Saturday, April 10, 2010

Window on the World

The Walnut Creek JCC Current Affairs Discussion Group

Friday, May 8: The post office; Greece; porno at the SEC.
"The first thing we talked about was the post office.  I didn't think that was a Jewish concern in particular, but there was a lot of interest.  The moderator said the post office had to go to Congress every time they wanted to raise rates, and he thought it should be privatized.  But most people disagreed.  I was surprised at how much affection people had for the post office, I didn't think they would care, one way or the other.  Some people said that their first job was at the post office, handling mail at Christmas time. Others said the post office was more than a business, it was a service, and it was having a post office that put small towns on the map.  Some of those post office would close if they needed to show a profit."

"The 2nd topic was Greece, and the problems with the euro.  People thought that Greece wasn't an honorable country, that they falsified records to get into the euro club.  Now they need help, but Germany doesn't want to do it.  And there are some Eastern European countries that are in trouble too, it could be a dangerous precedent.   There's one possible bright spot though -- the exchange rate will be better for the dollar."

"The last topic was that scandal at the Securities and Exchange commission.  Did you hear about it?  They were watching porno on their laptops instead of paying attention to the hearing. Some people thought it was serious, others treated it as a big joke. No, they can't just be fired, these are the top people. I don't know if they'll be impeached. 

Friday, April 16
Topic A this week was the divestment controversy swirling around CalPERS, the California Public Employee fund that provides Esther and millions of others with retirement income.  For an overview of the issue, see this link:

A capsule description is that the legislature mandated divestment in companies doing business in Iran, but CalPers is resisting, saying that to do so now would force them to incur heavy losses.

Friday, April 9

The discussion in the JCC's current affairs group was about the danger of war between Israel and Iran. Most thought Israel would attack before November. Should that happen, the group felt that Congress would insist on U.S. backing for Israel, possibly even by declaring war on Iran.

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