A tribute to the 99ers: We are not invisible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Burning Down the House.

Last September the house of Gene Cranick burned to the ground in Obion County, TN. At first, firefighters refused to respond to the call. When the South Fulton, TN fire department finally arrived, they made sure the Cranick's neighbors house was safe from the fire and left. Why? Obion County residents receive fire protection from South Fulton based on an annual $75 fee paid by the homeowner. The Cranicks did not pay the fee for 2010. The neighbor paid the fee and received fire department services. The Cranicks failed to pay the fee and received nothing.

The question is, Do you believe that watching a house burn is good public policy? No modifiers, no qualifiers, no "in this case, in that case", "if this occurs, if this doesn't happen". Is it good public policy for firefighters to stand idly by and watch a house burn to the ground, Yes or No?

Today, The US Government stands less than a month away from being unable to meet it's financial obligations. In order to avoid defaulting on it's debt, the US Congress must vote to increase the debt ceiling above it's current limit of $14.3 trillion. The results of the US defaulting on it's debt will have very serious implications and could in fact be catastrophic both at home and worldwide. For various reasons US legislators have been unable to find a way to increase the debt ceiling.

The question is, Do you believe it is good public policy for the USA to fail to meet it's financial obligations? I guess it depends on how you feel about firefighters watching a house burn to the ground.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Are... not all we should be.

I took my daughter to school yesterday. The radio was on and the local "I play whatever I want" station was doing a  Top 9 at 9 countdown. The year was 1985 and the #1 song was "We Are The World". For those too young to recognize some of the artists, these artists were mainstream pop music (plus some legends) in 1985.  

What is the takeaway from "We Are The World" 26 years later?

  • The song and it's making still resonate with pop music stars today. "We Are The World 25 for Haiti" is a remake by today's pop stars in response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake disaster.
  • Superstars willing to suppress their ego and work together to execute a plan can make great things happen in a very short time frame.  99ers must do the same and coalesce under a single banner with a single message. "It's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives".
  • "We Are The World" was successful at raising awareness of ongoing tragedy in the World. "We Are The World" was also successful at raising funds for the cause(s). Still, there is hunger in Africa 26 years later and Haiti is still a disaster. Nothing is going to change the fact that there will still be long term unemployed hunger, homelessness and suicides. The damage can be mitigated by continued organized activism on behalf of and by 99ers.
Simply put, we can and must do better. The starting point is uniting under one banner. Clear communication to the organization and the public is vital. Time to put aside differences and pull together for our survival.  Anyone have any ideas on reduce the number of unemployed advocacy groups to just one?
    Don't forget President Obama taking questions live today at Facebook HQ. If you don't speak up you will never be heard.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Staying Positive.

    A topic on the #99erAid Twitterchat a couple of weeks ago was ways to stay positive.  A positive mental attitude is essential for 99ers to survive. H.R. 589 would go a long way to helping with positive thoughts. A jobs creation bill would also be helpful.  Both items need to pass Congress, so 99ers must advocate for their passage. Political action alone can't maintain positivity, so long term unemployed need to focus on daily/weekly items to stay positive. In the course of preparing for my life beyond H.R. 589 and 99erhood, I have found two sites that will help maintain a daily positive outlook

    In Seth Godin's roundup of SXSW, I was introduced to Gretchen Rubin. Ms. Rubin is the founder of the "The Happiness Project". The name is self explanatory. I get the daily "moment of happiness" to remind me to stay positive.

    This past Friday night I met Nate St. Pierre through Gini Dietrich on her blog, "Spin Sucks".  Actually, Nate was introduced to me and technically the introduction was on Twitter but either way I found "It Starts With Us" due to my participation on "Spin Sucks". Participation in "In Starts With Us" is simple. Each week you commit to spending 15 minutes on a prescribed project delivered via email. 15 minutes isn't much time, but 15 minutes X 1000's of people has a very positive effect.
    Both "The Happiness Project" and "It Starts With Us" are new activities for me. I'll let you know how it's working, but given the name and portfolio I expect positive results from both. So, how do you stay positive?

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    My Own Medicine.

    Last month, I suggested that the long term unemployed make plans for beyond H.R. 589. Whether H.R. 589 ever passes (or is discussed for that matter) moves closer to irrelevancy. To clarify, 14 weeks of additional unemployment benefits is not irrelevant, especially to the long term unemployed. However as a 99er moves ahead with plans for beyond HR 589, the eventual passage of H.R. 589 loses significance. The 99er is moving toward self sufficiency and would no longer qualify for benefits under H.R. 589. To further translate, the closer the plan for beyond a safety net comes to fruition, the less the need for said safety net.

    In this light I am pleased to announce the launch of "Crowdsourcing A Good Life." Along with the corresponding Facebook page and Twitter account, Crowdsourcing is in part a response to the plethora of self proclaimed experts, ninjas, rockstars and sherpas so abundant in the e-marketplace. Crowdsourcing asks simple questions (for example, What is the best Mother's Day gift you have ever given or received), one at a time. Answers are solicited from the "experts" (anyone wishing to answer) in the crowd and compiled into a blog post. The Crowd is also asked to offer questions. Please take a moment to check out Crowdsourcing and let me know your thoughts.

    "Crowdsourcing A Good Life" is not meant as my stand alone plan to go beyond 99erhood. Rather, it is a puzzle piece of a more comprehensive plan to become a self sufficient servicer provider entrepreneur. In that light, although my plans include tending to "Unemployed but Organized" at the current level, there is obviously the thought that other (profit driven) endeavors will take precedence.  In the meantime, I still plan on advocating for unemployment equity and will keep all abreast on my progress to go beyond H.R. 589.