Want to blame something? Blame new knowledge. Knowledge created the electronic gadgets and software that can now do almost any routine task. This goes well beyond the factory floor. America also used to have lots of elevator operators, telephone operators, bank tellers and service-station attendants. Remember? Most have been replaced by technology. Supermarket check-out clerks are being replaced by automatic scanners. The Internet has taken over the routine tasks of travel agents, real estate brokers, stock brokers and even accountants. With digitization and high-speed data networks a lot of back office work can now be done more cheaply abroad.
Any job that's even slightly routine is disappearing from the U.S. But this doesn't mean we are left with fewer jobs. It means only that we have fewer routine jobs, including traditional manufacturing. When the U.S. economy gets back on track, many routine jobs won't be returning--but new jobs will take their place. A quarter of all Americans now work in jobs that weren't listed in the Census Bureau's occupation codes in 1967. Technophobes, neo-Luddites and anti-globalists be warned: You're on the wrong side of history. You see only the loss of old jobs. You're overlooking all the new ones.
The reason they're so easy to overlook is that so much of the new value added is invisible. A growing percent of every consumer dollar goes to people who analyze, manipulate, innovate and create. These people are responsible for research and development, design and engineering. Or for high-level sales, marketing and advertising. They're composers, writers and producers. They're lawyers, journalists, doctors and management consultants. I call this "symbolic analytic" work because most of it has to do with analyzing, manipulating and communicating through numbers, shapes, words, ideas.
Friday, May 29, 2009
It all started back in 1985 when an Indian-American kid, Balu Natarajan, won the event. That kid is now Dr. Natarajan, a internal medicine and sports MD guy, who notes on his website that:
Winning the “Bee” was definitely an important experience in his life and opened many doors for him. He is quick to note that the victory is not his alone and that his parents, family, community and school share equally in this accomplishment. He also adds that the 1985 Spelling Championship is just one event in his life and that he is more proud of being a good doctor and the work he does with his patients than his title as 1985 Champion.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
States hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government's first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.The report has an interactive map that is quite good. According to that map, Oregon's jobless rate is 12%, and the per capita stimulus funding so far is $2.12. In neighboring Washington, with a much lesser unemployment rate of 9.1%, per capita stimulus funding thus far is a whopping $216.02!
Nationwide, federal agencies have awarded nearly $4 billion in contracts to help jump-start the economy since President
Obamasigned the massive stimulus package in February. But, with few exceptions, that money has not reached states where the unemployment rate is highest, according to a USA TODAY review of contracts disclosed through the Federal Procurement Data System.
Michigan, for example — where years of economic tumult and a collapsing domestic auto industry have produced the nation's worst unemployment rate — federal agencies have spent about $2 million on stimulus contracts, or 21 cents per person. In Oregon, where unemployment is almost as high, they have spent $2.12 per capita, far less than the nationwide average of nearly $13.
That money "is needed nowhere more than it is needed in Michigan," says Leslee Fritz, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Recovery Office, which is coordinating stimulus efforts in that state. She said officials are generally satisfied with the pace of federal aid, but added, "We certainly feel very intensely the need to move quickly."
The $787 billion recovery package was intended to help turn around the economy using federal money to create jobs, especially in places where the recession has taken the most severe toll. Most of that money goes directly to states to pay for work such as highway repairs, but federal agencies also will spend billions of dollars to do everything from fixing runways and improving national forests to cleaning up nuclear waste.
Many African immigrants are returning back to their respective home countries.
While we are accustomed to viewing dreary depictions of Africa, those there are becoming quite comfortable with their living situations.
Recent studies by the Pew Research Center show people’s level of satisfaction with their quality of life has risen all across the continent of Africa.
By contrast, attitudes for Americans have remained stagnant if not decreased.
Between that and a sense of optimism about the future of individual African countries’ economies, and it’s clear why some Nigerians, Ghanaians, Kenyans, and others have decided they’d rather deal with an unstable internet connection than an unstable nation.
Joining them are Chinese and Indian natives who no longer feel they have to leave their respective home countries to get ahead.
Even many Mexican immigrants have started to flee the country due to our sour economy.
America has long been known as the country where anything as possible.
The entire world has looked to us as a beacon of hope of what could be. One of American’s greatest strengths is that it’s become a melting pot of the world.
What does it say about the future of this country if those who came here with a sense of optimism are now leaving with a newfound distrust in the American promise?
The idea that any time a person with a Spanish last name is tapped for a job, his or her entire lifetime of accomplishments is going to be wiped out in a riptide of bitching and moaning about “identity politics” is not a fun concept for me to contemplated. Qualifications like time at Princeton, Yale Law, and on the Circuit Court that work well for guys with Italian names suddenly don’t work if you have a Spanish name. Heaven forbid someone were to decide that there ought to be at least one Hispanic columnist at a major American newspaper.And, how about the following from Reason's Steve Chapman?
Somehow, when George W. Bush affects a Texas accent, that’s not identity politics. When John Edwards gets a VP nomination, that’s not identity politics. But Sonia Sotomayor! Oh my heavens!At any rate, Ann Friedman wrote a great piece on the hypocrisy of this back during the Democratic primary. And I think this item from Neil Sinhababu on constructing political identities is insightful.
Few objections were heard from Republicans in 1991, when President George H.W. Bush decided that the ideal person to fill the vacancy left by Thurgood Marshall, the court's first black justice, was Clarence Thomas, who just happened to be black as well.
Bush did his best to have it both ways. He insisted that race was irrelevant and that Thomas was simply the "best qualified" candidate in the country. But he also said, "(I)f credit accrues to him for coming up through a tough life as a minority in this country, so much the better."
Back then, conservatives played the identity game gingerly, as if they were slightly embarrassed. But they have since learned to make the most of it. The most recent and regrettable example is Sarah Palin, lustily cheered by Republican audiences last year not because she had the credentials and ability to step into the presidency, but because she was the Right Kind of Person.
First, she was a woman, picked to attract disappointed Hillary Clinton supporters, as Palin shamelessly highlighted: "Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."
Second, she was not one of those effete urban elitists but a real American—small-town girl, beauty queen, hockey mom, "Bible-believing Christian" (as she put it), mother of five, and moose hunter.
Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), said she was controversial because "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." Palin herself celebrated her brethren from small towns, which she called "all of you hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation."
Of course it's useful to include the perspective of small-town residents in formulating policy, just as it's a good idea to consider the impact of laws on Latinos. But to imagine that either group—or any group—has a unique claim to wisdom or goodness is only to prove that no group is immune to foolishness.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Barack Obama Is Cliff Huxtable|
Could it be true that that only a few, other than real estate agents and geographers, understand the importance of location, location, and location?
I asked the students in one of my classes whether they considered
Well, it turns out that the familiarity that the class had about
After pointing out the countries, at the end of the exercise, I directed them to look at
Of course, geography is not about memorizing maps, or random and trivial facts about places. It is about understanding relationships—such as economic or political relationships—between and amongst geographic areas. Such a framework, though, begins with knowing the actual location of a place, and its relationship with its surroundings. After all, if we didn’t know where exactly
The fantastic and fortunate contrast to the disinterest in understanding locations is this: we live in a world in which information is freely and easily accessible. News media often include maps of countries in their reports. A simple Google search brings up detailed maps of practically any area of the world. This ease of obtaining information is all the more the reason educators like me want our students, and the general populace, to understand and appreciate the world.
Information was not so readily available sixty years ago. Which is why I find it simply remarkable how President Franklin Roosevelt emphasized the spatial understanding of the world, when the country was in the midst of one of the bloodiest wars. The author and public intellectual, Susan Jacoby, noted an interesting aspect of
By urging Americans to look at the maps of the theatres of war, Roosevelt was making sure that his fellow citizens knew what the world looked like, even as
In the contemporary world, too,
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
We can add to that: Iowa okays gay marriage, and California upholds the gay marriage ban. It was not even a close vote: 6-1!!!
Welcome to the bizarro world!
And, if all that was not enough, the army chief says US is ready to be in Iraq for ten years.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Consider the Map the Fallen project, here. It is an overlay on Google Earth that provides details on the lives and deaths of 5600+ U.S. and coalition men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sample:
Details for installing the overlay at the site above. (Mac users: it definitely does require the latest release of Google Earth, here.) As the project's originator says:
I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories--you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died.Respect to him, and to those he is honoring. (And, yes, I do realize that there could be a much more densely-populated map of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. That takes nothing away from the power of this project or the sacrifice it commemorates.)