The (Former) Economics of Child Care


When I was a rug rat, my mother got divorced and got very little in child support. She managed to get a job at the “Five and Dime” and got paid a dollar an hour (this was a while ago…), making forty dollars a week.

She had to find a babysitter for me. The babysitter she found got paid twenty dollars a week, and babysat four children, making eighty dollars a week total. Twice what my mother was getting. Half of my mother’s weekly wage. Back then babysitting was a reasonable job. Not any longer.

At one time, service jobs paid a living wage. Until the “haves” decided that they could get away with paying less than a living wage. When there are ten jobs and nine workers, wages and benefits rise. No matter what laws you pass. When there are ten workers and nine jobs, wages and benefits fall. If you bring workers in from other countries, you can guarantee a surplus of labor, and you can guarantee that wages and benefits and worker protections will fall. No matter what laws you pass.

Kirkwood: Freedom’s just another word…


for nothing left to lose

Those in power never seem to learn the most simple lesson:

Never ever screw someone to the point where they feel they have nothing left to lose.

Because when you push them to the point where they see no reason to continue living themselves, they may then see no reason to let you continue living either.

Maybe you feel that you are ever so superior to them, and your life is ever so much more valuable than theirs. Go ahead and feel that way all you want to. But if you act on your feelings and screw them over past their breaking point, you may not like the blowback. In fact, you may not survive it.

And Brad makes similar points

Update: Another post from Brad that bears reading:

I want you to get this through your head, and never forget it. Lynching was not a hate crime. Lynching was an economic crime.

Dieoff and the Olduvai Gorge


There are about six and a half billion people in the world. In the next few decades there will be about nine billion, far more than the earth can hold. Just about the time when the loss of cheap oil and water and global warming kick in to sharply reduce the amount of food in the world.

I do not expect to live long enough to see eight billion people in the world or one to two hundred million people in this country die of famine, pestilence, and war, but I expect to see quite a few go as we go back to where we came from.

So if I come across as a bit cynical…sure, I’m cynical. I believe we could stop the die-off, but I don’t think we will. Have a nice day.

Teachers and Administrators


I meant to be a professor. Until they instituted the “adjunct professorship”. I did spend eight years as a corporate trainer. And I loved it. And the students loved me. Because I was a good teacher. I was not nearly as good at dealing with the drones at the top. Because they didn’t have a clue. Except for collecting money.

Now how does that refrain go?

Those who can, do.
Those who can’t do, teach.
Those who can’t teach, administer.
Those who can’t administer, administer.



“Those of us who do read history are condemned to watch it repeated by those who do not.”

— Some professor on the Medieval History list

Have a Merry July 4th


As I watch the parades, the frantic waving of flags and cheering anyone who looks like a military type, I see people frantically denying what they see coming for them… looks like Joe Bageant sees it too

The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.
— Thomas Malthus, 1798

The Population Bomb…global warming… Homo sapiens hath shat, frolicked, killed and exceeded their MasterCard limits upon the earth, which is less than a second in geological time. Already we are on the way out because we did not have the common sense of lizards, which lasted tens of millions of years longer without so much as a calculator, much less computerized eco models.

If mankind were discovered on a dog’s hide the owner would give the dog a mange dip. Or if the earth were a Petri dish, we would be called pathology. Problem is though, mama earth tends to shed pathogens off her skin, which for us pathogens, is the ultimate catastrophe.

When forced to look at catastrophe on this order of magnitude, we either go numb in shock or look in delusion to something bigger, or at least something with more grandeur than Mother Nature flushing humanity down the toilet. Otherwise, one must accept the both ugly and the weirdly beautiful prospect of oblivion. Meanwhile, we begin too late to “make better choices.” Grim choices that do nothing but postpone the inevitable, which are called better ones and sold to us to make ourselves feel better about our toxicity. Burn corn in your gas tank. Go green, with the help of Monsanto. But not many can be concerned even with the matter of better choices. Few can truly grasp the fullness of the danger because there is no way they can get their minds around it, no way to see the world in its entirety. The tadpole cannot conceive of the banks of the pond, much less the wooded watershed that feeds it. But old frogs glimpse of it.

And wave our flags, and go to our political rallies and try to find something to like in the “first tier” candidates because the good candidates just can’t win because they can’t get enough corporate cash, and we buy our energe efficient florescent bulbs and try to ignore the mercury inside…and we pretend our feeble half-efforts will stave off what we have wrought. And pretend we have independence to celebrate.

Nicotine – the perfect corporate drug


Happy birthday to me (ok, a few days ago). I have now outlived many of my ancestors…all the ones who smoked, many of whose deaths I got to watch when I was young and when they were the same age as I am now.

We have weak lungs in our family. The ones who didn’t smoke lived into their eighties or nineties.

Too bad my smoking ancestors didn’t live now, in the Age of the Corporation. For them, nicotine would have been the perfect drug for working in a corporate environment. It keeps you awake so you can work long hours. It keeps away the hunger pangs so you stay lean and look “corporate”. It gives you an endorphin high so you can endure the stultifying boredom and pointlessness of following the directives of people who haven’t a clue.

And then it kills you just when they want to get rid of you to replace you with someone younger and more gullible.