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Showing posts from February, 2010

Boycott Whirlpool

Ignoring company threats, Whirlpool workers in Evansville, Indiana rallied yesterday to protest the company's decision to close their refrigerator plant and move more than a thousand jobs to Mexico.

This greedy, unpatriotic company told their workers that their prospects for future employment would be jeopardized if they took part in the demonstration.

I have read about black listing before, but this is the first time I've ever heard of a company threatening such a thing in my life time.

I call on everyone in the United States to tell Whirlpool where they can stick their refrigerators if they move their refrigerator plant to Mexico.

You can do that by clicking here.

Whirlpool was once a good brand

I own a Whirlpool refrigerator. Whirlpool is threatening to move its Whirlpool refrigerator operation from Evansville, Indiana to Mexico.
There will be a big rally down in Evansville tomorrow to protest this move which will idle 1,100 American workers.
Whirlpool has warned its workers not to join the protest because it might result in other employers not hiring them in the future.
Whirlpool has made wonderful products in the past.
If Whirlpool moves its refrigerator division from Evansville, Indiana to Mexico, I will never again buy one of their refrigerators and will call for a national boycott of Whirlpool refrigerators.

Social Security Trust Fund Analysis

Social Security Trust Fund Analysis: Need to Look at the Long Term

Social Security took in only $3 billion more in taxes last year than it paid out in benefits - a $60 billion decline from 2008, according to federal data. The recession is blamed in part, as it added to the hundreds of thousands of workers retiring or claiming disability. USA Today, using Congressional Budget Office numbers, reports that the impact of the recession is likely to reduce Social Security revenues again this year and next. Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, responded, "The overall surplus of the Social Security Trust Fund is still $2.5 trillion; this is not a cataclysm. We must look at the financial picture of Social Security as actuaries do, over the long-term, which would be over a 75-year timeline. We cannot allow privatizers to use temporary recessions - even deep ones - to ruin the system that has worked for millions of seniors over several decades."
Source: February 12 i…

Fast Track Cuts to Social Security and Medicare Defeated – But Not Dead

By Jim Centner, SOAR Director

Thanks to the diligence of retirees and other progressive activists, we defeated the Senate’s attempt to shed their responsibilities and establish a commission to gut Social Security and Medicare. But we must be vigilant! The conservatives have persuaded President Obama to create his own commission to look at deficit reductions that would again put Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy.

We were successful last month. We defeated legislation that would have created an undemocratic commission that would have disenfranchised voters and hurt the political process. The conservatives and main stream media will continue to pressure the White House to act on the deficit. Addressing the deficit is one thing, messing with Social Security and Medicare is another!

SOAR is not opposed to the President creating a bipartisan fiscal commission by executive order as long as it is an advisory board to suggest and recommend needed changes to rescue our economy and deal…

McJobs Web Site

McJobs -- we all know what those are.

One online source defines a McJob as "a low-paying, low-prestige job that requires few skills and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement".

McDonald's was never very happy about the use of this term.

In fact, the company bought the domain name "" just to make sure that no one could use it.

But they forget to acquire "" -- and the global union federation for food workers, the IUF, together with LabourStart, bought the name and today are pleased to announce the public launch of, the website for McDonald's workers around the world.

If you work in McDonald's, or know anyone who does, or are just curious, please do check it out:

Eric Lee

Middle Class Task Force Issues Recommendations

By C.L. "Connie" Entrekin, SOAR President

The White House Middle Class Task Force, led by Vice President Biden has re-leased a preview of its recommendations for strengthening the middle class. The full report is due out later this month. The Task Force proposed several policy initiatives to help middle-class families get ahead as the country continues to climb out of the greatest recession since the Great Depression.

The Middle Class Task Force held meetings around the country, resulting in several proposals to help middle-class families, including: (1) Nearly doubling the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families making under $85,000 a year. (2) Limiting a student’s federal loan payments to 10 percent of his or her income above a basic living allowance. (3) Creating a system of automatic workplace IRAs. (4) Expanding tax credits to match retirement savings and enacting new safeguards to protect retirement savings. (5) Expanding support for families…

Stimulating Hypocracy: 111 Lawmakers Block Recovery While Taking Credit For its Success

With the President having just concluded his remarks on the Recovery Act, I wanted to make sure you had our updated list of lawmakers who voted against the Recovery Act and then sought and/or took credit for its benefits.

The list (which is constantly being updated but will stay at the same URL so bookmark it for easy reference) includes:

Over half of all Republicans in Congress: The list includes 110 GOP lawmakers, with 219 total Republicans in Congress.

Over half of all House GOPers: The list includes 90 House Republicans, with House GOP caucus numbering 178 members, according to the Clerk.

Nearly half of all Senate GOPers: The list includes 20 GOP senators, nearly half of their caucus of 41.

Link to list:

Good Bye, George Banks

George W. Banks was a racially pioneering leader of the United Steelworkers.

He died Feb. 4 at home in Wickliffe at age 86.

"Even though he was hard-nosed on what was the best thing for the members, he took the time to talk, explain and listen," Frank Valenta, former head of the Cleveland AFL-CIO and the steelworkers' old District 28, said Wednesday.

Banks was born in Hebbardsville, Ky., the third of seven siblings. Orphaned at 19, he brought his four younger brothers to Cleveland in 1943 and helped to support them by tending the blast furnace at Republic Steel. During the 1960s, he became what survivors believe to be the first black secretary and first black president of Local 1157.

About 1970, he became the first such assistant director of District 28. He joined negotiations around the country and conferences in Japan. Retiring in 1990, he became a board member of the local Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees and a legislative representative for the Alliance of…

Insurance Premiums, Social Security and Taxes

February 12, 2010 issue of the Friday Alert from the Alliance for Retired Americans

Insurance Premium Increase of 39% in California Adds to Health Reform Urgency
The health care problem remains on the center stage now that Anthem Blue Cross of California has unveiled rate increases of up to 39 percent for its 800,000 individual policyholders. The increases, which will take effect on March 1, far outpace the increases of 10 to 25% seen in previous years among most insurers offering individual policies. Kaiser Health News and The San Diego Union-Tribune report that as the economy slowly recovers, health insurance costs for those with individual policies continue to increase due to larger numbers of unemployed and those relying on government health care programs. As a result, "hospitals and doctors are passing on more of their uncompensated costs to patients with private insurance." The San Francisco Chronicle adds that "California physical, occupational and speech therap…

There Comes a Time

There comes a time in every man's life

When the home he lives in seems half the size.
When he and his spouse continually bump into each other.
When he and his spouse misunderstand each other.
When he finds himself under foot.

This usually takes place in the month of February, when the ground is covered with snow and it's cold outside and the sun seems to have left for good.

I'm sure there must be a name for this phenomenon, but anyway, that time is now.

I would appreciate hearing of any cure or solution.

Criminal Case Jurors Should be Professionals

Several years ago I had the privilege of serving as a juror on several murder trials. In juror deliberations in one case, one of the ladys on the jury insisted that the defendant be found guilty. When asked why she took that position, she insisted that rather than basing her vote on any evidence, her vote was simply "womans intuition".

On another case, one juror who was holding up the jury decision was willing to change his vote simply because he was in a hurry to get home.

Can you imagine being a defendant in a case made up of jurors like these?

That experience in how our jury system works left me with an impression that criminal case juries should be made of professional jurors.

Past Snow Storms

The biggest snow storm that I can remember was in January 1967. We were living on Polk Street in Gary, across from Indiana University. I think it was on Thursday that I drove to work in Hammond at the NIPSCO gas meter shop.
It began to snow that afternoon and the wind was really blowing hard. We all left work early so we would be able to get home but the weather was just too bad so I stayed the night at a friends house in Highland, Indiana.
The following morning proved to be impossible to drive, so rather than stay a whole week end away from home, I decided to try to walk home.
I walked all the way from Highland, down route six to Glen Park. It was about six or eight miles. Many cars were stranded along the way but not a single car or snow plow was seen.
Gas stations along the way were full of people.
I'll never forget arriving home. What an experience it was.

January Jobs Report

Click on the graph above to enlarge it
Pelosi Statement on January Jobs ReportFriday, February 5, 2010Contact: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616 Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on the January jobs report issued today by the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent to a five-month low of 9.7 percent.“Today’s jobs report marks a welcome step in the right direction for our economy and our families: the unemployment rate is going down. The Recovery Act, which Congress passed one year ago to pull our economy back from the brink of collapse, has already created or saved nearly 2 million jobs so far. “Yet our work is far from over. This recession that President Obama inherited has taken the worst toll on our job market since World War II. Too many workers have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Leaders of both parties must work together to keep our recovery on track by helping small bu…

What's the big deal about a stinking quarterback

I’ll take a bit of a risk in saying that the determination as to who deserves the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) for Super Bowl Games needs some study.
Half (22) of the Super Bowl MVP Awards have been given to Quarterbacks.
7 have been awarded to running backs
6 to wide receivers
2 to linebackers
2 to “signed”
2 to defensive ends
1 to corner back
1 to kicker
1 to defensive tackle
This tells me that most of the football fans don’t understand the game.



Six humans trapped by happenstance in black and bitter cold, each one possessed a stick of wood so the story’s told. Their fire in need of logs, the first woman held hers back, for on the faces around the fire she noticed one was black. The next man looking across the way saw one not of his church, and couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch. The third one sat in tattered clothes. He gave his coat a hitch. Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich? The rich man sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store, and how to keep what he had earned from the lazy shiftless poor. The black mans’ face bespoke revenge and the fire passed from his sight, for all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white. And the last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain. Giving only to those who gave, was how he played his game. The logs held tight in death’s still hands was proof of human sin. They didn’t die from th…

The Roadmap to Privitization

It appears the GOP Budget philosophy is…if at first you don’t succeed with a failed idea try, try again (and again, and again.) This week the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, reintroduced his “Roadmap for America’s Future”.

In short, it is a budget plan which decimates Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction. The only thing new about this strategy, is the fact that Rep. Ryan isn’t shy about acknowledging that he believes seniors should foot the bill for our current economic nightmare.

Ezra Klein described the plan this way:

To move us to surpluses, Ryan’s budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher’s growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care,…

This is What We Need

We need Health Insurance Reform.

We need congress to pass a public option by way of reconciliation.

We need a congress where majority votes rule.

We need congress to get rid of the filibuster.

We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

We need a republican with enough guts to stand up to the republican party of NO.

Be Aware of Toyota Problem

Here are links to three stories, all originating in the Los Angeles Times, regarding Toyota’s newly proposed repair to prevent sudden, uncontrollable acceleration. They suggest the possibility that the proposed repair to the gas pedal assembly may be ineffective to address this unsafe condition, as was Toyota’s earlier conclusion that the problem was caused by misplaced floor mats.

According to these articles, some observers have suggested that instead, the problem of sudden, uncontrollable acceleration may be caused by some undiagnosed problem in Toyota’s unusual electronic throttle system. This system does not use a traditional physical tether between the gas pedal and the engine, apparently relying instead on a wholly electronic “fly by wire” –type system.

Toyota denies that any evidence casts blame on this electronic throttle system. My recommendation is that the links to these stories be widely disseminated by email, so that Toyota owners may decide for themselves what course …