Music Monday: ?

Happy Birthday to both John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Alex Kingston (Melody Pond River Song).


In Closing: let’s just get all the TSA bashing out of the way; hope nobody is surprised that Federal law still says pot businesses aren’t legal; Sir Patrick Stewart; no plan is a plan; I already said this; perspective; and it’s getting worse; and even worse; oh, that’s why; actually, people’s opinions are center-left.

Music Monday: What’s Going On


In Closing: the cat came back; the wages of austerity; aww rats; adventurous surrogate mother wanted; rubber duckies; well yeah, it looks silly when he does it; too redacted; Clouds! Pork Exercise! Mexico! Pass the word; backtrack; never occurred to them that’s not an option for everybody; locking up the dumb b**** for not knowing what’s good for her baby; dealing with climate change; some bosses think Jesus wants them to break laws they don’t like (I seem to remember a line about rendering unto Ceasar…); on math; on history; and a prototype of facebook.

Unemployment and Underemployment Mythbusting

According to the current conservative narrative, the unemployed and underemployed are what they are because they are lazy. They’re not doing what it takes to get a job. They’re not willing to get educated for the so-called Jobs Of Tomorrow. They’re not willing to step down to take a job that doesn’t pay enough to cover their rent.

It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that nationwide, there are more than 3 unemployed people for every 1 job opening. Nope, that couldn’t be a factor.

It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that some help wanted ads are written to require an impossible montage of skills, and employers aren’t interested in spending more than 3 minutes training someone. Nope, easier to hire nobody. Easier to whine to the Feds that there are no qualified Americans and we need to import an underpaid foreigner who allegedly has these skills. I say suspend the H-1B program until unemployment is under 6%!

If getting a degree were some kind of magic “get a good job” spell, we wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of people with graduate degrees taking food stamps.

Let’s stop victim-blaming when it comes to unemployment. Attacking the work ethic of most unemployed people is like blaming a rape victim for wearing a skirt. We need to focus on the real issues that cause unemployment.

In Closing: sounds like hype to me; avocados; Shaun T makes Dr. Oz sweat; geeks; and animal research.

Unmade in America

A couple of weeks ago I read this Forbes article called “Why Amazon Can’t Make A Kindle In the USA.” I was looking for the two tired and mostly false arguments that usually get trotted out:

  • Greedy American workers want outrageous things like a living wage, regular hours, decent benefits, and a safe workplace.
  • We have so many onerous regulations and taxes, that it just isn’t practical to do business here except of course to suck the money out of our wallets.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that instead, the article focused on the fact that too many of the components of high-tech gadgetry aren’t available from American suppliers, therefore we can’t really put together the whole product here. It’s a problem that has gotten worse over the years as Americans have shifted from a manufacturing economy to an information economy to the Latte Economy.

So then I didn’t really know what to do when I read about a little problem over at Gibson Guitars. It seems that federal agents raided Gibson, confiscating millions of dollars worth of woods such as ebony and rosewood, instruments, and electronic records. Apparently this was done in violation of the law: “US officials have actually refused to tell Gibson what it allegedly did wrong, and why the raid was conducted. The company was never notified of any potential violations prior to the raid, and no official charges were ever filed. By all appearances, the government simply decided one day to unlawfully storm the company’s manufacturing units with loaded weapons, and is now attempting to destroy one of the last honest American manufacturers in existence.”

Such heavy handed — and potentially politically motivated — enforcement of the law could leave legitimate owners of antique instruments in deep doo-doo too.

But wait! This gets even messier! Apparently, there would be no problem with this wood having been imported if it had been finished by workers in India. So let me get this straight: the feds would rather that wood was finished by poorly paid laborers in India — possibly child laborers — than finished by highly paid craftsmen in Tennessee. And moreover, if it wasn’t legal to import this wood in the first place, how did it make it through customs in the first place? For the first time, I wonder if it is practical to make guitars in the United States.

Make no mistake. I am for reasonable regulations that protect the world’s resources and prevent tyrants/terrorists from profiting on the suffering of their people. But clearly we have highly arbitrary regulations when it comes to some products: Does finishing a piece of ebony mean anything about how it was harvested? Does finishing a diamond mean no warlords made a profit? Or does the regulation just protect the profit of the plunderer? These regulations have been handed down from both Democratic and Republican administrations — go ahead and read that link about diamonds if you don’t believe me — so it is clear that neither party has any respect for American workers. And since our economy is currently creating no jobs, that’s just despicable.

There’s clearly more to the Gibson story. So if you have information to add, please put it in comments.

In Closing: so we can give them expensive drugs; expect your health insurance premiums to be exactly 9% higher next year; and science fiction timeline.
Thanks to Jukkou-san for some of the links above. Credit where credit is due.

Oh Nuts, It’s Her Annual Feminism Post

If you don’t read Natalie Dee, you should:

She’s married to Drew of “Toothpaste for Dinner” and “Married to the Sea.” You should go check it out and maybe order some T-Shirts.


I’m trying to link to more news than other people’s opinions. No point in being part of the echo chamber. Nevertheless, PunditMom is right to point out that the “SuperCongress” (it’s a bird! it’s a plane! its Unconstitutional!!) has some fundamental problems with it’s makeup. Namely,  nobody’s wearing any. Not even the token female member, Senator Patty Murray — for whom I once voted. One token woman, one token black man, one token Hispanic, no Asians, nobody controversial. So 9 white guys and 3 other. And these people are supposed to decide that we can make do without by Thanksgiving. Worse yet, nobody seems to be able to stop them.

Other bloggers have done a great job talking about Christian Dominionism, an offshoot of Christian thinking that would have horrified both Jesus and George Washington. And while it may seem like a tangent to bring it up, hair pat-downs and other TSA intrusions are quite a nice way of telling the sheep — particularly brown and/or women sheep — to shut up and obey daddy/husband/authority.

And before anyone says that profiling is the only answer because only scary brown people are terraists, don’t make me slap your worthless ass with Tim McVeigh and William Krar! The Unabomber was a white man planting bombs before the War on Terror, too. If you think only Muslims are terrorists, you are too ignorant to participate in this discussion. Kindly close this tab and go away.

I am a woman. I don’t need a man’s permission to live my life, do my job, or much of anything else. If that offends you, I sure hope somebody invents a time machine so you can go back to the 50s and enjoy an era when each of us knew his or her place.

In Closing: math lesson; download this coffee; SF/F; won’t somebody please think about thinking of the children?; You tell’em, Professor!; Taibbi nails it again; sex offenders; the Costs of War; and seriously, go check out Drew and Natalie.

Cyrus: Shorties of a Serial Killer

8 Years: Somehow I managed to overlook my Blogiversary.

Next time you have a hard time getting through to your doctor’s office: Remember that the Feds are tying up the line trying to figure out how hard it is for you to get an appointment.

He’s just so nice: Matt Damon is trying to find ways to help African people get clean, safe water. And he’s good looking, and he can act.

On Fitness: Ladies, please ignore the fact that it comes from a publication called “Men’s Journal.” The Truth is unisex.

Let’s Get This Out of the Way: Everybody knows that yet another appeals court says there’s no Constitutional problems with the Affordable Care Act, right? Ok, moving on then.

In other news, Bill Gates Doesn’t Understand Capitalism: Ignoring the diseases of poverty isn’t a failure, it’s a sign that there’s no money in it. That’s why it’s called “poverty.”

Shut up and get back to work!: Yeah, it sure would be nice to have paid sick days. I have no idea how you’d do that for those of us who are self-employed.

Professor is Correct Again: Cutting the budget deficit won’t put a single person to work. In fact, it will put some government employees out of work. It will also reduce GDP — which by definition includes government spending. Who are the President’s economic advisers? The ghost of Herbert Hoover? A least he understands that there is no way to balance the budget without taxes.

Computer Security: Don’t stick strange memory sticks in your computer! You don’t know where they’ve been! Stupidity makes hacking possible.

Missing Cute White Girl of the Week Club: Why it’s bad for all of us. Amen, brother.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Speaking Truth in a place where it has been lacking.

To those of you who just got out of medical school: Sage words of a Dinosaur.

Too Big To Fail: Simply must be Too Big To Exist.

Sahara: The sign is going to be at the Neon Museum.

Most expensive used car ever: A painstakingly restored 1963 Volkswagen Microbus.

Looking forward to it: Shatner‘s latest film is a documentary wherein he interviews all 5 actors who have played a Star Trek captain.

Speaking of documentaries: Everything you know is probably wrong.

Screw Infrastructure: Apparently it is more cost effective to build a bridge in China and have it shipped here. We won’t have any lasting recovery until we get away from the Latte Economy.

Tomorrow, I’ll have some exciting news for you. In the meantime, stay cool.

Happy Solstice

And first day of Summer. Does anything say summer quite like fresh fruit?

In closing: glitch, or back door to true universal health care?; digital destruction; good luck with that first line; trickle down; enough war; Science American Style; it’s the jobs, stupid; tied; origins of the Japanese; explains the evening “news“; and 747-8.

Don’t Make This Hard

Just about everybody thinks that Elizabeth Warren would be the absolute best qualified and most knowledgeable person to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Everybody except Timmy Geithner and the big financial institutions that got us into our current mess and stand to be regulated by the bureau, of course. After all, she might do things that are better for the hundreds of millions of us who do business with financial institutions, instead of the institutions themselves.

So it boils down to this — and by this we will know where President Obama stands. Does he nominate the best person for the job and ask the Senate to confirm Elizabeth Warren? Or does he nominate some crony who will do whatever the banksters want? And is he brave enough to commit one way or the other before November 2?

In closing: Sharron Angle is at it again; bank profits are worse than they look, which may explain why we’ve had over 100 bank failures so far this year; a real public option could save the Feds $68,000,000,000 in the next 10 years (how can they rationalize not doing it?); insurers push plans that even further limit our choices (and may put an end to all but the biggest medical practices); just a few words about Social Security; if the economy is getting better, where are the jobs and why is the White House predicting no appreciable change in unemployment until 2012?; on education reform; on cocoa (and why is this legal?); “VitaminWater” is not healthy; roughly 1 in 5 Americans suffered a significant economic loss last year, part of rising economic insecurity; but investors demand revenue growth or else!; we’re cutting back on little things; rape is just fine with 92 House Republicans, as long as it’s not white women; the middle class is vanishing, and an oligarchy is in charge; and a little science fiction.