Sunday, January 31, 2010
Isn't this an example of the retreating tide lowering all boats???
The ethic behind dollar stores is both pervasive and perverse. Employers who seek to maximize their profit margins by slashing wages hire people who in turn attempt to stretch their diminishing dollars by purchasing discount items. Such items come from other companies that compete by slashing their wages, creating yet a lower social strata of consumers. The rock-bottom of the food chain, as it were, is the dollar store, the last stop before the food pantry, which is where a lot of unsold dollar store goods end up.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Here's an example of how SAS copes:
Communicating with your staff. How radical.
The Research Triangle-based company has been able to avoid layoffs recently by instituting hiring freezes in all areas except R&D and sales, which continue to grow. And by cutting back on travel and expenses, the company relies more on conference calls and video conferencing to get the job done. CEO Jim Goodnight has engaged employee support by communicating early and often with staff to prepare them for any changes.
Here's another example:
While Mercedes faced the same challenges as the Big Three, the company hunkered down and cut costs by eliminating non-essential travel, reducing temporary staff and placing controls on overtime. When management discovered that further cost reductions were unavoidable, the CEO and executive team (28 people total) accepted pay cuts. The tough choices paid off, resulting in a 10% total reduction of labor costs from mid-2009 to year end.
Executives taking pay cuts. Wow.
Mind you, some people in the comments section take issue with some of the listings. However, others are mentioned there as doing a really good job of not laying people off. One of them is Interstate Batteries (who have a store just around the corner of the Center. That makes me want to patronize them even more.)
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87.
There's more. The article is entitled "Haiti's Problems Are Rooted in Its Colonial Legacy". Do click through and read it all if you have a couple of minutes. It's not very long.
Start with the French. They ran Haiti as a slave colony, driving hundreds of thousands of slaves to early deaths in order to supply white Europeans with coffee, sugar and tobacco. In 1804, the slaves rebelled and after savage fighting defeated three foreign armies to win their independence. They looked to America for support, but America's slave-holding states feared a slave revolt of their own, and America's slave-holding president, Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence, refused to recognize the new government.
Their former white masters made matters worse by demanding reparations, and by exploiting and exhausting the country's natural resources. Fighting over what little was left, Haitians turned on each other.
Coup followed coup, faction fought faction, and in 1915, our American president Woodrow Wilson sent in the Marines. By the time they left almost 20 years later, American companies had secured favored status in Haiti. In 1957, the country was taken over by the brutal and despotic rule of Papa Doc Duvalier, whose son, Baby Doc, proved just as cruel as his old man. Don't let the familial nicknames fool you. The Duvaliers were murderous thugs and thieves who enjoyed the complicity of American interests until the dynasty played out in 1986.
Monday, January 25, 2010
The writer, Amy Wilentz, refers to the "genteel racism" that has bubbled up to the surface following the Hatian disaster. She says the following:
Armchair commentators like David Brooks, who know nothing about Haiti, have rebuked suffering Haitians from the comfort of the U.S. and Europe.
Please go read the article. It will catch you up on the history of Haiti and give you a much greater perspective than the likes of David Brooks.
I've never seen victims so roundly blamed for their fate. David Brooks's recent column in the New York Times--one of the paper's most e-mailed articles the week it was published--blamed Haiti's culture for the quake's violence.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Go read the rest of it, please. There's a blistering set of criticisms against the president included. You might not agree with them all but this is how Mr. Obama is being perceived by a lot of people.
There's only one political party in the entire world that is so inept, cowardly and bungling that it could manage to simultaneously lick the boots of Wall Street bankers and then get blamed by the voters for being flaming revolutionary socialists.
It's the same party that has allowed the opposition to go on a thirty year scorched earth campaign, stealing everything in sight from middle and working class voters, and yet successfully claim to be protecting ‘real Americans' from out-of-touch elites.
It's the same party that could run a decorated combat hero against a war evader in 1972, only to be successfully labeled as national security wimps.
Just to be sure, it then did the exact same thing again in 2004.
It's the same party that stood by silently while two presidential elections in a row were stolen away from them.
How ‘bout dem Dems, eh?
One year ago today, there was real question as to what could possibly be the future of the Republican Party in America. That's changed a bit now.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
We cannot be guilty of a greater act of uncharitableness, than to interpret the afflictions which befall our neighbors as punishments and judgments.
Ten Commandments monument that was planned for the lawn of the LeFlore County Courthouse will be placed outside a bank on a busy city street in Poteau. Former Poteau Mayor Don Barnes says the monument will be dedicated Wednesday at the main branch of Community State Bank.
Supporters want the monument on the courthouse lawn - but LeFlore county commissioners want to wait until a lawsuit challenging a similar monument in Haskell County is resolved. A federal appeals court has said the Haskell County monument unconstitutionally endorses religion and the county is appealing. Community State Bank President Larry Spradley has said the bank is committed to displaying the monument for however long it takes.
The vast majority of Ten Commandments monuments in America are the ones dedicated by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. In total the FOE produced about 40,000 large and small framed prints of the Ten Commandments, which they distributed to both public and private institutions starting in 1951.
In 1955 Cecil B. DeMille was filming the movie The Ten Commandments and he wrote to the FOE to commend them on their work in distributing copies of the Ten Commandments. He suggested that they make larger monuments that could be placed at court houses and public parks, etc.
The FOE liked the idea and they worked with DeMille to promote his movie by unveiling monuments across the country just prior to its opening, with actors from the movie present at the unveilings. All in all 145 monuments were dedicated around the country before and after the release of the movie. The monument at the Texas State Capitol, recently a center of controversy, was dedicated by the FOE in 1961.
There are a handful of Ten Commandments displays on public buildings that date back prior to 1935 in America, they are typically on either county or city property and are just small documents or plaques, typically in obscure places.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I just got an email from the Humane Society about the situation in Haiti as it has affected the animals of that country. Here's what one of their veterinarians on the ground there writes:
You can donate right here.
In our short time here, I’ve seen cattle wandering through fields and stray dogs by the roads. With food and water in short supply, it is only a matter of time before these animals -- especially the injured -- come under threat of dehydration, starvation, and disease.
Our team of responders from The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and Veterinary Care & Humane Services, Caribbean Project is now in Port-au-Prince, providing emergency care and treatment to the animal survivors and assessing conditions to help stabilize the situation for them.
We are working around the clock to mobilize more teams of responders, to obtain and ship food and supplies, and to coordinate with authorities and other organizations in Haiti. We are doing everything we can to provide immediate support to the animals who survived this disaster, as well as develop ongoing institutional support for Haiti’s animals and their human care-givers in the future.
Go read it and see what you think. Say something about that in the comments if you're so inclined.
Imagine what Obama could have done if he had thrown his full weight behind a plan with a real public option. If he had allocated even a fraction of the time, money and energy that was spent on selling the invasion of Iraq, he could have made it impossible for Congress not to pass a bill without at least a Medicare buy-in.
Here's someone's comment:
It is devastating for democracy because the dollars available to corporations, should they choose to engage, dwarf other sources of campaign expenditures. This ruling will have an effect on policy and elections literally today. Those running for elections this fall will know that every policy vote will be watched closely by corporate interests. Too many of today's elected officials lack the bravery to stand up to this level of implicit pressure. Today, corporations influence policy through a variety of means, with the most expensive being through lobbying. We can expected a significant share of those lobbying dollars to move into electoral expenditures.
It will be extremely difficult to undo because doing so will require either a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons or a material change in the composition of the court. The first is simply impossible and the second extremely difficult even if one of the conservative majority retires. The Republican minority has shown extraordinary discipline, and emboldened by Massachusetts and this ruling, will have every reason to filibuster any court nominee that might rule differently. And, of course, the Court ruling materially changes the odds that there will be a Democratic majority in the Senate after November.
I'll say what I said yesterday: Horrible. Just horrible.
Wouldn't this make a representative's vote go to the highest bidder? Doesn't this basically legalize buying votes in congress? So, if there was a renewable energy bill up for a vote and the oil company said "Vote no on this and we'll give you $2 million." but the solar power company could only offer $500K, wouldn't the representative go with the highest bidder?
UPDATE: Here's another comment to the Kieschnick article:
It's more than sad; it's tragic.
So...we weren't able to make it through. I thought maybe we'd survive Bush. Guess we didn't.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
It's horrible. Just horrible.
In a 5-to-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations have the "right" to spend an unlimited amount of money to influence and manipulate federal elections. The decision overturns more than a century of law and precedent. Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-8) immediately condemned the decision. "This is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case," Grayson said. "It leads us all down the road to serfdom."
The court decision completely ignores the likelihood that corporations will spend money to elect officials who will do their bidding, and punish those who won't. It allows unlimited election spending by all corporations, even foreign ones. "The Supreme Court has decided to protect the rights of GE, Volkswagen, Lukoil and Aramco, at the expense of our right to good government," Grayson added.
I found the above excerpt here on the Democratic Underground site.
I have a lot of sympathy with this writer. And I agree. I simply don't see how a mandate to buy health insurance without offering a public option can possibly be right.
As a native of MA I can tell you this......The people of MA are pissed! They wanted relief from the highest health care costs in the nation and instead got a program that forced them to buy insurance. And the insurance industry ran with it and raised rates dramatically.
These health plans that help the rich corporations and suck the money out of common citizens are way out of bounds. I voted for Obama. I never expected this level of corporate ass kissing. I won't vote for him again. And I won't vote for anyone that supports a plan that forces me to buy anything from a private corporation.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I so agree. The Republican succeed by playing to their base. For some insane reason, Democrats seem to think we will succeed if we play to the REPUBLICAN base rather than to our own. It's just plain crazy.
Last night Republican Scott Brown won election to the Senate seat that used to belong to Ted Kennedy. No way around it: That hurts. It undoes the tenuous 60-vote supermajority of Democrats in the Senate -- making it much harder to reform health care, fix the economy or tackle climate change.
Conservatives are already saying the lesson of the election is that voters don't want health care reform, so elected leaders should abandon their progressive principles and stop trying to solve our big problems. Nonsense. The state of Massachusetts *already* enacted health care reform, and workers say they like it -- so that can't be the reason.
If last night's election was a referendum on anything, it was about the weak-kneed, apologetic way some in Congress have negotiated away core principles over the past year. Ted Kennedy didn't do that. He was so loud and strong on our values that they called him the "liberal lion," and voters elected him again and again.
Send a message to Democratic leaders telling them "We need liberal lions, not moderate lambs."
You can make your voice heard right here.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Hat tip to Lisa at All Hat No Cattle
They have built now, robotic women. They’re anatomically correct, they have synthetic skin, and they can carry on minimal conversations. As a matter of fact, the Republican Party wants to run one for vice president.
- David Letterman
Monday, January 18, 2010
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. ... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I actually had never thought of needing a crowbar.
We cannot expect our government to help us individually in the first days after a crisis. The need is too much. Triage... Help the most needy. Rescuing where there is the greatest need. Chances are you, in your insular life will not be their priority so be your OWN. Go to the websites. Download the lists, basics, water, one gallon per PERSON per DAY and have at least a WEEK'S supply. FLASHLIGHTS, FOOD, PRESCRIPTIONS, GLASSES, HEALTH DOCUMENTS, SHOES and CLOTHES and a CROWBAR to help open doors that are affected when the lintel's sag. Do more than cross your fingers.
Also, don't forget to prepare for your companion animals.
I also recommend that you read the comments to this article. There are a lot of other good points made there.
PS: Some years ago, I happened to find a book entitled Where There Is No Doctor at a used book store. I'm so glad I have it. In the event of a disaster, some of us will find ourselves needing to care for the injured even though we have no medical training. This book is an excellent reference sourse.
It wouldn't be a bad idea, come to think of it, if we all made an effort to take both CPR and a basic first aid course.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I definitely agree.
The U.S. gives $0.18 per capita through BOTH government and private foreign aid annually. Norway gives $1.26, Denmark = $0.65, Sweden = $0.62, Netherlands $0.61, France $0.26, UK $0.25 and Canada $0.19. Sorry Rush. I think America can do better.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
You can see more wonderful pictures of these dogs right here.
Please do something nice for dogs today or very soon. Humanity has benefitted so very much over the centuries from their loyal and determined service.
UPDATE: You can donate directly to Search Dog Foundation if you want to offer direct support to this wonderful work.
I wish I had a reference for this so that I could verify it. I had not come across it before. Well, whether Al Gore really said this or not, the statement sums up the reality of our body politic all too well. And it certainly bears pondering.
Al Gore, when asked why he was getting out of politics, said, “What politics has become requires a level of triviality and artifice and nonsense that I find I have in short supply.”
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
-- Tom Seeley, Brooklyn, NY, on why he and his family now drive to Chicago to visit relatives. (USA Today)
When I was a kid growing up … it was a special thing to do. Now, it's like you're getting on a Greyhound bus to go somewhere. The crowding, the screening through the security … in the last couple years, flying is just not a pleasant experience.
So sad. But I get it; I really do.
So this morning I found an article on Alternet that I give you mainly for the title and the lead line:
I'll just let you go over there yourselves and take a look at the article. Let me just say here that the comments so far are particularly rich!
Factually Challenged Fox News Channel Hires Factually Challenged Palin
Palin is a master practitioner of pushing false claims and bogus information. Now she'll be doing that as a regular Fox news contributer.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Kind of lame, really, isn't it? Yes, it's a bit snarky but it's not really one of Mark Fiore's best. In other words, it's not that strong a cartoon as they go.
Now, brace yourself. Fiore is getting death threats from the Tea Party folks because of it.
You can read all about it in an article written by Mark Fiore himself right here.
As I write, there are already 107 reader comments to this article. Seems to have stimulated some strong feelings all the way around.
By the way, isn't it interesting that many conservatives use the death threats against Danish cartoonists (who depicted the prophet Mohammed) as "proof" of how terrible Muslims are. I'm wondering if they have any appreciation of irony at all.
UPDATE: Oh good grief. The NPR higher-ups have called it "mean spirited" and apologzied (sort of) for the cartoon. Pathetic. There's a story about that right here.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Now for some excerpts from the article:
And here's a comment to the YouTube video above:
Brennan's answer -- they do this because they're Evil and murderous -- is on the same condescending cartoon level as the "They-Hate-us-For-Our-Freedom" tripe we endured for the last eight years.
The evidence of what motivates Terrorism when directed at the U.S. is so overwhelming and undeniable that it takes an extreme propagandist to pretend it doesn't exist. What is Brennan so afraid of? It's true that religious fanaticism is a part of their collective motivation, but why can't he just say what's so obviously true: "they claim that the U.S. is interfering in, occupying and bringing violence to their
part of the world, they cite things like civilian deaths and our support for Israel and Guantanamo and torture, and claim that their terrorism is in retaliation"? Indeed, Brennan's boss, the President, has often claimed that things like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib help Al Qaeda recruitment (and it seems clear it was part of Abdulmutallab's hatred for the U.S.), so clearly U.S. actions are part of the motivation.
This woman is eighty-nine years old. What an inspiration and an example for us all!
My God; she may be the last "good" news reporter alive.
And now look at this comment:
I wonder if Obama really in his heart of hearts agrees with our foreign policy or if he's just trapped by the real powers in this country.... I'm convinced that there's a huge amount that's hidden from the ordinary person.
It's simple. They can't answer the "motivation" question because the answer would point directly at US foreign policy. An analysis of the foreign policy would prove in a most glaring way that the war on terror is a fraud to provide an excuse for wars of imperial aggression to protect US dollar hegemony. That's why they won't touch the question.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
It's from an article published over at Huffington Post.
Rudy Giuliani has joined fellow Republicans Dana Perino and Mary Matalin in seeming to forget that the September 11th attacks happened under President Bush.
On "Good Morning America" Friday, the former New York mayor declared, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama."
Not only does the statement suggest Giuliani does not remember the devastating attack in his own city, it also omits the anthrax attacks and the attempted shoe bomber attack.
You can also watch the actual footage there.
George Stephanopoulos was conducting the interview and, unbelievably, did not correct Giuliani!
One person commenting said this:
And some of the people who were watching will have believed it. That is what the liars are counting on.
Lying is second nature to these people, and they start believing everything they say.
UPDATE: Here's another comment that I think is VERY important:
Now, is anyone in the mainstream media going to point this out?
Notice how much more attention has been given to the underwear bomber than the shoe bomber from 8 years ago? Hardly proportional to the threat.
UPDATE 2: I want to recomend that you go on over to OpEdNews and read the Statement of 911 Widows In Response to 12/25 Terror Attempt. Here's one really pertinent excerpt:
Currently, many of the members of Congress, as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney, are loudly criticizing the current administration for how they are handling this latest terrorist attempt. We would like to remind them that they were in office during the years post 9/11. We would like to tell them they should be ashamed and should be held accountable. It was during this time that existing loopholes that allowed 9/11 to happen were supposed to have been fixed.
It is utterly offensive and dangerous when politicians attempt to turn a national security issue into a partisan battle over who is the mightiest terror warrior. The safety of American citizens is not a schoolyard game.
Here's a kind of raunchy, humorous response to that! (If you're very prudish and easily offended, please skip this one...)
UPDATE: Okay. Ya just gotta check this one out too:
Then there are the abortion clinic bombers....
Thursday, January 07, 2010
-- Nicholas A. Ashford, professor of technology and policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on new systems that put Internet-connected computers on auto dashboards. (New York Times)
This is irresponsible at best and pernicious at worst. Unfortunately and sadly, it is a continuation of the pursuit of profit over safety -- for both drivers and pedestrians.
I must say, I agree.
My dear friend Link sent me this cartoon. Mind you, we do get tornadoes here in Oklahoma if not hurricanes! Yes, we're ready for the snow to depart here in Tulsa. :-)
Actually, what I tend to say is, "At least we don't get earthquakes... at least we don't get earthquakes!"
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
And check out this paragraph:
President Barack Obama scolded 20 of his highest-level officials on Tuesday over the botched Christmas Day terror attack on an airliner bound for Detroit, taking them jointly to task for "a screw-up that could have been disastrous" and should have been avoided.
After that 90-minute private reckoning around a table in the super-secure White House Situation Room, a grim-faced Obama informed Americans that the government had enough information to thwart the attack ahead of time but that the intelligence community, though trained to do so, did not "connect those dots."
"That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it," he said, standing solo to address the issue publicly for the fifth time — and the first in Washington — since the Dec. 25 incident.
It's all really quite dismaying.
In his late-afternoon remarks to the nation, Obama told reporters the security lapse didn't have to do with the collection of information but with the failure to "bring it all together." The bottom line, he said: "The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot."
Dogmatism breeds intolerance. Like ideology, dogmatism puts blinkers on what its adherents can see, disables their questioning faculties, and breeds fervor and fanaticism. . . . Having an open mind does not mean that one never comes to any convictions in life. It is perfectly possible to have an open mind and live a very principled life, without holding one's beliefs dogmatically. Having an open mind means being prepared to question even your most central beliefs if there is occasion to do so. It means being open, when the time comes, to having your mind changed by an argument better than one's own. It means being able to think both sides of an issue, both the side you think is true and the side you think is false. It also means being able to suspend your beliefs, to play devil's advocate, and to detach yourself somewhat from your own beliefs, actions and feelings. Only living with an open mind gives us a chance to grow and change, for change is inevitable, while growth, unfortunately, is not.
-- Jeff Mason
Sunday, January 03, 2010
...change comes from the bottom up; always has, always will. That goes for today, too. We can't wait for Barack Obama to just fix things. We have to be in his ear. That's our job as engaged citizens.
-- Matt Damon
Gladwell dives headfirst into a paradigm hunch he’d had while covering AIDS for The Washington Post: What if all events unfolded the way epidemics do; What if everything—from business to social policy to advertising—has a Tipping Point at which it hits critical mass and begins spreading like wildfire? Writing smartly, with passion, clarity and wonder, Gladwell uses a series of convincing case studies to anchor a thought-provoking argument that—over the last decade—has helped shape the way we think about the world.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
If progressives always announce that they're willing to accept whatever minuscule benefits are tossed at them (on the ground that it's better than nothing) and unfailingly support Democratic initiatives (on the ground that the GOP is worse), then they will (and should) always be ignored when it comes time to negotiate; nobody takes seriously the demands of those who announce they'll go along with whatever the final outcome is.