Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yeah, it sucks, but at least we have a celebrity

So, the new gig is not the 50 hours that were pitched to me, and being lied to still doesn't feel good, but at least I have some consolation. I'm sitting next to Stevie Nicks.

OK, it's not actually Stevie Nicks, and she actually doesn't look all that much like Stevie Nicks -- that would make her hot, which would dramatically reduce the odds that she would be an attorney at all, much less a contract attorney -- but she looks a little like Stevie Nicks and she dresses a lot like Stevie Nicks. I give out nicknames because it's easier than learning peoples' names. This woman wears the same kind of flowy, amorphous clothes that Stevie Nicks always seems to wear. Boom -- she's Stevie Nicks.

This isn't the first project I've been on with her. In fact, I haven't seen her in years. It probably was four or five years ago that I first saw her and said, "Hey, it's Stevie Nicks!"  And it's been maybe 18 months since I last saw her. But never have I sat next to her.

In any event, she looks like Stevie in her Snickers phase, but she dresses like Stevie in her Rhiannon phase. Ignore the hotness, and Lindsay Buckingham's virtuousity, and focus on the hair and the clothes. For those of you who don't know what that means, enjoy:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At some point, shouldn't he actually govern?

When is enough enough? I signed up because I wanted to know what my enemy was doing. I figured after the election, this shit would stop. Not so much. I was forced to send this reply:

Jesus, what the fuck is wrong with you people? You won. Quit campaigning.

Unfortunately, they don't read replies. I guess I need to unsubscribe or whatever, as I don't think I can take four more years of campaign emails from someone who can't run for his office again. And yeah, please note the "Donate" button at the bottom of this horseshit-filled missive.

From: "Jeremy Bird," <>
To: Patrick Farrington <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:46 PM
Subject: Reporting back

Obama - Biden
Patrick --

More than 1 million supporters took our survey last week, sharing feedback on their 2012 campaign experience and how they'd like to see us move forward. While we're still sorting through all of the responses, I wanted to share some initial results:

-- An overwhelming majority of survey respondents reported feeling welcomed and included, that their time was used effectively, and that there was a clear understanding of how their work directly helped re-elect President Obama.

-- Among those of you who volunteered at least a few hours, a majority went into a field office, though many of you got involved instead through the campaign's online tools such as Dashboard and the call tool.

-- About 1 in 10 survey respondents are interested in running for office at some point, using their organizing skills to continue fighting for real and lasting change. That level of political engagement is inspiring.

-- Almost half of all survey respondents forwarded campaign emails, and more than one-third communicated with friends on Facebook -- both great ways to pass along information about the President's positions and plans, as well as opportunities to get involved.

-- Nearly 80 percent of survey takers want to keep volunteering, primarily around the President's legislative agenda.

Many of you shared comments and personal anecdotes. Here are just a few that made me smile:
"When our field office opened, my husband, 12-year-old daughter, and I were there almost every day. My daughter and I even took a leadership role -- she was our tally captain! This is the kind of experience that changes your life. My children not only have a better understanding of the political system but also have a firsthand experience of how community engagement can make a difference. On Election Night, they felt that difference. They were so excited for the President because they had a sense of ownership -- they had personally helped him achieve the win. On Election Night, I truly believed we were all winners." -- Kerry, California

"It made me feel good to see the enthusiasm of volunteers at the local level (who become friends) ... great to see teens through seniors, men and women, any race and faith all working together for something we believed in (even if we weren't there for the same issues) ... it assured me I was doing the right thing..." -- William, Virginia

I feel more confident as an individual -- I can make a difference in election results! I was talking about this with my son today, he's a public school teacher, and he has new faith in our electoral system also! Let's keep doing it -- this is democracy as it should be!" -- Andrea, California
There's a lot more to be proud of -- check out this blog post for some other incredible numbers on the work you all did in the field.

And here are a few comments from supporters like you about the road ahead. We fought for the chance to continue moving our country forward for the next four years, and it's up to each one of us to follow through on this remarkable opportunity:
"This organization has tapped into the enthusiasm of Americans that were previously on the sidelines of the political process. These Americans are now fully engaged and aware of the policies that are being advanced that will impact their lives and the lives of future generations. They are excited, ready, and willing to do whatever is within their power to influence policy makers to pass legislation that reflects and responds to the issues of our times." -- Rita, Virginia

"Create an engaged community of people that keeps the momentum alive and ensures that progressive policy is implemented at local, state, and national levels. Community here is the operative word! Build and enhance local organizing groups. Would be happy to be included in a local group and lead such a group." -- Merida, Illinois

"Don't let the energy of the re-election slip through your fingers. This is a very powerful network of people." -- Joel, Texas
We're going to put your survey responses to good use. Over the next month or two, a team of campaign staff from across the country is working on a project to document and analyze the work we did over the past 19 months, identifying both strengths and areas for improvement. Our goal is to pass along what we've learned from the 2012 campaign.

You're the reason President Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, and your input from surveys and calls is crucial to this project. So please stay tuned. We're putting together a final report that will be available to the public, so that your voices continue to shape the future.

Our work is far from done -- you helped make sure of that. President Obama, as always, is counting on us to help pass his agenda and continue to make this country a better place for every American.

There's more to come. Thanks for all you've done and will do.


Jeremy Bird
National Field Director
Obama for America


Why do I never listen to myself?

Started a new gig today. Against my better judgment, I took a project at the firm with the whistling door. The door isn't whistling right now, but everything else remains the same. Shitty location (as far as access to affordable food, banks at which I do business and places I won't get mugged go), shitty hours (more on that later) and shitty subject matter. Usually, I don't care what the subject matter of a review is, but this particular subject matter is really eye-glazing. The irony, of course, is that I was chosen because I have multiple projects under my belt dealing with this subject matter, many of them at this firm. I have only myself to blame here.

I have a rule. Actually, I have many, but this is one of them: Don't take jobs at this firm. They are always shitty location, shitty hours and shitty subject matter. And yet I took the gig. Why, oh why? That, children, is a subject for another post.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What could go wrong?

The regulations are nowhere near finished, so we really have no idea how badly we will be screwed by Obamacare. However, that famously right-wing publication, the Politico, doesn't think the Obamacare tax on medical devices will be good for innovation or health care generally.

This onerous policy — which is expected to cost more than $30 billion — is already having a real-world, everyday impact on our health care system and our economy. Even though it doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, medical technology companies are already announcing job cuts and canceling plans to build plants to pay for the tax. Others are trimming budgets in important areas like research and development.
Put simply, this is a tax on innovation, and it is going to hurt American workers and patients most. Congress can and should repeal it immediately.
Medical innovation is key to providing cutting-edge, lifesaving technologies to patients. Between 1980 and 2000, new diagnostic and treatment tools helped increase life expectancy by more than three years. But the new tax will take money from our research and development pipelines, reducing our ability to discover and develop lifesaving medical devices such as heart valves, molecular diagnostic tests and MRI machines.

So let me get this straight. The tax will reduce medical innovation, cost jobs, and take money away from research and development, while also costing consumers more for their medical devices. Do I have everything here? How, exactly, is this supposed to be "reform"? I have no doubt that temp agencies, when deciding whether to provide health insurance for their employees as required by Obamacare, will ignore all these added costs and simply pay for the policies. I also have no doubt that I will respect you in the morning. Get a grip. I got your hope and change right here.

Is it just me, or is this too much?

OK, he won, I get it. I don't think the ballot line on which most people voted included whether they were voting for "Lord and savior," did it? Even in really blue Maryland, he was just running for president.

Via Newsbusters

Um, wow.

A tutorial for the poll

I just posted a poll that might require some explanation of the choices. One choice is Bacon Explosion, and the other is Bacon brown sugar dogs. Neither is self explanatory, so I will provide a brief tutorial so you can make an educated choice.

The Bacon Explosion is a heart attack in your hand. Basically, it is two pounds of sausage, rolled out into a square, then rolled up around a bunch of bacon, then wrapped in a woven mat of bacon. It's really fucking good, but you don't want to fix this too often unless you want to become a star cardiac patient.

Sorry, but bacon brown sugar dogs aren't a lot more heart-healthy. Wrap some cocktail wienies (or hot dogs sliced into about 6 pieces each dog, take your pick) in bacon, hold things in place with a toothpick, cover them with brown sugar, douse in Worcestershire and Tabasco, bake, Voila! Good shit. So, those are two of your choices. I feel like the others are self-explanatory.

Breakfast burritos of Doom?

The last project ended kind of strangely. We were supposed to be done on Nov. 19, but we weren't. So we worked Thanksgiving -- I say "we" without really meaning it. Some people on the project worked on Thanksgiving. I cooked, ate, drank, watched football and generally enjoyed myself tremendously. But that is a frolic and detour. We also worked Friday, and I participated in that activity. I am told that on Thursday breakfast,  lunch and dinner were provided. The same was true Friday. Because of the unusual circumstances, it is difficult to call any of those meals the (whatever food was served) of Doom. Saturday, however, we got breakfast and lunch -- dinner not provided, because the projections were that we wouldn't be there that late. I wouldn't know, because I did yeoman's work and then left at 1 because I had better things to do with my life. I didn't stay for the Lunch of Doom, whatever it was, so I guess I got Breakfast Burrito of Doom. In any event, that project is done, and I start a new project for the same agency on Wednesday.

Always good to be working, especially when you have a project end between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- not normally a good time to be looking for a project. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on new Temp Town developments. In the meantime, don't be surprised by pictures of my holiday lights or some such nonsense.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oh, look, a whole bunch of future DC temp attorneys!

Graduates of Thomas Cooley School of Law may not be feeling really good about how much they spent to get a law degree. Frankly, with roughly 50 percent of current law school graduates more likely to find work at Walmart than at a law firm, maybe no law school grads these days should feel like they made a good investment. Thomas Cooley, though, seems to be pushing into new frontiers in disappointment with the decision to go to law school, as it's graduates this year have a 51 percent pass rate on the Michigan bar exam. Flipping a coin on how to answer bar questions would do much worse. Naturally, the problem lies not with the teaching, but with the testing, as Above the Law notes:

I cannot speak for the other Michigan law school deans, but for myself I cannot accept that the 2012 results validly assessed our graduates. In short, these results are not for real.
– Don LeDuc, president and dean of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, commenting on his school’s abysmal resultson the July 2012 administration of the Michigan bar examination.

As you can see from the linked post, Cooley wasn't exactly setting the world on fire with its earlier pass rates. Hey -- maybe law schools aren't doing a good job of preparing graduates for the practice of law! Nah, fuck it -- blame the test. Guess we'll see these folks working on upcoming JD-only Legal Source projects for 26 bucks an hour. Just what the industry needs.

Finally! Thanksgiving food pr0n!

I had to work Friday and Saturday -- more on that later, but think Pizza of Doom -- and was too near comatose later on Thanksgiving to post this. Finally, I get around to it. First of all, I think it is worth mentioning that my aunt the nun proclaimed that this was my best Thanksgiving feast ever. That is something, as she has done that only once before, and that was more than 10 years ago. She is there every year and, as a nun, is forbidden from blowing smoke up my ass on penalty of perdition, pergatory and other P words that escape me at the moment. So I take her at her word. Can't lie -- it was pretty fricking good. So, without further ado, here is the food porn:

First off, of course, is the turkey itself. Sixteen pounds of glorious goodness, done to a turn.

Naturally, turkey is nothing without gravy, which I do the old-fashioned way.

Chronologically speaking, though, I have gotten ahead of myself. We started the festivities (post-game food, of course) with a magnificent butternut squash soup that was to die for:

Never one to skimp on the sides, we had plenty. First, asparagus casserole:

Also, green bean casserole:

Mashed potatoes, of course:

It can't be Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes, so we had this casserole:

Not sure who has Thanksgiving without stuffing, but I don't. While this is in a dish, it is not dressing, which is stuffing that is not cooked in the bird. It is stuffing that I took out of the bird and put in a dish to crisp it up a little. A magnificent result, if I do say so myself:

If you still have room -- and people always do -- we have pumpkin pie, on the left, and a sweet potato pie with a cream cheese layer on the right. Bon appetit!

Of course, recipes are always available at com.

Update: Here's the full spread, with cranberry sauce on the right and bread at top left, next to the corn pudding at 12 o'clock, which I forgot to photograph separately:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving game food pr0n

Yeah, it's not easy doing game food on Thanksgiving. For one thing, when it comes to food, wolves don't play. So early on this afternoon I put up a serious spread. Folks are still recovering, getting ready for the next wave. Believe me, you'll see it later. And it's good. So here's the football food:

First up, we did onion straws again. These things are addictive.

We took a seafood theme today. Since fried shrimp and clam strips lost out in the poll to sliders for last Sunday, went ahead and did the whole mollusks and crustaceans thing today. First, the shrimp:

Also did clam strips:

Finally, the ever-present stuffed potato skins:

Yeah, no Packers game, so no Packers platter. Got to be consistent. Thanksgiving food porn coming up.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone enjoys their turkey today, or your turducken, or tofu, or whatever route to gluttony you choose. As you pig out on food and football, just remember these words of wisdom: Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

Oh yes, there will be food porn

For Thanksgiving, we will have double food porn. When I actually post it all will depend upon multiple factors, but there will be separate posts for the Thanksgiving Day football food porn and for the Thanksgiving feast food porn. Both will be going up, have no fear. If people see something they like, feel free to ask for the recipe through the comments or my email as listed in About.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Russians on the move!

No, they're not invading Ukraine. Russia has surged past Sweden to take over the No. 2 spot on the page-views origin list. From the day Eff You started, Sweden held the runner-up slot. Until recently, its lead seemed insurmountable. No more. Sorry Sweden, but by all means keep coming by.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dude, what is wrong with you?

I have to tell you, when I walk into the bathroom in Temp Town, I don't expect odd behavior, but I am never surprised when that is what I find. So today I walk into the bathroom, and someone is talking very loud. It quickly becomes clear that this is a telephone conversation. First of all, I think everyone who reads this blog regularly is clear on my position regarding talking on the phone in the bathroom. That is, DON'T. The person on the other end doesn't want to hear toilets flushing, especially if they are a client and think that you are charging them for the call. Or even if they are a flat-rate client and think you are devoting mental effort to their case at that moment. Even if they believe you are simply taking a leak, they might not think you are giving their case your full attention. I'm just saying.

Well, this guy clearly does not read this blog. Or he is totally lacking in self-awareness. Or something. In any event, I walk into the can and there is a very loud voice talking to someone, and a couple guys standing around looking shell-shocked. They, apparently, are waiting for a stall, one of which is occupied by the guy who is on the phone.  The other one is occupied by a guy with very loud serious gastro-intestinal issues, and I have a hard time believing that the person on the other end of the phone with Bathroom Phone Guy could not hear the farting, etc., that was going on. 

In any event, it sounded like this dude was talking to his soon-to-be ex-wife about settlement terms. I'm sure she was impressed by hearing flush after flush, not to mention the gastro-instestinal orchestra taking place next to her soon-to-be ex. The kicker was when this douchebag ended the phone call by saying, "I have to go to a meeting." Wow. Knowing that I wold be unable to resist saying something to this butthead, I leave without accomplishing my original purpose. Hey, it was crowded.

A couple minutes later, one of the guys who was standing around in the can waiting for Bathroom Phone Guy to vacate his stall came by my desk and said, "It gets worse. He didn't even wash his hands."


Lots of change, but I don't see much hope

 We've been discussing what Obamacare is going to do to the temporary attorney industry. I'm here to tell you, I don't see how it could possibly be good. Temp agencies historically have offered few benefits, in large part because their margins -- particularly in recent years -- are so thin.  Every agency I am familiar with has been cutting back on paid holidays, paid time off, hours-based bonuses and the like to the point where those sorts of extras are simply a fond memory. There is no reason to think the temp agencies will be willing to pay for health insurance that meets Obamacare standards -- which is, by the way, much more expensive than the less-generous health insurance that the agencies have previously not offered.  While some agencies contribute toward a minimalist health insurance policy while you're working for them, it is a benefit they don't make widely known and it is, of course, contingent upon you actually working for that agency. Not exactly something you can count on. And if they don't want to pay for insurance, rest assured agencies won't want to pay the penalties for not offering insurance, either.

So what can they do? Previous posts have established that the temp agencies  have only one option that totally avoids the costs of either penalties or offering insurance policies, and that is to turn temps into independent contractors and give us all 1099 forms instead of W2s. The problem is, that probably won't work.

A review of IRS rules on what distinguishes an independent contractor from an employee is not encouraging, at least if you are a temp employment agency hoping to avoid paying for health care (or the penalties for not doing so). From the IRS, these are among the determining factors as to whether you are an employee or an independent contractor:

The courts have considered many facts in deciding
whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. These relevant facts fall into three main categories:
behavioral control; financial control; and relationship of
the parties. In each case, it is very important to consider
all the facts – no single fact provides the answer. Carefully
review the following definitions.

Behavioral Control
These facts show whether there is a right to direct or
control how the worker does the work. A worker is an
employee when the business has the right to direct and
control the worker. The business does not have to actually
direct or control the way the work is done – as long as the
employer has the right to direct and control the work. For
Instructions – if you receive extensive instructions
on how work is to be done, this suggests that you are
an employee. Instructions can cover a wide range of
topics, for example:
• how, when, or where to do the work
• what tools or equipment to use
• what assistants to hire to help with the work
• where to purchase supplies and services
If you receive less extensive instructions about what
should be done, but not how it should be done, you
may be an independent contractor. For instance,
instructions about time and place may be less important
than directions on how the work is performed.
Training – if the business provides you with training
about required procedures and methods, this indicates
that the business wants the work done in a certain way,
and this suggests that you may be an employee.

Financial Control
These facts show whether there is a right to direct or
control the business part of the work. For example:
Significant Investment – if you have a significant
investment in your work, you may be an independent
contractor. While there is no precise dollar test, the
investment must have substance. However, a significant investment is not necessary to be an independent
Expenses – if you are not reimbursed for some or all
business expenses, then you may be an independent
contractor, especially if your unreimbursed business
expenses are high.
Opportunity for Profit or Loss – if you can
realize a profit or incur a loss, this suggests that you
are in business for yourself and that you may be an
independent contractor.

Relationship of the Parties
These are facts that illustrate how the business and the
worker perceive their relationship. For example:
Employee Benefits – if you receive benefits, such as
insurance, pension, or paid leave, this is an indication that
you may be an employee. If you do not receive benefits,
however, you could be either an employee or an independent contractor.
Written Contracts – a written contract may show what
both you and the business intend. This may be very
significant if it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine
status based on other facts.

Seriously, it looks to me like behavioral control alone sinks any effort to make temps 1099 contractors. The agencies and firms control everything we do. One of the overriding themes of temp work is that the firms don't trust us to make decisions on our own. I don't see how anyone can claim that we are "independent" under those circumstances. Frankly, this looks like a loser for agencies, as well.

I don't know what this means for our industry. I don't know if there is a way out for the agencies. I do know that their margins are too thin to simply absorb the costs of either policies or penalties.There is a very real possibility that the firms will start to skip the agencies altogether and go with direct hire -- a path a number of firms already are taking -- but make the temps 1099 contractors. They probably can pull that off more easily than the temp agencies can. That will make your taxes more complicated, but it also will dramatically increase the number of parties a temp needs to engage with in order to secure employment. You'll have to go to every firm around to find out who's hiring. Right now, the agencies to that for us. That could easily change.

The short answer here is, I don't know what's going to happen, and neither do you. But things are going to change. They are going to change a lot, and I don't think they are going to change in a way that is good for temps. At a minimum, I believe it will require a lot more effort on our part to secure employment. The irony remains, most temps voted for this. Well, elections have consequences. I believe these consequences are going to hit pretty close to home for Temp Town.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Game food porn redux

Game food was excellent, as was the outcome. Good Packers win, and game food so good we aren't fixing dinner. Everybody ate too much That said, here's what we had. First, the ever-present stuffed potato skins:

Excellent, as always, It's why we serve them every time. Next up, sliders:

Naturally, you can't have sliders without condiments. That would include fried pickle chips, which were fabulous:
And, finally, you can't have burgers -- even little bitty ones -- without baked beans, so we had home-made baked beans. No bragging here, but it was my best batch ever. Cost me a lot of sleep, stirring and adding bean liquid. Please don't ask. 

Came out of it all with a Packers win, and the food was fricking great. Thanksgiving food porn coming soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sliders win!

It was a squeaker, but sliders won the poll for tomorrow's game food, beating fried shrimp and clam strips by one vote. Fried shrimp will be the Thanksgiving game food, then. Menu for tomorrow: sliders, homemade baked beans (they go in the oven at midnight), fried pickle chips and, of course, stuffed potato skins. Food porn photos tomorrow, natch. I can hardly wait.

Stupid traffic post

Almost lost in the shuffle of the Instalanche is the fact that we had visitors from a number of new countries.  Seriously, I think we're getting pretty comprehensive in our global reach here. New to the blog in recent days  are Israel, Kuwait, Ireland and Croatia. I think Afghanistan is new, as well, but I'm not sure. In any event, welcome, and keep coming back.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yeah, that won't work

A friend of mine gave me an answer on the questions posed in Obamacare possibilities. Basically, employers won't be able to shuffle off the costs. If they "offer" health insurance but pay a minimal amount of the cost, they remain subject to the penalties. As my friend put it:

No, that would not work.  An employer who offered insurance but who did not pay any of the premiums would still be subject to PPACA (Obamacare) penalties an employer offering an "unaffordable" plan.

Under the PPACA penalties will be imposed when an employer either does not offer health coverage or provides “unaffordable” coverage and at least one full-time employee obtains a government “subsidy” through a health insurance exchange. If an employer chooses to provide health benefits, there may still be a penalty if the coverage offered is “unaffordable.”  Coverage qualifies as unaffordable if (1) premium costs are higher than 9.5% of an employee’s household income or (2) the employer contributes less than 60% of the actuarial plan value.  The penalty is either $3,000 per subsidized employee or $2,000 times the number of all full-time employees (excluding the first 30), whichever amount is smaller.  
So if an agency provided coverage as described in your post, i.e., with the employee paying 100% of the premiums they would in no way be limiting their potential penalty liability under the PPACA.
This matched up with my research, which led me to this excellent  site. Unfortunately, the first possibility I suggested in Time to realize what you voted for -- that agencies would simply cut temps off at 29 hours per week -- won't work. Obamacare factors in full-time equivalents -- FTEs -- and so "part-time" employees can add up to full-time employees. As these guys explain, that still would put an employer such as a temp agency over the penalty threshhold pretty quickly:

To determine if your business qualifies as a “large employer” calculate the full-time equivalent of your part-time employees using the following formula:
(Number of Part-time Employees X Average Number of Hours)/120 = Full-time EquivalentThis calculation is done on a monthly basis. As an example, if you have 30 part time employees working an average of 15 hours per week:
(30 part-time employees x 60 hours)/120 = 15 full-time employees 
That means that cutting employee hours will reduce an employer's costs if the employer opts for the penalty, but it will by no means eliminate those added costs. The margins for temp agencies these days are too thin for them to pay for insurance or the penalties. Using the FTE formula, most of the agencies that actually have work for temp attorneys will be required to do one or the other -- pay for the insurance, or pay the penalty. In the absence of changes to the law -- don't hold your breath -- I think temp attorneys can look forward to becoming 1099 employees.

The question this raises, of course, is: can the agencies make that stick? I'm still researching independent contractor requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. Anybody with knowledge, feel free to chime in. Otherwise, I'll be back with more. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Temp conversation number something or other

A pair of temps who have worked together a number of times had the following conversation:

Temp1: I don't want to do this anymore.

Temp2: I've heard that from you before. You need a new song.

Temp1: The fricking Stones still play Satisfaction.

Temp2: Your song isn't that good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Obamacare possibilities?

Following my post the other day, Time to realize what you voted for, some folks I know started discussing the possibilities. One theory advanced was that temp employers would not fuck the temps, but would instead fuck their permanent employees. It would work like this: rather than cut everyones' hours, or turn temps into 1099 contractors (a possibility that is subject to legal hurdles, which I will discuss later), temp agencies would offer all of their full-time employees health insurance, but would pay for little or none of the cost. In other words, the agency would get its temps the group rate the agency has access to, but would contribute nothing to the cost.

My familiarity with the tax and Obamacare implications of this strategy is limited. I haven't heard anyone in industry advance this proposal, which leads me to believe that they have lawyers who have told them it wouldn't work. But I don't know. I do know that the current system is rooted in World War II, when the federal government (probably unconstitutionally, but that is an argument for another day) froze wages. To allow businesses to attract employees, the feds created a system where employers could offer benefits in lieu of wage increases. In exchange for tax benefits, employers could give employees better pensions or health insurance instead of wage increases. This, of course, laid the groundwork for the unions negotiating the auto companies into ruin. The auto makers failed to realize the market might change, and so gave the unions contracts that included benefits that made the industry unsustainable. But that is a discussion for another day. And please, don't argue that GM and Chrysler aren't still circling the drain. It is unbecoming. But I digress.

In any event, I have no idea whether a fuck-everyone approach would work for the agencies. I suspect that they would garner no tax benefits if they paid nothing for their employees' health insurance, but I don't know if they could do that and escape Obamacare penalties or mandates. Any tax lawyers (or newly spawned healthcare lawyers) out there know the answer?

I really don't want to know

You really never know what you're going to see in Temp Town. A couple minutes ago -- yeah, I'm blogging behind enemy lines -- I was in the hallway making a phone call. Some dude walked out of the bathroom, counting money. No way am I asking.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving game food

This has always been a difficult call for me. Because the Lions are always one of the Thanksgiving games, the Packers often are their opponent. That means, of course, that in addition to fixing my Thanksgiving feast, I have to prepare game food. Quite a burden, really.

This year, with the Lions playing the Texans as the first game, I figured I was off the hook. However, my aunt the nun is a huge Redskins fan, and they play the Cowboys in the second game. She wants to know if there will be game food. That means she wants to know what kind of game food there will be. So I have to come up with a Thanksgiving game food menu as well as the Thanksgiving menu. You'll hear more about both soon enough. Maybe a poll.

Sometimes you have to choose

For about a year and a half, this blog has been almost exclusively about life as a temporary attorney. There have been deviations, especially lately, but for the most part I have have focused on the world of temps, whether it be funny things said at work, manifest injustices rained upon our heads or whatever. Every once in a while, I have made it clear I am a conservative, and the feedback has always made it clear that my audience is, for the most part, not.

This is not a surprise to me. I work with you people, after all, and am well aware of your political leanings. Usually, I have to bite my tongue, because politics is high on the list of verboten subjects at work. By which I mean, of course, that you will get in trouble for being a conservative, but not for being a liberal. Disagree with that statement if you like, but I can tell you it is true. And it is not agency-specific. So I have learned to keep my conservative leanings to myself.

Well, fuck that shit. I look at Instapundit and other sites where comments say they can't give their names because they'll get in trouble at work if people know they are conservatives. I have taken the same approach to this blog. I have generally avoided giving voice to my conservative views, and I have sort of kept myself anonymous. But let's face it. There are ways to find out who I am, and many of the people I work with already know who I am. Several of the agencies I work for suspect who I am, and at least one knows for sure. So far, it hasn't affected my ability to find work.

Nonetheless, I have attempted to maintain my anonymity because, as someone who comments publicly on the foibles of temp agencies, I am subject to reprisals by those agencies. I am not worried that my conservative views will cause me problems in getting hired, because I almost never discuss those views at work. Unfortunately, I have rarely discussed them here, either.

That has ended. I intend to continue posting about the lives of contract attorneys -- temps, to those of you new to this -- and I will continue to post about game food and whatever else catches my interest. Those aspects of this blog will not change.

However, I will no longer shy away from voicing conservative views. Sometimes you have to choose, though, and I choose to stand up for what I believe. I think the recent election and the things that are coming require all of us to decide where we stand and fight to advance that viewpoint. I am unwilling to watch my country circle the drain and remain silent. So I plan to be vocal in my opinions about what is going on politically.

 I realize some of my followers won't like that. I might lose some readers. I guess that's the price you pay. I think if you do a blog, it should be about who you are, or it will suck. I don't want this blog to suck. So if you can't handle some conservative views with your Temp Town commentary, I will miss you. Personally, I think you will be depriving yourself of some interesting Temp Town material, not to mention fabulous game food suggestions. If you leave because you can't handle some conservative opinions, though, I'm really not interested in trying to open your mind. I'm afraid of what I might find.

Update: A friend of mine pointed out that I used to say this more: If you don't like it, please refer to the name of the blog.

Have you thanked a veteran today?

Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who died in the service of our country -- a point our president apparently does not understand -- today honors all veterans, living, dead, past and present. This makes it much easier to thank them, as they are all around us. I thanked my father and my son. What about you?

Thank you to the Pennsylvania American Legion for the graphic.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy birthday, Marine Corps

Yeah, people thought I forgot. No way. Today is the 237th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. No better friend, no worse enemy. He's home now, but my son spent the last USMC birthday in Afghanistan. That's him on the left.

Very different experience for him this Birthday Ball. Got to take his girlfriend to the ball.

Please note the Combat Action Ribbon on his right side, and the medal closest to the buttons on his left is the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Can't help bragging. He did OK over there, and I'm really proud. Happy birthday, guys.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Only one thing to do

With the traffic explosion, I think this is the only possible response.

Back to business

Before I got inundated with the Instalanche, I was planning to do a post on canning. I grow a lot of vegetables, which means I have to can a lot of vegetables, as it can be difficult to eat all of them fresh when harvests are good (which they were this summer. I have a butt-load of green beans put up.). Technically, I don't "can," I jar. Same thing, really. Mostly I do hot-water bath canning (like tomatoes), but I also pickle, and do some pressure-cooker canning (for low-acid crops, like beans, peas, squash, etc.).

Like many gardeners, at the end of the season I got stuck with a lot of green tomatoes. The weather turned colder, and it was harvest green or let the frost kill them.  So we harvested green. Right about then, I started this new gig and got real busy, so was unable to can because I was getting home too late at night. Falling asleep with jars in a boiling water bath is a bad idea.

In any event, most of my green tomatoes actually started to ripen, so I no longer plan to deal with green tomatoes. However, should any of you have green tomatoes you need to do something with, consider this recipe. You're going to need some hot peppers, too, but you can always mess with it.

Damn, y'all

When I sent Instapundit my humble request that he link to Time to realize what you voted for, I never thought  he would do it. Well, he did, and now I am here to report on the consequences, at least thus far. So yeah, this is just a mundane traffic post, but boy howdy is it not mundane from my perspective.

First of all, this is the list of countries that have visited Eff You for the first time: Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Denmark, Colombia and the Philippines. Also, Canada, which I used to rag on for never visiting, went from 2 visitors to 443. That number is doubtless out of date.

How out of date? Let me put it this way. From April 2011 until about 6 pm today, this blog had 12,954 visitors. Beyond my circle of friends, but not exactly setting the world on fire. Since the Instapundit link and the beginning of the Instalanche: 16,370 visitors, and moving up so fast as to render that number impossible to update in any meaningful sense in the short term. I welcome all the new viewers, many of whom have posted comments or joined the blog as followers. Some have linked, liked or reposted the post that brought them here, and for that I thank them. Most of all, I thank Instapundit.

Time to realize what you voted for. Update: Instalanche!

Update: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. Welcome, Instalanche!

It's been hashed out in the comments on this blog before -- contract attorneys in Washington are, by and large, liberals. Usually, very liberal. By this of course, we mean the old-school, early 1900s Progressives, not  the classic, Thomas Jefferson liberals. We're talking about the far leftists who changed their label from Progressive to Liberal when Progressive became a pejorative, then back to Progressive when Liberal became a pejorative and people had forgotten that Progressive used to be a pejorative.

Philosophy aside, it is important to realize that elections have consequences. One of the consequences of this election is that Obamacare is here to stay, at least for a while. It is too inherently unworkable to stay for long, but it isn't going away in the next few years. Live with it.

Liberal contract attorneys might want to consider what "live with it" means. Under Obamacare, companies with 50 or more full-time employees either have to provide them with government-approved health insurance policies, or pay a per-employee fine. Further, the fine kicks in at the 31st employee, not the 51st, and it starts at $2,000 per year per employee. It goes up later. Companies, therefore, are discouraged from having full-time employees, or at least 50 or more of them. Hello, part-time employment. Think I'm fucking with you? Think again.

While you're thinking again, start thinking about the industry in which you work. Obamacare, unlike other government regulations, defines a full-time employee as one working 30 hours a week. Every temp agency in town worth a shit has 50 people working "full-time" in any given year under that definition. If you think that temp agencies will give you employer-funded health insurance that meets Obamacare standards (hint: lots of mandates make insurance less affordable), you are delusional. They already didn't offer comprehensive insurance, which was cheaper before Obamacare started affecting rates, so they won't start now. They also are not going to pay the penalty. Margins are too thin. What will the agencies do?

There are only two choices. First, nobody works 30 hours a week for an agency ever again. That probably is an unworkable solution, but it is not unthinkable, given the trend in the industry toward a 40-hour cap on projects. A 30-hour cap would mean more bodies, staggered, but would not be a dramatic departure from the no-OT policy that already governs so many projects. Given the staggering costs of forced health coverage (or penalties), agencies won't consider this option unworkable. They'll think about it, and you'll have to start finding two projects at a time to make a living wage. Assuming, of course, that agencies and the firms that hire them stop enforcing their concurrent employment policies that ban working two projects at a time.

The second choice is, your taxes just got harder. Agencies could deem contract attorneys to be independent contractors and start issuing 1099s instead of W-2s. That means you'll have to make quarterly estimated tax payments for withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. Oh, and by the way, it also means you'll be responsible for the employer's half of those Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, as you will now be self employed. Of course agencies will raise your rates to make up for the fact that your share of the payroll taxes doubled while their share disappeared. Don't doubt it for a second. Yeah, you're fucked.

One way or another, you're fucked. Temporary employment as we know it is unlikely to survive Obamacare, at least as it is currently structured. That's not my opinion, that's what temp agency heads said to Congress. I suggest you read the entire transcript. These guys have a pretty good idea of how Obamacare will fuck their industry and, by extension, you.

But don't worry about them. Maybe they're full of shit. Maybe you'll be fine. Or maybe you're fucked. but hey, that's what you voted for.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

They never fail to disappoint

Started a new gig today. Should be high hours, short duration. The most striking thing today, though, was the  phenomenal display of professionalism during orientation. When one of the people from the agency was handing out forms that needed to be filled out, she asked if anyone needed a pen. Fully half -- and maybe more -- of the people in the room raised their hands. Seriously? First day of a project, you can't bring a fucking pen? Hey, no way you would have to complete any forms, or take any notes, or anything, right? And temps wonder why the firms think we're idiots.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

I got all the Moldova you can handle.

A few weeks back, I did a traffic post regarding my first visitor from the People's Republic of China called China, suckaz. I got a comment to that post that, read it for yourself at the link, is either very snarky or from someone who speaks English as a second language and meant it sincerely. Can't really tell, which sort of undermines the value if it's snark. But hey, a comment is a comment.

So, today I got Moldova, and in the interests of broadening your personal store of knowledge regarding this obscure country (not to Moldovans, I suppose, and my web searches did reveal a number of web sites for hot Moldovan women, so maybe not as obscure as I assume. But I digress.), here you go from the CIA's World Factbook:

Part of Romania during the interwar period, Moldova was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although the country has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting a Transnistrian separatist region with a Slavic majority population of mostly Ukrainians and Russians. One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist, Vladimir VORONIN, as its president in 2001. VORONIN served as Moldova's president until he resigned in September 2009, following the opposition's gain of a narrow majority in July parliamentary elections and the Communist Party's (PCRM) subsequent inability to attract the three-fifths of parliamentary votes required to elect a president. Moldova's four opposition parties formed a new coalition, the Alliance for European Integration (AEI), which has acted as Moldova's governing coalition since. Moldova experienced significant political uncertainty between 2009 and early 2012, holding three general elections and numerous presidential ballots in parliament, all of which failed to secure a president. Following November 2010 parliamentary elections, a reconstituted AEI-coalition consisting of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Democratic Party formed a government, and in March 2012 were finally able to elect an independent as president.

Moldova is wedged between Romania and Ukraine, in case you were wondering.

In any event, welcome to the blog, Moldova.

More game food porn

Packers played the Cardinals yesterday. Good win going into the bye. And, of course, good food during the game. We went first with the old reliable, served every week, stuffed potato skins:

We also went with onion straws. It was a little difficult to get a picture, because every time I filled up the bowl as I cooked them, my wife would eat a bunch, but here they are:

Sure, we've seen these before. Oldies but goodies are a big part of game food. We finished off the menu with pigs in a blanket:
So there you have it. I'll be going into the bye to game plan some future menus and bring some nice, juicy stuff to the table. Bob appetit.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Holy Grail

I alluded to this earlier, but I was not totally idle this week. I probably screwed up my unemployment claim, but I was able to take advantage of the Great White Whale -- working from home. It almost never happens, because, frankly, firms don't trust contract attorneys to be diligent if they are out of sight of supervisors. Mostly, they figure we will sit around in our underwear, drink beer, and code about one document per hour.

The project I was on had a couple odd documents to be dealt with, and I got the call. Frankly, the stereotype hit two out of three -- I sat around in my boxers and drank beer. On the other hand, I was actually more productive at home than I am at work, possibly out of fear that somebody would think I wasn't productive enough. Go figure.

Sucks to be Geraldo, right?

I guess if I was in the 1 percent, I'd be worried about my koi pond too. Mind you, I don't mind Geraldo being in the 1 percent. I hope to be there one day, too.  I mind the fact that he gives fuck all about the plight of the people who live in his city.

Not sure I understand this

As The Keeper of the Blog (that's Mr. Eff You, to you) I have all kinds of statistics at my disposal regarding visitors, etc. One thing that puzzles me is that week in, week out, month after month, far and away the most popular post on this blog is The fuck's a durecho?. It is the most-read post all-time by a mile, and it is always the most read post in any given week. This is really puzzling. Any possible explanations will be considered.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hey, he's the one who said it.

In accepting the Democratic nomination in 2008, President Obama said:
If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things. 

Sound familiar?

I wouldn't want to talk about my record, either. Thanks to Instapundit for the photo.