Raphie Frank :: business artivist

Barack Obama Wins Iowa: Score one for the Politics of Hope…

Obama Wins Iowa: Why Everyone Has a Reason to Celebrate Tonight
by Arianna Huffington
January 3, 2008
Even if your candidate didn’t win tonight, you have reason to celebrate. We all do.

Barack Obama’s stirring victory in Iowa — down home, folksy, farm-fed, Midwestern, and 92 percent white Iowa — says a lot about America, and also about the current mindset of the American voter.

Because tonight voters decided that they didn’t want to look back. They wanted to look into the future — as if a country exhausted by the last seven years wanted to recapture its youth.

More on Huffington Post


Comment to the blog of Dr. Juan Cole (Informed Comment) in response to the blog post:

Zogby: Huckabee, Obama Surge
December 23, 2007

Dear Dr. Cole,

I, for one, believe Barack Obama will continue to surprise to the upside, if only because I believe — perhaps wishful thinking on my part — that the country is weary of the politics of division, post facto rationalizations of past poor judgement, and cross aisle finger pointing.

Aside from his grass roots community building “chops,” clear intelligence and ability to think on his feet in context-sensitive manner, Obama has clearly got the “vision thing” down to an art and in a way this country rather desperately needs in a campaign that is shaping up quite possibly as the “Hope on Hope” campaign, regardless of the Democratic candidate, not unrelated in my view to Huckabee’s recent rise in the polls.

Most importantly, it is a matter of unassailable public record that Obama took a stand from the beginning against the War in Iraq, a position I believe he has never wavered from. Via Wikipedia:

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars. […] You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.
– fall 2002 anti-war rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza

I believe he will be rewarded by the electorate for having had the courage and foresight to take the unpopular stand when it was a very difficult position to take.

Kindest Regards,
Raphie Frank

January 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | | Leave a comment

Juan Cole: Outstanding U.S. Citizen

Juan Cole

Lest we forget those who DID know better that we might listen to them better next time. From Informed Comment, the blog of Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan…

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

International Law and the Building Iraq Campaign

It is a mistake to believe that multilateralists accept “rhetoric, promises, and declarations (especially with regard to Iran and Iraq).”

I know of few informed persons who would like to see the Saddam Hussein regime continue in power. I am not, however, the international community, and I am not comfortable with allowing Mssrs. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to substitute themselves for it.

The key point is that in the wake of the two World Wars, the first of which cost 8.5 million soldiers’ lives, and the second of which cost 61 million lives altogether, an international community did come into existence. The United Nations Charter, the Security Council, and NATO were all set up as institutions in hopes of introducing some law and order into the jungle of unbridled state sovereignty. The United States is signatory to the UN Charter and to several other instruments of international law.

As a result, the United States may not unilaterally go to war against another state in the absence of a recognized casus belli without betraying the very ideals it championed in 1945…



Related Post (by Raphie Frank)
What Did We Know and When Did We Know It?

December 22, 2007 Posted by | Iraq, Politics | Leave a comment

Introducing Generation Q

Ana Crisan
One of My Heroes: Ana Crisan

An Op-ed from yesterday’s New York Times by Thomas Friedman…

Generation Q

Here is an excerpt…

America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q. That’s what twentysomethings are for — to light a fire under the country. But they can’t e-mail it in, and an online petition or a mouse click for carbon neutrality won’t cut it. They have to get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention rather than just patronize them.

Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Virtual politics is just that — virtual.

Maybe that’s why what impressed me most on my brief college swing was actually a statue — the life-size statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Meredith was the first African-American to be admitted to Ole Miss in 1962. The Meredith bronze is posed as if he is striding toward a tall limestone archway, re-enacting his fateful step onto the then-segregated campus — defying a violent, angry mob and protected by the National Guard.

Above the archway, carved into the stone, is the word “Courage.” That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute.

I believe the name will stick.

October 11, 2007 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

A Thousand Points of Light Through an Ariadne Maze

A Thread in the Dark
A Thread in the Dark Publicity Photo. Opened September 10, 2001. By Raphie Frank

Dear [friend],

I know perhaps that sometimes I may seem to go a bit overboard, but In desperate times — and war is desperate — because it could be your son one day, to do nothing is to be a part of the problem. If not me; if not you, then who? The other guy?

Perhaps I feel a greater sense of urgency and sense of threat living here in NYC along with almost every one I love. Think about that. Many New Yorkers I know (certainly not all), feel the policies of the Bush Administration are threatening our lives and the lives of those we love most. *Boom* End of story, but hopefully not a *boom* of the wrong kind.

Five years and a couple months now ago , I watched the Twin Towers burn. I paced the white dust and paper-littered streets downtown the next Saturday for hours trying to understand.The chemically smell of destruction still lingers and clings to memory. From the park by the water on Grand Street here in Williamsburg and from my rooftop, I watched the smoldering sky for weeks on end and, even now, I still become lost in Tribeca because I no longer have THOSE thousand points of light to guide me, those lights that cast a soft reflecting silver twinkle across the water that night of September 10, 2001 where, sitting on a boat upon the Hudson River, I enjoyed the opening night performance of “A Thread in the Dark,” an updated riff on Theseus lost in the maze of the Minotaur and guided back to the light by Ariadne’s thin thread.

From the next morning onward — my last view of the Towers being them awash in the rosy pink fingered light of dawn offset by a curiously black-hole shaded Empire State building as I was on the way to work — I have never experienced emptiness in such tangible manner. I can still see the amber sunset and the Statue of Liberty through the newly-wedded paned-glass of Windows on the World that Sunday evening three weeks before at a wedding where, obliterated on champagne by the end, I embarrassed my future girlfriend but left with her still, dozens of roses in hand the bride and groom needed not there was such a surfeit.

That view I experienced that Sunday is a sight that now exists for birds alone and, perchance, a lingering spirit or two; or, if the fates be cruel, a whispered echo of that golden-haired bartender’s gorgeous smile. I don’t know if she worked the Tuesday morning shift, [friend]. And I doubt I ever will, but this much I know: Anyone standing at that spot from which I gazed down upon the bay when the plane hit saw not the smoky black fingers of sunset drifting across the city skyline that evening as did I from the subway platform at Queensborough Plaza, a view so eerily compelling I tried to find a disposable camera to record the moment, but could not because every store in a 10 block radius had been stripped bare of recording devices.

In any case, you try to forget, but it’s hard. You remember every time you hear the sound of an airplane overhead and every time you see the NYC police by a bridge, there, but hardly paying attention. You see the police late at night stop by a van and wave a little box around, perhaps screening for explosives. The air raid sirens go off as a test, as they did but an hour past, and you wonder, should I turn on the news? Are we under attack? Is this it?

It’s all quiet here on the Western Front of the War on Terror… for now, but, speaking just for myself, I’d feel a whole lot happier and a whole lot safer if our soldiers and our National Guardsmen were here at home instead of losing their lives overseas to that hydra-headed monster we ourselves have created through indifference bred by the murmur of that human creek Thoreau called “quiet desperation.”

Understand all this and perhaps you will understand why many New Yorkers are uniquely positioned to understand the cries that trickle through to us from afar via the Internet and conversations of happenstance in Muslim-staffed bodegas across the city. Would ever we see graffiti bearing the word graffiti bearing the word WATER here by our lustrous shores? Let us pray to whatever Gods we may that the answer is, and will continue to be, “No.”

Your friend,
Raphie Frank
December 15, 2006

September 10, 2007 Posted by | Politics, Theater | 1 Comment

The Weave & the Darn (aka “The Poetic Essence of Boojummy Business Artivism”)

Dreaming is Composing
Dreaming is Composing by Mattijn Franssen

Courage. Hope. Care. Boojummy. The term is derived from Louis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark. The Boojum, the most dangerous kind of snark, is found on an island many months sail from England, betwixt and between the dark crevices and crags. When you find one, so they say, you disappear. Forever. I kind of like to think it’s because you find yourself. In addition to courage, hope and care, you also need thimbles and forks – think Robert Frost two roads in a wood, not last night’s dinner – when you set out on a snark hunt.

Because, you see, it’s all about the weave and the darn. The doomed and the damned need not be either. They can be better than they were. Better. Stronger. Happier. In themselves and for us, if only we give them choices and alternatives to light moons and mommify all those hardened hearts.

Now, you can ask yourself, what the hell is this guy talking about? But you’d kind of be missing the point because the whole point is that there is no single point and so you’ve got to kind of go elliptically around and about and through and over and under and around, zigging the light and zagging the fright and tickling the dark and missing or maybe making the mark because, you see, it’s all connected, the big and the small, from the round, smooth marbleized Universe of Einstein right on down to every darn gluon, quark, atom and molecule of the woodified mind of man and woman and blade of grass a hummingbird wind sways back and forth in oscillating rhythm beneath the thousand million blossoms of that cherry tree rocking to the rhythms of a white house gale.

We can make it better. And we can make it even betterer together. I’d like to figure out a way because the weight is a gift when you’re strumming the nada surf riff, but it’s hard as hell to carry it all on your own, so tell you what…

… let’s take it back to 1.

It’s a called a PROGRESSION.

Continue reading

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business, Economics, Politics, Storytelling, Theater | 2 Comments

New School Conference: A Realistic Growth Policy for Our Times

Economic Conference @ the New School

Ron Blackwell, Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO at the dais giving a presentation at the New School Conference "A Realistic Growth Policy for Our Times" this past April 13, 2007.

There are a lot of frustrated folks out there looking for responsible, sustainable ways to expand opportunity for the have-nots in an age I have come to increasingly refer to as the "Neo-Gilded Age."

The answer as I see it?

PLURALISTIC CAPITALISM aka "The American Dream." Trickle-Down meets Trickle-Up and all we need to do, really, with a nod to Princeton professors Daniel Kahneman (Prospect theory) and Paul Dimaggio (cultural capital) is to supersize our notion of economy to include the value of heart, hope, courage and care.

Many thanks to Ron Blackwell, as well as Michael Reich (UC Berkeley), David Howell (The New School), Pascal Petit (CEPN, Paris) and Michael Piore (MIT) for their sportsmanship in the face of some well-intended tricksterishness on the part of this Citizen Economist. More on that another time, but let’s just say I learned a thing or two by osmosis.

RELATED WRITINGS (by Raphie Frank)
Pressure is Aggression to the Monkey in the Man
Trickle Up Economics, Conscious Capitalism & Co-Generation
Sophinette asks: Is Bono Fooling Us All? My response? NO!
The New Demand Economy : Watch out for Latinland
The Mathematics of Opportunity
Introducing “Trickle Up Economics” (aka “The One Song”)
Synchronicities of the Happily Converging Road
What’s Wrong With Profit?

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Business, Economics, Philanthropy, Politics | Leave a comment

Pressure is Aggression to the Monkey in the Man

Foundry no. 2 by egg theorem. UPDATE: Dedicated by Raphie on 4/13/2007 to the Man Without a Country,” Kurt Vonnegut (RIP)

Related Posts:
Unlocked Bondage
Introducing “Trickle Up Economics” aka the “One Song”
Would We See Graffiti Bearing the Word WATER in our Part of the World?
Silencing Those Who Speak of Those Who Are Not Silent
Riven Hearts (aka “Why I Write and Why I Fight”)

Pressure is aggression

These words, come to me direct from the keyboard of talented Flickr photographer, writer and thinker, Mariana Tomas, kind of got me thinking in an eggs on the ceiling, blown gasket or “Let them eat cake” manner. See, I sent Mariana an email earlier today asking about something we are working on together, a book of aphorisms for the 21st Century Quantum Age called Life at the Speed of Phi, and she replied in a way only the artist might understand, that, more or less, she needed to get the time feng shui right.

What she meant by that — and the specific phrasing is mine, not hers — is that she didn’t want to pressure herself, pressure, she wrote, being “a form of aggression,” which I certainly understood in a “monkey on the back” kind of way, because I know a thing or two about monkeys, not unlike maybe that fellow in the photo up above might. Heck, sometimes, Type “A” dreamer that I am, it seems like I’ve got a whole zoo-full of monkeys hanging out on a few jungle gyms in different parts of my mind just licking their lips and waiting to pounce the first chance they get.

Anyway, as I said, it got me thinking. Just for “fun” apply that symbolic “monkey on the back” pressure we put on ourselves to entire country populations being told what to do by other countries or by their own governments. Apply that logic to people and peoples shut out of the American Dream in whatever language it is they dream. Apply it to folks who feel their choices have been taken away and their hopes for the future dashed. I bet they might just feel there’s a monkey or two hop-scotch tumbling about all over them and it might kind of irritate them.

Continue reading

April 6, 2007 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics | 5 Comments

The New Demand Economy : Watch out for Latinland

Coastal Fog by Daryl Furr.

Imagine if CNN admitted it’s liberal dovish leanings? And Fox its, hawkish Conservative ones? Now THAT would be refreshing. They won’t, likely. It’d be bad for business, right?

For now.

But it’s only a matter of time before corporations — considered “individuals” before the law — declare political affiliations. Adam Smith will demand it from his grave because, you see, diffused rule by Corporation in a globalized economy is already upon us. We just don’t know it yet. But Warren Buffet does. It’s why he has willed most of his fortune to Microsoft maven Bill Gates’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More on that another time — let’s just say my guess is that accountability and directed purpose, not possible in an Open Source Society has something to do with it — but the point is this:

The Rulers of the 21st century are no longer just the Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers and their minions, but the Boards of Directors and top corporate executives, meaning our votes will come in the form of the soap with which we wash, the toothpaste with which we brush and the sheets upon which we sleep.

Communist-style command economies were quite the rage in the 20th century. Perhaps the 21st century will usher in the age of the Demand Economy, because that’s how capitalism works, folks. If we demand, they will supply. A People United and all… ?

Speaking of which, I’ll throw sand in the eyes of anyone who tells me I ought not to be proud as heck to live in the United States of Saudi Arabia. Oops… I meant America. Just call it oil on the brain. But you know we’re in trouble when them furriners are even getting on to our money. I took a look at a dollar bill today. Know what it said?


Tell your friends, folks. I’ve never even heard of Latinland. This is BIG.

April 5, 2007 Posted by | Business, Economics, Philanthropy, Philosophy, Politics | Leave a comment

A Blog to Watch :: The Long Goodbye

Sometimes, the headlines say it all…

April 2, 2007 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics | Leave a comment

Trickle Up Economics, Conscious Capitalism & Co-Generation

The Magic Forest by Mattijn Frannsen

RELATED WRITINGS (by Raphie Frank)
Pressure is Aggression to the Monkey in the Man
Introducing “Trickle Up Economics” (aka “The One Song”)
Sophinette asks: Is Bono Fooling Us All? My response? NO!
The New Demand Economy : Watch out for Latinland
The Mathematics of Opportunity
Synchronicities of the Happily Converging Road
What’s Wrong With Profit?

Dear [friend]

I thought to bring to your attention the below news related to Zaadz, a very well meaning, New Age inflected, but anything but unambitious Social Software Network…

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey invests in Zaadz, a Social Network With a Purpose
Posted on Mar 28th, 2007

I believe Mackey’s investment of social venture capital is one to take seriously as part of a much greater trend. Yet to come clearly into public focus, there is a full-scale grass roots entrepreneurial movement underway, and it goes by such names as “Conscious Capitalism,” and “Death By Smiley Face” although I just call it “Trickle Up Economics” aka “Tomorrow’s Economy of Heart Today.”

Supported by Philanthropreneurs such as Mackey and Pierre Omidyar, “Trickle Up Economics” is emerging amidst a Millennial convergence of political, social, economic and natural forces working of a piece to both unite and divide us. On the one hand, via free trade economic policies, the connective power of technology and 9/11 propelled decentralization trends in financial markets, we are becoming more and more one interdependent global organism.

On the other hand, perhaps a function to some extent of the resulting rapid-fire collision of cultures, the Global Mind is also in increasingly polarized conflict as worldwide reserves of renewable energy dwindle, climate change threatens to displace vast populations, policies of Preemptive Warfare frog-march pariah nations into increasingly defensive postures and the Neo-Gilded Age gap between haves and have-nots emerges into crystal clarity.

Within this Global environment, the “multiple revenue stream, outsourced” economic model brought in with the Digital Age by such New Economy stalwarts as Monster, Inc. (formerly TMP Worldwide) is “adapt or die” morphing into it’s much needed psychic / spiritual twin in a manner that might make Carl Jung and Carlos Castaneda sigh with relief, “Finally! They’re starting to figure it out!”

Perhaps feeling a bit left out of all those Alan Greenspan celebrated productivity gains amidst dramatic decreases in job security in the industrialized nations, a low premium placed on loyalty to employees on the part of increasingly megalithic trans-global corporations with diffuse power and little accountability, along with the recognition that not even once sacrosanct pension funds are safe, many socially conscious enterprising individuals are taking matters into their own hands, but with a distinctly Native American twist.

These people, and I humbly count myself amongst their ranks, are working to figure out ways to use the entire animal called US, all of US. They understand on an intuitive level that we are but small parts of an entirety consisting of countless parts on both sides of the “zero point” called human consciousness and that the the many parts of the self and the many parts of the other are connected not by choice, but by necessity and that if we do not serve one its just desserts we cannot serve the other.

The trend is just beginning. It’s called Co-Generation and Gen-X and Gen-Y, working together are going to lead the way into Generation XY. The elephant of many parts is emerging into the light and the lion is just beginning to roar.

I wanted to let you know, because before we’re through, we’re going to make it baaad to be good and we’re going to do our darndest to make it pay in every which way for ALL those who give a damn and try to do a thing or two about it.

But you gotta pay to play and that means serving the pie too and not just eating it.

Your friend,

Raphie Frank
Business Artivist
Poet of the Possible

For Further Reading:

A Christmas Story for Marla Ruzicka (RIP)

March 31, 2007 Posted by | Business, Economics, Philanthropy, Philosophy, Politics | 1 Comment

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