Bleeding jobs

This feels like I’m blogging for the first time. Anyway, I picked the most action two weeks since the election to not blog. The list of things I haven’t blogged about – The Obama Inauguartion, the first 10 days, Rod Blagojevich, Rush Limbaugh?

What brings me out of my shell are layoffs. They’re everywhere – hitting very close to home for all of us. One thing that has bothered me is the massive number of layoffs and location closings hitting the news. Starbucks, Circuit City, Home Depot, etc. A few years ago these companies couldn’t find a location they didn’t like. Across the street is another Starbucks? No problem.  The growth of these companies during the last 10 years has been dizzying.  Their growth has also been foolish.  

Here’s the analogy I’ve been using –  Say someone bought a lottery ticket and won a thousand dollars.  Good right?  What if this happened the next month and the month after that?  Excellent huh? Here’s the question: What would you say if that person, looking at their recent track record decided that the winnings had to coming month after month, and buys a bigger, nicer home based on the belief that these winnings were coming month after month?  You’d think that person was a fool.  Well this is essentially what many companies did.

Instead of growing at a sustainable and manageable rate – they grew thinking the good times would never end.  Fueled by a low interest rates, cheap money, an insane real estate market, these companies grew without any regard for the future.  Shouldn’t companies grow at a rate that allows them to withstand the bad times without upsetting the apple cart? Didn’t these have a responsibility to be there for their employees?  But greed won out and all they could think of is more, more, more.

All this is too late – people are losing the jobs, over 100,000 this week. The people in charge should be in jail, but they’re living off of their crazy bonuses.  One report had Wall Street bankers taking in $18 billion in bonuses last year.  How much is that?  Enough to give the automakers the bailout they asked for plus an additional $4 billion to “buy something to make themselves pretty”.  It’s enough to employ 300,000 people at $48,000 a year and pay for their health insurance for their family of four.  It’s enough to buy every Major League Baseball team and have enough left over to buy 10 or 11 NFL teams. In other words – it’s a lot of money.  I don’t want to get on a rant here – but maybe these guys didn’t need a bailout.  

I hope this ends soon – I fear that it will bring us all under.  But part of me wonders if that pain wouldn’t be good in the end. Maybe the past two hundred years  we were the  caterpillar  (the insect, not the company that has cut 22,000 jobs). Maybe when this is all done, we’ll be a pretty butterfly.

Or maybe Bernie Madoff will still be smiling?

Our last day in hell

I’m sure if there is a hell, its inhabitants don’t believe that there will be a last day and even if they think there might be, the worst thing would be is to hope or believe in it.

It’s been a long 8 years, from the Supreme Court deciding who the 43rd President of the United States would be. We’ve experienced the horror of 9/11; the subsequent and emotional rush to war in Iraq; the “Mission Accomplished” and the next six years of trying to accomplish that mission; the re-election of George Bush so that he would become the worst two-term President in history; the negligence of the government’s post-Katrina response; the implosion of the economy to its worst state in 70 years.

Yes it’s been a long eight years and now we get to count down to the end of Bush not in days, but hours. Right now he’s having his last dinner on the tax payer’s dime. It’s amazing how excited I am for him to leave, go to Texas where he should stay for the rest of his days, and not screw things up any further.

We’ve survived and after 8 years of nowhere – we can finally say “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives”.

Mission accomplished.

Bowl season: College entertainment, nothing more

I have never been a fan of college “sports”. They take money away from education, and basketball and football have become professional development leagues with the players making millions of dollars for fat university administrators and boosters while the players are not paid by the universities. Yes they get an education (wink). Some of these “educated” men can’t even read much less earn a college degree. I don’t even believe that college football is a sport. I believe that there is no subjectivity is sport – a voting system to determine your champion? Well you might as well have The Rock break up the game with a chair shot to the head. (That’s a professional wrestling reference for the uninformed).

My big issue with college sports is that they continue to be run by racist boosters. In 2009 we will have a black President, but a black head coach in Division II football? Well that’s rare. Out of the 119 division II teams there are 7 black head coaches (of which 3 were hired in December). By comparison, the NFL’s 32 teams also have 7 black head coaches. Progress is being made, but after reading that Charlie Strong has been told repeatedly that Strong has been passed over because his wife is white, I realize that the NCAA remains stuck in the 40’s.

The history of major college sports has always been sordid. The treatment of black players in the 50’s through the 70’s was horrible, but they’ve barely gotten much better. They’re willing to use these players as indentured servants, but nothing more. Until that changes, we should all turn our head away.

Peter Gabriel & Hot Chip cover of Vampire Weekend’s Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Very cool cover of Vampire Weekend’s  Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel.  Made cool by the fact that the original song name checks Peter in the chorus. So of course PG has to change the lyric for it to make sense.  Apparently this was supposed to be a b-side over the summer, but was never released.

Listen below.

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – Hot Chip & Peter Gabriel