Friday, October 27, 2017

Signs the economy is bad: October 27, 2017 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.

There is a lot going on since the last post in this series, so let's get on with it.

  • One of  the big news has to be the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico (a.k.a. the U.S. colony). Latest is that the contract to fix their power grid was awarded to some small unknown and barely qualified company for the only reason they were Pendejo In Chief donors. The story as of this post is still developing as there are calls for audits, investigations, the company threatened to leave the island hanging via a Twitter hissy fit they later had to apologize for, so on. We will see where this goes. Stories via Telesur and BBC. 
  • Speaking of Puerto Rico, it is pretty much a fact that folks  in the US discount Puerto Rico regularly, largely due to the usual US racism. However, part of the reason US folks in mainland US are so ignorant about the US colony is because the government literally DOES NOT count all sorts of important statistics about Puerto Rico that it regularly counts for US states and even other territories (yes, those are colonies too, by the way). Story via The Conversation.
  • Amazon has been up to some fuckery recently: 
    • Filing this under, "what could go wrong," Amazon is proposing a new "key" program where their delivery people can let themselves into your house to leave a package inside when you are not there. Story via The Christian Science Monitor. Because that is what I want: some stranger roaming in my house when I am not there. Their excuse is this addresses package theft when they leave the package if you are not there. Here is fucking radical idea, hearkening back to the days the USPS used to do this: leave a note instead saying when you will come back to attempt delivery  and phone number (or website now I guess) to schedule a delivery when are freaking there, or for you to drag your lazy ass to the post office or delivery office to get it. See, back in the day, I never had a package stolen ever because I knew from the notes when the package was coming and to expect it, or I just went and got it myself. I know, radical, huh? 
    • And speaking of delivery, now that Amazon bought out Whole Foods, one of their plans for "Whole Paycheck" is to use is as a delivery hub. However, mall tenants with  Whole Foods in  them are using fine print non-compete clauses to keep this idea out. It may get  hairy, folks. Story via Reuters.
  •  In the United Kingdom, "one in six families arranging a funeral unable to pay." Story via New Statesman. I get the feeling this is not a UK exclusive situation. This is why, joking aside, I want any funeral arrangements for me to be as cheap as possible. 
  • Minorities and poor people are hurt hard by hospital closures in rural areas. Story via The Daily Yonder
  • In fuckery, McDonald's in Pennsylvania had to settle a lawsuit by workers who got paid with one of those rip-off debit cards full of fees. Story via Lexington Herald Leader. By the way, a lot of fast food companies here in Kentucky do that same fuckery, but this state is more lax in allowing labor exploitation apparently. 
  • In more fuckery, lobbyists from the canned and frozen foods industry are trying to lessen or remove fresh fruit and vegetables from school meals for their stuff. Because creating healthy eating habits for kids does not make them money. These are the same crowd who would claim ketchup is a vegetable. Story via The Rural Blog.
  • Want more fuckery? The United States still has a form of slavery in inmate labor. Maybe it is time to end  it. Story via Truthout.
  • More bad news about crumbling infrastructure in the United States, where the priority is to worry about foreign interventionist wars, giving tax  breaks to millionaires, and bringing back Jim Crow plus working towards a theocratic Christian nation. Meanwhile, Oroville Dam is crumbling, and it would cost about $500 million to repair it, and that is only one example of the many major dams and structures needing repair. Story via The Rural Blog
  • Banks are commonly not held accountable for their accounting mistakes, vicious overcharging of fees they later deny, and other shenanigans. Read about the guy who spent a decade fighting banks for a $482 fee the bank denied they charged despite proof being there that they did. It's plain fuckery. Story via VICE
  • On another bit of fuckery (there is a lot of it this week), did you know that half of all Mexicans paid a bribe in the previous 12 months? Read the story via Big Think.  
  • Here is an interesting piece, a defense of cash  and bringing back big bill denominations like the $500 bill. Now, I am of the theory that given all the hacks and other financial fuckery we will eventually slide back to a cash and barter economy. However, big denominations will not help. No one these days takes any bills higher than $20 other than Walmart, a few other big boxes, and banks. Feel free to comment with your thoughts. Story via The Conversation.
  • Once more, the bullshit of the hordes of librarians retiring and leaving jobs open for new librarians is making the rounds. I put up with  that nonsense when  I went to library school more than a decade ago, and library schools are still peddling that bullshit scam. The Association of Research Libraries  has a new report out warning of the impending doom of retiring librarians (insert laugh track here from librarians who know what is really going on). At this point, even the Annoyed  Librarian took a shot at mocking this  nonsense. Stories via Inside Higher Ed and Annoyed Librarian.
The news are not all bad. The uber rich have a couple of  good news this week:

  • The good movies will soon be available in movie theaters only for the rich who can pay if Regal Cinemas gets their way. They are testing a new popularity of films pricing scale. That means you pay more for the "good" movies, and you probably pay the regular inflated already price for the shitty flops. Or you can  do what reasonable people who are not impatient do anyhow which  is just wait for it to come out on Netflix and avoid the movie theater altogether. Story via The Week.
  • And finally for this week, if you need a home, and you got $410 million to spend on it, the most expensive house in the world could be yours. Story via USA Today.

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