Monday, May 21, 2018

Harder For You To Sue Your Employer

It was a matter of time. With the huge divide of income inequality
and a known point of Republicans liking to impoverish their
consumers / labor force with the many conservatives that vote
against their best interest seen everyday as the impoverished cars
they drive. You don't see Republican bumper stickers on 
expensive cars! 

So really what can be done? Just let them go off their cliffs
they have to learn sometime. They can't learn if they don't fail!
For the workers the norm is to cut back your spending as with
low pay is just not letting you spend what you earn.
Show your poverty more like a union strike but not at work.
Go out in town looking poor, show the need for better pay!
It's ok just live in your means, work like they treat you!

There is a point to be brought up but if you are not paid
to be brought up why should you? You are not paid to be 
brought up.

When I worked at Walmart they where doing the 
reverse inventory. So all the workers knew it was a
retaliation so we all did the reverse inventory
being it took all of our time doing it, it was all we did,
no stocking shelves and the sales went down.
There was retaliation there so many acted accordingly!

A good point of cause and effect! If you do that, you do it and
if you don't many more than you will do it anyway without you.
So join the party as anything hard on the workers pushes them down. 
Like a you get what you pay for in how the many workers
take the abuse and just work as they are treated.

~~~~~The Supreme Court Just Made It A Lot Harder For You To Sue Your Employer
Employers who stiff their workers or discriminate against them just got a big lift from the Supreme Court, which issued a major ruling Monday making it easier for companies to avoid employee lawsuits.

The 5-4 ruling upheld employers’ use of class-action waivers in arbitration agreements. By signing these controversial provisions, workers give up their right to band together and sue in court for back pay or damages, and are instead forced to take their disputes to arbitrators individually.

Arbitration agreements have become a common way for employers to stifle lawsuits that could lead to large plaintiff classes and big payouts. Workers backed by employee groups and labor unions challenged their employers’ use of these agreements, claiming they ran afoul of the National Labor Relations Act, or NLRA, which guarantees workers the right to join forces in “mutual aid and protection.”

The employer-friendly conservative majority on the court decided against the workers. They ruled that collective bargaining law does not supersede federal law that established the arbitration process, therefore making the class-action waivers in employment contracts legitimate.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the conservative majority, saying Congress did not write the NLRA to “displace” federal arbitration law.

“The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written,” Gorsuch wrote. 

The high court has previously ruled that companies can force consumers into arbitration agreements with class-action waivers, which are tucked into the fine print when you buy a plane ticket or sign up for a cell phone. The latest ruling effectively sanctions the use of these waivers in the workplace, a practice that has grown increasingly common over the last two decades.

The Supreme Court ruling will have long-lasting implications for workers. Class-action lawsuits are often the most powerful way for employees to secure back pay when their minimum wage or overtime rights have been violated or to secure damages when their bosses run afoul of discrimination laws.

It’s harder to pursue these cases as a single worker than as part of a group, which is why employers prefer arbitration. Lawyers can be reluctant to file individual complaints in which the judgments or settlements will be small and not worth their time. Many workers are also hesitant to file their lawsuits as individuals, fearing their employers will ostracize or retaliate against them.

In a strong dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the decision of the majority “egregiously wrong.” She argued that the rights under the NLRA include the right to pursue litigation collectively, and that an employer-dictated waiver would violate it.

“Employees’ rights to band together to meet their employers’ superior strength would be worth precious little if employers could condition employment on workers signing away those rights,” Ginsburg wrote.

“There is strength in numbers,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said during oral arguments of the case last year. “We have to protect the individual worker from being in a situation where he can’t protect his rights.”

During oral arguments last year, Justice Stephen Breyer said the case could undermine “the entire heart of the New Deal” by weakening collective action by workers.

According to a report last year from the Economic Policy Institute, an estimated 25 million workers ― just under one-quarter of non-union employees in the private sector ― give up their right to join class-action lawsuits as a condition of employment. The report anticipated that waivers would become an “even more widespread practice” in the event the Supreme Court sanctioned them.

The Supreme Court case, National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., consolidated three separate cases involving different employers: the software company Epic Systems, the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, and the oil company and gas station chain Murphy Oil.

A former Murphy Oil employee, Sheila Hobson, claimed that when she worked at one of the company’s retail stores, she and her colleagues were required to do off-the-clock work they weren’t compensated for. They got together to sue the company for back pay. But when they consulted a lawyer, they learned they couldn’t take Murphy Oil to court as a group because they had already agreed to arbitration when they accepted their jobs.

The National Labor Relations Board, the independent agency that enforces collective bargaining law, argued that the forced arbitration clause interfered with Hobson’s right to join together with other employees to improve their working conditions. The Obama White House agreed, filing a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Hobson.

But that was under former President Barack Obama. After President Donald Trump was inaugurated, his administration took the extremely rare step of reversing a previous administration’s position on a sitting case before the court. Last June, Trump’s acting solicitor general filed a new brief in support of the employers in the case.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Poor People’s Campaign Now And Why

Poverty is a real issue because that is the labor force.
Who are you going to hire if most of the workers don't have cars?
They show up late and tired overheated from the walk.
It's a real issue as you don't see the middle class working at Walmart.
And so is a issue that will fix it's self as the most just won't have the job skills
for the jobs needed. A lack of funding support in that you get what
you pay for. Low taxes to the poor that takes in more taxes then they pay out results
in the fact that low taxes to the poor is low food stamps so they cut back their
spending to offset the lack of funding! Something goes up something
has to come down!

All in all poverty and surrounding pushes for a correction for foundation
for the poor. A correction as like the poor cutting back their spending wiping
out most stores they go to making cities loose much tax revenue.
You can't spend what you earn if you earn nothing! So there is a change to save
the whole thing, a need to raise the pay or just have nothing.
It's just a matter of time you can't have all the poor just holding their breath
doing without. The cities die and so the poor migrates to do it again.
So there is a point of getting the wages up as those poor take it down with them.

It is about time there is a new push for the "Poor people's campaign" being
there needs to be more light to be brought up about the poor. Higher wages
is a better foundation not letting the masses out there cutting back all and
so not being able to fix their homes so they all fall over in time.
And to is the correction of how to recover from that? Better pay as all of those
people are crashed with no foundation to work.

Arresting the poor is too many and from too far as one should fix the problem
not put then in jail not asking why did they do that in the first place.
A easy cause and effect question that needs to be asked as there is too many
to be put in jail a mass of possible 1 million poor people's march!
The poor does have power!

~~~~~Hundreds arrested as activists pick up where Martin Luther King left off
Hundreds of low-wage workers, faith leaders, civil rights organizers and liberal activists were arrested in demonstrations in Washington and outside statehouses across the US on Monday as they resumed the work Martin Luther King left unfinished.

Fifty years after King launched the Poor People’s Campaign against economic inequality, militarism and racial injustice, demonstrators revived that fight, kicking off 40 days of nonviolent action.

The new effort, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is being led by co-chairs William Barber, a pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and Liz Theoharis, an ordained minister and anti-poverty campaigner from New York City.

50 years after Martin Luther King's death, a 'new King' fights for justice
 Read more
In Washington, the group gathered on the lawn outside the US Capitol to hear Barber declare: “Something’s wrong in America.”

Their action on Monday, Barber continued, was not just a commemoration of King’s anti-poverty efforts, it was a new call-to-arms.

“We are here to have a reconsecration and a re-engagement because you do not commemorate the death of [a] prophet,” Barber said, his voice building as he spoke. “You go to where they were killed, reach down in the blood, pick up your baton and carry it the next round of the way. Now who’s ready?”

The crowd parted and Barber and Theoharis led a procession of activists trained in civil disobedience toward the street, where they were prepared to be arrested. Two-by-two the demonstrators walked, representing nearly three-dozen states and Native American reservations.

The group sang hymns and chanted their demands as they marched toward the police, who had formed a blockade. Barber, in his purple robe, was the first to breach the line and was arrested. Dozens more followed as hundreds more cheered them on from the steps of the Library of Congress. Theoharis was the last to be arrested.

Similar scenes were replicated across the country in North Carolina, Missouri and California. In total, the Poor People’s Campaign said 1,000 activists were arrested nationwide.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Housing Crisis Is Spreading To Smaller Cities

There is a need to bring up these smaller towns. If not then you will just have
many homes falling apart around the home owners ears wiping out much of the
town. Really if you can't afford to fix your home then nature will fix it for you. 
Putting it in form with natural selection as the wind blows it over.

Why can't people just be able to fix their homes why live the third world lifestyle?
There are many issues with housing being that you can't afford to fix it because
the cost being too high or all factors. Whatever they are it's about the ending.
Nature blows over tore up homes, nature does not care otherwise.
And also is the point of paying higher rent at apartments where it forces
people to cut all their spending to live there. You can't spend what you earn 
if you earn nothing. So there is nothing and no need for anything as businesses 
find most cut back their spending to pay for higher things.

And so the question is when are they going the raise the pay? 
It is just daunting to have many towns turn into Detroit by people
spending what they earn as the live on 20+ of their income after the bills etc...
Raise the income, well it's better than doing without all the time.

~~~~~America's Housing Crisis Is Spreading To Smaller Cities
“Have you considered the racket and the lights and the crowds and the traffic, and everything that’s going to happen to those of us who live here?”

It is a familiar sight in America: the public meeting, the angry residents, the housing developer trying to explain himself over the boos.

“Take the money you’ve got and get out of here,” one person shouts. A chant begins: “Oppose! Oppose! Oppose!”

Except this is not San Francisco or L.A. or Boston. It is Boise, Idaho.

And it is a preview of the next chapter in the housing crisis. Rising rents, displacement and, yes, NIMBYism are spreading from America’s biggest cities to those in its middle tier. Last year, according to an Apartment List survey, the fastest-rising rents in the country were in Orlando, Florida; Reno, Nevada; and Sacramento, California. Another survey, by RentCafe, found exactly one city with a population greater than 500,000 ― Las Vegas ― in the top 25.

Small cities are starting to face the same challenges as larger ones. Renting a two-bedroom apartment in Jacksonville, Florida, requires earning at least $18.63 per hour ― $10.53 more than the state minimum wage. In Tacoma, Washington (pop. 211,000), a property management company is evicting low-income residents so it can flip their building into luxury units. Boise, where downtown condos are going for $400,000, was the seventh most unequal city in America in 2016, a jump from 79th place just five years earlier.

And it’s only going to get worse. As the poor get pushed inward from the coasts and as young workers seek out the few affordable places left, they will arrive in America’s smaller cities ― which may not be ready to take them.

Rising rents in small and midsize cities are a humanitarian crisis
Boise is, by some measures, the fastest-growing city in America. It added 3 percent to its population last year and Idaho is projected to add another 200,000 people by 2025.

This should be good news. The city’s growth is driven by a booming, diversified economy and an influx of skilled, educated young people. But Boise isn’t adding homes fast enough to keep up. According to an analysis from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there’s a demand for more than 10 times as many homes as the city is building. Without anything new available, incoming residents are scooping up what’s already there, bidding up costs and pricing out current residents.

The impact is devastating. Nearly half of Boise’s renters are living in apartments that eat up over 30 percent of their income. Since 2005, as living costs have exploded, Boise’s median income has fallen and the number of homeless children has more than doubled. Last month, a 5-year-old died when the car her family was sleeping in caught fire in a Walmart parking lot.

And yet, even as the city’s needs have grown, its ability to meet them has diminished.

According to Deanna Watson, the executive director of the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority, Boise provides rental vouchers to around 2,500 low-income residents. If they can only afford, say, $300 per month, and their rent is $800, the vouchers make up the difference.

With rents booming, though, the assistance isn’t keeping up. HUD recalculates the value of the vouchers every year. But some Boise landlords are raising rents every 60 days.

“I’ve been doing this for 21 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Watson says. One voucher recipient lives in an old hotel converted into apartments. He uses a motorized wheelchair and needs live-in care. His rent has gone up $275 in the last 18 months, and he’s falling behind. “We’ve got people spending 80 to 90 percent of their income on rent, even with a rental assistance voucher,” Watson says. “And if they get evicted, or leave on their own, there’s no place for them to move.”

The perverse incentives don’t end there. Boise’s federal voucher allotment is determined each year by the previous year’s spending. With the apartment vacancy rate at 1 percent, and landlords refusing to rent to Boiseans who receive housing assistance (which is legal under Idaho law), it can take months for low-income residents to find anywhere that will take them.

To federal administrators, though, every unused rental voucher looks like unspent funding. Watson says it’s nearly impossible for the local housing authority to predict how many of the vouchers will actually get used. If the agency underspends, HUD will cut its budget. If it overspends, the city will have to make up the difference. Boise’s 2015 Housing Needs Assessment notes that since 2010, as the need for subsidized housing has increased, the use of rental vouchers has fallen. “When the need goes up,” Watson says, “the funding goes down.”

The same vulnerabilities are showing up in small cities across the country. In Orlando, where rents rose by almost 8 percent last year, the median rent already takes up 71 percent of the median income. According to Apartment List, Memphis, Tennessee, had the highest per capita eviction rate in the country between 2015 and 2017. Montana has seen a 33 percent rise in homelessness in the last decade. Smaller cities have lower rents, but they also have lower wages, less diverse economies and fewer social services. Everything that makes it easier to get onto the housing ladder in places like Boise also makes it easier to fall off.

American cities are still catching up from the recession
It’s tempting to look at the housing crisis in Boise as just a miniature version of what’s already happened in the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest and the Northeastern corridor. But in the last 10 years, the American economy has transformed in ways that are going to make it even harder for smaller cities to respond to growth.

In 2007, the city of Boise was issuing more than twice as many building permits as it is now. Despite having 125,000 more residents, Boise’s metro area built fewer homes in 2016 than it did in 2004.

The reason, says Gary Hanes, a retired HUD administrator based in Boise, is that the recession wiped out the city’s construction sector. Between 2008 and 2012, Boise home prices fell by 40 percent. With homebuilding stalled, thousands of construction workers took other jobs or left for North Dakota or Alaska. By 2012, once all the low-cost and foreclosed homes had been scooped up and the city needed new housing again, there was no one left to build it.

This isn’t just a Boise problem. Construction workers, even in high-paid jobs and booming cities, are in short supply. Plus, thanks to increasing international demand, prices for timber, steel and concrete are going up nationwide. Banks have gotten more risk-averse since the recession, preferring to finance “sure bets” ― such as McMansions in the suburbs ― over “riskier” projects like urban apartment blocks or affordable housing.

The higher costs of materials, financing and labor, combined with the years-long lag in homebuilding, have made construction unbearably expensive. Fred Cornforth, the CEO of the CDI/Idaho Development and Housing Organization, builds affordable housing in 17 states. He tells me that his last project in Boise cost around $155,000 per apartment ― cheaper than Seattle, where he also develops properties, but not by as much as you’d think.

This, Cornforth says, is the fundamental challenge of the housing crisis in Boise and everywhere else: The only way make prices fall is to overbuild. You need vacancy rates of 8 percent or more before rents start to come down. But the backlog is so great, and the costs of building are so high, that it’s impossible even to meet the current demand. Every year, he says, as the backlog grows, the costs go up and the challenge of meeting the need gets worse.

Red states make solving the housing crisis harder
Then there are all the challenges of being located in a red state. Not that California and Massachusetts are exactly exemplars of equitable growth, but nearly all of Boise’s problems are exacerbated by neglect or outright sabotage from state lawmakers.

The city is barred, for example, from forcing developers to reserve a percentage of their units for affordable housing. The state’s Housing Trust Fund, which was created in 1992 and could help alleviate some of the pressure on the vouchers, has never seen a dime of state funding. Plus, Idaho law prevents Boise from taxing itself to provide better city services. Even carpool lanes are forbidden by state law.

“We’ve got a campaign for governor going on right now and there hasn’t been a minute of airtime about how to grow,” says Jerry Brady, a former politician and the founder of Compassionate Boise, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for equitable growth. “It’s all freedom, abortion and who can cut spending the most. There’s never a moment’s conversation about traffic or how to prevent us from becoming the next California.”

This makes no financial sense, of course. The Boise area generates 47 percent of Idaho’s gross domestic product. State funding to build more homes, expand public transit or prepare the city’s water and sewer systems for more residents would, in the long run, save money and attract more growth.

And yet, here we are. Many of the cities now experiencing galloping rises in living costs are in rural, Republican-dominated states ― places where increasing funding to low-income renters and investing in public housing are politically impossible. At the federal level, too, help is decidedly not on the way. Last year’s Republican tax plan removed a subsidy for affordable housing developers. Just last week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced that his department was shrinking federal housing subsidies.

That has implications far beyond Boise. In a survey of 156 mayors earlier this year, 72 percent reported that affordable housing was becoming a problem. Even in small towns, housing costs were the No. 2 concern that mayors reported hearing from their constituents. It’s a nationwide problem ― 87 percent of the country’s 250 biggest cities reported rent rises last year ― but one that cities are still expected to solve by themselves.

Neighbors are fighting growth
Ultimately, the housing crisis is not about housing. It is about the inability of American cities to grow.

“It’s hard to acknowledge change,” says Mike Kazmierski, the president of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. He’s been watching Reno, another medium-size boomtown, play out the same debates as Boise for over six years now. “If you say your city is going to grow, that means you need another fire station, more schools, more staff. Cities don’t have the budgets for that, and asking for it means raising taxes. The pushback is, ‘We don’t want to pay for that growth. Let them pay for it when they get here.’”

This is where Boise starts to look depressingly familiar. In the last few years, as the city’s growth has become more visible, NIMBY groups have taken over the political conversation. Of the 21 speakers at a town hall meeting last month, only two said they welcomed more growth. Signs reading “OVERCROWDING IS NOT SUSTAINABLE” are showing up in front yards. Some local residents, taking a page from the San Francisco playbook, are trying to get their neighborhood classified as a “conservation district” to block new buildings from going in.

Some of the complaints have merit ― it’s hard not to be sympathetic to residents asking for sidewalks on their streets or more frequent bus service ― but many are simply pleas for the growth itself to stop. A comment on the Facebook page for Vanishing Boise, one of the local anti-development groups, is emblematic of the argument: “Why are they coming in the first place?????”

As in other cities, this dynamic reveals a fundamental weakness in the American political system: Opposition to growth comes from homeowners and voters, entrenched interests who already have the ear of local politicians. Supporters of growth, the beneficiaries of all the new development, haven’t even moved here yet.

This means, says Zoe Olsen, the executive director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, that local opposition is often focused on preventing growth rather than managing it. “Everyone wants to preserve the farmland around us,” she says. “But these neighborhood groups are fighting for things like, ‘Let’s have one home per acre.’ The only way we’re going to preserve our parks and our beautiful pastoral feeling is by building upwards.”

But there is no political constituency for this argument. Boise’s homeownership rate is 68 percent ― 25 points higher than San Francisco’s. Despite a Boise State University study showing that the city will lose twice as much of its farmland if it continues to expand through sprawl rather than density, most local advocacy groups are making the same argument San Francisco homeowners have made for decades: If we don’t build it, they won’t come.

It’s the same in other midsize, housing-crunched cities: Thanks to the highways and homeowners already there, it’s almost impossible to form the critical mass to make hard decisions about how to grow. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spent years debating whether to build a single low-income housing complex. Franklin, Tennessee, changed its zoning to allow less density after a developer put 20 houses on a 24-acre plot. In Boise, residents resisted a city plan to base the F-35 fighter jet nearby ― along with the high-paying, secure military jobs that accompany it ― because they didn’t want the noise.

But there are shoots of hope, too. Hanes, the retired HUD administrator, points out that Boise is building dedicated housing for its chronically homeless population. Of the 1,000 housing units under construction downtown, more than 250 are reserved for low-income residents. Hanes started a group, Love Your Neighbor, that shows up at City Council meetings and argues for more growth.

And Hanes, who lived in San Francisco during its early boom years, sees one significant difference between the new housing crisis in smaller cities and the decades-old one in bigger metropolises.

“Here,” he says, “we can still solve it.”

~~~~~Earn minimum wage in the US? You can afford to live in exactly 12 counties
A person working a full-time minimum-wage job will find it virtually impossible to rent an affordable home anywhere in the US, according to a study that sheds new light the country’s housing crisis.

The report reveals that there is not a single county or metropolitan area in which a minimum-wage worker can afford a modest two-bedroom home, which the federal government defines as paying less than 30% of a household’s income for rent and utilities. And in only 12 counties in the country is a modest one-bedroom home affordable, according to the report, published Thursday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

This applies even in places that have raised their minimum wage higher than the baseline federal level of $7.25, which equates to around $15,000 a year. In Los Angeles County the minimum wage is rising to $15 for all employers by 2021, but the current wage required for a one-bedroom there is $22.98. In New York City the minimum wage is rising to $15 for all employers by 2019, but the wage needed for a one-bedroom soars above this, at $27.29.

Less-overheated real estate markets present difficulties to low-income workers as well. Averaging rents across Alabama and Montana, someone earning minimum wage would have to work approximately one-and-a-half full-time jobs to be able to afford a one-bedroom home.

Americans earning minimum wage do not need a study to know how difficult things are.

Alicia Hamiel, 23, a mother of two children in Philadelphia, earns $7.75 an hour at McDonald’s and works 26-38 hours a week, based on what the scheduler allots her. She and her family are currently living in a single room that rents for $400 a month.

“I feel like I’m failing as a mom,” she said. “If I can’t make sure they have a roof over their heads, what am I doing? I feel like I’m doing the best that I can.”

She was once so desperate that looked into staying at a homeless shelter, but there was no room. “I apply for other jobs, I call, I go to interviews. And it’s just like, either I’m not qualified or they just tell me, you know, they don’t want to hire me.”

The study is “well-executed”, said David Bieri, an associate professor of public policy at Virginia Tech, who was not involved with the project. “We learn from it that housing in the coastal US is exceedingly expensive,” he said, and that in cities, wages are “not really moving in line with increased pressures”.

The most expensive counties and metropolitan areas in the US are indeed maritime, or thereabouts: in the San Francisco bay area and in the Honolulu, New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC areas. San Francisco renters must earn $58.04 an hour to afford a two-bed home. The 12 counties where a one-bedroom is affordable are in Arizona, Oregon and Washington – as the report notes, these are states with their own, higher minimum wages – and are mostly rural.

While numerous localities and states have boosted the minimum wage, they may need to be more ambitious. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the minimum wage is about $8.50, but housing costs for a one-bedroom would require a wage of $13.77 an hour. In Saint Louis, Missouri, the minimum wage is $10 but $13.27 is needed; in Tacoma, Washington, the minimum wage is $11.15, lagging the one-bed cost of $17.02.

Raising the minimum wage “definitely is something that would increase quality of life for low-wage workers and is important”, said Andrew Aurand, the principal author of the study, but it “still does not raise the minimum wage to a level that would allow a minimum wage worker to afford a home”.

He suggested that the government could offer increased rental assistance and boost programs such as the National Housing Trust Fund, which invests in affordable homes. The Trump administration has signaled it is moving in the opposite direction, proposing cutting funding for the federal housing agency by almost 15% and indicating it would like to ax the trust fund.

Elsewhere in the report, the authors note that some of the occupations predicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to add the most positions in coming years – such as nursing assistants, retail salespersons and home health aides – all currently earn too little to be able to pay for a one-bedroom apartment, as calculated on a national basis.

Those opposed to raising the minimum wage contend that it could cause job losses and does not help to reduce poverty levels, and their arguments seem to have won out in around two dozen states that have passed laws preempting cities from raising the minimum wage.

Yet this “is bad for workers and it’s bad for the economy because it’s stifling consumer spending”, said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. Extensive research, she pointed out, finds a positive effect.

Marco Ascencio, 21, who lives with his mother and two sisters in a two-bedroom house in Inglewood, in Los Angeles County, has no doubt that it should be higher.

He works around 37 hours a week cleaning aircraft for American Airlines and 15 hours making pizza dough at Little Caesars, earning $10.55 an hour for both; his mother also has a full-time minimum wage job cleaning planes, and a sister has just started in a new position. “How is it that three people are working,” he said, “and we’re still struggling?”

Their home rents for around $2,000 a month, and in addition to paying for housing, Ascencio is saving for college tuition. He feels as though the family lives on a knife edge: if his mother became injured and lost her job, or if they were evicted and had to move into a more expensive place, he fears their financial net would break.

“I don’t want to be a 25-year-old still working, earning $10 an hour, and still living in my mom’s house, in the living room – it’s kind of scary.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ariana Grande about Sweetener

Being real about who you really are or who everyone is, is worth the effort.
Look what happens when someone is down and in the dark.

It's about bringing you along others up so everyone can stand up together.
A point to love as all of us should not fear and know the worth to be lovers of life
because life is short!

To be the sweetener in someones life regardless is worth it!

~~~~~Ariana Grande Spills Deets On Album Release On 'Tonight Show'
Less than two weeks after dropping her first single since last year’s terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, Ariana Grande said on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday that her new album will be coming out this summer, and it has a name: “Sweetener.”

“It’s kind of about bringing light to a situation or to someone’s life or somebody else brings life to your life. ... Sweetening the situation,” Grande told host Jimmy Fallon.

Grande posted the video for “No Tears Left To Cry” last month and performed it live at Coachella. Other songs on the new album are titled “The Light Is Coming” and “God Is A Woman.”

She also dropped a strong hint about the exact date of the “Sweetener” release. We’re guessing July 20. (You’ll have to watch above to see what we mean.)

Her fourth studio album will be her first since the terror attack following her concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 people in May 2017.

Grande and Fallon didn’t discuss the bombing. Still, Fallon praised her strength and her return to Manchester for a benefit concert (where she moved the crowd with an emotional “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”) Grande thanked Fallon with tears welling in her eyes.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The key to creativity, Jazz

Love and life do you dare? Why would you not?

There has been many musicians that just jump in to
that they do out of the blue. Edgar Winter for one was
known to just jump in to what he was doing.
A lady I liked in the 90's she was the banquet manager at
the time, she dated Edgar back in the 70's.
One day I was setting up a video projector, VCR, amp system for the
banquet once because the Audio Visual guy was out for lunch so my
boss asked me for help and me like being her partner helped.
She said I gave her a flashback of Edgar because I was right in there
just plugging things away like Edgar would do when he played.
I reminded her of Edgar by that.

To note she said the part of Frankenstein when Edgar went wah, wah, wah
it would freak her out. "It was like he was a alien coming out of the ground
wiggling like a warm." It bugged her. I can see that being Edgar must of been
a trip when you are tripping out!

But the point of that is the improvisation on how the brain invents.
It brings on the light when you are in your moment playing!

"He is known for being a multi-instrumentalist keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist and
percussionist as well as a singer."

No one did that more than Sun Ra.
"Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, and poet known for his experimental music, "cosmic" philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances. For much of his career, Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up."

~~~~~Jazz improv and your brain: The key to creativity?
Fingers graze a keyboard, poised to play. A trumpet rises to the lips. Drumsticks perch in the air, ready to fall. The improv begins, and this combo of jazz musicians instantly creates a piece of music that has never been heard before.

As each instrument hijacks the melody, the song is reinvented in ways even the musician doesn't understand.

Revered jazz trumpeter Miles Davis put it this way: "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later."

For neuroscientist Dr. Charles Limb, jazz is pure creativity in action.

"When you hear great jazz, like John Coltrane or Miles Davis, it has this jaw-dropping quality to it, and what's been described as 'a sound of surprise' takes place," Limb said. "And you think to yourself, 'Wow, that's not just phenomenal music, that's phenomenal neurobiology.' "

Could jazz improvisation be a key to understanding how the brain invents? Could that creativity be studied? An accomplished jazz musician himself, Limb was the perfect scientist to tackle the project.

"I had always intuitively understood that the creative process in jazz improvisation is very different than the process of memorization," he explained. "That is immediately apparent when you play."

Why a song gets stuck in your head
He decided to ask jazz musicians to play a memorized song while their brains were scanned inside a functional MRI and then to have them riff a bit during the scan to compare the differences.

"You say 'go,' and jazz players can improv at drop of a hat, so from an experimental perspective, it's really easy to study, as compared, to say, a novelist," said Limb, chief of the Division of Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. "Just imagine I want you to write a novel on the spot, and every 60 seconds, I'm going to have you switch modes between something original and something you've memorized. it's jarring and not how novelists normally work."

Jazz musicians do work that way, but there was one major issue: the magnetic field of the MRI. The pull is so powerful that any metal in the room would be rocketed to the machine's core, destroying the item in the process.

To solve the problem. Limb commissioned a non-magnetic piano with plastic keys, which could be played on the musician's lap while in the scanner. The work began, and the results, published in 2008, were fascinating.

While the musicians improvised, the parts of the brain that allow humans to express ourselves -- the medial prefrontal cortex or "default network" -- became more active.

At the same time, the part of the brain responsible for self-inhibition and control, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, became dormant.

The medial prefrontal cortex, parts of the brain that allow humans to express ourselves, is shown in yellow. The part responsible for self-inhibition and control, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is blue.

The medial prefrontal cortex, parts of the brain that allow humans to express ourselves, is shown in yellow. The part responsible for self-inhibition and control, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is blue.

By inhibiting the part of the brain that allows self-criticism, the musicians were able to stay in their creative flow, known as "in the zone."

"I view this as a neurological description of letting go," Limb said. "If you're too self-conscious, it's very hard to be free creatively."

Not just jazz
It's not just all that jazz. Limb also scanned the brains of rap artists as they freestyled.
"If you look at the history of jazz and rap, you can make an argument that rap is today's jazz," he said. "Jazz was a radical American-born art form, and rap has a lot of parallels to jazz, because so much of it is created on the spot and is sort of a music of the street."

Before long, Limb was also peering inside the noggins of improvisational comedians and caricature artists.

"In 30 seconds, that artist can sketch any face he is seeing as a caricature," he said, adding that improv comedians function similarly. "I realized that was analogous to what is happening in a freestyle jazz solo. The brain is taking a known structure and deviating from it in intentional ways that are not pre-planned.

"Jazz is a great model to begin with, but I don't want to end there," Limb continued. "If you look at artists at creative experts of our time, and you believe you can learn how human creativity operates by looking at art, you realize that each type of art represents a unique piece of human thinking."

In the past decade, the field of improvisational neuroscience has exploded. Researchers have peered inside the brains of classical musicians, non-musicians, writers and "divergent" thinkers, those who can quickly come up with novel ways to use everyday objects, such as a brick.

One of the first myths to be debunked: "Right-brain people" are not more creative. In fact, networks in both the left and right sides of the brain are intimately involved in creativity and change depending on the type of endeavor and the stage of the creative process.

"We're looking at networks of creative brain function, the interplay of these networks and the role of aptitude," said Rex Jung, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who studies aptitude, intelligence and creativity. "Everyone is creative; it's just a matter of degree. We have this prototypical idea of artistic creativity, but we are creative in our relationships, our work, our cooking or even arranging our homes in a different way."

For the arts, at least, successful creative improvisation also appears to be related to expertise, a mastery generated by a lot of hard work. Research finds that musicians who have devoted hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours to practice seem to more easily get into "the flow."

"What the trained experts who are so creative are always revealing is that it was practice -- a lot of effort and practice -- that gave them the creative edge," Limb said, "rather than the genius, talent or aptitude they were born with.

"So one of the take-home points is if you want to build a more creative society, there is no substitute for just trying and doing it," he continued. "We see the creative brain evolve over time. It's not just fixed at birth. By practicing these behaviors we add to our creative abilities."

Jung agrees: "The more raw material you have, the more time you devote to developing a skill set, the easier it is to improvise. It takes expertise to have enough material to draw on to be creative. So find an area that interests you, develop an expertise in that area, and then start creating and develop something extraordinary."

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Yue Lao the old man under the moon and Red Strings

I do have a few red strings in my life. I met people before I met them
and my old lady the one that brought me to the town I live in now.
We both where born in the same hospital in the same town different times,
in Ohio! Walking to my car once I sort of fell once and she did also
after I did. Like my string pulled on her string.

A lady love almost ran me over by accident and
on my knees I begged her to come back she took off. Only for me
to work with her later. I first met her in 1996 in another town
in a McDonald's and beyond at different times.

Also I had a girlfriend I also met around the same area in that
town on the highway by the McDonald's in 1989.
I also ended up in the same town with her and I worked with her also
and we had dinner in our car in the parking lot and we seen the 1996 lady,
yes we did!

I seem to be connected to a many. Way out of any of our control.
So I accept it as it is bigger than me!

But who did it? Yue Lao? Don't know! But I accept it for the better!
Lovers... To do with love and better lives!

~~~~~Yue Lao
A legend is told about the old man under the moon. During the Tang dynasty, there was a young man named Wei Gu (韋固 Wéi Gù). Once he was passing the city of Songcheng, where he saw an old man leaning on his pack reading a book in the moonlight. Being amazed at it, Wei Gu walked up and asked what he was doing. The old man answered: "I am reading a book of marriage listing for who is going to marry whom. In my pack are red cords for tying the feet of husband and wife." When Wei Gu and the old man came together to a marketplace, they saw a blind old woman carrying a three-year-old little girl in her arms. The old man said to Wei Gu: "This little girl will be your wife in the future." Wei Gu thought this was too strange to believe and he ordered his servant to stab the girl with his knife.

Fourteen years later, Wang Tai, the governor of Xiangzhou, gave Wei Gu his daughter in marriage. He was having difficulty finding a suitable match of higher standing for his daughter even though she was a beautiful young woman because she had difficulty walking and had a large scar on the small of her back. When Wei Gu asked what had happened, he was told that she had been stabbed by a man in the marketplace fourteen years before.

After ten years and three children later, Wei Gu sought the old man for suitable matches for his two younger sons and daughter. The old man refused to find suitors for his children. During the later years Wei Gu sought to find a possible match for his children but by coincidence, no marriage was put to order.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Abba is Back!

I always liked Abba it's good to get back to something good.
Life is short as I push on a lot. Just get out and do it, love the life you live!

Not from Abba but Frida and not Frida the hairdresser I dated in the 90's
that barfed on the first date taking me to a gay bar being she was a rat testifing
against the mongols, with the gay bar giving her security, but Abba Frida the 
one that did the song "I Know There's Something Going On"

Also a lady I loved in the 90's had issues with her husband at the time.
I could not play that song and if it came on the radio I had to turn it down.
Giving her security, taking care of her in how I could at the time.
So we all can relate with songs from Abba and Frida but the point is they
are coming back. And I hope to note for people to be true with themselves
and take in the love and love the life you live!

~~~~~Abba announce first new songs for 35 years
The band said in a statement: “The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence. We all felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and we had only been away on a short holiday. 
An extremely joyful experience!”