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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

LAYOFF ME!!!

File:CarlyFiorina49416.jpeg

UNEMPLOYMENT EXPERT

I am more and more amazed every day at the conflicting stories in the news.

…that’s—this seems like such a big thing to do.’ But it’s because I care.

Fiorina’s expenditure of more than $16 million during her run for senator of California bought her 3,827,046 votes, which cost $4.35 apiece. During the six years she ran H-P as both CEO and chairwoman, she laid off 30,000 workers. With the endorsement of Palin, Fiorina called for repeal of Obama’s health-care legislation, overturning Roe vs. Wade, and returning California’s unspent stimulus funds to the Treasury.

 

ABC News’ Lisa Chinn and Jennifer Parker report: Republican ticket mates John McCain and Sarah Palin Monday blasted corporate executives who leave their company with a “golden parachute”  and pledged to “stop multimillion dollar payouts” to CEOs, seeming to forget their own top economic adviser Carly Fiorina walked away with $45 million, including a $21.4 million severance package when she was dismissed by Hewlett Packard in 2005.

 

November, 2008: Goldman Sachs notified roughly 3,200 employees this week that they have been laid off, part of previously reported plans to slash 10 percent of the firm’s global work force amid slumping markets, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that Goldman planned to cut 10 percent of its staff, or almost 3,300 jobs, reflecting the weak economy and a cut back in proprietary trading. The cuts are an about-face for a company that as recently as September insisted its headcount would rise this year.

October, 2008: Goldman Sachs is on course to pay its top City bankers multimillion-pound bonuses – despite asking the U.S. government for an emergency bail-out.

The struggling Wall Street bank has set aside £7billion for salaries and 2008 year-end bonuses, it emerged yesterday.

Each of the firm’s 443 partners is on course to pocket an average Christmas bonus of more than £3million.

The size of the pay pool comfortably dwarfs the £6.1billion lifeline which the U.S. government is throwing to Goldman as part of its £430billion bail-out.

December, 2008: he payout, worth around £55,000 per employee, was confirmed as the Wall Street bank blamed “extraordinarily difficult operating conditions” for a fourth-quarter loss of $2.12bn (£1.4bn). It still achieved a $2.32bn profit for the full year to November, although this was sharply lower than last year’s $11.6bn.

A spokesman rejected reports that the bonuses could amount to as much as £4.3bn but said the pot totalled $2,6bn.

February, 2009:  Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is drawing up plans to axe a further 10 per cent of its global workforce, placing the jobs of hundreds of British bankers at risk.

The programme – aimed at cutting costs as Goldman battles through the worst financial crisis in a generation – is in addition to the 10 per cent culled at the end of last year.

An insider said Goldman partners are drawing up plans for the next round of cuts, but added that a decision on specific numbers has yet to be taken.

Around 6,000 of Goldman’s 30,067 staff are employed in the UK. Under threat are middle ranking bankers as well as IT and administrative workers.

October, 2009: The New York-based investment firm turned another eye-popping profit Thursday, earning $3.2 billion in the third quarter, as revenue from trading rose fourfold from a year ago.

As Wall Street firms typically do, Goldman set almost half that sum aside to compensate its workers. Through the first nine months of 2009, the firm socked away $16.7 billion, enough to pay the average Goldmanite $526,814.

The bonus pool is on pace to hit $21 billion for 2009, which would match the record bonus payout of 2007.

Goldman said it won’t decide the size of the bonus pool till year-end. In any case, the payments will be substantial — and will come just one year after huge sums of taxpayer dollars were funneled to financial institutions.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/15/news/companies/goldman_taxpayer_gains.fortune/index.htm

September, 2010: Not too long ago, people were giddy about a resurgence in hiring on Wall Street. The good times seemed ready to roll. But then the economy faltered again, and top banks are finding it hard to regain their footing.

Now analyst Meredith Whitney has predicted that layoffs will litter Wall Street in 2011, as banks are again forced to downsize. “Over the next 18 months, Wall Street will go through yet another iteration of resizing not seen since the post-dotcom era,” she told clients, as noted by the New York Post.

January, 2010: Besides chest-thumping fourth-quarter earnings, Goldman Sachs also announced its bonus pool on Thursday. At $16.2 billion, the total is 20 percent lower than the firm’s 2007 level but still amounts to an average of just under $500,000 per employee.

If you’re picky, it’s only $498,000. Since it’s an average, a few people will rake in a lot, lot more and most Goldman employees will make less than half a million. Federal taxes will whittle that down to about $324,000. So what does that get you these days?

Unlike HP, GS got handouts from the government and those handouts ended up as bonuses to the higher ups.

On the other hand, do not attempt to tell me that HP does not get government handouts in the form of contracts with local, state and Federal agencies.

So both of these giants receive plenty of our tax dollars.

The other point to be made here is that every single quarter leading up to the crash in 2008 and every single quarter following that crash, GS has handed out bonuses that would total the gross national product of many nations.

And the shareholders in these corporations simply continue to let this continue—although the law has hamstrung the rights of these shareholders for sometime.

But there is a further cost to Americans related to these bonuses and the ability of the insiders to bleed the corporate coffers.

And that cost involves the discarding of thousands upon thousands of employees onto the street. The profits of these companies could have been used to keep people employed instead of making their way into the pockets of insiders.

There are medical costs related to these lay-offs, unemployment benefits related to these lay-offs, and loss of income taxes that would have been paid by the employees who were layed-off.

These lay-offs no doubt hurt the mortgage markets. People cannot make their mortgage payments on unemployment benefits.

And this Fiorina just flaunts this largess. I mean she campaigns with a message that the current administration is doing nothing to improve the unemployment levels in this country.

All the while she is spewing out these lies, we are looking at a woman who laid off over 6000 employees and robbed the company of 45,000,000 dollars plus. The math is easy here as far as I am concerned. One thousand people could have been kept on the payroll at HP at the average salary of an American Worker.

And I do not see any proposals in the offing that are going to do anything about this situation.

Nothing at all.

Hope

Fifty years ago this week, the people who present baseball to a grateful nation did an odd thing: The American League announced that the Washington Senators would move to Minneapolis-St. Paul, but that the league would add two new teams: one of which to be called the Washington Senators.

This struck more than just a newly addicted eight year old as a bit confusing. If the American League wanted to expand to Minnesota (and, as it happened, Los Angeles) why not just create two new teams in those places. Why move the Senators to Minnesota and create a new team with the same name as that of the one which was moving?

The answer, as it is, sadly, for so many things, was race and the reason the elaborate shell game was required was so that we could avoid acknowledging the obvious.

History and adulthood taught us that the long time owners of the original Senators, the Griffith family, had, by 1960, noticed that the city was becoming black outside the pockets where government operated and the people who feasted upon it lived. This, the Griffith family concluded, was not a recipe for success and, as long time members of the league, they had the ability to convince their fellow owners that they should be allowed to make their money elsewhere.

Baseball, eager to maintain its antitrust exemption and a teeny bit concerned about the image of their completely abandoning the nation’s capitol, decided that they might just distract enough people if they put another team there. The whole thing was so hastily slapped together that the team they put in Los Angeles so the league would have the necessary even number of teams had no place to play in other than a minor league park they bought from the Chicago Cubs.

The trick worked in large measure. When, in 1965 the original Senators, as the Minnesota Twins celebrated their first American League pennant since 1933, the expansion team using the abandoned name lost 92 games and finished in eighth place. Its sorry history included one dishonest owner sneaking out of town to rename the team the Texas Rangers, and another creep named George W. Bush serving as its president and pushing baseball into a crippling strike. They finally won the pennant this year and, at this writing, have lost their first two World Series games.

This somewhat lengthy prologue is meant as a bulky metaphor for what this disgusting political campaign has told us: we still are not allowed to talk about race and race matters above everything else. As discussed here last week, we can pretend that the voters are sending a message to Congress, that they are unhappy with the “drift” or the “direction” of the country, that they don’t like “Obamacare,” the bailouts, the level of unemployment, the deficit (ha) and so on, but every time someone says that, their gut knows better: nobody thinks this state we are in is the President’s fault, or that of the leaders of the Democrats in Congress. These are the things people point to so as to justify a vote against the “foreign” president: the one whose father was black.

As just a new for instance, there is this from an interview Rachel Maddow conducted with some Alaska voters who support Joe Miller, but, more importantly, are against Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She voted to confirm Eric Holder.

MADDOW: Why are you against that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he‘s the most anti-gun attorney general this country has ever had.

MADDOW: What‘s he done against guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, at this point, it‘s what hasn‘t he done
against guns? Let‘s ask that question. Let‘s look at his voting record
beforehand. I‘m sure you guys –

MADDOW: Eric Holder wasn‘t an elected official.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I‘m asking is look at what his record is with
Obama then. Look at what he‘s –

MADDOW: What‘s he done on guns that you‘re upset about, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I don‘t know enough about him to answer that truthfully right now.

MADDOW: Can I just ask why you‘re upset about Eric Holder?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he‘s anti-gun.

MADDOW: What has he done that‘s anti-gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know have the facts, but I know that he is anti-gun.

What Ever, as the kids say. Just say anything other than that the vote for President Obama was justified when the aforesaid President Bush was in office, but no longer. If voting for someone with a black father (and a black wife) was justifiable after the eight years of President Bush, with his party controlling both houses of Congress for most of that time, it is apparently not anymore to large numbers of people.

And, as baseball’s adventure in D.C. shows, ignoring this motivation, coming up with any other reasons to explain the national obsession with race, remains firmly in place. So, in the face of claims that the President should not be allowed to talk to school children lest he “indoctrinate” them, or the first outrage expressed by national media about a possible intelligence failure that might have led to a terrorist act on Christmas Day, we talk instead about an unsettled electorate, angry at “incumbents.”

Time after time, as we approached elections or other significant political events the Bush Administration would try to remind voters why they ought to stick with Them, by suddenly announcing arrests in national security cases, or raising new concerns about impending attacks. Questions about the timing of those attacks were either met with veiled suggestions that the questioner sympathized with terrorists or answered by events disclosed well after the electoral or political significance of the event had passed.

Yesterday, after explosives apparently intended for the United States were found and the discovery announced shortly thereafter, a reporter finally decided to put the question to a White House press secretary:

Q Yes, I was just going to ask you, how do you respond to — there’s sure to be accusations that this is all happening a couple days before an election, used to sway the election towards Democrats. How do you respond to that?

MR. GIBBS: I think — John briefed the President at 10:35 p.m. last night off of very credible terror information. And after — I think that’s largely put to rest any speculation that may be out there after the testing the President talked about that showed apparent explosives in those devices.

As John said, counterterrorism officials at all levels of our government quickly went into action in order to take the steps necessary to protect the American people. That has — that is exactly what has governed his actions and the actions of those in this government since that time.

Forget that the question makes no sense (the White House trying to gin up a fear that the thumbsuckers have decided only helps Republicans). The important thing is that the press make sure this President, as opposed to the frat boy masquerading as president who preceeded him, doesn’t compromise national security for political advantage.

It may work again this time. Then again, cell phone polling being difficult and robo polling subject to bias, and the traditional turnout expectations being, perhaps, way off, maybe this time it won’t.

If Tuesday is yet another step backwards in a journey filled with fits and starts, in a nation of idiots and fools it will have bad consequences and we will pay, as a nation, for our mistakes.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby have just made an album that warns us about hope. These are Hornby’s lyrics, but they are not about politics and are about issues of life and death. Still, they provide a warning and context

You know what hope is, hope is a bastard
Hope is a liar, a cheat and a tease
Hope comes near you, kick its backside
Got no place in days like these

And just as she’s thinking of pulling the blind down
A rocket bursts in front of her eyes
The city lit up, London’s given a bright crown
She tries and fails to stop spirits rise

President Clinton is coming to my little town tonight in support of our Congressman, a really good man who has found many different ways to contribute to our lives over many years but is a member of Congress largely thanks to President Bush’s incompetence. He has a tough race this year against a tea party ophthalmologist who, unsurprisingly, does not like health care reform.
Still, by the end of the evening, to be be certain, President Clinton will make us feel that anything is possible. And it is.

Jon Stewart did us all a favor. More than anything else, he showed us where we are going. This will end. The next generation knows better and will move past race and form a more perfect union. That is our hope.

Hope

Fifty years ago this week, the people who present baseball to a grateful nation did an odd thing: The American League announced that the Washington Senators would move to Minneapolis-St. Paul, but that the league would add two new teams: one of which to be called the Washington Senators.

This struck more than just a newly addicted eight year old as a bit confusing. If the American League wanted to expand to Minnesota (and, as it happened, Los Angeles) why not just create two new teams in those places. Why move the Senators to Minnesota and create a new team with the same name as that of the one which was moving?

The answer, as it is, sadly, for so many things, was race and the reason the elaborate shell game was required was so that we could avoid acknowledging the obvious.

History and adulthood taught us that the long time owners of the original Senators, the Griffith family, had, by 1960, noticed that the city was becoming black outside the pockets where government operated and the people who feasted upon it lived. This, the Griffith family concluded, was not a recipe for success and, as long time members of the league, they had the ability to convince their fellow owners that they should be allowed to make their money elsewhere.

Baseball, eager to maintain its antitrust exemption and a teeny bit concerned about the image of their completely abandoning the nation’s capitol, decided that they might just distract enough people if they put another team there. The whole thing was so hastily slapped together that the team they put in Los Angeles so the league would have the necessary even number of teams had no place to play in other than a minor league park they bought from the Chicago Cubs.

The trick worked in large measure. When, in 1965 the original Senators, as the Minnesota Twins celebrated their first American League pennant since 1933, the expansion team using the abandoned name lost 92 games and finished in eighth place. Its sorry history included one dishonest owner sneaking out of town to rename the team the Texas Rangers, and another creep named George W. Bush serving as its president and pushing baseball into a crippling strike. They finally won the pennant this year and, at this writing, have lost their first two World Series games.

This somewhat lengthy prologue is meant as a bulky metaphor for what this disgusting political campaign has told us: we still are not allowed to talk about race and race matters above everything else. As discussed here last week, we can pretend that the voters are sending a message to Congress, that they are unhappy with the “drift” or the “direction” of the country, that they don’t like “Obamacare,” the bailouts, the level of unemployment, the deficit (ha) and so on, but every time someone says that, their gut knows better: nobody thinks this state we are in is the President’s fault, or that of the leaders of the Democrats in Congress. These are the things people point to so as to justify a vote against the “foreign” president: the one whose father was black.

As just a new for instance, there is this from an interview Rachel Maddow conducted with some Alaska voters who support Joe Miller, but, more importantly, are against Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She voted to confirm Eric Holder.

MADDOW: Why are you against that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he‘s the most anti-gun attorney general this country has ever had.

MADDOW: What‘s he done against guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, at this point, it‘s what hasn‘t he done
against guns? Let‘s ask that question. Let‘s look at his voting record
beforehand. I‘m sure you guys –

MADDOW: Eric Holder wasn‘t an elected official.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I‘m asking is look at what his record is with
Obama then. Look at what he‘s –

MADDOW: What‘s he done on guns that you‘re upset about, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I don‘t know enough about him to answer that truthfully right now.

MADDOW: Can I just ask why you‘re upset about Eric Holder?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he‘s anti-gun.

MADDOW: What has he done that‘s anti-gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know have the facts, but I know that he is anti-gun.

What Ever, as the kids say. Just say anything other than that the vote for President Obama was justified when the aforesaid President Bush was in office, but no longer. If voting for someone with a black father (and a black wife) was justifiable after the eight years of President Bush, with his party controlling both houses of Congress for most of that time, it is apparently not anymore to large numbers of people.

And, as baseball’s adventure in D.C. shows, ignoring this motivation, coming up with any other reasons to explain the national obsession with race, remains firmly in place. So, in the face of claims that the President should not be allowed to talk to school children lest he “indoctrinate” them, or the first outrage expressed by national media about a possible intelligence failure that might have led to a terrorist act on Christmas Day, we talk instead about an unsettled electorate, angry at “incumbents.”

Time after time, as we approached elections or other significant political events the Bush Administration would try to remind voters why they ought to stick with Them, by suddenly announcing arrests in national security cases, or raising new concerns about impending attacks. Questions about the timing of those attacks were either met with veiled suggestions that the questioner sympathized with terrorists or answered by events disclosed well after the electoral or political significance of the event had passed.

Yesterday, after explosives apparently intended for the United States were found and the discovery announced shortly thereafter, a reporter finally decided to put the question to a White House press secretary:

Q Yes, I was just going to ask you, how do you respond to — there’s sure to be accusations that this is all happening a couple days before an election, used to sway the election towards Democrats. How do you respond to that?

MR. GIBBS: I think — John briefed the President at 10:35 p.m. last night off of very credible terror information. And after — I think that’s largely put to rest any speculation that may be out there after the testing the President talked about that showed apparent explosives in those devices.

As John said, counterterrorism officials at all levels of our government quickly went into action in order to take the steps necessary to protect the American people. That has — that is exactly what has governed his actions and the actions of those in this government since that time.

Forget that the question makes no sense (the White House trying to gin up a fear that the thumbsuckers have decided only helps Republicans). The important thing is that the press make sure this President, as opposed to the frat boy masquerading as president who preceeded him, doesn’t compromise national security for political advantage.

It may work again this time. Then again, cell phone polling being difficult and robo polling subject to bias, and the traditional turnout expectations being, perhaps, way off, maybe this time it won’t.

If Tuesday is yet another step backwards in a journey filled with fits and starts, in a nation of idiots and fools it will have bad consequences and we will pay, as a nation, for our mistakes.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby have just made an album that warns us about hope. These are Hornby’s lyrics, but they are not about politics and are about issues of life and death. Still, they provide a warning and context

You know what hope is, hope is a bastard
Hope is a liar, a cheat and a tease
Hope comes near you, kick its backside
Got no place in days like these

And just as she’s thinking of pulling the blind down
A rocket bursts in front of her eyes
The city lit up, London’s given a bright crown
She tries and fails to stop spirits rise

President Clinton is coming to my little town tonight in support of our Congressman, a really good man who has found many different ways to contribute to our lives over many years but is a member of Congress largely thanks to President Bush’s incompetence. He has a tough race this year against a tea party ophthalmologist who, unsurprisingly, does not like health care reform.
Still, by the end of the evening, to be be certain, President Clinton will make us feel that anything is possible. And it is.

Jon Stewart did us all a favor. More than anything else, he showed us where we are going. This will end. The next generation knows better and will move past race and form a more perfect union. That is our hope.

Winter

As it is, by the way, it arrived only eight days earlier this year than it did last year, but it is here.

And there is no use in mourning its arrival. It is inevitable as the last actual Commissioner of Baseball has explained to us:

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

American Ignorance Part Daux

I was going to write about how I thought people, like those on the right, could go through school and even get college degrees and still remain ignorant of the world around them. How could this be ? I though I might get a handle on it. But now that I have done some research, I am still at a loss.
(more…)

…like Bill Maher in drag.

William K. Wolfrum posted in his blog William K. Wolfrum’s Morning — Don’t Panic at Dagblog, a youtube video of Dan Savage and his husband Terry talking to LGBT youth about how things do get better and not to panic. 

The video is part of the It Gets Better Project on youtubube that Dan Savage started to help those LGBT youth are struggling with a life made miserable because of the rejection and oppression these youth experience because they are part of the LGBT community.

Dan Savage explained the project in one of his advice columns “Savage Love” on The Stranger website.

I just read about a gay teenager in Indiana—Billy Lucas—who killed himself after being taunted by his classmates. Now his Facebook memorial page is being defaced by people posting homophobic comments. It’s just heartbreaking and sickening. What the hell can we do?

Gay Bullying Victim Who Survived

Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself—hope you’re pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other “Christians” out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name).

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.

Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.” (more…)

Green Party candidate killed by SUV

The irony is as inescapable as the tragedy.

Natasha Pettigrew, Maryland’s Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Barbara Mikulski, has died from injuries sustained after being hit from behind by a Cadillac Escalade, while training on her bicycle for a triathlon. After the collision around 5:30 AM, the purported driver continued 3 or 4 miles to her home, where she claims she noticed the bicycle under the car, and called the police. She told police she thought she had hit a deer or dog.

Police initially reported that Pettigrew was not wearing reflective clothing, but other reports say that reflective plastic parts and reflective shoes belonging to the victim were found at the scene. Most bikes are sold with plastic reflectors front, rear and on each wheel. It was very dark at 5:30 this morning. I left at 6:45 AM and lit the battery-powered red beacon on my backpack.

Update: Video at WashCycle showing the bike lodged under the SUV, and interviewing Natasha’s Mom before she died.

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