Even though I don’t have any real use for another student employee, my boss has asked me to post an ad “just in case.” Ever the company man, I complied. And the response has been ... well, saddening, but not in the way you’d think.

The thing is that current students aren’t applying -- former students are. Graduates, with a degree in foreign affairs from one of the world’s most prestigious international graduate schools. Many of them are foreign nationals, the sons and daughters of economic elites from countries that don’t have a middle class or even a working class -- we’re talking near aristocracy here. They’re all desperate for work -- any work. Even making $8.50 an hour stuffing envelopes and updating databases for me, the HTML monkey with the BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland. This certainly isn’t what they bargained for when the plopped down their $30,000 annual tuition.

Even sadder, they come into my messy office to find me, dressed in a ratty Jets to Brazil hoodie sweatshirt, with piles of paper, photographs and other people’s resumes heaped on my desk. So not only do they have to beg for a job that’s clearly beneath their professional stature, but they have to beg it from a 28-year old American punk rocker who’d much rather be playing Medal of Honor than working. And the competition is fierce -- I’ve had a dozen applications, all for this one little slot.

The economy sucks, that’s clear enough. No one can find a job. Normally, I’d be really amused (even pleased) that the sons and daughters of the rich can’t find work. But if they can’t, what does that say about the prospects for the average person? Does this mean the big box stores, retail and fast food are getting flooded with job requests by people who would otherwise consider themselves to be overqualified?

I’m fortunate, because I know I’ve got a job for the next 20 months (well, actually the next 19, but let’s not get too technical). But I really worry about what’ll happen if we don’t get funding. I probably shouldn’t think about it.

What I will be doing, however, is protesting the State of the Union next Tuesday. There’s a huge demonstration planned at the Capitol Building, with punk bands (including Milemarker!) and speakers. I know I’m going to be there, no matter how cold it is. I blame the Bush administration for the current sorry state of affairs, and I want my voice to be heard.

Just picked up Tempting, Jenny Toomey Sings the Songs of Franklin Bruno. I must say, it’s absolutely fantastic. It takes the goofy jazz/lounge music she did with Grenadine and makes it real and -- dare-I-say-it -- authentic. Great stuff. Reminds me of the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, one of the great indiepop bands of the mid-1990’s (gotta remember to MP3 that one some day). Some of Jim Ruiz’s best songs can be heard in the film Happy Accidents. Also, I’m currently enjoying Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men, which while lacking subtlety, is still a great read.

And while I’m thinking of politics, I mentioned the counter-demonstrations to yesterday’s Pro-Life march on Washington to one of our new students, a woman I knew would be interested the hear about them if she hadn’t already. “Everyone here talks about politics,” she commented, surprised I would be interested in one of her pet political causes. Yes dear, what reason would a class-conscious, left-leaning, punk music listening, publications guy have to be interested in politics other than the fact that I live in the capital city of the United States? It certainly wouldn’t make sense, because all I do all day is layout publications and write HTML code? Perhaps because more people in this country than just the Wesleyan-educated daughters of Long Island progressives have an interest in public policy? No, that couldn’t be it, could it? It’s just not possible.