Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, April 13, 2015 9:52 pm

Odds and ends for April 13

Gunter Grass, the Pulitzer Nobel Prize-winning author (and, ironically, former Waffen SS soldier) whose work forced German culture to confront the horror of Naziism, is dead at 87.

Apparently Marco Rubio is running for president. Here are seven reasons that’d be a bad idea.

Sigh. One more example of out-of-control cops. At least no one died this time.

Duke Energy’s contributions to the Republican Governors’ Association increased by an order of magnitude after the Dan River spill. Duke says that’s just coincidence. Yeah. Sure. Right.

The former executive director of the State Employees Association of N.C., Dana Cope, appears to have spent close to half a million bucks that wasn’t his.

Why make North Carolina workers safer when you can just rig the numbers?

How bad has this legislative session been for North Carolinians? Let us count the ways.

It’s a uterus, not a clown car: A 65-year-old German woman who has 13 kids and seven grandkids is pregnant with quadruplets.

The Lost Colony? Maybe not so lost after all.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 7:28 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 10

Terrorists are winning the war on terror, primarily because, more than a decade after 9/11 and despite all the costly lessons we’ve learned since then, the U.S. persists in playing the terrorists’ game instead of its own.

Dean Smith‘s public memorial will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Smith Center. Which leads me to wonder: Where will they hold Billy Graham‘s, once he passes on? Bank of America Stadium? Charlotte Motor Speedway? The National Mall?

There’s just one teeny-weeny little problem with the four plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, the case now before the Supreme Court that could, perhaps, lead to the Affordable Care Act’s being struck down: None of the four appears to have standing to be suing in the first place.

Could the hammer at long last be coming down on rogue Swiss(-ish) bank HSBC? I’ll believe it when/if it happens, but the Honorable Senator Professor Warren is on this like white on rice. (And just how rogue? Check this out.)

Jim Crow lynchings: significantly more common than previously reported.

I’m not the brightest bulb in the fixture, but I could tell in 11th grade U.S. history that “right-to-work” was Orwellian doublespeak. Unfortunately, that ain’t all it is.

Debtors’ jail, ostensibly illegal in the U.S., apparently is alive and well in Ferguson, Missouri. A lawsuit seeks to change that.

“Trials” at Guantanamo: No, Casey, nobody here can play this game.

If you’ve never worked in newspapers, you probably thought newspaper executive editors couldn’t get any stupider, and that if they did, it wasn’t your fault as a reader. You were wrong, as Robert Price of the Bakersfield Californian is pleased to demonstrate:

Several weeks ago, [director of audience development] Louis [Amestoy] and I introduced a set of new expectations for reporters and editors. Chief among them was that reporters and editors shall write publishable content every single day. Not blow-out, eight-source 30-inchers (although they have their place), but quick-hit 4-inchers based on as few as a one source or even personal observation — “what I saw driving in to work” stories. So far I have seen almost none of these.

These are required and will be measured on your annual reviews (which are coming up). Please think about how you might start creating these. If you’re like me, you may think some stories (weather related, seen on a business marquee, etc) just don’t clear the bar of importance. Not true, in most cases. Readers gobble this stuff up. [emphasis added; along with the unmistakable sound of Our Lord and Savior weeping bitterly]

#StealAlltheGrammys According to Google, Annie Lennox, Kristen Wiig, Prince (“almost”), Kanye West, Sam Smith, Frank Ocean, and Pharrell Williams’s funky park ranger hat, among others, “stole the Grammys.” Thought you’d want to know.

 

 

Sunday, February 8, 2015 10:30 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 8

A Fox News guest, Jonathan Hoenig, tells viewers Saturday that mandatory vaccinations will lead to forced abortions. Host Eric Bolling says nothing (of course), leaving it to guest Nomiki Konst to say, “Oh, my God,” and inform Hoenig that 48 of 50 states mandate vaccinations for schoolchildren.

The biggest American labor strike in 34 years is widening. The United Steel Workers are striking, and their membership includes the work forces at some oil refineries, so this could hit you right smack in the wallet. What’s that, you say? First you’re hearing about it? Well, go figure; it’s labor news. Charlie Pierce offered some perspective a few days ago.

As Andrew “objectively pro-terrorist” Sullivan rides off into the blogging sunset to, sadly, sickening and near-universal applause, Driftglass does us all a favor by recalling for us a far worthier blogger who didn’t retire but died … and who never got his due.

I’ve little to say about the passing of Dean Smith, but only because you’ll find much more and much better stuff if you go look for it. While I think it’s all but certain that he either knew or should have known about the academic shenanigans that apparently were taking off as his career neared its end, his stand for integration at a time when his job might not have been the only thing at stake will secure his reputation.

Just my opinion, so no link, but: No way do the Carolina Panthers re-sign Greg Hardy, even if a jury exonerates him (which I also don’t think will happen). Someone will sign him, but not the Panthers. Their front office has moved on, and fans should, too.

RIP Joe B. Mauldin, bassist for Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets. (h/t: Fred)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:52 pm

Rigged game, part MMXII; or, Too much is never enough

If you want proof that America’s economics and finances are in the hands of people who couldn’t give less of a shit about the common good, look no further than Caterpillar, the maker of bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

The company made $4.9 billion in profits last year — about $39,000 per employee — and projects an even better 2012.  So how is it rewarding its workers? By insisting that they agree to a six-year wage freeze and a freeze on pensions as well, and demanding that they contribute up to $1,900 per year more for health care than they already are. This move comes, the Times reports, as the company netted almost $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year and “has significantly raised its executives’ compensation because of its strong profits.”

The workers said, in effect, “[Bleep] this noise,” and went on strike. Good for them.

The company argues that its wages make it less competitive in the marketplace, but the boost in compensation for its executives gives that game away. Its top six executives alone got cash and stock worth almost $40 million last year. Sure, you can make a case that Caterpillar is a well-managed company and they should be properly compensated. But the U.S. wage market has been artificially distorted in the past few decades to overcompensate a few at the top for outcomes that, when favorable, are as much the work of their much-lower-paid minions as of themselves. There’s a strong argument that reversing that trend would benefit the economy as a whole, which, other than plain selfishness, might well be part of the reason why these sociopaths oppose it.

Rose Bain, a striker, grows impatient with such arguments [that Caterpillar’s demands are fair]. Earning $15 an hour after two years, she said she could not afford a six-year freeze and did not trust Caterpillar to follow through with [a] hinted raise for lower-paid workers.

“We’re the people who busted our butts to help them make record profits,” she said. “We shouldn’t be treated like this.”

Exactly. And the fact that we’re even having to have this conversation shows how incredibly out of touch with reality our Galtian overlords have gotten. Worse, some of the same kinds of people who run Caterpillar want us to run the country the same way. I think Charlie Pierce speaks for anyone who has a lick of sense:

Jesus God, is there anyone — A-N-Y-O-N-E — out there beyond the Beltway who still believes that the CEO’s of American corporations have any inclination to act in the general national interest? Is there anyone — A-N-Y-O-N-E — out there beyond the Beltway who’d still trust [J.P. Morgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon to park his car? … I never thought I’d see the living definition of bleeding a country with leeches, but this comes awfully close.

UPDATE: Missing words restored 7/25.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 7:40 pm

Why they call it Faux Noise

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Journalism — Lex @ 7:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

Watch the video, about labor issues in Madison, Wisconsin, carefully — particularly the background. Notice anything peculiar?

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