Saturday Reads: What a glorious time to be free…spandex jackets for everyone!Posted: August 13, 2011
You’ve been unemployed for longer than 4 months? Don’t even bother applying for that job…Yes, I am starting off with some attitude for this morning reads. According to this post from Rachel Maddow’s blog, those of us who have been out of work for the last few years are screwed when it comes to finding that job. Maddow Blog – Persistently job-searching, persistently jobless
A screenshot from an actual current job posting.
On last night’s show, Rachel made the point that the recent high rate of unemployment has a lot to do with the unemployed staying unemployed for longer. In other words, “high employment is due to persistent unemployment.”
The reason? There are likely many, but one noteworthy problem takes place in a very specific setting – the hiring process between employer and potential employees. Catherine Rampell of The New York Times recently reported on a study of job postings on numerous employment websites, and discovered “hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least ‘strongly prefer’) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.”
This blatantly excludes anyone who belongs in the “Continuing Joblessness” category below.Jared Bernstein
The stigma attached to being unemployed has increasingly become more of a factor in the hiring process, although the legality of discriminating against employment status remains in question. Rampell writes:
Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.
Given that the average duration of unemployment today is nine months — a record high — limiting a search to the “recently employed,” much less the currently employed, disqualifies millions.
The rationale also doesn’t make much sense. As Rampell notes, “…people who have been out of work for two years or longer are people who were laid off during the recession. That means many of them were workers whose jobs were eliminated simply because their businesses were doing badly, not because they were personally incompetent.” Basically, questioning a person’s qualifications because they’re out of a job could cause employers to miss a potentially great hire.
The article goes on to say in March, New Jersey became the first state to make it illegal to post job adverts which state the applicant must be employed. In Washington, there is proposed legislation in the works that addresses this issue.
…in the House, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from refusing job applicants solely on the basis of unemployment.
Such a law would probably help dispel the use of job postings like this, but unfortunately, like any other anti-discrimination law, the validity of any cases brought forth would likely be difficult to prove. Employers would have to realize that the practice is inefficient for them in order to cause any considerable change.
This next article comes from HNN, History News Network, and brings comparisons of Hoover and Obama up to a different level, that being the “smarts” level…Obama and Hoover: Two “Smart” (Stupid) Presidents | History News Network by Jonathan Bean
For the past year, I have been researching how the housing bubble of the 1920s contributed to the Great Depression when the bubble burst. My study involves reading many articles and speeches by Herbert Hoover, first as Commerce Secretary (1921-1928) then as president (1929-1933). As the nation endures the Obama presidency, I see much in common between the two men, both seen as “smart” by their supporters.
We forget that Hoover had a “titanic intellect,” a stellar career as a mining engineer, translated medieval manuscripts into English, and wrote the textbook Principles of Mining. He helped orchestrate relief aid to save millions from hunger and starvation across post-World War I Europe. During the 1920s, he was a “progressive” busybody telling businessmen in all fields how they could make their work more efficient. His Commerce Department held 2,500 trade association meetings. One of those associations—the American Construction Council—was headed by trade lobbyist Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No, I am not making this up! FDR thought Hoover’s “smart” approach to jawboning business was an improvement upon competitive capitalism.
Barack Obama can’t boast that kind of record (he achieved very little before becoming president) but he shares the same cast of mind as Hoover: In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Is Obama Smart?,” Bret Stephens concludes that
a) Obama (like Hoover) thinks he is smarter than those who run businesses; but
b) “stupid is as stupid does.”
As their “smart” policies failed year after year, Hoover and Obama dug in and blamed the international environment (“economic headwinds”).
So, take a look at quotes from articles written about each man. One discusses Hoover by interviewing people in 1928, and the second is from the 2008 WSJ article referred to up top.
The Outlook reporter anonymously interviewed a prominent banker as to why business was opposed to Hoover, a “smart” candidate who mesmerized the the country with how he would engineer permanent prosperity.
Banker: My firm “has many textile manufacturers as clients . . . but nobody in the bank would presume to tell our customers how to make rayon.” Yet Hoover is “confident that he knows more about finance than financiers, more about industry than industrialists, and more about agriculture than agriculturists. He is so sure of his judgment in these fields that he wants to impress it on others. He is very seldom willing to take advice. Since he knows more than any advisers could, why should he?”
“[Hoover’s] cast of mind will handicap him . . . . Because of his confidence in his own wisdom he is suspicious of those who disagree with him.”
“We object, moreover, not only to his ignoring our advice. We object to his offering us his advice on matters that are none of his business.” [Banker notes how Hoover’s Commerce Department urged business to invest in certain industries or areas]. “It is not our function as bankers to tell our customers with whom they should do business.”
Now take a look at the similarities to this Wall Street Journal article…
“‘I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,'” [Obama] reportedly told an aide in 2008. ‘I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.'”
Stephens writes: “How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he’s criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he’s too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble. . . .”
“Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience.”
Much is made of the president’s rhetorical gifts. This is the sort of thing that can be credited only by people who think that a command of English syntax is a mark of great intellectual distinction. Can anyone recall a memorable phrase from one of Mr. Obama’s big speeches that didn’t amount to cliché?”
As many of you have seen, there has been a whole lotta buyers remorse of late…by those who put Obama in the White House.
We have now reached the point where many Americans, even those who voted for Obama, share the attitude of those disillusioned with Hoover: In 1931, they recalled how they felt just three years prior: Hoover seemed so wonderful! He promised to end poverty in our time! And he seemed so smart!
We all know how well Hoover did in practice. It’s starting to look like “deja vu all over again.”
Yes, you can say that again…again.
On to a discussion about some of those disillusioned Obama bots… This post by LisaB over at No Quarter brought the most recent “should have voted for Hillary” admission to my attention. Another Captain Obvious : NO QUARTER
Yet another columnist says he “should have voted for Hillary.” Meh. You think? I used to find this sort of public re-thinking a little satisfying, but quite frankly now it just makes me mad.
Just around the same time I read that No Quarter post, Boston Boomer sent me a link to the original Bill McClellan article below.
In it, McClellan writes that the realization came as he was splashing around in Lake Michigan, lucky for us it was not while he was on the toilet experiencing a life altering bowel movement.
He then goes on to point out Obama’s god-like projection which blinded him to voting for Hillary, who he says was just more of Bill and he didn’t want it anyway.
McClellan discusses some of the many Obama fuck-ups and comes to this conclusion.
The blame, I think, lies with Obama. He is not strong enough to be an effective president.
Really? No shit!
(Oh yeah, sorry for the “language” but they tend to slip out when I’m pissed off.)
The examples of Obama’s weakness continues, then McClellan finishes the article with this nugget… and I will go back to the No Quarter article, which I think puts this “Should Have” admission in its proper place.
McClellan wonders why Obama seems passive, not aggressive enough, etc, (insert your own weakened descriptors here). And he comes up with a familiar answer: the dude is smart but he wasn’t ready.
Why has Obama not lived up to the promise? He is clearly intelligent. For some reason, though, he was not ready for the rough and tumble of national politics.
McClellan goes on to say that Obama, having been protected and bumped along in elite institutions full of well-meaning white people (as opposed to. . . ), had not encountered any real opposition, personal or circumstantial before becoming President.
Dude – what was there about a non-writing law review editor, present-voting first-term-senator, sub-committee-skipping chair, no-political-history political messiah, life-long-friend dropper, and Chicago-machine operator that failed to register with you? Had you considered the politician on his merits, you COULD NOT HAVE FAILED to realize he was Not Ready.
Hillary had been tested. Eight years in the meat grinder. She’d have been a better president.
Seriously? That’s what you’re going with? And it took you how long to tip to this bit-o-wisdom? I’m not very happy you realized your error, not thrilled that you see the difference, just disgusted that another Captain Obvious has come out with his supersuit on.
More for you after the jump…
Remember that Jesus freak, oh…sorry, I mean Noah freak amusement park being built, which includes a “life size” ark, over in Kentucky? Yes, brought to you by the same people who gave us the “creation” museum…
Well, check this out: Noah’s Ark theme park to get deep discount on property taxes | Watchdog | Kentucky.com
Yes, valid concerns. However…did you catch it? The tax breaks are not the only thing Ark Encounters/Answers in Genesis group are getting.
The Grant County Industrial Development Authority has been a key player in the ark park project.
Director Wade Gutman was not available for comment Monday, but he told the Grant County News late last month that part of the $195,000 the authority paid to Answers in Genesis was to make up for the fact that word leaked out about the project, causing land prices to double. The authority also paid some of the sales tax on the property.
The total amount of the sale has not been made public.
The authority and the Grant County Fiscal Court helped with land acquisition, providing 100 acres of the 800-acre site.
Mike Zovath, senior vice president of Ark Encounters LLC, said the land wasn’t free, but he declined to state its worth.
Get that? The county gave close to 200,000 bucks to the Ark folks, because news of the project was “leaked” out…
Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, has long been troubled by the project.
“They (Answers in Genesis) have said they didn’t need the incentives, so why are we giving them?” Owens asked. “I’m just bothered by the whole process.”
I am not a resident of Grant County, and I am bothered by it all too. What is sad though, there are unemployed people in Grant County looking forward to the part-time service jobs the park will bring to the area. No doubt it will get some people working again, but really, it just makes the whole thing even more worrisome. The Ark jerks seem to be taking advantage of a town, county and people who are desperate to agree to anything, just for the opportunity to get that low paying part-time job. Sad indeed.
Speaking of religious nuts…Michele Bachmann Guinea Pig Kids | Bachmann Movie | Video | Mediaite
Did you know GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann made a movie? It’s true! Back in 2002, when she was making a name for herself as an education activist with the Maple River Education Coalition, Bachmann collaborated with a man named Michael Chapman to make a film called (rather delightfully) Guinea Pig Kids II. At the time, Chapman, described in this document as a “historian and education researcher,” had warned that state and federal education reforms were putting the United States on the path toward its very own Holocaust, turning impressionable school children into “global citizens.” Together, Bachmann and Chapman traveled throughout Minnesota with their warning, their efforts eventually culminating in Guinea Pig Kids II (not to be confused with this Guinea Pig Kids), which, besides informing mostly church-going Minnesotans that their children were at risk of becoming cogs in the government’s terrible machine, hoped to raise funds for the MREC.
Read the post, Mediaite has a lot to say…just makes me scratch my head and wonder, how are people like Bachmann and Perry actually gaining steam…and what kind of country will a right-wing, religious crazed president bring about?
It is frightening.
I got one more disturbing link for you, this article over at MoJo will really make your stomach turn. It discusses the full contract that participants in MTV’s Real World must sign, which pretty much relieves MTV of any responsibility, and gives the show permission to get away with some awful things. Especially if you are a woman. MTV Real World Contract: Rape and Assault Possible, Pregnancy Gets You Canned | Mother Jones
All cast members regardless of gender are made aware they might be subjected to “non-consensual physical contact which could result in which could result in my contracting of any type of sexually transmitted disease, including without limitation, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Chlamydia, scabies (crabs), hepatitis, genital warts, and other communicable and sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.”
So Real World peeps, you might get raped. Because as it says in the contract, MTV producers are not liable for conducting background checks on potential cast members, and even if they do, they don’t have to share the results with you. BUT, if you’re raped AND get pregnant (read: female), then you’re really in trouble. Section 38 of the contract stipulates that cast members not be pregnant when they start production, and not become pregnant while filming the show. If someone does get pregnant, regardless of how they got that way, they must tell the producer immediately because pregnancy is grounds for dismissal. Interestingly, if you get someone pregnant while on Real World, you are not on the chopping block.
The whole thing’s pretty vile, though, regardless of whether you can get pregnant or not. Here’s the full contract.
Well, I guess there is some sort of acceptance of this kind of behavior over in Hollywood. Horror stories of time spent on the casting couch are running through my brain now. But geez, to put it out in a contract like this? Damn, that really makes it all the more disgusting…by admitting and acknowledging that this kind of stuff goes on, and the producers aren’t responsible. Sick.
Okay, I could not leave you all with something like this downer of a read, so I will do a sashay over to something science oriented, that in my current frame of mind, gives me some hope for the future…Breeding Sterile Mosquitoes Could Stem Tide of Malaria – ABC News
Where mosquito netting and bug spray fail, European scientists are turning to a unique solution to stem the tide of malaria infection worldwide: they’re breeding boy bugs that shoot blanks.
In a study release Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers in Italy and the U.K. showed they were able to genetically modify male Anopheles mosquitoes so that they wouldn’t produce sperm. The bugs would still produce seminal fluid, so mating rituals would go on per usual, but the fruit of coupling would be sterile eggs that don’t hatch.
What a brilliant idea, birth control for males…mosquito males that is.
The fact that the Anopheles species of mosquito tends to be monogamous only enhances the effect, as those females who mate with sterile males tended to not seek out other, potentially virile mates.
Sterility may even prove a reproductive boon for sperm-less males, authors note, because making sperm is energy-consuming, thus the modified males may appear to be stronger mates.
More than 225 million people worldwide suffer from malaria. Each year, nearly 800,000 people will die from the disease, many of whom are children living in Africa.
“Given the constant spread of the disease, alternative approaches to the use of insecticides are urgently needed,” the study’s authors wrote.
If only this technology could be used for the human male species, ah what a beautiful world that would be.
There’ll be spandex jackets one for everyone
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
So what are you doing today? Anything special? Give it up!