CREATIVE. MARKETING. PROFESSIONAL.

From the Blog

In many underserved communities, however, neither the invisible hand of the government nor markets cater to even the most basic needs of their members, resulting in structural and behavioral barriers to the community's growth and development. These barriers are addressed by products and services engineered by social entrepreneurs.

Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging and evolving concept. This article from an Indian Summit called Sankalp 2010 provides a great snapshot. It talks about what Social Enterprise is, an example in Mumbai of the “Dabbawallas,” and the need it fills.

via Reporting from Sankalp 2010 | Blog | NextBillion.net | Development through Enterprise.

In our own society we struggle with “save for it” versus “borrow it.” This debate becomes much more precarious for the poor. Many Micro-Finance Institutions (MFI’s) are looking at adding and even integrating savings to their lending services.

It will take more than good intentions and a recognition that the poor want places to deposit the money they squirrel away to make microsavings work. Part of the problem with trying to mobilise deposits from poor people is simple economics. It is hard to make a profit from customers who make lots of tiny deposits without massively trimming transaction costs.

…Saving…is often “what didn’t happen”—the accumulation of decisions not to consume. Consumption, by contrast, is an active decision to buy something. One product he is testing in India involves collaborating with banking agents to sell “savings cards” in shops, so that saving becomes an active purchase and can compete with other impulse buys.

via Savings and the poor: A better mattress | The Economist.

Feb
24
Posted by brianrants at 9:30 pm

To see the son of Indian Immigrants, Bobby Jindal, delivering the GOP response tonight was a cool moment. We have not yet arrived to MLK’s vision of people judged only by their character, but each step closer should be celebrated.

Interesting article from one of our neighbors to the North.

Tribute To The United States
From a Canadian newspaper
America: The Good Neighbor
Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator.  What follows is the text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:
“This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.  Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions on debts..  None of these countries is, today, paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When the Franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris.  I was there.  I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help.  This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes.  Nobody helped.  The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries.  Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.
I’d like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the united States dollar build its own airplane.  Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC 10?  If so, why don’t they fly them?  Why do all the international lines except Russia fly American planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man on woman on the moon?  You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios.  You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.  You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon – not once, but several times – and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at.  Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded.  They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting AmericanDollars form ma and pa at home to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them.  When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose.  Both are still broke.
I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.  Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble?  I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.  Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I’m one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around.  They will come out of this thing with their flag high.  And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.  I hope Canada is not one of those.”
Stand proud, Americans

This is a snippet from an email from Barack’s campaign manager.


Barack is a spinner too like any politician, but I think it is reasonable to say that the Clinton campaign has been a whirling dervish (how the h@#$ do you spell that?)

When we won Iowa, the Clinton campaign said it’s not the number of states you win, it’s “a contest for delegates.”

When we won a significant lead in delegates, they said it’s really about which states you win.

When we won South Carolina, they discounted the votes of African-Americans.

When we won predominantly white, rural states like Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska, they said those didn’t count because they won’t be competitive in the general election.

When we won in Washington State, Wisconsin, and Missouri — general election battlegrounds where polls show Barack is a stronger candidate against John McCain — the Clinton campaign attacked those voters as “latte-sipping” elitists.

And now that we’ve won more than twice as many states, the Clinton spin is that only certain states really count.

But the facts are clear.

For all their attempts to discount, distract, and distort, we have won more delegates, more states, and more votes.

Meanwhile, more than half of the votes that Senator Clinton has won so far have come from just five states. And in four of these five states, polls show that Barack would be a stronger general election candidate against McCain than Clinton.

We’re ready to take on John McCain. But we also need to build operations in places like Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, and Oregon that will hold their primaries in April and May.”

I also like what Stephen Colbert said last night…here it is, in my words.

Clinton has emphasized winning big states, like Ohio and Texas. The democratic primary winner in Texas has won all of the last 8 general elections…except for 7 of them.

I say enough spin Clinton…Barack has pulled ahead, and you aren’t going to catch up unless you can spin your way into a super delegate coup.

Jul
06
Posted by brianrants at 4:41 am

Well, today I found out that the post office location I was using is closed permanently. So I have the joy of re-contacting all the clients and agencies using my address, which I did just a month ago, to inform them of the new address.

So there was a few of us slightly disgruntled PO Box owners waiting for the last of our mail. Two strangers, ladies, with loud voices, struck a unique bond. Apparently the owner of the contract post office location was from India. The lady with the loudest of the two voices was uniquely blessed with wisdom and insight, and was able to boil the whole complicated issues down to it’s central problem: he was a FOREIGNER.

From there, they subjected the entire Glendale Post Office to a diatribe of their ignorant and ill-informed opinions of…FOREIGNERS. Something about Chinese guys with unprounounceable names all using the same drivers license, Germans with bad credit using shady credit cards back home. Apparently native-born Americans are a persecuted bunch, as “foreigners get away with things I would never get away with. If we ever want to get away with something, we should just ask some foreigners.”

Please, go back to 1849…oh yeah, and I think black people should only count as 3/5 of a person in our national census.

These words are deeply spiritual, and stir a deep sadness within me.
=============
Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion
upon our fathers for centuries untold,
and which to us looks eternal, may change.
Today is fair,
tomorrow may be overcast with clouds.

My words are like the stars that never set.
What Seattle says the Great Chief at Washington can rely upon
with as much certainty as our paleface brothers can rely upon
the return of the seasons.

The son of the White Chief says
his father sends us greetings of friendship and good will.
This is kind,
for we know he has little need of our friendship in return
because his people are many.
They are like the grass that covers the vast prairies,
while my people are few
and resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain.

The Great, and I presume, also good,
White Chief sends us word that he wants to buy our lands
but is willing to allow us
to reserve enough to live on comfortably.
This indeed appears generous,
for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect,
and the offer may be wise, also
for we are no longer in need of a great country.

There was a time when our people covered the whole land
as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea covers its shell-paved floor.
But that time has long since passed away
with the greatness of tribes now almost forgotten.
I will not mourn over our untimely decay,
nor reproach my paleface brothers for hastening it,
for we, too,
may have been somewhat to blame.

When our young men grow angry
at some real or imaginary wrong,
and disfigure their faces with black paint,
their hearts, also, are disfigured and turn black,
and then their cruelty is relentless and knows no bounds,
and our old men are not able to restrain them.

But let us hope that hostilities
between the Red Man and his paleface brothers
may never return.
We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

True it is, that revenge,
with our young braves is considered gain,
even at the cost of their own lives,
but old men who stay at home in times of war,
and mothers who have sons to lose,
know better.

Our great father Washington,
for I presume he is now our father as well as yours,
since George has moved his boundaries to the North
- our great and good father, I say,
sends us word by his son,
who, no doubt, is a great chief among his people
that if we do as he desires he will protect us.

His brave armies will be to us a bristling wall of strength,
and his great ships of war will fill our harbors
so that our ancient enemies far to the northward
- the Simsiams and Hyas,
will no longer frighten our women and old men.
Then he will be our father
and we will be his children.

But can that ever be?
Your God is not our God!
Your God loves your people and hates mine!
He folds His strong arms lovingly around the white man
and leads him as a father leads his infant son
- but He has forsaken his red children,
He makes your people wax strong every day
and soon they will fill all the land;
while my people are ebbing away
like a fast receding tide that will never flow again.
The white man’s God cannot love his red children
or He would protect them.
They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help.

How, then, can we become brothers?
How can your Father become our Father
and bring us prosperity,
and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness?

Your God seems to us to be partial.
He came to the white man.
We never saw Him, never heard His voice.
He gave the white man laws,
but had no word for His red children
whose teeming millions once filled this vast continent
as the stars fill the firmament.

No. We are two distinct races,
and must remain ever so,
there is little in common between us.

The ashes of our ancestors are sacred
and their final resting place is hallowed ground,
while you wander away from the tombs of your fathers
seemingly without regrets.

Your religion was written on tablets of stone
by the iron finger of an angry God,
lest you might forget it.
The Red Man could never remember nor comprehend it.

Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors
- the dreams of our old men,
given to them by the Great Spirit,
and the visions of our Sachems,
and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you
and the homes of their nativity
as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb.
They wander far away beyond the stars,
are soon forgotten and never return.

Our dead never forget the beautiful world
that gave them being.
They still love its winding rivers,
its great mountains and its sequestered vales,
and they ever yearn in tenderest affection
over the lonely-hearted living,
and often return to visit and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together.
The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the white man,
as the changing mist on the mountain side
flees before the blazing morning sun.

However, your proposition seems a just one,
and I think that my folks will accept it
and will retire to the reservation you offer them,
and we will dwell apart and in peace,
for the words of the Great White Chief
seem to be the voice of Nature speaking to my people
out of the thick darkness that is fast gathering around them
like a dense fog floating inward from a midnight sea.

It matters little where we pass the remainder of our days.
They are not many.
The Indian’s night promises to be dark.
No bright star hovers above his horizon.
Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance.
Some grim Nemesis of our race
is on the Red Man’s trail,
and wherever he goes he will still hear
the sure approaching footsteps of the fell destroyer
and prepare to meet his doom,
as does the wounded doe
that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moons, a few more winters,
and not one of all the mighty hosts
that once filled this broad land
or that now roam in fragmentary bands
through these vast solitudes or lived in happy homes,
protected by the Great Spirit,
will remain to weep over the graves of a people
once as powerful and as hopeful as your own!

But why should I repine?
Why should I murmur at the fate of my people?
Tribes are made up of individuals
and are no better than they.
Men come and go like the waves of a sea.
A tear, a tamanamus, a dirge
and they are gone from our longing eyes forever.
Even the white man, whose God walked and talked
with him as friend to friend,
is not exempt from the common destiny.
We may be brothers after all.
We shall see.

We will ponder your proposition,
and when we have decided we will tell you.
But should we accept it,
I here and now make this first condition,
that we will not be denied the privilege,
without molestation,
of visiting the graves of our ancestors and friends.

Every part of this country is sacred to my people.
Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove
has been hallowed by some fond memory
or some sad experience of my tribe.
Even the rocks,
which seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun
along the silent shore in solemn grandeur
thrill with memories of past events
conne
cted with the fate of my people,
the very dust under your feet
responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours,
because it is the ashes of our ancestors,
and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch,
for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred.

The sable braves,
and fond mothers,
and glad-hearted maidens,
and the little children who lived and rejoiced here
and whose very names are now forgotten,
still love these solitudes
and their deep fastnesses at eventide grow shadowy
with the presence of dusky spirits.

And when the last Red Man
shall have perished from the earth
and his memory among white men
shall have become a myth,
these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe
and when your children’s children shall think themselves alone
in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway,
or in the silence of the woods,
they will not be alone.
In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude.

At night, when the streets of your cities and villages
shall be silent and you think them deserted,
they will throng with the returning hosts
that once filled and still love this beautiful land.

The white man will never be alone.
Let him be just and deal kindly with my people,
for the dead are not powerless.
==================
Chief Seattle, a hereditary leader of the Suquamish Tribe, was born around 1786, passed away on June 7, 1866, and is buried in the tribal cemetery at Suquamish, Washington. The speech Chief Seattle recited during treaty negotiations in 1854 is regarded as one of the greatest statements ever made concerning the relationship between a people and the earth – that speech, published in the Seattle Sunday Star , Seattle, Washington Territory, October 29, 1887, is reproduced here for you.

Jan
22
Posted by brianrants at 10:04 pm

Anxiety is such an odd thing. It’s like preparing for a tornado. Growing up on the West Coast, I never experienced tornados. I remember the first time I saw tornado conditions here in Indiana…the sky was a bizarre greenish hue, and everything was wayyyyy too quiet.

Your heart starts racing a bit, you head for basement if you have one, turn on the radio…and wait…and wait… Sometimes nothing happens, or sometimes, like happened a couple years ago, it rips through a giant factory and levels brick walls like legos.

I see green skies…all the time (ok not all the time, but I’m an exaggerator). It’s like I’m waiting for the tornado to strike. It rarely does, and even when it does it’s never as bad as I imagined. But I’m still waiting…