Posts Tagged Chicago
The philosophy behind the quackery known as homeopathic medicine is that “like cures like.” As in: have a burn, apply a hot compress. This widely-panned pseudoscience (oh man, am I going to get letters) in its 300 years of existence has a history of being debunked, going away and then popping up a few decades later.
Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News
But this is the solution the NRA offers: Too many shootings requires more people armed and able to shoot. The problem AND the cure are basically the same: lots of guns.
On the other side is a call for ban of certain types of guns. This immediately gets into the weeds of “weapon-ese.” Semi-auto? Assault weapons? Machine guns? Military-style characteristics? High capacity magazines? Bayonet mount? Flash suppressors?!
Which if you don’t really care about guns (just care about being shot) is a booby trap set by gun enthusiasts. Because if you don’t know what semi-auto actually means (it’s a ridiculously broad term) — they can always tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Which is true. Then the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.
Because in America you can’t hate guns. That’s not a legitimate stance. You have to love guns, possibly own a couple and be able to talk about them competently in order to have a seat at the table. Mitt Romney had to say he hunted “varmints.” Really.
The problem with the assault weapons ban is that it’s something. It’s something for a nation, in the wake of Sandy Hook, crying out for some kind of SOMETHING. Anything but the bogus and tone-deaf prescription for more weapons on the streets made by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.
There’s a perfectly understandable cry for more gun control, which the assault weapons ban claims to be. It bans certain types of purchases on future weapons but it’s not (in reality) a good law. It won’t actually (as gun enthusiasts love to point out) affect gun deaths. Most gun deaths are by handguns. It’s the legislative equivalent of banning large bags of candy to curb obesity, when the real issue is the wide availability of said candy.
Gun lovers gleefully pointed out last week that Chicago, with its assault weapons ban, police-issued Firearms Owners Identification Card mandate and its refusal to issue open carry permits plus its ties to President Obama, had their 500th homicide of 2012. If we cherry pick this information (disregarding the fact Louisiana and Mississippi with their lax gun laws actually consistently lead the nation in murders per capita) it appears gun control is futile.
Recently the Chicago Police Department requested the University of Chicago Crime Lab researchers study the guns used in crimes. In a groundbreaking report they found those guns were bought legally and locally in Cook County (where Chicago is located). Even more specifically from Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale. The Sun-Times reported, “From 2008 to March 2012, the police successfully traced the ownership of 1,375 guns recovered in crimes in Chicago within a year of their purchase.” They continued, “Of those guns, 268 were bought at Chuck’s — nearly one in five.”
“How do the guns get on the street?,” the study asks. Straw purchasers. People without a record legally buying a weapon and then selling it. Which is outrageous and illegal. But the ATF — the law enforcement organization that would crack down on these sales — the Sun-Times points out, has been largely budget-cut out of business and doesn’t have the resources to track it or prosecute those crimes. It’s an agency that hasn’t had a full-time director in six years thanks to Congress insisting it requires a Senate confirmation. In short: In Cook County, Illinois (as with the rest of the country) it’s easy to get a gun and easy to sell a gun.
This leads me to one plea: If we get one bite at the proverbial gun safety apple, don’t make it the largely cosmetic assault weapons ban.
Federalize background checks, waiting periods and databases. Close the secondary market loopholes. These are things even card carrying NRA members agree with. Slow the flood of guns. But most importantly give the agency responsible for enforcing those laws a director and funding.
Then we can all learn weapon-ese and it’s not completely useless.
- The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- You Can’t Be Serious: Ex-NRA Leader Compares Assault Weapons Ban To Racial Discrimination!?!? [Video] (bossip.com)
- 500 Murders In Chicago Show Gun Bans Don’t Work (infiniteunknown.net)
- Former NRA President: Banning Assault Weapons Is Like Banning People Of Color (thinkprogress.org)
- The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring (ukprogressive.co.uk)
- Illinois Ban On Assault Weapons Advances (chicagoist.com)
- Why We’re Still At Least Two Years Away from an Assault Weapons Ban (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Senate panel approves bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines (blogs.suntimes.com)
- White House squares up for fight with NRA over sweeping gun reforms (guardian.co.uk)
- Obama to weigh gun limits (charlotteobserver.com)
McDonald’s Worker Makes $8.25 an Hour, McDonald’s CEO Made $8.75 Million Last Year
The CEO makes almost 600 times as much as one Chicago worker.
December 12, 2012
Bloomberg has an article today highlighting the pay gap at McDonald’s. The whole piece is worth a read but the beginning is particularly striking. It highlights Chicago man Tyree Johnson, who holds positions at two different McDonald’s. Between shifts he has to give himself a quick scrubbing in one of the restaurant’s bathrooms because he can’t even show up for work at a McDonald’s smelling like a McDonald’s.
“I hate when my boss tells me she won’t give me a raise because she can smell me,” he said.
Johnson, 44, needs the two paychecks to pay rent for his apartment at a single-room occupancy hotel on the city’s north side. While he’s worked at McDonald’s stores for two decades, he still doesn’t get 40 hours a week and makes $8.25 an hour, minimum wage in Illinois.
This is life in one of America’s premier growth industries. Fast-food restaurants have added positions more than twice as fast as the U.S. average during the recovery that began in June 2009.
Johnson’s circumstances look particularly grim when they’re compared, as Bloomberg does, to the compensation enjoyed by executives whose pay gives a whole new meaning to “McJob.”
Johnson would need about a million hours of work — or more than a century on the clock — to earn the $8.75 million that McDonald’s, based in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, paid then- CEO Jim Skinner last year.
… Twenty years ago, when Johnson first started at McDonald’s, the CEO’s compensation was about 230 times that of a full-time worker paid the federal minimum wage. The $8.75 million that Thompson’s predecessor as CEO, Skinner, made last year was 580 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
- McDonald’s Worker Makes $8.25 an Hour, McDonald’s CEO Made $8.75 Million Last Year (alternet.org)
- McDonald’s Employee Excited to Be Earning Minimum Wage After 20 Years On the Job (wonkette.com)
- McDonalds CEO Earns $35,000 Per Day: Fox News Worries About Greedy Unions (addictinginfo.org)
- Tyree Johnson, McDonald’s Worker, Still Makes Minimum Wage After 20 Years Of Service (huffingtonpost.com)
- McDonald’s minimum-wage workers, high-paid CEOs highlight massive pay gap between rich and poor (business.financialpost.com)
- McDonald’s $8.25 Man and $8.75 Million CEO Shows Pay Gap (bloomberg.com)
- A McDonald’s Employee Must Work One Million Hours To Make As Much As The Company’s CEO (thinkprogress.org)
- McDonald’s CEO made almost 600x as much as the ones who do all the real work (dangerousminds.net)
- McDonald’s $8.25 Man and $8.75 Million CEO Shows Pay Gap – Bloomberg (jdeanicite.typepad.com)
- In rare strike, NYC fast-food workers walk out – Salon.com (mbcalyn.com)
Paul Ryan: “Did I Miss the Physical Challenge Portion of the Race?”
October 27, 2012
This week Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan expressed concern that the ‘physical challenge’ portion of the presidential race had not yet taken place.
“To my knowledge, that segment has yet to be scheduled,” he told reporters during a campaign stop in Chicago. “Unless I was simply not notified of the date. I wouldn’t put that past the Obama administration, frankly. I’m sure they realize I present quite a challenge to Joe Biden, at least when it comes to that event.”
Asked for clarification on what he meant by the term “physical challenge”, Ryan appeared incredulous.
“It’s the part of the presidential race where the candidates compete against each other in an obstacle course,” he said. “Usually there’s some sort of climbing wall, a set of monkey bars and sometimes a ball pit. Whoever has the best time and is the first to grab the flag, wins. Do you guys really not know what I’m talking about here?”
Ryan admitted that in the days leading up to the Vice Presidential debate, he had been under the impression that the physical challenge would be directly following it.
“I thought they were going to sort of spring it on us in a surprise move,” he said. “Did you guys see me drinking all that water during the debate? That was why. I was trying to stay hydrated. Also, if you noticed me sweating a lot, it’s because I was wearing these special moisture-wicking jogging clothes under my suit in preparation. They were kind of making me overheat.”
He added, “An athlete is always prepared.”
According to Ryan, the physical challenge is a huge part of why he was tapped for VP.
“I mean, look at me,” he said. ”With my hardcore P90X routines and my sub 3-hour marathon time, am I the guy you’d turn to for policy decisions, or the one you’d want by your side at the beach, helping you kick sand in Russia’s face?”
“I don’t want to let Romney down, so I’ve been training hard for months,” Ryan added.
”When I’m not campaigning, I’m spending long days at the gym, blasting my quads and ripping my delts. Sometimes while I’m doing bicep curls I’ll look at flash cards about laws and foreign policy and stuff, but my main focus is on winning that physical challenge,” he said. ”You’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize.”
- Watch: Vice Presidential Debate Finally Getting Some Respect? (abcnews.go.com)
- Biden and Ryan to face off in US vice-presidential debate (euronews.com)
- Joe Biden Shows Paul Ryan How a Seasoned Politician Debates, Attacked Him Fiercely On All Fronts During Vice Presidential Debate (themoderatevoice.com)
- Watch: Vice Presidential Debate: What to Expect (abcnews.go.com)
- INSTANT POLL: Joe Biden Shredded Paul Ryan In The Vice Presidential Debate (businessinsider.com)
- Watch The Presidential Debate Live Streaming Online (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Fox News Doctor Makes Unbelievable Claim About Joe Biden (huffingtonpost.com)
- Biden-Ryan Debate: All About Joe (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Video: The entire 2012 vice presidential debate (cbsnews.com)
- Watch: Jobs Numbers Boost: How Was It Possible? (abcnews.go.com)
Jack Welch: I Should Have Added a Question Mark to Tweet About Friday’s Jobs Numbers
By Daniel Politi |
Posted Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at 12:32 PM ET
Jack Welch says the latest job numbers seem “implausible”
Former GE CEO Jack Welch sort of wishes he could go back in time to edit his now-infamous tweet that strongly suggested President Obama’s campaign managed to somehow manipulate the job numbers released Friday that showed a decrease in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. That’s not to say he disagrees with what he wrote. Welch just thinks he should have made it clear he wanted to imply something, not state it outright, which obviously makes sense considering pretty much everyone agrees it’s a ridiculous assertion, as the Associated Press points out.
When CNN’s Anderson Cooper questioned him on what evidence he had to write what he did, Welch acknowledged that “A question mark would have been better,” before quickly adding that, “I stand by that these numbers have to be examined.” (Transcript available here.)
Welch, who frequently criticizes Obama’s administration, wrote early Friday on Twitter: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”
When CNN’s Ali Velshi pushed Welch on the inaccuracy of the tweet, Welch fired back: “I should have had a question mark, Ali, at the back of it, let’s face it, OK?”
Velshi started out saying that Welch is “the best CEO in America” before harshly criticizing him: “To say something like this is like Donald Trump saying that president Obama is not an American citizen without any proof.”
Throughout the CNN interview Welch emphasized that what he was questioning was how “implausible” the numbers seemed considering they amounted to the “highest numbers of household employment since June of 1983, the biggest year of the Reagan recovery.” But he also was careful to emphasize that he was “not accusing anybody of anything.”
The New York Times’ Joe Nocera writes that while it’s “ludicrous” to suggest that “a handful of career bureaucrats” would manipulate unemployment data, it is true that there’s “something a little strange about the way the country derives its employment statistics.” But the lesson in this questioning of the jobs data needs to be that it’s a bit “absurd” to think that a presidential race could be decided on the unemployment rate. It’s not just because the short-term numbers aren’t really reliable, but also because no president has such a strong grip on the economy.
“There is rough justice in the way things are playing out,” writes Nocera. “Having spent the last year wrongly blaming the president for high unemployment, Republicans can only stand by helplessly as the unemployment rate goes down at the worst possible moment for them.”
- Pathetic, Jack Welch: The Birth of a Conspiracy Theory (itsnotaboutthemoney.wordpress.com)
- Jack Welch On Jobs Data Conspiracy (wallstreetpit.com)
- Why Jack Welch’s Claims are Confirmed False | Politicol News (wadeedith.typepad.com)
- “War Against Reality”: Neutron Jack Welch And The Jobless Numbers Conspiracy (mbcalyn.com)
- Jack Welch Wasn’t Kidding, Explains Tweet Claiming Jobs Numbers Were Fixed By Obama Admin (tammybruce.com)
- Jobs “Unbelievable Numbers” Says Former GE CEO Jack Welch (conservativeread.com)
- Jack Welch on job report numbers: “these Chicago guys will do anything” (riehlworldview.com)
- Jack Welch the Original BLS Truther (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- How will Reuters and Fortune handle Jack Welch’s conspiracy tweeting? By @jeffbercovici (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Jack Welch ready to embrace the power of the question mark in future tweets (twitchy.com)
Chicago Public Schools Celebrate Third Straight Day Without Any Student Violence | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
Chicago Public Schools Celebrate Third Straight Day Without Any Student Violence
CHICAGO—Jubilant Chicago Public Schools officials announced Wednesday that, for three straight days now, there has not been a single act of student violence in any of the city’s 675 public schools. “Our classrooms and hallways are safer now than they’ve ever been,” said CPS chief executive Jean-Claude Brizard, happily noting that there have been no reported instances of beatings, stabbings, sexual assaults, or shootings in any of the city’s public schools this week. “We’ve had no incidents of weapons being brought onto school property, nor has anyone had to break up a fistfight between students. We’ve all had to work together for this, but it’s paid off. Let’s keep it up!” At press time, a gunfight on Chicago’s South Side had reportedly claimed the lives of three 16-year-old boys.
- Chicago Public Schools Celebrate Third Straight Day Without Violence! (shtfplan.com)
- Chicago Public Schools Celebrate Third Straight Day Without Violence! (thedailysheeple.com)
- Romney: ‘We Should Never Apologize For American Values Or Japanese Internment Camps’ | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Paul Ryan Knocked Over By Pack Of Rambunctious Romney Boys | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Pregnant Woman Relieved To Learn Her Rape Was Illegitimate | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Late-night talks fail to get deal in Chicago teachers strike (wtvr.com)
- Strike day two – Chicago teachers party in the streets (legalinsurrection.com)
- Hard facts behind union, board dispute (suntimes.com)
- Teachers strike a test for Democrats (cnn.com)
- Good Luck, Karen Lewis (mbcalyn.com)
The Republican primary has been over for months now but it’s hard to tell. The presumptive nominee (I’ll get to stop writing that phrase in a couple of weeks … hopefully), Mitt Romney, is still campaigning like he’s trying to convince his own party he’s Mr. Right, Mr. Right-Enough—or in his case Mr. Right…Now.
John Cole / Scranton Times-Tribune
“What America is not is a collective where we all work in a kibbutz,” Romneysaid at a fundraiser in Chicago this week. “Instead it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.”
America, not a collective: Not a place where people work together, according to Romney. Just a place where bosses are untethered by the shackles of pensions, environmental concerns or worker safety regulations so they can create magical towers of tax-free enterprise which “employs others.”
Willard M. Romney, the Everyman.
Romney is not trying to be popular; he’s running for president on the Republican ticket. He’s still trying to get Republicans to like him and Republicans now make up less than35 percent of Americans. Reaching outside of their “big tent,” Romney spoke at an NAACP event, and after being booed by the crowd he explained it was because the attendees at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People want free stuff. He loves free stuff (like tax-free!) but finds it distasteful in people not clever enough to borrow money from their parents for college. Romney’s international tour was of a whopping three countries. Notably at least one didn’t boo him. In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “Don’t forget Poland!”
Romney doesn’t appear to be trying to win the support of the majority of Americans (or the world for that matter). He appears to be playing for the affections of a few key shareholders. Romney is a niche candidate of a tiny percent of Americans who think working for a living describes what your money does for you.
Let’s take stock of the groups Republicans are no longer attempting to appeal to: Wage earners. Women in their child-bearing years. People with pre-existing conditions. Unions. Public workers. The unemployed. Monogamous gay couples. The under-employed. Moderate Republicans. Muslims. Latinos. Oh and independent voters. We’re not going to see a “Romney Democrats” group pop up before November, save maybe a political wonk’s Halloween party.
Romney is nominee no one really likes. Fewer people will vote for Mitt. The only chance for a mediocre candidate to win the majority of votes is for fewer votes to be counted. Voter ID laws have become vogue in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina and Indiana. All of a sudden the Grand Old Party is concerned about voter fraud, which even the Republican National Lawyer Association in a stretch of their data claims only 311 cases in the last decade. Other estimates put the number in the tens. Way more Americans have won gold medals than have voted fraudulently. So Republicans must “fix” this non-problem (in places which just so happen to swing states/counties/districts) by making it as difficult as possible to cast a ballot. On ABC’sThis Week, Washington Post columnist George Will called early voting “deplorable” because it interferes with campaigning. The horror! You know what interferes withvoting? Having a j-o-b. Early voting is the easiest way for blue-collar workers to be able to have their vote counted. Less early voting, fewer people who earn a paycheck at the polls. And that’s deplorable if you’re a Republican in the 2012 election cycle.
Republicans are working very hard to get fewer votes. Instead of stacking the deck they’re just trying to disenfranchise all the cards who disagree with them (you know, the majority of the country). It’s a reasonable strategy as their presumptive nominee (gah!) brands himself as the small government/voting bloc candidate who likes being able to fire people.
- Jon Huntsman, Sr. to Mitt Romney: Release More Tax Returns (themoderatevoice.com)
- Romney: America Is No Kibbutz (buzzfeed.com)
- America ‘ain’t no kibbutz,’ says presidential hopeful (timesofisrael.com)
- Conservative Group Launches “Dump Romney” Campaign (buzzfeed.com)
- America Not a ‘Kibbutz,’ says Romney (gestetnerupdates.com)
- A Conservative Bid for Paul Ryan to Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate (nytimes.com)
- CNN Poll: Obama holds 7-point lead over Romney (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- So, Mitt Romney wants a debate over whether health insurance saves lives? Bring it on. (dailykos.com)
- What Gingrich, Santorum, etc. got right about Romney (blogs.ajc.com)
- Mitt Romney cleverly waits until he’s back from his trip to insult Israel (dailykos.com)
Corn for Food, Not Fuel
By COLIN A. CARTER and HENRY I. MILLER
Published: July 30, 2012
IT is not often that a stroke of a pen can quickly undo the ravages of nature, but federal regulators now have an opportunity to do just that. Americans’ food budgets will be hit hard by the ongoing Midwestern drought, the worst since 1956. Food bills will rise and many farmers will go bust.
An act of God, right? Well, the drought itself may be, but a human remedy for some of the fallout is at hand — if only the federal authorities would act. By suspending renewable-fuel standards that were unwise from the start, the Environmental Protection Agency could divert vast amounts of corn from inefficient ethanol production back into the food chain, where market forces and common sense dictate it should go.
The drought has now parched about 60 percent of the contiguous 48 states. As a result, global food prices are rising steeply. Corn futures prices on the Chicago exchange have risen about 60 percent since mid-June, hitting record levels, and other grains such as wheat and soybeans are also sharply higher. Livestock and dairy product prices will inevitably follow.
More than one-third of our corn crop is used to feed livestock. Another 13 percent is exported, much of it to feed livestock as well. Another 40 percent is used to produce ethanol. The remainder goes toward food and beverage production.
Previous droughts in the Midwest (most recently in 1988) also resulted in higher food prices, but misguided energy policies are magnifying the effects of the current one. Federal renewable-fuel standards require the blending of 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol with gasoline this year. This will require 4.7 billion bushels of corn, 40 percent of this year’s crop.
Other countries seem to have a better grasp of market forces and common sense. Brazil, another large ethanol producer, uses sugar instead of corn to make ethanol. It has flexible policies that allow the market to determine whether sugar should be sold on the sugar market or be converted to fuel. Our government could learn from the Brazilian approach and direct the E.P.A. to waive a portion of the renewable-fuel standards, thereby directing corn back to the marketplace. Under the law, the E.P.A. would first have to determine that the program was causing economic harm. That’s a no-brainer, given the effects of sharply higher grain prices that are already rippling through the economy.
The price of corn is a critical variable in the world food equation, and food markets are on edge because American corn supplies are plummeting. The combination of the drought and American ethanol policy will lead in many parts of the world to widespread inflation, more hunger, less food security, slower economic growth and political instability, especially in poor countries.
If the E.P.A. were to waive the rules for this year and next, the ethanol industry and corn farmers, who have experienced a years-long windfall, would lose out. Wheat and soybean farmers would also lose, because the prices of those crops have also been driven up: corn competes with soybeans for acreage and is substituted for wheat in some feed rations.
Any defense of the ethanol policy rests on fallacies, primarily these: that ethanol produced from corn makes the United States less dependent on fossil fuels; that ethanol lowers the price of gasoline; that an increase in the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline increases the overall supply of gasoline; and that ethanol is environmentally friendly and lowers global carbon dioxide emissions.
The ethanol lobby promotes these claims, and many politicians seem intoxicated by them. Corn is indeed a renewable resource, but it has a far lower yield relative to the energy used to produce it than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from other plants. Ethanol yields about 30 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage drops off significantly. Finally, adding ethanol actually raises the price of blended fuel because it is more expensive to transport and handle than gasoline.
As the summer drags on, the drought is only worsening. Last week the International Grains Council lowered its estimate of this year’s American corn harvest to 11.8 billion bushels from 13.8 billion. Reducing the renewable-fuel standard by a mere 20 percent — equivalent to about a billion bushels of corn — would offset nearly half of the expected crop loss due to the drought.
All it would take is the stroke of a pen — and, of course, the savvy and the will to do the right thing.
- Op-Ed Contributors: Corn for Food, Not Fuel (nytimes.com)
- Trying to feed livestock, farmers and producers are requesting the EPA gets rid of the Corn-Ethanol mandate. (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Corn for Food, Not Fuel (moroccotomorrow.org)
- No Matter How Many Times You Say it, A Lie is Still a Lie (hoosieragtoday.com)
- Ethanol From Corn Is Bad Policy, Especially In A Drought (underpaidgenius.com)
- US farmers urge Obama administration to suspend ethanol quota amid drought (guardian.co.uk)
- U.S. Meat Producers Call for Pause in Ethanol Quotas in Wake of Drought (e360.yale.edu)
- Livestock groups seek drought relief with ethanol waiver (reuters.com)
- Texas ranchers back ethanol-waiver request (fuelfix.com)
- Editorial: Food and the drought (junkscience.com)