Monday, December 21, 2009

Good Morning, all. Not much to say about the weather. Same as it has been for the last few days. The sun teased us with a very brief appearance but is now hiding again. We are hoping that the system that is coming for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday speeds up and goes through faster than expected or brings less precipitation that expected. Or both.

I found this assessment of the Copenhagen agreements and of the climate change meetings in general. Especially good are the authors thoughts on why the negotiators failed to make any real, enforceable, or meaningful progress. I think the prognosis about the next round is right on and the whole notion of going to a plan b (namely, adapt) is probably our only reasonable course of action. I expect any such adaptation will be a mishmash affair with a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, it is a global problem and there is about as much will to deal with it in a communal manner as there is for the U.S. legislators to find a truly bipartisan solution to our national problems. Somewhere between zip and none.

Well, here it is--Tuesday before Christmas and the day after winter began. Happy Solstice to those who celebrate it.

I have been hearing a lot of positive "news" on the employment front lately. Most of it concerns the statistic on temporary workers--that has gone up for four months in a row. The mainstream pundits are crowing since (they say) such increases come just before businesses gain the confidence to start adding on new workers or calling back old ones. This morning's local news presented that argument. However, every now and again one hears some skepticism. A couple of the bloggers I read (and who have had a better track record for predicting the economy) have expressed the opinion that what we are seeing is a shift to a 'just in time' workforce (to go along with 'just in time' supply.) Meaning that the companies will keep a small permanent staff and expand with temps when they have a big deadline. In other words, jobs will be far more tenuous. I will let you fill in the rest. I don't have to imagine the consequences. I have a relative by marriage who has been struggling with this for the last 3 or 4 years--he gets work for a week or two and then nothing for another two or three, or four weeks.

I found this by way of HuffingtonPost this morning. Questions: how is the Federal government going to get the money to loan the states and how are we (and it will be 'we') going to pay it back and when? What struck me most about the story was the abysmal lack of forethought and planning. State legislators simply did not use the resources available during the fat times to prepare for the lean. I suppose they all felt that the good times would roll forever.

I saw a bit of this on CNBC yesterday afternoon. I think the investors have rendered their verdict on the Senate health care plan. It mirrors my own verdict. This plan secures the profits of the insurance industry and little else.

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