Deception and Devastation: The Ignored Dark-Sides of Suffering Joblessness

Two of my oldest and dearest friends in life are unemployed and suffering – facing full-blown collapse monetarily and mentally.

Both have graduate degrees, multiple skills, commendable work records and zero job search success despite diligently scouring every source available during the past two years.

Oh, another important factor in the equation of my friends’ exile from employment ranks. Both friends are over fifty, a seeming Bestial Mark during this era when brazen age discrimination trumps traditional discrimination based on race, gender and disability.

Amplifying the anguish my friends harbor already from feeling their joblessness is somehow their fault are increasing reports that employers are refusing to hire unemployed people, citing their jobless status as evidence of their worthlessness as employees.

There may be job fairs, but there are no jobs. Is that fair?There may be job fairs, but there are no jobs. Is that fair?

Employers, according to recent media reports, manufacture myths about the jobless, such as the jobless are unemployed due to poor work performance or that the currently employed are more current in needed proficiencies.

One friend’s downsizing had nothing to do with poor performance and that friend avoided layoff-induced “obsolescence” by returning to college and taking training for additional skills.

Corporate Charters Get the Cash: Philadelphia Charter School Battle Casts Nationwide Shadow

Nationally noted activist/educator Dr. Walter D. Palmer, founder of an innovative charter school in Philadelphia, is in a historic battle with Philadelphia School District officials which could impact charters across Pennsylvania as well as the current debates nationwide over reforming public education.

At issue is the failure of Philadelphia district officials to provide $1.7-million in funds for the high school at Palmer’s charter–money that he says prior school district officials approved but never delivered.

District officials counter that the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Charter School, before launching its high school, never obtained formal approval from the School Reform Commission. As a consequence, they claim the school district owes the school nothing.

The SRC is a state government created and controlled entity that oversees public schools in Philadelphia including the 74 charters operating in that city.

If Palmer looses this battle, now being fought out in Pennsylvania’s appellate Commonwealth Court, it could bankrupt the school he opened in 2000, shuttering the impressive multi-million new building opened a few years ago in an impoverished section of North Philadelphia.

A win for the Palmer School enables charter schools in Philadelphia and statewide to increase enrollments.

American Justice on Trial: Gratuitous Police Violence, False Testimony by Police, and a Rush to Bad Judgment

Hours after police in a Philadelphia suburb proudly paraded Kenneth Woods, 21, in front of the news media as the man responsible for killing a college student during a hi-speed crash while allegedly fleeing police in a stolen SUV, the cops backpedalled, admitting they arrested the wrong man.

Shortly after Woods’ arraignment on vehicular homicide and third-degree murder charges, the real culprit – Donny Sayers – telephoned police, reportedly confessing to his crimes and clearing Woods of any involvement.

That confession imploded a case against Woods that police had previous proclaimed was rock-solid, resting, they claimed, on fingerprint evidence, a cell phone photo and supposedly positive identification by the policeman who had pursued the SUV immediately before the fatal crash. (The driver of the stolen vehicle had fled on foot after the collusion and escaped pursuing police.)

Yet, when law enforcement authorities in Delaware County staged a press conference hours after Sayers’ surprise confession, they refused to fully accept responsibility for erring in so quickly fingering Woods, who was roughly body-slammed during his arrest despite his offering no resistance.

Insider Analysis: Predictions of Democatic Defeat Premature

Incessant news media reports about Republicans retaking Capitol Hill by routing Democrats in the November general election are inaccurate according to the third highest ranking Democrat in Congress, himself a former newspaper publisher.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn concedes Democrats will lose some seats on Capitol Hill but predicts Democrats will both retain and gain enough seats to maintain their majorities in the House and the Senate.

“When you go district by district instead of using a broad Inside-the-Beltway analysis you see Democrats faring well,” said Rep Clyburn during a Monday September 20th meeting with the Editorial Board of The Philadelphia Tribune newspaper.

Three days later, Clyburn, upon emerging from an election campaign strategy meeting at the White House, said Democrats could lose as many as twenty seats in the House but will maintain control with a 234-211 seat margin over Republicans.

For months, predictions from press pundits and pollsters have painted a picture of Republicans snatching control of Capitol Hill by trouncing Democrats in November.

Rep. James ClyburnRep. James Clyburn

Where many analysts see a political tsunami washing away Democrats, the political tea leaves read by Clyburn and others point to a different outcome.

Misery of Massive Unemployment Mocks Meaning of Labor Day

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats deservedly receive criticism for failing to take decisive action on the nation’s deepening crisis of prolonged joblessness – inaction constituting gross negligence.

The defiant intransigent of congressional Republicans painfully aggravates this unemployment crisis.

But give credit where credit is due: Obama and his Capitol Hill critics have been doing a great job in boosting newly created jobs in at least a few areas like sales of anti-Obama paraphernalia plus sales of weapons and ammunition.

Expat Sees Return of Scary Times

Victor Grossman, an expatriate American journalist now in his 80’s and living in Berlin, sees ominous parallels between America’s anti-Communist outrages during the 1950’s and the conservative ‘Blame-The-Other’ assaults rampant today in America, and in many European countries, including Germany.

Grossman ought to know. It was the Red-bating of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s that drove this Harvard grad to make a life-altering decision and leave America behind.

“It’s the same old trick everywhere and it works so often!” the Ivy Leaguer said, warning “It is also a main concentration point of the fascist element.”

A prime driver of the racial/religious intolerance roiling in America today is the FOX News cable network that employs two luminaries in the Blame-The-Other game: Glenn Beck, the broadcast agitator and Sarah Palin, the political hustler/presidential aspirant.

While FOX hosts and guests regularly rail about ‘threats’ facing America from Communism, a large advertiser on FOX is Wal-Mart, America’s largest importer of goods from China, ironically the world’s largest Communist country.

The Lady Who Cried 'Nigger'

So, psycho-babble specialist Dr. Laura Schlessinger spins her shamed retreat from nationally syndicated conservative talk radio with claims that she’s collateral damage in America’s N-word War.

Schlessinger sparked ire in some circles recently when she used the word “nigger” eleven times while scolding a caller to her radio show for lacking a “sense of humor” because that black caller objected to her white husband’s friends and family members constantly making racist remarks.

Schlessinger’s half-hearted apology for that radio rant evaporated quickly with a verbal offensive couching her decision to reject renewing the contract for her highly-rated radio show as a heroic act to regain First Amendment rights “to say what is on my mind” particularly for assailing “special interest groups [who decide] this is the time to silence a voice of dissent.”

Yes, Dr. Laura, too many are “hypersensitive about color” as you proclaimed during your crass responses to that caller who was clearly seeking compassion.

And yes, Dr. Laura, hypocrisy and craziness abound (among all races) around use of the word nigger, the long-standing racist slur now reduced to the sanitized, psychic-salving phrase: “the N-word.”

But please Dr. Laura, stop your BS about you being the real victim here!

Weed Weirdness: Pot Legalization Measure Creates Strange Alliances in California

San Francisco – Two friends debated the merits of California’s pending referendum on pot legalization as they smoked marijuana through a hi-tech electric pipe while sitting inside a swank house where floor-to-ceiling windows artistically framed the glittering night skyline of this city known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and its libertarian attitude towards lifestyles.

Both friends vigorously oppose America’s pot prohibition condemning it as ineffective and fiscally wasteful. Prohibition nationwide costs billions of dollars per year for just enforcement which in 2008 produced 872,721 arrests, with most of those arrests (89 percent) being for mere possession.

However, these friends hold sharply different opinions on California’s Prop 19 with one firmly supporting this ballot measure to legalize possession of an ounce of pot for personal use among adults while the other strongly opposes it.

The supporter sees Prop 19 as reducing government intervention in his life while his friend fears increased government/corporate entanglements with his favored intoxicant.

Government Racism: A Case More Outrageous than Sherrod's Firing

The telephone at the DC area home of Marsha Coleman-Adebayo began ringing non-stop after the story broke recently about the hasty firing of U.S. Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod on false charges of being a racist.

Outraged callers wanted not just to express sympathy over Sherrod’s mistreatment but also to offer continuing support for Coleman-Adebayo, whose epic battle with a federal agency over despicable employment discrimination and retaliation produced America’s first civil rights law of the 21st Century.
Over a dozen years ago Coleman-Adebayo, an MIT-trained PhD, faced an onslaught from officials at the Environmental Protection Agency because she had spoken out about racism within that agency as well as about the EPA’s coddling of a U.S. corporation whose regulation-skirting mining practices in South Africa were seriously injuring workers there.

Philly Knows Better: Republican Scam Machine Again Tries to Smear Obama and Black Activists as Racists

Yet another Republican attack charging “reverse racism” is in play, this one datelined Philadelphia.

The usual suspects – right-wing operatives, conservative media commentators and GOP Congressmen – are portraying two members of the New Black Panther Party, including of one carrying a baton, as having intimidated white voters during the November 4, 2008 presidential election where Obama defeated GOP candidate McCain.

A closer examination by ThisCantBeHappening! however reveals that, just like the doctored video that falsely implied that USDA official Shirley Sherrod was a racist who had denied farm aid to poor whites, this Philly claim of alleged black intimidation of white voters is just more trumped-up nonsense.