Women lose in economic recovery (5×8 – 7/7/11)

It’s a man’s recovery, shutdown: win or die trying, paddlers reach Fargo, and a look at Google+, and the human homerun.


2011-gender-employment-001.png It’s no secret that men — especially older men — took the brunt of the recession, losing the majority of jobs while the economy imploded. But women, a new report says, women are taking the brunt of the recovery. Men are outpacing women when it comes to getting jobs now, the Pew Research survey reveals.

Women, meanwhile, are losing and other local government jobs at a disproportionately high rate as government cuts back.

The survey also means men have not only been changing jobs, they’re changing careers. More are going into health care, for example.

The Washington Post speculates that the new data suggest that men are also more willing than women to accept lower pay and jobs outside their “comfort zone” than women are. It provides no proof of the assertion, however.


It’s pretty clear now there isn’t going to be any compromise in the state budget shutdown. One side wants new revenue. One side doesn’t and rather than a game of negotiation, it’s now a war of attrition. It’s a win it all or die trying scenario. Good government? You decide, but that’s what it is.

Brian Lambert, an acknowledged liberal, accurately notes what Republicans note about their side: his guy can’t give in.

I accept that his strategy was to start at $4 billion and bargain down to something less, while lifting the base line definition of “wealthy” up higher and higher. (The bottom end has risen from $150,000/year — the GOP’s “every cop and nurse” scenario — to $1 million). That seemed fairly standard, except that everyone knew there was no way the GOP was going to accept … anything. The new GOP is imbued with religious authority. They hand out copies of the Constitution at 4th of July parades. God and Grover Norquist hear their prayers every evening, (and then Bradlee Dean leads them in new ones in the morning, before what they straight-facedly refer to as “work”.)

Dayton can not be “stunned” or “surprised” or “disappointed” by the situation he finds himself in. It is the only situation that was ever possible given an opponent for whom childlike (or religious, or alcoholic) delusion is the first, last and only response. Put another way, Dayton has had well over a year to contemplate a strategy to defeat this position. If it is an elegant, witty, cri de couer for sanity and respect for the common good slathered across every TV screen and billboard in the state … well, it’s a little on the late side, but I’d get that going tonight.

Conservative blogger Mitch Berg at Shot in the Dark, meanwhile, has selected his own commission to end the stalemate and suggests these conclusions:

A $27 Billion budget that trims spending back to pre-recession levels.

Abolition of several state bureaucracies – the Departments of Education, Development and Economic Development, Human Rights, Housing Finance, Iron Range Resources and Development, the Met Council and the Metro Sports Facilities Commission will be abolished forthwith. Also, the Sunset Bill (HF2 in the previous legislature) will be adopted in toto, but with all time-times cut in half.

Immediate State Hiring Freeze – the state has plenty of workers.

Working toward privatizing public schools by 2015.

Immediate radical cuts in business taxes, including an immediate two week sales tax holiday and a Business Tax Lottery granting one lucky Minnesota business a complete one-quarter exemption from business income taxes every month.

Have a seat. We’re going to be here awhile.

Meanwhile, state workers have another day off. NPR has sent in the troops to further make this a national story…

Find MPR’s coverage on the Shutdown 2011 blog.


Nielsen reports people who have iPhones use to play games much more than owners of other phones. How much more? They spend nearly the equivalent of two full days at work a month playing a game, the report says.

Among smartphone consumers who have played mobile games in the past 30 days, those with iPhones, Windows 7 phones or Android phones are the most likely to have downloaded the games they played, while those with Blackberry phones or featurephones tend to play pre-loaded games. The average mobile gamer plays an average of 7.8 hours a month. Those with iPhones tend to play around 14.7 hours each month while those with Android smartphones play around 9.3 hours per month.

Suggested future study, Nielsen: Do iPhoners lose their jobs more often than owners of other smart phones?

Last night, Google opened up Google+ to the world, then closed it again for more testing. It’s the giant firm’s answer to Facebook. Companies want to be the social networking destination but in the land of reality, it requires the truly social among us to maintain yet another online presence.

Time.com has this review:

Google+ replicates only a fraction of Facebook, though, and it offers several things that Facebook doesn’t — such as Sparks, a special-interest search engine that helps you find stuff around the Web to share with your pals, on topics ranging from recipes to robotics. It also borrows one fundamental principle from Twitter rather than Facebook: you can follow other members without seeking their permission, and it’s a unidirectional action that doesn’t require them to follow you back. (Watch TIME’s video “Quick and Easy Facebook Tricks.”)

Unlike both Facebook and Twitter, adding people in Google+ forces you to add them to one or more Circles, which are customizable clusters of related people — Google provides you with ones for Friends, Acquaintances, Family, and Following, and you can add your own, such as Poker Buddies or Book-Club Members. Every time you share anything, you can limit it to specific Circles and/or individuals. (The mandatory organization is for your eyes only: if you decree that certain people are mere Acquaintances rather than Friends, they’ll never know.)

ComputerWorld says whether the idea is successful depends on whether people are willing to leave an established social network.

Google is well positioned as an Internet brand with better customer satisfaction than Facebook, and is a larger company with more internal resources. However, Facebook is a high-growth company that’s likely on the verge of a public stock offering, meaning it has access both to a great deal of investor cash and top-flight employees hoping to cash in on that growth.


There’s an interruption in the quest of two area women who are trying to become the first women to paddle from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay. Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren set out on their trek last month, but one member took a time out to attend her sister’s wedding. They were scheduled to leave Fargo this week, averaging about 45 miles a day.

Previous groups that paddled this route also experienced hospitality to the extreme. We have loved talking to folks along the river, hearing their stories, and learning about small town life in the Midwest. We have learned that small towns are disappearing. Their populations are steadily decreasing as people move to the cities or the suburbs for their occupations. Along with this exodus, family farms are being abandoned. We always talked about this phenomena in environmental studies classes at St. Olaf, but I always thought it was a bunch of hippie hooie until this trip. Every night, we pullover to ask the owners of the river banks if we can camp on their land and several times we’ve come upon completely empty houses and barns. It’s spooky! We usually move way down river away from the farm land and camp in the wilderness instead. When we were in Montevideo and in Clinton we spent a lot of time discussing farming issues about corn production, pollution, and the missing farm generation. Groups like CURE and the Land Stewardship Project are trying to work with communities to make farmer’s markets more popular and to get young people into small towns. It was really great to meet people doing these things, but we can’t help but feel there is a void to be filled. What’s going to happen to our food system when all of the farmers are gone and the small towns are empty? Will there be a new era of agricultural revival? or a takeover by big business?

Follow them on their blog.



After thirty years and a hundred thirty-five flights, America’s space shuttle program is about to come to an end. The Atlantis launch scheduled for this weekend will be the last. Today’s Question: Has the space shuttle program been a success?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: President Obama and congressional Democrats have focused their deficit-reduction proposals on cutting tax breaks they believe benefit the wealthy. But Republicans argue that cutting tax breaks is the equivalent of raising taxes. Midmorning parses the tax policy debate with two economists

Second hour: Daniel Wilson, author, television host and robotics engineer. His latest book is Robopocalypse.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Four Minnesota economists assess the economy.

Second hour: National Press Club broadcast featuring the head of NASA along with former astronaut Mark Kelly.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Challenging the anonymous in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Second hour: Does summer vacation set back the education of children?