Music Break: David Bowie




Quote of the Day: Montana PSC Commissioner Ken Toole

This M&A deal doesn't trickle down...

On the acquisition of Baby Bell Qwest by Independent Telco CenturyLink.

"It's a heck of a payday for the top brass at Qwest," he said, noting that Qwest's board members and top seven executives will get payouts totaling $132 million if the company merges with Century Link Corp. "Imagine how many small towns in Montana could have better service if Qwest put that money to work on the ground."

Montana Public Service Commissioner Ken Toole
"State PSC Commissioner upset over executive pay"
helenair.com (Helena Independent Record)  10/13/10

The Economy and Me

Last gasp in last quarter of year?...

I'm an optimist who maintains a healthy dose of skepticism. 

I work with a small group of seven people, including the working manager, who works with us as well as manages our location and group. We are just about the only company that does what we do, which is provide testing for professional, technical and educational credentialing boards and organizations to a wide variety of professions, schools and industries. We have never been busier than the past few months and are scheduled out until the end of December. Earlier in the year we worked 20 hour weeks and now it's as much as we can stand.

I believe in hope and change for the better. I also believe in reality and being prepared. I don't quite trust the sudden influx of work with as high as unemployment is. I want to believe it's a good sign and will last but will the people who are our clients still have work themselves in a few months? I know doctors and dentists who are concerned because their practices are slowing down, people who work in retail who say their stores daily net is dropping, stock brokers, mortgage loan officers and real estate folks who are not experiencing much work, friends who work in small companies and large corporations who are nervous about their jobs because work has thinned out. On the other hand I know people who work in machine shops and warehouses who are as busy at work as I am. It makes me want to believe they are filling the pipeline for a recovering economy, yet I'm skeptical. It could be an end of the year flash in the pan in hopes of holiday season sales or end of year profit boosts.

I'm not quite believing that it is the beginning of recovery because fundamental Leading Economic Indicators aren't that sound and it seems clear we have a mushrooming foreclosure document crisis that threatens financial institutions. I'm also confused that there seem to be more job ads lately, albeit for relatively low paying jobs, with the hitch that the same ones keep appearing over and over again and they don't seem like stable work. Could it be some of that stimulus money is finally being sent to other than public sector and union workers, conveniently just before an election? Is some of that Quantitative Easing raising hopes in the short term? Or perhaps we are having a one or two quarter weak recovery that is heading for a "double dip?"

It feels too much like no doc plastic and not real money to me. I think I'll maintain my wits about me and make the most of what's available to me while I can.

Urban Landscape

Deconstructing 7th Ave again...

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 

AKA stimulating road contractors, construction and municipal worker unionists by reconstructing, tearing up and reconstructing a perfectly good Seventh Avenue multiple times. Meanwhile Camelback Road is full of dips and potholes. This same scenario is being played out all over the city.