Gongol.com Archives: 2016 Weekly Archives

Brian Gongol


November 22, 2016

Threats and Hazards ISIS/ISIL is using chemical weapons

Energy spent making up reasons to keep refugees out of the West really ought to be redirected into figuring out what the rest of the world can do to help save the innocent from the monsters

News President-elect promises to back out of TPP

That's bad for America's standing in the world, and it will be bad for our economy

News Leaders make time to read

Words from a potential contender for Defense Secretary

Business and Finance Don't bet the farm on an economic boom

JP Morgan reviews the possibilities and doesn't come up with evidence for a boom

Business and Finance Chinese carmakers are learning the value of brand differentiation

If they want to get the higher end of the market, they'll need different brands than they use at the entry-level



November 21, 2016

Threats and Hazards ISIS/ISIL destroys historical artifacts in its wake

Terrible, but still not as terrible as what they and Syria's Assad regime are doing to living people

Threats and Hazards The President's business should be conducted at more than arm's length from his public role

Specific criticism: The President-elect needs to decide now which individuals are responsible for his business interests, and which are responsible for helping him in government. The time for intermingling of the two has passed. The public is paying for an executive branch run with a full-time commitment, and one that is clear of conflicts of interest. If everyone in the private sector is subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, then President-elect Trump must similarly be beyond even the hint of engaging in behavior that might appear to involve conflicts of interest between his public duties and his private money-making.

Computers and the Internet McDonald's will add self-service kiosks in all outlets

The cost of technology is falling fast, and the cost of labor could easily rise dramatically (due to movements like the one for a $15 minimum wage). And customers both spend more and show greater satisfaction with self-service. So anyone who is surprised by this development simply hasn't thought enough about the situation.

Business and Finance Small business formation is at a very low rate

America has historically been a very active generator of new businesses...and if the rate of new-firm formation is down by a lot, that's a symptom of trouble that we need to understand better. Are regulations deterring entrepreneurship? Have we somehow run out of new ideas? Are markets saturated? Is capital too hard to obtain? Are investors too risk-averse?

News Why hotels almost never have "Vacancy" signs anymore

Plenty of obvious reasons, of course -- but also the not-so-obvious, like innkeepers' interests in discouraging bad clientele