Friday, April 20, 2018

Signs the economy is bad: April 20, 2018 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.

It is another Friday, and yes, the economy is still bad. So let's get on with it and have a look.

  • Let's start with Christian rackets. When it comes to making money off gullible people, Christian leaders certainly have a big market on that. My father often joked he wanted to go off, set up a "revival" tent, start preaching, and let the money come in. It was a joke, but  I am starting to think that if I  had less ethics and decency, that might be a good idea. Anyhow, let's look at those who did go into the racket. 
    •  Jerry Falwell's Liberty University is a well known Christian racket and supplier for the Party of Stupid bureaucratic machine in D.C. as well as for conservative think tanks. What many may not realize is that it also has a big money generating operation from its online and distance learning. We are talking billions of dollars, praise Jeebus. Story via AlterNet
    • Life can be tough in the bad economy. You have a private jet you need to make payments on, your law firm is not generating as much income as you expected, and you got a bunch of family members you need take care of with nepotist jobs. What do you do? If you are a Christian, you get poor and jobless people to give what little they have left to your nonprofit Christian organization, and your money woes are solved. Story via The Guardian. With a hat tip to Juanita Jean's. Again, praise the lordy lord. 
    • By the way, Catholics, who are also Christian, have their rackets as well. One way to make sure you are OK The Man Upstairs is to bring a little tribute to His representative on Earth, and what better offering that some good old Kentucky bourbon. And by the way, this is the Pope we are talking here, so some piddly old bourbon like Maker's Mark or Four Roses will not do. You gotta bring  him the good stuff, like a fine bottle of the mythical Pappy's. Story via Lexington Herald Leader. Because nothing reinforces that new image Papa Francisco is trying to cultivate of being the cool, humble pope than bringing him as gift a bottle of the most rare, expensive, people will camp for days and cut you if you dare cut them in line for a chance to buy a ticket for a raffle of one bottle  bourbon. 
  • Next, let's see how the bad economy is screwing women over. As if the bad economy is not bad  enough for all of us who work for a living, women often get the really short end of the stick, if there is even a stick. 
    • When it comes to child care and maternity leave, the U.S. is stingier than the rest of the world. Story via The Conversation. Given the selfish and often misogynist culture of the United States, that is not surprising.
    • And if you are a single mother, things are not much better for you. For many, the 2008 recession is finally becoming a memory. But for single moms, the effects still remain strong. Story via The Conversation
  • In food and spirits, 
    •  College students continue to suffer in the bad economy. News reports that food pantries to help out hungry students are proliferating. Story via Lexington Herald Leader
    • Restauranteurs pretty much confirmed what many of us knew: they are fine paying slave wages to their workers. In a recent poll, that they themselves commissioned, a poll done by a Party of Stupid pollster (i.e. it could not get more biased against supporting minimum wage if you tried), it was revealed that "a nation that stands in solidarity with low-waged workers, with 71% of Americans supporting raising the minimum wage to at least $10, even if they have to pay higher prices as a result." Yes, unlike those owner assholes, many Americans are decent people who want the people who prepare and serve their food to be paid a decent wage. Story via Boing Boing
    • Wasting food is something that irks me. I think part of it is because I grew up with a mom who insisted on eating what was on my plate and gave me lectures about how lucky I was not to be a starving kid in Ethiopia (or insert your poor Third World country here). So this day seeing food waste bothers me. So this story concerns me. A new study looks at the stunning amounts of food people waste regularly. To make it worse, the ones doing the most egregious wasting of food are actually the healthy eating nuts. Story via Mother Jones. On a side note, every so often I go eat at the campus dining service, and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of food students waste, often including untouched food and fruit. Yes, some take an apple or a banana, leave it untouched and leave it to the waste. If I could find who does that, I'd smack them right over the head. 
    • This is more just a bit of trivia and a story that I found interesting. It is about Chinese winemakers. Story via The Conversation.
  • In other news. 
    •  Odds are good many people out there love Amazon, the online shopping, and their whole get it via Prime quick thing. Odds are also good you do not give a single thought to how exploitative Amazon can be. Here is this week's Amazon fuckery story, and it comes from the United Kingdom. Over across the pond, things are so bad for Amazon warehouse workers that they are often denied bathroom breaks, forcing them to pee in bottles so they can make their quotas. Story via Telesur. And you thought those Brits were such nice people. 
    • Because the Pendejo In Chief is pretty much King Midas in reverse, i.e. anything he touches turns to shit, his tariffs are a problem for a lot of people in a lot of places. The latest possible target? Your local newspaper. Story via The Lexington Herald Leader
    • Meanwhile, in Detroit, thousands of poor people are about to get their water cut off. Story via Mother Jones. It is not just about poor people losing water. It may well be also about the usual: racism and gentrification. 
    • In Haiti, charcoal made out of wood is a big business. Problem is it is a shady not quite legal affair that is helping make climate change worse, but how do you stop it given all the money it generates for those involved? Story via Latino Rebels
    • The news recently have been filled with stories of stores going out of business and having liquidation sales. For the most part, liquidation sales are not worth the paper their ads are printed on, but if you choose to take a gander to see if you can find anything, here are some tips and things to consider. Story via The OASG.  
  • And in stories of "it could not happen to  a nicer  person." 
    •  The bump stock manufacturer, the remaining one since they are the ones with  the patent and sued their rival into oblivion, is closing down. Story via NPR. Aww, poor guys. All they were doing is creating tech to get around laws that regulate things like machine guns so gun fetishists could make their semiautomatics fire almost as good as a machine gun. For those of you who may not know what a bump stock is, "bump stocks are modification devices used to accelerate a gun's shooting rate so it fires like an automatic weapon — almost as fast as machine guns, which are largely outlawed." Amazing what a little bad publicity in light of a spate of mass shootings can do. (And if you are one of those fetishists who wants to argue from "hey, you got the (minor) specs off or some other technical detail, so what do you know?" you can go fuck right off. We all know what we are talking about, and no amount of nerdy minutiae rhetoric on your part is going to hide it.)  
    • Meanwhile, working for the Pendejo In Chief and his administration in  any capacity is proving the kiss of death for those folks. No one wants to hire anyone who has worked in the White House for the Pendejo In Chief. Again, could not happen to a bunch of nicer people. Story via VICE. They can go live in a van under the bridge for all I care. Destitution is the least they deserve. 
  • And finally for this week, let's see how the uber rich are doing. 
    • Apparently Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and owner who has recently been in hot water over his business practices, has had to pay more for his security detail. Story via Boing Boing. I wonder why.

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