Monday, March 30, 2009

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles---Fridays at 8 PM on Fox

The best television show today. Watch it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another email about my unemployment group, this time from the BBC

As I posted previously, I have a dormant Yahoo! group about unemployment and the recession. The thing is, I created this group a pretty long time ago, it's probably almost two years old. And it hasn't exactly set the world on fire, I have no active members. I have to concede that I haven't tried very hard to promote it, especially after I was able to obtain two jobs last summer.

But anyway, a few weeks ago, I received emails from a documentary filmmaker and the Toronto Globe and Mail who were making stories about the rising unemployment in the U.S. And last week, I received an email from, of all places, the BBC. Yes, the British Broadcasting Corporation wanted to know about my Yahoo! Group, which I felt was amazing, especially since, again, it hasn't won over a lot of people.

A lesser person looking for his or her minute in the sun would have probably contacted the reporter who was writing a story, and told a lot of half-truthes, and it probably would have been printed too. But I didn't write back to him. I didn't know what to say. I don't know where I went wrong with the group, maybe if I had put it on Facebook or something, it would have done better.

Anyway, here's the letter from the BBC.

Hi Jeff

I'm a presenter for BBC World Service radio in London. We are doing a news piece today covering the latest US jobs figures - which again aren't very encouraging. We're trying to talk to someone who has recently become unemployed to talk through what it's been like, and how much confidence they have about the future.

You struck me as ideal because you could give your own personal experience, and talk about the web support group you've just set up - what sort of responses are you getting, etc etc.

Is this something you might be able to do?

If you can give me your phone number I can call you back to discuss further.

Many thanks

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson
Reporter/presenter, television and radio
BBC News, BBC World Service, Current Affairs, Factual and Learning
Office: London + 44 (0) 207 557 2422
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 074459

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Public Transit Ridership Rises To Highest Level in 52 Years

In light of everything else that's going on, this is a very positive and heartening article from the Washington Post, that reveals that public transit ridership is the highest that it's been since the late 1950s. As a non-driver who has long differed with the prevailing ideology that one must have a car, it's really inspiring to see that I am far from alone. I think that even in light of lower gas prices, more people are taking public transit because oftentimes it's shorter to get to where you want to go, and you can also read or do anything you have to. Also, and more importantly, the days of "happy motoring" and driving everywhere you want to go are coming to an end. As energy becomes rarer and more expensive, energy-efficient means of transportation such as subways and buses will be more essential to our society. The infrastructure of our mass transit needs lots of work though. As James Kunstler said, "our railroad system would embaress Bulgaria".

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hanging On, Or How to Get Through a Depression and Enjoy Life

This article I read on the Of Two Minds blog provided good comfort to me. Although I am gainfully employed (for now, anyway), the worsening state of things has provoked in me a growing anxiety. Something fairly dramatic and earth-shattering has also happened at home recently, so I am trying to deal with that as well. But this is a book review of a fairly old book about the life of a young man during the Depression, and how the economic woes of the nation impacted him, his family and his friends. This book review is pretty long, but well worth reading; to sum it up though, as it was apparent that the economy was in dire straits, many had the attitude that things would get better in fairly short order and that a recovery was just around the corner. There was also a stronger streak of individualism and personal responsibility back then. This can be a sneak preview of what's to come in our country, but I feel we will react differently than the people of Flint, Michigan did in the 1930s.