Despite all that I could do, it’s Monday again — the weekend ends way-too quick.
Clear skies, however, and quiet here on California’s north coast. And we start another plunge into what’s called ‘making a living,’ which depends deeply on the key word, ‘living,’ and will work our asses off for the next five days until we strike Friday afternoon in the face.
No surprises in store except continual shock and awe — George Carlin mimics: “No one knows whatâ€™s next, but everybody does it.”
(Illustration found here).
And on the topic of work — or not work — in a land of the young, educated and jobless:
The problems start with a lack of jobs.
In 2011, the most recent year for which international comparisons exist, 26.2 percent of Americans between ages 25 and 34 were not working.
That includes those for whom unemployment is a choice (those in graduate school, for example, or taking care of children) and those for whom it is not (the officially unemployed or those who are out of work and no longer looking).
The share was 20.2 percent in Canada, 20.5 percent in Germany, 21 percent in Japan, 21.6 percent in Britain and 22 percent in France.
Robert J. SamuelsonÂ at the Washington Post adds:
The answer almost certainly involves employers, not workers.
Businesses have become more risk-averse.
Theyâ€™re more reluctant to hire.
Theyâ€™ve raised standards.
For many reasons, theyâ€™ve become more demanding and discriminating.
These reasons could include (a) doubts about the recovery; (b) government policies raising labor costs (example: the Affordable Care Actâ€™s insurance mandates); (c) unwillingness to pay for training; and (d) fear of squeezed profits. In practice, motives mix.
The chief victims of this shift in business behavior seem to be the long-term unemployed (more than six months), as some fascinating research by economists William Dickens and Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University suggests.
By their estimates, virtually all the reduction in hiring falls on this group, regardless of their other characteristics (age, education, industry experience).
Many firms seem to have concluded that the long-term jobless are damaged goods.
The big, huge, humongous problem is too much money at the top. Getting any kind of work is getting low wages, which makes the economy act like a drunken sailor, bouncing around and falling.
From Pew Research:
Because of these differences, wealth inequality increased during the first two years of the recovery.
The upper 7 percent of households saw their aggregate share of the nationâ€™s overall household wealth pie rise to 63 percent in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009.
On an individual household basis, the mean wealth of households in this more affluent group was almost 24 times that of those in the less affluent group in 2011.
At the start of the recovery in 2009, that ratio had been less than 18-to-1.
Meanwhile, over the weekendÂ the NRA assholes blustered with a bang, and the new head of the dangerous, delusional organization is a fine fit — Alabama gun nut extraordinaire, James Porter:
Revenge is what’s motivating the president’s unrelenting attacks on gun owners today,” Porter told the group’s meeting Saturday amid news that the NRA’s membership had grown to a record 5 million.
“Millions of Americans are becoming first-time gun owners,” Porter said.
“The media calls it fear.
That’s not it.
It’s a sense of natural outrage that’s been building for quite some time.”
Porter, 64, a lawyer from Birmingham, Ala., who defends gun manufacturers, has been building that outrage his whole life.
His father, Irvine C. Porter, was president of the NRA in 1959 â€” when the son says the NRA was “a glorified shooting society.”
At a breakfast Friday, Porter told grass-roots organizers that they are on the front line of a “culture war.”
“He seems to come out of a mold that’s much closer to the base than David Keene,” said Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Whereas Keene was a “steady hand” for the NRA amid controversy, Porter is “a complete wild card,” Horwitz said.
“The world’s changing around them, and they’re hunkering down.”
And the firearms, oh, those wonderful firearms:
Meanwhile, Bushmaster wasnâ€™t lowering its profile at the NRA confab.
At its booth on the bustling exposition floor, Bushmaster invited children to pose for photos with a .50-caliber sniper rifle with a 30-inch barrel.
The BA50 offers â€œmonstrous long-range power.â€
In a promotional booklet, George Kollitides, Freedom Groupâ€™s CEO and a former member of the NRA nominating committee, said Bushmaster builds â€œeach rifle with purpose and passionâ€”yours.â€
And that’s the fluttering news board this morning as time approaches for work. This coming week will have a litany of shit that accounts for how the world operates nowadays. We’re looking at a nutcase nation and one fucked-up planet that’s cruising for a bruising.
Here now in the quiet and solitude of early morning, life seems gentle and warm without a threat in sight. One neat feeling about these way-early morning is that feeling, that sense of wonder at the day ahead and the non-disclosure of the well-worn thrust of reality later on down the line.
But it’s all soft and kitty-like for a little while.
One must remember, Monday is only one day of the week — the rest of the time is mostly just terror.