Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joblessness: The Real Culprit

The Associated Press: Obama tempers economic news with caution on jobs: "'Economic growth is no substitute for job growth'"

Honestly, I wish folks would stop skirting the issues and just identify the real culprit in the employment slump: the employers.

Here's the reality of the situation -- and, mind you, I've not heard this anywhere else, so this could be a "breaking news" item for the rest of the world:

Long before the markets collapsed, industries in general were feeling a great pinch right around the lungs area, literally sucking the air and life out of every business. That great pinch was "too many employees". As business grew, they hired more people. As the economy started to slow, businesses were reluctant to lay people off, so they started making up flimsy excuses for "downsizing" and "rightsizing" and "excessing" employees. They would force managers to read verbatim to their soon-to-be-dismissed employees the protective legalese jargon that would ultimately protect the employers from being sued. Fear of litigation kept employers from reducing their staffs to meet the reduced demand for their products.

Along came the recession/depression, with its predictions of mass layoffs. This was a godsend to employers who were desperate for an excuse to let people go without justification. As more and more companies fell in lockstep with this self-fullfilling proclamation of joblessness, everyone who ever wanted to trim their payrolls did just that. The year was 2009.

So here we are, on the cusp of recovery and we still have a joblessness problem. Why? Two main reasons: First, employers are only starting to turn profits and they need to see at least a couple of consecutive quarters of positive numbers before they start into new growth cycles. Second, downsized companies who are making a profit are actually benefiting from more productive, smaller staffs. There's no compelling incentive to hire more people if the current staffing can handle the load. Only when productivity is exceeded by demand will these employers start replenishing their ranks.

In short, joblessness is the fault of the employers. Well, sort of. It's really the responsibility of the individual to recognize the supply-and-demand nature of the jobs marketplace and adjust by retraining. It's painful and not always successful, by necessary for survival.

I don't take issue with the employers -- the culprits of joblessness. I take issue with everyone who keeps pointing their fingers at everyone else.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Collapse of the American auto industry may not be the worst possible thing

I wonder if the otherwise sensible Congressman Barney Frank is speaking out of genuine concern or out of political correctness. I quote from today's news: Worldwide: "A collapse of the American automobile industry would be the worst possible thing that could happen at a time when we are already weakened,'' [Barney] Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television."

Here's the thing: The fact that the American automotive industry is headed off a cliff -- a long, bumpy journey down a steep hill, followed by a recent sudden drop off a sheer precipice -- does not herald the end of the automotive industry as a whole. The fact of the matter is that many other automakers remain profitable and successful, albeit to a lesser degree during our current recession. Many of those automakers even continue to manufacturer vehicles in the United States.

So what's the problem? It's threefold.
1. The American auto industry is a revered institution.
2. The American auto worker is also a revered institution.
3. There is a pronounced trickle-down effect, should the industry collapse.

I've listed these problems in the politically significant order of precedence. However, only the third problem should carry weight in the government's decision to bail out (or not to bail out) GM, Ford and Chrysler. As for the first problem, well, so be it. These manufacturers have refused to read the writing on the wall regarding our oil-dependence and have continued to throw all of their money into building muscle cars for the muscle heads that insist on driving them. They've been catering to consumer demands without paying attention to market fundamentals. Nissan's been paying attention. Honda's been paying attention. Even Hundai gets what the "Big 3" don't. What we want and what we can afford are two different things.

And the second problem -- the auto workers. I have an idea. Why doesn't the government throw incentives at the successful auto manufacturers? The ones from Japan and Germany and Korea who have set up shop in the U.S. and are now employing American workers to build foreign cars. Why not incentivize them to expand operations? Why not subsidize auto workers to relocate from Detroit to Alabama and Ketucky, to the automotive jobs at companies that actually doing well and make good products and can stabilize their American operations with operations abroad?

One reason: It would be politically incorrect.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Palin redraws military air routes

This from the Katie Couric interview of Sarah Palin. Governor Palin responds to the foreign policy experience question yet again:

Palin defends Alaska-Russia foreign policy remark - Yahoo! News: "'It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border."

Hmmm...where do they go? Do Russian air forces take a direct route over the North Pole and then through Canada or Greenland, into the economic and political heart of our country? Or do they fly due east through Alaska then make a right turn at Nome and head south?

With the price of jet fuel these days, I would say that it's a stretch to assume that enemy planes -- which is what I suppose Governor Palin expects from Russia -- would bother taking the scenic route over the Bering Strait. It's not like anyone wants to bomb Alaska.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain tells us the real meaning of "fundamentals"; CNN bites

McCain: Economic 'strength' is with workers -

So nice of CNN (et al.) to give Senator McCain the benefit of the doubt in his latest "misstatement".

And I quote:

McCain softened his earlier comments that "the fundamentals of the American economy are strong."

"What I obviously was saying, and I believe, is the American workers, the most productive and the most innovative -- they are the fundamentals of our economy and the strength of it and the reason why we will rebound," he said Tuesday on CNN's "American Morning."

If McCain knew anything at all about the economy and how it works, he'd know that "the fundamentals" are actually key indicators that help us track, regulate and prepare for economic changes. They are quantifiable financial and statistical entities that exist is every basic text on economics.

To imply that what he meant was the strength and innovation of the American worker not only doesn't make any sense -- how, after all, can American worker exercise their productivity when they're unemployed? -- but further emphasizes McCain's lack of knowledge in the subject matter, i.e. the economy.

The fact that every spokesperson for McCain miraculously knew what he meant after the fact -- while, apparently, nobody else did -- is a clear indication that behind closed doors the McCain camp scrambled to fix yet another of the Senator's randomly contrived and grossly uninformed bits of feel-good rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - Residents Report Mysterious Red Light Sightings in Skies Over Phoenix - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News - Residents Report Mysterious Red Light Sightings in Skies Over Phoenix - Science News Science & Technology Technology News: Normally I reserve commentary for the patently ridiculous comments of people who are revered as experts. In this case, I'm taking a pro-active stance against those soon-to-emerge UFO experts who will explain the subject phenomenon.

Just based on the footage readily available on the internet, the three-to-four-light UFO appears to be a single craft with lights fore and aft, and on the left and right wing. The "wing" lights are both on either the top or bottom of the craft.

As the craft turns, the lights appear to change configuration, as if they are flying in formation. But the formation is too precise. For instance, the far right light in a sharp left turn should lag at least a bit, as it needs to accelerate into a much higher speed maneuver. There is no lag, as these lights are all attached to a single craft.

It is reported that a light will "fade", then reappear. This is simply one wing light disappearing in a banking maneuver. In one photo (on the page that this blog references) shows two of the lights right next to each other. As I said, the wing lights are either both on top or on the bottom, so they can both be seen at this angle. The thickness of the craft (top surface to belly) can be roughly determined by the location of the fourth light when it disappears and reappears. This is a roll maneuver.

If I were more technically inclined, I would create a 3D model of this phenomenon just to prove that the lights can be aligned as I've suggested to match all of the available video footage. That said, this only proves that it is a single craft. But what KIND of craft? I cannot say, but I CAN say that no super-intelligent life form (i.e. one far more tech-savvy than we are) would need to blast colored lights out of their vehicles and call attention to themselves. They would probably have a radar- and infared-based system of navigation to be totally undetectable. I mean, seriously, this is not a stretch based on what we are capable of today.

Is it a UFO? Of course! At least until it's identified. It's definitely a flying object. Something to worry about? Not hardly. Just something to break the monotony of our dreary lives.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oct. 30 Democratic debate transcript - The Debates -

Tim Russert, I used to respect you. You gravely disappoint me with your "would you pledge" question at the recent Democratic debat in Philadelphia.

Oct. 30 Democratic debate transcript - The Debates - "...would you pledge to the American people that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb while you are president?"

This is a nasty trick that the news media seems to love to play on candidates, in effect, holding them against the wall by the throat demanding a definitive answer to a hypothetical but volatile question.

SHAME ON YOU! And shame on James Varner for pulling a similar nasty trick on Senator Kerry back in 2004. (Read my "Johnny On The Spot" blog.)

Do you know who would make such a pledge? George W. Bush, that's who -- because Bush is a megalomaniac who truly believes that he can do whatever he wants to whomever he wants. Last time I checked, the United States did not run the planet.

Oh yes, Adolph Hitler would also make that pledge.

Harris Interactive | The Harris Poll - Fifty Percent of U.S. Adults Would Not Vote for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Candidate for President

If you're following the primary races, you probably have heard this: "Fifty Percent of U.S. Adults Would Not Vote for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Candidate for President"

Political pundits and opposing Dem candidates are quoting this Harris Poll stat about Sen. Clinton. I have just one question: Is there ANY candidate -- Democrat or Republican -- who could surmount this 50% hurdle? If not, then it's a moot point.

C'mon, Harris Poll, learn to generate MEANINGFUL statistics or get out of the polling business and go into politics!

Monday, April 23, 2007

The ONLY Solution to School Massacres

This is wholely my opinion, but not without historical precedent: There is no way to determine what college, what high school, what mall, what office building will be the site of the next mass killing in the United States. Therefore, unless we intend to arm and train every last citizen in the art of self-defense -- unless we intend to erect all manners of security devices in every nook and cranny of these United States -- there is only ONE, yes ONE, way of stopping the madness.

We must teach our children to be nice to each other. And we must practice what we preach.

It's not too late to heal the festering wounds of the next potential mass murderer...before he snaps.

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Bush flexes his 500 word vocabulary at all the right opportunities

Democrats challenge Bush on Iraq bill - Yahoo! News: "Bush, confident of enough votes to sustain his veto, was unambiguous in his response. 'I will strongly reject an artificial timetable (for) withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job,' he told reporters in the Oval Office..." -- Yahoo! News

I will say this for President Bush: He knows the difference between a lawmaker (any Republican in the House or Senate) and a politician (any non-Republican, esp. Democrat). Lawmakers make the rules -- the highest lawmaker, being "The Decider" -- and politicians overstep their bounds.

Lawmakers, for instance, can make moral decisions and tell Terri Schiavo's family that they cannot terminate her vegetative existence. Politicians cannot make legislative decisions by expressing the opinions and desires of their constituencies nor can they be good stewards of tax monies.

Welcome to The United States of George Dubya. Did someone say "Ba'ath Party"?

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