Assorted Stuff on the Eve of Labor Day
A couple of weeks ago, we brought you list news from a couple of business publications, Inc. and Forbes, that didn't bode well for Cleveland. In September's issue of Entrepreneur Mag, we go for the Triple Crown. Its annual list of the best cities for entrepreneurs doesn't list Cleveland among the top dozen such cities. No surprise there, of course. But when the feature package breaks things down by region, looking more closely at the midwest, Columbus and Cincy fare well (coming in at numbers 3 and 4, respectively), but NE Ohio is nowhere to be found. At least we avoided the ignominy of being called the region's "economic black hole." That honor went to Detroit, which of course is reeling from the devastating ripple effects of troubles at Ford and GM.
The Real Race Begins. In an election year, the day after Labor Day traditionally marks the start of the real race, when voters' attention turns from summer diversions to politics. While insiders and political junkies have been debating and obsessing over this stuff for months, most people haven't paid more than scant attention to the races. That slowly begins to turn for millions of people beginning this week (in part because the general media, reacting to the conventional wisdom I just outlined, proceeds to cover election races with greater intensity, thereby helping to make that conventional wisdom true). Anyway, this Washington Post piece by the B&B twins (Balz and Broder) nicely surveys where things now stand across the country. The picture, naturally, is looking good for Democrats, who seem almost a sure bet to retake the House (though picking up enough seats to win control of the Senate remains a stretch). But with the fifth anniversary of 9/11 falling soon, coupled with the Republican party's shamelessness about continuing to demagogue the issue of national security, all bets are off.
War of the Worlds. The new issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, a once-ponderous but now always-interesting journal, contains an especially insightful piece by the prolific British historian Niall Ferguson. He explores this question: "Will the 21st century be as bloody as the 20th?" His take: "The answer depends partly on whether or not we can understand the causes of the last century's violence. Only if we can will we have a chance of avoiding a repetition of its horrors. If we cannot, there is a real possibility that we will relive the nightmare." Which is a long way of saying what philosopher George Santayana famously said in a more concise fashion: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Anyway, it's worth chasing down a copy at your favorite bookstore or library, since only a brief preview is available online, unless you're a subscriber (which I'm not). And while we're on the subject of articles one can read in print but not online (at least not yet), the six-foot-tall redhead Texas hellion, Molly Ivins, gets off an amusing George W. observation in the current issue of Progressive Magazine. "I think the problem is the rest of the world doesn't understand Dekes (Delta Kappa Epsilon). We need a Deke short-course in embassies around the globe." Here's one of her earlier columns, and here (if you can stand it) is some more information about the fraternity which helped mold the towering intellect of our current Oval Office occupant. Don't miss this page, which lists other prominent Dekes.
Another Program Worth Checking Out. A week ago, before heading off for a journalism conference in Chicago (which I'll write about soon), I outlined some of the interesting writing and reading-related programs scheduled to take place around the region this fall. But the truth is, as comprehensive as that list might have seemed, it only began to scratch the surface of all the interesting things I've come across lately. So I'll be sure to soon update that list and publish it here, in hopes that you might consider attending at least a couple of them for some mind-expansion. But one of the more interesting additions I wanted to alert you to now, so that you can save the date, is set for the evening of September 21st at Loganberry Books on Larchmere Boulevard, just north of Shaker Square. I've written before about how Loganberry may just be the coolest interior space devoted to books in the entire region. But that evening, beginning at 7 p.m., it will also be host to an interesting discussion about a crucial topic: the growing legal assault on journalists' ability to protect the confidentiality of their sources. I wrote about that topic in my very first Media Hound column, and on the 21st, my friends/colleagues Ken Zirm, a media lawyer, and Frank Lewis, editor of the Free Times, will take up the issue in a broader way. Don't miss it.