Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where is the UAW?

Why is the "auto workers make $70 per hour" lie getting so much traction? Where is the UAW in this conversation, correcting the record?

UAW workers make about $28 per hour -- certainly in line with auto workers from Toyota and other foreign companies. Their benefits (This includes the costs of negotiated benefits such as health care, pensions, education and training and prepaid legal services. It also includes statutory costs, which employers are required to pay by law, such as federal contributions for Social Security and Medicare, and state payments to workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance funds.) cost about $10 per hour -- again totally in line with other workers who receive benefits in the USA.

How these liars get to $70 per hour is they take the total cost of all retirees including health benefits and divide it by the number of current employee hours. Each of the 302,500 UAW workers is carrying in addition to their own costs, the costs of 368,810 retirees and 105,420 surviving spouses. Who else includes the cost of benefits to multiple other people in the compensation rate for employees? Liars, that's who.

And that disparity has already been solved:
In 2007, the Big Three signed a breakthrough contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) designed, once and for all, to eliminate the compensation gap between domestic and foreign automakers in the U.S.

The agreement sought to do so, first, by creating a private trust for financing future retiree benefits--effectively removing that burden from the companies' books. The auto companies agreed to deposit start-up money in the fund; after that, however, it would be up to the unions to manage the money...

In addition, management and labor agreed to change health benefits for all workers, active or retired, so that the coverage looked more like the policies most people have today, complete with co-payments and deductibles...

The right has pounced on the $70 per hour myth to destroy labor. The UAW has a perfect response -- why aren't they shouting it? At a minimum their web site shoud have updates and fact sheets to refute these attacks. Instead the News Release site hasn't been updated since 11-6-08; Speeches and Testimony since 9-25-08;
and Features since 11-12-08.

The UAW is in desprate need for a new PR firm!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spineless Democrats

From AP: "Democratic congressional leaders say they are prepared to return to Washington next month to continue a post-election session and approve federal loans to the automobile industry if automakers submit plans to restructure by December 2.

"Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed the comments."

What a crock! What skills and expertise does Nancy Pelosi have to evaluate a plan to restructure? If the auto companies had a good viable plan, they wouldn't need the Federal Government to bail them out, there would be investors lined up around the block. What her request REALLY is -- 'please cover our butts to our constituents -- make it look like we're not just caving in.' Meanwhile she's doing the car company's bidding and driving the last nail in the coffin of organized labor. Labor has given up more than their fair share of concessions for the past decade and it was obvious from the testimony of the auto company executives that they are clueless and unmotivated to accept any personal responsibility.

It drives me crazy when the auto executives (and now Senators Levin and Stabenow) try to blame the credit markets for slow sales. Have any of you noticed a line of folks wanting to buy a SUV or other car but can't because no financing is available? No -- banks and credit unions would be thrilled to make good car loans. I heard last week the auto auction market has crashed -- banks can't even unload repo'd vehicles at the auction yards because consumers do not recognize ANY value to a cars currently.

Oh, we'll bail out the auto companies for a few more years but we shouldn't. They should be forced to come up with a REAL reorganization plan. If they did, real investors would be clamoring to invest in these companies. We are feeding and enabling the junkie executives and delaying their need for rehab. Unfortunately, organized labor is going to be the victim here -- all of those auto executives will pillage all they can from their companies and then retire with a HUGE settlement. Meanwhile, the hundred of thousand of workers who agreed to deferred compensation when the auto companies needed them in the past will be reneged on. Pensions and health care plans that were the deferred compensation these hard workers agreed to will be scrapped.

Thank you Nancy Pelosi! May I have another . . .

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Something is Fishy in Alaska

Check out Shannyn Moore. She has some smelly facts about Alaska:
Four years ago, 313,592 out of 474,740 registered voters in Alaska participated in the election-a 66% turnout. Taking into account 49,000 outstanding ballots, on Tuesday 272,633 out of 495,731 registered Alaskans showed up at the polls; a turnout of 54.9%. That’s a decrease of more than 11% in voter turnout even though passions ran high for and against Obama, as well as for and against Sarah Palin! This year, early voters set a new record. As of last Thursday, with 4 days left for early voting, 15,000 Alaskans showed up-shattering the old record set in 2004 by 28%! Consider the most popular governor in history-and now the most polarizing-was on the Republican ticket. Consider the historic nature of this race; the first African American presidential candidate EVER! The second woman to ever make a presidential ticket; and she’s one of our own. Despite that, we’re supposed to believe that overall participation DECREASED by 11%. Not only that, but this historic election both nationally and for Alaska HAD THE LOWEST ALASKA TURNOUT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL RACE EVER!!! That makes sense. REALLY??? Something stinks.

Nate Silver over at one of the best and most respected blogs around also noticed something amiss in his post titled "What In The Hell Happened in Alaska?"

Is Alaska the 2008 version of Ohio and Florida?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm Ashamed of Myself BUT . . .

Get me a saucer of milk, I'm feeling Catty! Oprah needs to loan Michelle her stylist. PLEASE, Girlfriend! Save Michelle from these dresses that look so awful on camera!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ballot Processing Observations

I received an e-mail from another PCO who said that our County Auditor was verifying by computer signature of the orignial registration card and the ballot. He questioned whether this was a tactic to throw additional ballots out. I've been observing the ballot processing and there's nothing to worry about. It is true that they are using a computer to compare the signatures but only to display a scan of the signature on the ballot to a scan of the original signature -- a trained worker actually does the comparison. If they question the signature, the original envelope goes to another person who tries to check the signature again. While I was observing, only 10% were challenged in the first step and 50% of those were because the voter didn't use a dark enough ink on the ballot for the scanner to pick up a clear picture so a comparison to the paper ballot ws necessary.

Out of 69,400 votes processed so far, only 700 ballots have been challenged and most of those challenges are for other reasons (like a husband signing a wife's ballot and vise versa, change of address, change of name, unsigned ballots, etc.).

IMHO things are going well and it is a fair and well managed process.


My Current Nightmare

This possible senario keeps me up at night -- Stevens wins his Senate seat in Alaska but the Senate won't seat the felon. He quits and Sara Palin appoints herself to the Senate. She builds a 4 year resume in the Senate and is BACK in 2012.