Grey Tree Frog Tadpoles

With the drought this winter the pond where the Tree Frogs breed in the NBG had gone dry.  It was dry most of April, so I was concerned that there would be no breeding season this year.   The pond refilled in late April with the rains, so I was hopeful that it had filled in time.  On May 19 I saw tadpoles.  Last year the tadpoles appeared on May 12,

Keith Stokes and economic development

Sent this as a letter to the editor

To the editor,  I have seen a number of people praise Keith Stokes on his way out of the door at the RI Economic Development Corporation, but I think it bears remembering that 38 Studios is the second major blunder of this sort in his economic development career.  Mr. Stokes was completely taken in by the con men who convinced most of the economic development establishment of Rhode Island that they could be a successful gigantic container port.  Eventually the public won out and the con men were unmasked, but right until the end Mr Stokes was a proponent of their port.

38 Studios shows Mr. Stokes in the same light.  Completely taken in by the celebrity of Curt Schilling even though he also had no track record of success and wanted someone else’s money to build his fantasy scam.
I will note that that the problem in the economic development game that is Rhode Island is not just Keith Stokes, it is that the establishment in Rhode Island is still convinced that give aways to the 1% is economic development, while the reality is that only ecological healing, reducing inequality in income, and more democracy and transparency is the road forward economically.  I hope Governor Chafee takes this opportunity to rethink what he wants from the EDC, but it appears that he will find another economic development guy with their head in the sand about where the economy is really going.

Studio 38 strikes out

18 months ago or so when the RIEDC decided to give $75 million to Studio 38 so it could develop video games in RI instead of MA a number of people in Rhode Island, myself included , but also many people with extensive business experience, noted that this was a poor choice for the state.  the reasons people objected were varied.  In my case it is because I do not believe the video game industry is ever a good bet.  Other people objected to the state of RI doing anything that smacked of having an industrial policy.

I tend to be a believer in industrial policy, that the state should be making a smart use of the people’s money, and helping industries that will help the state in its development and job creation, but it is pretty clear that the RIEDC has a very poor track record in this area, and the video game industry is so uncertain that this was a long shot at best.

So it is with a little bit of I told you so, and a whole lot more regret that the state has wasted its money, that I have been reading the headlines and stories this week about the uncertain future and financial picture of 38 Studios.   This fiasco will give industrial policy a bad name when it should be another nail in the coffin of the EDC.  It also reflects rather poorly on Curt Schilling, the right winger who hypocritically took money from the state and squandered it. I would say he should have stuck to pitching but he was done with that by the time he took up video games.

beyond inequality

Not coincidentally the larger the inequality in the society,                  the more damaging the environmental ethics pursued.            Healing ecosystems, real democracy, an equitable income distribution, non violence, are all connected.

Response to comments on the French election

I find it interesting that neither the pro austerity camp nor the anti austerity camp are actually talking about what is really going on, which is ecosystem collapse and the need to create prosperity by shrinking the economy and our footprint.
My research suggests that the only true economic prosperity anyone is going to get is founded on several principles that no political party on the planet other than the Green Party is talking about.
1.  The ecology is larger than the economy and is always a factor.  No fish, no soil, no economy.
2. Ecological healing is critical, and in old industrial economies is the only way forward
3. Stop climate change and remediate and adapt to  what we can not fix by going to a zero carbon economy because there is already a massive amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
4.  Economies work better when there is less spread between rich and poor.  The purpose of government is to protect the poor from the rich and give voice to the voiceless.  Without that, hard times.
5. Democracy is critical as unless the poor and the indigenious have vested rights in their communities, which means they have a right to determine what happens in their communities and especially have the right to stop all inappropriate development the economy will tilt towards inequality and excessive pollution as well as hard times.
6. Forests are critical to the functioning of civilization.  No civilization has ever been built without ready access to an abundant wood supply.  Europe came out to fhe Black Death and the Middle ages with abundant forests that had regrown after the loss of 1/3 of the people.  The US was built upon forests.  Think San Francisco in 1906 and New Orleans in 2005.  SF had abundant forests for rebuilding, and rebuilt fast.  NOLA is in a place in whicvh forests were already seriously depleted, and rebuilding has been very slow.
China looks like an anomoly, because it has almost no intact forests, but it has simply displaced its wood cutting to the rest of southern Asia, to the severe detriment of the people of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, New Guinea, and Indonesia.  China gets rich, the forest people die.
7. Rebuild the soil.  Chemical agriculture is not cutting it.  Go organic and rebuild soil fertility, waterholding capacity, and carbon reserves. Yeilds will take care of themselves if the soil is taken care of.