Saturday, April 24, 2004
Predictably, the News-Press endorsed last week's workers comp nonsolution .
This irks on two levels: first of all, it's clear that they didn't do a lick of research on what actually got passed (keep in mind, the insurance companies will likely pass on nothing of the savings to businesses), but maybe the greater problem is the News-Press' continued, ongoing pattern of utter disrespect for the process of democracy. They complain about the legislature's hearings, but what's the option? Having the first batch of insurance company lobbyists that walk into the Governor's office write the legislation? Our Rep was one of only three that had the guts to point out that emperor Schwarzenegger has no clothes. Santa Barbara should be celebrating Ms. Jackson's integrity, not writing her off in poorly researched, shoot from the hip editorials.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Buried in the Arts section for some reason, the NY Times has a story on last week's Wal-Mart Confab that was put on by the UCSB Sociology Department...
"...G.M. helped build the world's most affluent middle class by paying wages far above the average and by providing generous health and pension plans. Mr. Lichtenstein said G.M.'s wage pattern spurred other companies to raise compensation levels, while Wal-Mart's relatively low wages and benefits 0 its workers average less than $18,000 a year - were doing just the opposite.""
Friday, April 16, 2004
Schwarzenegger Somehow Manages to Sell Out Both Workers and Businesses Today's big news is that a workers comp bill has been voted in. It appears to be just shy of a complete disaster for everyone in the state except the insurance companies. The LA Times sums it up like this:
"...officials warned that the legislation failed to place caps on insurance company premiums and lacked guarantees to make sure that insurance companies pass along any savings to employers."
There is some actual good news though: Santa Barbara state Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson was one of only three votes to stand up and vote against this blatant and pathetic sellout. Here's the full text of the statement her office released today...
Last year we made substantial reforms to California's workers' compensation system that generated an estimated $5-6 billion of annual cost savings to the insurance industry. That was clearly a good start. The missing component in last year's reform package was the transfer of those savings from the insurance industry to California's businesses. We need to provide rate relief to the businesses of California.
I could not support SB 899 because the insurance industry publicly stated that they do not know whether they will pass the billions of dollars in savings from this measure on to California's businesses in the form of rate reductions. This legislation reduces the care that will be provided to legitimately injured workers, substantially reduces costs to insurance companies, but fails to provide any guarantee that workers' compensation premiums will be reduced for California businesses.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
President Bush Needs Your Help! At the press conference the other night, President Bush couldn't remember what his biggest mistake might've been. You can help him figure it out here.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
A caller to the O'Franken Factor just mentioned the spat that the President had with a reporter the other day - the reporter called the President "sir" and he spat back "who you talking to?", which prompted to reporter to correct himself, starting the question again with "Mr. President." I know this is a small thing compared to (say) what's happening in Iraq right now, but I think it is indicative of something larger. If you want to hear the exchange, I found an mp3 of it that you can download from this directory.
There's a lot of commentary floating around about Bush's press conference last night. I watched a big chunk of it, and felt what I usually feel when listening to wingnuts tell stories: it might be internally consistent, but it only makes sense if you ignore half of reality. I did think the press was at least slightly less comatose than they've been, at least.
In the meantime, the Gadflyer (a new source to me) has gone and calculated the cost per job of Bush's tax cuts. I won't ruin the suprise other than to say that its quite a bit more than I've made in the ten years I've been in the workforce. (and his numbers are quite generous to the President) Where do I sign up for one of those?
Monday, April 12, 2004
Something agonizing to ponder as April 15th approaches...
- "The federal tax system that millions of Americans are forced to deal with before April 15 is not at all what you think it is. Congress has changed it in recent decades from a progressive system in which the more one earns the more one pays in income taxes. It has become a subsidy system for the super rich."
Friday, April 09, 2004
More on Dubya's big spring break adventure: "This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency. "
Fairness & Accuracy in reporting has a nice summary of the pundits that are stupidly asking Kerry to commit political suicide by "moving to the right". All of these jokers need to go read George Lakoff's Moral Politics (or even just read a bunch of his articles & see him live once, which is all I've done). In one sentence: you don't win an election by "moving" anywhere, you win by staking out the right turf and defending it. Taking their advice and picking McCain for VP would be a complete and utter disaster.
It's everywhere, but the LA Times's coverage of Condi Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission yesterday is as good as anyone's...
"But on the critical question of what the Bush White House did in response to those warnings, Rice's performance was markedly less effective. Repeatedly, she described a White House inner circle that spent its time on broad strategy and left it up to the bureaucracy to decide how to meet the escalating threat, with no real follow-up from the White House."
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Rome burns, Nero fiddles: (free WaPo registration required)
"CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush was leading a tour of his ranch for hunting, fishing and land-conservation advocates Thursday, after national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony to the Sept. 11 commission.
Aides said Bush had given no indication of planning to watch the testimony Thursday live on television. Rather, Bush intended to receive updates from his top advisers, a senior administration official said. Bush was attending his usual national-security meetings in the morning. "
Monday, April 05, 2004
Europe's multi-country High Speed Train network has a slick website now. We need something like this here in California so badly!
Sunday, April 04, 2004
This Wednesday April 7th, there's a SB ch.17 cable community access overview meeting from 7-9pm, at exactly the same time as the DFA meetup. Decisions decisions!
Friday, April 02, 2004