Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's the Labor Market, Stupid

Remember the '90's? Back then a snappy saying gained currency:
"It's the Economy, Stupid". Most people think it still
is, for reasons as varied as the nation's landscape.
But one realization should stand out head and shoulders above
all other and contrary opinions: without businesses' ability to
obtain credit, meaningful increases in hiring won't occur,
the retail sector will experience a grim, Grinch-like holiday
season, and a second recession will follow quickly on the
heels of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Such a scenario
is scarcely rare, regrettably. Check out the 20th century's
recessions and you will find several instances of decades
in which two contractions occurred.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama, attempting to inspire job creation
and infrastructure repair, has been scurrilously attacked
and parodied in seemingly borderline illegal ways. Yet
Obama's unemployment extensions have yielded positive
results, according to Mark Price of the Keystone Research
Center, a purportedly independent think tank. Price claims
there would have been millions more at or below the poverty
line without the extensions, which surely contributed to
American buying power in recent months.

So let's do it! Hey there, banks and businesses sitting
on cash, release that death grip, start lending and hiring!
Christmas is coming; have some faith in the country you
profess to love and admire.

It's the patriotic thing to do.
Don't forget, it's the labor market, stupid.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The U.S.: Neither a Democracy Nor a Meritocracy

September 16, 2010: now that we're in the thicket
of the political season, it's high time we clarify
certain terms, to wit, democracy and meritocracy.
I strongly suggest the USA as a whole is neither:

(1) A Democracy is NOT what Benjamin Franklin
called the new nation on September 17, 1787,
The date our Constitution was signed.
In answer to a woman's query, "What sort of
government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?",
he replied, "A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it."
Actually, it's a representative, democratic republic,
even with subsequent constitutional amendments
and other liberalizing federal statutes which
also followed. All of the candidates, incumbents
and pundits invoking the word democracy should
recall a little thing known as the Electoral College.
In the words of the Pledge of Allegiance:"...and to
the REPUBLIC for which it stands,..."

(2) A Meritocracy can't possibly be what we've got
here, EITHER, with all the incompetence, mismanagement,
misstatement, lack of information, communication and
procedure ad infinitum. What about the well-known cliche'
"It's not what you know, but who"? There's real-world
reason nepotism and cronyism are included in American
English dictionaries. We DO indeed have very able and
knowledgeable people in government, industry and education
--but are they the major percentage? That seems more and
more untrue with each succeeding newscast and political ad.

One fine day in the far-off future our nation may
be able to accurately claim its status as a
democratic meritocracy; I fervently hope so.
Better still if all the other 199 countries
are justly described that way as well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

PG&E, Dangerously Incompetent, is at it again

Not content with building a nuclear reactor near
the Hosgri Earthquake Fault in Diablo Canyon, PG&E
(Pacific Gas and Electric) also succeeded in constructing
a many miles-long natural gas transmission line with
many subsequent problem incidents/issues reported.
This latest gas explosion in California has destroyed
many homes and lives; much of the blame may safely be
laid at PG&E's doorstep. Pointed questions abound:

(1) Where does PG&E get their consulting or in-house
geologists from? What are their credentials, their
acuity, their experience? I challenge their expertise
absolutely, because that is the initial weak link in
the decision/command chain that keeps leading to
serious problems caused by this utility.

(2) Where are the regulators with the requisite
legal and character teeth to stop these dangerous
projects which end up costing way too much in
lives ruined, property and money wasted?

Many thousands must voice their intelligent
outrage with a burning, even fiery critique,
(stylistically, NOT literally, meant!)

Or PG& E will skate off to do it yet again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Extremism is only rarely a virtue

Yes, just a few people can bring many troubles.
There is a U.S. "church" calling itself Dove
(a highly paradoxical appellation, it turns out)
which intends to publicly burn a copy of the Koran.
The fearless leader of this tiny sect (estimated
membership, 50) proclaims he and his are tired
of being intimidated by kings and others, wants to
bring back the U.S. to its rightful place in the

So he thinks our great and glorious nation can
regain its premier position by intentionally
antagonizing irrational, violent extremists abroad?
There is a photo of him and his all white truck
emblazoned with bright red lettering,
"International Burn a Koran Day", 9/11/2010, 6-9 pm".
Mr. "Church of the Dove" Jones is well-advised
to look into a very polished mirror, long and
hard. Maybe then he will counsel his flock to cancel
the ill-advised little conflagration he's planned,
and while he's at it, rename his church too.
Since he and his are NOT peaceful as is the Dove
of the Holy Spirit, how about " U.S. Chapter of
Worldwide Extremists"?

If only this irrational person and his devotees
would consult various history books with a
thoughtful studiousness, they might realize
what has proven true:

Extremism is only rarely a virtue.