The Wall Street Journal
Headline story first page: job rebound eases fears of spring stall. US businesses add 175,000 workers; better than expected. There are three things that affected the number, I would suppose:
- global economy
- the severe winter brought on by global warming
- and a third (to be noted later)
It's my gut feeling -- based on news articles over the past two months -- that most analysts expected job growth to be challenged by the very severe winter weather. All things being equal, severe winter weather should have resulted in fewer workers joining the work force. But that didn't happen, despite the severe winter brought on by global warming.
No, the third of the three "things" was not the delay of ObamaCare until 2017 (that announcement came out too late to effect this most recent jobs number).
No, the the third of the three "things" was the fact that long-term unemployment benefits (99+ weeks of benefits) has been terminated (or better said, neither renewed nor extended) by Congress. [This reminds me of something a 70-year-old woman working at CashWise in the Bakken told me last week: "If you can't find a job in Williston, you are either lazy or sickly."]
Unless the numbers are being fudged (which cannot be ruled out in an election year), that's it: global economy, severe weather, unemployment benefits are the three major factors affecting employment (note: an increase in the minimal wage was not a factor, yet).
I mentioned this to my wife, who usually disagrees with about everything I say (smart woman). She mentioned that The Wall Street Journal discussed this very issue a few days ago and mentioned the same thing: the relationship between jobs and unemployment benefits.
Crimean/Ukraine: diplomatic crisis. Russia threatens to cut natural gas to the Ukraine. Spring is coming. EU will step in. US will step in. John Kerry's concern: global warming. I can't make this stuff up. In the middle of this "crisis," Kerry is making global warming speeches. This tells me how serious a) global warming is; and, b) how serious the Ukraine/Crimean crisis is.
Speaking of the Crimean, now some are suggesting this will be an expensive "acquisition" for Russia. In less than a week, we've gone from a military "cold war" crisis, to a diplomatic mission to a business deal in the Crimean. Not to worry. Facebook made an expensive acquisition buying WhatsApp. It's just money. By the way I guess the WhatsApp deal was too much for the Turks. The Turkish prime minister threatens to ban YouTube and Facebook. This will help the country's goal of joining the EU.
Wow, buried in the front section: Boeing 777 goes missing.
Japan's Fukushima's toughest cleanup stage is yet to come. The plant's operator estimates it is still six years away from grappling with the biggest cleanup problem: removing melted nuclear fuel. Six years away from removing the melted fuel. Wow, in six years, the Bakken will just be reaching its stride.
Government Motors really is "government" motors: the company has apologized profusely in recent days for an ignition-switch defect that existed for nine years and has been tied to at least 13 deaths in the US. Sort of like the "Obama-apology tour," I guess.
The Ukraine/Crimean has reminded Europeans that energy diversity might be important. Could we see Germany return to nuclear energy? How about the Ukraine? Iran is certainly preparing for the future by turning to nuclear energy to diversify.
Note to the Granddaughters
I had a productive trip to the Bakken.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to learn to play mahjong. I now know how. What a great game. Great memories.
I also bought eight new books to read. I bought three from the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman, and four books from Books on Broadway, Williston, North Dakota. The eighth book, on birding, I bought at the Service Drugstore in Williston. I can't remember if it is still called Service Drugstore but that's how I remember it.
The three from PTRM: one on Custer; one on Ulysses S. Grant, and one on dinosaurs.
The four from Books on Broadway included On the Origin of Tepees: the Evolution of Ideas (and Ourselves), Jonnnie Huges, c. 2011.
I first saw this book in Chuck Wilder's bookstore on Broadway last summer, but it didn't quite interest me enough to buy it at the time. For whatever reason, it captured my attention this time and I bought it. I'm almost finished the first time through. It's an incredibly good book.
The book is hard to describe. To a great extent, it's a travelogue with the author and his brother (both visiting from England) traveling cross-country in their "Chrysler" from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Dickinson, North Dakota, and then to the Black Hills, via Amidon, North Dakota, with the photograph of the famous speed trap. Then to Wyoming, Montana, and up into Canada. Along the way, we learn the origin of the American buffalo and North American horses. We learn a bit about the "evolution" of the American Indians, and, of course, the origin of the tepees. Spoiler alert: the three-pole tepee most likely evolved from the four-pole tepee. For the first time, I really understand the concept of the "meme." He also notes that on the day of "Custer's Last Stand," Alexander Graham Bell was demonstrating his telephone at the World Exposition in Philadelphia, both of which were taking place even as Charles Darwin was trying to put into writing how he came upon his "idea" for the origin of the species.
It will end up being one of the better books I have ever come across. Highly recommended for folks interested in learning about the Great Plains, evolution, and "memes."
By the way, for an important clue to why humans do so much "better" than other primates in passing along "memes," read this internet article, paying special attention to astrocytes and thrombospondin.
The other three books from Books on Broadway:
- Crazy Horse: A Lakota Life, Kingsley M. Bray, c. 2006
- I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, Sylvie Simmons, c. 2012
- Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, Sylvia Nasar, c. 2011