DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®
Collapse trends - November, 2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080
11/29/2000 omens -
11/28/2000 omens -
- Plan for use of bioengineered corn in food is disputed - Companies hope to avoid a broader recall of food containing the corn,
by Andrew Pollack, NYT, C4.
...Representatives of food, agriculture and biotech industries urged the EPA today to approve the corn temporarily for human consumption.
[How outrageous! Tell these profiteers who are jeopardizing the public health and fooling with - they know not what - to get back to the Pure Food stance that they have been appropriately selling us on for the last 200 years! Get that Franken-corn separated and LABELLED, and quit wasting time whining.]
...Critics said such a move would bail out the corn's developer and the food companies at consumers' expense. "It is not EPA's obligation to clean up the mess," said Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
[And it shore ain't the public's obligation to EAT it!]
"Turning on a dime to assist industry would undermine confidence both here and abroad in the EPA as a regulator."...
Aventis CropScience...backed by much of the food industry [but not the farmers -ed.], argues that new evidence shows that the protein at issue in the corn, Cry9C, which is inserted to kill a common pest, is highly unlikely to be an allergen....
["Unlikely"? Fine, so LABEL it and let us consumers decide whether we want to take the risk. And remember, this is evidence that Aventishas dug up to support their investment. And then they go on to undermine their argument -]
Even if it were [an allergen], the company said, consumers are likely to eat such small amounts that no one would develop allergies or suffer allergic reactions. ...
["Likely to eat such small amounts"? Fine, so LABEL IT AND LET US CONSUMERS DECIDE whether we want to take the risk! Funny how much these 'captains of industry' are ready to benefit from 'free and informed choice' for themselves, but how little of it they're willing to grant to others.]
A key question...is how small is too small to cause allergic reactions. Dr. Hugh Sampson, an allergy expert from Mt. Sinai NY University Med Center [said] "I wasn't aware we knew what that threshold was for any protein." ...
[The desperation for jobs continues, and so do the frenzy for high and fast profits whatever the long and slow consequences, a fossilized pre-technology workweek despite waves of worksaving robots, and only a 168-hour effective limit (7x24) on the accumulation of vanishing market-demanced human employment per person, and absolutely no limit on the accumulation of income or wealth. Does anything anchor our long-term common interest? It used to be "one person, one vote" but the shenanigans in Florida have buried that one. More than ever, we need Timesizing to unite us with a common workweek range, the lower limit set by regular referendums and the upper limit set by the lower limit (if too many people fall below the lower limit, say 10 hrs/wk, the upper limit automatically adjusts downward at a gradual referendum-set rate, say half-an-hour a month. Once we get the five phases working and debugged in the employment dimension - and raise our self-respect and expectations accordingly - we can then map the same five phases onto the first of the money dimensions - income - and really start seeing an anchor for our long-term common interest.]
- Investors are still interested in risky start-up companies,
by Matt Richtel, NYT, C4.
In a sign that investor appetite for risky start-up companies remains high, wealthy individuals and institutions committed $28B to venture capital funds during the third quarter, up from $24B in the previous three months....
[Why? A financial newsletter out of Hawaii identified the reason way back in the early 90s with reference to the then-beginning stock bubble - our current economic "system" is still so primitive that we have allowed the concentration of income and wealth to proceed to such utterly unimaginable, unbalanced, astronomical and dysfunctional levels, that THE WEALTHY LITERALLY HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO PUT IT. The alternative is the "under the mattress," and if the Roaring 20s is any indication, they won't start doing that until the advanced stages in the destruction of their own consumer base.]
11/27/2000 weekend omens -
- Companies seek looser rules on labeling genetically altered seed,
by Andrew Pollack, NYT, C1.
...The American Seed Trade Assoc. maintains that with genetically moddfied crops now widely grown, it is virtually impossible to endure that a bag of non-modified seeds does not have a few genetically modified ones mixed in.
[Sounds like short-term self-serving sabotage, aka long-term possible suicide for the human race.]
Insisting on absolute purity, it says, would bog down the world seed trade.
[Aaah, isn't that tooo baaad. Some of you fat cats might not be getting fatter and fatter quite as fast. So you'd like us all to participate in a charade -]
..\..In wake of the latest incident of genetic crop contamination, American seed companies are renewing a push to establish standards that would allow a small amount of genetically engineered material in bags of seeds and still have those seeds considered free of modification....
[So impure is "pure", and black is "white", and the public is forced to accept your short-term profiteering and long-term potential genocide. And American farmers bought this crock of crap from you suicidal simpletons? They wouldn't have if they weren't almost all, by now, agribiz marionettes. Time to move to Europe, where they still know the meaning of words. Juggling multiple languages, they can't afford to mess around.]
- [And speaking of "omens," here's another reason to move to Europe.]
Exorcists and exorcism proliferate across U.S., by John Fountain, NYT, A14.
...The archdiocese of Chicago...appoint[ed] a full-time exorcist last year for the first time in its 160-year history....
[Hooboy. And this revelation comes in the wake of a story a few days ago titled "Vatican cracks down on exorcisms - Strict new rules require bishops' oversight of rituals," 11/24/2000 Boston Globe, A31. From Reagan guiding the nation via astrology to this. Next we'll be readmitting "spectral evidence" and picking up where the Salem witch trials left off. Lord knows that with dangling, hanging, dimpled & 3-cornered chads, we've already got "spectral" voting. Maybe these exorcists can exorcize the Franken-seed out of our seed bags (see story above)?! ]
Over all, the number of full-time exorcists in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has risen to 10 from only one a decade ago, said Michael W. Cuneo [who indubitably types in cuneiform -ed.], a Fordham University sociologist whose book "American Exorocism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty" is to be published next year.
[Too bad! - he missed the Millennium.]
..\.."Our goal is that no one should ever be more than a day's drive from a city where you can find an exorcist," said..\..Rev. Bob Larson, an evangelical preacher...who runs an exorcism ministry in Denver....
[Hey, why not "drive-through exorcisms"?! Well, let's see. In America's desperation to invent enough work to keep all Americans spinning their wheels for the entirety of America's fossilized pre-technological workweek of five 8-hour days, we already have added, to every street corner, two or three hairstylists, a "nails R us," 1-2 pizza joints, and a judo club to the struggling florist, dry cleaners and furniture store, and now we're going to get an exorcist parlor? Truly, if we don't go forward, we go backward - in the most bizarre ways. All hail "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."]
11/25/2000 omens -
- [Not only are kids sleep-deprived, but now teachers -]
For many, school is 2d job - More teachers working nights and weekends..., by Sandy Coleman, Boston Globe, B1.
...Many teachers...work after school to feed their passions - or fatten their wallets. Long lamented low teacher wages, a 'booming' economy [our italics - ed. - if it was really booming, wages wouldn't be low], and a daytime school schedule are spurring many to keep their day job and work overtime in after-school gigs....
- [And flooding the job market leads first to sweatshops and then slavery - speaking of which -]
A secret slave trade survives in US, op ed by Emma Reinhardt & Charles Jacobs, Boston Globe, A15.
Slaves have returned to these shores. We don't mean people with bad jobs, low pay, and nasty bosses. We mean...people forced to work for no money under threat of violence. According to the CIA, 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
[Hey, the CIA may have made itself genuinely useful here.]
There are more than 100,000 slaves here now...women, children and men.... They come from every continent and are brought here for different uses. Most sex slaves are from Asia; most domestic slaves are from Africa and the Middle East; most field laborers are from South America.
They are lured by a well-dressed businessman promising a respectable job or encouraged by a trusted relative. They arrive here, are stripped of all documents, held captive, and forced to work.... The slave masters are smiling UN diplomats or shady illegal smugglerss - the publicly respected professionals or the professionally skilled traffickers....
[This looks like another downside of our fuzzy or liberal (same thing?) immigration policies. We need secret votes on issue-oriented public referendums to get a grip on such PC issues on the left (and their counterpart on the right, morally absolutist issues such as abortion, guns and drugs). The "population variables" of imports, immigrants and births are the three big potential "leaks" we'll need to plug even after we get the center of the economy solidified and stabilized with Timesizing.]
11/24/2000 omens -
- Global-warming talks at deadlock - EU, poor nations slam US position, by Robin Pomeroy, Reuters via Boston Globe, A8.
...over US reluctance to cut its pollution....
[Where is the American outcry about this? Where are all those who cry "isolationism" whenever anyone attacks "free" trade? Here we have the richest country taking yet another step toward becoming the world's, and the Earth's, biggest danger. The nation that can most easily afford to clean up its pollution is having a protracted hissy fit instead of getting on with the job. "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for" a rich nation to enter God's kingdom. With a absolutely no limits on the concentration of income and wealth in America, there's no one grounded to hold the string of the wealthy's balloon, and they waft off ever further from reality, ever more insulated and isolated and dangerous. We need an effective and automatic self-interest extender and integrator, a more effect anchor of our common interest than the totally money-drowned "one person, one vote" and the washed-out seniority principle that once filled the job. We need "one person, one range of market-demanded employment" = Timesizing.]
- Fewer women being elected to state offices, by Robert Tanner, Boston Globe, A14.
Although women made record gains in some of the nation's highest offices in this year's elections, their numbers slipped in legislatures and in other state offices, raising worries about the training ground for future leaders.
In January, more women will sit in Congress and in governor's offices than ever before, with women governors in Delaware and Montana for the first time, and Hillary Clinton serving as a US senator from New York. But in state legislatures and statewide elected offices, their numbers actually fell slightly after 30 years of steady gains.... There will be 1,658 women state lawmakers in office next year, down 12 from the 1,670 who held office this year. Women elected to statewide office, including governor, also dropped slightly, to 88 from 92....
[Don't panic. Long-term trends are often uneven.]
11/23/2000 omens -
A cruel choice in New Delhi: Jobs vs. safer environment, by Celia Dugger, NYT, front page.
[And this will only change to a false choice when things get so bad for uncreative humans, they realize they must share the vanishing work and stop straining to deny that it's vanishing in an age of ever higher levels of work-saving technology.]
This teeming city of 14m is one of the smoggiest in the world, and it is [riven] by a river that has been compared to a sewer. But after the Supreme Court took steps last week to compel Delhi to clean itself up, thousands of people took to the streets in violent protests, demanding that the dirty old factories stay open... more than 90,000 small factories - many of which pollute residential areas - that employ close to a million people.
It is a classic developing-world conflict between competing priorities: clean air and water to protect public health, and jobs to help struggling workers survive.
[Well, if a million people can't buy food, they'll starve to death within two weeks and for that particular segment of the public, health won't be a concern, will it. Additionally, a block of 1,000,000 units of the Indian economy's consumer base will vanish, and India, always so desperate for long-workweek jobs that it has for decades been the most functionally luddite (technology-rejecting) society in the world, will go lose what little effective demand it has, lose many more jobs, and go into (deeper) depression. India is the land where you hire a company to mow your lawn and instead of one guy on a motorized lawn mower, 20 women with tiny hand scythes show up to do the job. This was parodied in the recent Masterpiece Theater sendup on public TV called "Stiff Upper Lips" - in the second half featuring Peter Ustinov as a plantation owner under the Raj, when his stable etc. is set afire, vast numbers of helmeted Indian firefighters arrive on foot pulling a contraption laden with dozens of individual pails of water, each carefully numbered, which they proceed to unhook and run over to empty on the fire. Needless to say, the whole place burns down, so Peter returns to England with the "barking mad" family of Ivory Hall. This is our future (actually it's our present in many many sectors of the US economy such as government patronage, telemarketing, spam, junkmail, subsidies for the arts & humanities, ever more of our "educational" establishment, our prison-industrial establishment...) unless we cut the crap and share the vanishing market-demanded human work, and skills. And government jobs programs, enterprise zones, block grants, industrial policy, etc etc etc, don't count.]
11/20/2000 weekend omens -
- [as usual on the trail to the black-hole economy, the 'carriage trade' is booming -]
The $4,800 handbag under the tree - Another jolly season for luxury goods, by Leslie Kaufman, NYT, C1.
[As *Will Rogers opined in the depths of the Depression when asked where the guvmint would git all the money to pay fer all the makework programs to pump-prime a recovery, "Wal, I guess they'll jess hafta git it frum the rich...cuz they's the only ones that has any." ('Course if theyda passed the 30-hour bill and shared what little work there was, they wouldnta needed any makework programs.)]
- [Ah, correction here!]
Jobless claims rise unexpectedly, pointer digest (to C4), NYT, C1.
The number of Americans filing new claims for state unemployment insurance unexpectedly edged up last week -
[In the runup to the holiday season?!]
- by 7,000, to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 - suggesting that the economy's hunger for an ever-increasing supply of new workers is easing.
[Correction - of cheap workers.]
11/16/2000 omens -
- Behind the prosperity, working people in trouble [article] - Hungry, tired and poorer [blowout], by Anne Lang, NYT, 'Giving' 21.
[From blowout -]
In the last decade, hunger-relief agencies have found that the hungriest people in the United States are the working poor. Here is a statistical snapshot of people who seek emergency help from soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters served by America's Second Harvest Food Bank, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization....
[From article -]
- About 70% of poor families with children in the United States [are "working families"; that is, they] include a person who works.
- Over the last two decades, the poverty rate among working families has risen nearly 50%..\..
- There is at least one working adult in 39% of households receiving emergency food. Of those adults, 49% work at least 40 hours a week....
- Between 1978 and 1988, families headed by highschool dropouts increased their annual working hours by nearly 12%, ending up with 8% less income....
[Clearly, on a systemic, economy-wide, long-term basis, longer hours go with lower pay, as in "sweatshop." In short, you can't work harder (i.e., longer) to get ahead any more because you'll just be worsening the global super-surplus of available labor hours and engaging market forces in driving down your own wages.]
- Of the 21m needy people seeking emergency food assistance, more than 8m are children....
- According to census estimates, two-thirds of parents with low earnings work in retail or service trades....
[i.e., highly optional purchases for most consumers.]
- Of the emergency food recipients, 40% have less than a high school diploma or equivalent, including 16% who completed grade school or less.
- 43m Americans have no health insurance, even for emergencies. Nearly half of all parents in working-poor families lack health insurance.
NOW, program by Bill Moyers, 1/16/2004 PBS, near end of 1-hour episode.
[David Brancaccio wraps up episode, saying that the 43m Americans without health insurance (now a 3-year outdated figure) is not the worst of the story, which is that 18,000 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance.]
It has become an unspoken cultural axiom: anything less than financial well-being is a person's own fault [in] this nation [which] has been on a prosperity bender for the better part of a decade [just as it was in the 1920s], intoxicated by the economy's seemingly boundless potential to generate fortunes or, at least, jobs.
[But for every ten new highly publicized millionaires, we get a hundred or a thousand unreported new poverty cases, and sure we're generating endless new jobs - in increasingly optional services and retail, plus junkmail, spam, telemarketing, door-to-door, and let's not forget our world-record prison-industrial complex.]..."It's not that we're not a compassionate nation," said Betty S. Beene, the president and CEO of the United Way of America, basesd in Alexandria, Va. "It's that we like to believe everyone is like us and lives in the same milieu...."
[And as we've said so often before, charity is not the answer. We need an automatic systemic answer, not an unreliable capricious one, especially when our feedback system is weak and weakening because we all overlook our lucky breaks - or lack of a conjunction of unlucky ones - and assume everyone is like us, and if they aren't, it's their own fault. We need an automatic systemic answer because any economy that relies on charity (i.e., caprice) for vital functions is lethally flawed. Our social software is obsolete. Timesizing is step 1 of the redesign.]
11/15/2000 omens -
- Flying off course - Labor issues, expansion bid challenge United Airlines, by Matthew Brelis, Boston Globe, C1.
...In a summer of unprecedented delays..\..the world's largest airline...was hard hit when pilots engaged in wildcat action and refused to work overtime.... "The pilots were clocking out in terms of not working overtime"....
[Sounds sensible considering the steep climb in accident rates in many transportation industries in the overtime hours.]
The resulting chaos with flights resulted in United scrapping 7.5% of its daily schedule. Since then, management has given the pilots the most lucrative contract in the industry....
[Pilots don't want more money, they want more free time. And this flawed article doesn't tell us if they got it.]
"For a long time, United had some of the best labor [relations] in the industry, especially in the 1990s," said Darryl Jenkins, director of the Aviation Institute at George Washington University and a consultant for United. "It is very sad to see that deteriorate, and ultimately management has to accept the blame for that"....
11/14/2000 ominous qikis -
- Newly released files show US role in overthrow of Allende, by Savino & Hall, Boston Globe, A8.
WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration has released more than 16,000 documents about US government operations in Chile over nearly three decades, confirming that the United States worked to destabilize the [democratically elected] government of former Socialist president Salvador Allende and pave the way for the bloody coup that put dictator Augusto Pinochet in power [and led to all the subsequent murders, disappearances and human rights abuses].... At least 3,200 people died or disappeared during his 17-year rule..\..
About 13,000 of the previously classified documents came from the State Dept., and others came from the CIA and FBI....
[And the accompanying article -]
Documents could lead to charges, by Eduardo Gallardo, Boston Globe, A8.
11/12-13/2000 weekend omens -
- Med students lose sleep to protest for shorter shifts, by Anne Barnard, Boston Globe, B7.
...Hailing from schools in Boston and elsewhere, they had stayed up all night to dramatize the 36-hour shifts that new doctors, or residents, routinely work.... "Unless the public demands some change," said Josh Riding, a student at Boston University School of Medicine, "this is not something that academic medicine is going to do on their own"....
[Similarly, unless the public via the government shortens the workweek, this is not something that free-market competition is going to do on its own, or ever has, historically.]
- On immigration, risky silence - The United States is in the midst of the largest wave of immigration since the early 1900s, Robert Samuelson, Boston Globe, C4.
- Vanishing livestock breeds leave diversity gap - Extinction of the fittest as a result of human intervention, by Mark Derr, NYT, D3.
moral - a 'labor shortage' with low pay, no training, and no job after age 45 is pure spoiled-CEO rhetoric -
11/11/2000 omens -
- 11/13 Innovation economy booming - Talent shortage, wage issue cloud rosy report, by Peter Howe, Boston Globe, D1.
The Massachusetts "innovation economy" continues to hum along with extraordinary success. But in the last year, a few signs of trouble have emerged, including an unprecedented tight labor market and declining interest among local students in pursuing engineering careers.
[They're no dummies. High tech CEOs act like Hahvahd Univahsity or the Joe Kennedy campaigns of the past - "You should feel honoured to be working here."]
Those are some of the key findings in the latest Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy being released today by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public state agency in Westborough. The report, an annual scorecard on the state's success in growing high-wage industries such as telecomms, healthcare tech, software, and industrial tech, found many companies are being constrained by a lack of people to hire, possibly because of lagging pay.
[Don't you just love it when CEOs get things so twisted around that they can claim to be the innocent victims of circumstances they have complete control over, like the fact they want a blank check on people's lives in return for flat pay, while they, "poor victims," expect to collect hundreds of times employees' compensation in salary, perks and stock options? On to the next one -]
- 11/12 In high-tech sector, sky is limit for job seekers' demands, by Rene Roberts, Boston Globe, H9.
[This humorous article misses a number of critical realities. Let's insert them in square brackets and hilite them with italics.]
It's a seller's market for [qualified young] employees in Massachusetts' high-tech sector. With [count-nothing] unemployment at a record low of 2½%, jobs are going beggin, and [young] workers with marketable skills are in the driver's seat. From a job hunter's perspective, it's the next best thing to Nirvana: wages and benefits are through the roof....
[Not according to the above article published in the Globe the next day! And we're still not mentioning the megahours a lot of these companies expect you to work. Divide them into your pay and your effective wage don't look so good. And still no mention of training. The rollicking vignette concerns a desperate recruiter and a "kid" named Punky who opens with -]
"Dude! Whatcha got for me?"
[who, in answer to the question, "Can you write code?" replies -]
"Yeah, well, I think I took a course in high school.... I can write a program, er, called 'Hello World'"....
[Just try that in the real world of no training, no budget for training and no time for training. On to the next -]
- 11/13 In hot economy, agencies struggle for recruits - Low pay, burnout at nonprofits cited, by Jamal Watson, Boston Globe, B1.
[Now we're mentioning low pay in the subhead, but this is nonprofits, but sooo many dot-coms think they should be viewed as nonprofits both by investors and job candidates! And then there's the 1840-level workweeks -]
The call for help went out in 1995, and Carlos Martinez came parachuting into Roxbury from San Francisco to help rescue...La Alianza Hispana..\..a crippled Hispanic agency that was on the brink of bankruptcy.... "I was working 70- to 80-hour weeks.... I was shoveling the snow in the morning and being the executive director in the afternoon"..\..
After five years [that's actually quite a long job these days!]...Martinez called it quits.... Like dozens of leaders of neighborhood groups, Martinez opted for the chance to continue his good works at a larger social-service agency, for more money and shorter hours.
[And things aren't only bad in nonprofits but also in the lower echelons of government, as shown by the next one -]
- 11/13 Study says salaries lag for House employees, AP via Boston Globe, A2.
WASHINGTON, DC - Salaries for college-educated employees of House offices lag well behind national averages, the result of a tight labor market in which the private sector can pay more, a study released today finds....
[And what's a poor employer to do? Why, get more visas for already trained youngsters from overseas that'll work megahours, of course -]
- 11/12 Office cultures go global - International workers, firms find ways to adapt, by Michael Rosenwald, Boston Globe, H1.
Chella Palaniappan [a] software designer...is from India, as are nearly 50 of his coworkers at Trigent Software, an application development company with offices in Southborough, Chicago, and Bangalore, India.... Around the country...companies look to foreign workers to fill jobs in this tight labor market....
[What about our record number of working poor, disabled, homeless, incarcerated for trivia, and people over 45 forced into early retirement? They cannot be heard as the chant "TIGHT LABOR MARKET" is picked up and repeated over and over again by every naive reporter in the country - and they're all so wide-eyed and naive today, especially the older ones who fear most for their jobs. Here's the accompanying chart, called significantly Visa vis -]
A snapshot of H-1B visa recipients
- 43% were born in India
- 10% were born in China
["coincidentally," both are countries where pay expectations are low low low]
- 54% work in computer-related occupations
- 13% work in architecture, engineering, or surveying
- $50k Median annual wage
[and how many executives have we added to the sample for this doozy? And how long does it take for most people to get to the median?]
[This is probably going to turn out to be an "impartial" industry agency that has every interest in dressing up the facts. Since when do companies have to offer the median salary as a starting salary, which is what the the article has been talking about up to this snuk-in departure, to entice a poverty-stricken kid from India over here? Our "captains of industry" are like lumbermen clearcutting every last stand of old-growth forest, or fishermen dragnetting every square inch of George's Bank. They're sh*tting where they eat, and destroying their domestic consumer base. We need to quit the deus ex machina of foreign solutions and get a solution for everyone already here. We need an income and wealth centrifuge, and a skills and employment centrifuge comes first unless we want to foster dependency. Timesizing is just such a centrifuge.]
11/09/2000 omens -
- Recovery seen stumbling in Japan, pointer digest (to B2), NYT, B1.
A budding recovery in Japan's economy is faltering, according to the latest government report, raising concern about whether the economy can generate enough steam to recover without more help from the government.
[Was this a "budding recovery" or a prematurely dismissed depression? The people who need to reinvest massively in their own national consumer base and generate the "steam" are Japan's top income and wealth brackets. The government has nothing but credit - and why would their credit be any better than so many of Japan's huge private companies? - and ordinary Japanese consumers have nothing but debt. Japan needs a market-oriented way of guiding those with the money into centrifuging it, or at least deconcentrating it, to the people with the time and need to spend it. And the least dislocating way to do that is a corporate overtime tax with a complete exemption for training and hiring in overtime targeted skills = 'square one' of Timesizing.]
- [And now, the rest of the story -]
John Adams's real opinion, letter to editor by Susan Feiner, Assoc. Prof. at U. of So. Maine in Yarmouth, Boston Globe, A16.
...In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, "In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."
To which John Adams replied: "I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems"..\..
Mary McGrory's discussion of John Adams ("We could use another John Adams," op ed, Nov. 8) portrays him as a man who honored his wife as an equal. His "partnership" with Abigail is praised, held up as a model of enlightenment in an era when the rallying cry "all men are created equal" did not include women. How romantic. But how incorrect!.... However much has changed in national politics and the White House, the masculine system remains remarkably intact....
[Recall Dave Barry's definition of the US Senate - "White male millionaires working for you."]
11/05/2000 weekend omens -
- [Market Failure Dept. -]
California utility seeks to charge customers $3B, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest electric utility, sued the state in federal court, seeking freedom to charge customers more than $3B for the company's losses in open-market power purchases earlier this year....
[Never mind the fact that when fatuous free-market true believers pushed to privatize electric power, they gave no thought to exactly what would goad privatized utilities dealing with the day-to-day fads and caprices of stock analysts, to think way WAY ahead and build the new generating capacity they would need in the long and very long term. This is the biggest single area of market failure, and one that critically impacts the dawning ecological age - providing for the long term. The economic viewpoint and free markets are just dandy for the short term and the 'right here' - the next quarterly report or presidential term, and "our company" or "our industry." But very long term and comprehensive? "Our nation" and "our planet" across geological timeframes? Forget it. Not even government has been able to handle that yet - witness our still-surviving nuclear power(&waste) industry, which should never have got past the drawing board from the gitgo.]
11/04/2000 omens -
- A wake-up call, by Michael Rosenwald, Boston Globe, G2.
Americans now work the longest hours of any industrialized nation in the world, according to a recent study by the International Labor Organization. But as we work longer hours to get more done...
[More likely "to avoid being the first to leave the office" in an economic culture of downsizing and "stock analysts first, employees last."]
...individual productivity levels are suffering due to sleepiness [source: National Sleep Foundation based on study of more than 1,100 people].
- 51% of the American workforce reports that sleepiness on the job interferes with the amount of work they get done
- 40% admit that the quality of their work suffers when they're sleepy
- 68% say that sleepiness interferes with their concentration
- 19%...report making occasional or frequent work errors due to sleepiness
- 68% of shift workers report problems sleeping
[that's easy - quit changing shifts and just let people get acclimatized to one regular shift, whether day, evening or night]
- 25% of adults have difficulty getting up for work two or more workdays per week
- 33% of adults would nap at work if it were allowed
- 16% of employees surveyed reported that their employers allow naps
- David Warsh, pointer summary (to F2), Boston Globe, F1.
When Chicago's Abbott Laboratories last spring accused Dr. Judah Folkman of stealing credit for developing a key tumor-shrinking substance, the lawsuit made frontpage news. Now, in a story stranger than fiction, Abbott has admitted it altered the document on which it based its case....
11/01/2000 omens -
- More Canadians unemployed, by Timothy Pritchard, NYT, B2.
Canada's unemployment rate rose to 6.9% in October from 6.8% in September. Although 20,000 new jobs were crated by an economy that remains "strong" [our quotes -ed.], even more Canadians began looking for work.
[...indicating that the unemployment rate had been unrealistically undercounting.]
...Wage increases slowed to a 3.7% annual rate in October, from 4% the month before.
[The more unemployment, the less centrifugation of spending power and the less spending activity, or, "the more concentration, the less circulation." Or as Will Rogers said, "Money's like manure - it's no good unless you spread it around." Cutting hours spreads around the work and the earnings, dynamizes economies and solidifies stock bubbles - like our current BIG one.]
For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -
- Thai tariffs cut, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
...Central bank officials said last week that sluggish consumer spending and private investment, rising oil prices and the deteriorating value of the baht endangered the country's recovery from a two-year recessionthat began in 1997.
[All they have to do is share the market-demanded employment (" timesizIng")- and wage-borne spending power - across their entire adult population, no matter how little (or how much!) it is, and they will accelerate and solidify their recovery.]
- An ineffectual Congress, editorial, NYT, A30.
The 106th Congress, with little to show for its two years of existence, has all but vanished from public discourse.... On almost every matter of importance - gun control, patients' bill of rights, energy deregulation, social security - Congress has done little or nothing.... Nor has it been able to complete even the most basic business, the appropriations bills that keep the government functioning. Three have been vetoed, and two others have not even been sent to Pres. Clinton for his signature. [Without] a burst of statesmanship in the next few days, ...Congress will have to come back after Election Day to complete work on the federal budget.
But if Congress has done a lousy job for the public at large, it is doing a fabulous job of feathering its own nest and rewarding commercial interests and favored constituencies with last-minute legislative surprises that neither the public nor most members of Congress have digested....
[Then why isn't the New York Times supporting the only candidate who is attacking these abuses, Ralph Nader?]
- A 'loser-winner' may rule again, thanks to the Electoral College, op ed by Martin Nolan, Boston Globe, A19.
...The Electoral College does not appear in the Constitution....
[Then when and how was it started? Nolan doesn't say. But it makes it possible for a presidential candidate to win the popular vote and not win as many Electoral votes as another candidate, who then becomes President.]
The Electoral College is not democratic.... It's like the institution it is based upon, the US Senate, where Vermont gets the same two bonus votes that New York does, and Wyoming is proportionately more powerful than California. Three times the Electoral College has overruled the popular vote....
[Hey, at least this system prevents big states like Calif. and Texas from squashing little states like Delaware and Rhode Island. In other words, it prevents the "tyranny of the majority" and allows some margin for "the sighted man in the land of the blind."]
- In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, with 41% to 31% for John Quincy Adams, son of a former president. In the House, the third-place finisher, Henry Clay, threw his [Electoral votes] to Adams [and Adams became President].
- ...[In] 1876...Samuel J. Tilden, governor of New York and the Democratic nominee, won 51%..\..a quarter-million votes more than his opponent...Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, who won 48%..\.. His opponent became president thanks to the Electoral College [185-184]....
- The last popular-vote winner who lost was Grover Cleveland, running for reelection in 1888. He outpolled his Republican opponent, Benjamin Harrison, by more than 90,000 votes. But Harrison won 233 electoral votes to Cleveland's 168.
Aug/98 and before.
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