Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

In light of Steve Jobs recent resignation as CEO (he's still Chairman) of Apple, I recently viewed a wonderful commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005.

It's not flashy although he makes some insightful points and offers wise advice. A great speech for anyone to see yet particularly important for our future generation - the YOUTH around the world.

My friend Brian eloquently described his talent this way:

"First there was Henry Ford; revolutionary, visionary, changed not only the game, but the rules and the playing field. Then Steve Jobs; revolutionary, visionary, changed the game, the rules, the playing field AND got just about everyone to come and join the game."

This description (from NY Times) is my favorite and captures the essence of the man::
"Even when Microsoft or Google or Hewlett-Packard tried to mimic Apple’s every move, run its designs through the corporate copying machine, they never succeeded. And that’s because they never had such a single, razor-focused, deeply opinionated, micromanaging, uncompromising, charismatic, persuasive, mind-blowingly visionary leader." 
I don't think we will see anyone come close to his genius in my lifetime. The title of my blog, "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" will make sense once you watch the 14 minute video.

The link is below:

Happy Gswede Sunday!

An old Mac I saw in the office of a technology professor earlier this year

Sense and Sensibility – President Bush (The Elder)

The NY Times writer and author Thomas Friedman is rarely off point.

His article on George H.W. Bush (father of our recent president) will not disappoint those who appreciate his wisdom and insight. It’s refreshing and shines a light on a man who as Friedman says (and I agree), is “underrated”.

Some may be surprised by Bush Sr’s actions in office:

1)    He wasn’t afraid to raise taxes despite saying that he wouldn’t. His common sense prevailed unlike many American “conservatives on the right” today. 

Friedman quote
Despite having run on the promise of “Read my lips: No new taxes,” when the deficit started spiraling to dangerous levels under his presidency, Bush agreed to a compromise with Democrats to raise several taxes, along with spending cuts, as part of a 1990 budget deal that helped to pave the way for the prosperity of that decade. It definitely hurt his re-election, but he did it anyway. 

2)     After taking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, he didn’t wage war in Baghdad. As everyone knows, his son (George H. Bush.) started a war on the basis of information that has proven to be false.  Again, a big dose of sense by the elder Bush.

Friedman quote:
George H.W. Bush also believed that to be a conservative was to act with “prudence,” one of his favorite words and a philosophy he demonstrated in foreign policy by deciding, once he defeated Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, not to follow him to Baghdad. 

In addition, he was sensible in embracing science.  

Friedman quote:
George H.W. Bush also believed in science. How many Republicans know that he and his aide Boyden Gray pioneered the use of cap-and-trade to deal — very effectively — with the problem of acid rain produced by power-plant emissions? 

I find it hard to look at today’s G.O.P. without thinking how far it has drifted from the kind of balanced conservatism the elder Bush brought to politics. Today’s G.O.P. has gone from espousing cap-and-trade to deal with pollution to espousing the notion that all the world’s climate scientists have secretly gotten together and perpetrated a “hoax,” called climate change, in order to expand government — all of this at a time of record heat waves and climate disruptions. 

Not all of Bush’s actions were of the sensible kind.  A stain that Freidman failed to mention is the William Horton drama – a campaign ad instrumental in helping Bush win the White house. 

For those unfamiliar, it was a TV campaign showing prisoners going in and out of a revolving prison door. The ad’s intention was to showcase the “light on crime” record of Michael Dukakis (1988 Democrat Presidential Nominee).  William Horton was serving a life sentence when he was released on a weekend parole program during the Dukakis administration in Massachusetts. While out, he attacked a white couple.  Even though many didn’t like this type of racial and fear-based advertising, it was very effective. 

A quote about and link to the “Revolving Door” ad is below:

This stark and unsettling ad from the Bush campaign doesn't mention the notorious escaped convict William Horton by name. (Although he went by William, the Bush campaign referred to him by the less respectable name “Willie”). However, with its release just a few weeks after the independently financed ad "Willie Horton" had generated controversy and national press coverage, the connection was clear. Under the direction of campaign manager Roger Ailes, Dukakis was linked with the case of the African American felon who fled Massachusetts during a weekend furlough and attacked a young white couple in Maryland.

Bush’s main strategist, the late Lee Atwater was a primary force behind the campaign.  It seemed to work brilliantly as Dukakis lost his double digit lead from the summer of 1988 – and subsequently the election.  Atwater later apologized for the ad which is a good thing. 

A few quotes are below:

Dukakis is the person to whom Atwater most famously apologized, in a startlingly candid, first-person piece in Life magazine published two months before his death. 

Atwater recounted how, speaking of Dukakis during the '88 campaign, he promised to “strip the bark off the little bastard” and “make Willie Horton his running mate.” 

 Then he said: “I am sorry for both statements . . . the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not.

In my opinion, presidential nominees should stay away from this kind of racial advertising – messages that play to the fears of the misguided, uneducated or hateful.

From the aforementioned points above, Bush Sr. was a president who made decisions based on logical insight and most importantly, decisions that kept the best interest of Americans in mind.  We could use some of his prudence today.

William Horton aside, many of his actions were sensible although I doubt he would fare well in the current Republican Party, whose shining stars (Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry) are more suited for a comedy tour.  In 2011, far too many conservatives and/or Tea Party supporters seem to care less about the country and more about keeping Obama out of a 2nd term. 

Any intelligent or compassionate person knows that in order for America to begin to rise out of the financial ashes, taxes MUST be raised.  Judging from his past history, Bush Sr. would probably be in agreement with a tax increase in 2011, unlike his son, who kept taxes low while authorizing two wars.

Even the “Gipper” and most beloved conservative (President Ronald Reagan) raised taxes!

Who on the conservative or Tea Party side will be courageous enough to show some or any of the sense and sensibility of George “Poppy” Bush? 

Happy Gswede Sunday!
Another George (aka Gswede) enjoying the Good Life in Sardinia, Itlay - June 2011

Sweden’s Strong Economy

The overarching lesson the Swedes offer is this: When you have a financial crisis, and Sweden had a nasty one in the early 1990s, learn from it. Don’t simply muddle through and hope that growth will eventually return. Rather, address the underlying causes of the crisis to create an economic and financial system that will be more resilient when bad times return.

I’ve been singing the praises of the Swedish Economy (and some of our great benefits) for years although it’s not easy to explain to those who don’t live here. The quote above begins to clarify why Sweden has risen above the global financial abyss.

Without waxing poetic, I will let two articles speak for themselves. They will provide some insight about how socialism benefits those in Sweden with children along with some facts about our strong economy.

1) My article on parental leave. I had 5 months off from work TWICE – once with each of my children! The link:

2) The Washington Post online article titled “5 economic lessons from Sweden – The Rock Star of the Recovery.” The lessons are below. To read the full story, click on the link above.  
  1. Keep your fiscal house in order when times are good, so you will have more room to maneuver when things are bad.
  1. Fiscal stimulus can be more effective when it is automatic.
  1. Use monetary policy aggressively.
  1. Keep the value of your currency flexible.
  1. Bankers will always make blunders; just make sure they don’t doom the economy.
It’s important to remember that despite having a great economy, not everyone is reaping the benefits, including some immigrants I know. A quote from one:

36 year old Immigrant from USA living in Stockholm:

“Amazing how stable the economy is yet I know so many people who aren't employed or simply partially employed.. wait they're not Swedes.  Nevermind.”

It’s never paradise for everyone in a country although most people in this country have a VERY good life – something I hope they are grateful for.

I’m grateful.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

The Swedish Flag