Saturday Reads Around The Internets - Public Unions & Homeless Beauty Queens

Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.

Miss Colorado is Homeless

A sign of the times, our beauty queen is homeless.

Just months after receiving her crown, Miss Colorado USA Blair Griffith lost her home.

The 23-year-old, who will compete in the Miss USA pageant in June, was evicted, along with her mother, from their home last November. They have been living with a family friend ever since. Griffith is also scheduled to lose her job at Saks Fifth Avenue when the branch she works at closes its doors for good next month.

Jobs Being Created are Low Pay Ones

The NELP ran some numbers and discovered the new jobs are low paying ones.

Lower-wage industries constituted 23 percent of job loss, but fully 49 percent of recent growth. Mid-wage industries constituted 36 percent of job loss, and 37 percent of recent growth. Higher-wage industries constituted 40 percent of job loss, but only 14 percent of recent growth.

We're hearing a lot of spin on tech jobs and innovation lately. Realize those jobs have shrunk by 4.4% over the last decade. In other words, the sector is not even employing the U.S. workers who need a job and have the skills.

Economic Nonsense Reported As Fact

David Kay Johnston shows us who really pays for public union pensions, surprise, the workers.

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to "contribute more" to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker's assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services.

It's not just that Journalists are mathematically challenged, it's clear they literally report whatever some lobbyist wants them to say and that ain't Journalism.

Budget Deficits Caused by Housing Bubble

Yet another reality check, this time by Rortybomb. He has a series of graphs showing the correlations between negative home equity, housing bubbles, foreclosures, prices and state budget deficits. No surprise since most rely heavily on property taxes.

Remember, Koch Industries relies on your inability to comprehend a number. Speaking of which...

Who's Afraid of Koch Industries

An opinion piece in the New York Times is a link fest of background information and events surrounding Wisconsin Union basher Scott Walker as well as the money behind some of the so called Progressive left. In case you missed it, Scott Walker was punked with a phony phone call from a guy pretending to be Koch. In the recorded call, Walker exposed himself and his union busting agenda.

So there you have it, kids. Government isn’t for the people. It’s for the people with money. You want to be heard? Too fucking bad. You want to collectively bargain? You can’t afford a seat at the table. You may have built that table. But it’s not yours. It belongs to the Kochs and the oligarch class. It’s guarded by Republicans like Walker, and his Democratic counterparts across that ever-narrowing aisle that is corporate rule, so that the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots can swallow all the power in the world. These are known knowns, and now we just know them a little more.

Even Fox News Knows This is about Union Busting

TPM is tracking the union busting by state legislature activities nationwide and posted a video where even Fox News called it as it is, an agenda to union bust by State law.

Dolphin Deaths Denied

This one just makes ya say ya gotta be kidding me. Dolphin fetuses and babies are washing up dead in the gulf. Yet the news claims Scientists cannot determine the cause. Give me a break, there is an absurd amount of data showing the sea bed is toxic alone. Trying to claim one cannot attribute the Dolphin deaths to Gulf Oil Spill is like saying it is impossible to ascertain someone is dead even though they stopped breathing.....for a week.

Oil, Gas & Hot Air

Oil has jumped 17 cents in a week, there is conjecture the Libya revolution will not be allowed to happen over oil, Obama's economic team, in coordination with the IMF, believes the economy will not suffer an oil shock, so of course it will, and even terms like stagflation are being floated around.

With that, let's stick with the Wall Street Journal's number of the week, gas prices.

10.34% — Gasoline as a share of retail sales

Could rising oil prices derail the U.S. recovery? We’re more resilient to high energy prices than we used to be, but it’s certainly a danger.

The price of oil broke through $100 a barrel this week, and U.S. gas prices neared $3.25 a gallon, as turmoil in the Middle East bred concerns about supply. Those rising prices are already taking a bigger bite out of U.S. consumers’ budgets. In January, sales at gas stations accounted for 10.34% of all retail sales, according to the Commerce Department. That’s the highest level since October 2008.