Gongol.com Archives: January 2008
Brian Gongol

January 18, 2008

Business and Finance GM plans to pay tens of thousands of workers to retire
It's apparently going to offer retirement incentives to 46,000 workers, and analysts think about 20,000 might take the bait. And yet it was only a few days ago that a bunch of Presidential candidates were crawling all over Michigan talking about "keeping good manufacturing jobs in America." The truth of the matter, as apparently at least Sen. John McCain had the honesty to say, is that manufacturing is still alive and well in America, but for those jobs that have gone away, it's naive to talk about bringing them back.

Threats and Hazards Tax money being used to keep nuclear scientists from going rogue is being poorly used
A GAO report says lots of the money that was supposed to be used to keep former Soviet nuclear scientists from going to work for terrorists is being put to poor use. That's bad...maybe the money should be used to keep the huge number of British physicists who might lose their jobs from turning to the dark side.

Business and Finance American Museum of Finance re-opens in New York

Water News Who's responsible for chemical security?

Aviation News Plane crash at Heathrow apparently caused by failure of power systems
The pilot of the Boeing 777 says that they called for more thrust but the engines didn't deliver. The plane made what you might call a semi-controlled landing just shy of the runway, but most importantly, everyone on board survived. The pilot spoke to the media and is undoubtedly doing British Airways immeasurable good by thanking everyone around for their professionalism, including the passengers. Here's how important the airline's brand is: When asked whether the crash could have been caused by pilot error, a safety consultant said "BA pilots don't make mistakes like that." How few companies have such bulletproof brands? Ironically, the incident happened to coincide with a story on ABCNews.com about the new BA terminal at Heathrow.

Socialism Doesn't Work Just say "No" to more spending
The President says he's going to ask Congress for an economic booster shot to the tune of 1% of GDP -- or about $130 billion, based on our 2006 GDP of $13 trillion. Among the requests: Tax relief and more Federal backing for mortgage refinancing. Where, though, is the money for this package supposed to come from? Where in the world is the magical pot of money from which we're supposed to pull $130 billion? That's a colossal sum of money: More than the entire GDP of New Zealand or the entire gross state product of Iowa. Unfortunately, even more than just being a needless Keynesian effort to tweak the economy, such a package punishes the those who have been paying higher rates of mortgage interest on 15-year and 30-year fixed loans in order to bail out those who borrowed more than they could repay on lower-interest adjustable-rate mortgages that are now moving to higher interest rates. You cannot punish people for responsible fiscal behavior forever without sending the wrong message. Fix the real problems: Accounting abuses, stock-option scandals, and under-capitalized lending institutions. Then stop behaving as though every rough patch in the business cycle calls for a huge (and ultimately punitive) "economic stimulus package." Lower taxes will be great to enjoy sometime in the future, but first we have to stop spending so much. Sadly, the Federal Reserve chair seems to be on the spending bandwagon, too.

Humor and Good News The phrase is "For all intents and purposes"
The erroneous "for all intensive purposes" happens far too often -- 67,900 times so far on the Internet, according to Google

Computers and the Internet Backdoor trick allows anyone to see MySpace photos in private accounts
Just one more reminder that anything that goes online could be used against you...even if you think it's protected by passwords and other secrecy.