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(Un)intended Consequences?

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The last vacation I took: Bethany Beach, Delaware, July 2011

In a day or two, I will relate my own ongoing struggle with Obamacare (it’s not positive, believe it or not).  But for now, I want to talk about something I saw yesterday on Corrente regarding the Clinton papers and what Hillary Clinton had to say about the individual mandate.

But first, let me tell you about Jobs4NJ.  When I was laid off back in 2011 from the job I loved, I signed up for the NJ job matching service.  You upload your CV to their database, spend 2 hours correcting all the formatting mistakes, and wait.  By the way, we were told at the NJDOL that we could also apply for state jobs but that each job application would require a $25 fee.  That fee was non-refundable whether you got a job or not.  Imagine asking a bunch of unemployed people to cough up $25 for each job opening they saw on the state employment site.  I’m wondering if that was a Christie innovation.  The DOL employees were extremely kind, helpful and treated us with dignity and respect and even they thought the fee was outrageous.

Anyway, getting back to Jobs4NJ.  They sent me some job listings.  The good positions were gone, gone, gone from NJ.  The postings I got had descriptions that seemed a bit vague, as if the companies themselves weren’t really sure what they wanted.  Most positions in “science” were really business positions.  Apparently, R&D has an unmet demand for marketing and finance specialists.  Labrats?  Ehhhh, not so much.

I applied to some of the few low level lab positions that were available, and, as is the custom these days with companies, never heard back from any of them that they even received my CV and cover letter or what exactly the mismatch was.  This was not the example of malignant narcissism run amok that I alluded to a couple of days ago though.  I would be grossly exaggerating if I characterized this all too typical insensitivity towards jobseekers as evil.  I’m saving the story of true senseless malice for a book.

I still get email from Jobs4NJ, though you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to go back to that state.  But I noticed something the other day about the new positions.  Quite a few of them have the word “CONTRACT” in the post.  Hmmm, that’s a new one, thought I.  And then, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Over a year ago, I predicted that the ACA would lead to a greater number of contract positions.  And why is that?  There are a couple of reasons.  One, it allows many corporations to go “weightless”.  They don’t have to offer their workers benefits if they get a third party vendor to handle their human resources needs.  That third party vendor becomes a middle man, matching up contractors with the company.  The middle man becomes the tax collector who processes the paperwork and handles the  untidy business of interacting with the people who, you know, get their hands dirty in the labs.  (Sidenote: It always amused me when I compared the executive cafeteria with the R&D cafeteria.  The business workers had bespoke prepared foods, plenty of healthy and delicious options and an on-call nutritionist who would consult with you on your dietary needs.  I witnessed this personally one day.  The R&D cafeteria served the kind of high fat, high calorie limited entrees that would be perfect for coal miners, not a bunch of bespectacled, skinny geeks.  But since the executives rarely interacted with us, we may perhaps excuse them for thinking we were grimy blue collar lumberjacks who needed 5000 calories per serving of bland, greasy food.)

The other reason why the ACA is leading to a greater number of non-full time, contract positions is that because the employer mandate keeps getting put off, indefinitely, it seems, the employee is now responsible for carrying the weight of the health care premiums, which, by the way, are still astronomical when the deductibles and OOP expenses are factored in.  An increase in precariousness shouldn’t be surprising.  Why should an employer invest money in training and retaining an employee when they don’t have to?  It’s a kind of moral hazard, is it not?

So, it came as no surprise to me that Hillary Clinton saw a flaw in the individual mandate back in the 90s.  Let’s be clear, that’s not the same as a universal mandate, which seems to be a cornerstone of successful national health care systems around the world.  It’s important that all stakeholders, employees and employers, buy in to the system or it doesn’t work.  But to put all of the burden on individuals and letting employers get away with no responsibility?  According to the papers, Hillary Clinton said that was a problem:

“That is politically and substantively a much harder sell than the one we’ve got — a much harder sell,” Clinton said. “Because not only will you be saying that the individual bears the full responsibility; you will be sending shock waves through the currently insured population that if there is no requirement that employers continue to insure, then they, too, may bear the individual responsibility.”

Yes, this is exactly what is happening.  EVERYONE is potentially affected.  Even worse, there may be a two tier system of employees.  I can just imagine the better connected, legacy ivy league graduates becoming fully vested in the employee benefit system while the state school graduates scramble from job to job trying to find a foot hold.  It’s already happening in the pharmaceutical industry where what the MBAs consider the cream of the crop get the few coveted positions in Cambridge and San Francisco and the rest of us run from contract position to contract position, or stuck in an endless series of low paying post doc positions.  (Sidenote: you politicians are crazy if you think we former scientists are going to let you get away with the “there aren’t enough STEM workers” schtick.  We are already all over the comments sections and posting loud and clear that there is no shortage.  We’re not going to let our children languish in the labs for decades while they make less money than a first grade teacher for all the education they have.)

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!

What else do contract workers not have besides health care benefits?

Well, I will tell you because I have been there.  They don’t have pensions, 401K plans, sick days, holidays or vacation days. They don’t get tuition discounts or reimbursements.  They don’t get to ride the buses for free nor can they get a spot in the employee parking lots.  And if you are a temp or contract worker, you don’t really have ANY labor protections.  You may have trouble getting paid due to the way companies pay their invoices.  In some cases, you have no protection against discrimination.  Think of how gay contractors fare with even the federal government.  YOU’RE a CONTRACTOR.  Your boss could call you in at any time of the day or night and make unreasonable demands on your time.  He may decide to arbitrarily cut your hours in half one week and let YOU worry about how you’re going to pay the rent or health insurance premium while your kid is in the hospital. As a temp worker “you do not have a salary”, as I was so brusquely  and dismissively reminded one day.

See where this is going?  Sorry, people, this is where we already are.  It’s not the future of employment.  It is the now.  Check out the Freelancer’s Union to see what employment is turning into.  A rational person would become debt free as quickly as possible and build a tiny house with solar panels and no plumbing and grow their own food.  We can let Krugman wax rhapsodic about what would happen to the economy if everyone cut back and accrued as little debt as possible.  Talk about lack of demand.  But that’s where we’re headed.  Those of us who were lucky enough to have some savings when the masters of the universe decided to pull up stakes and grab the pie for themselves have decided to stop spending money.  It’s self preservation but it’s not healthy for the country.  No more Royal Caribbean cruises, no more vacation rentals at the shore.  We question whether we really need that bentwood coffee table and agonize over hair cuts.  We save up for the days we have to call in sick.  We put off replacing our broken phones.

I think it’s time we stopped making excuses for our politicians that let this happen.  In fact, I’m not blaming Republicans for the recent, drastic, horrible negative turn of events that working people are experiencing right now.  They were like snakes and we knew what they were.  Their poison was already well understood by the educated working class.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing the stealthy predators into our midst in the last 6 years.  Some of us were so bedazzled by being called “creative” that we failed to look closely at who our new friends were.

But whether the war on the working class by the financiers was intentional or not, we can no longer deny, or should I say, we deny at our peril, that our nation’s top politicians have provided a moral hazard for finance and businesses both large and small, to continue to shed benefits and worker protections via the contracting route.  In the pharmaceutical area, this was accomplished easily by laying off hundred of thousands of R&D professionals in the wake of the Great Recession and now hiring us back as contractors.  Indeed, the high unemployment rate of the last several years coupled with the delay in the employer mandate for the ACA has created a perfect storm where the stripping of compensation is going to pick up even faster and reach deeper into the American workforce just as Hillary predicted decades ago.

It’s happening so fast that many of us don’t even realize the predators are on us until we’re being forced down the gullet.  Will this become a harder sell politically in November 2014?  We will see.

{{Tap, Tap}} Is this thing on?

I’ve been away so long that the WordPress interface has changed and I have to relearn it.  Damn.

Anyhoo,  a lot has happened recently, much of it I can’t really discuss just yet.  We’ve still got a lot of ups and downs but it’s OK for now.

To get the old mind-finger thing going again, I thought I’d start off with a banana bread recipe that I made yesterday with the ingredients I had hanging around the kitchen.  This turned out pretty good, considering this was my first banana bread from scratch and I was just going by some online recipe guidelines.  Slather the thing toasted with a shmear and you’re good to go.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups self rising flour 
(or 2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a standing mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs  and vanilla and beat until relatively smooth.  Add bananas, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Beat together.  Slowly add self-rising or flour mixture.  Beat until all ingredients are moistened but don’t over beat.  Fold in walnuts.  Pour into a well greased loaf pan.  Bake in 350° oven for about 50 minutes or until top feels firm and butter knife inserted in top comes out clean.

Ok, that felt good.  I’ll be back tonight, after my guitar lesson.  Be good, no wild parties.

One more thing: this winter is exhausting.  We’ve had so much snow and frigid temps that it’s enough to make even Pittsburghers question the global warming thing.  It’s like a mini-ice age.  This is what I saw when I opened my door yesterday morning:

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The snow melted last weekend but it was back again in no time.  Yesterday, the temps didn’t get out of the teens.  It was single digits last night. And it has been like this for months.  When I moved here last May, we had already experienced a pretty cold spring. There was a brief heat wave in July but the rest of the summer was cool and rainy.  Sweater weather in August.  My vegetables never really took off and the tomato plants never set fruit.  The rain and cold continued into the fall and we got snow early so I wasn’t able to rake the leaves out of my back yard.  Winter came on Halloween and hasn’t let up yet.  Pittsburgh must be in the center of the polar vortex corridor.  Enough already.  Unfortunately, the forecast says that after a brief and insufficient respite this weekend, we’re going straight back to subfreezing temps next week.  It has been so bad here that the township ran out of salt and 3000 additional tons they need are on backorder.  They only salt the top of the hills so your car doesn’t go flying like it’s on the Thunderbolt at Kennywood Park.  The road crew is so behind on repairs that they were jackhammering and filling a pot hole on my street at 11 pm last Monday night.  On top of it all, the rivers are going through several freeze thaw cycles.  Last weekend, it warmed up enough that we had rain instead of snow.  The Allegheny was high and had white caps on it.  I can’t wait until spring but won’t be surprised if the Point is under water.

I’m going to deck the next person who says they prefer cold weather.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Of Monsters and Men recently.  This one’s pretty good:

There are real jotuns out there.  More on that later…

In addition (but related to Jotuns mentioned above):  I saw this post at Digby this morning about the Ohio job listserv tyrant and just want to relate that this kind of reaction to job seekers seems to be quite common.  I have a story that  will curl your hair.  Someday, I will write it all down in a book and the characters I write about will become notorious and iconic of the malicious narcissists our society has given an inordinate amount of power to lately.  Petty, selfish and vain people have got nothing on them.  We’re talking about a lack of compassion, unethical behavior and gratuitous meanness that makes the Ohio list server lady look like an amateur.  Unfortunately, the heartless, manipulative, sabotaging behavior is so harsh and nasty that it might not be as funny as the rest of the book.  I might have to lighten these people up to make them believable and not Dickensian.

2013: Rebuilding Year

I’m back. I had to step out for awhile to take care of some stuff.

So, this has been quite an eventful year with a lot of ups and downs. We are still not having a winning season but are holding our own.

First, the good things: I found a beautiful house at a rock bottom price in a very nice neighborhood. I live about a mile from where my grandparents lived. Pittsburgh is soooo much better than New Jersey in so many ways. People are just nicer here. Well, most people are. More about that later.

On the not so good front:

This year we faced a serious health crisis in the family. It’s still two steps forward and one step back. We are making progress, slowly. It has been very expensive and relapses are still possible. But the worst of it seems to be behind us.

Irrational people. This fall, I found myself dealing with four of them, only one of whom had a legitimate excuse for her behavior. The others seemed to be indulging themselves. Unfortunately, that’s when my cardiovascular system started to signal that it only had input jacks for three irrational people. The fourth was threatening to overload the system so it had to go. I’m pleased to report that as of this morning, my blood pressure has returned to it’s normal 117/76 after two alarming spiky readings. No blood pressure medication was necessary. I just had to eliminate the source of the stress.

And the power steering on my car is malfunctioning. Added to the oil pressure problem and the electrical issues, it may not make sense to continue to repair it. I’m running the numbers now but it looks like I need a new car.

Sigh.

It could be worse but there are still some significant obstacles for my family to overcome. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with this blog for the past 6 years. I couldn’t have gotten this far without all of you and especially, Katiebird.

Happy New Year!

Don’t drink and drive.

Thanksgiving Stuff(ing?)

I’m going to have dinner with my cousins and their Greek relatives.  Their dinners are usually big, delicious and LOUD.  Should be fun.

I found this recipe from the guys at Sorted for barbecued turkey, not to be mistaken for deep fried turkey that you have to cook on your patio to keep your house from going up in flames.  My family used to barbecue turkeys in the summer for parties.  On a per pound basis, turkey is pretty cheap and when it’s barbecued over charcoal, it takes on a southern smokey flavor.  Weber kettles are the best for this because of their round shape.  They still need to cook for a good long time but the good thing is that it’s hard to overcook them.  My mom tends to like her meat totally exsanguinated, dejuiced and toughened by exposure to prolonged overheating.  Sure, it’s good to make sure your poultry is thoroughly cooked but you can take it too far, which she does.  Oddly, this is harder to do when you’re barbecuing it.  So, I recommend this method if you’re dealing with cooks or guests who like super, extra well-done meat and everyone else, um, doesn’t.

 

Serve that baby up with some mashed sweet potatoes with smoked paprika and ancho chili powder and a gravy boat of mole sauce and that is one delicious dinner.

One final thing, that concoction that goes into the bird (or used to until people started freaking out about germs).  I like  mine with sausage, apples, golden raisins, celery, onion, walnuts and seasoning.  My nephews HATE that combination.  Give them StoveTop and they’re fine.  But whatever you choose to serve, what do you call it?  I’ve always called it stuffing.  When I lived in Ballston Spa New York as a kid, everyone called it filling.  Yes, technically, it is filling a cavity but filling somehow fails to convey the essence of the dish.  Then there is dressing.  That one makes no sense at all but it sounds a bit like what Jane Austen’s family might have done to the pheasant that Mr. Bingley shot.

Anyway, what do you call it?  And what’s your favorite dish?

Happy T-day!

 

Joy in the Morning

Joy Womack quit the Bolshoi a few days ago.  For those of you not following this story, Joy Womack was one of the first Americans to graduate from the famed Bolshoi training academy last year.  She got a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet shortly afterwards.

Her director Sergei Filin was attacked by a couple of thugs earlier this year who threw acid in his face.  He suffered third degree burns and lost the sight in one of his eyes.  It was a shocking event not only because of the viciousness of the attack but because it was apparently organized by a dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, in revenge for the poor treatment his girlfriend was getting from Filin.  The trial is going on now.  Apparently, Dmitrichenko asked the guys he hired to rough Filin up.  He never asked for the acid treatment.

Anyway, long story short, this week, Joy alleges that she was told by a higher up in the company that if she wanted to dance a solo she was going for, she’d have to fork over $10K.  She didn’t say who asked for the money but it’s interesting to note that Filin is back and 300 Bolshoi dancers have signed a petition in support of Dmitrichenko.  Filin, in response to Joy’s resignation, says that she belongs in the Corps.  And you know, at her age with her experience, it wouldn’t be strange to find her in the corps.  The problem is that she is getting paid very sporadically, if at all, and the terms of her contract are pretty strange.  But dancers at the Bolshoi are paid very poorly in general and are encouraged to get “patrons”.

I’m sure that suggestion didn’t go over well with Womack, who calls herself a “dancer for Jesus”.  Other than that annoying little tidbit of religious smugness, I think Joy is a talented dancer and Filin’s remarks about her were harsh and unfair.

Here’s an example of Joy’s dancing from her graduation ballet from the Bolshoi, La Fille Mal Gardee (The badly guarded girl).  Womack and fellow American Mario Labrador danced the leads.  There’s a pretty little pas under an umbrella that starts at minute mark 3:00 that shows Joy off nicely if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing. But if you have time, it’s a nice morning diversion.

EnJoy!

Heartbreaking, preventable things that piss me off

In no particular order today, these are things that make me want to choke someone because there’s no good reason for them:

1.) Check out today’s Doonesbury:

Yes, this is really happening.  How do I know?

2.) There was a message on my phone at work when I came back from lunch.  It was from a youngish woman with a softly accented voice.  The call was for my predecessor who left 4 months ago.  The voice sounded a little desperate.  She wanted to know how to apply for the jobs the department has posted on the website.  I could have just ignored the call.  It wasn’t for me.  But something made me call her back.

It turns out that she’s a scientist from another department.  She got laid off because her grant was not renewed due to the sequester.  She told me she was very good in the lab and listed a number of things she could do.  I didn’t doubt her.  I told her I wasn’t the best person to ask for assistance for a variety of reasons and pointed her to a website she could check out for current positions and the temp agency that hires too.  But the more I heard, the sadder I got.  She’s a loooong way from home.  The job she had was the only one she’d ever known.  It occurred to me that her visa status might not allow for her to apply for just any job or unemployment or even to stay in the country.  I just hope she has money to get home.  I felt so bad about it that I kept her number.

3.) 24 year old Gus Deeds shot himself to death and seriously injured his father Creigh Deeds in Virginia today.  Sounds like a typical murder-suicide attempt, right?  Not at all.  Here’s what really happened:

The day before he stabbed his father at the family’s home, the son of Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) underwent a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital because no bed was available.

We’re not talking about no beds available at the hospital where he had his evaluation.  We’re talking about no beds available in that part of the state at ANY hospital.

People, that is a sad, tragic, preventable story.  The father will recover and I hope that he and incoming governor Terry McAuliffe use their political skills to advocate for greater resources for the mentally ill.  They need access to safe places and medical care.

Behavioral health care isn’t even covered by many insurance plans and is almost totally absent from plans on the individual market. That will change next year.  But even with that change, beds in safe facilities are hard to come by even on a good day and treatment is much shorter than it should be.  What a waste because with good treatment and medication, the mentally ill can lead normal, productive, creative lives.

In this day and age and in this country, there is absolutely no excuse for letting a tragedy like this occur except that we simply do not care enough to give the sick the treatment they deserve because we fail to see mental illness as the manifestation of a physical problem, just like every other illness we treat.

My thoughts are with the Deeds’ family tonight.

Mandelbrot Birthday Set

Meant to play this last year on Mandelbrot’s birthdays but forgot so I’m doing it early this year.  Unfortunately, Mandelbrot is in heaven and no longer teaching math at Yale.  But the set is still mesmerizing.

And here’s a little ditty on doodling in math class from Vi Hart, Mathemagician:

It’s easier after you’ve had coffee.

Happy Birthday to all you November babies.

Democrats are screwed next year if they can’t figure this out

Another short one and I’m gone.

I’ve noticed that a lot of partisan Democratic blogs have kinda sorta stepped away from the relentless cheerleading of the ACA.  Now, the message is, “Well, the GOP plan is nothing so Obamacare *HAS* to work”.

I’m guessing that a lot of researchers have been there.  You spend months, years on a project and the sucker just refuses to go anywhere.  There are no breakthroughs.  Generally, it’s the biologists’ fault but what are you going to do?  You don’t want to abandon the project so you keep propping it up.  Unless you have a really talented project leader who can reassess and has the courage to take a new approach, the project is doomed to being terminated the next time it comes up for review.

That would be 2014.

Look, guys.  I’m talking to YOU, Democrats.  I don’t know what your project manager has been telling you but if you don’t get your shit together and offer a radical and effective alternative to the ACA, you’re all going to be laid off in the next round of restructuring.  You may get laid off anyway because that’s just the way things go these days.  There’s always some political asshole gunning for your job and trying to steal credit.  But as long as you are employed, you might as well do your f&*(ing jobs.

There should be THREE health care reform plans: the non-existent GOP plan, the Obamacare “let’s give the insurance companies everything they want and guarantee a hefty profit for them for eternity!” plan and YOUR plan.

Your project manager is incompetent.  He got promoted too soon before he even ran a single project on his own.  If you don’t want him to take you down with him, you’d better figure out a way of digging yourself out of this hole. And let me make this perfectly clear to you, because you don’t seem to be getting it: protecting your project manager with phrases like “it’s not his fault, it’s the policy” is not helping you.  Of course it’s his fault because it is his policy but he and his friends are going to point the finger at anyone but himself.

And may I remind you that every other country in the developed world has figured out how to do this without impoverishing the citizens who through no fault of their own have been forced to seek insurance on the independent market. And here’s an update for you: back in 2009 this might have been a tiny segment.  It is tiny no longer. More and more people are unemployed or underemployed and don’t get health benefits.  Stop calling us a tiny fraction.  We are legion these days.  That’s why there has been so much outrage over this stupid, ill-conceived policy and it’s disastrous implementation.

There is no excuse for failure here.  There are a lot of templates to choose from.  Pick one and get on with it.

You have a year.

We have now entered the realm of the fiasco

I learned about real fiascos in Italy.  A fiasco is a bottle that you cook beans in.  You put the beans and water in the bottle and sit it in the warm embers of your fireplace before you go to bed.  If everything goes right, those beans will be tender and delicious in the morning.  But beans are full of gas producing and nitrogen containing compounds so they tend to be unstable when they’re cooked under pressure.  So, you could come downstairs to find that your fiasco has blown up all over the place and you now have a mess to clean up.

In other words, fiascos are more likely to occur when you leave the bottle unattended.

On Nov 1, 2013, This American Life reprised one of my favorite episodes on Fiascos.  The funniest act in the episode is about what happens when an untested director reaches beyond her modest abilities to stage a Julie Taymor-esque version of Peter Pan complete with flying apparatus.  It’s hysterical but also illuminating.  You get the stages of a fiasco in the making from this act.  At first, the audience is bemused and forgiving.  Then the mistakes keep piling up and the audience progresses from sympathizing with the actors to ridicule.  Then they start getting involved.  The play completely breaks down and the audience is fully engaged in demolition.  At some point the audience recognizes that they are no longer watching a play.  They are watching a fiasco.

I think we are at the ridicule stage right now with Obamacare.  We are rapidly reaching the point of no return with this play.  We may get a reaction to Obamacare that was completely absent with HAMP but what the heck, why not revisit HAMP too, while we’re at it?

Some of us knew the Democrats were working with an untended mess of explosive beans but did they listen?  No.  They did not.  There are really no good options right now.  Just watch it explode and be ready on the other side with some game changing plan.  I’m going to bet that the fiasco is going to generate enough public anger that there will be a slim chink of an opportunity to get something passed.

Go big.  Like a public option.  Make it administered by a non-profit insurance company like Blue Cross.  Pour the subsidies into it.  Make sure providers in the area can’t lock public option participants out and tell everyone you’re working on a permanent fix.

The problem is the for profit insurance companies and the politicians who cooperated with them. Let’s stop forcing this fiasco on the uninsured, the poor and the sick.

And check out Fiasco! on This American Life for one of the funniest episodes they’ve ever broadcast.

Neat Trick

Dashing off a few things before I dash:

1.) The Richard Cohen thing.  The lede kind of got buried in the Richard Cohen s^&*storm.  It’s not that the Tea Party people are racist, though some of them clearly are.  It’s that they consider their views to be “conventional”.  That’s the cover that the Fox News manipulators, Limbaughians and Glen Becksters have given them.  My hypothesis about how the right wing has been able to get away with so much is that it makes it Ok for some Americans to give in to their secret desires.  They want to feel superior to some  people and exert power over others.  That’s why they tend to take it out on people of color, women, gays and immigrants.  They’re f^*(ing cowards when it comes to taking on the real culprits who are making their lives an economic nightmare.  That’s why you’ll never see them at an Occupy rally, because that might actually make a difference but would also be potentially dangerous to their physical bodies. But they’re perfectly fine bashing people who have no political power.  And they allow this because they call themselves conventional.  I think Bob Altmeyer wrote a book about conventional people called The Authoritarians.

Richard Cohen, on the other hand, makes me despair for the future of employment.

2.) When you’ve lost Bill Clinton’s support, it’s bad.  The Clintons have stood behind the party that trashed Hillary and elected an untested, inexperienced, ruthless friend of Wall Street and Obama through thick and thin.  But it looks like The Big Dog draws the line with Obamacare.  I don’t think he is enjoying this bit of schadenfreude.  Some people take policy and politics seriously.

And some people just check that box on their CVs.

3.) Sylvie Guillem recently retired from the Paris Opera Ballet but oh, how wonderful it must have been to see her dance in person.  Here’s a very short clip of her rehearsing Dulcinea.  If only every day could be like this:

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