Thursday, November 16, 2006

News And Views

Pelosi first woman speaker.....We had a leadership election in congress. Pelosi as expected won the Speakers seat and Steny Hoyer of Maryland won the Majority leaders spot. The “liberal” media portrayed a battle between Hoyer and Jack Murtha as unrest and controversy within the party. Of course Trent Lotts' one vote win for minority whip in the senate was portrayed in no such way. Proof the media isn't nearly as liberal as the wingnuts would try to portray it. Jim Clyburn was elected majority whip in the house. The highest position attained by a black on the hill so far. Murtha is tainted with some ethical dilemmas and Steny Hoyer is K Streets bitch. I wish they would have picked someone else. Here's the list of Senate chairs for the new session. New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman is the chair of the all important energy committee. Push those alternatives Jeff!

Bill O Riley is so stupid that he doesn't even know who he works for. He said on his program that Fox that is broadcasting the OJ program has nothing to do with Fox News. Yeah, like Sams Club and Walmart huh. Why do people think this guy has any idea what he is talking about?

Up to 2200 more troops are headed to Iraq. Word is the president wants to send in up to 20 thousand for “one final push”. I have in the past said sending in more troops would be preferable to stay the course. I still feel that way but 20 thousand is a drop in the bucket as far as what is needed. It is too little and waaaay to late. Another part of the proposed plan is a regional summit. This idea is right on the money. Something I have been proposing for well over a year now.

Glenn “I'm a faithful American” Beck displays the wingnut mentality. On his low rated TV disaster he asked the first Moslem American to serve in congress to prove he wasn't working with the enemy. He says he likes Moslems but seems to think they are all suspicious. If I was Mr. Ellison I would have asked Glenn if he had been making any fertilizer bombs and eyeing any midwestern cities lately. Or if he had shown up at any military funerals to taunt the morners.

Clear Channel sells. This is outstanding news. I think I am happier about this than the election. They are planning to sell 400 some of their 1500+ stations. Ones in smaller markets. This is good news for diversity of media in America, good news for people that would like to have a small or medium business in radio and great news for those that want to work in radio. More opportunity, more diversity. Let's hope a few more radio companies will make the same decision.

Wingnut website says 2 million in ransom was paid to get Fox News captives released. Money used by terrorists to buy weapons. Wingnut news network denys it.

Want less clutter and fewer ads? Choose radio over TV. Plus, broadcast radio is free to the listener and Tv is largely cable. Pay for the cable and still get the ads. Now I actually think advertising performs a valuable service. It lets us know what is avaliable and gives us a better idea of the choices. To many however gets pretty irritating.

China ignores the environment, kills its citizens. They need more “tree huggers”.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Minimum Wage

One of the first matters of business for the new congress appears to be the minimum wage. Of course the trailer park millionaires on the right are out to defend the greedy and point out how it is a bad idea. I was recently pointed to this piece by a righty as an example of insight. Let's take a look at this piece of economic genius and popular opinion.
The minimum wage is an emotional issue that sounds good on the face, but if you dig deeper and look at facts most people will see that raising it will do more damage than it will do good.

Oh really, every state that had a minimum wage issue on the ballot passed it. Somewhere around half a dozen if I remember correctly. Over 80% of Americans favor raising the minimum wage. I guess the overwhelming majority of people are just uninformed?
The first question that needs to be asked is not why the MW should be raised, but to what level?? Should it be raised to $7 an hour or $10? And if you can agree on a number, why that number?? The other question that must be asked is, why does the fed think that the minimum wage is a one size fits all proposition??? It costs a hell of a lot more to live in NY City than it does in Westfield WI. That is why any minimum wage issues should be handled at the state level. If a ‘fair wage’ is $20 an hour, why not make the MW $20 an hour or even more. Many people on the left will say that a fair income for a family of four is $40,000 a year and that at 40 hours a week is overworking us. Many unions want to go to a 32-35 hour work week. So why not make the MW $22.86 an hour. That would be based on 50 – 35 hour work weeks with two weeks of vacation. Hell, why not also create a federal minimum vacation time too. Everyone gets 5 weeks of paid time off a year… Why not – the dems want to artificially inflate wages – we might as well artificially PTO hours as well.
I take the point to be that it is all arbitrary and just how generous do we want to be anyway? Do we just give workers everything they want? First let me say that arguing about giving people willing to work more money coming from the same people that complain about the “lazy welfare bastards” seems much like circular logic to me. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Next lets look at what he is saying about differences in areas. Yes this is true and it is why we have regional and even city differences in what the minimum is. The federal law is meant to be a bottom line floor. A bottom line guarantee. It does not inhibit local action and is in most instances handled by the states. As a matter of fact most states DO have minimum wages above the national level. It is apparent to anyone that follows politics that this group that is opposed to the federal minimum wage also has or would fight local ones too. He's throwing out a red herring. What does he think the minimum wage should be in Wisconsin or NYC? Additionally to reverse his argument(as long as we are “digging” into the issue) if 7 dollars is too much why not 4 dollars or 2 dollars?

By raising the MW will regulations be loosened?? For example, right now by Wisconsin law, day cares are limited to the number of children that each licensed adult can watch. Will those ratios be loosened to allow for a proportionate increase in productivity? Or will the cost of the MW raise have to be born by the consumers?? Day cares currently operate on an extremely tight budget. In addition, if anyone thinks that business owners are going to sacrifice their 4% margin to raise the MW 25-30%, you are on crack. And when was the last time that a liberal repealed regulations on a company? So don’t expect them to start now.
That means that consumer prices for everything just went up. That $4 extra value meal will now cost $4.50. It will now cost you an extra dollar to get your pants dry cleaned. It will cost an extra $3 to stay at a hotel when you visit out of town friends and family. That gas that you need to visit that family just went up. It already costs $30 to go see a movie on a Friday night, now it will cost $35.
Because of the extra costs, people will be doing less spending, which will put those people that the dems claim to want to help out of work. That puts them back on the welfare or unemployment rolls… but don’t worry, the dems will be handing out more taxpayer money in the form of entitlement programs to those people that their policies put on unemployment and on welfare in the first place. That will increase gov’t spending and create more of a burden on the taxpayers which will force them to spend less money which will hurt the economy which will put more people out of work…. And the endless spiral will continue.
The dems own policies will destroy the economy
That sound that you hear is the economy going down the toilet… and the only people that will still have jobs will be those that work for the government… the people that put the dems in power to begin with…
Wow! That is economics by brainwashing if I have ever heard it. Mr. Free market productivity thinks the only way you can cut the cost of doing business is labor related. He thinks giving people more money will result in LESS spending. Oh and the horror of welfare raises its ugly head and it is all because we gave some people at the bottom of the ladder, that are willing to work, a raise. Laughable.
Will there be inflation? Likely some. The best businesses, the ones that deserve to survive, will find a way to make it work. Let's look at ways to cut costs without raising prices. How about more efficent uses of energy and investments in alternatives that may cost less in the long run and have tax advantages now? What are the costs of your product, your building and infrastructure? Are there ways to get a better deal in another location or from another supplier? How about streamlining or reducing costs in other areas of the business beyond the people that make it hum? How about efficient marketing and advertising and special services to bring in new business? How about the guy at the top taking a bit less so the people that operate it everyday can have a pittance more? These are just a few ways to pay more to people who will eventually use or buy your services resulting in more profits not fewer. More money in more hands will result in more spending and a more diverse economy not less. Certainly the guy writing this has little experience in the business world or just wants to ignore the challenge and tough choices.
Beyond this better payed workers are happier workers. If Target pays 10 dollars an hour and Walmart pays 7 where do you think people are going to want to work. Who do you think will have the larger pool of the best workers? Who do you think will have the better business in the long run? That sound you hear is wingnuttia going down the toilet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

America And My Dreams

A few impressions on the election now that we have all had time for it to sink in. I feel much like Paul Krugman who said.
I'm not feeling giddy as much as greatly relieved. .... I have a vision maybe just a hope of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country.
Much about the Democrats and their track record gives me reason to fear they will not step to the plate on many issues. Most hopefully though this will put an end to ideaologues appointed to the Supreme Court and other positions in the government. I am somewhat less hopeful that we will be able to come anywhere close to fully revealing the illegitimacy and unconstitutionality of this administration. From habeas corpus stealing, wiretapping and spying on Americans. That to me is what I most want to see. The restoration of our rights as Americans and seeing the country living by the high ideals it once represented. I'm not that worried about anybody going to jail if we can expose the wrong doing enough for the American people to understand. The violators living the rest of their lives in shame and the restoration of our reputation around the world would be enough for me. This to me would be the greatest accomplishment but it will be hard because....
Yes, it has already started. A number of sheeple on the right are already whining about "endless investigations" etc. Certainly if that was all that was happening that would be bad for the country. There are no doubt tons of other things that need to get done. I would hope we could do more than one thing at a time though. I can think of nothing more important than investigations into all the wrong doing that has taken place. Especially since some wingnuts have been brainwashed into believing that non occurred! The fact that they are vociferously opposed and think it need not happen it is one big reason it needs so badly to happen.
I feel good about the idea that we will see a raise in the minimum wage. I am also hopeful that our government will actually start to do some things that will do something that will actually make us safer from terrorism. Protecting ourselves starts at home. It appears some action is imminent.
Can we make America more or less self sufficent again? Can we get off oil and on to renewable energy? Can we stop the bleeding of jobs going overseas? Can we incentivize small business so it has an honest chance against corporate titans? Can we find a way to make health care a reasonable proposition for all? These things I am less hopeful about at least in the short term. I hope I am pleasantly suprised.
Of course Iraq was said to be a or "the" major issue. Quite likely it was. I think no one to speak of has the answer yet. I think we need to involve the Arab league. As it has devolved into a civil war and with Iran on the doorstep the only answer that will be acceptable will be one in which the Arabs have a primary role. They need to have a stake in it. An American solution will never be accepted by the greater middle east and it is apparent that the Iraqis are no where close to being able to solve it democratically.
Finally, another great hope that I have is that the right wing talk show nutcases Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Boortz, Beck, O,Liely et al will be taken for the knee jerk reactionaries that they are. Their venom and personality/character assassination driven drivel is doing nothing to advance the countries dialouge on anything. They are useless and actually harmful to the country coming up with solutions to our problems. Limbaugh has already come out and said something to the effect that he is glad that the current cabal lost because he no longer has to defend them. Why the hell did he do it in the first place if he didn't think they were doing the right thing!? Who will ever know what he really believes? What ever he gets paid to say? It is not a true discussion it is an advertisement. Everyday. Just a three hour commercial.
There of course are a multitude of issues that need to be dealt with but I think these are the overriding issues that will provide the framework to return our country to its status as a respected superpower. What do you think?