Archive | April, 2010

Thinning

Today I put about 60 percent of my books in boxes and tomorrow I’m having a yard sale. I feel better already!

Masters of the Universe

Talk about ‘roid rage! This email is going around Wall Street. (h/t Steveeboy)

Yeah, I’d love to see one of these smartass motherfuckers teach a classroom full of inner city kids. Let’s start a hedge fund and bet on how long they’d last. I’m guessing two days, tops:

We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

This is a really interesting if inaccurate version of reality. Gee, do I even know anyone who still has a pension?

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping?

Uh, yeah, I do.

We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.

So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.

We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?

Dude, you might be going to jail. And all the trash talkin’ in the world isn’t go to make a damned bit of difference once you’re wearing the orange jumpsuit.

Nothing To Do With Race

That’s what Arizona said about their new anti-immigration law. If that’s true, how do they explain this?

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Arizona Department of Education “recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English”:

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators. […]

This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state,” said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.

But many schools in the state still have a significant number of teachers who are native Spanish speakers. At one school, state auditors complained that teachers pronounced “words such as violet as ‘biolet,’ think as ‘tink’ and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.” The principal at that school acknowledged that teachers “should speak grammatically correct English” but said they shouldn’t be punished for having an accent.

Teachers that aren’t up to par “may take classes or other steps to improve their English,” and if they still aren’t fluent enough for the state, they will be fired or reassigned.

Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

The measure is directed at the Tuscon Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department, which school officials say provides only “historical information” — not “ethnic chauvinism” as the state school superintendent has alleged. One state lawmaker tried to show how ridiculous the legislation is by proposing that schools be barred from teaching about 9/11 because it would result in hatred toward Arab-Americans; the measure failed.

Excuse Me?

Just in case you wondered if I was overreacting to this “deficit commission”:

But Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democratic leader, denounced suggestions of an administration VAT plan as the “musings of right-wing cable shows.”

Yeah, we’ll see. I’ll file that, right under “public option promises.”

He also admonished “bleeding heart liberals” to be open to program reductions to restore fiscal balance. An hour after the commission’s meeting, however, several liberal activists held a conference call with reporters to press for additional spending to create jobs, lower military spending, higher taxes for the wealthy and no cuts in Medicare or Social Security.

Their views were perhaps best reflected on the commission by Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois. She called for more spending on infrastructure projects and education, saying that “balancing the budget or reducing the debt are, in my mind, not goals in and of themselves.”

Mr. Obama met privately with the commission members at the White House before their meeting at an executive office building across the street. In the Rose Garden afterward, he told reporters that he had insisted that everything be on the negotiating table. That admonition, he has acknowledged, also obliges him to be willing to set aside a campaign promise that all but the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans would not see their federal taxes rise in his term.

The president said that he had inherited a deficit of $1.3 trillion in 2009, with debt projected to rise by $8 trillion over the decade, and that he had taken steps to restrain its growth despite a recession. But he conceded it was not enough to avert fiscal calamity.

Fetus World

Women shouldn’t really have any say about their own lives. It’s all about the fetus!

Democrats in the Florida House rebuffed Republican attempts to pass a stringent anti-abortion law by shutting down the chamber’s business today.

The measure in question is an ultrasound requirement—similar to the one passed by Oklahoma on Tuesday—that would require an ultrasound on a woman prior to abortion, within the woman’s view, and with a description of the fetus’ development. It would go even further than the Oklahoma law in requiring that the woman also pay for her ultrasound.

The Florida measure came on the heels of some of the most aggressive anti-abortion legislation states have seen in recent years, including the bill in Oklahoma and an abortion ban in Nebraska.

The anti-abortion measure was an amendment to a larger health bill, HB 1143, tacked on yesterday during Senate consideration. “This language had not been previously discussed in the legislature,” says Mark Hollis, communications director for the Democratic Office in the Florida House of Representatives. “It was an 11th hour surprise.”

TODAY: Mayday SOS

People are going off a cliff and we’re not really doing anything about it. That’s not great public policy. – Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project

This “99ers” unemployment crisis is a giant iceberg lurking under the political water line, and the Democrats in Congress don’t seem to understand they’re dancing on the Titanic. Since Wall Street is happy, and corporate America is happy, they assume everything’s fine.

Many Americans still think the last extension vote was intended to add additional benefits, and thus aren’t swamping their representatives with calls and emails, so our political leaders happily doze at the wheel, assuming everything’s fine.

It isn’t. You know when they’ll figure it out? The day after the November midterms. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the meantime, if you’re one of the lucky duckies whose unemployment ran out, please fax or email your resume to your Congressional representatives:

Karl Schafer says he has tried for hundreds of jobs since he was laid off from a truck factory more than two years ago. Still waiting to get hired, the 52-year-old Ohio man has suffered the indignity of applying for food stamps and asking his elderly mother for help.

Weary of her own job search, former customer service representative Wagma Omar, 40, of Mission Viejo is thinking about applying for a dangerous civilian job in Afghanistan.

And in California’s wine country, Kay Stephens, 56, is frantically looking to cut her living expenses so her unemployment doesn’t become a burden to her 30-year-old daughter.

Schafer, Omar and Stephens are among the increasing number of unemployed Americans whose burdens just got heavier: They’ve exhausted their 99 weeks of jobless benefits and must now figure out how to get by on ever more meager resources.

In California, state officials estimate there are nearly 100,000 people who are still looking for work but can no longer draw an unemployment check. Federal labor officials could not provide a number nationally, but private-sector experts say it could easily top 1 million.

What is certain is that, as the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, more Americans will have to face the challenge of making ends meet without a monthly check.

“People are going off a cliff and we’re not really doing anything about it,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. “That’s not great public policy.”

Once unemployment benefits run out, people are eligible for general relief — but that pays a maximum of $221 a month in Los Angeles County, compared with as much as nearly $2,000 a month for unemployment. Only workers with dependent children are eligible for welfare.

Worried that they could lose their homes and get put out on the street, thousands of “99ers,” as they call themselves, are banding together to agitate for another extension. On Friday they’re kicking off a “Mayday SOS” campaign, faxing and e-mailing Congress their resumes, along with pleas for more benefits.

[…] People who know they’ll keep receiving benefits “don’t rush to find new employment,” said Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow at the conservative Cato Institute. Data show that the long-term unemployed often find a job just as their benefits run out, he said.

Talk about “receiving benefits”! All this Cato fellow has to do is keep parroting the heartless conservative dogma, and he’s set for life.

And really, isn’t that how it should be?

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