Wednesday, July 6, 2005


/ blogging / around /

  • Jesus Lord Almighty! having lived in the American South for a number of years I was well aware of its rather unenviable mass educational situation. Yet this CBC report titled, innocently enough "Toyota to build 100,000 vehicles per year in Woodstock, Ont., starting 2008" is startling in how it.. ummmm... emphasizes these educational issues:
    Ontario workers are well-trained.
    That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant...
    ..."The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant...
    ...Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.
    He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

    ... Yes. Picturebooks. The collateral damage of declining educational systems. For good measure the article adds another point, certain to outrage market fundamentalists in the US:

    In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
    "Most people don't think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage," he said.

  • A family affair: "A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests."

  • The "exile" reports on how "kill a NATO soldier" has unleashed American style censorship on the Russian blogosphere which, by the way, is thriving... I note Kirill Pankratov's concluding remarks on censorship:
    ...The censorship case got me thinking. Soviet censorship was like wall or a fence -- visible and imposing, monumentally built but rusting and full of cracks and holes, with most people knowing how to get around it. Putin's censorship is like the leftover rubble -- with pieces of concrete and steel rods lying around, formally non-existent but occasionally making a nuisance. American censorship is different -- it is like a virus which infects the brain from the childhood, all-encompassing but barely visible. It is harder to escape it, but necessary to fight against it.

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    Blue Cross of California said...

    Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.