the plutocratic overlords are doing well at macy’s, road through wheat field wallpaper, retro photographs

Tis the season to give working class Americans a lesson in thankfulness to their Galtian masters, Macy’s CEO to American People: Drop Dead

Macy’s is a powerful symbol of Thanksgiving, with its festive parade and freakishly large floats. But Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren is part of a group of greedy, unpatriotic CEOs who would like to seize this moment of American hardship and tear the rug out from under hard-working families. Moms, dads, grandparents, kids—he’d like to take a little something from each of you. Especially if you’re poor: he’d really like to get into your purses.

Lundgren and a coalition of other big-time CEOs are lobbying Congress to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits so that they can enjoy tax breaks. Obviously, Lundgren did not take Econ 101, which would have demonstrated to him that reaching into the pockets of people will leave them without enough dollars to buy your products. It’s very simple, Mr. Lundgren. Your job and your stores are supported by the spending power of the American consumer. Robbing that consumer by hacking away at hard-earned retirements and healthcare is not going to help your bottom line.

Jobs, not austerity, is the path to a healthier economy. Just ask Europe.

I did some quick on-line research and found that Macy’s and its subsidiaries have annual sales of $26 billion. They have about 170,000 employees.That means each employee generates about $153,000 of that annual sales figure. That 170,000 might be all their hourly employees, not including management, but I went ahead and  subtracted about 10% of those as counting as management. That left 153,000 workers making $9 an hour – I rounded up from these figures which showed averages under $9 an hour. That means that Macy pays about $62 million in hourly labor per year. This is obviously not scientific, but does put us a in the ball park of sales versus costs of labor. That leaves $26 billion in sales minus $1.4 million for labor, with twenty-eight billion nine hundred ninety-eight million six hundred thousand. The retail industry average for overhead is about 45%. That is a tricky figure. In Macy’s case they have stores across the country. Their New York stores likely costs more than say a store in the mid-west. Still, 45% is not an unreasonable average to assume. So we 45% of that $26 billion which leaves $14.3 billion. Minus hourly employee wages from that leaves $14.2 billion. So it is not that Macy’s cannot pay their employees a living wage or that Macy’s cannot afford their share of payroll taxes like Medicare. They’re just hogging money.

Fox Attacks Unions for Bargaining for Better Pay and Benefits for Their MembersAnother day on Fox, another day of divide and conquer and attack workers as being overpaid, or unreasonable for wanting to earn a living wage and maybe retire with some dignity before they drop dead. Capitalism’s weakness is not that it is intrinsically immoral. It is that it is amoral. In order for it to work well we all have to believe in the social contract. That means not treating workers as disposable wage slaves in order to make a very few people extraordinarily wealthy. Certainly wealthier far beyond any work they do or expertise they possess.

road through wheat field wallpaper

An interview with photographer Robert Frank – “If An Artist Doesn’t Take Risks, Then It’s Not Worth It.” (2007)

RJ: Of course, your way of taking photos is different from Walker Evans, mostly he used large-format camera while you used Leica, 35mm camera. And your photographic style is more spontaneous while his photos are more formal. And some of your photos are even out of focus. Technically speaking, some people think your photos are badly framed. But I think in a way you purposely wanted to do that to break away from the formalities and the conventions of the traditional way of taking photos. So what do you think is the most important thing when it comes to taking photos?

RF: You are free and you risk something by taking a photograph. It’s not taking a snapshot of your sister. You risk because this is maybe not the way people think one should photograph. So you go out on a more different road. There is a risk involved in that. And I think if an artist doesn’t take risks, then it’s not worth it.

WW II era safety poster

Genetic Tribe of One by Suzanne Farrell Smith

Now—what’s less-than-point-zero-one percent of the fourteen thousand people who also have asthma, microtia, and AB Negative blood come to? Me. A single side-specimen of the human species. So uncommon that if she—I—were to die of salmonella from the chicken, or e coli from the vegetables, or ink poisoning, or from a superbug that infects a tiny little paper cut, or anthrax picked up at the post office, or alcohol poisoning from too much drinking gin, or from heatstroke due to being under so many bedtime layers, or from a lightning strike in foul weather, or from getting caught up in some attack on any of the diplomats with a hotel room in Tudor City, the world would be robbed of its only AB Negative corn-adverse asthmatic who has a crumpled right ear.

Nicely written piece, the whole thing is worth a read if you’re into writing or science.

Life – women outdoors from 1930 to 1960. Like has a few photographs that are free for public non-commercial use – hard not to notice the Life logo. This is just from one of thousands of artsy photos they took of people. This one was under the general category of women outdoors. The original was in bad shape so I cleaned up some noise and gave it a warm tint.

beach wear, late 1950s. this is from my collection of old photos. I’m not sure what’s up with the guy’s swim suit. Was he planning to do some tricks on a flying trapeze in between swims.

Michigan Republicans Propose Tax Credit For Fetuses … After Eliminating Tax Credits For Actual Children

Oh, and there’s also this new development, as reported in the Guardian: Michigan is now proposing a tax credit for unborn fetuses of 12 weeks gestation. If the measure becomes law it would be the first of its kind in the US. One of the main sponsors of the fetus tax credit bill, Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac), said the rationale behind it was to recognize that mothers have additional bills to pay.

You’re recognizing the fact that people have additional expenses, another person to take care of. Money saved there could be contributed to doctor’s bills and all kinds of things.

Which totally makes sense!! Because, yeah, parenthood does cost a lot of money. Well, it almost makes sense —  except for the fact that Michigan shredded tax credits for actual, air-breathing human children last year.  Gilbert and the other main sponsor of the fetal tax-credit bill, Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R- Kent County), both voted in favor of eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for children.

This kind of reasoning is consistent with the Republican general view that the mass of humanity are the filthy and undeserving, but the abstract picture they hold in their head of a mass of cells is something that the government should control and care for until born. At which point the child just becomes another leech on society.

This is more or less a commercial for CHANEL. Though it is also a wonderful tribute to Marilyn Monroe,