Apropos of Nearly Everything, But Particularly Education

Americans are, by nature, crises oriented: We simply refuse to acknowledge a problem absent an absolute disaster.

This crises in education has been coming for decades — bad management, misplaced priorities, diminishing academic scores…but citizens continue to vote for people with no experience in managing a successful two-car parade, and who could not balance their own checkbook much less a multimillion dollar, multi-line budget.

All injuries are self-inflicted.


Lot of Green In Front Of Apple

The fact is that Apple sold four MILION iPhone4S in the first 72 hours after introduction, primarily because of Siri, and Siri is just the very beginning. It is still in Beta, and just operating with a few of the iPhone apps–not yet even on the iPAD — and certainly not released to other developers for their ideas.

Siri is a HUGE game-changer as a human-computer interface. If combined with automobiles it can easily defeat or supplement the Ford-Microsoft SYNC system or add a huge advantage to another manufacturer.

Apple has a lot of green in front of them. Sure the safety is back there but does he have the angle and the speed?

Competitors were working on similar products, but Apple took a gamble on releasing their Beta product and it looks like a winner. At the very least they will get the credit for innovation, and if they can outrun the safety…

Siri will appear on MAC computers as well. The days of keyboard and mouse are limited.


Occupy Nutsville

I listened to the John and Ken show on KFI as they interviewed the people at Occupy Los Angeles for three solid hours, and it was certainly instructive.

The majority of those interviewed are unemployed, and listening to them I fully understand why they are unemployed. They are unfocused, inarticulate and, to tell you the truth, a bit nutty.

One of the only wise things I heard was a probably homeless Black man who said,  “When the homeless try to camp on the grass of City Hall, we get rousted — but let a bunch of white boys show up with their iPODS, and everything is cool!”

(He is exactly right!)

That said, the rest of them were really bad. Q: “What do you do down here?” A: “We, like contemplate what we should do…”

There were some of the most bizarre tales about banks and rich people who “stole their homes and all of their possession” but when you hear them you hear paranoia. Major league mental problems.

There were some rational people, people who had some articulate objections to the nexus between money and politics, but there was a lot more “free education through college, stop the war on drugs, free housing for everyone and forgiveness of all loans” type of talk.

Tomorrow afternoon there will again be several hours of interviews in the afternoon. Knowing this, I expect the organizers to introduce some more rational talk from more rational speakers.

The problems are going to get worse before they get better. Cold weather may cool the ardor in New York and Chicago, but not Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Diego.

There is a disputed report in the London Daily Mail that 90% of the tents in the London occupation are unoccupied at night based on infrared cameras, as the protestors go to their heated homes for the night.

It appears that although the Occupy movement is going to be around, it is more of a happening that an actual movement. it is not that they don’t have a message, it is that they have 100 disparate messages, and no one to articulate the messages.

Oh, we’ll. Not my problem.


Covering Up Stupidity

Watching as much MSNBC as my stomach will permit, I do note that Fox and MSNBC talk past each other, because Republicans and Democrats do.

Any segment seen on Fox is usually correct as it blasts the liberals.

Any segment seen on MSNBC is usually correct as it blasts the conservatives.

The problem is that no segment on MSNBC addresses the same subject as is addressed on Fox, and the opposite is true.

Conservatives and liberals talk past each other. The complaints liberals make of conservatives is usually accurate and visa versa.

Take the segment of Rachel Maddow this past evening, reporting a state legislator in the Wisconsin Special Session to address jobs. the legislator was texting the actual subjects before the legislature:  The sale of beer at county fairs, the definition of bicycles, abortion clinics,  etc. etc. etc. and not one subject before the Republican legislature — called into session by a Republican governor to address jobs.

So, do you think this subject will ever be addressed on Fox? Not on your tintype!

The two networks address only the good things about their chosen political party and bad things about the opponent.

Good for rallying the committed, but not useful for getting useful information. Republicans and Democrats KNOW that their particular network will not report their stupidity, and only the other network will — which means their particular base will not see their stupidity and only the other base will. Neither side cares a whit about what the other sides base is told.

That permits minor but cumulatively bad activity to continue — because only atrocious behavior will make the 30 minute nightly news on the Big Three networks.

Occupy San Diego

There was a debate on a local blog last week about whether the owner of a coffee shop was annoyed with Occupy San Diego…Ch. 8 last night had video of her yelling at Occupy SD people that she had been forced to close her coffee cart after four years in that spot because of their activities and their threats. She was busy having someone hanging an American Flag on her closed coffee cart.

Speaking of the American flag, did you see the video of the guy who had his dog tearing up the American flag? the owner of the dog didn’t want his face or name visible, and claimed he was patriotic.

One of the problems with the Occupy bunch is that they are identified by their worst performers. Their legitimate message, at least insofar as Wall Street is concerned has been hijacked by radicals.

Occupy Wherever

It appears that the cities plagued by Occupation Wherever have adopted the NYC Mayor Bloomberg opinion that the Constitution protects Freedom of Speech – not Freedom of Tents and Sleeping Bags.

He, and other cities have ordered the police to enforce bans on encampments in public parks.

The cities may run into court problems when they try to enforce that edict because of the concept that “actions” can be defined as  “speech.”

That has always been a slippery slope problem. You can see the problem with what is called “Performance Art” being defined as “speech” – women smearing their naked bodies with chocolate syrup, or jars of urine with a cruxifix.

Obviously, some federal court can consider sleeping in public parks and banging on drums is a protected part of “speech.”

If we get lucky, and these encampments are NOT “speech” then the time may come to start rolling back actions defined as speech.

Numbers That Mean Something…Or Not

I find numbers interesting.

For example, did you know that South Koreans work 1,000 hours a year more than do  Germans?

Not that hours worked is, in and of itself, dispositive of success.

For example, among European Union nations, the hours most “worked” per week, is Greece!

Obviously, efficiency is somewhere strongly in the mix, and efficiency is a two-edge sword: The more efficient a company or a nation is, the fewer people it needs to employ for the same production.

When that happens, the only macro answer is to increase production, if you want to employ more people, and that requires that consumption of your product increases.

Consumption is obviously the key, but how do you increase the consumption of your product when the people you have laid off due to the increased efficiency can no longer buy your product?

You must increase your market elsewhere, among hungy consumers in cultures where there is great upward mobility seeking products we think of as normal but they think of as luxury.

How that is done is not easy, but it what must be done. China must increase its population consumption by stopping their currency manipulation, and India and South America, and…