Horseshoe Nail


It’s strange (at least to me) how one topic or comment or news article in this case, can lead one “on and on” to different searches on the Internet. In this particular case, the news article that touched off my latest rummage of the ‘Net’ is a news piece on the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper. Well, in thinking about my cyber journey a little more, it’s not so strange. My head is full of the two presidential conventions just ended and all of the rhetoric that transpired therein.

The particular Financial Post article to which I am referring is this one: Inside the Aging Lock that is one breakdown away from crippling North America’s Economy. After reading the news article it triggered in my head the old adage “the battle was lost because of a horseshoe nail.” So I searched around for the correct version of this adage and found that Benjamin Franklin wrote a version of it in his “Poor Richard’s Almanac” news paper. Here’s a version of Franklin’s verse at:

What I really want to talk about is the Financial Post article. Basically, the “Soo Locks” are two water locks that control access to the Great Lakes of North America. The Great Lakes  are: Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. They are “fresh” water lakes vs. “salt water” such as our oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific contain. The Great Lakes are connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

If we are to believe the article from the Financial Post, the Poe Lock, which is 50 years old, is vulnerable to serious breakdown and economic impact to the U.S. as well as Canada. Getting back to the Presidential conventions and the themes of the political parties’ platforms vis-à-vis economic issues, to quote from the news article: “A six-month shutdown of the Poe Lock … would plunge the nation into recession, closing factories and mines, halting auto and appliance production in the U.S. for most of a year and result in the loss of some 11-million jobs,” the report warns.”

There are obviously other “issues” that one could pick to launch into about the types of jobs these “11-million” are referring to, where the freighters are taking the out-going cargoes, are jobs being lost because of this “shipping”, whatever else one can think of. My point is that how short-sighted are we getting (have we gotten) that our U.S. economy is disastrously threatened??? We have not recently heard about the sequester funding bill that was enacted in Congress and its impact on the U.S. economy for a while now. What potential disasters that legislation may be causing thanks to the lack of elected officials not doing their jobs.

Anyway, here’s an interesting paper written by Robert M. Williamson For the Want of a Nail. It highlights Ben Franklin’s adage and discusses the idea of apprenticeships for job training. I guess I started out this blog entry talking about water access but ended up talking about jobs, that’s what happens when one’s mind wanders across the Internet. Relative to the jobs or “lack of” issue, I have written several articles about that in the past. If you are interested, here is a link to the compilation of these articles:  Jobs Archive.

How can we, with conscience, allow the deterioration of our society because of such “craziness.” It’s all about “money,” the lack of it, too much of it, too little of it, the temptation of it and what it can buy, who has it and who doesn’t have it or enough of it. It brings to mind a motion picture “Other People’s Money”. In the movie Danny DeVito is a Wall Street “raider” who buys and sells companies for their assets. There is a happy ending to the movie, the employees save their jobs and a manufacturing plant stays “vital” in the community. The real lesson from this movie is the value of “compromise”, this value is sorely lacking in our current Federal, State, and perhaps local governments. Custer’s last stand ended up with a slaughter and it seems we just can’t get out of that type of mentality!



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