Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

USA Exporting Too Many Jobs

20.12.2002 (9:48 pm) – Filed under: Business,Technology ::

Technical jobs in the IT and related industries are being steadily shipped out of this country. Read the CNN.com story.

Ever hear or see an add for a technical trade school? “Prepare yourself for a hot career in the information technology sector!” they cry. Don’t believe the hype. U.S. companies would like nothing better than to ship these jobs to India or elsewhere.

It seems that businesses are feeling burned by the lack of return on IT investment and, to reduce their costs, are moving toward a lower-cost, lower-expectations model. HP certainly is. U.S. contract technical staff at Hewlett-Packard can expect pink slips in the coming months as their jobs are send abroad. The net: companies don’t seem to care as much about the quality of their IT infrastructure as they did ten years ago and the result is that IT jobs are being lost to U.S. workers.

So much for the investment many Americans made in upgrading their technical skills. Regardless of what business leaders say, the IT employment market is extremely competitive. Anyone who is part of it will tell you that.

The outflow of jobs to foreign workers will not stop with this industry, however. This larger trend will continue until U.S. citizens can no longer support the weight of consuming the products being manufactured for us. Why would that happen? Simple. Eventually so many jobs will be exported to foreign countries that unemployment in this country will increase as wages fall. Presto – no more consumers. How many business leaders have the long-term vision to recognize that simple reality. Few, if any. It’s up to politicians to keep us from reaching that point. Now that’s cause for concern.

Smoker’s Award = No Personal Responsibility

19.12.2002 (9:17 am) – Filed under: Law ::

A California smoker with lung cancer will get $28 million in punitive damages. Read the story in the Houston Chronicle.

The lack of personal responsibility in this country is a nightmare. People choose to smoke; they choose not to quit; they choose to die. Period.

If one revs the engine in one’s V8 SUV and smashes it into a telephone pole doing 120 MPH, does GM owe one a new ride and a few millions to boot? California jurists and judges alike seem to think so.

Kindergarten Brats Suspended

18.12.2002 (11:12 am) – Filed under: Child Care,Education ::

33 kindergartners have been suspended from Philadelphia schools this year. The new discipline policy has brought strong reactions from parent groups and advocates for children. Read the story in the Houston Chronicle.

Paul Vallas should be given a medal for his efforts to bring order to these schools. There is no group, other than parents, and not even all of them, that cares more about children than teachers and administrators, whereas the advocacy groups are armchair quarterbacks at best.

If, as one critic suggests, the suspension of ill-behaved brats causes the parents of such children to become hostile toward the school system, then the reaction of these parents is wildly inappropriate and goes far in explaining the unacceptable behavior of their children.

The proper reaction for a parent of a child suspended from school for most infractions is embarrassment, not anger at the messenger. The reason is self-evident: parents are responsible for the behavior of their minor children. If a child fails to behave properly in a social situation, it is the responsibility of the parent to acknowledge and correct the deviant behavior.

One hopes that Mr. Vallas will stand his ground in the fight to ensure an appropriate educational environment is created in his and other school districts. And shame on the parents who fail to accept the message being delivered.

17.12.2002 (11:16 am) – Filed under: Race ::

Scientists say there is no way to look at someone’s genes and determine his or her race. Read the story on CNN.com

A quote:

There is wide agreement among anthropologists and human geneticists that, from a biological standpoint, human races do not exist. Yet races do exist as social constructs.


What does this mean? In short, the artificial social structure we’ve imposed on ourselves is the only point of division between so-called human races.

That’s terrific news! Now we can all stop bickering about meaningless, superficial differences in skin color. Well, perhaps not. We’re not a very bright species, apparently, and one suspects this scientific data will not get as much air time as either the Democrat’s excoriation of Trent Lott’s gaffe or the reruns of last decade’s Seinfeld episodes.

Martian Germs?

17.12.2002 (10:38 am) – Filed under: Space ::

Scientists have found dormant microbes in Antarctica. Could similar microbes be alive on Mars? Read the story on Space.com.

There is at least a possibility that this may be the case. Not that there are any additional reasons needed to go to Mars, but it is an additional mission driver.

It’s past time for the U.S. to fund manned mission to Mars. A small percentage of the dollars squandered in the Middle East would be much better used by NASA to make this happen.

17.12.2002 (8:58 am) – Filed under: Politics,Race ::

It looks like Trent Lott is going to be booted out as Senate majority leader over his remarks about Strom Thurmond having been a better presidental candidate than Harry Truman. Read the story on MSNBC.com

It’s hard to decide which is the greater national idiocy, Lott’s incredibly inane remarks or the disproportionate backlash they have generated.

In today’s ridiculously politically correct environment, even a schoolboy knows enough to keep opinions that might obliquely offend a minority person to himself. A Senator should be well aware of the consequences of a white male voicing such sentiments, regardless of the fact that black and Hispanic persons may do so with impunity.

That is the greater issue here. Why is it acceptable for minority leaders to pursue blatantly racist agendas while whites are forced to toe the line of shame over events long buried in the annals of history?

Shopping Sex Offenders

16.12.2002 (9:55 am) – Filed under: Crime,Politics ::

David Siebers, a registered sex offender identified by Albuquerque, NM sheriffs as one they “feel he’s a danger and there’s a likelihood he’s going to re-offend.” has been run out of town by Mayor Martin Chavez. One guess where he’s gone. Texas. Read the Houston Chronicle story.

Thanks a heap, Mayor Chavez, for making your problem our problem. This will probably get the irresponsible Chavez re-elected in his home city. Meanwhile, watch out Texans, there’s a new pervert in town.

End Athletic Scholarships

13.12.2002 (12:12 pm) – Filed under: Education,Sports ::

Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated presented an interesting ound bite on NPR earlier this week: why not disallow athletic scholarships altogether? Read his article.

If nothing else, this would end some of the rancor over athletes with sub-standard academic credentials gaining admission to colleges and failing to graduate or even attend classes.

Some would argue that doing so would lessen the quality of college sports events. To a degree, that is undoubtedly true. It is a fact that many of the top performers in college sports would no longer be at their host universities if it were not for the scholarships they receive.

But I seriously doubt that most fans would notice the dropoff in performance. Instead, players would be on the field because they both love to play the sport and represent the school they attend. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

MLB: Bring Pete Rose Back

11.12.2002 (8:02 am) – Filed under: Sports ::

It’s time for Pete Rose to take his place in the baseball Hall of Fame. Read the CNN.com opinion piece.

A majority of sports fans agree with me, as shown in a CNN poll.

Should baseball reinstate Pete Rose?

  • Yes, he’s served his time 59%
  • Yes, if he admits his wrongs 26%
  • No, he should never be back 15%

Compared to many of today’s spoiled brat athletes, Pete Rose was and is a gem of a person and a sportsman. It’s time to acknowledge his contributions to the game.

Big Brother is Coming

09.12.2002 (10:00 pm) – Filed under: Privacy,Technology ::

A couple of weeks back I posted a column regarding the erosion of individual privacy that is coming as a result of the war on terrorism. Read the L.A. Times take on the subject. I found their editorial to be ho-hum, never-mind-me evaluation of this issue.

The threat to American citizens is real given the lack of control points in the information gathering process. But will this sacrifice of personal privacy make us safer? Yes, it will help protect us from outside threats. But at what cost?

Does the government need to know our grocery buying habits? If I buy a large lot of cold tablets and/or garden fertilizer, will I be flagged for deeper scrutiny by John Poindexter’s cronies? And if I am, will I ever know it? Will the courts uphold civil liberties and the freedom of information act?

Will we really be safer once these programs are in place?