Archive for August, 2010

Out of Crisis, A New US

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Every seventy-five years or so America endures a period of crisis that lasts from twelve to seventeen years. They include both profound economic and security effects that put the country at leviathan levels of risk. The founding of our country was itself a period of crisis; later was the Civil War and Reconstruction, and in the twentieth century the Great Depression and World War II. The current period of crisis in now three years old – marked by the date our capital markets began to realize they were standing in the quicksand of credit default swaps secured by vapor and hubris. I would argue we are far from seeing the depth of the current crisis, nor are we even near a midpoint. It would be ahistorical to predict otherwise. We have yet to even see the axe of conflict fall. No, 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan don’t count – at least not yet, although they probably provide the framework for much wider conflict with many more actors involved. I remain convinced that our capacity to start and perpetuate war far exceeds our ability to end it. The preposterous realization that we are unable to even define what a ‘win’ is, is all the evidence anyone needs to defend that claim. Be that as it may, my intent here is not to debate the dilemmas that face policymakers and provide fuel for Gadarene punditry today; rather to explore what historians will later observe with the crisis behind them, as they write the inevitable story of how American identity was changed forever (or at least until the next crisis in around 2095). If we are smart, we will write a different future than historians might expect. But we better wise-up soon.


Art? Can? Huh?

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Okay. I’m picturing the Red Bull marketing group, all together on a national retreat, discussing creative ideas to promote their brand. After 2 or 3 Chambulls, a voice suggests an art competition based solely on art derived from Red Bull cans. The rest of the group chuckles and looks to refill their glasses. One experienced, spikey-haired kind of guy, who really understands the brand, pauses, and then nods. Thus, the Art of the Can is born.

Elizabeth Barnwell, Dallas artist, says “art is the act of creating;” well, creation was the definitely on display at the second Dallas Art of the Can exhibit being held at The Galleria Dallas. The Red Bull Art of the Can is a hunt for creativity and is open to everyone, from full-time artists to those with a creative itch. There are no rules but this one: Red Bull cans must be the primary material for your art.

I love, love this idea. It’s so out-of-the-box (or can!) that it has major appeal to my right brain needs. This traveling contest/exhibit, taking place across the world since 1997, is really one of the most innovative art shows I have ever seen. And, get this: the art is really good.

Get out to the Galleria Dallas this week and check it out. Oh yeah, one of the exhibits is a life-sized Red Bull racing plane. Yea – it’s crazy, but its Red bull – so anything goes!

See more photos here!

Yes, Bankers Have a Heart

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Wells Fargo recently changed the name of all Wachovia Banks to Wells Fargo Bank as part of a recently completed merger of the two banks.  Wells Fargo now has more than 700 banks in Texas and more than 1,000 ATMs.  In and of itself, that is big news and Wells Fargo Bank now has a considerably larger presence in Texas and the Metroplex.

And while corporate transactions such as the combination of these two banks are important, the heart and soul of organizations come from value systems articulated by their leaders and carried out by their employees every day at the local level.

Wells Fargo recently contributed $100,000 to Builders of Hope and its leader, Norman Henry.  As part of their commitment to community service, Wells Fargo Community Bank President, Scott Wallace, and fellow staffers Dora Ramirez and Stephanie Couser, helped organize and assemble close to 30-35 employee volunteers who worked on three different projects with Builders of Hope in West Dallas.  Their story is presented in this video.

We tip our hats to Scott, Dora, Stephanie and Wells Fargo Bank for their monetary contribution to Builders of Hope and the contribution of service hours to help the people and community of West Dallas.   This is but one example of the considerable amount of community service the people of Wells Fargo Bank contribute to our city.

We welcome our readers to post stories about extraordinary people who have given of themselves to help others.