Thursday, November 06, 2008

Just a few comments today

The Election
  • The Unfortunate Editing Award goes to the paper (on-line) that published the unfortunaet story of a young man from Liberia now living in Staten Island who was apparently beaten up by a "gang of four whites in hoodies" (his words) at 10 pm on election night. The editor chose to accompany this with a picture of him quite obviously pre-incident, in what had to be one of the weirdest self-designed hooded coats that one could imagine. An "after" picture would have been a far better choice, as many of the comments to the story suggested. Unfortunately the link - from Google's News page - has apparently been superceded.
  • Now the Good News ! It seems that, in general, people are honestly looking towards making this a step forward for their country. Not just the people whose ancestors come from Africa, either, but those of European and Asian descent also. It would be nice to see a fair proportion - maybe more than 60% - of Americans all pulling in the same direction. It happened in the wars and Korea, but the conflicts since Korea just don't seem to have the ability to draw the people together. Neither circumstances not leaders since Kennedy have really had the appeal. Reagan had some, but not really enough to draw in a goodly number of those who had voted against him. This time we just might be in for a change.
The Economy
  • ``We expect retail demand will remain weak for an extended period of time as our affluent customer reacts to the continuing volatility of the financial markets,'' Neiman Marcus Chief Executive Officer Burton Tansky said in a statement.
  • Saks Inc. said its sales dropped 17 percent and that profitability would erode in the last two quarters of the year because of its ``permanent markdown cadence cycle.''
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remained a bright spot. Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 2.4 percent
The translation of those three snippets seems to be that even the owners of McMansions are going to Wal-Mart these days !

The rest of the USA - big and small
  • California votes to ban "gay marriages". . But not retroactively. - . You know, there's something fundamentally weird about a country where you're not allowed to have any trace of religion in (state-funded and federally-funded) schools, etc., but the money has "In God We Trust" printed on it. I think the governent out to get out of the marriage business altogether: if you want to get "married" (which is a status conferred upon you, traditionally, by an official of your religious establishment), then deal with that religious establishment. If you want all the monetary goodies that the government offers, go there and sign a "contract of co-habitation" (or whatever you might want to call it) for however many years you want.
  • I just moved again, as I may or may not have said. I'm now back in the land of PSEG-brand electricity (where the electrons are all painted white with little orange stripes !). Now PSEG are pretty good as a whole, don't get me wrong. However, where I live now we get a power cut in the middle of the night about 3-4 times a week. Needless to say things are on UPSs and I'm talking earnestly to PSEG !
So, there are a few things from here in the USA. Now I'll try to go back to splitting things between tech and not.

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