It’s a B*tch Being Poor

We are all still feeling the effects of a slow economy.  Jobs that pay a livable income are hard to come by.  If the unemployed do find work, many times it is temporary, contract work without benefits.

A recent research paper from the Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, further analyzed the unemployed by income and race.

The charts with the results can be viewed here

Source: “Labor Underutilization Problems of U.S. Workers Across Household Income Groups at the End of the Great Recession: A Truly Great Depression Among the Nation’s Low Income Workers Amidst Full Employment Among the Most Affluent”, by Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, with the Assistance of Sheila Palma, Center for Labor Market Studies,Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.

The following are some of the key takeaways from the study:

  • The total number of unemployed and underemployed has doubled in the last two years
  • Four year collage graduates, many managers, government employees, professionals are well protected from job losses
  • Blue-collar workers particularly in the construction sector, teenagers and black men have higher unemployment rates
  • From the chart above, we can infer that workers in the top two deciles have unemployment rates of just 4.0% and 3.2%
  • Workers in the lowest decile – those earning $12,499 or less – faced a Great Depression era unemployment rate of about 31% and the second lowest declie had an unemployment rate of about 20%
  • Both unemployment and underemployment rates increase dramatically from high income to low income levels

The study above clearly shows that lower-income Americans are affected greatly by the current recession while people at the top of the pyramid have almost negligible unemployment rates.

Since the majority of the low-income workers are employed in the service sector, they face a further bleak future as consumer spending is still down. The study confirms that the headline rate unemployment rate of 9.7% is vastly misleading since it is much worse than that for low-income workers. Most of the Wall-Street bankers, government employees and other professionals have escaped this recession unscathed while it is not the same case with the rest of the workers.

Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, Sharron Angle, wants people to take any old job and stop collecting unemployment insurance.   Sharron’s views on the unemployed only echoe the Republican ideology of “I got mine so I don’t care about you.”

Watering Hole – June 30, 2010 – Open Thread

Imagine our nation becoming less dependent on foreign oil.  Isn’t that the driving force of the “drill, baby drill” crowd?

State Representative (D-PA) Dave Kessler brings alternative fuel initiative to Pennsylvania which that could wean the State and the Nation off of foreign oil and create permanent jobs.  Read more about this innovation here.

Speak Up!

We’ve got a war to lose!

The Wall Street Journal

KABUL—More than $3 billion in cash has been openly flown out of Kabul International Airport in the past three years, a sum so large that U.S. investigators believe top Afghan officials and their associates are sending billions of diverted U.S. aid and logistics dollars and drug money to financial safe havens abroad.

The cash—packed into suitcases, piled onto pallets and loaded into airplanes—is declared and legal to move. But U.S. and Afghan officials say they are targeting the flows in major anticorruption and drug trafficking investigations because of their size relative to Afghanistan’s small economy and the murkiness of their origins.(read more)

This war is getting ever more absurd.

Watering Hole – Monday June 28, 2010 – Open Thread

H/T to zxbe for creating this graph.

This graph indicates the political leanings of many of the Critters and Visitors to TheZoo.  As you can see, we are a bunch of “lefties” and some of us are more left than others.  What is not seen on this chart are famous people that would appear on the “Right” and “Authoritarian” sections, such as  Stalin and Hitler.

If you haven’t already done so and would like to take the test, here’s the link to PoliticalCompass.  Where on the grid would Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin appear?  Any guesses?

Now it’s your turn to Speak Up!

UPDATED:  To the Left of the Dalai Lama

To the Left of the Dalai Lama

Old Testament Bear Poop

photo by Robert Caputo, by way of National Geographic.

I accompanied an elderly man to church this morning, out of general human kindness, and to help assuage his fears concerning my soul.

One of the scripture readings was 2 Kings, chapter 2, describing Elijah the prophet being taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire.

(OK, there are reasonable explanations for this, bear with me…)

Elisha, his apprentice, is now left behind to lament and rend his clothes, accept the adulation of his followers, and carry on the prophets work:

“23And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.”

“24And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”

Way to go, Elisha.

Head prophet for how long and you’re so sensitive about being bald that you curse little children?

But I almost laughed out loud at verse 24… two she bears came out of the woods and ripped apart 42 children.

I’m still looking up data to support there even being bears in Canaan, much less two females together, much less them being so wantonly savage as to take the time to shred 42 children.

I call bear poop on this one.


Branch scars on young aspen trees have the look…

Some enterprising little spider found a niche to keep an eye out for passing gnats as well.

The pale green is young aspen reclaiming mountainsides burned in a wildfire.

Diamond Peak area of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness in the Gila Natl. Forest, Southwestern New Mexico.

Across the Pond: G20, Debt and Austerity

While Europe is back in austerity mode, the US are more wary. Will economic recovery be hindered or helped by rolling back public expenses?

The G20 meeting in Toronto (Muskoka) is showing signs of disagreement, with Merkel on one side of the spectrum and Obama on the other.

Der Spiegel (International)

The G-20 talks in Canada this weekend are to focus on shoring up the global economy but German commentators are not expecting much in the way of agreement. Ahead of the summit Germany and the US have been trading barbs about whether the best strategy is to save or spend.

A trans-Atlantic tiff has been brewing ahead of this weekend’s G-8 and G-20 summits as the US and Europe disagree on how to best ensure recovery from the global economic crisis. (read more)

The Independent has its own take on the new budget, dubbed bloodbath budget and mustered Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz as a witness for their cause.

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prizewinner who predicted the global crisis, delivers his verdict on the Chancellor’s first Budget and tells Paul Vallely it will take the UK deeper into recession and hit millions – the poorest – badly (read more)

The Guardian gives voice to the disappointment of LibDem voters.

Nick Clegg is suffering a fierce public backlash over the coalition’s VAT rise, with almost half of Liberal Democrat supporters saying the tax U-turn makes them more likely to desert the party.

A YouGov/Brand Democracy survey, which will alarm already restive Lib Dem MPs, shows 48% of those who voted Lib Dem at the election are now less inclined to back them again as a direct result of the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%.(read more)

The Daily Mail has other concerns and imho has it totally wrong:

British shoppers are to be banned from buying eggs by the dozen under new regulations approved by the European Parliament.

For the first time, eggs and other products such as oranges and bread rolls will be sold by weight instead of by the number contained in a packet.

Until now, Britain has been exempt from EU regulations that forbid the selling of goods by number. But last week MEPs voted to end Britain’s deal despite objections from UK members. (read more)

I still shop in Germany and I still buy eggs by the number, they give the weight of the eggs, however. So this is bs and serves only to highlight what happens if journalists go for the sensation instead the truth. But the mail is rather more into following Victoria Beckhams different hairstyles.

What happened to The Sunday Times ? Well,they’ve decided to have us pay for their content and are now in the process of getting us to sign up for trial versions. I’m not going along, so no more Times here.

Boring as it may get for you, when it comes to politics, the English and the Germans are out of it today. We are facing an epic battle, if you believe the tabloids, this afternoon at 4 p.m.

July 11th all will be said and done and football will take a backseat yet again.

Sunday Roast: The Future of Man Kind

It is up to us, isn’t it?  Have we failed?

What do you think?  If the steps we’ve taken are too small and too late, is there anything we can do to mitigate the damages?  Do we just keep on keeping on, deluding ourselves that there is a real future for our children?  Or is there really a future for us on this wonderful planet Earth?

Despair is not an option.  But what are our options?


What has Conservatism Done for You Lately?

Conservatism promises economic prosperity for all, based on a  free-market model that envisions no government regulations, no trade restrictions, and no taxes. 

Reagan introduced us to “trickle-down” economics, the notion that if you cut taxes on the wealthy, the benefits would “trickle-down” to the working class and the poor.

Since Reagan’s time, we’ve slashed the tax rates on the upper income brackets, deregulated industry after industry, and enacted NAFTA, eliminating nearly all trade restrictions on this continent from the equator north. So, in the words of tea-party darlin’ Sarah Palin, ‘How’s that workin’ out fer ya?’

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Cesspool Saturday

Hey, EV!  It’s an early cesspool party, just for you.  🙂

For the newbies:

There are no rules in the cesspool, but no trolls are allowed.  Post on any topic you like, tell a joke, post a song, live-blog the US v. Ghana football match, whatever you like!  It’s a cesspool — just imagine what you’d find in one.  Heh.

The chimps will take your drink order.  Compliment them on being freshly bathed and wearing their tiny tuxedos, and they might keep their fingers out of your drink.  No guarantees on that one, of course.  REMINDER:  There is no valet parking for the cesspool party.  If you give your keys to a chimp to park your car, you are on your own!

Come on in…the water’s fine.

Music night. Happy Birthday, Carly

I’m going to keep doing these birthday themes until you all make me quit!

I can remember a time when I was afraid to turn on the radio, certain that I would be treated to the latest from the Taylor family or Carole King, all of whom put my teeth on edge from the first note. I never could figure out how someone so lovely, and with such a beautiful voice could hang out with that crowd of off-key folkies, but I was pretty well hooked on singer/songwriter Carly Simon in spite of her poor taste in friends. (I could at this point apologize to all of you who love James Taylor, but I won’t.) The first video is not only a lovely one, there are some interesting characters hanging about on stage. More music after the jump (including one with James and a recent one to prove she’s hasn’t lost any of her chops) and feel free (as usual) to post whatever music floats your boat.

About the time this post appears, I will be in Fairfax, VA sitting in the air conditioning and downing a pint (well, first of many) with my friend Charlie.

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