4.30.2005

Grim

A little tough love for you doubting Thomases out there: some job loss numbers compliments of the Daily Kos...

From 2001-2002, the US economy lost a large number of jobs that either make things or require technical knowledge. Notice, how new jobs do not involve new products or technologies. This information is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Manufacturing - 1.1 million jobs
The information industry - 225,000 jobs,
Professional, scientific, and technical services - 225,000 jobs,
Computer systems and design - 140,000 jobs
Wholesale Trade - 120,000

And what areas of the economy increased their number of employees from 2002-2003?

Finance and insurance + 22,000
Health Care and Social Assistance + 442,000
Food Service and drinking + 153,000
Education + 93,000
Government + 373,000

Let's move forward 1 year, from 2002-2003, the last full year of information in the BEA's database. The following industries lost jobs.

Manufacturing - 740,000
Information - 185,000
Computer and Electronic Products - 145,000
Professional, scientific and technical -15,000

And the following industries added jobs

Food Service and Drinking Places 151,000
Government + 85,000
Education + 64,000
Health Care and Social Assistance + 345,000
Good luck out there folks 'cuz it looks like you really, really need it...

4.29.2005

We Likey David Corn

This is what we've been trying to say: you're being distracted with stuff that doesn't matter and missing the big picture. (scroll to the middle of the entry where he starts talking about sprawl in Pheonix)

Ebay: Selling Us All Out

EBay considers outsourcing US work to Indian subsidiary...

Online auction portal eBay Inc. is considering outsourcing key business functions to its Indian subsidiary in Mumbai, according to an executive of the company. EBay already outsources some work to third party service providers in India.

"Some of the functions we are considering moving to India such as customer relationship management, product development, trust and safety, and network management operations are critical to our business, and we are evaluating whether we should do it in house in India," Avnish Bajaj, country manager of eBay India said Wednesday in Bangalore.

U.S. Losing Innovation Race

Really interesting interview with Bill Gates this morning on Morning Edition. Really worth your time and effort to listen to it.

And here's why: see China & India are churning out computer programers and scientists and we're teaching our children mythology in the form of creationism (and it's latetest incarnation "intelligent design"); because we're we no longer value education (look at the rhetoric of conservatives if you don't believe me); and because we're a passive culture more consumed with consuming than we are with changes in our world. These are just a few of the many reasons that our sitution is so perilous: we're the ones everyone is gunning for and they're playing to win while we're squabbling amongst ourselves.

Education should be a National Security issue. The debt (held primarily by China & Japan) should be a National Security issue. These are things that should command our attention, not 'Gay Marriage' and knocking evolution.

There's no rule that says we must be the greatest country on earth... it's just a title and it can be taken away.

Pozen Scheme

Nathan lays it out:

The other idea that White House is promoting is cutting benefits more for middle income retirees than for low-income workers, turning social security more into a welfare system for the elderly than a broad-based retirement program

[snip]

Once social security is significant only for low-income workers, it will be a lot easier propose cutting it even more. Look at Medicaid spending this year. Bush proposed signficiant cuts in Medicaid, since it is perceived as "welfare" for the poor, but didn't propose any signficant reductions in Medicare because it has broad-based support.


This is the holy grail of conservatives. Change social security from a universal system into one where only the very poor depend on it for their retirement. Then kill it.
It's sad we have been brought to a point where we think so little of our "leaders" but they haven't done 1 single thing to convince us we're wrong. Not one.

4.28.2005

Guess What Else We're Competing For?

Exxon Mobil, Shell Profits Soar as Demand Gains Boost Prices
Well bully for them... why are we spending $2.55+ here in LA LA Land?

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported the fifth- largest quarterly net income in U.S. history and Royal Dutch/Shell Group's first-quarter profit jumped 28 percent as unprecedented demand lifted energy and chemicals prices.

Profit at Exxon Mobil jumped 44 percent to $7.86 billion, or $1.22 a share, from $5.44 billion, or 83 cents, a year earlier, the Irving, Texas-based company said today in a statement. Shell said its earnings excluding gains in the value of oil in storage rose to $5.55 billion from $4.33 billion.

[snip]

"There's been a huge increase in demand, especially if you look at China and India, where the economies are expanding so rapidly," said John Leiviska, who helps oversee $17 billion, including Exxon Mobil debt, at Advantus Capital Management Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota. "Demand is rising in places where they're trying to enjoy a lifestyle like we have in the West."

[snip]

"These guys are making so much money, it's making my eyes water," said Joseph Ancona, an analyst at Burns Gustus & Co. in St. Louis. Ancona, who spoke in an interview yesterday, has a buy rating on Exxon Mobil shares and doesn't own any.
Can you say "Price Gouging" boys & girls? Yes, we knew you could...

Note the coming competition for resources with China & India... that's the long game and we're losing. Willingly. See, here in the U.S of A, we don't value education and would rather teach our children dopey mythology rather than science -the science & the skills they're going to need in the future- and we coddle multi-nationals with tax breaks when we should be encouraging breakthroughs in other sustainable energy sources. Mark our words: no good can come of any of this.

More soon.

4.27.2005

No Love for Best Western Hotels

Best Western's offshoring of reservations jobs decried

Best Western hotels have lost customers and money since January, when the Phoenix company began routing reservation calls through the Philippines, some hotel owners say.

They want the company to stop the practice before the transition is completed in September. They fear customers are being driven away because agents stumble over U.S. terminology, colloquialisms, geography and unusual questions.

"The outsourcing is absolutely the worst thing that has ever happened to us," said a longtime Best Western owner in the Midwest who asked not to be identified.
Will Best Western get your business so they can continue to put hard working Americans out of work?

4.26.2005

1 More Reason To Buy A Mac

Microsoft has Ralph "Dorian Grey" Reed on retainer for $20,000 A MONTH(!?!) for Microsoft?

As with all things Microsoft these days, AMERICAblog is on the case:

AMERICAblog.com has learned that Microsoft is currently paying a $20,000 a month retainer to former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed's consulting firm Century Strategies. Which now begs the question of whether Reed was in any way involved with Microsoft's recent decision to abandon its decades long support for gay civil rights in order to curry favor with anti-gay bigots of the radical right.
Now for the really interesting part...
Now, just think a minute. Microsoft finds itself under criticism from the local evangelical leader, religious right shareholders, bigoted employees and who knows who else. They don't know what to do. Who do they turn to? Well, if I'm in a religious right pickle, I'd turn to my $20,000 a month retainered religious right consultant, the former leader of the religious right, Ralph Reed.
Which sounds suspiciously like the scam Reed was running with newly-minted pariah Jack Abramoff: see they play both sides against the middle and collect big $$$.

Wankers.

By the way, if we were pitching an Armageddon TV show/movie (or even casting those dopey 'Left Behind' books) Ralph "Dorian Grey" Reed would be our 1st choice to play the Anti-Christ. No, we're serious: we remember reed more than 10 years ago and he really hasn't aged (though we have) and he has that bright shiny way-too-wholesome vibe that just makes our spider-sense go off. He's creepy and we have to wonder what he has in his attic.

4.25.2005

Learning to ♥ Harry Reid?

Oh be still our beating heart... Harry Reid says the sweetest things according to Kos

...Democrats have introduced bills that address America's real challenges.

1. Women's Health Care (S. 844). "The Prevention First Act of 2005" will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

2. Veterans' Benefits (S. 845). "The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005" will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America's security first means standing up for our troops and their families

Stop... STOP: you had us at "Democrats have introduced"!

Back to Outsourcing...

Not the end of it, but companies may be cooling on it...

Outsourcing no more on US' hot list
NEW DELHI: You could find some clues to domestic tech firms posting only moderate growth. Outsourcing seems be losing lustre in the US as the majority of industry seems to have had a bad experience with outsourcing, and is taking a cautious approach now.

One in four companies has brought outsourced functions back in-house and nearly half have failed to see the cost savings they anticipated from outsourcing, according to a study by Deloitte Consulting.

Around 70% of the companies have had a negative experience with outsourcing projects and are now taking a more cautious approach, according to a survey of 25 large organisations, with a combined $50 billion in outsourcing contracts.
Do we think this is going to stop? No, but every little bit of $$$ that stays here helps our economy and thus our national security.

Sticking It To The Middle Class Once Again...

Could the good old American-throw-the-family-in-the-car-and-drive-vacation going the way of the Dodo? Well check this one out:

The idea is simple but technologically daunting -- base gas taxes on miles driven instead of on gallons of fuel bought. And advocates say the reason for such a change is also simple -- although such fuel-efficient vehicles as hot-selling hybrids pay less in gas taxes, they're still out on the nation's roads contributing to congestion and wear and tear on an aging infrastructure.
Hmmm, that's a long way from giving tax breaks for being environmentally responsible isn't it? Wait, it gets better...
A switch in the way the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gas tax is levied could be in the offing, making it more of a user fee than a tax. By unanimous voice vote, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation Tuesday to establish a 15-member commission to report back within two years on ways to ensure enough tax revenue to pay for the nation's highway, bridge and public transit programs.

High on the list the panel will consider is the per-mile fee that is already the subject of a $1.25 million pilot project in Oregon that will use a special "smart'' odometer coupled with a global positioning system in every vehicle, a system invented at Oregon State University.

When the project begins later this year or early next year, every time a volunteer motorist fills up, the odometer's information will be electronically downloaded and the fee automatically added to the gas purchase price at the pump, just like today's per-gallon gas taxes. The GPS equipment tells the state when a vehicle has left Oregon, so motorists won't be charged for those miles. Oregon figures it will charge the volunteers 1.25 cents per mile in taxes.
$1.25 per mile you drive in Oregon. Hilarious (and we're not going into the Big Brother aspect of it)

Who thinks old Jeb is gonna go for this one while he's Governor of The Vacation State? (No, we can't imagine Disney will go for it)

4.24.2005

The Reverse Revolution

We Mark Fiore and just don't say it enough. Check out his latest. Genius.

A New Caste?

Oh could we love the Onion more?

New Tech-Support Caste Arises In India
NEW DELHI—Thanks to widespread outsourcing of telephone-service jobs, a sixth caste has blossomed in India: the Khidakayas, a mid-level jati made up of technical-support workers. "I am happy to be a Khidakaya," said technical-support agent Ranji Prasat, who speaks English with a flawless American accent and goes by the name "Ron" at work. "While we rank below members of the reigning order, those of us responsible for helping Americans track their online purchases and change their account PINs share many privileges not enjoyed by the merchant class below us." Prasat said he expects to marry another tech-support worker.
Hilarious.


(We shouldn't have to say this, but the Onion is fake news)