Long ago yesterday

March 29, 2013

3Nearly clear skies this early Friday, though, more rain is expected for us up here along California’s north coast, and it’s a bit chilly outside, too.

One anniversary yesterday was nearly forgotten by most of the media — even I forgot it and it has more meaning for me beyond a big, huge scare: The drama began at 4 a.m. on Three Mile Island, located in the middle of Susquehanna River, near Harrisburg, Pa.
The day before the event, my second wife and I were married — she was 18 and I 30, and she looked like a young Stevie Nicks, so, I paid near-about no attention to that close call with nuclear catastrophe.
Three days after apparently coming up for air did the incident register — we divorced in 1994 after 15 years and five children.

A pisser, but reality barks.

(Illustration found here).

In the nowadays, however, there’s not much distraction for me to miss out on news shit (see Stevie Nicks long ago at HuffPost and see why I didn’t let a near-nuclear meltdown deter the mission), but the big current problem is in the details. There’s so much going on all the time, especially in the fine print, that a lot of stuff passes without recognition — the following is a case in point, just a follow-up on old stuff.

As manager of a liquor store, and as a worker in retail on-and-off for many years, this seemed like a concept that should have been a no-brainer — pay supposedly low-paying jobs decently:

The average American cashier makes $20,230 a year, a salary that in a single-earner household would leave a family of four living under the poverty line.
But if he works the cash registers at QuikTrip, it’s an entirely different story.
The convenience-store and gas-station chain offers entry-level employees an annual salary of around $40,000, plus benefits.
Those high wages didn’t stop QuikTrip from prospering in a hostile economic climate.
While other low-cost retailers spent the recession laying off staff and shuttering stores, QuikTrip expanded to its current 645 locations across 11 states.
Many employers believe that one of the best ways to raise their profit margin is to cut labor costs.
But companies like QuikTrip, the grocery-store chain Trader Joe’s, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity.
All three are low-cost retailers, a sector that is traditionally known for relying on part-time, low-paid employees. Yet these companies have all found that the act of valuing workers can pay off in the form of increased sales and productivity.

Meanwhile, the asshole of retail, Walmart, is falling, falling in the opposite direction: Last month, Wal-Mart placed last among department and discount stores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the sixth year in a row the company had either tied or taken the last spot. The dwindling level of customer service comes as Wal- Mart has touted its in-store experience to lure shoppers and counter rival Amazon.com Inc.
If only it was a simple.

Pay day is a gut wrencher for way-most of Americans.
One subject that’s painful to the touch — income inequality in the good-ole US of A.
Just beyond that low-shit hourly wage and the broken-down Ford in the driveway.
Some ugly shit via AlterNet:

On a winter day in 2012 over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States.
Based on an annual single room occupancy (SRO) cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S. for the entire year.
These ten rich men together made more than our entire housing budget.
For anyone still believing “they earned it,” it should be noted that most of the Forbes 400 earnings came from minimally-taxed, non-job-creating capital gains.

In 1983 the poorest 47 percent of America had $15,000 per family, 2.5 percent of the nation’s wealth.
In 2009 the poorest 47 percent of America owned ZERO PERCENT of the nation’s wealth (their debt exceeded their assets).
At the other extreme, the 400 wealthiest Americans own as much wealth as 80 million families — 62 percent of America.
The reason, once again, is the stock market.
Since 1980 the American GDP has approximately doubled.
Inflation-adjusted wages have gone down.
But the stock market has increased by over ten times, and the richest quintile of Americans owns 93 percent of it.

Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.
Yet the financial industry keeps creating new wealth for its millionaires.
According to the authors of the Global Wealth Report, the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017.

The unwashed masses are still unwashed.

Just when I had it all figured out, a landslide brought me down.

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