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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
Number of posts: 4,982

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The Growing Degradation of Work and Life, and What We Might Do to End It

n a recent New York Times' article, former labor editor Steven Greenhouse writes about how employers in the service sector often demand that their employees work shifts that allow them little time for rest. For example, a worker might have to close a night shift on Wednesday and open the morning shift on Thursday:

"At Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, Ramsey Montanez struggles to stay alert on the mornings that he returns to his security guard station at 7 am, after wrapping up a 16-hour double shift at 11 pm the night before."

Given that it takes precious minutes to get home, at least an hour or two to wind down and take care of chores, and an hour or more to prepare and then get back to work the next morning, Montanez probably has to get by on no more than five hours of sleep. If he has children or is responsible for the care of others, then the time crunch is still worse.

The practice of having employees close late and open early has become common enough that there is now a word for it - "clopening." Management justifies the practice by claiming that turnover in restaurant and other service jobs is so high that only the relatively few longer-term employees are sufficiently trustworthy and "have the authority and experience to close at night and open in the morning." Labor advocates say that the reason for clopening is that scheduling is often no longer done by actual managers but by "sophisticated software" purchased by companies.



Sad that the only economic game in town is degrading all life on this planet ...

'Megadrought' threatens U.S. Southwest, Plains in decades to come, says study

The U.S. Southwest and Central Plains regions are likely to be scorched by a decades-long "megadrought" in the second half of this century if climate change continues unabated, scientists from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities have warned.

In a study published by the journal Science Advances this week, the researchers forecast that future drought risk in the area is likely to exceed even the driest conditions experienced during extensive Medieval-era periods that have been dubbed "megadroughts."

UN climate talks at crossroads on how to fight global warming
UN climate change report offers stark warnings, hope
Climate change survey reveals Canadians' fears for future generations
Arctic meltdown: A changing world

There is an 80 per cent chance of an extended drought between 2050 and 2099 unless aggressive steps are taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the article predicted.

"Ultimately, the consistency of our results suggests an exceptionally high risk of a multidecadal megadrought ... (and) a level of aridity exceeding even the persistent megadroughts that characterized the Medieval era," the scientists wrote.


Why the 1% should pay tax at 80%

In the United States, the share of total pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% has more than doubled, from less than 10% in the 1970s to over 20% today (pdf). A similar pattern is true of other English-speaking countries. Contrary to the widely-held view, however, globalisation and new technologies are not to blame. Other OECD countries, such as those in continental Europe, or Japan have seen far less concentration of income among the mega rich.

At the same time, top income tax rates on upper income earners have declined significantly since the 1970s in many OECD countries – again, particularly in English-speaking ones. For example, top marginal income tax rates in the United States or the United Kingdom were above 70% in the 1970s, before the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions drastically cut them by 40 percentage points within a decade.

At a time when most OECD countries face large deficits and debt burdens, a crucial public policy question is whether governments should tax high earners more. The potential tax revenue at stake is now very large.

For example, doubling the average US individual income tax rate on the top 1% income earners from the current 22.5% level to 45% would increase tax revenue by 2.7% of GDP per year – as much as letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire (only a small fraction of them lapsed in January 2013). But of course, this simple calculation is static: such a large increase in taxes may well affect the economic behaviour of the rich and the income they report pre-tax, the broader economy and, ultimately, the tax revenue generated. In recent research, we analyse this issue both conceptually and empirically using international evidence on top incomes and top tax rates since the 1970s.



I put this comment in good reads for a very good reason ...

And we are all alone in the universe ...LMAO


Is America Crazy ?

Americans who live abroad -- more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) -- often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States. Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded “homeland,” now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.

In my long nomadic life, I’ve had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet. I’ve been to both poles and a great many places in between, and nosy as I am, I’ve talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.

That’s changed, of course. Even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I still met people -- in the Middle East, no less -- willing to withhold judgment on the U.S. Many thought that the Supreme Court’s installation of George W. Bush as president was a blunder American voters would correct in the election of 2004. His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it. Bush had started a war, opposed by the entire world, because he wanted to and he could. A majority of Americans supported him. And that was when all the uncomfortable questions really began.


Satire is not always supposed to be funny ...hahahaha

the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
synonyms: mockery, ridicule, derision, scorn, caricature; More
a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire.
plural noun: satires
"a stinging satire on American politics"
synonyms: parody, burlesque, caricature, lampoon, skit; More
a genre of literature characterized by the use of satire.

FURTHERMORE as journalists we are not supposed to be sensitive to others sensibilities when this BIZZARRO WORLD is burning in its stupid idiosyncrasies ... We are supposed to be screaming the idiotic nature of humankind until it finally echoes in the chambers of the consciousness of man ...

YOU are totally wrong, Nicholas "Bill" Kristof for stating otherwise today ...

Attack Charlie Hebdo: what do we know of two suspects?

Two of the three suspects in the massacre that decimated the writing of Charlie Hebdo , Wednesday, January 7, were still at large in the Wednesday and Thursday night. The Police launched a national search warrant against Sharif and Said Kouachi two brothers aged 32 and 34 years. They are "considered dangerous and heavily armed ed " by investigators.

Shortly before the unveiling of their portraits in a call to witnesses issued by the police headquarters in Paris , a third suspect, aged 18, presented himself voluntarily to the police station of Charleville-Mezieres in the Ardennes. A police source, contacted by Le Monde said that "no charge" had been made ​​against him and that "in his case, it's just simple checks. »

En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/attaque-contre-charlie-hebdo/article/2015/01/08/attaque-a-charlie-hebdo-que-sait-on-des-deux-suspects-recherches_4551181_4550668.html#iXC7sOpxiJfqKeIk.99

NBC Walks Back Report of Dead Suspect, ABC Reports One Suspect in Custody

Source: Slate

an. 7, 2015, 8:45 p.m.: ABC News, France 24, and the AFP are reporting that the youngest of the three suspects in Wednesday’s attack has surrendered to police.

NBC’s Pete Williams, meanwhile, appeared to walk back an earlier report that one suspect had been killed and the other two had been detained. “To be fair here we just don’t know exactly what the situation is in France,” he said on MSNBC.

Earlier, Williams had reported that two senior U.S. counterterrorism had told NBC that the three men were no longer at large.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/01/07/paris_terror_attack_terrorists_attack_charlie_hebdo_killing_at_least_12.html


Time for a cocktail ...

OPEC Presents: QE4 and Deflation

Thinking plummeting oil prices are good for the economy is a mistake. They instead, as I said only yesterday in The Price Of Oil Exposes The True State Of The Economy, point out how bad the global economy is doing. QE has been able to inflate stock prices way beyond anything remotely looking fundamental, but energy prices have now deflated instead of stocks. Something had to give at some point. Turns out, central banks weren’t able to inflate oil prices on top of everything else. Stocks and bonds are much easier to artificially inflate than commodities are.

The Fed and ECB and BOJ and PBoC may of course yet try to invest in oil, they’re easily crazy enough to try, but it will be too late even if they did. In that sense, one might argue that OPEC – or rather Saudi Arabia – has gifted us QE4, but the blessings of the ‘low oil price stimulus’ will of necessity be both mixed and short-lived. Because while the lower prices may free some money for consumers, not nearly all of the freed up ‘spending space’ will end up actually being spent. So in the end that’s a net loss as far as spending goes.

The ‘OPEC Q4′ may also keep some companies from going belly up for a while longer due to falling energy costs, but the flipside is many other companies will go bust because of the lower prices, first among them energy industry firms. Moreover, as we’re already seeing, those firms’ market values are certain to plummet. And, see yesterday’s essay linked above, many of eth really large investors, banks, equity funds et al are heavily invested in oil and gas and all that comes with it. And they are about to take some major hits as well. OPEC may have gifted us QE4, but it gave us another present at the same time: deflation in overdrive.

You can’t force people to spend, not if you’re a government, not if you’re a central bank. And if you try regardless, chances are you wind up scaring people into even less spending. That’s the perfect picture of Japan right there. There’s no such thing as central bank omnipotence, and this is where that shows maybe more than anywhere else. And if you can’t force people to spend, you can’t create growth either, so that myth is thrown out with the same bathwater in one fell swoop.

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