Good morning, Everyone. We are supposed to start a week (or more) of 90+ weather today. The weather people are wavering between whether we will or will not get any rain at all over that time. I am already well into watering the gardens before it gets too warm for outside work. We are still in the mid 60s so I have time yet. We are waiting to see if we will have to put the air on. As dry as it is, we might not. Lets see what is on the web today.
I thought this was interesting. An enterprising youngster takes pictures of her school lunches and blogs her ratings of them with the approval of both her school and the kitchen staff. She uses the blog to raise money for a food charity. I would have had to use the past tense because the local city council banned her from taking any more pictures basically shutting down her blog. Supposedly, they claimed, the kitchen staff was stressed out with worry for their jobs because of some negative reactions to stories in the media--yeah, the kitchen staff that had been so supportive earlier. Well, the reaction to the ban produced a reversal and she can now blog again
Another interesting story (sorry, I can't find it again to link. I think it was on MarketWatch.) from this morning indicates that law schools are cutting the size of their incoming class. Why? you wonder. Because something a bit over 10% of their latest graduating class are unemployed and 66% are employed in positions that really require JDs. The most interesting question asked in this story was whether the overproduction of lawyers wouldn't be a good thing leading to lower prices for legal services. And the answer was one we had discussed here with respect to the medical profession. Given the fact that law school costs somewhere around $50k per year on top of the costs of a bachelor's degree (which most law schools require now), the graduates really need a high income to pay off the costs of their education. And as schools cut the sizes of their new classes the costs of law school will likely increase as the schools try to protect their cash flow. (Update: I just found this article on MSNBC that gives some more of the details.) As I listened to the story (it was on video) I recalled a similar measure taken by the Ohio University system (I think it was Ohio) about fifteen years ago in response to the same dismal employment picture for History PhDs. Every PhD program in the state except one were cut and the number of master's degree programs were pared back severely. The peculiarly funny aspect of these stories is that higher education has been and is touted as the way to get good jobs especially during economic hard times. Maybe we should be much more skeptical of the received wisdom we have all accepted so unquestioningly.
I have noticed the comfort the political/economic talking heads have taken in the various polls in Greece which show that the majority of Greeks want to stay in the Eurozone with the Euro. I have wondered how many of the respondents might have agreed with the sentiment with a very large 'but...' tacked on. I saw a short video (and again I can't find it to link) interview with a Greek couple who were in exactly that position. They would rather keep the euro but they have seen a 40% cut in their income and feel that the projected 10 years or more of hard times under the austerity imposed by the conditions of the bailout. Leaving the euro would be hard also but perhaps for a much shorter time. This story reinforces that. Barter networks are growing in an economy which is tanking and money is scarce.
Natural News posted an article on a version of the VW Passat that gets 70+ mpg (diesel) under normal driving conditions but that isn't available in the US even though it is actually built here. Given the number of stories I have seen over the last couple of years of efforts to find a way to shift from a per/gallon tax to a per/mile tax because of the bite electric and moderately efficient vehicles is taking out of highway revenue, I am not surprised at Natural News concluding that the reason the Passat Bluemotion isn't available is the potential for decreasing revenue further. Popular Mechanics lists 10 other models that get great mileage and, they say, are fun to drive but not available over here
I have written about the insane job market before. Susie Madrak on Crooks & Liars has found confirmation of much that was only a gut instinct for me. Employers demand an insane level of skill/experience while offering low wages for jobs they really don't want to fill with US workers in the first place. I said that when we were talking about the fad for 'multi-tasking.' I said then that was simply a way to roll three or more job descriptions into one and offer the pay for the least of them. What a racket!!