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128 posts from March 2006

March 29, 2006

Do layoffs outstrip rationality?

Labour lawyer Thomas  Geoghegan has an interesting review of Louis Uchitelle's new book on layoffs,  The Disposable American:

Is the layoff the great American wound? In Louis Uchitelle's account, it seems a wound in triplicate. It hollows out companies so they can't compete. It hollows out the country by removing middle-class jobs. It hollows out the middle-class employees who are laid off and then too often drop permanently to a demeaning, low-wage way of life. To Mr. Uchitelle, who reports on economics for The New York Times, corporate America's addiction to the layoff has gone past the point of economic rationality. In this fascinating book he tries to tell the history of the United States in our time as the unchecked rise of layoffs. [NYT]

Another addition to my ever-growing "to-read" list. I'm intruigued by Uchitelle's thesis that the corporate America's layoffs binge has outstripped economic self-interest.

March 28, 2006

Sarah Lebo's new blog

Slowly Comes the Nurse at Dawn has a new home, now with 100% more Rad-Ass Fonts.

I must say that the author, Sarah Lebo, is pretty rad-ass herself. She's my sexy single cousin the nurse/writer/cinephile.

Check out SCTNAD at its new McSweeny-lookin' home.

DeLay appeals gun license suspension

Tom DeLay is appealing the suspension of his concealed carry permit. [AP] (Link fixed)

Why? Because the rules don't apply to the Bugman, that's why.

The rules are clear cut: If you are under investigation for a felony in Texas, the State (wisely) suspends your concealed carry permit.

DeLay is sure that by "Texans being investigated for felonies" the state doesn't really mean "rich white guys facing money laundering charges."

Politics and personality survey results

Richard Chappelle has published the results of last summer's politics and personality survey at Philosophy, etc.

Rep. Cynthia Davis on sex

General J.C. Christian has apparently taken a job ghostwriting the correspondence of Rep.Cynthia Davis of Missouri, a leading supporter of the state's defunding of birth control for the poor.

Elsewhere that wacky "culture of life," British anti-abortion zealots attacked a Roman Catholic school for teaching about contraception. []

Gifts to Tx officials: details optional

The Texas Ethics Commission decided last Friday that public officials in the state do not have to disclose the value of gifts they receive:

AUSTIN – The Texas Ethics Commission decided Friday that public officials who receive cash or other gifts don't have to disclose the value, stunning open-government advocates.

"This is absurd, dangerous and completely undermines the reform legislation," said Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth.

The seven commission members, appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, wrestled with disclosure laws that compel public officials to report gifts over $250. The law calls for a description of the gift, and some commissioners said indicating simply "cash" – without an amount – satisfies the statute.

But government watchdogs told the commissioners that they are failing to enforce the clear meaning of the law, rendering it useless. "This ruling leaves a big enough loophole to drive an armored truck full of money through," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, which advocates for public disclosure. "All you would have to say is 'a truck.' "

[Dallas Morning News]

This bold move represents a major streamlining of ethical guidelines. Experts estimate that henceforth the majority of gifts will be reportable under one of three descriptors, "bling bling", "da cheddah", and "swag."

Hat tip to Ol' Tex.

PEEK today

I'm doing AlterNet's PEEK today instead of Thursday.

March 27, 2006

AP plagiarises The Raw Story

Larisa Alexandrova alleges that the Associated Press stole her investigative reporting about changes in security clearance guidlelines. When Alexandrovna confronted the AP, the officials admitted to using the information without permission, saying:  "We don't credit blogs."

The two articles: The Raw Story, AP .

Continue reading "AP plagiarises The Raw Story" »

Questioning closure

Dalia Lithwick examines the evidence that executions are therapeutic for the families of victims of violence: Does killing provide closure? [WaPo]

March 26, 2006

Best Photoshop CS2 Resources

This is a question for the collective hivemind: What are the best resources for a rank beginner seeking to master Adobe CS2? I recently acquired the program and I'm teaching myself how to use it. I'm looking for tips on the best books, websites, and weblogs for Photoshop learners. I'm primarily interested in digital darkroom stuff: Editing RAW files, correcting lighting and exposure, and so on. Any thoughts?