* A dose of “good news, bad news”: “The average hourly wage (of the fastest-growing job category in America) is just $9.70 an hour, according to the Labor Department. For those in the industry who work full-time, this amounts to roughly $20,000 a year. Many health care aides only work part-time though -- and they do not receive benefits.”
*The key point in this dispatch on the continuing troubles of the journalism world isn’t the staffing numbers – but the resulting lack of news: “Overall, 63 percent of cable news airtime is devoted to opinion and commentary. And on local news, 40 percent of airtime is devoted to sports, traffic, or weather, up from 32 percent in 2005.”
*It’s March Madness and slate.com has advice on how to win your office pool. It has something to do with the tactics employed on Wall Street: "Again, your overall strategy should be to look for situations where the national bracket values a team much higher than the objective statistics. (I should stipulate that all of this advice assumes standard NCAA pool rules, where the points for a correct guess double each round, from one point in what the NCAA calls the “second round” to 32 for the final game.)"
*A small town in Texas isn’t particularly happy with the rates it’s getting from the private contractor that provides its water supply: “Minnie Wengert does not have a washing machine or a dishwasher. The 94-year-old conserves water by hand-washing dishes, using her shower sparingly and not watering the lawn. Despite these efforts, she says, her monthly water bill averages about $125 for 5,000 gallons."
*How economically “mobile” is American society? The Pew Charitable Trusts has created an interactive tool to help citizens explore the issue. A couple of the findings:
"Half of Americans exceed their parents’ family wealth, and 47 percent have at least $5,000 less wealth than their parents.
"Having a college degree is associated with absolute upward mobility at all income and wealth thresholds and is especially important for upward wealth mobility from the bottom.
"Blacks are less likely to experience absolute upward income and wealth mobility than are whites."