Below are commentary and analysis articles David has done for CNN. You can also see a more detailed summary of these articles on David’s CNN blog.
I recently bought a new car, which was a lot harder to do than it should have been. During a nearly three-week long process, I became convinced that American car dealers are grossly incompetent when it comes to selling.
So far, we’ve talked about China’s and India’s population, but now let’s look specifically at the American labor force. The Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly comes up with a number that represents the civilian, non-institutional population as those individuals, 16-years-old and older, who are not institutionalized (mental health facility, hospital, prison, etc).
So I jumped through the looking glass the other day. I spoke to our insurance company. Although the woman I spoke to was very nice, I felt at times like I was talking more to the Mad Hatter than a respected insurance provider.
Different cultures consume meat with a differing level of gusto, but meat production is so resource intensive, it’s still worth a detailed look. The results are staggering.
Next up was a look at grain consumption. Grain has always been an indicator of even the most basic of civilization, so a look at how the middle-classing of developing countries would affect the food supply based on grain usage seemed appropriate.
As more and more workers in countries like China and India aggressively enter what we’d consider the middle class, availability of scarce resources like energy and even food may become a problem for all of us.
No one can look at the horror of Haiti and not feel both a deep sense of sadness and a desire to help. It seems almost mean and selfish to suggest that we need to do something other than provide our full support to this devastated nation, but that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
The issues of jobs and population are inextricably linked. If you want to know about jobs, you need to think about population. Strangely enough, very little work has been done on the macro issues of jobs and population. Here’s the key fact: China has 1.3 billion people, India has 1.2 billion people, and the United States has a mere 302 million people.
So this is it. The end of the first decade of the new millenium – which isn’t really new anymore, is it? What do we even call this last decade? We called the 80s the 80s, and the 90s the 90s. But is this the 0s? The 00s? Given what the last ten years have been like, what with the economy, terrorist attacks, and the mortgage crisis, I tend to think of the last ten years as the Uh-Ohs.
What’s particularly disturbing in a post-9/11 America supposedly more aware of national security issues is just how much confidential American data is finding its way into the hands of foreign nationals.
Some stories refuse to go away. One such story is the case of the missing White House emails. Over the course of two years beginning in 2007, I documented this story in my book, "Where Have All The Emails Gone?" and followed it up with articles written both here on AC360 and elsewhere.
Back in the dot-com boom, the dot-coms had a lot of work to be done, and not enough Americans were available to do it all. Many of the dot-com firms began to outsource much of their work to make up for the lack of available U.S. workers.
Sometimes it’s tough to tell whether something’s a sign of the Apocalypse or a sign that everything’s really alright with the world. Today, I got an email from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. In it, I was offered the official iReagan application for my phone. Seriously.
To many Americans, the word "outsourcing" is a four-letter word. It implies, as Ross Perot called it, a "giant sucking sound," where jobs leave the United States for less advantaged countries. Perot was concerned about NAFTA in the early 1990s sucking good paying American jobs to Mexico, but as it turns out, he had no idea what was coming.
Those of you outside the U.S. might not be aware of a little tradition we have here: Thanksgiving. According to our grade school classes, Thanksgiving is a holiday that came about when those wacky Pilgrims finally had a bountiful harvest, held a celebration, and gave thanks.
While many of the tasks we perform here in the 21st century are pretty much the same as those we performed before the turn of the century, many factors have changed the flavor, pace, and experience of 21st century employment.
For much of the 20th century, India followed an extremely socialist economic policy. Its economy was excessively regulated, protectionism was rampant, corruption was everywhere, and growth was slow. But in 1991, India changed its policy.
Here’s an interesting universal truth: everyone wants a better life. This is as true of the desperate poor in third world nations as it is of middle-class Americans. And while economic downturns are scary to most Americans, even the poorest of Americans live a better life than the shocking level of never-ending squalor experienced by some of the poorest of the poor in developing nations.
I think it’s time I weighed in on the New Jersey election results. Some in the GOP (Chairman Michael Steele, for example) are claiming "historic" victories. Others, most notably Democrat Nancy Pelosi, are doing their level best to completely ignore the gubernatorial election results. That’s right, Nancy. If you close your eyes, it never happened.
Our relation with work has changed as time passed. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, more and more people lived in cities and areas removed from the land. Individuals became more reliant on buying food and goods rather than growing their own.
In today’s civilization, it’s virtually impossible to survive without money. One-hundred-and-fifty centuries ago, if a Natufian wanted to build a hut, he’d find an empty spot of land and dig. But, today, if an American wants to build a house (or even a hut), land has to be bought.
Human civilization goes back more than 16,500 years. Harvard Professor of Prehistoric Archeology Ofer Bar-Yosef talks about a civilization he named the "Natufians." These were a people living near modern-day Israel, an ancient tribe he believes were perhaps the world’s first farmers.
Every topic needs its own day or month, and I guess cybersecurity is no exception. This October is the sixth annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. And while it may seem silly for cybersecurity awareness to need its own month, there’s nothing silly about keeping your computer secure.
I know I should be celebrating. The Dow hit 10,000 yesterday after more than a year in the doldrums. So why do I have this really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach?
A company is not successful because it has created jobs. A company creates jobs because it has some level of success. The more successful a company is, the more jobs it creates to support that success. It stands to reason, then, that if we want more jobs and we want to save the jobs we have, our companies need to be more successful. The answer to the question of "How do we save jobs?" is this: create more successful and sustainable companies.
The health care and insurance industries in America need a reboot. As we’ve seen over and over, Americans are getting screwed instead of getting healed. But if all we’re doing is adding one more big insurance operation to the mix, we’re missing something really fundamental. The whole concept of insurance isn’t working here.
Clearly, the insurance system is a failure for vast numbers of Americans. That’s why it’s particularly disturbing that the Senate’s new health care bill appears to be putting even more faith in the insurance companies.
There is a concept in the insurance biz called rescission. It’s the insurance world’s equivalent of a marriage annulment, allowing an insurance company to back out of an already-paid insurance policy and deny the policy holder insurance coverage. If you have a serious medical problem, you stand a better than even chance of losing your insurance and never getting paid. And if you don’t work for a major company or the government with a good group policy, your chances go up to virtually 100 percent.
Insurance coverage is another myth. We’ve all been led to believe that as long as we have insurance, we’ll be taken care of. As insurance rates go up and up and up, we’ve been promised that even though it costs a lot more, it’s worth it because our future is being assured.
President Roosevelt may have had to contend with Hitler and Stalin, not to mention an occasionally naked Churchill (look it up), but at least he didn’t have to deal with the blogosphere. President Obama has no such luck. He’s the second President who not only has a fourth estate, but a completely unruly and often full-goose-bozo body of bloggers, just looking for any excuse to increase their "hits" and drive up the pennies they’re given for their thoughts from Google’s ad revenue service.
No profession knows more about the quality of patient care than nurses. In a July 2009 survey of more than 15,000 nurses nationwide, 70 percent said the staffing for their unit or shift was insufficient. Worse, 49.5 percent said they "would not feel confident having someone close to them receive care in the facility in which they work."
Since America spends far more on health care than any other country, it stands to reason we should be healthier here than people are anywhere else in the world. But are we? Is our health care system working so well, it’s worth the vastly greater cost?
In recent weeks, members of the GOP seem to have constantly insulted our civil servants. They’ve complained government-run health care might be like the post office, full of inefficiency. No one ever accused America’s post offices of perfection, but the Fedex guy recently delivered my wife’s birthday present to a house down the street. He eventually figured it out and brought it here, but Fedex isn’t perfect either.
It costs the typical American employer eight times more each day to pay for an individual employee’s health insurance (and that’s before wages) than it costs to employ a "middle class" Chinese worker, wages and everything.
So 75 percent of all U.S. companies aren’t even in play for health insurance and of the remaining 25 percent, half of those are very small employer companies and only half of those offer health insurance. All told, only about 12 percent of U.S. companies actually offer health insurance to employees.
Want to know how many people in the U.S. don’t have health insurance? The population of our 44 largest cities – combined. Can you see, now, how healthcare becomes a critical national security issue? We’re talking the population of the top 45 cities in the United States, all who can’t get healthcare. Imagine (worst case scenario) that all those cities shut down. America, as a civilization, would come to a screaming halt.
It is almost impossible to discuss jobs without discussing healthcare. It wasn’t always that way. In fact, before about 1920, the concept of health insurance didn’t really exist. While there were hospitals and medical practitioners, the sort of heroic, life-saving healthcare our doctors now routinely practice barely existed.
For those of us who follow politics like rabid sports fans follow their favorite teams, this weekend’s announcement by Sarah Palin was like a gift from the gods.
Let me be clear: this isn’t about the fact that yet another dude has hung his chad. This is about a man with important responsibilities to a struggling citizenry, a man who’s been extremely political in recent months, who seemed to have lost something of his grasp on what constitutes acceptable behavior.
If Apple can sell a $700 for $199 and still make a mint, American car companies can figure out a business model that can get these babies in the hands of any American who wants one. Be creative. It’s doable. America can do this. America must do this.
A few months ago, I posted a blog on this site about how to protect yourself from counterfeit check scams. I get security alerts from the FDIC about these check scams. The reason I posted that article was because I got seven alerts in one day, an all-time record. Today, that record was broken. I got alerts about 11 counterfeit check scams, all over the country. Here are some key ways to protect yourself.
The President may very well choose a new justice from the lower courts. While that’s probably the right thing to do, I thought it would be interesting to look at some candidates who are almost definitely not on the President’s short list – but might make interesting nominees. [This was posted 2 hours before the President announced his nominee.]
Last week, The National Archives — a repository of important government documents, including the U.S. Constitution — announced it had lost a computer hard drive. Congressional aides briefed on the matter say it contains "more than 100,000" Social Security numbers and Secret Service and White House operating procedures. David Gewirtz tells us why we should be concerned.
Zombies. I hate zombies. I particularly hate it when wave after wave of zombies come at you, eating brains and dripping flesh. And yet they came – zombies…everyday computers, brains hijacked by outsiders and linked together to form an army on the attack – they came in droves.
During the post-9/11 years of the Bush administration, whenever anyone in the media or the loyal opposition spoke out against the administration’s policies, that person was immediately accused of emboldening the enemy.
Sometimes, seeing the future requires a certain suspension of disbelief. In this case, a popular video game might provide important lessons about how to respond to a pandemic — and what might go wrong.
It used to be spying was hands-on. To turn someone into an Aldrich Ames, you had to tempt them with money or revenge or ideology, promise them sex or catch them at it. Today’s spies are less like a real-life James Bond and more like Lewis Skolnick from "Revenge of the Nerds".
Is there a way for us to learn to create jobs and employ Americans without relying on junk we buy from other countries?
Like two schoolhouse enemies forced to work together on a class project, the fortunes of China and the United States are inextricably linked. But that doesn’t mean both nations have to see eye-to-eye on everything – or that they even play well with one another.
Our banks are struggling in a world of self-inflicted hurt, but now they’re also suffering from a very old-school problem: counterfeit checks. Counterfeiting, of course, has been around forever and the first fake check was probably created within days of the first genuine check being printed.
Yesterday’s article, AIG needs to be taught who’s boss resulted in a flurry of reader comments. One, by reader Val Beakley caught my eye.
It’s time for the White House to "man up" and put AIG out of our misery. Over the past six months, the U.S. government has given or loaned AIG more than $173 billion taxpayer dollars as compensation for an incredible inability to run a company properly.
The risk isn’t just about military contractors and national security. These programs can upload whatever they find on your computer and share them with everyone. They can upload your banking information, your medical history, everything you’ve got in My Documents, your passwords, your credit card numbers, and even that embarrassing love letter to the hottie working Thursday nights at the local Taco Bell.
Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, almost universally, people are stressed out. Many of you are terrified you’re going to lose your jobs, many of you have lost some savings, a shocking number of Americans have lost their homes. The news is unfailingly bad and the outrages seem to keep piling up.
I hate it when the facts get in the way of a good rant. I’d like to go on a rant about how the banks are screwing the unemployed, how the jobless are paying bank fees just to get access to their money, and how the banks are robbing the unemployed. I’d like to, but I can’t. The facts are getting in the way.
How exactly do two super-secret stealthy submarines, hiding out in 77.6 million cubic miles of Atlantic Ocean, somehow manage to occupy the exact same space at the exact same time, and have a nuclear-powered fender-bender?
Why did we give them our hard-earned taxpayer money? Simple. They screwed up. They screwed up so royally that to let them fail might take the country down with them. Now, I’ve screwed up royally once or twice myself, but you don’t see the government rushing to hand me $60 billion.
Can Congress multitask…With the global financial crisis dominating all of our attention, can members of Congress deal with anything else? Senator Patrick Leahy has just proposed the creation of a "truth and reconciliation" commission to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the Bush administration’s Justice Department. Is it a good idea?
Yesterday, Congress showed that it’s quite capable of having its cake and the glass half-empty, too. The mixed metaphor that is our United States House of Representatives approved the delay of the DTV transition to June, paving the way for President Obama to sign it into law. Sort of.
On Saturday, Google killed the Internet – at least for about an hour. Saturday morning, between 9:30a.m. and 10:25a.m. Atlanta time, no matter where you were in the world, if you did a Google search, you’d see the message, "This site may harm your computer" returned for each result.
On rare occasions, the United States Congress does the right thing. This may be one of those occasions, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out. On Monday, the Senate voted to delay the U.S. television conversion from analog to digital by four months, from a February 17th "doomsday" to a potentially less problematic June 12.
The Bush White House email story just gets weirder and weirder. In his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama told us, "The time has come to set aside childish things." Within the United States Government, apparently old habits die hard.
We now have some official confirmation that President Obama will be using a BlackBerry device in office. In the first of his Daily Press Briefings, newly minted White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered some questions about the President’s BlackBerry.
Say you work for a new boss and want to keep your job. Now, say your new boss is the first-day-on-the-job President of the United States. Now, let’s say your boss, the President, tells you that not only are you not going to take his BlackBerry from him, you’re going to find a way to make sure he can keep it. What do you do? What do you do?
It can be breathtaking to watch the ultimate powers in America taunt each other like children in a schoolyard. Amid all the excitement over our brand-new President, there’s an epic battle going on to preserve the history of our outgoing one.
Magistrate Judge John Facciola issued an emergency order Thursday for the preservation of White House emails. In his groundbreaking opinion, he definitively affirms that White House email messages are documents of major historical importance.
Moving is never fun and when moving day is only six days away, the last thing you need is a new project. Unfortunately, the outgoing White House IT staff now has a new project – collecting and preserving White House email.
President-elect Barack Obama is apparently still getting used to the limitations the Presidency will place on his life , including restrictions or even a ban on his cherished BlackBerry device, which he says he’s "still clinging to." So what if Barack kept his BlackBerry?
The following are the two articles that started it all. The first is coverage of an open letter David published and the second is an analysis by a CNN national security expert.
The crime is an admitted violation of the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act by the Bush administration. Gewirtz contends there is forensic evidence that needs to be gathered before it’s lost in the flurry of incoming activity.
I am writing in response to David Gewirtz and his Open letter to President-elect Barack Obama on the White House email controversy. Mr. Gewirtz makes the argument that the computers located in the White House – including the Executive Office of the President, the West Wing, and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building – should be treated as a crime scene.