Thursday, July 29, 2010

Job-Related Topic: updating emails

I've had it with all these resume reviewers telling me isn't professional enough.  Damn you and your dull colorless patterns!  Fine.  FINE!  I can now be reached at  Only serious human resource officers need apply.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Very OT: The font of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

Just in case people want to make their own "Mad Men" fan blog.  The font used for office signage at SCDP is Akzidenz-Grotesk.  Not Helvetica or Arial.

It's be nice if HTML can handle True Type fonts.

You have been informed.

Also, Breitbart Delendus Est.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OT: No-Hitter

Just wanted to mention that my twin brother had tickets to Monday night's game between the Rays and the visiting Detroit Tigers.

Huge No-Hitter game.  First one in Rays history!

Congrats to Garza on the historic victory!

Monday, July 26, 2010

At what point will the Middle Class wake up and realize the Rich are killing them?

Via Balloon-Juice, an article posted on Yahoo! Finance by Michael Snyder:

...The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.
So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and "free trade" that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn't tell us that the "global economy" would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.
Here are the statistics to prove it:
•    83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
•    61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
•    66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
•    36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
•    A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
•    24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
•    Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
•    Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
•    For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
•    In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
•    As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
•    The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
•    Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
•    In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector (NOTE: this tells me the private sector is worth dick when it comes to solving our nation's employment crisis).
•    The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
•    In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks (NOTE: I'm way over average at 82... maybe 85 weeks).
•    More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
•    For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
•    This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
•    Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
•    Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
•    The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

...The reality is that no matter how smart, how strong, how educated or how hard working American workers are, they just cannot compete with people who are desperate to put in 10 to 12 hour days at less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world. After all, what corporation in their right mind is going to pay an American worker 10 times more (plus benefits) to do the same job?...
...So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of "chronically unemployed" is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.
Many of those who are able to get jobs are finding that they are making less money than they used to. In fact, an increasingly large percentage of Americans are working at low wage retail and service jobs.  But you can't raise a family on what you make flipping burgers at McDonald's or on what you bring in from greeting customers down at the local Wal-Mart.
The truth is that the middle class in America is dying -- and once it is gone it will be incredibly difficult to rebuild.

Snyder only points out half the problem: that middle-class quality American jobs are leaving and never coming back.  The other half of the problem is the income inequality: barely 1 to 5 percent of the entire American population is seeing any wage improvements and boost to standards of living, with the lower 95 percent (!) of the population stuck in a growing pool of debt and inability to pay for the good things in life... good things like a family home, food on the table, a car with working headlights and only one flat tire, you know those sort of things.  And that is caused by the fact there are no caps on CEO wages and bonuses: every structure of management shifts the money upward with very little sign of the companies' profits getting spread out among all employees.  That jump of CEO earnings being 500 times more than their workers' average earnings?  That can't be entirely explained away by cheaper overseas labor: part of it is from those cushy Golden Parachute packages that CEOs get for getting hired by the board to come in and shred everything until the company goes bankrupt.  No incentive to perform well, every incentive to squeeze as much money out of the company as quick as possible to the very few at top who would benefit...

There's a lot of things wrong in our country: the jobless crisis and CEO greed are at the top of the list.  And sad to say, there's nothing Congress wants to do about any of it.

This is where I normally say "we're fucked."  But also Breitbart Delendus Est.  Just because his noise and bullshit are distracting all Americans from the Truth: it's NOT about race, it IS about poverty.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breitbart Delendus Est

What Andrew Breitbart did wrong:

1) He either edited - or received it already edited - a video of Shirley Sherrod at an NAACP convention discussing her evolving beliefs on race, in which Sherrod admitted that 24 years ago as a state-level agricultural employee in Georgia she wasn't helping a White farming family as much as she would for a Black family.  The video clip that Breitbart shows on his website (I refuse to link to him) ends rather abruptly, suggesting there was more to what she said.  And there was...

2) Rather than present the whole of Sherrod's speech or dig any deeper, Breitbart immediately presents the video clip on his website.  To describe the video clip, Breitbart claims "...Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn't do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from "one of his own kind". She refers him to a white lawyer. Sherrod's racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement."  Breitbart essentially claims Sherrod is a racist, which can be a defaming and possibly libelous thing to write.

3) Breitbart fails to conduct any pre-posting research or any discernible follow-up, for example doing any work to find the white farming family that Sherrod supposedly discriminated (it's up to other reporters and media outlets to find the Spooners).  If he did any research like that, he doesn't demonstrate it on his website on his own initiative.  For example when other news outlets uncover the full video clip of Sherrod's speech, only then does Breitbart link it on his site.

And why did Breitbart do wrong?

Because Sherrod had more to her tale, and Breitbart avoided or ignored it.

If Breitbart had done his research, or found a full video of Sherrod's speech, he'd have heard the rest of it where Sherrod gains insight, rejects her hardened attitudes towards whites, goes out of her way to work harder to save that White family's farm, and ends up befriending them.  In other words, Sherrod proves she's not a racist (to wit, "It's not about Black or White, it's about being poor"), and openly called on others to think the same.

Linkage to Glenn Greenwald about why Sherrod is the heroine of the month.  Additional linkage to Greenwald letters where he thinks (FINALLY I might add.  I say this because I'd emailed him earlier about OTHER times that innocent people got slimed by FOX News and their ilk) that Sherrod has an actionable case against Breitbart and FOX News.

Personally, as a Journalism college graduate (Bachelors, University of Florida) I sincerely believed Breitbart committed an act of libel.  He posted with malicious intent (calling Sherrod a racist), he posted using incorrect and deceitful materials (the edited video clip), he posted without having done any deeper research into the matter (the thing I would have done: find the white farmers who would have been discriminated against and getting their side of the story.  It's called The Human Element and it gets your readers/viewers' attention a lot quicker).  Worse of all: Breitbart cannot claim a defense against libel because Breitbart WAS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH (he commits Lie By Omission by either editing Sherrod's tale or using an edit given to him.  Given Breitbart's track record, I have every reason to believe he made the edit, and you're going to have to prove me otherwise).

I hope to God Sherrod's talking to a lawyer about going after Breitbart and FOX News (who took Breitbart's story and ran with it).  It has been too damn long that any news media outlet has been held accountable like this.  It has been especially a long time for FOX News to answer for their many journalistic sins.

And until he does go away, either by explusion from an embarrassed conservative media corps or by lawsuit, this is all I have to say about Breitbart from now on.

Breitbart Delendus Est.

The Martyrdom of Shirley Sherrod

This needs to be said.

Racism has been in the news lately.  The NAACP came out and accused the nationwide Tea Party movement of tactically supporting racism at their rallies.  The Tea Partiers and their Republican defenders promptly rose up to accuse the NAACP of "reverse-racism" (or Black-on-White) themselves... and then had to kick one of their "leaders" Mike Williams out for responding with a blatantly offensive "letter to Lincoln" that not even openly-proud racists could ignore.

Next thing we know, along comes Andrew Breitbart - responsible for hiring twentysomething idiots to pretend being pimps and prostitutes, videotaping ACORN employees, and then selectively edit said videos to make it look as though ACORN was helping pimps with their prostitution efforts - and he puts up a video on his website of a current USDA employee named Shirley Sherrod speaking at a meeting on racism.  A Black woman, Sherrod discussed how after years of helping poor Black farmers she was once confronted with having to help her first White farmer, and she admitted that in the beginning she didn't help that White family as well as she had helped Black farmers.

AHA!  So the saying goes, Breitbart has evidence at long last of reverse racism in action!  This video quickly made its way to FOX News, who quickly pounced and broadcasted it nationally.  The snowball became an avalanche, the NAACP jumping into making a statement denouncing Sherrod's racism against Whites.  Somewhere along the chain of command from the USDA up to the Secretary of Agriculture (and maybe Obama's White House) someone came up with the yellow-belly idea of forcing Sherrod into resigning before the matter could be fully investigated.

Because when the matter WAS fully investigated, it turns out that Breitbart had - yet again - used a selectively edited video of Sherrod's speech.   A full video shows Sherrod continuing her story about Her First White Farmer by pointing out she realized she needed to move beyond her own racist attitudes, and Sherrod HELPED that White Farmer find a lawyer, and made every effort to make sure that White Farmer kept his farm.  Even more, the White family she helped came out and publicly supported Sherrod's efforts helping them, and they were grateful for her help and that "she treated us good."  No one - not Breitbart, not FOX, not the Department of Agriculture or the NAACP or anyone else - made any effort to find out more information, to get more evidence and eyewitnesses, to do ANYTHING to see if Sherrod was just another target of Breitbart's selective editing.

This is what I posted on Ace of Spades website, where Ace was cheering Breitbart on for having punk'd the Obama administration into hastily firing innocent people:

I seem to recall Dan Rather making a hasty and poorly researched report into George W. Bush's service record with the Texas National Guard.  When Rather's team got caught with various holes in their reporting, Rather got forced out the door in disgrace.

Breitbart creates a hasty and poorly researched report into a woman's internal conflict with her own racism THAT SHE OVERCOMES by the by.  When Breitbart got caught pushing a selectively edited videotape, and failed to either hunt down the white farmers who DID get help from Sherrod or look for other witnesses to Sherrod's speech to verify if any other interesting statements were said by her... YOU (Ace) want to give Breitbart a MEDAL?!

I'm sorry, but Breitbart f-cked up here as badly as Vilsack did.  There needs to be accountability in the media and for this Breitbart needs to go.  Get kicked out the door just like Rather was.

Everyone EXCEPT Sherrod and those farmers she helped were in the wrong here.  Whoever gave Breitbart that edited video... Breitbart for failing basic rules of reporting (get more than one source!  verify!  interview as many people as you can!)... FOX News for quickly jumping on Breitbart's story without doing THEIR own research... The NAACP for jumping too quickly themselves and attacking her, in an effort to position themselves after recently attacking the Tea Party for racism... Vilsack, the Obama Administration and probably Obama himself for jumping the gun and forcing an innocent woman out of her job...

SO far the NAACP is the only one to have openly apologized, I haven't seen anybody else who screwed up to do so.  Obama needs to apologize directly to Sherrod and re-instate her.  Vilsack needs to apologize and offer his resignation to Obama (Obama can refuse it with a harsh reminder to Vilsack to watch his steps... or accept it and find a replacement).  FOX News and any other news outfit that jumped on this story need to apologize for their rush to judgment and take good-faith efforts to fact-check their stories and hold people accountable something they haven't been doing for years (like I keep saying, it looks like the last one who was held accountable was Rather, and that was 5-6 years ago).

And Breitbart needs to go.  No f-cking awards for him.

I swear to God we have no honest journalism anymore.  We have no sensible leadership that recognizes when we're getting bum-rushed by idiots with agendas re-enacting the whole "Boy Who Cried Wolf" crap, how many times you gonna believe Breitbart after the stunts he's pulled?  And people are suffering because of it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time To Rally The Unemployed

I'm sick of job-hunting and not finding anything.

I'm sick of placing my resume out there and getting only 2 bites in 2 years.

Above all, I'm sick of those bastard politicians in the Beltway who can't wrap their goddamn heads around the fact that THERE ARE NO GOOD JOBS OUT THERE, THAT NO ONES CREATING MORE JOBS TO FILL, AND WE NEED FINANCIAL AID TO KEEP FOOD ON THE TABLES AND A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.

These politicians even want to punish the unemployed for being, you know, losers who can't find a job.  They think we're just lazy.  They think we're Welfare Queens.  They think we're preferring a $250 a week benefit payout over a $40,000 a year full-time job.

Time to organize.  Time to send all the unemployed to Washington DC and clog the streets.  Time to walk up to the White House with everyone in a line to drop off our resumes and remind Obama that GODDAMMIT WE NEED WORK!  Time to walk into Congress and... whadda ya mean, they're not gonna let us take the tour?!  Sigh.

Need to speak to  Or MoveOn.  Somebody to get something signed up for August or September.  Set a date, I swear to God we can get 27 million in the streets screaming for jobs.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Welcome to the 4th of July here in the United States (Updated)

From Digby:

What a beautiful message of unity on our Independence Day it is to tell close to 20 million citizens that they are on their own in the worst job market since the Great Depression purely to make a cheap political point. It would make King George proud to see his aristocratic heirs flexing their muscles two centuries later in the country that once proudly proclaimed that it didn't have a class system.

Also wik.  And this:

(UPDATE: 7/5/2014) tis a pity but YouTube links go bad all the time.  I'll try to bring ya a replacement one:

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Let's see.  There's a massive ecological disaster out in my Gulf that threatens to ruin the environment of the American Southeast for the next ten generations.  There's already substantial evidence that British Petroleum and Transocean and Halliburton cut corners and ignored both Federal and internal security regulations, and yet there are still those in political office (cough, mostly Republicans although I will concur that a few Democrats are in Big Oil's pocket) sucking up and making the criminals out to be the victims in all this.

There's high unemployment across the nation, but especially here in Florida, with few good wage job openings in sight.  Businesses are not inclined to hire on more people because the economy is still too shaky: banks aren't lending out much to small or start-up businesses for the same reason.  There's evidence that massive unemployment is both destructive to the economy and to our society: yet nothing is being done by our government to alleviate it...

Unemployment benefits / jobs bill have been held up - AGAIN - by an obstructionist Republican-controlled Senate, yes the Republicans are in the minority with 40 seated but thanks to Filibustering and Cloture rules that 40 can shut down any legislation brought to the floor.

And why are the Republicans holding up that legislation?  Because now - after the entire 2000-2008 era of Republicans' out-of-control spending and deficit creation ("Deficits Don't Matter," says Republican leader Dick Cheney) - because NOW the Republicans are all "Oh NO don't let the Democrats spend any money OH NOES let's be austere and RESPONSIBLE with YOUR, we mean OUR spending!"  Now when we NEED a Keynesian approach to getting our nation out of this DEPRESSION (we're still at 10 percent unemployment!  THIS.  IS.  NOT.  GOOD.) the Republicans are still stuck in Hooverist denial.  Like that worked the last time!

And it's as though the Republican leadership has no fucking clue just how bad it is out here in the World of Few Jobs.  Right now there's five job-seekers to each job opening: in good economic times it's supposed to be two job-seekers to each job (there were times jobs had to be re-opened to get more applicants interested to fulfill a three-candidate requirement!).  That's the official number: I swear to God it feels like there's ten or twenty job-seekers per opening.  They think we're all Welfare Queens all over again.  NO WE'RE NOT.  We're college-educated former workers (and some are even Republicans of long-standing although not anymore) who got screwed over by a One-Two (Home Ownership/Mortgage Collapse and the Stock Market/Banking Disaster) Economic Punch that's still not resolved.  Jobs are out there, Ms. Angle?  The jobs in question are entry-level low-wage jobs that won't pay our mortgages or kids' schooling.  Wal-Mart Greeter is not what I call a career.  The jobs are also over in Texas or Washington State or Montana and because of the real estate/mortgage fiasco we can't sell our homes and move to them.  Either way, we Job-Seekers ARE FUCKING SCREWED.

I still have a few benefits available at the local unemployment - sorry, Career Center - office, especially a Vocational Rehab service that can treat my ongoing psychological problem with depression.  Of course, as with any bureaucracy the paperwork is TAKING TOO DAMN LONG.  Sorry.

So here I sit.  Unemployed.  Sending more resumes out today to see about getting someone to interview me.  At least I got the A+ Certification to try for a Tech Support career track now.  But even that looks easier said than done.

Meanwhile the Republicans are pretty much killing us with oil-poisoned waters and no financial aid for 27-30 million unemployed Americans, and for some Godforsaken reason there's legitimate talk that these GOP bastards can retake the Congress in the November midterms.  WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO MY COUNTRY?!