Friday Open Thread ~ "Looking back at the headlines" edition~ a jobs report & stolen remains
One thing I think getting missed is that the US decided to let everyone get laid off and do its subsidies through expanded unemployment, rather than the type of furlough scheme done in the UK, where the government stepped in to pay the wages so that people could remain in jobs. The result of this is that people feel no loyalty to old work and have every reason not to—so why return to those crap conditions? Your boss was happy to dump you off the payroll, possibly while getting a federal bailout, but now they’re complaining that you don’t want to come back?
Also: The first round of expanded unemployment gave people $600 a week extra. That was hardly eating-bonbons money, yet we heard about people having the ability to pay the bills for the first time with it. That expired, and I’ve spoken to workers who spent months wondering what would happen to them. The persistent story since the last crisis was pervasive underemployment—2008 wiped out a lot of middle-wage jobs and replaced them with low-wage jobs.
So the re-expanded deal was $300 extra a week—the equivalent of $7.50 an hour at 40 hours. These are not cushy benefits in the least! A one-time stimulus check of $600 and then another of $1,400 (which by the way a lot of people haven’t gotten, including, er, me) is definitely not “retire and watch HBO” money. What it is is exactly what unemployment was designed to do: allow people to have some breathing room before having to accept the first crappy job that came along. That’s the point of unemployment insurance, which we pay into so that it’s there when we need it. That this is some government handout is utterly ridiculous, and it harks back to the godawful days of the welfare queen narrative.
May 13 marked 36 years since a home occupied by MOVE, a Black radical liberation group, was bombed by police. As MOVE members marked the anniversary this year, they also are demanding justice after new information revealed the remains of two children, Tree Africa, age 14, and Delisha Africa, age 12, killed in the 1985 bombing are being used for research at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. On this episode, we revisit what happened and hear from MOVE members and supporters seeking justice.
Let the Fire Burn explores the controversial, 1985 clash between police in Philadelphia and MOVE, a radical, non-violent, back-to-nature group. After a standoff with the group MOVE, Philadelphia Police dropped a bomb on the roof of MOVE’s home, killing 11 people including five children, and destroying approximately 61 homes. Thirty-five years later, Philadelphia is still known as “The City that Bombed Itself.” The city’s brutal show force, unjustified to many, exists as part of a decades-long tradition of violent policing aimed at African-Americans.
Factory workers at a Volvo truck plant in southwest Virginia voted by 91 percent Sunday not to ratify a concession-filled contract negotiated by local and International Auto Workers (UAW) officials.
May 19 is the birthday of Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary that led the Vietnamese people through victorious war and revolution from the 1920s to his death in 1969. This 20-year old review is of the best biography of Ho available in English.
In 1978 body snatchers really did dig up and try to ransom the corpse of the legendary actor Charlie Chaplin shortly after his death. 'Stealing Chaplin' uses this fact-based bit of skullduggery as a mere launching pad for its fact-free comedy.
Stealing Chaplin: Film Review