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How bad is the economy?

SO bad, even cable companies have noticed:

For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern.

Executives from News Corp, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, speaking at the annual Cable Show industry event, made clear the industry needed a stronger housing market and better jobs picture to win new customers and keep existing ones.

“We have to be sensitive in making sure we have a product that consumers can afford,” said Pat Esser, president of privately held Cox Communications, speaking at the industry’s biggest yearly event.

Investors and analysts, with a few exceptions, can often be heard worrying more about how the cable industry will cope with cheaper entertainment packages from rivals such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc or Google Inc.

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, however, was one of the executives focusing on the hazards of a bad economy.

“There clearly is a growing underclass of people who clearly can’t afford it,” he said. “It would serve us well to worry about that group.”

Health insurance

Great Carl Hiaasen column on governors who have suddenly become constitutional purists.

Nice people

Minnesotans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. My waitress last night told me to get a cup of tea in the lobby because “I wouldn’t feel right charging you for it.” The chef who cooked my omelet thanked me profusely when I told him how to use Priceline to get a cheaper airline ticket.

Republicans are evil

Let states take the money from their unemployment funds? Let them know how you feel about that.

Knock on wood

Eddie Floyd:

Thunder in the morning

Thunder and lightning all night here in Minneapolis, and two more days to come. Essra Mohawk:


So I’m in the hotel room (it looks as though the Eighties threw up) and I wondered why the teevee was still on. It turns out that no matter what button I push on the remote — power, volume, channel — it changes the channel.

I guess that’s better than the living room remote, which is missing. I think I’ll watch Netflix on my laptop if I can figure out how to shut off the television.


It’s official. Climate change is not chance, it’s not normal, and it’s significant.

Ride to the airport

The shuttle picked me up at 5:45 and it was all women. One of them said she was from Philadelphia, but she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City. “We didn’t want to live here,” she said, tight-lipped. There was something about the way she said it that I assumed it was the usual preliminary to a racist rant, so I didn’t say anything.

Then the black lady got in the van. She introduced herself as Denise. She had a lipstick-red blouse that strained across the biggest chest I’ve ever seen, elaborate gold rings on every finger, and long red nails. She started talking about Anthony Weiner: “I swear, women should run the world. How much worse could it get?” she said. “Except for that Sarah Palin. How stupid can one person be?”

Now see, I thought the Oklahoma woman would be upset. But she chimed right in. “Caribou Barbie, they call her,” she said. “She’s really crazy. I told my husband if she gets elected, we’re moving to Canada.”

Denise says she wishes Obama had waited another eight years before he ran: “I don’t think he knows what he’s doing, he’s too friendly with those Republicans.”

“I don’t know why people vote for them,” I said. “Every single time you give Republicans the majority, they try to get rid of Social Security and Medicare.”

“Ain’t that the truth?” Denise said. The driver chimed in: “Vote ‘em all out, that’s the only thing that’ll work.”

“No, it won’t,” I said. “The lobbyists are the problem. All the campaign money is the problem.”

“You can say that again,” the Oklahoma woman said.

“Soon we won’t be saying the pledge of allegiance to America, we’ll be saying it to China,” Denise said.

“More likely we’ll be saying it to GE or Exxon,” I said.

See? People really are paying attention.

No shit, Sherlock

Talk about stating the obvious:

(CBS News) Unemployment has hit baby-boomers especially hard. For those over 55, the jobless rate has doubled since the recession began, to 6.8 percent. In real terms, that’s more than 2 million people, many of whom once had good-paying, white-collar jobs.

And the older you are when you lose a job, the harder it is to find a new one, CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reports.

If effort and optimism were gold, Eric Garner would be a rich man.

“I’m the busiest unemployed guy I know,” Garner said. “I mean, I work a 12-hour day. I just want to get paid for it.”

For the past year, Garner’s full time job has been looking for a job. He’s out of bed by 6 a.m., searching the web, emailing resumes by 6:15.

He has 50 different resumes, he says, because he customizes the resume that he sends out for each employer.

Garner was laid off from a financial services firm in 2010. Since then he’s had a few bites, a few interviews, but still no offers.

How is it possible that someone who is college educated, working on a masters degree, with 32 years of work experience can’t find a job?

“It’s tough out there,” Garner said. “I applied for one job they told me there were 300 applicants. The interview process lasted over a month. I got down to the final three and then they hired a friend of a friend who was inside the company. I was a little disappointed but it’s like, okay, something happened, what am I going to learn from this? Make your contacts.”

It’s not you, dude. When are you going to figure that out? You’re just debris on an economic tsunami.

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