Friday, April 09, 2010

Signs that the economy is (STILL) bad

Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. I have not done this semi-regular (as in I do it when I feel like it and have time) for a while now. When I do it, I try to keep things light, and I try to poke fun at things here and there. However, the economic news seem to persist on things being really bad, so this edition has a blend of the amusing and the very serious.

The stories then:
  • The airlines continue their petty charging for basic services and travel needs. If you need to go to the bathroom, you better go at the airport, or you better hold it for the flight's duration, unless you want to pay. For instance, this airline is now considering charging you to go to the bathroom (via CNN) if it is a short trip. Short trip is defined as "flights lasting one hour or less." So folks, you may have to bring your own mason jar if you need to pee while in flight. No comment on how much the airline may charge you if you take a dump on the seat. Meanwhile, the asshats at Spirit Air are planning on charging passengers for carry-on luggage (via Reuters). Yes, you read that right. Bad enough you have to pay for bringing luggage that you check in, but now you have to pay for your carry-on bag. While I understand that some people bring way too much stuff in an aircraft's cabin, it does not follow you have to start charging for the carry-ons to make up for your poor financial performance. I am starting to wonder how much it might be to pack yourself in a big crate and have UPS or FedEx deliver you to your destination. Their record of getting things from point A to point B is certainly competitive in comparison to commercial airlines for one.
  • America's first (legal) male prostitute is out of work (via SF Gate). You know that the economy really is in the crapper when prostitutes go out of business due to lack of clients. Yes, I will grant that male prostitution has different mechanics that female prostitution, given that male prostitutes more often than not actually serve men, but still the story is interesting nonetheless.
  • On a more serious note, it seems that liberal arts programs are taking a very big hit (via Newsweek) in colleges and universities. Let's be honest. This is basically a matter of people wanting more value for their money and wishing to be able to get a job when they get out of college. I agree with this part of the article where it says that "among liberal-arts proponents, the concern is that students who specialize in specific careers will lack critical thinking skills and the ability to write, analyze, and synthesize information." On the other hand, I hate to say this, but how much of those skills do you need to do a lot of menial work? That is certainly what the critics on the other side will ask. What college teaches you through the liberal arts, besides giving you a good well rounded education essential to a well educated citizenry, is the ability to learn and continue learning. It is a sad day when society feels it must jettison the liberal arts because it just wants to teach job skills as in "the basics to get a job."
  • From Time magazine, it seems personal bankruptcy numbers keep going up. Of course, those poor folks who have to make the decision to declare bankruptcy may face harder restrictions thanks to the thoughtless and heartless members of Congress who gave their banking buddies a gift when they placed further restrictions on bankruptcies without regard to the people they actually affected.
  • Hell, things are so bad, even Spider-Man, or rather his alter ego Peter Parker, is getting laid off. You know things have to be bad when even comic book characters are out of work.

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