Don’t Blame the Work Force

The New York Times Editorial Board writes:

There is a durable belief that much of today’s unemployment is rooted in a skills gap, in which good jobs go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants. This is mostly a corporate fiction, based in part on self-interest and a misreading of government data. The next time someone tells you that there are a lack of skilled high tech workers for companies to hire...question their motives for telling you that. There are plenty of workers available, if companies are willing to pay for them to work. Most of the time they aren't willing to pay them a fair wage, preferring to pay them less than they're worth or hoping to hire an H1B Visa employee for less than an American would take.


John Cook, at Gawker writes:

This is a story, of course, that those decent and wise stewards generally want told—even if it requires the publications of the odd embarrassing "insider" detail—which is why Woodward has been able to waltz in and out of every administration since Carter with impunity. The trade-off—access in exchange for an implicit pledge to judge his subjects by the polite rules of Washington—has essentially defined Woodward's journalism. Even when it came to Nixon, his bete noir, Woodward was willing to bow to his head and submit a list of pre-screened questions in exchange for an interview (it never happened). But the spell has broken. The Obama White House has, it appears, been as receptive to Woodward's bargain as its predecessors were, but for some reason he's gone off the grid and begun firing wildly and without provocation. Who knows why. The changes to our politics over the last five years have obviously been hard on him. It's more difficult to tell stories about good men working out their honest differences when one half of the equation has foresworn compromise and committed itself to total political warfare. The comfortable subroutines of his brain have gone haywire, and he's kicking out garbage. But the simplest explanation for this episode is that he wants people to buy his book about how the president is an effete asshole who's in over his head. How would one go about marketing a book like that, I wonder? During the entirety of the Bush Administration, Woodward made 11 appearances on Fox News Channel. Last year, he showed up 10 times. This year, he's been on three times so far. Guess where he's going to be tonight. This just in, Bob Woodward is a hack (and this isn't news if you'd been paying attention for the past 13 years). The general consensus amongst the White House Press Corps seems to be in agreement. Credit for the title of this post goes to @delrayser.

John Kerry Busts Out Some French

This made me smile. Olivier Knox of Yahoo News:

[W]hile Kerry seemed a bit rusty, his opening remarks at a joint press conference with the French foreign minister sounded pretty solid to this native speaker... And he poured on the charm to please his audience. “We’ve just finished one of those wonderful French lunches that have never ceased drawing Americans to Paris for centuries,” he said, seemingly reading from notes or prepared remarks. And he also joked about anti-French sentiment in the United States. “And now I’ll speak in English because otherwise they won’t let me return home.” Kerry’s gesture thrilled the French, who appreciate it when visiting dignitaries make an effort to speak their hosts’ language.

Eric Cantor Will Propose Federal Law That Ends Overtime Pay For Hourly Workers

Someone who goes by the username TeamSarah4Choice, at Daily Kos writes:

In Eric Cantor's February 2013 speech, he said he wanted to propose Federal Law that would end overtime pay for hourly workers. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, mandates that certain workers get paid "time + 1/2" for overtime work. Eric Cantor wants to eliminate that law. Because -- ya know -- workers not getting paid for overtime hours worked out so good for workers before FDR enacted that Law. Eric Cantor is a real piece of work.

Why A One-Room West Virginia Library Runs a $20,000 Cisco Router

Nate Anderson, at Ars Technica writes:

In total, $24 million was spent on the routers through a not-very-open bidding process under which non-Cisco router manufacturers such as Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent were not "given notice or any opportunity to bid." As for Cisco, which helped put the massive package together, the legislative auditor concluded that the company "had a moral responsibility to propose a plan which reasonably complied with Cisco's own engineering standards" but that instead "Cisco representatives showed a wanton indifference to the interests of the public in recommending using $24 million of public funds to purchase 1,164 Cisco model 3945 branch routers." After having dealt with Cisco personally at my current job, this doesn't surprise me.

White House Offers Republicans Deal For 80% Of Their Demands To Avoid Sequester; Republicans Refuse It

Ezra Klein, at The Washington Post writes:

As I understand it, the GOP has five basic goals in the budget talks: 1) Cut the deficit. 2) Cut entitlement spending. 3) Protect defense spending, and possibly even increase it. 4) Simplify the tax code by cleaning out deductions and loopholes. 5) Lower tax rates. The White House is willing to cut a deal with Republicans that will accomplish 1, 2, 3 and 4. But Republicans don’t want that deal. They’d prefer the sequester to that deal. That means they will get less on 1, basically nothing 2, 4, and 5, and they will actively hurt themselves on 3. So, rather than accomplishing four of their five goals, they’re accomplishing part of one. Some trade. Also, watch this bullshit: