Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hashtags and Funny Hats

As information has become easier to consume, it would appear as if more people are utilizing the democratization of info simply to disseminate product but not to learn anything.

Over the past few years we have seen the rise of the Tea Party Movement. They have come together with clear goals of a smaller government and lower taxes. In the last month, the Occupy Wall Street Movement has materialized with vague and unobjectionable goals of ending greed and bringing about social justice.

These two groups are different and comparisons between them are not fair to either group. The only thing these fringe elements have in common is the idea that their communications structure should be both engaging and promoting their point of view as fact to the media.

The Tea Party, which is blessed with a leadership structure and no qualms about putting a person in charge, has an advantage over OWS but both groups have allocated capital (financial and human) to get the message out (regardless of facts or reality).

I was taken aback by the number of cameras that are at the Occupy Wall Street protests. I would venture that everyone at the protests sees oneself as a journalistic witness. Arguably the Tea Party people are dressing up in Revolutionary War garb not 'cause it is comfortable but to put forth this concept of going back to the good old days of no running water, slavery and true instability on the frontier as truly better than what we got now.

As a communications professional, I know these tactics well, and I have to say that they are being utilized in a one dimensional manner. Over all these protests attract everything the media loves: Folks in funny clothing and uncompromising screaming matches. Facts or even fact checking makes for slower and more deliberate conversations which makes for bad TV. Even so, the media has some sick twisted need to make sure both sides of a story are heard (because there are always two clear sides to a story).

So in order to be heard we end up with sound bites that are devoid of value. Examples:
1. This is what democracy looks like.
2. End the Fed.
Both totally meaningless and back up without fact, action or you know thought.

Ending the Fed would be a problem for like as many reasons as the Fed has tools to fix inflation (zing!). Also for this occupation to look like democracy, the occupiers need to engage in the system of government. They don't seem to be doing that according to recent reports. Sure it isn't great but it is a system that allows for the person with the most votes to make the decisions for a while. So get more people to vote for you and you get your person in charge...(BTDubs, that is what democracy is, not just what it looks like.)

So while the Tea Party has become a force in the margins of the Republican party and in Congress they seem to continue down this path of illogical and non-fact-based reality. It would be nice to OWS go in a different direction, using fact to support their otherwise lovely yet equally meaningless observations. Sure the system sucks, but what are you going to do about it? Sit in a park?

The over abundance of people pretending to have something to say on camera only reenforces the fact that there is nothing to say. For any movement to work, it needs messages. For any movement to last, it needs messages supported by fact.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finding issue with food

I have had three great meals lately but have not been able to enjoy them and I think that is ok.

1. Distracted by conversation of a friend
Due to a fantastic conversation and wonderful laughs, I didn't take in the brilliantly constructed deviled eggs.

2. Bothered by work
Due to a pesky work issue, I was pulled away from a simply and carefully crafted restaurant week meal. I was forced into scarfing.

3. Space taking away from food
Due to a small dark place and other such environmental who-ha, I didn't enjoy a recent trip to a hip little joint down town.

I hope I can get back to loving food again as the main event. But if not...I will figure out something else.

In other news: big ups to the Pizza Place I still wont go to because of its ridiculous statement about animal fats for commenting on my last post.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Word on Semantics

There is a pizza place on my path to the subway from my apartment that claims many things in the form of window stickers: "Highly Digestible" "No Additives" "No Preservatives." All things that a good. However, the white lettering on its window that will keep me from eating this pseudo-gourmet pizza is "No Animal Fat."

They serve both meat and cheese in this joint.

Unsurprisingly, I have complained to my lovely wife (a lot) about this issue and she has informed me that I am no longer permitted to complain about this small oversight in the pizza place's advertisements. But that is why I have a blog.

Most likely, what our shop owners were hoping to impart to its customers at its locations in the Yuppiest of yuppy areas in the city that invented yuppies, is that its pizzas and sandwiches are made from whole foods, thus these foods are healthy. Ok, that is a nice thought but it is categorically untrue.

Monday, June 27, 2011


So we won. That was cool. I have never been so happy to have been wrong. On Friday evening (well really in the middle of the night) the New York State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act and it was great!

Working with members of the Cuomo Administration, Empire State Pride Agenda and HRC as well as religious groups on this issue has been wonderful. I am extremely proud to have taken a small part in this project. It is clear, that without the leadership of Governor Cuomo, this would not have happened.

I was very critical of the Governor and said so in meetings with some of his senior staff. For much of the session he was mute on progressive social issues focusing much of his attention on the business community, and that wasn't why I voted for him. I stand by my critical statements but I must say I am impressed with the political maneuvering and in the end real leadership from his office on this issue.

So congratulations all and on to the next fight!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stuff and Things

Today I purchased the most ridiculous thing a man of my age and station could purchase.
I got me some FiveFingers.

Yup. I gave in and got a pair of these shoes after nearly a year of making fun of all those who wear them.

I ran with them on the treadmill at Jack Rabbit, my favorite running and gear store (quid pro quo about a shirt?) at the Upper East Side location. And I was shocked at how my gate was pushed into the correct form and how my knees didn't feel anything. So may be some of these nut job runners know something.

But I got to say today's trip was as if I was a kid again in the Toy "R" Us on Route 4 in New Jersey with my mom getting that perfect "play guns" gun. That day we went out to the store and picked up an old fashion wooden World War I replica toy rifle. I had done something good and this was my reward but I couldn't tell you what it was, but I remember shopping for the gun like it was yesterday. In fact I still have that busted up old rifle in my parents house.

Sometimes stuff is just that: stuff. But then sometimes it is elevated to become a thing. Often times in the bloggophere (especially in the liberal political one and in the foodie section) bloggers will take to their digital soap boxes to denounce materialism.

Now don't get me wrong, stuff is more often than not just stuff. And even more often it is just shit. But on those rare occasions when you get some thing that is just so cool, you wanted for so long, a thing you didn't think you were worthy of, it gets elevated.

I felt really cool wearing those shoes. They are so friggin' ugly and are a pain to get on to my feet. But I felt like a runner. Someone who knew what it meant to have a strong toe strike and why that is important. And I think these ridiculous shoes are going serious help me out of my running funk. Over the last few weeks, my work life have been jammed. I dragged my ass out of bed a few times over the past few weeks but I didn't spring up like I have over the past 11 months. I needed something.

Perhaps these weird shoes will get me out of my funk, perhaps they will not but I do know that I am happy with the thing I got today and I will donate some stuff to make room for them in the closet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why the Conservative Movement Doesn't Make Sense

“I’m looking for the Reagan Democrats. Those guys are still out there to be found,” said [anti-51 Park Development "activist" Andy] Sullivan, 46. “That whole area is starting to lean conservative, because we’re feeling the pain with the economy more than anybody else.” Source

So this guy, who's only real qualification for this post is his anti-Islamic activism against the so-call "Ground Zero" mosque, is calling upon conservatives to support him in a race for Anthony Weiner’s Congressional seat because they are being hurt by the economy.

Here is the rub: Conservatives don't care about poor people. They care about doing what they want and have no regard for anyone who can't pull themselves by so-call boot straps...regardless of having boots with straps to pull upon or not. The people bankrolling the Tea Party have spent billions over the years supporting pro-business, anti-regulation, anti-worker policy and think-tanks.

I got to say I just don't understand why working class Queens would support a radical conservative. Doesn't make economic, social or political sense.

Oh yeah, Weiner should resign.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Self-Rightous Post on Saving Money

Last month I read a post on the WSJ's Real Time Economic blog that explained that half of American households are "financial fragile" which it defined as these households' impossibility or improbability of coming up with $2,000 in 30 days.

It was shocking to me.

$2,000 is a lot of money. No question about it. It would require saving just about $167 per month for a year and not touching it to have on hand. But that is for one person. So in an average family with an average of two incomes that is $84 per person per month. This also takes into account no other savings or value available to the household.

So while it is a lot of money, I don't think it is an impossible amount to have on hand within a month.

Now, I get it. I am privileged, well-off and have a great job. All things that are not afforded to everyone. This is especially true with unemployment hovering around 9.5%. But this goes more to societal mind set than anything else.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This Monday saw the highest temperatures and humidity the New York area has seen yet this season. I thought it would be a good idea to spend my mid-day running on a soaking wet trail course in Van Cortlandt Park with about 150 of my running chums. I was shooting for four laps on this challenging Holiday Marathon course, leading to my second full marathon since I started running seriously. Clearly, this was not the best of ideas.

There are countless posts on failure-leading-to-lesson-learned in the running blogging community. Running too fast, too hard, too soon in a race and learning the lesson of patience and race strategy and such. But this post is about failure and should have known better, no excuses and change.

Sunday I spent, for the most part, doing exactly what you should do before a huge race. I rested, I hydrated, I ate smart and I stretched out. I had veggies and brown rice for dinner and was in bed by 10pm. I slept alright, not the best sleep ever, but still nothing like the night before the NYC Marathon. I got up at 6:30 because my weekday alarm didn’t know it was Memorial Day, but I was able to go back to sleep and get going at the normal hour of 7:15 as I had planned.

I did my pre-race thing: Cliff Bars, water, newspaper, “other” and then got going. Walking to the bus I noticed it wasn’t anywhere close to the 90 degrees promised by the omniscient NY1 Weather Team. I caught the bus right away and only had to wait for a minute or two for the One Train. It was notably warmer during the transition from the bus to the train…but whatever. Things were still going to plan.

I am a sucker for ceremony. I love the National Anthem at baseball games, feel like I didn’t really watch the State of the Union unless I hear the Sergeant at Arms announce the President to the Speaker, and I like an Oneg Shabbat to have those little crispy chocolate sandwich cookies. (Ok the last one isn’t a ceremony but they are still really good.) It being Memorial Day, I thought I should take part in the moment of silence and listen to God Bless America with my fellow runners, so I started the race with most of the group, as opposed to starting earlier to beat the heat, at 10 am.

It was about 80 and muggy at that point. But I had my game plan.

I had frozen my Fuel Belt water bottles and had another .750 Lt. bottle to carry with me. I had my gels and a cooler with Gatorade for each lap. I also had extra water to refill each of my bottles on each lap. This game plan was set.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dark Horse and a Bright Quote

The IMF needs a new leader for some reason or another. Conventional wisdom and vote counting point to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and then to a distant second of Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens.

However, Stanley Fischer, governor of the central bank of Israel, is also tossing his hat in the ring. (Fill in conspiracy theory here...)

But the real piece of news that I find fascinating is that in the Wall Street Journal article about Mr. Fischer, the reporter rightly points to the built in opposition that will inveitably surface within the Arab and emerging markets. But here is the sweet part.

George Abed, former head of the Palestinian Monetary Authority said this in an exchange with the WSJ via email:
Mr. Fischer is "the most qualified of all the candidates that I have seen mentioned din the media so far," calling Fischer "pragmatic, politically savvy, and a skilled manager."

Now this isn't an endorsement nor is it glowing but it is powerful.

In the real world, outside of college campus rallies and Washington think tanks, economics are key. Rhetoric and vitriol are fine and dandy, but wait until you can't buy a gallon of milk or bread cost as much rent. Then you will see real revolution. The fact that the guy in charge of the money of his enemy is willing to say he is the best for the job is a really powerful statement.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made

Also has rural farm communities and former industrial strong-holds where they die.

If you have been following my blog (thanks Mom!) you will know that over the past few years I have been working on the issue of Marriage Equality in the Empire State. For those of you not paying much attention and for some reason choose to get your news here (dude, get out more) here is the update:
1. Governor Coumo has promised to take on this issue as the most important social issue in his legislative agenda.

2. There is now a coalition being supported by the Governor's office that includes all the big LGBT players; they are putting on great ads and lobbying hard. We were all excited for a while.

3. The Conservative Party has come out to say that any Republican who votes for Marriage Equality will not receive their support in the upcoming elections.

4. Senator Golden of Brooklyn (Mayor Bloomberg's "besty" in the Senate) introduced a bill that would invalidate all same-sex marriages from other municipalities in the State of New York. (Read: Conservative Party litmus test.)

5. We have no reason to believe any votes will change in the State Senate before the end of this session. We are no longer excited.

I am bummed. I was pretty sure we were going to get it this time around. When the State passed a budget on time for the first time since Adam and Eve were doing their post-Eden accounting, I thought maybe, just maybe, this Governor has the juice to make it happen.

But after meetings last week in Albany and countless emails and phone calls from the coalition leaders, I do not believe the Governor is going to a) waste political capital and b) take an other loss for this extremely important civil rights issue.

This is defeatist I know...but I still have some hope.

I met a man last Monday in Albany who has a child with his husband but spends every Monday and Tuesday in the Capital meeting with as many Senators and staff members as will let him in the door. He has been doing this since the budget passed. This kind of dedication to his civil rights is inspirational and utterly depressing at the same time; the fact that he does this is powerful, the fact he has to do this is shameful.

However, I choose to look at the better side of his work and our impending defeat. We will know who to target. We will continue to become better organized. Eventually New York will take a step forward and lead by example. Until then, we fight.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unfit for Trail, But NRA Protected

me: NYT NEWS ALERT: Judge Finds Jared L. Loughner, Accused in Tucson Shooting, Unfit to Stand Trial
Friend: unfit to stand trial!?!?!
he's just too crazy!?
oh good. then let's bring up the gun debate and how the hell he even got one if he's too crazy to go to trial
me: amen
Friend: how was he not seen as unfit to buy a gun?
Gun control is a touchy issue in the United States for any number of reasons. However the powerful National Rifle Association is one of the major contributors to the vitriol that dominates what should be a logical debate.

The right to have guns (well, the right to bear arms in a militia is delineated in the Amendment, but who wants to split hairs here?) is mentioned in the US Bill of Rights. Cool, we should have some guns. But should everyone get a gun?

Some will say any regulation of gun ownership is a violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Those people are wackados. Some say guns should be taken off the streets completely in that they are actually not mentioned in the Second Amendment. Those folks aren't winning any friends (or much support from the Court).

However, a vast majority of Americans in a poll I just made up (but also I remember seeing in the aftermath of the Shooting in [fill in the blank]) support logical safeguards against people like Loughner getting their hands on guns.

I am not getting into the nitty gritty of what kind of guns should be on the street or gun show loopholes or even the interstate issues of people being arrested for lawfully owning guns in one state and being arrested for them in others. This is simply a statement of fact: people who are crazy should never be able to purchase a gun or ammunition. Period. End of Story.

But I am sure, in the coming months, perhaps in a year or so, the NRA will set up shop in Tuscon and talk about American freedoms and the importance of liberty. I am just not sure there will be much discussion about Justice for All.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It has been so long

This feels like that first conversation with the ex that you are forced into because of reunion or happenstance places you at the same airport bar during a layover. So lets get the small talk out of the way.

Here are the top 5 reasons I haven't called blogged when I said I would:

1. I have been working a lot.
Work has made it harder to blog, because I have had to you know, work. While I loved having the six people who read this when I was actually working hard to get people to read this, it didn't seem worth any of our time for me to come home and blog about nothing after working for 10 hours. I hope you understand, it wasn't you, it was about really me.

2. My volunteer responsibilities have expanded. A lot.
So I am now the Co-Chair of my Temple's Social Action Committee, The Reform Jewish Voice of New York State and serve on the Temple Board of Trustees. And as New York State becomes more entangled in the fight for Marriage Equality, my time is being taken away from this blog and pushed towards more important things like equality for all people in this great state. This is something I really care about and hope that you care about as well. If you live in New York, call your State Senator today. If you live out side of the state please give some coin to New Yorkers United for Marriage (or to RJV...that is cool too).

RJV leadership meeting with State Senator Liz Krueger on May 16, 2011 in Albany

3. I have been running, a lot.
It has become an addiction, a healthy one, but an addiction all the same. I am shooting for 1,200 miles by December 31, 2011 and I am well on my way. I will be training for the Philly Marathon in November over the summer and am most likely going to run The Memorial Day Marathon in Van Cortlandt Park. I have run five Half Marathons and bested my time in each one. To be honest, I could write a lot more about running in this post, but really we are here for excuses and running is going to turn into more of a topic for this blog (duh) and I will hold off for now.

4. I have found someone else.
Hi my name is dcc and I am addicted to Twitter. Armed with a smart phone complete with camera and Twitter aps, I am just simply out of control. Unlike my above mentioned running addiction, this one isn't so healthy. I won't quite but I will at least try to call blog a bit more to complement my 140 character bursts of brilliance.

5. This relationship was really a lot of work.
But I am willing to try again. Inspired by many of my running chums and their successful blogs along with a number of the food blogs my lovely wife reads on a regular bases I have decided, once again, to give this a go. And again, who knows how long this bad boy will be live.

But here is the goal: I will post three times a week for a month and I will do my best to mix up the topics. Today is about excuses, tomorrow the world!