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This is one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs of all time:

I have always thought that a female country singer would have a huge hit with this if the words were changed to “A Workin’ Gal Can’t Get Nowhere Today”, coupled with a video showing waitresses, convenience store clerks, retail workers at Wal-Mart… and I’ll bet Merle, who was a big Hillary Clinton supporter, would be glad to license his song to some union or another.

(by the way, that’s Terry Clark on the fiddle, the one with the giant pompadour. he’s a GREAT fiddle player, a true legend).

Hot air

Another perspective on Hoffa’s recent rant.

Oh look

The WTO pushing an immoral agenda against citizens! Who’da thunk it?

U.S. measures to reduce teenage smoking violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, according to a panel ruling released late last week. Indonesia successfully argued that the U.S. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) of 2009 violated WTO rules. The ruling opens the door to more teenage tobacco addiction, while further imperiling the legitimacy of a WTO that rules against environmental, health and other national policies 90 percent of the time.

Florida foreclosures

You just can’t buy a foreclosed house anywhere until you can document who actually holds the title, thanks to bankers who do things like this:

In a decision that could have staggering implications on foreclosure proceedings statewide, an appeals court ruled Wednesday in favor of the owners of a Wellington home whose bank filed documents sworn to by employees with no personal knowledge of the case.

The ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeal reversed in part a 2010 Palm Beach County Circuit Court summary judgment that said homeowners Gary and Anita Glarum owed LaSalle Bank $422,677.

That amount was based on an affidavit of indebtedness signed by loan servicer employee Ralph Orsini, who pulled the information from a company computer ­– a move that appeals court judges said amounts to hearsay.

“Orsini did not know who, how, or when the data entries were made into Home Loan Services’ computer system,” the decision states. “Orsini could state that the data was accurate only insofar as it replicated the numbers derived from the company’s computer system.”

The ruling means the home on Amesbury Court, which has been in foreclosure since September 2008, can’t go to a foreclosure sale until the bank either gets another summary judgment or goes to trial. The Glarums still live in the home.

Tom Ice, whose firm Ice Legal represents the homeowner, said Wednesday’s decision hits at the essence of the nation’s foreclosure robo-signing scandal in which tens of thousands of foreclosure court documents were signed by people swearing that they had personal knowledge of cases when they did not.

While some lenders called the document problem a technicality, foreclosure defense attorneys called it perjury and fraud.

Hah

“Unexpectedly”? Unexpected by whom? The kind of careerist douchebags who so frequently work for publications like Slate?

Is it fascism yet?

Unemployment Crisis: Gimme Some Drugs

Yesterday, I was listening to NPR’s “Here and Now” piece on how the jobs debate looks to the unemployed. Putting aside the fact that the debate has been, thus far, over the deficit with precious little done for the unemployed, it was a very interesting, and sad, show. The host spoke to several men and women, of all ages, about their experiences as unemployed people. None would give their full names.

There was the 59 year old guy from Levittown PA with a college degree who can’t find anything. The woman whose full-time job was changed to a contract position, disqualifying her from unemployment benefits: today she has no home, lives on credit cards by shifting balances, and gets by as a pet sitter (which also affords her a bed to sleep in every weekend). She’s stuck in the middle: she can’t get the jobs she qualifies for because her experience means the employer would have to pay more than entry-level wages, and the jobs she doesn’t qualify for… well, you know.

It was discouraging to say the least, especially because I myself am unemployed, looking for work, and not doing so hot. But there was one thing I noticed, and maybe this was a function of the show’s call screeners: of all the things people were doing to get by, not one person mentioned “selling drugs”.

You can make a LOT of tax-free money selling drugs, especially if you have a steady clientele, because of the markup. A quarter pound of good weed, for example, can be had for about $1200: you can sell each ounce for $400 and make a $400 profit. Or you can sell it in quarter ounces at $120 a pop, and make $720 in profit.

The profits on cocaine, crack, oxycontin, and heroin are even greater, but the risk is bigger, especially if you don’t follow NWA’s rule:

To be a Dopeman, boy, you must qualify
Don’t get high, off your own supply!

I don’t know if the callers were embarrassed, worried about drawing attention to themselves, but I find it very easy to believe that a lot of people are filling the hole in their budget by selling drugs. In fact I almost recommend it: if you do it carefully, you can really make ends meet, and if you get busted and go to jail, you still get three hots and a cot, which is more than a lot of people have right now.

And why the hell not? We are ruled by criminals with no respect for the rule of law. Why should the rest of us comply with arbitrary rules no one else seems to?

[yes, this is a satirical “modest proposal”. but barely.]

Rain

Roads closed, train service suspended. Gee, you’d almost wonder if something isn’t causing weather to become more extreme….

Hoffa

Too bad our president can’t cop this guy’s style. Imagine the effect it would have if he did:

Some have called Teamsters President James Hoffa’s Monday remarks ill-advised, but he isn’t backing away and, instead, is claiming to have gotten a positive response from his members.

The controversy erupted when Hoffa told a cheering crowd at a Labor Day celebration attended by President Obama, “We are at war! . . . President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march . . . Let’s take these sons of bitches out, and give America back to an America where we belong.”

In a cable TV appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Tuesday, Hoffa told host Ed Schultz about the response and how his tough-sounding tack has resonated.

“The phones rang off the hook at all of our locals today,” Hoffa said. “The members are calling in. Finally, somebody’s standing up for us. Somebody’s saying what has to be said. We’re tired of this namby-pamby talk that’s out there. Let’s go out and call these people what they are. Let’s go after the issue of voting. Let’s talk about the war on workers. And let’s make sure we mobilize and vote in November. It was a tremendous response today. The phones rang off the hook in tremendous support from working families.”

Schultz asked Hoffa if he really thought “the Republicans are sons of bitches,” and Hoffa doubled down.

“I think they are, if they’re trying to take food out of the mouth of working people,” Hoffa declared. “What kind of a person does that? What kind of a person tries to take away collective bargaining from public employees, from firemen, from policemen, from teachers? What kind of person wants to go in and take away their pensions? You know what? That’s a bad person, and that’s the kind of people we’re talking about, because that is the war on workers. The war on workers started January of this year. The minute those people got in, one of the first things they did was to introduce right to work in 14 states almost simultaneously. That is the Tea Party, and that’s their agenda. I’m very proud of what we did.”

Democracy!

Or what passes for it in Wisconsin:

(Reuters) – A Wisconsin official has discouraged state workers from volunteering information about free IDs available under a controversial voter identification law that critics complain is designed to suppress votes, a memo leaked on Wednesday showed.

The memo, provided to the press by Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach, was likely to fan concerns among critics of the Republican-backed law that it aimed to suppress votes of thousands of otherwise eligible Wisconsin voters.

In the memo, a top aide in the state transportation department told staffers in the motor vehicle department, which is responsible for issuing the free IDs, to “refrain from offering” them to customers who do not specifically ask for them.

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