March 28, 2023

An Assortment of News and Views of the Day

The Passing of a Founding Father

Gordon Moore, as in Moore’s Law, has died at the age of 94. Moore posited the theory, way back in the 1960’s that computer circuits would double the number of transistors in such a unit every 18 months. Many thought that was absurd and would run out of possibilities shortly.

Moore was, of course, more than right. When he wrote his idea, the best circuit around had 50 transistors. Today they have billions. And we are not done yet. What made his prognostication so remarkable is that the technology to have such an outcome not only did not exist – it was not even a real concept yet. But Moore saw the future and inspired many to go for the impossible. A giant in the IT world has left us.

Two Observations on the Silicon Valley Bank Dust Up

First, the good news. First Citizens Bank, really a family owned bank in NC, surprised a lot of people and bought most of what is left of SVB. It is actually not quite the stretch many perceive, as First citizens has quite a presence in the Research Triangle area of NC, a hot bed of technology innovation. I am betting that in the end, this turns our to be a win for all concerned. Fears of instability in banking have calmed quite a bit. Oh, and First Citizen’s shares shot up 45% on the day of the announcement. Nice.

Second, there really is zero surprise in the SVB collapse. Every time we deregulate or ease up oversight on the financial sector, they screw it up, and screw the rest of us while they are at it. It happened that way in the Great Depression and every time since then, including the last recession (Remember mortgage bundles?) when we left them to their own devices.

Too much is at stake and too much else of society and the economy are affected. Past time to no longer tolerate this nonsense. The track record is 100% bad. Regulate and actively oversee them, in detail. If they “loose profit,” tough.

Dictators (Actual and Would-be) Will Blink

When the people push hard enough, visibly enough, and hard enough. Those who would rule by decree will often times pull back from their worst plans. Netanyahu did that in Israel this week, backing off efforts to control the courts. His plan was so transparently designed to save his own butt, the people arose, and did so impressively. This is not over yet, but it is a hopeful sign.

Donald Trump is in the same category, once again encouraging violence and turmoil just to save himself. He would easily and gladly sacrifice anyone or anything to get his way. The fact that he chose Waco TX, home of the Davidians, as his campaign start point tells us all we need to know. This is a crass repeat of Reagan’s kick off near Philadelphia, MS, where civil rights activists were murdered in the name of states’ rights.

The Wild West + Handmaiden’s Tale

Some parts of our country have gone truly nuts. Idaho just can’f find anyone to give them the poison to execute people, so they are going back to the firing squad. If memory serves correct, that makes about five states so desperate to kill prisoners, they went with 1800’s technology.

Meanwhile, we still have more weapons than people and we kill each other and commit suicide at rates unimaginable anywhere else in the world. When contemplating how many children need to die from gun violence before Republicans do the right thing, one has to conclude that apparently all of them would die before anything would change.

And the anti-abortion laws and related legislation being proposed in various places is truly beyond belief. People want death sentences for doctors and women as a result of an abortion at any point in the pregnancy, for any reason. The arrogance and evil anger is beyond comprehension.

My hope is that the country at large will rise up and squash these bugs. People did better than we hoped in voting in 2022. Fingers crossed for 2024.

See You Next Week

More cheerful discussions to come, if the plan holds and the news permits such a choice.

           Bill Clontz

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