Tag Archives: TedX Buffalo

Ted Cruz, TEDx, and Tea Party

15 Oct

I hope Ted Cruz and all our other Canadian friends enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I hope my American brethren enjoyed being reminded what a genocidal monster / proud Italian explorer Christopher Columbus was. Here are some things. 

1. I posted something last week with specific questions, but although the article racked up 18 comments, no one answered them specifically, so I’ll try again

What do you think our regional priorities should be? How do we sell fundamental, deep regional political, social, educational, and economic change to a conservative and resistant population? How can we sell these big ideas while convincing people (a) that they aren’t going to “lose” while others “win”, and that these changes will benefit them, too?

2. Today is Buffalo TEDx day, and if you can’t be there, you can follow along here

3. The tea party shut down the government over Obamacare. Everything about it has been a disaster for the Republican Party. How many times have you heard these dummies denounce the size and scope of the federal government? How many times have you read how their pledgeholder Grover Norquist wants to shrink the federal government so he can drown it in its bathwater? Yet, when these guys get the government shutdown they want, they hold an unironic protest in Washington, throwing “Barrycades” at the White House? The shutdown and looming default fears have completely supplanted the problems people have had with the Obamacare signup website in the news. A deal is expected to be struck sometime today or tomorrow, and it will be a resounding defeat for Republicans in congress. It’s so bad that some are calling on Democrats to show mercy and help out. When the deal is struck, the government will reopen, the debt limit so our creditors are repaid, and there will be a deal to revisit and soften the harshness of the sequester. But at least Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman will still try to arrest Obama in November, so that’s nice.

Remember: Brian Higgins opposed the government shutdown and wants the government to pay its debts. Chris Collins supported the government shutdown, and wanted to link defunding Obamacare with reopening government and raising the debt ceiling. He held the government hostage to ensure that average people would have a harder time obtaining affordable, quality health insurance, and maintaining the health care status quo. The government has lost billions of dollars during the shutdown, and small businesses would be devastated by the global shock a default would bring. Collins is simply irresponsible – bad for America and bad for New York.  

4. Ideas for what to do with Buffalo’s Outer Harbor are like assholes – everyone’s got one, and they all stink

TEDx Buffalo 2012

10 Oct

Yesterday, the second annual TEDx Buffalo was held at the Montante Center at Canisius College. It was a day filled with good ideas and inspirational people. The theme of this year’s event was “The World in Our Backyard” – it started literally with amateur astronomer Alan Friedman’s incredible images of our solar system, taken from telescopes and cameras set up in his backyard. Kevin Gardner, the founder of Five Points Bakery, argued that change in the world starts by looking at yourself and making positive changes in your own life. 

Dr. Jonathan Lawrence of Canisius College showed that Buffalo’s population is becoming more diverse, and that we have people and faiths from around the world right here, and he sends his students out to learn about and document others’ traditions. Tom McManus from Kegworks explained how Buffalo is uniquely positioned to be a leader in e-commerce – once set up to do that, a business is literally a global one. Fully 45% of the US population lives within the 2-day package shipment radius of Buffalo, and our proximity to Canada makes importation speedier than reliance on the larger domestic ports. 

Matthew Walter from Oogie Games explained how a dramatic car crash caused him to utter a phrase – “where am I” – that everyone should ask themselves with respect to what they’re doing with their lives – if you don’t like the answer, take needed risks and change something.  Executive Chef James Roberts extolled the virtues of mentorship and how it helps you to improve yourself, to help others, and to organically grow the best staff you could ask for. Our own Chris Smith talked about the July 2011 genesis of his Cash Mobs idea, which is a reverse Groupon that has spread literally throughout the world; a grassroots movement to help local businesses in a tough economy. Joy Kuebler talked about a “pop-up” playground that she helped organize on Buffalo’s East Side. Giving kids tools and materials and asking them to use their imagination to build something to play on, it was incredible to see the results. 

Geoff “DeafGeoff” Herbert, a hearing-impaired DJ, explained how it’s more important to listen than to hear.  Adrienne Bermingham explained how anyone – even the very young can help improve the environment around them through community mapping. Kate Holzemer mesmerized the audience with beautiful, haunting solo renditions of Bach pieces on the viola. 

Interspersed with a selection of videos from the global TED conference and some local iterations, our local speakers were all though-provoking and inspirational in their own ways. They all helped cement the idea that Buffalo and WNY doesn’t exist in some vacuum, insulated from the rest of the world. Instead, even the smallest change, the simplest idea, can have a global and positive impact. 

 

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TEDxBuffalo: Stacey Watson, Drop In Nation

27 Oct

The videos from TEDxBuffalo 2011 are being uploaded to YouTube, and I’m going to post some of them here over the next few days. TEDx is about “ideas worth sharing”, and there were many presented at the Montante Center a few weeks ago.

This talk from Drop In Nation‘s Stacey Watson is perhaps the most compelling, relevant, and important given that day. It addresses the tragic state of education in the United States in general, and Buffalo in particular. There are thousands of kids dropping out of school and ending up on the streets with no education and fewer prospects. A lost generation of sorts. Watson is a dynamo who has devoted her life to changing that – to helping these kids get their lives back on track. In my opinion, her program is a model that could – and should – be replicated throughout the nation.

Drop In Nation‘s motto is “Innovate, Motivate, Educate”. You can donate to its mission via this PayPal link.

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