The Unequal State of America – graphic of the day


The Unequal State of America – graphic of the day

In a new three part special report, Reuters is examining the rise of income inequality in America. Today’s graphic shows how the 50 states and Washington DC rank according to three key metrics (median income, poverty rate and inequality). Click here to see the interactive version of the graphic below. To learn more about the methodology behind this new series, click here.

inequality

Via:- Thomson Reuters

America: Land Of The (Working For) Free


America: Land Of The (Working For) Free

Posted by Kris E. Benson

are there no workhouses?

Yesterday we brought you the depressing story of a man who had worked for McDonald’s for twenty years and was still getting paid minimum wage. Now, of course, there is an argument to be made that it was kind of his fault that he was still getting paid minimum wage after all those years. Instead of continuing to work for McDonald’s, he should have gone to that one place where they just GIVE OUT JOBS to black men who don’t have college degrees — jobs that pay a living wage and have benefits and opportunities for upward mobility. Ha ha, just kidding, there is no Job Handing Out Place, not for black men or for anyone else, but there are places where you can BEG to work for FREE, and get a job where you work for FREE, but only if you are INCREDIBLY LUCKY and have NO LIFE and demonstrate COMPLETE FEALTY to your “employer,” only then will you get to work for free. See, doesn’t the guy working for McDonald’s for 20 years look like a genius now? This really puts things into perspective. Anyway, more about a fantastic opportunity to work for free:

Dalkey Archive is a prestigious small press that publishes poetry, as well as works of contemporary and classic works of fiction. And if you’re very, very lucky, and have no life, and don’t talk back, and are practically perfect in EVERY WAY, they will give you a job working for free. And if you REALLY REALLY deserve it, after an unspecified probationary period they might — MIGHT — just promote you to paid work. No guarantees though, OK?

Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.

Working for free is the new normal, didn’t you know? No really, it’s the new normal. From an article in Fortune magazine, wayyy back in 2011:

With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right. “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please,  they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of  Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup….”Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm,” she says.

Maybe it IS the new norm ALREADY.  There are roughly 20 paid Reddit employees running a company that may be worth as much as $100 million or more . Wikipedia has 35 paid employees and the rest work for free as “moderators.” HuffPo has a small core staff of paid workers and the rest write for free. Pinterest has 19 paid employees and the rest of its content is generated for free by users. Tumblr has 18 paid employees, like Pinterest and Reddit, its content is generated for free by users.

So if you’re REALLY REALLY lucky, you can aspire to one day work for free, or if you’re EVEN LUCKIER, maybe you are doing it ALREADY!

[Salon]

Big Bird Ruffles Romney Feathers


New Obama Campaign Ad Features Big Bird
The yellow-feathered menace

This new advertisement from the Obama campaign is full of all kinds of win.

Conservative Myths About Socialism, Capitalism, and Who The ‘Job Creators’ Are


Deconstructing Conservative Myths About Socialism, Capitalism, and Who The ‘Job Creators’ Are

Image from http://drivetoacure.org/acne-myths-and-various-assumptions/

Conservatives have taken to a new spin on truth, by refashioning definitions of words and terms in order to provoke new connotations. Socialism is now defined as a government take over, Capitalism is now defined as patriotic, and the wealthy are now defined as job creators. But simply redefining these words will not change their true meaning, it is only myth making.

Socialism does not mean the abolition of a free market society, nor does Socialism call for a government takeover of all industry; that is Communism. Socialists acknowledge the limitation of a free market and believes that some industries should not be run for profit. Police protection, fire protection, prisons, education, health care, parks, electricity, water supplies, waste and sewage removal, and roadways are just a few examples of industries which should not be run for profit. The reasoning behind this belief is when these industries are operating for profit, not only will prices rise, but corresponding services would then be reserved only for those who can afford them. Or more succinctly, no one person should be able to profit over running services, in which everyone benefits from. One excellent example of Socialism in action is demonstrated in our banking industry. While most banks operate for the profits of their CEOs, credit unions are owned and operated by the people. The profits which are not imparted upon CEOs are reflected back to the customer in higher interest rates for investments and lower interest rates for loans. It may be important to point out that credit unions did not run the same risks as banks when our financial bubble burst, and thus did not need to request nor receive any TARP bailout money. Nor have the credit unions contributed to the faulty foreclosures as our banks have. Another example is found in health care. The free market creates for-profit businesses ranging from medications, medical testing, medical treatments, medical research, to hospitals. None of which have lowered the cost of health care through innovation or through competition. This is because the demand of which is a basic necessity, or in other words is non-negotiable. Like clean water, oil, and electricity, humans cannot survive without such products or services. The demand of which is a constant, therefore they are not subjected to the Keynes supply and demand curve. When prices go up, demand does not lessen beyond a certain threshold. Americans may forgo a pleasure trip to conserve on gasoline consumption, but their demand for gasoline to take them to and from work is non-negotiable. Where the free market brings economic ups and downs which effects everyone, Socialism believes that there is a limit on the protections a free market provides. And quite simply, some things should not be run for profit, especially at the expense of everyone else.

Capitalism is an economic term for the free market system which is structured upon the accumulation of money, where the means of production are privately owned and operates for profit. Capitalism is neither right nor wrong, it is simply an economic term. Nor is Capitalism patriotic! A system which encourages the accumulation of wealth does not salute a flag, nor is it loyal to a native country. This market system crosses state and national borders in order to provide larger profits for business owners. If labor costs are cheaper overseas, then it is capitalism which will drive businesses out of our country. If a company finds it cheaper to produce a dangerous product than it is to produce a safe one, it is capitalism which will produce the most profitable option without consideration of customer safety. Capitalism only seeks profits and will by nature migrate operations towards areas which promotes greater profits. Capitalism has no allegiance to any one country as it operates in a global economy. Again, capitalism has no allegiance with patriotism. Where would a business find themselves most profitable? Would they find a country with extremely lower labor costs to be more profitable for manufacturing than a country with higher labor costs? Would they find a lower taxed area more profitable than an area with high demand for their products? But most of all, wouldn’t it be more patriotic for an American business to spark demand in order to operate, manufacture and sell their goods or services inside America, as opposed to overseas?

The wealthy are not necessarily the job creators. Poor and desperate innovators have sparked many new business ventures despite their lack of wealth. Many small businesses began out of practically nothing, but only an idea executed inside of their garages. The fact of the matter is that neither wealth nor lower taxes create jobs; only demand creates jobs. This little tidbit of truth is lost in translation when the wealthy are deemed as “Job Creators”. This ploy is used to promote additional tax breaks for those who already have enough and while promoting cuts in public services on those who do not have enough. Another tidbit of truth which is diluted in this argument is the inequality of income between the workers and the owners. A manager typically earns 343 times more than an average employee. And while 88% of domestic profits go to corporate bank accounts and CEO bonuses, only 1% of these profits gets applied towards labor. The business owner shoulders no responsibility for producing any product or service. Rather the business owner invested their money (and in most cases time) into a business which is productive. Productivity is a result of the balance between the investors, the managers, and the workers. It is a symbiotic relationship, which many Americans cannot conceive of. For where would any business be without any one of these three elements? Despite conservative talking points, even the lowest of employees is an invaluable asset to a business. In a restaurant, an effective business owner knows that the dishwasher and busboys are just as important to their operation as their managers and customers. If you remove the dishwasher and/or busboys from the equation, the business suffers. Yet an effective manager can be absent from their responsibilities and the operation should not be sacrificed. So which employee should be valued more than the other, the laborer, the manager, or the investor? The answer is neither of the three. For without one, the other two would not have a business operate or a job to tend to. Yet the argument goes that only the wealthy create jobs. Without enough demand, even these jobs won’t last very long.

We should not tax our job creators in a time of economic recession. But we have misidentified exactly who these job creators are. When our recession is being prolonged out of a lack of demand, it is not the business owner who can create jobs. But rather it is the customers who spurn on demand who create jobs. The businesses who pocketed great sums of cash during our economic catastrophe will still be there when we come out of it without the need to create more jobs. But these businesses will find themselves with greater profits when demand picks up again, and that is what will create jobs. So let’s not overburden our true job creators, the customers. In order to spark higher demand, we must effect the largest target market we have at our disposal. It’s not the wealthy who can spark this demand; they only constitute up to 2% of our populace. Rather, we should focus our attention on the other 98% of our populace, our struggling middle class and poor. Henry Ford believed that his product meant nothing unless there were customers who were able to purchase it. In order to ensure his company’s success, he paid his laborers more than other businesses, so they may buy his cars. This enabled his employees to comfortably afford to buy Ford products. This sparked higher demand, which in turn produced higher job growth. Which led to Ford’s success story. Henry Ford did not believe in paying the least amount possible for labor, eliminating the minimal wage, or acquisitioning higher profits. Instead he realized the symbiosis between business and labor and between the business and its customer.

Andrew Breitbart’s Children: The Dickening


Andrew Breitbart’s Children: The Dickening

         By: TBogg

NYU Journalism professor Charles Seife has a terrific post up ( a shorter version of which can be found at The Hunting of the Snark) regarding Breitbart orphan and future subject of an SVU episode James O’Keefe, wherein Young Master James attempts his special brand of “veritas” after being exposed for being not very veritas-y in his dealings with the public.

Journalists are stubborn creatures by nature. I’m no different. Deny me information that I’m entitled to, and I won’t let go. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nonprofit organization or an Obama-administration government agency, I’ll fight. So I took the next logical step to put pressure on Project Veritas — I filed a complaint with the IRS, telling them that Project Veritas wasn’t playing by the disclosure rules. Either that, or Project Veritas wasn’t really a nonprofit.

That got them talking. I called that morning to tell them that I had filed a complaint, and the woman I got on the phone was, surprisingly, quite cooperative. I put my request in writing, and after a string of e-mails, she admitted that application for nonprofit status had been filed, but it had not yet been approved. Contrary to what the website said, Project Veritas was not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and donations were, as a result, not tax-deductible. James O’Keefe had apparently committed an illegal act that could have caused donors unwittingly to make false claims on their taxes.

I finally had my answer. James O’Keefe was apparently breaking the law. So did I contact my friends in the liberal elite press establishment to try to make it a huge story? I could have gone to Romenesko, or sent it to my colleagues on major papers around the country. But I didn’t….

Needless to say, zany hijinks ensue and, like most episodes in James shoddy life, it ends in shame and ridicule and humiliation with James Edward O’Keefe III once again left standing there with just his dick in his hand.

Rush Limbaugh Promises All Ladies Whore Diamonds


Rush Limbaugh Promises All Ladies Whore Diamonds

by Rebecca Schoenkopf

Come slither

Big ol’ teddy bear Rush Limbaugh simply cannot understand for the life of him why some stupid idiots think the GOP is having a war on women. Your editrix cannot understand this either. (Nor does she have a passport and some Katrina Kash at the ready before they seal the borders of the Republic of Gilead.) Anyhoo, Rush has Logic for why Republicans are way more awesome than stupid effete lieberals when it comes to treatin’ little ladies just right. Are you ready, everyone? Really, are you ready for this? Okay. *CLEARS THROAT* Republicans take women to dinner and buy them diamonds, that why. MediaMatters-brand audio, after the jump!

Honestly, who can even be mad at this dumb fuck any more? It is like being mad at an incredibly stupid, fat, drug-addicted, offensive head of lettuce. Why even bother? Fine, Rush, give us some whore diamonds, for our whoring, whore whore whore. Yeah, we get it kiddo, we’re whores. No, no, you got us, we’re super offended, we promise! No really, really, we are! Run along now sweetie, there’s some cookies on the counter. Remember, Jesus loves you, and good job.

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf

Rush Limbaugh The Talking Asshole

[MediaMatters]

Major Advertisers Dump Misogynist Rush Limbaugh


Unprecedented: 98 Major Advertisers Bail on Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh’s misogynistic binge costs him dearly
By Charles Johnson

In an unprecedented exodus, Rush Limbaugh has now lost 98 major advertisers. And it’s apparently becoming contagious for some other right wing talk show hosts with similar levels of vitriol.

Industry website radio-info.com has the scoop:

When it comes to advertisers avoiding controversial shows, it’s not just Rush From today’s TRI Newsletter: Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments.” The list includes carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway). As you’ll see in the note below, those “environments” go beyond the Rush Limbaugh show.

“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory…They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).’