Letter From New York February 2, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

The week flew by…

The work velocity was such that it was Monday, I blinked and it was Friday. Most weeks seem like that these days and I know I’m not alone in the experience. Similarly, events went by, blinking quick, making impressions while it being difficult to discern which day which event had made what impression.

Haiti’s horrors grind on. Medical airlifts to the United States have been suspended while all parties determine who is going to pay for the care of the desperately ill. And following the natural course of events, children are being born, entering life in a sea of uncertainty, in a land that is devastated and destroyed, in a place where hope is in short supply.

Attention is still focused on that sorry land. Anderson Cooper and CNN is still there, focusing attention on the Haitian plight while others proliferate other reminders, letting people know, for example, that if they text “Haiti” to 90999 a donation will be made to Haitian care. Millions have come from text donations. Churches and denominations rally also, sending human and financial resources to the beleaguered nation.

Here in the United States, economic growth in the Fourth Quarter was the most robust it has been in years though many an expert suggested temperance in interpreting these results as a definitive sign we are moving out of the Great Recession. The question remains: is this growth sustainable? We just don’t know. And it isn’t translating into new hiring – employers are finding ways to do more with less. Hence, weeks go by in a blink for more than just me.

And it was economic growth and job creation that was at the heart of Obama’s State of the Union address. Widely considered an effort to “reboot” his Presidency, Obama focused on the economy and efforts to put Americans back to work. He apparently had heard the message: “it’s the economy, stupid.” Economic fear is marching through the fields and the cities and reports of one quarter’s robust growth are not laying that fear to rest and won’t, not until jobs begin to appear again.

In what became a sigh of relief for New Yorkers, it appears that the Obama administration has reconsidered and the 9/11 Terror Trials will be held elsewhere. The probable cost kept rising, to a staggering $200 to $250 million dollars a year for a potential four or five years and that sobered a number of folks up. Plus the nerves of the city are frayed again – the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day underscored New Yorkers fears, feeling that this city has a bull’s-eye painted on it and so why ask for more trouble with trials. The Real Estate industry has been cringing, thinking a locked down portion of the city, watched over by snipers, was not going to be good for business. It’s not official yet. The city will breathe better when it is.
Toyota has issued a recall for a huge number of vehicles, issuing an apology at the same time. They have gone so far as to suspend sales of vehicles until a fix can be found for accelerators that stick. It has been a jarring note for Toyota, once a halcyon of reliability, a reputation now in danger of being tarnished as the recall spreads globally.
In the world of pop culture, Elizabeth Edwards kicked out John; he having moved from political icon to tabloid fodder. According to some, Brangelina is breaking up while others deny and one tabloid has Jen taking Brad back. The world of the tabloids has lots of room for celebrity sensation but not a lot of space for the horrors of Haiti. But perhaps we need our escapism; the world is cluttered with realities hard to fathom and harder still to assimilate into our lives.

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One Response to “Letter From New York February 2, 2010”

  1. thatdogdonthunt Says:

    It seems to me that we’re moving into an era where independent contracting is going to be ‘the’ mode for making a living. For two reasons (some of which our mutual friend, Howard Bloom, emits in his new book)

    1) repurposing, wherein the old ways are forced to change and we along with it. It’s built in to life’s existence.

    2) Think about it. *If* employers can succeed with less manpower shouldn’t they? It’s been a long time coming that human beings be forced to let go of the corporate (forgive this next phrase, please) “tit.” Those who learn the value of marketing one’s own talents will survive, even in a dreadful economy we all live. For those who’ve chosen the path of corporate dependence; a painful wakeup call is coming.

    Sorry for the gloomy and doomy approach; but that’s how I see it. Here’s the bright side: so many people are enormously talented in ways they’ve not had an opportunity to implement. It often takes being pushed out of a boat in order to learn how to swim.

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