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Why teens are unemployed

The Wall Street Journal, which is frequently full of shit, constructs an argument blaming it on the last increase in the minimum wage. Apparently now that they are a Murdoch publication, facts are optional.

Social media

The Twitter was reporting gunshots and a mob of teenagers rampaging after last night’s big fireworks celebration. It went viral pretty quickly, but I noticed it was the same info being repeated over and over and I had my doubts. So I turned on the police scanner and all I heard was reports of police breaking up crowds of kids. Today, there’s nothing in the news except one stabbing in Love Park, right off the Parkway.

The info was picked up and amplified because the original source was a local news photographer and considered credible. Oops.

So while you can’t believe everything you read in the papers, neither can you believe everything you read on the internet.

Purge

So we have a group of freshman Congress members who won election by promising that things were black and white, and they’re going to be punished for illustrating that, as extreme as they were, they have to compromise on at least some things. It would be funny if I wasn’t dreading an even more extreme crop the next time:

It is miles to go before the 2012 Congressional races begin in earnest, but already some of the 87 freshmen who helped the Republicans win back the House last year are bracing for a challenge from within the party. At least half a dozen potential primary challengers to freshmen are considering a run, and there is heated chatter about more.

In some ways, the freshmen are responsible for their own predicament. Many won their seats after successfully challenging establishment Republicans in primaries, proving that a combination of gumption and the right political climate could overcome the advantages of incumbency.

Now, to some of the impatient and ideological voters who sent them to Washington to change things, the new House members may be seen as the establishment, and they face the disconcerting prospect of immediately defending themselves in the political marketplace.
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Intern nation

It’s also illegal in most cases. But hey, it’s not as if anyone’s going to stop them!

Welcome to the brave new world of work, where you work more and get paid nothing! Travailler plus pour ne rien gagner (maybe that should be Sarkozy’s slogan for his reelection campaign!). This is the reality experienced by more and more people in the US, and thoroughly explored by Ross Perlin in Intern Nation: How To Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy.

The premise of the book is that internships have exploded in numbers as they have become an almost mandatory use of someone’s education in order to gain legitimate entry on the labor market. But Perlin considers them to be “a form of mass exploitation hidden in plain sight” (xiv), with roughly 9.5 million college students, roughly 75% will participate in at least one internship before graduation. He argues that a significant share of those are unethical if not illegal.

In other words, interns are becoming the fastest-growing category of American workers, the largely unpaid ones.

The simple fact of non-payment, for Perlin, also points to the fact that internships have become a site of reproduction of privilege as only those of financially comfortable background can hope for the glamorous internships in Congress, in Hollywood or television and journalism that truly open doors for permanent (and paid) jobs, guaranteeing that the upper-classes will remain the major cultural producers in the mass media. In that sense, internships contribute to both exploitation and reproduction of inequalities in opportunities.

Finally, Perlin argues that internships devalue labor, especially for young people and at entry-level positions at the same time that interns may displace workers.

Krugman

You can tell he’s losing it. He keeps thinking it’s a bad dream and he’ll wake up.

The signing

From 1776:

Spirit in the sky

Norman Greenbaum:

Cool, cool considerate men

From 1776. Conservative old white men congratulating themselves while young men die in their wars. Some things never change, do they?

American tune

Paul Simon:

America

West Side Story:

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