Gongol.com Archives: June 2009
Brian Gongol

June 9, 2009

News European elections favor the center-right
Interesting (and heartening) that even in a time of economic slowdown, people are giving the socialists the heave-ho. Very interesting as well to see that the Labour Party, which has the majority in the British Parliament, got beaten not only by the Conservative Party, but by the UK Independence Party -- which wants out of the EU altogether. Since the EU elections are a whole different level of politics altogether from those of the national assemblies of the individual countries involved, it's interesting to consider what kind of result would emerge if, for instance, the US were part of some larger elected body. Would libertarian-leaning people in the US vote for the same party as their like-minded fellows in, say, Canada?

Business and Finance New name for the Sears Tower still scheduled for dedication in July
And a lot of people are still really angry about the change. That's to be expected, considering the value we place on the institutions we hold dear (which can include the skylines of our cities). But here's the rub: The Busch family had a choice long, long ago to keep their family business under family control but sold out instead, holding just 4.5% of the company by the time InBev came along and made a takeover offer. In selling out, they lost the right to hold much of an opinion on what would happen to the company. In Chicago's case, Sears Roebuck gave up the right to the name when it left the building in the 1980s. While this doesn't mean anyone has to be happy about the change (and, most likely, the building will still be called the Sears Tower by more people than not), it does point out that people had wanted the institution to stay the same, the decisions that would've made it happen were made decades ago. On a related note, that other revered Chicago institution, the Tribune, may soon be in an entirely new set of owners' hands. If Americans want their institutions -- from their newspapers to their retailers -- to thrive, then they're going to have to stop thinking of investments as little pieces of paper to be swapped around and start thinking of stock shares as tiny slices of bigger businesses. In other words, if we want to keep our Sears Towers and our Anheuser-Busches, then we'd better stop day-trading.

Broadcasting Conan O'Brien resurrects the "In the Year 2000" sketch
(Video) Brilliant -- it's exactly the kind of sketch that made his show worth viewing back in the day when Andy Richter was still on his original show. Now that Richter's back on the new show, the stars are aligned for funny stuff. Like the hilarious old "Inappropriate!" sketch.

Humor and Good News When the boss comes unhinged
Hilariously tragic dispatches from a company run by a memo-crazed owner

Water News Thankless tasks in city infrastructure

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