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Good News, June 16-30, 2001
[Commentary] ©2001 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080

6/29/2001  glimmers of hope -

  1. [1 UPsizing, 5 new jobs]
    Slowdown no issue for magazine creator, by Isaac Baker, Boston Globe, E6.
    ...Jeremy Brosowsky [is] busy starting a magazine. Boston's newest business publication, Boston Business Forward, will hit the offices of top executives and business owners next week, Brosowsky said, slowdown be damned.... July's inaugural issue, put out by a staff of five, will spotlight 40 of Boston's rising stars in the business world, handicap the race for for ownership of the Red Sox, pry into the private side of National Public Radio, and "deconstruct" Lycos, the Internet directory purchasedd by Spain's Terra Networks. The magazine will sell for $3.95 in limited newsstand sales, but will be sent free to business leaders and will be available on local US Airways and Delta Airlines shuttles....

  2. Scientists find switch for lights in fireflies, by Gareth Cook, Boston Globe, front page.
    After decades of searching, scientists have discovered how a firefly lights up on summer nights: with the same chemical signal that powers Viagra.
    Researchers have long known that the insect's mating calls - which we see as flashing light - are fired by a reaction in its abdomen. But in today's issue of the journal Science, a team of local biologists announced...the switch's identity, a gas called nitric oxide, delighted scientists far outside the world of insect courtship. Research into nitric oxide, which brought a 1998 Nobel Prize, has shown that the gas is a vital and versatile chemical messenger in humans, fighting off microbial attacks, transmitting signals in the brain, and controlling blood flow and the male sexual response....

6/28/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UPsizing, unspecified new jobs]
    Intel plans Oregon factory, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    The leading chip maker...plans to build a $2B plant near existing operations in Oregon that will develop new manufacturing methods to make smaller semiconductors.
    [Oh groovy. More plants with newer methods that require fewer employees on a 40+ hour workweek to make more stuff that somebody has to buy and that more people have to be employed in order for there to be that "somebody." We definitely need another "good" war - or shorter-than-40-hr workweeks.]
    Intel filed permit applications with the city of Hillsboro, Ore., last Friday.... It said it wanted to start work on the factory later this year and have it running in 2003.

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    Justice Dept. tells Thomson to shed textbook unit, AP via NYT, C4.
    The Justice Dept. said yesterday that Canadian publisher Thomson Corp. must divest itself of property rights to college textbooks and a computer-based testing business to resolve antitrust concerns over the company's proposed acquisition of certain assets of Harcourt General Inc...based in Chestnut Hill, Mass....
    [Hey, racism against Canadians! They let MicroSoft stay a giant unbroken operating-system monopoly and they won't let "poor little" Canuckster Thomson stay together.]

  3. Pentagon plans on dismantling all MX missiles, by James Dao, NYT, front page.
    ...all 50 of its Peacekeeper [yeah, right] nuclear-tipped missiles as a possible first step toward a unilateral reduction in the nation's nuclear arsenal....
    [Phew! Compare in Europe today -]
    France: No more draft, by Suzanne Daley, NYT, A8.

  4. [good, but...]
    Charity is new force in environmental fight, by Douglas Jehl, NYT, front page.
    PHILADELPHIA - From a suite of offices in a high-rise here, a $4.8B foundation called the Pew Charitable Trusts has quietly become not only the largest grant maker to environmental causes, but also one that controls much more than the purse strings.
    [But charity is not systemic, and therefore is relatively capricious and unreliable. Any system that relies for vital functions on charity is to that extent flawed.]
    ...Pew has been anything but hands-off, serving as the behind-the-scenes architect of highly visible recent campaigns to preserve national forests and combat global warming....

  5. [Here's a Republican guverness showing Prezzadunce G. Dubya Shrub how a taxcut should be designed -]
    Tax-cut fairness, editorial, Boston Globe, A14.
    The great appeal of Acting Governor Jane Swift's proposed $150m tax cut is that it targets Massachusetts families of modest means. Some 32m families nationwide will be left out of of the $300 tax rebates Bush is distributing this summer because their taxable incomes are less than $6,000. Swift's partial return of an unexpected $450m surplus would cover even families who have no taxable income, so long as they have filed returns with the Dept. of Revenue....
    [So if we're looking for taxcuts to spark the dampened economy, we better design them like Swift's and give the money to the poor who will go right out and spend it, rather then designing it like Bush's taxcut for the rich, who already have more than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes. But we should be using all these taxcuts to get back to where we were in louzy New Deal safety nets, pending implementation of a real solution like Timesizing. Massachusetts is closing old folks homes on a colossal scale because of cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. These cuts should be reversed ASAP or we should be honest and open Kevorkian training centers all over the state. Why just mandatory retirement at 65? If we're really going to bankrupt all our non-wealthy senior housing facilities, we'll need mandatory TOLS (termination-of-life-signs) at 65.]

6/26/2001  glimmers of hope - 6/24-25/2001  miscellaneous weekend glimmers -
  1. 6/24 Firms urged not to cut ties with laid-off, Boston Globe, H2.
    Companies should be careful when showing workers the door. In an economy that can stagnate one month and boom the next, today's laid-off employee could soon be your new hire.
    So says Lawrence Stuenkel, senior partner at Lawrence & Allen, an outplacement firm based in South Carolina. Stuenkel, author of "From Here to There," a book on downsizing, urges employers to "never, never, never burn internal or external bridges."...
    [And it's a lot easier to take that advice if firms don't lay people off at all, but instead, do there "downsizing" by timesizing = trimming hours for everyone including top management - keeping everyone employed and earning and spending.]

  2. 6/25 Bush 'corporate welfare' attack [but...] faces a strong challenge by Lott, by Leslie Wayne, NYT, front page.
    ...First on the list, and the test case for the "president's" [our quotes - ed.] effort, is a loan guarantee program...called the Title XI Maritime Guarantee Loan Subsidy Program..\..designed to encourage [U.S.] commercial shipbuilding.... The Bush administration wants no new money spent on the program....
    But...38 senators from both parties...have signed a letter circulated by..\..Senator Trent Lott, the Republican [newly-in-the-]minority leader...saying they want to triple funding for the program in the next budget, to $100m, which would be its highest-ever level..\..
    [Even higher than during World War II?]
    The last time a passenger cruise ship was built in the U.S. was in 1958. But right now, in a Mississippi shipyard in [Lott's] home state..., two 1,900-passenger ships together costing more than $1B are under construction....
    [Sing a song of pork barrels, a pocket full of graft....]

  3. 6/24 Putin says US missile plan would rock global stability, by John Iams, AP via Boston Globe, A14.
    [Unless, as a reader suggested below, the US shares it with everybody, - Putin, for instance. Then this could be an even bigger chunk of corporate welfare for the likes of Lott. However, - ]

  4. 6/25 Pentagon study casts doubt on [2005] missile defense schedule - Citing test failures that 'show how hard this stuff is', by James Dao, NYT, A14.
    [For example -]

6/23/2001  miscellaneous glimmers -
  1. N.Y. may take drivers' phones, by Fred Kaplan, Boston Globe, front page.
    ...On Monday the NY legislature is expected to pass, and Republican Governor George Pataki has said he will sign, the nation's first statewide law banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. Drivers would still be able to use headset phones.
    Critics and supporters see the measure as a breakthrough. ...Said Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, one of the largest cellphone carrier companies, "this will probably spark similar legislation all over the country."
    It has been a long fight for..\..state Assemblyman Felix Ortiz...who first offered his bill in 1996, shortly after witnessing [an] accident in Brooklyn.
    Since then, similar bills have been taken up by 37 state legislatures but enacted by none. About 300 cities and counties have considered such measures, with laws passed by only a handful.
    Heavy resistance has come from the telecommunications industry, which has lobbied against restrictions wherever they have been proposed....
    Several recent studies conclude that driving while talking on the phone increases the chance of a collision...34% to 300%, depending on the study. One report found that drivers who talk on a cellphone for over 50 minoutes per month are nearly six times more likely to have an accident than those who don't use phones in their cars. Phone companies dispute these findings....
    [Followup - On Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, Colleague Kate had to honk to get a woman driving behind her to stop dialing on a cellphone and brake in time on Route 128 outside Boston. Kate's conclusion: cellphoning while you drive is like driving drunk.]

  2. Swift kills Greylock resort plan - Environmental groups praise surprise move, by Ranalli & Higgins, Boston Globe, front page.
    Acting Governor Jane M. Swift [of Mass.] has killed a $150m resort development at the foot of scenic Mt. Greylock, saying that the project, which has been ripped by environmentalists as a boondoggle for a politically connected developer, no longer makes economic sense.
    The rejection of the project, which included as much as $12m in state funds for a golf course, ski trails, and infrastructure improvements, caught many political leaders and environmentalists by surprise. It was backed by former governors William F. Weld and Paul Celucci, despite environmental opposition.... Swift too was once a believer that the the Greylock Center project was a potential economic boost to her native North Berkshire [Mtns], aides said, but with a slowing economy she now believes it would only compete with other conference centers in the area.
    The deal with developer Christopher Fleming "will not move forward," Swift's press secretary...said yesterday....

6/22/2001  glimmers -
  1. [the prisoners have to see their chains to stop loving them -]
    Poll says more Americans see gap between haves, have-nots, by Will Lester, Boston Globe, A21.
    ...The poll, released yesterday, indicated that the economic boom of the 1990s helped the upper-middle class and the wealthy, but had little impact on the outlook or financial condition of those who make less money. "The boom has passed these people by," said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
    Overall satisfaction with the country's direction has fallen in the past six months, with 43% now saying they are satisfied and 52% saying they are dissatisfied. That drop, from a 55-41 positive split in January, was led by a decline among women and minorities.
    The number of people who think the country is divided between those who have enough and those who do not has grown steadily and now is at 44%, up from 26% in 1988....
    The number of people who say they have more debt than they can afford to owe has grown from [20%] of Americans in 1992 to almost [30%] in 2001.
    The poll of 1,200 people was taken last Wednesday through Sunday and had an error margin of plus or minus 3.5% points.
    [We've usually "solved" the income gap by packing people off to war to remove the excess labor hours from the job market. It's time we started doing it the intelligent way by cutting the workweek like France. Except we should do it more intelligently than France by avoiding a jump down to another arbitrary level (France went down to 35 hrs/wk) and substituting flexible adjustment of the workweek, to vary inversely with un(der)employment. You could call it... timesizing.]

  2. Skeptical senators question Rumsfeld on missile defense, by James Dao, NYT, front page.
    Senate Democrats sharply questioned Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld today about the high cost and unproven effectiveness of a national missile defense system, and they raised deep concerns about the administration's threats to withdraw from the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty if the Russians refused to amend it.
    During his first hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee since his confirmation, Mr. Rumsfeld met a surprisingly unified skepticism from liberal and centrist Democrats regarding missile defense, signaling the difficulties President Bush is likely to face when he tries to sell a plan to Congress later this year....
    [How many decades are we going to have to keep stomping this stupid idea down? Referendums may look less efficient than "representative" democracy, but here's a gigantic counter-example. It's a lot easier for special interests to get to 535 congressmen than millions of voters. And even if the voters screw up and make the wrong choice, when it's costs are revealed, voters will reverse their decision on a citizen initiative and it will stay reversed, because the whole population has learned the lesson, rather than just one administration which soon changes and passes from the scene.]

  3. [a glimpse at our own future, all over the world?! -]
    Relying on hard and soft sells, India pushes sterilization, by Celia Dugger, NYT, front page.
    ...Population remains a pivotal issue for the world's largest democracy, which has added 181m people over the past decade and passed the one billion mark. India expects to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by the middle of the century. But India and Andhra Pradesh, its fifth largest state, have taken profoundly divergent paths to control population.
    ...India's parliament last year abandoned numerical targets for sterilizations...while offering couples a range of purely voluntary contraceptive choices. But the central government - struggling to provide for more than 250m desperately poor citizens - has let the states of their own way.
    Andhra Pradesh['s] population strategy is relentlessly driven by specific targets for the sterilization of couples with two or more children, backed by the entire machinery of the government. Poor people in the state who are sterilized after one or two children receive priority for anti-poverty benefits: houses, plots of land, wells and loans, among many other things....
    [We recommend population policy galvanize public support by introducing it and designing it by referendum. And we wonder about what happened to the surgically-only reversible sterilization method (the little "gold tap" etc.) that Life Magazine, for one, reported on as early as the 1950s.]

6/20/2001  glimmers -
  1. 2 UPsizings - 70 + ?? new jobs -
    1. Fallon Community Health Plan to add 70 doctors in western suburbs, by Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, D14.
      ...in the western suburbs of Boston MA..\..in its first expansion in three years....
    2. Hilton Hotels Corp., NYT, C4.
      ...Beverly Hills, Calif. [is] spending $600m to have its Grand Vacations Co. unit build time-share resorts in Orlando and on the Las Vegas Strip.
      [Unspecified new jobs.]

  2. [1 UNtakeover]
    EU officials reportedly to block $41B GE-Honeywell merger, AP via BG, D2.

  3. Click here for today's TIMEsizings - 6/20/2001.

6/19/2001  glimmers of intelligence -
  1. U.S. businesses often turn to Europe for antitrust help, by Andrew Sorkin, NYT, front page.
    American companies intent on preventing rivals from merging are increasingly complaining to European regulators in preference to more permissive [let's just say ineffectual] officials in the United States...because of their perception that under "President" [our quotes - ed.] Bush, the Justice Dept. and the Federal Trade Commission are less likely to press antritrust issues than in the Clinton administration....
    [And even then, they were nothing to write home about. American antitrust has started focusing not on corporate monopolies, but on what's supposedly "good for consumers." And of course, godzilla corporations can convince little government regulators that anything they want is gonna be "good for consumers." So much for healthy capitalist competition. Comrades, our byeeg American "capitalyeests" are gettyeeng yeento totalyeetarian moanopohlyees just like yeen old Sohvyetsky Soyooz (USSR). But at least there's Europe to turn to.]

  2. New York - Compromise on health bill for birth control coverage, by Somini Sengupta, NYT, A22.
    All but declared dead three months ago, a sharply contested state measure that would require health insurance companies to cover contraception has resurfaced. On Sunday, the Senate Republican leadership in Albany introduced a compromise bill that would permit religious groups to opt out of such a mandate but would let their employees pay for the coverage....

  3. Bush, Putin and the missile card, letters to editor, NYT, A26.
6/17/2001  glimmers of hope - 6/16/2001  glimmers of hope -
  1. [1 UPsizing]
    Ted Turner starts production company [Ted Turner Productions in Atlanta], Reuters via NYT, B14.
    ...frustrated by his gradual loss of control over the media empire that he sold to Time Warner in 1996....
    [Unspecified new jobs.]

  2. Click here for today's TIMEsizings - 6/16/2001.

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