Blogging unemployment (5×8 – 7/4/11)

The Monday Morning Rouser…

1) HOW ONE STATE WORKER SPENDS THE SHUTDOWN

“Since I’ve got plenty of free time on my hands for the near term, I decided to give a try at blogging my experiences and thoughts as we go through the shutdown experience,” says Michael Stalberger of Mankato. He’s been working for the state of Minnesota for eight years in the Department of Revenue. For now, however, you can find him at The Unemployment Line, his new blog.


Today, since I’m now officially not a state employee, I don’t have the state-assigned phone. It’s sitting in some file cabinet, collecting messages until the battery drains. Do batteries drain when it’s powered off? That’s the sort of thing I’m worrying about right now. How quickly will I be able to get it powered up when we return to work? See, I really am a workaholic.

I expect this foolish worrying will be replaced with real concerns the longer the shutdown lasts. Worries such as how will the mortgage be paid? What about groceries and utilities? Gas?

As I mentioned yesterday, I responsibily built an emergency fund, but it seems rather unfair that I have to use it on an emergency resulting from something completely within the control of others.

There’s no reason I should have to start worrying about my finances, right? There’s definitely no reason I should have to worry about all my co-workers who are in worse situations than me, who have no cushion, who have all the household income coming from state employ, who have just purchased a house, or who are expecting a child.

At the Capitol, Chris Lapakko continues his one-man protest against the shutdown (warning: obscenity)…

Meanwhile, Arnetta Phillips and her husband had a deal with Minnesota. They adopted a difficult-to-adopt child under a state program and Minnesota helped pay for some of the expenses of caring for a child whose brain was badly damaged by the biological mother’s use of cocaine and alcohol, the Pioneer Press reports. That deal is now off.

2) BLIND CARPENTER HONORED

A hand grenade claimed Dean Pedersen’s sight in the Vietnam War, but it didn’t stop him from pursuing a career in carpentry, the Fargo Forum reports. “The more you’re around Dean, you don’t even think that he can’t see,” his wife says. This Old House magazine is honoring Pedersen for his work.

3) THE HELMET LAW RECONSIDERED

Philip A. Contos, 55, didn’t mean to become a symbol for people who think motorcyclists should be required to wear a helmet. That was before he fell off his bike at a rally against helmet laws in upstate New York over the weekend, hit his head, and died.

New York is one of fewer than two dozen states that require helmets. Most of Contos’ colleagues aren’t swayed by his death.

The accident apparently happened because Contos’ bootlaces got stuck in the bike’s chain. Boots are not banned in New York when riding a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists should have the right to decide whether to where a helmet.online surveys

4) AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Whoops! The Star Tribune has an article this morning on the proper way to display and handle the American flag, and violates the U.S. Flag Code with this graphic:

strib_flag_code.jpg

This is the section of the U.S. Flag Code (36 U.S.C. 176) that’s violated:


(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

This should get people talking at the Albert Lea July 4th parade…

5) WE THE PURPLE

Tradition is tradition at NewsCut.

Bonus: Allen Mullins of Dalton, GA., has been walking America (as Captain America) to raise awareness of the plight of some soldiers returning from war. This weekend he was in Fairfax, Minnesota…

Mullens previously walked 5,000 miles around the country dressed as Superman to raise awareness for homeless veterans, the Chaska Herald says.

TODAY’S QUESTION

John Adams thought that Independence Day ought to be observed with “acts of devotion to God” and “with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations.” Today’s Question: How will you celebrate the Fourth of July?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Summer home repair.

Second hour: Historian H.W. Brands writes in his book “American Dreams” that the act of dreaming has been encoded in Americans’ DNA from the very beginning. He joins Midmorning to discuss how that dream has changed over the past 65 years.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Are we getting the representation and leadership we want?

Second hour: TBA

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The politics of the Constitution.

Second hour: Jim Axelrod, CBS national correspondent, author of “In The Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness”