Gongol.com Archives: 2016 Weekly Archives

Brian Gongol

November 12, 2016

Business and Finance People are quitting their jobs, and it's a good thing

The number of people quitting their jobs is now at a ten-year high, and it's the biggest gap between layoffs (1.47 million in September) and quitting (3.07 million) that we've had in even longer than that. Voluntary quitting is a symptom that conditions are good for workers.

Computers and the Internet Russia is soon to ban LinkedIn for "privacy" issues

LinkedIn resisted storing data on computers inside Russia because they could easily be more susceptible to surveillance there rather than elsewhere. But that's not the kind of "privacy" that the Russian government appears to want to respect. Considering the pending move to fold LinkedIn into Microsoft, this is actually a really dumb move on the part of the Russian government. There will be business costs.

Iowa Spencer's one-time largest employer is closing

Terrible times for commodity agricultural production is crushing the market for heavy equipment, which is where the plant's products were used. Employees already knew that layoffs were likely, but the complete closure undoubtedly hurts.

Broadcasting Show notes - Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - November 12, 2016

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November 11, 2016

News A letter to America "from an old friend"

A longtime former ambassador to the United States from Singapore has exceptionally thoughtful words for Donald Trump, including: "You should avoid the trap of being held accountable for those remarks. You need not have a bad conscience about it because every US president before you did the same thing. You are just following a well-known US tradition." Decidedly worth reading for anyone who wants some perspective on what the United States should do with regard to Asia.

Threats and Hazards Should the people charged with executing the law be able to benefit themselves by it?

As the Presidential transition gets underway, it's time for everyone to move from generic campaign-style criticism into specific criticism of their opponents. And a very significant point on which criticism is justified is the apparent turnover of Donald Trump's business interests not to a blind trust, or even to an arm's-length management team, but to his own children. That puts him and his family in a very specific position of power to conduct extraordinary and abnormal abuses of political influence for personal monetary gain -- particularly as it becomes clear that those same offspring will be involved in Trump's governing style as well as his business interests. This is not normal, and it's not OK. It opens the door to abuses like the exact kind of "pay-to-play" corruption that Trump himself specifically accused Hillary Clinton of engaging in as Secretary of State while still maintaining familial contact with the Clinton Foundation.

News Start the impeachment countdown clock

An American University professor who has gained a reputation for making accurate contrarian political predictions has noted that he thinks a Trump Presidency could easily be dumped rather quickly by a Republican Congress that (easily) finds legitimate grounds for an impeachment, and then acts swiftly to replace Donald Trump with his Vice President. (Might not be all that controversial if he enrages his base by reversing course on key issues.) But others predicted it before the professor.

News How quickly can the Imperial Presidency be rolled back?

Don't assume powers when in office that you don't want your opponents to have when they win. That's advice we've ignored for a long, long, long time.

News Gov. Chris Christie out as Trump's transition chair

One might wonder how that change came about so quickly

November 10, 2016

News "No problem comes to the president unless it is fiendishly complicated"

The Economist weighs in on the election of Donald Trump with a sobering analysis. Virtually every word should be in boldface and underlined. This is no time for mistakes.

Threats and Hazards Does the incoming administration threaten national security?

The military seems to have bristled under micromanagement by the Obama administration, and while some think that a Trump administration will bring relief, that's not a hope supported by evidence. This is, after all, an incoming President who is known to micromanage his own businesses and who said -- without apparent irony -- that he knew more than the nation's defense leadership. But there's also a story buried in the details: If Trump truly intends to do an end-run around the "Washington establishment", then he's going to have grave difficulties finding people qualified to direct the processes of diplomacy, strategic planning, and military action. There are rules to all of this -- including things like obtaining security clearances. If the machinery of government isn't lubricated by capable actors, then we could in fact find ourselves in a vulnerable state.

News Milwaukee sheriff's idle threats against demonstrators should be scorned

The First Amendment is crystal-clear: Peaceable assembly is a right the government cannot dispute. Period. End of story. To tweet, "There is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people" is to spit in the faces of the Founders. Peaceful protests -- even stupid ones -- are an absolute right.

Broadcasting The times call for more journalists like Scott Pelley

The CBS anchor is about as sober as they come. His words on the election are sensible. And he's both smart and tough on his interview subjects.

Computers and the Internet Don't fear workers overseas -- it's automation that takes a real toll on jobs

A local TV weather forecaster jokes that Facebook is "trying to do my job again" by automatically inserting a forecast into his news feed. But it's true: If the forecast is delivered automatically and updated instantly and integrated seamlessly into the rest of your stream of consciousness, then that undoubtedly diminishes the demand for a conventional local TV weather forecast. Maybe imperceptibly at first. Maybe unquantifiably for now. But over the long term, habits can change -- in big ways. Lots and lots of people are insufficiently aware of the impact that automation will have (or is having) on their industries. They'd better get wise.

November 9, 2016

The United States of America Donald Trump wins

Secretary Clinton has conceded defeat, exactly as the proper function of a free democracy requires. President Obama has promised a dignified transfer of power and best wishes for success. Criticisms that applied to him during the election remain valid as an officeholder, though they ought to be delivered with the dignity that befits the office.

The United States of America 1,557,152 Iowans voted in 2016

Iowa had 1,589,951 general-election voters in 2012, and 1,546,453 in 2008. The final number for 2016 will be somewhat higher after some remaining ballots are counted, but this is not an election with an abnormally high turnout.

News The Democratic Party's civil war begins

Both parties are in dire structural trouble. The Trump takeover of the Republican Party overshadowed the simultaneous near-dissolution of the Democratic Party. Now, their meltdown will overshadow the hollowing-out of the GOP. The parties are both in terrible shape.

News Strong words from Van Jones upon the election outcome


Business and Finance Hyundai up-brands its luxury car

Like Honda (which begat Acura), Toyota (which begat Lexus), and Nissan (which begat Infiniti), Hyundai has decided to create an upmarket brand under the "Genesis" flag. There may be a broader lesson to take away for marketing in general: Let your primary brand remain mass-market, and if you need to go up-market, spin up a new brand.