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August 04, 2011

That truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story.

That truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story. | StarTribune.com
Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over. His truck is governed to 68 miles an hour, because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer. The truck he passed was probably running under 65 mph to conserve fuel. You see, the best these trucks do for fuel economy is about 8 miles per gallon. With fuel at almost $4 per gallon -- well, you do the math. And, yes, that driver pays for his own fuel. He needs to be 1,014 miles from where he loaded in two days. And he can't fudge his federally mandated driver log, because he no longer does it on paper; he is logged electronically. He can drive 11 hours in a 14-hour period; then he must take a 10-hour break. And considering that the shipper where he loaded held him up for five hours because it is understaffed, he now needs to run without stopping for lunch and dinner breaks. If he misses his delivery appointment, he will be rescheduled for the next day, because the receiver has booked its docks solid (and has cut staff to a minimum). That means the driver sits, losing 500-plus miles for the week. Which means his profit will be cut, and he will take less money home to his family. Most of these guys are gone 10 days, and home for a day and a half, and take home an average of $500 a week if everything goes well. . . .

Ten handy rules for tipping

Only assholes tip ten percent. 10 Handy Rules For Tipping - Los Angeles Restaurants and Dining - Squid Ink
1. Tip 20 percent. Every time. Pre-tax? Post-tax? In practice the difference is no more than a buck or two, unless you're Joe Pytka. In which case there's a $10,000 wine tab, so it works out. But the idea that a tip is optional, or variable, is a useful fiction, even when the soup goes tumbling into your lap. The owner gets to pretend her prices are lower, the busboy makes rent, and you get to feel like a philanthropist. A win-win for all. 2.Yes, I know your parents still talk about when the recommended percentage used to be 15 percent, and that the practice is considered barbaric in Japan. But it's not 1973, and you're probably not in Osaka at the moment. 20 percent. 3. Yes, this includes the cost of the wine. 4. And extends to tipping the delivery guy if you order in - he's supposed to get less because he drove six miles to your house in a decaying, gas-gulping SUV? 5. And also includes tipping the bartender, even - especially! - if you're in one of those places that charge $16 for a vodka/Red Bull. It is considered gentlemanly to round up this 20 percent to the nearest dollar. 6. You've heard the rumors about how it isn't necessary to tip if you're being served by the woman who owns the restaurant? That it's insulting to tip a sushi chef. Or that in some kinds of places the tips never make it back to the waiters? You guessed it: 20 percent. . . .

August 02, 2011

Undemocratically appointed Emergency Financial Manager breaks contract with Detroit teachers, slashes their pay by $7,300 a year

Most contract and policy experts agree that giving the state the power to unilaterally rewrite contracts without the other party's consent is wholly illegal. Let's see if the uber-conservative Michigan Supreme Court agrees. Detroit’s Emergency Manager Cuts Teacher Pay By 10 Percent, Ignoring Union Contract | ThinkProgress
Just a year and a half ago, Detroit Public School employees accepted a $93 million wage concession. But that isn’t enough for the undemocratically appointed Emergency Manager of Detroit, Roy Roberts, who last Friday ignored teachers’ union contracts and cut wages by 10 percent across the board. The 10 percent reduction will translate to a wage cut of $7,300 for every teacher. The cuts will also be devastating for other DPS employees like food service workers and bus attendants, some of whom make less than $24,000 a year and will now be forced to go on public assistance to get by: Wielding power under a new state law to modify union contracts, Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Roy Roberts this morning imposed a 10 percent wage cut on all employees and moved the district to a less costly benefits plan. The move, announced by Roberts this morning at a meeting with leaders of eight unions representing nearly 10,000 employees, will save DPS $81.8 million dollars this year alone at a time when the district is struggling with a $327 million budget deficit. Roberts became the first emergency manager of a Michigan school district to use the power of the state’s Emergency Manager Law to modify existing collective bargaining agreements. . . .