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Good News, July, 2001
[Commentary] ©2001 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080


7/31/2001  glimmers of hope -

  1. 4 UPsizings totaling 20 + unspecifed new jobs -
    1. N.J. [optical networking] company opens lab in Boxborough MA, by Peter Howe, BG, D4.
      Tellium Inc...has opened a 20-person product development and assembly laboratory...that it hopes can be a beachhead for further growth in New England....
    2. Ford to expand and revise parts distribution, AP via NYT, C4.
      ...to speed deliveries. Over the next three years, Ford will increase the number of distribution centers to 21 from 10, permitting dealers to order and receive parts every day rather than once a week, the company said....
      [It's been only once a WEEEEK?!!]
      The first new center will open in Memphis in January....
      [Unspecified new US jobs.]
    3. Online toy store is started, by Andrew Zipern, NYT, C4.
      Amazon.com and Toys "R" Us announced yesterday that they had begun Imaginarium.com, an online store for specialty and educational toys....
      [Oh that's real easy to spell and type! Anyhow, for the moment, unspecified new jobs.]
      The site is the third online effort the two companies have taken on together....
      [When will they ever learn?]
      The online toy market has proved tricky for some companies like eToys, a well-financed Internet toy retailer which declared bankruptcy earlier this year [2/06]....
    4. MGM Mirage trying to acquire Illinois casino company, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
      ...that is working to build a casino near Chicago....
      [Unspecified new jobs. Whoa, soon the only jobs in America will be in car parts, casinos and prisons.]
      ...Emerald Casino of Rosemont, Ill. MGM, based in Las Vegas, has requested a meeting with the Illinois Gaming Board. In January, the Board denied Emerald's request for a license for a casino in a Chicago suburb.
      [Oh yeah? Well, now we'll see how some Big Money handles things.]

  2. Canada OK's medical marijuana - Groundbreaking move lauded, hit, by Colin Nickerson, Boston Globe, front page.
    [A beachhead of drug sanity in North America. The "land of the free" should have learned from the failure of Prohibition and the success of the nicotine wars that criminalizing drugs doesn't work. Decriminalize 'em and tax 'em for their respective costs, medical and social, like cigarettes. But of course, in the "land of the free" we'd have to get that past the CIA....]

  3. ["good but..."]
    Funding for life sciences triples - But venture activity overall drops for 3d straight quarter, by Beth Healy, Boston Globe, D2.
    [Note they don't really mean "life sciences" as in university biology depts. They mean biotech companies which bring us frankenfoods etc. So maybe this isn't so "good" after all. But then there's the genome project which isn't so bad in itself. And there is its medical potential. As for "venture activity" they mean venture capital activity. But this is what always happens on the ramp to recession - those with money get a lot more of it, get desperate to find new glitzy areas to sink it into, like dot-coms, and when a few of these collapse because, "gee where did all the consumer spending go now that we've got all the money?", those with money pull out (of jobs) and stick it under their mattresses. Ergo less consumer spending and full-fledged recession or dare we say the word, depression.]

7/28/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. The debate at America's door, letters to editor, NYT, A24.

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizing stories - 7/28/2001.

7/27/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. Tax shelter that involves capital gains is disallowed, by David Johnston, NYT, C4.
    A tax shelter used at least 200 times by very rich Americans and corporations to evade capital gains taxes by manipulating rules on foreign investments was shut down yesterday by the Treasury Dept. The hundreds, and perhaps thousands of taxpayers who invested in the shelter are being told that their tax returns will be audited unless they file amended returns, and that the claimed losses will be disallowed.... The first hint of the deals came from a computer analysis of tax returns that the IRS made two months ago as it sought returns showing very large capital losses that roughly equaled capital gains, resulting in little or no tax. It found two examples and then investigated further....
    [Sort of like astronomers finding a new type of black hole?]

  2. Senate supports strict standards on Mexico trucks - 70-30 vote defies Bush - Extensive safety testing at the border is foreseen in plan 2 governments oppose, by Philip Shenon, NYT, front page.
    WASHINGTON...- The Senate today defied threats from the White House and the Mexican government and voted overwhelmingly to support efforts to impose strict safety standards on Mexican trucks seeking access to American roads....
    [But then, what do Bush and Fox care about the safety of American drivers? They're in love.]

7/26/2001  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. Global warming: sue the U.S. now, by Stephen Timms, July 25, 2001 Manchester Guardian via email via Alberto Tabiadon.
    When all else fails, go to court. That could be the conclusion of exasperated poor countries as the rich world falls out over how to deal with climate change - and the biggest polluter, the United States, still refuses to play.... As the millions made homeless by last week's floods in Orissa, India, showed again, poor countries suffer most from the increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather delivered by global warming....

  2. [1 UPsizing, with 2700 new but temporary jobs]
    Fidelity starts temp agency, by Beth Healy, Boston Globe, C6.
    ...The new company, called Veritude, already manages more than 2,700 workers at five sites for the Boston-based investment giant. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Mass. has signed a three-year contract to become Veritude's first outside client..\.. Fidelity Investments...has several businesses that are unrelated to mutual funds, including Boston Coach car service and J. Robert Scott recruiters.

  3. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/26/2001.

7/25/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    New west coast college, born of the far east, AP via NYT, C4.
    ALISO VIEJO, Calif....- On a lavender-colored hilltop halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego...an architectural and educational marvel reaches skyward...waiting to spring to life next month as the first new private liberal arts college to be built in California in 25 years.
    Soka University of America...is starting out with a grandeur that older, more established institutions would envy: a $220 million campus in the style of a Tuscan hill town....
    [And, eh goomba, itsa probbly gonna soaka itsa students too!]
    First-year tuition, room and board costs $24,000, the midrange for comparable Calif. colleges, [but] like most major universities, Soka does not consider a student's ability to pay in making admission decisions. Students must live on campus, where smoking, drugs and alcohol are banned and fiber-optic cables and outdoor ports for laptop computers abound..\..
    The word soka means to create value..\.. The college has enrolled 125 students from 17 states and 19 foreign countries. Some students turned down admission to the likes of Bryn Mawr and Brown to be pioneers in a Buddhist-inspired experiment where everyone from the president to a janitor has the same-size office.
    [Well, there's a good idea anyhow, reminiscent of Lincoln Electric's and Nucor's management policy of "no special perks for executives" - same cafeteria, no "corporate" jet, no thick carpet on CEO's office floor, etc.]
    Here is the newest incorporated city in Orange County, [once] known as home of the John Birch Society and John Wayne, humanistic egalitarian values are to be put to work in the cause of world peace.
    [Hey, more power to them.]
    Soka is financed by Soka Gakkai International [SGI], a Japanese sect that is one of the world's largest lay Buddhist organizations, with tens of billions in assets. Founded more than 70 years ago by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a pacifist and education reformer who died in prison in 1944 for his opposition to Japan's miliarism, the sect...some former members have compared it to a cult..\..has sparked controversy for its influence over Japanese politics.... Philip E. Hammond, a professor of religious studies at UCal/Santa Barbara...said that Soka, first brought to America by Japanese war brides in the 1940's, "is not nearly as well known in the U.S. as Zen or Tibetan Buddhism, but it has more members than any Buddhist sect in Japan" and claims 300,000 members in this country, though Prof. Hammond said his surveys suggested the number was closer to 45,000..\..
    Many of the university's administrators and some faculty members are also SGI members. But the appeal is broader for others, like Anne M. Houtman, who gave up a postion in the six-member biology dept. at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., to become the sole initial member of Soka's biology faculty.... Alfred Balitzer, who gave up tenure and a 30-year career as a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College to become dean of Soka's 20-member faculty, said that as a Jew long active in his own faith, he felt not the slightest pressure to proselytize on behalf of Soka. "Obviously, we have a sectarian tinge," he said. "We're going to be teaching religion but not the way you teach doctrine at Notre Dame. There's no chapel, no mandatory religious services"..\..
    [Hey, four out of five colleges at the University of Toronto were started as religious institutions and they all did have chapels - Victoria (United Church), Trinity (Anglican), St. Michaels (R.C.), Knox (Presby) - the only one left for atheists, agnostics, Jews, Baptists, SDAs etc. was University College - and the University of Toronto's founding is quite typical of college foundings throughout North America. So no chapel but Soka has -]
    18 buildings...103 acres...an Olympic-size swimming pool, a gym with the latest equipment, a library built to house 225,000 volumes.... In the beginning, Soka will offer a bachelor's degree in liberal arts with three concentrations: humanities, international studies and social and behavioral sciences, adding more as the enrollment expands to the planned level of 1,200. All students will study one fo three foreign languages oriented toward the Pacific Rim - Japanese, Chinese or Spanish -
    [Spanish as a Pacific Rim language? - now there's a novelty.]
    and spend half of their junior year studying or working abroad. As it matures, the university intends to offer master's and doctoral degrees.... Carmen Vali, the new mayor of Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated only this month with a population of about 45,000 [said], "People accuse Orange County of being devoid of culture, and this is something that is definitely going to fly in the face of that concept."
    [Unspecified new jobs.]

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/25/2001.

7/24/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UNtakeover]
    Allegheny Energy plans to divide into 2 companies, AP via NYT, C4.
    ...a supply business that would produce electricity for the wholesale market, and a delivery business that would buy energy and sell it to retail customers....

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/24/2001.

7/22-23/2001  weekend glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 DEmerge]
    7/23  Satellite company is trying life on its own, by Barnaby Feder, NYT, C4.
    Like a spacecraft breaking free of [its launch] rocket...Intelsat severed its ties last week with the governments that launched it nearly 40 years ago. [The] communications satellite operator whose formal name [was] International Telecommunications Satellite Organization has been been transformed into a Bernuda-based holding company. The bulk of its operations remain at its longtime headquarters in Washington and at a marketing subsidiary in London.
    [The question in this kind of case is, have taxpayers been fully compensated for the fortune they sank into this baby?]
    As a fully private company, Intelsat has been stripped of antitrust immunities, tax privileges and automatic access to markets that had been its birthright since 1964 and a source of constant irritation to the private sector rivals that grew up to compete with it. [But] in leaving behind its semiofficial status, Intelsat shed a ponderous decision-making structure and pricing constraints that prevented it from being nimble. The old Intelsat was governed by a 48-member board representing the diverse interests of 146 member countries. Intelsat's quarterly board meetings lasted a full week, in part because every issue had to be hashed out in three official languages....

  2. 7/22  Demand, need grow for skills training, but 12,000 on wait list for Mass. program, by Diane Lewis, Boston Globe, J1.
    ...In all, more than 12,000 Massachusetts workers are now on the state waiting list for Adult Basic Education or the English Speaker of Other Languages [ESOL] classes needed to prepare for the typical basic skills course. Many will remain on that list for up to two years, according to a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassInc), a Boston think tank.
    [Ah, isn't this supposed to be ESL = English as a Second Language? Diane has got this wrong.]
    But even if everyone on waiting lists was placed in a class today, the demand for such services would continue to outstrip the Commonwealth's ability to serve the hundreds of thousands of workers who lack the skills needed to compete in a changing labor market, specialists say.
    In its study, MassInc reports that 280,000 workers are high school dropouts and an additional 195,000 speak little or no English, factors that have forced members of both groups into low-wage, dead-end jobs. Overall, more than one-third of the state's workers are lacking the basic technical skills to succeed in the new economy.
    [This is the same story we commented on yesterday on our bad news page - see "Swift unveils $7m skills training program," 7/20/2001, 4th item. Yesterday it was a "bad, but..." story. Today it's "good, but...".]
    Similar national findings were reported recently by the American Management Assoc. After polling 1,600 US companies about work force trends, it found that one-third of the applicants seeking employment at those firms lacked the basic math, reading, writing, and computer skills needed to do the job properly....
    [At least we're now talking about training, which is a lot closer to the job market, than the eternal, expensive and market-detached icon of "Education."]

7/21/2001  glimmers of hope - 7/19/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. 2 UPsizings, totaling 500+?? new jobs -

    1. Citizens to add 500 jobs in R.I., by Scott Nelson, Boston Globe, E7.
      One day after announcing a $2.1B acquisition of the retail, small business and most of the middle-market lending divisions of Mellon Bank, Citizens Financial Group...CEO Lawrence Fish said [New England's] seond-biggest bank plans to add 500 jobs in Rhode Is. over the next year. The jobs, at the bank's Cranston, East Providence and Warwick operations centers, will mostly be in positions created to serve new customers acquired through the Mellon deal and a recent contract to put branches inside Stop & Shop stores in Mass. and R.I....
      [Here's a rare example of job creation due to an acquisition. We hope Citizens gives these new people a lot of training. So far our experience with Citizens employees on the phone has impressed us with their colossal stupidity. For example, converting our community-service no-fee political campaign checking account to a regular fee-based checking account without informing us, then closing it without requiring our tax ID number but then later refusing to simply confirm its closure without the tax ID number. And we went up thru two levels of supervisors. Unbelievable.]

    2. Germany: New BMW site selected, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
      The luxury carmaker [has] selected Leipzig in eastern Germany as the site of a factory to build the 3-Series, its best-selling car.
      [Hey, the luxury markets never know recession.]
      The plant will open in 2005.... It could receive at least $280m euros in subsidies for its investment of 1B euros ($860m).
      [It's sooo much easier just to share the vanishing work than to soak taxpayers to subsidize the rich and further the concentration of income that's causing recession in the first place.]

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/19/2001.

7/16/2001  glimmers of hope - 7/14/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    China: Insurance office, by Joseph Treaster, NYT, B2.
    ...The GAB Robins Group of Companies of Parsippany, NJ, which specializes in managing and adjusting insurance claims, has opened a representative office in Beijing...on June 8, in hopes of eventually receiving an operating license.
    [Unspecified new jobs.]

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/14/2001.

7/13/2001  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    Interpublic Group forms rate unit, by Chris Reidy, BG, W1.
    ...a special unit to negotiate rates from TV stations, newspapers, and magazines....
    [Unspecified new jobs.]

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    Germany: Sale canceled, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
    Deutsche Bank canceled plans to sell its Morgan Grenfell Private Equity unit to a management group after a disagreement over terms of the transaction. Graham Hutton, the CEO of Morgan Grenfell, quit when the negotiations ended, said Sir Robert Smith, who is succeeding Mr. Hutton.

  3. Click here for today's TIMEsizing story - 7/13/2001.

7/12/2001  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. [1 UNtakeover]
    Cabletron details spinoff, shutdown, by AP via BG, C2.
    Cabletron Systems Inc...plan to spin off the company's subsidiaries and shut down as an independent company. The plan, announced in Feb/2000, will mothball the Cabletron name and distribute its remaining assets among the subsidiaries.... Kristen Sheppard, investor relations director for the Rochester, NH, company, said..."There will be absolutely no layoffs."...
    [Let's hope "the lady doth" not "protest too much"!]

  2. [& 1 general UNtakeover story]
    Germany: Antitakeover law proposed, AP via NYT, W1.
    The German Cabinet approved a corporate takeover law that would give companies more leeway to fight hostile bids.
    [Hey, just like Circuit City Stores was trying to make hostile takeovers (of itself) tougher yesterday (item 2)!]
    The proposal would give management the right to seek blanket authority from shareholders to fight any takeover that may occur up to 18 months after the authority is given. At least 75% of shareholders would have to support such a move. The proposed law will be taken up by Parliament in the fall.

  3. Father owing child support loses a right to procreate - A court upholds a rare action against a 'deadbeat dad', by Tamar Lewin, NYT, A14.
    ...The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld a probation order that bars a man convicted of failure to pay child support from having more children unless he shows that he can support all his offspring. The 34-year-old man, David Oakley, who has nine children by four women and owes $25,000 in support, faces eight years in prison if he violates the condition.
    [The transition from quantity of humans to quality of humans takes a tiny step forward.]
    The case split the court, 4 to 3, along gender lines. All four male justices joined in the ruling, issued on Tuesday, finding the condition a reasonable mechanism to deal with a father who has consistently and intentionally failed to pay the child support he owes. The three female justices opposed it as an unconstitutional intrusion on a basic right to procreate.
    ["Basic right to procreate" - what an outdated "default setting" in an age of human overpopulation and ecological overload! And what a bizarre vote split. These female justices, it seems, are still reflexing on the obsolete basis of "be fruitful and multiply" which gave us men as "walking inseminators," and women as "baby factories" who get stuck with the child support unless they can pass it along to taxpayers. Wonder what NOW's position is on this, if any (National Organization of Women). As human lives get longer and overpopulation presses ever harder on Nature, procreation will become a greater and greater privilege and responsibility, requiring training and licensing. But apparently these three female justices, despite the date of their calendars at the beginning of the Third Millennium, still have their heads firmly stuck in the distant past of wide open spaces and frontiers = three women against Mother Nature. These issues should be a matter of referendum, to raise awareness of our increasingly precarious situation now that global warming is taking off.]

  4. [Compare the wise move by another state's Legislature reported a few pages further -]
    Hawaii: Sexual consent age raised, by Todd Purdom, NYT, A18.
    The Legislature overrode a governor's veto for the first time since statehood, upholding a bill to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. Gov. Benjamin Cayetanos, a Democrat, had opposed the measure on the grounds that it was poorly drafted and was inconsistent....
    [One wonders how the three female justices in Wisconsin would have voted on this one. If there's really a "basic right to procreate" in this "Limits to Growth" world, why have any minimum age of sexual consent?]

7/11/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. 2 UNtakeovers -
    1. Bank deal is blocked by Britain, by Alan Cowell, NYT, W1.
      After a four-month inquiry, Britain's competition regulator [the Trade & Industry Dept., yester]day blocked Lloyds TSB's $26B bid for Abbey National. The move stymied expansion plans by Lloyds along with any obvious prospect for further cost-cutting [or job&market cutting] deals among Britain's Main Street giants....
      [Sounds like good news to us.]
    2. Switzerland: Sulzer unit spun off, by Elizabeth Olson, NYT, W1.
      ...Sulzer Medica, Europe's largest orthopedic company...was formally split off from its parent company, Sulzer. The spinoff...was approved by Sulzer's shareholders on Monday. The shareholders received two shares for each Sulzer share they owned.

  2. [& 1 powered-up poison pill for would-be takeover artists]
    Circuit City lowers threshold on takeovers, Bloomberg via NYT, C12.
    RICHMOND, Va...- The board at Circuit City Stores has lowered the threshold at which a plan to prevent hostile takeovers would be enacted, saying it was following other companies that had taken similar action....
    [Hey, why have your company ruined by leaches like Chainsaw Dunlap?]

  3. Brokerage puts limit on stocks analysts hold - Merrill limits which stocks its 600 analysts can own, by Gretchen Morgenson, NYT, front page + C17.
    Merrill Lynch & Co. yesterday barred its stock analysts from buying shares of the companies they cover, going a step further than the industry standard to remove a potential conflict of interest.... With its new policy, Merrill is aiming to remove the possibility that a stock analyst could profit personally after driving up a stock price with a positive recommendation..\..
    [Hooboy, that means most of the industry is still in the Dark Ages.]
    The firm said that the rule...was a reaction to concerns expressed by its customers that Wall Street research was untrustworthy.
    [No kidding.]
    Criticism about the quality and independence of research in general has been mounting since the plunge of the technology stock sector last year....
    The industry's response so far this year has been to...allow stock analysts to own stakes in the companies they follow as long as the holdings are disclosed....
    [Oh that'll make a BIG difference. The Times seems to think Merrill hasn't gone far enough -]
    But [Merrill's new] policy fails to address the most significant areas of conflict: the role that rhapsodic research reports can play in supporting the firm's lucrative investment banking business or in attracting new deals.... Eliminating that source of conflict will be far more difficult...because research departments do not generate the income needed to pay for themselves [and] are supported by other, more profitable departments, like investment banking. And as long as research and deal-making take place under the same roof, the temptation to use reports to attract banking business will loom large....
    [Hey, let's get the rest of the industry up to Merrill's level here before we flagellate ourselves about the next level. "Life's too short for perfection."]

  4. Click here for this today's TIMEsizing story - 7/11/2001.

7/10/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    Ammirati executives open new agency, by Stuart Elliott, NYT, C6.
    Four top executives at Ammirati Puris in Toronto [have] left to open John Street in Toronto as a unit of the Envoy Communications Group....

  2. Click here for this today's TIMEsizing story - 7/10/2001.

7/08-09/2001  weekend glimmers of hope -
  1. 2 UPsizings, totaling 7,025 new jobs -
    1. As dot-coms drown, outsourcers rake in IT bucks, by Jim Krane, Boston Globe, C4.
      ...At EDS, the computer services company founded by Ross Perot, the picture is just as rosy \as at\ IBM's mushrooming Global Services division [see UPsizings below on 7/04].... EDS hired 7,000 new employees in the first quarter of this year. The number of services contracts available for bidding rose by 40% in the first 90 days of 2001, spokesman Jeff Baum said....
    2. Firm sets up in Cambridge MA, by Ross Kerber, Boston Globe, C4.
      The intellectual property law firm of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner...plans to open an office in Cambridge [Mass.] to serve clients, including local biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms. ...It will have up to a dozen lawyers in the office by this fall, at 245 First Street, and...plans to have around 25 attorneys there in coming years....

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    Marketplace - As AT&T Wireless strikes out on its own, the other bits and pieces of AT&T remain in play, by Simon Romero, NYT, C2.
    The complex breakup of AT&T could become a bit less complicated today when the company plans to complete its spinoff of AT&T Wireless to shareholders.... The spinoff is the first of two as AT&T proceeds with the plan announced last fall to break itself into four companies:
    1. AT&T Wireless
    2. AT&T Broadband
    3. AT&T Business
    4. AT&T Consumer
    Analysts are not overwhelmingly optimistic for the near term for AT&T Wireless, considering the doldrums in the wireless business and the problems that continue to bedevil AT&T itself....

  3. Click here for this weekend's TIMEsizing story - 7/08/2001.

7/06/2001  glimmers of hope - 7/05/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. European parliament rejects measure to ease takeovers, by Paul Meller, NYT, C1.
    by a single vote.... The measure would have prevented companies from...installing poison pills to thwart hostile takeovers..\.. In a nail-biting finish, 273 members voted in favor of...takeover[s] and 273 voted against.... The measure...required [a] majority for passage. Germany was its most vehement opponent; the British were the most supportive....
    [The Good Book says that the first shall be last and the last first. The AngloSaxon economies have been first for awhile (US, Britain, Canada, Australia...). Now they're getting stupid and self-destructive, so we behold the spectacle of their fall - self-inflicted. They seem to think speculators, dba "investors" or "shareholders," need even more power than they've already got to concentrate income up to even more unspendable proportions.]
    The vote in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, France, was the second blow to shareholder advocates this week.
    [Good.]
    On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice indicated that the European Commission...did not have legal case in its lawsuits against member nations' governments that maintain control of their former state-owned companies with so-called golden shares, which grant their holders more say than do ordinary shares.
    The death of the directive is a blow to its author...Frederik Bolkenstein, [who] was dismayed by [yester]day's vote. "It is tragic to see how Europe's broader interests can be frustrated by certain narrow interests," he said....
    ["Narrow interests"? Shareholders should know something about that - in America, the top 1% own as much as the bottom 95%. And Bolkenstein thinks they have Europe's "broader" interests at heart!? Who's does he think he's kidding?! The more takeovers, the less jobs. Bolkenstein seems to want a faster plunge into the Black Hole where, as Sismondi said in 1819, "the king, remaining alone on the island, by constantly turning a crank, might produce, through automata, all the output of England" (see near the end of our Bibliography page). Takeovers are like mega-monoculture in agriculture. They're non-diverse. They're vulnerable to disease. And they just ain't nature's way. Nature's way is diversity - of size and type. And often the life forms that seem at first to be less "efficient" or "competitive" turn out to have priceless but hidden features.]

  2. ["Good, but..." -]
    Pentagon pressured to reduce programs, by John Donnelly, Boston Globe, front page.
    WASHINGTON - Senior Pentagon officials, while eyeing weapons systems of the future, are finding themselves preoccupied with a mission to cut $15-30B a year in infrastructure and overhead costs.... The savings would amount to 5-10% of the Pentagon budget..\.. A little-known, four-person Pentagon committee called the Business Initiative Council is seeking to slash programs to free up money to buy expensive high-tech weaponry....
    [Oops, as T.S. Eliot said, "The last temptation is the greatest treason:/ To do the right deed for the wrong reason." (From Murder in the Cathedral.) The one place where we are firmly and resolutely Luddite (anti technological progress) is in weapons systems. We are already the most efficient killers on the planet. How much more efficient do we need to be?]

  3. Click here for today's TIMEsizings - 7/05/2001.

7/04/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. 2 UPsizings, totaling 10,190 new jobs -
    1. IBM to cut 1,500 jobs from Global Services, AP via BG, D3.
      ...after adding more than 10,000 new employees this year.... With the hiring of more than 10,000 new workers in the first five months of 2001, the group employes some 150,000 workers....
    2. Mintz Levin lays off associates, cites downturn, by Michael Rosenwald, BG, D3.
      ...Irwin Heller, managing partner of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo...also noted that the firm, which has grown by 190 lawyers within the last year, is continuing hiring in other areas....

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    Britain: Kingfisher selling Superdrug, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
    ...The hardware retailer [will] spin off Woolworths within a month....

  3. ["good, but" #1]
    Factory orders post biggest gain in year - Demand for cars, semiconductors jumps in May, AP via Bost Globe, D2.
    WASHINGTON -...The Commerce Dept. reported yesterday that factory orders rebounded in May, rising 2.5%...
    [but]
    after falling by 3.4% the month before....
    [and with a continuing battle in this "advanced" nation between incoming production-enhancing technology and the consumption-reducing historical anachronism of a frozen 1940-era workweek, any rebound is strictly temporary....]

  4. ["good, but" #2]
    Taking time to savor life shouldn't be hard work, letter to editor by James McCown of Cambridge MA, Boston Globe, C5.
    [But it is, with today's levels of job insecurity and perceived need to compete with fellow employees for survival past the next downsizing. Moreover -]
    ...For adults, "I'm so busy" is used as sort of an all-purpose declaration of how important and sought-after we are.
    Consider the implied inverse of busyness: People not overwhelmed by professional and social obligations are losers.
    For the years I lived in New York, and to a lesser extent here in Boston, there was the constant game of busier-than-thou one-upmanship: "Hmmm...let me check my calendar...let's see, Tuesday's no good...Thursday's out...how about next Monday?"
    Our already pervasive obsession with being overoccupied has only been heightened by technology. Cellphones have transformed the "wasted time" of walking along the sidewalk, sitting on a bus, or waiting in line for coffee into innumerable chances to show off, to demonstrate how every moment must be leveraged to greatest advantage. What's more, this and other electronic doodads have vastly reduced the possibility of a spontaneous encounter with another human being....

7/03/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. Fulfilling the Brady Act's promise, editorial, NYT, A18.
    This week the Brady Act, which requires background checks for gun buyers, received its most comprehensive report card to date. A study by the Justice Dept. shows that background checks by the FBI, as well as by state and local agencies, have barred criminals from acquiring guns hundreds of thousands of times. Praise for the law's performance - tempered by a proposal that would weaken it - came from none other than Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who as a senator had long received campaign contributions from the National Rifle Assoc. in appreciation of his stance against gun control....

  2. Seized cars, fewer accidents, by Jacob Fries, NYT, A14.
    The mayor and the police commissioner of NYC announced yesterday that the city has seized more than 4,000 vehicles from drunk drivers since February 1999.
    According to a statement released yesterday by the mayor, officers have seized 4,004 vehicles and arrested 8,990 people for driving while intoxicated since February 1999, when the Police Dept. began confiscating vehicles. So far this year, 859 cars have been seized, said Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik. He said that fatal accidents involving drunken drivers fell by 28%, comparing data from the 24 months before the forfeiture initiative to the 24 months after it started.

7/02/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UNtakeover]
    United Airlines abandons merger with US Airways, pointer digest (to A1), NYT, C1.
    ...In the end, a weakening economy and a long review by Justice Department antitrust officials, who showed no sign of approving the deal, compelled United to back out.

  2. China's leader urges acceptance of capitalists in Communist Party, by Craig Smith, NYT, front page.
    China's president of Communist Party general secretary, Jiang Zemin, marked the 80th birthday of the party [yester]day by declaring that private business owners and other members fo China's increasingly diverse society ought to be allowed to join....
    [This might provide a quick proof that both Capitalism and Communism are irrelevant to economic deterioration when waves of worksaving technology crash into frozen, rigid, pre-technology workweeks.]

  3. Welfare's safety net, letter to editor by Commissioner Brian Wing of NY Office of Temp & Disability Assistance, NYT, A18.
    Re "As welfare deadline looms, answers don't seem so easy" (front page, June 25):
    ...Families that have received federal benefits for five consecutive years will see the end of those benefits this December. Yet for the vast majority of families on assistance in New York, benefits will continue through the state and locally financed Safety Net Assistance program. The program provides the same level of benefits, and a host of transitional benefits.
    Now is the time to determine what barriers are preventing families from self-sufficiency. Are there problems with domestic violence, drug or alcohol issues or learning disabilities? If so, the case may be exempt from federal time limits.
    [What if there are structural problems with a job market overwhelmed by unskilled labor hours from would-be employees, downsizing from employers, and constant encroachments from robots and automation?]
    With help, most people are capable of escaping welfare dependency....
    [What if that majority is shrinking? The state and local Safety Net Assistance program simply sounds like federal bandaids writ small. What kind of "help" then? We propose Timesizing.]
    The best way to use these [state and local] resources is with the cooperation of the people who need them.
    [And the best way to cut the bandaids is for officials and economists to quit blaming the broadening minority of victims for a deepening systemic problem that was identified right near the beginning of the first industrial revolution (1819, Sismondi - see near middle of our Bibliography page).]

7/01/2001  glimmers of hope -
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