Friday Reads: Welcome to the man cave…

Good morning, Minx here…yeah…y’all are stuck with me today! I am covering for Dakinikat who is enjoying room service in the mile high city. So let’s get the TGIFriday post off with a bang…well let’s make that a whimper.

First thing, the CDC came out with some new statistics on Antidepressant use…and I just can’t imagine how the results seem so shocking. It isn’t like we are all experiencing a 1% life. CDC: Antidepressant use skyrockets 400% in past 20 years

Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

No shit? As someone who has been on Zoloft aka “happy pill” for the last 12 years…I can honestly say there is no way I could handle the misery index…which seems to have hit epic proportions. U.S. misery index rises to highest since 1983 

An unofficial gauge of human misery in the United States rose last month to a 28-year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment.

The misery index — which is simply the sum of the country’s inflation and unemployment rates — rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday.

Is it a joke that these two reports were released within hours of each other? What timing!

Ya, want misery? I’ll give you misery…think of what the occupy folks will be dealing with in the coming months. Freezing temps.

Down here in Banjoland we have our first frost warning. A friend of mine headed up to Franklin, NC Thursday morning and said she saw a big dusting of snow on the mountains. The cold is coming…What does that mean for the Occupy Protesters? At some point, it is going to get so cold in some Occupy cities that safety issues become a factor.

I found this photo on the OccupyBoston Facebook page…and I had to share it with you. Isn’t it great? BTW, it looks like that picture was taking in Time Square, NYC…

The rest of my post is going to focus on jobs…I don’t know where to begin. You may have heard that Obama got another no answer today from Congress on his jobs bill. New Senate Battle Over Obama’s Jobs Bill, Now Piecemeal – NYTimes.com

For the second time in 10 days, the Senate on Thursday rejected Democratic efforts to take up a jobs bill championed by President Obama.

The vote to advance the bill was 50 to 50. Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.

This time, the bill was narrowed to provide $35 billion to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters. To offset the cost, the bill would impose a surtax of 0.5 percent, starting in 2013, on income in excess of $1 million.

Yet while this is going on, ABC News is reporting on a big US Dept. of Energy loan given to a company that builds electric cars. Sounds good huh? But get this: Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland – ABC News

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

Sad, isn’t it…

“There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. “They don’t exist here.”

The article goes on to say the company has spent some of the money here in the US on design…but the new 500 jobs are going to be outsourced out of the US.

I know that I have been very redundant on the recent Alabama immigration law, but this next article makes a huge point. Few Americans Take Immigrants’ Jobs in Alabama – ABC News

Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama’s tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn’t worked out: Most show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon. Some quit after a single day.

In Alabama and other parts of the country, farmers must look beyond the nation’s borders for labor because many Americans simply don’t want the backbreaking, low-paying jobs immigrants are willing to take. Politicians who support the law say over time more unemployed Americans will fill these jobs. They insist it’s too early to consider the law a failure, yet numbers from the governor’s office show only nominal interest.

“I’ve had people calling me wanting to work,” Smith said. “I haven’t turned any of them down, but they’re not any good. It’s hard work, they just don’t work like the Hispanics with experience.”

The law makers who pass things like this immigration law in Alabama and Georgia say it is to save the American jobs the “illegals” are taking from Americans. That is quite a statement.  Your average American is not going to do the work because it is just above slave labor wages…and it is too damn hard…they can’t do it.

Sen. Scott Beason, a Republican, said he has received several emails and phone calls from people thanking him for helping them get jobs. He described one getting promoted from a part-time job with no benefits to a full-time job with benefits because some other immigrant workers left. He said none of the workers who thanked him have wanted to talk to the media.

Sounds like a bunch of B.S. to me….my guess is the Republican is stretching the spin just a bit…Especially when you see things like this: Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits – NYTimes.com

After trying to mollify its critics in recent years by offering better health care benefits to its employees, Wal-Mart is substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff.

How can small businesses and farms hire someone to replace an immigrant worker, give the person a promotion and benefits when profitable companies are cutting healthcare benefits and raising the cost of insurance premiums for the employees who get to keep their benefits?

In Georgia, you know the state that Obama has so much praise for its Georgia Works Slavery program: Georgia may cut jobless benefits to pay off federal loan  | ajc.com

Georgia will consider cutting back weekly unemployment checks by $30 next year to help pay off a federal loan the state assumed to maintain benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless workers.

That is 10 percent of the average unemployment check Georgians get…if it was hard to survive at 300 a month, what the hell can someone do with 270 a month? (The article states top unemployment checks are 330 a week…but everyone I know on unemployment gets just 300 bucks. So I believe those numbers are just an estimate.)

Georgia owes the federal government $721 million in loans it took out to maintain its unemployment benefit fund. There are 487,471 Georgians drawing unemployment checks, according to a state report released Thursday. The Great Recession has created a pool of long-term jobless — about 256,900 in Georgia — who have been out of work at least 27 weeks.

There are many other states struggling to pay back loans to the federal government. It would not surprise me if other states are looking to cut unemployment benefits too. And today Georgia’s unemployment numbers were released.

The number of jobless rose to 10.3, the highest in Georgia since January.

What a coincidence…See what I mean about the perfect timing?

And if all that isn’t depressing enough, this will be the icing on the misery cake: First look at US pay data, it’s awful | David Cay Johnston

Anyone who wants to understand the enduring nature of Occupy Wall Street and similar protests across the country need only look at the first official data on 2010 paychecks, which the U.S. government posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

The figures from payroll taxes reported to the Social Security Administration on jobs and pay are, in a word, awful.

These are important and powerful figures. Maybe the reason the government does not announce their release — and so far I am the only journalist who writes about them each year — is the data show how the United States smolders while Washington fiddles.

With an opener like that, you know its bad numbers…

There were fewer jobs and they paid less last year, except at the very top where, the number of people making more than $1 million increased by 20 percent over 2009.

The median paycheck — half made more, half less — fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.

The number of Americans with any work fell again last year, down by more than a half million from 2009 to less than 150.4 million.

Check out the nifty graph on that link.

More significantly, the number of people with any work has fallen by 5.2 million since 2007, when the worst recession since the Great Depression began, with a massive taxpayer bailout of Wall Street following in late 2008.
This means 3.3 percent of people who had a job in 2007, or one in every 3330, went all of 2010 without earning a dollar. (Update: the original version of this column used the wrong ratio.)

In addition to the 5.2 million people who no longer have any work add roughly 4.5 million people who, due to population growth, would normally join the workforce in three years and you have close to 10 million workers who did not find even an hour of paid work in 2010.

Quick, somebody get me my happy pill!

I don’t want to leave y’all with a downer story, so here is a link to lighten the mood.

Rachel Maddow Man Cave | Birth Control | Video | Mediaite

Granted, the subject is not funny…that being the personhood bills and life begins at conception/fertilization bills floating about, but the way Maddow approaches the subject is funny. Damn funny.

This evening on her show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow focused on a question recently posed to Mitt Romney during a town hall gathering. This question, as Maddow put it, seemed to “stump” the GOP candidate, which she found to be curious given that many shows — including her own — have been emailing Romney’s campaign people for an answer to this very same question, so Romney must have at least some awareness that this issue is out there and on people’s minds. What question, you ask?

[…]

“You were on Governor Huckabee’s show a few weeks ago, and one of the things that you folks talked about was that you would support a ‘life begins at conception’ amendment. Now, that would essentially mean banning most forms of birth control. Ninety-eight percent of American women — including me — use birth control. So could you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control?”

Romney’s answer? “I don’t.” [Laughter] “I’m sorry. Life begins at conception; birth control prevents conception.”

What an answer right? Typical of an uneducated GOP Presidential candidate. So Maddow took the time to “school” Romney on the uterus and its eccentricities.

But, Maddow said, the “Life Begins at Conception” / “Mississippi Personhood” amendment that Romney supports does not only aim to ban abortion. Since any fertilized egg would be considered a person, “a miscarriage would be cause for a criminal investigation.” In addition, it would indeed potentially outlaw certain forms of birth control. So it would seem, Maddow continued, that Romney doesn’t seem to fully understand the amendment he professes to support.

Going back to that town hall meeting in Sioux City, then, Maddow showed footage of that same young woman informing Romney that some forms of hormonal birth control actually prevent implantation (when an already fertilized egg, or blastocyst, becomes attached to the uterine wall) rather than conception (which is when sperm fertilizes an egg). “The pill” is an example of hormonal birth control, by the way, and is quite popular and widely-used.

Maddow then shared the sort of “light bulb moment” she had while watching and re-watching Romney’s interaction with that young woman: Politics? “Mostly guys.” And the media? “REALLY mostly guys.”

So why not try and drop a lil’ uterus knowledge, if you will, on dudes who might not really know how lady parts work? Time for…. The man cave! Beer included. (If the term “lady cave” didn’t sound so… completely vaginal…

So check out the link and watch the segment entitled, “Dude! Where’s my uterus!”

That will do it for today’s reads, what are you up to this October Friday morning?

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23 Comments on “Friday Reads: Welcome to the man cave…”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    There is a great round up over at NewDeal2.0: Daily Digest for October 21: Teach the Children Well. Or Not. » New Deal 2.0 Tim Price has a way to summarize the articles so well…

    Senate Republicans Block Dem Jobs Bill For Teachers, Firefighters (TPM)
    Joined by two Democrats and whatever Joe Lieberman is these days, the GOP filibustered a millionaires surtax that would have funded more big government efforts to put out fires and teach kids to read.

    Party of Pollution (NYT)
    Paul Krugman notes that the GOP’s own jobs plan is brought to you by the American Petroleum Institute, which coincidentally finds that repealing environmental regulations and letting oil companies go wild will somehow create roughly ∞ jobs.

    How the Austerity Class Rules Washington (The Nation)
    Ari Melber looks at the extensive, entrenched network of public intellectuals and policymakers who are forever expounding on the sin of deficits and the virtue of balanced budgets, even or especially when it requires them to ignore reality.

    Did Citi Get a Sweet Deal? Bank Claims SEC Settlement on One CDO Clears It on All Others (ProPublica)
    After pumping out dozens of toxic CDOs in the run-up to the crash, Citigroup feels the $285 million settlement it negotiated on just one of those products is the equivalent of the SEC telling it to say three Hail Marys and sin no more.

    More at the link, be sure to check it out…

    • Woman Voter says:

      Minkoff Minx,

      Occupy Wall Street proves why Wall Street doesn’t care, because our politicians didn’t do their home work and simply gave money that served people at the top 1% with tax payer money…debt.

      With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

      In my area a car manufacturing plant was going to close, the city and regional governments worked hard with the plant (original company left) its employees and came up with a way to manufacture cars that they hadn’t before (in the US). In fact as part of HR certification it was the main field trip we took to meet the employees/tour the plant, as the model was a labor management partnership, which proved that your most important product is your employees (as their product changed, they adjusted) and continued on with their mission to produce efficient cars in America.

      The Bail Out story above makes one want to bang our head on the desk. Truly the money was give away with no strings attached or direction and that company will be lobbying our government to import the cars here while telling us just how dumb we are because we ‘aren’t’ innovative enough to build them here. (((screams)))

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        In my area a car manufacturing plant was going to close, the city and regional governments worked hard with the plant (original company left) its employees and came up with a way to manufacture cars that they hadn’t before (in the US). In fact as part of HR certification it was the main field trip we took to meet the employees/tour the plant, as the model was a labor management partnership, which proved that your most important product is your employees (as their product changed, they adjusted) and continued on with their mission to produce efficient cars in America.

        That is what I would have hoped for with that article about outsourcing the jobs to Finland. If there were no plants available in the US, why not get one up to speed in an area that can use the jobs…What really got me mad about that, was the jobs bill was defeated again yesterday. We all knew it would not pass but WTF is it with the GOP and the handful of Dems, and Liberman, who voted against it…At the same time this article just proves the people in Washington do not want to get Americans working again. Hell, then I see this:

        Lindsey Graham: ‘Let’s Get In On The Ground. There’s A Lot Of Money To Be Made In The Future Of Libya’ | ThinkProgress

        GOP Senator Supports ‘Infrastructure’ Spending … In Libya (VIDEO) | TPMDC

        It all just pisses me off.

      • Woman Voter says:

        The regional government approach included Republican and Democrats working together because they new, that the region couldn’t handle the large loss of jobs and since we are in the center of innovation, they got busy.

        If you tell anyone, they are stupid, they will prove you right, but if you believe in them they will do remarkable things beyond anyone’s expectations. Our politicians only believe in money, not in us citizens and that mind set has got to change, if we are to get beyond the current mess our politicians have made.

  2. Woman Voter says:

    Minkoff Minx,

    Thank you for the Wal-Mart story as people probably think I am mad carrying on about health care, but it is connected to jobs, and the Obama reform (NOT) causes a big impact on all jobs. I will say this, that the GOP is no better as none of the candidates will address what they would do about the premium skyrocketing, because that would force them to admit that they were all out with Obama/Biden on keeping the Public Option out and they all took and continue to take money from the companies making a killing (45K + Americans continue to die a year without health care) by shaking us down…until we can’t pay the premiums anymore.

    The Public Option was the only insurance option that would have made the insurance companies competitive and contained costs, but no….Wall Street was high on a quick hit of making fast money, while people loose their jobs and tank the economy more. Health Care shouldn’t be a money making scheme, it should be a about proving care.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      No, I don’t think your passion for health care is “mad.” You are right…we need to keep it in the discussion.

      The two things that Obamacare achieved was, 1. Give the big insurance companies what they paid for…as far as campaign contributions to Obama. and 2. Put the screws to Hillary by passing a healthcare bill, no matter how crappy it was…

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Perry must be so proud…Texas Reduces Weekend Meals for Prisoners – NYTimes.com

    Thousands of other inmates in the Texas prison system have been eating fewer meals since April after officials stopped serving lunch on the weekends in some prisons as a way to cut food-service costs. About 23,000 inmates in 36 prisons are eating two meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays instead of three. A meal the system calls brunch is usually served between 5 and 7 a.m., followed by dinner between 4 and 6:30 p.m.

    The meal reductions are part of an effort to trim $2.8 million in food-related expenses from the 2011 fiscal year budget of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the state prison agency. Other cuts the agency has made to its food service include replacing carton milk with powdered milk and using sliced bread instead of hamburger and hot dog buns.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      More from the link:

      By reducing its weekend meals, Texas has set itself apart from most other state prison systems. State inmates in New York, California, Nevada, Florida and several other states are fed three times a day, seven days a week. Federal prisoners receive three meals daily, as do inmates in the county jails throughout Texas. Most states serve their inmates milk in cartons, but Texas prison officials said switching to powdered milk would save them an estimated $3.5 million annually.

      Ohio and Arizona serve two meals per day on the weekends to reduce food-service costs. Georgia serves two meals per day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, though inmates on work details receive a third meal.

      Inmates’ relatives and legal advocates in Texas said the elimination of milk in cartons and weekend lunches was an unnecessarily harsh cutback that had a negative effect on prison life. In August, 19 inmates at the Hutchins State Jail near Dallas, one of the 36 prisons that reduced weekend meals, signed a petition and sent it to the Texas affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the food cutbacks a violation of the federal Constitution.

  4. The Outlier says:

    Left to their own devices, Wall Street financial institutions will “stuff a portfolio with risky mortgage-related investments, sell it to unsuspecting customers and bet against it…without telling investors of its role or that it had made bets that the investments would fall in value (NY Times, Citigroup To Pay Millions to End Fraud Complaint, 10,20,11).” This is an abrogation of fiduciary responsibility, immoral, unethical, abusive and should be illegal. The reason I say “should be” is because neither the Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission will say whether Citigroup had committed a crime.

    When you perpetrate fraud to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, you are a first-rate, top of the line, head of the class, unsurpassed, consummate and sublime rip-off artist! Continue reading → http://outlierideas.com/

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    There’s nothing like a bunch of men sitting around deciding the fate of women while discussing their intent to do away with their “right to privacy”. Always sends a tingle up my leg.

    An unwanted pregnancy leads to unwanted children along with an unwanted burden that the woman must carry, usually alone. And while they are at it, these same men would vote to reduce or eliminate any form of assistance that might ease that burden going forward.

    Proposals to withhold funds for Planned Parenthood, WIC, Headstart, daycare, education, and fuel assistance are top of their list for “balancing the budget” which will lead to more families forced into poverty with these kids bearing the brunt.

    Impoverished children, overcrowded classrooms, the lack of essential medical care, unprepared students, all lead to a deadend future for most kids growing up this atmosphere.

    I give you the Republican Party exulting in its own stupidity.

    • dakinikat says:

      The need to introduce a plan for soylent green and it would all make sense.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!” per Charlton Heston in a film by the same name.

        “Hello, Room Service, could I get a pot of coffee to go with my order?”

    • Allison says:

      It all leads to a deadend future not only for the people effected but for the country as a whole.

      We’re already a banana republic – the only countries with worse income inequality than the U.S. are Chile, Mexico and Turkey – depending on your sources.

      Re: the immigrants – I hope they end up having to beg them to come back to the farms and having to pay them more, too.

  6. Gregory says:

    Didn’t read everything because the $529 million dollar load just made me stop in my tracks. OK, where is the logic to this. Spend 500 million dollars to sponsor 500 jobs. That is 1 million per job. Now that would be ok if the jobs were HERE and not in Finland and if they paid each worker 100,000 per year it would only take 10 years to actually see some return there. But it is crazy. No way can regular Americans afford an electric sports car. Unless they have an established market I don’t see any way this venture is going to last or how they’ll pay that huge ass loan off in the 1st place.

  7. Woman Voter says:

    The Iraq War ends due to Iraq refusing immunity for our troops. The spin by Chris Mathews is an anti-Hillary one, which is dishonest and MSNBC is having a field day. Sad really, that he is USING A WOMAN AGAIN to seek a second term, when the facts are he held BUSH’s policies in place.

    Any hoo, I am glad they are coming home.

    • Branjor says:

      How is it Hillary’s fault that Iraq is refusing immunity for our troops?

      Anyway, what’s wrong with Iraq not accepting immunity for our troops? They shouldn’t be allowed to commit crimes and not be prosecuted for them.

    • Fannie says:

      WTF? Hillary never gets credit for any of the hard work she has done, never by the media.

      This is the only thing Obama has done, has kept his word…………and I will praise him for this, on this day.

      In memory of my loved one, who died in Iraqi Freedom – R.I.P.

  8. Sara says:

    Received this email attributed to Warren Buffett. Did he say the below…great ideas to get our Congress to represent the people. Some of the same thoughts have been in my mind as well.

    Date: Friday, October 14, 2011, 11:14 AM
    Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the
    best quotes about the debt ceiling:

    “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a
    law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of
    GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took
    only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people
    demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones,
    etc.

    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
    or less to become the law of the land – all because of public
    pressure.

    Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a
    minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of
    those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have
    the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    _*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
    pay when they’re out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social
    Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
    Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
    the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
    American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
    Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
    Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and
    participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
    American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
    effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this
    contract with Congressmen/women.

    Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
    Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
    envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
    term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will
    only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive
    the message. Don’t you think it’s time?

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

    If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.
    You are one of my 20+ – Please keep it going, and thanks.