SOTW Roundup: 12/2/2012 – 12/8/2012

ROUNDUP 1After three months of unemployment, I finally landed a job. One month into it and I already want out. It has nothing to do with the work, although the work is less than fulfilling. In fact, I love working. In addition to having a full-time job, I work a part-time job in radio and spend a good 5-10 hours a week working on side projects such as this and the podcast. The truth is, I’m happier when I’m working against the clock. Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Constantly working on something takes your mind off of those things not worth thinking about, leaving room only for your work and the good things. No, this is not an aversion to work. Rather, I have repugnance towards a shitty job, and I now know that is what I have walked into. I worked a less than flattering job while working on my degree, like most people do. For six years, I worked an overnight shift where I banked in a whopping wage of $14.10/hr; that’s the wage I worked my way up to after eight years. I went to college so I can get a good paying job where I can work hours more compatible with the rest of functioning society. Instead, I ended up getting another overnight shift job—which I did not know beforehand would be my schedule—that plays less than $1/hr more than my previous job (which did not require a college degree). To add insult to injury, I have to work Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day…each from 11pm-7:30am…also, I work two 7-day work weeks with no time off in between. My college degree that I worked hard for has awarded me $0.90 more an hour at a job where the word “holiday” does not exist. This will be a long opening monologue now that I am fired up…PARAGRAPH BREAK!

People will call me a whiny bitch and note how this is a First World white person problem. They will also mention how I have to pay my dues to get a good paying job with a decent schedule. Here’s the thing: spending tens and thousands of dollars on a college education is “paying your dues.” Working shit jobs and struggling while working for that degree is “paying your dues.” Being a human being with family and loved ones is enough to be awarded at least some time with them during the holidays. I’m grateful for having a job, but that doesn’t mean I should accept it. That’s lateral thinking at best and backwards thinking more than anything. If we were to merely accept all the things we’re grateful for, you can trace that philosophy back to food, clothing, and shelter. Meaning, even poor people with three hots and a cot shouldn’t complain about their current situation. Bitching about things in life—even those things we are grateful for—is what leads to progress and improvement. If I were to have been grateful about my life eight years ago, I never would have gone to college based on that mode of thinking. I want decent pay and time off to spend with friends and family. This job gives me none of those things, and in many ways, is preventing me from maintaining relationships with friends and family. “So just find another job and shut up!” Thanks. That never crossed my mind. I got this job because I had to. Now that the ball is in my court, I’ll find a job that respects the hard work involved with being a college graduate who worked full-time since graduating high school. Until then, I will be a whiny bitch about it, because being merely grateful is not how great men and women became great. They became great by wanting more in life than just the bare essentials. The good thing about this shitty job is that I don’t do jack shit, which gives me plenty of time to write THIS WEEK’S ROUNDUP!

Staying on the topic of the above rant, studies show that college graduates make exponentially more than those without. In the late ‘70s, college grads made 40% more than someone with just a high school diploma. Today, that figure has risen to 80%. At face value, this makes my above rant null and void. Obviously, I’m doing something wrong. Further investigation reveals this bit of information: More employers are requiring college degrees for jobs that—five years ago—only required a high school diploma. And like that, my argument is still valid. Essentially, jobs that were once open to everybody are becoming available only to those with a college degree. The worst part about this statistic is that there is no indication that wages are increasing proportionally. Therefore, college graduates are now getting jobs that are paying wages suitable for non-college graduates. That has a trickledown effect: if those with higher education credentials are accepting lower wage jobs, then those without a college degree must seek even lower wages. That allows the above statistic (grads make 80% more in wages) to stand*, but under the context that everyone is making much less. One explanation is the struggling economy. Now that everyone is looking for a job, employers can now require a college degree knowing that graduates will apply for the lower wage job out of necessity. In fact, that’s the ONLY explanation. If the economy was booming and jobs were plentiful, competition would result in college graduates scoffing at these jobs. The result: degree inflation. When crummier jobs require college degrees, it lessens the value of a degree. More companies will adjust starting salaries accordingly, which will stifle any economic progress for anyone who isn’t already making a lot of money. The job I have is mindless and in no way should require a college degree…but it does, and it’s because the employer is in a position of power to do. The economic gap keeps getting wider and wider. This is just another factor adding to that stretch. Advice to high school students: start dealing drugs.

* Upon my own research, college graduates in 1975 earned 1.5 times (50%) more than those with just a high school diploma. Today’s stats show about 65% more for college grads. Median income in 1975 = $48,645.02; median income in 2011 = $42,979.61. The difference? We’re making almost 15% less today than in 1975, thus, making that 15% increase for college graduates less significant. The info I mentioned at the top of the article (40% vs. 80%) came from The New York Times and is full of shit. REAL stats show that nothing has changed in almost 40 years and even further investigation will probably reveal that we are much worse off than ever before. FYI.

First of all, I want to pat myself on the back for doing some actual research and calling out the New York Times for that bit of misinformation. It really changes any point the article was trying to make. With that said, let’s roll with this topic and talk about unions. More specifically, fast food employees are looking to unionize. This is another NYT article, but the facts seem to checkout this time. Government figures show that fast food employees are the lowest paid workers, averaging at $8.69/hr. A full-time employee earns approximately $18,000/yr, which is just enough for a family of two parents and one child to stay just above the poverty line. However, full-time work is hard to come by since automated scheduling software often times prevents it. A Princeton economist found a sobering and relevant stat: a McDonald’s worker earns about 2.2 Big Macs an hour; a DECREASE of 15%* since 2000. One might argue that fast food jobs are for highly unskilled workers and the wages reflect that. However—as the article mentions—unskilled labor is being replaced by machines or outsourced. Add the fact that college graduates are accepting lower-wage jobs (as mentioned above), and you’ll get overqualified workers seeking jobs in fast food. Over two million people work in fast food and three-quarters of them live in poverty. I used to have no opinion in regards to unions. Sometimes they hurt, e.g. the latest California port strike that cost the nation’s economy approximately $8 billion. Sometimes they help, e.g. minimum wage, OSHA, and women in the workplace are results of unions. With the widening economic gap and the abuse of power and greed amongst executives, I’m now leaning in favor of unions. Wages are not keeping up with inflation. Yet, executives are seeing higher and higher salaries/bonuses each and every year. The government is not doing shit about it. Perhaps a powerful group that can influence policy changes and increased wages is what many of us in this country need. CEOs are reducing costs by lowering pay and laying people off. If unions represented everyone making less than the median income, they’ll have to look to reduce costs elsewhere…like their own fat wallets. Per the New York Times: “We have the largest share of low-paid jobs in the industrial world, amounting to almost one in four full-time workers, according to the International Labor Organization. And our rates of unionization continue to fall.” Employers will argue that unions will cost the company millions—perhaps billions—of dollars and will result in layoffs and increased prices. Conversely, allowing honest, hardworking people to earn such little money will fall on the taxpayers in the form of more social programs such as welfare and food stamps. As of this writing, I am pro-union under the assumption that paying people more will come at the cost of the executives earning entirely way too much…but that will never happen either.

* Sadly, this “15% decrease” is an economic trend.

Okay, fine. I’ll get off my economy rant. Let’s move on to something lighter. How about…some psycho threw an innocent man onto the tracks of an oncoming train which killed him. Yeah, but that’s not the most twisted part about the incident. This photo posted by the New York Post is:

ROUNDUP 2A freelance photographer for the New York Post happened to be right there when this happened. It goes without saying that people are calling for the photographer’s head for taking a photo rather than help the man. The photographer claims that he used the flash on the camera to warn the train’s driver. People are calling him a liar and are questioning his moral character. They’re claiming that the price of the picture was worth more than the life of a human being. Listen, we have no idea what happened. The photographer might have been too far away; a zoom lens will prevent us from gauging exactly how far away he was. Even if he was close enough to save the man, perhaps it was too dangerous to make an attempt. After all, the loss of two lives is worse than the loss of one, even in the context of heroism. Perhaps the adrenalin, fear, and panic consumed him, and the only thing he could think of was to snap a photo. You and I can sit here and say we would have helped, but the reality is you have no idea unless you actually experience such tragedy and horror. However, the person we should be chasing after is Post photo editor Dave Rentas. The above photo is the actual picture and headline used. Yes, the man died, in case that wasn’t clear. Not only is posting a picture of someone’s death highly unethical—especially for a publication with such a large circulation—but the headline is about as tasteless and classless as you can get. The photographer had a split second reaction when taking the photo, which is a reaction they are trained to have. However, the process to choose the picture, write the headline, and post it is a longer process that involves thinking. The New York Post is the oldest daily publication in America, established in 1801. Sadly, Rupert Murdoch now owns it and has turned it into a tabloid piece of shit. Controversy and entertainment value supersede ethics and common human decency.

Alright, back to me bitching about the economy and the corporations who run it. Approximately 18,000 Hostess employees will be out of a job because the executives hired to run the company failed miserably at their job. That’s last week’s news. This week, Citigroup will fire 11,000 employees right before the holidays. The official memo uses a bunch of jargon that no one outside of a corporate legal setting can piece together. It’s a clever way for corporations to hide all the bad stuff and get you to quit reading after the first paragraph. Here’s all you really need to know: Citigroup will fire 11,000 people (approximately 5% of their global workforce) shortly in an attempt to satisfy their bottom-line, i.e. more money for stockholders, i.e. rich people. Between two companies, about 30,000 people will lose their job this holiday season. If you need to fire a bunch of people in order to increase revenue, postpone it until after the holidays. It’s the decent thing to do as a human being. Then again, corporations are not human. They are run by humans, but the human element of firing someone is far removed from the executives who a) sit in a cozy office hundreds—even thousands— of miles away and b) have no idea who they are firing; they are just numbers on a spreadsheet who are preventing him from making $100M this year, as opposed to the $80M he’s already making. Capitalism is turning into Communism: looks great on paper, but starts to crumble under its own weight in practice…unless you’re wealthy.

Time for a follow-up from last week’s news about the NYPD officer who bought a homeless man a new pair of boots: the homeless man is barefoot again. Now famous bum, Jeffrey Hillman, explained that the boots are worth a lot of money and that he can be killed over them. Essentially, the face of charity and human decency, Officer DePrimo, is nothing more than an attempted murderer! Hillman is also upset about the attention he has received: ““I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get? This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.” Yep. This guy is nothing more than a bum. He’s not a guy that fell through the cracks or has some mental disability that put him on the streets. He’s a man that feels entitled to money and opportunities rather than a person who wants to work for them. Side note: you know YouTube is a big deal when homeless people know all about it. Back on track…Hillman did express his deepest gratitude and appreciation towards the officer and those who reached out support to him, so he’s not a complete waste of space. He wouldn’t give details about how he became homeless. Chances are that it is not because of misfortune, or else he would probably be quick to point that out. Not all homeless people are worthless bums. Many got that way by misfortune or mental disabilities. Those people need to be helped. Sadly, Hillman is not one of those people, and he is the one who has the spotlight as the face of homeless people across the country. When he reacts this way, it just reinforces the idea that homeless people are vultures and we shouldn’t give money to them. I feel sorry for anyone in that situation, but we need to focus our efforts on those who deserve help the most. We will worry about the vultures after everyone else is taken care of. Does this make me an asshole? Maybe, but it’s more practical than trying to save everyone all at once.

Another update from last week! This one involves Hunter Moore—the guy behind the former revenge porn site “Is Anyone Up”—and his plans to start another site that will post links to the victim’s social media pages and their home addresses. Turns out, he was lying…kind of. During an interview, Moore said that he will not be posting that information on the new site. He explained that he was drunk and coked up during that last interview and that he was just trolling. When you are widely known as the biggest douche on the Internet, which is the land of the douches, I would suggest not telling everyone you do interviews drunk and coked up. I understand the term “public relations” means absolutely nothing to him, but still. If your pictures end up on the site, you’re not completely safe. Moore has said that he will post personal information of people he personally does not like, i.e. anyone who threatens him via emails or lawsuits. i.e. innocent people trying to protect themselves. Basically, if you “troll” him, he’ll troll you tenfold. The fact that he will not be posting everyone’s personal information doesn’t make him less of a douche. In fact, the following quote puts him in the same ranks as Hitler, Judas, Caligula and Vlad the Impaler: “…if someone fucking got killed over my site I’d make a shit ton of money, I’m not gonna lie.” Even Stalin thinks this guy is acting irrationally. To add insult to injury, current federal laws protect Moore’s online endeavors and others like his. Any website where the content is user submitted absolves the host of any wrongdoing. There is no way to tweak those laws in a way that could prevent things like “Is Anyone Up” without screwing over other websites with pure intentions. When asked if he feels whether or not he is protected morally, Moore replied with this gem: “I don’t really give a fuck, at all. They’re just people on a screen, they’re just an avatar. I’m paying my bills. If we lived in a perfect world there wouldn’t be people like me or sites like mine, but we don’t. I’m going to take advantage of you being an idiot.” He said the ONLY thing that will upset him is if someone harmed his cat. I am NOT advocating that someone put his cat on a stick in his yard like the aforementioned Vlad the Impaler, BUT not even PETA will mind if one were to do so. Fuck that guy.

What To Look Forward To On “Episode 120: Jews, Pedophiles & the KKK”  of Soundtrack of the Week:

 

For more news and commentary that at least has a better moral compass than Hunter Moore, listen to Soundtrack of the Week on www.soundtrackoftheweek.com, iTunes, and on your smartphone via Stitcher Radio (Twitter page at @SOTWpodcast). Also follow Ty on Twitter at @TySOTW. If you don’t, we’re sending your nudes to Hunter Moore…I know you have some.

 

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