Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008


Don't know about you but I can't seem to stop watching this. and this
Amazing that out of 4 million votes cast in MN, the two candidates are just over a hundred apart.
The updates have been very slow today. If this is going to go on until Dec., how will I get any work done?

I can't figure any reliable way to guestimate the final outcome. What percentage of Coleman challenges are valid? Franken's? friggin modeling nightmare.....

Tip of the Chapeau to R+B

Hey Minxar,

Thanks for alerting me to the pressing news that Billy Corgan's career trajectory is even more obscenely disappointing than Rod Stewart's! there's no shortage of coverage of the current Pumpkins meltdown - even video - but I particularly recommend Fluxblog's reportage of two nights in NYC. not that i ever loved this band (Smash. Pump.)... it's just such a compelling thing to watch from the middle-distance...

think of this as a primer, by the way. as it stands, my Draft alb review of Cardinology includes significant references made to the Mary, Star of the Sea alb by a group unconditional endorsees' call the "sorely missed" Zwan.

Rooting for Pat Buchanan? "Economic Nationalism"

I hope some of you will tough out the full 11+ minutes here, because I need to share it with somebody. Pretty unusual for Matthews to get to moderate between far-right types - one a libertarian, the other a, uh, Pat Buchanan - and you can tell he's enjoying himself.

What do you think? There may be a moment or two where Pat B. is "right for the wrong reasons," but his is a really powerful pro-bailout argument, no? And when Pat goes after the Heritage Foundation towards the end? This is the sort of television I should hope to be watching while I quietly (but not joylessly) die.

Mournful OG Horn

Hugo Chávez and the U.S. Media |
finally, the frame analysis I've been looking for. Here's Jules Boykoff's shorter, summary version of an article soon-to-appear in New Political Science. methodologically this is very similar to what Chris Martin does for unions in the very excellent Framed, and by extension very similar to some ground i'll be a-covering in the diss.

The End of Wall Street's Boom - National Business News -
tell your parents to read this. definitive.

It's Time to Give Voters the Liberalism They Want -
Thomas Frank on EFCA and so much more.

NW Republican: Joni Mitchell has a thing for the Coyote
(for Brown Beard, who wondered if I've stopped following NW Repub becuz I dropped 'em from the blogroll. I should make some qualifications about the blogroll, btw. In reality I have way more "everyday reads" than those captured in my tiny list below and to the right. In fact, both my Thunderbird RSS and Google Desktop receive feeds from many, many places just as, uh "essential" to my, uh, "worldview." In fact, the "everyday reads" list is the most fickle, least informative glimpse of the three. Obviously I read the Bellman, North Country and Courtney, par example - but they're already mentioned in my (former) co-authors' lists, so it'd be redundnant to namedrop 'em again. Also I try to limit the blogroll - with the exception of RK's - to either my most current fetishes (these shift) or to blogs that I absolutely do read every damned day like First Read, et. al. So that's that. Now that this blog's on the brink of oblivion I thought I'd clarify that.)

Anywho... So I guess the NW Republican author fancies himself a coyote. And I guess he just discovered this unlikely confessionial tale of Joni M's that I first heard at 9 years old, cuz my dad was obsessed with his VHS copy of The Last Waltz. It was weirdly formative, this song, which is by the way entitled "coyote," (hence the crossover), weirdly formative on my 9 year-old ideas of what grown-up relationships were like. All women are rockers and men are ranch hands, I guess. Sure. What do you want me to say?

Al Jazeera Interview with Evo Morales « Kasama

Thursday, November 20, 2008

prisonship self-cleaning survey utensil

is it more precious - more presumptuous - to describe your dreams or your bowel movements in conversation with another?

do you ever describe either? do you never describe neither? to how many people? are the people you talk to about "elimination" the same people you talk to about being back in junior high but, like, with elephant hands or whatever it is you people dream?

aren't dreams waste matter, or dirt (i.e., "matter out of place"), even if we mean "waste matter" in the elevated manner of Julia Kristeva's "abject?"

bonus points: who's ever dreamed of going to the bathroom? who hasn't? high praise to anybody who has fallen asleep (and dreamed a memorable dream) while going to the bathroom.

merit-pay: mebbe in 2017

I thought so. You?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

speaks for itself

Dean Baker, Big Three Bankruptcy: Now or In Two or Three Years Matters
Market Place radio presented a comment by University of Maryland economist Peter Morici on the bailout of the Detroit auto makers. Mr. Morici said that the auto companies will face bankruptcy, the only question is whether it is now or three years from now.
While this is presumably meant as an argument against the bailout, it misses the main argument as to why a bailout is needed. The economies of Michigan and Ohio are still heavily dependent on the Big Three. If these companies go under at the moment, it will mean that a whole group of suppliers suddenly incur large losses due to the money owed to them by the Big Three, which they will not receive, as well as their lost orders. This will lead to a large second wave of bankruptcies as many suppliers go under. In addition, state and local governments will see plunging tax revenue.

While this process will be extremely painful for the region at any time, it will be devastating in the middle of the current recession. The federal government would have to step in with large amounts of money so that governments in the region can continue to provide essential services and to support the unemployed workers. In two or three years we can reasonably hope that the economies of the region have rebounded enough so that they could withstand a bankruptcy, if it occurred.

Tom Daschle for HHS Sec

Not a surprise (sorry, not a very informative link but the story just broke.) Comments?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tea leaves

So fine - I get that Obama campaigned on ending the divisiveness and distractions that have characterized the politics of the last fifteen years in order to solve the urgent problems that face us as a nation. And that somehow justifies letting bygones be bygones after a certain senator from Connecticut repeatedly fucked over his nominal allies.

Ok. Whatever.

So we can expect the Senate Dems to be super friendly to avoid enraging their GOP colleagues "for the good of the country" (the House will still, theoretically, be a den of poo-flinging monkeys).

I'm going to go ahead and go out on a limb to declare EFCA DOA.

beyond academic emo: prisonship inventory of sentiments/commodities

one of the things that stinks about giving advice is how platitudinous, catch-all and relatively hollow our hard-earned lessons sound when churned out in sentence-form. thus, you'll understand how i half-grimaced, half-mewed long ago when a certain family member told me earnestly how

things seem like they're going great guns for you, Pat. and that's really great. I'm proud. and you need to really make sure you enjoy these times, Pat. cuz it's sure as shooting that there'll be times when the world rains cats and dogs upon you. enjoy these times, Pat, cuz eventually times'll suck eggs, and, by extension, you'll suck, too.

"sure," i'd thought at the time. sounds reasonable enough - like a paraphrase of a parable from a Randy Newman song, or something. and it is reasonable - shit, it's probably even "true," (i'd thunk.) but that was all before the current conjuncture, when oddly enough, graduate school got hard again. (i know, who'd've thunk it? you could knock me over with a feather.)

now, i have a lot of uncomfortable things in my life, like everybody else: some things - by no means all - that are much more uncomfortable than grad school's sudden difficulty. but grad school is something tuff that is both "personal" and "general" enough as to be appropriate for weblogs (aka, "blogs.") so here we go with a thoroughoing personal inventory in light of this recent, panic-attack-ish element to "school," which once was a padded cell for holding-forth, but which is now a caged structure reminiscent of "Hell in a Cell."
Part 1. Problem Areas

  1. Health and welfare? Oh no. I've had some sort of walking plague since I boarded that aeroplane last Weds. Clammy hands, cough, headache, shakes, sniffles, snot, phlegm, etc. All the rest (upset tummy, too!)
  2. Social Encounters? Nope. Does Election Night count? I barfed.
  3. Eating Right? More like, "eating out." 'Can't afford it, but also can't seem to stop, or, can't seem to take the time to cook.
  4. Body/Mind, Work/Life Balance? Oh, p'shaw. My body is a two-legged sack of balloons. My skin is the consistency of a paper shopping bag, but it looks like a potato sack because there are tuffs of hair pasted on to the bag (, which holds balloons of various sizes).
But that's just the downside. See me, I gotta lotta upside in my life. Part 2. Upsides
  1. Herself: But that's obvious. We're like the Footprints Prayer over here in the Brown House. Or Smith and Jones, in that Silver Jews number.
  2. SonicYouth/SonVolt/Slint(/Springsteen?!?): update post soon.
  3. Shoegaze: It matches the weather. In particular I've listened to the magnetic morning full-length thrice since I e-music'd it yesterday (even notwithstanding the american apparel-ish alb cover). Do you guys do the emusic? I'd like to, uh, monitor yr playlists and share recommendations with you.
  4. Over-the-counter cold medicines: this has to stop. Not sure they help at all. I just like the plop-plop, fizz-fizz aesthetic. (Honorable mention: cough drops [not lozenges.] "Honey-lemon" and "eucolyptus," specifically.)
  5. It's sweater weather: what? This post has 'emo' in its title. Do you need a road map?
  6. Cardinology vinyl pack: 'love the t-shirt, 'haven't rocked the bonus 7" yet...comic book is awesome. Lengthy alb review coming soon. Commenter David, among others, received a warped 12". 'Mine has a surface scratch but no audible flaws.
  7. Crime Novels: crime novels in particular, Ross MacDonald and Lawrence Block in particular. I'm going back to the well, even opting to crack the seal on what may be the last (?!?) of the Matt Scudder novels, certainly the last one I haven't yet read.
  8. "Organizing Grievances" and organizing grievances: top-shelf!
  9. The return of implicitly (not explicitly) lewd texts/emails/voice messages/ground mailings from evil r+b: how long until I start posting poems again, at this rate?
  10. Chris Matthews: much to a lotta peoples' chagrin(s), including, sometimes, mine.
  11. French fries: yeah, there's this place just a block away from the Brown House that makes, I think, the best french fries in Eugene. (Better yet, they come with a special "french fry dipping sauce" that features horseradish, but nonetheless reminds me of the famous white sauce" that accompanied the mozzarella sticks back at Shenanigans', where cool kids like evil r + b once glommed underage frat sodas.) Eugenians, which restaurant do you think has the best fries? I'm prepared to get exploratory about starch this Rainy Season.
so anyway, there's the nov 2008 catalog. what works for you when "times" are "tuff"?

Merit Pay and the AFT

I seem to remember a certain union offering Obama's support for merit pay as a prime reason to support his Democratic opponents in the primaries. Oh the times, they are a changin'.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A teachers union said it is open to President-elect Barack Obama’s effort to tie pay raises to student performance.

Many teachers dislike the idea; Obama was booed when he mentioned it at union meetings in 2007 and again this year.

Yet Randi Weingarten, the newly elected president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Monday there is a role for teacher raises based on how pupils are learning.

“Of course there is,” she said in a speech at the National Press Club.

She described the teacher pay system in New York City, where schoolwide bonuses are based on overall test scores in high-poverty schools. Weingarten, as head of the New York teachers union, negotiated the system last year with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The new system is working, she said: Teachers already are getting bonuses for improving pupil achievement in 128 of 200 eligible schools.

“If an innovation is collaborative and fair, teachers will embrace it, and it will succeed,” she said.

Monday’s speech was the first major address for Weingarten as newly elected president of the 1.4 million-member AFT.

It came at a time of great anticipation by the two big teachers unions — AFT and the larger National Education Association. Both were effectively shut out of the administration of President George W. Bush. Bush’s first education secretary, Rod Paige, once labeled the NEA “a terrorist organization.”

As Obama seeks education reform, “no issue should be off the table,” Weingarten said, with just one exception: Her union opposes publicly funded vouchers for parents to send kids to private school.

In her speech, Weingarten avoided serious controversy. Though she mentioned the New York system — and was introduced by Bloomberg — she said nothing about the thornier issue of pay raises for individual teachers, as opposed to schoolwide bonuses.
Actually, I have no problem with this, as we should always be up for ideas that are collaborative and fair; but as our friend Han Solo once said, that's the real trick, isn't it? Management doesn't like to give up control and they'd have to give up a lot to make sure merit pay didn't just become "raises for ass-kissers." It would probably also be good for teachers unions to make this a bargaining, rather than electoral, issue.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Benny Hill than Beckham

In case you weren't keeping up with the latest tactical innovations in the beautiful game:
Catania, a team in [Italy]'s top division, unveiled the new look while taking a free kick. The players lined up in a wall and dropped their shorts in an effort to block the goalkeeper's vision.

The Sicilian team carried out the maneuver to perfection Sunday. Three players dropped their shorts practically to their knees so Torino goalie Matteo Sereni couldn't see the kick by Giuseppe Mascara, who scored during Catania's 3-2 victory.

State of Hillary

I wonder what you all think about this.... crap? not crap?

as for EZ.....

not crap...

You've Gotta Be Bleeping Me

Oh jeepers! Colorado's M54, the anti-union-security initiative we narrowly defeated under the name of M64 here in Oregon, has passed! Note how the authors over at UnionNews seem to've conflated collective bargaining with "no-bid contracts."

"Detroit"/"GM" bailout Open Thread

Weaver's Way Co-op - Beyond Green Blog
h/t ezra klein

(Anybody expecting me to lay down an un-measured "not crap" or "crap" on this topic overestimates me. But let's read this article above - which looks it emanates from just the vantage point I needed to hear from - and hold forth, spew links, etc., in the comments thread. Or we can just pretend this post never happened.)

Take That, You Mainstream Science Guys!

When I arrived on campus today, I noticed that the ubiquitous green newspaper boxes that normally carry a daily dose of college newspaper goodness were empty or still sporting last Friday's edition. Thinking that the kids at the Daily Emerald must have screwed the pooch and not gotten an edition out, I headed over to the webpage for some sort of explanation.

There is no apology for not getting the edition out, nor any overt explanation as to why there are no hard copies available in the boxes, but today's top story might provide some clues.

A Global farce?
A number of researchers say that despite public opinion, global warming may be a result of natural causes

That's right, it appears that the Emerald has come out against human-caused global warming.

All I can say is, WTF? No wonder they don't want to print that shit.

Is This Helping Anything?

This ad has been up at LGM since before the election. It bothers me. A lot. The ad bothers me, but it also bothers me that the LGM guys and gals have let it be up, but I haven't said anything about it, so I'll let them slide for the moment.

What is the purpose of this ad? Well to get me to click on the link, of course, but what is the fucking connection between scantily clad women who would be slightly more likely to sleep with me because I am a Democrat and the progressive agenda? The only connection I can figure out is that they are the exact fucking opposite of each other.

We have a lot of work to do in this country. We have a fucked up health care system. We have a fucked up education system. We have a fucked up tax system. We are currently engaged in more military conflicts than the government sees fit to tell us about. What we don't need to have to do is remind our ostensible allies that treating women as sex objects to sell products is bad for everyone. You can't sell progress with retrograde means. You cannot uplift while you degrade.

In short, we are not the party of sexism. Our tent cannot be big enough for this. Sexists find comfort in the Republican party. If this is how you reach out to people, we don't want you.

Now, to write to the LGMers.

Related Tangentially At Best

Obviously, there is much discussion of the potential bailout of US automakers, with each ideological side picking it's particular bete noir for blame. I am personally in the "crappy car" crowd. I am being assured that this is all in the past and American automakers are churning out excellent cars that everybody loves, but I am not so sure. For instance, Scott assures me that "Cadillac makes as good a car as anyone in the luxury market," but I am not convinced. My sources tell me otherwise.

Moreover, I have just had the (mis)pleasure of driving an American car around for a week and I was not much encouraged by the experience. As mentioned before, my rental car was a Chevy HHR. Not sure what the people at Chevy were thinking exactly when they designed the HHR. One likes to believe that before an automaker spends millions rolling out a new car that years of extensive market research have gone into it and that Chevy identified a huge market that wanted a PT Cruiser, just more expensive. I get the sense, however, that the research put into this car was five guys sitting around a table making pronouncements about what Americans want. In the end, they settled on the tried and true, "Americans want large cars that get slightly better gas mileage than the larger cars they already own, so let's build a 'smallish SUV'" line of thinking that has served them so well.

As for the actual design of the car, I am assuming that monkeys were involved. Monkeys that were unfamiliar with actually driving a car. I won't get much into the handling and all that. I was driving up and down freeways, so it really wasn't much of a factor. I do agree with Car and Driver that overall the ride was mush and you had to pay attention to keeping the car going straight. Keeping the thing going a constant speed also proved a challenge as I would slowly drift up toward 85 without realizing it. I never really found a comfortable position for my foot to rest without it applying too much pressure to the gas. As far as interior styling, hard plastic cannot be beat, so there is no point to be made there. More important, however, we the serious design flaws that were a danger to me and others.

The seat was set very high up. It did not go down. The high seat was combined with a seat that was set at a pretty steep incline, so that in order to sit with your back against the seat, you were leaning pretty far back and forced to sit up straight. Sitting up straight is good, except when the high seat means that you are sitting high enough that you really can't see out of much of the windshield. I literally had to duck down to see traffic lights from more than 300 yards out.

Then there was the issue of the blind spot. Looking over the left shoulder gave me the view of nothing but the interior of the left side of the vehicle. There could have been any number of things rolling next to me on the driver's side, but I would not have known what they were. The passenger side was a little better, but heaven help the bicyclist rolling up on one of these babies.

I am also not a big fan of tinted windows, as I like my review mirror to be functional, but I realize I march out of lock-step with my fellow Americans on that score.

In the end, I wondered if anyone had driven a proto-type of the car before they rolled it out, or if it went from design to production without a pause. I have to assume so, or someone at Chevy might have realized that this car was destined to become another American joke that wasn't going to help anyone sell more cars.

Any American car drivers out there want to make a pitch for American cars that doesn't involve union loyalty?

Sonics, Funnies Horn Circumambulated

  1. SCORE! Merge is 20! I must own this boxed set, if only as penance for being such a Superchunk-a-dummy, and of course for the Scharpling and Wurster materials.
  2. Andrew Earles has won himself a long-due place on my "everyday reads" blogroll. Need proof? Note his forthcoming Hüsker Dü book, his hipping me to the new Unsolved Mysteries series, and of course this insane spree on Matador Records' Matablog.
  3. Patton Oswalt is writing a book?!?
  4. So happy, so honored to see Gabba citing the OG as he goes about his own mode of politico-punk exposition. And god knows I cannot wait for that Hoover 7" to be upped.
  5. Oh, and seriously... no love for Wobs' fab Sat5 survey?

I really need to start paying closer attention

to the seemingly-endless stream of e-mails that flood my inbox from my "why interact with another human when you could send them 68 electronic messages" director. One of said communications, which I barely half-digested, landed me at the conference I am currently attending (or will be, as soon as I finish my latte) in Minnesota. This is the first time I have been to a conference in my "new life"--that is to say, the first time I have attended a conference that is not (a) in/related to my academic discipline or (b) pertaining to grad employee unions (insert long, mournful sigh here...). It probably speaks to my current mental state vis-a-vis my job that I really didn't even look that closely at the conference announcement. Me: "Wha? Go to conference? I'm on it, boss..." Logistics? Check. Family arrangements made? Check. Close examination of content? Uh-oh...

And so it happens that I am sitting in a coffee shop in Saint Paul, about to attend the U.S. Department of Education's 22nd Annual Meeting on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention in Higher Education conference, "Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Our Students: Widening the Lens of Prevention." I am so checked out from this that until I arrived late last night I had not even processed that the DOE was the sponsor!

I am (obviously) here for the violence prevention part. The fact that alcohol and drug "abuse" are in the mix is a delicious personal irony. (But the fact that every day starts and ends with a twelve-step meeting--seriously, I kid you not--suggest that I am not the only one in the warning: hypocrisy alert boat.) As I always do at the beginning of a conference, I am poring over the program and marking the sessions I plan to attend. I am going to be a good girl and actually attend the sessions devoted to violence against women (a program on reporting options; a two-part case-study about a comprehensive violence-prevention framework; a session on program assessment; maybe something on social marketing).

But, oh! Look what I will have to miss in the process: There is a session on FERPA led by--guess who???--LeRoy Rooker! There's a name I remember fondly! And an intriguing-sounding session called "U.S. Dept. of Education-U.S. Secret Service Threat Assessment Training." That will, no doubt, be a blast. It's led--as it turns out, many workshops are--by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. 

Um, how did I get here again?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A lesson in the improper attribution of causality and demographics

From the comments (Nov. 16, 5:07 AM) of an article posted at the hilariously mistitled American Thinker:

I live in an Atl, GA suburban county voted in the same precinct for the last 16 years. My County is 68% White, 16% Black and 16% minority mix of hispanic, oriental, hindu and muslim.

In the last 5 years three muslim mosques and one gigantic Hindu World Temple have been built within 1 mile radius of my residence. The property values have dropped here nearly 75% in that same time period.

(h/t Sadly, No!)

Po-mo ear candy

I've always been a fan of the cut-and-paste sample technique employed by musicians since the mid-80s (my two favorite examples being the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique and Beck's Odelay). I've lately become interested in "mash-ups" where bits of music are spliced and/or layered together to create re-contextualized sonic landscapes (check out Dangermouse's Grey Album (a mash-up of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album - torrent here) or the disappointing Beatles mash-up Love). Stumbling upon Girl Talk's Feed the Animals, however, has taken my interest to a whole new level.

To call this composition jaw-dropping is to sell it short. Feed the Animals is quite simply the most compulsive listen I've acquired in at least the last ten years. With literally over a hundred different pieces of pop ephemera sampled for this album, it's fun just to try to pick out all the songs you know from the mix - and you'll know tons. Greg Gillis (the computer jockey with the world's most awesome record collection who is Girl Talk) draws equally from 60s pop, 70s arena rock, 80s and 90s alternative, and even some modern pop hits to anchor a smorgasbord of hip-hop rhymes (some of which I even recognized, thanks to long hours in the GTFF office with dave). On paper, an album which samples Twisted Sister, Salt 'n Pepa, Kenny Loggins, L'il Jon, Chicago, 50 Cent, Argent, Tone Loc, Phil Collins, Busta Rhymes, and Huey Lewis would seem like an unmitigated disaster. In Girl Talk's actual execution, though, it's sublime.

After the novelty of the first few listens, Feed the Animals reveals itself as more than the sum of its parts, becoming a cohesive whole where the constituent pieces seamlessly blend as if they were meant to be together. The various splices and layers are remarkably, if ironically, conversant with each other. Hearing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" mixed with Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" and MC Hammer's "Too Legit to Quit" is hilariously good listening. Youngbloodz and L'il Jon chanting "If you don't give a damn we don't give a fuck" over the iconic organ riff from Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" works on a number of different levels. But when I heard Salt 'n Pepa's "Push It" layered over Dee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart" and Nirvana's "Lithium," I knew I was in the presence of genius.

The album is a 53 minute bacchanal frenzy. I read somewhere that if you like music, you'll love Girl Talk. I heartily endorse this. And the best thing about it? It's available at a name-your-own-price fee over the internets. Fair warning: you will have to justify being a cheapskate and trying to pick it up for free. But seriously, kick the guy down some corn to keep him in business - I paid the $10 plus $3 s&h so I could get a copy of the CD in addition to the mp3 download, and I've gotten my money's worth several times over.

A final word to those who believe that because it's a bunch of samples mixed on a computer "anyone can do it." You can't. Fuck off.

Bonus fun fact: this is post #666.

Reunited (and it feels so good)

I'll just quickly interject a personal post to report that the much-anticipated east coast OG reunion happened this week--albeit without wobs and lil' e., which was a shame but, apparently, wholly unavoidable--and it was lovely! I had the pleasure of socializing with Dave and his lovely wife in my very own home after being separated from his dave-y goodness for five long years. (Almost impossible to believe it's been that long since I left Eugene...) I finally got the chance to introduce my old friend to my, um, high-spirited two-year-old (who was extra-exuberant for the occasion) and Dave and the missus were kind enough to join us for a small birthday celebration on Friday night, where we shared gossip and bbq while toddlers and Duke mathematicians ran amok around us. As always, Dave took the chaos in stride and reminded me why I miss having him around so much. (And no, Dave, that's not sarcasm. We do truly miss you!)

Thanks, guys! It was the best birthday I have had in years. Thanks, too, for the "Baltar is my Homeboy" shirt, which so perfectly showcases my inner geek and which I will treasure, and for quite possibly the rockingest grad union t-shirt around, which arrived in the mail yesterday and which I am wearing as I type this from the Charlotte airport on my way to Minneapolis. Can't wait to see you again--maybe in Miami? maybe back in the 541 some time soon?

(By the way, while I am blogging from the airport and writing about travel, does anyone have any idea why rocking chairs are such a ubiquitous feature in Southern airports? I'm sitting here in Charlotte--on the floor by my gate, not in a rocker--and rocking chairs are everywhere. In fact, the information signs actually highlight this feature, putting it on par with other conveniences such as free wireless internets. I am from here and I still can see how this is a selling point, an amenity, or  a travel essential...)

Anyway, glad everyone made it back safely. I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me once I reach the Twin Cities.

Next Up: Supplemental Watercooler

I was watching some television programing and a commercial for Aflac came on. Everyone knows I love ducks, so I was hooked in for the full fifteen seconds. This particular ad was touting Aflac for business. One of the main selling points was that I could provide Aflac for my employees "at no direct cost" to my company. I am somewhat familiar with the health insurance field, so I know that in the employer-provided insurance world, there are generally only two payers, the employer and/or the employee. It seemed as if Aflac was encouraging me to provide my employees with the benefits of supplemental insurance by making them pay for it themselves. Since the words "benefit," "provide," and "pay for it yourself" are not naturally found in the same sentence, I thought I'd check out the website.

I first learned that adding Aflac benefits was a great way to attract and retain quality employees. Seems reasonable. Lord knows that if any other union offered me supplemental insurance, I'd drop the GTFF like yesterday's hush puppies.

The second thing I learned was that I could do this at no cost to my company. This was, of course, what we were here for. How could I attract top-notch employees without paying a dime for it? Here's how:
Aflac’s policies are 100% employee-paid and are purchased on a voluntary basis. Many companies choose to make Aflac policies available as a cost-effective solution to help employees with the rising cost of out-of-pocket health care expenses.

Sweet Jeebus! Apparently, I can not only attract super-duper employees with the promise of teh deluxe in supplemental insurance, but I can get my employees to pay for it themselves, and...and...I am being lead to realize...that I can stop paying those burdensome health insurance costs once I have provided my employees with the opportunity to buy their own supplemental insurance! I might have to maintain some sort of minimum coverage, but still, combine these savings with the increased profits I'll be making with my A-1 workforce, and I'll be able to finally start living the small businessman's dream. Unlimited coke and hookers, here I come!