Friday, November 30, 2012

Mr. Soul

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Your sometime weekly Steve Forbes

Borrowing from Charlie Pierce, I thought it would be helpful to you, Loyal Reader, if I dipped in to the genuinely maladroit stylings of one, Steve Forbes -- rich, ne'er do well son of Malcolm Forbes.  A man who, while depleting the family fortune on ill-advised political campaigns in which he couldn't get himself elected to Martian dog catcher and on a magazine that now appears to be printed on used toilet paper.

In this week's installment, Mr. Forbes -- channeling inchoate rich man's rage against the Kenyan upstart who has managed to actually make the rich richer these past four years -- delves deep (do yourself a favor, don't click on that link) into BHO's soul to find nothing but smoldering anger and revenge.

But President Obama is after revenge. He’s still smarting from having to extend the Bush tax rates for two years after his party took a shellacking in the 2010 congressional elections. Moreover, he has a deep personal antipathy to people of means, particularly if they’re from the business community. He just wants to stick it to them, even if it harms the economy.
 Evidence for this deep-seated piss-off-ness on Obama's part:  Obamacare, of course.

Labels: , ,

Off the cliff

Now that you've enjoyed your trip back to ol' Wide World of Sports, go read Matt Yglesias.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Earl Carroll, RIP


Nothing to see's Cyber Monday

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blue Monday, Muddy Waters and James Cotton edition

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pay a decent wage

Perhaps the so-called "skills gap" would evaporate if we paid workers with desirable skills more than a shift manager at McDonalds.

Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051 applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire 15. Part of Isbister’s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a “union-type job.” Isbister, after all, doesn’t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries. At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.
The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs. “It’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.
In a recent study, the Boston Consulting Group noted that, outside a few small cities that rely on the oil industry, there weren’t many places where manufacturing wages were going up and employers still couldn’t find enough workers. “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates,” the Boston Group study asserted, “is not a skills gap.” The study’s conclusion, however, was scarier. Many skilled workers have simply chosen to apply their skills elsewhere rather than work for less, and few young people choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages. As a result, the United States may soon have a hard time competing in the global economy. The average age of a highly skilled factory worker in the U.S. is now 56. “That’s average,” says Hal Sirkin, the lead author of the study. “That means there’s a lot who are in their 60s. They’re going to retire soon.” And there are not enough trainees in the pipeline, he said, to replace them.
One result, Sirkin suggests, is that the fake skills gap is threatening to create a real skills gap. Goldenberg, who has taught for more than 20 years, is already seeing it up close. Few of his top students want to work in factories for current wages. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Any old way

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971

Hat tip.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blue Monday, Miles Davis edition

Friday, November 16, 2012

John Barleycorn Must Die


Thursday, November 15, 2012

President McCain chooses a Secty of State

In McCain's angry world, it is rank incompetence for the U.S. Ambassador to be misinformed about an attack on a consulate in Libya, but the man responsible for the intelligence related to the attack, "deserves another chance."

Labels: ,

If there was any doubt about Romney's esteemed character...

You know, after the interminable GOP primary and the brutal general election, I didn't think anything Mitt Romney said could leave me slack jawed anymore, but he's out done himself in defeat.

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”
“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”
Mr. Romney’s comments in the 20-minute conference call came after his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, told WISC-TV in Madison on Monday that their loss was a result of Mr. Obama’s strength in “urban areas,” an analysis that did not account for Mr. Obama’s victories in more rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire or the decrease in the number of votes for the president relative to 2008 in critical urban counties in Ohio.
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

Free contraceptives got Obama the lady vote. Yes, that must have been it (oddly, I had heard it was going to cost him the Catholic vote).  And, believe it or not, Romney had more to say.

Apparently, the gifts Romney proposed to give to plutocrats was not a good electoral strategy for him. 

Man, we dodged a bullet...again.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blue Monday, Gene Autry edition

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The last race

Now, get back to work so we can avoid another thrashing in the mid-terms!


Friday, November 09, 2012

Decision-making at Fox News

Have to admit it, I'm in agreement with Ailes on this one.

This time, it was the network divided against itself, and Fox News' top producers held a meeting to adjudicate. The decision desk stood their ground. They knew how momentous the call was. Earlier in the night, according to a source, before making the call, Arnon Mishkin, who heads the decision desk, told Fox brass, "let's remember this is Fox News calling Ohio. This will say something beyond Ohio going for Obama." Fox brass told Mishkin to get the numbers right and ignore the politics: "If we think Ohio has gone Obama, we call Ohio," said a Fox News executive.

With neither side backing down, senior producers had to find a way to split the difference. One idea was for two members of the decision team, Mishkin and Fox's digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt, to go on camera with Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier to squelch the doubts over the call. But then it was decided that Kelly would walk through the office and interview the decision team in the conference room. "This is Fox News," an insider said, "so anytime there's a chance to show off Megyn Kelly's legs they'll go for it." 

Labels: ,

2 minute warning

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Avalanche on Bull#$%@ Mountain

Shoe-horning the 1%ers


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

End zone dance

Appropriate, somehow..

A Kansas City Chiefs cornerback returns an interception 58 yards for a touchdown, then flexes his biceps in the end zone with one foot resting on the ball. A Seattle wide receiver makes a throat-slashing gesture after catching a 52-yard pass for a score. A running back for Green Bay lies on his back in the end zone and waves his legs and arms to mime a snow angel after an 80-yard scoring catch. After an 18-yard touchdown catch on Jan. 1, a Buffalo receiver exposes an undershirt that has “Happy New Year” written on it.
Each of these touchdown celebrations last season resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. But they had one other commonality: The fouls were called on black players.
It cannot be determined from those few cases and limited data whether race played any role in those penalties for excessive celebration. But a study published in July in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by two researchers in psychology at Northwestern University tested the question of bias in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called after touchdowns. The two researchers, Erika V. Hall, a doctoral candidate, and Robert W. Livingston, an associate professor of management and organizations, tried to gather more insight by posing a series of hypothetical situations to a group of people.
They randomly assigned 44 men and women, who were nonblack and qualified as familiar with football after answering a pretest question, to read one of several accounts of a fictional N.F.L. play, each with details that varied slightly. In one version, a wide receiver named Malik Johnson makes a spectacular fingertip catch and sprints into the end zone. Then he spikes the ball in front of a defender named Jake Biermann, goes into his signature touchdown dance, flexes his muscles and waits for a reaction from the crowd. In a second version, everything is the same, except the wide receiver is Jake Biermann and the defender is Malik Johnson.
In other variations, the stories and names are the same but when the wide receiver — either Jake or Malik — scores he calmly flips the ball to the referee and trots to the sideline.
None of the participants were told that the experiment involved race. Instead, they were asked to rate the players for arrogance and to say how much of a salary bonus each should be rewarded with for his catch and score.
Malik and Jake were rated equally for arrogance when they celebrated and for humility when they didn’t. But when it came to rewards and penalties, the differences were stark. Biermann was rewarded about equally whether he celebrated or not. But Johnson incurred a sort of “hubris penalty,” receiving a significantly lower reward if he celebrated with a touchdown dance than if he gave the ball to the official and jogged off the field. 


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

New Christy Minstrels?

Every 4 years are different

No. They're not.  Every presidential campaign...hell, every campaign for anything worth long, divisive, name it.

Go vote.

I'm Vegacura, and I approve this message.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Gore's revenge

I had to delete this video, at the request of an impassioned reader (the only one?), because it played automatically.  Hopefully this one won't, cause the video is too awesome not to share.

Labels: ,

Blue Monday, Cream edition

For many, the storm continues this Monday.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 02, 2012

Twisted Road

Also too


Apparently, there's an election nigh

Madame Cura, speaking on the phone with her Mother:

So, the jobs report was encouraging today...


Walk Like a Giant

And, yes, Psychedelic Pill is seriously good.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

They drink snake oil like water

Rick Perlstein wondered why voters in one major political party would nominate and full-throatedly support a pathological liar.  After spending some time in their world, he began to see a pattern:

“Dear NewsMax Reader,” this appeal began, leaving no doubt that whatever trust that publication had built with its followers was being rented out wholesale. “Please find below a special message from our sponsor, James Davidson, Editor of Outside the Box. He has some important information to share with you.”

Here’s the information in question: “If you have shied away from profiting from the immense promise of stem cells to treat disease because of moral concern over extracting stem cells from fetal tissue, pay close attention. You can now invest with a clear conscience. An Israeli entrepreneur, Zami Aberman, has discovered ‘an oilfield in the placenta.’ His little company, Pluristem Life Systems (OTCBB: PLRS) has made a discovery which is potentially more valuable than Prudhoe Bay.”

Davidson concluded by proposing the lucky investor purchase a position of 83,000 shares of PLRS for the low, low price of twelve cents each. If you act now, Davidson explained, your $10,000 outlay “could bring you a profit of more than a quarter of a million dollars.”

Not long after I let the magic of the placenta-based oilfield sink in, I got another pitch, this one courtesy of the webmasters handling the Human Events mailing list and headed “The Trouble with Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.” Perhaps I’m a little gullible myself; for a couple of seconds, I believed the esteemed Reagan-era policy handbook might be sending out a useful consumer advisory to its readers, an investigative guide to the phony get-rich-quick schemes caroming around the right-leaning opinion-sphere. But that hasty assumption proved sadly mistaken, presuming as it did that the proprietors of outfits like Human Events respect their readers. Instead, this was a come-on for something called “INSTANT INTERNET INCOME”—the chance at last to “put an end to your financial worries . . . permanently erase your debts . . . pay cash for the things you want . . . create a secure, enjoyable retirement for yourself . . . give your family the abundant lifestyle they so richly deserve.”

Back in our great-grandparents’ day, the peddlers of such miracle cures and get-rich-quick schemes were known as snake-oil salesmen. You don’t see stuff like this much in mainstream culture any more; it hardly seems possible such déclassé effronteries could get anywhere in a society with a high school completion rate of 90 percent. But tenders of a 23-Cent Heart Miracle seem to work just fine on the readers of the magazine where Ann Coulter began her journalistic ascent in the late nineties by pimping the notion that liberals are all gullible rubes. In an alternate universe where Coulter would be capable of rational self-reflection, it would be fascinating to ask her what she thinks about, say, the layout of on the day it featured an article headlined “Ideas Will Drive Conservatives’ Revival.” Two inches beneath that bold pronouncement, a box headed “Health News” included the headlines “Reverse Crippling Arthritis in 2 Days,” “Clear Clogged Arteries Safely & Easily—without drugs, without surgery, and without a radical diet,” and “High Blood Pressure Cured in 3 Minutes . . . Drop Measurement 60 Points.” It would be interesting, that is, to ask Coulter about the reflex of lying that’s now sutured into the modern conservative movement’s DNA—and to get her candid assessment of why conservative leaders treat their constituents like suckers.

It's a great, sad, dizzying read.  It reinforces something we've long known:  the leadership of the conservative movement wants to make people -- their adherents, children in the schools over which they have text book control, etc. -- stupid.

Labels: , ,

Weblog Commenting by Site Meter