Category Archives: Corporations

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs

Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the  final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.

Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.

The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.

 

Realizing how much I have come to depend on my wonderful Superfocus glasses.

For the last few weeks I have been wearing my new Superfocus Leonardos, the new Italian design frames for the amazing focusable glasses I discovered a couple of years ago.

My original pair is a very modernist design called Bauhaus. My wife was so impressed with them that she bought a pair as well.

People are always asking “Where do you get those glasses?” and we give people the source and refer them to the Superfocus web site, show them the Penn Gillette ads, and demonstrate the ease of use and the focusing action of our specs.

The Bauhaus focuses with a sliding device and the new Leonardos have a rotating dial that is virtually invisible to onlookers. Both methods are very easy to use and I am so used to them I rarely even realize that I’m carrying out the focusing.

Interested? Go Here:

The Economist endorses Obama…

This is a surprise, but The Economist, primarily a business publication, has endorsed Obama over businessman Romney. Here’s the statement:

“As a result, this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.”

 

Here’s a new problem which will probably start appearing in storm damaged areas (and beyond)…

Here’s something to watch out for that you probably haven’t thought of: if you are shopping for a used car you  should be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles that often hit the market after a major storm. They may not come from your particular geographic area, but the storm actually covered a lot of ground.

In the wake Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive flooding in several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic cities in the U.S., we should consider the advice given by Edmunds.com (the Car People.)

Once owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies their vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. An unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster is the prime target. Long after the seller is gone, the new owner finds it is an unreliable car. Electrical and mechanical problems can then surface, and there is no recourse against the seller.

 

When the flood waters recede, they often leave behind damaged cars, and that’s where trouble can begin for used-car buyers. After the owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. And sometimes, a middleman buyer intentionally hides a car’s history as a flood-damaged vehicle through a process known as “title washing” and sells it to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster. Electrical and mechanical problems then surface later — long after the seller is gone — leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller.

- edmunds.com

According to Fraud Guides, if you suspect a local car dealer is committing fraud by knowingly selling a flood car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422).

Of course, the best advice when trying to avoid a flood-damaged vehicle is the adage you’ve heard so often: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Suppose Romney was President now, during Sandy…

First of all, he would have discarded FEMA as a Federal Agency and given the costs and responsibilities back to the states or to private enterprise. I’ll bet governors up and down the east cost would not be thrilled to lose the federal support.

So what is Romney‘s status on federal funds protecting and helping Americans in times of natural disaster? Take a look:

I guess that means what President Obama is doing now to aid the various states in preserving life and helping states is “immoral.” Tell that to Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who as already come out praising Obama and thanking him for making federal funds and FEMA available… and being available to him by phone for any future problems. I’ll bet Christie is glad that it is Obama and not Romney who is on the other end of the phone call:

“I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.”

-  Gov. Chris Christie, (R) NJ

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

- and -

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

- and -

David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.

 

 

An Architectural Marvel is up for trashing in Chicago…

I am deeply upset with my alma mater, Northwestern University, as they attempt to tear down a particularly special architectural classic from the 70s. This  preservation battle has been building for months in Chicago on the fate of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, a concrete, cloverleaf structure from 1975 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.  Famous architects and designers like Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have signed petitions entreating Northwestern, who owns the building, not to tear it down, pleading for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give it landmark status.

The university says it needs new biomedical research facilities and that Prentice is too small, old and quirky to adapt. A new building would bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives – that’s Northwestern’s argument.

So here is a suggestion: Build a research tower on top of Prentice. The architect Jeanne Gang has a proposal for a new research tower on top of the hospital:

Why save Prentice? There are  Chicagoans that hate it. Concrete buildings from the ’70s are becoming  unpopular outside architectural circles, although it’s spreading, and rightly so. Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and careful custody. Prentice is a good example.

Architect Goldberg, who died in 1997, used a pioneering form of computer modeling to engineer a tour de force: an open, seven-story maternity ward inside the cloverleaf shell, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core.

Great buildings have often survived the wrecking ball by being added to, incorporated into larger structures or updated for a new era — in Rome and Istanbul, New York and Chicago.

 

 

Here’s a sign of the new embodiment of journalism…

Newsweek will discontinue it’s printed edition  with the December 31st Issue. All of Newsweek’s information and branded publications will be on line after that, making it the leading news publication to make its entire presence on the web.

The all digital format is being adopted after more than 80 years in print. Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. It will be a paid subscription site (like the NY Times) and will be available on both tablets and the Web, with select content available on its current bl9g, The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast, which depends on Newsweek’s editorial content, now attracts more than 15 million visitors a month.

Tina Brown is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek. Baba Shetty is CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co.

 

If you’ve heard about employers telling employees how to vote or their jobs are on the line…

… then perhaps you’d like to know where they got that idea.

Well, they got it from Mittens last summer.

In a June 6, 2012 conference call posted on the anti-union National Federation of Independent Business’s website, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instructed employers to tell their employees how to vote in the upcoming election. In a phone call, after making a lengthy case that President Obama’s first term has been bad for business, Romney said:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.

Obviously, the Romney campaign is complicit in corporate attempts to influence employees’ votes that have made headlines in the past few days.

On Sunday, In These Times broke the news that Koch Industries mailed at least 45,000 employees a voter information packet that included a flyer endorsing Romney and a letter warning,:

“Many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences [of a bad election result], including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”

In the June call, Romney went on to reassure his audience that it is perfectly legal for them to talk to their employees about how to vote:

Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well. 

He’s correct that such speech is now legal for the first time ever, thanks to the Citizen United ruling.

Beyond Romney’s statements on the call, it’s unclear whether his election operation is actively coordinating workplace campaigning by businesses. Romney press secretary Andrea Saul did not respond to In These Times’request for comment.However, the conference call raises troubling questions about what appears to be a growing wave of workplace political pressure unleashed by Citizens United.

Here’s Romney presenting this crap to businesses:

Unemployment rate drops to 7.8%!

 

After listening to Romney accusing the President of not being able to get the unemployment rate below 8.1%, today the newest rate report was released. At 7.8% it’s lowest level since January 2009.

Let’s hear it for the President as the rate came down and jobs, even though just a little (114000 jobs in September), moved up.

Meanwhile, what has Romney done to support his country in helping promote unemployment activity? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.

 

Ready to do some investigating of Romney’s business success?

 

Take a look at this article in Salon (click on title to read it.)

How Mitt Romney’s Bain “harvested” Sealy mattress company

Sealy was America‘s No. 1 mattress brand — until Bain Capital got its hands on it.

As Josh Kosman says at the end of the article:

“I hope one of the debate moderators asks Romney how Bain helped Sealy.”

 

Do you go to a Regal Cinema in your community? Are you a woman?

 

Jim Hightower just wrote a very interesting column – “The Price of Admission”.

DaysofThunder46/Flickr

Here’s the beginning:

Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.

Responding to that horrible mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Regalites say they’ve begun rummaging through movie-goers’ purses to protect us from…well, from what?

The Dark Knight Rises shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn’t fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal’s rummaging is apparently reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been committed by male specimens of our species.

Read the whole column HERE. And thanks to Hightower for making this absurdity visible to us all.

 

 

Arthur Ochs (Punch) Sulzberger, former NY Times publisher, dead at 86.

 

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, known to his colleagues as “Punch“, the fourth publisher of the New York Times, is famous for his decision to publish the Pentagon Papers and to promote a radical redesign that set a new standard for newspapers in the last quarter of the 20th century, has died at age 86, after a long illness.

Sulzberger was publisher of the Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the parent company from 1973 to 1997. These titles were passed on to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the fourth generation of his family to head the paper.

Publishing the Pentagon Papers were the defining moment of three decades of transformation at the Times under Sulzberger. He also automated the Times’ production, unified the Sunday and daily news operations under one editor and  divided the paper into four brightly written sections.

Hampered by dyslexia, he was an indifferent student who daydreamed in class. His grades were so poor that he repeated the first year of high school. In 1943, the 17-year-old joined the Marines. His desire to prove himself on the battlefield was thwarted by his father, who arranged a transfer to Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s staff as driver and jack of all trades. After World War II, Sulzberger earned a degree at Columbia University in 1951. He served in the Korean War as a public information officer.

 

So, did businessman Romney really create jobs…or destroy them for profit?

 

Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain’s formation, showed how he viewed the firm’s mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then “harvest them at a significant profit” within five to eight years.

The video was included in a CD-ROM created in 1998 to mark the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the consulting firm that gave birth to Bain Capital. Here is the full clip, as it appeared on that CD-ROM (the editing occurred within the original).

 

Read David Corn‘s story about this video: http://bit.ly/VKJL6L

 

Watching Romney on 60 Minutes led me to remember the things he was lying about…

 

Post these on your websites if you want to be aware of what Romney-Ryan will do to Medicare… and what they will do to employment and tax income, etc.:

Gee, I’m lucky… being in the oldest category they only grab about 50% of my retirement payments from Social Security (or all of my pension each year for the next 8… then it’s gone.)

Did you hear Romney say he was going to cut taxes on Middle America? Go you remember ythe other day when he said the income rate of Middle America started at $200,000.00 a year in annual income… and averaged a quarter of a million dollars. All at once I was not part of Middle America any more. Neither were ALL of the people I know and deal with every day in West Virginia.

I hope most people realize the bullshit Romney is bubbling over with. We have the possibility of having the worst president in history. Let’s avoid that situation by not voting for him.

 

Tomorrow night is the Emmys… here are the shows that are nominated:

64th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Entertainment
Girls • HBO • Apatow Productions and I am Jenni Konner Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Modern Family • ABC • Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television
Veep • HBO • Dundee Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire • HBO • Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production
Game Of Thrones • HBO • Bighead, Littlehead, Generator Productions,
Homeland • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21
Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story • FX Networks • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Game Change • HBO • Playtone and Everyman Pictures in association with HBO Films
Hatfields & McCoys • HISTORY • Thinkfactory Media in association with History
Hemingway & Gellhorn • HBO • Attaboy Films and A Walrus & Associates in
Luther • BBC America • A BBC and BBC America Co-Production
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood West for

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central • Central Productions, LLC
Jimmy Kimmel Live • ABC • ABC Studios in association with Jackhole Industries, Inc
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon • NBC • Universal Television and Broadway Video
Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO • Bill Maher Productions and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO
Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video

Outstanding Variety Special
Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America’s Golden Girl • NBC • Brad Lachman Productions and Universal    Television
Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker • Bravo • Rickmill Productions
Mel Brooks And Dick Cavett Together Again • HBO • Brooksfilms in association with HBO Entertainment
Tony Bennett: Duets II (Great Performances) • PBS • A Production of RPM TV Productions, Inc.

Outstanding Special Class Programs
84th Annual Academy Awards • ABC • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards • NBC • Dick Clark Productions, Inc.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards • CBS • AEG Ehrlich Ventures, LLC and John Cossette Productions, Inc.
Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin (Great Performances) • PBS
Louis C.K. Live At The Beacon Theatre • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc.
65th Annual Tony Awards • CBS • White Cherry Entertainment in association with Tony Award Productions

Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs
Childrens Hospital • Cartoon Network • The Corddry Company, Abominable Pictures and Studio 2.0
The Daily Show Correspondents Explain • thedailyshow.com • Comedy Central Digital Media
Parks And Recreation: April And Andy’s Road Trip • nbc.com • NBC.com | Universal Television
30 Rock: The Webisodes • nbc.com • NBC.com | Universal Television
Web Therapy • lstudio.com • An Is or Isn’t Entertainment production in association with Intelligent Life Productions
The Colbert Report • Episode 7121A • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Episode 17087 • Comedy Central • Central Productions, LLC
Late Show With David Letterman • Episode 3602 • CBS • Worldwide Pants Incorporated
Portlandia • One Moore Episode • IFC • Broadway Video in association with IFC
Saturday Night Live • Host: Mick Jagger • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television

Reviewing the “junk” or “spam” that comes into this blog…

 

Every so often instead of just trashing the entries that Akismet builds up during the course of the say, I take a quick review of where this stuff is coming from. Since I average about 9,500 of these bothersome bits a month, reviewing them is pretty much a waste of time, but it tells me what some people out in the blogosphere are trying to do.

Would you believe that this costs $1500.00?

For the most part they are trying to get free advertising posted as comments to blog entries. Last year the big pushers were porn sites, but this year I am swamped by women’s accessories – primarily Gucci leather products (mostly handbags) and various brands of ladies’ shoes.

Who do these people think this blog serves? Why do they think I’ll post this stuff?

I’d like to think the posters are wasting their time, but since I am sure this garbage is being put out by some kind of automatic list pushed across the web, I doubt that they are taking up anyone’s time at all.

Thankfully, Akismet has a great memory for spammers and removes them immediately. I recommend it highly.

 

Romney is Monsanto’s Candidate…there go our farms!

You know that this blog has a long history of exposing and criticizing Monsanto for the chemical destruction of what once was our fresh food products —Monsanto, whose dark history features scandals involving PCBs, Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, NutraSweet, IUD, genetically modified (GM) seed and herbicides, reaching back to the 1970s and ’80s.

Those of us who support the remaining organic food growers, and who grow our own out of necessity, have set Monansto as the most evil of challenges.

If we go way back to Romney’s beginnings with Bain Capital when he was 30 years old, who do you think his largest client was, and who remains his friend today? You guessed it. Monsanto. This matters for a number of reasons:  it sheds on Romney’s self-ballyhooed business experience; Romney helped create Monsanto corporate objectives that clash with planetary concerns; If Romney is elected, this enemy of environmentalists will have a very old friend in the White House.

Monsanto’s former CEO John W. Hanley is in fact the only business executive outside of the Bain founding family to so shape Romney’s career—jumpstarting the two companies, Bain & Company and Bain Capital, that account for all but two years of Romney’s much-ballyhooed business experience.

Monsanto, who currently produces Genetically Modified corn, soybean, alfalfa and other seeds, which are  engineered to resist Roundup and increase yield, faces many global disputes, and has lost two recent, at least $2 billion, court decisions in Brazil -  5 million soy farmers sued them. The Brazilian farmers’ issue is also a source of frustration for US farmers—the contracts farmers are forced to sign pledging not to save seeds for future harvests, a common farm custom that resale-fixated Monsanto has hired a seed police army to stop.

Roundup Ready” seeds, of course, are completely responsible to the success and safety of Roundup itself. However,“super-weeds” are developing a Roundup tolerance, requiring more and more spraying to work. This is harmful both ecologically and financially  for farmers.The seeds, introduced in the Bain years with Bain boosting, Roundup’s supposedly “biodegradable” and “nontoxic” claims, have led to false advertising findings. This is part of Romney’s business trustworthiness and acumen.

In the presidential campaign, Romney is deliberately vague . He’s moved publicly in Monsanto’s direction on the company’s genetically engineered ethanol and farm subsidies, appears aligned with it on labeling (Monsanto wants to avoid labeling its fruits and vegetables with the 5 digit code, different for organic competitors), and his spokesman Shawn McCoy said this month that the candidate was “concerned by the effect that the Obama administration’s crushing onslaught of regulations is having on agriculture.” Read from this what effect the Obama administration will have on one of his largest campaign contributors.

Revealing quote of the day – from Rick Santorum

Hmmm. Rick pitched this at the Value Voters Summit:

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

— Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R)

The opposite of elite and smart =  the dregs and stupid… so I guess this is how Santorum sees his conservative colleagues who are on their side.

Remembering the creation and importance of Labor Day…

The contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers is primarily the reason we celebrate Labor Day. The influence of organized labor cannot be ignored.

Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions:

  • The 40 hour work week
  • paid holidays and vacations
  • sick leave
  • grievance procedures
  • collective bargaining
  • generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, we have come to take those benefits for granted. Benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many non-union workers as well. All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. By 1909 all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

On Labor Day, let’s look at the benefits brought to us by Organized Labor:

Benefits of Unions:

Reinforcement of  the middle class. States with higher rates of unionization have lower rates of poverty, crime, and failing schools.

Raise of wages for all workers. Studies show that a large union presence in an industry or region can raise wages even for non-union workers. Women in unions make 33% more non-union women, and are more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and pensions.

Reducing wage inequality. Unions raise wages the most for low- and middle-wage workers and workers without college degrees.

Creation of mine safety laws strengthening mine safety standards and protecting the rights of mine workers.

The legal participation of Organized Labor has gotten many bills through Congress. In the last 50 or so years these include:

    •    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
•    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
•    The Voting Rights Act of 1965
•    The Civil Rights Act of 1964
•    The Equal Pay Act of 1963

So as we celebrate Labor Day, let’s look at it as not just a day off from work, but as recognition of the relationship of the worker to democracy.

For those in favor of a Sustainable economy:

Passed on to me by John Case:

The *Daly News*<http://dalynews.org>is where we question some of the most deeply ingrained (and deeply flawed)  myths of mainstream economics. The *Daly News* is named in honor of one of our authors, Herman Daly, a true leader in alternative economic thinking.

His most recent essay provides a counterpoint<http://steadystate.org/eight-fallacies-about-growth/>to the clamor for continuous economic growth. Our current essay is a doozy. Brian Czech attacks the nonsense spouted by George Will<http://steadystate.org/george-will/>, but surprisingly Czech agrees with Will on a critical point that has  ramifications for the transition to a sustainable and fair economy. I hope
you’ll take a look.
 
“Eye-opening.” “Beautifully written.” “Insightful.” Those are just a few reader responses to our essays on the *Daly News*. Please subscribe via email<http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=DalyNews&loc=en_US>or RSS feed <http://feeds.feedburner.com/DalyNews>.

I’ve put the Daly News on my bookmark list and will be referring to it when required.

Art and Commerce Meet in a Fabulous Format…

English: Andy Warhol

Before you do your food shopping this week let me ask you a question. Are you planning on buying tomato soup?  If so, you could bring home some Andy Warhol for your pantry.

Campbell‘s announced Wednesday that a new limited-edition line of Warhol-themed condensed tomato soup cans will go on sale starting Sept. 2 at most Target stores across the country.

These cost 75 cents each and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Warhol’s first paintings of the familiar soup cans.

Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, 1962. Dis...

PHOTOS: Turning 50 in 2012

The soup will come in a variety of intensely colored cans meant to mimic Warhol’s pop-art style. The artist exhibited his soup-can paintings in 1962, and they became his signature works.

Campbell’s said the new cans are being sold in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation, which controls the licensing of the artist’s name and images.

Healthcare Question: WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?

My friend Ted Czukor sent me this essay and I am pleased to pass it on to you:

WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?
By Ted Czukor

info@tedsyoga.com

I’d like to take a poll of all readers over the age of 30. How many of you think that life is going to unfold the way you had envisioned? It certainly hasn’t been like that for me! I’m 65 now, and on the one hand I’ve had some wonderful experiences that I never could have predicted, while on the other hand some experiences have been the sheerest crap; but very seldom in my life has my planning brought about the exact result to which I had looked forward.

One of the more disturbing surprises I’ve had recently is that finally getting Medicare health insurance is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving proper medical attention—because healthcare providers are sometimes slow to order medical tests. I say “sometimes” because it’s a very mixed bag. Sometimes our doctor may send us immediately to the lab for something that he feels is necessary, but other times we may have to come back to his office for multiple appointments over several months with the same persistent complaint before he will decide that the quickly-written prescription isn’t doing anything, and we really do need to have a tube stuck down our throat or a picture taken of our brain or joints to see what the hell is actually going on.

It’s hard to predict when our doctors will jump on a test immediately or delay one for several months—but it seems clear from the national discussion on TV that some tests are being delayed due to concerns about cost. Our healthcare system is losing money, and some patients are guilty of what the insurance industry calls “over-utilization of services”—which makes it damned hard on those of us who legitimately need the testing.

On the Today Show on Wednesday morning, August 28th 2012, Dr. Nancy Snyderman actually suggested that any medical test will come up with something treatable, so therefore people in their 90′s should hold off on such tests so that younger people with longer-expected life spans can benefit from the treatments instead!  We like and respect Dr. Nancy, and we never expected her to take such a cold-blooded stance on the subject. It sounds logical and fiscally responsible on the surface, but how low on the age scale should we set the cutoff point? Age 80? 70? What about people over the age of 60? Shouldn’t other factors besides age be considered in such a decision?

Such a stance is easy to support, so long as the older people in question are generic groups whom you have never met. But when that older person is suddenly a personal friend or a member of your own family—or when, God forbid, it’s actually you—then you will probably take a second look and decide that in this case, at least, an exception should be made!

Another unexpected and recent surprise has been that we have to do our own diagnosing. More accurately, we have to research our symptoms on the Internet and take our questions about possible causes to our doctor, to get him to look into them and determine whether we are barking up the wrong tree—or not. Only our doctors and their labs can diagnose for certain, but we have to tell them what to look for! This is doubtless due to the overwhelming number of patients they see every day, with the result that even the most conscientious physician can only pay full attention to the patient who is right in front of him. As soon as that patient has left and a new one has come in, the first one better receive proper follow-up from the doctor’s staff, because the doctor himself will have forgotten about him until their next scheduled appointment.

In the last three years my wife and I have been successfully treated for degenerated hips and shoulders, melanoma and allergic reactions to various medications—but in every case we were the ones who had to self-diagnose the condition and then go to the proper specialist to have it verified! Until we did that, we were simply given prescriptions for pain or infection in an attempt to mask symptoms.  It was never suggested that surgery might be needed, or that a medication should be discontinued because it might be messing us up.  Suggestions of that nature had to be put forward by us.

I have two reasons for writing this essay and sharing it with others. For those in the medical profession, I want you to know that educated patients understand your dilemmas concerning healthcare costs and the limited time you are allowed to spend with each of us—but we insist that attention be paid to us as individuals, rather than as generic members of a certain age group. For my contemporaries who are experiencing the same frustrations that I am, I want to encourage you to Keep Doing Your Searches on WebMD, and Keep Asking Questions. Don’t take a doctor’s “I don’t know” for an answer. Get your facts lined up, and insist on getting tested for anything that alarms you and that your doctor isn’t completely sure doesn’t need a test.

For those of you who aren’t wealthy and are under 65 without health insurance, I empathize.  I went without insurance for two years before finally making it to Medicare age. The best advice I can give is to do whatever you feel is necessary to maintain your functionality, until you can finally get coverage to see doctors again. The trick is to just stay alive. But remember that getting the insurance won’t be enough. You will have to be an active advocate for your own health and for the health of your spouse and parents.

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