> For more than a decade, businesses small and large have been complaining they can't find qualified mechanics, electricians, sound engineers and assemblers who understand machine tolerances and can also program machine tools. I'm still hearing from my son, David, who runs a successful metalworking business in New York state, that it's challenging to hire workers who "work smart."
I love every stage of this magic-making, from apple-on-the-bough to heavenly jelly. On the first of several nights, I made at eight quarts of juice and immediately transformed two of them into pint and half-pint jellies. It's a bit tricky to do both at once. I follow the "Joy of Cooking" instructions, and they never let me down.
But many of our fundamental American values such as freedom of speech, the right to elect our leaders fairly and competitively, and the right to organize labor unions are not honored by political systems in other countries. And herein lies the problem with "free" trade. A country like China that does not permit its workers to organize for improvements in pay and working conditions opens the door to exploitation. Many American firms have taken advantage of these conditions, moving production overseas and laying off workers at home.
We recently spent a month in Brazil. You can't help ticking off features you find familiar and those you find strange, and of the latter, those that are delightful and those that aren't so attractive.
> Remember President George W. Bush's proposal to privatize social security? Fortunately, the Democratic Congress would not budge. If they had, millions of seniors would have been bilked by the Wall Street derivative and mortgage scandal, their retirement incomes permanently downsized. The American labor movement was a key group opposing privatization.
Yet for all that, the plant may never be built. "FoxConn has a relatively bad track record on following through," wrote Tim Culpan in Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2013, the company announced plans to build a $30 million plant in central Pennsylvania that never materialized. In 2014, it signed a deal in Indonesia to build a $1 billion plant in Jakarta that fell through, too. Culpan concludes, "Wisconsin isn't building the American Dream — America is building the Foxconn machine."
Earlier this year, our state's demographic center published a report that helps clarify the complex relationships among Greater Minnesota counties, cities and towns of all sizes.
Over five years, they worked to buy 3 ½ acres of land for $175 paid by the women of the church! Many joined in where they could to donate lumber, tools, skills, ideas. The altar and pulpit were donated by Bethel Lutheran Church in Duluth. Mr. C. J. Anderson made the hymn board and its numbers, still in use today. The structure cost $2,500, incurring a debt of $500, paid off in a few years. For this 100th celebration, Margaret Webster donated a silkscreen of her painting of the tiny church and its congregants on opening day, July 23, 1917.
"She gave me my first car loan, on generous terms," one man recalled. "She taught me how to save," another said.
In late June, the Duluth Art Institute (DAI) hosted an opening of Jonathan Thunder's latest show, "Peripheral Vignettes," of large-scale paintings and animations. Fellow Ojibwe artists including Jim Denomie and Karen Savage-Blue, The Tweed's Director Ken Bloom, DAI staff and board members, and young and older aficionados of contemporary Native artwork crowded the series of narrow high-ceilinged rooms.