The Empire’s Dogshit (continued)

Posted in Permanent Fail at 8:27 am by George Smith

Today’s gold-plated dog excrement from the weapon shops of the plutocracy:

Another robot fighter bomber, the X-47b, for diddling future potential Moes, takes flight. Young US white males get erections on military tech sites nationwide.

Meanwhile, news from around the country:

6th biggest “ghost town” country created by the Great Recession — Dare County, N.C.

Number of homes: 33,492
Vacancy rate: 57%
Population: 95,828

Dare County includes the northern-most parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The situation in the vacation area is so severe that the “Outer Banks Voice” recently wrote, “If Dare County Manager Bobby Outten was intending to sound an alarm by suggesting that the EMS helicopter and school nurses were expendable in the next budget, he probably succeeded.” His comments are unlikely to be terribly different from those of other executives of counties on the list. Vacant homes and homes which lose double-digit amounts of their value each year irreparably undermine the tax base. And, as services fall, fewer potential homeowners will consider investing in the area.

“The initial swooning has died down to some extent ó but Iím struck by the extent to which news stories are still covering for Paul Ryan. Iíve already noted how ďnews analyses??? write as if the objections of the critics were simply that his plan is too radical, as opposed to what people like me are actually saying, which is that itís a fraud.

“So today I read in the Washington Post that:

“The Republican plan would cut spending on domestic programs while protecting the military and preserving George W. Bush-era tax cuts that disproportionately benefit high earners.

“Um, no. It proposes huge additional tax cuts for high earners, over and above the Bush tax cuts; $2.9 trillion dollarsí worth just over the next decade.

“My best guess here is that the press corps shies away, consciously or unconsciously, from giving the stark truth about this joke of a plan; after all the praise from VSPs, itís hard either to report that knowledgeable people consider the plan a total fraud, or even to be frank about the planís extreme features. But saving pundits from embarrassment is not part of a reporterís job.” — Krugman

“In 2010, Peerís department allocated $2.43 million in food stamps. That number is up from $1.81 million in 2009 and $862,706 in 2008.

“Through February, Peer said $419,964.44 has been allocated in food stamps in Moffat County.

“Peer contends those numbers provide a peek into the areaís economic situation.

ďI think that it indicates that our recovery isnít quite here yet and it certainly is disturbing just to know that this number of people need to have food stamps,??? she said. ďOn the other hand, I am really grateful to know that food stamps exist and that they are helpful to people who have reduced income.???

“The food stamp caseload has also steadily increased over the last two years, she said.” —- Moffat Country, Craig, Colorado

“The dust-up has garnered little attention in the U.S [until now]. But it’s front-page news in Sweden, where much of the labor force is unionized and Ikea is a cherished institution. Per-Olaf Sjoo, the head of the Swedish union in Swedwood factories, said he was baffled by the friction in Danville, Virginia. Ikea’s code of conduct, known as IWAY, guarantees workers the right to organize and stipulates that all overtime be voluntary…

“Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days — eight of them on dates determined by the company.

“What’s more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said.

“Swedwood’s Steen said the company is reducing the number of temps, but she acknowledged the pay gap between factories in Europe and the U.S. “That is related to the standard of living and general conditions in the different countries,” Steen said. — LA Times

“[Red state] Texas tied with Mississippi for states having the highest percentage of hourly paid workers earning the minimum wage or less.

“Some 550,000 Texans, or 9.5 percent of hourly paid workers, made the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less last year. That’s up 76,000 workers, or 16 percent, from 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

“Leslie Helmcamp, a policy analyst with the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, which focuses on low- and moderate-income Texans, called the numbers “alarming.”

“The higher proportion of hourly paid workers who are earning at or below the minimum wage is reflective of our low high school and college completion rates,” Helmcamp said. “We can only attract higher-paying jobs if we are able to move more Texans into higher education.”

“The federal poverty level for a family of three was $18,310 last year, Helmcamp noted. That means a single parent with two children and working for minimum wage would earn about $3,200 less than the poverty level, she said.” — Houston Chronicle

“INDIANAPOLIS | Local governments would be barred from setting a minimum wage higher than the federal rate under legislation approved Wednesday by the Indiana House.

“The Republican-controlled House voted 57-42 to strip localities of the power to set a higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction. The measure now advances to the Senate.” — Munster, Indiana

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