A mixed grill.

A lot of links for a windy Tuesday, eh?

Well, now. This is what you might call both inevitable and inevitably depressing:

The Internet, with companies sniping at one another and blithely ignoring major privacy violations, is on the verge of the same fate as the true-blue American industries before it: losing its sense of fun.

Fun? I’d settle for something a lot less. After describing recently reported problems with security breaches of Apple’s mobile-device OS — no more lovely walled garden, but one with thieves coming over the walls — Nick Bilton tosses off an anecdote that simply drives me nuts:

Last week Apple also refused to allow “Stop Selling Dreams,” a new book by the writer Seth Godin, into the iBookstore. Apple’s reasoning: Mr. Godin’s book contains links in the bibliography, he said, which make it easy for readers to buy books from Amazon. (Imagine if a physical bookstore refused to sell a print book because it referred to Barnes & Noble?)

Yeah. He goes on to point out the fun-less atmosphere at Google, et al, and once again — hammer, nail, etc.:

I’m increasingly wary of downloading an app, or signing up for a new service or Web site, for fear that the creator had an ulterior motive. Does Angry Birds really need to take my address book when I install it on my phone? Will I really want to see constant warnings popping up to tell me an app is taking this or that bit of once-private data?

So true. I no longer download Facebook apps unless absolutely necessary, and have deleted 85 percent of the ones I welcomed back when I was a newcomer. So no more watching “SNL” sketches via Hulu for Facebook, and definitely no Washington Post Social Reader, and absolutely positively no Yahoo apps, not when they announce to your whole goddamn network that you were reading about the Kardashians. (I saw that on a friend’s timeline; she said, “I am not ashamed of my fondness for celebrity gossip.” I’m glad someone isn’t.)

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m tired of paying for free things with my information, because I suspect I’m being overcharged. I’d happily pay $5 a month for Twitter and Facebook, if I could actually keep my private things private, or private-ish. And goddamn it, Apple — if you’re going to sell books, but only books that don’t even carry the faintest whiff of maybe acknowledging that there’s another way to sell books, then go sell them to someone else.

Let’s change the subject; how about some levity?

In Laurens County, South Carolina, you cannot run for office with the county GOP’s seal of approval unless you sign a pledge:

…of 28 principles, because the party “does not want to associate with candidates who do not act and speak in a manner that is consistent with the SC Republican Party Platform.”

Among the principles, according to Vic MacDonald & Larry Franklin of the Clinton Chronicle, is standard fare like opposition to abortion and upholding gun rights, as well as “a compassionate and moral approach to Teen Pregnancy” and “a high regard for United States Sovereignty.”

It goes on. And like the kids say, it gets better.

A poignant tale out of western Ohio — the barely there village of Uniopolis, which voted big-time for John Kasich in the 2010 wave. Balance that budget without raising taxes, guvnor! So he did, in part by slashing revenue sharing to municipalities large and small, and now?

This small village of low-slung houses and squeaky swing sets in western Ohio’s farm country has already laid off its part-time police officer and decided not to replace its maintenance worker, who recently retired. To save cash, Mayor William Rolston will propose Monday that the town turn off the street lights, and that Uniopolis disincorporate after more than a century in existence.

I used to drive through burgs like this between Fort Wayne and Columbus, strung along US 33 like afterthoughts. Neptune, Pleasant Mills, New Hampshire, Rockford, Willshire. I probably made that drive every few months for 20 years, and none of the towns got any bigger or prettier in that time. (Although there was one prosperous farm between Rockford and Willshire that was almost spookily clean and neat. I never saw a human being outdoors, but every bush and blade of grass looked like it had been trimmed by the grounds crew at a championship golf course. I always thought of “A Thousand Acres” and shuddered.) On the one hand, there’s really no need for any of them to exist anymore, is there? Change is the nature of the world; maybe it’s time for Uniopolis to join all the ghost towns that populate the earth:

In the Uniopolis post office, run by Link Noykos, a good-natured postmaster with sharp blue eyes and an easy laugh, townspeople shuffle in to buy stamps, pick up mail, and just to chat. Many blame the federal government for the budget problems, accusing it of spending money on bureaucracy and fancy dinners. Others say they want the budget balanced — as long as certain bits of spending remain.

“We need to see the cuts,” said Joe Hornung, a retiree dressed in an Ohio State baseball cap and leather jacket. “I would just hate to see the police go.”

Noykos has heard it all before. He recognizes that the kind of budget cuts that so many in town seem to support could lead to the disappearance of his job — and of the town’s de facto social center. He doesn’t flinch when Uniopolis residents launch into tirades about the size of the federal government, not recognizing they’re complaining about the agency that employs their friend and confidant.

Of course not. Fancy dinners only happen somewhere else.

How many fancy dinners did you enjoy when you were employed by the U.S.P.S., Cooz?

Happy Tuesday, all.

Posted at 12:04 am in Current events |

59 responses to “A mixed grill.”

  1. Sherri said on March 6, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Before I sign up for anything on the Internet, I ask, what’s the business model? If they’re selling me, they’d better not be selling me cheap. I never liked the value proposition with Facebook, and don’t have a Facebook account.

    As for buying books from Apple, at least with ebooks from Amazon, they make readers available for all kinds of devices. Ebooks from Apple can only be read on Apple devices.

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  2. David C. said on March 6, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I listened to the latest This American Life yesterday. The title was “What Kind of Country?” and it plowed the same ground as the story about Uniopolis. I was and still am really depressed about it as the answer seems to be a really shitty and selfish one. They would happily live in a community without parks, libraries, decent streets, or anything that makes life a little bit better for everyone. We’ve gone from a nation of out of many, one to I’ve got mine.

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  3. coozledad said on March 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I went to a few retirement dinners, none of them publicly subsidized. We either pitched money into a hat to determine how “nice” a place we’d go to( Sizzler. Golden Corral. The 220 Seafood Restaurant {Two Dollars, Two Dimes, Any Old Time} or the Middleburg Steak House– a beautiful old WPA cabin/recreation center that had been constructed so the sharecroppers of the area would have someplace to go to make a quilt or hear a lecture on syphilis.

    There were plenty of anti-government dumbasses working at the post office, a lot of whom advocated the “We gonna run dis like a bidness” philosophy that ran it afoul of the customers and into the ground. Many of them will be dead now, or wailing over benefit cuts.
    They probably won’t cut our local post office, even though it only serves a handful of people. Too many millionaires out this way.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I had to shift my Sunday afternoon schedule to hear the second part of the This American Life piece that I missed on arrival in my car at an appointment Saturday before it was over. Good analysis and vital human perspective, but there was one huge hole that I hoped the last twenty minutes resolved, and did not it turned out.

    In an early segment, towards the end, the reporter checks and notes that property taxes in Trenton went in the last ten years from $5,700 to over $11,000, but now they have to shut off street lights and lay off cops. “Where does the money go?” a Trenton citizen asks, noting they would pay more in taxes if they could know they’d get back to previous levels of service, but they weren’t confident. The reporter repeats: “Where does the money go?”

    The question was never answered. That’s why I fear our county parks & developmental disability board levies will not pass today in Ohio. It’s the same thing: we’re seeing our residential property taxes nearly double, and hear that streets can’t get paved, positions aren’t filled, vital contract employees (he flattered himself) have the same pay rate for seven years running even with no benefits even in shouting distance.

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  5. beb said on March 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

    This morning’s blog reading tells me that 13 advertisers have dropped Limbaugh, as well as two radio stations. I’m not sure how many will come back once the heat is off but let’s remember that Glenn Beck lost his job when the advertisers started backing away from his teary-eyed craziness. Could this be the tipping-point in Limbaugh’s career?

    The sad part about the Uniopolis story is that the State cut their revenue and they’re blaming the Federal government for their problems. Focus, people, focus! The Federal government isn’t the one trying to balance their budget on your backs! As Charles Pierce frequently reminds people the problem today is: “People have No Money; they have no jobs!”

    I never signed up for Facebook; I’m not that sociable a person. Now I find that many commercial blogs (Detroit News, et al) only take comments from Facebook users. But stories of how much effort Facebook has made in the past to collect and sell so much of your private information that it’s just scary. And Google whose motto used to be “do no evil” has shorted that to “evil.” They want to create vast databases of every web site you’ve visited, every search you’ve made, every email you’ve sent. Part of the joy of the internet was that you could ask questions or state opinions that you would never dare ask or state at a library or dinner conversation. Not any more. Big Brother is watching, it’s just not the state.

    Jeff (TMMO) echos the question “where does the money go?” It would be nice just once for a news show to try to answer that question. But I think I can throw in a few suggestions.
    1. Even though taxes have gone up, total revenue probably hasn’t. Because people have moved out of town, have lost their jobs or have retired.
    2. City worker’s wages haven’t gone up significantly, so the problem isn’t there.
    3. Management salaries may have bloomed greatly. As our geriatric mayor says “You’ve got to spend money to get good talent.” A theory that never extends to the frontline employees.
    4. The price of everything else has gone up enormously. Gas, gasoline, asphalt, winter salt, new trucks. bulbs for traffic lights, and so on.

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  6. Icarus said on March 6, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Something I’ve noticed about my Facebook friends in recent real-life conversations. People complain that some friend posts too much. But instead of using the technology to simply hide or unsubscribe the friend, they feel their only recourse is to defriend them. As if it’s not enough to ignore the frequent posts, they need to somehow quietly punish the guy who reads too many articles, re-shares funny cat cartoons and/or takes pictures of his lunch.

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  7. Suzanne said on March 6, 2012 at 8:39 am

    David @2 “We’ve gone from a nation of out of many, one to I’ve got mine.” Yessirree. I just had that same conversation over the weekend with a relative. What happened to the notion of the common good? Now, it’s “I’ve got mine, screw you.”

    Where is the tax money going? I assume that the “we should run the guvmint like a bidness” people have won the argument, so the top people in the government run entities are taking huge salaries while they shut down everything else much like the corporate world. We at the bottom are only human capital anyway, so if we have no street lights or cops, oh well. We’ll eventually die and take up fewer resources which leaves more for those at the top who have the money to buy their own security and lights.

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  8. alex said on March 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I wonder how bad things have to get before people realize they’re voting against their own interests. Of course, it’s amazing that it has taken this long for Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers to realize that it’s bad business to be associated with a loser, and businesses are usually run by people who have at least half a brain, so I’m not terribly optimistic in this regard. Americans are evidently willing to eat a shit sandwich as long as it’s sugared up with racism, class resentment and religious fervor.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Beb, the synergy of #2 & #3 is eating at morale in myriad ways – I think you’ve pegged it. #4 is a factor, but it doesn’t account for 33% to 100% increases over 10 years. That, and #5: local & state governments are starting to fund IOU-laden accounts from thirty years of bipartisan profligacy that deferred both maintenance & contractual pension obligations in favor of claiming they’d found the fountain of cash hidden under an accounting trick. But the sudden appearance in budgets of actual contributions is shocking the system at just the wrong economic moment, and to speak or write about whose fault it really is requires condemning goobers who already have buildings and gymnasiums named after them as respected elder statescritters . . . unless they actually get indicted and convicted for going even further, in which case the maintenance dept. gets more overtime for prying bronze letters off faux-marble facades.

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  10. Peter said on March 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Hey everybody, just in time for Super Tuesday, let’s take a quiz.

    Go ahead, open this link, and see if you can guess who made the following statements: Reasonable Republican Candidate Rick Santorum, or Supreme Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei!


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  11. Connie said on March 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

    In my township your property taxes went up because you voted overwhelmingly to approve a police and fire special assessment, a buy green space parks fund, and other such projects. Your services have gone down and the township has laid off most of its office employees because plummeting property values have reduced the amount of taxes collected for the general fund. And because the DDA’s grand plans ran into the crash and the township budget is having to take up part of the DDA’s multi million dollar bond payments.

    Indiana folks, a township in Michigan is very different than a township in Indiana. It has certain city like obligations. And local gov units in Michigan do their own tax bills rather than the county doing them for all and distributing the funds as is done in Indiana.

    As to free meals, there are a couple of sales reps that have been taking me out to for lunch for years. Next week I will be at the PLA Conference in Philadelphia and have RSVP’d to parties put on by Recorded Books (at the Franklin Institute) and Overdrive (at the National Constitutional Center.) I’ve been to a lot of those kinds of parties over the year, does that mean I’m a hard partying government official? Best party ever? Baker and Taylor hosting fried chicken and beer on a Staten Island Ferry cruise.

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  12. Connie said on March 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Someone asked yesterday if anyone was from the tornado affected area in southern Indiana. I lived on the edge of that area for many years and what I have seen from my Facebook friends in that area has been amazing. Early news and videos with links to Louisville television reports. Lists of places where clothing and food can be donated and of things that are sorely needed such as large plastic storage containers. The state’s new centralized list of rentals available particularly in unhit neighboring areas. And today, several shares about Tide’s Loads of Hopes vans coming to Henryville. This big trailer has equipment to do 300 loads of laundry a day. Indystar.com had an amazing photo gallery and is still heavily covering the story.

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  13. Mark P said on March 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I work in an area in the South with a huge military, NASA and federal contractor work force. As you might expect, it is also very conservative. Everyone wants to reduce the size of the federal government. Everyone wants to reduce taxes. Everyone hates “Obamacare.” Every cent they make comes from federal tax dollars. All their great health insurance is paid for with tax dollars. Many of them collect military or federal retirement even as they work for government contractors. They do not see the contradiction.

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  14. mark said on March 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Why funding of local government services collapses is probably very dependent on the locsality. In the Fort Wayne area, where I would say we are in relatively good shape, I’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of tax dollars devoted to “economic development” over the past 20 years. The economy always justifies these expenditures, though, as good times prove the success and bad times demonstrate the need.

    But if I had a dollar for every taxpayer subsidized strip mall…

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  15. nancy said on March 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

    There was a good “This American Life” on economic development a few weeks back. When I have time, I’ll try to rustle up a link for you. It really does look suspiciously like a scam, although I will say — hiring Dan Carmody to run the Eastern Market nonprofit was a smart move. I don’t know what he did in the Fort, but he’s certainly earned his keep here.

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  16. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

    so the top people in the government run entities are taking huge salaries while they shut down everything else much like the corporate world.

    Am not sure about the states, but I’ve read recently that, at the federal level, people in the top jobs are underpaid relative to their private sector counterparts, while people at the lower ranks were overpaid relative to people in the private sector.

    Makes sense if you think about it. A Cabinet secretary is nowhere near as well paid as the CEO of a firm with thousands of employees, and the same is true for the career people (i.e., the agency heads) immediately under them.

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  17. Colin said on March 6, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I’d like to note that Apple refusing to sell Godin’s book because it contains links to Amazon is not so much Apple acknowledging that Amazon exists, but more like allowing a competitor to run a cash register in their store. It’s easy enough for Godin to reformat his book and re-point his links, but he’s claiming censorship because Apple doesn’t want to help *promote* Amazon’s business. It’s not a principle of “open access”; it’s a business decision. I don’t expect a physical Barnes & Noble to simply offer a Powell’s catalog to me while I’m in their store, and I don’t understand why he feels that Apple, Amazon, and B&N should do the same just because they’re online.

    Here’s his actual article: http://paidcontent.org/article/419-who-decides-what-gets-sold-in-the-bookstore/.

    I have a hard time accepting his logic. He has the choice of publishing with the big three epublishers. He can do a little extra legwork to make his work compliant with the standards they have set. He says that the content delivery system is robust and highly functional, and then complains that the people who developed that delivery system shouldn’t be able to set the terms by which they deliver it.

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  18. mark said on March 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Dan Carmody is a really smart guy and, from my admittedly limited interaction with him, a very honest and ethical man. While I’ll always have my criticisms of these expenditures, having somone like Dan in charge is a must if they are to be something more than a cash pot for political cronies.

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  19. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

    The story re the tornados that has stuck w/ me is the story re the toddler who was found in the field, but later died, as had her parents and three siblings. That a whole family died is terrible, but I have to admit I was mildly horrified to find that this family existed because, wait for it, the mother was 20 years old and the father was 21. The kids were 5, 2, 14 months, and 2 months.

    This story made me wonder whether, despite all the recent conversation about contraception, there were parts of the country where the facts about the availability of condoms and birth control pills hadn’t gotten out.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on March 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Here’s an example of one of those so-called overpaid guvmint workers: my sister. She is the manager of a WIC office in Florida, supervising 35 employees. No pay increase for six years, benefits aren’t that great, the staff has been cut by 25% while the workload has increased by about a third. She does what she can to keep morale up, all out of her own pocket, bringing in healthy snacks or the like. She’s under constant pressure from the state and the stress is sky high.

    BTW, she is in Palm Beach County, where the majority of the clients are the working poor. Guess where they work? Well, frequently they are housekeepers and gardeners. So if you think your tax dollars are subsidizing Donald Trump’s lifestyle, you wouldn’t be wrong.

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  21. Bitter Scribe said on March 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I’ve seen this for decades. One level of government gets to heroically cut taxes, leaving the level below to deal with the consequences.

    You know what they say rolls downhill. Well, the Tea Party types who drive around potholes to get to the polling place are using it for brains.

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  22. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 11:13 am

    People That use the word bureaucracy in discussing government and government spending bug the piss out of me with their willful, knee-jerk ignorance. Do these folks really fail to understand that every medium to large business organization is a bureaucracy? The Koch Bros. Kriminal Konspiracy is a fracking bureaucracy. Bain Capital is a bureaucracy, The Big Three is and always has been the most Gargantuan bureaucracy ever devised by mankind. And all of these bureaucracies have wasted money to a tune the US federal government has never been close too big enough to carry.

    Are Rick Snyder voters in Michigan complaining about the governor expanding his bureaucratic empire when the state takes over municipalities? Somehow, I doubt there is that level of self-examination. As for USPostal Service, what will be the reaction when GOPers out to kill the Postal Service for decades get their privatizing way. Are people going to be happy paying FedEx rates for mail? Is the service going to slow to a crawl with the added burden of daily mail? This will not end well. The USPS has provided remarkable service for a very long time and a ridiculously low fee. I’m for $1.00 first class mail if it saves USPS and staves off privitization. Is there a single example of privitization of government services that has actually increased efficiency or saved money. Privatized penal services are a toxic cesspool of graft, wate, and planned incompetence. I’m not looking forward to government by Omni Consumer Products, especially after the hostile takeover by Zaibatsu in the third movie.

    Nancy’s pristine bucolic estate sounds more like Hershel’s farm than Lear’s dysfunctional kingdom to me, although I read and admire A Thousand Acres.

    Jolene: Comparisons of compensations for public sector workers with the private sector should always be taken with a TBS of seasalt: the private sector figures always include huge numbers of burger flippers and Walmart greeters and cashiers. The comparisonis, as comparisons are, odious.

    One last comment on the fat pig: Shouldn’t Mitt Romney be held to a stricter standard on Rush, considering he makes $1 mil/annually from Bain, that owns ClearChannel, that owns Limpdick? I mean the fool is Mitt’s employee as much as those illegal immigrant landscrapers at the Belmont manse.

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  23. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Malvolio, comparisons can, indeed, be odious, but so can dismissing arguments out of hand w/o presenting any evidence as to their credibility.

    Of course, government employees are not overpaid in any absolute sense (if there is such a thing), but it doesn’t seem implausible that public sector unions have brought about better pay and benefits for their members than clerical and maintenance workers in the private sectors receive.

    Of course, this advantage doesn’t mean anything if declining revenues mean that your job is cut altogether, which is happening far too much.

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  24. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Jolene: My only point is that data that include Mickey D’s workers is in no reasonable way comparable to public employee union members pay levels, but are always included by those trying to claim public sector workers are overpaid. I want the person handling my requests at the DMV or the IRS to be paid at more professional levels than minimum wage fast food workers. Of course, I want the fast food workers paid something more resembling a living wage.

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  25. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Malvolio, here is a link to the study I mentioned. Your argument that studies comparing public to private sector workers need to focus on similar kinds of workers is reasonable, but dismissing research on this topic w/o knowing how the study was done is not reasonable. As you can see, this study is a reasonable attempt to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

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  26. beb said on March 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    When, a year ago or so, Kevin Drum tried to find data on the pay of public workers versus private he found that there was not good data there. Too many apple to oranges comparisons. Lately there has been a study which seems to properly correct for education, volume of workers and kinds of work done. Also whether workers a paid health care. The result shows that public workers in the lowest categories of work are paid a few percent better than private employees doing similar work. The difference in pay scales remains small but favoring publish workers until you get to high end managers, where private pay is enormously greater than public officials. But, as if often the case when discussion wages like this the question shouldn’t be why are we paying public workers so much but why are private employees paid so little.

    The post office is a spepcial case. During the Bush administration, If I recall correctly, it was given a mandate by Congress to pre-apid its health insurance for the next 75 years. Something no business or any other branch of the Federal government is required to do. This has created a $5.5 billion hole in the USPS’ budget. If freed of that requirement the post office would be running in the black. The PO like the Veterans Administration are models of efficiency and an example that government can run large operations better than for-profit corporations.

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  27. Hattie said on March 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Although it is not worthy of me, sometimes I ask myself whether these government haters don’t have it coming.

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  28. Suzanne said on March 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    When speaking of public employee salaries, I’m thinking of a place like IU where, in the past 2 years, the president of the university got something like a 20% raise, while the staff hasn’t gotten anything. Yes, he does a great job, but state funding is being cut, tuition rises, and raises aren’t being given to anybody else. This seems to be the current business model–the top gets a lot, the rest don’t get much.

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  29. Connie said on March 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Before dying suddenly at 43 last week, right-wing activist Andrew Breitbart promised a “bombshell” to dethrone the President and has now posthumously exploded it: Barack Obama saw a play about Saul Alinsky in Chicago 14 years ago. From: http://themoderatevoice.com/140750/behind-breitbarts-obama-bombshell/

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  30. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Those chart data obviously omit CEO, COO, CFO level compensation. And as I said, there is no public sector equivalent to minimum wage workers in the service industry. I don’t see any way those two unique data sets will ever be quantified in an informative fashion. Cabinet level officials average $191,300/annually while doing work easily as complex and demanding as what Carly Fiorino ever took on while making $70-75 mil in about six years of bursting the tech bubble and offshoring jobs while running H-P. On the low end of the spectrum, there is no way to compare public and private without excluding huge numbers of private sector workers that perform jobs without a reasonable equivalent function in the public sector.

    As for comparisons being odious, it’s a 600 year old phrase in which odious means “pointless” more or less. Shakespeare made fun of the term in Much Ado About Nothing by having the malaprop-prone character Constable Dogberry (another ridiculous government worker) say “Comparisons are odorous.”

    The benefits prepay that Congress required of USPS was an attempt to kill the organization. Republicans have been out to get the Post Office for a lot longer and with greater fervor than they have targeted AmTrak or the CPB. USPS service is, despite anecdotal BS, remarkable, and at the cost of a stamp, a spectacular bargain. Yet people howl if the price of first class mail rises by pennies. Seriously? The birthday card I just sent my daughter cost me $0.43 to travel from SC to MA. I could have used a private carrier like FedEx for closer to $15, but that seems contrary to my best interest.

    Suzanne: And the staff has probably lived with enforced furloughs, too.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on March 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Yeah, what is it with the Repukes and the Postal Service? Does USPS employ too many black people or something?

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  32. coozledad said on March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    What does Ed Henry eat to make all of the volume of his head concentrate at the base? And how does he leave his home without the neighbors lining up to kick him in his withered little coin purse?

    I remember the Bush press conferences where the DC press corps basically sucked his dick, and in return, he pissed on them with fratboy contempt.
    Oh, those golden, golden days.

    Obama ripped every one of those flacks a new asshole today.

    Bitter Scribe: The Republicans have always seen the postal service the way they see any other government infrastructure or asset: a pile of money they want to distribute to their friends or just set fire to for fuck all. You can’t elect sociopaths to office and expect any less. When I was running mail there were times when the supervisor rode along for a “count” to do a route evaluation (mail volume, number of boxes, density).Several times they were aghast that someone actually lived in some old hovel or a shell of a trailer covered with plastic sheeting. There were elderly people in a lot of those warrens, and the carriers were about the only contact they had with the world. We checked in on them routinely.
    One measure of the Republican soul is they don’t give a flying fuck if that’s gone.

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  33. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Malvolio, the chart I pointed to does not purport to include every worker in the United States, public or private. Instead, it compares similarly situated workers in the two domains and arrives at the unsurprising conclusion that the differences between private and public sector workers are not linear, i.e. they depend on status, not merely on sector.

    You may prefer to hold onto your assumption that no credible comparisons are feasible, but you would be wrong.

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  34. Mark P said on March 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Jolene, some friends who work for government contractors recently went to work for the government. They had to carefully weigh the cost vs benefit. One main cost was that they would all have to take a pay cut. The benefits, in this area at least, include probably a better retirement, better working conditions (no unpaid overtime), and at least somewhat better job security.

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  35. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    The movie based on Game Change will appear on HBO on Saturday night. Roger Ebert has posted his review.

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  36. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    David Gilmour’s birthday. 155th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision. Or, as GOPers celebrate it, the President Isn’t a Citizen Day. And, the anniversary of the introduction of Oreos by Nabisco in 1912.

    OK Jolene. But that’s a large amount of subjective information to include in a quantitative analysis and arrive at statistical significance. On the top end, leaving out the people that run corporations and the private sector clearly skews the resulting data. And those people got gigantic payoffs for trashing the companies they ran. I don’t say that no credible comparison can be made, just that rendering it as statistically valid requires a leap that statistics as a science doesn’t really allow for.

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  37. Sue said on March 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    My gods, he really just can’t leave it alone, can he?

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  38. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Right, Mark. That’s why careful research on these topics is difficult, but the general approach is to treat “compensation” as the outcome in question, rather than “salary,” as compensation includes benefits such as paid leave, retirement, and healthcare.

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  39. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Limbaaaah keeps bleating.

    Her testimony was not that of an expert, it was just another expert person in this case, Sandra’s case. 30-year old activist after years of a career championing birth control issues. In fact, she told stories less about birth control as a social tool, which is of course the left’s true agenda, and more about birth control as a medication for treating other conditions, such as pregnancy. To the left, pregnancy is a disease. […]

    How does contraception treat pregnancy you moron? And what the hell does that mean in English?

    Sandra Fluke gave vague examples based on unnamed friends, who she says couldn’t afford birth control to treat medical conditions they had, since Georgetown University wouldn’t pay for them. … Or so she says. We still don’t know who any of these friends of hers are, these other women, and we don’t know what happened to them. Her testimony was hearsay, and it was unprovable. […]

    Who said anything about GU paying for anything you fatass twit? At least he gets now that this was never about taxpayers paying for anything. Fluke pays for a mandatory $3000 insurance policy required by GU, and GU will not let the insurance carrier cover contraceptives. He’s just upset that only a bunch of withered old Jebbies will get to see those sex tapes.

    But the point here is that this was an issue that represents a tiny, tiny slice of what the Democrats really want here. They use Sandra Fluke to create a controversy. Sandra Fluke used them to advance her agenda, which is to force a religious institution to abandon their principles in order to meet hers.

    Right venereal Rash. Rick Santorum and the Bishops didn’t start this hoohaw? Not smart enough to stop digging at the bottom of the hole?

    Pretty sure when Rush calls women overeducated, he means “literate”.

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  40. Sherri said on March 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    As I said in yesterday’s thread, Rush was not misogynistic this one time, Rush is misogynistic constantly.

    On a different note, I got a hoot out of this: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-things-rich-people-need-to-stop-saying/

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  41. beb said on March 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Jolene, I believe this is the chart you’re thinking of:

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  42. coozledad said on March 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    One of these days, one of Rush’s beards is going to run out of hush money and unload the details of his sex life.
    I don’t know for certain whether he fucks children, dogs or shoes, but he isn’t fucking anyone with agency, or a meaningful sense of it.
    Maybe he gets it on with other buffalo on a custom shower curtain, but I’ve never heard him endorse Crisco.

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  43. Jolene said on March 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Yes, beb, that’s the same chart I linked to at 25.

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  44. Mark P said on March 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    coozledad, I especially liked Obama’s reply to the Fox “News” guy’s question about whether he wants gas prices to be high to force people away from driving. Obama asked whether anyone in the room seriously thought a sitting president wanted high gas prices in an election year. It was a tasteful, considered way to point out what a tool the “reporter” is without having to use the actual word.

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  45. Little Bird said on March 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Pigs, Coozeldad. My guess is he is shtupping pigs.

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  46. MichaelG said on March 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Jolene is right in her general characterization of public vs. private employment. At the clerical and other entry or lower paying level of employment, the public sector pays a little better and provides benefits much better than those provided by the private sector. At the professional and senior management level private sector folks get paid a lot better than those of us who recline in our public sinecures.

    The classic choice has been as Mark P put it in a comment above. (This computer doesn’t see the comment numbers.) Professionals have given up cash in their pay envelope to get better benefits, working conditions and stability.

    The problem now is that the better benefits are being eroded, the stability is toppling and the working conditions are worsening. Soon it will be low pay, marginal bennies and no stability. It’s heading to the point where the only people in public jobs will be those who can’t get hired anywhere else. And won’t that be nice.

    I’ve gotten my info from several studies that I’ve seen including the one Kevin Drum featured. Also take a look around at job offerings and you’ll see enough anecdotal evidence. The studies are not accurate down to the last penny but are certainly more than accurate enough to show what is generally true.

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  47. coozledad said on March 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Little Bird: Well considering his size and want of agility, that would go a long way to explain the lack of a Crisco endorsement. But it begs another question: Does he have a favored brand of headgate?

    Mark P: Obama ripped it up today.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Which leaves schmos like me, perhaps not living in Trenton, but having watched property taxes go over 8 years from about $2600 to $4400, and the school, village, & county all have cut, cut, cut staff & services the whole time, while nudging aside the parks & fire & developmental disability boards to push for levy increases (and watching then all of them fail).

    I will be one unhappy camper tomorrow if the developmental disability levy fails, and I have a very unRepublican impulse that asks “why the Hades are we even voting on this?” But it’s up against a township green space & county parks levy, both of which lost last go round; DD levy is only up, and as a renewal only, every ten years, but the mood is ugly and in the thick of it, with employment barely still leveled around here, I fear the trend will be “frak no” for all three without distinction.

    But I still find no clear answer to why it’s gone up that much in relatively little time, with so much less to show for it. I still suspect back payments on unfunded obligations from previous decades, but I can’t confirm even that.

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  49. Dexter said on March 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    The big store at the New Hampshire stoplight where US 33 bends 45 degrees to go to Lakeview seems to be closed…it seems that maybe the only thing open is the little ice cream stand, summer only. Neptune doesn’t change, either. Lakeview and Russell’s Point were the vacation spots of the Midwest 60 years ago, but now gas stations and a McDonald’s dominate the area. I have made that trip on US 33 for seventeen years, probably 120 trips, and I can’t think of any changes until Marysville.

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  50. Mark P said on March 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    MichaelG and Jolene – there is one point that might not be considered in comparing government versus private sector jobs. It has to do not with what the individual takes home, but the total cost for the job. In my field, not only do most private sector jobs pay more, but they also cost more because the rate the government pays includes not only that person’s direct salary (plus assorted business costs for the contractor) but also profit for the contractor. The cost per hour versus salary per hour is sometimes in the 2:1 area.

    Some politicians say government should not do anything, but instead let the private sector do it. That’s great for the private sector, but it costs the government (you and me) a whole lot more to get the same job done. No one gets rich working for the government (at least no one who is honest) but anyone who starts a successful business to do government work does get rich. I’ve seen it happen many times.

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  51. coozledad said on March 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    For a gossip mag, Gawker sure is taking up a lot of the slack for the current fucked-up state of journalism. All that cockswallowing for Breitbart last week ought to be stamped on the resumes of every asshole who did it. He was pure shit, and they were terrified of him:
    Ought to be an award for this one.

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  52. alex said on March 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Cooz, that Gawker piece made me laugh so hard I about peed myself. I recommend it highly to anyone who hasn’t yet checked it out.

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  53. Sue said on March 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Wow, some nasty tweets here. Didn’t know Patricia Heaton was such a dittohead.

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  54. Malvolio said on March 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Total destruction of Rush Blimpbaaahh. Had the subhuman Zeppelin read and taken this to heart, and apologized appropriately, he might have saved his own gaseous ass from the conflagrant fate of the Hindenburg.

    Patricia Heaton has been spouting fundy conservative talking points for a long time, claiming her Lord and Personal Savior made her do it. Somehow, that’s OK with GOPers, even though she is some sort of Hollywood type (she was on some TV show, I think, I’ve never been sure). Aren’t actors not supposed to take advantage of their fame to express opinions? That is the right/libertarian POV, right? Like where does Sean Penn get off, living in squalor in Haiti for two years trying to help effect rebuilding the country:

    (long, well worth the time–0n the front lines)

    Anyway, somebody should ask Ms. Heaton if she’s conversant with the NT, and if so, can she identify Jesus’ closest female friend, according to the Gospels, and the woman’s profession.

    That Gawker piece on Breitbart is fantastic Coozledad. The picture of O’Keefe as pimp is hilarious. Don’t pimps hold sway by intimidation. Guy in that photo might intimidate Topher Grace or Michael Cera, but probably not.

    Santorum states his rationale for better contraceptive coverage:


    I’ve heard of mass hysteria but can more than one person have a nervous breakdown together.

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  55. alex said on March 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    So sorry to learn that Patricia Heaton would even listen to Limbaugh, much less publicly endorse his attack on Ms. Fluke. I’m embarrassed for her. And probably disinclined to watch her on television if it can at all be helped, although that was already the case even before she did this.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Interesting. In this Ohio county, Santorum is doing well (10 points over Romney), but we’re looking (at 80% counted) to renew the developmental disability board levy, and the county parks & trails levy.

    I have no idea what that means, but it’s interesting.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    And the GOP county total is 23000+ to a Dem 5000, so it’s not the good Dems alone pushing them over. But gratifying, however it happened. Parks, DD, and our local green space levy all passed.

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  58. brian stouder said on March 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Congratulations on the positive outcome, Jeff.

    I find Santorum’s very competitive (if not outright victorious) run in Ohio to be fascinating; and the whole Santorum Klown Kar kitsch remains intact, given that his campaign failed to field delegate slates in the southeastern counties where he will win the vote in a walk, and yet gain zero delegates. (MSNBC was color-coding the Ohio Counties, and mostly all the rural counties are coated with Santorum’s color; and yet – no payoff in the southeast)

    A very strange evening of election returns, and particularly screwey speeches from the candidates.

    G’night, all

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  59. Dexter said on March 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    A very sad outcome for Dennis Kucinich, as he really never had a chance against Marcy Kaptur, and the whole damn thing makes me sick, because Kaptur and Kucinich are my two favorite Congresspeople, period, and that they had to run against one another due to re-districting, well…it’s just too bad.

    I cannot stay up all night…Santorum and Romney are too close to call right now, and to stop Romney a Santorum Ohio victory is necessary.

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