Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why We Need Unions

The following is excerpted from a story

By Mark Clothier

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Circuit City Stores Inc., the second-largest U.S. electronics retailer after Best Buy Co., fired 3,400 of its highest-paid hourly workers and will hire replacements willing to work for less.

The company said its eliminating jobs that paid ``well above'' market rates. Those who were fired can apply for the lower pay, company spokesman Bill Cimino said today. He declined to give the wages of the fired workers or the new hires.

The job cuts are ``one of the most brazen examples of corporate America run amuck,'' said Greg Tarpinian, executive director of Change to Win, which represents seven unions and about 6 million workers. ``It's workers as disposable commodities, put in and put out based on whatever happens to the stock price.''

Chief Executive Officer Philip Schoonover was paid $8.52 million in fiscal 2006, including a salary of $975,000.

He has not offered to work for less even though stock price has plumeted during his watch.

It’s cheering to know that capitalism is alive and well!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blackwater and The SA

The fact that the Bush administration has fostered the development of a private army, Blackwater USA, is probably not news to any readers of Lefty Blogs. What might be news is its size, and the extent to which this mercenary army functions beyond the normal control of Congress or the US Code of Military Justice.

There is a long article in today’s Alternet.Org adapted from Jeremy Scahill's new book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books). It’s a long piece, but well worth a reader’s time. Alternet’s lede is: “The Bush Administration is increasingly dependent on private security forces to do its dirty work.” (link)

Blackwater USA has a website you can visit here.

I believe that the sheer size of Blackwater, and the potential for its misuse for uncontrolled foreign and domestic political purposes is something we should at least be willing to consider. Years ago and in a universe far removed from most current bloggers there was another great private army: The Sturm Abteilung of the German National Socialist Party. You may read about it here.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I’ve done no blogging, political or otherwise, for nearly three weeks. I’ve been preoccupied with rehearsals for the next Rogue Theatre production, Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Setzuan.” Over and beyond that I’ve really been at a loss to find something new and original to say about what has seemed to me to be the death spiral of Democratic action against the war and against what is surely the worst administration in my memory.

I received an e-mail this morning that has had an absolutely Kantian effect on my dogmatic slumber and despair: It has awakened me.

I was pointed to the following article in the LA Times, reporting in detail the most important effect of the Democrats’ control of Congress, the renewed and aggressive exercise of the congressional oversight function.

The thrust of the article is that although the Democratic margins in the House and Senate may be too slender to guarantee much effective legislation, the legislative oversight function is busily hammering the nails in the administration coffin.

The article is here. I don’t believe any registration is needed to read it.