Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bush to Public Workers--Go Ahead and Squeal, I Dare Ya!

Nearly 25 million workers just lost their speech rights. Today, the Today Show is giving their finaly send off to Katie Couric. It's nice to know what's really important.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Who Would Jesus Blow Away With A Semi-Automatic Weapon?

Things just aren't getting better, are they?

Boilermakers Settle

Earlier in March, I wrote about the sad situation in Meredosia, IL. Boilermakers local 484 faced a year-long lockout from a company with 1000% profit increase over health care and wages. Below are comments from a co-worker of mine who was instrumental in arranging some donations from my own staff union on behalf of the Meredosia workers:

The 150 workers at the Celanese Corp. in Meredosia, IL have settled their contract after being locked out for almost one year.

The results were mixed. Although they were able to maintain choice of their insurance carrier and push back somewhat against the 35% pay cuts of the Company’s last and final offer, they are still going back to work with deep pay cuts at an extremely profitable company (profits up 1000% last year) These workers’ standard of living has been sharply reduced.

This was a choice of survival, of living to fight another day. With the one year anniversary approaching, the threat of a company inspired “decertification” of the union by the scabs working in the plant was very real. Assessing what “power” they had at this moment in time, they cut the best deal they felt they could. (Those of us fighting subcontracting in our schools have faced similar dilemmas). On $125 week strike benefits and the donations of supporters like us, these workers were able to sustain their struggle for 51 weeks. Their struggle, and ours, continues.

[Our staff Union] contributed over $2000. to Local 484 in the course of their struggle. Small as we are, this was the most per member contributed by any union to this struggle! We can indeed be proud of the role we played and the solidarity we displayed in this fight. Keep the faith!

So there you have it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day.

I tried thinking of something uplifting today, but you know what? It's just not coming to me. I'm sorry to hell that people have to fight in this shitty war, and to my mind one way of honoring veterans would be to manufacture less of them.

But what do I know? I've never authored these kinds of successes.

On the flip side, it looks like we have our own My Lai out of "Not-Vietnam". Complete with coverup and everything.

Mr. Tomorrow celebrates the day with the following quote from Bob Herbert of the NYTimes:
Before you gather up the hot dogs and head out to the barbecue this afternoon, look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if Iraq is something you would be willing to die for.
It's not for me, or for any of my family that's serving right now. But George Bush has two service-aged daughters. Why aren't they in OCS after graduating from college? If this is such a grand plan full of hope and promise and all? Where are they? Drinking, probably.

And that is not a knock on them.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How are people this stupid allowed be journalists? How, Lord, how is this possible under your merciful care?

It's passages like this that make one realize that actual journalism is no more a valid form of communicating important ideas about the public good than using Mad Libs to pen up fart jokes.

I swear to God. Observe the journalist ask the freaking Senate Leader if he's pandering by scheduling votes on flag burning and gay marraige during an election year.

No, genius, that's not pandering. It's something else. Even though it looks exactly like pandering. Smells like pandering (bullshit, in other words). Tastes like pandering (ewww...). It's clearly not pandering.

Hey, I have an idea: instead of maybe asking Bill Frist whether the Senate doesn't have other business than gay marraige and flag-burining, perhaps point out to him (gently, if it helps you feel better about yourself) that the Senate clearly has more important goddamn things to worry about.


Jamison Foser has a great long rant up on this subject over at Media Matters for America, but the nitty-gritty of it is that while Democrats are often imputed to have shallow motives dictated by triangulating over the latest poll numbers, Republicans are somehow above all this. Witness the way John McCain makes people weak in the knees, for no goddamn reason whatsoever.

If we had a media that was somehow more useful than a refrigerated igloo, these things might be commonly known. As it is, we get extensive coverage of the between-the-sheets-action of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Prime information real estate like the New York Times wasted on this kind of drivel.

It's pathetic, really.

Attention Newsweek: That was a dumb thing to say

Atrios and Feministing nail Newsweek on their recent mea culpa over a 1986 story they ran that famously contended that middle-aged women were more likely to be victims of a terroris attack than to get married. Apologizing is fine, but this statement is just weak:

Much of the ire focused on a single, now infamous line: that a single 40-year-old woman is “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to ever marry, the odds of which the researchers put at 2.6 percent. The terrorist comparison wasn’t in the study, and it wasn’t actually true (though it apparently didn’t sound as inappropriate then as it does today, post 9/11).

Oh good. So making shit up is apparently just fine, it's the 9/11 connotations that were a bit tasteless. Got it.

What is it with this guy?

I guess Rahm Emmanuel gets his rocks off by handpicking his own candidates over those preferred by local democratic activists. It's not just Christine, either.

Halfway around the country in sunny California, Jerry McNerney has put up a fight against the loathsome Richard Pombo. According to his Wikipedia entry, he ran last time against Pombo and did better than any democrat has. So naturally, the DCCC has its own favorite son for the race, Steve Filson.

Nothing against Mr. Filson, as I never met the guy. But McNerney's 2004 story rings damn familiar compared to Christine's, and it doesn't look good when the DCCC chair is going against the wishes of the locally (in McNerney's case--enrdorsed) supported candidates. Instead of proving they can't win because you've arrayed your institutional support against them, why not support them because they were willing to go it alone when no one was paying attention? Talk about rewarding your sacrificial lambs with a nice stab in the back.

Mr. Emanuel, not only do I not like your politics, you also seem to have a tin ear when it comes to encouraging people to get involved in politics. And for that, I award you a golden turd:

Okay, so it's not golden, but then neither is Mr. Emanuel. But it is turdly, and so is he.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bad week

We just got a Mac Book, Airport, and Firewire, and if you know what any of this means, you're one step ahead of me. Work continues to place my family jewels in an unrelenting vice.

I just thought I'd pass along this pearl of wisdom:
"It is not entirely true that Bush has betrayed everyone. The 1% of his voter support that came from big business corporate America - he's been truthful to them. They have gotten the legislation, the appointments; I can't think of any issue that they have strongly supported where Bush has opposed them."
Who's that quote from? Ralph Nader? Dennis Kucinich? Howard Dean? Probably, it's from that Maverick (TM), John McCain.


It's from Richard Viguerie.

Who's he? Sometimes referred to as one of the 'four horsemen' of conservative mega-strategists, Viguerie pioneered direct mail solicitations for fundraising in Republican campaigns. He's not complaining that Bush has only stayed faithful to his corporate masters, following their every fevered wish with legislation. Trust me, if there's one thing that Richard Viguerie believes in, it's corporate interests.

For what it's worth.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Tommy Hilfiger tries to 'Reinvent Axl Rose' at celebrity birthday party in NYC.

Not good news.

Holy crap.

*UPDATE: Apparently this is some kind of a hoax. But Jesus, who would make up something like this?

Two pieces of totally unrelated news. Seriously.

On the one hand, the President is just blatantly lying about the effect his new tax cuts will have on the budget. Lying, I might add, which is flatly contradicted by his own Secretary of the Treasury. Now that's shameless!

On the other hand, Americans apparently don't think Bush has much personal appeal anymore.

Like I said, totally unrelated. Seriously.

You may recall...

That I laid down a feat of landscaping engineering unheard of Inallmyyears (ha!). I sodded a large part of my backyard. It looked like this:

Note the striations of the various strips of grass and the exposed dirt and rock. Now it looks like this:

I challenge you to find a piece of more-expertly laid sod anywhere in this great land. And while you're looking, Petunia will keep a watchful eye over the homestead:

Evildoers, consider yourselves warned. She will lick you into submission, which is worse than it sounds, given her penchant for eating her own poop.

Now, I am not a saint.

But I probably have an edge out over this guy (via feministing)...
"An attempt to stamp out feminism will have less of a chance of success than an attempt to stamp out cold; neither of them exists."
Oh, really? That's weird. I had always heard it did.
"Feminism is an effect such as malnutrition, diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver; they are all symptoms, not entities unto themselves."
But I thought it didn't exist. Diabetes certainly exists. Cirrhosis of the liver certainly exists. Oh head, why are you spinning 'round? Oh Earth, why do you shake beneath my feet? Please sir, don't let me interrupt such serious philosophizing.
"We have reduced our ability to create good. The greatest societal good comes from the family and there can be no family without patriarchy."
That's weird, I'm in a family. I do not have the patriarchy happenin'. Wait till Dr. Mrsinallmyyears hears about this! We totally misfiled our tax returns, dude.
Poor Western man, his life has been torn asunder by those bad feminists.
Oh yes, to be a man in the highly developed, rich, western world. With its high standard of living, education, and health care. What a piteous creature. Much worse off than a man from the Sudan, or Iraq, or shit, Mexico. You've certainly got a point there, friend. Rap on, brotherman.

"...our society has lost its virility, nurturing has decreased, women have lost all sense of propriety, and our society is collapsing."

Women have lost all sense of propriety? Sign me up!
"Only virile men who will rise up and assume their familial responsibilities can create the conditions where nurturing can take place and good will develop."
Virile men, rising up? Together? With no women anywhere (except for in their rightful place, wherever that is). Someone sounds a little light in the loafers, if you know what I'm sayin'.

And I know you do.

Used CD's rock.

I found this for $7. It's amazing.

I was nervous. With trepidation, I loaded it into iTunes. The result? Sweet ska goodness. God Bless you, Skatalites, and all thanks are due to the Lord of Used CD Stores.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

And another another thing...

Would the spokespeople for the party of Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, Alphonso Jackson, Elliot Abrams, Ollie North, Scooter Libby, Dan Safavian, James Tobin, and Jack Abramoff please, please, please stop complaining about how people who support immigrants' rights are supporting criminals and amnesty for their crimes (and that was just a list of the current gang).

Please? Please.

And what he said:
Of course, the greatest irony is that the only halfway decent excuse for keeping immigrant laborers segregated from the rest of the working class is the faux-righteous outrage that the immigrants in question are “breaking the law”. One wonders where these defenders of civic virtue have been over the past few years as the Bush Justice Department has made a deliberate effort to cut down on the enforcement of laws that make it a crime to hire undocumented workers. Apparently the only crimes worth shedding crocodile tears over are the ones committed by poor Mexicans. Perhaps we should take a cue from the Republican response to the President’s own lawbreaking by working to bring immigrants’ residency status back “within the scope of the law”.
And what he said:

NEW RULE. To follow up on Matt's spat with David Frum, I think a rule needs to be adopted: If you don't care about income inequality normally, you're not allowed to make it your central argument against immigration. Frum is a guy who, throughout his career, has argued that income inequality has simply been a surge of salaries at the top. And he's been similarly unconcerned about mobility (which has decreased across the board, not just for Mexicans). The rich get richer, but the poor don't get poorer, so why worry? And to show how attentive he's been to the issue, searches on his blog for "inequality" or "mobility" turn up, literally, nothing. But when the subject turns to immigration, both become issues of paramount importance.

Last night, over drinks at the Rooster, we were talking about what separated intellectual dishonesty from simple dishonesty. And this is an excellent example. Frum's arguments on intergenerational wage convergence among Latinos aren't lies. So far as I can tell, and my read was admittedly quick, they're perfectly true. But Frum isn't a guy who cares about intergenerational wage convergence, or equality of incomes -- he's dishonest in his concern. He may worry about what low incomes or poor educational attainment are correlated with, but he's curiously unwilling to make that connection explicit. To be fair, though, Frum isn't the only, or even the worst, offender. That comes in the right's widespread adoption of George Borjas's work, which I say more on here.

Yep. I'm done with this.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

And another thing...

Something occurred to me while I read this article about how the LAX Hilton suspended some union supporters during an organizing drive. It's kind of an article of faith among HR people these days that this generation of workers don't plan their careers with the intention of working for one company their whole lives. I think that's largely true.

But another group of people carry a very different set of priorities--hispanic immigrants, who carry a community-oriented set of values that tend toward loyalty to an employer as well as a community-oriented sense about unions. I just think that this is a part of the story that's largely been untold in the immigraton debate.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Good grief.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but this does not inspire confidence in our prospects for transparent and clean elections.

I cannot believe that someone in the business of making voting machines doesn't perceive that some people may want to steal elections. That's like a cop not believing some people want to make meth labs or the FBI not believing in the Mafia. Well, strike that last one.

It's not good.

The Fifty State Strategy

I don't know how you feel about it (Super-Smart guy Chris Bowers lays out the case for it here), but Atrios nails a good point. Democrats, liberals, progressives, even socialists, are constantly being told that they need to reach out to 'red state America.' Okay, maybe not the socialists. But we are constantly reminded 0f how we live in coastal enclaves of moral degeneracy and high standards of living. Or something.

And so the current chair of the Democratic Party decides to reach out to Jesusland, (see below) and the National Democrats like Rahm Emmanuel and Chuck Shumer flip out. Resources are scarce, don't you know.

Well, at some point, if the Democrats are going to ever become a force in areas other than the above-mentioned United States of Canada, then they're going to need to pursue ground-level organizing in enemy territory. And I say that as a native of Jesusland, North Carolina Province.

There appears to be some dispute whether it would be a wiser to take advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with Republican rule by using cash exclusively in certain races, or whether it makes more sense to use the resources for long-term organizing, with less of a focus on the '06 races.

There's never a good time to use resources for long-term work that may have little immediate impact. It will never happen. There will always be a reason not to. The problem with that thinking is that it places a terminal cap on your electoral prospects. You are by definition limited to success in a narrower slice of the nation.

It has often been said that the difference between Republican and Democratic Presidential efforts is this: Republican presidential campaigns are only the top of a very solid pyramid. All of the local activists, state and county parties, think tanks, money men and the rest of it support that person at the top, but largely that person is interchangeable from election cycle to election cycle. There may be differences, but they're not earth-shattering.

Democratic Presidential campaigns are heavily reliant on personality-driven concerns. They are like the pyramid inversed. Take out the invidual candidate, and it can all fall appart quite easily. See Clinton, Bill and Dukakis, Michael.

I think it's easy to see which electoral dynamic works out for better long-term prospects. There is never a time when organizing is not the answer. It might be the harder response. It might be the long-term answer. It is never not the answer.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wrong on so many levels

I found this one via Labourstart.

Warning: this story contains elements that may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Or those with a freaking conscience. Stamping 'vote no' on the rumps of the hogs you're about to slaughter adds a nice level of what's called 'symbolism' in the literary world.

And justice for the workers came not a moment too soon. By which I mean nine years later.

One That Flew Under the Radar

A big win for the good guys, and one that happened against all probable odds.

Take that, denizens of the Android's Dungeon*

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if male comic book characters were objectified and sexualized like females are? Well, me either, but this woman did, and the results are...interesting.

Truly, the internet enriches our deeply impoverished culture.

*I think I went to high school with the guy who owns that store.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Harry Reid pulled another fast one on Bill Frist on the immigration issue, which goes back to the argument which was made in April that the Democratic leadership isn't so hapless. You can be damn sure that he won't get any credit for the manuever and the hardball bargaining in the media.

This is an area where the Democrats have managed to sow a lot of confusion and chaos among core Republican constituencies. And the fireworks sure have been fun to watch.

I did not know that.

Mink, Louisiana was the last town in the nation to get phone service.

Ok, you're saying so what. Big Deal. A lot of people didn't have phones in the 50's.

That's true. But Mink got its phone service in 2004. The punchline--they started petitioning to get phone service in the 70's.

No shiite. via dailykos.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wow man, protest music is like cool again.

The problem I have with pieces like this is that they're just shitty.

I mean, that's great that Neil Young finally got the idea that Things Are Bad Enough To Write Songs About. But you know, he's kind of a Johnny-Come-Lately. People have been protesting this situation since the moment it started. Back in 2000. And they did so long before the media ever got the notion that Bush might be something other than a Resolute Leader (TM). In fact, some bands faced harsh criticism for stating the obvious, like the Dixie Chicks. They got called some of the worst names imaginable and their careers were widely predicted to be over. Now that this is obviously not the case, the media is ready to tell us that protesting is kewl.

Well, fuck you. It's part of the problem I have with the music industry in general, which is that it thinks that if it didn't market it first, it's not music, and it's not important. It's a repugnant attitude.

Not The House Appropriation Chair!

Yes, the House Appropriations Chair.

This is the guy who determines what bills will be passed when it comes to your tax dollars. He's on the take.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Vile Vortex

It's like a confluence of corruptions.

Retractions, corrections, and things better left unsaid

The Rachael Maddow Show reported this morning that Mr. Chavez did not ask for one 25-year term as president, but that he could run for the constitutionally-mandated 6-year terms for up to 25 years. Big difference. They're reporting that the AP got it wrong. It is, as Ms. Maddow said, the difference between Castro and FDR.

Which, according to some people, isn't much. But, in my book, it does.

Boy, I'm articulate today.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Hugo Chavez, here is where my support for you comes to an abrupt halt. Putting more money into the half of your overwhelmingly poor population--I'm with you. Building a pan-American alliance against corporate concentrations of power, yeah, I dig it.

But asking for a 25-year gig as "President"?

No sir.

On the other hand, he is asking. That's more than I can say about the President of Kazakhstan, whom Vice-President Dick Cheney this weekend. Cheney had some high praise for Kazakhstan's president.

To wit:
Asked at the news conference how he would evaluate Kazakhstan's record on democracy, Cheney noted his admiration for "all that's been accomplished in the last 15 years, both in the economic and the political realm."
Yes, why the state department classifies their human rights record as 'poor'.

But back to that meeting with the President of Kazakhstan:
The vice president and Nazarbayev held unexpectedly long talks, first spending more than an hour and a quarter together with only interpreters present, then sitting down with aides.
Well, I wonder, I wonder whatever they did talk about. Oh yeah:
Among them, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told Congress recently, the United States is "working on securing the flow of oil" from North Caspian oil fields by tanker to a pipeline terminus in Azerbaijan. That route would bypass Russia and Iran . There has also been periodic talk of building a pipeline under the Caspian Sea.
Of course. So we condemn Hugo Chavez for trying to implement a coup-by-popular vote, as well we should. So a pox on his house. But in Central Asia, nary a peep. When I was in college I sported a hand-scrawled patch on my bookbag that read "My kids and my dollars go to Central Asia." I thought I was being cute. I guess I was just being prescient.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

'Another one of those Mysteries'

Yeah, like what happened to that 8 billion dollars in Iraq. Whoops, it just went missing, shit happens, ya know.

On the flipside, if you won't even say why you're leaving, it can't be good. 24/7 Porter Goss speculation is rampant here, here, and here.

Knock yourself out.

Maybe the guy to the left knows something about all of this. If not, I bet he has an 1-800 number for those may have information about this unsolved crime.

Another Installment: Music that Moves Me

Slackers Edition.

Peculiar is simply the best ska album I've ever listened to. It's at turns serious (which is an accomplishment for such upbeat music), mellow, charming, and fun. If you've never given ska a serious shot, know that the genre includes more than the Suicide Machines and No Doubt.

I have a picture of the album cover, but for some reason Blogger isn't cooperating. Trust me that you should go over and get yourself a copy.

Update: Now that you can see the album, you can clearly see why it's worth your $12 or whatever.

So there.

I'm not smart enough to know what this means.

Apparently Israel is planning to divide up Jerusalem in half with the Palestinians. They're engaging this unilaterally, apparently without negotiating it with the Hamas-led government.

Could be bad, could be good. How's that for political analysis?

So I guess it's not the Illuminati after all.

Yesterday, President George W. Bush gushed about the fact that the War on Terror is actually World War III. While you might believe that he's saying this because he's an idiot, part of a murky conspiracy involving the Freemasons, or believes that he's cast in the mold of FDR, Bob Harris over at This Modern World has a different explanation.



I think it's just as plausible as anything else. In fact, it would go toward explaining a lot of things.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

You're kidding me, right? Right?

Words fail me.

To answer Mr. Cohen, you know what I consider rude? Nearly every damn maneuver to drag our country into the swirling toilet water of certain doom that this President has thunk up or managed to let others convince him to put his imprimatur on. You know, every day of his existence as the head of our nation.

Good grief. Pity the poor President that has too suffer the forthright comedian. It's not like there's anything worse out there than that.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm tired...

But not as tired as I will be by week's end.

Read this. Then read this.

You cannot tell me the two are not connected. Well, you could, but you'd obviously be wrong. I mean, obviously.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chalk one up for the good guys

I guess something moved the people at Unicco. Maybe it was the hunger strike, maybe it was the other striking people at their other Florida campuses. I don't know, but the union got their card check.

Via Workinglife, which is a great website worth a frequent visit.

And while I'm at it, that same post makes a great point--people are really standing up against the corporate rules that shape the world. Their voices must be heard, and they're not whining about lack of media coverage, or the two-party duopoly, they're just doing it because they have no choice.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I've said it before...

...and I'll say it again. Billmon ist smart.

I wish I could it put things like this:

Colbert used satire the way it's used in more openly authoritarian societies: as a political weapon, a device for raising issues that can't be addressed directly. He dragged out all the unmentionables -- the Iraq lies, the secret prisons, the illegal spying, the neutered stupidity of the lapdog press -- and made it pretty clear that he wasn't really laughing at them, much less with them. It may have been comedy, but it also sounded like a bill of indictment, and everybody understood the charges.

If things were going well, if Bush's approval ratings were north of 60%, gas was 80 cents a gallon and the war was being won, I suspect Colbert would have gotten a different reception. His audience could have pretended to be amused -- in that smug, patronizing way we all remember from the neocon glory days. But we're long past the point where the Cheneyites and their journalistic flunkies are willing to suffer such barbs with good humor. The regime's legal and political troubles are too serious, the wounds too open and too deep for the gang to smile while somebody like Colbert gleefully jabs a finger into them.



Today a few hundred thousand folks are expected to descend on my beloved Chicago to express their frustration with an immigration system that rewards employers for living fat off the sweat of hardworking people who labor conditions most of us wouldn't tolerate for pay that most of us would consider insulting.

On the other hand, you have people who argue that illegal immigration should be criminalized to level where it's on a par with spousal abuse or drug trafficking.

The LA Times has written a piece on how busting companies for wage violations has led to sharp decrease in illegal immigration. Companies don't hire illegals because they know that there's no chance a sweatshop environment will be tolerated. Wow. Who knew.

Consider this when you hear talk of a 2,000 mile fence and breaking up families for deportation.

More on 'Signing Statements'

Hello Conservo-Jurists? Rule of law people? Anyone? anyone? 750 times our President has passed a law while issuing a document saying he doesn't have to follow those laws. How many times would be too many? 400? 449? No, wait, 450 definitely would be too many. Oh, wait that's 750 times that the President has decided that he's above the law. We're slouching toward Gomorah, we're galloping toward monarchy. Didn't we once fight a war over this? Say, over 200 years ago?

Dailykos has useful analysis here.