David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
. . . About accumulations and other themes, including both happy and ominous matters.
Lots of Snow
I know that the unusual snowfalls back east are dangerous for some, inconvenient for many, and expensive for governments which have to remove the snow. Yet one of my fondest memories of living in upstate New York is a long, delicious weekend which began with about three feet of snow arriving overnight. Everything was closed or cancelled: church, school, work, commerce, everything. When the snow stopped and the sun came out, neighbors who had scarcely nodded at each other before spent hours happily digging out their own and each other's cars. Parents and children dug out snow caves and tunnels. Streets became pathways for cross-country skiers. One massive dose of meteorological reality somehow liberated us for a while from our quotidian reality. I would gladly do it again.
What Does Productivity Mean?
There's a story out that closing down the federal government in Washington and thereabouts because of snow somehow costs about $100 million in lost productivity, that is, "in work government employees won't do." So far, I haven't been able to comprehend this. These workers don't produce goods and services to be sold in the marketplace, which cannot be sold because they are not produced, because of snow closures. We're not talking about General Motors, a.k.a. Government Motors, are we? Are we talking about IRS auditors, who won't be able to audit as many people this year if they miss a day or two, and therefore won't be able to rake in as much cash? Are we talking about the printing of money, an extreme sport under the present administration, which might have to cease temporarily, until the snow is cleared? Or do we just not have the vaguest idea what productivity is?
Tell Me You Didn't See This One Coming
Now that (a) the federal government owns a big chunk of General Motors, and (b) the White House is as tight with organized labor as it has ever been (at least in my sentient lifetime), it's no surprise that the feds and their Big Media Acronym lapdogs are going after GM's leading competitor, Toyota. Oh, I think the recall is legitimate, and it's a big one, but the government and BMA's excessive crowing about it and their proclaiming the government's stated intention to oversee and investigate thoroughly -- how can I put this gently? -- stinks to high heaven. We now have in the auto industry what opponents of the "public option" (government-provided medical insurance) saw in that bad idea. Instead of having teams competing on a relatively level playing field with a plausibly objective referee and a rules committee that is remote from the action, we have a competitor (the government) which also makes the rules and referees the game. There would have to be a great deal more honor and character in high places than one can presently find there, in order for this situation not to go bad in very predictable ways.
By the way, when I heard of the Toyota recall, plus all the crowing and the solemn promises of careful oversight and thorough investigation, I said to some folks that I figured Honda would be next. I was right. Ford owners, don't get too comfortable. Yours may be a natively American company, but you're next. Unhumbled, a company which survived without accepting federal help (which GM and Chrysler accepted) will be too much of an embarrassment for the Washington baby fascists to bear.
I've been watching the State of the Union speech, among others. Life is too short, or at least my life is too busy just now, to permit a detailed analysis, but none is needed. The words are so completely and conspicuously at odds with the actions, that one would do well simply to ignore the words and scrutinize the actions. Bipartisanship? Fiscal restraint? A genuine willingness to consider new ideas? If you'll buy these, you'll buy anything.
Tomorrow . . .
Iran's loose-cannon-in-chief has promised a major comeuppance tomorrow for the great, civilized powers of the world. Perhaps some nervousness is warranted. The possibilities are legion; admittedly, one of the possibilities is that it's a bluff. Which embassy, shopping mall, government office building, financial institution, large naval vessel, or elementary school would you be willing to bet that it's a bluff?
The Foregoing Is Too Grim a Note on Which to End
Therefore, allow me to note the addition to my blog roll of a personal favorite since childhood, The Osgood Files (lately I've been listening to the podcasts via iTunes); a delightful, well written personal blog of one Marilyn Nielson; and a visually adventurous art blog by Sam Nielson. Enjoy.
Copyright 2010 by David Rodeback.