28 February 2004

Urban affairs specialists say Phoenix has crammed too many teams and too many stadiums into the local economy

A Washington Post article on the public spending boom in Phoenix for professional sports stadiums...
Across the Valley of the Sun, as Phoenix and its environs are known, municipalities have showered more than $700 million on sports stadiums and arenas over the last decade or so, creating one of the most modern and capable sports infrastructures in the country. It's the only metropolitan area in the country whose four professional sports teams play in separate, new facilities.

In championing the public-spending boom, state, regional and local officials hope to turn Phoenix into a truly major league city, a place that attracts Super Bowls, basketball Final Fours and all-star games that can boost the local economy and complement the area's burgeoning tourism industry. Along the way, they hope to make winners out of their historically lackluster professional sports franchises.

Taking news at face value, just like buying into an assumption that cannot be statistically or factually backed up

Stumbled across this opinion piece that eloquently expresses my feelings on the so-called liberal media bias...
Liberal media, huh? Hmmm

That must be why giant, profit-driven corporations, such as Westinghouse (CBS), Disney (ABC) and General Electric (NBC), own the major American TV networks.

That must be why every time you open an American newspaper you see a "Labor" section, instead of a "Business" section.

The media has a bias, all right, and it starts with owners (like Fox's Rupert Murdoch), who typically dictate their personal, right-wing slant to the news organizations they own. The assumption all the while -- aside from the media being "liberal" -- is that reporters and journalists themselves directly control the manufacturing of news. That's like saying the workers on an automobile assembly line have a direct say over what product the auto industry decides to build in the first place!

After owners, the largest bias control mechanism in American media is advertising; here, news outlets cannot afford to offend, as 50 percent of magazine, 80 percent of press and nearly 100 percent of radio/television outlets are funded by advertisements. On average, corporations pay more than $170 billion per year to media outlets for advertising time.

26 February 2004

Job scores: India +152,500, US -234,000

IBM to double their headcount of 10,000 in India.
While the US lost 234,000 IT jobs in 2003, for Indian techies 152,000 new jobs were created.

25 February 2004

Take a listen to the New KFNX Talk Radio 1100

KFNX 1100 AM boasts a solid talk radio lineup, with more local hosts than rivals KTAR and KFYI. Here's a look at their weekday schedule:
6:00a 9:00a KFNX Morning Edition w/Tom Dillon
9:00a 11:00a The Dr. Sam Show
11:00a 1:00p Bob Mohan
1:00p 3:00p The Sydney Hay Show
3:00p 6:00p On Second Thought w/Mike Newcomb
6:00p 8:00p Declare Your Independence w/Ernest Hancock
8:00p 10:00p The Vernon L. Bolling Show
10:00p 1:00a Vortex Network News

It looks like Tom Dillon replaced The Rick Bloom Show. Good luck to Bloomer, hope he finds a new radio home.

Haven't had a chance to listen much to the new lineup, though I got to hear Mohan today announce he's bringing back Blow Out the Phones on Friday. In betwixt his ranting and raving over the decadence of contemporary pop culture and its infatuation with The Passion of the Christ, Paris Hilton, and Scott Peterson.
» read more

24 February 2004

Bob is a good coach and we wish him all the best in the future

Phoenix Coyote GM Michael Barnett lowers the axe on coach Bob Francis
Bob Francis was fired as coach of the struggling Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday after leading the team to the playoffs twice in the last four seasons. The Coyotes have won just two of their last 14 games and are in last place in the Pacific Division and 13th in the Western Conference with a record of 20-24-15-3.

A poll on the sports page asking if fans agree with the decision is running 2 to 1 in favor of Francis "lacking talent to succeed". I wanted to vote in both categories - true, player play has been subpar and some of the recent trades have been atrocious and harmed the team badly, but I've never been a fan of Francis coaching style. But I think the fans (or the 284 that have voted thus far) may be on the mark and maybe the GM should get his walking papers.

Poverty, for most Americans, exists in a blur

A nice essay on the spiral of poverty that intermingles personal anecdotes with some referential links to recent NY Times articles.

To be in a state of poverty in America is to be invisible. Nobody wants to acknowledge it, everyone turns their gaze away. Or others proclaim outright denials of its existence, and tag those locked in the clutches of it as lazy.

I don't understand those who argue against raising minimum wage. It angers me but then I must consider that they've never had the experience of working on the lower echelons of the economy or they've been blessed to have a financial supportive family and have never truly fully supported themselves on that labor alone.

Yes, some will take issue and argue that the opportunity exists to achieve and succeed despite being mired at the bottom. But I can flip a coin ten times and get ten heads approximately every ten thousand trials. Because a small fraction overcome such a handicap doesn't negate the injustice.

22 February 2004

This is not a picture of an economy that is doing well

Paul Craig Roberts with an insightful column that asks "Where did all the jobs go?". Citing 20-40% drops in manufacturing and knowledge jobs, the former Wall Street Journal editor and Reagan staffer points out that the job gains boasted by the Bush economic team are on the lower rungs of the economic pyramid, the same jobs being taken by illegal immigrants. Aim is taken at the economists and so called independent think tank consultants that are belllowing how outsourcing is good for America.
For years as U.S. multinationals moved manufacturing offshore, Americans were told that their future was in "knowledge jobs." Today, knowledge jobs are being moved offshore more rapidly than manufacturing jobs were.

What are the unemployed computer engineers and information technology workers supposed to retrain for? What high value-added job can't be outsourced?

Many young engineering graduates have discovered that they invested in acquiring skills for which there are no jobs and are headed to law schools in an effort to retrieve their future. I know young software engineers who are substitute teachers in middle schools, and others who are trying to organize rock bands to play the club and bar circuits.

They have no idea what to retrain for, and neither do the economists who tell them retraining is the answer.

19 February 2004

The Hypocrisy Of Colin Powell

Marine Corps veteran John Greely's take on Colin Powell.
The Secretary of State fairly bristled at the comment that President Bush might have been AWOL towards the end of his Air National Guard career and told the Representative in no uncertain terms, “Don’t go there!” along with an admonition that if the Representative wanted to turn this into a political fight, there was a time and place for it.

From where I sat, it was a ferocious and threatening display of raw, confrontational, Executive Branch power. It immediately reminded me of something I had read in his autobiography in which he wrote:

I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed ... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units .... Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country.

14 February 2004

They only care about profits, they have lobbyists everywhere and they own this White House

Senator John Edwards, doing his best to earn my vote, as he speaks out on American jobs and offshore outsourcing.
The outsourcing of service and white-collar jobs, says Robert Borosage, co-director of the pro-labor Campaign for America's Future, "has outraged not only the well-educated middle class but also working-class parents. They were sending their kids to college so they could get good jobs that are now being shipped abroad."

Consider the exit polls in Tuesday's primaries. In Tennessee, 71 percent of the voters said that "U.S. trade with other countries" took more jobs from the state; only 12 percent said trade created more jobs. In Virginia the comparable figures were 55 percent and 19 percent.

The Bush administration, completely out of touch with the plight of the American worker, beliefs this massive migration of manufacturing and white collar jobs is part of a "positive transformation". Yeah, it's had positive impact on the bank accounts of CEOs, corporate lobbyists, and immigration lawyers, but for Joe Worker, the results have been disasterous. Unemployment is still high, many folks have simply tossed in the towel, and consumer debt levels and personal bankruptcy rates are at all-time highs.

Corporatist James Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute tangled with CNN Lou Dobbs in defense of Bush's pro-globalist, anti-American economic philosophy. Dobbs coverage of "Exporting America" on his show compelled Glassman to call him a "table thumping protectionist".
» read more

We thought the best way to show our appreciation was to (trade him) to a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup

Dear Mr. Barnett,

While you continue to embark on a crusade that places the welfare of departing players over constructing a competitive team, ex-season ticket holders like myself will continue to boycott the subpar product.

It's not just the recent trade of Sean Burke, it's the repeated pattern of dealing away your best players (and some of my favorite Coyotes) and seemingly being more concerned with their future prospects rather than building a Stanley Cup caliber squad.

When you guys show that you desire to put a quality product for show, then perhaps I'll pony up for some tickets.

9 February 2004

Talk-radio host Bob Mohan returns to Valley airwaves

Bob Mohan returns to Valley radio on Wednesday. He'll be heard on KFNX AM 1100 in the 11 a.m. to time slot.
"I was approached by this station four weeks ago to come over here and work," Barna says. "As soon as I was over here, I put a call in to Bob."

Barna says Mohan picked the 11 a.m.-1 p.m. spot, which puts him directly against Rush Limbaugh's program on KFYI. That's not coincidental.

"He's disgusted with the way talk radio is being done currently," Barna says. "He was given carte blanche. He could have any time he wants, but he chose 11 to 1."

"I don't want to be boring," he says. "And really, from Rush Limbaugh on down, it's all lectures - three hours a day of just preaching. I don't think that's entertaining."

No word yet on whether Blow Out the Phones will also make its triumphant return...

Dick Cheney appears to be fighting to secure his spot on the Republican ticket

It's not been a stellar month for Dick Cheney.

First, more news on a possible indictment.

A solicitor in a small north London firm has been named in connection with a $180m (£100m) French and American corruption investigation which could lead to the indictment of Dick Cheney, the US vice-president.

Next, the report of criminal misconduct by his staff in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

And there's the story about him duck hunting with a Supreme Court justice all the while he's the principal player in a case the court is reviewing.

Will W. Bush dump Cheney as VP or remain loyal despite all of the dirt on Dick?

8 February 2004

The culprit is global warming, melting the icebegs on Greenland and the Arctic icepack and thus flushing cold, fresh water

Thom Hartmann describes the Great Conveyor Belt angle on how global warming may precipitate the onset of a new ice age. Just because Europe and the Northern U.S. are experiencing a harsh winter doesn't invalidate global warming theory.
In quick summary, if enough cold, fresh water coming from the melting polar ice caps and the melting glaciers of Greenland flows into the northern Atlantic, it will shut down the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe and northeastern North America warm. The worst-case scenario would be a full-blown return of the last ice age - in a period as short as 2 to 3 years from its onset - and the mid-case scenario would be a period like the "little ice age" of a few centuries ago that disrupted worldwide weather patterns leading to extremely harsh winters, droughts, worldwide desertification, crop failures, and wars around the world.

Al Gore was derided for his speech in New York last month on global wariming, as New Yorkers shivered in one of the coldest winters in recent memory, but even elements in an environment unconscious administration are concerned - the Pentagon has prepared a report on national security repercussions in the wake of cataclysmic climate change as the result of global warming.

Mother Nature is such an unpredictable master - there's no telling what the future holds in store. However, the evidence is already out there that humans are indeed affecting their environment, despite the wailing of a few skeptics and corporate lobbyists.
» read more

4 February 2004

These companies should be providing at least a minimum of human rights

Dell, IBM, Hewlett Packard and others who've moved computer construction to locales in developing nations.
There is almost no public awareness of the human reality behind the electronic devices people use daily. Non-governmental organisations have alerted people to the idea that a “Made in China” label on their clothes may point to dreadful working conditions. But who believes this of electronics workers? The workers themselves know that their conditions are remote from the consciousness of consumers, and they feel alone. When I interviewed Monica in Guadalajara, Mexico, she told me simply: “No one knows what is happening to electronics workers. It is as if the problem didn’t exist. But I have lived through it, and I know the truth.”

Experiences like Monica’s have been made public this week in a report by the Catholic aid agency Cafod on working conditions on the computer assembly lines. The report, “Clean Up Your Computer”, does not make for happy reading. It finds vast production lines in Third World countries where workers on illegal contracts are paid below what we would consider to be survival level for work in degrading and sometimes dangerous conditions. In China a worker who makes a mistake may be forced to wear a red coat in ritual humiliation. In Mexico or Thailand a woman found to be pregnant is likely to be sacked. The report looks at factories in all three countries.