Monday, April 9, 2012

Last Call

What's going on here in Kentucky's employment scene is typical nationally:

With the economy slowly reviving, an executive from Atlas Van Lines recently visited Louisville, Ky., with good news: the company wanted to hire more than 100 truck drivers ahead of the summer moving season.
But a usually reliable source of workers, the local government-financed job center, could offer little help, because the federal money that local officials had designated to help train drivers was already exhausted. Without the government assistance, many of the people who would be interested in applying for the driving jobs could not afford the $4,000 classes to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Now Atlas is struggling to find eligible drivers.
Across the country, work force centers that assist the unemployed are being asked to do more with less as federal funds dwindle for job training and related services.

And that's because Republicans have cut job training programs again and again.  Both this year's version of the Ryan Austerity Plan and last year's version called for massive cuts to job training programs, and the Republicans got a healthy chunk of those cuts as part of budget deals (that they are looking to renege upon now).  By the way, every single Republican in Congress voted to keep paying federal oil subsidies which would have more than covered the job training budget several times over. 

Instead, these programs are out of money in April already.

To bolster training and other services for jobless workers, the Obama administration recently proposed consolidating two programs. The general dislocated worker program paid for under the Workforce Investment Act would be combined with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides training and other benefits to workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition.
The trade program, which has an annual budget of $575 million, is typically more generous, but narrow in eligibility. The combined program would make all funds available to anyone who had lost a job, regardless of the reason.
In his latest budget proposal, President Obama also requested an additional $2.8 billion a year for job training over the next decade. “Even in this very tight budget,” said Gene Sperling, national economic adviser, “the president felt that there was an imperative to call right now for a more simplified and effective training system” that also had an increase in funds.

You're probably saying to yourself "Why cut job training programs for people who want to work when unemployment is as high as it is?"  You've answered your own question, same as why Republicans want to eliminate federal programs for birth control, preventative care, sex education, early childhood education, and day care.  They don't want anything to get better for the working poor.  They might end up with an extra five bucks to give to a Democrat.  Can't have that.  Gotta have tax cuts for the Job Creators instead.  That'll teach you to be poor.

Mittens: Too Little, Too Late

I guess Mitt Romney just remembered women can vote.  All of a sudden, when it can help him, he thinks women are just the bestest thing ever.

And apparently, he's married to the female Mittens, because like always he brings out his wife anytime someone asks about his ideas on women.

"She reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy, and getting good jobs for their kids and for themselves," Romney told the Newspaper Association of America on Wednesday. "They are concerned about gasoline prices, the cost of getting to and from work, taking their kids to school or to practice and so forth after school. That is what women care about in this country, and my vision is to get America working again."
A few days earlier in Middleton, he was asked how he'd counter the Democrats' narrative on contraception. He prefaced his answer this way: "I wish Ann were here … to answer that question in particular."

Well, not quite.  See, we also care about government letting us retain our medical and legal rights, and not subject them to change whenever it suits them.  It would be kind of nice if we were allowed to speak up without being called sluts and treated like vapid little decorations, but I know that clashes with the GOP mission to keep women in their place.  And again, don't forget the GOP voted unanimously to smack down equal pay for women, which is a really stupid way to show their concern about women getting good jobs for their kids and themselves.

She reports to him regularly.  I just bet she does.

Gosh darn it, though, he does see that moms are struggling to drive their kids to school or practice.  I've heard a lot about that in the news, haven't you?  I mean, some women have had to cancel Tupperware parties and combine sewing circle and recipe club.

He knows as much about what women think as I do about killing kittens for profit.  What a jackhole.  Thusly, The Bon knocked the dust off the jackass tag and officially brings it back from semi-retirement.

Now There's Some BS For You

Safety experts are stunned after a passenger plane filled with smoke while trying to land at a snowy Denver International Airport, but  the air traffic controller dismissed the call for help from the pilot as “B.S.”
The April 3 flight from Peoria, Ill., was scheduled to land in Denver. Everything was going according to plan until smoke filled the plane.  The pilot of the United plane called the control tower to request an emergency landing.
There is some debate, saying these prank calls are fairly common, and the pilot should have announced himself by giving United Airlines and the number, which may have made the controller suspect that something was wrong.  However, his blunt dismissal was shocking, because I would think they would have to err to the side of caution.

“And, ah, I apologize. If you probably heard there, that’s not real what we’re hearing on the frequency,” the controller announced to his coworkers.
The plane prepared for an emergency landing believing that fire crews had been dispatched and were ready to assist.
When the plane landed, the pilots called the control tower again in a panic.
“We’re on the runway!  We’ve been evacuating! We’ve been evacuating!  34 right!” the pilot screamed.
But even with the plane on the ground, the controllers still didn’t believe the emergency was real. 
Yeah, he's probably going to feel pretty bad about this once all the facts roll in.  I almost feel sorry for the guy, but he really doesn't seem to take a possible disaster seriously.  As it is, glad to hear they landed safely and there were no reports of injuries.  I can't imagine anything more terrifying than an airplane malfunction of any kind, but maybe fire above all.

Fair Enough

NBC has fired the producer responsible for the edited Zimmerman 911 call.

What Zimmerman did was deplorable.  It did not need to be altered to make it more so.  Given the edit, it's hard to believe it was accidental.  It was damaging, and could actually backfire and gain sympathy for Zimmerman being a victim of the press (and the likes of Roseanne Barr).

Truth should speak for itself.  In this case it's loud and clear who was in the right.  It's shameful for the press to alter information for ratings.  Normally, I am not a fan of sacrificing an employee to show remorse, but it was their job to know that call and the facts inside and out.

Now, let's get back to doing what we can to take care of the real underlying issues here.

Tooting My Own Horn

Sometimes experiments turn out well.

For those who don't know, I write a little fiction blog called Dead Shuffle.  It really started as a personal project, a blog that kept my fiction moving.  What has happened has been awesome.  The readers have contacted me (it's been mostly positive, thank goodness) and most have enjoyed watching a rough project turn into a dandy good time.

Two things have changed that I wanted to mention here.  First, Dead Shuffle is accepting submissions.  Anyone who has a hankering to kill off characters in fun and exciting ways should use my site to pitch an idea.

The other bit-o-coolness is that there will be a limited edition comic based on the blog.  It will be run with the launch of another comic, by the same artist.

I won't do this often, but when a big event comes up, or we attend a major convention, I'll post it here.  For all events, you can check on the front page of my site and I'll start listing them as we book events.

With Mali's Aforethought

Things continue to get more tense in the African nation of Mali as President Toure has officially least, official by some accounts.

A parliamentary official in Mali says the democratically elected leader of Mali, who has been in hiding ever since a coup last month, has turned in his resignation.

President Amadou Toumani Toure's resignation paves the way for a new interim president to be named in keeping with the constitution.

Issa Togo, the chief of staff of the National Assembly President Dioncounda Traore, said Sunday he had just received a phone call letting him know the president sent an emissary with a resignation letter.

The president was just months from stepping down when soldiers on March 21 stormed the presidential palace, toppling his government.

The nations neighboring Mali imposed harsh sanctions and on Friday, the military junta agreed to step down.

But the junta and the President they opposed are gone, so it's entirely possible that the interim President will be able to calm things down.  On the other hand, it's entirely possible things could go straight to hell, too.  We'll see how this goes.  It's possible too that the junta may not actually step down anytime soon, either.

The Funda-Mitt-al Problem With Romney

Melissa Harris-Perry takes a look at why Mitt Romney can't connect with voters along with her panel.  They spend a good 20 minutes or so on the subject, but the answer's really easy.

Hey Professor?  Mitt Romney is an inveterate liarPeriod, full stop, end of analysis.  It has nothing to do with his Mormon faith, or his bland personality, or even his wealth, really.  It has everything to do with the fact he can't tell the truth to save his own campaign, especially when that truth has anything to do with President Barack Obama.

Here's a thought.  Have a chat with your colleague Rachel Maddow, who at least has the decency to call Mitt Romney what he is: a liar.  Have her come on the show, and ask her about Mitt.  Because 20 minutes of trying to show me Mitt Romney isn't so bad is the reason I turned off the MHP show after the first half hour.

It really isn't that complicated.


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