Free-Market ‘Chaos’ Versus Planning, in New Orleans

The rebirth of New Orleans does, . . . , require a leap into the unknown. It can’t be meticulously planned. Preserve the old buildings. Rope off the lowlands. But then let imagination takes its course. Unfortunately, Mr. Nagin’s Bring Back New Orleans group is loaded with central planners prescribing a dream city built around such highlights as light-rail transport, a “jazz district” and a neuroscience center. Typical is Michael Cowan, head of the city’s Human Relations Commission, who warned that “the alternative to a ‘good-enough’ plan for the future of our city is free-market chaos, also known . . . as every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.”
Actually, it was precisely this chaos that made New Orleans a great city in the first place. It was planning — specifically, the horrifying housing projects, largely destroyed in Katrina; the stultifying school system; the Superdome and other wasteful public-works projects — that held the city back.

For the full commentary, see:
JAMES K. GLASSMAN. “CROSS COUNTRY; Back to the Future.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., January 12, 2006): A13.

“If you’re giving while you’re living, you’re knowing where it’s going”

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has published a short book, “The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving,” that lays out some basic ground rules for donating to higher education. These include placing clear restrictions on gifts, working with a particular professor (and, if possible, bypassing the development office) and avoiding endowments in perpetuity. As Sir John Templeton wisely said: “If you’re giving while you’re living, you’re knowing where it’s going.”
Obviously, this sort of due diligence does require time and effort on the part of the donor, But if even a few more philanthropists were watching where their funds ended up, college officials would surely monitor their programs more carefully. There have been a few celebrated cases in recent years in which donors have asked for their funds to be returned after discovering that they were misused, and these cases have sent a shudder through the academic community.

For the full commentary, see:
JAMES PIERESON. “Only Encouraging Them.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., November 18, 2005): W13.

“Better Coffee Rockefeller’s Money Can’t Buy”

(p. 263) In the middle of this fierce competition, with its low quality standards and apparent market saturation, a New York nut vendor and restaurateur proved that a new brand stressing quality could triumph.

 . . .

Black understood the power of advertising.  In radio spots, which blanketed the New York metropolitan airwaves,  Black’s second wife, Jean Martin, sang a hummable jingle:

Chock full o’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee,

Heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee.

(p. 264) Chock full o’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee-

Better coffee Rockefeller’s money can’t buy.

By August 1954, less than a year after its debut, Chock full o’ Nuts had grabbed third place among vacuum-packed coffees in New York City.



Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

(Note:  ellipsis added.)


The Creation of “Freedom” in Iraq


Freedom.jpg "Freedom" (oil painting by Esam Pashwa). Source of image:


When Saddam Hussein fell, artist Esam Pashwa pulled down a huge poster of Sadam and painted a mural underneath. The gesture, and the art, attracted the attention of art expert Peter Falk, who contacted and encouraged Pashwa. He learned that Pashwa, in addition to his art, has served as a translator for the coalition forces in Iraq. Falk has organized a show of Pashwa’s work in a New York gallery.

As of 2/1/06, the "Freedom" oil painting above was offered for sale through the gallery. For more information: Peter Hastings Falk Hastings Art Management Services, Inc. P.O. Box 833 Madison, CT 06443 203.245.4761

(The source of most of the information in the entry above, was a CNN report/interview entitled "The Art of War" that was broadcast on 2/1/06. It is viewable at at:


“Going Postal” Shows that Free Market Jobs Are Not the Only Ones with Stress

WASHINGTON (AP) – The deadly shootings at a California mail processing plant are a grim reminder of cases in the 1980s and ’90s that raised public concern and brought the post office and its employees and supervisors together in an effort to end violence at work.
Postmaster General John Potter met with union leaders Tuesday to discuss the tragedy, while Deputy Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe headed to the scene of the shootings.
Donahoe urged all postal employees to stay vigilant about facility security.
“That’s the best line of defense to keep ourselves safe,” he said, urging workers to make sure all doors close correctly and all locks function properly, and that only authorized people are in postal facilities.
In the California case, the shooter had taken an identification badge from a postal worker at gunpoint, postal officials said.
A 1986 case in Edmond, Okla., resulted in 14 people being killed before a disgruntled carrier took his own life. It was followed by a series of killings stretching into the 1990s that led to the rise of the phrase “going postal.”
In 1992, the post office and several of its unions and supervisors organizations signed a joint statement calling for zero tolerance of violence in the workplace, as well as banning harassment, intimidation, threats or bullying.
Some incidents were traced to disputes between workers and their managers, and in the statement the Postal Service promised that people who do not treat others with dignity or respect would not be rewarded or promoted.

For the full story, see the online version of the Omaha World-Herald:
“Postal Shooting a Grim Reminder of Past.” Omaha World-Herald (Weds., February 1, 2006).