Thursday, May 28, 2015


Maybe cities, like Detroit, are obsolete. 
First there was the family, Mother and her children. Then in some cultures the dad and other relatives became part of the extended family.  This got larger and became a tribe.  Many tribes merged into a clan.  Then things got complicated, some tribes and clans merged into nations.  Other tribes formed cities.  The large cities conquered surrounding territory and became city states, often with extensive territories, empires.
Eventually modern nations, with subdivisions called states, provinces, counties and cities evolved. Unfortunately the boundaries of these subdivisions have become in many ways obsolete.  Cities on opposite banks of a river may be in different states, but have more in common with one another than they do with their home state.  Suburban residents outside a city may make more use of some city services: libraries, museums, colleges than residents within.  Some cities require critical employees to live within, even though this may be a financial or cultural hardship.  It may deprive the city of the best candidate for some jobs, like teachers and police officers.
Many cities have learned to blur the lines to improve services.  Port districts manage the entire waterfront of multiple cities.  Many utilities are based on topographic boundaries rather than political, and some school districts are based on demographic boundaries.  Regional transportation has largely replaced municipal.
Unfortunately some cities, like Detroit, appear to be locked into the city state mentality and try to be everything to everyone within the arbitrary (historic) boundary, while at the same time supporting services that benefit non-residents more than taxpayers.  With today’s information technology there is no reason for all city services to have the same boundaries.  A separate service district for each service can be designed and managed to maximize efficiency, within much larger boundaries, such as county or state.  This of course might make mayors and city councils obsolete, but I can live with that.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ISIS is piracy on land

We cannot defeat ISIS or Al Qaeda by thinking of it as a government. Our outmoded strategy of killing the leader is a throwback to medieval times when capturing the enemy king meant you won. But each ISIS cell is more like a pirate crew. Their leaders are more like a pirate captain, answerable only to his crew and totally dependent on booty. They have no capacity to create what they need to function. Like pirates they are funded by what they steal "liberate, confiscate, commandeer". Killing a "leader" is just a promotional opportunity for the next in line to fight over.

To fight they need to steal ordinance.  To defeat them they have to be deprived of everything they steal.  Fortunately those things are easy targets. It is easy to hide a "sheikh" in a crowd, but where do you hide a tank or howitzer in the desert?   If it is hidden, it is ineffective.  The key to defeating them, which the Saudi's seem to understand is to destroy that which they love, hardware. The threat of death is no deterrent to those who think that to die in jihad is desirable.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I feel the last thing the Republicans want, is a Republic. Their goal seem to be an oligarchy of only Republicans in power, chosen by other invisible Republicans.
It's a system proven to sort of work, in China.