Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's Good for GM reports that General Motors is shedding another 19,000 US workers. According to Bloomberg, "the departures will allow GM to install new employees who will be paid about $14 an hour, about half the wage of the current unionized workforce, while reducing health-care and retirement benefits." In February, GM offered retirement and buyouts to all of its 74,000 UAW employees.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Graph Speaks a Thousand Words has a wide array of graphs and statistics relating to progressive issues.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Timing Our Race to the Bottom

Richard Sennett's "The Culture of the New Capitalism" (Yale University Press) presents some key terms and ideas about the new global economy that validates the experiences of the rightfully fearful American working-class:

Impatient Capital: Cutthroat investors seek "short-term rather than long-term results." The results: American pension funds, for example, held stocks on average from 46 months in 1965 to less than 4 months by 2000. Temp workers with few benefits are ubiquitous. Impatient capital results in companies and workers who have little loyalty for each other.

Skills Extinction: Skills are non-durable, and must be replaced, often several times over a lifetime. Failure to adapt invokes "the specter of uselessness."

Ressentiment: "A cluster of emotions, principally the belief that ordinary people who have played by the rules have not been dealt with fairly."

Gold-plating: Political parties engage in trivial differences instead of profound structural issues. Sennett states that the selling of politicians is similar to selling soap.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Devil's Invisible Hand

This American Life (5-9-08, show #355) aired a one-hour radio episode on the mortgage banking crisis and the global pool of money. In this show the authors follow the international trail of money and greed that contributed to America's economic malaise.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Information on the Walking Wounded and the Costs of War

According to Foreign Policy in Focus (May 9, 2008):

"...The Pentagon regularly reports on the numbers of American troops "wounded" in Iraq (currently at 31,948) but neglects to mention that it has two other categories "injured" (10,180) and "ill" (28,451). All three of these categories represent soldiers who are so damaged physically they have to be medically evacuated to Germany for treatment, but by splitting the numbers up the sense of casualties down the public consciousness."

"287,790 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans "filed a disability claim with the Veterans Administration as of March 25th [2008]. That figure was not announced to the public at a news conference, but obtained by Veterans for Common Sense using the Freedom of Information Act."

"According to an April 2008 study by the Rand Corporation, 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans currently suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Another 320,000 suffer from traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage. A majority are not receiving help from the Pentagon and VA system which are more concerned with concealing unpleasant facts than they are with providing care."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How the rich get richer and the working class die

A NY Times editorial on 3-9-08 revealed that military contractors like KBR have been dodging hundreds of millions in payroll taxes by using offshore shell companies in the Cayman Islands. The Times notes that this strategy is currently legal, but that Congress was working on closing the loopholes.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

NNDB Database (

The NNDB website is an Internet source that "documents the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious." Go to Bill O'Reilly, for example, and you'll find a link for Draft Deferment: Vietnam. While there are a diverse number of people on the list, the list includes the following Vietnam era "chickenhawks":

Gary Bauer (Family Research Council)
Dick Cheney
Steve Forbes
Newt Gingrich
Rudy Guliani
Brit Hume (Fox analyst)
Alan Keyes
Scooter Libby
Joe Lieberman
Rush Limbaugh
Mitt Romney
Karl Rove
John Stossel (ABC commentator)
Clarence Thomas
George Will
Paul Wolfowitz