Leadership is all in the mine, take a hike and save your brain, the cows of politics, Fort Worth steps up, and caution: slow barista ahead.
It says a lot -- although I don't know exactly what -- that the WCCO video of Brett Favre getting hit with a football is the hottest video on the Internet right now.
It says a lot -- although I'm not sure what -- that it took mere hours for someone to Simpsonize it.
All of the attention on Favre this week obscured the week's top sports story: They found "cigar guy."
There's a fair amount of head-scratching going on today by people who've read Pat Sajak's -- yes, that Pat Sajak -- column on the National Review's website. He asks whether public employees should be allowed to vote.
I'm not suggesting that public employees should be denied the right to vote, but that there are certain cases in which their stake in the matter may be too great. Of course we all have a stake in one way or another in most elections, and many of us tend to vote in favor of our own interests. However, if, for example, a ballot initiative appears that might cap the benefits of a certain group of state workers, should those workers be able to vote on the matter? Plainly, their interests as direct recipients of the benefits are far greater than the interests of others whose taxes support such benefits. I realize this opens a Pandora's box in terms of figuring out what constitutes a true conflict of interest, but, after all, isn't opening those boxes Ricochet's raison d'être?
By this logic, it would seem that gays would not be allowed to vote on a same-sex marriage amendment.
A better question might be whether some ballot initiatives shouldn't be allowed on ballots at all?(3 Comments)
When I first moved to Minnesota many years ago, an executive (who no longer works in Minnesota) pulled me aside and said, "these people... all they care about is getting through the workweek and getting to their cabin." He wasn't from here; he was from New York, where people go to work for entirely different reasons.
At the time I thought -- but didn't say -- "so? What's wrong with that?"
Colleague Tom Weber forwarded me this video today which confirms that the Minnesota sensibility is a proper one.
It was put together by Alex Horner of Minneapolis, who does this sort of thing for a living.
"I shot this on a weekend trip with my dad and uncle," he told me in an e-mail this morning. "My goal was to come back with footage of the Boundary Waters that you don't typically see. Once I edited it all together, I communicated back and forth with my dad directing what I'd like to hear, then he composed the music."
How do you like them apples, New York?
(Related: Nikki Tundel's images of autumn colors from rural Minnesota)(1 Comments)
This video is getting some traction around the Internet today because of the pluckiness of the subject -- a man in Kenya who built his own airplane over the course of a year, with the help of what he learned on the Internet. He doesn't, apparently, know how to fly.
James Fallows uses the video to remind Americans that we really don't know what it's like to be a guy in Kenya who doesn't have much, but builds his own airplane..
But in my experience -- mainly In Ghana and Kenya during the 70s, in Southeast Asia in the 1980s, and in China these past few years -- there is a cumulatively very different and very powerful experience that comes from meeting person after person like the Kenyan aviator-aspirant. That is, people whose material circumstances and range of experience are vastly different from a typical person's in London or high-end Shanghai or San Francisco, and who objectively have nowhere near the same opportunities -- but who take their own life drama and possibilities just as seriously and can dream just as ambitiously. For instance, I am thinking of a man in his 70s in a village in western China whose consuming project is a handwritten history of life in his village, from his boyhood during the era of war in the late 1930s and 1940s, through the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s, to the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and onward. He is someone who wears the same pants, shirt, and jacket virtually every day, because that's what he has. He is part of "the rural poor," but he has a plan and a dream.
I am fully aware, while typing, that this sounds like pure platitude; but listen to the Kenyan inventor talk about his "boyhood interest" and see if it doesn't take on a different meaning. To tie this back to recent discussions about self-pity in America, one of the many destructive side effects of America's increasing class polarization is that people lack a vivid, first-hand awareness of the full humanity of those in different (usually "lower") walks of life.
Fallows' deeper meaning aside, it appears unlikely the plane is going to fly. He used some heavy steel parts and the engine seems pretty small. Passion is one thing. Physics is quite another. Still, here's hoping we're wrong.
The head of a Bangladore-based company that specializes in outsourcing information technology had tough words for the U.S. educational system today. In the process, he recalibrated the debate over why the U.S. is losing jobs to overseas workers. Is it about the cost of doing business here? Or the lack of well-educated Americans?
Speaking on CNBC today, Azim Premji of WIPRO suggested if Americans are unhappy at the number of jobs being sent overseas, they need only blame insufficient education.
Premji was responding to a question about the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act, which encourages businesses to create jobs domestically by relieving them from payroll tax payments on new employees who perform services in the U.S.
Premji has a way of getting around that. Instead of hiring many Americans, he brings better-educated I.T. specialists from India. "The advantage they give us is they're more transferable across the United States and across countries, which a local American has restrictions on, primarily because of family," he said.
He says the American workers he hires and the Indian workers he brings to the U.S. are "comparable," but the "U.S. has not invested enough in technical education, there's not enough inflow of talent with technical backgrounds or technical passion," he said. "That has to be corrected. More products are getting technology intensive. That's a fundamental gap we're facing, not only in the United States but also in Europe. That has to be corrected in the United States."
A federal judges ruling striking down the rule that bans openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military has put the White House on the brink of another political firestorm.
In court papers filed today, the Obama administration says the dispute raises serious legal questions and that the government will be irreparably harmed unless the current policy is allowed to remain in place temporarily. The administration is seeking a stay on the federal judges order.
What else weakens the country? Not allowing gays to serve in the military.
Both of those points have come from the Obama administration in the last year and a half. The first, of course, came with today's filing. The second came during a presidential speech at the White House in June 2009 during a reception with lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual supporters.
The two conflicting points are likely to be played side-by-side in the next day or so, but, perhaps, not this additional paragraph in his June 2009 speech:
"As commander in chief, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term."
It's almost as if the president could see today coming.