Stuff about me
My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
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Stuff people write
- How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Angus King Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Offshore Drilling Proposal | Mainepublic.org
- Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald
- Stunning reversal: McDaniels turns down Colts’ job to stay with Patriots | The Associated Press via the Portland Press Herald
- Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News
Daily Archives: August 8, 2010
Bill Nemitz: Monster firm bares its teeth over trademark | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Godzilla vs. Grill Zilla BBQ? … There may be too many lawyers out there.
A hometown celebration: Accomplishments of George Mitchell to be recognized at Alfond Youth Center | Waterville Morning Sentinel
WATERVILLE — No matter how important his job or mission, George Mitchell never lets his hometown stray far from his thoughts.
After all, it is here that his three siblings and much of his extended family live, and here that his earliest memories were made.
“Like most people, I’m a product of my upbringing – my parents, the schools I attended, the community I lived in – so I think my growing up in Waterville has had a large and important role in my life,” he said.
Indeed, Waterville is the place where a young man who one day would be asked to step in as chairman of the troubled Walt Disney Co. got his first taste of the free enterprise system, cleaning at the local Boys Club.
It’s where Mitchell, who later in life would be called upon to investigate steroid abuse in Major League Baseball, learned to love the game – and the Red Sox.
It’s the place where a boy who grew up to be one of the world’s leading diplomats was first recognized as someone who could bring people together.
Click for the rest of this story by Amy Calder in the Waterville Morning Sentinel.
The Reporter was gracious enough to again print something I wrote. It’s a bit more personal than the last piece they published.
If that link doesn’t work, try this one.
Or you can simply read it here:
Anger, frustration from longterm unemployment | The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.
Posted: 08/08/2010 01:04:20 AM PDT
By Keith Michaud
There is no feeling quite like the one that comes from long-term unemployment, especially for a person willing, able and hungry to get back to work.
Thursday marked 17 months since I was laid off after 22 years in the newspaper business, working as a writer and editor for print and Web sites.
At no time in those two decades – actually, at no time in my life – have I felt this demoralized, this useless, this much a burden on society. Never before have I felt such a void of confidence. Never before have I been without health insurance.
What? You don’t care if I’m demoralized, lacking in confidence or have no health insurance? Well, then be uncaring enough for every one of the 14.6 million unemployed Americans.
I know things will improve. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote so in a New York Times op-ed piece on Monday. But how much longer will it be before the economy really, truly turns around? How much longer will corporate America turn an uncaring shoulder to hard-working Americans who have no jobs?
Corporations are holding onto trillions of dollars, some say over concerns about possible future federal regulations. It is hard to believe that U.S. firms can be so callous, so shortsighted.
Meanwhile, those millions of Americans – of which 6.8 million are considered long-term unemployed – go without work. Members of that latter group are endangered of becoming unemployable because corporations insist on hiring Americans who are already working or who were only recently laid off and whose skills are considered sharper.
I am frustrated and mad that I was laid off in the first place. I am frustrated and mad because my job search has been protracted. I am frustrated and mad because corporations – mostly Wall Street bankers and the like – received huge federal bailouts and then turned around to pay executives millions of dollars in bonuses for finding innumerable ways to charge consumers new fees. I am frustrated and mad that Congress took so long to extend unemployment insurance benefits. Democrats and Republicans alike let down Americans across the land.
I am frustrated and mad that the U.S. Federal Reserve is failing in one of its main objectives, zero unemployment. I am frustrated and mad that my next-best option is to clear out a meager personal retirement fund, lean on credit cards, and depend on family and friends who themselves are struggling.
Long-term unemployment does more than demoralize the unemployed. It demoralizes their families, concerns their friends and causes worry even among their former co-workers. Long-term unemployment hurts the economy by eliminating consumer spending and making a downsized economy the norm. Long-term unemployment undermines this country by impeding economic recovery.
Without care for the unemployed, without job creation, without bold effort by politicians and corporate America, we can expect the economy on all levels to shrink and for unemployment to rise.
We 14.6 million unemployed are frustrated and mad, but we lack a focused voice. We, too, must be bold. We must shame the Obama administration, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and especially corporate America to get Americans back to work. There should be no comfort, no vacations, no getaways until the unemployment rate is halved.
The author, a journalist for 23 years and Reporter employee from 1993 to 2006, lives in Stockton, Calif.