Category Archives: Survival

The one industry in California that is thriving…

There has been no shortage of articles bemoaning the burden of regulations on business.  Over-regulation hurts competiveness, discourages hiring, and it a bottom line cost to businesses, not to mention just being an intrusive quagmire of red tape that can baffle the most determined entrepreneur.  The problem is so evident that even the White House is determined to address the issue (yeah, we’ll see).

Nowhere is this more aptly demonstrated than in California.  The quintessential nanny state has so poisoned the business environment that business are literally leaving in droves:

Companies are “disinvesting” in California at a rate five times greater than just two years ago, said Joseph Vranich, a business relocation expert based in Irvine. This includes leaving altogether, establishing divisions elsewhere or opting not to set up shop in California.

This is obviously not good for The Golden State, which in July was second only to Nevada in unemployment:  a whopping 12 percent.

There is one industry in California that is thriving.  With budget cuts affected the San Jose Police Department, the prostitution industry has in effect become totally deregulated.  Business for the street-walking entrepreneur has never been better:

Two police sources told NBC Bay Area that prostitutes have even been traveling from as far as Oakland and Fresno to take advantage of San Jose’s less scrutinized street corners.

So California, through its own mismanagement has unwittingly unfettered the happy hookers, who are now freer to ply their trade without the interference of the local gestapo, who may have more important things on their mind.

Hayek would be proud.

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Filed under Culture, Government Spending, Human Sexuality, Survival

Fortitude

The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians is located in my building in downtown Philly, and until recently were on the same floor as me, so I saw these folk every day.

The purpose of the Center is to help new arrivals to this country get through the interminable hoops of immigration and help them get a start in this country. Check out their website.

The manager of the Center is one of noticeably Irish origin, with an endearing brogue. She would probably kill me to know that I call it endearing, but gosh it sure is. Her story is fascinating. In Ireland, she was a nurse. When she came to America with her husband, she had to go through literally years of red tape in order to get her nursing degree recognized here. Her goal is to help those with similar obstacles get through the mounds of red tape and government inertia. The Center serves as a guide.

A few weeks ago, the Center moved to a different floor in the same building. They were all so excited ! New digs, a new look…better in many ways.

The first week they were there some pipes broke in the building and everything was flooded. Computers, furniture, carpeting…everything ruined. They worked hard to start to get things taken care of, and then a few days later the same thing happened: more water everywhere.

In addition to dealing with this, of course they were concerned about clients they were working with and the new clients coming into the Center evey day. People looking for help, and they barely had a place to sit.

I felt so bad for them…they had been so excited over their new digs.

For the time being, they have relocated back to my floor in their original spot: bare and drab for sure, and no computers, but at least it is dry.

I was walking down the hall with one of the employees of the Center, commisserating with her over their unfortunate string of bad luck.

“Ah, but we’ll get over it.”, she said. “We’ll get past it.”

With an attitude like that, they cannot possibly fail.

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Filed under Interesting People, Survival

An interesting question: “Why is there no looting in Japan?”

The news from Japan seems to be getting worse and worse by the hour.  My heart aches for the people who are living in this tragedy.  Whole towns wiped out, people losing families, survivors hanging on in unimaginable conditions….the devastation and grief are almost beyond comprehension.

As we look in awe at the pictures coming out of Japan, we can’t help but wonder…”What would I do in this situation, how would I handle it ?”.

One can only hope that one could handle with the grace that the Japanese have.  Which causes one to wonder, “Why is there no looting in Japan ?”:

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?

I have seen pictures of Japanese survivors waiting patiently in line for assistance:

As Japanese survivors cope with food and gasoline shortages amidst the aftershocks and rising body count, they draw on a sense of social order. Unlike scenes in natural disasters in Haiti and New Orleans, there is little anger, no looting.

We have had our share of natural disasters here. Katrina of course comes to mind. Yet then, it was a different story:

Looters used garbage cans and inflatable mattresses to float away with food, blue jeans, tennis shoes, TV sets — even guns. Outside one pharmacy, thieves commandeered a forklift and used it to push up the storm shutters and break through the glass. The driver of a nursing-home bus surrendered the vehicle to thugs after being threatened.

What makes the Japanese culture different?

I don’t know the answer. I can only speak from my own experience. Working in the non-profit sector in the area of workforce development, we offer programs to laid-off workers as well as TANF (formerly known as welfare) assistance. The programs are geared towards training and work-readiness, in the hope that the individuals will be able to find gainful employment. One of my responsibilities is reporting on the demographics of those we try to help. Without exception, the Asian-American demographic is almost the smallest…so small as to be almost non-reportable: less than 1 percent.

Is it a cultural thing where one group will ask for help while another will stoically survive ? Is it a sense of entitlement that drives some to loot and plunder, while others maintain and even help their neighbor?

An interesting question. I only hope that in the event of a natural disaster here that the people of Delaware will try to emulate all that is good about the people of the United States.

And keep in mind the lessons from Japan.

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Filed under Culture, Survival