The Weekly Tendown June 19-25 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear Internet:

Nothing but links this week.  I'm on a tight schedule.  It's Tendown 82.

1. The One Piece You Need to Read This Week
This is absolutely my professional life; perhaps it's yours too.

It's called speedup - employers who ask for more and more and more work without an increase in pay; absent union protection, many find themselves in the position of being driven into the ground by their employers. If you feel as if you're being ridden increasingly hard at work and wonder how long you'll be capable of maintaining your output - if you find yourself saying "they can't possibly ask any more of me; I'm working twice as hard as five years ago" - and then, sure enough, increased duties are dropped on your lap.

Then  this is the piece to read.

SOUND FAMILIAR: Mind racing at 4 a.m.? Guiltily realizing you've been only half-listening to your child for the past hour? Checking work email at a stoplight, at the dinner table, in bed? Dreading once-pleasant diversions, like dinner with friends, as just one more thing on your to-do list?
Guess what: It's not you. These might seem like personal problems—and certainly, the pharmaceutical industry is happy to perpetuate that notion—but they're really economic problems. Just counting work that's on the books (never mind those 11 p.m. emails), Americans now put in an average of122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans. The differential isn't solely accounted for by longer hours, of course—worldwide, almost everyone except us has, at least on paper, a right to weekends off, paid vacation time(PDF), and paid maternity leave. (The only other countries that don't mandate paid time off for new moms are Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Samoa, and Swaziland. U-S...A?) 

2. 92,000

The median household income is 50 grand.  If it had kept pace with the rest of the economy, it would be $92,000 a year.

3. Opposite Science

Yes, it matters that of the 51 contestants for Miss USA, only two (including the winner) expressed that evolution should be taught in schools.  These are graduates (or at least students) of universities in the 21st century; look for Miss Alabama in the below clip, she's an Elementary Education major. Evolution's not something you can "disbelieve" any more than you can disbelieve gravity or that the earth revolves around the sun.  It's a theory like 2+2=4 is a theory; that religious conservatives have been able to push the idea that there's a debate about evolution to the point where only 2 of 51 university educated women believe it should be taught in school is insightful.

Watch the video.

4. Yes, You Should be Watching Keith
Olbermann returned this week; here's his Rolling Stone interview.

Also in Rolling Stone, Taibbi's piece on crazyass Michele Bachmann.

5. The Best Wrestler in the World
One of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived has done a PSA for PETA.

To balance that out, in case you think that an overly positive snapshot of professional wrestling, here are wrestling's ten most racist moments.

That's really just a way to get into the 4 star wrestling matches I saw this week; one actually was this week, it was last Sunday's Punk v. Mysterio at the WWE PPV.  The others are older; a ROH main event 4 way elimination from a couple months back that was 4 1/4; the Edwards/Daniels rematch from ROH was 4 1/2, I liked it a little bit less than their first match, the one without a real finish, although I also went 4 1/2 for that one.  And the two best tag matches I've seen in 2011, both 4 3/4: Generico/Ricochet v. Young Bucks from April in PWG and the American Wolves v. Haas/Benjamin from Wrestlemania weekend in ROH.

All of the 4 1/2 star and up matches can be found in my best matches of 2011 post, which I don't feel like digging up right now.

6. My Favorite New Phrase of the Week.
When I was an undergrad, I'd write down phrases, quotes, ideas that particularly struck me and stick them in a grey folder that I'd carry with me wherever I went.  They mixed high and low culture, but more representative than not would be something like Thoreau's "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" or Adlai Stevenson's "it hurts too much to laugh and I'm too old to cry" - I've used some of those lines throughout my life; when you talk for a living, its helpful to have a bag of thoughts to dip into.

I'm 489 months old now, so now, when I write something down, it's usually from a reality show.

For example - a lyric in Real Housewives of Atlanta Kim's follow up to (Don't be) Tardy for the Party was "click them keys" - as in, if you want to know who I am, just search me online.  "Click them keys."

I like that - I haven't used it yet, but there's a standard teacher type response whenever you want students to research an answer as opposed to your just telling them, "well, that's something you need to find out for yourself."  I may consolidate that response to "click them keys."  I don't know if I can swing that amount of sassy.

This week, there was a cooking show, I've forgotten which one, but its a show that focuses on street carts; there was a segment with a Scotsman who made fish and chips from a cart.  He talked about how the Scottish version is different than what one might otherwise get in the US, the batter is lighter - and he isn't a big fan of tartar sauce; in his reasonably thick accent, he, with a weary Scottish dismissiveness said:

                                              tartar sauce is basically gherkins

That's gonna go right there with "Don't lie to me like I'm Montel Williams" in my rotation; I know you like tartar sauce, I know you want tartar sauce - but look, it's basically gherkins, and really not worth putting on my menu.  There's just less there than meets the eye; the actual content isn't worth all the fuss. If, in fact, I pass away during one of my back to back 15 hour days I have to put in at the shop next quarter, someone will presumably offer some platitude like "he's in a better place" - and I'd really appreciate it if the response to that could be "religion is basically gherkins."

That's another good name for a fantasy football team.  Basically Gherkins.

Or maybe I should rename this blog - the original conceit "I'm the decider, I tell the truth, blah, blah, blah" feels a little played out to me.

What if I renamed the blog:

                                                 (This Blog is) Basically Gherkins.

Where would we be on that?

7. I Write the Stories

I wrote this week.  Talked some hoops.  Told some jokes.  Here was my look at back NBA Drafts.  Here was my look at this week's NBA Draft.  Read if you are inclined.

8. One Nation Under Wal-Mart
My Governor has multiple times favorably compared the way Wal Mart is run to the way government is run; an example of which is here.

The right wing, corporate mouthpiece that is the US Supreme Court protected Wal Mart from a sex discrimination suit this week; here's a good op-ed, about Wal Mart's authoritarian culture.

Remember - that's how the right wing thinks everything should work.  Are you working harder, without more pay, without union protection?  That's just the free market at work.  Capitalism.  Ain't it great?

Last year, these 32 corporations paid more money to their executives than they paid in taxes.  And what the right wing wants is less tax burden on these corporations.

Perhaps this is why a third of workers want to quit their jobs.  And why US life expectancy continues to fall relative to advanced nations.

When compared to the international frontier for life expectancy, US counties range from being 16 calendar years ahead to more than 50 behind for women. For men, the range is from 15 calendar years ahead to more than 50 calendar years behind. This means that some counties have a life expectancy today that nations with the best health outcomes had in 1957.

9. Why Hasn't Clarence Thomas Resigned Yet?
It's an Abe Fortas situation.

10. Why New York Matters
Civil rights advanced this weekend.  Andrew Sullivan explains why that matters.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,



Blog said...

Let me combine your condemnation of the modern American sweatshop, your need to collect relevant, topical pop culture soundbites, and your love of CM Punk into one neat little package:

"You can move, you know!"

Jim said...

Yeah, in a purely rational "cost/benefit" universe, I wouldn't live here. Or I'd move to Vermont, where they have health care now. I think about "if I could afford to leave, and wouldn't need to depend on my US-centric graduate degrees to earn a living, where would I go" - but if I could afford to do that, then I could afford to make living here less of a problem.

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