Thursday, February 24, 2011

"You load sixteen tons of number 9 coal, and the coal boss says..."

The rush is on to transport Coal to China! Quite possibly from Bellingham. See here and here and here for recent local discussion of this issue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Madison, Wisconsin is on Fire

Chanting "Kill the Bill" and "Recall Walker", Wisconsin union members have stormed the Wisconsin Capital. They are protesting a bill sponsored by the Repbulican Governor that they claim will drastically reduce their rights to a fair wage and fair labor bargaining. One minister announced, "This is no more about the deficit than the war in Iraq was about those imaginary weapons of mass destruction." There is an excellent blog post by Rick Ungar at summarizing what is at stake.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Start-ups in Bellingham!

Today, I attended an thoroughly excellent first meeting of the "Bellingham Entrepreneur Coffee" hosted by NWRIC director John Sechrest  who is executive director of The Northwest Innovation Resource Center. This meeting focused on strategies to create startup groups in Bellingham and Whatcom County.  This effort has been spearheaded this year by the "BIG idea lab"  recently launched by a number of investors. Our "Entrepreneur Coffee" over impressed me with the amount of talent, experience and will that is continuing to be drawn to Bellingham's startup and high tech community.  I find it nearly impossible to imagine any other community with so much underemployed enthusiasm, talent, business experience, and drive.  Just in our small group today, many different backgrounds and experiences were represented.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Of 68,000 sq. ft of Cinemas, Russia, and Cisco

68,000 sq. ft. of Cinema. This is what is coming to Barkley Village, with construction starting this spring. The leasing promo for this development is very upbeat. It extolls the virtues of our fine city: close access to I-5, three higher educational facilities, 20 minutes from Canada, $60K plus 'median family income'.   Below is what this area looks like now  from the sky. The red oval is Haggens Barkley now. The light blue square is where this new complex with theater will be built. You can see a some illustrations here, here, and here. :

Funny, I don't remember anyone asking me if I wanted a 16 plex mega movie theater in my city. I see no evidence of any public hearing on the COB web site and I don't find it listed a "major project" on the COB planning web site.  I have driven by this site many times, as many of us do on our way to the Barkley shopping center. I have always thought to myself that this would be a fine place for Cisco Systems to employee about 5000 engineers. But Cisco isn't bringing any engineers to Whatcom County. Instead, they are going to "fight unemployment in Russia". Cisco will be investing over $1 Billion in the development of "Skolkovo, Russia’s Kremlin-sponsored Silicon Valley."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book of the Century (thus far)....

Reading more like a financial thriller than a dry, academic treatise, The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report may well be the best historical work you will read this year. Or maybe for the next ten years. The FCIC has produced an examination of the financial collapse as shocking as it is revelatory. Most of us understand some of the forces that produced the financial crisis, but the The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report rips them open, suctions away all the vapid blood, and then coolly dissects the players and the partners that colluded in the calamity.