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McDonalds to hire 50,000 new employees: Boon to the economy or a double-patty, sesame seed sprinkled, secret sauce having load of crap?

7 Apr

Michelin Man at Age 4

McDonalds is hoping to hire 50,000 workers in one day. The company said it is making the push to bring in new workers because more and more franchises are making the push to become 24 hour locations.

According to an article in CSM online, the average McDonalds employee earns $8.30/hr while management has the potential of earning up to $50,000/yr. It is fair to assume that the vast majority of the jobs will be closer to the $8.30/hr range and without benefits. Just to put that in perspective, if a person made McDonald’s their full-time gig on those wages, they would stand to gain a whoppering $17,264/yr. If a single mother of three tried relied on $17,264/yr, her wages would be significantly lower than the poverty threshold ($22,350).

This got me thinking… The American consumer is demanding ridiculously cheap food, regardless of qualityor effect on health, and are willing to overlook the poverty level employment devoid of benefits for a large underclass of unskilled labor. How does McDonalds justify paying low wages? Well first and foremost, the demand is there. Efficiency gains, the scale of the operations (nevermind low quality of product), and the extremely low cost of unskilled labor (some of it driven down by illegal immigration), allow for a dollar menu and all the McNuggets you can eat (limit 1 packet of sauce per order).

As much as we should praise McDonalds for its ingenuity, it’s important to remember McDonald’s effect on government spending. For every single mother of three that is making roughly $18,000/yr at McDonalds, the government will have to subsidize housing, living expenses, and healthcare (for at least her children). As much as reigning in excessive government spending should be a priority, how do we do that while being compassionate toward people that would literally be relegated to the street if their entitlements are cut? Personal responsibility aside, there has got to be a way to get our country back on the right track without destroying families.

But for now, if McDonalds and Father Government are the only options, beggars can’t always be choosers.

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20 and 30 Somethings Moving Back to the Inner-City

6 Apr

Trading 40's and Blunts for Boxed Wine and Vaporizers?

USA Today published an article today about the growing trend of college educated people that are moving back to the cities. What’s truly amazing is that the trend doesn’t only apply to the big name cities young college grades tend to move to (NYC, San Fran, DC, Boston, etc). Even rust belt cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinatti, Baltimore, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh are experiencing growth.

This is very exciting. Many of these cities were left to die with the growth of the suburbs, loss of industrial jobs to the third-world, and the general population migration toward the sunbelt. Further, violent crimes and drugs made most of areas decrepit and unlivable. It is great to see the younger generation of Americans taking initiative in moving back. Property values are low and the potential for growth is exponential. Many of the older cities have the foundation for a beautiful cityscape where inhabitants can live/work, rely on public transportation, and start their own small businesses.

The United States seriously needs to refocus its efforts from building unsustainable suburban growth and start moving back into the cities. The infrastructure already exists. Between old style buildings, the dearth of affordable housing, and the art/music/events/restaurants that are already centered in downtown areas, why not?

Senator Dick Durbin: A Patriot and US Constitutionalist

2 Apr

In running the hearing, Senator Richard Durbin tried to set the record straight about the patriotism of a vast majority of American-Muslim citizens and the continuing assaults on their civil rights. He warned against the “guilt by association” whipped up by Mr. King’s broadsides — that there are “too many mosques” in the nation, that most of them are extremist, and that American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement against home-grown terrorism.

To read more about Senator Durbin’s positive hearings on Muslim-Americans, please visit NYT.com

Battle of the Message Boards: Is the Hijab a Necessary Muslim Article of Clothing?

1 Apr

Booty Hijab?

I recently came across an article that details experiences of non-Muslims who wear a hijab for a day.

Though I appreciate the social experiment, it captures exactly what is wrong with how we educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. After having many conversations with feminist hijabis, as thought provoking as the exchanges may have been, I remain vehemently opposed to the position that the hijab should be universally accepted by Muslims. Don’t get me wrong, as a social conservative, I do believe there is a connection between attire, decency, and self-respect, but as a Muslim-American, I believe the focus should be on an individual’s right to choose faith. Praxis necessitates that a universal application of an unnecessary element of freedom will eventually lead us down a slippery slope that will subvert one’s ability to choose his or her own faith.

So here is the message board exchange I had with a few dissenters:

MUSLIM TEA PARTY: If the event’s sole purpose was to give participants the first-person experience of wearing an out-of-the-ordinary piece of cloth, then I’m sure they got their point across. Otherwise, I agree with dissenter. For most Muslims, the hijab is not a part of their cultural tradition. The Hijab is more Arab than anything else. As a South-Asian Muslim-American, it makes me sick to my stomach to see my forefathers’ open-minded culture being strangled by the limits of the hijab. The ‘requirement’ of a hijab is speculative at best; the true Islamic focus is based around moderation (whether a person chooses to wear hijab or jean cutoff shorts is a decision that should be made on the individual level WITHOUT the heavy handed influence of a few hijabis (or a few scantily clad women) and without guilt/sense of obligation). The focus should be on the confidence, inner-beauty, and moderation that one has whether she is wearing hijab or not. The hijab is a symbol that is rooted in the importance between control, self-respect, and the mind-body spiritual connection. The analysis is necessarily subjective, for Muslims believe that your actions can only be judged by their creator alone.
 

JIMMY: First of all hijaab is not just the piece of cloth that covers the head. It is about the whole of modest form of dress code for both genders. For women, Allah SWT adds one more requirement of “covering one’s zeenath” (check sura Noor). Most scholars agree that hair is part of woman’s zeenath or things that adorn her. It is we in the South Asia that seem to be carrying the cultural baggage and refusing to see the covering of our hair as part of our faith.

 SAI: The first thing that should be stated is that hijab is a personal, deeply personal, decision. Especially in this country and in this climate. People who state that it is arab culture rather than religious tradition are in gross error. Hijab as a whole (meaning modesty and properly covering the body as well as the concept of not ogling the opposite sex or participating in immoral behavior) is a basic tenet of being muslim for both men and women and that should be explained before people try the hijab for a day programs. It’s an opening for the conversation on the topic rather than an opening for the whole hijabi/non hijabi friction. Islam is a religion and not a culture and the sooner people understand that, the sooner they will have a real, open-minded discussion on the realities we face in the world. Many muslims don’t even recognize the difference between african/mid east/south asian culture (e.g. no women drivers, face covering, honor killings, female genital mutilation) and the religion that is islam. How can we expect anyone else to try to understand when we can’t even agree on whether hijab is a culture or religious tenet. It’s not just a head covering, its a way of living. It’s like putting on a shirt or pair of pants and the women who wear it view it that way. These are the things these programs should explain and the purpose for it. It should be more than a fun experiment; it should be an eye opening experience of what we go through daily. What is should not be is a platform for politically intended individuals.

 MUSLIM TEA PARTY:   The point Jimmy and Sai are making is exactly the problem with Islam today. Yes, there needs to be a sense of community and oneness. That does not mean everyone has to be the same, eat the same food, speak the same language, dress the same dress, etc. Throughout Islamic history, there have always been many different schools of thought, different scholars, and differing opinions. Of course the justifications for these decisions were rooted in religious interpretation, but just like any man based law, it is the individual’s experience in his or her locale that directs acceptable norms; historically, this holds true in Islam and to suggest that no adjustments are made for cultural variation is myopic at best. The hijab just happens to be one of many accepted norms (and its origin is in Arabia). It just so happens that a very conservative form of Islam has been subsidized by the rich oil barons in the Middle East. They have exerted their influence over tribal chieftains and poorer communities as a means of spreading their belief system and maintaining their religio-cultural dominance.

Companies Putting Food In Small Packaging to Hide Inflationary Cost Increases

29 Mar

It's okay. Recessions happen to lots of guys!

What a great way to hide increased costs. Though different companies have different strategies, one thing is certain: customers don’t notice small variations in size as much as they  notice differenes in price. My favorite tactic:

“Proctor and Gamble is expanding its “Future Friendly” products, which it promotes as using at least 15 percent less energy, water or packaging than the standard ones. They are more environmentally friendly, that’s true — but they’re also smaller,” said Paula Rosenblum.”

In all honesty, the US could probably use smaller serving sizes. Instead of legislation-driven obesity awareness, how ’bout we tighten the belt by tightening the belt?

To read more about some of the inflation-related tactics that businesses are employing, see the NYTimes article by clicking here.

Tim Pawlenty: Obama Was Born in the US, Birthers Are Conspiracy Theorist Looons

29 Mar

Oh hey ya Ger that's a fish dontcha know?

Former Minnesota Governor and presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty seems to be setting up his platform. By stating what the rest of us already know, Gov. Pawlenty is signaling that his campaign will be about the issues and that he will not allow it to be dictated by radical birthers who clearly operate on the fringe.

Viable and capable candidates should bring the issues back on the table. Otherwise, we’re in for a long 2 years liberal media drive Tea Party bashing… The Tea Party needs to continually denounce fringe elements within (and without) our ranks. It will be heck of a lot harder to tarnish our true American grassroots movement when we’ve made it clear that we’re serious about our platform.

New TV Ads questioning Obama’s Birth Certificate (ugh)

28 Mar

Check out the new TV ad questioning President Obama’s Birth Certificate.

Seriously? As a member of the Tea Party, I strongly denounce members of the movement that are focusing on the conspiracies and the birther craze. The President responded to these allegations in 2008 and FactCheck.org even debunked the conspiracies. Instead of focusing on unemployment, health care, taxes, and personal freedoms, birthers are wasting their time buying into these whacky theories that are being pushed by opportunistic “scholars” like Jerome Corsi who are just trying to make a buck. Also, by having a significant portion of the Tea Party seemingly hell bent about something that has repeatedly been proven to be untrue, it gives fuel to the left wing media to tarnish our noble cause by painting us as wingnuts.  

Here are some Message Board highlights from the Fox Nation link to the video clip:

“Oh for Goodness sake. Just present the birth certificate already”

“Rather than seeing his occupancy of the Office of President legitimized, as impeachment would, I’d prefer to see the SOB ousted as illegitimately occupying the office due to his lack of qualifying citizenship. But for that to happen we would need members of our courts to actually support Constitutional Principles were his eligibility not be upheld by evidence. Corsi has spent a number of years researching. He is outlining all the facts in a book that I can’t wait to see. I will gladly pay the price for his book.”

“Laugh it up if you think it’s funny but if you were a true independant then you too would demand that the Constitution be adhered to instead of grabbing at straw to cover for this massive fraud.”

“Been trying to tell all these worthless liberals that the illegal Kenyan needs to be executed for treason …portraying an American president !”

AT&T and T-Mobile Merger May Get Derailed by Government Intervention

25 Mar

Government: Economies of scale? What's that? Now pay us our higher-than-private-sector salaries!

 

Some officials in the FCC are hinting that this deal might not happen.

So let me get this straight… We have been told that high-speed internet access, mobility, and infrastructure upgrades will help us compete with emerging economies in the 21st century. If this merger goes through, AT&T’s network will be vastly improved and upgraded immediately. T-Mobile uses the same GSM network and has already spent billions on upgrades for its 4G LTE network. More importantly, T-Mobile has focused its upgrades in smaller cities and remote areas. This goes hand-in-hand with President Obama’s plan to provide high-speed internet access to ALL Americans. Perhaps Mr. Obama meant that he wants inefficient government employees and contractors to do the work at a high cost to taxpayers?

We know the arguments. The economic leftists are worried about a lack of competition. Last time I checked, the only mobile companies that are keeping each other in check are Verizon and AT&T. Though T-Mobile and Sprint are technically competitors, they get the table scraps and hardly break even. Mobile phones and internet connectivity are becoming mainstays in our lives. With the launch of successful tablet computers, there is going to be a staid demand for virtual access. While T-Mobile will try to chip away at a segment of its larger rivals’ base, they will always be one step behind and will ultimately have to rely on Verizon and AT&T to supplement its own coverage (for a considerable fee).

By merging, AT&T will be able to supplement an already growing 4G LTE network with T-Mobile’s existing small-city and rural centered infrastructure. Can you imagine the savings? Putting up cell phone towers sounds easy enough. Add property costs, zoning, environmental assessments, fake health concerns, and b-list celebrities in Brooklyn, and the next thing you know, AT&T is paying much more money than it projected for upgrades. The lefties will say that AT&T can afford to pay for it from their profits. For those of use that actually have the ability to pay our phone bills, we know that the cost will be passed on to us.

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