More cheery stories of the economic “‘recovery’”

April 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm (Icepick)

For many Americans, ‘temp’ work becomes permanent way of life

Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged

Cheery stories, both, five years into the “‘recovery’”.

Every other story right now is a side-show to the big news, which is that the American economy is being hollowed out like a melon rind, and our elites just don’t care enough to even address the issue. I’d tell you to remember that come the fall election season, but that just doesn’t matter anymore either.

NOTE: I’m now using three marks for the opening and closing of the scare quotation marks around the word RECOVERY because two just don’t seem like enough.

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UPDATE on a Theban Tragedy

April 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm (Icepick)

Several months after I was PROMISED, one more time, that everything had been fixed, things aren’t fixed. I cannot believe … My frustration levels are really climbing. I have been trying to get this fixed for YEARS. YEARS! And they will not fix it.

I am starting to think of hiring an attorney to sue their goddamned dumb, evil asses for emotional distress. John Morgan is here in town, and he’s as scary a lawyer as you can find in the country. Yeah, maybe that’s what I need to do….

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Not so fast with the optimism, buddy!

April 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm (Icepick) (, )

CAVEAT: I try to avoid political posts here at Ambiance. But today, as yesterday, there is some economic news worthy of note.

The new jobs report was released today. I have heard a few people make some optimistic noises about the fact that private sector jobs have matched the 2008 peak in terms of numbers. (See here, for example, though they do have the decency to caveat the hell out of the article.)

What I’m not hearing, and don’t expect to hear from the Administration, is a comment about full-time jobs. As of March 1 2014, the US economy had 3,872,000 FEWER full-time jobs than it did at its peak in November 2007. And that’s after almost five years of recovery.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?g=vV4

And given that the working age population has grown considerably in the intervening years, the employment situation is actually even worse than it appears.

So don’t let the bastards tell you how goddamned good we’ve got it, and what a wonderful job they’ve done. Because it just ain’t so.

(Sorry, I’ve been trying to get the graph to embed, but wordpress isn’t accepting the FRED site’s code. I’ll see what I can do to fix it later.)

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That whooshing sound you hear …

April 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm (Icepick)

… is the air being let out of the middle class. More and more people that DO have jobs are getting priced right out of the housing market.

People with money to burn, both domestic and foreign, are buying up all the property, leaving the middle class with nowhere to go. Make no mistake, our rulers on Wall Street and in DC are doing this deliberately, with an eye towards making certain that only Lords and Serfs remain.

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Lennox Lewis with the Tweet of the Day

March 29, 2014 at 7:05 am (Icepick)

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Parental Observation #7

March 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm (Icepick) ()

Things were tougher when we were kids. And get off Donna’s lawn!

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Parental Obeservation #6

March 27, 2014 at 9:53 am (Icepick) ()

Education is confusing, because things aren’t what they used to be. For example, when I was a child we had four oceans and nine planets. Since then we’ve gained an ocean and lost a planet. Not to mention that whole mess with dinosaurs not really being extinct anymore, and the confusion with what to call a brontosaurus.

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Deep Thoughts on Crimean Crisis

March 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm (Icepick)

From Twitter no less! And certainly no more.

(Outis is my Twitter handle.)

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The Two Poles of Being Jewish

March 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm (By Amba)

Cosmopolitan universalism (often to the point of no longer regarding oneself as Jewish) and clannish separatism are the extremes. In between is a spectrum of compromises, degrees of more or less permeable participation in the polyglot world while still holding oneself to be Jewish. (It goes without saying that other people who care about such things will regard you as Jewish regardless of how you slice it, as many patriotic, Goethe-revering Germans realized too late. I am grateful to be living in the rare time and place where I can say, “That’s their problem.” I don’t take it for granted. But neither am I persuaded to say “Got the name, might as well have the game.”)

I was the cosmopolitan universalist who no longer identified as Jewish until, as I wrote on Ambivablog, I discovered that . . . nothing could be more Jewish! (Here’s the full George Steiner piece that brought that home. The link to it in the blog post leads to a paywall. And here’s the Hillel Halkin article I quote in the update.) It’s a Moebius strip; there’s no getting off it. OK.

Now, in a Sunday New York Times article about Lab/Shul, a “god-optional” mobile community/performance/ritual thingie comparable to an “emergent church,” its originator, a 44-year-old, gay rabbinical student named Amichai Lau-Lavie, again states the two poles succinctly. Here’s the one I identify with:

What matured in me is the sense that Judaism, like all religion, is not the bottom line . . . That it is a tool in our toolbox for human well-being and being helpful beings, and that there is a difference between many people who really view Judaism or religion as the end goal: In other words, keep the Sabbath or marry a Jew so the Jewish story continues. That’s of course how I grew up. I realized that that’s missing the point.

I’m not flying Delta because I’m interested in Delta. I’m flying Delta because it’s convenient or I got the miles on it. The idea is to get somewhere. I’m practicing Judaism because that’s my airline, because I was born into it and I think it’s got a deeply profound, ancient and relevant toolbox for a good life, but the end goal is a good life, not to be Jewish. To be human. To be there for myself and others. And that’s a totally different proposition.

(Except that Judaism isn’t even my airline. It’s the one I flew in on, but I fly on a variety of carriers nowadays . . . and sometimes I just flap my arms.) And here’s Lau-Lavie’s (admittedly biased and condescending) take on the other pole:

The pews are filling with people who just want some structure . . . ‘Just tell me what to do. Give me order in the chaos.’ In an age in which we have more and more privileges and choices, the allure of a system that tells you what to do and what not to do, and what to wear and what to eat, and the consequences and limits of your choices, for some mental types, is essential. I get it. It’s a suspension of disbelief in its deepest sense. I’m judgmental of it and I have a lot of respect for it.

We have both poles in my extended family, and a lot of the spectrum in between. We even all get along.

C’est Lavie!

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Some Anti-Oscar for you…

March 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm (By Ron)

 

Thanks Jerry.

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