Monthly Archives: June 2009


THE 60 U.S. HOTSPOTS FOR YOUNG, TALENTED WORKERS report has just been released by Next Generation Consulting.  It also contains “The Seven Indexes of a Next City.”

Governor Haley Barbour in Iowa

The newly-named chairman of the Republican Governors Association pitched a message of inclusion to a crowd of party activists at a major summer event in Des Moines Thursday night, one of many preludes to the presidential campaign of 2012.  More…

Should Rhode Island Change Its Name?

Most people probably don’t know that the official name for what most of us think of as Rhode Island is actually “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”  In 2010 there will be a referendum on the ballot for the state’s voters to decide the matter unless the governor vetoes the measure that has been passed by both houses of the Rhode Island legislature.

So why the change?  According to an article in the Providence Journal, “Proponents of the name change say that the word ‘plantations’ is offensive to the African-American community because it conjures up images of slavery.”

How Do We Pay for Health Care?

There seem to be weekly snapshot pools on what people think of health care reform.  A better tool, in my opinion, for guaging the public sentiment on this issue is a report prepared for the Kettering Foundation that was released June 19, 2009 at briefings in Washington, DC.   The Stennis Institute held one of the forums last year for this report.  Here’s more info about the report:

The report, titled Public Thinking about Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need, presents outcomes of the 2008 National Issues Forums (NIF) where participants used the issue book titled Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need? in deliberative public forums around the country.

The following are excerpts from the report’s executive summary.

This report examines public thinking about the rising cost of health care–the values, thoughts, insights, and struggles voiced by a diverse collection of thousands of Americans in deliberative forums in 40 states and the District of Columbia from July 2008 to January 2009.  Forum participants gathered in educational and faith-based institutions, clubs and community centers, and libraries to deliberate about an issue that is currently of central importance to this nation–the challenges associated with the rising cost of health care. (report page 6)

Areas of Common Ground

Despite the complexity of the issue, participants in a great many forums did find areas of common ground.

    • People agreed that the issue of cost–the cost of providing both health care and health insurance–poses the greatest threat to the system
    • They favored providing at least minimal insurance to all Americans, especially children.
    • Many strongly endorsed increasing wellness and prevention programs, particularly in schools, saying these could help decrease health-care costs in the long run.  Participants also favored educating the public about making good personal health decisions, and providing incentives for better behavior.
    • Most important–and despite the fact that they did not reach consensus on every aspect of the issue–participants agreed that the nation’s health-care system is in dire need of a complete overhaul and that increased public deliberation and dialogue is crucial to moving forward and reaching that goal. (report page 4)

The report Table of Contents includes:

      • Executive Summary: What Mattered Most
      • A Framework for Public Deliberation
      • Health-Care Costs and the Economy
      • Finger-Pointing…and Some Nuanced Thinking
      • Health as a Public Good
      • Areas of Common Ground
      • Questions and Answers about the Forums
      • Appendices
        • Postforum Questionnaire Results and Demographics
        • Methodology
        • Issue Map
      • About National Issues Forums
      • About Public Agenda and the Report’s Authors
      • About the Kettering Foundation

The report can be downloaded by clicking here, or by contacting the Ruffolo Company at 800-600-4060 (phone) or 937-388-0494 (Fax) and ordering ITEM # 10184.

Jackson, Mississippi and its Web site Woes

If your city is going to get on the Web, it should do it right. The City of Jackson, Mississippi should either update its old Web site – – which is labeled as “The Official City of Jackson, MS” or close it down.  It’s rather embarrassing for users to see a “send a getwell message to Mayor Frank Melton.” The other “official” Web site – – states that, “The City of Jackson is a leader in the use of technology to inform and engage citizens in governmental affairs. Use this portal to increase your civic awareness, understanding, and participation in your City’s government and to connect with City staff, departments, agencies, and their services.”

Overall Economic Performance of 100 Largest Metro Areas

The Brookings Institute recently released a report that tracks the overall performance of the 100 largest metro areas.  Interesting to see the dispersion.  The Jackson, Mississippi metro area landed the in Second 20 Tier.  Very interesting report.  Click here to get to the full report.

Free Leadership Resource

There are hundreds of resources on the Internet on the subject of leadership.  One that I find useful is Leadership Education and Development, Inc.  It’s basically in the seminar and workshop business, but it does offer a free online magazine and a free e-newsletter that I have found useful.  This month’s issue of the magazine contains articles about staying positive, to wit:

The Power of having a Positive Attitude
How Leaders Maintain Positive Energy During Uncertain Times
Positive Endurance for Leaders

Click here to check it out.

10 Most Common Failures of Unsuccesful Leaders

1. Lack energy and enthusiasm
2. Accept their own mediocre performance
3. Lack clear vision and direction
4. Have poor judgment
5. Don’t collaborate
6. Don’t follow the standards they set for others
7. Resist new ideas
8. Don’t learn from mistakes
9. Lack interpersonal skills
10. Fail to develop others

Source: Harvard Business Review, June 2009