Kentucky Employers Claim They Can’t Find Workers, Must Hire Illegal Immigrants

If you can read this sign and want manual labor, you're probably not welcome. (photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

Today’s issue of Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal has a front page article that helpfully explains many jobs in the area must be filled by illegal immigrants because no American has applied for them.

The story appears to be spawned out of the fears expressed by employers like the area’s horse farms that the state’s legislature may crack down on hiring illegal immigrants, cutting off their last source of labor.

Employers say they have little choice but to bring on immigrant workers when filling positions.

“All of us are in a position of needing employees. We don’t want to hire illegals,” said David L. Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. Based in Lexington, the KTA represents the $4 billion annual horse breeding industry and 52,000 employees, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Asked how pervasive the presence of undocumented workers is in the horse racing industry, Switzer declined to comment. But he added that openings for stable hands, grooms and night watchmen are extremely difficult to fill.

“A significant number of foreign born are working in our industry,” Switzer said. “At some of our farms, they have not had a Caucasian or African American apply for a job in eight years. Nobody applies. What are we supposed to do?”

What a crock of potted baloney.

Try this yourself: browse through some of the job posting sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com and look for jobs with the keyword “horse” in the “Lexington, KY” area.

You’ll find nothing in the way of stable hands, grooms, watchmen or “equine staff” advertised for folks without a degree; you might find one job for a nonprofit equine advocacy manager, but that’s about it.

I went to the Courier-Journal.com’s website for the paper which carried this story and clicked on their Jobs listing. Apparently they use CareerBuilder.com to run their jobs page. Guess what? One job listing for keyword “horse” and location “Louisville, KY” — a sous chef position at The Blue Horse.[cont’d] (more…)

Kentucky Employers Claim They Can’t Find Workers, Must Hire Illegal Immigrants

If you can read this sign and want manual labor, you're probably not welcome. (photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

Today’s issue of Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal has a front page article that helpfully explains many jobs in the area must be filled by illegal immigrants because no American has applied for them.

The story appears to be spawned out of the fears expressed by employers like the area’s horse farms that the state’s legislature may crack down on hiring illegal immigrants, cutting off their last source of labor.

Employers say they have little choice but to bring on immigrant workers when filling positions.

“All of us are in a position of needing employees. We don’t want to hire illegals,” said David L. Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. Based in Lexington, the KTA represents the $4 billion annual horse breeding industry and 52,000 employees, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Asked how pervasive the presence of undocumented workers is in the horse racing industry, Switzer declined to comment. But he added that openings for stable hands, grooms and night watchmen are extremely difficult to fill.

“A significant number of foreign born are working in our industry,” Switzer said. “At some of our farms, they have not had a Caucasian or African American apply for a job in eight years. Nobody applies. What are we supposed to do?”

What a crock of potted baloney.

Try this yourself: browse through some of the job posting sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com and look for jobs with the keyword “horse” in the “Lexington, KY” area.

You’ll find nothing in the way of stable hands, grooms, watchmen or “equine staff” advertised for folks without a degree; you might find one job for a nonprofit equine advocacy manager, but that’s about it.

I went to the Courier-Journal.com’s website for the paper which carried this story and clicked on their Jobs listing. Apparently they use CareerBuilder.com to run their jobs page. Guess what? One job listing for keyword “horse” and location “Louisville, KY” — a sous chef position at The Blue Horse.

If I spread a slightly wider net, I can pull up a job listing under a category called “equine staff”; there’s a posting for a “driving stable assistant” which appears to be in Germany, IN. But that’s not in the neighboring state of Indiana; the posting is for an international job, location: Germany.

That’s why no Caucasian or African American has applied for their jobs: they aren’t advertising openings, and for a reason.  . . . (more…)

Mubarak Has Stepped Down, Tahrir Square Rejoicing [Update]

Screenshot from Al Jazeera live feed shortly after 6:00 p.m. Cairo time.

In a brief announcement on Egyptian state television at 6:00 p.m. Cairo time, Vice President Omar Suleiman said that President Hosni Mubarak has relinquished power and asked the Egyptian Armed Forces Council to assume responsibility for leadership of the country.

Yalla, Egypt!

UPDATE — 6:21 p.m. Cairo – Al Jazeera reporter on scene at Tahrir Square is overcome with emotion, says she was born the week that President Mubarak came to power and that she’s never seen anything like this.

Observers have likened the scene in Cairo to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall; people fell to their knees praying and crying, others cheering, chanting “God is Great!”

Emotion of today’s events have apparently overcome the usually restrained Egyptian television as the anchor shares a smile while reviewing the scenes of celebration across the country.

UPDATE — 6:30 p.m. Cairo – The leader of the National Democratic Party has also resigned, acknowledging the people have won:

Hossam Badrawi, the new general secretary of President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party, has resigned, Reuters reports, quoting an interview on al-Hayat TV.
“It’s a resignation from the position and from the party,” Badrawi said in the interview. “The formation of new parties in a new manner that reflects new thinking is better for society now at this stage.”

Badrawi added in an interview with Bloomberg news, “The revolution has succeeded … What’s the need for events that do not allow for economic development? … We want work. We want companies to make profit and pay taxes. We want safety for tourism.”

ElBaradei was quoted in USAToday:

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, reacting to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, says: “This is the greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated.”

UPDATE — 7:00 p.m. Cairo – India’s southern news outlet Deccan Chronicle notes this exchange at a distance:

In his speech on Thursday, he took a swipe at the United States and other countries that want a faster transition to democracy in the Arab world’s most populous nation, vowing: “I have never bent to foreign diktats.”

US President Barack Obama reacted with a flash of anger of his own, saying Mubarak had failed to map out “meaningful or sufficient” change, or to speak clearly enough to Egypt and the world.

Many translations heard yesterday in the U.S. did not use the word “diktats,” suggesting that there may be more information gained or lost depending on the translation filter applied to important public messages made by Mubarak’s regime as well as the Obama administration.

President Obama is expected to make comments regarding the Egyptian revolution today at 1:30 p.m. EST (8:30 p.m. Cairo time). We’ll have a post covering the president’s comments and analysis later today.

UPDATE — 9:00 p.m. Cairo – President Obama’s statement has been pushed back and now expected at 3:00 p.m. EST, although a confirmation isn’t readily available. Apparently the White House is struggling to manage Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ last day on the job and getting a coherent statement together — which one might say reflects their policy on Egypt.

‘Farewell Friday’ Observed by Protesters after Mubarak’s Defiant Speech [Updated]

Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square earlier today; time of photo undetermined. (photo: Al Jazeera-English)

[Ed. note: MSNBC reports that President Mubarak may address the Egyptian public shortly. We’ll have an update and feed at the bottom of this post.]

During President Hosni Mubarak’s speech last evening to the Egyptian public, the crowd of pro-democracy protesters began to shout angrily as it became clear that Mubarak would not recognize their demands. The angry shouts have been followed today by enormous crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square continuing their demand for an end to the current regime.

Crowds of protesters have also begun to mass around the presidential palace, located about ten miles from Tahrir Square. An NPR journalist on site reported that although there was military present, they were not taking any action as the crowd continued to grow in size, chanting angrily for Mubarak to leave.

The EU is ramping up pressure on Mubarak, apparently in tandem with the U.S. as statements from EU leaders mirror that of President Obama.

In his own televised remarks after Mr. Mubarak’s speech, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said it was inevitable that the Egyptian president would leave office.

Mr. Sarkozy said he hoped Egypt’s fledgling democracy took the time to get political training, structures and principles and not move toward religious dictatorship.

Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague called for an urgent but orderly transition of power, while Germany’s foreign minister said Mr. Mubarak’s speech left the international community more worried than before.

In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed hopes for a peaceful transition in Egypt.

Spain and Denmark have also stepped up their language in demanding Mubarak acede to pro-democracy demands. Denmark in particular stands out as its prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen has pointedly called for Mubarak to step down. Will this set the pace for the rest of the EU to follow?

UPDATE — 9:25 a.m. EST — The U.S. State Department also appears to be pushing back firmly against Mubarak’s statement; TIME published an article late last evening in the U.S., reporting that the State Department was working on an aid program for the pro-democracy opposition in Egypt.

…US is preparing a new package of assistance to Egyptian opposition groups designed to help with constitutional reform, democratic development and election organizing, State department officials tell TIME. The package is still being formulated, and the officials declined to say how much it would be worth or to which groups it would be directed.

White House officials declined to say whether any of the new money would go directly or indirectly to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most prominent Islamic party.

This could be a trial balloon in search of domestic and foreign political support, or a veiled threat to the Mubarak regime since no details were reported. However such aid could undo the cuts made by the George W. Bush administration to democracy and governance aid for Egypt; one might wonder how this revolution would have played out had the Bush administration not made those cuts.

UPDATE — 9:50 a.m. EST – Earlier reports indicated Mubarak may have left Cairo and possibly Egypt altogether. Al-Arabiya, NBC and CBS report that Mubarak has gone to Sharm el Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, but conflicting sources say that Mubarak has left for the UAE.

Al Jazeera reports that Egypt state television reported that foreign news agencies indicate Mubarak has left the country, but that Mubarak is actually at Sharm el Sheikh. Al Jazeera says their sources confirm this.

More updates and live feed after the jump.

(more…)

Obama Speaks at Northern Michigan University, Proposes Nationwide Wireless Expansion

Following are the remarks prepared for delivery today by President Obama on the topic of a Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative; he’s delivering this speech now at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.

__________

Hello, Marquette! It is good to be in the U.P. It is good to be at Northern Michigan University!

So, I have to say, I think some folks on my staff have it out for me. Not because it’s 10 degrees here – I can handle that. It’s because for the second time in two weeks, not long after my Bears went down, they’ve sent me to a town with a bunch of Green Bay Packer fans, even if we are in Michigan. But I congratulate all the fans here, and we’ll see the Packers at the White House.

Of course, I haven’t come to Marquette to talk about winning the Super Bowl. I’ve come here because it’s towns like this where the jobs and businesses of tomorrow will take root. It’s towns like this where our economic future will be won.

In the short-term, the best thing we can do to speed up economic growth is to make sure families and businesses have more money to spend. And that’s exactly what the tax cuts we passed in December are doing. Because Democrats and Republicans came together, Americans’ paychecks will be a little bigger this year. Businesses will be able to write off their investments. Companies will grow and add workers.

But we have to do more. Our measure of success has to be whether every American who wants a job can find one; whether this country is still the place where you can make it if you try. In a world that’s more connected and more competitive, other nations look at this as their moment – their turn to win the jobs and industries of our time. I see things differently. I see this as America’s moment to win the future.

To do this, though, we have to up our game. To attract the best jobs and newest industries, we’ve got to out-innovate, out-educate, out-build and out-hustle the rest of the world. That means investing in cutting-edge research and technology, like the new advanced battery manufacturing industry that’s taking root right here in Michigan. It means investing in the skills and training of our people. It means investing in transportation and communication networks that move goods and information as fast as possible.

And to make room for these investments, we have to cut whatever spending we can do without. That’s why I’ve proposed that we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years, which would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and bring that spending to the lowest share of our economy since Eisenhower was President.

Government has to start doing what American families do every day: we have to live within our means. But even as we do so, we cannot sacrifice our future. If you’re trying to cut back, you might decide not to go out to dinner or take a vacation. But you wouldn’t stop saving for your kids’ college or your retirement. The same is true with our country. Even as we cut out the things we can afford to do without, we have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact our future – innovation, education, and infrastructure.

That last area – infrastructure – is why I’ve come here today.

Connecting a country of our size has never been easy. Just imagine what Americans experienced when they fanned out from thirteen colonies to settle a continent. If you wanted to get from one coast to the other, it would take you months and cost you a small fortune. If you settled in the heartland, you were an island, with no real market to sell your goods or buy what you needed.

So we decided to build a railroad to span a continent – one that would blast through mountains of granite, use thousands of miles of steel, and put to work an army of citizens and immigrants. It was an endeavor that would also require support from our government. As General William T. Sherman said, “Uncle Sam is the only giant I know who can grapple the subject.”

Even as President Lincoln tried to hold together North and South, he was determined to see this railroad unite East and West. Private companies joined the charge, racing one another to meet in the middle. And eventually, a telegraph operator sent out a simple message to the cheers of a waiting nation: “DONE.” If he knew we’d still be talking about it today, he might have come up with something more inspiring.

Overnight, the transcontinental railroad laid the way for a nationwide economy. A cross-country trip was cut from months to days. The cost to move goods and mail plummeted. Cowboys drove cattle to railcars that whisked them East. Entrepreneurs could sell anything, anywhere.

After the railroad was completed, a newspaper proclaimed: “We are the youngest of peoples. But we are teaching the world to march forward.”

That’s who we are – a nation that has always been built to compete. That’s why, decades later, FDR set up the Rural Electrification Administration – to help bring power to vast swaths of America that were still in darkness. Companies said that building lines to rural areas would be too costly. So Americans in these towns simply went without refrigeration or running water. If you wanted a glimpse of the larger world, your town might run a movie off a small diesel engine – but it might not even last for the full film.

Once power lines were laid down, electricity flowed to farms across the country and transformed millions of lives. When a Texas family returned home the first night their farmhouse was hooked up, a woman thought it was on fire. “No mama,” said her daughter, “the lights are on.”

Years later, as our nation grew by leaps and bounds, we realized that a patchwork system of back roads and dirt paths couldn’t handle the biggest economy in the world. So President Eisenhower helped make possible an Interstate Highway System that transformed the nation as much as the railways had. Finally, we could ship goods and services to places that railroads didn’t reach. We could live apart from where we worked. We could travel and see America.

These achievements…none of them just happened. We chose to do them. We chose to do big things. And every American benefited – not just from new conveniences. Not just from the jobs created by laying down new lines or tracks or pavement. We benefited from new economic growth – from the scores of new businesses that opened near each town’s new train station, new power lines, or new off-ramp.

But this is a new century. And we cannot expect tomorrow’s economy to take root along yesterday’s infrastructure. New companies are going to seek out the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – whether they’re in Shanghai or Chicago. And so if we want new jobs and businesses in America, we have to have the best transportation and communication networks in the world. Just like the movie, Field of Dreams: if we build it, they will come.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a national project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. And I have I proposed redoubling these efforts. We want to put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. And within five years, we want to make it possible for businesses to put high-speed wireless services in reach of virtually every American.

That last part is why I chose to come to Northern Michigan University today. Today, more than 90 percent of homes in South Korea subscribe to high-speed broadband. Meanwhile, in America, the nation that created the internet, only 65 percent of households can say the same. When it comes to high-speed internet, the lights are still off in one-third of our households. For millions of Americans, the railway hasn’t come yet.

For our families and businesses, high-speed wireless service is the next train station; the next off-ramp. It’s how we’ll spark new innovation, new investments, and new jobs.

You already know this here at Northern Michigan. For a decade now, this university has given a new laptop to every incoming student. WiFi stretched across campus. But if you lived off-campus, like most students and teachers here, you were largely out of luck. Broadband was often too expensive to afford. And if you lived a bit further out of town, you were completely out of luck – broadband providers often won’t build networks where it’s not profitable.

So this university tried something new. You partnered with various companies to build a high-speed, next-generation wireless network. And you managed to install it with six people in only four days – without raising tuition. Today, this is one of America’s most connected universities, and enrollment is near the highest it’s been in 30 years.

What’s more, you told nearby towns that if they allowed you to retrofit their towers with new equipment to expand your network, then their schools, first responders, and city governments could use it too. As a result, police officers can access crime databases in their cars. Firefighters can download blueprints on the way to a burning building. Public works officials can save money by monitoring pumps and equipment remotely.

And you’ve created new online learning opportunities for K-12 students as far as 30 miles away, some of whom can’t always make it to school in a place that averages 200 inches of snow a year. Now, I’m sure some of the students don’t exactly see the end of snow days as an opportunity. But it’s good for their education, and it’s good for our economy. In fact, I’ve just come from a demonstration of online learning in action.

For local businesses, broadband access is helping them grow, prosper, and compete in a global economy. In fact, Marquette has been rated one of the top five “eCities” in Michigan for entrepreneurship. Consider Getz’s Clothiers, a third-generation, family-owned Marquette institution. They’ve occupied the same downtown store for more than a century – but with the help of broadband, they were recently listed as one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Online sales make up more than two-thirds of its annual revenue. It can process more than 1,000 orders a day, and its workforce has more than doubled. Today Getz’s is a local business with a global footprint.

If you can do this in the snowy wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, we can do this all across America. In fact, many places already are. In Wagner, South Dakota, patients can receive high-quality, life-saving medical care from a Sioux Falls specialist who can monitor their EKG and listen to their breathing – from 100 miles away. In Ten Sleep, Wyoming, a town of about 300 people, a fiber-optic network allowed a company to employ several hundred teachers who teach English to students in Asia over the internet, 24 hours a day. You’ve all heard about outsourcing. Well this is what we call “insourcing” – where overseas work is done right here in America.

We want to multiply these stories – and yours – all over the country. We want to invest in the next-generation of high-speed wireless coverage for 98 percent of Americans.

This isn’t just about a faster internet or being able to friend someone on Facebook. It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers can monitor weather across the state and markets across the globe. It’s about an entrepreneur on Main Street with a great idea she hopes to sell to the big city. It’s about every young person who no longer has to leave his hometown to seek new opportunity – because it’s right at his fingertips.

To make this happen, we’ll invest in research and development of emerging technologies and applications. We’ll accelerate breakthroughs in health, education, and transportation; and deploy a new nationwide, interoperable wireless network for first responders – making sure they have the funding and the frequencies that they were promised and that they need to keep us safe. And by selling private companies the rights to these airwaves, we won’t just encourage private investment and expand wireless access; we’ll actually bring in revenues that lower our deficits.

Now, access to high-speed internet by itself won’t make a business more successful, or a student smarter, or a citizen more informed. That takes hard work. It takes those late nights. It takes that quintessentially American drive to be the best. But we have always believed that we have a responsibility to guarantee all our people every tool necessary for them to meet their full potential. And in a 21st century economy, that has never been more important. Every American deserves access to the world’s information. Every American deserves access to the global economy. We have promised this for fifteen years. It is time we delivered on that promise.

Connecting our people. Competing with the rest of the world. Living within our means without sacrificing what’s required to win the future. We can do all this. We have done it before.

In 1960, at the height of his presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy came to Michigan. It was a moment not unlike this one, when other nations were doing their best to take our place at the top. And here, he made it clear that if we wanted to keep from being knocked off, then there could only be one goal for the United States, and it could be summed up in one word: “first.”

“I do not mean first, but,” he said. “I do not mean first, when. I do not mean first, if. I mean first – period.”

“The real question now,” he continued, “is whether we are up to the task – whether each and every one of us is willing to face the facts, to bear the burdens, to provide the risks, [and] to meet our dangers.”

Marquette, we were up to the task then. We are up to the task today. Time and time again, whether westward or skyward, with each rail and road we’ve laid, in every community we’ve connected with our own science and imagination, we have forged anew our faith that we can do anything. We do big things. That’s who we are. That’s who we must be once more – that young nation that teaches the world to march forward.

That’s what you’re doing here at Northern Michigan University, and that’s what all of us are going to do together in the months and years to come. Thank you, God Bless You, and God Bless the United States of America.

###

BREAKING: Egyptian Military Meeting Now Without Mubarak; Egyptian President to Step Down Say Reports

Multiple outlets are reporting that Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is anticipated to make an announcement on state television this evening; it’s not clear whether he will say he is stepping down.

The Egyptian Military Council is meeting right now, without Mubarak; there has been a statement from the military released. Sources indicate the statement acknowledges the legitimacy of the protesters’ demands.

According to the BBC, the secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Hossan Badrawi said he hopes Mubarak will transfer power to Vice President Omar Suleiman soon.

[Developing. Updates soon.]

(additional reporting for this post from Siun & Gregg)

UPDATE: MSNBC reports two sources inside the Egyptian government say that Mubarak is stepping down and handing power to Suleiman. They are calling it a “military coup”–in other words, the military is making the decision about the succession of power to the VP instead of the PM, as the Egyptian constitution reportedly proscribes.

UPDATE 2: From the New York Times:

Egypt’s armed forces on Thursday announced that they had begun to take “necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” a step that suggested the military intends to take a commanding role in administrating the strife-torn nation.

. . . .

Television images on Al Jazeera showed the masses in Tahrir Square cheering the news, waving flags and chanting: “The Army and the people in one hand.”

Vice President Omar Suleiman, named by Mr. Mubarak to undertake a dialogue with opposition groups, had warned Tuesday night that if the process he was supervising did not produce results, the military would step in to take administrative control in what he called a “coup.” There was no information about what role Mr. Suleiman or Mr. Mubarak would play in a military government.

UPDATE 3: David has more:

There’s still confusion, then, whether Suleiman will receive the powers of the Presidency, or the army. For days, the Mubarak regime has insisted that his resignation would trigger an election within 60 days, so I would expect something other than a formal resignation, something that would keep elections in the future. That could be a temporary imposition of martial law.

Suleiman’s ascension would likely not end the protests. According to the Guardian’s liveblog, one protester reacted to that possibility by saying “all that will happen is that everyone in Tahrir will rewrite their signs, and then carry on demonstrating.”

The speech should happen in a matter of hours…

UPDATE 4: Al Arabiya (via Breaking News) reports: “President Mubarak has traveled to Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his army chief of staff.”

UPDATE 5: Al Jazeera reports that Egyptian State TV has evacuated its Cairo building.

Day 15 in Tahrir Square: Crowds Remain Strong, Suleiman Makes Veiled Threat

Pro-democracy protesters remain numerous in Tahrir Square. (photo: Al Jazeera-English)

The crowd in Cairo’s Tahrir Square remains strong today. New participants continue to stream into the square to take part in what Egyptians see as both a historic event and as the first opportunity to exercise freedom of speech. News outlet Al Masry Al Youm reports that many of the newcomers are now “members of the upper class and housewives who had once been skeptical of the uprising but were now actively participating in it.”

The small town from which President Hosni Mubarak came has mixed feelings about the uprising. They are proud of their hometown boy, but at the same time they are eager for change. And in spite of being a long way from Cairo, they are very aware of the on-going rally in Tahrir Square:

As for the January 25 popular uprising that has gripped Cairo and other cities in the days since, Jamel dispelled the notion that this was a phenomenon that concerned only an urban elite.

”The people who occupy Tahrir Square in Cairo have become a symbol for everyone in this country. We are all watching everything on television.”

The manifestation of the pro-democracy uprising is spreading to the professional class as well as the labor class. More employees are protesting:

Meanwhile at the headquarters of state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Egypt’s largest daily, around 500 print-shop employees protested demanding full-time contracts, benefits and bonuses. They continued their protest on Wednesday.

Employee protests also spread around the country. An estimated 5000 employees of the state-owned telecommunications giant, Telecom Egypt, staged protest stands in three different locations across the city–the Smart Village, Ramses Square, and Opera Square. Shady Malek, an engineer with the company said, “We protested today for the establishment of an adequate minimum wage and maximum wage for our company’s employees and administrators.”

Yet in spite of the increasing size and reach of the uprising, Vice President Omar Suleiman made a veiled threat through MENA, a state-run news outlet:

Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency quotes Vice President Omar Suleiman as saying that a crisis triggered by 16 days of anti-Mubarak protests in Tahrir Square must end “as soon as possible.” Suleiman was speaking late Tuesday to a group of Egyptian newspaper editors.

MENA says Suleiman told the editors that the presence of anti-Mubarak activists and satellite television stations in the square was making Egyptian citizens “hesitant to go to work” and disrupting daily life. He accused the satellite television stations of “insulting” Egypt, without naming them.

But, Suleiman also is quoted as saying the government does not want to deal with Egyptian society using “police tools” and prefers to use dialogue to try to address the protesters’ demands

This is not a good sign; one might wonder what political entity will reach out to Suleiman to encourage him to back off, and how long it will be before they do so.

Super Bowl Anti-Marketing or Bimbo Pushback: Getting the ‘Old Girls’ in the Game

Cloris Leachman appears in an ad for domain registrar Network Solutions; the ad promotes a service offered by the registrar which competes with GoDaddy.com. Most Super Bowl fans will recognize GoDaddy’s ads with little prompting; they generally feature a young and prominently endowed woman dressed scantily while breathlessly promoting GoDaddy’s brand. GoDaddy has also featured ads with Indy Series/NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, but the ads still revolve around a young woman. In at least one recent case, a GoDaddy ad featuring Patrick was rejected because of its reference to beavers; one might well ask what beavers have to do with domain registrations.

The Network Solutions’ Leachman ad represents anti-marketing, which Geoff Livingston wrote about yesterday, discussing a trend in “unselling” products. The Volkswagen ad with the tiny Darth Vader wannabe (see at bottom of this post) could also be seen as an anti-marketing ad; there’s little effort made to push the product, only a subtle appeal through the ubiquity of the subject across a range of potential buyers, made in a way which cuts through all the other advertising — targeted buyers of the Volkswagen in the ad are familiar with Star Wars and are likely of child-rearing age, and can readily relate to the ad. This isn’t a new approach; it’s been more common among European companies to use an indirect approach to selling. New, though, is the uptick in this kind of marketing, intended to break through the deluge of promotions pushed through regular broadcast and cable outlets, and now social media.

What’s particularly important about the Leachman ad is not unselling or anti-marketing, but the pointed pushback at advertising which uses young women as objects to promote a product while doing little to convey anything about the product’s merits. One might well wonder what it is that GoDaddy offers customers after watching one of their well-endowed ads — what does GoDaddy have to do at all with the internet?  [cont’d.] (more…)

Food Sunday: Pizza, Pizza, Millions of Pizzas

photo: fritish via Flickr

One million pizzas.

That’s the number of pizzas the NFL’s official pizza provider, Papa John’s, forecasts in sales today. Add the forecasts of Domino’s Pizza (1.2 million pizzas) and Pizza Hut (2 million) pizzas — that’s one hellacious amount of dough, sauce and cheese being delivered today.

You might as well double the pizza forecast since Little Caesar’s, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake, and a plethora of independent pizza restaurants make up more than 75% of the remaining marketshare.

What a lot of calories, too — the average slice of pepperoni and cheese pizza weighs in at an estimated 230 calories, and very few Super Bowl partiers in reach of a pizza pie will limit themselves to a single slice today.

Frozen pizza sales will be up substantially this week as well, by roughly 70%; it’s become a popular option not only because frozen pizza technology has improved over the last decade, but the cost is more appetizing during an economic downturn, saving a delivery tip at a minimum.

But this is only a fraction of the Super Bowl snack food story; last year, 106 million people watched the game. Massaging the numbers, that’s roughly 12-13 people per pizza — or a solid rationalization for a mess of chili or many chicken wings.

In this household we’re going with homemade pizza this evening. It’s tasty, it scales up easily depending on how many people are hungry (I’ll simply freeze the extra dough if we only need a smaller pizza), and it’s fresh and fast.

And we can control the calories, too. We’ll be using low fat mozzarella and turkey pepperoni on ours today, saving 50 to 100 fat calories per slice — even more with a veggie-mozzarella version. Served along side a raw vegetable tray, it’ll be a healthy Super Bowl dinner.

What about you? What are you having this Super Bowl Sunday?

Oh, did I mention that while some of our family members may dine on healthy homemade pizza while watching football, at least one of us will be dining on the same while watching a chick flick? How many of you are going sans football tonight? Do tell.

Super Bowl Anti-Marketing or Bimbo Pushback: Getting the ‘Old Girls’ in the Game

Cloris Leachman appears in an ad for domain registrar Network Solutions; the ad promotes a service offered by the registrar which competes with GoDaddy.com. Most Super Bowl fans will recognize GoDaddy’s ads with little prompting; they generally feature a young and prominently endowed woman dressed scantily while breathlessly promoting GoDaddy’s brand. GoDaddy has also featured ads with Indy Series/NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, but the ads still revolve around a young woman. In at least one recent case, a GoDaddy ad featuring Patrick was rejected because of its reference to beavers; one might well ask what beavers have to do with domain registrations.

The Network Solutions’ Leachman ad represents anti-marketing, which Geoff Livingston wrote about yesterday, discussing a trend in “unselling” products. The Volkswagen ad with the tiny Darth Vader wannabe (see at bottom of this post) could also be seen as an anti-marketing ad; there’s little effort made to push the product, only a subtle appeal through the ubiquity of the subject across a range of potential buyers, made in a way which cuts through all the other advertising — targeted buyers of the Volkswagen in the ad are familiar with Star Wars and are likely of child-rearing age, and can readily relate to the ad. This isn’t a new approach; it’s been more common among European companies to use an indirect approach to selling. New, though, is the uptick in this kind of marketing, intended to break through the deluge of promotions pushed through regular broadcast and cable outlets, and now social media.

What’s particularly important about the Leachman ad is not unselling or anti-marketing, but the pointed pushback at advertising which uses young women as objects to promote a product while doing little to convey anything about the product’s merits. One might well wonder what it is that GoDaddy offers customers after watching one of their well-endowed ads — what does GoDaddy have to do at all with the internet?

The advocate at the end of the YouTube ad above is a critical point of departure as well; BlogHer.com’s CEO Lisa Stone dispels the notion that women are only window dressing for a technology product. Women are purchasers of domain services, and are among those customers that want to “get serious” as the ad’s tagline says are those who want trustworthy and effective technology products and services, not breast-enhanced glitz.

Women have been given short-shrift in technology for a very long time, even though they have become a driving force in technology consumption. The disparity in how women are treated by the technology has been the focus of several organizations, among them the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and Women Who Tech, an organization which hosts an annual summit focusing on parity in the technology industry. The work of these organizations may finally have paid off — 15 years after the Borg Institute launched — if a member of the technology industry is finally willing to stake a sizable chunk of marketing cash to go after the market segment which doesn’t want or need sexist messaging to promote products and services.

But perhaps the raw numbers convinced Network Solutions to do the Leachman ad:

As of 2005, there are an estimated 10.1 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned firms in the U.S., employing 18.2 million people and generating $2.32 trillion in sales. Women-owned businesses account for 28 percent of all businesses in the United States and represent about 775,000 new startups per year and account for 55 percent of new startups.

That’s an awfully big market segment to insult with bimbo-laden ads to promote products and services.