The first (please let it be the last) Why I’m supporting candidate X conversion diary.
Im really beginning to hate primary season.
The NYTimes is shocked that women over 50 have THE highest unemployment rate after people who are about to retire than any other demographic group in the country since the Great Recession started.
I know, shocking.
Unless you have had to live through it.
I wondered many times what exactly the country expects you to live on when you have submitted hundreds of cover letters and resumes without a nibble, gone through all of your savings, can’t get any more unemployment, etc. I mean, what is it you’re supposed to do when you’re way too young for social security, can’t get your pension, pay a fricking *surtax* on 401K withdrawals that you need to take in order to pay bills and buy basic necessities. Honestly, if that’s not immoral and wrong, I don’t know what is. What is it the right wing crazies want you to do when you can’t get an interview for that dishwasher’s job and you’re too old to sell your body?*
Take your time, I’ll wait.
Then again, I have to wonder if the NYTimes has considered its own culpability in the plight of unemployed women in their 50’s trying to, you know, maintain their caloric intake and shelter requirements (damn them, why won’t they just stay on their ice floes??).
When the Great Recession was in full swing, it was the NYTimes that ran a series of articles about unemployed people who had exhausted their benefits. Usually, the women they featured in pictures in these articles were in their 50s, were obese and sometimes asleep at their monitors. Never mind that none of the highly skilled, physically fit, unemployed people in NJ that I knew looked or behaved like that. This is the image that the NYTimes sent out to the world. Women in their 50s are morbidly overweight, unkempt, have brassy blonde hair and dark roots, they spend money foolishly on vacations, and lounge at their desks. That is the mental image that employers all have in their minds now.
Thank you, NYTimes.
Please stop trying to help.
By the way, it would be really nice if the world stopped assuming that people in their 50s can’t keep up with technology. The internet has been publicly available for about 25 years. That would have made women in their 50s young whippersnappers back then. They wrote the first web pages, learned the first versions of MS Office and did a bajillion other things with early smart phones, laptops and other gadgets. We’re as competent as our male counterparts. A penis does not make you more technologically savvy.
*I finally got a job but it was through a backdoor. If you’re over 50, just forget trying to get past the “Talent Acquisition Specialists”. They seem determined to keep you out and they use every trick in the book to figure out how old you are. Not that age really matters. Because it don’t.
I read with dismay yet another stupid story in the NYTimes about Hillary Clinton this morning. It’s going to be a long 18 months.
This time, it was about how progressives are pressuring her to kiss their asses. I wonder why she is even bothering at this point to give them any attention at all. They’re never going to like her, trust her, believe her, even if she really is the best thing they’ve got right now. They can’t see her for what she is and can’t appreciate what she’s got to offer them. It’s almost as if they’re under some kind of spell:
If you ever wondered what happened to Wormtongue, he left Meduseld “to spend more time with his family” and went to work for the NYTimes after working for a marketing research firm on Wall Street in 2008.
This sentence cracks me up:
Mrs. Clinton cheerily welcomed Mr. Sanders into the race, even as she works to deny Mr. Sanders or any other liberal an issue on which to bloody her from the left.
Are you serious? Sanders entering the race is the best thing that could have happened to Clinton. Now, there is another credible person on the left. Sanders is passionate, he speaks well, he’s rational. He doesn’t have the air of dweeb about him like Kucinich and he doesn’t come off as being an unrealistic “knit your own sandals” type who is going to make us eat a raw vegan diet with a heavy emphasis on organic beets. His concern is primarily about the very real erosion of the standard of living of most working Americans today.
He adds weight to the left side of the field. The longer he stays in the race, the better for Clinton. That means it won’t be six silly nobodies trying to out-mean each other on the right sucking all of the air out of the room and one woman defending the left all by herself. It means that issues might actually get discussed that aren’t all on the ultra conservative right. It means she won’t have to be so defensive. It means there will be a clear difference between the two political sides.
Damn straight she’s cheery.
But the left is convinced that she’s with the enemy. In a way, I kinda understand it. They were completely taken in by Wormtongue in 2008. That was a disaster.
Still, the real enemies have almost won. It’s bad out here. And here the left is, sitting in its golden hall, lapsing into a coma like some crusty old dude enchanted by some evil wizards. Utterly feckless and hostile to the people who are begging it to get its act together and fight back. It’s almost like someone doesn’t want people with a common cause to become allies…
Suit yourselves. I’m going with the white haired guy and the blonde lady.
Nicholas Kristof writes in The Compassion Gap about the nasty responses he got from a lot of his readers to the plight of a woman he profiled recently. Says Kristoff:
SOME readers collectively hissed after I wrote a week ago about the need for early-childhood interventions to broaden opportunity in America. I focused on a 3-year-old boy in West Virginia named Johnny Weethee whose hearing impairment had gone undetected, leading him to suffer speech and development problems that may dog him for the rest of his life.
A photo of Johnny and his mom, Truffles Weethee, accompanied the column and readers honed in on Truffles’ tattoos and weight.
“You show a photograph of a fat woman with tons of tattoos all over that she paid for,” one caller said. “And then we — boohoo — have to worry about the fact that her children aren’t cared for properly?”
On Twitter, Amy was more polite: “My heart breaks for Johnny. I have to wonder if the $$ mom spent on tattoos could have been put to better use.”
“This is typical of the left,” Pancho scolded on my Facebook page. “It’s not anyone’s fault. Responsibility is somebody else’s problem.”
To me, such outrage at a doting mom based on her appearance suggests the myopic tendency in our country to blame poverty on the poor, to confuse economic difficulties with moral failures, to muddle financial lapses with ethical ones.
Apparently, Nick Kristoff doesn’t read his own paper. A few years ago, I noticed something extremely unsettling about the way the NYTimes was portraying the unemployed. There were a number of articles for the front page that made the unemployed look like trailer trash, slovenly and asleep at their computers. I don’t know what message that was supposed to send but it didn’t match ANY of the unemployed I knew, who consisted of R&D professionals with multiple degrees, publications and patents to their name. There were hundreds of thousands of those people who certainly deserved compassion who didn’t get it. And now those same hard working professionals have a very hard time finding jobs because for some reason, employers have this image in their heads that they’re obese, lazy, slovenly and depressing to be around.
Get your head out of your ass, Nick, and you will see that you are sitting in the middle of the source of the lack of compassion. The NY Times is a world leader when it comes to inducing stereotypical and harsh Pavlovian responses to people who have fallen from middle class grace.
Here’s a sciencey article I found in the NYTimes this morning. It’s about a clever repackaging of metals used in catalytic reactions. This bit sort of explains where we’re going:
Despite the cost and relative scarcity of precious metals — iridium, platinum, rhodium — we rely on them to manufacture products from denim to beer, pharmaceuticals to fuel cells. The elements are used as catalysts, substances that kick off or enable chemical reactions.
But right afterwards, there’s a hint that something isn’t quite right:
Dr. Chirik’s work involves dissolved catalysts, which are mixed into the end product. The molecules of the catalyst dissipate during the reaction. For instance, a solution containing platinum is used to make silicone emulsifiers, compounds that in turn feed products like makeup, cookware and glue. Tiny amounts of the expensive metal are scattered in all these things; your jeans, for instance, contain unrecoverable particles of platinum.
“We’re not about to run out of platinum,” said Matthew Hartings, a chemist at American University in Washington, “but this process spends that platinum in a nonsustainable way.”
Something about the first two sentences seem weird. Maybe I’ve just been out of the lab too long. Is the writer saying that the platinum is dispersed or that there is a catalyst containing platinum that is dispersed or that the catalyst *is* the platinum? Any of the three possibilities could be right.
Ahh, here it comes:
Dr. Chirik’s chemistry essentially wraps an iron molecule in another, organic molecule called a ligand. The ligand alters the number of electrons available to form bonds. It also serves as a scaffold, giving the molecule shape. “Geometry is really important in chemistry,” Dr. Hartings said. Dr. Chirik’s “ligands help the iron to be in the right geometry to help these reactions along.”
Ok, you can’t wrap anything around an iron molecule. Iron is an element and in this context, it should consist of single atoms. Molecules are constructed in the following way:
protons + neutrons + electrons => an atom
atoms + atoms => molecules
In the above paragraph, the reporter makes it sound like a single egg can make a cake all on its own. Then in the next sentence, that egg is wrapped up in some Pillsbury crescent. The writer also suggests that iron molecule is wrapped inside *another* organic molecule called a ligand. Wait, are the iron and ligand both organic? Unlikely. Iron is an inorganic metal. The ligand may be organic.
It’s bizarre. Can someone at the NYTimes get a journalist who actually understands basic science? Nevermind, just look at the pictures.
This article could have been interesting. It has all the right words like “ligand”, “scaffold” and “geometry”. But like the famous Chomsky sentence, “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously“, those words lose their meaning in the hands of this writer. This sentence makes sense: ““Geometry is really important in chemistry,” Dr. Hartings said. Dr. Chirik’s “ligands help the iron to be in the right geometry to help these reactions along.””, but only because the reporter seems to have written down the words as they were spoken. I still have no idea what this article is about or why Dr. Chirik’s catalytic ligands are important or better in the manufacturing process. What the article seems to be saying, based on the pictures, is that the more expensive metal catalysts containing platinum, for example, can be substituted with less expensive catalysts containing iron. In the new iron containing catalysts, the organic molecule that surrounds the iron atom is synthesized to be a ligand of a certain shape. That shape constrains the possible coordination bonds of the metal atom in geometries that are specific for certain catalytic reactions that mimic the catalytic reactions of the more expensive platinum atom.
What has any of this to do with turning iron into gold?
Jeez, I’ll just look up the paper.
Update: Katiebird provides this helpful site for women called “Academic Men Explain Things To Me“. This is also called “mansplaining”. You know how it is, some guy always has to tell you exactly how things work because you may not understand it.
I think we’ve all seen variations on this theme in the last four years. After all, wasn’t that what the Obama phenomenon was all about? A bunch of male graduate student types who patiently explained why electing Obama was more important that electing Hillary and if we were as smart as they were, the reason would be obvious. Then they refused to admit they were wrong about that, like men who don’t listen to you in the car when you tell them they’ve taken a wrong turn and then go 100 miles out of their way before they finally stop and ask directions.
I had a guy in a paint store tell me the other day that if I knew anything about paint, I would know that it was impossible to get the shade of palladian blue I wanted with the correct mixture of white added to it to match my walls even though I reminded him that it was his paint shop that mixed the original custom shade and that it should be on file in his database under my name. But, no, I had to listen to this blowhard go on at length about how finding the right formula to match my color would be impossible and I should just face up to the fact that the whole room would need to be repainted in the palladian blue color he had and he wasn’t going to mix me a custom shade like he did before and I would NEVER be able to match what was already on the walls.
So, I left and bought the paint from a different Benjamin Moore dealer who was a woman. Happens all the time.
On those days, I dream of a world where women are equipped with telepathic powers that would deliver Milgramian corrective shocks to men until they stopped doing that. That would be wrong but it is, after all, only a dream.
I’m a bit busy in Philly today. Will probably be here for another hour. Eyes are burning but in spite of the pain, this weird New York Times article caught one of them. Take a look and see if it looks “off” to you too. It’s about a hair braider in Utah who can’t practice because she doesn’t have a license in cosmetology and doesn’t want to spend $16,000 to get one. Here’s the money quote:
This isn’t just a random Utah law. There are more than 1,000 licensed professions in the United States, partly a result of more than a century of legal work. As the country industrialized, state governments wanted to protect their citizens and create standards not just for lawyers and doctors but also for basic services. It didn’t take long for professional groups to find that they also stood to benefit from the regulations. Over the years, more and more started to lobby for licensing rules, often grandfathering in existing professionals while putting up high barriers to new competitors. In fact, businesses contorting regulation to their own benefit is so common that economists have a special name for it: regulatory capture. “Everyone assumes that private interests fight like crazy not to be regulated,” says Charles Wheelan, who teaches public policy at the University of Chicago. “But often, for businesses, regulation is your friend.”
What? Do you ever get the feeling that our feudal overlords will just not be satisfied until there are no labor or professional protections standing between them and us??
Up until now, we political junkies have always thought of regulatory capture as something really big an powerful financial institutions do to the agencies that regulate them, like making sure someone friendly to you gets to run one or making sure that YOU can pick the agency that regulates you or throwing out a potential offer of employment down the road (kinda sorta). We really haven’t seen it apply to little people. And, I’m sorry, I understand that all this woman does is braid hair but all that some manicurists do is paint nails and they have to get a license so that we know they are trained in safety and hygiene standards. It’s not too much to ask. If you don’t want to go through all of the training and licensing, don’t advertise to the world.
When I read this this morning, I immediately flashed back to a couple of years ago when the NYTimes was featuring long term unemployed people but only the brassy blonde, grossly overweight women asleep at their monitors or living in a seedy motel rooms were ever pictured. It’s almost like the Times *wanted* us to be unsympathetic. This article feels like a sleight of hand, making the generall public feel like they are the potential victims of regulatory capture if they want to start their own businesses. Oh, sure, it seems like an unfair inconvenience now until someone gets hurt because they stuck their hands in a warm tubful of infectious cuticle softener or have their kitchens ruined by a plumber who didn’t know how to compress a fitting. There is a reason for regulation. Maybe we need to evaluate, update and streamline them but small business people shouldn’t be put on the same level as big financials. It sounds like another death tax meme.
I don’t like it when the media starts making the news, or making news up, instead of just reporting it. The NYTimes has been guilty of so much misdirection in the past couple of decades and never held accountable. Who are they taking orders from? It’s getting to be embarrassing.
I only read if for the Krugman.
Poll of the day:
Brooke asked me this last night. According to her logic, I got it wrong.
The New York Times is all aghast that the Republicans are about to roll out a ginormous, humongous Super PAC ad campaign against Obama using all kinds of nasty wasty buzz words and meanspiritedness.
Are we talking about the same Obama who bumped a whole generation of adult women down to “sweetie” status, brushed Hillary’s dirt off his shoulders and connived with conman extraordinaire John Edwards to monkeywrench the Democratic primary process in Michigan? Surely, SURELY, he has nothing to fear from some well funded ad campaigns because his record of “accomplishments” will speak for itself. And anyway, a guy this callous, ruthless and insensitive to the way his behavior will set a precedent for the actions of others won’t stay up at night worrying about whether people are calling him names.
At least a front group calling itself Citizens United Not Timid (oh, how droll their abbreviation is. Jocularity! Jocularity!) didn’t produce a documentary about him. Well, not yet anyway. Still, nothing to worry about as long as unemployment is back to pre-2008 levels and GDP rises to a crisp 3% per anum, right?
Anyway, the only people who are going to believe that crap in the ads are the religious nutcases- er, that Obama seems to be dumping his base for…
Whatever. Not my problem.
BTW all you Democratic blogger activists carrying Obama’s water, did you know that Robert Kennedy once broke a beer bottle over the head of one of his Harvard classmates who had the audacity to celebrate his birthday in the same bar that Bobby chose for his own birthday celebration? Yep, true story. Turns out the guy was an arrogant prick when he was young. Most people grow out of it.
Not that we like Mitt but to those of us out of jobs with dwindling savings and 401Ks that are about to be swallowed by some bad bets on a European debt crisis, what Mitt did as a kid is just not very important to us. It’s what the people in charge did as adults that makes the difference. If we were going to judge character by youthful and college age behavior, you guys would be kissing the ground the Clintons’ walked. They were the very models of responsibility and maturity.
A little consistency please.
Hey, Bernie, why don’t you run?
My dream vacation: Lake Powell, Arizona.