The unemployment rate in California has hit double digits – 10.1%.
But perhaps now some people can get jobs dispensing medical marijuana without worrying about raids.
Let me see if I have this straight.
I’m supposed to not trust the government because it’s big and bad and never gets anything right.
But I’m supposed to have utter, blind faith in the unregulated integrity of mega-corporations because they’re “private”?
Seems to me that big corporations have been a lot more untrustworthy, and done me much more harm, than the government has.
If government getting too big is some kind of horrible evil, then how in the world is it good for corporations and multinational conglomerates to be too big?
Some left wing commentators engaged in a little "Drudgery" with this, trying to make it seem that McCain was virtually slapping the President in the face.
He wasn't. He was asking a direct question of the President in an open, honest, forthright environment. And President Obama handled it forthrightly, with humor, and, well, presidentially.
This is what open government is supposed to look like. This is the way it's supposed to work.
The President is enjoying broad support, and most Americans fault the Republicans for the lack of bipartisanship.
President Obama is benefiting from remarkably high levels of optimism and confidence among Americans about his leadership, providing him with substantial political clout as he confronts the nation’s economic challenges and opposition from nearly all Republicans in Congress, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
A majority of people surveyed in both parties said Mr. Obama was striving to work in a bipartisan way, but most faulted Republicans for their response to the president, saying the party had objected to the $787 billion economic stimulus plan for political reasons. Most said Mr. Obama should pursue the priorities he campaigned on, the poll found, rather than seek middle ground with Republicans.
From Radio & Records:
As first rumored by Street Talk Daily, CBS Radio is ending FM talk on KLSX/Los Angeles and replacing it with top 40 as "97.1 Amp Radio" as the station takes on the format developed on the HD2 channel of adult hits clustermate KCBS-FM (93.1 Jack FM). Amp Radio launches on Friday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. PT, and CBS Radio senior VP of programming Kevin Weatherly, who already programs Jack and alternative monster KROQ, will also handle Amp. KLSX PD Jack Silver will exit as a result, and the current KLSX airstaff will not make the transition.
The new station will launch with 10,000 songs in a row "with limited commercial interruption," according to senior VP/market manager Dan Weiner. He also tells R&R that there will be a substantial marketing effort to support the launch, involving a huge outdoor campaign with viral and online components; the station will be integrated with a strong online presence available at www.ampradio.com. Fans can also get involved through the usual social-networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
Some high-ranking Republicans are publicly saying we should consider nationalizing banks.
In a gloomy segment about the financial sector on ABC'S This Week, two self-avowed fiscal conservatives said that the U.S. Government should at least consider nationalizing the country's banking system as a means of moving beyond the current lending crisis.
"This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "But I think we've got so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community, throughout the world, that we're going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes. To me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. I'm very much afraid any program to salvage the banks is going to require the government... I would not take off the idea of nationalizing the banks."
The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.
The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as "clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance."
I knew it would happen eventually... my first Facebook threat!
Well, an implied threat. But still fun!
I posted a status update making a complimentary comment about the President. Now, not everyone's a supporter of the President, so it's to be expected that not everyone will agree with my opinion. That's fine. And we're all free to express ourselves. That's fine too.
But in one case, someone -- we've since "un-friended" and blocked each other (it's not anyone I or any of my friends know personally) -- responded to my note with a note of his own, disagreeing with my opinion. Cool. But then I responded, disagreeing with his disagreement.
THAT set him off. Suddenly, I was a "monkey" (hmm, interesting word choice), a "f---tard," etc.
And then what followed was a long comment describing how much bigger and heavier and tougher and more manly he was than me, and how "it's not a good idea to piss people off."
Uh, okay. "Pissing people off" as defined by "disagreeing with your opinion," I guess.
Look, here's the deal on threatening me: It won't work.
You see, I don't care. I've faced down road ragers and a rather large bodybuilder. How, you ask? By calling their bluffs.
If someone wants to beat me up, they should be aware that they'll probably succeed. I'm not a bodybuilder. I don't know karate. I don't have the Force. (These aren't the droids you're looking for.) I'm very un-Hollywood in that I don't spend 150 hours a week at a gym. But if you want to beat me up, it's probably a good idea to make sure I don't survive.
Because if I do survive, then I get to make your life a living hell. I'm your worst nightmare -- a [redacted]-pound weakling who has nothing to lose and refuses to shut up no matter how hard you pound him. And when you're done pounding, then I get to avail myself of our wonderfully broken legal system. This is Southern California, Land of a Billion Lawyers, baby!
In exchange for a few broken bones and embarrassment at having "my ass kicked," I'll gladly take your money and your valuable time.
So if you want to beat me up, just because I disagree with you, you need to know that you'll have to kill me. That's the only way you can shut me up. So if you're not prepared to do that, then the threats and the posing and the whipping out of genitalia won't make me change my opinion. (ESPECIALLY when it's done from behind the safety of a computer monitor.)
But if you just want to argue opinions, and not take the mere fact that I might disagree as some kind of personal attack, then I'm up for it. I've spent almost all my adult life disagreeing with people, sometimes just for the hell of it.
Sometimes, I even change my mind from a good argument. But never from a threat, implied or otherwise. And a threat has never made me shut my big fat mouth.
The latest talking point from the echo chamber is that the New Deal didn't create jobs, etc. The new chairman of the Republican Party, Rush Lim… er, I mean, Michael Steele, has been promoting this line.
Let me be kind and merely say that they're not… quite… being… honest.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate in 1933 was just under 25 percent. It fell each year after that (to 14.3 percent in 1937) until 1938 when it rose to 19 percent. What explains the increase in unemployment in '37 and '38? Nobel laureate Paul Krugman (a guy who knows a little somethin' somethin') points out that it was actually a reversal of New Deal policies – at the behest of congressional Republicans -- that led to recession and drove the unemployment numbers back up. This is something on which historians and economists agree.
So the Republicans opposing the spending bill are calling for the very thing that put the breaks on the New Deal in 1937 and led to an increase in unemployment and a stalling of the recovery.
Nudge and I were talking just the other day about the ever-expanding list of companies that were on the "not expected to survive 2009" list – and it was my opinion that the recently merged Sirius XM would most likely not survive the year.
And today the New York Times reported that Sirius XM was preparing to file Chapter 11.
The article says that service will probably not be interrupted, at least, not right away, but that they'd probably have to cut the contracts of their highest paid stars, Howard Stern and Martha Stewart.
It's sad news for me. No, I'm not a subscriber. I have friends who work for the company and I fear they'll join the growing list of people out of work in our current economic collapse.
Other companies that announced bankruptcy filings today – Muzak, the elevator music people. All those poor violins…
We're seeing more and more of this.
Back in the Great Depression, we heard (in some cases apocryphal) stories of bankers jumping from high windows. In our current time of troubles we seem to be seeing more and more domestic disputes and suicides. I haven't taken the time to look up numbers, but I bet they're up.
It’s worth noting, because we got used to Bush’s carefully, stringently pre-screened “town hall” meetings where they kicked out people for not looking happy enough to be there, that President Obama’s town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana today was NOT pre-screened. Not only that, but tickets were given out on a first-come, first-served basis in a county that did not vote for him.
Contrast that with Bush’s meetings in which the tickets were carefully doled out to ultra-faithful party members by the Republican Party.
I’m a big fan of coffee, though I’ve managed to limit myself to one cup in the morning, and maybe one in the afternoon if I need it. I’m somewhat serious about it, making sure I use filtered, cold water before brewing, making sure the coffee is ground properly, that its contact with air has been limited as much as possible.
Consumer Reports recently finished a survey of consumers about the best-tasting ground coffee, and you might be surprised at the result. The top vote getter wasn’t Starbucks. Starbucks wasn’t even among the top choices. (Personally, I don’t like Starbucks that much either; it tastes over-roasted to me.)
So which brand is number one? It’s a cheap one.
Eight O’Clock Colombian Coffee. Just six bucks a pound, less than half of what some of the expensive brands cost.
I’m off to buy some and find out for myself.
This is not a condemnation of anyone in particular. This is not me saying that anyone else MUST do what I’d do.
If I was already immensely wealthy, and had huge revenue streams coming in from a variety of sources other than my main job, sources like book deals and speaking fees, and the company I worked for was paying me 50 million bucks a year for the next eight years, but was laying off thousands of low and middle level employees in the midst of a major economic collapse…
I would step up to the plate and give 49 million of it back each year until the crisis was over. I’d think of how many jobs that would save, jobs for people who weren’t nearly as “safe” as me in this economy, jobs for people who most likely are living paycheck to paycheck and have very little savings to fall back on. Me, with my already immense wealth, would be quite happy with “just” a million a year if it saved dozens of other people from the unemployment line in an economy where unemployment for any length of time may mean total disaster.
I’d give it back with the proviso that the money be used to save lower level jobs. I’d go to the company who thought I was worth 50 million a year and tell them I’d refuse to work unless they used the money I’m giving back to save jobs. Maybe I’d even demand a list of people whose jobs would be saved – make the company prove they used the money to help people.
This is not a demand that anyone in that position do what I’d do. I’m just saying that’s what I’d do. And I still wouldn’t be doing anything spectacular… Making “only” a million a year is still raking it in. And maybe it’s not realistic, and maybe it wouldn’t work out, I’m just saying that’s what I’d do.
Maybe it’s because cooling my heels for months on end waiting for a break is still fresh in my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m watching too many of my good friends sent home with no resources left to survive jobless for any length of time. Maybe it’s because I don’t have far to walk from my front door to see too many new faces among the homeless looking for shelter in the park near where I live.
Maybe I have a misguided notion that each of us has some responsibility for the society in which we live. Maybe it’s illogical for a confirmed agnostic such as myself to yet believe that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Maybe I’m nuts for thinking it’s wrong to cruise by in my yacht while people are drowning without life preservers.
Maybe it’s just me.
California has run out of money. Starting Monday, county social services will be closed. No state tax refunds will be paid. Local clinics that help the uninsured won't get their state money and will have to close their doors.
However, for now, poor, disabled and elderly people will continue to receive their government assistance checks thanks to the Federal government which will float the state some money, but that won't last long.
It's weird to think that so many of us grew up on books and movies about post-apocalyptic worlds caused by bombs, germs, or asteroids from space. How many of us imagined a post-apocalyptic world caused by a worldwide financial collapse?
I've always suspected the so-called "end of the world" (which is really just the ending of one society and the beginning of the next) would be far more banal than a nuclear exchange or a global pandemic -- and far more devastating.
Here's hoping this isn't the end of the world, because the Star Trek movie is coming out in May and I've simply got to get to the end of Lost.
I didn’t make it home from work until there were only about 9 minutes left in the Super Bowl. Not only did I miss most of what turned out to be a good game, I also missed… the COMMERCIALS. You know, the things Americans both loathe and praise for their ingenuity.
But in the age of the Internet, you don’t miss Super Bowl commercials, no sir. You can watch them online on all the endless sites “ranking” which ones were the best.
So the second I got up this morning, I just had to know which spots the pundits were ga-ga over, so I found a website and sat down to watch.
But before I could stream the Super Bowl commercials online, I had to sit through… COMMERCIALS.
That’s right. One of the sites showing the Super Bowl ads sold ads before the ads.
I can't help it. This looks fun. And I'm digging the homage to Dr. Strangelove.