- Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 22 September 2010 05:00
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I keep hoping we will find that magic turning point when our national economy clearly and perceptibly begins to improve. We see hints. Consumer sentiment shows a slight uptick. Though sadly, it was grim to begin with. Durable goods orders go up a little. That’s good news and new claims for unemployment insurance are down a little. But all of this is like background noise. It doesn’t represent a profound or decisive trend. What’s more, this recession, unlike most, just doesn’t want to end. I don’t know when a recession becomes a depression. Maybe things need to get a lot worse before that word can be used, but we’ve had a half dozen recessions since the end of World War II and this one is by far the worst.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 05:00
- Hits: 421
The midterm elections, if you’re a Democrat, aren’t shaping up well. The worst case scenarios project losses that at the very least are going to cost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives. Even more dire predictions suggest they could lose control of the Senate. The latter isn’t likely, but enough pieces seem to be coming into place to make it a possibility.
Unless there is a turnaround, the day after Election Day is going to be glum for the Democrats. There will be a lot of explaining, endless analysis, Fox TV will be joyful, and there will promises from the White House stoically expressing their willingness to work with the new majority. Under almost any scenario President Barack Obama will have to develop a new approach to dealing with Congress.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:00
- Hits: 577
In the 1980’s I worked for the Corps of Engineers at the Pentagon. It was a demanding job and I was going to school at night getting an MBA. Not having a full night’s sleep just became a matter of course. However, this was nothing to complain about. The Army was picking up the tab. But this was the Army, and each course I took involved a complex set of forms and approvals. There was a lot of bureaucracy involved in sending me to school.
That’s where Jenny (for purposes of the privacy of her family, this wasn’t her real name) comes in. Back in those days she was our administrative officer. She was young, my age, and I might add, rather nice to look at. Next to the General she was the most important person in the office. If you wanted to travel, buy new equipment, upgrade a position, or, in my case, do a degree program, she made it happen.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 05:00
- Hits: 470
The Gulf oil spill released as much as 38 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil well gushed oil for 87 days. The well, at long last, has been sealed and that was no small feat. But the real question was what to do with the oil.
How could any ecosystem, no matter how large, possibly absorb that much oil?
There was even speculation that after it had wreaked havoc on the Gulf that this massive plume would then make its way up the Atlantic Coast. What can I say? All the scenarios were bad. There was no way the cleanup technologies we have at the moment, which for the most part amount to booms and souped up Shopvacs could possibly handle it. But then, along came a microbe. It is a bit of bacteria, just a few microns wide, that likes to eat oil.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 05:00
- Hits: 490
When the Congress and the president began discussing immigration reform several years ago it started as a surprisingly deliberate and thoughtful discussion. But, sadly, this high-minded exchange didn’t last very long. Now, instead of debate, there is a back and forth of hateful rhetoric and some ideas, that, if not irrational, are at least ill considered. Of course, as I said, that wasn’t always the case. And interestingly enough, while generally supported by Democrats, true immigration reform, at one time, had some impressive Republican supporters. President George W. Bush counted himself as an immigration reform advocate and so did John McCain.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 05:00
- Hits: 459
Over the years, in high school, and later in College, I tried to learn another language. My teachers did their best, but the outcome was always the same. And so was their conclusion. I had no aptitude for languages. The best advice was to stick with the language I had, and that was English. However, while most of us are used to English, it’s not as easy as all that, and when I think of all the new immigrants in our area having to master our native tongue, my heart goes out to them.
Just consider the number of words. Many argue that English has more words than any other language in the world. The Oxford Dictionary puts the count at 500,000, but others say it’s more like 1 million. Also, according to one source, and this includes words that probably aren’t going to last long, such as “humongous,” and “ginormous” the English language adds a word every 98 minutes. I guess I will have to “google” that (and yes, “google” is one of those new words too), to see if it’s true.