Could the shutdown last into January, why are we so fat, where to draw the line on presidential letters, Field of Dreams 2, and there's something about band directors.
If you watch coverage of a live event, do you expect to see reality or a stage show?
The other night, while watching CBS' coverage of the Boston Esplanade fireworks, I thought something was up when I saw this shot.
The Massachusetts Statehouse is fairly close to the Charles River, but it's not this close.
But it was this shot that gave away what CBS was up to.
It's a lovely image. It's also a phony one. The fireworks behind home plate at Fenway Park is an impossibility. The Charles River, from where they were being fired, is in the other direction.
Today, the Boston Globe called out CBS and producer of the program...
David Mugar, the Boston-area businessman and philanthropist who has executive produced the show for nine years, confirmed yesterday that the footage was altered. He said this was the first year such alterations were made.
Mugar said the added images were above board because the show was entertainment and not news. He said it was no different than TV drama producer David E. Kelley using scenes from his native Boston in his show "Boston Legal'' but shooting the bulk of each episode on a studio set in Hollywood.
"Absolutely, we're proud to show scenes from our city,'' Mugar said. "It's often only shown in film or in sporting matches. We were able to highlight great places in Boston, historical places with direct ties to the Fourth. So we think it was a good thing.''
If one follows the logic, one might fairly question whether the fireworks themselves actually were being shot off.
A media ethicist told the paper it sends a number of wrong messages, including that ethics don't matter if it's not the news department.
(h/t: Ted Canova)
When the monthly unemployment figures come out, we become a nation of economists. But it doesn't take a degree in economics to realize that things are bad in the economy right now.
Unemployment last month reached 9.2%, and those are just the people who still want to be in the labor force. The actual percentage of people without jobs might be almost twice that.
Third District Rep. Erik Paulsen took to the floor of an empty U.S. House of Representatives this morning to offer his solution...
A close look at the economic argument reveals a complexity -- in the sense that a chicken-and-egg scenario is complex -- that most politicians' speeches don't address. Lower taxes and lower spending by government means smaller government. Smaller government requires fewer employees. Fewer employees requires more unemployment.
That's the reality behind the numbers released today.
According to the Labor Department, private businesses added jobs last month (though it was the fewest number in a year):
Within professional and business services, employment in professional and technical services increased in June (+24,000). This industry has added 245,000 jobs since a recent low in March 2010. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month and has shown little movement on net so far this year.
Health care employment continued to trend up in June (+14,000), with the largest gain in ambulatory health care services. Over the prior 12 months, health care had added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.
In June, employment in mining rose by 8,000, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining. Employment in mining has increased by 128,000 since a recent low in October 2009.
Employment in leisure and hospitality edged up (+34,000) in June and has grown by 279,000 since a recent low in January 2010.
What sector of the economy is shedding jobs like there's no tomorrow? Government. According to the Labor Department:
Employment in government continued to trend down over the month (-39,000). Federal employment declined by 14,000 in June. Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down over the month and has been falling since the second half of 2008.
There's no question that private hiring could be much better than it is. But at a time when Congress is debating whether to increase the national debt, it's difficult to see how the private sector is going to add jobs, government spending is going to drop, and taxes are going to be lower, all while avoiding enough pink slips for government workers to make the unemployment rate in the nation climb.
It didn't happen in June.(14 Comments)
After MPR reporter Sasha Aslanian's story aired today about the problems being faced by people who depend on a child care subsidy, we received several stories from people who have described the impact of the state shutdown.
The most compelling comes from Leslie Eck of Saint Paul:
I am a single mother of a soon-to-be-three-year-old girl. I had my daughter during my junior year of college and her father abandoned us when she was two weeks old. I graduated from the University of Minnesota just over a year ago with a B.S. in microbiology; however, I couldn't have done it without a little help from Minnesota.
I used public assistance including WIC, food stamps, Medicaid, and childcare assistance to help subsidize my family's cost of living while finishing my degree. I have been employed as a contract laboratory worker at 3M now for a year, and I am almost completely independent from any form of state assistance, except for child care.
As a contract worker, I only make 50-60 percent of what 3M pays the contract house toward my hourly wage. In other words, I don't make a lot. I work 50+ hours a week without receiving overtime pay in hopes that I will earn my keep and a permanent position within the company.
Because of the extensive hours I need to work to pay my bills, I use a daycare center with longer hours rather than home daycare (which would be much cheaper, but couldn't meet my busy work schedule needs).
Now, with the shutdown darkening our doorstep and no more child care assistance coming in, I will have to pull my daughter from her center (which I love and she has been going to for over two years. Other mothers will understand how painful this is!), and count on my mother, who is on unemployment and laid off from her job, to help me with the cost of care.
I find it infuriating that so many people accuse working families using childcare assistance as being "free-loaders" and using other citizens' hard-earned money via income taxes to subsidize our lives. Without child care assistance. I couldn't even work to pay my fair share of taxes, let alone contribute to the economy by paying my bills.
Think of it this way: the taxes I end up paying from my paycheck go right back into my own child care costs.
I am working diligently towards my goal of a non-contract, full-time position so I no longer need any form of assistance to pay for my living expenses. But in the meantime, I could use a little help from my neighbors in the great state of Minnesota. I try hard to give back to my community in so many ways. I am a volunteer at clinics and nursing homes through my church. I plan events in my neighborhood, and I am doing my best everyday to make ends meet for my family.
So I am asking people in Minnesota who still care about these issues to stand up for your neighbors, family, and friends who need help. My family is not the only one suffering through this shutdown.
We heard from another listener from East Bethel on the shutdown coverage:
I hear over and over about people that are angry about the state shutdown. Why do I never hear from those that are happy the state isn't able to spend its taxpayers' hard-earned dollars? I hear from only those grabbing money from their neighbors' pockets, why aren't we hearing from those who resent being statutorily thieved from?
And that's where we are in the shutdown debate.(19 Comments)