Looking for the wrong jobs in the wrong places

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post Published 10:56 am, Monday, February 5, 2018 READ ANOTHER OPINION Looking for the wrong jobs in the wrong places10:56 AM Nunes and other Trump sycophants cannot take reelection for...9:46 AM Look what Trump has done to a once-proud party When will the GOP muzzle Nunes? President Donald Trump built a campaign around promises to revive manufacturing and energy jobs, telling coal miners in Ohio, for instance, that coal is coming back. (It's not.) Manufacturing has made a mild comeback, but it is nowhere near the source of jobs it once was. (According to The Post Fact Checker, "There were 184,000 manufacturing jobs created in the 11 months since Trump took the oath of office, compared to a loss of 16,000 in 2016, according to the [Bureau of Labor Statistics]. This is a substantial one-year gain, but it's still more than 1 million manufacturing jobs below the level at the start of the Great Recession.") Trump's mind-set, sorry to say, is that of a septuagenarian stuck in a time warp, grossly ignorant about the shape of the U.S. economy and the nature of 21st-century manufacturing. As the Pew Research Center pointed out last year, manufacturing production is certainly strong, but manufacturing jobs are not: "Manufacturing jobs in the United States have declined considerably over the past several decades, even as manufacturing output - the value of goods and products manufactured in the U.S. - has grown strongly. . . . "Manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979 at 19.4 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and by 1987 had fallen to 17.6 million. What had been a slow decline in employment accelerated after the turn of the century, and especially during the Great Recession. Manufacturing payrolls bottomed out at fewer than 11.5 million in early 2010, and even though more than 900,000 manufacturing jobs have been added since, overall employment in manufacturing is still at its lowest level since Continue Reading

Opinion: Stories you may have missed in 2017

Displaced people in the Central African Republic gather around a truck where volunteers distribute firewood in Bangassou on May 26, 2017. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Saber Jendoubi Updated December 28, 2017 4:49 PM Avid news consumers this year suffered a near-daily whiplash of bombshell stories, many of which involved President Donald Trump and his star-crossed administration. His surprising election win, and hectic first year in office, so dominated the news cycle that a Balkan war criminal downing a vial of poison on the stand at The Hague went almost unnoticed. Here are some other big stories from around the world you might have missed. The Central African Republic is on the precipice of collapse: Since 2013, the Central African Republic has been mired in a vicious civil war that few people have paid attention to. This year, the CAR inched its way closer to becoming a failed state as new waves of brutal violence swept across much of the country. The government has little authority outside of the capital, Bangui, and experts say more than half the country is controlled by armed militants. Nearly 500,000 people are internally displaced, and the U.N. peacekeeping mission there trying to maintain some form of peace is outnumbered, outgunned, ineffective, and plagued by sexual abuse scandals, with little or no justice for the victims. The corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez: Team Trump wasn’t the only one in the hot seat for scandals in Washington this year. Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, went on trial for corruption over allegations he abused his power on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a dramatic trial that flew largely under the radar. It was the first time in nearly four decades a sitting U.S. senator faced trial for federal bribery. The drama ended in a mistrial, which was a big blow to federal prosecutors and an even bigger setback for future public corruption cases. Gender-based violence: Some experts say Continue Reading

Iowa Medicaid recipients mean ‘more than a dollar sign,’ emotional crowd tells state

Dozens of exasperated family and caregivers of Iowa’s most disabled and elderly spoke publicly Tuesday night of what some called a "nightmare": a state decision last year to transfer Medicaid management to for-profit companies.The private companies are denying critical care, failing to properly notify Medicaid recipients of their basic appeal rights and often nonresponsive to serious questions, those who spoke from a crowd of more than 200 at Des Moines’ downtown library told state officials.“She is more than a dollar sign, she is a person. A very valuable person,” an emotional Patti Murphy of Indianola said, pointing to her 39-year-old disabled daughter who survives on a ventilator.The nearly 2 ½-hour event was the first public forum hosted by the Iowa Department of Human Services since an Oct. 31 announcement that AmeriHealth, one of Iowa’s three Medicaid providers, had canceled its work with the state.The announcement has led to widespread confusion among Medicaid recipients. That confusion intensified following a Nov. 21 announcement that Amerigroup — one of the remaining two companies — would not accept the 215,000 Iowa Medicaid recipients displaced by AmeriHealth’s cancellation.The announcements have meant most of Iowa’s 600,000 people on the program are left with no choice among Medicaid providers and must use UnitedHealthcare. Federal rules require Iowa to offer Medicaid provider choice. Those rules are intended to protect against situations when poor and elderly populations are unable to find health services in their communities because doctors in their area do not contract with one of the Medicaid providers.Federal officials have not answered whether Iowa faces sanctions or will be placed on a corrective action plan to fix the problem. Johnathan Monroe, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Management said the agency remains “committed to ensuring Continue Reading

I celebrated holidays in a trailer. Don’t put it down, it was home.

The holidays are a time when many of us reflect on the meaning of home. But the fact is that not all homes are created, or valued, equally.Take the manufactured home, otherwise known as a mobile or trailer home. There is no American dwelling more disrespected. They’re derided as “tornado magnets,” and they serve as the butt of plenty of jokes and derogatory terms about low-income, rural people. For me, this gets personal. I grew up in manufactured housing, first in a singlewide trailer next to my family’s trading post on a Navajo reservation, and later in a brand new doublewide in a New Mexico trailer park. I never knew there was anything wrong with that. It was where my mom was, where I did my homework, where we shared Thanksgiving dinner and put up our Christmas tree. We lived comfortably, with dignity, and it had nothing to do with the public’s attitude toward the physical structure of our house. More: Social Security is barreling towards a crisis and no one wants to fix it More: Blowing up the debt is a threat to America: Leon Panetta A home should never be synonymous with a slur. But beyond that, updating public perception is important because manufactured housing is important. It constitutes the country’s largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing and is home to more than 17.5 million low-income Americans, most of them in rural and small-town America.Manufactured housing costs about 20% of the average site-built home. Under the right conditions, it can help solve the affordable housing crisis in our country. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that a high-quality, factory-built home, combined with fair and affordable financing and ownership or long-term control of the land where it’s installed, is an effective tool for low-income Americans to keep a reliable roof over their heads and build some equity.And it can be built Continue Reading

The death of the caliphate: Why ISIS’s huge territorial setbacks in Syria and Iraq are so devastating to the terrorist group

Now that Mosul, the seat of the so-called "caliphate" in Iraq, has fallen, ISIS has a problem: It is a self-avowedly Islamic State without a state. And although the group retains its hold on Raqqa in Syria, where it's currently encircled by U.S.-backed Syrian forces, it's likely that it will relinquish that former stronghold too by the end of the year. It is hard to exaggerate the scale of the problem for the group. ISIS's claim to lead the global jihadist movement rested exclusively on its territorial successes in Iraq and Syria. At the height of its powers in 2015, it commanded an area of land the size of Britain, attracting around 30,000 fighters from at least 86 countries. No other jihadist group had annexed that amount of territory before, nor recruited as many foreign citizens to its ranks, including around 5,000 from Europe. In mid-2014, the group seemed unstoppable, rampaging across Syria and Iraq at breathtaking speed and with a violent ruthlessness that made even Al Qaeda, the group out of which it emerged and sought to eclipse, seem restrained. Rarely a week would pass in those heady days of ISIS ascendancy without the publication of some wildly improbable story about the latest schoolgirl, doctor, grandfather or male model who had exchanged their enviable lives in the West for new ones in the caliphate. And thanks to its mass production of high-definition atrocities, disseminated by a vast and seemingly indefatigable cadre of fanboys, ISIS was never out of the news. Some stories were just straight up bizarre and obviously just too good to be true, like the one in the Daily Mail about ISIS "using bombs containing live SCORPIONS in effort to spread panic." Others were just straight up sensationalist, like the report aired by CNN titled "ISIS using 'jihotties' to recruit brides for fighters." And not a few were just sensationally stupid, like the interview segment — again from CNN — on how ISIS was luring women with Continue Reading

Yazidi girl doused herself in gasoline and lit a match to escape ISIS rape and abuse

VILLINGEN-SCHWENNINGEN, Germany — The Yazidi girl had been in the safety of a refugee camp in Iraq for two weeks when she imagined she heard the voices of Islamic State fighters outside her tent. Petrified by the thought of again facing rape and abuse at their hands, 17-year-old Yasmin vowed to make herself undesirable. So she doused herself in gasoline and lit a match. The flames burned her hair and face, peeling away her nose, lips and ears. That was her state when German doctor Jan Ilhan Kizilhan found her in a refugee camp in northern Iraq last year — physically disfigured and mentally so scarred that she had falsely thought her former captors were coming for her. Now 18, Yasmin is one of 1,100 women, mainly of the Yazidi religious minority, who have escaped IS captivity and are in Germany for psychological treatment. The pioneering program that Kizilhan helps run, which has attracted international attention, tries to address a basic problem: Long after the women are rescued, the trauma remains. Recalling her ordeal today, Yasmin hunches over in her chair, grips her gnarled hands together and looks down at the floor. But she straightens up and her face brightens as she remembers when Kizilhan first entered her tent in the refugee camp and told her and her mother, in their own language, how he could help in Germany. "I said, of course I want to go there and be safe, and be the old Yasmin again," she recounts. She asks that her last name not be used out of ongoing fear of possible reprisal from Islamic State sympathizers. It was on Aug. 3, 2014, that IS fighters swept into the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, home to the majority of the world's Yazidis. They rounded up the Yazidis into three groups: Young boys who were made to fight for IS, older males who were killed if they didn't convert to Islam, and women and girls sold into slavery, like Yasmin. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountains, where Continue Reading

The home stretch: Bounced from foster place to foster place, Robeson HS track star Jasheen Holloway now finally has finish line in sight

One of the best track teams in New York practices in the basement of its high school, its members stretching on the cold tile floors, running back and forth along a short stretch of hallway and up and down stairs. “Ok fellows, let’s go! Drive the stairs! Drive the stairs!” shouts coach Dwayne Griffiths, 30, at a recent practice, as the Robeson boys team reaches the basement and turns around to ascend again. Griffiths holds his 1-year-old son, Princeton, with one arm while motioning with the other for the boys to keep moving. As it trains for the Millrose Games — the regional championship on Friday at the Washington Heights Armory — the team travels once a week to W. 168th St. in Manhattan to get the feel of the track, to feel the burn of a constant run. But mostly, the athletes train from the basement. Despite a slim coaching staff and lack of practice space, Griffith’s 4x400m relay team is tops in New York and fifth in the country, running its last match — the Millrose qualifiers only days earlier — in a little over 3 minutes and 22 seconds. Paul Robeson High School in Crown Heights — which houses Pathways to Technology H.S. (P-Tech) and which President Obama visited last year and praised for its innovation — has yet to catch up its infrastructure to its All-Star track team. P-Tech, which along with Health Careers H.S. will completely overtake Robeson after this June, only began a track program three years ago. “We of course would like to have better facilities,” says principal Rashid Davis. “You can have the best resources, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the best resources will give the best results.” Four of Griffiths’ top runners — Jasheen Holloway, Mergaran Poleon, Kiambu Gall, and Tahmel Anderson — make up the relay team. “A lot of these other teams have multiple coaching staff, more runners, a track,” says Continue Reading

Barclays Center at 1 year: The top moments in sports

Where once there was a giant void in Brooklyn, there is now year-round sports in an eager and accommodating venue. This $1 billion rusted arena was built for many reasons, but its main function is hosting sports — whether it’s the Nets from October to May, hockey, college basketball, boxing and even professional wrestling. Barclays Center covered most everything in its first year of existence, with landmark moments and important contractual agreements with the New York Islanders and Kentucky basketball. There’s a lot more to come, in other words. But here’s a look back at the biggest sporting events of the arena’s first year. No. 1. Nets fall short in biggest game of season After Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov committed to roughly $330 million in player contracts over the summer of 2012, the expectation was that Barclays Center would host big playoff games, deep into the bracket. “A good plan is maybe conference final,” Prokhorov said on opening night. Disappointment soon followed. Prokhorov fired coach Avery Johnson after a brutal December and a .500 record through 28 games. Interim coach PJ Carlesimo then led the Nets to a 49-33 record and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but success hinged on the result of one game on May 4. Game 7, that is. The Nets were supposed to beat a depleted Chicago Bulls team in the opening round of the playoffs. They were more talented, and certainly healthier. But the expensive Nets trailed the series, 3-1, after a dramatic and deflating triple-overtime defeat in Chicago. They regrouped to win the next two games, setting up the do-or-die Game 7, with a chance to advance and face the Miami Heat. “We are coming back to Barclays Center for the most important game in Brooklyn Nets history!” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said in one of his familiar, pun-filled, over-the-top statements. “Bring on the Continue Reading

Why the explosive growth of e-commerce could mean more jobs

WASHINGTON — When the robots came to online retailer Boxed, dread came, too: The familiar fear that the machines would take over, leaving a trail of unemployed humans in their wake. "I had a lot of people asking me, 'What is going to happen to us?'" says Veronica Mena, a trainer for the e-commerce startup, recalling the anxiety that rippled through her co-workers after company executives announced plans to open an automated warehouse in nearby Union, New Jersey. Yet their fears didn't come to pass. When the new warehouse opened this spring, workers found that their jobs were less physically demanding than at the older, manual warehouse in Edison, New Jersey. Instead of walking thousands of steps a day loading items onto carts, employees could stand at stations as conveyor belts brought the goods to them. And rather than cutting jobs, the company added a third shift to keep up with rapidly growing demand. What happened at Boxed — and has occurred elsewhere — suggests that widespread fears about automation and job loss are often misplaced. Automation has actually helped create jobs in e-commerce, rather than eliminate them, and stands to create more in the years ahead. By accelerating delivery times, robotics and software have made online shopping an increasingly viable alternative to bricks-and-mortar stores, and sales have ballooned at online retailers. The surge in e-commerce has required the rapid build-out of a vast network of warehouses and delivery systems that include both robots and human workers. The robots didn't take jobs from people, because many of the jobs didn't exist before. "We're not looking to do the same work with half the people," said Rick Zumpano, vice president for distribution at Boxed. "Since we're growing, we need everyone." Newer robotic technologies do loom as a threat to some e-commerce jobs. Startup robotics companies are developing robot arm prototypes, for example, that can pick goods from shelves. Those devices may Continue Reading

United Nations commemorates grim anniversary of Boko Haram mass kidnapping of children as report reveals 800K displaced

Two-hundred and twenty ribbons were tied to railings and trees outside the United Nations on Monday — one for each of the Nigerian schoolgirls who remain the clutches of Boko Haram. The mass kidnappings one year ago horrified the world but were just the start of a brutal war on children being waged by the bloodthirsty Islamic fanatics. “What was their crime?” asked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan) at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. “They were getting an education.” To mark the one-year anniversary of the abductions, the top of the Empire State Building will be lit up red and purple “for the girls who cannot speak for themselves," Maloney said. Maloney was joined by dozens of teenage girls from St. Joseph High School in Brooklyn. “My mother was horrified when she learned about what happened,” said 17-year-old Damaris Hammon, a senior. "These girls are the same age as us." Consolee Nishimwe, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, said she ached for the captive Nigerian girls. “My heart breaks every time I think about these girls,” Nishimwe said. “I know the pain they are going through. I was the same age as them 21 years ago.” More than 800,000 kids have been forced from their homes by the Boko Haram brutes. The youths make up more than half of the 1.5 million Nigerians who have been displaced by the fighting, a UNICEF report published Monday revealed. "Children have become deliberate targets, often subjected to extreme violence — from sexual abuse and forced marriage to kidnappings and brutal killings," the report said. "Children have also become weapons, made to fight alongside armed groups and at times used as human bombs." UNICEF released the report on the eve of the anniversary of the terror group’s abduction of the school girls — some as young as 9 years old — from the town of Chibok. Continue Reading