Required reading while I’m on vacay

14 Aug 2015 06:04 am
Posted by: Donna


Mark and I are headed off to Sedona until Wednesday but I wanted to leave a post before we left. Read these things!

First, read Rebecca Schoenkopf’s tribute to Jimmy Carter, which is the best.

Jimmy Carter has liver cancer. Jimmy Carter is 90 years old. Jimmy Carter is one of the great Americans, if you count a globetrotting sense of adventure coupled with near-constant service to his nation and our earth. And he is fer fucking sure the greatest ex-president alive today.

Let me add my own pecunious reason for loving President Carter for all time. He was elected when I was eight years old and left office when I was twelve. This is a very important time in a child’s life in terms in intellectual development, since it’s after the lizard brain stuff and before it all goes to shit when puberty sets in. What I remember most about Jimmy Carter’s administration was his emphasis on energy efficiency. The indelible affect it left upon me was how you should set the thermostat. No higher than 65 degrees in the winter and no lower than 78 in the summer. In adulthood I have followed this rule as if it were a Biblical precept. Jimmy Carter has probably saved me thousands of dollars, for real. Stay strong, Jimmy!

Next, read Blake Morlock of Tucson Sentinel on the bus strike in that city.

One of the least discussed aspects of the 1 percent versus 99 percent paradigm is how the 99 percent need to at least try to bargain up their wage based on the value they create for an employer.

Workers who take the first salary offer as the last salary offer need to learn how to bargain better. My empirical experience in Tucson is that workers negotiate salaries by first thanking employers for giving them a job and then agreeing to punch themselves daily as a show of unworthiness for the gift they have been given.

No, Virginia, jobs don’t come from Santa Claus. No one “gives you one.” You are hired to do work that needs being done to add value to a company. Workers get a cut of that percentage. How much is often up to the worker being a dick about it.

So, the problem is not bus drivers wanting to make more money. Instead in the United States, and especially Tucson, it is workers not valuing their contribution enough to demand more money.

Maybe, just maybe, if we all wake up in a world tomorrow where bus drivers earn a better living than half of the other workers in town, everyone else will start demanding their value. Remember, a wage is a negotiation. You are worth what someone is willing to pay. If you are thankful for the job and think your labor is a dime an hour, you aren’t likely pushing. In other words: why should Sun Tran workers suffer because no one else in town knows how to bargain?

It’s called savvy bargaining when a comfortable and well-fed businessman does it but when a lowly worker does it’s somehow offensive? GMAFB. And hell, who among us with our “higher” skills would be able to drive a city bus if that job were suddenly thrust upon us? That has looked difficult to me since I started taking buses as a kid (between age eight and twelve, and I knew it at the time).

Finally, and because (for my arbitrary purposes) it seems to tie the aforementioned topics together, behold the wisdom of this neo-conservative from the Chicago Tribune:

Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.

That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.

Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.

The whole thing is basically a neo-conservative wet dream. A very ugly one at that. Like they’re telling you what they really think because it’s okay to do that now. Yikes.

See y’all Wednesday!

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