||Saturday, March 27, 2004
4/01: focus on Bib Laden "A MISTAKE"!
A previously forgotten report from April 2001 (four months before 9/11)
shows that the Bush Administration officially declared it "a mistake" to
focus "so much energy on Osama bin Laden." The report directly contradicts
the White House's continued assertion that fighting terrorism was its "top
priority" before the 9/11 attacks.
Specifically, on April 30, 2001, CNN reported that the Bush Administration's
release of the government's annual terrorism report contained a serious
change: "there was no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind
Osama bin Laden" as there had been in previous years. When asked why the
Administration had reduced the focus, "a senior Bush State Department
official told CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much
energy on bin Laden.".
The move to downgrade the fight against Al Qaeda before 9/11 was not the
only instance where the Administration ignored repeated warnings that an Al
Qaeda attack was imminent). Specifically, the Associated Press reported
in 2002 that "President Bush's national security leadership met formally
nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism
was the topic during only two of those sessions". Meanwhile, Newsweek
has reported that internal government documents show that the Bush
Administration moved to "de-emphasize" counterterrorism prior to 9/11.
When "FBI officials sought to add hundreds more counterintelligence agents"
to deal with the problem, "they got shot down" by the White House...more [MisLeader.org]
Bush gets slaped down by Clarke, and what does the White House do? They focus on character assasination. The funny thing is that Clarke voted for Bush. I love the images of Condi Rice looking like she was sucking on a lime -- of course she has time to go on 60 minutes, but not to testify under oath...mj
||Monday, March 15, 2004
||Saturday, March 13, 2004
The wheel spins...
I started my new job last Monday. I now work for the City of Tacoma. I'm back to the customer service game. My almost 5 months with Verizon Wireless were great, and I would go back gladly if I had to. VZW is a great company, with great people, and a great customer service attitude. It doesn't mean they're perfect -- no one is, but it was cool working for a company that had a genuine desire to make money while serving it's customers.
Other changes are also coming. I got my notice to pay for the coming years subscription to Radio for this blog. I have decided to stop and instead I am looking for free alternatives. More then likely I will use something that allows me to do the blog off of my existing web site. I will update when I have an answer -- but 30 more days and this will go silent...mj
||Sunday, March 7, 2004
Job Growth Anemic in February
The U.S. economy added a paltry 21,000 jobs last month, according to a surprisingly weak government report on Friday that turned up the heat on President Bush as he seeks re-election.
The February jobs report from the Labor Department was the latest in a string that had fallen far short of expectations, dashing hopes employment would soon turn decisively higher.
"The job market is stuck in a cycle of inertia," said John Challenger, head of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "The fact is, we are going to have to get used to slow job creation in this country."
The details in the report were uniformly bleak. Private-sector employment showed no gains. Government hiring was the only reason the non-farm payroll count rose.
In addition, job creation in December and January was weaker than previously thought, by a combined 23,000 jobs.
And while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent, that was only because many people stopped looking for work. Employment as measured by a survey of households plummeted...
...The Bush administration released a forecast last month that looked for average job growth of about 300,000 a month this year -- a forecast that looks increasingly pie-in-the-sky...
...An average of just 42,000 jobs have been created each month in the last three months, down from the 79,000 average of the prior three months. Economists say gains near 150,000 are needed each month just to keep pace with labor force growth.
In addition, the report showed pay gains have slowed, while the average length of time workers who had lost jobs stayed unemployed climbed to its highest level since January 1984...more [Yahoo News]
I am part of those statistics. I move to a new job as of tomorrow. The problem is that I am moving from a private sector job with Verizon Wireless to a Civil Service job at the City of Tacoma. I will have now had four jobs in the past 8 months, as I move up the food chain. The only risk in my new job is its temporary classification. I will know by late October, if I will have to start job hunting again.
Bush has so trashed the job economy - i guess he thinks we can all survive on cake...mj
Buffett speaks: Raise My Taxes!
Berkshire chairman's annual letter attacks CEOs, funds, Bush tax policies, and the trade deficit.
In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, released Saturday, Warren Buffett sounded a number of familiar themes.
The closely watched Berkshire chairman praised his company's managers, accepted personal blame for some miscues, and proudly noted his firm's remarkable 39-year compounded annual gain in book value of 22.2 percent.
On the political-economic front, he attacked Bush administration policies on taxes and the dollar, and complained again about wayward CEOs and board members (adding mutual fund companies to his list of offenders).
Buffett, who has been a vocal critic of a number of Bush administration tax policies, used the letter to voice his opposition again.
"Tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the Administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives," he wrote. "If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning."
Nevertheless, Berkshire's own tax bill has risen dramatically. In 2002, Buffett noted, the company paid $1.75 billion in federal taxes. This year, it expects to pay $3.3 billion, a sum Buffett estimates to equal 2.5 percent of total taxes to be paid by all U.S. corporations...more [CNN Money]
Think about two things from this. First, this is a very rich man who understands that the reason you tax the rich more is because they can afford it. Second, if you think about the tax numbers you should be scared. Those numbers simply drive home one of the greatest flaws of the current tax structure, most companies pay next to nothing, Under Bush, the rich are winning....mj
||Saturday, March 6, 2004
Merger lucrative for cellular execs
AT&T Wireless leaders to get $85.7 million
The directors and top five officers at Redmond's AT&T Wireless Services Inc. will get $85.7 million in cash if that company is bought by Cingular Wireless LLC, according to federal documents filed yesterday.
Some shareholders are proposing limits on such lucrative arrangements, while one analyst questioned whether the performance of the nation's third-largest cellular carrier justifies those payouts. But employees do get a break of sorts: The company has called off its extensive layoff and relocation plans, leaving any such decisions to its new owner...more [Seattle P-I]
Of course those delayed layoffs are great. It means the new owners get to take the blame. Warning to ATT customers, you can look forward to dealing with a lot of really happy employees...mj
Stupid Companies...EB Games
The Electronics Boutique, better known as EB Games, is a well-known dealer of second-hand video games and equipment.
Recently, the EB Games store at the Gulfview Square Mall mistakenly purchased some stolen merchandise. The way it handled the situation has landed that store in the ABC Action News Hall of Shame.
The workers at the EB Games store told ABC Action News they're not allowed to talk about the store's policy relative to stolen goods, but longtime customer Michelle Doganis had plenty to say.
"I think it stinks, absolutely stinks. I would never do anything like this," she exclaimed...more [F'd Company]
This is a gem. A sure sign that stupidity is alive and well, and not only at the White House.
So, you're a large company, you've violated state laws, and you traffic in stolen goods. When you find this out, what do you do? Do you try to make the situation right? No, you try to profit off the victim, and then you brush her off.
Electronic Boutique is another sign of just how dumb companies and people can be...mj
||Saturday, February 21, 2004
A transcript from Lou Dobbs' show last night on CNN:
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What if you could solve the manufacturing crisis with the stroke of a pen, instantly create millions of new manufacturing jobs?
Well, behold, the future of American manufacturing. Now, the idea that flipping burgers is manufacturing would be funny if we weren't serious about it. White House economic adviser Greg Mankiw actually raised the idea in his report to Congress.
GREGORY MANKIW, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: The definition of what constitutes manufacturing is far from clear. For example, when a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, is it providing a service or combining inputs to manufacture a product?
VILES: At the core of manufacturing is the idea of added value. And fast-food jobs don't add much value. If they did, they would pay better. So critics are suspicious of the administration's timing and motives in raising the issue during an election year, when its record on manufacturing jobs is so dismal.
ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COUNCIL: McDonald's is not something that just sprung up last week. It's been around for most of the post-World War II period. And to bring up the possibility that now we should start thinking about reclassifying fast-food preparation as manufacturing, it's just plain fishy.
VILES: Mankiw said it's important to have an accurate definition of manufacturing, in case the government decides to base policies on the definition, for example, tax cuts targeted to help manufacturers.
Now, oddly enough, the White House does not support the policy, but that's exactly what Democrats John Edwards and John Kerry are proposing.
VILES: Now, none of this is to demean fast-food jobs. For many young Americans, they are a terrific first job or a part-time job, but nobody would argue they are equal to the manufacturing job that have helped build the American middle class -- Lou.
DOBBS: It almost makes one want to ask, are they really serious?
VILES: What exactly were they thinking?
DOBBS: Well, that's not the first time that question has been posed in the last week or two...more [CNN]
Is this administration clueless or what? I was laughing so hard when Dobbs asked if they were serious. The delivery was perfect. Is this floundering group of goofs in DC serious? One stupid comment (exporting jobs is good for America), wacky job numbers, and now McFactories, you really have to ask what they put in their water...mj
||Friday, February 20, 2004
Bush AWOL or Deserter?
Too bad Bush didn't take his service seriously enough to actually do it. The UCMJ still list death as the maximum punishment for Desertion in time of war.
Uniform Code of Military Justice:
Article 85 Desertion
Article 86 Absent Without Leave
The bottom line here is that George Bush received special treatment. The issue is his inability to deal with the truth. The result is his lack of credibility as a man sending off people to die in Iraq. It really does matter...mj
||Thursday, February 19, 2004
Bush Abandons The Unemployed
So much for the so-called "compassionate conservative" in the White House.
America appears to be waking up. The Bush economy is designed to put more money back into the hands of the rich, while ignoring the needs of the unemployed and vets. From sending jobs off to other countries, and cutting training funds, where does it stop?
- Parties clash over job migration, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 02/13/04.
- Bush says U.S. will add 2.6 million jobs in 2004, The Olympian, 02/10/04.
- Bush Backs Off Forecast of 2.6M New Jobs, ABC News, 02/18/04.
- President Bush Discusses War on Terrorism with Tunisian President, 02/18/04.
- Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, 02/18/04.
- Job Watch.
- Cabinet caravan touts successes in Northwest swing, The Oregonian, 02/18/04.
- Bush backs off estimate of 2.6 million jobs, Sun Hearld, 02/18/04.
- Better times near, Bush officials tell state areas hurting for jobs, Seattle Times, 02/18/04.
- Accounts of job losses clash, The Oregonian, 02/19/04.
The difficult task will be to get past Bush's massive war chest of special interest, and rich friends money...mj
Bush's "DISGRACEFUL" Treatment of Vets
Yesterday at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, President Bush thanked American soldiers
for their service, saying, "In the war, America depends on our military to
meet the dangers abroad and to keep our country safe. The American people
appreciate this sacrifice." And while this tribute is heartwarming, it has
not been matched with the kind of resources that show appreciation. On the
contrary, President Bush has refused to adequately fund some of the most
important priorities to soldiers, veterans and their families.
Last year, while troops were at war, the president proposed slashing $1.5
billion from military family housing and tried to "roll back recent modest
increases" in bonuses paid to soldiers serving in combat zones. Meanwhile,
the president refused to extend the child tax credit to one million children
living in military and veteran families.
And this year the misleading is only getting worse. While the president
rambles on about how much he appreciates troops and veterans, Congressional
Quarterly reported on February 4th that Bush's own Secretary for Veterans
Affairs told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the president rejected a
desperate request for $1.2 billion in funding needed for veterans' health
care. Many lawmakers said the president's decision "only proved the
administration's disinterest in supporting veterans' programs." The Veterans
of Foreign Wars issued a statement after receiving the White House's budget,
calling it "disgraceful" and saying it was a "disgrace and a sham." [MisLeader.org]
I can only hope that people figure this stuff out. Bush has so screwed up the budget that other then funding his war mistakes, and tax cuts for his rich friends, there's nothing else left....mj
||Monday, February 16, 2004
MS dominance poses security threat
Biology stirs software 'monoculture' debate
Dan Geer lost his job, but gained his audience. The very idea that got the computer security expert fired has sparked serious debate in information technology.
The idea, borrowed from biology, is that Microsoft Corp. has nurtured a software "monoculture" that threatens global computer security....more [CNN]
A great example of the price of speaking your mind. The concept is so simple and so elegant, and so hard to really argue against...mj
||Sunday, February 15, 2004
rant, rattle & roll
mac, x and me
one OS to rule them all!
belle and blade
quarlo -- photos ny city
'24' episode guide