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Clearing the field

In what I suppose is an attempt to clean up their professional reputation, Fox News is pushing out any of the wingnut talking heads who are running for the Republican presidential nomination. Looks like Newt’s in!

Do you want fries with that?

Naomi Klein in 2000, talking about attempts to organize McDonald’s workers.

I know a lot of media people read blogs, so I wonder why they seem so oblivious to the ongoing economic pain suffered by so many through this recession. Do they know how clueless they sound? The middle class is being systematically hollowed out of our country, pushing people to the margins and leaving nothing but the economic extremes. From Andy Kroll at TomDispatch:

Think of it as a parable for these grim economic times. On April 19th, McDonald’s launched its first-ever national hiring day, signing up 62,000 new workers at stores throughout the country. For some context, that’s more jobs created by one company in a single day than the net job creation of the entire U.S. economy in 2009. And if that boggles the mind, consider how many workers applied to local McDonald’s franchises that day and left empty-handed: 938,000 of them. With a 6.2% acceptance rate in its spring hiring blitz, McDonald’s was more selective than the Princeton, Stanford, or Yale University admission offices.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a million souls flocked to McDonald’s hoping for a steady paycheck, when nearly 14 million Americans are out of work and nearly a million more are too discouraged even to look for a job. At this point, it apparently made no difference to them that the fast-food industry pays some of the lowest wages around: on average, $8.89 an hour, or barely half the $15.95 hourly average across all American industries.

On an annual basis, the average fast-food worker takes home $20,800, less than half the national average of $43,400. McDonald’s appears to pay even worse, at least with its newest hires. In the press release for its national hiring day, the multi-billion-dollar company said it would spend $518 million on the newest round of hires, or $8,354 a head. Hence the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “McJob” as “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.”
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Poop power

I really hope this works, because God knows, just the crap spewed out by politicians is probably enough to power the whole country:

Orlando officials think they’ve perfected a technology that has flummoxed scientists for decades — one they hope will be used worldwide to turn sewage into electricity and earn the city tens of millions of dollars in royalties.

If city officials and their private-industry partners are right, it could be the biggest thing in sewage treatment since the flush toilet.

“We call it poop to power in five minutes,” said project consultant Roy Pelletier.

While the five-year, $8.5 million project has drawn little attention locally, a small, experimental test plant off busy Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida has drawn visitors from Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Europe and elsewhere in recent weeks.

They have traveled here because they’ve heard there may be an answer to an intriguing question that has dogged scientists for years: What if you could take sewage and get rid of it cleanly and quickly, without dumping it in rivers or landfills — and generate pollution-free electricity at the same time?

“The technology has the potential to revolutionize how wastewater is processed — the destruction of all organics, the generation of electricity, a completely green footprint,” said Don Morgan, CEO of SuperWater Solutions, a Wellington company working with Orlando.

Treated sewage used to be dumped into waterways, but technological advances and tougher regulations ended that practice decades ago.

Orlando treats more than 35 million gallons of sewage a day, essentially by feeding the outflow from the city’s toilets and sinks to bacteria. The process produces reclaimed water that’s clean enough to be piped to some neighborhoods, golf courses and road medians to irrigate flowers and grass.

But there’s another byproduct of the treatment process that’s harder to deal with. The bacteria that gobble up the sewage reproduce as they eat, so as the sewage goes away, it’s replaced with smelly, mud-like piles of microorganisms. That’s sludge, and there’s a lot of it.
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This too shall pass

Danny Schmidt:

No sex noises

These is one of the crazier stories involving fundies and their strange ways, but this one’s even worse, because it’s also about government officials targeting a woman because she’s an atheist activist fighting prayers at public meetings.


To all the moms out there today. Alicia Keys:

Virtually Speaking

BlogTalkRadio: Sunday May 8 thru Friday May 15

Political strategist Cliff Schecter and FDL News guy David Dayen together on Virtually Speaking Sundays. What did the Sunday morning talking heads cover, distort or ignore? Think gun control, think bin Laden. Consider us a counterpoint. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Sunday, May 8.

Virtually Speaking Susie with Susie Madrak. Guest Dave Johnson will discuss the myths about swing voters. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Tuesday, May 10.

• Stuart Zechman, Jay Ackroyd on VS A-Z: This week in liberalism. | Listen here Thursday May 12 @ 5pm pacific | 8pm eastern. Beginning 8pm eastern,  Listen here Beginning midnight May 13, archived here.

• Stirling Newberry on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Conflicts in the Republican caucus; international concern – or its lack – regarding US debt service. Listen here beginning Thursday, May 12 @ 9pm eastern/6pm pacific.

Coming to VS in future weeks: Dahlia Lithwick, Dan Ellsberg and Glenn Greenwald.


The one thing that I’ve noticed about being middle-aged is that now my kids are always trying to tell me what to do. I don’t think they know me as well as they think they do; they know pieces of me, which is different.

“You know, Mom, you really should [fill in the blank].”

And I think to myself, “You know, you really should [fill in the blank].” I don’t say it out loud, because they mean well and I don’t want to fight. But still.

William Tell overture — Momisms

Anita Renfrow:

‘It was the oil’

Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, on why we went to war with Iraq:

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