Friday, November 30, 2012

Life's Little Injustices (Take I): I Didn't Get My Powerball

Whilst going out and about Wednesday night, I suddenly realized that it was time to replenish our beverage supplies...this was around 10:30 p.m.

I was waiting in line to pay, when a gentleman rushed into the establishment, huffing and puffing, with only one pressing question on his mind: "Is it too late?"

The clerk flashed the interloper a quizzical stare.  "What do you mean?"

"You know, for the $550 million..."

"Oh, no," the clerk said, looking at the clock.  "You're too late.  You can't buy any tickets after 9:58 p.m."

The chap's expression collapsed. "That sonofabitch lied to me."  He shook his head.  "That sonofabitch lied to me."

I didn't stick around to hear the rest.

However, I could just imagine the thoughts running through his mind, as I drove off to go home: I coulda been a contender...I coulda told 'em all to kiss my ass tomorrow...I've gotta spend another decade at this shit job...the bills are always gonna pile up...why weren't those numbers mine?

This is what life comes down to, after three decades of flat wages, booming income inequality, and lack of political will to address any of these things...the average folk wait for a multi-billion-dollar payout, such as Wednesday's record $580 million drawing, and hope that the price of courting Ludy Luck outweighs the benefit of paying the "Stupidity Tax" (as commentators often refer to the lottery).

On the other hand...a million-dollar payout works just as well, as this news item suggests:

MADISON - The winning Powerball player in Wisconsin who tried her luck on a record $580 million jackpot is stepping forward.
Mary Retterath purchased her $1 million ticket at Speedway, 9130 W. Oklahoma Avenue in West Allis.
Retterath and her husband, Dennis, brought their ticket to the Wisconsin Lottery's Madison headquarters where it was validated as the winner.
After taxes, Retterath received $672,500.
The quick pick ticket Retterath purchased matched all five regular winning numbers, though not the Powerball, in Wednesday's historic drawing.
Wednesday night's winning numbers were 05, 16, 22, 23 and 29, with a Powerball of 06.

Retterath and her husband have agreed to talk about their good fortune at a news conference Monday, December 3 at 10:30 a.m. at West Allis City Hall.
Just how imagine how many people will try to find her phone number! --The Reckoner

Monday, November 26, 2012

This Just In: Mitt Romney Needed The 47 Percent, After All

Poetic Justice Dept.: Honestly, you couldn't make up this kind of stuff, if you that the dust has long settled on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential defeat, we're being inundated with The Irony To End All Ironies: contrary to what he told his fundraisers earlier in the proceedings, the Mittmeister will end up with...47 percent of the popular vote.

As of last Friday, according to Yahoo News, Romney netted 60,221,746 votes, versus 64,430,488 for President Obama. Expressed in percentage terms, those totals amount to 50.8 percent for Obama, and 47.5 percent for Romney, respectively, though once the numbers from Democratic strongholds like California and New York are figured into the equation, Romney's final tally is likely to end up at...47 percent.

Presidential post-mortems are heavy on self-justification and spin; after all, that's how most of the consultants, pollsters and other characters of nebulous job descriptions make their money while a campaign is hot...and, conversely, seek to cover their rear ends when their predictions go south.

We've already covered this subject in our last post ("Why Mitt Romney Lost: Now Let The Circular Fingerpointing Begin"), so there's no need to retread that ground anew, but it's worth reflecting on these various spins can be rolled out.  On one hand, Mitt Romney fared marginally better than his last rival, John McCain, who garnered 
59,948,323 votes during his 2008 losing campaign. That's a 273,423-vote uptick -- small, but enough to say, "Well, I guess I did better than that dude, at least...whew."

On the other hand, as the old sports cliche goes, the game wasn't quite as close as the score would indicate. Obama bested his Massachusetts rival by about 4.2 million votes -- hardly the stuff of a landslide, to be sure, but in the grand scheme of things...a clear-cut enough verdict of some kind.

Romney failed to win any of the so-called "battleground" states -- including Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia and Ohio, where Obama led throughout the year...and the GOP standard-bearer singlarly failed to get off the ground. The Electoral College count fell to Obama, 332-206 -- again, not a blowout, but not exactly a cliffhanger, either, unless you're comparing the 2008 result (which swung Obama's way, 365-173).

Even as the last votes are counted, and the last chips are left to fall, it's fascinating to see how many people -- particularly those on the far-right side of the coin -- continue denying what's in front of them.  We've been hearing these voices making the political talk show rounds -- you know, those Sunday morning mausoleums where failed consultants, failed pundits and failed politicians who haven't pulled down a real job in eons can reach the opposite verdict from the one that the voters rendered.

If you haven't heard the various clarion calls for a kinder, gentler GOP, chances are that you've heard the dominant riff: "We need a better ground game, do a better job of getting our troops out, that's all."  In truth, however, the best ground game in the world couldn't have helped Mitt Romney, particularly after his infamous video dismissal of the 47 percent -- you know, the ones he heaped contempt on, saying that they'd never vote for him, anyway, because they liked being dependent on government -- became public fodder.

Perhaps the simplest takeaway from the whole business is that, if you run a toxic candidate -- or an inept candidate, or a bad candidate, of which Uncle Mitt was all of the above, and then some -- your chances of winning any office, from County Dog Catcher, to President -- are virtually nil.  That may be an inconvenient truth for proponents of voter suppression theories, and similar airy-fairy-grams, but certainly closer to reality. In our opinion, this comment from Newsweek ("From Mitt To Moot: Mitt Romney's Quick, Quiet Fade") offers the best epitaph for Romney's 2012 campaign:

"All along, with the brief exception of the first debate, the GOP candidate seemed to hesitate and waffle.  He changed his positions so often, we had trouble knowing who the man who was -- even when he was right in front of us, there was a curious emptiness to his image.  Now he's gone, leaving behind the modest totems of hair pomade and the number 47."

That's as good as an epitaph as any, we suspect. -- The Reckoner

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Walmart Strikes

I was sad to read this:

Scattered Walmart strikes don't dent Black Friday bottom line

You think that enough Americans would care about their fellow Americans to know that Wal-mart's minimum wages are forcing too many of their fellow Americans to be on welfare. I guess all the "deals" and "greed" count for far more. I don't blame someone in a rural county who is stuck with Walmart, because to get a pair of underwear or a trashcan even necessitates a two hour round trip, but wow, at least stay home, while the workers are standing up for themselves. There's plenty of other days in the week. Don't be a shopper "scab"!

"Scattered strikes and protests by Walmart workers and their supporters in at least nine states may have scored symbolic points Friday by taking on the retail giant head-on, but apparently they did little to keep shoppers away as the company quickly claimed its best Black Friday ever. The company said in a statement Friday morning that its stores rang up almost 10 million transactions from the time doors opened for Black Friday shoppers at 8 p.m. Thursday until midnight, or about 5,000 items per second."

The striking Walmart workers have legitimate complaints. Course if no one cared when Wal-mart nationwide closed and destroyed multitudes of small businesses in small towns--we saw the result of this in our last town, I suppose those same people do not care about the people who work at Wal-mart for poverty wages.--The Squawker

Black Friday Nonsense

The Squawker noticed this time the stores selling overpriced junk imported from China were opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving night.  This is a new trend and an offensive one as well. So people can't just relax with their families or friends, they have to race to go shopping?

Is nothing sacred anymore? I haven't shopped on a Black Friday in years, and why do they call it that anyway? Because it is a day celebrating greed, avarice and destruction of the American economy? That sounds about right.

Who has money to shop at the END of the month anyway? In the poor and working class world, most of us are busted out by the third week of the month, with any extra dollars being pared out for food and gas to get through the last week of the month. That said, I find myself wondering how many are digging a hole deeper into the pit via credit cards--well the few left that have not gone bankrupt YET for the holidays.

It looks like the chaos of previous years is intact this year as well and the world is noticing and probably thinks that America has gone further into stupidity:

Black Friday chaos already underway as bargain-hungry shoppers scuffle for early deals after queuing for days

Some other headlines listed in that article:

"Kmart opened its doors at 6am - and already fights have been reported Police in Los Angeles will deploy helicopters and horses to tackle trouble

Strike by Wal-Mart workers on Friday expected to add to chaos

Employees unhappy that the holiday has been claimed by stores"

From the Midwest:

 Black Friday: Long Lines, Sales and Fights

Isn't this pathetic? Fighting over each other to buy cheap junk that will not last and more screens and "toys" that really do not change one's life but just add to the distraction, probably with most of it made in China.

One isn't shopping local at the over priced malls and department stores. One thing in our household we buy a lot of items used, and from thrift due to necessity but they do seem to last longer.

Granted one cannot buy electronic items this way, but even there, one can get far better deals online or even getting used things from ebay then entering a throng of people whose greed has them in an uproar.

The elites probably watch this stuff, and laugh all the way to the bank as the economy collapses. To be frank, I am still in shock that so many have the means to go blow their money on hundreds of dollars of electronic equipment and other doo-dads, but that day probably is drawing to a close.--The Squawker

The Republicans and/or Democrats Won't Save You

There Is Not Going To Be A Solution To Our Economic Problems On The National Level

One thing about both parties is they have both abandoned the average guy.

This guy gets it right.

The Reckoner has a friendlier view of the Democrat party then I do, the Squawker was done with both of them long ago knowing that globalism ran their show and kowtowing to the multi-national mega corporations who gave up having any loyalty to the average America long ago. With their new markets to conquer worldwide, Americans were put on the back burners long ago and the bought and sold politicians are part of that picture.

The reason Obama won? People are broke, and just making it on those social programs whether you agree with them or not that the Republicans threaten to strip away and replace with NOTHING! Most folks then voted for the "king" they were already familiar with instead of any more unknowns. I think this was cinched with the selection of Romney who came off as elitist. Another patsy to guarantee an Obama win? One can tell there is nothing being done about serious economic problems.--The Squawker

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Mitt Romney Lost: Now Let The Circular Fingerpointing Begin

The dust has hardly settled from Election Day, but the post-silly season fingerpointing has already begun...and it's seldom a pretty sight. Candidates who crisscrossed the country, convinced that they had the winning combination to win the voters' hearts and minds, are crushed: oh, my could they elect that other idiot?  But I won those debates!  I worked my @$# off!  I slept badly in Holiday Inns for 24-plus months, for...for...THIS?  J#s@s H. Judas Mother-o'-Mary F#ershluggin' you-know-what Kee-rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ist!

The handlers aren't far behind: you shoulda done this, you shoulda done that...if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas...should coulda woulda tacked center, if we'd had the chance, blah-blah-blah...the media were out to nail us, yada-yada-yada...and Mitt Romney's inner circle is no exception.  How could formerly moderate Mitt possibly lose to an incumbent struggling to overcome the toxic fumes of an 8 percent unemployment rate, a cranky electorate, and a lousy economy?

As a public service, we at Ramen Noodle Nation present an economy tour of what the GOP's top movers and shakers have been telling the Fourth Estate, as the smoky plumes drift over the Charles River,  past the crumbling ruins of Uncle Mitt's second (and presumably final) failure to win the White House...just so you don't have to read it all, OK? All right, here we go, then... --The Reckoner

1.  Forget The Buck, It's The Crazy Truck That Stops Here: "Rick Santorum rejected the separation of church and state. Newt Gingrich challenged the notion of judicial supremacy. Michele Bachmann claimed the government had been infiltrated by radical Muslims. Donald Trump refused to recognize the validity of Obama’s birth certificate. Rick Perry wanted to take down more parts of the federal government than he could successfully name. In the debates, the country saw the GOP talking to itself and sounding like a bizarre fringe party, not a responsible governing one." (Slate, "Why Romney Lost," 11/07/12)

2. Hmm, Maybe We Really WERE Better Off Shooting This Particular Messenger:  "One top Romney bundler offered this blunt analysis to Politico's Maggie Haberman yesterday, 'We had no message and we gave it to the worst communicator in the world.'" (ABC News: "GOP Asks: What Went Wrong For Romney?", 11/08/12)

3. It's  The Welfare Brats' Revenge, Stupid: "Washington Times columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent is responding to President Obama's re-election by saying that Americans "voted for economic & spiritual suicide" because Obama will "destroy America." He also referred to Obama's supporters as "subhuman varmint[s]" and "Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters." (Media Matters For America: Ted Nugent's Post-Election Freakout: "Subhuman Varmint[s]" Re-Elect Obama To 'Destroy America,'" 11/07/12)

4. Left At The Altar On Cinco De Mayo Day, We Presume?: "Kelly Romney, a distant relative of Mitt Romney's, believes that he could've stopped Romney from damaging his own campaign. 'It's just a real tragedy. I think that he did not connect with us where we could've helped him. I really think it would've made a difference in the election,' Kelly told ABC/Univision as he watched election coverage on Fox News." (ABC News: "Romney's Cousin Says Mitt Failed to Court Latinos," 11/08/12)

5. Maybe He Should Have Reached Under The Couch For Some Spare Change: "But in the eyes of top aides in both campaigns, that early summer period when Mr. Romney was busy fundraising was perhaps the biggest single reason he lost the election. The Obama campaign spent heavily while Mr. Romney couldn't, launched a range of effective attacks on the Republican nominee and drove up voters' negative perceptions of Mr. Romney.

The problem: Mr. Romney had burned through much of his money raised for the primaries, and by law, he couldn't begin spending his general-election funds until he accepted the GOP nomination late in the summer." (The Wall Street Journal, "How The Race Slipped Away From Romney," 11/08/12)

6. Ohhhh, OK, We Got It: Too Many CH-CH-CH-Changes (INNA David Bowie-Stylee): "His vexing negativity goes hand in hand with an unwillingness to stick with any bedrock beliefs. The Washington Post ran an excellent editorial denouncing Romney's 'contempt' for voters, and his changing his positions radically over the course of his career. As the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy declared of Romney back in 1994: 'I am pro-choice ... My opponent is multiple-choice.' The line brought down the house in Boston."  (The Daily Beast, "Mitt Romney's Personality Problem," 11/05/12)

7. Premature Preparations (Why Denial Ain't Just A River In Egypt) Dept., Take I.: "Another unnamed senior adviser explained that as returns came in and battleground states went into President Barack Obama's Electoral College column, they felt their paths to potential victory narrowing. CBS reports that the campaign was unprepared for this in part because it had ignored polling that showed the races favoring Obama. Instead, it turned to its own internal 'unskewed' polls, which it believed more accurately reflected the situation on the ground. They didn't."

Take II: "...As evidence of the Romney campaign's sincere belief that the former Massachusetts governor would emerge victorious on Tuesday night, the Boston Globe reported Thursday that it had planned to fete Romney's election with an eight-minute display of fireworks over Boston Harbor."

'It was not an intense, grand finale-type of display for eight minutes, but it certainly was a fast-paced show to cap off the evening, if it were necessary,'" Steve Pelkey, the CEO of Atlas Professional Fireworks Displays, told the Globe.

And, Once More (With Feeling), Take III: "
Romney also told reporters on his campaign plane earlier this week that while he had written a victory speech, he hadn't prepared concession remarks." (The Huffington Post, "Mitt Romney 'Shellshocked' After Lost Election, Adviser Says"

8. The Incredible Shrinking White Man: "Exit polls showed that Mr. Romney won handily among white Americans—almost six in 10 of them—but lost by breathtaking margins among the nation's increasingly important ethnic groups: By almost 40 percentage points among Hispanics, by almost 50 points among Asians, and by more than 80 points among African-Americans."  (The Wall Street Journal, "Tough Loss Leaves GOP At A Crossroads": 11/07/12)

9.  This Just In: If You Didn't Support Uncle Mitt, It's Because You (Ahem) Wanted Something, Like, Uh...STUFF: "'Half the country wants free stuff,' O'Reilly said. What is that half like? First he hinted: Latinos, blacks, and maybe women would vote for Obama. Then he got reeeal explicit: 'Obama wins because it's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.'" (The Atlantic Wire, "The Sad Faces of Fox News on Election Night," 11/06/12)

10. Uhhh...Maybe That Secret Underwear Was Notched A Shade Too Tight: "It's also worth noting that Romney's peers—men who have vied with him on political stages—can't stand him. I mean, it's more than the usual give-and-take, spirited conflict between rivals. Kennedy, famous for having friends and allies on the other side of the aisle, found Romney hard work on a personal level. Sens. John Kerry, Harry Reid, and John McCain—two Democrats and a Republican—are three other senators known to loathe Romney." (The Daily Beast, "Mitt Romney's Personality Problem," 11/06/12)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tin-Eared, Teary-Eyed And Tone-Deaf, Richard Mourdock Exits The Indiana Stage

Losing doesn't mean having to say that you're sorry -- apparently, that's what Republican Richard Mourdock sees as his biggest takeaway from his loss on Tuesday to Democrat Joe Donnelly. But candidates reveal as much about themselves in defeat as they do in victory, and Mourdock's sour-noted concession speech proved to be no exception, as this nugget suggests:

"I will look back knowing I was attacked for standing on my principles, for coming into this public process with the idea that you ought to put forward something to offer the public so that they can make a clear choice."

Hoosier voters certainly had no trouble making a clear choice after the third debate, when Mourdock sealed his electoral doom with the now oft-quoted, infamous jaw-dropper: "‘I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen." 

As bizarre and ugly as that statement reads, and sounds, it also wasn't the first time that Mourdock gave the whiff of someobody who'd just stumbled off the crazy truck, as this May 2011 MSNBC soundbite suggests:

“Bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view. We entered this campaign wanting to be a voice and hoping to give more of a national voice to the idea that Republicans -- and more specifically conservatives -- would be in the majority of the United States Senate, and the House, and hopefully that we have a Republican in the White House. If we do that, bipartisanship means they have to come our way.”

And, of course, let's not forget this delightful bit of Mourdock backyard folk wisdom from a May 2012 MSNBC interview: “To me, the highlight of politics frankly is to inflict my opinion on someone else on the microphone or in front of a camera, to win them over to my point of view.”

Anyone who paid more than a shred of attention to this race, of course, would have heard the latter soundbite -- one that Donnelly's campaign gleefully highlighted and echoed into infinity during their TV ads.

It's hard to think of a national candidate who did as much recently to harm his own cause as Mourdock -- whose poll standings cratered by a full seven points overnight, after the smoke cleared. In fact, had he made his infamous rape comment a month or so ago, we'd have happily nominated him to Ramen Noodle Nation's Cognitive Dissonance Hall Of Fame -- right next to his Missouri counterpart, Todd Akin (he of the equally infamous, and odious, "legitimate rape" statement).

Back on the losing podium, though, such thoughts were far away from Mourdock's mind, as he offered this glimmer of insight into his gaffe-plagued, Not Ready For Prime Time Players-style candidacy: "I’ve said many times over the last few months this race wasn’t so much about Richard Mourdock versus Joe Donnelly or even Republican versus Democrat but about the direction of our nation as a whole."

Indeed, it was -- just not the direction that voters desired, apparently, which might explain why Tea Party faves like the now-former Congressman Allen West, of Florida -- whose own Bizarro World quotes deserve a post unto themselves -- will have plenty of time to finish those word search puzzles laying around his campaign office.

Lest anyone think that Mourdock made a mistake, he reasured his supporters that no such admissions would ever be forthcoming:

"To all of you who are Republicans of longstanding, I hope you appreciate that I always tried to stand for conservative values.

"For those of you who came to this process and God bless you – especially from the Tea Party who [sic] have never involved before, I hope you know that I stood and stand for the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States.

"And last but not least – and last but not least – though I was attacked for it as well – make no mistake, I stand that all life is precious in the eyes of God."

All in all, these closing words make amazing reading -- if not quite on the level of Richard Nixon's oft-quoted vow of 1962 ("You won't have to Dick Nixon to kick around anymore").  What's striking is the blind pettiness, the flinty-eyed petulance, and sheer scope of self-delusion that's on display. For someone whose background required him to deal with facts and figures on a regular basis, Indiana's chief bean counter seems to have an awfully slippery grasp of reality.

After all those long months on the campaign trail, all those days and nights spent shaking hands, sipping stale coffee and spouting platitudes aplenty, Richard Mourdock wants the world to believe that he lost because, well...there was some kind of conspiracy against him, doggone it, and all them "reveooners" and slick big city reporters and women's libbers just had it in for him.

It's a school of reasoning that owes more to "The Dukes Of Hazzard" than what really happened Tuesday night...and, certainly, a view that only Mr. Mourdock's hardcore cheering section may feel inclined to accept -- even as they wind up reaching for the comfort of a gas mask and a stomach pump. --The Reckoner

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Grown Up and Dependent on Parents

Why Are So Many Adults Moving Back in With Their Parents?
When I was 21, I had to move back home for a year, unable to make ends meet, doing student teaching which took up seven to eight hours of my day and didn't pay a my side job, which actually gave me a day that went from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. [an insane schedule, by any standard] just didn't pay enough. I ended up moving home, I had to have some spending money, so the insane schedule had no letup, but I got to eat and had a room to sleep in. I think about young people today, and wonder, "How on earth are they going to make it? "

My health was not helped via lack of medical insurance -- not to mention hours and hours of part-time, pieced-together jobs -- but I managed (even with my college degree) to pick up a few jobs that paid in the $10-14 dollar per hour range...keep in mind, this was the early 90s...and at least I wasn't just stuck with minimum wage. I could get the rented room, plus stacks of milk crates and keep an old car going most of the time. What are today's young people to do now, when prices are higher, and wages really have not gone up much?

I have relatives in their mid-20s who still live at home and stuck with a life that hasn't really begun, due to lack of meaningful employment.  In their case this situation has meant no dating, few hobbies and being stuck in a small room with other unemployed twentysomething siblings.  One has a college degree but has not found a job to go with it. The article is right, in that the education system does not prepare them for the real world. I wasn't told how hard it was to make a living and majored in education -- right before a wave of layoffs that began happening, just as I came out of college in the 1990s.  As they say..."Timing is everything." --The Squawker

Peanut butter, anyone? Surely that graphic makes you hungry.
Never could stand the stuff, myself, because it seemed like such a College Student Cliche 101-type of thing...but I digress.

Reading the Squawker's entry on this subject reminds me of a saying that my father often brought up whenever anything college-related crossed the TV screen: "The trouble with this place here is that everybody graduates." 

I'd crack up, because a) it meant that I wouldn't be on the receiving end of dear old Dad's trademark sarcasm, and b) it wasn't hard to see the truth of that expression, even during the '90s, when all those nasty old bubble markets seemed eons way.

Ironically, my problem differed from most of my peers -- I found a job in my degreed field (journalism) without a lot of difficulty, but it didn't pay enough to support my own place, let alone all the other expenses that I was carrying at the time (car payment, college loans, credit cards).

Even then, however, it wasn't hard to see the storm clouds gathering.  Eventually, I quit my newspaper job and moved to Chicago, where I wasn't able to find any journalism-related day I worked in an office, and wrote at night. 

However, I was too poor to afford a computer -- that wouldn't become a given until the late '90s, when I made it back to Michigan -- so I'd have to trek over from Rogers Park to a friend's house in the middle of the city.  We'd graduated from the same college, so it was OK to use his computer, as long as I wrapped up by 10 or 11 p.m.

My friend lived with four or five other people, who were all either recent graduates or future graduate school customers. None of them owned a car, nor other presumed symbols of the hipster good life that were already being touted on such megahit sitcoms as "Friends."

Sure, my friend and his pals were skinny, white and wisecracking, but that's as far as the similarities to the world of "Friends" went. I don't remember any designer hairdos or clothes among this crowd.  As far as I could tell, nobody ate out, and 90 percent of the meals were much out of budget, I suspect, as conviction.

Sometimes, you only need to look around, and your eyes will latch onto a symbol that confirms your true status in a flash.  At my first paper, I only had to glance across the parking lot, where the general manager -- who often lectured the rest of us lot on the gospel of businesses operating "lean and mean" -- drove an enormous, battleship-sized SUV that dwarfed just about everybody else's ride.

For my friend and his housemates, you could sum up their status through the stacks and stacks of used books and CDs they'd acquired during their travels -- the symbols of a media consumer's life that became positively quaint once the Internet era took hold for good.

I'm still in touch with my friend, but have no idea what happened to anybody else in that house, or if they found anything resembling their chosen career specialty. But nobody was paying much attention, anyhow.  And if you doubted what your gut told you, well, there was always the big screen for some temporary relief, sending up the twentysomething "slacker" stereotype in movies like Reality Bites... nobody felt particularly compelled to pay any attention.  These days, however, the joke doesn't seem so funny anywhere, when an estimated one in three jobs doesn't need a college degree (see the link below)...only nobody's making a movie about that deal. --The ReckonerThe Wall Street Journal: Do Too Many Young People Go To College?