Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday's news

Ok, two days in a row. Why? Well, Monday was Sunday and Monday's news and thoughts and today is another day. And I get several newspapers at Starbucks to read with a sandwich and lunch snacks. And lo and behold, there were some interesting stuff in them thar newsprint. Really?

Some interesting reading at the USA Today. It's time the candidates stop the rhetoric and actually discuss substance. Soundbites are like old, stale candy, no one wants to hear them after a few bites.

Does the chiefs and leaders in the miltiary really support the troops? We've heard the stories about delaying the new personnel vehicles. And now a new one about the soldiers.

With all that a soldier experiences in battle today, you would think the Army would want the troops be in top shape physically and mentally. But then, maybe not. In the first 2-3 years of the war very few, if any, troops were tested for brain injuries from battle, such as explosions, routine vibrations from vehicles, etc. It seems our Army wanted to let the soldiers leave the service so they couldn't connect any future injuries with battle and get VA benefits.

Some selected tests show about 12% of soldiers have traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and of the 1.6 million troops who have served in Iraq, not counting those who served in Afghanistan, that's potentially about 200,000 soldiers with TBI. And only now is the Army reporting this failure. We've seen a repeated history of the Army not supporting the troops from Vietnam, Korea and the Gulf War to avoid prolonged health care for veterans.

This time, however, the news is out, and now it's time for action. By the Army.

It seems our trusty, dusty FBI, the watchdog for terrorists, has been feeding all the other agencies with incomplete and inaccurate information, about known terrorist - not updating the information, or suspected terrorist - not removing names found to be innocent people. All this money we've been providing the FBI and they can't get anything right?

This one I love. Being a geographer and always using maps. The Washington Post reports that sometimes GPS directions don't work, and can lead you in both bad or dangerous situations. It seems people are misplacing their common sense assuming the GPS is that right, and not bothering to have, let alone use, a map to verify the GPS is right.

Folks, maps have a nice function, use them, if only to check things.

This one is spooky, in a sense. Remember the history of Japan's manufacturing? Well, watch China follow that except compressed in time by an order of magnitude. Why? Japan had no manufacturing capability after WWII - remember we destroyed it. They started with the then latest technology, provided by the US, and in 20-25 years caught the US and Europe. And the rest is, as they say, history.

And they learned to move to and build in the US. Why is Toyota, Honda and Nissan here? Because they can and sell more and better cars. And now China, which has an industry built by US and European companies, again with the latest technology, under the assumption China build products under their license and for them, has been branching out with their own companies to equal and replace the US and European brands.

And? Well, they've discovered that moving to and building in the US for some products is better. Haier is now building high end refrigerators in a South Carolina plant. They produce more than twice the number of refrigerators than Whirlpool, mostly in the lowend market, but they're moving up the market scale. Any bets they'll at least catch the US companies in these markets? Think trucks and you have the game plan and results.

And we laughed at Chinese made products a few years ago, and now discover they make the majority of many types and lines of products for the world, especially toys, clothes, electronics, etc, and they're moving in cars, appliances, etc. Hang on to you hats folks, many jobs in the US in a decade or so won't be US companies but foreign, and especially Chinese.

Hey, don't blame me, I don't make this stuff up. It's in the 3-5 newspapers I read 4-5 days a week. I'd read more but they're not available in print form, except the Sunday editions printed Fridays. What a waste, who wants to sit on a paper for two days to thinks it's fresh? I'm one of those who like big, thick newspapers to spread out with coffee, food, and music in the background (ok NPR or something similar good too), and munch away on words and life.

So, that's the news of the day for now. I'm off on work and stuff of life. Parting jesture? I've uploaded the St. Patrick's Day parade photos.


Nicole Neroulias said...

Bob Woodruff and his wife Lee spoke in Rye, NY yesterday about his own traumatic brain injuries and their efforts to try to get better health care and rehabilitation to similarly injured troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Lee Woodruff had a lot to say about the soldiers she's seen in VA hospitals, and that TBIs are the defining injury of this combat experience. You can hear some audio clips of the event at http://veterans.lohudblogs.com.

WSR Photography said...

Thank you Nicole for the link and to the Lower Hudson Journal news. As a veteran, I find it hard to understand how much people talk about patriotism but then balk at comdenming the military for not doing what it should in support of the troops, and express anger at those, especially in Congress, who point out the failures of the military.

Being patriotic is both about America and about Americans, especially those who serve, and more importantly those who die or are injured and their families. Our country owes them not just our gratitude but our duty to support them in their needs, no matter the costs. They sacrificed, so can we, in return.