Saturday, August 8, 2015

The #FITN '08 John Edwards Campaign Tree

About eight years ago, campaign workers for John Edwards for President doorknocked the West End of Concord and gave away tree saplings. Here is the tree today. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

No, $3M in #supportlocalbusinesses spending doesn't equal thousands of jobs ...

Yes, it can get so frustrating ... the Facebook meme/political graphic/photo sharing issue, where someone tries to make some gallant point, possibly to be taken virally, to show that they are caring, knowledgable, or whatever.
But it really has become to dumbing down of America at this point especially when the graphics can be completely debunked with a little Googling.
Take this #supportlocalbusinesses photo that has been making the rounds since last summer but was clearly written by someone who has no clue what is going on in the economy in the United States. I mean, where to start ... First, I love this sentiment, don't get me wrong. I buy local whenever I can. But, unfortunately, the math is way, wayyyy off.
Let's start with this simple fact: $3 million a year extra into any economy doesn't create "thousands" of jobs never mind 1,000 jobs ... unless maybe in China where an employee is lucky to make $3,000 a year and there are no other taxes on the employees.
Let's build on this and assume that the $15 an hour minimum wage proposal that is floating around is a living wage and what is ideal for a basic, full-time hire (even though it isn't for a single parent with two kids in any community in New Hampshire. According to MIT's living wage calculator, you need $24 to $27 an hour for that!).
In order to create 1,000 $15 an hour full-time jobs, an entity would need more than $31 million in cash for the salary side of the employees ($15 x 40 hrs x 52 weeks = $31,200 x 1,000 = $31.2M), another roughly $2M for Social Security (6.2% x $31,200 = $1,934.40 x 1,000 = $1.934M), and another $452K for Medicaid (1.45% x $31,200 - $452.40 x 1,000 = $452,400).
More money would be needed for workman's comp insurance, unemployment taxes, and healthcare/ACA, which is now required. I'm going to call this roughly $4+ million a year in added expenses for 1,000 employees. If the employees are single, a good plan will cost about $300 a month; family plans would be more, so maybe $3.5M and change for healthcare costs and then another $500K for the rest of the costs. It would probably be less but this is an easy rounding.
In other words, in order to create 1,000 $15 an hour full-time jobs, about $38 million in cash - not sales or business, but complete profit, CASH, every year - is needed to cover just the expense of having employees. In other words, it's about $38,000 an employee to get to a $15 an hour full-time job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a rundown from 2014 on what an employee costs a company here. Here's a short window into the basic costs:
Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $32.20 per hour worked in September 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $22.13 per hour worked and accounted for 68.7 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.07 and accounted for the remaining 31.3 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $30.32 per hour worked in September 2014. 
Below the private sector section, the department noted that government employees cost even more - nearly $44 an hour.
Using this data, $32 an hour, with $10 an hour for benefits, or about a third, my $38K cost to get to a $31,200/$15 an hour employee is a little on the low side.

So, how many jobs would $3M create?
Let's take this one step further: Let's say that $3 million extra was spent at local businesses rather than chain businesses and all of that money went directly into hiring employees. How many jobs could be created?
Using the math above, with rough estimates on some of the figures, $3 million creates about 79 jobs ... not thousands or even 1,000 ... 79 jobs.
And, in reality, it might not even create 79 jobs. Think about it for a second: $3 million shifted from one business to another could prompt no new hiring. This amount of money, broken down in a community in $100 increments might not lead to a single new hire. Most local, small businesses are already working in their stores or businesses whether people shop there or not. Increased sales to said business means more cash in the owner's pocket not necessarily hiring more people.
So, yes, great sentiment - let's all shop local as much as we can. But in reality, this action in a community might not create a single new job never mind "thousands" of them.

My latest 'celebrity' painting ...

It's time, once again, for the Intown Concord annual general meeting which also means that it's fundraising time and a bunch of us got together this month and did some paintings of scenes around Concord.
This is a shot I took last fall from a window inside the Dimond Hill Farm store looking east, at the city of Concord. My painting of the photo, with a little bit of artistic liberties, is below.
It's OK; yeah, I prefer the photo, although I'm fond of the wood texture in the painting which came out pretty cool. But hey, it's a fundraiser so ...
The auction is March 19, 2015. Here are the details.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Some Boston rawk!

Some of my fave Boston bands and their songs this week. Next week, The Smith's "Meat is Murder" turns 30: 
Pixies: Tony’s Theme
Blake Babies: Wipe It Up
The Del Fuegos: When the News is On
Curious Ritual: How Fast
The Curtain Society: All Over You
Damon & Naomi: This Changing World
Elixir: Suckerpunch
Lovebox: Bedspins
Lift: Better to Be Brave
Limegreen: Delicious
Miles Dethmuffen: In Clover
The 360s: Dead 1970
Lunargirl: Type
Freezepop: Science Genius Girl
Lemonheads: Great Big No

The Apples in Stereo: Droplets

Monday, July 21, 2014

Concord fireworks 2014 ...

They were amazing, weren't they? I recorded the finale and posted a clip on Patch. Here's the complete last two minutes of the show. Boom!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More storm lightning and other flashy boom stuff

A short second of video footage of lightning ...
Here are three screenshots of the lightning bolt ...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My great-grandfather carved this ...

along with his brother and it is still one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

About that June jobs report ...

How in the world is a drop in the unemployment rate of 0.2%, the loss of nearly 500,000 full-time jobs, and the lowest workforce participation rate in the history of the country heralded as a positive jobs report? Well, it was last week. I'm glad some folks have taken another look at the numbers ... this is truly bad news. The economy is going the wrong way: ["Full Time Jobs Plunge ..."]

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 3 lightning clip compilation

The July 3, 2014, storm was nowhere near as bad as the day before. However, I tried to gather some lightning flashes, to no avail. Here is a compilation of the lightning clips from the storm. The last 18 seconds are two strikes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Totally loving Lucius ...

Lucius, the Brooklyn quintet whose debut album from last year is one of the must-hear records of the last 18 months or so, played Concord, NH, on Sunday night.
I've included my Patch story link here for folks to read if they are interested.
I've been playing the band on my radio show for a bit now, ever since downloading the collection on on a whim.
The band is simply amazing and the members showed why the other night.
It's nice to see such a great event in the city really pick up steam and congrats to the band for getting the attention the performers deserve.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Camping along the Saco River ...

I love this place, the Crawford Notch General Store and Campground. We've never been able to get a river site before because to reserve a site, you have to pay for two nights. So, I splurged, and paid for the extra day in order to get it at least once. It was nice.
The first night was really windy. The tent kept getting blown over. But there were all kinds of rocks at the site to hold the tent down. I also drove the car in to block a bit of the wind. The next day, no wind. It was a bit chilly - the low 50s - but the minute the sun came up over the Mount Crawford (I think that's the name), it became very hot and we ended up leaving early. I think next time, we'll book one of the wooded sites with access to the river, and try one of those.
Here's a short video and some pictures.

Campfire ...

Stars ... 

More stars ... 

Morning sunrise ...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

On-air fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. today!

FYI everyone: I'll be on WNHN 94.7 LP in Concord from 4 to 7 p.m. today helping to raise money for the station. Tune in if you get the chance here: WNHN ... you can also read my story about the fundraiser here: WNHN On-Air Fundraiser Held Friday, Saturday

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Great Marketing ...

As seen on Miami Beach recently ... you gotta love this marketing campaign, taking to the skies, literally, by Trojan Condoms.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why I no longer read Mother Jones ...

or a lot of the political press these days that seems very biased ...
Reporter Patrick Caldwell has this post about "the people's pledge" proposal being demanded by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, of former Mass. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, requesting he agree to the same terms he did in his 2012 re-election race against Elizabeth Warren: ["Scott Brown Ditches 'The People's Pledge' for Dark Money"].
Brown, who has formed an exploratory committee but hasn't announced an official run, balked at the idea. And why not? In 2012, the pledge didn't keep special interest money out of that race, as noted by PR Watch in this story from October 2012: ["In Massachusetts, even the "People's Pledge" Can't Keep Out the Outside Money"]. Brown lost re-election by around 250,000 votes after being out-spent by $7.2 million, as reported by I don't believe anyone has done an overview of the in-state special interest money that was spent on this election, probably in the millions (a Google search didn't reveal any analysis), including money spent by labor unions and the president's campaign pushing Warren and other Democrats over the top, which we know was more than Romney and Republicans spent nationally.
While there is a slight difference between "dark money" and "special interest money," it isn't a huge difference. It's all bad, whether it is a corporation, environmental group, an "evil" oil company that sells that gas that gets you everywhere in your car, or the Koch brothers. It's all evil money.
And that's where the Mother Jones story really misses the boat, especially at the end of the article - it can pounce on Brown - still, a non-candidate - for not rejecting potential special interest money that might attack Shaheen but doesn't even mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest funds spent attacking Brown for months before he even formed an exploratory committee.
As we've been reporting on Patch, the state Democrats launched an online ad in early December of last year, criticizing Brown about a potential run. That is a local expenditure and not "dark," in the historical context. But, it's still special interest money for sure. But, there's no mention of it in the Mother Jones story.
Then, a month later, the Senate Majority PAC began airing six figures worth of attack ads against Brown here. Out-of-state, dark, special interest money, truly just as bad as anything the Kochs and Rove will air. As you guessed, there's no mention of it in the Mother Jones story.
Then, the League of Conservation Voters bought six figures worth of ads to attack Brown, again, who hasn't decided he is going to run yet or even when the ads started airing in the state ... Dark, special interest, out-of-state money ... no mention in the Mother Jones story.
Take note of this in the League of Conservation Voters post about all they did 18 months ago to defeat Brown with dark, special interest, out-of-state money even though there was a "people's pledge"!
"In 2012, LCV launched mail and field programs to help defeat Brown in Massachusetts, spending more than $1.1 million in the race. LCV Action Fund also raised or contributed more than $134,000 for Elizabeth Warren through its GiveGreen program, the only bundling website devoted exclusively to raising money for environmental champions and candidates."
All this money is just as evil as the Koch/Rove money and yet, not a peep from Mother Jones about it. Why? More than likely, the reporter simply missed it or didn't perform a simple Google search to look. The Dark Money collection of stories though on the MJ site shows an obsession about the Kochs, not unlike a lot of other people these days. There is, in fairness, some Democratic special interest money mentioned there too but not quite as much.
Brown hasn't announced an official run (although it is assumed), so he doesn't have to agree to anything. He hasn't agreed to participate in debates, as an example.
In all honesty though, regardless of what anyone thinks of Shaheen or Brown, the "people's pledge" is a political stunt when it comes to getting or keeping special interest money out of politics, something most of us want. It allows all kinds of special interest money from INSIDE the state to be spent, money that always wants something for the money ... Why would anyone handcuff themselves at this stage of the game with something that's a stunt and doesn't really work anyway?

ALSO READ - Concord NH Patch - 2012: The Nastiest Election Ever?