Sunday Reads: There is no place like home…

Good Sunday Morning!

Ahhhh, you feel that? A quiet moment before the P.I.T.A holiday season kicks into gear. This year stores are opening even before the usual early morning hours that most of us are used to on Black Friday.  At Walmart, the word went out that no one could have Thanksgiving and Black Friday off work…no calling in sick cause you will be automatically terminated. (I asked my husband what about if there really is an emergency…he said they would have to be in the hospital to get out of being fired.)  The stores are looking to capitalize on getting those poor economy dollars first, before the people run out of cash.

Thanksgiving Day is for eating turkey, watching football and, apparently, shopping at lower-end retailers.

While much has been made in the media about retailers opening their doors at midnight to grab their share from shoppers’ wallets, several retailers that cater to people with the tightest budgets will be open all day.

Sears Holdings is keeping its discount K-Mart stores open on Thanksgiving for the 20th year, waiting until Black Friday, the following day that officially kicks off holiday shopping, to welcome people into its namesake chain.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is also open on Thanksgiving, as are most of Gap Inc’s Old Navy locations.

Executives and analysts alike have said the fight for shopper dollars is more intense this year in a tough job market and uncertain economy. The National Retail Federation expects retail sales to up 2.8 percent this season, below last year’s 5.2 percent clip.

Chains that cater to shoppers on the tightest budget stand to lose the most, analysts said.

“They want to make sure they are getting consumer dollars before anyone else,” said Kurt Salmon retail strategist Megan Donadio. “Retailers want to do whatever they can to make sure what consumers do spend is spent with them.”

I worked in retail management for 11 years before I went back to school to become a paralegal, and those holiday shopping days of hell still give me nightmares. At least this year things are going to be easy when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts for the kids…when you got no money, choosing what to get them is easy…reminds me of the line in the movie Caddyshack…Ted Knight as Judge Smails tells his grandson Spalding… “You’ll get nothing and like it!” (Nah, it isn’t as bad as that.)

The Census Data has shown that the “Near Poor” are growing in record numbers, my response to this “surprising” find is…no shit! Check out the title of the New York Times article: Older, Suburban and Struggling, ‘Near Poor’ Startle the Census

Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called “near poor” and sometimes simply overlooked — and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood.

When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it.

After a lost decade of flat wages and the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the findings can be thought of as putting numbers to the bleak national mood — quantifying the expressions of unease erupting in protests and political swings. They convey levels of economic stress sharply felt but until now hard to measure.

The Census Bureau, which published the poverty data two weeks ago, produced the analysis of those with somewhat higher income at the request of The New York Times. The size of the near-poor population took even the bureau’s number crunchers by surprise.

Surprise? Come on! This should not be a shock! Things are bad and getting worse.

“These numbers are higher than we anticipated,” said Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician. “There are more people struggling than the official numbers show.”

Outside the bureau, skeptics of the new measure warned that the phrase “near poor” — a common term, but not one the government officially uses — may suggest more hardship than most families in this income level experience. A family of four can fall into this range, adjusted for regional living costs, with an income of up to $25,500 in rural North Dakota or $51,000 in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Dakinikat, maybe you can put your expertise to work for us…what do you think of the results:

…most economists called the new measure better than the old, and many said the findings, while disturbing, comported with what was previously known about stagnant wages.

“It’s very consistent with everything we’ve been hearing in the last few years about families’ struggle, earnings not keeping up for the bottom half,” said Sheila Zedlewski, a researcher at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social research group.

Meanwhile, you got 1%er Mitt Romney declaring he does not support the Stupor Committee’s raising of ANY taxes. Romney: I will not support tax hikes by super committee

Mitt Romney said Saturday he would not support any deal by a congressional debt committee that raised taxes, even as time ran short on a deficit-reduction agreement in Congress.

“I don’t believe that raising revenues is the right answer to balancing our budget,” he said. “I will not support any proposal based upon increasing taxes or revenues. I will, however, support proposals that are focused on reducing spending.”

Romney was asked about a proposal by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that included $400 billion in additional tax revenue – anathema to many congressional Republicans – as part of deficit reduction.

Romney said he had not seen the plan, but said the “right answer” was to concentrate on spending cuts and entitlement reform.

Asshole…Rich Basturd!

“In my view, what the super committee should do is rein in excessive spending in the current budget and reform Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security to make them permanently sustainable,” he said.

Oh, we are so f’d!

Moving on quickly to another ass…of the PLUB kind. Aborted Fetuses to Star in 2012 Election Ads

David Lewis will not be the next congressman from Ohio’s 8th District. But for Lewis, an unemployed former IT technician who is challenging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in next year’s Republican primary, winning isn’t the objective.

By running for federal office, Lewis can compel local television stations to run grisly anti-abortion ads that would otherwise never stand a chance of making it on the air. Emphasis on grisly: Lewis’ ads feature what purport to be dismembered fetuses, tied together in neat little bundles, or simply mangled beyond recognition. “The FCC says that 45 days out from a primary and 60 days out from a general election, we can run ads on a television station with FCC licenses—unedited, uncensored, they can’t deny it as long as we buy the spot,” he explains.

Lewis isn’t alone. He is one of a handful of anti-abortion activists who have been recruited by Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Society for Truth and Justice, to run for office in metropolitan areas across the country. Together, they aim to exploit a Federal Communications Commission loophole and saturate major media markets with graphic anti-abortion images. What the ads lack in production values, they more than make up for in shock value. As he explained in an interview with Catholic Online last November, Terry, who is himself running for president as a Democrat, explained: “By running campaign ads in the top 25 media markets, we can reach one-third of the nation with a message about the truth and horror of abortion.”

These ads are horrible indeed, one television station that refused to run a similar ad in Georgia for someone running for a State house seat called the ad:

“menstrual gore”

These sick people…I just can’t understand their thought process.

At least the Pentagon has been busy making sure the Country is safe…check it out, a Bomb that goes FIVE times the speed of sound. Depending where these bombs are located, it makes any target only an hour away: Pentagon Tests Hypersonic Flying Bomb : Discovery News

Ballistic missiles have been the ultimate in long-range weapons for the last half-century, able to reach almost anyplace on Earth within an hour (sometimes less). On Thursday the U.S. Army tested a bomb that can reach ballistic missile speeds and more importantly, has directional controls.

The Pentagon didn’t give specifics about the weapon’s range or speed. Called the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, or AHW, it was launched from Hawaii and hit a target in Kwajalein Atoll, some 2,500 miles away in about a half hour.

Hypersonic speeds are defined as faster than five times the speed of sound, which is about 768 miles per hour at sea level. If this was truly a hypersonic flight that means the AHW was moving at least 3,800 miles per hour. At that speed it could hit any target on earth in three hours or less. The AHW is part of a program called Prompt Global Strike, and the goal is to build a weapon that can reach its target in an hour or less. The Congressional Research Service reports that some $240 million has been spent on the program so far.

I can’t decide which is more mind-boggling…the faster than five times the speed of sound…or the $240 million spent on the project, “so far.”

Hillary Clinton weighed in on the Penn State child rape scandal: Hillary Clinton: ‘Sick’ about Penn State scandal – MJ Lee – POLITICO.com

“I am just sick at heart about it,” Clinton said in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper. “I am also the daughter and the sister of two men who went to Penn State and were on the football team. So we have a long tradition of supporting Penn State academically and athletically.”

The secretary of state also said that some people’s initial reactions when the allegations first surfaced were not “calm or considered,” referring to student supporters of the football team who rioted.

“I can understand, in the passion and emotion of the moments, and before people really had a chance to actually think about what these allegations mean, people perhaps were not as calm or considered in their response,” she said.

She added, “But now it seems across the board everyone is focused on what we should be focused on, which are the children who allegedly have been victimized.”

This next link is just interesting on a “how about that” level: The Volokh Conspiracy » Why Yankee Doodle called it “macaroni” It is a quick post about the British Monarchy in the late 1700’s. I guess the word “Macaroni” was the “Bling” of the 18th century.

From Minx’s Missing Link File: Many of you know my fascination with little people (a.k.a midgets) so when I read this obit for one of the last living Munchkins, I had to write about it. Karl Slover dies at 93; among the last of the Munchkins

A dwarf whose father sold him to circus performers, Karl Slover was performing in a vaudeville troupe called the Singer Midgets when he was cast as a Munchkin in the 1939 classic film ” The Wizard of Oz.”

The 4-foot, 4-inch Slover, one of the last of the actors who portrayed Munchkins, died Tuesday in a central Georgia hospital of cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 93.

Slover was part of the Singer’s Midgets, which is an image I use sometimes on my evening read post:

Of the 124 “Munchkins” only three survive. Slover had a terrible childhood, which consisted of painful treatments for his dwarfism.

As a child, Slover was partially buried in sand, immersed in heated oil until his skin blistered and then attached to a stretching machine at a hospital, all in the attempt to make him become taller. Eventually his 6-foot-6 inch father sold him to a troupe of traveling midgets in Berlin. He was 9.

By the time he was a teenager, he had moved to the United States and appeared with the Singer Midgets, whose 30 performers became the nucleus of the Munchkins.

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Slover is the first of three trumpeters to herald the Munchkin mayor’s entrance. Paid about $50 a week for acting in the movie, Slover told friends that Garland’s dog in the film, Toto, earned more.

But he seems to have had quite the personality and a good outlook on life…John Fricke, author of “100 years of Oz” had this to say about Slover and his role in Munchkinland:

“He has a genuine immortality,” Fricke said.

[…]

“In those uninformed days, his father tried witch doctor treatments to make him grow,” Fricke said. “Knowing Karl and his triumph over his early life, you can’t help but celebrate the man at a time like this.”

Easy like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Pictures are worth a thousand words…

Rescue me: This stunning blue lobster has been rehomed at London's Natural History Museum after a fisherman spotted it at Billingsgate Market

Rescue me: This stunning blue lobster has been rehomed at London’s Natural History Museum after a fisherman spotted it at Billingsgate Market

Scientists at the museum believe the European lobster, traditionally a much darker shade of blue, hatched out with the unusual colour due to a rare genetic variant.

It has now been given to the London Aquarium and will be on display once it has been through quarantine.

Rex, 45, was buying supplies for his shop, The Chelsea Fishmonger, when he saw the lobster at Billingsgate Market.

He said: ‘It’s the most striking blue lobster I have seen in my 30 years in the business and was too nice to put in a pot and boil.

‘I had a word with the seller and we both agreed on how nice it looked. He sold it to me for 10 pounds, which is the normal price for a lobster that size.

Standing out: The rare blue lobster is vividly different in appearance to his muddy-coloured contemporaries

Standing out: The rare blue lobster is vividly different in appearance to his muddy-coloured contemporaries

Is that amazing or what? Such a beautiful color of vivid blue…

That is it for me this big Sunday. Big for me because I am moving into our new old house today. Tomorrow the high-speed internet gets hooked up and by Tuesday I should be back to normal, well at least almost normal. So as of Wednesday…the Evening News Reads will be back in full force! Every evening Monday through Friday, between 5–7pm EST. It will be so good to be back, I miss hanging out in the comments too!

So, have a marvelous day…and post some links to what you are reading and thinking about today!


35 Comments on “Sunday Reads: There is no place like home…”

  1. The Rock says:

    “In my view, what the super committee should do is rein in excessive spending in the current budget and reform Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security to make them permanently sustainable,” he said.

    As you so eloquently put it, we are so f&^%$d.

    Hillary 2012

    Great roundup Minx! To see the news is to get depressed. Since our news choices are either ‘Look! I’m the craziest Republican!’ or ‘Look! I’m another corrupt yellow Democrat!’ I think I’m going to start posting my menu, one dish at a time, to break up this cycle of idiocy. Til then, have a happy Sunday!

    Hillary 2012

    • HT says:

      Good grief, that is distasteful and smacks of a police state mentality.

    • janicen says:

      From the article…

      “They proceeded to ask me if anyone was sleeping there,” Ms. Sargent said. “I said yes, we had occupiers from Occupy Wall Street, who asked for a place to stay.”

      Ms. Sargent said she was told by the officers that they did not want anything to happen to the church and that there was risk to letting people sleep there. Ms. Sargent said she told the officers “that’s what the church is for.”

      It sounds like mobsters looking for protection money. “It would be a shame to see something happen to this nice church ya got here…”.

      Friggin’ goon squad.

  2. janicen says:

    Forcing people to work on Thanksgiving is more about stripping workers’ rights than it is about increasing profits. I don’t think opening a few hours earlier is going to make any difference to the bottom line of overall holiday profits, but it will go a long way toward creating a culture where workers have fewer and fewer holidays and benefits. Score one for the corporations. The only way we can fight back is by signing the petitions and withholding our money. I’m am not only not going to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, I’m not going to spend one damned dime this holiday season at any of the retailers who force their workers to work on Thanksgiving. We have to start taking our world back from the corporations.

    • dakinikat says:

      Give up national crass consumerism season completely. It is the best thing I ever did. Over ten years now. Refuse to run up debt and buy useless junk. Spend time with people instead. Do things together that cost nothing but your time and love.

      • janicen says:

        I would, but I really want Santa to bring me a Kindle Fire.

        • dakinikat says:

          lol … I suppose telling you it would be just cheaper to buy one in a few months would just ruin the surprise? 😉

          I like to do kamikaze gift giving… when they least expect it. I don’t wait for contrived holidays. I think my disdain for the retail industry has never left me since having to survive on their lousy wages, working conditions, and hours back in college.

      • Branjor says:

        Was that you today who just dropped $80 worth of Shop Rite gift cards on my head?
        LOL!

      • dakinikat says:

        Not at the moment. I’m going to be totally out of money in about 3-4 weeks

      • Branjor says:

        Oh no, that’s where I am now, and it’s not fun. I hope the tide changes for you soon. I got the job I interviewed for last week, pending satisfactory completion of a background check, which I don’t expect to have any trouble with.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    “Christmas” begins as early as 6 months out when retailers celebrate “Christmas in July” sales, offering a “head start” on useless spending.

    People running around going nuts trying to select the “right gift”; kids requesting every toy advertised on t.v.; postal workers suffering from backaches from delivering umpteen catalogues for gift giving; trees being whacked down in October for sale the day after Thanksgiving; holiday music taking over the airwaves weeks ahead of the 25th featuring an unending barrage of commercials aimed at spend, spend, spend.

    What going into debt for a single day out of the year has to do with “Jesus birthday” eludes me. Most of these kid toys will go untouched for the year or thrown out within a week of receipt, many gifts will be returned for something else, the live tree will be thrown out onto the lawn for pick up, and Valentine’s Day sales will begin on Dec 26th.

    A never ending cycle of sales that goes on year round. Along with the same vow that “next year will be different”.

    I just received a copy of “The American Girl” doll catalogue that featured outfits costing $58.00 which is more than I spend to outfit myself!

    Time to start “drawing the line” on stupid expenditures that sink the public into debt that has no meaning beyond purchasing a useless item for the sake of one day out of the year.

    • janicen says:

      LOL on your American Girl outfit line, Pat. Me too. I never spent one penny on American Girl crap for my daughter. She had two, but they were gifts from grandparents. She did read the books, but she borrowed them from a friend. I could never understand the justification for spending that kind of money for a doll.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        janicen: I have two granddaughters who each have two American Girl dolls that are as costly as raising a real kid! Ridiculous.

        The 9 year old does take good care of her two. But you can always find the two that belong to the 7 year old under the bed, tossed in a corner, buried under the other stuff in her room.

        But according to their parents, these items are “must haves” on their Gimme List.

        Just this week QVC was featuring designer hand bags for $300.00 with the hosts urging people buy two since the price had been “reduced”. Give me a break!

      • janicen says:

        Oh the purse thing is absurd. I inherited a small amount of money a few years ago and decided, since it was found money, that I would splurge on one of those designer purses I’ve seen so many women carry. I walked into a Louis Vuitton store and spotted one that was normal-sized, and thought it might fit the bill. Then I looked at the price, $1,499.00!!!! WTF?! What an obscene amount of money to spend on a purse! It was just the shock therapy I needed. I immediately left the store, and put my little pile of cash in savings. I realized that wasting money like that is just not in my nature.

  4. Fannie says:

    Loved your postings today Mink – oh yeah, glad you are getting settled in, get ready for Turkey and kick back and relax.

    I so wish I could find you the book “ten little midget indians”

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      LOL, Fannie…

      I don’t mean any disrespect, and I am not sure why I have this fondness/obsession with little people. But I’ve been fascinated by them since I was a toddler. There was a house in Tampa that was built by one of the midgets from the Ringling Bros. circus that was a complete replica of a Cinderella castle…only it was small. I used to make my dad take me to go see it all the time, from three years old until I left home. Midget Mansion is what I called it. Again, I have no intentions of hurting any feelings…but little people are the “bomb.”

  5. HT says:

    Re Karl Slover – have you seen Terror of Tinytown? He played the barber. A fun movie with a cast that was comprised mainly of the members of the Singer’s Midgets group. It’s available on youtube, for anyone that is interested.

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    $1,499.00!!!! WTF?! unless it was filled with gold 🙂

  7. dakinikat says:

    From CNN breaking news:

    Members of the “super committee” charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts are focused on how to announce failure to reach a deal, Democratic and Republican aides confirmed to CNN Sunday.

    While aides said no final decision had been made, they acknowledged that barring an unforeseen development, an announcement of no deal is likely.

    Talks on trying to reach a deficit reduction agreement are essentially over and discussions are focused on a Monday announcement, a senior Democratic aide said.

    To stave off automatic spending cuts known as a sequester, the super committee was tasked with proposing ways to reduce deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. At least seven of its 12 members would have to approve a plan in order to send it to the House and Senate in the form of legislation.

    Then, both chambers would vote on the bill without amendment by December 23. For the plan to pass, a simple majo rity in each chamber would have to vote in favor.

    Failure to pass any agreement could result in $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts across much of the federal budget starting in 2013, evenly divided between defense and nondefense spending. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Congress this week that such cuts could cripple the American military establishment.

    Since Congress made the law governing the sequester, it can also amend or repeal it, as some lawmakers are suggesting.

    • dakinikat says:

      Cannonfire has a good post up today about msnbc finding a memo to the ABA on how to destroy OWS and what will happen if they don’t pay the media and politicians to discredit it. Really worth the read.

  8. Woman Voter says:

    This is simply wrong, nothing justifies this:
    http://www.twitpic.com/7fersl/full

    • HT says:

      Good gravy, he’s pepper spraying babies? What kind of an animal would do that?

      • northwestrain says:

        Someone who should be in jail for child abuse.

        I’d like to know what sort of testing the cop pigs are given — are the police departments looking for psychopaths?