Daily Archives: March 28, 2011

Detroit Free Press: Jobs in Michigan: Hunt for work is an endurance test

March 27, 2011- When Tim Zaneske lost his information technology job in June 2009, he never dreamed that he would be unemployed for months and months and months.

Today, nearly two years later, the Flushing Township resident is still looking for permanent work. His lengthy job search has taken its toll, forcing the father of two young children to file for bankruptcy. Last month, Zaneske finally got some relief: a part-time contract job.

"You get job leads, but nine times out of 10, it's nothing," the 44-year-old said. "It's beyond frustrating."

Last year, 36% of Michigan's 590,000 unemployed workers had been searching for a job for a year or longer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the third-highest rate in the country, behind only New Jersey and Georgia.

Though the state's job market is improving, economists expect long-term unemployment to remain a huge problem because it will take years to recoup the millions of jobs that were lost during the recession.

Koch Brothers Continue Their Canadian Takeover

-By Emma Pullman at DeSmogBlog

March 27, 2011- On Friday, the Canadian government fell to a vote of non-confidence. As Canadians prepare to head to the polls for an early May election, the oily architects of the Tea Party, mega-funders of climate change denial and bankrollers of major right wing think tanks including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have made a timely infiltration into Canadian politics.

Last week, we reported that the oily brothers had set up shop to lobby in Alberta. But perhaps more disquieting than that is that, according to Environmental Defence, Alberta isn't the only province being strangled by the Kochtopus. The Koch brothers have officially registered to lobby in Ontario too.

The Smirking Chimp: Sorry, Son – No Magnet School For You. The Koch Bros Need To Pay Less Taxes.

March 27, 2011- A couple of years ago, my older son got bumped out of a place at Cal State Northridge because of budget cuts. He had been accepted – recruited – into the highly-acclaimed jazz department at CSUN because of his excellence in music in high school. He was fortunate enough – and worked hard enough – to earn a place in the Hamilton Academy of Music, one of the finest public high-school music magnets in California, if not the entire country. The video I'm posting is of the award-winning performance of his Vocal Jazz group that competed in the Reno Jazz Festival, led by one of the best vocal directors I have ever heard (and, believe me, I've heard a few), R. John Hamilton.

Weekly Standard: The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics

(Awww- Poor Koch Brothers! Poor little brutally oppressed billionaires!-CD)

April 4, 2011- David Koch’s secretary told him the news. This was in February, during the rowdy standoff between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and demonstrators backing 14 Democratic legislators who’d fled to Illinois rather than vote on a bill weakening public employee unions. Koch’s secretary said that an editor for a left-wing website, the Buffalo Beast, had telephoned the governor posing as David Koch and recorded the conversation. And Walker had fallen for it! He’d had a 20-minute conversation with this bozo, not once questioning the caller’s identity. But then how could Walker have known? Sure, David Koch was a billionaire whose company had donated to his campaign. But Koch (pronounced “Coke”) had never talked to Walker in his life.

Fortune: Unpaid jobs: The new normal?

While businesses are generally wary of the risks of using unpaid labor, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.

March 25, 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 that provides Web-based interior design services. "From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it's huge. Especially if you're a small business."

Palm Beach Post: Gov. Rick Scott’s drug testing policy stirs suspicion

March 26, 2011- One of the more popular services at Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is drug testing, according to Solantic CEO Karen Bowling.

Given Solantic's role in that marketplace, critics are again asking whether Scott's policy initiatives – this time, requiring drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients – are designed to benefit Scott's bottom line.

The Palm Beach Post reported in an exclusive story two weeks ago that while Scott divested his interest in Solantic in January, the controlling shares went to a trust in his wife's name.

This raised a groundswell of concern and questions about his health policy initiatives, especially his push to move Medicaid into private HMOs. Solantic does not take Medicaid but does business with private Medicaid HMOs. The questions are growing louder with Scott's executive order on drug testing.

Seattle PI: The Koch brothers move north

March 25, 2011- They’ve bankrolled the Tea Party movement in the U.S., and underwritten climate change skeptics, and now billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are upping their involvements in Canada.

Koch Industries is registering to lobby the government of Alberta, and retained one of Canada’s top firms — Global Public Affairs — as its representative in the Great White North.

“The registration was made on March 15 making Koch Industries legally able to lobby provincial policy makers on the issues of ‘energy and resource development,’ ‘economic development,’ and ‘taxation policy’,” thetyee.ca, a Vancouver news website, reported Thursday.

The Kochs have already let their money speak up north. They’ve given $175,000 to The Fraser Institute, a free market Vancouver think tank that serves as advocate for the energy, mining, timber and other Canadian resource industries.

And they are deeply involved in the vast Alberta oil sands development.

Salon: Billionaire self-pity and the Koch brothers

-By Glenn Greenwald

March 27, 2011- Since the financial crisis of 2008, one of the most revealing spectacles has been the parade of financial elites who petulantly insist that they are the victims of societal hostility: political officials heap too much blame on them, public policy burdens them so unfairly, the public resents them, and — most amazingly of all — President Obama is a radical egalitarian who is unprecedentedly hostile to business interests. One particularly illustrative example was the whiny little multi-millionaire hedge fund manager (and CNBC contributor), Anthony Scaramucci, who stood up at an October, 201o, town hall meeting and demanded to know: "when are we going to stop whacking at the Wall Street pinata?"

Center for American Progress: The Consequences of Conservatism

March 25, 2011- The 2012 presidential primary season is already upon us and the Grand Old Party is, not surprisingly, engaged in a grand old opportunity to rewrite history about the causes and consequences of the Great Recession. So it’s time, once again, to set the record straight.

The Great Recession was so great not just because of very sharp unemployment increases but also due to an unprecedented decline in wealth—as the Federal Reserve detailed in a report released this week. That wealth destruction is key to understanding the Great Recession since massive house price drops led to a foreclosure crisis that then fueled massive layoffs. Much of the unprecedented wealth destruction in 2007 and 2008 can be traced back to failed economic policies under President George W. Bush, when opportunities to put the economy and the labor market on the right track were ignored.

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