Sears CEO Ed Telling Opposed the “Sloppiness” of Across-the-Board Layoffs

(p. 46) It was never that layoffs were anathema to Telling as such; he just resented the sloppiness of a 10-percent across-the-board layoff when some areas of the company should have been cut by 40 percent and some built up by half.

Source:
Katz, Donald R. The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears. New York: Viking Adult, 1987.

Henry Paulson Fears Chinese Economy “Will Face a Reckoning”

(p. B1) About 340 pages into Henry M. Paulson’s new book on China, a sentence comes almost out of nowhere that stops readers in their tracks.
“Frankly, it’s not a question of if, but when, China’s financial system,” he writes, “will face a reckoning and have to contend with a wave of credit losses and debt restructurings.”
. . .
(p. B2) Like the United States crisis in 2008, Mr. Paulson worries that in China “the trigger would be a collapse in the real estate market,” and he declared in an interview that China is experiencing a real estate bubble. He noted that debt as a percentage of gross domestic product in China rose to 204 percent in June 2014 from 130 percent in 2008.
“Slowing economic growth and rapidly rising debt levels are rarely a happy combination, and China’s borrowing spree seems certain to lead to trouble,” he wrote.
Mr. Paulson’s analysis in his book, “Dealing With China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower,” is all the more remarkable because he has long been a bull on China and has deep friendships with its senior leaders, who could frown upon his straightforward comments.

For the full commentary, see:
Andrew Ross Sorkin. “DEALBOOK; A Veteran of the Crisis Tells China to Be Wary.” The New York Times (Tues., APRIL 21, 2015): B1-B2.
(Note: the online version of the review has the date APRIL 20, 2015, and has the title “DEALBOOK; A Veteran of the Financial Crisis Tells China to Be Wary.”)

The book discussed above is:
Paulson, Henry M. Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower. New York: Twelve, 2015.

Longevity and Frugality Allow More Happiness Through New “Second Act” Jobs

(p. B7) Research suggests that happiness over the course of our lives is U-shaped, with our satisfaction deteriorating through our 20s and 30s, hitting bottom in our 40s and then bouncing back from there.
What causes the decline in our happiness during our early adult years? We don’t know for sure. It might be the stress of juggling work and home life, or it could be the gradual realization that we won’t fulfill all of our youthful ambitions.
But for some, midlife dissatisfaction may reflect growing disenchantment with their chosen career. The good news: Today, thanks to our longer life expectancy, we have time for a second act.
In fact, that second act may be necessary if we are laid off. Our new career could prove more fulfilling, but it might come with a smaller paycheck.
This is a reason to start saving as soon as we enter the workforce. If we do that, we likely will have the financial flexibility to swap into a less lucrative job. What if we haven’t been good savers? We may be stuck in a job we have come to hate.

For the full commentary, see:
JONATHAN CLEMENTS. “Can You Afford a Long Life?” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., APRIL 25, 2015): B7.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date APRIL 23, 2015, and has the title “What Long Life Spans Mean for Your Money and Career.”)

Instead of Becoming a Lobbyist, Harry Reid Would “Rather Go to Singapore and Have Them Beat Me with Whips”

Finally an issue on which Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell can agree:

(p. A14) “I’ve had calls from lots of people,” Mr. Reid said. “For example, Al Gore called me. Maybe I want to do something with Al Gore? I have no idea.”

But on one matter he was clear: He said he would not be a lobbyist.
“I’d rather go to Singapore and have them beat me with whips,” he said.

For the full story, see:
ADAM NAGOURNEY. “Reid to Head Home on New Mission.” The New York Times (Thurs., APRIL 3, 2015): A14.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 2, 2015, and has the title “Harry Reid Hopes to Ensure Democrats’ Success as Tenure Winds Down.”)

Sears CEO Ed Telling Had an Introverted Fury

Writing of Ed Telling, the eventual entrepreneurial CEO of Sears:

(p. 488) Slowly, the introverted Field soldier from Danville moved up through the organization. He eventually managed the same Midwestern zone he was once made to ride. He found himself in the decadent city-state called the New York group, and it was there, in the strangely methodical fury with which he fell upon the corruption of the group and the profligacy of powerful store jockeys, that certain individuals around him began to feel inspired by his quiet power, as if he’d touched some inverted desire in each of them to do justice at his beckoning and to even numerous scores. He was possessed of a determination to promulgate change such as none of them had ever seen before, and certain hard-bitten bitten veterans like Bill Bass found themselves strangely moved.

Source:
Katz, Donald R. The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears. New York: Viking Adult, 1987.

Technicolor Entrepreneur Kalmus Was Visionary, Stubborn and “in It for the Long Haul”

(p. C15) Judy Garland opening a door from black-and-white Kansas into Technicolor Oz is one of the most enchanting effects in all of movies. But as film historians James Layton and David Pierce relate in “The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935,” the technology that made “The Wizard of Oz” possible came from people who were looking to start a business, not to make art.
The creators of Technicolor–engineer W. Burton Wescott and MIT graduates Daniel Comstock and Herbert T. Kalmus–were visionary, though stubborn is just as accurate.
. . .
In 1934 Fortune magazine wrote, “Businessmen regard Dr. Kalmus as a scientist, and scientists regard him as a businessman.” Comstock and Westcott eventually left the company in the mid-1920s, but Kalmus was in it for the long haul. . . .
Once perfected, Technicolor had a virtual monopoly on color Hollywood productions, and it did indeed make Kalmus and his investors rich. But it took steel nerves to put money into the unprofitable, ever-tinkering Technicolor of the early days.

For the full review, see:
FARRAN SMITH NEHME. “The Very Thought of Hue; Early color films gave viewers headaches. It took decades to develop a process that didn’t simply look odd.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., April 11, 2015): C15.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date April 10, 2015.)

The book under review is:
Layton, James, and David Pierce. The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935. Rochester, NY: George Eastman House, 2015.

Obama’s Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Likens Obama’s Climate Change Policies to “Burning the Constitution”

(p. A1) WASHINGTON — Laurence H. Tribe, the highly regarded liberal scholar of constitutional law, still speaks of President Obama as a proud teacher would of a star student. “He was one of the most amazing research assistants I’ve ever had,” Mr. Tribe said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama worked for him at Harvard Law School, where Mr. Tribe has taught for four decades.
. . .
Next week Mr. Tribe is to deliver oral arguments for Peabody in the first federal court case about Mr. Obama’s climate change rules. Mr. Tribe argues in a brief for the case that in requiring states to cut carbon emissions, thus to change their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the E.P.A. is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority under the Clean Air Act. At a House hearing last month, Mr. Tribe likened the climate change (p. A15) policies of Mr. Obama to “burning the Constitution.”
. . .
While Mr. Tribe is one of the nation’s foremost experts on constitutional law, and has argued some Supreme Court cases related to environmental law, he said he has never specialized in the Clean Air Act.
. . .
It is widely expected that the fight over the E.P.A. regulations will eventually go before the Supreme Court. If it does, Mr. Tribe said that he expects he “may well” play a role in that case — which would be argued before two other former students, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan.

For the full story, see:
CORAL DAVENPORT. “Laurence Tribe Fights Climate Case Against Star Pupil From Harvard, President Obama.” The New York Times (Tues., APRIL 7, 2015): A1 & A15.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 6, 2015, and has the title “Laurence Tribe Fights Climate Case Against Star Pupil From Harvard, President Obama.”)