Changing Doppler With The Seasons

This is a sad year for the Phillies. In baseball terms, they suck. They’re getting older (not that there’s anything wrong with that), slower and less able to hit for power. The pitching staff has been so weak at times I expected walk-ons from the stands to toss a few innings.

We’ve seen them at Dodger Stadium and Angels Stadium. They’ll be in San Diego soon. It’s driveable. Maybe. But why?

Our attention now turns to the Eagles. There are high expectations for this team. I’ve heard it before, but never as positively as now.

Kiss of death? Probably.

To mark the changing of the season Doppler has lost her worn out Phillies tag and gone green!

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TD5, But You’ll Probably Call Her Dolly

National Weather Service   Graphical ForecastThe Hurricane Center just gave a cluster of clouds in the Gulf of Mexico the once over. Those clouds are now Tropical Depression 5. Sustained winds are under 30 mph, but some strengthening is expected. TD5 will likely become Tropical Storm Dolly.

The midpoint of the Hurricane Center’s storm track is Tampico, on the Mexican Gulf Coast. Metro Tampico has nearly a million people.

There’s concern, but it’s likely this storm won’t grow strong enough to produce major damage. Though water temperatures in the southern Gulf are bathtub warm, wind shear will limit intensification.

rgb0-laloIn an average year we’re on the “E” storm on September 1. So far 2014 has only produced A, B and C.

In early August the Hurricane Center revised their pre-season “below average” forecast to point even more strongly in that direction. Being a few letters behind remains the expectation.

There’s still danger this hurricane season, but less than usual.

It’s Labor Day

George Jetson at WorkIt’s Labor Day.

I grew up in an apartment complex financed and built by Local 3 of the Electrical Workers Union. I joke now about its Soviet style architecture and warmth, but places like Electchester were needed. The workforce in post-WW2 America was growing like crazy.

Our softball league used to march down 5th Avenue in the Labor Day Parade. It was a big deal in New York City.

It’s not even held on Labor Day anymore.

Labor is vilified today. Unions, more evil still.

All this has come to mind after seeing a Facebook post (then online shouting match) about American corporate taxes. My blood began to boil. Instead of joining the flamewar, let me vent.

Here’s the problem with the whole corporate tax equation. Our tax structure was set up with the idea business would be the driver of employment.

Charles Wilson, a nominee for Secretary of Defense in the early 50s and former GM executive famously said, “I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

He was right… sixty years ago.

Business has decided that’s no longer part of the deal. Companies offshore, centralize and automate and do so to save every penny.

At your place of employment are there now fewer people doing the same work as a few years ago? My guess is yes. You’re not alone.

When I was a kid, George Jetson drove to work and immediately put his feet on his desk. Wasn’t that our expectation? The future would be less work and more comfort.

That’s not how automation has worked. We have not been augmented. We have been replaced.

The list of non-human jobs grows by the day. Versatile robots and driverless vehicles? Certainly within our lifetimes.

What truly wasn’t expected was the optimization of tasks. Computers have made this possible. Companies learned how to make workers much more productive. None of this is done to the laborer’s benefit.

There was once a class of middle managers who ran departments within stores. WalMart, Home Depot, Target and all the rest have learned how to massively manage from a central location. When stores like Caldors and Zayers closed, that level of job disappeared too.

I grew up in the age of strong labor. The middle class was a good place to be. Hourly employees owned homes.

Our current economic and tax structure can only support a nation of haves and have nots. There are already not enough jobs to go around. And it’s like that in nearly all the industrialized world.

We need to make a decision. What kind of society do we want and how will we make that happen? What level of need and poverty will we accept and for how many?

Whatever the answer is, it’s certainly not what we’re doing now.

About Hank Yaggi

hank yaggiI got the word today. Hank Yaggi died. Hank had been general manager at Channel 8 some time ago.

Hank came from a TV family. His dad was a broadcaster before him.

I wonder how many TV general managers call themselves broadcasters anymore?

Hank got into television when it was nearly impossible not to make money. He was able to be one of the last honorable men in a business quickly changing.

He was honest. He was fair. He was concerned about our product and our impact on the community.

We did not always see eye-to-eye. Bosses and I often quarreled. Join the club.

When we argued (and make no mistake, Hank allowed me to argue) there was never a question of subtext. If he chose to explain his reasoning he put it on the table. By virtue of his position he won every argument. I never felt he used that power unfairly or as a cudgel.

I appreciate that he valued my opinion. My recommendation to Hank opened the door to a few people who would work at Channel 8.

Hank was an elegant man. Fit and handsome he was always well put together. He looked like he belonged.

The home he and Val shared in Madison was the same. Beautifully appointed. Always tasteful.

A few years after Hank left Channel 8 we ran into him while I was having dinner with Ann and Noah. While Hank chatted, Val pulled me aside. It was sad. Hank was slowly deteriorating. There would be no fond memory of our conversation for him.

My thoughts go out to Hank’s family tonight, to Val and their children. I wish I could explain away illness and death. I am sad with you.

Enough War

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I hear the drum beat. The hawks among us are posturing for war against ISIS. We didn’t know they existed a few months ago. Now they’re the scourge.

I have seen this before. It never ends well.

I have no doubt ISIS is evil and would kill Americans if they could. However, wholesale bombing won’t stop lone wolf attackers. We’ll kill civilians, create ill will and spend a fortune, but any threat that exists today will still exist, even if ISIS is defeated.

In the 21st Century there is some evil we’re just defenseless against. How do you stop the Tsarnaev Brothers at the Boston Marathon or American citizen Faisal Shahzad who unsuccessfully planted a car bomb in Times Square?

You can’t.

On-The-Air On-The-Web

There was a time when astronomers felt this asteroid had a plausible chance of hitting Earth in 2049. That’s only 35 years.

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Nearing The Peak

Climatologically we’re a day or two away from our highest temperature of the year.

Alas, we live weather not climate. The hottest day might have already happened. Maybe it’s still to come.

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Our Planting Continues

Don’t ask me how, but this week has turned into Agricultural Awareness Week at the Fox house. Heaven forbid you’re a plant on-the-edge. This week, baby, you’re outta here! There weren’t too many replacements necessary, but I like making myself sound like a real tough guy when it comes to plants. We do have one […]

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Doppler Goes To Home Depot

More vlogging! Around a minute of it. You asked for it. I’m trying. A little light gardening around the house, then Doppler and I took a trip to the Depot.

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What Facebook Messenger Really Is

Facebook messenger has been installed, then uninstalled, twice now. It is dispensable. Facebook has removed message (email) functionality from its smartphone app. To regain that ability you must install a separate Facebook Messenger app. Its purpose is to elevate Facebook messages to the level of phone calls, email and texts. No. There is no way […]

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