Day: August 13, 2016

All fired up! You, too, would be grinning if you got a fatty bonus just for signing up to be a reefer driver

time-clockBoulevard reports extensively on executive pay at big local employers. But we also look at what folks make down in the trenches — and off in the more unexpected corners of the Internet. After buzzing through recent Craigslist Louisville help-wanted ads, we’ve unearthed openings for truck drivers, sign spinners, trivia game emcees, and Asian egg donors (and we’re not talking about chickens, either).

Truck driver

The duties: Talk about smokey and the bandit! Could trucking for a living be any easier? Not according to Swift Refrigerated, which promises: “No gimmicks, no contracts, no run-around. Just open road and a career path you can meet head-on.”

You won’t spend your entire life away from home, either. Over-the-road drivers are typically out for 10-14 days at a time. Regional drivers will have varied home time, based on freight demand. And some even have daily home time, with consistent schedules!

What it pays: Swift offers a $2,500 sign-up bonus; more details when you contact the company. Employment site Glassdoor says Swift drivers make between $42,000 and $45,000 a year, but that’s based on just a handful of reader posts. In a 2012 story, CNN said truckers earned a median $37,930, with the top 10% making more than $58,000.

Related: Here’s every imaginable marijuana slang term.

Photo, top: That’s the 100% unretouched illustration Swift trucking uses in its Craigslist ad. Continue reading “All fired up! You, too, would be grinning if you got a fatty bonus just for signing up to be a reefer driver”

Hillbilly legacy: Is the cellphone to blame for turning Kentucky from blue to red?

Hillbilly Elegy book jacketIn “Hillbilly Elegy,” according to a new book review in The New York Times, author J.D. Vance offers “a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion, particularly the ascent of Donald J. Trump. Combining thoughtful inquiry with firsthand experience, Vance has inadvertently provided a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election, and he’s done so in a vocabulary intelligible to both Democrats and Republicans.”

Vance, 31, now a Silicon Valley investor, knows hillbilly Kentucky. He was reared 136 miles northeast of Louisville, in Middletown, Ohio, a now-decaying steel town filled with Kentucky transplants, including his own family from Breathitt County.

“Economic insecurity, he’s convinced, accounts for only a small part of his community’s problems; the much larger issue is hillbilly culture itself,” the Times says. “Though proud of it in many ways, he’s also convinced that it ‘increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it.’”

The review continues: “His frustration with the non-working white poor is especially acute. He recalls being a cashier at a Middletown grocery store and watching resentfully as his neighbors, who had creatively gamed the welfare system, jabbered on their cellphones as they were going through the checkout line. He could not afford a cellphone.”

J.D. Vance

Vance writes: “Political scientists have spent millions of words trying to explain how Appalachia and the South went from staunchly Democratic to staunchly Republican in less than a generation.” He suspects those cellphones have a lot to do with it. “I could never understand why our lives felt like a struggle while those living off of government largess enjoyed trinkets that I only dreamed about.”

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis; 264 pages. Harper. $27.99.

Now the real contest begins: Who wins Olympics star Biles’ pizza endorsement? (Odds favor Papa John’s, according to Slate); plus, KFC chicken supplier says off with their heads

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 11:15 a.m.

PAPA JOHN’S and PIZZA HUT: Slate magazine handicaps the race to sign Olympics gymnastics golden girl Simone Biles to an endorsement contract, given her love of pepperoni pizza: She eats some after every competition. The likely winner, at even money? Papa John’s, says the online publication’s Justin Peters.

Simone Biles.jpg

“The chain has a vast national advertising budget and a history of using famous athletes like Peyton Manning and J.J. Watt in its commercials,” Peters says. “The tag line writes itself: ‘Better ingredients, better pizza, better vaulting: Papa John’s!'”

Panting four spots back in the race, at 30-to-1 odds: Pizza Hut. “The Hut isn’t a front runner here,” he says, “and the only way it will stand a chance of signing Biles will be if it can present a compelling artistic vision for an ad campaign” (Slate).

Columbus native Biles, 19, is the the Rio games’ individual all-around gymnastics champ. “In doing so, she joined Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas as American all-around winners” (New York Times).

KFC: Tyson Foods has fired 10 employees caught on video by an animal rights group punching, kicking, flinging live birds, and even crushing the head of a live one under his boot. The Arkansas-based supplier to KFC and McDonald’s also said it will retrain workers who handle live poultry on animal welfare policies. The footage, recorded in May and June, was posted online by Compassion Over Killing, which fights for animal rights and encourages vegetarianism. Tyson, one of the world’s largest meat processors, said it was “disgusted by the actions of the individuals in the video” (Mirror). Posted two days ago, the video’s already been viewed more than 50,000 times:

In other bad news, the inevitable backlash has started against KFC’s newly unveiled U.K. gravy fountain:

Behold its wonderful awfulness:

Reality check: Debunking a canard about Kentucky’s endangered inheritance tax

Grave stonesKentucky generates about $50 million in revenue annually by taxing money or property bequeathed to a deceased person’s relatives, though not close relatives like children or a spouse — a levy that a state legislative committee is considering eliminating altogether.

Like many opponents of the tax, the head of the libertarian-leaning Bluegrass Institute says government shouldn’t be producing revenue off the efforts of people who generated the wealth in the first place because “they’ve already . . . paid the taxes on it during their lifetime,” Jim Waters told WFPL.

Except, that’s often not true. Consider one of the biggest sources of family wealth: unrealized gains on stocks, and the following example: Continue reading “Reality check: Debunking a canard about Kentucky’s endangered inheritance tax”

Wake us up when Sony releases the really steamy photos of Lawrence and Pratt in the space-sexploration flick ‘Passengers’

Jennifer LawrenceBoulevard reviews the latest media coverage of the Oscar-winning Louisville native in our exclusive Jennifer Lawrence Diary™. Today’s news, rated on a scale of 1-5 stars:

Two starsWith 129 days before Jennifer Lawrence‘s $20-million payday hits theaters Dec. 21, Entertainment Weekly’s landed the first still photos (see, top) from the sci-fi adventure about a 5,000-passenger luxury spaceship on a 120-year journey to an interstellar colony. Lawrence and co-star Chris Pratt are rudely awakened 90 years too early.

“Alone in outer space with a giant ship as their personal playground,” pants the magazine’s Sara Vilkomerson, “they begin to fall in love just as it becomes apparent the ship is malfunctioning and endangering its entire population.”

And Delta Airlines passengers thought they had trouble last week!

Vilkomerson asked director Morten Tyldum (Oscar-nominated for 2014’s “The Imitation Game“) what it was like working with two of Hollywood’s hottest stars, and his response was enough to put us right to sleep:

“They’re so great together, and both of them are so hard-working,” he z-z-z-z-z-z-ed. “They take the characters so seriously and bring so much to the roles with charm and intelligence and charisma. They really went for it and it is phenomenal to watch.”

Whatever the chemistry, this much is clear: The jaw-dropping $20 million producers are paying Lawrence for the movie made her one of Tinsel Town’s most gravity-defying actresses.

Speaking of countdowns…

Lawrence’s birthday is Monday; she’ll be 26! It’ll be hard to top last year’s celebration with Kardashian momster Kris Jenner, a surprise bash that produced that infamous photo of the two in bed together. Lawrence, a big fan of of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” told The New York Times her two best friends (she didn’t say which ones) planned a big surprise within the surprise, according to People magazine.

Just as her pals started singing “Happy Birthday,” the actress said, “Kris Jenner comes out holding my cake, which is a pile of s—, with a sign that says, ‘Happy Birthday You Pile of S—.’ My knees buckled.”

And they say the Kardashians are trailer trash on steroids.