The Mack Truck That Hit Paula Deen

Have to say I’ve certainly enjoyed cooking up a Paula Deen recipe or two. Most of her food is guaranteed to send you heart doctor into apoplexy over your sky high cholesterol…

But it was so damn good!

 

Paula is authentic deep South. Unfortunately for some folks that carries a lot of racial baggage. Some of that baggage is in the form of using distasteful racial epithets in common conversation between folks sharing the same background. Usually anymore when there is nobody else around to overhear.

Now, Paula – like myself is old enough to have lived through some of those bad old days of segregation. Led by racist and segregationist Democrats and Dixiecrats making a last stand at the schoolhouse door, folks from her world tried to stop folks from my world from having equal rights.. Attacking and abusing Civil Rights workers at the Lunch Counters. At the worst, even murdering them as they drove down back country roads. There are those who followed those very same Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, where that type of racism was made safe by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for their kind as amply demonstrated even today.

And then there are a lot more Southern  folks who left those ignorant attitudes with the times- even though they seldom to be quite enough in the majority to get elected…

Decent people seldom do anymore.

So…Paula has said some racist things. And judging from how quickly the companies who were partners in her business empire are scrambling  for the door – there is a lot more “bad acting” that hasn’t hit the presses that they are afraid will be uncovered.

But in the scale of things…Whose racism has done more damage t America, Paula and her well used butter dish and southern fried sympathies…

Or the 4 racist thugs in robes and their Uncle Tom sitting the highest court?

Now…Don’t gt me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for Paula. But the reason has a lot less to do with her racism and a lot more to do with a lack of professionalism. Professionalism?

Yeh. When you run a multi-million dollar business – You don’t get to make an ass of yourself like Dan Cathy of Chick Fil A – without some hurt coming down from some pissed customers…And partners who know what it takes to run a business and don’t want to be hit by the shrapnel of an idiot imploding.

Obviously Chick Fil A agrees with Mr Cathy’s lack of professionalism because he is still there.

Since in Paula’s case she is the company, Paula is going to have to suffer the consequences.

 

 

Tammy Duckworth Hammers a Fraud!

At least the woman progressives are being real in terms of standing up for their principles. In this one, during a Congressional Hearing on companies which benefit from Small Business Set Asides for disabled Veterans (In tax hack Darrel Issa’s Committee no less), Tammy unloads on a guy who has fraudulently represented himself as a disabled vet to take advantage of the program…

 

Signs of Life in Detroit

Been hearing rumbles of this for a while. The first thing I heard about was some very creative groups working in the area of urban farming, who were leading the country with revolutionary concepts on hanging urban landscapes. It appears that Detroit may be “catching fire” again with creative talent, drawn by the low rent, and possibilities to chart their own space.

Two years ago, the renowned graffiti artist Revok moved from LA to Detroit Josh Harkinson

Graffiti Artist Revok

Detroit may be down… But it ain’t dead quite yet.

How to Bring Detroit Back From the Grave

“Warning! This city is infested by crackheads. Secure your belongings and pray for your life.” So reads a hand-scrawled sign just off I-75 in Detroit, where a post-apocalyptic cityscape of looted and charred homes has come to represent a sort of sarcophagus of the American Dream.

But beyond simply fueling murders and bribery scandals, decades of hard times have finally birthed new signs of life here in the Motor City, as its gritty neighborhoods attract a burgeoning community of artists, hipsters, and socially minded entrepreneurs. “With a little bit of motivation, you can make anything happen here,” says Jason Williams, a.k.a. Revok, a renowned Los Angeles graffiti artist turned Detroiter, whose lively murals adorn walls not far from the crackhead sign. “It’s all about the reality that you create for yourself.”

For those willing to brave the nation’s most dangerous major city, Detroit offers a tight-knit and successful creative community. The birthplace of Motown and techno still manages to turn out chart-busting artists like Eminem and Jack White. And growing numbers of bohemians have found that a few thousand dollars will buy them a classic brick townhouse or a loft in an art-deco skyscraper. Where old buildings have fallen, hundreds of urban gardens sprout.

Detroit is hardly the first city to lure urban homesteaders with access to cheap and artfully crumbling buildings. The same formula revitalized (and eventually gentrified) neighborhoods such as the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and San Francisco’s Mission and Dogpatch districts. The big difference in Detroit, however, is that its economy blew a rod long ago, triggering an exodus of more than half the city’s population—last year, it lost another 28,000 people. Barely a quarter of those who remain have a degree from a four-year college. During my recent visit, local elected leaders were warning that the city could run out of money—within the week.

Last year, in Guernica magazine, Wayne State literature professor John Patrick Leary cautioned against what he called “Detroitism,” the fetish for urban decay mixed with utopianism, “where bohemians from expensive coastal cities can have the $100 house and community garden of their dreams.” But Detroit offers much more. Here is a city that foretold the woes of America’s middle class—and spent decades searching for a path out of its recessionary wilderness. Forget the clichés about heirloom tomatoes and check out these four examples of creative Detroiters who are making a difference

The Power House Gina Reichert

Meet the Power House and the new “Hood Cat” changing neighborhoods a brick at a time

Keith Ellison Exposes Another Conservative Lie

Keith Ellison exposes one of the right wing’s favorite lies – that regulations always stymie business growth.

The reason that isn’t true is that many business regulations in the US spawn R&D and new businesses. The second reason that isn’t true has to do with the economic impact of not having safety or environmental regulations is far greater than having those regulations in place. Ergo, deregulation results in taxpayer subsidy to recover from the massive damages caused by environmentally unsound business practices. That corporate welfare thing … Again.

Trying to Explain Business 101 to Conservative Idiotlogues

Spearing Sacred Cows

Earlier this week, I was on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes about jobs, the Occupy Wall Street movement and other issues. During the show I said I’m a fan of health and safety — not regulations. I said that some regulations have created jobs, since the industries being watched have to comply with the rules. For example, technological requirements can spur engineering improvement, which means employing engineers.

Well, the right wing went crazy. People who aren’t even from my congressional district called my office and blasted me over email and the Twitterverse. I had gored one of their sacred cows — deregulation — and they howled loudly.

So who’s right? Have health and environmental rules cost America jobs, or not? I said no. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Environmental Protection

Environmental spending creates jobs in engineering, manufacturing, construction, materials, operations and maintenance. Vehicle emissions standards directly sparked the development and application of a wide range of automotive technologies that are now found throughout the global automobile market. The vehicle emissions control industryemploys approximately 65,000 Americans with domestic annual sales of $26 billion. The worldwide market for environmental goods and services is worth over $700 billion, a size comparable to the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries.

If you want to know more about the wrongheaded jobs versus environmental protections argument check out the report, “Regulatory Uncertainty: A Phony Explanation for our Jobs Problem” by EPI’s Larry Mishel.

You know the situation: roughly 14 million Americans are out of work and 46.2 million live in poverty. The Republicans have held the House for almost 300 days but they’ve introduced no jobs bills. In fact, they shot down President Obama’s jobs bill like skeet. What have Republicans done? They’ve pushed for even more de-regulation in the name of “creating jobs.”

One last point:

Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, an advisor to John McCain’s presidential campaign, estimates the $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House Republicans will cost the economy 700,000 jobs by 2012. Wrongheaded policies.

The Small Business President vs. The New Jim Crow

One of the reasons the right wing despises Obama so much is his focus on small business. Which is the same reason they despised Bill Clinton. Follow my logic here -

After the Civil War, the majority of skilled artisans in the South were black. The people who built wagons, coopers, dressmakers, furniture makers  – and many of the skilled labor jobs prior to the industrial revolution were done by either slave, or free black labor. By 1860, there were more free blacks in Virginia than black folks slave or free in most of the northern states.

What Jim Crow really was about was stopping these people’s economic progress, such as to preserve white supremacy. Ergo though the destruction of the black artisan class businesses, Southern whites prevented the emergence of a new, black merchant class – who by nature of existing skills was in position to dominate certain industries when freed from the “Black Codes”. A merchant class, who would have followed the logical progression of gaining a piece of political power through wealth.

In America today, according to Forbes Magazine and numerous other sources, black folks a 3 times more likely to start a business than their white counterparts. And despite receiving only .3% of the Venture Investment in this country, are – according to the same studies 8 times more likely to succeed when they do get Venture financing. Only in America does that not translate into quickly shifting 30% of the investment money into more successful enterprise.

Indeed, the Bushit Administration was quite possibly the most hostile administration in history to small business, and was especially toxic to Minority owned business, as I have documented in previous articles, in reducing the quantity of SBA Loan Grantees to black owned business by 60% over 8 years, while holding it the same or increasing it to non-Minorities. The Bushit administration was also adamantly pro BIG business. So much so as to flat-line R&D and emerging technologies in a number of previously competitive industries like Telecom and Energy.

So why don’t Republicans want small business to succeed? Because the wrong color folks just might make a success at it, and in doing so threaten the old-boy power structure.

The New Jim Crow… Not much different from the old.

Jim Crow in Alaska

Obama pushes for Hill passage of small business agenda

President Barack Obama turned the spotlight to his small business agenda Friday, urging congressional passage of legislation meant to boost federal assistance to a key segment of the economy.

Among the proposals highlighted by the administration is a $30 billion government lending program offering capital to community banks that boost their small-business lending. Banks with assets worth less than $10 billion would be able to borrow money from the Treasury at a dividend rate as low as 1 percent provided they use the cash to make more small-business loans this year than they did in 2009.

Other proposals being pushed by the president include an elimination of capital gains taxes on certain small business investments.

“Ensuring that small businesses can thrive is about more than our economic success,” Obama said at the White House after a meeting with small business leaders. “It’s about who we are as a people. It’s about a nation where anybody with a good idea and a willingness to work can succeed. That’s the promise of America.”

Legislation enacted in March included new business tax credits for hiring additional workers, as well as a measure allowing companies to write off, instead of depreciate, new equipment.

Many small businesses, however, are still struggling to regain their footing in the wake of the recent recession. The Commerce Department reported Friday that retail sales fell for the first time in eight months in May, widely missing analyst expectations.

Total retail sales fell 1.2 percent to $362.5 billion last month, compared with April’s upwardly revised 0.6 percent increase. It was first decline since last September, when retail sales fell 2.3 percent.

Data from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that small companies have generated 64 percent of the net new jobs every year over the past 15 years. Those businesses, however, were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. A Senate report last year found that American businesses with fewer than 20 employees have suffered steeper job losses than larger companies.

Starting Fresh – When the HR Rep Doesn’t Call

One of things you never will hear crossing a politicians lips when talking about unemployment – is the fact that the 10% unemployment numbers include 5 – 7  million of the unemployed are folks who have college degrees, and would be classified as white collar workers. This situation started shortly after the Dot Com bust, where previously highly paid professional people with significant skill sets were thrown out of work, or forced into underemployment by cascading companies.

During the Bushit Administration, these jobs were heavily “outsourced” to China and India. Another “brilliant” idea when you consider those 160,000 programmers in China attempting to Hack into Google, our military systems, and cripple our grids conducting 3 – 5 million attacks a day…

Were trained largely on corporate America’s dime.

Finding a Job by Starting a Business

Last year, more laid-off managers and executives grew tired of waiting for human resources departments to call them back. They took matters into their own hands by starting companies.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm, regularly keeps track of 3,000 high-level job seekers in a range of industries. Last year, 8.6 percent of these decided to take the start-up route, compared with 5.1 percent in 2008.

The biggest surge was in the third quarter. The hope is that this momentum “will carry into 2010, since new business development is considered critical to a sustainable recovery,” Challenger stated.

After seven years, only about a third of start-ups are still in business, according to a study in the Monthly Labor Review. Most of these companies fail within in the first few years. So in four years or so, it would be interesting to see how many of these entrepreneurs wish they had waited for that H.R. person to call back.

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