GL is back up and running. So bring on the fresh news stories and commentary.
Let’s get this show on the road…
Chinese workers convert to Islam to work on railroad in Mecca.
Suicide bomber dents side of Japanese oil tanker. Dents.
Hey, I’m gainfully employed. So now I can blog again. These are exciting times.
Since I’m employed and blogging again, maybe I should comment first on the state of national unemployment:
103,000 jobs were created in December. Which lowered the unemployment rate to 9.4%. The lowest it has been in 19 months. Good news? Ehh, not really.
For one, after worker productivity gains and the natural growth of the labor force (think December graduation and less retirees), 103,000 more jobs ain’t that many.
My general observations – which aren’t unique – are the labor market has undergone a permanent change. Structural unemployment is likely to be this high for a long time because employers learned to be leaner since the Great Recession. Secondly, those who are working have become more willing to work longer hours because unemployment can come quickly and seemingly last for eternity (trust me). And really, there is no such thing as funemployment.
What can government do about this? Not sure if many will like my answer. Maybe legislators can take a look at worker rights issues. Maybe Congress can limit work-week hours for salaried employees.
Everyone knows that income inequality is increasing in the U.S. Now, I’m not saying that this is because many high-wage earners are lucky or benefit unfairly. Most high-paying occupations are given to highly skilled employees who earn their salaries by taking on significant workloads, often 2 – 3 times more than a typical job. So what if Congress were to pass or consider legislation which – *now I’m about to curse – like the French-system imposed limitations on hours-per-week an employer can have their employees work?
I’m not saying let’s have 35 hour work weeks. But what if work-weeks were not allowed to surpass 50 hours, or 55 hours? I know employers who would lose 20 hours of per employee work this way. Now if they had 2 employees who couldn’t work 20 extra hours a week, they would have to hire another employee. Pay may decrease per employee but employment would increase. General social benefit would occur.
Unfortunately, unemployment is taking up too much of my time and there are too many things to write about in this crazy world. So, this blog is taking a break while I search for gainful employment.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully, GL will be back up soon.
Sarah Palin tweets and people follow. That’s because she’s a braindead megaphone who people are forced to (or worse, willingly) listen to. So when she makes up words like “refudiate” to promote her bigoted views on a proposed Islamic mosque near the the World Trade Center site, she is especially scary because her views actually influence people.
First, Palin tried audacity by combining compassion with braindead bigotry:
Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate
Almost realizing the error of her ways, Palin took out “refudiate” which doesn’t exists in English, and changed her tweet to:
Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.
Still not realizing that the true error was promoting bigotry, but apparently getting some grammer advice, Palin then changed this tweet to:
Peace-seeking Muslims pls understand. Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing
Now Palin is adding to the bravado by comparing herself to Shakespeare. Telling her nearly 200,000 twitter followers:
“Refudiate,” “misunderestimate,” “wee-wee’d up.” English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!
What’s truly disturbing is 200,000 people listen to this braindead megaphone tweet every day.
George Saunders wrote an essay called “The Braindead Megaphone” in which he describes how media is making us stupid. Sadly, I would add that many of our elected officials are doing the same.
This post is the beginning of a series on those who trumpet the braindead megaphone to disseminate idiocy. As Saunders said, these are the people who “put an intelligence-ceiling on the party.”
For today’s installment, we have US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson (Dem.) of Texas’ 18th District.
It’s been a slow news week for some. But in parts of the world it got interesting. Here’s a short roundup of some of the oddball news stories going on throughout the world. Feel free to fill me in on any stories I might have missed.
- Fidel Castro made two public appearances this week, his first in almost a year. On Monday, he appeared on Cuban TV to warn of possible Israeli attacks on Iran. He then confessed his admiration for Argentinian soccer.
- In Washington D.C., an Iranian scientist claims to have been tortured and kidnapped by the CIA while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Said Iranian scientist then escapes to Pakistani embassy where he seeks permission to return to Iran. American officials deny accusations of torture and kidnapping; which are affirmed by said scientist in video he made while supposedly in captivity.
- Airport in Zhejiang Province, China closes after UFO blazes through night sky. Turns out UFO might actually just be a ballistic missile. No big deal.
- The front page absorbing spy saga finally comes to an end with completed “spy swap“. Hopefully, our newspapers will cover important news now, so we don’t have to get lame James Bond references and pictures of the red-headed femme fatale who infiltrated the secret world of the Manhattan party scene.
- Foreign Policy magazine examines the “sleaze factor” of five politicians from democratic countries to see if there is “an epidemic of corruption in the world’s democracies”.
- And perhaps this is the most uplifting news story: Female members of the Czech parliament posed for a provocative, yet classy calender to highlight the growing presence of women in Czech politics. Below my favorite.