Gongol.com Archives: November 2008
Brian Gongol

November 18, 2008

Business and Finance Can the Detroit automakers be saved? Does a rescue require government intervention?
Suppose that the foregone conclusion isn't that we need to help the automakers, but that we're going to invest $50 billion in taxpayer dollars. Are there better investments out there than the Detroit Three? Cancer research? Solar power? College scholarships? Roads, bridges, and water plants? Bike trails? Taxpayers deserve the highest return on investment (ROI) we can get.

Computers and the Internet Can Barack Obama be President without a BlackBerry?
There's apparently a lot of resistance to the idea that Obama, who seems to be a bit of a PDA addict, could use his BlackBerry in the Oval Office and still stay inside the bounds of legal requirements and Presidential security. Yet the objections seem almost ridiculous: First, it's ludicrous to suggest that we couldn't find ways to make communication with the President reasonably secure, even if it requires building a custom PDA just for his hot little hands. Encryption? Call the NSA. Archival needs? Enlist the Library of Congress. Whatever the objection, it would be astonishing if there weren't a fix available. Want to prevent people from spamming the President? Try using forms instead of giving out his address. Second, though we should try to avoid becoming so technology-dependent that we can't go without our tools, it's also a bit absurd to try to get a person whose management style specifically includes the use of certain tools to abandon those tools altogether upon embarking on the most difficult job on the planet. Teddy Roosevelt read magazines voraciously and tore them to shreds as he found things he wanted to make note of; is someone saying that Barack Obama shouldn't be able to scan the Internet whenever he wants?

Business and Finance Context: Who needs it?
Journalists, unfortunately, tend to be among the people who understand the least about inflation. Without context, just about everything with a price tag can be a "record."

Water News Shipping chlorine is about to get more expensive

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