Saturday, December 26, 2015

(Testing a link)

I missed a notification on one of my affiliate accounts and had to reapply for a new account. I want to test whether my new ID works, and this was a quick place to copy and paste a general link.

Good Stuff Maynard

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Red Cups of War

Dear fellow foot soldiers in the War on Christmas, 

As one of your field commanders, it is my pleasure to inform you that we have drawn up a fool-proof battle plan for this year's annual war on Christmas. 

Our first salvo, as always, will be a steadfast refusal to have nativity scenes tattooed across our foreheads. This has worked very well for us in the past and we expect it to work as well, this year. 
No nativity face painting either!

We will then proceed directly to not wearing sweatshirts with barely recognizable reindeer crudely drawn on in discount store puffy paint with felt antlers and googly eyes hot-glued on in a tragic attempt to further the 3D effect. 
To win, we MUST resist the temptation to wear this!

After that, we will emerge en masse onto the battlefield to launch a devastating sortie of wishing our enemies good cheer and the happiest.of holidays.  To ensure the highest casualty count possible, we will bestow these warm wishes with smiles on our faces and in a sincere and genuinely heartfelt manner, sometimes with a handshake or even a warm hug. 
Happiest Holidays Photo Greeting Card
Sick, injured and shut-in troops can send greeting cards instead.

Happiest Holidays Photo Greeting Card by HoorayCreative
View more Holiday Cards at

If there are any remaining survivors among the opposition, we will finish off those wretched stragglers by going on about our lives, minding our own business, laughing, loving and crying as we see fit and we will brazenly endeavor to worry about more important things than the artwork on (or not on) a giant coffee chain's disposable cups.

Let the battles begin and may we all make it home in one peace.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

About The Traitors' Rag....

I keep seeing people ask if we really think taking the traitors' rag down from the SC statehouse will cure racism. No. We don't think that. We don't think it will have any effect on racism at all.
I also keep seeing most of those same people point to South Carolina and go on to say it shouldn't come down because it's about Civil War heritage and honoring the descendants of Civil War veterans, not about hate. That argument might hold half a drop of water except for one thing. South Carolina has no Civil War heritage in the flag it took down. Not one of South Carolina's Civil War regiments ever carried that particular flag into battle or flew it, at all. The only heritage SC has in that flag is the heritage that began in the middle of the last century when it reappeared as a symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement and de-segregation. And that particular heritage is specifically and solely racist as spelled out very clearly by the people who decided to adopt it for that purpose and raise it in that state.
If it was about the state's Civil War heritage (which is concerning enough that a region/state with a rich post-Columbian history stretching back to the 1500s, would choose to focus on the 7 and a half years it chose to be an enemy combatant waging war against the United States of America) the state would have been flying the South Carolina Sovereignty (aka secession) flag or the Citadel battle flag or any of the battle flags carried into that war by its own regiments.
If anyone is really confused over what taking the flag down will do, start with a different question: What problem did flying the traitors' rag over the South Carolina statehouse cause?
Did it cause racism? No. Sadly, racism was and will remain alive and well with or without a symbol for it. So, if not racism, then what?
The answer lies as much in what was being flown as where it was flown. Flying that particular flag over American soil from the SC Statehouse sent a loud and clear message to a whole lot of American citizens, including but not limited to citizens of South Carolina, itself, that they were not welcome in that state.
Taking the traitors' rag down from the SC Statehouse stops sending an official state message from that flag pole to those American citizens that they are not welcome in that American state. That's it, that's all.
Arguing that the message wasn't intended doesn't change that it did send that message. We've all said or done something that we didn't realize would send someone a different message than we intended -- and when we realize we've sent the wrong message by mistake, most of us immediately try to correct or undo it. SOooOOooo....
If sending that message was NOT intentional, then taking it down to stop sending that message shouldn't be a big whoop. It should be a no-brainer to willingly and apologetically and even cheerfully effect such a quick and easy fix.
If, however, the message it sent was intentional, then that traitors' rag is as anti-American today as it was when the army of northern Virginia carried it into battle against our troops in the Confederacy's war against the United States and it should never have been raised over American soil by any official governing body, at all. (Which honestly, I have a huge problem with any governing body flying an enemy battle flag over American soil, regardless of intention, but... that's me.)
If you, personally, want to display that (or any other) traitors' rag on your private property, possessions or person -- go right ahead. Whatever it means to you, you're free to try to express that by flying it, but know that whether intentional or unintentional. the message you send me (and lots of others like me) is that you're a knuckle dragging bigot who hates the United States of America and who probably thinks your state should secede and try another go at the Civil War so it can get another thorough ass kicking courtesy of the United States Military.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Women Should...

I clicked a headline, yesterday...  "FOUND: THE MOST MISOGYNIST SIGN OF ALL TIME BELONGS TO A ‘TRUE CHRISTIAN’ (IMAGE)"   On the other side of the jump was an article talking about a photo of a guy in a t-shirt that said "A True Christian" holding up a sign that began "Women Should Be...", listed a bunch of insulting crap imposed on women a couple of centuries ago and then said "Read the Bible For Details" with some Bible verses cited.  (Please do click the link above to see the photo better and to read the article by Charles Topher.  It's a good read, not just a snark piece on the photo.)

This is my answer to the sign waving, woman hating chauvinistic pig in that photo:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Et Tsu, Looky Lou?

If you've been wanting a peek inside of the social networking platform - feel free to use  my shortcode to get in: is the social networking platform that's trying out profit sharing with members via shares of ad revenues.  If it takes off and they keep that up, it might be a nice little ground floor opportunity for early adopters.  And, in the meantime, it's one of a handful of Facebook alternatives worth checking out.  Sooner or later, one is going to stick.

Bit of a disclaimer here:  If you use my shortcode, you'll be signed up as a follower of me, initially, but it won't hurt my feelings if you decide to curate me out of your feed either right away or at some point down the road.   :)


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More Cowbell

America needs MORE COWBELL - 2016. Designed by me, (yes ME!) for Saturday Night Live and available from SNL via Zazzle!)  

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Minimum Wage, Unemployment and Workers On The Dole

Increasing minimum wage isn't about trying to reduce unemployment.  It's about trying to ensure that those of us who work at minimum wage jobs can survive on the earnings without taxpayer assistance from those of us who work at better jobs or find success in business ownership.  

 But, there are some, including a gubernatorial hopeful in my own state of Illinois, who are very loud and active about saying there's a correlation between minimum wage and unemployment rates.

Is this true?  In trying to fix one problem are we merely exacerbating another that will ultimately worsen exactly the same problem (reliance on tax payer assistance to meet basic survival needs) we were trying to fix?   That's not at all what we want to do. So, it's something we really DO need to stop and take a good hard look at before we press ahead.

Luckily, we have all kinds of numbers and data that we can crunch any number of ways to get any results we want.  But, let's not do that.  I'm as liberal as they come, but I could give a rat's ass about preserving the public image of the ideology.  I'm far more interested in solutions that actually work to fix problems and don't inadvertently make those problems worse.

So, we're going to start by taking a quick glance at two states.   These two states are Georgia and Connecticut.

Georgia has the lowest minimum wage in the United States. Georgia does not recognize the federal minimum wage.  They set their own minimum wage more than two dollars per hour below the federal minimum at $5.15 and this applies only to employers with 6 or more employees.  For smaller employers, there is no minimum wage.  It's perfectly legal, if you have a business in Georgia with 5 or fewer employees,  to pay your employees less than a dollar an hour.

Connecticut, by contrast, has chosen to increase its minimum wage to nearly one and a half dollars per hour OVER the federal minimum wage.  It's not the highest minimum wage in the country (that honor belongs to Washington state,) but Connecticut's minimum wage is a whopping $8.70 per hour.

That's 45 cents more per hour than in MY state of Illinois!  My state has an unemployment rate among the highest in the country.

If what the folks who want to lower or even eliminate the minimum wage say about its effect on unemployment  is true, Connecticut must be absolutely drowning in high unemployment while  practically hemorrhaging jobs to Georgia.  ...And Georgia must be getting close to flipping the other way where they're headed toward that negative unemployment rate problem we all played our tiny violins for Japan over a couple of decades or so ago... more jobs than people to fill them.  Right?

Well, let's see.  Numbers are posted online and easy to find for November 2013.  So, how did these two very different states clock in at the end of November 2013?

Connecticut headed into the final month of the year with exactly what we expected to see... a high unemployment rate of 7.6%. More than half a percentage point above the national average. Ouch.  This isn't what I was hoping to see. .Only 11 states and D.C. had higher unemployment rates than Connecticut.

Unfortunately for Georgia, who boasts the lowest minimum wage in the US, it is one of those 11 states, with an even HIGHER 7.7% unemployment rate.  Despite widely disparate minimum wage laws, these two states have almost identical unemployment rates. In fact, they follow one another on the list, when states are ranked in order of unemployment rate for Nov. 2013.

Obviously, every state on the list has a higher minimum wage than Georgia, since Georgia has the lowest in the nation.  But, there are states with a higher minimum wage than Connecticut. Maybe Georgia is a fluke... the oddball out.  Surely all of the other states with unemployment rates higher than Connecticut and Georgia have higher minimum wage than Connecticut, right?

 So, what of those 12 states (including Connecticut) with the highest unemployment rates in the country?  It turns out that  ALL of the states with higher unemployment than Connecticut,  including not only Georgia but also my own state of Illinois, have a LOWER minimum wage than Connecticut!!  ALL of them.   And five (including Georgia) of those dozen highest-unemployment states have minimum wage at or below the federal minimum.

By now, if you're in the camp that believes a higher minimum wage means higher unemployment, and that states who have lowered or abolished the minimum wage attract more jobs and spur business/job creation, you're screaming at me through the monitor to look at the twelve states with the LOWEST unemployment rates in the nation.  ...And you are absolutely 100% correct.  Unless my goal is to find what I hoped to find and boot-scoot out feeling smug... but that's not my goal.  We've identified a problem. A possible solution has been put forward and there are legitimate questions raised about whether it will have other-than-intended effects that would actually worsen the original problem, in the long run.   I'm one of those taxpayer's who's saddled with the burden of feeding people who aren't lazy bums with no ambition to even look for work, but who are out there actually working every day..  So that they don't starve.

So, let's look at the numbers of the top 12.    Good news for those who think minimum wage needs to be lowered or abolished.  Two of the 12 most employed states have a minimum wage that is below the federal minimum.  Wyoming and Minnesota.   But wait, two of the 12 most employed states have a minimum wage ABOVE federal minimum.  Vermont and Montana.  In fact, Vermont has a minimum wage even higher than Connecticut (by 3 cents.) AND Vermont, while tied at 4.4% with Wyoming, actually has lower unemployment than Minnesota's 4.6%!   8 of the 12 states with the lowest unemployment in the nation have a minimum wage that is equal to the federal minimum wage.   Who had the lowest unemployment?  North Dakota with only 2.6% unemployment and a minimum wage equal to the federal minimum.  South Dakota came in second at 3.6%.

 So, out of curiosity, how did Washington state fare?  As I mentioned, earlier, Washington state boasts the highest minimum wage in the U.S., weighing in at a gargantuan $9.32/hr.  That's two dollars and seven cents above the federal minimum wage and more than $4/hr over what all but the smallest employers in Georgia have to pay.  Washington ended the year with 6.8% unemployment.  28 states fared better and 21 states plus D.C.  fared worse with unemployment than Washington.  That puts Washington near the middle of the list and slightly closer to the high-unemployment end of it, but Washington can boast that they did squeak in at just below the national average of 7% unemployment for November 2013.  (I wish my state could boast that!)

How can it be that 21 states plus D.C. have a higher unemployment rate than Washington state with the highest minimum wage in the nation?  How can it be that 39 states have a lower unemployment rate than Georgia with the lowest minimum wage in the nation?  How can it be that 10 out of the 12 states with the lowest unemployment rates in the country also have a minimum wage that is equal to or higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and that of the 12 states with the highest unemployment 5 out of 12 have a minimum wage that is less than or equal to the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr?


Because raising or lowering the minimum wage has NOTHING to do with raising or lowering unemployment rates.  One does not impact on the other, either positively or negatively.  When it comes to unemployment rates and minimum wage, there is no correlation, no causation, no relation, whatsoever.

Need numbers?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Things That Aren't News...

The trend of taking and sharing "selfies" is nothing new.  Only the name is new.

But, this truly bizarre new trend among media types of taking and sharing pics of people taking pics of themselves makes me want to travel the country taking pics for a blog that is dedicated to taking pics of media photogs taking pics of people taking selfies. And then invite a documentary crew to follow me, so they can get footage of me taking pics of people taking pics of people taking pics of themselves... and, suggest to them, that a "making of the documentary film" film crew should also follow them to...  well, you get the idea...  

On the upside, the media is circling the drain.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Melhi's Helpful Web Tip For Today:

Have you hopped aboard the hot newish trend of darkening your website's pages when I land on them to force me to view a popup asking me to follow you on Facebook? 

You have? Well, STOP IT! Stop it, right now. You're doing the Internet backwards!!! 

Your Facebook page is supposed to be just one box of ammo in the larger arsenal you employ to drive traffic TO your website -- NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. I'm already on your site. I've already been lured in by the promise of fabulous content and the rules are the same on the net as they are in print media and television -- you have three sentences and/or three seconds to convince me to stay. 

So, what is the first thing you do? You make sure I can't see your fabulous content and you make it clear that the most important thing you have to tell me is that I'm in the wrong place. You tell me I've been tricked, that the excitement isn't on your site and your site isn't the place to be. You tell me that the place to be, the place with all the excitement and fabulous content is actually the very place THAT I JUST CAME FROM. Are you addle-brained? Because you seem addle-brained. This is like if I bought a magazine, only to discover that inside the front cover was a big two-page ad telling me to go back to the bus stop to view the ad for their magazine that I saw on the side of the bus, yesterday, that made me want to buy the magazine... and then discovering that until I tear out the page, I cannot open any other page in the magazine. You know how many magazines have ever, in the history of magazines, done that? None. Can you guess why? (Obviously, you can't or you wouldn't have pulled this boneheaded stunt with your website.) 

Your number one goal once you've successfully baited the hook on the line that reeled me up into the fishing boat that is your website is to keep me from jumping right back out into the ocean of websites that aren't yours. I'm slippery and I'm fast - you've got your work cut out for you. Good luck holding onto me. 

So, how DO you keep your grip on me? You do it exactly the same way it's been done OFF-line for centuries. Duh. 

You dazzle me with fabulous content or products that will hold my interest and make me stay of my own free will. This will keep me clicking around on your site long enough for me to see lots of the ads on your site that pay you based on views OR long enough to entice me to exit through your checkout with a cart full of goodies OR long enough to be put in a buying mood so that I'll exit through one of your commission based affiliate ads.

Right about now, you're wondering how you get me to come back again. If you've done your job with fabulous content, you're half way there - you've already made me WANT to come back again. Now, you just have to overcome the hurdle that is jogging my memory that your site exists. Surely this requires an in-my-face, content-blacking, eye-sore of a popup, right? Wrong. As soon as you do that, you jerk me right out of my love affair with your content and I'm gone, never to return. So, how do you do it? You let me think it was my idea to look for a way to be reminded to come back. In the side bar, at the bottom or at the tippy top of each of your dazzling content-rich pages, in a way that stands out, but doesn't intrude on my uninterrupted enjoyment of your fabulous content (same rules you already follow with your affiliate ads,) you offer me a choice of at least two options - one by email, one not by email - to stay in the loop or be notified when you have fabulous new content for me to devour. (examples: email alert, newletter subscription, liking your Facebook page, following you on Twitter... whatever methods you employ to drive repeat traffic so you have a chance to build long term loyalty among your audience and/or customer base.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Not A Budget Negotiation.

I keep seeing people, from both sides of the aisle,  independent from the aisles and even observing from outside the US talking about the debt ceiling and the shutdown who say things along the lines of "Why can't Congress just pass a budget" or "Congress needs to sit down and balance the budget so they can open the government."

The spending (budget) part of this two step process was already approved.  This is step two... which is basically just to approve paying the bills we've already approved and incurred.  This has nothing to do with passing or balancing a budget... and that there was no big kerfuffle over passing the spending is why so many Americans don't realize that this is a very separate step from that.

The two separate budget/spending and bill-paying steps were briefly combined into just one step under what was dubbed the "Gephardt Rule" (which began in 1979) and then when the Republicans took the house in 1985, they did away with the Gephardt Rule and it became two separate steps again.  

One of the problems with it being two separate steps, now, is that the freshmen Congressmen weren't there to vote a lot of this spending into place and the whip has no "you voted to spend it, now you have to own it and vote to pay for it" leverage with them on a clean CR... and for whatever reason, Boehner decided to go with the deal some in this frosh minority shot back "We weren't here to vote to spend that money and we won't vote to pay for those things, UNLESS we get to knock out this law we don't like that we don't have the numbers or public support to overturn. Give us that and you have our vote."  

My theory is that they thought there was no way on this Earth the Dems would let it go to a shutdown and would vote to pass ANYthing to avoid it.  I think this because they don't seem to have any plan or strategy in place now that their bluff has been called.  

Boehner has one good out -- I doubt he'll take it, but he is the one who set it up -- he said he didn't think they had the votes to pass a clean CR.  So, he could send out the whip, make sure he has the votes (he does, but Boehner tends to adhere to the so-called "Hastert rule" which is basically an unspoken rule that Republican speakers have followed where they won't call a vote on something, even if it will pass easily with bi-partisan support, unless a majority of Congressmen within just their own party will vote to pass it) and then announce that their Whip has done a tremendous job getting the votes necessary to end the shutdown, bring the clean Continuing Resolution to the floor for a vote - pass it, pay the bills and end the shut down.

 He saves face, the Republican Whip looks like a hero, some of the damage to their party is undone and will likely be forgotten by the time the next elections roll around, default is averted and the country re-opens.  Everybody wins.  Except Boehner.  It will  damage Boehner WITHIN his own party for not adhering to the Hastert Rule.  

So, Boehner has to decide which matters more to him - the country and how he's viewed by the people in general or his party and how he's viewed by those within its ranks.  Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?  Pick this great nation & public support from the people... duh!

But, it's actually a pretty tough  little corner he's backed himself into -- no amount of public support will keep him in the Speaker's chair and perhaps not even in Congress if his party turns on him.  On the other hand,  if this continues, both public and party support may fall out from under the small faction within his party who perpetrated this - Boehner may be capitulating to this faction, but he is not actually a part of that faction and he's in a very safe district he can't lose so long as he's not primaried out by his own party.  So, he likely believes (and may very well be right)  he has a better chance of surviving this if he lets it continue just long enough to destroy just that faction within his party.  Will he choose his country or his own political hide?  Which does he love more?  We will know very soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oops - Somebody Didn't Read Their Constitution...

Before you read my thoughts on it, go read this article first:

She said that in voting for vouchers that would force taxpayers in her state to fund other people's lifestyle choice of sending their kids to private religious schools (a practice that violates my religious AND my political beliefs,) she thought she was only supporting the religion of our founding fathers, which she wrongly assumes to have been a unanimous founding father following of today's fundamentalist Christian religions.  

Even if she was correct in that assumption, which she's not, I wonder how she missed the part of the constitution where the founding fathers intentionally protected against exactly what she thought she was doing?  

Protecting against that sort of thing was so important to them, it's listed first, along with freedom of political speech and freedom of the press.  It's really kind of hard to miss.  

 I wonder if she's aware  that separation of church and state is what protects fundamentalist Christian  students from being taught to cast spells by Wiccan teachers AND protects fundamentalist Christian teachers from having to teach kids to chant "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" just because a majority of students in the class happen to be Buddhist  OR that it protects her religion's continued existence in the event that at some distant or maybe even near point in the future, there's an attempt to outlaw her religion and/or prevent it from building places of worship because an overwhelming majority of citizens has come to think of her church of choice as just a phony tax-sheltered cover for clinic bombing, freedom  hating, bigoted paramilitary domestic terrorist cells? 

 I'm going to bet she doesn't know or appreciate any of that.  But, someday, she or her progeny might be very grateful that it does.  

 I for one, don't want my tax dollars going to fund her or anyone else's faith, so I tell myself that her tax dollars are used for that and war and other things that I want no part of and that my tax dollars go to fund things like making sure poor people can get something to eat today and that sick people can go to a doctor and other things I'm cool with that she might not be.  

But, funding aside, I am already deeply grateful that our founding fathers protected her religion - and that they protected the Islamic faiths - and that they protected Wiccans & Buddhists & Hindu & Atheists &  Scientologists & Mormons &... everyone.   

You are protected from me and my beliefs because I am protected from you and your beliefs. 

I've really gotta hand it to the founding fathers, that was some pretty forward very-long-game thinking for a bunch of wig wearing, rebel rousing, syphilis spreading, 18th century drunkards.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Competing In The Wrong Labor Market

Lately, I've seen a lot of articles about the manufacturing industry in the US needing skilled labor but finding that labor with the skill sets they need do not tend to apply for their jobs.   There is a shortage of labor in this sector... and it seems to be the "in" thing at the moment, for various reporters and bloggers to examine the situation by sitting down with employers to discover what the problem is and how to remedy it.

Occasionally, these articles will mention how much these jobs pay -- most often, in the articles I've read, the hourly wage cited comes out to  around $40k/year.  This looks pretty good compared to minimum wage stocking shelves at the local BigBox or Grocer, but it's in the same pay range that unskilled labor was earning in manufacturing 30 years ago.   And these employers will bemoan the fact that despite paying this good wage with benefits, the labor force they attract is generally unskilled and thus unqualified, leaving them with this labor shortfall.

Then they list the skill sets the modern manufacturing facility requires... and it is in this list that the reason these employers cannot seem to attract the labor force they need becomes glaringly obvious (to me. Apparently it is not so obvious to them or to the people interviewing them.)

 People with those skills command a higher salary in (pretty much all) other industries - higher by 50% or more, with similar or better benefits packages at entry level and these other industries offer ladders to climb in addition to regular raise and bonus structures.  Why would John or Suzy Skilled-Worker apply to work for $40k/year at the widget factory when Big Corp, Little Corp and even Locally Owned Business are all advertising job openings requiring the same skills that pay $60k/year?  Answer: They wouldn't.  And they aren't.

The employers in these articles have consistently  blamed the disparity between the work force that seeks them and the workforce they seek on an unchanged cultural perception of manufacturing jobs as unskilled, hard, dirty labor, when these jobs have changed to clean, smart, skilled labor.  And, to some extent, that is true. There is still an underlying cultural perception of manufacturing jobs as jobs for hard workers who lack further education and training.

 However, the employers fail to see that their own perception of what a manufacturing employee should earn in relation to his/her skills has also failed to change with the times and with their own changed needs.

Their "competitive wage" does not begin to compete in the segment of the labor market they need to tap.  It's competitive in exactly the unqualified workforce they are attracting.    The employers in several of the articles I've read urge young people to go to college to acquire these skills and to then consider jobs in manufacturing when they have completed their schooling -- and this sounds like an awesome idea at a glance, but even this shows how little these employers understand about why they're not attracting and likely will not attract the right workforce.

 A kid about to graduate from high school very well might read one of these articles, be attracted to the wage cited because it's so much higher than minimum wage and pursue further education to acquire the skills necessary to land one of those jobs.  He or she might even apply for and get one of those jobs (assuming they're not recruited straight out of college by an employer in another industry that pays more.)

 But six months later, when it's time to start paying their student loan payments,  they'll start looking for work -- because the wage these employers offer is not enough to cover the student loan payments that will result from acquiring those skills, plus rent or mortgage on a modest home, plus food, fuel, car payment, insurance & utilities.  If he/she ever wants to move out of Mommy's & Daddy's house to begin a life of their own and enjoy the fruits of their own labor, there's no choice but to look for a better job.

 If this entire generation that is coming of age, now, happens to heed the urging of these employers - acquiring the skills necessary and then seeking employment in manufacturing only to find that it doesn't pay enough to continue with it long term, these same employers will shift from complaining that the workforce lacks the skills they require to complaining about major problems with workforce retention... and, likely, they'll fail to see their own part in it and label the entire generation as "fickle" or "unreliable" or perhaps even "lazy" when in fact, this upcoming generation is no different from my generation or my parents' or grandparents' or great-grandparents' generation.   They want to make their own way in the world.

There's a similar disconnect among the reporters who've written these articles.  They have done an excellent job interviewing these employers about what they offer, what they need,  who applies for these jobs,  who doesn't apply for them, why the employers think this problem exists for them and even how someone can qualify for the jobs they offer.

 But, not one has followed up by interviewing workers in other industries, who do have those skills or by examining what it really costs to acquire those skills or what salary those skills generally command outside of the manufacturing industry.  Not one has even gone to a nearby college and inquired as to how many jobs & what those jobs are and what salaries likely await students who will be graduating from the school of business most closely associated with these required skills to verify whether the wage and benefits package offered by manufacturing is, indeed, competitive for workers with those skills seeking work in that region.

Each reporter, in the articles I've read so far,  has accepted as fact, without question, the employer's reasoning as to why they face the problems they do with attracting the workforce they require and then structured their interviews and wrote their articles based on that premise.

 I find the entire multi-layered disconnect fascinating to observe from my safe distance.  Deeply troubling, but fascinating.