When I read this press release article about this new EFCA “compromise” plan put forth by Starbucks, Costco, and Whole Foods, I was struck at how little time was devoted to the details of the plan itself, and how much space they give to the views of those putting forth the proposal.
Not until the second to last paragraph does the article make clear that none of these companies are currently unionized, and it gives the last word to a blistering anti-union view held by John Mackey of Whole Foods, “Armed with those weapons, you will see unionization sweep across the United States and set workplaces at war with each other.” Gee, I wonder why labor is skeptical.
Today’s Washington Post article about the Employee Free Choice Act notes “the widespread perception in Democrat-dominated Washington that there is not a level playing field between labor and business.”
As if to prove the accuracy of that perception, the Post manages to devote nearly 1,000 words to the Act without ever once quoting or paraphrasing a representative of the labor movement. The Post did, however, manage to quote three CEOs and devote several paragraphs to anti-labor views.
Note, too, how this article does not treat this compromise legislation as a signal that there is disagreement within the business community, that it might reflect a break within the hegemonous wall of corporate views. In my humble opinion, this compromise represents the fear that EFCA might actually pass — these CEOs are willing to give up some things they don’t care about to prevent the one big thing they do care about.
While the reporter doesn’t want to talk about discord among business, he did devote a prior article to discord within SEIU after some layoffs and restructuring there. And while he can’t be bothered to seek out labor’s opinion on the compromise plan, he certainly found the time to interview union members unhappy with SEIU in that other article.
This is very depressing. It gives the impression that about half of teenage girls opining on the Rihanna-Chris Brown situation blame Rihanna for the incident.
Quoting teenagers in chat rooms and on Facebook discussions is one thing, but there is some data to back it up:
"In a recent survey of 200 teenagers by the Boston Public Health Commission, 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible for what happened; 52 percent said both bore responsibility, despite knowing that Rihanna’s injuries required hospital treatment."
This blog post by Adam Davidson is so spot on to where I’m at right now it’s scary. Reading it leaves a tightness in my chest, a knot in my throat. That old ally of anger, fear, is back, and with a vengeance.
Now That I'm Done Lecturing The Internet About The Iraq War, Let's Talk About College Basketball
If you didn’t need another reason to hate on Duke, here’s coach K taking a breather from making ads about jock itch creme or whatever the fuck he’s shilling these days to find something to whine about:
"Somebody said that we’re not in President Obama’s Final Four, and as much as I respect what he’s doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said from the Blue Devils’ first-round site in Greensboro, N.C.
I’d love to see a stray pass hit that guy in the nuts.
Six years ago today, at 9:34 PM ET on March 19, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. Since then, we have spent well over $500 billion, with long term commitments estimated at about $2 trillion. Over 4200 American soldiers have been killed and another 300 foreign troops have been killed. Over 31,000 American troops have been wounded in action, and another 35,000 have been wounded due to “non-hostile” injuries. An additional 10,000 Iraqi police and military aligned with the coalition have been killed. Over 1300 independent contractors have lost their lives. Nearly 200 journalists have been killed. There have been nearly 100,000 documented violent deaths of Iraqi civilians, though other surveys suggest numbers as high as 600,000 or over a million.
Six years. Longer than World War II. And where are the TV specials, the front cover articles? Is it that there is nothing left to say, no new angle to make a story interesting, or is it that our interest is simply gone?
I feel like we’re at a birthday party after the cake and presents, and we’re just waiting a polite duration of time before we file out and leave the host to clean up the mess. We twiddle our thumbs, look around, and ask someone if they saw last night’s American Idol. Or better yet, bring up AIG.
“I’m not going to defend myself. Chris Rock has told a lot more jokes about whites than I have against Blacks. What about the demeaning words Blacks say about Jews? If it’s a racist society, the white people are the ones being persecuted because they have to defend themselves… I’m more talented than Oprah Winfrey and look at how much she makes. I can’t even make a living.”—Jackie Mason, defending his use of the Jewish pejorative shvartze to describe President Obama, and showing once and for all why he deserves to play to empty theaters.
dear cool people at awesome label that i want to slap right now
the email i just sent (uh, with one spelling and one grammatical error fixed):
from: me to: email@example.com date: Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 10:41 AM subject: dropcard for cut off your hands
dear cool people at awesome label that i want to slap right now —
i bought the cut off your hands lp last night at their show here in the beautiful quad cities, but the digital download ain’t a workin’. i would have simply bought and downloaded this record weeks ago, but i knew they were coming to town and i am in the habit of buying from the merch table so dudes have enough gas money to get to chicago or at least enough scratch for some weed. and then instead of buying the cd like a normal guy i go and try to SAVE VINYL FROM DOOM and pick up the lp.
what thanks do i get? i get an ugly goddamned unfunctioning website that would probably give my eyeballs herpes if i stared long enough. go to the site (http://www.dropcards.com/coyhyouandi) and look for yourself. i double dog dare you. you can pull it up on the internet i’m sure you get in your private jet on your way down to sxsw to trade high fives from beardy bands in tight jeans. well, you might be too busy getting said high fives or dirty handjobs from their midwestern girlfriends, so let me describe it for you. the background is white, the central box is grey, with some pissy gradients of darker greys in the heading part, and that’s got some lighter grey boxes on it with their heading parts also being gradients of other greys. all text is in arial (the aryan font) and is either white (headings) or black (content). the three lighter grey contents boxes have the headings: overview, events, and links. the content within these boxes is identical and reads, simply, “Sample Text.” first of all, why do you need an “overview” section? what is this, a treatise? a report about eye herpes? no introduction is needed. i think something like “biography” or “recipes” would be more useful, but only if you replace the content in the boxes at the same time.
anyway, above these three grey boxes is a flash-based widget that is ALSO in various shades of grey. it says to enter my access code. i type in my code and wha’ happens? nada. that’s jamaican for nothing. nothing happens. well not nothing, i suppose. i get angry, that’s what happens. and the website does something: the little ‘loading’ bars do a little dance and then give me a blank list of songs that is unclickable. what was the name of that harriet the spy record? was it unclickwithable? no, it was unfuckwithable. and let me tell you, this website is unfuckwithable, too. the only recourse is to file a complaint with the dropcards website via their ‘contact us’ form. which i did. i am waiting to hear back. maybe they will have a solution.
but if my card doesn’t work, maybe other peoples’ cards won’t work, and that’s kind of crappy. it’s bad enough that the card doesn’t even have the current band’s photo on it. the guy behind the singer in the front who looks like a 30 year old graphic designer in the photo and like a 22 year old rock singer in real life: he’s not in the band. i know it’s 2009 and we have a black president and it’s really cool to be multicultural, but this band does not have any latinos in it. yeah, yeah, that’s the old guitarist and he might not even be latino, but it’s still not the same band. at least you could have included some sort of photo sticker of the new guy to put on top of the old guy. but as is, this card is going to be totally misrepresentational when i put it in my scrapbook. anyway, my point is that maybe this is a broader problem than just me, and maybe it will affect all 50 people who buy the vinyl. the least you could do is give us some functioning codes and a sticker of the new guitarist.
also, you spelled your website wrong on the back of the lp, you fucking morons.
Do you think bipartisanship can work? No. [pause] Look, I’m sorry, I know this is, you know, la-la land and Rodney King time and we all wanna get along, but that is not the nature of American politics. That is not the nature of politics, period.
I don’t know if refreshing’s the word, but to hear someone say bipartisanship doesn’t work— It doesn’t work! I mean, I understand the ideal of it. But at the end of the day, this is a game of winners and losers. This is zero-sum. Your winning is my losing. My winning is your losing.
Okay, so if bipartisanship doesn’t work, what on earth would you and Barack Obama accomplish by sitting down together? You find a common ground.
Of course, that wasn’t even the best part of it. The flip-flop on whether being gay is a choice wasn’t the best part either. The best part of it was the lunacy on abortion, which has riled up the pro-lifers, as you’d expect. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council put out a statement and others got in on the action.
Steele has now backtracked from his interview (which, also included its own backtrack, if you’ll recall), and put out a statement of his own, in which he attempts to clarify his beguiling remarks and restates his position:
But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.
I see what the sneaky bastard is up to!
Michael Steele thinks the right of a woman to choose an abortion is “an individual choice,” believes the matter should be decided state by state because “individual choice rests in the states,” and supports a Constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion at the federal level. He holds all three positions on the abortion issue, and is therefore the first person to simultaneously hold the view that abortion should be legal, that it should be illegal, and that it should be up to the states. Brilliant!
To truly reach across the aisle, you can’t be the party of ‘no.’ You have to be the party of ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ AND ‘maybe.’ A true tripartisan doesn’t merely agree or disagree, he or she seeks the “common ground” of holding all positions at the same time.
And it works in your real life, too. Trust me, I just used it with my wife:
Her: Do you want to go out to dinner later? Me: Yenommayyesmmnnnessbe? Her: Is that a yes? Me: No. Her: So it’s a no? Me: No. Her: No it’s a no, or no it’s a yes? Me: Maybe?
Then she stormed off and left me alone so I can read blogs about steampunk bento boxes full of food shaped like Watchmen playing Tetris. EVERYONE WINS!
You really need to read, line by line, the full interview between a GQ writer and Michael Steele. It is just absurd. Like, when you read it, you will not comprehend how he ever got elected to anything, ever. There is so much BS in his stories, you don’t know where to begin (though I’d start with claiming that his adoptive mother chose him from the orphanage when she passed his crib and he stood up and said “mom” at SEVEN months.)
Just read this exchange on abortion, in which Michael Steele asserts the strangest “pro-life” position you have ever heard, namely that it’s the same as a pro-choice position except for the part about states getting to decide it’s illegal:
How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted? Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that—I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it… Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.
Explain that. The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.
Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion? Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
You do? Yeah. Absolutely.
Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade? I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.
Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have? The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.
Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party? Absolutely!
I cannot imagine that he lasts another month. And it’s a darn shame, because he’s doing a bang up job so far.
I like the sound of this, but I don’t know if it’s just that I hope against hope that it’s right.
One thing I’m not clear on is how big these troubled assets are, and which banks hold them. It is my understanding that there are some big banks out there that did not hold subprime mortgages and which did not participate in the dividend schemes. These healthy banks are being dragged down with the whole sector, and it seems to me they’d bounce back strongly when things stabalize. But what the hell do I know? NADA!
I am not very smart on this, but I am coming to wonder whether the meek language coming out of Treasury isn’t a good thing. I’ve been quite unhappy with Geithner and Treasury over the past couple of weeks because it seems they keep making broad pronouncements, but putting out piecemeal solutions. “Just nationalize them already!,” I’d think.
But I wonder now whether it wasn’t a high-stakes game of bluff. That is: what if you were a bank and you wanted your debts off your books? Nationalization sounds pretty good. But if you are Treasury, you want the banks and shareholders to bear as much of the losses as possible and maybe you think they’re in better shape than they’re letting on. So the banks put out the message to pundits that nationalization is necessary, and the Administration flatly refuses to even consider it. The banks up the pressure and stockholders get in on the action, not wanting all of their investments to disappear, but the Administration holds firm, willing to look like they’re not doing enough, even if it causes the market to slide. By holding firm, the Administration is forcing banks stabalize themselves or collapse entirely, and perhaps the Treasury ends up with a better deal for taxpayers in the deals it does make.
And maybe if you’re Treasury, you give Warren a call and ask him to do a few talk shows and provide some confidence you can’t because you’re in the position of selling your own position.
For Obama and Treasury to do a good job, is it necessary for them to look like they’re doing a bad job? By saying “we won’t let them fail” but also saying “we refuse to nationalize,” do they force the banks and their shareholders to bear a good portion of the burden that could otherwise be covered by taxpayers?
I’ve pretty much stopped reading Pitchfork, which began like Cometbus and feels increasingly like NME. But I have to say: the site redesign will have me coming back.
The old site was swimming in ads, had no RSS feeds, was practically unsearchable, had awkward audio widgets, and required multi-click navigation sequences to get anywhere that resembled complicated moves in Double Dragon.
I am fully on board with the new look, and not just because there are less stupid Threadless-like drips and splatters. It’s all about ease of use with this streamlined interface. There are no ads up right now, though I expect that to change.
The new design makes finding tour information easier, has a decent headline feed, brings back single reviews, and has integrated audio throughout (including album previews: see the review for the new Bell Orchestre). So now, they can give something a 3.14159 and I can decide for myself, on the spot. Admit it: this shit is handy.
So I’ll probably start reading Pitchfork again, even though content continues to blandify itself into indie mainstream blahdiblah and I care less and less about their opinions. Go figure.
This is a long, but must-read article on how the press covered derivatives over the past few years. It focuses primarily on a 2004 GAO report, which was prescient and on-target, but which was shot down in the press by regulators, by Congress, by Alan Greenspan, and others before it even came out. It’s a pretty engaging read, not least because it is full of money quotes from everyone, right ans wrong, over a course of years. And it cements my view that Byron Dorgon, Democrat from North Dakota, is the only Senator we should listen to about financial regulation.