28 March 2004

A Bob Weir of Flower Mound, Texas, is printed often in every single one of these papers

A one David Fisher in Dallas, Texas wonders who Bob Weir is and how he's come to have his letter to the editor published in just about every big city newspaper.
I read several editorial sections from major newspapers around the country on an almost daily basis. These include: The New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, L.A. Times, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, The Seattle Times, and many others.

I have written many, many times to various newspapers and have never had a single letter printed. I do, however, notice that a Bob Weir of Flower Mound, Texas, is printed often in every single one of these papers. I have read no fewer than two dozen letters to the editor in various newspapers written by him.

Who is he? Why does his opinion get so much attention from so many newspapers? I very much look forward to your response.

Though I'd never stumbled across a letter of Mr. Weir's, I thought I'd use this google deal to see if Mr. Weir indeed has propagated his his mind share across the national newspaper realm and hopefully answer Mr. Fisher's query. And indeed Weir has pasted his presence across the editorial sections of not only major metropolitan newspapers, but small town and other national news outlets. Whether it be political election campaigning, education, Bush v. Gore, politician pork, homosexual hate, criminal justice, civil rights, faith based social initiatives, and probably a host of others that arn't represented in the google space.

A biographical blurb on Mr. Weir says he's a retired NYPD sergeant, with two published novels in his credits. Though, it appears that Weir could no doubt, author an illustrative treatise on how to get your letter to the editor published.

Can you say 1929?

In today's Arizona Republic, Charles Kelly chimes in with Outsourcing helps no worker, an insightful look into outsourcing and its ramifications for workers around the globe.
Investors and corporations know they get a triple-barreled benefit from outsourcing work to other countries. First, the workers who lose their jobs are replaced by workers making one-tenth to one-third as much.

Second, workers who lose their jobs enter the labor market and have a depressing effect on workers who still have jobs that can't be exported from this country: construction workers, truck drivers, salesclerks, waiters and so on.

That's why the outsourcing of jobs has hurt not only manufacturing workers, but virtually all who are in the same income class. It's not just the 5 percent of workers who are hurt by globalization, it's 100 percent.

Third, workers who still have manufacturing jobs know that when a corporation threatens to shut down a plant if employees don't behave, like wanting a bigger share of the corporation's profits, the threat is real. Even unionized employees have learned that they have effectively lost all their bargaining power.

Just that they work for less

Ruben Navarrette Jr., reading from the corporatists and globalists script verbatim, contends that outsourcing of computer programmer jobs not just that they work for less. He bemoans a college student interviewed on Lou Dobbs, who has decided to switch careers and pursue a path to become a lawyer.

Well, Mr. Navarrette, your writings are replete with myopia.
» read more

27 March 2004

What could have been a really, really sucky experience

Absentmindedly left my ATM card in the Bank of America machine while staying in downtown Seattle this week. I didn't even realize it until the next evening when I pulled out my wallet to pay for dinner and noted it missing. After I returned to my hotel room, I phoned Bank of America customer service hotline, and after anxiously sitting on hold for a while, they informed me that someone had reported it already and the account was blocked. Whew, a good deed indeed.

Whoever you are, finder and reporter remedying my bout of carelessness, thank you for your kind act. If I knew your identity, I'd gleefully buy you a beer or lunch or dinner.

Maybe you've posted an account of your act on a web page somewhere. But probably not. Anyway, thank you again!

Disk jockey cursing causes greater social harm than someone who puts another person's life in danger

That is what our Congress is stating with the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act legislation, already passed in the House, and up for Senate consideration now.
Under the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month and is likely soon to come up for consideration in the Senate, television and radio stations that broadcast "indecent" material can be subject to fines as high as $500,000 per incident.

Under the nation's worker safety rules, an employer that commits a "serious" violation -- defined as "a violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard" may be fined up to $7,000 per violation. If an employer engages in a "willful" violation of the rules -- meaning "the employer intentionally and knowingly commits" the violation -- it may fined up to $70,000.

23 March 2004

She could have slipped out of her handcuffs, grabbed a loaded shotgun and killed her captors

But her fellow guard companion, also in captivity, stopped her from doing so.

KTAR has posted an exclusive interview with the female corrections officer that was held hostage, beaten and sexually assaulted at the Lewis prison. What a ghastly ordeal this woman endured under these inmate captors.

Sadly, it doesn't appear that justice will be served here.

"He has raped two people," Romley said. "The hostage situation lasted 15 days and cost the state millions of dollars, and (Coy is) not going to serve an extra day than he was already sentenced to serve. And he's going to get what he wanted, to be sent to where he wanted to be sent."

19 March 2004

No, no, Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan

Former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke says the Bush administration wanted to bomb Iraq instead of focusing on Osama bin Laden just after 9/11.
"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection [between Iraq and al Qaeda], but the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,'" says Clarke.

More proof of the criminal antics of this administration and another reason they should be voted out this November.

16 March 2004

Just one-third of Arabs say the war liberated rather than humiliated Iraq

That's what the headline of this ABC news blast could have read. Instead, it trumpted how well things are going for Iraqis since the U.S. invasion.

But is the poll extremely flawed because of the "face to face" sampling methodology? In a time and land where it's threatning to even venture outside for many. Sounds like a big bit of PR to me. Seems to violate just about every tenet of balanced statistical sampling. If I stand outside a corner and ask people passing by their perspective even here in the U.S., it's hardly representative of the population as a whole.

Also, note the big gap between Arabs and Kurds in outlook: a majority of Arabs believe invasion was wrong, feel by a 2 to 1 margin occupation is wrong and most alarming, 1 in 5 think attacks on coalition forces are acceptable. But if you just read the headlines, you remain ignorant of these numbers.
» read more

15 March 2004

Those to me are just the next thing to fraud, it's running a paid advertisement in the heart of a news program

Another reason to refrain from watching television journalism.

Local news programs carrying government sponsored video news releases that are tailored to appear as independent news segments without identification of the source.

The materials were produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, which called them video news releases, but the source is not identified. Two videos end with the voice of a woman who says, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

What does the law say about such matters?

Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for "publicity or propaganda purposes" not authorized by Congress. In the past, the General Accounting Office has found that federal agencies violated this restriction when they disseminated editorials and newspaper articles written by the government or its contractors without identifying the source.

How is this not publicity or propaganda?

14 March 2004

I couldn't believe that the Republican Party would sink this low, to exploit and capitalize on the misery and loss of families

Listening to KTAR Jay Lawrence this evening, I heard again, the falsehood repeated about Peaceful Tomorrows, the advocacy organization founded by family members of September 11th victims that called for the Bush campaign to end its campaign ads featuring WTC 9/11 imagery. Media flacks continue to perpetrate this lie but the truth is this the organization receives no funding from the Heinz or Kerry families:
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows has never received funding from the Howard Heinz Endowment, the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, Teresa Heinz Kerry or John Kerry.

Peaceful Tomorrows has no connection with the Heinz or Kerry families through Tides Foundation, the Tides Center or any other entity.

The vulgar Limbaugh pounced on this group, running with the original flawed reporting, with no concern for the facts, as his typical for him.

As I say, we've now learned all the organizational effort that's going on behind this and these people are indeed aligned with the Democratic Party, and it's just… I do not know this kind of hatred; I don't know this kind of venom; I don't harbor it; I never have; I don't know what it's like to be governed by this kind of rage, and I don't know what life must be like when it is. I cannot relate. I cannot relate to being obsessed with rage and hatred. I can relate to being obsessed with love and infatuation, but I cannot relate to being obsessed with all this hatred.

No, Rush, you are the hate monger disseminating lies and disinformation. And shame on the other media outlets for propagating these Republican campaign dirty trick shenanigans.

10 March 2004

Selling novelty T-shirts is not a replacement for a decent paying job with health benefits

Thomas Friedman, the globalist hack who's found it profitable to shill for the corporatists, is at it again. That is, engaged in the act of playing a dunce and then suffering a smackdown for his blatherings. On Sunday, Friedman, the New York Times foreign correspondent penned another column gushing over the gooey goodness of global outsourcing.
I just read about a guy in America who lost his job to India and he made a T-shirt that said, `I lost my job to India and all I got was this [lousy] T-shirt.' And he made all kinds of money." Only in America, she said, shaking her head, would someone figure out how to profit from his own unemployment. And that, she insisted, was the reason America need not fear outsourcing to India: America is so much more innovative a place than any other country.

Friedman bloviates further, using the T-shirt anecdote to tout American superior innovation that renders these outsourced job losses as trivial.

But once again, the reality detached scribe is exposed again. This time, famed progressive cartoonist Tom Tomorrow got the straight dope on Friedman's "Americans profiting from their unemployment" spiel. It turns out, that the savvy entrepreneur highlighted in Friedman's piece is neither American nor unemployed.

Then, Friedman fired off a missive to the skeptical cartoonist in defense of his corporatist claptrap:

First, all one has to do is Google that phrase and you will discover that it is not only a British Web site offering this t-shirt for sale, but that a U.S.-based Web site, indeed one located in Palo Alto where so many jobs have been lost, has been selling the same T-shirt for some time. It is the online design-your-own t-shirt and apparel store,

Mr. Tomorrow treaded on and located the enterprising proprietor, eager to discover if his tech career unemployment had led to new found riches. Here is how Mr. Gary Young answered the query:

Wow! So that WAS my shirt Friedman was talking about. I had seen the article and laughed...

1. No, I didn't lose my job YET. My department has been told month after month for the last 6 months that we'd be next in line to be offshored. Several peers at my work have had their jobs sent to India, and my partner had his job offshored.

2. Have I made all kinds of money? This is where I laughed the hardest. I've made about $10 profit total.

9 March 2004

Arizona Senators Kyl and McCain Not Listening to Angry Cries of America's Outsourced Middle Class

Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini pens an excellent column on the indifference of Arizona senators to their constituency struggling as a result of the scourge of outsourcing.
"Downsizing, outsourcing, declining market - I was out of a job," she wrote. "In one day all that I had worked so hard for was gone. After a year of looking for a new position, savings depleted, house on the market, I moved back to Phoenix, at 42, to live with my parents. My son dropped out of college and took a job to make ends meet. After almost two years of looking for a job, I finally secured a new position this past September. I am in the process of rebuilding my life, my credit, my self-esteem. My salary is about one-third that of what I was previously making. My circumstances have definitely changed. And what have I learned? This is the American dream."

There are some politicians trying to do something about this. But it's an election year, which makes "outsourcing" political opponents more important than jobs. Still, last week the Senate voted on a bill that would cut federal funding to companies that lay off American workers at a higher rate than employees in other countries. It's one of several that have been introduced. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said, "The fact that we're using taxpayers' money to ship somebody's job overseas, I don't think that's a good thing." The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 70-26, with our two Republican senators voting against it.

Democrats plan to use America's fear of outsourcing as a strategy to get voters to reject President Bush in November. And because the opposition is playing up the problem, Republicans must play it down. But as one man who wrote to me said, "It is not about the left or the right, but about the middle."

As I write, this I'm watching CNN Lou Dobbs chatting with executive vice-presidents of American Bankers Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce on this matter. Both of those guys expressed their opposition to the Senate legislation spearheaded by Senator Dodd, and cited the need for retraining. I swear, whenever I hear about how college educated workers are supposed to go back to community college for retraining, it just sets me off...

6 March 2004

On the Menu and After Hours

Although KFYI continues its assault on Valley radio listeners with its extremist right wing cacophony during weekdays, Saturday evening programming is a welcome respite. The 4 pm to 8pm time slot is a joy to listen to - Nikki Buchanan and the FYI guy, aka Steven Gregory both put out excellent shows.

Buchanan's On the Menu is a welcome addition to Valley radio fare, with the only comparable competition being Culinary Confessions heard on KXAM. However, unlike the Don & Kim show which seems to be one giant advertisement for their sponsors, On the Menu seems to feature more listener feedback and the host's insight from a restaurant reviewer's perspective is most enlightening.

Steven Gregory's show has to be the biggest secret. The Edward R. Murrow Award winner covers the national and local entertainment scene in a way that far surpasses the cheesy way that most of the mainstream media treats it. The show occupies a real listener unfriendly time slot, Saturday night dinner time, but if you have a chance it's definitely worth a listen.

The number of students majoring in computer science is falling

Why is this surprising?

As a professional programmer, I've been replaced three times now by cheaper programmers in India (and Mexico) or from H1-B imported labor. But I'm blessed as I've latched onto a service partner gig that has me traveling across the country but at least I'm "economically viable" for the present time. Unlike many of my friends and ex-colleagues who've been forced to pursue alternate career paths. Or the few that have managed to hang on and are hoping to last a few years until retirement. In the service of some of the biggest corporations, I've had executive management tell me to my face that "programmers were a dime-a-dozen" and they desired nothing more than to send all technical positions to "offshore vendors". When I asked one VP if there was any future for someone technically inclined, he replied that I should pursue opportunites with one of the approved "offshore vendors". Another IT VP at another company said flat-out he'd outsource his mother if he could. Even Gates and Microsoft have undertaken a big campaign to outsource to India.

At my current consulting site, hundreds of Indians on visas have been brought in. Many are making the same wages as we used to pay college interns in the 80s. Why would any young person, unless they were super passionate about the profession and tossed caution to the wind, choose to enter a career path that is unsecure, requires long hours and with pay dipping down into the range where retail service jobs are. The assault on future youth prospects started in the 90s with the large scale importation of H1-Bs. Training programs for entry level programmers were shelved. The late 90s saw established programmers sacrificed at the altar of cheaper labor. Parents like me steer their children away from computer science study, instead recommending another discipline and study in computers to augment that field. Or they witness first hand what is going on.

In addition, most studies have revealed that college age youth are the most money conscious and focused in history. This should not shock anyone either, given the fall in standard of living for those with high school educations or college degrees that don't provide big bucks. In two generations, the U.S. has economically receded - my father, approaching 70 now, grew up in an age where someone who didn't even have a high school diploma, could get a manufacturing job and provide for his family as a single breadwinner.