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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.

Minnesota

So far, nothing to change my cranky mood. For one thing, I lost my all-important cell-phone headset somewhere in the Philadelphia airport.

The day didn’t start well. The security line for the B terminal was so long, they told us to go over to the A terminal. Well, the A terminal wasn’t exactly a hop, skip and a jump away and by the time I got there, my ankle was swollen and throbbing. Then I had to go all the way back to the B terminal, and of course my gate was all the way at the end.

The plane took off a half-hour late because the runway was so backed up, I can’t get into my room for another three hours, the onsite restaurant isn’t open until dinner, and only a few of the restaurants for which the front desk clerk gave me menus actually deliver.

Free wifi in the lobby while I wait — but Fox News on the teevee.

I hate traveling. I really do.

Hmm

I read things like this and I think it’s time to get off the Wellbutrin.

Popcorn kittens

I totally stole this from Athenae:

New book

Kate Christensen. She’s amazing, I’ve read everything she’s written and I’ll read this one, too.

March for the Middle Class

This Wednesday, June 15, as a show of solidarity for working people across the nation facing attacks on their livelihood, NYC area working families will join together to march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Be there. If you’re in a union, remember to show your union colors proudly.

We still believe an attack on one is an attack on all. That is why a march to show that we stand united is so important.

WHAT: Solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge

WHERE: Enter Cadman Plaza Park (A or C trains to High Street) by the Brooklyn War Memorial (middle of the park) and look for your delegation. The address is 89 Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn, N.Y.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 15. Assemble beginning at 1 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. march

The attacks on collective bargaining rights go too far and come at the expense of solving our jobs crisis and other real problems that are delaying the economic recovery. We cannot let the misinformation continue. This is about workers’ rights, fixing the economy and the future we leave for our children.

Eclipse today

You know the drill.

This one’s a total lunar eclipse in Gemini, and lunar eclipses often mark the end of something significant. Plus, the usual bump in geophysical phenom…

Oh, and Saturn just went direct, too.

Open thread

What the hell is happening today?

No law left ignored?

Arne Duncan, the education secretary, just announced that he’s getting ready to waive No Child Left Behind requirements for states if they agree, as the New York Times put it, “to embrace President Obama’s education priorities, a formula the administration used last year in its signature education initiative, the Race to the Top grant competition.” Frederick Hess writes in Education Week:

So, let me get this straight. After barely convincing Congress to keep Race to the Top on life support, [Arne] Duncan is intent on unilaterally pushing his same pet priorities through the back door? He’s planning to offer regulatory relief only if states adopt reforms that are utterly absent in the relevant legislation? Facing backlash on the right and left over concerns that the administration coerced states to embrace test-driven teacher evaluation and the Common Core through Race to the Top, Duncan’s strategy is to double down? Well, no matter, I’m sure the Republican majority in the House will cheer Duncan’s enthusiastic willingness to lead. Or not…

The National Journal’s Fawn Johnson wrote, “President Obama has called for lawmakers to rewrite No Child Left Behind by the start of the new school year. Now he’s giving them the second warning before sending them to the principal’s office: Do your job or we’ll do it for you.” Now, I know the President is a Nobel Prize winner and all but, back when I was earning my Ph.D. in political science, I don’t remember anything that empowered the President to issue Congress legislative deadlines or usurp Congressional prerogatives if the administration’s timetable isn’t met. Sandy Kress, former Bush administration education adviser, observed, “I don’t get all the drama. It almost has the feel of a threat to Congress.”

At a time when Obama partisans are seeking to dismiss Tea Party critiques of administration moves on health care, auto bailouts, financial regulation, and the stimulus as conspiracy-minded lunacy, do they really not see that this is precisely the mindset that raises such hackles among critics? I’m curious whether any of the lawyers at ED tried to explain to Duncan that he’s not permitted to remake federal law on the fly, just because he and the President think it’s a good idea, or whether they’re cheerfully along for the ride.
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