Five by 8 – 3/29/10: Being overqualified

The Monday Morning Rouser. Count the superstars:

1) Good news — maybe — for we aging babyboomers who are probably overqualified for the jobs we might be able to get if we lose the ones we have now, the New York Times reports this morning. Companies, which once avoided the overqualified, are hiring them.

In some cases, of course, the new employees fail to work out, forcing the company through the process of hiring and training someone else. But Mr. Carroll is just one of several recent hires at Cartwright who would be considered overqualified, including a billing clerk who is a certified public accountant and a human resources director who once oversaw that domain for 5,000 employees but is now dealing with just 65.

The bad news — predictably — is the jobs don’t pay as much and financial goals are set back years.

2) The obvious answer to Monday mornings. Coffee that you inhale, rather than drink.

3) More and more, Michele Bachmann’s appearances on national TV tell us more about how unwilling Washington media bigshots are to challenge bumper-sticker stump speeches of big-shot politicians. Or how unprepared they are. It’s one or the other.

On CBS’ Face the Nation yesterday morning, Bachmann repeated her assertion that prior to the Obama administration, 100% of the nation’s economy was private. How can we have publicly constructed roads and bridges, maintained by government workers, mail delivered by government workers, kids taught by government workers, food inspected by government workers, streets patrolled by government workers, fires put out by government workers and still have an economy that’s “100% private.”

Of course, we can’t, as CBS pointed out online, well after Bob Schieffer let it slide.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis data since 1929, the highest percentage of government spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product was during World War II when government spending was 47.9 percent (in 1944). The lowest level of government spending as a percent of GDP was 9 percent in 1929 at the outset of the Great Depression.

At no time during this period was the United States’ GDP 100 percent private.

Mrs. Bachmann also quoted a survey she attributed to the New England Journal of Medicine that 30% of doctors would leave the profession under the health care law. There was no such survey.

4) If you do nothing else today, spend some time listening to This American Life’s show about a car plant in Fremont California that closes this week. It was once a typical UAW-dominated plant and the show describes how the battles between the union and management produced some terrible cars. The plant closed and then — in 1984 — General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. “Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: how it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved.” But now, it’s over. .

It’s one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve heard in months. Here’s the mp3 of the show

5) I will give up my flame-throwing scooter when they pry it from my cold, dead, feet. A man who created a scooter which fires flames from the rear, has been arrested because it’s now considered a firearm.


A recent national study found a sharp increase in the number of households with two or more generations of adults. What’s your experience with adult children moving back in with their parents?


Note: If you follow me on Twitter, the new location is @newscut.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: One in five African American men, aged 20 years and older, is unemployed. Teens are jobless at an even higher rate. Why?

Second hour: Mexico’s drug war.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A discussion about US-Israel relations, featuring professor Michael Barnett of the University of Minnesota.

Second hour: NPR Iraq reporter Deborah Amos, speaking with MPR’s Stephen Smith as part of MPR’s Broadcast Journalist Series, discusses her new book, “Eclipse of the Sunnis.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Doctors say there’s a lot of waste in the system. The hours spent on paper work, hiring staff, people. What changes now that the health care bill is law?

Second hour: Too many veterans of the war in Iraq, left on stretchers. They suffered brain injuries, lost limbs and comrades. But for the last year some have been going back. They’re looking for closure in Iraq. It’s called Operation Proper Exit.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Sasha Aslanian reports on one of MPR’s Youth Radio reporters, who goes to Washington for Youth Senate, and is considering a career in politics.

Researchers are using dye to trace the flow of snowmelt in the limestone country of southeastern Minnesota, MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill will report. They want to learn how surface water and ground water interact in this complex and fragile region. It’s important because pollution in surface water can easily get into groundwater, threatening wells.

From NPR: Race and the census. Census forms are due in a few days. While the questions are mostly straightforward, the race box has some people re-thinking their identity. Arab-Americans and Iranians are among those wondering whether to check “white” — as many traditionally have — or “other”.