It’s about damned time we remembered that corporations are chartered and that charters can be revoked. If they’re actually people, would that be the death penalty? On those terms, I am not opposed.
In aid of that cause, I recommend passing this absolutely brilliant idea by one Mr. Kyle Noonan along to your Congressperson at your earliest convenience. Send letters to your editors. Make a noise. There’s apparently good reasons why our current corporate sanctions don’t work, largely owing to the inability of state attorneys general to recognize the greater need of the nation as compared to their own state revenues and jobs. Continue reading →
“Hiring managers” say only apply for jobs you’re qualified for. Fine. Now, here are some things HR needs to do in return.
I subscribe to a number of industry mailing lists and content services as part of my work, and periodically they’ll publish stories aimed at helping job seekers – how to find opportunities, how to network, résumé tips, that sort of thing. Recently one of them posted an article where they elicited advice for job hunters from “hiring managers.” (Actually, these folks weren’t hiring managers at all – they were HR staffing managers, who have nothing to do with the hiring decision. But they’re the gatekeepers, so their opinions matter. )
The key bit of insight in this one particular piece was fairly straightforward: only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for. Continue reading →
Lord MacGregor’s silly Telegraph op-ed is little more than a recitation of energy industry talking points.
The worthies over at the House of Lords—some of them, anyway—have issued a report deploring the fact that fracking has made virtually no progress in the UK, and that it should be an “urgent national priority,” noting that exploratory drilling hasn’t even really begun.
This is a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee—no, I didn’t know they had one either. Continue reading →
The Crimea crisis may feel like a throwback to the Cold War, but it’s actually reflective of 21st century democracy.
Democracy is defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” Despotism is “the exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way.”
A child denied any access to sweeties, despite abject pleas to the contrary, is experiencing despotism. A child offered a choice of two sweeties, but not one of the fifty they actually wanted, is experiencing democracy.
When wealthy individuals can donate unlimited sums of money to election campaigns, their votes count more than ours.
Should the rich have a larger say in the outcome of elections? It sounds like a silly question to ask, but with the decision of Citizens United v. FEC, the answer seemed to be a resounding “yes.” With the latest campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. FEC, the rich might have even more power headed their way.
In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a landmark campaign finance ruling with its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Splitting 5-4, the fine judges at SCOTUS decided that the First Amendment prohibits the government from limiting independent expenditures by unions, corporations, associations, politically active non-profits and super PACs – allowing these groups to donate millions of dollars to campaigns and potentially swing elections with money. Continue reading →
Daily editorials, striving to not piss off anyone, have achieved ‘terminal neutrality’
Who — or what — killed the great American editorial? Wasn’t there a time when great newspaper editorials regularly thundered and whispered, sighed and screamed, were outraged or outraged others?
Paul Greenberg, the editorial-page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a 1969 Pulitzer Prize winner, poses these questions on the website of the Association of Opinion Journalists.
Greenberg calls the forces that murdered the American newspaper editorial “as impersonal and characterless as many of the editorials themselves.” Among them are the goal of not pissing off anyone; “the stultifying editorial conference,” designed to drain life out of editorial positions; and hewing to “the party line or socio-economic fashion.” These forces produced, says Greenberg, “terminal neutrality.”
Although these forces had the daily newspaper editorial on its deathbed by the mid-1980s, Greenberg doesn’t reveal that I — yes, me! (gasp!) — pulled the plug on its life support. Yep, I pounded a few nails into the coffin of the daily newspaper editorial all by myself. Continue reading →
Today it’s time to ask WTF Rush was thinking when it decided to sell out to one of the most egregiously anti-working man corporations on the planet.
First off, let’s get some perspective on the claim. The ad says that in the next 10 years they’re “pledging $250 billion to products purchased from American factories.” That’s a lot of money. However, this is a company with 2013 revenues of nearly $470 billion, so the ad shouldn’t be construed as a commitment to go all-in on the American worker. Continue reading →
Advertising may be evil, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
Despite my exposure to what a colleague estimates is nearly 100 million advertising impressions as I approach seven decades of life, I am not taller, I am not more attractive, I am not thinner, and I sure as hell don’t smell much better than I did in the 1950s.
I teach in a journalism school in which more students aspire to be advertising and PR madmen and madwomen than journalists. So I think about advertising often — mostly with disbelief and frequent outrage (the righteous kind, y’know).
The disbelief: I watch an ad in which a pricey luxury sedan maneuvers at night through lanes illuminated by paper lanterns. Continue reading →
My refrigerator is fatigued. Soon, but hopefully not too soon, I’ll need to replace it. Will I be able to buy a modestly priced, well-built but not fancy refrigerator that will last the rest of my life?
I am not rich; I am not poor. I have a middling five-figure annual salary. I am parked firmly in the middle class. But, according to a New York Timesstory by Nelson D. Schwartz, American business is becoming less interested in selling to me and the rest of us mired in the middle — because the middle class is shrinking. Writes Schwartz:
As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.
The word “socialist” was, for all intents and purposes, dead and buried after the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it has enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity since, oh, 2008 or so. The thing is, since we hadn’t had any real socialistm for awhile, our understanding of what the term means has gotten a little fuzzy.
So the question is, how socialist are you really? Maybe none at all, maybe a whole lot, and maybe somewhere in the middle. Let’s find out. Continue reading →
The economic recovery hasn’t reached my house yet.
I called 2010 the worst year ever. Then I elaborated a little. Sometimes I look back and wonder how the hell I survived that hateful, soul-destroying twelve months. Other times I look back and I’m not sure I actually did. Pieces of me died in 2010 and I carry the emptiness around with me like the ghost pain of a severed limb.
It wasn’t just me, either. 2010 did all it could to destroy a lot of wonderful people, many of them close to me. Continue reading →
Even in America, home is where (historically) the class is
I grew up in a Southern mill town.
Such towns come in one of three primary flavors: tobacco, textiles, or furniture. My hometown was a textiles town, the home of several major textile companies over its roughly 220 year history. As a fellow writer who’s also an Eden native once put it, most of the population of these towns worked in one “good Bastille” or another. Of course, that’s all gone now. Like most Southern mill towns, Eden, NC, is a town struggling to find an identity even as it struggles to survive. Continue reading →
I was never a William Burroughs fan, but I nonetheless find myself thinking about his 1986 “Thanksgiving Prayer,” surely one of the most caustic (and insightful) takes on our great American holiday. I’m in this sort of mood for a reason. Or two, or three.
First off, you may have noticed all the static around the news that more and more businesses will be open today, getting a jump on tomorrow’s appalling orgy of consumerism, Black Friday. That term originated in the early 1960s, apparently, with bus drivers and the police, who used it to describe the mayhem surrounding the biggest shopping day of the year. Continue reading →
Yes, I know precisely where I was when someone murdered John Fitzgerald Kennedy. No, I do not want to hear where the hell you were. Nor do I want to read or watch any “retrospectives” on his assassination. Nor do I want to read or watch orations on what might have been had the shot or shots missed. I’m only concerned with what the hell actually happened in and to America since Kennedy died.
A half century has passed since my infatuation with Camelot. Fifty years have passed since the naïveté of my youth promised me wars will end, peace will reign, and society will be equitable. Even after the brutality of Daley’s thugs disrupted the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Camelot sang as my siren. Even after gunfire from the National Guard killed four students at Kent State, I still believed in what the precisely cultivated mass mediations of JFK presented to me while he lived. Even after Nixon and his protect-me politics of Watergate, I had faith in process, politics, and people — even some politicians. Continue reading →
After years of watching our country claw its way back from the Great Recession, these debt ceiling and government shutdown are foreign to me. Why would we ever want to put our country in the position to default on our loans? Why is this even an argument?
And yet here we are, on the brink of default. From the Washington Post:
“The government will begin Monday with about $30 billion cash in the bank and a little more room to borrow as a result of extraordinary measures launched in the wake of the debt-ceiling crisis. By Thursday, administration officials say they will exhaust all borrowing authority and have only that cash on hand. Continue reading →
I first encountered Elizabeth Warren back in 2009, when I followed banks regularly for the hedge fund I worked for. At that time she was the head of the committee that the US Congress had set up to monitor the gargantuan mess known as TARP. Congress had appropriated an astonishing amount of taxpayer dollars to bail out the banks, and wanted to keep an eye on things, which seems sensible. Somehow, in a stroke of really good fortune in hindsight, Elizabeth Warren, a law professor at Harvard law School, got that post, as opposed to some SEC flunky. Continue reading →
One of the more surreal aspects of the current government shutdown is the fact that the people responsible for shutting down the government appear to be very surprised that the government has, you know, actually shut down. So last week we had the spectacle of some Congressmen re-opening Arlington Cemetery after it had closed, and of one (Texas, of course) Congressman yelling at a National Park employee as if the shutdown were her fault. Some Congressmen appear surprised that they would be asked to give up their paychecks just because government workers aren’t being paid. Continue reading →
I hope you didn’t sprain anything or break anything irreplaceable. For what it’s worth, you people have no idea how hard it is to resist the trite “wipe coffee off monitor” quip at this juncture.
Bear with me.
Time and again we hear the GOP, establishment and fringe alike, tell us that we’ve got too much government. Never mind the irony of a party that practices medicine without a license by way of routinely mandating transvaginal ultrasounds telling us what too much government is. Just, um, never mind. Never mind a lot of horribly invasive “small” government ironies.