Archive for December 2nd, 2011
Employment was up 120,000 last month and the unemployment rate dropped significantly, to 8.6% in November down from 9% in October. Job growth in October and September was revised up by 72,000.
While the employment story has improved over the past few months, the decline in the November unemployment rate isn’t as good as it sounds. People who drop out of the labor force, like those who give up looking for work, are not counted in the jobless rate, and about half of the 0.4 percentage point decline was due to this factor. In fact, about 190,000 of the unemployed left the labor force last month.
Once again, the private sector added jobs — 140,000 last month — and the public sector cut them (down 20,000).
The report is consistent with slightly better economic performance over the past few months (continue reading…)
Co-authored with Eli Pariser
This week, blogs erupted with news that Siri had a “blind spot” when it comes to women’s health. Ask Siri, Apple’s latest app, a voice-activated personal assistant, where to get an abortion or where to find emergency contraception, and it typically replies, “Sorry, I don’t see any places matching [your query].” Or worse, as some media outlets reported, Siri only provided locations for “crisis pregnancy centers,” unlicensed clinics that don’t actually provide health care. Instead, they target women with misinformation and propaganda.
No one owns the Internet, and we tend to assume that no one can control it (continue reading…)
The latest polls indicate that approximately 75 percent of Americans agree with the goals of Occupy Wall Street. Nonetheless, only 29 percent consider themselves supporters of OWS. What accounts for this enthusiasm gap?
The October Time magazine poll asked respondents if they agreed with the positions advocated by Occupy Wall Street and discovered extraordinary concurrence. 86 percent agreed that, “Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence in Washington.” 79 percent agreed that, “The gap between rich and poor in the United States has grown too large.” 71 percent agreed with “”Executives of financial institutions responsible for the financial meltdown in 2008 should be prosecuted.” And 68 percent agreed that, “The rich should pay more taxes.” Nonetheless, there remains a 45-50 percent enthusiasm gap, because the same voters who express these strong positive sentiments say they don’t support OWS (continue reading…)
The Genie Is Out of the Bottle People Everywhere are Claiming Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
As we look around our world we see a plethora of outcries, protest and revolutions demanding change. On the surface they seem to be very different groups with different agendas, from vastly different cultures, different races and even different generations. The remarkable thing however, is that this phenomena is happening almost everywhere, in the same timeframe and at a volume unlike anything we have seen in the history of humankind. This should cause us to ask some very important, fundamental questions:
On a deep level, could there be some common yearnings in people that connect all of these cries for change?
Why now and why everywhere; is there a common cause beyond the obvious economic and political conditions?
Could there be a shared vision of life’s possibilities and potential growing in the hearts and minds of people around the world?
In the mist of the chaos and confusion of our time we tend to be too blinded by our “day to day” struggles and parochial focus, to see what might be unfolding on a macro bases (continue reading…)
It’s been just over a week since that gluttonous gathering we call Thanksgiving.
Have you been traipsing around overwhelmed with guilt about the feasting that took place? Are your stretchy pants taking center stage in your closet this week?
Sure, it started with a simple sampling at the cheese tray, then you couldn’t turn down that delicious pumpkin bread, and before you know it you’re three dinner rolls deep and it’s not getting better anytime soon. I call it “The Plunge” and trust me, it happens to the best of us.
Let me let you in on a secret: Losing weight is all about how you recover from major events like holidays, celebrations and vacations (continue reading…)
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan once chided Wall Street for what he termed “irrational exuberance,” in a time when stock prices were clearly racing ahead of reality, but I believe the exuberance we have seen this week is both rational and long overdue.
Today’s employment report was simply the icing on the cake for a week of good news as the November unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent and we created 140,000 new private sector jobs.
Stock markets surged on Wednesday in response to a broad-based currency intervention by the world’s central banks, led by the Federal Reserve, to ameliorate the credit crunch by providing cheaper dollar liquidity to the European banking system. The European banks were flirting with a Lehman-style credit implosion because they could not get sufficient dollar liquidity based on Euro assets — all part of the continuing drama surrounding the fiscal stability of several Euro nations.
The central bank action amounts to quantitative easing on a global scale. The Fed and other central banks too are providing dollars at a cheaper rate than they would have under normal conditions. As we saw with the earlier Fed Quantitative Easing in the United States, this action provides economic nourishment that equity and commodity markets love.
At the same time, and also of great importance, China made a determination that slow growth is its number one problem, not inflation (continue reading…)
Tom Cruise recently announced that his next starring vehicle will be an action-packed adaptation of a graphic novel with the title, All You Need Is Kill, which is itself a unique, playful take on the Beatles’ classic song, “All You Need Is Love.”
But that’s not the only Beatles classic that Hollywood plans to adapt into a big budget thriller. Realizing they could go much further, Hollywood is gunning to develop a host of other Beatles songs into action or horror franchises.
Below, a list of other songs in development:
Yellow Submarine And Guns
Nicolas Cage is a lonely submarine captain who is attacked by a band of mutated fish. He takes matters into his own hands, using guns.
Old Lady Edna living in the rickety blue house may seem kind, but she isn’t who she says she is (continue reading…)
She’s generating major buzz – perhaps even Oscar buzz – for her role in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.
But actress Judy Greer is just happy to be in the film at all.
“Oh, I expected to be cut out,” she says earnestly, sitting in a conference room in the office of Fox Searchlight Pictures in New York this week. “This is obviously a nicer way to go.”
With her endearingly high-pitched voice and sunny disposition, Greer is a lot like the characters she’s played in a variety of films and TV series: too self-aware to be chirpy or perky and yet managing to be bubbly just the same.
Her pessimistic view of her work in The Descendants is not “because of the work,” she says, “but because I always expect to be cut out.
“I usually play supporting characters,” the 36-year-old actress says. “When a movie gets long, those are the first to go. It’s never like I have the assumption that I’ll be in the movie (continue reading…)
The Obama Administration will be making some important decisions over the coming weeks that will determine to a large extent whether consumers or health insurers will be the biggest beneficiaries of health care reform.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act last year, it included a controversial provision that insurers insisted on but which is undoubtedly the most unpopular part of the law: a requirement that all Americans not eligible for a public program like Medicare or Medicaid must buy coverage from a private insurance company.
To make that mandate fairer and more palatable, Congress also included provisions that eventually will make several of the insurance industry’s most egregious practices illegal, such as refusing to sell coverage to people just because they have a pre-existing condition. The law also prohibits insurers from selling “junk” insurance and from cancelling policyholders’ coverage at the time they need it most–when they get sick.
Just as important, the law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of our premium dollars on actual medical care, and it requires them to provide us with much more information–in language we can understand–to help us choose a policy that makes the most sense for us and our families when we’re shopping for coverage.
The Obama administration has the responsibility of writing rules to carry out all of the law’s provisions, and several of those rules are expected to be announced soon.
Many consumer advocates are concerned that the administration is listening more to insurers than to them. And possibly for good reason.
It was disclosed by POLITICO just this week that Aetna, the third largest health insurer, was granted a private meeting on November 16 with top administration officials. Records show that the meeting took place just days after an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services sent to the Office of Management and Budget its proposed final rule on the provision requiring insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premium revenue on their policyholders’ medical care (continue reading…)
The oldest definition that anyone has found for the term “cocktail” describes a drink with exactly four ingredients: A spirit (of course), water, bitters and sugar.
Now, we’re sure you’re familiar with water. And our Spirits 101 articles will give you the basics on liquors of all kinds. Plus, whether you want to buy artisanal bitters or make them yourself, we’ve got you covered.
So today we’re talking about sweeteners. While sugar or simple syrup may be the standard, cocktails now incorporate a wide range of sweet flavors (continue reading…)
We are in an era of medicine where we can now make far more accurate diagnoses thanks to technological advances in diagnostic imaging and laboratory analysis of blood, urine, saliva and body tissues. We also now have at our disposal treatment capabilities that only a decade ago were not possible. Advances in surgery and medicine have vastly improved our treatment outcomes. Our improved ability to diagnose and treat has saved or prolonged millions of lives and has improved the quality of life for just as many people (continue reading…)
Given the acute distress often associated with sleeplessness, it’s not surprising that so many of us respond to it with limited stop-gap, band-aid type solutions. In my practice I’ve found that so much of what we do to manage sleeplessness simply makes it worse.
We Work Too Hard At Getting To Sleep
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We cannot literally “go to sleep.” Believing we must be intentional and even calculating
to steal into the elusive world of sleep further activates and tethers us to waking. In
letting go of intention we discover that sleep is always present just beneath the surface of waking (continue reading…)
The Nomading Film Festival Travel Tip #1
Have you ever been robbed at knife point? Have you ever wished you could stop lying about the fanny pack you own? Have you ever wondered how you could hide a few hundred emergency dollars amongst your travel gear while on the road?
Josh Wolff of The Nomading Film Festival shares a very low cost solution with a book and some glue.
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read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
Staring down at the roasted pig’s head adorning a kiosk at the Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival at the Hilton Waikoloa on the Island of Hawaii, I had no idea the wild bore I had just happily sampled would mark the start of a weekend I can only describe as the ultimate foodie fantasy.
After flying in from Seattle, we checked into our room at the neighboring Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort with just enough time to shower and change before heading to the Taste event. The rush was worth it. The event showcases everything that’s great about the local Hawaiian food/agriculture scene, including luscious organic produce and top chefs who bring the best out of locally raised (or wild) pig, beef and lamb. The event has a nose-to-tail philosophy which, depending on the luck of the draw, sees chefs creating delicacies from not only the most popular cuts of meat, but also the least appetizing including tripe and the now infamous mountain oyster, aka bull calf testicles.
Each year participating local chefs draw to see which meat they’ll prepare for Taste about a month prior to the event in order to come up with a concept designed to wow the large crowd of foodies who attend annually (continue reading…)
President Obama and many Democrats are making the case for an expansion of the payroll tax holiday primarily on the grounds of protecting middle-class families from a tax hike. This is intrinsically problematic even if it seems politically expedient.
The one-year Social Security payroll tax holiday set to expire at the end of December reduced employees’ payroll taxes by 2.0 percentage points, increasing disposable income by $112 billion in 2011 and generating upwards of a million jobs. The Senate is expected to take up an expansion of the tax cut that would provide a 3.1 percentage-point reduction for employees and partially reduce employers’ payroll taxes (continue reading…)
‘Was it that bad?’ Geoff is leaning forward expectantly, black coffee cooling at his elbow.
‘Grim,’ I say. I’ve tried to delete the details of my excruciating date with Toby, the guy who picked me up in Dr Ling’s waiting room, but somehow they won’t dissolve.
‘I’m retiring from the dating ring,’ I say. ‘Too traumatising.’
Geoff nods his approval. ‘It’s time you focused on yourself,’ he says, parroting the Californian relaxation coach whose CDs I regularly have to review (continue reading…)
The disgraceful attack by hardline Basijis – the same group that beat and killed peaceful demonstrators in Iran in 2009 – against the British embassy in Tehran appears on the surface to be a response to Britain’s role in imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. The US and the EU are preparing new sanctions on Iran, including potentially Central Bank and oil sanctions. And there has been an onslaught of computer viruses, assassinations of Iranian scientists, and several Iranian facilities have blown up in just a few weeks. Viewing the attack on the British embassy as a response to the increasing pressure Iran is faced with may be accurate (continue reading…)
They can dish it out, but they sure can’t take it.
Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann demanded an apology from NBC because the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” played while she walked onto Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wanted to hear an “I’m sorry,” too, after he was offended by an 18-year-old’s disparaging tweet about him.
You know what? I agree with them. Representative Bachmann was a guest on Mr. Fallon’s show, and as anyone who knows anything about etiquette knows, it is always impolite to insult a guest (continue reading…)
I was appalled when I read excerpts from Vibe’s interview with rapper T.I.: he said that the gay community is too sensitive to jokes made at their expense. T.I. starts with a disclaimer, saying that he’s OK with any sexual “preference,” but goes on to say, “If you’re against [being gay], you should also have the right to be against it in peace.” Most obnoxious was when T.I. condoned Tracy Morgan’s venomous diatribe against gays, which took place earlier this year.
His idea is that anti-gay sentiments are acceptable, and that it’s ridiculous for the gay community to backlash against this expression of free speech (continue reading…)
It’s officially the holiday season, and I’m sure millions of us traveled across the country to not only stuff ourselves with turkey but also share a thankful and loving moment with our families and friends. My partner and I got our turkey stuffing in my home state of Mississippi, but we had to fly out of Memphis because Tupelo’s airport is a tad small. I’ve got to say, the small propeller planes terrify me.
Upon traveling back to L.A., my partner and I accidentally looked like the Wonder Twins with our matching University of Southern California hoodies. Normally, we’d run from being “Clothing Twinkies,” but when it’s freezing cold outside, all fashion ideologies are out the window (continue reading…)
My oldest son turned 7 a couple of months ago, and we had a big party with most of our family and friends. My niece Jamie arrived late because she had dance class that day. The present process had already been completed, and all the kids were running around like the crazy people they are. When my son spotted Jamie, he ran straight for her and engulfed her in one of his full-body hugs (continue reading…)
For those who’ve read my work and listened to my radio shows over the years, the title of this post will probably come as a surprise, but there’s good reason for trans people and allies to be grateful to Barney Frank for his work in Congress in advancing the cause of LGBT rights. As for why, let me tell you a little story.
I came out as trans woman in 1997, and it wasn’t long afterward that I began following LGBT community media and the politics surrounding the community. At the time, there really wasn’t much, and what was available focused almost exclusively on non-trans gay men and lesbians. Two notable exceptions to this rule were a Boston-based radio show called “Gendertalk” and an online LGBT radio station called GAYBC.
Barney Frank did interviews with both of these media in the late ’90s, and whenever the subject of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and transgender inclusion in the bill came up, his answer was always the same: “There are no votes for that.” We didn’t want to hear that, of course (continue reading…)
Performing is my passion. Being onstage is at once exhilarating, beguiling, and fulfilling. But it’s hard. Being an actor is a difficult career for countless reasons, not the least of which are the inconsistency of the work (actors are the serial unemployed) and the frequent, harsh criticism to which we’re constantly subjected (continue reading…)
The Six Pack is a new-school, cutting-edge radio show hosted by DJ Ben Harvey and comedian Dave Rubin. Distributed online and on SiriusXM, the show gives you a weekly dose of hot topics, celebrity guests, and brand new music, all packaged in six convenient parts. Ben and Dave take you on a journey through what’s trending now, from news to views to dudes. Previous guests include Joy Behar, Andy Cohen, Fran Drescher, Steve-O, Congressman Barney Frank and many more.
Currently in its third year, The Six Pack is one of the top comedy podcasts on iTunes, with listenership in over 70 countries (continue reading…)