Maybe not so current by the time you read them.

There is currently legislation pending in Ohio that would prohibit employers from advertising that “only the employed need apply”.

The HR rationale for this language is that people without jobs are desperate and have lost skills so they already shouldn’t make the first cut. While those employed are demonstrating that they must have significant value if they were not let go.

The really interesting thing about this that the chamber of commerce folks are lobbying by saying that legislation is unnecessary and will lead to frivolous lawsuits. They proclaim that the industry has already “shamed” those businesses who used this language into stopping.

Couple things wrong with this argument:

  1. The practice has been going on since 2009 and has not stopped except in those states that have this legislation in place, which I believe at this point is only New Jersey.
  2. As self-policing goes I hesitate to trust the folks who thought up a bad idea in the first place to make sure that they don’t continue to use the bad idea.
  3. Civil rights protections generally do require federal, state and local government oversight and legislation to become reality.
  4. And finally, “shaming”, while apparently useful for Jehovah Witnesses, Scientologists and the Amish, has never proven to be an effective method for societal change. ‘Do the right thing’ may be lurking deep in all of our hearts, but its no match for institutional discrimination and cultural bias.

Shame is an interesting concept. Has shame caused folks to close the wage gap for women?

Let’s see, “shame” at paying women one rate and men another for the same work + the Equal Pay Act which prohibited advertising jobs segregated by sex, has moved women’s wages from 61 cents per dollar (1963) to 77 cents per dollar today (2012). That’s 16 cents. Over 49 years.

So if we don’t have legislation prohibiting companies from advertising “only the employed need apply”, we will trust them that its not hiring discrimination, its just the prerogative of a “buyers market”. And of course they will stop on their own if they get called on it (and continue to quietly sift candidates the same way).

And meanwhile, all this “pretend” class warfare supposedly manufactured by elitist democrats and the Occupy Wall Street folks will sort itself out if we can only get a business friendly Republican in the White House.

Then we will truly be a country run on Shame.

Just heard a parent in Texas say that he would take two jobs and pay $1,000 out of pocket to keep football at their High School. He went on to say the school system should cut all that “liberal arts fluff” (art, music and foreign languages) and just teach math, science and reading. He did not resort to calling them readin, ritin’ and rithmetic, but he came real close.

Sports seems to be a more important part of this school system’s identity than academics. I am always started by this attitude. I like sports as much as the next person.

Wait, no, that’s a lie. I like sports considerably less than the majority of the people I know. I don’t watch sports and only pay enough attention so I can make conversation like when our HS team made the playoffs and it was all anyone could talk about.

I know folks have a deep attachment to sports, especially football, but I have yet to hear a story about a parent at a public school willing to work two jobs and pay $1,000 so the school can pay the French teacher. Now maybe if that was about the marching band for the football games…

I find it dishearteningly consistent.

The urban public schools I attended had very little, but they always had football, basketball and cheerleaders. No school paper or plays, no orchestra, band or Model U.N.

On the other hand, my husband’s suburban public high school sounded to me like something from an Afternoon Special – Philosophy class, a school paper, talent shows and marching band. They managed all those “extras” along with the sports.

If schools (because of budgets) are forced to pit athletics against liberal arts, the arts will lose. Arts always need a justification for inclusion in the curriculum. The folks who need to hear WHY learning music or French enhances academics never question the value of athletics.

Despite the bare bones of our HS, my friends and I all graduated and did well enough on the SAT to get into college. Some went into the military. Some went to jail. And two of those football players went on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Can the parent in Texas really believe that the breadth and depth of his sons education doesn’t help shape his future? Or maybe he is banking on an NFL contract. Are we moving more toward fatalism, or vocational schools? Either explanation works for current attitudes toward public education.

Things I do on vacation that I don’t do at home:

Wake up without an alarm (still before 7am. I would need 6 months off to break that habit)

Shave my legs everyday

Read USA Today

Ignore what time it is (the weekday time v productivity analysis is crushed by my usually repressed inner sloth)

Watch Cheers re-runs, the cartoon network and CNN

Have patience while driving (see entry on time above)

Of all of these, reading USA Today takes me out of daily life like nothing else I can think of. The amount of news is equal to how long it takes to consume a venti skim latte and a low-fat blueberry muffin. Very digestible.

The unreality in the way they present news snippets makes me feel like I am watching TV with the captioning on. Everything seems slanted toward celebrity, even stories on politics and business. Every vacation is a trip to middle America via the newspaper.

This is the what makes Vacation, vacating.

The full comment “Well of course you know that, because you’re so political”, was said to me after I explained a joke someone made about the Department of Energy. It wasn’t that esoteric, it was a Rick Perry reference and most people in the room got it. I made the mistake of remarking ‘it was all over the news’ and got the political comment.

I don’t consider myself a political junkie, but I do pay attention and get my news from sources other than Jon Stewart or Fox News. On the other hand, I can name several heads of state that are not monarchs, and know who the secretary general of the united nations is, so maybe I am “political”.

Not long ago I had a different friend accuse me of never doing anything frivolous. I don’t think she thinks this is a bad thing on its face, but it was clear from the conversation that I make her feel inferior somehow because I don’t consume pop culture the way she does.

It all started because I didn’t know Jennifer Aniston was pregnant. (I always figured a pregnancy is none of my business until I get a birth announcement in the mail.) I protested that I do in fact read the occasional “O” magazine or Real Simple, and was informed that those are practically work. Seems I need a Yahoo feed to really know what’s going on in the world.

This struck me as the kind of anti-intellectual sentiment that pops up in the media every now and again. Especially in an election year. Not that I call myself an intellectual. Actually I can’t think of a single “label” I call myself. More to the point, it seems like people view the fact that I don’t watch “E!” or read People magazine as some judgement about the fact that they do.

The only time I care what media anyone besides me consumes is when it’s time to vote. Maybe that’s why I’m considered “political.”

I feel like its kind of hard to miss big news like the Penn State scandal (which will have repercussions across higher education if not US society) or the EU debt crisis (which we are feeling here already). But I can’t really ask folks questions like ‘Don’t you read the newspaper?’, or ‘have you tried NPR instead of the “drive time show?’ because that sounds like a judgement about their media consumption.

But I am curious.

If I am considered a political, intellectual because I read books and pay attention to non-celebrity news, what does that make everyone else? I bet that sounds all judgmental doesn’t it?

It’s sort of like when people find out I’m a vegetarian. They get defensive about what they are eating, or aggressively insist that I can’t be healthy. Yeah, me and roughly 400 million other vegetarians are all starving to death while suffering from scurvy. I digress.

This is another bizarre situation. My being a vegetarian, is not a commentary on your steak. Nor is my reading the newspaper meant to induce guilt over your Live! with Kelly. Enjoy.

It will be 11 months before I give a flying…fig how people get their news & info. Then we can talk about how political I am.

The Penn State scandal is very disturbing on many levels.

That it happened. That it went on for years. That people knew about it and didn’t stop it. That people witnessed it and didn’t stop it. And finally, that people seem to be as angry at the witnesses as they are at the perpetrator.

The anger at the witness is where my mind gets snagged. Continue reading