27 March 2004

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.

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...