Nota Bene #28

Got hot links if you want ’em!

In “Grant paints picture of ‘ignorant’ NASCAR culture” at Si.com, Tom Bowles reports on Mauricia “Mo” Grant, who spent nearly three years as the only African-American female NASCAR race official. “Now she’s at the center of a $225 million lawsuit. . . in which she alleges. . . discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. ‘What I expected when I went to work for this multibillion dollar company was a professional work environment [not] why I don’t get sunburn or why the palms of my hands are white. . . . They need to stop hiring their ignorant brothers, cousins and uncles. . . and start hiring qualified, educated people to start running their multibillion dollar business. Stop giving ‘Uncle Frank’ a hookup knowing that he’s ignorant.”

A friend watched the Arms Control Association conference on CSPAN. A representative for Obama, John Holum, said of negotiation without pre-conditions: “Not talking is the diplomatic equivalent of holding your breath until you pass out in front of an antagonist who prefers you unconscious.”

In a FireDogLake Book Salon, Matt Taibbi said: “I don’t think America needs massive sweeping changes. . . . After living in a place like Russia for ten years you learn to appreciate the value of a functioning infrastructure. . . . A little less stealing, a little less corruption, a little more saving and a little less borrowing and we’d be fine.”

In his New York magazine piece, “The Fall and Rise of Hillary Clinton,” John Heileman writes about her perceived need to present herself as tough: “. . . her communications czar, Howard Wolfson; her media consultant, Mandy Grunwald; and senior adviser Harold Ickes. . . argued that she should. . . be more empathic, more approachable — more human, in other words. [Mark] Penn’s response? ‘Being human is overrated.'” How would he know?

In a New York Observer article, Jason Horowitz writes: “A former bundler to Hillary Clinton just called in to tell me that Barack Obama’s selection of Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff to the campaign’s eventual vice presidential nominee is the ‘biggest fuck you I have ever seen in politics.’ ‘You don’t hire Patti Solis Doyle for her operational expertise,’ said the bundler. ‘This is someone who failed dramatically at her job. You only bring her on to fuck someone else.'”

In “Broke: GOP third-party effort nonexistent” at Politico, Jonathan Martin writes: “[A] veteran Republican who works closely with outside conservative groups [said]: ‘[Democrats] think another Swift Boat is coming — and it’s not.”

In Counterpunch, Ralph Nader asks, “Why Won’t Corporations Take on Big Oil?” “Think about oil prices for big consumers [such as airlines, trucking, the chemical industry] not just your pocketbook. . . . Why aren’t these very influential lobbies throwing their weight around Washington to get something done about the speculators on Wall Street determining what is paid for gasoline and related petroleum products?”

In a San Francisco Chronicle piece, “Comfortable retirement a fading dream for many,” Sam Zuckerman reports: “‘People value the idea of a period beyond their work life,’ said Yale University political scientist Jacob Hacker, who has studied U.S. pension and health care policies. ‘Retirement was the victory of the affluent society over the need to be a cog in the machine your whole working life.'”

In a New York Times article, “After 75 Years, the Working Poor Still Struggle for a Fair Wage,” Adam Cohen writes: “When progressives set out to establish a national minimum wage, they faced stiff opposition. Industry insisted that government should not interfere with its relations with its employees. Organized labor was also opposed. (‘If you give them something for nothing,’ one labor leader objected, ‘they won’t join the union.’)”

In “A Dark Cloud Over Sunny San Diego” on his blog, Debt Slavery Emancipation, Jonathan writes: “A wise and successful man made a comment to me once that has stuck out in my mind ever since. He told me there is one major difference between the wealthy and the destitute. ‘Rich people earn interest,’ he said with a smirk. ‘Poor people pay it.'”

Lawrence Downes wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, “In a Changing World of News, an Elegy for Copy Editors“: “As newspapers lose money and readers, they have been shedding great swaths of expensive expertise. They have been forced to shrink or eliminate the multiply redundant levels of editing that distinguish their kind of journalism from what you find on TV, radio and much of the Web.” As evidenced by this piece: Shouldn’t “multiply” read “multiple”?

Downes concludes that “old-time, persnickety editing may be a luxury in which only a few large news operations will indulge. It will be an artisanal product, like monastery honey and wooden yachts.”

From a post on Grandmaster Flash and his new book at New York magazine’s blog, the Vulture, on the reaction to his invention of scratching: “When I first did it, I called up Disco B and EZ Mike, and I was like, ‘Listen, I got something, I got something.’ And when they came down, they were like ‘What the fuck is this?’ . . . they just could not grasp it. . . . people were just like ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I went home and I cried, cried, cried, cried. Nobody got it! . . . It was just ridicule after ridicule after ridicule. I was a geek for a long time.”

In a New York Post article, “Player Poll: Jeter Overrated,” Brian Lewis reports: “Derek Jeter was voted the most overrated player in baseball in a Sports Illustrated poll of over 495 major leaguers. But. . . when Sports Illustrated did a survey of ‘Whom would you pick to build your team around’ just a week earlier, Rodriguez finished first and Jeter second.” All I know is that if you watch the Yankees regularly, Jeter’s a hitting machine. As for his much-criticized fielding range, vertical should count for something — few can jump as high to snare balls overhead.

6 replies »

  1. As one who lived in Russia concurrently with Matt Taibbi, i’d have to agree. We who saw it can’t really explain it, but it was one of the most crushing things you can imagine seeing. The Russians were filled with the audacity of hope and change too, and then physicists ended up delivering free newspapers in hopes of a tip. The lesson is that when American politicians and economists give you a blueprint for making your life better, the best thing you can do is the opposite of whatever they say.

    I’m not surprised that Jeter got voted “most overrated” by his fellow players. I don’t think that they’re saying he isn’t a great ball player, because he is. I think they’re saying that there are a fair number of great ball players who don’t get the recognition because Jeter hogs the spotlight…and it might have something to do with his innate Yankeeness.

  2. Thanks for the background on Russia, Lex. As for Jeter, he doesn’t really seek out the spotlight. Besides, it shines more brightly on Rodriguez and phenom Joba Chamberlain.

  3. Point taken, i think “hogs” was the wrong word. Jeter is actually a pretty normal, humble guy. ESPN, etc tough have – in the past – tried to make him a Jordan like figure. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that either, because he is a very good face for baseball and a good role model. I may hate the Yankees, but i’d be real happy to see Jeter wearing an olde English D. (even an aging Jeter)

    As an aside, some good reads are to be had in The Exile archives from back when Taibbi and Ames were getting things rolling…before Taibbi was chased out of the country and Ames started suffering from pharmaceutically induced impotence.

  4. the multiply redundant levels … Shouldn’t “multiply” read “multiple”?

    Uh, Downes employs “multiply” as an adverb, and you could make a case for the adverb modifying the adjective instead of two adjectives modifying the noun.

    But then again, you could make a case for eschewing either form of the word, since the three choices — “redundant levels,” “multiple redundant levels,” and “multiply redundant levels” — are equivalent in meaning, engendering a bit slightly multiply/multiple redundant awkwardness by its redundant multiplicity. Feedback, anyone?

  5. Nascar is ignorant. Well maybe, but through the years, I have rarely encountered a valid wrongful termination charge. Most are just out for money or revenge or both. Work stress takes a much larger toll on our health than we care to admit. For a handful of money, we give the corporations our health and years off of our lives. The current crisis with gasoline prices simply compounds the problems of the working American. And with oil predicted to reach $200 a barrel, it will only get worse, which is why the major corporations should begin to address the impact this is having on its workforce. Creative solutions or less profit taking could be in order. In my management book, Wingtips with Spurs, I devote an entire section to the effects of stress on our mental and physical health. Not from a medical point of view but rather from the view of a human resources professional of 30 years. Stress kills and will keep killing as long as we refuse to learn the coping tools. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders http://www.michaellgooch.com

  6. Stress does kill, but do we put ourselves in the position? We have a tendency to want to live beyond our means, which means catching our means up with our lifestyle. Time is money; therefore, money is time. At a certain point, my time is at least as valuable to me as the money it could generate on a paycheck. And the value of sanity needs to be considered.

    I may be financially underemployed, but i don’t dread going to work. I get paid for plenty of fresh air and exercise, and my work duties are basically the same as my hobbies. If you sell your soul to a corporation for a pound of silver, who’s fault it is that you’re soulless?