Irony Isn’t Star’s Strongest Suit, Methinks

Star Parker, you are a first-class kook:


A return to the politics of fear and envy?

Now that Democrats are back in power, the politics of fear and envy are back in vogue.

Yes, the politics of fear and envy were certainly dormant during the last six years of Republican rule, weren’t they?


It’s hard to open a newspaper or watch the news without hearing about the “income gap” or the “wealth gap.”

No kidding. I can’t even take a dump anymore without some liberal elitist professor shoving his “statistics” and “numbers” in my face telling me about some so-called “income gap.” I’m always like, “Hey! Elitist lefty professor! They don’t talk about no pie charts and bar graphs in the Bible, do they? So what good are they, hmmmmm? Bet your fancy education didn’t teach you that one, did it? Now leave me alone so I can sit on this here toilet and read my pornography, huh?”

Above: One of them new-fangled “charts” that the liberal elite has been bandishing about.

CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, well-dressed and well-fed (Lou certainly is up in that 1 percent of the population earning 20 percent of the income), goes on and on, night after night, about the “War on the Middle Class.”

Apparently, Mr. Dobbs is the latest target of the right’s “so-and-so-is-fat” smear campaign. You may remember how this brilliant line of attack brought down its last victim, one Michael Moore. (He’s still fat, by the way.)

Whose war, Lou? Who’s running it? Exactly who is it that is attacking our middle class? Is it those folks who, instead of sitting on the couch and listening to Lou, are actually working and taking responsibility for their lives?

So apparently, everyone who is at home watching Lou Dobbs at six in the evening is unemployed and lazy. Everyone except for Star Parker, of course, who actually gets paid money to write columns about watching Lou Dobbs.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who will take over as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says he wants to hold hearing on “How do you do a better job of sharing overall economic growth with the average worker?” and calls this the “No. 1 problem” facing the country.

What a scumbag. Giving working-class people a bigger share of the national income is the most elitist idea I’ve ever heard of.

Perhaps Frank should check with his colleagues on Capitol Hill, who seem to be surviving the assault on working Americans quite well.

Roll Call newspaper has just completed its annual survey of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress. The cutoff at No. 50, at $4.67 million, is up 12 percent from last year’s survey.

The top four wealthiest members are all Frank’s fellow Democrats: John Kerry ($750 million), Herb Kohl ($243 million), Jay Rockefeller ($200 million) and Jane Harman ($172 million).

The top five would have been Democrats, but John Corzine ($262 million) departed the U.S. Senate to become governor of New Jersey.

New Speaker Nancy Pelosi comes in at No. 15, at a paltry $14.25 million net worth.

How about Hillary Clinton? No. 25 at $10.05 million.

Illinois Democrat Rahm Emmanuel, who wants to scrutinize executive compensation and champion activist government for the poor and middle class, is worth $8.52 million.

Amazing! So the liberal elite are working to raise their own taxes! That’s quite a sneaky trick on their part, but it’s certainly something we red-state Real Americans aren’t gonna buy. Nope, we know the best way to punish richy-rich liberals is by givin’ them a tax cut. That way, they’ll have to pay for their own gay marriages instead of having the government do it! Bwah-ha-ha!! Assholes!!!

Two relevant questions to ask are: Is the stuff about the growing gaps in income and wealth true?


And, second, even if it is, does it matter?

Without trying to answer the first question, it is worth pointing out that what the press cranks out daily as gospel is far from accurate.

Hey, Star? Don’t you think answering the first question is kind of important, since the entire relevance of the second question is directly tied to it?

Cato Institute economist and columnist Alan Reynolds challenges the conventional wisdom a gap exists in a new textbook called “Income and Wealth.” Reynolds demonstrates the statistical complications and vagaries in compiling data on income and wealth. He shows that this is a field of dreams for politicians who can come up with whatever they want to and can show whatever they want to show.

See, the media and politicians and professors are all biased, which is why Star goes to such non-partisan outfits as the Cato Institute for her data.

Reynolds, himself, thinks that the country is in great shape and that American workers are really the envy of the rest of the world.

Well that’s nice, isn’t it? Let’s see how the rest of the country feels:

Gallup Poll. Nov. 9-12, 2006. N=1,004 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

“How would you rate economic conditions in this country today — as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?”

Excellent- 8%
Good- 32%
Only Fair- 43%
Poor- 16%

But hey, I’m glad Mr. Reynolds is doing quite well for himself.

Regarding the second question, my answer is that this information is important if what you really care about is what your neighbor has. However, I would suggest that there is a reason that the Tenth Commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Covet.”

Brilliant. That’s exactly what I’m gonna tell Mr. Fancy-Pants Economics Professor the next time he accosts me on the can.

Fear and envy create wealth for politicians who use these levers, as Democrats want to do now, to activate and grow government as a pretense for solving problems that people can only solve for themselves.

Indeed. Government only has two viable functions: teaching children abstinence and keeping Terri Schiavo alive.

A recently released study by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona examines, state by state, changes in the rates of poverty from 1990 to 2000.

The study shows that in the last decade, the 10 states with the lowest per capita government spending had an 11.2 percent decline in poverty rates and the 10 states with the highest per capita spending had a 7.3 percent increase in poverty rates.

The 10 states with the lowest levels of taxation had a 13.7 percent decline in poverty rates and the 10 states with the highest level of taxation had a 3.04 percent increase.

I could explain why this data is about as useful as Monopoly money, but I already have enough of a headache.

Individuals who work create jobs. It’s an issue of freedom and values, not social engineering.

What can politicians do? Help get government out of the way.

And save Terri.

If the newly crowned Democrats want to do better than Republicans, they should start with education. Barney Frank thinks that the nation’s No. 1 problem is worrying what everyone else is earning. The nation’s No. 1 problem actually is the public school monopoly and what it is doing to inner city kids.

The New York Times reports new studies show that, despite the ambitious goals of No Child Left Behind, reading and math performance gaps between white and black and Hispanic children are virtually unchanged. According to the Times, these new tests show “African-American and Hispanic students in high school can read and do arithmetic at only the average level of whites in junior high school.”

Bust the public school monopoly. Get freedom in education. This is what Democrats can do to help.

Also, they should give themselves another tax cut. That’ll stick it to the liberal elite!


Comments: 81


What does state spendature have to do with poverty levels? Methinks that’s “dead chicken” statistics.

If she’s so pissed about NCLB, why isn’t she hounding the Repubs who implimented the abject failure?
“Hey! Dems! We broke the car again; fix it, you goddamn lazy pricks!”
Beyond which, does anyoen know what a “public school monopoly” is supposed to mean? Is she really suggesting that the solution to failing innner city education systems is to destroy the free public education system in inner cities? Stein: never my favorite politico, but he can hand out the pwnage when needed. Cavuto’s a tool.

Adding on to the wealth gap, Rep-elect Webb has said that, in 1980, the average CEO made 20 times what the average employee did, in 2000 they made 400 times.
Last time I saw Clinton, he was stumping against how Bushco wants to give “people like me” tax cuts, instead of to the middle and working class.
I can see how certain people would mistake that as subterfuge.


Barney Frank thinks that the nation’s No. 1 problem is worrying what everyone else is earning. The nation’s No. 1 problem actually is the public school monopoly and what it is doing to inner city kids… The New York Times reports new studies show that, despite the ambitious goals of No Child Left Behind, reading and math performance gaps between white and black and Hispanic children are virtually unchanged.

Barney Frank thinks the nation’s #1 Problem is the way wealthy individuals & corporations have gamed the system to further enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us. Star Parker thinks the nation’s #1 Problem is that NCLB’s “ambitious goals” have failed to change the performance gap between white kids’ test scores and minority kids’ test scores. Star Parker is confusing data points — Barney Frank’s net worth versus NCLB scores — with reality. The question of where Frank falls on the income graph has nothing to do with the fact that a very few Americans are making more money while all the rest of us make less. The fact that NCLB scores, whatever they measure, have not changed the ‘performance gap’ between minority students who attend poor urban public schools and white students who attend wealthier suburban public schools has nothing to do with “Get[ting] freedom in education.”

By conflating these issues, Star Parker demonstrates that either she doesn’t understand how numbers work, or she thinks her readers don’t. So, is she stupid, or is she deliberately misleading her readers?

Or is the correct answer to that last question “Yes”?


Wow, Brad — you’re usually funny, but this is a devastating satirical takedown of yet another World Nut performing moron.

It’s amazing how many sophisticated techniques these bozos have come up with to avoid talking about fair compensation for productive labor, huh?


NCLB is just a cynical mechanism to declare all public schools as failing by 2013. This would allow the dissolution of local school boards in favor of state control of local schools.

Yeah, instead of unpaid local school board members (most states don’t pay their school board members, thankfully) motivated by a desire for excellence in their schools, we get career politicians who don’t have time to actually delve into the issues facing schools. Take the dumb-shit ideas behind NCLB – like 100% of all subgroups, including special ed, meeting or exceeding standards* – and multiply them by each local board (nearly 1000 of them here in Illinois) and you will end up with a massive clusterfuck.

[*- Even President General Eisenhower was surprised to find out that fully half of all Americans were of less than average intelligence. Maybe he was part of that group?]

Star does not even have the knowledge to understand that public schools don’t have a monopoly. There are many other schools out there…perhaps parochial schools or even homeschooling, where they can learn that evolution is just a theory or that the earth is around 6000 years old. Send your kids there, bitch, if you got a problem with public schools.

Full Disclosure: I am a former two-term school board member and currently working as a high school science teacher at an alternative school for kids who do, hold, or sell drugs, fight, gangbang, steal, bring weapons to school, burn or blow things up, are serially truant or just plain a pain in the ass of their home school. My view, from the trenches with the poorest performing students of all, is that schools get all the fucking blame for what is a societal ill. Ever hear of a thing called ‘Parenting’? It’s a lost art. Most people don’t want to look into a mirror to solve their problems but to find an outside source to blame for their misery.

And Annie Laurie, black and hispanic kids who attend wealthier suburban schools (like the ones who feed their detritus into our school) are still exhibiting the gap you speak of. Inequities in distribution of wealth is a factor, but IMO the key is parental involvement in the student’s life both in and out of school.


Read your Bible, wingnuts:

You shall not falsify measures of length, weight, or capacity. You shall have an honest balance, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin.

Leviticus 19:35-36

You heard the Lord. No more funny stuff with the numbers.


BRAD: Wait. Explain to me again what ‘public school monopoly’ means.

STAR: Well, it means, the government has laws that force kids to go to their schools. And the school system is obviously broken. So if we break the public school monopoly, then we allow kids to get better educations from non-public schools, and…

GAVIN: So you mean we should spend Federal tax dollars to send kids to private schools.

STAR: Well, the public school system is clearly sub-functional, and if Congress really wants to do something to help the American people, then…

BRAD: They should provide vouchers to rich white people to send their kids to private school, because then the rich white people can take the money they were already going to spend on private school tuition and spend it on, like, yachts, or something.

STAR: No, no, the vouchers would be for every family with school age children…

GAVIN: Absolutely. But just because a poor black family drives its inner city kids up to St. Francis Academy with a voucher in their hand, that doesn’t mean those kids are getting in.

STAR: Well, the voucher program would mandate acceptance of qualified candidates…

BRAD: Whoa. You’re saying, the voucher program has Affirmative Action built into it?

STAR: Well, it… no, Affirmative Action is inherently racist, but, still, qualified candidates…

GAVIN: …will be turned regrettably turned away, because St. Francis Academy already has quite a waiting list, oh, we’re very sorry, but of course the kids who are already here, well, if their parents want to pay with vouchers instead of personal bank drafts, well, that’s just how that goes.

BRAD: After all, there’s an extensive tax payer funded public school system that these other qualified candidates can avail themselves of, right? Oh, wait, we’re trying to ‘break the public school monopoly’…

STAR: All right, yes, currently existing private schools with excellent performance standards will have wait lists for admission, I grant you. But when we break the public school monopoly, it will act as an economic force multiplier, providing incentive for more quality private schools to open, and…

GAVIN: So, Wiccans will be able to open private schools and, using the high tuition fees provided by the vouchers, create truly outstanding curricula and hire the best educators.

BRAD: And Buddhists, and Muslims, and, hey, I suppose atheist secular humanist educators could open high quality private schools, too! Wow, this may not be such a bad idea after all…

STAR: Now… okay, well, private schools have to be chartered, and it can be a complex process…

GAVIN: Which, strangely enough, Christian educators seem to have no difficulty sailing right through…

STAR: Well, that’s what America needs! More decent, high quality, moral, excellent, proper Christian schools… Children educated in the Christian model excel in later life… we need to break the public school monopoly… we need…

BRAD: …to replace the ‘public school monopoly’ with a taxpayer funded private Christian school monopoly, where rich white kids can effectively keep going to their current private schools for free, and all the poor inner city kids will attend newly built private Christian schools designed just for them.

GAVIN: With metal detectors at the doors, and the desks and chairs bolted to the floor, and a nice 1 to 8 private security to student ratio…

STAR: That isn’t… I didn’t say that. Those kids deserve better educations, and whatever it is that they need, this program would facilitate.

BRAD: And if they need to be locked down 24/7 in order to make grades, well, that’s the kind of sacrifice you’re willing to let them make.

GAVIN: And doing this sort of thing is how Congress could really help the American people. Instead of, you know, raising the minimum wage…

BRAD: …raising the Federal poverty mean, so a greater percentage of working families would be entirely tax excempt…

GAVIN: …rolling back all the Republican tax cuts, including reimposing the estate tax, and maybe actually raising taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of the population…

BRAD: …closing corporate tax loop holes…

STAR: Aaaaaaaaaaieeeeeeee! Stop it! STOP IT!!!! THE PAIN, THE SEARING PAIN –!!!!

::STAR’s pupils go red and catlike as odd bumpy ridges appear above and around her eye sockets and fangs visibly protrude from her upper jaw::

BRAD: Holy fuck!

::GAVIN grabs two pencils and holds them perpendicular to each other, brandishing them between him and STAR::

RETARDO: Quick! Reprogram the code so we can throw all the grenades at her!

LA Confidential Pantload

I thought my sister’s greyhound was really stupid. Then I read this.


Hell, yes, American workers are the envy of the rest of the world!

I’m sure those German workers, with their federally mandated six weeks paid vacation every year at every level of employment, look at American workers and think “Damn! Why can’t *I* have a job where I get absolutely no vacation time every year? Then I wouldn’t have time to face the existential emptiness of my life and try to fill it by taking my month and a half of paid vacation during Oktoberfest, where I drink the best beer in the world all day long – and get paid to do it!”

And I’m sure Canadian workers, with their state provided health care, look at American workers with their total lack of any requirement for insurance whatsoever, and think to themselves “Damn! why can’t *I* have no health insurance at all, so that I could end up profoundly ill from a secondary infection after contracting the flu and not seeing a doctor, and then miss six weeks of work recovering from that secondary infection – unpaid, of course! Lucky American bastards.”

And I’m sure the French, with their standard thirty-five hour work week, gnash their teeth and wail in envy when they think about the “standard” American forty hour week – which is almost never less than fifty hours if you ever expect to get anywhere in your job. How it must gall them to think of all the uncompensated overtime so many Americans work! Because the French, if Michel Foucault and the Marquis de Sade are anything to go by, are all into perverse, kinky sexual pleasures, and would derive deep sexual satisfaction out of being constantly exploited by their employers.

Yep, it’s not hard to see why us Americans are the envy of the world.


Yeah, but c’mon — American workers all have 50″ plasma HDTV sets on which they can watch breathless news reporters talking about TomKat’s wedding and Britney’s hooha. Take THAT, European workers!


Good work, Star! You keep hammering these points. The Democrats probably won’t listen to you but if you work at it you can convince your fellow Republicans that everything is groovy and they shouldn’t bother to run on improving the lives of the middle class. I’m with you, Star, the Republican nominee in ’08 should go around the country telling working Americans that they are much better off now than they used to be, the American dream has never been stronger, the rich are struggling just like they are, and so on. Go get ’em!


The way to get the Wingnuts off the voucher bullshit is to point out the actual effect it would have on their precious private academies:

Government money means government oversight, and mandated standards

They seem to think that under a voucher system the private schools would keep the relative autonomy that being private gives them, while getting fat on public tax money. It doesn’t work that way.

Being the recipient of public funds means that those doling out Teh Munny will insist on greater scrutiny of their day-to-day operations. You never get one without the other.

Also, taking public money means teaching to mandated standards. That means, for example, that Onward Christian Soldiers Middle School would have to teach (*gasp*) evolution to meet the science requirement.

What is it about the Wingnut mind that causes it to short-circuit somewhere between action and consequence?


What is it about the Wingnut mind that causes it to short-circuit somewhere between action and consequence?

I think you’re onto an important discovery, kingubu Could it be the same short circuit between buying another bag of Cheetosâ„¢ and enlisting in their war to save America from the islamunistmexifascists?


I dunno, thunder. I’m just bone-tired of hearing/reading/watching clueless assholes shill for an imperialist aristocracy that thinks of them as ‘capital’ and ‘cannon fodder’ if it thinks of them at all. Pathetic. Servile. Morons.

Sorry, kids. Not so much with Teh Funny, today. Maybe I’ll try again later.


Whose war, Lou? Who’s running it? Exactly who is it that is attacking our middle class? Is it those folks who, instead of sitting on the couch and listening to Lou, are actually working and taking responsibility for their lives?

Funny, that’s the same question I keep asking about the War on Christmas…

Star Parker thinks the nation’s #1 Problem is that NCLB’s “ambitious goals� have failed to change the performance gap between white kids’ test scores and minority kids’ test scores.

Maybe that performance gap would be narrowed a bit if the NCLB act would stop moving the damn goal posts! Every year, no matter how your school does on the test, they up the ante a bit–you have to score higher and higher, and it’s not based on the year’s previous score, but on a baseline score that was created for the school at the beginning of NCLB.

It’s kind of like telling a little kid he has to kick the ball all the way to a fence, and then when he fails to do that, telling him to do it again, but this time the fence will be moved even farther away.

Failure is literally built into No Child Left Behind.


When I was working in Paris a rightwing American coworker of mine was once asked how Americans could possibly think longer work weeks and less vacation time was “superior” to the French system.

He stammered something about competitiveness and taxes, tried to shift gears into freedom and achieving the American dream, and then wound down to an uncomfortable silence when he noticed that everyone was just staring at him blankly, including me.



The best thing about the shorter French workweek is that their productivity per capita is a little bit more than ours – and they still have a workweek that is five hours shorter than ours. When you take into account the huge amount of uncompensated overtime Americans work, the French workweek is only about two-thirds the length of the American one.

We’re LESS competitive than the French, if you want to measure “competitiveness” in terms of output/work-hour.

And if you really to see just how fucking stupid NCLB really is, check this out. They’re applying NCLB standards to juvenile detention schools, which are basically prisons – the modern day equivalent of reform school. And they’re threatening the jobs of the teachers who work there because the inmates can’t read at grade level.

I know what it’s like to teach kids like these. The idiots who come up with this legislation have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s amazing how little a kid cares about reading on grade level when they spend the better part of their day wondering if there will be anything to eat in the house when they get home or if they’ll ever see their dad again now that he’s on the run from the police after committing a triple homicide. But hey – penalize the teachers who are willing to work in the horrendous environment that your own liberal, laissez-faire attitude toward child poverty helped create in the first place, assholes. I’m sure it will help.


Ok, somebody help me out here. I kept reading star’s complaints about the wealth gap, lou dobbs and his war on the middle class, no child left behind and the public school monopoly, then I even went up to the top and read it again. What’s her point here? This seems to be a series of random complaints about the coverage of macro economic issues and public education. Aren’t you supposed, at the end of an essay like this, to have a “conclusion”? You know, where you take all your previous statements, positions and evidence and present them in a point, such as “here’s what we need to do to fix this”? I just couldn’t find that, and thus have no idea why she bothered to pen this missive…



Wow. I mean, wow. That’s a whole lot of assholery for a single comment.

I especially like the way she dismisses all evidence of an income gap with the power of her sneer and a Cato Institute report. The libertarians are arguing against the evidence of an income gap? Oh, do tell!


They really need to see our disgust as envy.

They really think we want their stuff.

As I said to a guy who i asked to park his humvee in a non-handicapped spot, after he laughed at me…

“there but for the grace of god…oh, and if you don’t move that beast I’m gonna go ask that cop to write you a ticket”. His smarmy smile was gone.

They’re afraid of a level playing field, nothing more.


Lights aren’t on and nobody’s home and she gets paid for that. Must be nice.

Her lip gloss positively glistens though!


From the Canadian federal labour standards review:

* Australians have generally been entitled to a minimum of four weeks paid annual leave nationwide since 1974. In spite of being twice the Canadian minimum and greater than the statutory minimums in most of its largest trading partners, Australians enjoy a high quality of life due to strong economic growth and a high per-capita GDP.

* Britain introduced four weeks paid annual leave in the late 1990s. In spite of concerns that this would hurt British productivity and reduce living standards, GDP and output per hour worked continued to rise in during that period. 7

* Ireland amended its labour legislation in 1997 to provide for four weeks paid annual leave. 8 The country’s economy easily absorbed this increase, with annual economic growth averaging 8 percent between 1995 and 2002.

Appendix A: Annual leave around the world
Country Minimum annual leave
Denmark* 31 days
Austria* 30 days
Cuba 30 days
Finland 30 days
Norway* 27 days
France* 25 days
Sweden 25 days
Germany 24 days
Brazil 22 days
Australia 20 days
Belgium 20 days
Ireland 20 days
Netherlands 20 days
Switzerland 20 days
United Kingdom 20 days
New Zealand 15 days
Canada 10 days
Japan 10 days
United States 10 days
Mexico 6 days

Consequences of the status quo

Section 184 of the Canada Labour Code, covering about 10% of the national workforce, says that all employees are to receive a minimum of two weeks paid annual leave, rising to three weeks after six consecutive years with the same employer. Two weeks is also the statutory minimum in nine of the 10 provinces. Saskatchewan is the sole exception, with a three-week minimum. 1

While these levels were comparable to what other modern nations provided for in their labour legislation up until the mid-’70s, changes since then have left Canada with one of the lowest levels of paid annual leave in the First World.

* The Canadian practice of starting off with a low annual leave entitlement and gaining additional weeks over 5-10 years with the same employer dampens labour mobility. Someone receiving four weeks paid annual leave from an employer may be dissuaded from seeking a career change if it will mean going back to just two weeks per year for the next several years. 5 Adopting a higher legal minimum would make it easier for people to make career changes, to the benefit of employers, employees and the economy.


Interesting chart, Lesley.

One small quibble, however….AFAIK, there is no federal requirement in the U.S. for *any* amount of time off from work, paid or unpaid. Many companies do offer a week or two of paid vacation to their workers, but I do not believe it to be a requirement at all.

Anybody know for sure if I’m wrong about this?


So how did Star get to be so kooky? What drives her vicious hatred of the middle class, which she now channels into writing that funds her lucrative escape from its clutches?

What I’m saying is, we’re in a cultural war and this book is basically an indictment against great middle class, the moderate middle; the ones that show up on Election Day just because they may have been sparked by something, a conversation but they’re not thinking deeply about their Christianity. You know me and I’m one of those hard-core right-wingers, if you will because I take my Christianity very seriously. I take what Jesus said about being hot or cold very seriously. I’ve lived a very aggressive life; you know my history. So when God saved me I really wanted where he was taking me to. I lived a criminal life, a drug addicted life, sexual promiscuity that landed me in and out of abortion clinic after clinic. I bought the lie of the left. After my fifth pregnancy I opted to have that child, I ended up in a welfare state and that’s the black hole that God found me in.

That would be scored as one point for “not Christian enough”, zero points for any other answer.


AFAIK, there is no federal requirement in the U.S. for *any* amount of time off from work, paid or unpaid.

Except for the Family Medical Leave Act — another effort by the liberals to destroy American families and ruin capitalism.


Jillian, I found this on the dept. of labor site.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays (federal or otherwise). These benefits are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative).


Yeah, that’s what I thought it was.

And yet, some of the countries on the list above not only have *federal* mandates requiring a certain amount of time off from work, they also have *federal* mandates that this time be *paid* time off from work.

Why does America treat its workers worse than most of the rest of the industrialized world?

And – more to the point – why do American workers put up with it?

Frankly, I begin to suspect that the point of NCLB is to make sure Americans stay improperly educated and unable to think logically. There’s no way they’d put up with the amount of shit they do if they had the mental acuity necessary to comprehend what was actually going on.

No vacation time from work, no health care, the cost of education out of the reach of all but the wealthiest, incredible amounts of uncompensated overtime squeezed out of every last worker…why? Why do we put up with it? What do we get in exchange that’s so great? I’d really like to know.


Why does America treat its workers worse than most of the rest of the industrialized world?

And – more to the point – why do American workers put up with it?

Seems to me Jillian your second question answers your first. The other side of the “american dream” coin is the self-reinforcing fear that if I don’t do more with less for less, they’ll give my opportunity to that next guy in line…



I think you’re right, mikey.

And people wonder why I’m a socialist.


The labour shortage (in Canada) is forcing many employers to improve wages and working conditions, for even the lowest skill workers.

In retail, many employers are offering wages in excess of the minimum, extended holidays, flexible work hours, and tuition coverage (as many retail workers tend to be youth still attending high school or post-secondary) During the summer, employers advertised that they would pay a $1000 bonus to any youth who maintained a job for the entire summer.

Construction labourers (the lowest paid trade workers) on the west coast are now earning, on average, $20/hour. Some are able to earn as much as $35 an hour.


If they’re looking for dedicated teachers in Canada, Lesley, they can have me any time they want me. I’m available to start on mimimal notice, as long as there’s an offer of citizenship attached. 😉


Sometimes it gets so bad it cracks me up. In Vail, CO the cost of living has gotten so high that the service workers can’t afford to live there. They are left with trying to entice grocery clerks and waiters and hotel maids into sixty to eighty mile commutes. You can’t run a resort oriented “wealthy enclave” without a lot of decent quality service workers. So look who suddenly has negotiating leverage!!!



Jillian, if you are interested in Vancouver, BC as a destination, and I highly recommend it cuz it’s a beautiful place… – BC pix

As far as I can tell, but I’d have to dig a little deeper, there’s increasing demand at the post-secondary level and decreasing demand at the elementary school level (due to low birth rates). School boards in Greater Vancouver are considering closing a number of elementary schools due to low enrollments.

Education is regulated at the provincial level:

In BC (where I live) you’d want to get in touch with the college of teachers, which is the credentialing body for all teachers in British Columbia.

It may also be useful to contact the BC Teachers Federation, or teachers union, as it may have information about job availability. This union is wealthy and powerful. BC teachers might just have one of the best pension plans in the free world (the union has invested a lot of money in land and real estate and enjoyed substantial returns.)

Immigration Canada is the first point of contact: coming in as a skilled worker.

Here;s the federal gov’t’s list by province of “occupations under pressure” (i.e. occs that have a skill or labour shortage).

I’m pretty sure the demand for university professors is going to increase with the coming boomer retirements (the provincial premier just announced he was going to abolish mandatory retirement for gov’t workers). I’m not sure what the average age of secondary and elementary teachers is.


Jillian, if you are interested in beautiful Vancouver or BC

As far as I can tell, but I’d have to dig a little deeper, there’s increasing demand at the post-secondary level and decreasing demand at the elementary school level (due to low birth rates). School boards in Greater Vancouver are considering closing a number of elementary schools due to low enrollments.

Education is regulated at the provincial level. In BC you’d want to get in touch with the college of teachers, which is the credentialing body for all teachers in British Columbia.

It may also be useful to contact the BC Teachers Federation, or teachers union, as it may have information about job availability. This union is wealthy and powerful. BC teachers have an amazing pension plan, seconded only by federal workers (who enjoy, upon retirement, an index pension worth 70% of their full-time income (based on an average of their best six years), and full medical coverage and dental, until death).

Immigration Canada is the first point of contact: coming in as a skilled worker.

Here’s the federal government list by province of “occupations under pressure” (i.e. occs that have a skill or labour shortage).

I’m pretty sure the demand for university professors is going to increase with the coming boomer retirements (the provincial premier just announced he was going to abolish mandatory retirement for gov’t workers). I’m not sure what the average age of secondary and elementary teachers is.


sorry for the double post. I got an error message from “bad behaviour” because of a link glitch.


Thanks, Lesley – you’re a peach!

I’ve looked at the immigration site a number of times and wiped the drool off my chin….it’s just a matter of paying off some school debts and saving up the six months’ living expenses/filing fees at this point.

Unless, of course, I can find some single Canadian who’s tired of coming home to a cold kitchen and empty living room every night….wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

I know I joke around about going to Canada, but the sad part is that I’m serious (I joke about almost everything). I really do fear for the future of America…no other industrialized country has the level of superstitious belief we do, no other industrialized country has the sort of institutionalized racism we do (although the Netherlands certainly seems to be laying catchup), no other industrialized country has the muderous homophobia we do – well, y’all know the litany. Murder rates, incarceration rates, literacy rates, infant mortality rates, gap between rich and poor – we’re always getting beat out in all of them. And the ridiculous, selfish, fear-ridden, xenophobic mindsets that are responsible for feeding these atrocious statistics only seems to be growing of late.

I try to be an optimist, but it just hasn’t seemed to work for me in a long time.

And BC is soooo gorgeous – I’ve been there on daytrips before and I could easily see myself living in the Vancouver area. So lush and green!


Impressive, goober. Impressive.


Canada’s a far cry from America, but we still have plenty to worry about given the current makeup of the ruling Conservative Party (Christian fundamentalists who have been pro-Bush all along). The Liberal Party (akin to your Democratic Party), lost favour with the electorate because of numerous scandals involving the theft and abuse of massive amounts of tax dollars. This party just had its leadership campaign and, amazingly, elected Stephane Dion, a left of centre former environment cabinet minister. This is a major turn around for a party that has leaned toward the right in the last decade. Indeed, the party elite tried their best to get Michael Ignatieff elected…and thank god that didn’t happen because he’s pro war in Iraq, pro-Bush, pro-torture bill. That the party’s grassroots weren’t comfy with him reflects well on the party.

According to recent polls, Canadians view the environment and health care as top priorities. Although both the conservatives and the liberals have a poor track record with each of these, the current liberal leader has more respect than the current conservative environment minister, Rona Ambrose, who hails from the Alberta, the Texas of Canada. She has purposely not attended numerous international conferences on the environment and doesn’t support Kyoto and her biography leaves a lot to be desired, considering her responsibilities. But that’s true of virtually every conservative cabinet minister. Stockwell Day, the foreign affairs minister is an international embarrassment. He would be perfect in the Bush administration.

The reason Rona got the cabinet post is likely because she’s the least buffoonish of the candidates Harper had to choose from. He keeps a tight reign on his MPs – won’t allow them to talk to the press without permission – mostly to prevent them from ruining his chances for a second run as Prime Minister. It just isn’t good for his image to have Stockwell running off at the mouth about AIDS is God’s way of punishing homosexuals or that dinosaurs and humans once roamed the earth together.

Yeah, you think you have it bad in America. Just thank your lucky stars we ain’t no superpower. Sheesh!

P.S. I recommend Rick Mercer’s blog for comic relief.


If you stare at Star’s teeth for a while and then look away you can see a ghostly, purple image of her teeth mysteriously floating in the room before your eyes.

Does that mean anything?


Individuals who work create jobs.

This is kind of a fun idea. Something along the lines of saying people who eat create food, or people who have sex create virgins, or people who drive cars create gasoline. Don’t listen to those pinheaded limousine liberals. Consumption creates production.


Ahh yes, Star Parker.

I deconstructed her take on gay marriage back in May.


The reason why Right WingNuts in this country scream “class war” whenever anyone dares reference an official government statistic regarding wealth distribution in the U.S. (ie. that Communistic U.S. Census), is because down deep these folks believe in the concept of human slavery.

These folks truly have a hive mentality and believe that due their inherited or otherwise gained wealth and status is entirely due totheir immutable genetic superiority. That’s why these folks latched so hard onto Social Darwinism and Eugenics until Hitler spoiled it all for them by showing the world how an expert does it.

To acknowledge a systemic asymmetry in the United States system regarding opportunity and wealth distribution would force these folks to concede their wealth and status might not be due solely because they are so smart, perfect and biologically superior beings.

And this scares the hell out of these insecure, but rich, bastards because deep down they know, like our Commander In Chimp, that maybe they just got lucky.


I so much right now want to blame all of this on illegal Mexican immigrants but I can’t because I suddenly discovered I’m not an inbred racist moron.

Damn !!!!


Anytime someone argues against the minimum wage (like, they want to repeal it altogether) I always want to ask them why they’re so pro-illegal immigration.
“Uuuwaaah!? Actions have consequences?! Beyond what I decide they will in my mind?”


The column you were discussing made no sense at all. The author is either an idiot, a charlatan, or both.


“Bust the public school monopoly. “


Let’s lower the barriers to entry, too, to encourage innovation.

What exactly was wrong with the apprentice system, anyway?

Young orphan gets sold to, say, a silversmith (like in the story about Johnny Tremain); orphan suffers disfiguring injury on the job (“Whoa! They should have called him Johnny Deformed.”

Silversmith gets cheap help, young orphan learns a trade – that’s why they call it win/win my friends.

The rest is just a nasty distraction.


But… but… government oversight of standards in private schools to which children are sent on vouchers is a violation of the separation of church and state! Not the vouchers part, that’s fine. The oversight part.

As idiotic as that argument is, I guarantee you we will see it if vouchers ever become the way we teach our children. It is, after all, no more stupid than refusing to teach kids evolution in the first place.


Those who have enjoyed my previous low budget one act plays may want to go here and see my first big budget spectacular!


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