Saturday, December 9, 2006

Labor Blotter

Senator Hillary Clinton is reaching out to labor in her likely bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Meetings are scheduled next week with several major labor unions including the International Association of Firefighters and the Service Employees International Union.

FedEx delivery drivers in Wilmington, Massachusetts voted to join the Teamsters, the first drivers to do so within the FedEx Home Delivery System. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled seven times since 1988 that FedEx Ground and Home Delivery Drivers are not independent contractors and are eligible to join unions.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association and Brigham and Women's Hospital averted a strike by reaching a tentative agreement that includes a pay raise and contract language protecting newly licensed nurses and union rights.

Nearly 1000 workers at the the world's largest hog slaughterhouse staged a two day wildcat strike at the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina after the company fired 75 workers whose social security numbers did not match government records. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, in what is a change for organized labor in the United States, has been attempting to organize the plant despite the fact many of the workers are illegal immigrants.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Shhh...The President Might Hear You

Robert Gates' startling revelation.

Sgt. Stewart Gets His Star

After fighting with the VA for more than a year, the widow of Army Guardsman Sgt. Patick Stewart received a government issued memorial plaque with the Wiccan pentacle. The plaque was dedicated in a ceremony at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Monday.

Monday, December 4, 2006


I gloated over John Bolton’s immanent departure just after mid-terms in this post but, quite frankly, I just can’t get enough of watching this monstrous regime unravel.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Labor Blotter

Middletown, CT public works employees spent a day of “hard bargaining” and agreed to a three year contract that includes a 3 to 3.25 percent wage increase each year but conceded higher medical co-payments.

Wal-Mart is coming under increasing scrutiny by labor and humanitarian groups, as well as high profile politicians as the holidays approach. The world’s largest retailer made $ll.2 billion in profits last year.

A mural depicting labor’s contribution to the city of Madison, WI is underway in a project supported by grants from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Madison Arts Commission, and the Wisconsin Arts Board, as well as by donations from local unions and individuals.

Representatives from four Teamsters locals and five smaller unions at the Philadelphia Daily News and The Inquirer agreed to a third extension of contract talks. At issue are the workers’ pension plans and layoff seniority.

The San Bernardino Unified School District used a fictitious union agreement to defend unorthodox hiring practices that encouraged nepotism and cronyism, according to members of the California School Employees Association. The district is under pressure to implement the merit model used throughout the state.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blinding Me With Science

I don't know what a "blog-triumphal model of memetic bootstrapping" is but I'm pretty sure they make a cream for it.

Here's the link, British graduate student dude.

That Word

Oh Negrodamus, will Arnold Schwartzenegger ever leave Maria Shriver?”

Yes,” answered Negrodamus, “Arnold Schwartzenegger will divorce her and marry Shirley Temple Black, and she will be called Shirley Temple Black-Negger.”

It was funny, to me anyway, when Paul Mooney said it.

As comedian Michael Richards continues his post-meltdown Forgiveness and Healing Tour, several black leaders have begun calling for an end to the use of the N-word, asking television networks, film companies, and musicians to discuss its ban. Jessie Jackson went so far as to say it was “unprotected” by free speech.

At the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University a strong case is made that even within the black community, where it is often used as a term of endearment, it remains “the ultimate expression of white racism and white superiority, irrespective of the way it is pronounced,” and “Historically, [N----r] more than any word captured the personal antipathy and institutionalized racism directed toward blacks. It still does.”

Yet one wonders if its common use – especially among black artists in the music industry – was not a vehicle for healing, an identity with which to unite against racism and the inevitable social consequences that follow. In comedy, stars such as Chris Rock, Paul Mooney, and Dave Chappelle occasionally used the term in reference to whites, as if to invite the very inclusiveness they themselves have been denied.

It now seems that some have taken the word and invested it with the characteristics of unity and struggle, and though it remains a word whose best use is by those who have suffered under its stigma, it is undeniably evolving before us.

Richards' tirade undoubtably aggravated an open wound in our country. But would the proposed cure – that of limiting free speech – actually solve the issue of racism?

Monday, November 27, 2006

We'll Call it a Draw

When one sifts through Senator Chuck Hagel’s Op-Ed piece to the Washington Post (clearly written with an eye toward ‘08) entitled “Leaving Iraq, Honorably,” one will indeed find a call for withdrawal as well as some criticism against (presumably) the Bush Administration. Most of what remains, however, is nothing more an attempt to rewrite a palatable beginning and ending to this nightmare without regard to historical accuracy.

For instance, Hagel calls the reasons for going to war with Iraq “honorable,” and “part of the ongoing struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism, and terrorism.” He writes, and this may be the most striking example of self delusion in the editorial, “The United States can still extricate itself from an impending disaster in Iraq.”

Honorable intentions? Impending disaster?

Newsflash, Senator: We lost. It is too late to save our honor in regards to our actions in Iraq. It is too late to save the 600,000 plus dead Iraqis and nearly 3000 dead Americans. The best we can possibly hope for is to salvage some of our credibility as a nation through a speedy withdrawal, a sincere apology to the world, and to bring charges against those responsible for this insane war in the first place.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Real Reason...

Mitt Romney will never, EVER become President of the United States.

Must Be the Saunas

According to this site, an organization calling itself the "Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy" rates the United States the 17th best democracy of the 167 countries in the study.

The top ten:

1. Sweden
2. Iceland
3. Netherlands
4. Norway
5. Denmark
6. Finland
7. Luxembourg
8. Australia
9. Canada
10. Switzerland

The study considers 60 factors divided over five general categories; free and fair election process, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Friday, November 24, 2006

How to Crash a Party

A funeral party, that is.

Labor Blotter

The strike against Goodyear Tire and Rubber by the United Steelworkers of America entered its seventh week without a resolution. In the latest round of negotiations between USW, representing about 15,000 workers in 16 plants, and Goodyear, the world’s largest tire company, the union has rejected proposals that would drastically reduce pay and benefits to union members.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO continues to operate under imposed work rules by the Federal Aviation Administration after the FAA broke off contract negotiations on, ironically, Labor Day. The new rules include a two tier pay system which freezes the salaries of current controllers and pays new hires 30 percent less, deleting the requirement for breaks after two hours on a control position, and routine denial of sick leave.

Houston, Texas janitors represented by Service Employees International Union endured a month long strike and shocking acts of police brutality to win salary increases and health insurance benefits. The pay increase, to be phased in over three years, raises hourly wages from $5.30 to $7.95.

Ford Incorporated is offering buyout packages to employees after announcing it intends to reduce its workforce by 30,000 hourly and 14,000 salaried positions by 2008. Ford lost nearly $7 billion in the first three quarters of 2006.

Nike Incorporated has stopped placing orders for hand-stitched soccer balls from Saga Sports, a Pakistan based company, after a six month investigation. Nike found numerous labor, environmental, and safety violations within Saga’s facilities, including allegations by trade unionists and employees of worker harassment, wrongful termination, and inaccurate payment of wages.