Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

I’m feeling wordy

I see Souter is retiring.
we didn’t get that in tonight. fuck. we didn’t get that in. when did this news break?
this is what you get with a 10:30 deadline, you miss shit like this. and even if we weren’t rushing to beat it, we should have gotten this. not that it’s terribly important that a small daily gets this in, but a Supreme Court justice retiring is national news. and needs to be mentioned, prominently.
a lot of stuff happened in the news today, so let’s recap.
but before we begin: you know, I read the news for a living. and I must admit that despite a lot of other bullshit that comes along with it, it’s not a horribly bad job to have.

Chrysler has declared bankruptcy. that’s a lot of jobs in Ohio, Michigan and Kokomo. here are the terms:

1. The new company will be run by a nine person board, with six independent members appointed by the government and three appointed by Fiat, including an employee. The board will elect a chairman and select a chairman “with the concurrance of Fiat,” (current CEO Robert) Nardelli said.
2. Fiat will start with a 20 percent stake, in value and voting rights, in the new company, increasing it to 35 percent based on performance.
3. the US and Canadian governments get a collective 10 percent. and the union health fund trust gets 55 percent, without equivalent voting rights.

the union gets a majority stake. wow.
as the Detroit automakers have shuddered over the last few months, the UAW has been questioned a lot. they’ve lost a lot of members in the last couple of years. but at the same time, they’ve been throwing a lot of money at Democrats,  and it looks like it’s paying off.
because now they have Chrysler.
in other union news, the Boston Globe might be forced to close because its management — the NY Times Company — wants concessions from its assorted unions to save an annual $20 million. this could happen tomorrow. the Boston Globe is 137 years old. 
no one seems to the the word, or the idea of unions. now I understand that we’re watching the collapse and reorganization of the American auto industry, and unions (or in this case the United Auto Workers) are heavily involved in that situation, but unions seem to catch blame in this day and age an awful lot, and I have to question how much of that is assigned fairly.
if I said ‘union’ in my office, two things could happen: I would be laughed at, and then I might be taken seriously and fired. not that I’m interested in unionizing at all; that’s just anecdotal. but many opinions I hear of organized labor are pretty poor. and that’s fine, they’re entitled to them. but the feeling I get is that any gains made by the union are usually seen setbacks for profitability, for success. labor is either a neutral, and tolerated, or a negative, and the problem.
sure they can be a negative force. but why is the general concensus that they are usually? why are we of this opinion? I don’t understand why a healthy labor movement is so awful for the economy. labor’s been shrinking for a while now, and as that has happened, wages have grown stagnant, the rich have grown fewer and richer, and the economy has recently exploded while we’ve been paying bankers eight-figure salaries to trade in things they literally made up. like credit default swaps. do you know what a credit default swap is? it’s Bullshit, with real-world implications. the phrase “financial products” makes the blood rush to my head.
the unions in this country provide what the governments of most first-world countries do on their own: health care and decent pensions. even when we’re not spending $3 trillion, like Obama is suggesting now, we spend most of our budget on the military. don’t forget all those wars we gotta fight.

swine flu has arrived in Virginia. oh jesus christ. board up your windows.
there are two cases of suspected swine flu in the state, and one is in central Virginia, near Richmond. I have no fear of catching swine flu. at all. but I know people will read the shit out of that story in a newspaper, which is exactly why it’s been on our front page for three days this week. also: I have the pleasure of knowing the reporter who has been assigned to write these stories. we had barbeque for lunch on tuesday.
swine flu is another topic that gets ridiculed a lot at work. “the media is hyping it up. there’s no story, what’s the big deal, no one’s gonna die, everyone’s running around, panicking like assholes.” I’ve been a part of this as well, but I’m starting to dovetail in my criticism. is the media overhyping it? yes. in our case, it may be ridiculous to put swine flu in a blowout package on the front page, but again, that shit sells papers. and it will sell even more tomorrow, when it’s noticed that there was or is swine flu 100 miles down the road. so I get the decision to put it out front.
but the ridiculing of the response, I don’t. the man-on-the-street response is stupid, yes, but when you hear the World Health Organization calling for more flu vaccines to be distributed and warning a pandemic is imminent, it’s because it’s responding to a fast-moving virus. if it spreads, it’ll get big and mutate, and then it gets dangerous. the reason that not many people are going to become sick is not because swine flu isn’t a big goddamn deal. it’s because the response is swift, to the point, and massive.
so. hundred of schools closing across the country? maybe a little drastic. Texas cancels all its high school sporting events? fuck it, why not. who likes track and field anyway?

the Bulls won in triple overtime against Boston. I am getting on the bandwagon on this one. I am, once again, a Chicago Bulls fan. not that I paid any attention during the regular season. but they won at home in triple overtime, and they couldn’t have done it against a bigger bag of dicks than the Celtics.
I swear. it’s like they’re paying Rondo to act the villain, what with him clubbing Miller as his big dumb ass went for the layup at the buzzer in game 5, and then throwing Henrich into the scorer’s table in game 6 … after tripping Heinrich and planting his face into the floor in game 5. that kind of shit — and shit like Joaquim Noah stripping Paul Pierce, dunking on his ass and fouling him out with 40 seconds left in the game  —  makes for entertaining hoops, and it’s a motherfucker that I have to work on saturday night during game 7, which Boston will win. homecourt, afterall.
I need to find my Looney Tunes 3-peat shirt from 1994.
I’m also paying attention to the Blackhawks for the first time in my life, and they came back from 3-down in the third period to lose on a rebound in the 18th minute tonight in the conference semis at Vancouver. but I don’t anything about hockey. so I’m not going to pretend.

and elsewhere
watched a movie last night called ‘The Fountain’, directed by Darren Aronofsky. I think that’s his name. it’s kind of hard to follow, but I get its gist, and it looks great. I like it. very ponderous. I’d have liked to have seen it on the big screen, with big sounds.
the people I watched it with, we watched it all the way through the credits, which could have been because everyone was too lazy to get up and turn off the television, or because the movie made you think, and it was kind of lovely. I like to think it was the latter.
and I hung out with Galia on Saturday night. a thousand miles away from and a few years after the last time I saw her.
I spent a lot of time with Galia in college. two years as a roommate, and one spring break in a car for eight days, and a lot of hanging out. anyway, she’s legit, and Saturday night was a lot of fun. gria. and I’ve got her bed, and I’m about to get in it, and it’s really god damned comfortable.