business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's stories about the demonstrations taking place all over the country, one MNB reader wrote:

I’d like to throw my 2 cents in the balance.

The real issues have been highjacked by the partisan press/politicians and twisted with the intent on destroying the current administration and imposing political correctness. America is not a systematically racist country, some people are racists and prejudiced from all races and colors and religion.

Singling out one group or another is counter-productive, equality means equal and that compass points you in the right direction 100% of the time, in all situations: private, public, in business, etc. At a societal level, attempting to favor (or retribute) some over the others upsets the balance and no one has the magic formula to create equality out of non-equality.

I would agree that America is not a systematically racist country.  It is, however, often a systemically racist country.  (There are times and places where it is both.)

I don't think the issues have been hijacked in this case by politicians or the media.  I think the issues are being pressed by the thousands of people who have marched in so many communities - people of all races and ethnicities and ages and genders - and largely the media and politicians have struggled to keep up.

I think some of the coverage, by the way, has been a little unfair.  Mitt Romney, who marched over the weekend and said that "Black lives matter," got some shade thrown at him who suggested that he may have been late or insincere.  But this is the son of George Romney, who felt these issues deeply … I have no doubt that Mitt Romney is absolutely sincere.

If the suggestion by some is that black people don’t have a strike against them in many situations because of the color of their skin … which often leads to a series of societal circumstances that inhibit their access to the same sorts of opportunities that many (not all) white people have by virtue of their skin color, well, then, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

I actually believe in something simple:  Everybody counts, or nobody counts.  (Yup.  It is the Harry Bosch rule.)  I think there is pretty good evidence that in this country, people of color often matter less.

I wrote yesterday, when commenting on a customer-goes berserk story:

The nation clearly is at a boiling point, and summer doesn't even start for another couple of weeks.  Hard to imagine what things might be like in the dog days of summer.  (There's also a story out that utility companies are expecting the demand for electricity to be higher than usual this summer because of so many people working at home.  If the grid blows … well, all bets are off.  Welcome to dystopia.)

Prompting one MNB reader to write:

If the grid blows? That wasn’t on my 2020 Bingo card, but due to the aging infrastructure in the U.S. it’s probably going to happen. Thanks for the early warning!

But another MNB reader was reassuring:

Just a note regarding your comment on the electric grid. I did a project about 5 years ago to assist the company responsible for the distribution of power across one particular state.  As part of that project, I learned that the grid on average operated at 52% capacity. Why?  The grid is overbuilt across America because NERC and FERC will fine the utility companies for the smallest of blips in power supply. And, these fines are not inconsequential.  Hurricane impacted customers will wait about 3 days before complaining about a power loss; for everyone else the complaints start with “blips” simply because of the amount of devises and their clocks that have to be reset.

In fact, the system is built for heavy A/C days. It’s the heavy heater days that tax the grid. With regard to the statewide system I’m referencing, its only operated at > 100% capacity for 3 days in something like 8 years.

I conclude that A/C isn’t going to create a grid overload.  If the grid were to go down, that would create some welcomed mall traffic. 

As it often happens in China today, Walmart shoppers will have a lengthy shop  just to enjoy the A/C….

Go figure.  I learn something every day.

Commenting yesterday about Chuck E. Cheese - a company with which I am unimpressed, and that may be facing bankruptcy - I said that I feel the same way about it as James T. Kirk felt about Klingons:

This prompted one MNBN reader to write:

I see your point, but the use of this particular scene at this particular moment in time may be seen by some as…inappropriate?...tone-deaf? Do Klingon Lives Matter?

I thought a was safe with a Star Trek joke.  Go figure.

Push me on this, however, and I will point out that the movie from which this clip is taken, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, is about how prejudice eats away at you.  Kirk makes that comment because he cannot see past his hatred of the Klingons, and that colors his actions and reactions.  The movie is how he learns to move past his biases, to embrace what Shakespeare first called "the undiscovered country," the unknown future about which so many feel dread.

So sure, Klingon lives matter … but let's not equate a science fictional creation with the very real problems faced by people of color in the US.

On a couple of other subjects, from MNB reader Annette Knapp:

Just a quick note to you. Giving you tastemaker props due to the following:

Providing me with a heads up that a new Jimmy Buffet album was out. My husband is a huge parrothead, and obviously a subpar fan, was out of the loop on that and the information filled him with delight during – waves hand – 2020. Amazon hooked him up in no time.

Promoting "Bosch" over the years. We finally started binge watching based on your most recent recommendation and are probably starting season 5 this weekend.

Michael Connolly novels. Because my husband likes "Bosch" so much and is an avid reader, he’s picked up a few of the books at the struggling local used book store. Here you are out with yet another series – the Jack McEvoy novels - recommendation I’m passing along to him which will undoubtedly see payoff with further engagement solely based on what you write in this daily blog.

People who know me would tell you that this note brings me enormous happiness.  I'm glad I could help.

And finally … I mentioned yesterday that Yosemite National Park had opened up on a limited basis, which prompted one MNB reader to write:

Just got back from a weekend in the Yosemite backcountry.  Enjoy 11 seconds of bliss from the Merced River above Yosemite Falls…

Thanks.  I needed that.