Cyber Monday

Welcome back to a semi-normal week. A few quick takes: 

1. Skyfall is among the best Bond films, ever. As with the rest of the Daniel Craig series, it’s doing a great version of what the Bourne trilogy was – thrilling and action-packed. You know it’s a Bond film because it’s got an evil genius villain. With Craig, however, Bond isn’t just a pseudo-human. They develop the character and give you backstory. Well done. 

2. I think there are pre-Lincoln people and post-Lincoln people. I saw it yesterday, and it reminded me of Spielberg’s other serious world-crisis-as-biopic, Schindler’s List in a lot of ways. Lincoln is unique in that it revolves very specifically around the political flexibility and machinations Lincoln brought to bear on his fight to get the lame duck 38th Congress to free the slaves. Lincoln saw passage of an emancipation amendment to the Constitution as a necessary path to end the Civil War. His team of rivals didn’t always see eye-to-eye with him.  The legal and political issues and ramifications of the Civil War are not glossed over; not dumbed down. Go see it, if for nothing else the Albany lobbyist comic relief. 

3. A fire erupted in a Bangladeshi sweatshop, killing 124

“The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor,” Mahbub said. “So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building.”

“Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,” he said.

This is why we have building codes and regulations. 

Bangladesh’s garment factories make clothes for brands including Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour and Tesco.

Hey, did you get any great Black Friday deals on clothes? 

4. Krugman addresses the supposed shortage of skilled workers, on which some businesses blame high unemployment. He raises a different issue: 

So what you really want to ask is why American businesses don’t feel that it’s worth their while to pay enough to attract the workers they say they need.

The US went so far down the phony, make-believe supply side/Reaganomics/trickle-down rabbit hole; we have so thoroughly demonized workers and labor that businesses are now wondering why trained, qualified people aren’t taking jobs at insulting low pay. 

5. Chris Brown is a singer and a horrible person. Never buy anything of his again, ever. 

6. Congratulations to Lake Effect Ice Cream, which announced a move to new digs in Lockport. 

7. The people at City Dining Cards were good enough to send me a copy of their Buffalo-specific “Fridge Phrases” . They make a great Christmas/Hannukah gift for your Buffalo friends and members of the Buffalo diaspora. 



  • Krugman’s agenda driven mini-rant is so overly single-minded, and simplified, that it renders the piece meaningless.  Major factors in the wage equation, such as an ever growing world economy, are not even mentioned.

    •  Not a “rant” (Did you even read it? It’s just one calm paragraph long), but an analysis. Of course, American manufacturers would be happy to hire skilled Americans at the wages established by vicious regimes in the Third World. That’s precisely Krugman’s point. “The ever growing world economy” is precisely the problem; but socialist resistance to exploitation is also part of that economy, and that means a living wage here, and there, and everywhere. Get used to it, Mr. Rebmann: soon to appear in a city near you.

    • Wages have been declining since the 1970’s, long before the global economy was the buzzword. Productivity and education of American workers has continued to increase yet workers have lost ground. It is quite simple, plain old greed has caused the great wealth disparity and economic stagnation that we suffer from today. Capitalism only works from the bottom up, the top down experiment has been a dismal failure for the vast majority of citizens.

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