Saturday, September 22, 2007

The US State Department has a digital outreach team to correspond online. It includes two Arabic-speaking members. How are you using the Internet to promote your business?

Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild” is being released as a movie. It’s one of my favorite books, I wonder if the movie version will preserve what, to me, was one of it’s main points: Don’t ever give up and slip into neutral, the bridge across the river may be just a few hundred more feet around the next bend.

Don’t plan ahead. At least not way ahead. It is becoming more and more clear that the long-range plan I was taught to do in graduate business school is a waste of time for the entrepreneur and small business owner, regardless of what the Small Business Administration has been teaching since 1954. If long-range planning worked, we’d have a planned economy and not a market economy.

Critics claim that
Denver public school reform is being guided by "policy wonks" enamored of "preprogrammed curricula" and "the latest fads."
That gives the upcoming Denver school board election greater significance than most – it is a referendum, in effect, on the past two years under the leadership of Superintendent Michael Bennet, as well as his plans for the future.

Because the November Denver school board election is so important, all of us here in Denver should all attend at least one of the school hearings that have been scheduled around the city.,1299,DRMN_15_5704413,00.html

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm flattered!

If you Google "John Wren's Journal" right now, this is what comes up:

Wren's eJournal
The Journal has nearly one million paying online readers, generating about $65 million in revenue. Posted by John S. Wren, MBA at 8:50 AM 0 comments ... - 163k - Similar pages

It would be wonderful if this was true, but it's not. As you who are reading this now know, there is no charge for this. One million readers? Right.

This must be someone's idea of a joke. Could it have anything to do with my criticism of the Mayor's bond proposals on the upcoming Denver ballot?
Plans to cut recreation center hours next year in some of Denver's poorest neighborhoods didn't sit well with some City Council members Thursday. .. The Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to cut 3,281 hours at 11 centers, ALL IN POOR NEIGHBORHOODS!!!

Critics of RTD's plan to use diesel-powered passenger cars on the FasTracks line to Boulder and Longmont feel railroaded by the agency's elimination of electric-powered cars.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Denver will spend all of its nearly $19 million contingency fund this year for the first time in memory, and city officials are crossing their fingers that this season will not bring another major snowstorm.

Silt's mayor is being recalled. The recall was initiated by Mayor Pro Tem Tod Tibbetts, who claims Moore has violated a number of state statutes, town ordinances and code of ethics. Moore denies the claims.

A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office. Along with the initiative, referendum, and direct primary, it was one of the major electoral reforms advocated by leaders of the Progressive movement.

New trend, proposal pics. Whether inspired by tenderhearted sentiment, the desire to record history in the making or something more narcissistic, some marriage-minded men are remaking one of humanity’s most private moments into one that can be instantly shared with family, friends and even, thanks to the Internet, virtual strangers. They are conspiring with photographers who, with all the stealth of covert operatives, lurk in crowds, behind bushes and in the darkened recesses of restaurants to capture the delighted, unposed reaction of the fiancĂ©e-in-the-making.

On this day in 1878, Upton Sinclair, author of "The Jungle" and passionate crusader for social reform, was born. Following his death on Nov. 25, 1968, his obituary appeared in The Times:

"The English Queen Mary, who failed to hold the French port of Calais, said that when she died the word 'Calais' would be found written on her heart. I don't know whether anyone will care to examine my heart, but if they do they will find two words there--'Social Justice.' For that is what I have believed in and fought for..."

Wherever Mr. Sinclair looked he saw corruption triumphant and virtue a dauntless but battered cause..."Long ago my friend Mike Gold wrote me a letter, scolding me severely for what he called my 'Jesus complex'; I answered that the world needs a Jesus more than it needs anything else."

Mike Huckabee answers the question, do you believe in evolution?

My daughter emailed me the above with "Inspiring" in the subject line. Yes it is.
So I went to and signed up for his newsletter. Who is in charge of Huckabee's Colorado campaign?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of Burt’s Bees foundations is its creation myth. In 1984 in Maine, the story goes, a graphic artist named Roxanne Quimby met a photographer-turned-beekeeper named Burt Shavitz. She turned his beeswax into candles, hand salves, stove polish and lip balm using old recipes gathered from farmers. She illustrated labels for the products, using Mr. Shavitz’s bearded face as a logo. The pair formed the company in 1989, quickly moving production from a former schoolhouse to a converted bowling alley as sales expanded.

Researchers have detected a striking political dimension to morality. People were asked to identify their position on a liberal-conservative spectrum and then complete a questionnaire that assessed the importance attached to each of the five moral systems. (The test, called the moral foundations questionnaire, can be taken online, at

It was found that people who identified themselves as liberals attached great weight to the two moral systems protective of individuals — those of not harming others and of doing as you would be done by. But liberals assigned much less importance to the three moral systems that protect the group, those of loyalty, respect for authority and purity.

Conservatives placed value on all five moral systems but they assigned less weight than liberals to the moralities protective of individuals.

Researchers believe that many political disagreements between liberals and conservatives may reflect the different emphasis each places on the five moral categories.

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night… Experts say that opinion columns are unlikely to generate much ad revenue, but that they can drive a lot of reader traffic to other, more lucrative parts of The Times site, like topic pages devoted to health and technology.

The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.

“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site,

The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Company, is the only major newspaper in the country to charge for access to most of its Web site, which it began doing in 1996. The Journal has nearly one million paying online readers, generating about $65 million in revenue.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Propoganda on the County of Denver and Mayor's web site: gives J-Hic's view of the upcoming November Bond Election. Here are important facts for Denver voters:

- It will be an all mail in ballot, no polling places
- There are nine separate items, listed on the site
- The Mayor's Infrastructure Taskforce Recommended $25,000,000
- Total cost isover 20X the recommended amount, $526,600,000.
- There is a mounting outrage over the proposal:

Don't let the city bulldoze us poor homeowners into a monetary burden that will break us... if you mistrust them as much as I do, don't give them a penny, that way I'll be able to keep a roof over my head.

What do you think of this massive increase in goverment spending for Denver?

Monday, September 17, 2007

On this date in 1787 The U.S. Constitution was completed and signed by a majority of delegates attending the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.


Buyer beware! Medicine is today very much marketing in search of molacules and machines that will produce a steady stream of revenue for the manufacturer and the physician. This excellent warning shot was fired in yesterday's New York Times:

Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?By GARY TAUBES
New York Times, Sept 16, 2007

What to believe. (edited for clarity)

So how should we respond the next time we’re asked to believe that some medication or some facet of our diet or lifestyle is either killing us or making us healthier? We can fall back on several guiding principles:

1. Assume that the first report of an association is incorrect or meaningless, no matter how big that association might be. Be skeptical.

2. If the association appears consistently in study after study, population after population, but is small — in the range of tens of percent — then doubt it.

3. If the association involves some aspect of human behavior, which is, of course, the case with the great majority of the epidemiology that attracts our attention, then question its validity.

3a. The exception to this rule is unexpected harm. If the subjects are exposing themselves to a particular pill or a vitamin or eating a diet with the goal of promoting health, and, lo and behold, it has no effect or a negative effect — it’s associated with an increased risk of some disorder, rather than a decreased risk — then that’s a bad sign

4. All of this suggests that the best advice is to keep in mind the law of unintended consequences.

The point of this article is that much of what we've been told about what is or isn't good for us is based on guesswork. Taubes talks with Madeleine Brand about his article.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On this date in 1875 J.C. Penny was born, who started his career in retailing here in Colorado.


From Readers Digest, September, 2007
Stand-up Comics’ Funniest Lines
My problem is I belong to so many anonymous groups, everybody know who I am.
Nancy Redman

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose. Brian Kiley

You don’t get married to get sex. Getting married to get sex is like buying a 747 to get free peanuts. Jeff Foxworthy


So if it is not for the free peanuts, why do we get married or have close friends? Melville knew.

This is from Moby Dick by Herman Melville, at the end of Chapter 10. Ishmel tells about his becoming a soul-mate with Queequeg:

After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room
together… He then went about his evening prayers, took out his
idol, and removed the paper fireboard. By certain signs and
symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well
knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case
he invited me, I would comply or otherwise.

I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible
Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator
in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I.
Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and
earth--pagans and all included--can possibly be jealous of an
insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is
worship?--to do the will of God--THAT is worship. And what is the
will of God?--to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man
to do to me--THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow
man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why,
unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship.
Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn
idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent
little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before
him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and
went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world.
But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for
confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say,
there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old
couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus,
then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg--a cosy, loving


But sometimes friendships can take an evil turn. Have you heard of Colorado’s Gang of Four, a cabal so rich and powerful that they can buy elections? As Republican political expert Alan Philip says, it is easy to understand why legislators and candidates in the state of Colorado are wary of getting on the wrong side of them.

Robert Frank talks about this dangerous Kolorado Kash Kabal in his new book about the last few election cycles "Richistan: A Journey Through The American Wealth Boom And The Lives of The New Rich" which you can read online for free; the book is being serialized in my friends Stephen Keating’s very interesting and informative Politics West website.

The Gang (of Four) included Jared Polis, a 32-year-old dot-com whiz who’s already created and sold several tech companies and has a net worth estimated at more than $200 million.

It included Tim Gill, a former software magnate who’s worth more than $400 million and who’s become the nation’s top funder of gay-rights causes.

Rounding out the group was Pat Stryker, the billionaire heiress to the Stryker medical-device fortune, and Rutt Bridges, a geophysicist who made his money creating software for oil exploration and had a fortune worth tens of millions.