Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 5th, 2006

Why the GOP does not want unions

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The reason is just what you think: without unions, workers have little or no power against the decisions made by the businesses that employ them—decisions that frequently are to increase profits by cheating workers. Paul Krugman summarizes it nicely:

Should we be cheering over the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally set a new record? No. The Dow is doing well largely because American employers are waging a successful war against wages. Economic growth since early 2000, when the Dow reached its previous peak, hasn’t been exceptional. But after-tax corporate profits have more than doubled, because workers’ productivity is up, but their wages aren’t — and because companies have dealt with rising health insurance premiums by denying insurance to ever more workers.

If you want to see how the war against wages is being fought, and what it’s doing to working Americans and their families, consider the latest news from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart already has a well-deserved reputation for paying low wages and offering few benefits to its employees; last year, an internal Wal-Mart memo conceded that 46 percent of its workers’ children were either on Medicaid or lacked health insurance. Nonetheless, the memo expressed concern that wages and benefits were rising, in part “because we pay an associate more in salary and benefits as his or her tenure increases.”

The problem from the company’s point of view, then, is that its workers are too loyal; it wants cheap labor that doesn’t hang around too long, but not enough workers quit before acquiring the right to higher wages and benefits. Among the policy changes the memo suggested to deal with this problem was a shift to hiring more part-time workers, which “will lower Wal-Mart’s health care enrollment.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 9:53 pm

US foods those in the UK like

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This guy asks what “junk foods” he should include in a package to a friend in the UK. The suggestions came pouring in, though not all were for junk: one highly popular item was maple syrup. Interesting to read, especially if you’re packing something to send to friends in the UK.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Daily life

Good movie: Bullet in the Head

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John Woo’s 1990 film Bullet in the Head may or may not be a remake of John Landis’s 1986 Three Amigos. Both directors are, as you observe, named “John,” and both movies tell the wacky antics of three friends.

In Woo’s film, the three friends, Frank, Paul, and Ben, are in Hong Kong, when they decide to leave after a spot of bother, and to go to Vietnam (then having a war) to seek their fortune. There they have many zany encounters and madcap mishaps before returning to Hong Kong.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Hastert’s odd position

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Denny Hastert keeps saying that the Democrats are responsible for the Foley scandal coming to light. In addition to being untrue, it’s a peculiar stance to take. He’s saying, “If it weren’t for the Democrats, none of this would have come to light.” Is that really what he wants to be saying?

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

Habeas Corpus, 1215-2006

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Molly Ivins wrote an excellent column on the demise of habeus corpus:

Oh dear. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. In Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District, long represented by Henry Hyde, Republican candidate Peter Roskam accused his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, of planning to “cut and run” on Iraq.

Duckworth is a former Army major and chopper pilot who lost both legs in Iraq after her helicopter got hit by an RPG. “I just could not believe he would say that to me,” said Duckworth, who walks on artificial legs and uses a cane. Every election cycle produces some wincers, but how do you apologize for that one?

The legislative equivalent of that remark is the detainee bill now being passed by Congress. Beloveds, this is so much worse than even that pathetic deal reached last Thursday between the White House and Republican Sens. John Warner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. The White House has since reinserted a number of “technical fixes” that were the point of the putative “compromise.” It leaves the president with the power to decide who is an enemy combatant.

This bill is not a national security issue—this is about torturing helpless human beings without any proof they are our enemies. Perhaps this could be considered if we knew the administration would use the power with enormous care and thoughtfulness. But of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 8:08 am

The GOP thinks “oversight” means “overlook”

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We really shouldn’t be surprised that the GOP leadership was more concerned about ignoring possible problems in the page program than in resolving them, since that’s part and parcel of the whole GOP philosophy: they don’t like the government looking into and regulating business, any busines: the securities industry, the pharmaceutical industry, agribusiness, telecoms and broadcast—whatever the industry, the GOP does not want oversight to occur: outsiders snooping into whats going on, looking for things the business is doing wrong. They hate OSHA—let businesses worry about workplace safety, no need to get the government involved. And the whole effort of the Bush Administration to keep things secret is precisely to avoid oversight or “interference”.

The GOP is a party of secrecy, a party of insiders, a party that wants no truck with or accounting to hoi polloi. And so when the GOP fails at oversight, they are in fact succeeding at carrying out their philosophy.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2006 at 7:23 am

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