Feb 04 2014

Beware the fake job listing

Some readers clued me into the fake job posting process, after a little research I wrote the following rough draft. It will eventually go up on DKos in some more refined form, but I thought I’d vomit it up here as is to test the new plug in that was just installed and for reader comments and pointers. The thing I value love about this site is the traffic is fairly low, meaning I can actually have fun, and the traffic is of superb quality. It’s like having a team of editors and critics that talk me off the ledge and keep me from posting stupid shit on larger venues. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 03 2014

Oy vey, this job hunting is depressing

I remember now what it was that knocked the stuffing out of me last year and the year before and the year before that, trying to find a job. I’m getting absolutely nowhere. Scratch-off lottery tickets have proven a more productive use of my time and limited resources over the last four weeks. Texas Workforce Commission. i.e., unemployment, requires the unemployed to keep a log of how many apps we’ve submitted, I’ve put in just shy of 50 now in less than a month of logging. That’s almost 50 job applications for stuff I’m eminently qualified for. These jobs are not a reach, the highest paying one was $20/hr, most are more like 15 bucks, a few paid barely over minimum wage. Seriously, these firms would be lucky to get someone like me for that price. But here’s how it actually goes down. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 03 2014

Philip Hoffman, RIP

Like so many people I’m saddened by the loss of actor Philip Hoffman who succumbed to an apparent drug overdose this weekend. It’s SOP to sing the praises of anyone after they’re gone, but in this case some singing is warranted. Watching some of the clips of Hoffman in various films last night and today, I was struck by two observations: in several cases, his transformation into the role was so complete, the original editor of Creem magazine in Almost Famous (Who incidentally, did die of a drug overdose) or the trust fund kid in The Talented Mr. Ripley, that I didn’t even know it was him playing the part until now. Second, in those roles and others, his performance was so superb, even as a relatively minor supporting actor, that I remembered them, he drew me in with an authenticity that just popped right out of the screen.

That being said, I have to ponder and wonder, had a Latino ball-player or black musician of equivalent talent been found dead in a luxury apartment, surrounded by half empty packets of smack and pill bottles, with an emptied syringe sticking out of their stiff, cold arm for chrissake, would media be so kind? Because I suspect there would be significant elements in the news and general communities who would shrug it off as “uppity fucking nigger got what was coming to them.” Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 01 2014

Obscure NASA requirement in play as Trojan Horse for rightwing power grab


Some things are harder to kill than others. A simplistic myth abounds among the usual suspects, that the simple act of killing a government program ends it, cuts spending and thus the deficit. Like so many beliefs, this one is far from accurate. The government can terminate a contract for two reasons: the exceedingly rare case of breach of contract that can be proven in court, or convenience, when Congress or other officials pull the plug. Lately that’s usually for fiscal-hawk reasons. But when a big government contract is chugging along, there are costs associated with shutting it down rarely taken into account by those poor souls suffering from late stage Deficit Obsession Syndrome. Bills already owed, fixed costs that cannot always be easily unwound, sometimes layoffs and severance benefits ahead. So, in many cases, the government requires a pile of money to be set aside to cover what’s generally referred to as termination liability.

There are lots of ways to do this. The money can be folded into the cost or bid by a contractor, it can be set aside by the government or the company itself, or a combo of both in some cases, it might be waived in special situations. It should come as no surprise that that kind of ambiguity is fertile ground for lawmakers to meddle around in, as they muscle for advantage over one another in the endless, exhausting battle for taxpayer dollars flowing to their districts. It can affect any program theoretically. Right now it’s affecting one agency in my blogging bailiwick of science and science policy: Specifically, NASA.

Follow me below through a few of the dark twists and turns of government-contractor termination protocol and a hidden right-wing power grab that could affect every program in the US. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 31 2014

The Atlanta blame game

An amazingly universal phenomenon strikes politicians of all stripes whenever they are caught flat-footed and unprepared by a storm. See, they couldn’t prevent the storm, so why is the public all bitchy about it? An equally plausible explanation for what happened in Georgia this week is a raging case of right-wing Deficit Obsession Syndrome; the irrational fear that government may have to spend taxpayer money to protect and serve taxpayers. Time to scapegoat gubmint weather scientists! Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 31 2014

Getting a job is a job in itself

Activity here has been light because I’m taking getting a job that pays a living wage seriously. Job postings have improved a little bit since the last time I went through this process with the same determination, over a year ago. The kind of jobs I’m applying for are by no means a stretch. My requirements, for now, are it should pay a bare minimum living wage, for me that works out to $15 to $20 an hour. That it be close enough that it’s feasible to get there on time even during rush hour. That’s about it. A few details below. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 29 2014

Snowstorm in Dixie strands thousands

A rare snowstorm deep in the heart of Dixieland has stranded thousand of motorist on icy roads overnight and children in schools. More than a few people are pissed off that local resources weren’t tasked earlier and that business and schools did not call a snow day to limit the chaos. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 28 2014

You think it’s cold?


Here in Central Texas, we’re suffering under the Killer Glaze of ’14. A light glaze that struck right before morning rush hour and has the city so locked up officials are now advising no one goes on the road if they don’t have to. Elsewhere in the nation there’s real cold. Subzero in some parts of the Midwest and upper Northeast. But oddly enough, up in Alaska, they’re having a heat wave of sorts and it’s serious: Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 27 2014

The American dream by region


This image was going around a few weeks ago showing upward mobility by region. Notice how Yuppiehood is greatly diminished in conservative regions. Again, I’m not that partisan, it’s just that current GOP policies do not work: Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 24 2014

Republicans wade into dangerous waters, again

I’ve been applying for a new job like mad and have been on two promising interviews this week. One for a web publishing position that would fit me like a glove and actually pays a living wage. But today in Texas it is icy and cold, so lets us blog and surf the day away.

There’s much apologizing and spinning over the comments of Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-NM) memoir, “Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!” Huckabee might have been trying to paint progressives as anti-women but he went way off the rails. Pearce channeled his inner cleric and wrote in his book that women should “submit to their husbands,” and that’s not going over real well, either. I’ve placed the Huckabee┬ávideo below to avoid auto play issues: Read the rest of this entry »

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