The Girl who Played with Shorties

And They Wonder Why the Peasants are Revolting: Even the market news pundits at Marketwatch get it: “In one America, one in 10 of those able to work are unemployed. In the other, Wall Street’s America, bonuses are set to increase.”

Social Security Round Up: I thought about doing a Social Security post, but so many people have already said what needs saying. To whit, most of us have small enough “savings,” “home equity,” and/or “market gains” that we expect to depend at least partly on Social Security (some people depended on it before they even fully appreciated what it was). Social Security needs to be the issue in November, because “saving,” “privatizing,” and all those other words mean nothing more than “destroy.” All those people talking about how “broke” Social Security don’t understand how it works and have an ulterior motive for “reforming” (again, synonym for “destroying”) it. Don’t look at Chile without seeing the whole picture.

Speaking of the Reid vs. Angle race: If this weren’t a race with truly nationwide implications, I wouldn’t spend so much time on elections in an entire state with a population lower than the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But Senator Reid is the Majority Leader, and Sharron Angle is one of the highest profile teabaggers running. The press is rightfully all over it. Anyway, it’s a tight race.

The Party of Personal Responsibility: Oh! And our other Senator is blaming a “liberal organization” for his woes: namely that he had an adulterous affair and then tried to cover it up by making sure his mistress’s husband was, ahem, taken care of monetarily. Right. ‘Cause his “can’t keep it in his pants” problem? That’s totally the fault of liberals.

Everybody has seen this by now, right?: How dare unemployed people not accept low paying jobs or opportunities that require them to move halfway around the world, ungrateful wretches. Meanwhile, first time unemployment insurance claims are up.

China Knows Better: They know they can’t make do with a Latte Economy. There’s more to a vibrant economy than egg rolls and laundromats. They build stuff, and when they don’t know how to build it they make the West teach them how.

Chuck is Right: Seriously, he’s just a tweak more conservative than I, but this is spot on: “If the number of illegal aliens in this country is something like 20M, you can be real sure that drugs and other criminal activities isn’t what needs addressed. The job picture is what needs [to be] addressed. Enforcement of the pissant employment laws is virtually non-existent, employers know that the chance of getting caught out is tiny and the fines small enough to cover with their illegal hire profits.” Fewer fences, more crackdowns on employers who like workers that don’t stand up for any rights.

They like to call it an “Emergency Department” now: At least there are fewer uninsured people showing up in the ER.

Oh just come out and call Abe Lincoln a damn Liberal: “The genius of Lincoln — and it’s really the greatest historical legacy of the Republican Party — is that all individuals were to be treated based who they are, not who their parents were.” The 14th Amendment is brilliant in its simplicity. It does not need to be repealed, revised, or “interpreted“. Speaking of which, screaming over Anderson Cooper on national television is not a way to be taken seriously.

Priorities: when you think Jimmy Carter outranks Tim McVeigh, the Rosenbergs, John Wilkes Booth, and Benedict Freaking Arnold as worst person in American History, you have some truly messed up ways of thinking. Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald? Oh right, he killed a liberal so that makes him a hero I guess. I’m guessing the criteria included that they be American, which is why Osama and Emperor Hirohito are left out.

This one’s for you, JP: Hal Turner is guilty.

Popularity Counts: Over 25 most popular things. Take it for what it’s worth. I’m glad my car isn’t a “popular” color. I had a devil of a time finding that silver Civic on a parking lot!

I don’t intend to discuss Ground Zero again: Barbara lays it out.

What were they thinking?: No, you can’t legally prevent people from talking to one another at the mall.

Listen up, Ladies: a new “morning after” contraceptive is now approved by the FDA, and is good up to 5 days later.

Things are tough all over: Kroger is expanding their selection of store brand beauty products.

Blame the GOP: So says a Reagan Insider!

Are… Are World Leaders Supposed to Look Like That?: The caption makes the image even stranger.

Short But Sweet

No, that’s not a description of myself. Eat your heart out!

I hate most audio and video posts on the web.

Ok, no, I liked the cute video of the baby playing with the collie. And I don’t mind when political sites like Crooks and Liars link to interviews and even political ads that are of interest. Sometimes there’s nuance you don’t get in the transcript — which by the way is often included (it’s my favorite part of their posts). I like funny songs and game reviews, and I like some of the serial dramas out there too. There are even some very useful “how-to” videos for a lot of activities.

But seriously, at least half of the audio and video on the web is stuff that wastes my time. It’s stuff that takes 5 or 10 minutes to watch, that if you were to just put it in print, I could tell what I need to know in less than 90 seconds. I am sick and tired of feeling like I’ve been hoodwinked into sitting through somebody’s “important” presentation just to find out that they want $37 to tell me the real secret to success, or to tell me something I already knew, or even to give me one almost important thing in a sea of meaningless or redundant blah blah.

Now several people lately have been telling me that video posts are the freaking future. They claim that I can crank out a video post in half the time it takes me to type, grammar check, spell check, edit, and make sure I actually make sense in writing. I think that’s just got to be a lie! Even in a video post, if you want to get that “actually make sense” thing going on, you’ll need some sort of script or outline. And even if that’s 4 lines scribbled on a sticky note stuck to your notebook computer next to the camera, it takes time. Do you honestly think this happened with no rehearsal and no script?

For that matter, there’s a “looking presentable” thing. It’s going to take time to make sure you look decent, and that there’s nothing behind you that you don’t mind being seen across the interwebs. Am I in my pajamas? For the record, no, but you’ve got no way of knowing! Some video bloggers get around this actually having to get out of their pajamas by creating little PowerPoint-like slides that reinforce their point. Again, you’re losing the time savings and boosting the tech requirements to get rolling. And really, does anybody like PowerPoint?

Finally, putting stuff in writing makes it easier to quote you. It’s just “copy” and “paste”. Nobody has to listen 4 times to make sure the wording is right, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to find the quote in text rather than by trying to remember whether that good bit was at minute 16 or minute 27.

Look, if you can’t at least tell me what you’re going to say in a few sentences (I’m not even asking for a transcript), you’ve got nothing to say to me. It’s called a summary. You learned about them in second grade. If you insist on audio and video posts — and that includes podcasts! — you’d better have one or I’m closing the tab.

In Closing: Keeping you up to date on Sharron Angle (sorry, I’m from Las Vegas now); I’m with Digby on strategic default among the wealthy; on consumer credit and American exports; on immigrants and the work they do (truth is that some employers prefer easily exploited workers who are worried more about deportation than OSHA regs or minimum wage laws); does this look like something you would want to eat??; how to make real coin; and Marines fight bad guys but save cuddly animals.

The Internet Ate My Homework

In the last 24 hours I have switched cell phones and had my RSS reader suddenly stop working. As a result, I’ve spent much of the last day digging out and trying to organize things — and that’s no easy task. So as much as I would like to write something deeper, I’ll be talking briefly about the group of cowards and self-centered blow-hards in Washington DC who are our elected Representatives and Senators.

Thanks to our elected officials preferring the company of insurance company lobbyists to that of citizens that can actually vote for them, we still have a health care system that costs too much and does too little. At least we will soon have certain “rights” when dealing with these companies, but some warn that these “rights” will translate into even higher costs. The House of so-called Representatives did get up off their collective asses to fix a looming slashing of what doctors would be paid under Medicare. Why is this important? First, your doctor’s costs of doing business have not gone down. Second, most major insurers base what they will pay on what Medicare pays. So this would within a year put some doctors out of business.

The House also managed to pass a campaign finance reform bill that would force candidates and political parties to disclose the identities of most big donors. Except of course for the biggest and most powerful donors. They are still free to own their own Congresscritters. Now the bill is ready for slaughter in the Senate.

A couple of Senators are actually trying to do something for children — odd in an election year since they can’t even vote. It seems that an unintended result of some immigration raids is that there are kids whose parents have been taken away. Those kids are often American citizens thanks to the clarity of the 14th Amendment. The bill in question would allow the parents to arrange care for these little Americans, make sure that they have resources and can report abuse, and prevents authorities from involving the kids in interrogations. Think what you want about the parents, but the kids did nothing wrong and deserve the protections of law. The end.

But what could our elected officials not be bothered to do? They couldn’t be bothered to protect servicemen from predatory car salesmen, not even for Mrs. Petraeus. They couldn’t be bothered to extend unemployment benefits for a million people, despite the fact that there are at least 5 unemployed Americans for every available job opening. And no, Sharron, people aren’t living a life of luxury in Las Vegas on unemployment benefits.

So Remember Come November. Vote for those few who have been taking care of your business in Washington, and against those who have been trying to obstruct your business. In the meantime, click here to figure out how to contact your Senators, and here to find your Representative. You’ll need to know your Zip+4, so dig out some mail first.

In closing: fat people don’t walk (an essay on urban design); a “silly” lady who desperately needed the 911 operator to listen (need help? these people can help); they hate us for our electricity; what would Jesus do?; it’s not your typical state dinner — don’t tell Michelle they split an order of fries; and your dose of Japanfilter, the Pepsi Strong Shot.

Left Behind: The Jobpocalypse

Even though officially, the Great Recession is over and the economy is no longer contracting, most people believe the recession is still ongoing. They believe this because as the saying goes, “Things are tough all over.”

The sad truth is that many of the jobs that were lost in the first decade of this century are not coming back. Ever. They’ve been replaced by computers and cheap overseas labor. Some of them did what they were told is the “smart thing” and trained for other jobs in the “new economy.” And while a few of them have been fortunate, many of them merely end up with a pile of student loan debt and not nearly enough experience to get a job. The only “good news” — if it can be called that — is that while they were students, they did not actually count as unemployed. And some of them have discovered that regardless of the law, many employers consider them too old to bother hiring. It isn’t that they did anything wrong. They’ve just not been fortunate. No wonder there’s been a sharp rise in Social Security disability claims!

So in the middle of this truth, FactCheck.org insists that immigration doesn’t cost American jobs. In fact, the economic papers they cite tell us, their existence creates jobs and raises wages for “native” workers. They admit that illegal immigrants performing unskilled labor do drive wages (and opportunities) down for those at the very lowest end of the employment scale. Otherwise, the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants is largely glossed over.

Now let me make one thing perfectly clear. I have no problem whatsoever with the fact that people continue to come to the United States to create a better life for themselves and their families. My son has ancestors who arrived in this nation in the last hundred years; some of them did not speak English and some were fluent in multiple languages when they arrived. But you know what they all did? They followed the law. They did what was necessary to stay legal and become citizens.

Everyone benefits when the playing field is level: immigrants benefit when there is a clear and possible path to citizenship, and they benefit when they get minimum wage and a safe work environment; law abiding businesses benefit when unscrupulous employers are not allowed to undercut them with illegal laborers; communities benefit when there is not a group of people who are trying to be invisible to authorities, and when human trafficking is not tolerated (yeah that’s right, not all the illegals pick veggies and clean toilets); families benefit when a living wage and reasonable hours are the standard; everyone’s health benefits when agricultural workers have proper sanitary conditions; everyone’s safety benefits when construction workers are paying attention to their work instead of looking out for La Migra.

But the flipside of a level playing field is that the companies that employ us must be made to follow existing law, and they must respect that their profit depends on Americans having money to purchase their goods and services. We can only run our economy so long on selling cheap foreign made goods to one other. We have got to produce something of more lasting value than a cappuccino.

If you are so inclined, here are two bloggers who could use some monetary help, both long term unemployed. Just hit the “Donate” button.

In Closing: Doesn’t this look peaceful?; Doesn’t this look suspicious?; Government says there’s only a risk of “price pressure” (not inflation!) but Gold prices say **** that!; the truth about offshore drilling; Congress looking into whether it’s fair to use credit history for employment and insurance purposes (gee, I can’t imagine why somebody with no job might have lousy credit!!); Fannie and Freddie, too big to reform; Shinkansen; GOP to hold convention in Florida during hurricane season; Common Ancestor; next time some asshat talks about “tort reform” when they mean “damage caps,” just remind them of the Gulf Oil Spill; last word (I hope) on the aptly named TARP; the Maine idea; car dealers want to be exempted from proposed financial rules (waaah); duh, insurers stand to make a lot of money on health insurance reform; and history of the slider.