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Tuesday: Texas, tea and locusts

Hi all, I’m still busy with my kitchen. The countertop has been templated but I forgot to get a sink. So, I’m running one down to the countertop makers today. I’m in a rest stop on the NJ turnpike right now. (not as bad as you imagine it)

Here are some of the things I’ve been seeing around the web:

1.) digby had this video of a fascinating exchange between a Republican Congresswoman and her constituents as a town hall meeting recently.

I don’t think either side got their point across clearly, although the congresswoman was more deceptively opaque. Since I’m closer to this I care to be, let me spell it out. The problem is not the lack of opportunity. If you want to be your own business person, there’s nothing to stop you from doing it. There are all kinds of little incubators all over the country that will give you some bare minimum assistance with office space and small grants. But for the most part, you have to fund yourself for the first couple of years, assuming that your idea is a good one and you work extremely hard to make it successful.
But Americans already work extremely hard. We’re some of the most productive workers on earth. We take the fewest vacations and get diddly in benefits compared to other developed countries in Europe, or Singapore or Japan or . So, the congresswoman is wrong when she implies that all it takes is hard work and a dream.
The bigger problem is that the rules have changed. The rules changed in the middle of the game when many of us have obligations that we can not abandon to chase our secret entrepreneurial fantasy. We were already working at capacity when the rug was ripped out from under us. And many of us do not want to be our own bosses. We were quite happy to let other people deal with the paperwork while we slaved away in the labs. So, the congresswoman should explain, who died and made Republicans gods of our livelihoods? We didn’t ask to become our own independent contractors. That means we pay for everything, get less in benefits and are constantly having to bow and scrape to future customers for our suppers. It means that collectively, as members of a bigger employment body, we can not benefit from an economy of scale that brings down the costs of insurance and pensions. It means each one of us has to negotiate with the management separately. If that’s the new American Dream, I didn’t vote for it and neither, it appears, did most of the congresswoman’s constituents. But the congresswoman seems just peachy keen with it.

2.) Rick Perry or Michelle Bachman? Who the f%^ cares? I’m getting the sense from various people in my life that the Tea Party and the religious right are deeply, DEEPLY unpopular. As in, we are getting really tired of the right using religion the way that the Obama administration uses race. You can’t challenge these people without looking disrespectful. And while you’re trying to not offend them, their politicians steal everything they can. I don’t care whether the GOP nominates a governor from Texas nutcase who uses Jesus or a minnesota Tea Party religious nutcase. I’m not kowtowing to any more religious nutcases. It’s time they stopped using Jesus and their imminent rapture as an excuse for every stupid, destructive, mean spirited, judgmental thing they do. There are whole classes of people who would be better off without the religious walking around categorizing them and trying to deprive them of their dignity. So, no more nice guy from me. And that doesn’t mean anything wrt what I think about God or heaven or anything. It means it’s none of your damn business. Act like decent citizens and if you don’t want to be of this world and don’t put your confidence in the government of man, do the rest of us and big favor and get the hell out of our way. Don’t vote.

3.) The locusts have almost finished with their destructive feeding frenzy. Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline reports that Carl Icahn is divesting himself of his pharmaceutical holdings. No shock there. The patent cliff is looming next year, the mergers have made only the executives rich while killing research, and the FDA is still broken. Now, when the R&D industry workers are reeling from the shock and awe of nearly two decades of extraction and dissolution of their working environments, there’s not much left to eat. The well educated, technologically, savvy, experienced (but apparently *too* experienced to hire) can pick through the wreckage of their formerly middle class lives and join the other impoverished entrepreneurs.

welcome to America