Peter Dreier, professor of politics and director of the urban and environmental policy program at Occidental College in Los Angeles, writes in today's L.A. Times that the paper should revive its history of reporting on labor issues:
Up until the 1980s, most major newspapers, including The Times, had a regular labor reporter. Today, few papers, The Times among them, have even one reporter exclusively assigned to cover labor.
That may be a consequence—even a cause—of declining union membership. But The Times serves a metropolitan area that has become the U.S. capital of the working poor, where more than 800,000 workers (almost twice the national rate) are union members and where (unlike most parts of the country) labor union membership is actually growing.
I couldn't agree more.
Down the hall from Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters is the office of nutritionist and author Monique Ryan, who, in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, weighs in on the pressing issue of Anne's and my favorite TV show, Lost: Why is Hurley still fat? Says Ryan:
You would expect that maybe he would [lose weight], but you'd have to sit down and look at what he's eating the whole day. He might also be an individual with a very slow metabolism. We tend to assume that everybody has complete control over things like that, but they don't. Some of that is genetic.
The article has more. We at IDTWHQ eagerly await for February sweeps.
A while ago we at Inner Drive attempted to install a new Webcam which, in short order, stopped working. Logitech promptly sent a replacement, which so far works fine.
So the Inner Drive Webcam is now much sharper, and less prone to falling, than it used to be:
The only disadvantage is that it doesn't work in Terminal Server mode, so if the server kicks over unexpectedly, the Webcam will be static until we can get to a terminal and fix it. (We'll experiment with that later on.)
Also: The camera, a Logitech QuickCam Orbit MP, is adjustible--so it will change angles every so often.
We are very happy.
It seems a train conductor in Chicago had some musings about the new Chicago smoking ban, which he shared with riders on an inbound commuter train yesterday.
Seems these musings contained a bad word:
Veering from his script notifying riders about the ban, the conductor used a vulgar sexual epithet over the Metra train's public address system to describe the city officials who enacted the ordinance.
Seems he's looking for a new job now.
For my part, I can't figure out what epithet he used, but I'm guessing it was close to "putz."
The Administration would have you believe that the $400 billion deficit the U.S. will have this year is because of Hurricane Katrina clean-up.
Reports the Chicago Tribune (reg.req.):
Even with December's surplus, experts are predicting that the budget deficit for this year could well surge above $400 billion, reflecting increased government spending to help with reconstruction efforts in hurricane-ravaged states along the Gulf Coast.
Katrina clean-up accounts for, oh, $1 billion—0.25%—of the deficit. The other $399 billion comes from a deliberate sequence of ideologically-driven tax cuts that have (a) left the Federal government vastly under-funded, which (b) is what the Administration wanted in the first place.
The Tribune goes on directly:
President Bush has vowed to cut the deficit in half by 2009 and still preserve the tax cuts he pushed through Congress in his first term.
I don't need Anne's math degree to find fault with that goal.
Let's review the Administration's record:
- The GOP cuts taxes severely.
- The GOP cuts spending on Federal programs (FEMA? CDC?) and staffs them with incompetent flunkies.
- The programs fail miserably.
- The GOP claims that, because the programs are failing miserably, the programs and the taxes that fund them should be cut further.
- Rinse and repeat.
This is the program outlined by Grover Norquist and his homeys almost 25 years ago.
Happy New Election Year, folks.
Hired Wrist, one of my clients, has a new Craigslist post:
Write to Sell
"Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."—Gene Fowler
Take it from someone who knows. I've been bleeding professionally for years.
If you are writing (or even thinking of writing) a screenplay, teleplay or novel, I can now offer you professional strength one-on-one consultation, analysis, guidance and instruction designed to dramatically and significantly improve the quality of your work. With over thirty years of remarkably successful professional writing experience, I will personally guide you through the complicated and often unforgiving landscape of the writer's world. If you want to write to sell, if you want to write better or even if you’ve never written before and have a burning desire to do so, let me help you get started. Together we can stop the bleeding.
Check out my qualifications, credits, achievements, awards and fees at http://www.hiredwrist.com
Share and enjoy.
First, I'd like to welcome my mom to broadband. She's been on dial-up since she got her first home computer (in, I think 2001), but she finally got a cable modem. I clocked the thing at 9.1 Mbps downstream, which is about 160 times faster than her 56.6k analog modem.
I mention this because yesterday she asked me to pick up a copy of Turbo Tax at the store. I pointed out that, with a super-fast Internet connection, she could simply download the product and save a tree.
In an unrelated train of thought, Borowitz was funnier than usual today:
[O]ne day after published reports alleged that author James Frey had fabricated sections of his bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, Mr. Frey was named chief spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department.
Finally, the new Webcam arrived from Logitech. I'll be testing it in the lab for a few days before replacing the main one—assuming the replacement works as hoped.
WinXP News today looks at the problem of getting things fast, cheap, and right. The adage in engineering is you can only have two. The adage in consulting is you can sell all three.
This is exemplified by a tongue-in-cheek conversation I had on the elevator this morning with the head of Q.A. for one of my clients:
QA Guy: I can't believe it's only Wednesday. I want it to be Saturday. You're a consultant; can you do something about that?
David: Sure, I can whip something up. Give me three days, and I'll have a Saturday for you.
He: Can you do any better than that?
I: Sure. I'm working on a faster process, which should be in production in about two days. I can get it to you about 18 hours after that.
He: Can't you off-shore the development?
I: As a matter of fact, our Fiji facility can get the job done 18 hours faster. They will probably finish in less than two days from right now. But I'll have to go to Fiji, which won't be cheap.
Yesterday's post about the flaming mouse is apparently so much hooey, says the Associated Press in a follow-up report today:
A small-town rumor that sparked world-wide interest about a mouse burning down a house has been found to be untrue.
"It's really humorous more than anything that a mouse burned down the house," [81-year-old Chano Mares] told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque. The mouse was dead when it hit the burning leaves.
Mares said he trapped and killed the critter and tossed it on the fire.
So This American Life remains the only verified rodent-running-around-on-fire story I have, though there are still two verified rodents flambés on record.