BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Great bits from Americanprogress.org.

Please read the following. (I'm being lazy.)

ECONOMY
The Timken Tall Tale

On 4/23/03 President Bush visited the Timken Company in Canton, OH, and touted the company as a demonstration of the success of his economic policies. Bush said "the future of employment is bright for the families that work here, that work to put food on the table for their children." Yesterday Timken announced it is slashing 1300 jobs from its work force, a quarter of its employees in Canton. Bush said that Timken would be successful because "high productivity that comes from steady innovation and skilled workers gives our economy a tremendous edge." But, announcing the layoffs Timken revealed that "production at the Canton bearing plants has declined 27 percent over the last five years." Timken employee Shawn Higgins said "How can I afford to get married, afford a house payment, maybe kids, if I don't have a job?" Timken went forward with the massive cut even though the major "job creation" programs the President highlighted in his speech last year – an income tax cut, a dividend tax cut and a small business tax cut – subsequently became law. The Timken announcement was "just the latest in a northeast Ohio area hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and other jobs." Overall, Ohio "has lost about 155,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office."

(If you remember this Bush visit...it was a classic Bush appearance to a turbo-Bush crowd.)

TIMKEN ATTEMPTING TO BUST UNION: Timken said that it is paring back operations in the Canton plant because it believes wages there are too high and health care benefits too generous. The Union president, Stan Jasionowski, said that Timken "never ever gave us any formal proposals" to reduce costs at the plant. Jasionowski said that he believed the layoffs were "a ploy to destroy the union in the bearing factories."

(Gee...ya think?)

TIMKEN EXPANDS OPERATIONS IN CHINA: As Timken fires workers in Ohio it has expanded operation abroad, especially in China. On 1/31/03 Timken announced it "established a distribution center in Shanghai, China." In 2002, "The Timken Company and NSK Ltd. formed a joint venture to build a plant near Shanghai...production is expected to begin first quarter 2004."

TIMKEN MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO BUSH: W.R. Timken, the company's chairman of the board, is a Ranger – meaning he has raised at least $200,000 for the Bush campaign. Timken's political action committee has donated $10,000 directly to Bush and $235,000 to his political allies. Other executives have chipped in $12,500 since 2000. Timken was a member of the Employers' Coalition on Medicare, a group of heavy Bush contributors who lobbied for the new Medicare law which rewards companies with a tax subsidy even if they reduce retirees' existing drug coverage.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Place your bets!

From today's talkingpointsmemo.com:

"Just to pass on some added information, about which we'll be saying more. There is chatter in Pakistani intelligence circles that the US has let the Pakistanis know that the optimal time for bagging 'high value' al Qaida suspects in the untamed Afghan-Pakistani border lands is the last ten days of July, 2004. -- Josh Marshall"

Love it. Good call. Not too early...not too late. Not a lot of sports, baseball races just gettin' going, FearSurvivorApprenticeFactor, Michael Jackson trial...not much else.

Late September, early October...cutting it way too close.

More later...

We can all calm down now (re: Iraqi prisoner abuse).

LAURA BUSH IS ON THE CASE!

From this morning's Sludgereport:

First Lady Laura Bush was asked Monday morning on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA about Sec. Rumsfeld's comment that pictures of the abusive treatment of Iraqi detainees would get worse: "I don't know how much worse. To be perfectly frank, I can't bear to look at the ones that have been in the newspaper."

(Or, as her mother-in-law once said, "Why would I want to waste my beautiful mind on something like that?")

"It also makes our troops more vulnerable. Because the pictures are around. This is the really good news about the United States of America, though. That is the pictures came to light. People will be prosecuted. Unlike under Saddam Hussein where there were torture rooms and know one knew about them and didn't come to light."

(Stunning analysis.)

My biggest question is this: Who let Mrs B. see the images? Who let Mrs. B watch the tele? She's not supposed to see the CNN. Or the MSNBC. Did she walk into the wrong room? Did they cover this on "Regis & Kelly?" "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest?" Did she accidently see the images on the front page of a paper that...somehow made its way into the West Wing?

("My, my. What's this? This man on the box with the hood? Is it Halloween?")

And who's gonna go down for this f*ck-up?

Quick! Get the first lady to an elementary school. Some kids need some learnin' and...Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Wondering...

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Go to McDonald's...order your favorite value meal...eat it...then get thee to "Supersize Me."

Hopefully, your crazy sodium headache will clear up by the time that Warren Spurlock gets his 2nd blood test.

A really great doc. The dude put himself through hell to prove a very obvious point: fast food is killing us.

However...

My only complaint is that...Spurlock did not spend enough time addressing the "class issues" that surround fast food. Simply put, fast food is appealing because it's cheap. And so...obesity is a bigger problem among the poor. (Trust me - as a dude who spent a good deal of his post-college years in voluntary poverty - the super-value meal is super-kick ass when you're trying to get by on 5-10 bucks a day. It's much cheaper than just about any meal - other than rice & beans or top ramen noodles - and will put you on the couch until it's time to go to bed. The goal when you don't have enough money to do much else...right?)

The flipside - it costs a lot of $ to eat really well. Sadly, most 'Mericans do not have the money to eat "really well." (Been to a Whole Foods lately?)

The studies are out, too. This is from Znet, a progressive clearinghouse on the web for info.

"The already-dubious assertion that consumers alone bear responsibility for what they eat seems even more suspicious in light of the clear social dimensions to the problem of North American obesity, which underscore the questions of health with significant racial and class-based overtones. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is unequivocal in this regard, stating plainly: "There is no question that the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States follow a socio-economic gradient, such that the burden of disease falls disproportionately on people with limited resources, racial-ethnic minorities, and the poor" (Adam Drewnowski and S.E. Specter, "Poverty and Obesity: The Role of Energy Density and Energy Costs"). The report goes on to outline the fact that, with the exception of Asian Americans, every racial minority in the States is marked by a higher rate of obesity than American whites."

Doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

And...

You've all made fun of your fellow customers.

For being fat. And poor.

Seacrest out.

More later.