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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Less Pork -- Even in Minnesota

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial on "political pork" in today's paper. As Minnesota's next U.S. Senator, I want you to know that I won't only vote against pork projects in other senator's states, I will vote against them in my own state of Minnesota.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Uldrich to Shine Some Light on Washington, DC

It has been said that sunshine is the best disinfectant. In that vein, check out this short, 35-second webcast demonstrating how I will use technology to change the culture of Washington, DC and, in the process, give citizens -- not lobbyists -- more power:

(Note: Just hit the first icon below the screen and the video will appear.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

No to Off-Shore Drilling; Yes to Wave Power

Because of both the Republicans and Democrats incomptence, America still does not have a long-term energy plan. As a result, the Republicans' short-sighted solution is to open up off-shore drilling. Amazingly, it appears the Democrats are going to -- yet once again -- roll over and acquiesce.

The Republicans and Democrats lack for foresight, vision and leadership would be funny -- if it weren't so tragic.

I have written an entire book on "clean technology," but one technology I will pursue as the next United States senator from Minnesota is wave power. I invite you to check out this cool video on its potential.

It's time for new thinking. It's time for real leadership.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Want and Need Your Help

Dear Friend, Supporter and Interested Parties:

The video posted above is just the beginning of what will be the most innovative campaign in Minnesota political history. More will be coming in the days and weeks ahead.

To turn this dream into reality, I want and need your help!

If you like the video please forward it to as many family, friends and colleagues as you know. I can't -- and won't -- compete with Norm Coleman and Al Franken's $15 million dollars, but the Internet is a great (and inexpensive) equalizer.

To demonstrate it's power, I showed the video to a young woman who use to baby sit my two children. She absolutely loved it and then forwarded it to 725 of her "friends" on FaceBook. That's the power of the Internet!

Now, you don't need to have 725 "friends" on Facebook or MySpace to help me. If you just forward it to a few friends with a personal note -- it can make a difference.

Also, while I don't intend to raise $15 million, I do need your financial support. Please consider making an online contribution. (Or if you prefer, you can also mail a check to "Jack Uldrich for U.S. Senate", 4901 Emerson Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419).

Thank you for your support!

Jack Uldrich

P.S. You'll be seeing and hearing more from me and my campaign soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I'm Running for U.S. Senate

Over the course of the past few days I have thought long and hard about my decision to run for the United States. The best way to convey to you the rationale for my decision is to share some of my favor quotes with you. They come from a diverse group of individuals including Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, John F. Kennedy, Gandhi and Alan Kay, and are listed below in no particular order:

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
--President John F. Kennedy

The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
--Albert Einstein

Never doubt that a small deeply committed group of individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has.”
--Margaret Mead

The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
--Alan Kay

The two common themes which tie the quotes together are a compelling commitment to the future and the need for individuals to recognize that they have a role (and, I would argue, a responsibility) in creating that future.

For the past five years, since I have left the Ventura Administration, I have written a series of books. Two have been on nanotechnology: The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business and Investing In Nanotechnology; two have been on the topic of leadership: Into the Unknown: Leadership Lessons from Lewis & Clark's Daring Westward Expedition and Soldier, Stateman and Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall. More recently, in 2008, I have had two books published: Jump the Curve: 50 Essential Strategies to Help Companies Deal with Emerging Technologies and Green Investing: How to Profit from Environment-Friendly Technologies.

To achieve these goals, however, we need leadership – real leadership. The change that is being hoisted upon society by the forces of nanotechnology, biotechnology, the mapping of the human genome, and, more broadly, globalization, are very real. We can either harness these forces to create a better society or we can close our eyes and pretend they don’t exist or, alternatively, hope they’ll go away.

The latter two options are, of course, not solutions at all. Therefore, I am of the very strong opinion that we don’t have any alternative but to engage society in a discussion about our future. The bottom-line is this: we can either allow others to create our future or we can create it ourselves.

I choose the latter. And because I have not yet heard any of the other candidates for U.S. Senate talk in any meaningful way about how they intend to create this better future, I have decided to put my “money where my mouth is.” Said another way, it is time for me to put my words and beliefs into action, and one way I can do that is by running for – and winning – a seat in the U.S. Senate.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please encourage others to visit the site and post their thoughts and ideas as well (I intend to update the blog on a regular basis). The first step to creating this new future is to engage others in a meaningful dialogue about how we can create it.

Jack Uldrich

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Global Katrina?

In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Gulf Coast and left in its destructive wake 255 people dead, 15,000 homeless and over a billion dollars in damage. In 1969, another disaster struck the U.S.—a relatively mild Hong Kong flu pandemic claimed the lives of 34,000 U.S. citizens

In the aftermath of Katrina, the losses of Camille look tame. Similarly, the next pandemic to strike America—and the world—has the potential to dwarf the 1969 pandemic. It has been that estimated a “medium-level epidemic” could kill up to 207,000 Americans and cost $166 billion. An H5N1 avian influenza (the type most feared if it becomes transmittable from human to human), could claim 16 American million lives and impose unimaginable economics costs.

In the August edition of Foreign Affairs Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Affairs, and Michael Osterholm, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, had articles warning of the pending dangers of the coming pandemic.

Both experts were careful to note that the next pandemic is difficult to predict. It could be next month, next year or in ten years. But what both said is that the “reality of a coming pandemic cannot be avoided. Only its impact can be lessened.” The warning is eerily similar in its premonitory description to article in National Geographic last October documenting what would happen in the event of a major hurricane slamming into New Orleans.

While the lessons of Katrina are still fresh in our mind, our political leaders must not just focus on figuring what went wrong with our lack of preparation and poor response to Katrina, they must also turn their attention to improving our preparations to deal with the coming pandemic.

We don’t know exactly when it will hit, but—like a major hitting the Gulf Coast—we now it is coming and we know are not doing enough to prepare. Our public health experts are now telling us that our first line of defense against a pandemic—flu antivirals—is pitifully small.

What is tragic is that these antivirals, if aggressively administered at the site of an outbreak, have a good chance—like a strong levy system—of controlling the flu. To date though, the Food and Drug Administration has only been granted an additional $80 million to stockpile antivirals. It is the equivalent of making a small pile of sandbags in advance of a Category 5 hurricane.

Even more shortsighted than this is our failure to create the necessary infrastructure to develop a good vaccine and then quickly distribute it to a global population in the event of pandemic. It is estimated that at peak capacity only about 14 percent of the world’s population would be vaccinated within a year of an outbreak. One potential solution is to bolster the modest $400 million budget of the World Health Organization to address this dangerous shortcoming.

It is now clear that a deadly and destructive global pandemic is somewhere on the horizon. And like a hurricane, it can’t be stopped in its entirety but it can be limited. To do so, however, we must begin fortifying the equivalent of our levee system by creating an adequate supply of flu antivirals, as well as strengthening our emergency response systems by improving out vaccine production and distribution system.

Unfortunately, because of Katrina we now understand the cost of being unprepared. The time to head off this global crisis—a crisis that could quite possibly kill hundreds of millions world and cripple the global economy—is now. The responsibility is ours. The question is: will we learn the right lesson in time?

Jack Uldrich is the former head of the Minnesota Planning Agency and the author of Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Embracing Change: A Useful Analogy

As I continue to explore my run for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota with the Independence Party, I have endured my fair share of criticism from people who question the relevance of my work in the field of nanotechnology to my run for the senate.

Mike Treder of the Center of Responsible Nanotechnology has a good post on his blog that helps explain why my experience may be exactly what we need in the U.S. Senate. He highlights a quote from the recently released Millenium Report which states: "Many people still do not appreciate how fast science and technology (S&T) will change over the next 25 years, and given this rapid development along several different fronts, the possibility of technology growing beyond human control must now be taken seriously ..."

The report is exactly right: few people have any idea how fast things are changing. One way, however, I have successfully gotten people to think about the future is to the cite a quote from the federal government's first report on nanotechnology. It stated: "Because of nanotechnology we will see more change in the next 25 years than we saw in the last 100 years." To make this point more relevant, I then take my listeners back to 1905. In 1905, I tell them:

-- There were only 144 miles of paved road in America;
-- Only 8000 automobiles;
-- 40% of the American population lived or worked on farms;
-- Less than 5% of the population had even a high school education; and
-- Life expectancy was only 47.

My point is that we have seen radical change in the last 100 years and now, due to nanotechnology -- and other technologies, we can expect to see a comparable amount of change in the next generation!

This means that by 2030, the world will be as different from today ... as today is from 1905! It is impossible to imagine what exactly our world will look like but I am confident it'll be a good one ... provided we have leaders with the foresight and wisdom to embrace technology appropriately.

I am not arrogant enough to claim that I yet possess the wisdom but I do know that unlike my Republican and Democratic opponents that I am at least thinking about these issues and trying to prepare society today for the inevitable change that is coming tomorrow.

Jack Uldrich