the best commercial I’ve seen this year is will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video for Barack Obama, which was made on no budget by a passionate amateur. Or that the best film is WALL-E, created by a cadre of fiercely independent filmmakers at a studio that values independence.

And I don’t think it’s coincidental that Disney paid $7.4 billion for Pixar in 2006 and that the stock-market value of General Motors is now about $6.5 billion. Pixar challenges and delights, and those ingredients, plus a bit of luck, are the recipe for creating value. General Motors plays it safe and bets on old formulas — and erodes its value. Perhaps a pundit might like to chew on that.

At the end of WALL-E, I didn’t want to leave. The Peter Gabriel song was part of it, and maybe the tears of joy streaming down my cheeks had something to do with me staying in my seat. And then there’s the fact that the creativity didn’t end when the credits began— there was a lot to watch after the movie was over.

Because I stayed, I saw something many may have missed — the film’s dedication to Justin Wright (1981-2007).

I googled Wright as soon I got home. I learned that he was born with a badly defective heart, and, at 12, got a transplant. His doctor saw he loved to draw and took him to visit Pixar. And there, he saw his destiny. After college, he got in as an intern. Later, he scored his dream job: storyboard artist. “People might get mad at me if they knew how good we have it here,” he wrote on his blog. Sadly, not for long: In March, he had a heart attack and died.

I thought it was sweet of Stanton and Pixar chief John Lasseter to dedicate the film to Justin Wright. Then I saw it another way — that this 27-year-old kid was much like WALL-E. Resourceful. Imaginative. Courageous. And totally fulfilled when he could express himself.

Lot of kids like that out there. Lot of grown-ups like that too. In a dark time, Pixar has given all of them a shaft of light.

Oh, finally some economic sense….

I am so happy Obama has the good economists on his team. I really hope he’ll be able to get the right programs in place to get us out of this mess.

McCain takes us to depression, Obama might keep us going and get us moving again. That’s the choice, people. This time, it truly IS the economy, stupid….


Bloomberg.com:
Worldwide

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called for a second round of stimulus checks to spur consumer spending and give the Federal Reserve more leeway to fight inflation amid skyrocketing oil prices.

“The Fed is in a tough situation because it wants to control the inflation being caused by energy while at the same time trying to restore the economy,” Obama said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today in Pittsburgh.

Obama, who is wrapping up a three-week campaign tour focused on economic issues, said consumers are in need of financial relief. He is proposing another set of tax rebates from the government and a permanent tax cut for most middle-income Americans. His comments come a day after the Fed left its benchmark interest rate at 2 percent while sounding an alarm about the risk of inflation picking up.

The Fed’s Open Market Committee stopped short of specifying that inflation was a greater concern than growth. It reiterated language from its April meeting that the Fed will “act as needed” to promote both economic expansion and stable prices.

“If Congress and the presidency are implementing smart plans, that will take some pressure off the Fed so they can focus on fighting inflation and they aren’t carrying the entire burden in terms of stimulating the economy,” said Obama, who declined to comment directly on the Fed’s decision.

Higher Costs

Obama said the U.S. will continue dealing with “short-term pain” from an economic slowdown. “We have to give people some sense that they could absorb the rising costs in gas, food and medical care,” he said.

The economy is the issue most cited by voters as their top concern before the November election. A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll found that by 49 percent to 28 percent, registered voters say they favor Obama over presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, 71, when it comes to handling the economy.

Earlier today, the Illinois senator, 46, held a summit with research and business leaders including General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Office Richard Wagoner and U.S. Steel Corp. CEO John Surma. He told the panel that he will be an advocate for a permanent research and development tax credit, lower energy and health-care costs, more educational opportunities and investments in infrastructure.

`Building Blocks’

An overhaul of energy policy, the health system and schools will be “the building blocks” of long-term U.S. competitiveness, Obama said in the interview.

Along with business leaders, Obama has been wooing labor groups and working-class voters. Today he won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s biggest labor organization. In a statement, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said Obama is “a champion for working families.”

Elders — time to be cool!


Rain, being cool

TIME GOES BY | Quarterstaff Revolution

Imagine a scene: an older woman using a bent-top walking cane crosses a building lobby, trying to reach the elevator before the doors roll closed. Now imagine the same scene with the older woman striding across the lobby with the aid of a seven-foot, oak quarterstaff. People hold the door open not because of chivalry, not out of a desire to help little old ladies, but rather because she just looks so damned cool.

Elders are obligated to give younger people clues about how deep and mysterious elderhood can be.

Holy Crap, IT IS HOT!!!!!

Poway, California 92064 Conditions & Forecast : Weather Underground
Western Poway, Poway, California PWS
Updated: 4 sec ago

107.2 °F / 41.8 °C
Clear

Record temps today for sure. Our backyard thermometer reads 110 right now…..

Stay cool, kids…..

My kids are gaming here with friends today. They have water in the fridge, fans, air set at 80, and will set up coolers with ice for their drinks. Hubby and I are off to the Fair, which will still be hot, but at least by the coast. Geez, what a day!

BaconHenge

¡The AntiCraft!

Technically, a henge is actually an oval or circular earthwork, with a surrounding bank built up of the earth excavated from a ditch inside the bank. By this definition, Stonehenge is not truly a henge in any sense, as its ditch lies outside the bank.

There have been many theories as to the intended purpose of Stonehenge and other standing stones. The most likely seems to be, at least in part, that of seasonal calendar, as the sun aligns with particular stones at the solstices. This phenomenon, coupled with the mystery of the henges’ origins, has made the henges into sites of pagan ritual in recent centuries, if not throughout their histories. Some of those ancient rites are rumored to have included ritual sacrifice.

Let Baconhenge be the site of your seasonal celebration! Let bacon stand in for the sacrificed Year King, French toast for the Grain Goddess, the eggs in the frittata for the Cosmic Egg, and the vegetables for the bountiful Earth on which we live.

MMMMM, bacon!!

Loss….

Maya’s Granny is no longer with us.

Sadness…..

Go read some of her stories there if you hadn’t. She was an amazing storyteller, and will be deeply missed….

Tears…

Goodbye, beautiful lady, and fabulous blogger….

Joycelyn Ward
April 23, 1942 – June 15, 2008

We mourn the loss of Lilith Joycelyn Ward. She leaves behind her daughter, Julie Asregadoo, her son, Richard Ward, her brother, Forrest Ward, her sister Loretta Beaver, her mother, Virginia Ward, her Aunt Florence, and her many nieces and nephews, and their children. And of course, she was Maya’s Granny.

Joycelyn was born in Oakland, CA, and moved a great deal in her lifetime. She lived in California for much of her life, most recently in Sacramento and Citrus Heights, but also spent many years in Stockton and Berkeley. She lived in Juneau, Alaska from 1993 until February of this year.

She devoted much of her life to helping children, from her early days as a Montessori teacher, to her days teaching parenting classes and working one-on-one to help parents who were at risk of losing their children. She also worked as a volunteer coordinator, as a research analyst, as a secretary, and at an organization working to prevent teen alcoholism.

She was a voracious reader, loved to write and tell stories, and found great joy and satisfaction in her blog, Maya’s Granny.

Her wisdom and wicked humor will be greatly missed.

Donations can be made in her memory to her favorite charity, Heifer International.

"The difference between you and me is…"


“I make this look GOOD!!!”

FT.com / Columnists / Clive Crook – Orthodox responses to taxing issues
Orthodox responses to taxing issues

By Clive Crook

Barack Obama and John McCain both expect the ailing US economy to work to their advantage in November. Mr Obama promises to make things better. Mr McCain says they will get better by themselves and he will not make them worse in the meantime. These are the customary postures of the two parties. For a fight between an insurgent Democrat and a maverick Republican, the economics in this election is sadly orthodox.

Mr Obama offers the usual Democratic remedies for middle-class anxieties and grievances: new tax breaks and spending programmes, higher taxes for the rich, sabre-rattling on trade, calls for stricter regulation of finance and so forth. Mr McCain, likewise sticking to his party’s script, says that with the economy in a hole, this is no time to be raising anybody’s taxes, restricting trade or doing anything else to get in the way of American enterprise.

Aside from being predictable, the two have something else in common: fiscal myopia. Their tax plans differ in their distributional effects, but less than you might think in overall burden. Mr McCain opposed President George W. Bush’s tax cuts as unfair and inefficient; now he wants to make them permanent. Mr Obama deplores them still, of course, and says he will let them expire – but only for the sliver of the population that earns more than $250,000 (€163,000, £128,000) a year.

Measured against current law (ie, against a baseline that assumes the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule in 2011) and excluding healthcare (which involves some additional tax changes) Mr McCain wants to cut taxes by $3,700bn over the next 10 years. Mr Obama wants to cut them by $2,700bn. That amounts to a 10 per cent cut in revenue for Mr McCain and a 7 per cent cut for Mr Obama. (The estimates are from the non-partisan Tax Policy Centre of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.)

If either man gets his way, the larger part of the Bush tax cuts would thus remain on the books. At the same time, both have ambitious plans for new spending – Mr Obama especially. The budget is in structural deficit and the shortfall is bound to worsen as the cost of the Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare programmes rises. Neither candidate addresses the issue. Politically, they are doubtless correct: voters would rather not think about it….