THE ENTERPRISE--HOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER AND OTHER POSITIVE THOUGHTS

THE ENTERPRISE--HOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER AND OTHER POSITIVE THOUGHTS.  I WANT TO COVER SOME IMPORTANT "SIGNS OF THE TIMES”—THAT WILL BE HARD TO REVERSE

 
EDUCATION: "Least surprising headline:" In-Person Classes Boost Test Scores.  The impact of school shutdowns (driven largely by teacher's unions) is huge. The loss of learning, especially by the under-performing, heavily minority youth in big city schools has set this group even further behind. This headline article pointed out that return to regular school classes has helped catch up, but there is still a residual negative impact. Unintended consequences of misguided decisions and actions are pervasive—and too often unnoticed until further problems surface.
 
CAREERS: “The tip of an iceberg:” The Hot Job Market Is Killing Cover Letters. The inability of today’s youth to express themselves in writing is partially a byproduct of school failings and partially the impact of smart phones and texting with abbreviations (e.g., LOL) and emojis 🙄. This combination has undermined the ability of youth to express their thoughts—and in the case of “cover letters”—their job qualifications and aspirations. There is only one chance to “make a first impression.” Covid discouraged the firm handshake, and the hot job market has further undermined that important first impression by encouraging less and less use of a thoughtful cover letter and resume use by job seekers. The outcome is that important indicators of probable job success or failure are missing, leading to rampant turnover (worsened by voluntary job switching).
 
OVERFLOWING EMAIL (& VOICEMAIL) INBOXES ARE FALLING PREY TO TEXT MESSAGES (AND OTHER BRIEF, GRAPHIC EXCHANGES--SNAPCHAT, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER).  When we tried emailing college age veteran students about a mentoring program, responses were slow, few or none at all. Texting got a relatively faster reply, better even than a telephone call (telephone voice—remember actually hearing spoken words?). Zoom fatigue was epidemic at many schools and companies. The problem: long emails and voicemails with no meaningful “subject” or indication of whether the purpose was to ask a question, provide information or seek a decision (or CYA by cc:All). 
 
Add the blizzard of Attachments, Political Campaigns, Junk Mail, Solicitations, Spam/Phishing, and Cartoons/Pictures and in-baskets become almost like electronic “waste baskets.” Solution: try making and enforcing “rules” for reducing email clutter and verbosity (and on overflowing voicemail boxes—restrict the message time allowed to seconds, not minutes—just enough time to leave a name, subject and return phone number.
 
"DRESS FOR SUCCESS” HAS DETERIORATED TO DRESS FOR COMFORT, AS CASUAL OR SLOPPILY AS POSSIBLE
A piece of good advice for all job seekers is the dress for one level of formality higher than you expect the prospective hiring company to use.  Even on Zoom, when only the upper half of a person shows, a neat, pressed shirt or blouse makes an important impression. Caution: occasionally a person will stand and move about during a Zoom call. If the camera is on, be sure what you are wearing from the waist down is “appropriate.”  IF very casual dress is the favored choice, it’s still wise for that to be “presentable” and not “sloppy!” Few things look worse than a wrinkled T-shirt or blouse with a badly stretched out or ill-fitting collar.
 
UNINTENDED OR UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES—THE “RIPPLE EFFECT” OF CHAOS, WARS, AND GLOBAL TURMOIL
While countless buildings in Ukraine are being destroyed by Putin’s violent invasion, other places are finding that a key part of concrete construction—steel reinforcement (rebar) is in short supply. Ukraine, Russia and neighboring places (like Turkey) are (or were) major steel producers. Not any more. Nearby ports are locked down or disrupted. Mills are shut down, or face demand disruption due to sanctions. Sanctions on Russia, China, North Korea and Iran have a ripple effect of driving buyers to seek alternative suppliers from other countries—who may be unprepared to respond. That goes for oil too.
 
President (Clueless) Joe Biden will find that the costs are climbing for his alternative, renewable energy sources. They will now cost much more and the mining, refining, fabrication and transportation of batteries and electronics, wind turbine blades, solar cells and again, rebar—and maybe concrete for reinforcing the bases to support huge wind turbines. Anti-dumping sanctions against China (on Solar equipment) is adversely impacting solar.
 
Supply chains are not likely to recover any time soon due to these sanction driven disruptions. There is very little cushion of inventory in the supply chains either. Ports are making progress but shortages and imbalances  have been hard hit by transportation problems—both labor and equipment (like containers and truck chassis for to & from transport)
 
Cyber attacks, ransomware and simple network disruptions are impacting more places that are publicly reported. Prices of everything are up and will continue rising as labor shortages lead to wage increases, oil price increases lead to higher energy and fuel costs ($5.00/gal. gas & diesel) is just one item.
 
Climate Change, being blamed for everything, is a media-driven sensational-headline hoax. Yes, weather varies wildly and destroys things humans build in nature’s way…but weather and climate change are two very different things. Related but different. Read Steven Koonin’s fine book “Unsettled,” to learn the truth.(Or articles he’s written, including for the WSJ.)
 
FINALLY, A VERY INSIGHTFUL EDITORIAL FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
(Attached below is also the .pdf file of this editorial in case you want to share it via email or text.)
 
NO ONE KNOWS WITH ANY CERTAINTY WHAT THE FUTURE HGLDS IN STORE FOR US.   ALL WE CAN DO IS DO OUR BEST TO FIND THE FACTS, THE TRUTH, AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND  WISDOM,
 
BEST OF LUCK
JOHN

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OPINION | REVIEW & OUTLOOK from the WSJ

The President We Have

Biden needs new advisers and help from Congress to deter Russia and other escalating threats.

By The Editorial Board March 27, 2022 6:31 pm ET   ©DOW JONES 

More or less the whole world—including his own advisers on background—has criticized President Biden for his latest gaffe in saying in his Warsaw speech on Saturday that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” There’s no need to pile on. And someone should say that Mr. Biden’s unscripted remark did have the virtue of telling the truth that the problem in Russia won’t end even if Mr. Putin orders his troops out of Ukraine.

Mr. Biden’s remark, even after its repudiation on Sunday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, may well make it harder to negotiate with Mr. Putin over Ukraine or anything else. And Mr. Biden’s habit of misstating his own policies—no fewer than three times during his European trip—is especially dangerous amid an international crisis.

Then again, the same critics who are lambasting Mr. Biden helped to hide his obviously fading capacities in the 2020 campaign. They circled the wagons around his Delaware basement because they thought he was the only Democrat who could defeat Donald Trump.

The reality is that we have to live with Mr. Biden for three more years as President. And please stop writing letters imploring us to demand that Mr. Biden resign. Do you really want Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office? She was chosen as a bow to identity politics to unite the Democratic Party in the election campaign, not for her ability to fill the President’s shoes. In the last 14 months she has failed to demonstrate even the minimum knowledge or capacity for the job. We are fated to make the best of the President we have.

In that regard, Members of Congress of both parties will have to play a more assertive role, and the good news is that they have been doing so to good effect on Ukraine. Congress has stiffened Mr. Biden’s resolve on sanctions and military aid. The pattern is that the White House resists a tougher policy until it faces a defeat or difficult vote on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan coalitions of the willing will be even more important as the war continues, and threats from Iran, China and North Korea escalate.

As we’ve argued, Mr. Biden would also be wise to bring some high profile conservatives and Republicans into his Administration. In 1940, as the prospect of world war approached, FDR brought in experienced GOP internationalists Henry Stimson as Secretary of War and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy. They built credibility with the public and on Capitol Hill for the hard choices to come.

Harry Truman worked with GOP Sen. Arthur Vandenberg to build support for NATO at the dawn of the Cold War. Jimmy Carter at least had the hawkish Zbigniew Brzezinski as his national security adviser when the Soviets tried to exploit Mr. Carter’s weakness.

Mr. Blinken has shown impressive energy as Secretary of State, and he was right in advising Mr. Biden not to withdraw in toto from Afghanistan. But Mr. Biden desperately needs to diversify the advice he gets beyond the liberal internationalists who dominate his councils. Susan Rice, Ron Klain and Jake Sullivan have the Afghan failure on their resumes.

Better advice is needed because Mr. Biden is right that the Russia problem won’t go away as long as Mr. Putin sits in the Kremlin. This doesn’t mean open advocacy of regime change is wise. Russians will have to decide if Mr. Putin must go.

But Mr. Biden’s muscular assertions in the written text of his Warsaw speech need to be supported by more than rhetoric. The U.S. and the West need to urgently restore and strengthen the credibility of their military and diplomatic deterrents. More hawkish advisers would send a more determined signal to the world—and especially to adversaries.

The world is entering the most dangerous period since the Soviet Union collapsed, and perhaps since the 1930s. The Covid crisis obscured the trend, but the dangers have become obvious as adversaries have reacted to what they perceive to be the American decline, division and weakness at the root of the Afghanistan debacle. Mr. Biden needs to back up his Warsaw words with a defense buildup and far more diplomatic realism to confront the great risks ahead.

Appeared in the March 28, 2022, print edition. 

 

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