Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The great job eater
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The great job eater

Robert Downes - January 18th, 2010
The Great Job Eater
...You stop by Border’s Books & Music over the holidays to buy some CDs
for gifts and notice that the music department has shrunk to a fifth of
its former size, with little to choose from. Turns out that music has
mostly gone digital and kids aren‘t buying CDs anymore because they can
order it cheaper online (or just rip it off for free). Hmmm... wonder
what happened to all of the people who used to make CDs and the people who
sold them?
...You drive over to Meijer and notice that there are only three cashiers
working at the entire store. But there are more than a dozen of those
irritating self-scan stations. Hmm... wonder what happened to the people
replaced by those machines?
...You hear a talking head on CNN who chirps excitedly that online sales
are up 16% for “Cyber Monday“ this year -- the equivalent of Thanksgiving
weekend‘s “Black Friday“ shopping frenzy. Turns out that more people are
shopping online from home. Hmm... wonder what will happen to all of the
people who used to depend on part-time jobs at local stores at Christmas?
Wonder what will happen to the store owners? Wonder if online shopping is
part of the reason a local outlet mall seems to be going under?
...You hear of GM laying off another 10,000 workers. Flash back to a time
in the early ‘80s when you did a story about the new industrial robots
being installed at GM‘s Orion Township plant. Several nervous-looking
union chiefs were on hand, drinking the Kool-Aid from the guys in suits,
who said that the new welding robots wouldn‘t put anyone out of a job --
they‘d just take over “the dirty work“ that no one wanted to do anymore.
Yeah, sure. But even then, you couldn‘t help noticing that the production
workers looked like a flock of hens accepting a crocodile‘s word of honor.
Hmm... wonder if any of them lost their jobs to those robots?
...You read a business story that amazon.com has raked in $27 billion
this year, and the guy who launched the online sales company is so
smart that he located his distribution centers in states such as
Arizona and Pennsylvania, where he won‘t have to pay any sales tax.
The article notes that these states desperately need tax dollars to pay
for cops, teachers and road workers, but tough beans... that‘s a perk
of “e-commerce.“ Wonder what will happen to those cops, teachers and
other public servants?
...Speaking of amazon.com, you hear that its top seller this season was
The Kindle, a reading device that allows you to download books at a
discount. Nice. Soon digital technology will be able to eliminate all
bookstores, just like it did music stores and CDs. Why, B. Dalton‘s just
closed at Grand Traverse Mall this week. Wonder what will happen to their
...You hear that Booth Newspapers has suffered its first round of layoffs
ever (50? 65? No one seems to know) at the Grand Rapids Press, Kalamazoo
Gazette and Muskegon Chronicle. Hmm, wonder if it has anything to do with
them giving away the news for free online? You know, like the grave
digger who thinks he can get out of his hole if he just digs a little
...Speaking of which, you wonder what will happen to all of the millions
of people who used to work for newspapers, book publishing, the lumber
industry, forestry, trucking, magazines, paper recycling, graphic design,
bookstores, book binding and distribution once everything goes online?
Point of our story? Several years ago, a professor at Harvard
University‘s School of Economics noted that it‘s not illegal immigrants or
globalization that are destroying jobs in the U.S. The chief job eater is
digitalization and technology.
Basically, we‘ve gotten too smart for our own good by digitizing our jobs
away. Today, a handful of software engineers can replace millions of jobs
in music, publishing, manufacturing and retail with a few keystrokes,
aided by you, the helpful online consumer. Like the Greek god Saturn, we
are devouring our own children.
Americans spent the past 25 years shipping their jobs off to China, Mexico
and Japan, buying cheap, imported flat-screen TVs, cars and computers
without a care for the future.
Now the future has come home to roost, but sadly, we don‘t see the other
pillar of job destruction, even though its evidence is everywhere in front
of our eyes.
If a socialist society or revolution ever does come to America, it won‘t
be because of Barack Obama or the Democrats -- it will be a result of the
digital destruction of jobs and the need of the have-not‘s in the face of
the have‘s.

Reinventing Ourselves
Every few years we try to brush off the moss here at the Express and
launch a few new features in the hope of keeping you entertained and
coming back to our pages.
Several years ago, this was accomplished by launching our popular Northern
Seen photo section, along with MyStyle, GearBox, Tastemakers and Bottoms
This time around, we‘re building the ‘front end‘ of the paper with an
emphasis on opinion. You may have noticed that co-publisher George Foster
launched his new sports column, The Score, last week. George knows far
more about sports than anyone I‘ve ever met and once predicted the entire
game-by-game results for the Pistons prior to the start of the playoffs.
Also new in this issue is Steve Tuttle‘s column, Spectator. Steve is a
political consultant who has advised both Democrat and Republican
candidates through the years. He wrote a column by the same name for many
years at the Arizona Republic -- the state‘s largest newspaper -- and we
expect that he will elevate the level of discourse here at the Express
with an insider‘s perspective on politics, among other topics.
We‘ve also added Mike Terrell‘s Call of the Wild in recent months.
Northern Michigan is still an outdoorsy place, and we take pride in
promoting and preserving that heritage by continuing a popular column he
wrote for many years for the Record-Eagle.
Finally, we‘re proud to welcome Erin Crowell as our newest full-time
reporter. With a talent for strong leads and colorful writing, Erin will
strengthen our features section. As a recent journalism graduate from
Grand Valley State University, she brings youthful eyes and experiences to
the Express.
Our goal is to have more meaningful commentary on issues, events and the
people who have an impact on Northern Michigan.

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