Timesizing® Associates

Good News, Nov. 21-30, 2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080

11/30/2000  glimmers of intelligence -

  1. 2 UNtakeovers, worth $2.3B + $?? -
    1. Verizon [Communications] abandons [8/09 $2.3B] NorthPoint [Communications Group] deal, by Seth Schiesel, NYT, C4.
    2. Barnes & Noble and Gemstar[-TV Guide International] end talks on possible [$??] merger, by David Kirkpatrick, NYT, C11.

  2. ["Posing The BIG Question" -]
    Trickster's time - An election crisis staged by a sprite for our own good, op ed by John Mack of Harvard Med School Psychiatry Dept, NYT, A31.
    In his remarkable new book, "Trickster Makes This World," Lewis Hyde [no known relation to Phil Hyde -ed.] shows us that many cultures know - by different names - a rebellious, god-like figure that brings about fundamental change. He is called Hermes in ancient Greece, Coyote among the Indians of the American plains and Monkey in the Buddhist world. Trickster is providence's representative - a kind of savior sent when a society is in crisis and no longer serving the needs of its people.
    We seem to be living in the kind of historical moment when Trickster does his work. Perhaps he staged our political stalemate to enable new possibilities to emerge. For behind the wrangling of lawyers, the bickering of officials and the jockeying for advantage by the two major parties and their candidates is this reality: Our nation's most urgent problems have yet to be successfully addressed.
    The prosperity both parties crow about is a hollow boom in which many find no attention or caring: ...\This\ historical moment...is enabling some to see that the stakes are...greater than...differences between the two parties or their candidates. Adults who had given up on [the] system...are beginning to think about questions of governance. Children in classrooms are being stimulated to become politically aware....
    Things will have to change. As the discoveries [in] physics, biology and other scientific disciplines reveal the profound interconnectedness of all life, our social institutions...lag behind.... We may be headed toward something more collaborative, more...inclusive....
    [John almost pops the Big Question here = How do we get our social sciences and institutions to catch up with our natural (= physical and biological) sciences? How do we design a more collaborative and inclusive socio-economy? Unfortunately he succumbs to the all-too-frequent temptation to finish by assuming that since he doesn't know the answers, no one does, or even can -]
    But we cannot know what will emerge....
    [Here at Timesizing.com we beg to differ. Such talk merely elevates ignorance and complacency and acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are many ways in which we can extend the confidence we feel in the natural sciences into the social sciences. The design of the Timesizing program itself was illuminated by a bunch of principles and ideas from the natural sciences, foremost among which was the insight that the key variable of all time is variability itself, since that is the raw material of adaptibility and survivability (Ernst Mayr, "Populations, Species and Evolution," p. 398). This means that no economic design is going to work unless it maximizes variability. Timesizing satisfies this most fundamental criterion for an adequate economic design. Then there's the question of how we implement it. Thomas Kuhn steps into the picture with his masterful "Theory of Scientific Revolutions" (especially now that it has at least a rudimentary index!). Somewhere on this website we have a page devoted to articulations of The Big Question. Let's see if we can find it. OK, there are three pages:

  3. [train travel finally gettin' smart -]
    Amtrak plans to reward its frequent travelers, Reuters via NYT, C4.
    ...the way airlines do. The railroad will provide free train tickets, flights, hotel stays and other gifts in an effort to increase ridership ahead of a 2003 deadline to operate without any subsidy from the government....
    ["Flights"? We don't think that is necessary. And considering the massive de-facto subsidies the trucking industry gets from the government (ie: us taxpayers) in the form of free "tracks"/highways and roads - not to mention the massive air pollution of having the equivalent of every single massive freightcar&pullman pulled by its own individual diesel locomotive - not to mention the cost to the public of waiting for these off-the-scale giants to pull in and out of loading bays on busy streets - we don't think that Amtrak should have been all that defensive about government subsidies.]
    The program's debut will coincide with the beginining of ticket sales for Amtrak's...Acela Express high-speed service between Boston and Washington.
11/29/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    FleetBoston Financial Corp., NYT, C4.
    ...Boston [plans] to resume a stalled expansion in Chile and increase its branches there by a third, to 32, in an effort to win wealthy Chilean customers.
    [Chileans, beware!]

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    Knorr Capital Partner A.G., NYT, C4.
    ...Frankfurt, and Value Management & Research A.G. [VMR], also of Germany, jointly decided to abandon a planned merger after their shares fell by half in the 8 weeks since the announcement.
    [Them stock speculators finally gittin smart?]
    Knorr and VMR, both venture capital companies, said they would create several joint ventures instead.
    [Much more sensible.]

  3. Citing child labor, U.S. bans apparel from Mongolia plant, by Joseph Kahn, NYT, C6.
    WASHINGTON...- The Customs Service has banned clothing imports from a Chinese-owned factory in Mongolia after finding that the company employs underage workers and forces them so stay at their posts for marathon shifts.... The action comes amid increasing scrutiny of sweatshop factories abroad....
    [There it is again - the backward-upward creep of the workweek dba "mandatory overtime" - this time with an accompanying attack on the lower limit of the standard range of worklife-per-person. And let's not overlook the increasing sweatshop activity at home, as happy workers across America "freely choose" to work 80-90 hour weeks for worthless stock ops. If we don't get a grip on this soon, we might as well repeal the Emancipation Proclamation and reinstitute slavery, because we'll already have it, de facto.]
    The detention order applies to about $1.5m in imports of men's and women's apparel made by the Dong Fang International factory in Mongolia....
    [And why is all this happening, you wonder. Could it be because Americans and many other people around the globe look at work as a way to feel needed? to feel...indispensable? Certainly the single most fashionable statement in our society is "I just don't have time," and it makes us feel sooo important. We don't want to let go. We don't want to lighten up. We "don't have time" to smell the roses. Well Europe in general, and today, the Dutch in particular, are leading the way in a big background battlefront. Americans have often been accused of "not being able to say goodbye." Today the Dutch made a big step forward in their ability and willingness to "say goodbye" - the big goodbye - and allow themselves to die with dignity -]

  4. Dutch becoming first nation to legalize assisted suicide, by Marlise Simons, NYT, A3.
    The Dutch parliament voted [yester]day to allow doctors to help end the lives of seriously ill patients who have asked to die. The bill, which is expected to become law next year, would make the Netherlands the first country to legalize mercy killing and doctor-assisted suicide, practices that are already in wide use, though technically a crime. The lower house approved the bill 104-40; endorsement by the Senate is virtually assured....
    Details of the euthanasia measure, AP via NYT, A3. [Paradoxically, we believe this is a huge step toward greatly prolonging human life, because it prioritizes quality of life over quantity, and quality of life is the only thing that can and will drive human's rolling back of life expectancy. As we accept the responsibility of voluntary mortality, we accept responsibility for our own end, but since freedom is always at least two-way, responsibility for our own end carries within it responsibility for our own continuation. As the medical enabling medical technology advances, our social technology will also need to advance. For example, "equal opportunity" will have to become a lot more real than the buzzword it is today. We will need to have a lot more effective anchors of our common interest than we have today - for example, a limited and enforced range of workweeks per person, a more balanced range of incomes per person, a more balanced range of wealth per person, a more balanced range of credit per person, a more balanced range of credibility per person, a more balanced range of reputation per person.... Basically, we don't want the Idi Amin's and Milosevicz's of this world to be runnin' around loose and cutting themselves into greatly life-prolonging technology. We simply can't tolerate the level of slippage and nonsense in our "democratic" and "justice" systems that we do today. But the Dutch have made a big step forward today in cutting the utter and misguided nonsense of criminalizing suicide (just think about that for a moment), as if we're still so threatened by the immensity of the natural environment - and desperate to propagate like insects - that any human life, anywhere, under any conditions, is worth living. Time to grow up a notch, humanity!]

11/28/2000  glimmers of intelligence - 11/26-27/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. 2 weekend UPsizing reports, with 48 new jobs but only in advertising - aaaaaargh

    1. 11/27 An agency creates an offshoot to build stronger links between advertisers and customers, by Stuart Elliott, NYT, C15.
      The top executives of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York are creating a sibling agency with a separate equity structure that will focus on direct and interactive marketing services.... The new agency...is named Dotglu, which is meant to describe its efforts to assist marketers seeking to "stick to their customers"....
      [Sounds like hell to us. Already got too many marketers, telemarketers, junkmail, spam, doortodoor, billboards... desperately trying to "stick to us." All part of the strain and stress of trying to keep everybody spinning their wheels at a pre-technology workweek despite wave after wave after wave of worksaving automation and robotization.]
      ...Dotglu is opening with 40 employees....

    2. 11/27 Ruido Group aimed at young Hispanics, by Stuart Elliott, NYT, C15.
      The Ruido Group...agency...is opening in New York...with eight employees....

  2. 11/27 Clinton unleashes flurry of regulations - Congress unable to stop new rules, by Rosenblatt & Shogren, LA Times via Boston Globe, A2.

  3. [smart reader squawks about gadget-distracted driving]
    11/27 Deadly lifeline, letter to editor by Lisa Liss of Brookline MA, Boston Globe, A14.
    ...There is growing evidence from anecdotal reports and research that a serious problem of driver distraction now exists on our highways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that because of the exploding use of mobile phones, this problem will only become worse. To further complicate the situation, the palm-sized Internet-accessible device is making its way into the marketplace, leaving no doubt that soon motorists will be trading stocks, participating in chat lines, or looking for the best deal on a refrigerator while they're driving....
    Cellphones and other handheld wireless devices can be wonderful lifelines, but in the hand of a driver, they can be deadly.

  4. 11/26 Job-sharing employees make own rules to find balance, Linda Bliss, Boston Globe, G9.
    ...Job-sharing has given me the time I need to guide my son through the last crucial years of high school.... As he entered his teens, I realized I had to make time for him before it was too late..\..
    [Ohoh. Usually it's the early years of a child's life when it's important for parents to make time.]
    Flexible arrangements like job-sharing are touted as worker-friendly options for curing burnout and striking a better balance between family and career [but] of the companies that responded to surveys by [the Society for Human Resource Mgmt] over the last four years, just 21-23% say they offer job-sharing as a benefit.... That seems low, considering all the chatter about the scarcity of skilled labor in this market....
    [You got it, Linda. It's just chatter, crafted to get Congress to allow more visas for cheap young pretrained megahour workers from India. Also as you point out, when you job-share you lose full-time pay and benefits -]
    Even when combined with my husband's salary, two days pay is barely enough to cover the bills.... And no benefits means no safety net. If we get sick and can't work, or if we want to take vacation, we don't get paid. Then there are those nagging concerns about the long-term impact this will have on my career. [Will I] never be taken seriously in the future at work?
    [Well, if there ever is a real labor shortage, Lynda, these concerns will be taken care of. The real answer is to create a real shortage by redefining "full time" downward. After all, that's what we did for the first two thirds of American history as the workweek came down from 80-84 hrs to 40. And it's only been the last sixty years that the workweek has been stuck at any one particular level. Its being stuck, though, has had a devastating impact on employee power and respect (look where the unions are today, down at 14% of the workforce), because worksaving technology is still pouring in making human employees inefficient and redundant in more and more tasks, and so, threatened with downsizing, nobody wants to be first to leave the office each day. As you point out -]
    ..\..I worked long brutal hours when my son was young....
    [However, as your acquaintance's example demonstrates, in some rare cases employers do value employees enough to change this -]
    "In my case, the suggestion actually came from my boss," said an acquaintance who works as an administrative assistant is the Boston office of a financial institution. She was reluctantly planning to leave her job of 12 years when her baby arrived. Faced with the prospect of losing her, the boss matched her with a former assistant who wanted to scale back her hours to spend time with her newly retired husband.
    [Job sharing is a nice temporary expedient but for the long term, we need to face head-on the implications of worksaving technology and get on with the task of setting up automatic systems to convert overtime into continuous on-the-job cross-training (and where necessary, hiring) and if that doesn't create enough buzz to absorb all our working poor, unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, and prison inmates (and "incidentally" to centrifuge the bloated pay&perk levels of top executives into their own markets via the pay&benefit levels of their own employees), we need to REDUCE THE DEFINITION OF "FULL TIME WORK" and resume our 160-year process of cutting the workweek. Our Timesizing program is a good, gradual, market-oriented and inflation-checking way to achieve this. Let's get your job-sharing resources in here before we wrap -]

11/25/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. Finland - Millionaire said to face $71,400 speeding fine, AP via Boston Globe, A8.
    [OK, Steve Forbes, you want a flat tax? Only if we can have "flat-percentage" fines!]
    HELSINKI - Internet millionaire Jaako Rytsola has found the roads of Finland less forgiving than the cyber superhighways from which he has profited. The invesetor broke his own unofficial record fine for a traffic violation - $71,400 for speeding. In his newspaper column, Rytsola wrote that police pulled him over when he was doing about 40 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone on Oct. 30. Traffic fines in Finland are linked to an offender's income, and there's no limit.

  2. A crackdown on unruly passengers, pointer digest (to B2), NYT, B1.
    Swissair has decided to crack down on unruly airplane passengers by allowing crew members to tie them down to their seats with plastic cords when they endanger the flight's safety....

  3. Massachusetts...- Near-record turnout at polls, AP via Boston Globe, B2.
    The 2nd-largest number of voters in the state's history turned out at the polls this election year, according to certified numbers released yesterday. Sec. of State William Galvin said 2,734,006 people went to the polls in teh Nov. 7 election. That's second to the 2,822,962 who turned out in 1992....

11/24/2000  glimmers of intelligence - 11/23/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. [1UPsizing, unspecified new Pa. jobs]
    Dominion Resources Inc., NYT, C3.
    ...Richmond, Va., owner of the largest utility in Virginia [will] build a natural gas-fired power plant in Morrisville, Pa., to provide electricity to Northeast, Midwest and Midi-Atlantic states....

  2. US to phase out snowmobiles at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, by Becky Bohrer, Boston Globe, A20.
    ...over the next three years. The Park Service had [already] limited recreational use of snowmobiles at nearly all...national parks, recreational areas, and monuments....

  3. [oh here's a good one -]
    Company is told to stay and face new union,
    by Anthony DePalma, NYT, C1.
    The Quadrtech Corp...a small manufacturer of earrings and ear-piercing machines...announced plans to move to Mexico one day after a branch of the Communications Workers of America was certified to represent workers [there]. ..\..Quadrtech...could have been just another company relocating to Mexico in search of cheaper wages and lower operating costs. But a federal judge, acting on a union complaint...issued a preliminary injunction preventing Quadrtech...from laying off 118 newly unionized workers and moving its manufacturing operations to Tijuana until labor complaints against it were resolved..\..a decision that has delighted union officials and worried manufacturers.
    [This is why "free" trade is so stupid. If these clowns want to exploit the cheap wages in Mexico, they can make do with the cheap markets in Mexico. If they want the richer markets in the USA, they can pay the richer wages in the USA. Once we establish that principle, we'll have plugged one of the big leaks around Timesizing. And it's not like these employees are getting a fortune -]
    Most of the employees are female immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries who assemble jewelry and are paid the state's minimum wage of $5.75 an hour....
    [We picked the wrong horse in the 30s. We shoulda picked maximum workweek per person and shared the remaining non-robotized employment, however little of it there was left. Instead, we went with minimum wages and massive jobs programs. What a disaster. And it's a nightmare that will keep returning to haunt us until we go back, fix the Fair Labor Standards Act to convert overtime into constant training&hiring and let the workweek adjust downward, and share the vanishing work!]
    Lawyers at the National Labor Relations Board, which petitioned the court on behalf of the workers, said this was the first time an American company trying to keep out a union had been prevented from leaving the United States. "It's an eye-opener," said Jaime Martinez, a union official who helped to organize the California plant. "It's an issue that goes to the core of organizing the unorganized."
    [And more importantly, to engineering the wartime levels of labor-employment balance (which employers will view as an acute labor shortage) that can harness market forces to centrifuge income and wealth and reverse the astronomical income and wealth gaps (and the less-noticed skills and employment gaps that make them possible).]
    The judge's order comes at a time when footloose [ie: irresponsible and unaccountable] corporations and the formation of an economy that moves freely across borders with little or no concern for workers left behind have been publicly attacked in Seattle, in Washington and in other cities where international financial leaders gather to shape the world economy.
    Experts said the case was certain to focus attention on what has become a common practice in the United States: employers using threats of relocation to keep workers from organizing unions or seeking higher wages....
    [...or to extort tax breaks from city and state legislators, as when Mass. granted taxbreaks first to Raytheon and then to Fidelity in the last 5 years! Notice that the success of this practice is totally at variance with the constantly repainted picture of "tight labor markets" and "labor shortage" by the two-guy media (Murdoch & Turner). There is no labor shortage except in the minds of spoiled high tech companies that want to pluck cheap, highly qualified young people out of the job market while expecting megahours and offering no training (and no actual pensions except to top execs), and in the minds of spoiled retailers who want to pluck really really cheap, highly presentable sales persons right off the street.]

  4. Unions pushing to organize thousands of Amazon.com workers, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, C1.
    ...Labor leaders say the time is ripe to unionize Amazon because many of its workers are complaining about mandatory preholiday overtime [here we go aga-ain!] and the way their stock options have plummeted in value [we tooold you so!].... Several workers said that after working so much overtime they had tired of [CEO Jeff] Bezos's mantra that it is Day 1 and Amazon is a start-up in which workers need to work hard.
    ["Work hard" in the high-tech world of wave after wave of work-saving devices??? Our captains of industry just don't GET the blatant implications of technology!  To them, all the glitz of new technology just becomes a cover for a bunch of spoiled executives who don't have a clue about long-term management skills such as scheduling shifts, doing continuous training and reinvesting in your own markets via your own employees' wages.]
    "Our ownership feels hollow," said Kirk Sheldon, a...customer-service worker in Seattle. "They always say they are willing to hear our input, but there isn't follow-through...."
    "Amazon may be the symbol of the new economy, but it has the worst of the working conditions of the old economy"...said..\..Greg Denier, a spokesman for the food and commercial workers [who also] said many Amazon warehouse workers were eager to join unions because they were upset with overtime, with their wages of $7 to $9.50 an hours [how do you live in Seattle on that?!] and with the way they were treated....
    [What do you expect from executives who have never turned a profit? This is what we always suspected - the Internet is an information thing, not a commercial thing.]

11/22/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. [1 UPsizing - unspecified new jobs, but in Singapore]
    Etc., by Globe staff & wire services, Boston Globe, C8.
    ...Sonus Networks, the Westford [Mass.] advanced telecommunications gear maker, said it opened an Asian headquarters in Singapore to boost sales in China, Japan, and the Far East....

  2. ["Good, but..."]
    Canada feels pull to the right by a crusader from the west,
    by James Brooke, NYT, front page.
    Riding out of the West on a platform of tax cuts and born-again social conservatism, a smooth-talking college-dropout-turned-politician named Stockwell Day has given Canadian politics its biggest shake-up in years.
    [Why is it that sensible fiscal conservativism (tax cuts) gets so often packaged in with outdated social conservatism (the UNseparation of Church and State)? = yet another reason why we need to escape from personality-bundled representative "democracy" and get into issue-oriented referendums. We can hardly argue with this guy's platform of tax cuts, considering that...]
    ...Canada leads the G-7 in taxes....
    [Never mind the income tax, which in the absence of a better centrifuge such as Timesizing, is at least doing something to reverse the collapse to the Black Hole economy of totally compacted wealth, the notorious Goods and Services Tax (GST) plus the provincial sales tax in Ontario costs consumers over 15% on almost everything. What a drag on the economy and on wages and on centrifugation and on real social progress. "The more concentration, the less circulation" and v.v. So if you're must tax something to raise revenues for social programs while waiting to implement a single worksharing program that would your whole ragbag of social programs, at least tax concentration, not circulation.]

  3. [Another "Good, but -"]
    N.E. unemployment rate hits record low,
    by Kimberly Blanton, Boston Globe, C8.
    The New England region has reached...2.5% in October...the lowest recorded by the 6 New England states [MA, MN, NH, VT, CN, RI] since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping records in 1978....
    [1978??? That's nothing! That doesn't even reach the last solid high in the long-wave business-cycle in the 1940s when even 2% unemployment was viewed as alarming, let alone the last long-wave low in the 1930s (25% unemployment). We're constantly congratulating ourselves for a pathetic JOKE. This is like a cancer-patient saying, "Great news! My metasthetizing cancer is in remission back to only my pancreas and my left testicle!"]

  4. [Yet another "good, but" -]
    Europe rejects compromising with U.S. over tax benefits,
    by Elizabeth Olson, NYT, W1.
    GENEVA...- The European Union has ruled out any deal to resolve its latest trade dispute with the U.S. over a system of tax benefits for American exporters, according to the union's trade minister, Pascal Lamy.
    [OK, it's time to "sh*t or get off the pot" - do we want "free trade" or don't we? Do we have "low unemployment" or don't we? Is our economy "overheated" or isn't it? Because if our "party line" is correct and we really have low unemployment and want free trade, why do we need tax benefits for American exporters or for any other American industry??? American industry is doing so well that the Fed has raised rates to cool things off. So let's GET OUR STORY STRAIGHT and quit billing taxpayers for special-interest exceptions to our general tax code!!!  K.I.S.S. = Keep it simple, stupid! And Pascal Lamy goes on to nail American trade officials' hypocrisy -]
    Mr. Lamy said [yester]day that the dispute was under litigation at the World Trade Organization and that the Europeans would not interfere. "When things have been sent to the WTO dispute settlement, they are not open to any more horse trading," he said. "Once you have the EU and the US short-circuiting the system [and clearly he just mentioned the EU here to be diplomatic], it will be very dangerous to the credibility of the system itself."
    [Not to mention the credibility of U.S. Congress and U.S. trade officials and U.S. lip service to "free trade."]
    The U.S. Congress passed a revised version of its tax-benefit law for exporters, known as the Foreign Sales Corporation [FSC], last week [and] US officials have argued that the overhauled tax plan meets free-trade requirements \but Mr. Lamy said,\ "The new FSC is even worse than the previous one in terms of export subsidies.... It will be found noncompliant...." A trade organization panel ruled earlier that the original American tax benefit violated global trade rules against export subsidies. ...The overhauled tax plan...was passed by Congress after the United States missed the first compliance deadline. [It] extends tax benefits to overseas manufacturing [WHY ON EARTH???] and is said to cost as much annually as the old system did.
    [Lord God Almighty, with this kind of hypocrisy and sharp dealing, is it any wonder that Europe wants its own military force [see 11/21/00, 2nd item below]?! With the eclipse of the USSR, our own dear USA is emerging more and more clearly as the biggest pain in the world's butt, - wanting to set the rules for everybody else without the slightest intention of abiding by them itself = yet another symptom of the corruption of US "representatives" in both houses of Congress by PACs, lobbyists, and big corporate special interests and another sick result of our lack of campaign finance reform. We need direct democracy, because it's harder to corrupt thousands of issue-oriented referendums than it is to corrupt hundreds of "representatives."]
    Europe moved to preserve its ability to levy penalties, which are likely to be 100% on a lengthy list of American goods. It is the largest amount [of penalties] ever sought from the WTO. "If [the U.S.] doesn't comply, there will be sanctions," Mr. Lamy said.
    [Why in the world we would want to keep yapping about "free" trade when our own trade deficit keeps breaking records is a mystery - see today's "U.S. trade deficit rose to a record [$34.3B] in September," pointer digest (to C11), NYT, C1. With our trade deficit now growing at an average of $1B a day ... ! ... it "is on course to reach $365 billion" next year. We might as well be wearing a "Rape me!" sign.]

  5. [And yet another "good, but..."]
    Ford to offer social services for workers and retirees, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, C8.
    [Let's cut to the chase and mine info from "Aid for autoworkers' families," pointer summary (to C8), NYT, A2 -]
    Ford and the UAW announced one of the most ambitious social efforts ever undertaken by an American coporation, a program that will provide child care, tutoring, recreation programs for teenagers, and book clubs for retirees.
    [The distortion of the American socio-economy grows wider. We know that some employees are asking for child care benefits, but tutoring, teen recreation, and retiree book clubs? Isn't this a bit like Congress giving the Pentagon more money than it's asking for? And if the UAW really is asking for these stocking-stuffers, why hasn't it learned from its own history, its own wise men (Reuther pushed for "flexible adjustment of the workweek" in 1964) and gone for the jugular instead of the fly swatter? We're not talking about a big long grocery list of little benefits. We're just talking about one power lever = MORE FREE TIME to do all the rest of this stuff for ourselves! (Why are we even having kids if we don't want to raise them ourselves any more??) Again, stupid unions are selling our technological birthright, more free time, for a mess of pottage that will allow the employer-employee power gradient to continue to tilt.]

11/21/2000  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. 2 UPsizings: 1 corporate (counted in weekly total), 1 industry-wide (not counted) -

  2. Ex-enemies on insurance offer a plan - Would include half without coverage, by Robert Pear, NYT, A12.
    ...The Health Insurance Assoc. of America [anti 1993-94 Clinton plan], the American Hospital Assoc. and the consumer group Families USA [pro '93-4 Clinton plan]...called for federal tax credits and expansion of Medicaid and the new Children's Health Insurance Program to help people with incomes up to twice the poverty level. Under federal guidelines ["unchanged for centuries" -ed.] a family of three is considered poor if it has income of less than $14,150 this year..\.. [All this would] provide health insurance to about half of the 42.6m Americans who have no coverage....
    [Then there's the accompanying article -]
    New insurance rules for patients ease way for faster decisions and appeals - Changing federal standards for the first time since 1977, by Robert Pear, NYT, A12.
    [And both not a moment too soon, as we learn from this sobering article -]
    Health, Harvard, and scary stuff, by Sam Allis, Boston Globe, C4.
    Laurie Garrett appeared deep in the heart of the JFK School [in Boston? Cambridge?] yesterday and scared the hell out of everybody.
    [And it wasn't her looks - the photo shows one attractive woman.]
    The only person ever to win a Pulitzer Prize, a Peabody Award, and a Polk Award, Garrett spoke to a packed house at the Ctr for International Development about the implosion of public health systems around the world, which she documents in her bloodcurdling new book, "Betrayal of Trust." The result of this decline is the alarming rise in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV we thought we understood. We didn't. Garrett brings with her the stuff of nightmares.
    More obscure was the war in this country that began in the late 19th century, pitting doctors against public health officials for control of healthcare delivery. At one time, the public health establishment wielded more power than the physicians and could shut down chunks of a city during an outbreak of disease. No longer. The medical community, which favors individualized care, routed the public health establishment, which thinks systemically about disease. The issue, said Garrett, was money.
    Today, public health authorities have no control over what doctors prescribe to patients in hospitals, where the rise of drug-resistant infections is skyrocketing. Last year, she said, the Centers for Disease Control reported that more than 40% of all prescriptions were written for viral infections, against which they are useless. And the genome vision of the pharmaceuticals - in which we all have our own DNA cards - is no panacea. "That is not public health," she maintained.
    At one time, American doctors routinely vaccinated children across Africa against disease. Then they stopped. "When did that change," she asked, "and why?"
    [The article stops there, hopefully not because the reporter, the speaker and the whole audience succumbed to a fast-acting virus.]

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Jan. 1-15/2000.
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