white-collar-automation

Lyft, Uber: the shame of lesser work (and get ready for the automation of white collar jobs)

white-collar-automation

Automation is getting worse for workers, and the emotional strain is already evident.

I’ve noticed something. When I take a Lyft (I never take Uber, although I imagine the same is true for them), I’m rarely in the car more than a minute before the driver subtly makes it known that he/she has a real job (ie, white collar – today it was a real estate guy) and just does the rideshare thing on the side.

It doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it probably does happen 90% of the time. Continue reading “Lyft, Uber: the shame of lesser work (and get ready for the automation of white collar jobs)”

Happy 4th of July: what does “freedom” mean to you?

America is a great idea, but it’s hard to love these days.

At some point tonight millions and millions of us will find ourselves sitting in a stadium or a park or maybe on a city rooftop or a grassy hill in the country, staring at the sky, celebrating our country’s anniversary by watching the annual fireworks show. I won’t lie – I love fireworks. They’re spectacular to watch, but beyond that I’m fascinated by how they work. How do you get one to look like a flower? How do you get multiple colors in one burst? I assume I could learn these things if I spent the time, but regardless, it’s a pretty cool exercise in artistry.

But I don’t love everything about fireworks shows. If you’re at an official civic event you’ll certainly get to hear Lee Greenwood belting out his famous “God Bless the USA.” This is a massively famous and popular song, having reached #7 on the Billboard Country charts. It’s sold over a million copies and there’s no telling how much it has earned Greenwood in royalties.

It’s also perhaps the greatest lie ever set to music. Bear with me.

America is a wonderful idea. Continue reading “Happy 4th of July: what does “freedom” mean to you?”

HB2 cost NC a lot more than $3.76B

The AP says the “bathroom bill” cost North Carolina $3.76 billion. The real damage is likely much, much higher.

The AP yesterday released an analysis indicating that reaction to North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 – the “bathroom bill” – cost the state a staggering $3.76 billion in lost business, projected over 12 years. That’s a remarkable hit to economy, but as I read the full details of how the AP arrived at that number, I can’t help wondering just how badly they underestimated the true damage that former governor “One Term” Pat McCrory and the rest of the jackals in the state GOP caused NC.

Have a look at the WaPo article linked above, then consider: Continue reading “HB2 cost NC a lot more than $3.76B”

Dear Liberals: you don't vote in your economic best interests, either

trump-votersBottom line: almost ALL Americans vote against their best interests.

For years progressives have been hammering conservatives – specifically social conservatives – who “vote against their own interests.” As in, poor working people who vote for the wealthy GOP interests that are the reason they’re poor, and whose policies insure they will remain that way. I have certainly been among this crowd – I remember wondering back in the 1992 election what the fuck could be wrong with Arkansas Bush I voters, for instance. They concluded that Dubya’s Daddy was the sort of guy “they’d like to have a beer with.” Somehow a Northeastern blueblood Skull & Boneser who’d been born with a silver spoon up his ass was more “one of them” than, you know, the guy who was actually born in the trailer park down the road.

It was irrational, it was self-defeating, and it was stupid beyond all imagining. Continue reading “Dear Liberals: you don't vote in your economic best interests, either”

What does Brexit mean for the Premier League?

By threatening club finances and limiting player movement, Brexit may inflict serious damage on the world’s best league…

brexit-premier-leagueOn the sports side of things, we have this headline this morning:

Premier League refuses to speculate on effects of UK’s ‘Brexit’ from EU

The world’s most prestigious football league might be unwilling to speculate, but I’m not. England’s vote to leave the European Union has many uncertain about what it means for the Prem, but nobody sees it as a good thing. Lots of uncertainty. Lots of breath-holding. And for some, probably a good bit of prayer.

From where I sit, Brexit looks to be an unmitigated disaster for the Premier League. Continue reading “What does Brexit mean for the Premier League?”

Clinton's agenda for first 100 days is underwhelming. And predictable. And paid for by the usual suspects.

On infrastructure and immigration, half measures and vested interests dominate Hillary’s planning. Duh.

There’s news about what would-be President Hillary Clinton has planned for her first 100 days in office. Pending details, there are things to be cautiously optimistic about.

A Clinton aide indicated today that within her first 100 days in office, the likely Democratic nominee would send Congress a bill to spend more federal money on infrastructure. The price tag for that bill isn’t clear yet, but the aide suggested it will be higher than the $275 billion proposal Clinton has already put forth. Continue reading “Clinton's agenda for first 100 days is underwhelming. And predictable. And paid for by the usual suspects.”

Dear Human Resources: four ways employers can help America’s job hunters (and themselves)

“Hiring managers” say only apply for jobs you’re qualified for. Fine. Now, here are some things HR needs to do in return.

Only-Post-JobsI subscribe to a number of industry mailing lists and content services as part of my work, and periodically they’ll publish stories aimed at helping job seekers – how to find opportunities, how to network, résumé tips, that sort of thing. Recently one of them posted an article where they elicited advice for job hunters from “hiring managers.” (Actually, these folks weren’t hiring managers at all – they were HR staffing managers, who have nothing to do with the hiring decision. But they’re the gatekeepers, so their opinions matter. )

The key bit of insight in this one particular piece was fairly straightforward: only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for. Continue reading “Dear Human Resources: four ways employers can help America’s job hunters (and themselves)”

Walmart “Working Man” ad: Rush sold out their fans. Big time. #WTF

Rush’s decision to license “Working Man” to a company that has declared war on American workers is one of the biggest betrayals of trust in Rock history.

Rush Sold OutYesterday I offered up a brief post wondering what the folks at Walmart were thinking when they chose to use Rush’s iconic “Working Man” as the soundtrack for their ad on investing more money in American manufacturers. Rush, in case you don’t know them, is Canadian, and that struck me as a tad … ironic. Maybe for a follow-up they can do something with Alanis Morissette. Or a Chinese band, if they want to be especially heavy-handed.

Today it’s time to ask WTF Rush was thinking when it decided to sell out to one of the most egregiously anti-working man corporations on the planet.

First off, let’s get some perspective on the claim. The ad says that in the next 10 years they’re “pledging $250 billion to products purchased from American factories.” That’s a lot of money. However, this is a company with 2013 revenues of nearly $470 billion, so the ad shouldn’t be construed as a commitment to go all-in on the American worker. Continue reading “Walmart “Working Man” ad: Rush sold out their fans. Big time. #WTF”

Socialist Test

Are you a socialist? Take the test….

A 2011 study yields surprising results.

The word “socialist” was, for all intents and purposes, dead and buried after the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it has enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity since, oh, 2008 or so. The thing is, since we hadn’t had any real socialistm for awhile, our understanding of what the term means has gotten a little fuzzy.

So the question is, how socialist are you really? Maybe none at all, maybe a whole lot, and maybe somewhere in the middle. Let’s find out. Continue reading “Are you a socialist? Take the test….”

Goodbye 2013. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

2013The economic recovery hasn’t reached my house yet.

I called 2010 the worst year ever. Then I elaborated a little. Sometimes I look back and wonder how the hell I survived that hateful, soul-destroying twelve months. Other times I look back and I’m not sure I actually did. Pieces of me died in 2010 and I carry the emptiness around with me like the ghost pain of a severed limb.

It wasn’t just me, either. 2010 did all it could to destroy a lot of wonderful people, many of them close to me. Continue reading “Goodbye 2013. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.”

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Black Thursday

Thanksgiving is now Black Thursday and Black Friday is upon us: what should America not be thankful for?

The nation gives thanks … for what?

I was never a William Burroughs fan, but I nonetheless find myself thinking about his 1986 “Thanksgiving Prayer,” surely one of the most caustic (and insightful) takes on our great American holiday. I’m in this sort of mood for a reason. Or two, or three.

First off, you may have noticed all the static around the news that more and more businesses will be open today, getting a jump on tomorrow’s appalling orgy of consumerism, Black Friday. That term originated in the early 1960s, apparently, with bus drivers and the police, who used it to describe the mayhem surrounding the biggest shopping day of the year. Continue reading “Thanksgiving is now Black Thursday and Black Friday is upon us: what should America not be thankful for?”

Predicting North Carolina’s future: if GOP wins again in 2014, expect a severe case of brain drain

Via our boy Dr. Jim Booth: BuzzFeed last week presented “11 Things The North Carolina Legislature Gave Us This Session.” The list isn’t pretty. It includes: Moral Mondays Harsh abortion restrictions hidden in a motorcycle bill The most restrictive Voter … Continue reading Predicting North Carolina’s future: if GOP wins again in 2014, expect a severe case of brain drain

Art Pope and Pat McCrory leading North Carolina into the 19th century

Back in 2008 North Carolina – the state in which I was born, raised, and lived 32 years of my life – absolutely shocked me by voting for Barack Obama over John “The Maverick” McCain. Obama is hardly any kind of messiah figure, of course. But in symbolic terms, this was huge – North Carolina cast its electoral strength behind a black man. For a second there I had a flicker of hope. So much for that. Ever since, the Old North State has apparently felt some kind of divine calling to make up for that momentary lapse of reason and … Continue reading Art Pope and Pat McCrory leading North Carolina into the 19th century