Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Bits and Bites

Why education matters.  The globe is on the verge of another manufacturing revolution, this one driven by technology; surprise.  Over the last twenty years, technology has made the world smaller through IT advancements, products lighter and stronger through material science, factories more efficient through automation, and quality of life improvements through medic al devices and biotechnology.  The rate of advancement and development will continue to increase and suddenly the developing world’s economic advantage of cheap labor will be eradicated through the need for speed to market, rapid manufacturing processes, and mass customization.  The downside is that the traditional blue-collar factory worker jobs in this country will continue to disappear.  The good news is that higher paying technology, engineering, and science jobs will be in great demand to design, develop, produce, maintain, and operate these new manufacturing, information, and healthcare systems.  Through a commitment to vocational and STEM education, America can become a leading industrial power again. 

Argentina, once a shining light in South America, is rapidly heading towards economic collapse AGAIN as the incompetent government of Cristina Fernandez is following the same path of failure as Chavez’ Venezuela.  The recent nationalization of the oil company YPF was a clear cut example of a government disregarding the respect of individual property rights.  This break down in the rule of international law is the latest in a litany of governmental failures: loan default, wasting away a national energy surplus, robbing the nation’s central bank, opening itself up to a complete withdrawal of foreign direct investment, and possible legal action in the WTO.  I think it’s time Argentina be booted from the G20.

Imagine a place with 200,000 political prisoners, where there are no lawyers, judges, or trials, just sentences of slave labor for life. Imagine being taken form your home while your neighbors, friends, and family members not knowing what happened to you.  Imagine being born in a work camp and then have to witness the execution of your mother and brother because of their part in an escape plot.  Imagine female prisoners getting raped and then being forced onto abortions or worse, infanticide.  Imagine escaping this monstrous place to arrive in a neighboring country only to be sent back.  Welcome to North Korea.  We mock and ridicule the regime, it’s silly family Kim, and its failed rocket launch, but this isn’t the least bit funny.  But unless China, Russia, South Korea, and the U.S. get on the same page there is no way change will happen.

Mitt Romney is so full of crap his economic plans go from bad to worse as he panders to all Republican voters.  His bad plan of tax giveaways would have created a $180Billion deficit in 2015.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is his new economic give away plan creates $500Billion deficit.  The man is supposed to be a financial wizard and yet his economic plan has more holes in it than an ant farm the size of New Mexico.

One would think things would be going well for the NRA.  Gun ownership is up, the President has not ‘assaulted’ the 2nd Amendment, states are trying to expand gun rights to public areas, and gun control activists have been muted.  But a deeper look inside the numbers indicates that things aren’t not so rosy.  While the number of guns has increased, the number of gun owners peaked in 1973 and continues to decline.  Worse for the organization, the largest demographic constituency is white males over 40.  Pretty soon they’ll be offering Viagra samples with each purchase of an assault weapon. Further, declining membership and now the Stand Your Ground fiasco in Florida is putting pressure on the political arm of the NRA, and now more and more Americans are calling for tighter controls at gun shows and gun fairs. 

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