Thursday, December 31, 2009

Byeeee con el 2009.

Más que nada, byeeee con todas estas listas.

¿Creen que nadie sabe que hubo una contingencia por la influenza puerca? Perdón, la influenza AH1N1.

¿Qué nadie se enteró que murió Beltrán Leyva? ¿Que la gubernatura de NL la ganó la versión guera y con menos carisma de Peña Nieto, el Golden Boy Medina? ¿Que hubo chingos de violencia y muertes por la dizque guerra con el narco?

Honestamente, este año estuvo de la chingada y no necesitamos que nos lo recuerden. No nos aporta nada nuevo.

Yo quiero ver una BUENA lista. De las 10 películas más chidas que no vi este año. De 10 personas que lucharon por los derechos humanos y no se les ha reconocido. De las 10 cosas que nos pegaron silenciosamente en el 2009 y no pelamos porque estabamos viendo las estupideces de Dulce Sarahí o el circo de Juanito o el tiroteo en Garza Sada. De lo que nos tenemos que cuidar o tenemos que aprovechar el año que viene.

Más que nada, quiero contenido original, producto de investigación. Basta con el más de lo mismo. Fue un pinche año feo para los medios a nivel global. Que el 2010 no siga así, depende de nosotros.

P.D.:Si quieren una lista chida, pasen por y busquen las 20 mejores películas de la década. Tienen otras sandeces divertidas, pero pues esa es la más típica. también publicó los 20 mejores "singles" del año, incluyendo varios géneros desde el rap de JayZ y MosDef, los alaridos emo de 30 Seconds to Mars, hasta los sintetizadores hipster de Phoenix.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On failed states

This isn't really new, but it's still relevant I think. Stephen Haber published "Latin America's Quiet Revolution" on the WSJ on January 31. You can read the whole piece here. Several things struck me.

"A report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command released earlier this month calls Mexico a potential failing state, likening it to Pakistan. This assessment is particularly striking in light of the $400 million per year that the United States provides in military and security assistance to Mexico. It also adds urgency to the U.S. government's plans to complete a 700-mile-long border fence and dramatically expand the number of Border Patrol agents, to over 20,000 by the end of 2009 from 11,000 in 2004 -- both of which have opened a rift between Washington and Mexico City."
"Most of Latin America is, however, undergoing a period of unprecedented political and economic transformation. In Chile, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, the Dominican Republic and, yes, Mexico -- which is most decidedly not a failing state -- there has been a quiet but substantial movement toward the creation of societies that are characterized by increased economic opportunity, social mobility and political democracy. This is not to say that Brazilians have achieved the same standard of living as the Dutch, or that the rule of law operates in Mexico as it does in Canada. It is to say, however, that these countries have undertaken a series of economic and political reforms that make them vastly different places than they were two decades ago."

Although I agree with a lot of this, the Pentagon study said Mexico is at risk of becoming a failed state, not that it already was one. It stated Mexico bears consideration for rapid and sudden collapse.

And although we do have a "normal life" according to Haber's standards (education, garbage service, weekend getaways) in large parts of the country, there are cities that are quickly becoming ghost towns according to some reports. Tijuana, Monclova, etc. We have banking reforms that enable us to buy homes, but who wants to buy a home right now?

And then:
"After falling for a decade, Mexico's homicide rate increased in 2008, because the Calderón government courageously decided to take on the drug traffickers. If it keeps rising, it may soon be as high as that of...Louisiana."

Ok, yes, the official crime rates are low. Secretary of the Interior Juan Camilo Mouriño used to say that the government was winning and that's why the narcos were panicking and going berserk. Well, Mouriño's dead. Accident or not, who knows? Anyway, half the crime goes unreported, and we may have less murders than Louisiana but we certainly have more violent crime (and murders).

Narcos aren't going to go away as long as that huge and lucrative market, the US, demands drugs. And demand they do. Imagine, if you will, that the government outlawed toothpaste. There would be contraband paste maybe, sure, but you can substitute baking soda. What substitutes drugs? Drug demand is pretty much inelastic, would you pull out of that market? When does it stop being worth "the hassle"? Especially since many people employed in the drug trade have no other marketable skills.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Desempleo, xenofobia y personal calificado

Hello again! Is there anybody in there?

I had seriously considered shutting this down, as evidenced by my nil posts for almost three months straight. Everyone and their grandmother was writing up the elections, lack of enthusiasm, I wanted to write about food like everybody else, take your pick.

But anyway, I keep sending out long and ranting emails to selected friends (lucky them, haha) about shit I run across. About Carlos Slim and the NYTimes, or Chuck Grassley suggesting Microsoft fire them furriners first.

So I decided to post one of them, as suggested by Ben. My comments are in Spanish although the quotes are in English, sorry to say, and I'm not inclined to change it right now. Sorry, it is what it is.

So without further ado, the first post of 2009!

Desempleo, xenofobia y personal calificado

En todos lados se cuecen habas, jaja.

Ahora que Microsoft correrá a 5 mil empleados (de los 95 mil que tienen y como dice Palmira, pues es una nada para ellos), el senador republicano Chuck Grassley vio la oportunidad de pedir que se corran a los extranjeros primero.

"I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan."

El H. señor Grassley no solamente mandó la carta al CEO Steve Ballmer, nooo, él la puso en su propio website. Más de sus perlas de sabiduría:

"My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers (...) Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American workforce. ... Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times."

Un blog del Seattle times sacó an abogado experto estas cosas, Cletus Weber, que informó que es discriminación! (por lo tanto ilegal) correr a los trabajadores con visa H-1B primero:

"I believe arbitrarily laying off lawfully employed foreign workers first would subject these companies to potential legal liability under federal anti-discrimination laws.

"Perhaps Senator Grassley forgot that Google and innumerable other large and small American companies that were founded by foreign workers have created tens of thousands of jobs for U.S. citizens. It is laudable for Senator Grassley to champion the cause of the American worker, but his calling for blatantly discriminatory layoffs is anti-competitive scapegoating, and in many ways removes some of the innovation that created large numbers of American jobs in the first place."

Tal vez vieron la nota del 20 acerca de la falta de personal calificado en NL (Denuncia Caintra falta de técnicos o algo así).

Aunque el desempleo está muy alto tanto aquí como allá, hay empresas tecnológicas que se mueeeeren por encontrar personal. Pero personal técnico bien, no licenciasnos, jajaja.

El misísimo Bill Gates ha declarado ante el Congreso sobre la necesidad de expandir el programa H-1B para que puedan contratar a extranjeros porque simplemente no hay suficientes estadounidenses con la educación y experiencia laboral que ellos necesitan para crear maravillas como el Windows Vista. Ya en serio, sí es un problema real, CrapVista nonwithstanding.

No pueden los gobiernos crear algún programa para capacitar a los desempleados en esto que necesitan las empresas? No es ese el trabajo de las universidades? Porqué diablos estudie comunicación y finanzas en vez de ingeniería, jaja. Apuesto que en Alemania no tienen esos problemas.