Gongol.com Archives: April 2014

Brian Gongol

April 8, 2014

News "A contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea"
Secretary of State Kerry tries to call out the Russian government for making a mess in Ukraine -- quite literally by fomenting insurrection. So, here's the question: Why does this all appear to be happening while the White House scrambles to patch together some kind of response? How did we get here? Why didn't we see this coming, and wasn't there something that we could have done to prevent it? Is there a systemic failure we need to address? Are there individuals who should be fired for gross incompetence? Wagging fingers at Russia now seems like a response that isn't anywhere close to getting the right outcome.

Business and Finance Think through the consequences
A Cityview story on gang problems in Des Moines (yes, Des Moines) notes the widely-acknowledged correlation between youth unemployment and gang trouble: "No kid that has a legitimate opportunity elsewhere is joining a gang". This relationship should always enter the conversation when people talk about doing anything that restricts entry into the labor force -- including raising the minimum wage. Barriers to entry mean more young people with no better alternatives, and that enhances the risk that some of them will get caught up in criminal activity. 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds with low-wage but legitimate jobs are a far better thing to have than 21-year-olds who still haven't gotten into the labor force. And the higher the barriers to entry, the worse the effects down the road, since the longer a person goes without establishing some kind of a working history (no matter how menial it may appear), the harder it becomes for them to get moving up the economic ladder.

News Chicago and the state of Illinois struggle to fix pensions
Too many promises made for too long and not enough set aside to keep them. Chicago's not alone -- this is a very widespread problem.

Aviation News The suspected depth of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
We tend to lack both perspective and basic knowledge of the depths of the oceans, or of their topography.

Humor and Good News "Like sharing a waterbed with a baboon that's just been doused in itching powder"
(Video) Jeremy Clarkson's take on the worst of giant American sedans

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