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December 27, 2011

Michigan to force some people off unemployment after ten weeks

And 20 weeks will be the new maximum for everyone else. Contrast this with the 99 weeks people get in states that have better economies--Michigan has an "official" unemployment of 10.6%,while Detroit's actual unemployment is closer to 60%. Forcing people to take any low-paying job just to get them off the unemployment rolls is a terrible idea for many reasons: * It's difficult to look for a job when you are working full time. * The law will force people to take any job that it is offered, even if it doesn't pay enough to afford daycare or to make rent. (Many jobs pay less than unemployment, after all.) * Salaries are extremely sticky these days: you should not expect to make more than you are hired for. * Highly-qualified people taking low-qualification jobs deprives people who have no qualifications from those jobs. If laid-off auto workers take all the fast food jobs, what will all the teenagers do for work? Gov. Rick Snyder signs bills lowering worker benefits, costs | MLive.com
The measures require some unemployed workers to take new jobs after 10 weeks of benefits even if the available work is outside their previous experience or pays lower wages than they were making before. They also make it harder for someone to collect jobless benefits if they're fired for cause or leave a job voluntarily. The new requirements come on top of an earlier law that cuts the length of time that jobless workers can get state unemployment benefits from the current 26 weeks to 20 weeks starting with new applicants in January. Snyder disagreed with critics who say requiring jobless workers to take a job paying 120 percent of their weekly benefit could trap them in a low-wage position by leaving them little time to look for work in their area of expertise. "It's to encourage people to work. It's not to have them go backward," Snyder said of the legislation. "It's easiest to find a job when you've gotten a job." The new laws also overhaul the state's worker's compensation law for the first time in more than two decades by requiring recipients to work if they're offered a job within their skill set that they can physically perform. If they don't take the job, they risk losing their benefits.

December 25, 2011

Publishers move to stop libraries from offering e-books

My local library here in Oakland has ebooks, but you cannot read them on your portable devices. They open in a proprietary browser add-on on computers only. This makes them less than useful, except as reference. For Libraries and Publishers, an E-Book Tug of War - NYTimes.com
And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones. Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division. And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009. E-lending is not without some friction. Software ensures that only one patron can read an e-book copy at a time, and people who see a long waiting list for a certain title may decide to buy it instead. . . .