Today's Note from a Madman
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Madman will be celebrating the Holidays with friends and family this weekend, so there will be no Madman until Tuesday, December 27th. Yes, I said "Holidays" instead of Christmas or Chanukah because we will be celebrating both: Christmas will be spent with some very good friends who happen to be Evangelical Christians: Chanukah will be with family. I make the potato latkes (or is that "potatoe", Mr. Quayle?), so I will need time to recuperate.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY CHANUKAH and SOLEMN
Stupid Quote in the Lead
"There is undeniably an important and legitimate privacy interest at stake with respect to the activities described by the president. That must be balanced, however, against the government's compelling interest in the security of the nation."
-Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella, in a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees
Again that same old tired argument is made by the Bushies. To protect our civil liberties, we have to take them away from you. It's disgusting; It's disgraceful; More to the point, IT'S STILL ILLEGAL! Justifying a crime is no excuse for its committal.
This is the same logic that put thousands of Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. It's the philosophy of hitler's SS, when they would execute a dozen people because they suspected one of them was a spy.
Taking away our freedom, civil liberties and rights to privacy has not made US safer for one additional second, and it never has.
Take REAL responsibility, GW. Admit your mistake...even call it a "mistake". Promise to stop the practice; admit the wrongdoing. Apologize to the American people. Take your punishment like a man.
Thomas Jefferson and most of our American forefathers despised a monarchy. It appears that, today, GW is trying to become King George I of America. It was something that Jefferson feared from the likes of the monarchists and their leader Alexander Hamilton way back in his days as Secretary of State under George Washington (the good GW).
Operation Phone Home
The USO has a program called Operation Phone Home. It's a well-intentioned program designed to allow our servicemen and women an opportunity to call their loved ones free of charge during their deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There were similar programs put into place for different seemingly, altruistic reasons. Do you remember the airlines asking US to donate our frequent flier miles to the American Red Cross or the Make a Wish Foundation? How about when we were asked to help those displaced by Hurricane Katrina by donating our vacation homes for them to use? All good, worthy causes that most Americans would not hesitate one second to contribute to. I just have one question:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
The phone companies are making money hand over fist, much more than they made when they were regulated (AT&T was restricted to six percent profits, forcing them to spend their extra revenue on silly things like Research and Development). I understand that the USO is trying to do something good, but the telephone companies, which use public land and airwaves to transmit data should be supplying these calls for FREE.
Similarly, after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, many if US called and offered our vacation homes before we were asked. Just where were the major hotel chains with their empty rooms that were close to home? Why weren't they offering their hotels and services in charity? And don't get me started on the bundle of money made by Celebrity Cruise lines for housing New Orleans Municipal Employees. They claimed that they just "broke even." THEY DON'T EVEN PAY TAXES IN THE US!
But by far my the ultimate "Gall Award" has to go to the airlines who asked US to donate our frequent flier miles (like you could use them when you wanted to anyway) so sick children or hurricane victims could fly their airlines. HELLO! THEY OWN THE AIRLINES. GIVE THEM A SEAT!
In this time of giving, wouldn't it be nice for the "Have-Mores" to stop asking the "Have-Littles" to give to the "Have-Nots"? Brush away the cobwebs of your corporate wallets, already overflowing with American taxpayer money in the form of subsidies, tax write-offs and scant corporate taxes, and give to the people that need it the most?
Today, I drive my car to Pavonia-Newport, a PATH train station that takes commuters to New York City from Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken, NJ. The Kinney parking lot, which usually charges about $22.00 for a full day's parking lowered their price to $10.00 so those of US who usually drive into New York would be able to get into work (and avoid the MTA transit strike that closed New York City to any vehicle with less than four people between the hours of 5AM and 11AM). It's not really altruistic, but it's a start.
I wonder what it would have cost if the airlines owned the parking lot?
Wal-Mart Says "No Soup for You"
A northern California Jury awarded about 116,000 Wal-Mart employees $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages for lunch... or should I say a lack of lunch. Right out of The Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld, America's biggest employer seemingly said "No soup for you... ever" to their workers. This is against a California law that requires employers to allow one half-hour, UNPAID lunch to every worker, unless they choose not to take it. The penalty is one-hour paid for every half-hour missed. A similar case ended with a Colorado Jury's award of $50 million last year.
Apparently, Wal-Mart's excuse was that the workers didn't want lunch (maybe they couldn't afford it on their meager salaries)...and if they did, they didn't speak up about it... and if they did, they didn't demand the penalty pay... and if they did, they didn't demand it "in a timely fashion"... and if they did, they didn't work there any longer, I guess.
Now, what possible reason would there be for Wal-Mart to not allow employees an UNPAID lunch period? Obviously it didn't cost them anything. I mean they only had to pay for the time worked. It sounds likea muscle-flexing, keep them down thing to me. What other reason could there be?
Many of you know that I don't walk into a Wal-Mart store. That is my small revolt against Goliath. I feel that their practices kill small business and bring the economy down. The penny in savings does not make up for the millions in lost, middle class revenue. The philosophy of demoralizing employees goes against every fiber in my body, first as an employee, next as an employer. Doing away with self-respect fo r"low prices" is simply just not worth the trade-off.
Here's to you, the Alameda County Jury who CAN see the forest for the trees.
An AOL Poll
|Overall, did President Bush win or lose this year?||How would you grade him on Social Security?|
|He lost 65%||F 62%|
|He won 26%||A 13%|
|He came out even 9%||B 9%|
|How do you think he will do in 2006?||C 8%|
|Worse 47%||D 8%|
|Better 35%||Total Votes: 53,592|
|The same 19%|
|Total Votes: 99,855|
|How would you grade him on Iraq?||How would you grade his handling of the Cindy Sheehan protest?|
|F 53%||F 58%|
|A 15%||A 25%|
|B 14%||D 7%|
|D 11%||C 6%|
|C 7%||B 4%|
|Total Votes: 85,824||Total Votes: 53,064|
|How would you grade his response to the deadly hurricanes?||How would you grade his response to record gas prices?|
|F 57%||F 67%|
|A 12%||A 13%|
|B 12%||C 7%|
|D 11%||B 7%|
|C 8%||D 6%|
|Total Votes: 52,703|
|How would you grade him on his Supreme Court nominations?||How would you grade his involvement in the Terry Schiavo case?|
|F 39%||F 60%|
|D 20%||A 20%|
|A 17%||C 8%|
|C 13%||B 6%|
|B 11%||D 5%|
|Total Votes: 53,488||Total Votes: 51,251|
An MSNBC Poll
|Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? - 107,104 responses|
|Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.||85%|
|No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching "high crimes and misdemeanors."||5%|
|No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.||9%|
|I don't know. (We're just here for the cake - We heard there would be cake)||1%|
Even Fox-Lite, MSNBC can't "spin" these numbers.
In response to America's fallen heroes being shipped home in the belly of commercial airlines, Sean (Mr. Blue-Sky) writes:
First of all I wound like to give offer my sympathies and condolences to John and Stacey Holley for the death of their son Matthew.
I am a former employee of an air carrier. I saw many bodies sent home from many places during my employ. Some were babies, ordinary citizens, and a few were even military personnel. They were all treated with the utmost respect and given special care and handling.
I was trained in specific procedures in how to care for human remains.
Myself and the others I worked with many times would be seen offering a silent prayer and even shedding a tear when we encountered a deceased individual on our flight.
The guys that work in freight would be waiting for the plane when it arrived at the gate. Never was a an H.R. left in the rain, in the sun, or forced into a plane when the casket was to large for the door. I recall one instance when a double casket was ferried by itself on a wider aircraft when it was found to large even for a 737.
I wish there was a separate and special plane used for every fallen soldier when it is time for them to come home. I wish the same for anyone who dies and has to be shipped home.
I can assure you all we gave due respect to any and all persons that were entrusted in our care. We never used derogatory language or terminology when we referred to any human remains. I swear to God every person who handled any deceased treated that package like a member of their own family.
Even if they were sent as freight in the belly of a commercial aircraft.
To which Madman responded:
Iím certain that you and your co-workers truly performed the way you say. Iím as sure that GW couldnít care less if these fallen heroes were sent cross country in a plan, train or in the back of a station wagon.
And Sean wrote back:
You are absolutely right on both points. It's not that I resent what Mr. and Mrs. Holley said. I just want them and others to know that even though the president shows no respect or remorse for our fallen, there are others who do. Like Senator Boxer and myself, and the guys I worked with at Continental Airlines.
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