Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Republican Party doesn't want black people to vote..

I found this Battleground Texas story through Americablog.   There is not much to comment on here:

When Battleground Texas launched three months ago, our mission was clear: to empower voters and expand the electorate. This stems from a deep and abiding belief that the future of Texas will be brighter when more people lift their voices and advocate for change in their communities.  Recently, we heard someone give a much different vision for Texas.

At a Dallas event featuring Steve Munisteri, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Ken Emanuelson, a leader in the Tea Party, said: “I'm going to be real honest with you – the Republican Party doesn't want black people to vote...” 
Why does this not surprise me, as the GOP has made a concerted effort to disenfranchise voting?

GOP's new leaders are Bill, Rush, and Glenn, according to young people

I found this interesting Scribe story through Kevin Drum:
During the January 2013 focus group research, respondents in the Columbus group of young men who voted for Obama were asked to name who they viewed as leaders of the Democratic Party. They named prominent former or currently elected officials: Pelosi, the Clintons, Obama, Kennedy, Gore. When those same respondents were asked to name Republican leaders, they focused heavily on media personalities and commentators: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.
This is a real problem for the Republican Party, when young people cite media personalities as leaders of your political party. Media personalities are not interested in formulating political policies to solve complex problems this country is facing. Media personalities are interested in building an audience to their TV and radio programs, so they can charge higher fees to advertisers. And how do you build that audience? How about manufacturing controversies and faux outrages to keep the hard-right, conservative base angry and looney all the time? How about pounding more stories on social issues of gays getting married, President Obama planning on taking away all your guns, the continuing "War on Christmas," ACORN, illegal immigrants getting government assistance while driving Cadillacs, or name-your-own culture war scandal?

Unfortunately, I doubt that the GOP could change and shake off the media personality leaders of O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Beck. I'm guessing that Fox News has a strong viewership on older viewers, who have a history of regular voting. I am also guessing that Tea Party folks also regularly watch Fox News, or listen to Limbaugh and Beck, so they can become angry at the next latest outrage. Fox News will bring GOP congress critters to the studios to lob softball questions on culture war issues, or simplified solutions to complex issues--can you say flat tax anyone? The congress critters get free, and favorable, media coverage to their home states and districts, allowing them to keep the rabid, Tea Party conservative base angry enough to re-elect the same critters to office. Bill, Rush, and Glenn get to continue manufacturing their faux outrages to anger their audience, and sell more advertising. The system becomes self-serving for both the GOP and the conservative media establishment leaders that now control the GOP. With the development of blogs, Facebook, social media, Twitter, how many young people are getting their news and information from such social media sites, and not from the mainstream conservative media establishments of Fox, Rush, Bill, and Glenn?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Homebuilders struggle to find workers

I found this interesting story from CNN Money:
Sales of new homes are on a tear, but builders can't find enough workers to keep up with the demand. After the housing bust, many workers left the building trade in droves, said Michael Fink, CEO of Leewood Real Estate Group in Trenton, N.J. "A lot of our workers are immigrants and they went back to their home countries," he said. "Our subcontractors can't get people; they can't start on time; they can't get things done on time." The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported in March that 46% of its members say they have fallen behind schedule on finishing projects, 15% turned down jobs and 9% lost or canceled sales because they can't find enough workers. That could have some big ramifications for the broader housing market. Housing starts fell sharply in April to 853,000 and experts project residential construction will grow by about 25% annually, according to the NAHB. At that pace, it could take more than four years to get back to early 2006 building levels, when housing starts peaked at 2.3 million, according to Census Bureau data.
"A lot of our workers are immigrants and they went back to their home countries." If there ever was a big reason why the housing industry can't find workers, then that is the reason. For almost three decades, shifted their hiring from highly-trained, and highly-paid, framers, plumbers, electricians, and professional construction workers, for low-wage immigrants--perhaps even bringing in illegal immigrants to perform the construction work, and pay them under-the-table. It was a race to the wage-slave labor bottom, as the housing speculation bubble grew. After the housing bubble crashed, there were no construction jobs for the immigrant workers, so they went back to their home countries. Now that we're starting to see an upturn in housing construction, those same construction companies can't find enough workers to fill the jobs that the construction companies are only willing to pay $8 per hour for. You know, if you can't find workers to fill such low-paying jobs (as you were hiring low-paying immigrant workers), then maybe you need to raise your pay to attract applicants for those jobs?