Category: News

The Wall Street Journal had a sobering article about the changing face of employment in the United States. Many of the jobs lost during this recession will never return.

The U.S. hasn’t seen a contraction as deep as this one since before World War II, and employers have cut workers faster than history suggested they would even in a recession as deep as this one. Private-sector payrolls today are lower than they were at the end of 1999.

In addition to replacing 7.2 million lost jobs, the economy needs an additional 100,000 a month to keep up with population growth. If the job market returns to the rapid pace of the 1990s — adding 2.15 million private-sector jobs a year, double the 2001-2007 pace — the U.S. wouldn’t get back to a 5% unemployment rate until late 2017, Rutgers University economist Joseph Seneca estimated. And that assumes no recession between now and then. “Even with some very optimistic assumptions, it’s a long road back,” Mr. Seneca said.

Perhaps one bright spot of note is the constant change of employment. Many of the jobs that exist now, did not even exist a decade ago.

In 2003, Treasury Department chief economist Alan Krueger, then at Princeton, calculated that a quarter of U.S. workers at the time were in jobs the Census Bureau didn’t even list as occupations in 1967.

25% of all jobs in this country did not exist a few decades ago. On a personal note, what I do for living did not exist a decade ago. There were very few IT people focusing on datacenter automation, and the commercial use of Linux was in it’s infancy. Time will tell if positions like mine exist twenty years now. However; if there is one positive note about the volatility of the job market, its the fact that five years from now there will be plenty of new positions that do not exist today.

I’ve never been a fan of Lance Armstrong, but his now confirmed comeback plan is huge for cycling.

If he is semi-competive at his age, it would be impressive. If he actually wins the TDF, it would probably go down as the greatest athletic accomplishment, or at least in the top-5.

This time he would have to win clean, since the drug testing has really stepped up since Lance was destroying the competition a few years ago. If Lance were to win in 2009, every accomplishment he did before would be considered legitimate.

“And, granted, I’ll be totally honest with you, the year that I won the Tour, many of the guys that got 2nd through 10th, a lot of them are gone. Out. Caught. Positive Tests. Suspended. Whatever. … And so I can understand why people look at that and go, Well, [they] were caught — and you weren’t?” he told Vanity Fair. “So there is a nice element here where I can come with really a completely comprehensive program and there will be no way to cheat.”

Now all we need is a Landis comeback, and I will book my tickets for France.

Time for a bit of Northeastern Pennsylvania news.

Nearly a year ago, I criticized the proposed Hazleton cargo airport. An airport backed by corrupt insiders, some of the same people who setup a crooked Luzerne country juvenile facility arrangement. This proposed cargo airport was going to revitalize the area, never mind the fact that no major shipping company signed on to be a tenant.

Fast forward a year later, and there has been a ton of news related to the cargo airport.

Attorney Robert Powell sold his interests in the cargo airport company and the juvenile detention company.

One of the corrupt judges who pushed the juvenile center, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr, admitted to handling cases improperly.

Now both judge Ciavarella and judge Michael T. Conahan are being investigated by the FBI for their relationship with attorney Robert Powell.

What does this mean for the cargo airport? Time will tell, but the state has already recommended that the developers should actually find tenants, before going forward. What a brilliant idea!

Bravo to the Citizen’s voice for having the guts to actually investigate and publish this story. If you live in Northeastern PA, I would strongly urge you to subscribe to the Citizen’s voice. The Times Leader would never publish such a story.

Quite ironically, one of the corrupt country commissioners who passed the juvenile deal still says its a good idea. Greg Skrepenak has no regrets about approving the 20 year 58 million dollar lease to his cronies. Grep Skrepenak recently awarded one of his cronies a million dollar no bid construction contract.

I blame the voters of Luzerne country for most of this mess. First off, how could anyone with a semi-functioning brain vote for Greg Skrepenak? He has ZERO qualifications to run a large county government. Secondly, when voters were given the change the restructure country government with a charter government, they voted NO.

When the dust finally settles on all these scandals, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some of the same idiots obtain office again.

Last week, The New York Times and the Washington Post had great opinion pieces about anti-intellectualism in the United States.

New York Times: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

Washington Post: The Dumbing of America

The mass media culture of today seems to celebrate idiocy, looking down at knowledge. The education system in the United States is completely broken. Parents, care more about their children’s athletic accomplishments, rather than academic pursuits.

At the same time, everybody and their brother has a masters degree, while lacking basic high school geography, math, and history fundamentals. Remember when having a graduate degree actually meant something?

Nowhere is the dumbing of America more noticeable, than the state of television news. CNN, the network that once aspired to be the New York Times of Television, has turned in to NY Post. Don’t believe me? Watch 10 minutes of Lou Dobbs.

Critics tend to point an undeserved harsh finger at video games and the Internet. Video games are an easy target, but it reminds me a lot of the anti rock music paranoia of the 50’s and 60’s. Parents and critics are simply afraid of things they don’t understand. Blaming the Internet for anti-intellectualism in the US, is simply dead wrong. The Internet is a tool. It can be used for good, and it can be abused.

There is no single clear cause of the dumbing of America, and there are no easy solutions either. Its a lot like global warming. Its a long-term problem, with long-term solutions. Humans are naturally short-term creatures.

shah of iranpervez musharraf

If anyone doesn’t understand why the Muslim world hates the United States, look no further than Pervez Musharraf, the US backed dictator of Pakistan. General Musharraf is a “valued partner in war on terror,” yet Bin Laden and most of the Al Queda leadership lives in Pakistan.

Have we not learned anything from the Shah of Iran? History is doomed to repeat itself, and this time we are dealing with a nuclear powered state. After no WMD’s were found in Iraq, Bush tried to rebrand the invasion as an attempt to “bring freedom” to Iraq. How does the US giving billions of dollars to a military dictator bring freedom to the people of Pakistan?

Its easy to see why much of the Muslim world hates the US.