Speaking of getting an interview, I’ve got a couple lined up

It’s been a hectic day. Partly spent on getting some routine content into the Daily Kos queue by a deadline, done. Another chunk of time dedicated to seeing about a guest post on Slate Magazine. In the works, we’ll see. And the best part spent scheduling two interviews, both for interesting jobs. The first one is an office manager for progressive organization, working with progressive clients, building my own team to do the same, that kind of thing. It doesn’t pay great. So, if I’m not going to make much, my thought is the work should be rewarding, beneficial to the community, and teach me some new, useful skills.

This one does all those things, plus I get to be the head guy, but the pay is really … challenging. So challenging that I can’t say for sure if it would even be feasible. For one thing it’s in downtown Austin not far from 6th Streets, which would mean monthly parking expenses to the tune of a couple hundred bucks and either moving to a more expensive and closer place or commuting every day down a road called 183 and the city’s main thoroughfare called MOPAC, during rush hour. I’ll have to hold out for the maximum possible pay if they do end up liking me.

The other interview is a customer service tech-support job for a company that provides real-time services to other business, it requires higher end skills, solid knowledge of navigating the Internet on hand-held wireless devices and trouble-shooting same for clients. The pay and benefits package is not bad, around 45k with bonuses and taking into account that they pay 100% of the health insurance premiums. Sad to say, if offered me both I’d simply have to seriously weigh taking the higher paying job even though the advocacy position greatly intrigues me.

Two myths about “older” workers we need to dispell

In reading about the trials and tribulations of “older” job seekers, and as I go through the dismal soul-crushing process myself, one comes across several assumptions said to be commonly made by our younger counterparts. Mostly to explain why those with experience are at a disadvantage when competing with the unproven. The first is that experienced applicants need worry about being overqualified, the second and related that they are perceived as less flexible, unable to adapt to always changing technology in the workplace. Below I’ll take a crack at debunking those myths, feel free to send any relevant snippets of my aged wisdom to your nearest HR and hiring departments. [Read more…]

Bill Nye vs a canned Ham: 22 answers to 22 creationist questions

That’s not a debate. A debate has scoring, just like a ball-game, which determines a winner and loser. But in honor of the Nye vs. canned Ham discussion, Phil put up a really fun post over at Bad Astronomy responding to 22 bullshit gotchya questions sometimes posed by bullshit artists also known as creationists. It’s worth a read, I’ll just go ahead and swipe his questions and provide my own answers below. Let the games begin! [Read more…]

Former Senator teams up with anti-vax quack to fleece loyal supporters

It has been said that every great cause starts out as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually turns into a racket. See exhibit A: the right-wing infotainment complex. That transformation took decades to complete. But former Massachusetts Senator Scot Brown (R-sociopath) may have set a new land-speed record by renting his email list out to a quack MD in exchange for a piece of the action: [Read more…]

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 more…]

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 more…]

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 more…]

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 more…]