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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 6, 2009 9:31 AM. The previous post in this blog was What could go wrong?. The next post in this blog is Live better... than this. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Professor Florida's kids get *really* creative

The creative class that was somehow going to lead Portland on to a brilliant economic future is instead bumming Percocets from friends because they can't afford to see a doctor:

As a graduate of a top liberal arts college, Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, he expected to find nonprofit work. Instead he is working as a dishwasher and running an art gallery out of his garage in Portland, Ore....

So when Mr. Pavlacky got hit by a car while biking in May, he decided that a hospital visit was out of the question. Instead of seeking treatment, he had friends bring him prescription painkillers they had left over from procedures like having their wisdom teeth removed.

I feel bad for young people who wind up in this predicament. The fact that our city will have nothing meaningful for them to do any time soon makes the feeling even worse.

Comments (32)

Maybe if he had got a real degree in something useful he could find a job. Besides, shouldn't the insurance policy of the guy who hit him pay for his medical bills?

Maybe they should just say they are here illegally, then the hospital has to help them for free.

Florida should move to Florida give up on the failed social engineering schemes.

I don't know what the best solution is, all I know is that the current system is broken and dangerous, and I grieve for the pain and heartache it's causing people.

We dropped our insurance on Friday. Even though my husband has a "real job", our portion of the payment had climbed to 30% of our income. Thankfully, our daughter will still be covered with OHP.

Going without health insurance will help us afford a better diet, vitamins, and much needed dental and chiropractic care, as well as starting a savings account. Thank goodness they don't have debtors prison any more, because our major medical plan is now "go to the hospital, and shortly thereafter, to the bankruptcy attorney."

Maybe if he had got a real degree in something useful he could find a job.

That's a myth. College is not--and really, rarely has been--a probability game for getting a "job".

Right now, high unemployment is rampant for people with law, engineering, computer science and technical degrees. same goes for business degrees. It's especially true for people with advanced degrees.

What would tell those engineers, scientists, business people and others?

Maybe they should just say they are here illegally, then the hospital has to help them for free.

There are no special health care privileges for people "here illegally".

Strange how callous some people are. Oh WELL, when you got yours everything is hunky-dory.
No jobs for the young makes going to war more palpable, how very, very sad.

It's especially annoying when the people lecturing these younger types, just screwed up the economy on a scale never before seen in world history. The next generation wouldn't be in such trouble if the generation before them hadn't blown the whole situation out the ass.
But that's okay: Our arrogance, entitlement, stupidity and privilege got us into this mess. Maybe seeing it will help motivate them to put the economy back together.
I sure hope so. Just as we relied on the Greatest Generation to put our little joyride together for us, we'll need the next group to get us back on track.
And it doesn't surprise me a bit that we'd trash talk them on the way to ruining their futures. We always were a classy bunch.

"Right now, high unemployment is rampant for people with law, engineering, computer science and technical degrees. same goes for business degrees. It's especially true for people with advanced degrees"

This statement is completely untrue; per the San Francisco Fed:

"The pattern between the level of education and the respective level of education is absolutely stunning. Where the average rate of unemployment for those without high school diplomas rarely dips below double-digits in even the best of times, for college graduates, the rate of unemployment hasn't risen above 4% in the worst of times."

The best job security in the world is to have a good education in a field of study that is in demand, and know how to apply that education.

At the comapny where I work, lower level jobs are filled quickly; for positions requiring a higher education, it takes months to fill. No wonder, considering that only about 18% of the population has a 4-year college degree.

I absolutely do not understand why anyone would discourage young people from getting a good education (even given the expense).


That's a myth. College is not--and really, rarely has been--a probability game for getting a "job".

True. But getting a set of "marketable" skills is needed. And most people get that in college...some even in community college.

There are no special health care privileges for people "here illegally".

Again, true. However hospitals are required to treat them, but they have no recourse for payment. Citizens, however, are required to give social security numbers for billing.


I just read last week a report that said that the demand for community college grads is going to outpace that of 4 yr grads by a LARGE amt. CC's teach marketable job skills while Univ. teach.....what do they teach?

Sounds to me that a degree in Studio Art earns you a career as a Dish Wash Machine Rack Loader/Roller/Unloader Specialist III, formerly known as a Pearl Diver.

Citizens, however, are required to give social security numbers for billing.

What a crock. First of all, social security numbers are not limited to citizens. And it's been years since any health care organization could require anyone to furnish one. Finally, the social security administration has no role in private sector bill collection.

Just had the pleasure of viewing (and legally snapping pics of) "Starry Nights" from the Rockefeller collection at MOMA Manhattan. Remind me again how well this studio art practicioner, VanGough, fared financially during his life time? Dude, if you're unemployed, practice your art. Your estate may benefit significantly.

If you're an artist than the entire thing is just a backdrop for you.
But to return to the "wrong major" theory of why young people are struggling - and I should watch my temper here - let's contrast now with being young a while back.
Back then you could spend some years "finding yourself." You could take the wrong major, join the wrong band, land in the wrong relationship(s), and party your brains out doing it. Why? Because survival was easier. There was work.
Right now the employment picture is bleak as a direct result of economic mismanagement by the current adults in charge.
So to lecture young people about THEM making some bad decisions? It's really pretty shallow.
Prosperity allows for artists and musicians to get by. It allows for people with "no direction home."
These days that kind of approach can get you crunched, and you could be crunched anyway.
I never begrudged the suits their fancy apartments and art collections. Their yachts and island retreats. Just take care of business so those of us who aren't programmed that way can have what we value: Time to do our stuff.
Instead, the suits blew up the store and we're all screwed.
Remember: The really bad things - the consequences - have yet to hit on this deal. And this Autumn could drop us like a sucker punch from LeGarrett Blount.
And then it won't matter what kind of major you took.

Then who is it using the name "Bill McDonald," admittedly a common one, who does spend a lot of space 'begrudging the suits' just about everything?

This statement is completely untrue; per the San Francisco Fed:

Wrong--that is, unless the "San Francisco Fed" is the only source you're using.


For example:
http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_archive_03172004/

For another example:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/18/eveningnews/main4954222.shtml

the unemployment level and available job market now are about the worst in recorded history.

Do college graduates do better? Yes, a little, if they play the game. Are they doing worse now than ever before in history, and is that trend continuing? YES. And the federal government at every level expects it to get worse.

And so on. Keep perpetuating the myth of college being the key to grabbing a seat in the machine, but for thinking people, it's a well known myth, justified (mostly) by universities, colleges, and those selling educational "products"--and those that have already spent their money there.

No wonder, considering that only about 18% of the population has a 4-year college degree.

Wrong again. Almost 30% of Americans have a four-year college degree (or higher):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_attainment_in_the_United_States

For some races, the percentage is notably higher. For example, over 37% of "White" Americans have a four-year degree or higher, and almost *50%* of Asians.

And due to the degree mill that colleges and universities are, those numbers continue to increase.

Strange, isn't it? The number of college graduates going up. the percentage unemployed going up, and getting closer to both the wages and unemploymetn levels of non-degree holders.

I wonder what all that could mean?

When I was of the age when I 'should' had been getting out of college, I found work with a large health insurance company. Started in the mail room and worked my way up a bit before finally being laid off. At least I gained some valuable work experience working in corp. America.

But are we going to have any more corporate jobs with Obama and gang always going after the insurance companies and Sam Adams, Randy Leonard, etc. being proud of the fact that there are no Fortune 500 companies in Portland? People have to work somewhere, and for liberals to constantly demonizing corporate america it is like biting the hand that feeds you.

Obviously at this point we are not all going to be working at "green" jobs. To think otherwise is just foolish. We need both heavy industry, manufacturing, and white-collar jobs both in Portland and in the US.

liberals to constantly demonizing corporate america it is like biting the hand that feeds you.

Have you even read a newspaper in the last eighteen months?

Community colleges have programs in health care, mortuary science, and the various trades, among other freshman classes that can be taken anywhere for more money. Given that many computer, financial and other jobs can be easily outsourced or compromised by a contracted task force of hungry employees imported from India or elsewhere, training in trades/apprentice programs has become an option that more people are looking at seriously. You can't outsource plumbing, electrical repair or embalming.

Sadly, some four year liberal arts degrees are useful only to get a job teaching in a college that offers the same degree to others. It was the same before the economic downturn and it's just worse now.

I'm going to back up Bill McDonald on this one. The younger generation has been screwed, and while this may sound like an old song by The Who ("the young man ain't got nothin in the world these days!!!"), you have to feel for them. The post-WWII Generation and Baby Boomers of North America are the most prosperous version of the "masses" in history. While the American legacy was systematically dismantled in pursuit of "globalism" and a "New World Order," they just stood back and let it all slide. Their property values soared and things like movies, refrigerators, color TVs (some Dire Straights for good measure) got cheaper as American jobs got shipped off to China. Meanwhile the rule of law got totally trampled on as every time--Watergate, Iran Contra, Florida 2000--we got the same "move forward, don't look behind" BS we're getting from Obama right now.

While this generation may not be the most politically screwed in history--I'd leave that to all the young Euroeans of 1914-1918--it does remind me of another old song by The Who: "I get on my knees and pray, we don't get fooled again."

To anonymous 11:55PM -
Say what you will, to me, it's the case of another line from the Who. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." And I mean this in relation to our government both local and national.

I'm reading Culture of Corruption and it ain't pretty.

Ecohuman wrote "the unemployment level and available job market now are about the worst in recorded history."

Here's a fact based refutation:

http://www.bls.gov/web/lauhsthl.htm

Check the prevalence of the years from the 1980s in the historical highs columns. The late 70s were not a lot better and that's when I got out of college.

Geez, and here I thought my Dad who turned 20 years old in North Dakota in 1929 had pretty bad timing.

You know, my wife has two art degrees. In her 20's, instead of bemoaning her unemployability, she started a business. That printing business is still going strong 20 years later and employs a brother, a sister and her Dad, and pays for health care. She built it, then left a legacy to support family.

I will spare you the stories of my wife's and Dad's trial and tribulations and the things they did to get health care when they couldn't afford it.

Grow up, get out there and get over it people.

Ecohuman wrote "the unemployment level and available job market now are about the worst in recorded history."

Here's a fact based refutation:

Nope. Did you notice that Oregon's historical high was set in May 2009? No? How about that historical highs for a third of the states were set in 2009? No?

Check the prevalence of the years from the 1980s in the historical highs columns.

Yep. unfortunately, frequency of years isn't the point. rates are.

You know, my wife has two art degrees. In her 20's, instead of bemoaning her unemployability, she started a business. That printing business is still going strong 20 years later and employs a brother, a sister and her Dad, and pays for health care. She built it, then left a legacy to support family....Grow up, get out there and get over it people.

I'm happy she succeeded - really. But the times are different today than when she did this, and that's the point that's being made. Telling people to "get over it" is not going to solve the problems brought upon all of us.

The Artist-Intellectual
The visitor or newcomer to Portland is bound to be struck by the sheer numbers that belong to this group. They seem to be everywhere and are in fact everywhere. They are the reason that all the coffee shops have tables and chairs. The artist-intellectual fancies himself as a poet, a writer, a musician, a filmmaker, etc. You get the drift. They spend most of their days idling around the coffee establishments that one finds every 10 feet. They are usually equipped with a notebook that they use for their poems, journals or their artwork. No one ever gets to see the contents of these notebooks. More often than not they have a beaten and weathered paper back copy of some book authored by Kafka or William S. Boroughs. They love to discuss their favorite subject, themselves. Given the opportunity they will prattle on for hours about their poems, art work or the film they are making. You never get to actually see any of their work but you do get to hear about it. Their lives are like one never ending semester in grad school. Initially I believed these losers but then got to thinking. What would an aspiring actor, artist, musician, filmmaker being doing in Portland Oregon, a latte town? Why wouldn't they be in NYC or LA? Because they're phonies, that's why. Here's how it works with these clowns. They flunk out of college in New Jersey so their parents send them to Reed College in Portland in hopes that they will get their act together. They drop out of Reed but stay in Portland while still on Daddy's tab or some trust find. One Saturday Josh or Seth drifts down to one of the hundreds of hippie craft markets downtown. Some hippie is selling didgeridoos that he made I between bong reps. Josh buy one and takes it home where he proceeds to get baked after which he blows a few sour notes into the didgeridoo. The next day he's a musician. Not really but that's what he's telling everyone at the coffee house and pretending is good enough for a Portland artist-intellectual, in fact it's everything. In three months he will switch his designation from musician to filmmaker and then onto to something else 3 months later. As long as it sounds cool he will keep this charade up and no one in his circles will call him on it because they are doing the same thing.

I take it the "Ron McDonald" thing was directed at me, especially since I was one of those 20-something artist intellectuals who moved to Portland with a band many years ago.
My point all along is that you could survive doing that better in those years than now. We didn't always talk about ourselves either. I can remember drunken evenings with the Robert Cray band where we would discuss the importance of the pause in a musical form. Stuff like that. Our blood streams may not have been pure but our love for music was.
The band folded, I stuck with banquets to survive, and then I went into comedy writing. I never sold out on the artistic intellectual bit and worked just enough to survive. Peak years I averaged around 29 hours a week and did the music part of it basically for free because it's what I wanted to do.
I suppose there were times when I was ready to sell out, but guess what? During those times, society wasn't buying.
At a time when most people lose their nerve and settle down, I tried another long shot dream-type job and went into comedy writing.
A major late night host started buying my jokes, and I got a sweet gig writing comedy for radio stations around the world, including at one time: Iceland, Namibia. Sri Lanka, Canada, but mainly America.
I wrote a column for the Trib and had some scripts optioned. I made the inevitable movie you mentioned but nobody went for it.
A tall Irish comedian replaced my late night freelance gig and I was laid off, but one week from tonight I'm back in the game. That will be fun. The jokes are broadcast in 70 countries around the world, and appear in Time Magazine, Reuters, and dozens of other websites.
I still go to coffee shops and kid around with the young people who work there. One guy I just talked to today is a writer and I tried to encourage him as he is finding it tough to survive thanks to
the economy. He is brilliantly funny and quick like I haven't been in decades. There's nothing the least bit "loser"-like about him. He's a young artist intellectual surviving in Portland as others like me did before him.
Of course, it's much tougher now that the suits have screwed up the world.
I was up until 2 a.m. last night recording music. I'm still trying to make a hit record. I'm excited about things. The next project is to get the guy I met at college who formed a band together with me in 1974, to meet again someplace so I can add his sax solo to the new song.
The only difference is that everything - even tuning up - now seems sacred. We weren't a commercial success but there are dividends when you pursue something because you like it, instead of just as a way to make bucks. And who knows? The new song rocks.
The main thing I've had with my life is time. My radio "bosses"? I've been working for them for 13 years and I've never met them. I literally couldn't recognize them on the street. I write around 50 jokes in about an hour and a half a day and the rest of the time, I just live life. I will say it tires the head to write that much comedy, so I treat my brain like an exotic houseplant. No cubicles - no bosses - no name tags - no meetings. I have not attended a single employee meeting for comedy ever. Yeah, I met the TV guy a couple of times, but that was just for fun.
Thanks to the screenplays, I partied with some movie stars but that's not a real meeting either.
I gave Tom Hanks my "business card" one time. I can't really call that business though as it said, "I'm funny now but for the right money I could be hilarious." It's all been for laughs, and I'm never sensitive if someone says a joke sucks. I used to pout when they said the music sucked, but that was more serious.
Still, it's all been art and thinking. Lots of thinking about things.
The gig could blow up at anytime so you have to have a little courage to wing it like this. I'm married so I worry about being good to my wife, but as for me, I can handle a total breakdown in the
stability department. In the old days, you could always turn to a banquet gig. Not anymore. They're fighting for hours.
The possibility of disaster keeps things very real and edgy. If you can handle the anxiety, and you're the least bit delusional, it can all seem like a big adventure - not unlike what I envisioned when I decided to step away from the normal corporate career path like my father followed.
So hate not, my brother Ronald. The intellectual artist trip can work, and besides, if someone wants to try it, how's it hurting you?
And on behalf of the "phony" musicians of Portland, may I suggest you go to one of those hippie places, buy a didgeridoo, and shove it.

Bill: Best blog poster in Oregon, period.

Thank you.

ISBP

Apropos of the statistical debate between LucsAdvo and ecohuman, above: first, the "recorded history" begins in January 1976, and leaves out the crash of 1974, the recession of 1966, and the Great Depression.

Second, 10 of the 51 highs in state unemployment were in 2009. By contrast, 26 of the 51 highs were set in the six months from November 1982 to May 1983.

Apropos of the statistical debate between LucsAdvo and ecohuman, above: first, the "recorded history" begins in January 1976, and leaves out the crash of 1974, the recession of 1966, and the Great Depression.

Glad you brought up the Depression.

During its peak (around early 1932), unemployment reached about 30%.

During the Depression, America was far more rural than it is now--and so when the Depression hit, it hit rural areas hard--pushing up the unemployment figure.

The way unemployment is "officially" now is different than then, somewhat political, and primarily based on unemploymetn claims.

Truth is, most experts will grudgingly admit the *true* unemployment rate is somewhere between 20-25%.

That makes it the worst since WWII, and *as I said*, "the unemployment level and available job market now are about the worst in recorded history." I didn't quote the source you're using; you did.

Second, 10 of the 51 highs in state unemployment were in 2009. By contrast, 26 of the 51 highs were set in the six months from November 1982 to May 1983.

See above. Again, focusing on the "highs" from that source don't tell the story, and aren't really to my point, which is-- the worst since WWII, and *as I said*, "the unemployment level and available job market now are about the worst in recorded history."

And again, about college degrees: in 2009, more Americans than ever have four-year degrees--far more than in 1932. Yet, true unemployment levels are creeping ever closer to the worst we've seen in a century, and already the worst in over 50 years.

Next?

Right now, high unemployment is rampant for people with law, engineering, computer science and technical degrees. same goes for business degrees. It's especially true for people with advanced degrees.

Except (at least in Oregon) government sector jobs for bloated...er thriving bureaucracies. Just when I thought this whole recession was getting me down I looked up to see plenty of tax-subsidized mixed-use developments continuing to be constructed, Tri-Met's busy building street cars and fast-looking 20 mph Euro trains with more billions in tax dollars, and I here the state legislature wants to raise income taxes, no doubt so that this booming public sector economy can continue to thrive. I love the People's Republic of Portland and Big Government.


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Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 328
At this date last year: 183
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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