Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ohio Christian School Out of Bounds

An Ohio Christian School has forbidden one of its senior students to attend a public school prom because there will be dancing and rock music. The student "would not be permitted to attend graduation but would get a diploma once he completes final exams. If (the student) is involved with alcohol or sex at the prom, he will be expelled..." Will the christian school stake out the prom in question and put a tail on the student to determine the latter?

It is amazing that this is the 21st Century and these kinds of incidents are still happening. The student signed a confirmation of the rules when he enrolled, but who would expect that the school would try to control his off campus activities, such as attending a prom? Do schools like these actually believe that they are doing anyone justice, when they try to control every thought and activity?

I recently read an article about a student who attended Bob Jones University in order to write about the school, which has harsh rules governing every thought and activity. In a very fair work, the student wrote that many of the students broke the rules on a regular basis. Frankly, no one is going to get high school and college students, or adults for that matter, to follow such archaic rules for very long.

When will fundamentalists ever learn that they cannot force people to be moral? The Puritans could not do it with hanging and whipping as a consequence for breaking the religious laws. Schools cannot force students to be moral by such archaic rules as those decreed by the Ohio school or by Bob Jones U.

These educational facilities are mini Talibans, who if given the opportunity, would resort to whippings and worse to get their point across. They reflect the atmosphere that would rule this country, should religious fundamentalists ever gain control of the the federal government.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Throw Spector Back

With Arlen Spector's latest incredible statement that Norm Coleman should be seated, it is time that the Democratic Party threw him back. He is not worth the trouble of trying to clean. That dirty Republican streak down his back will not come out, so he is too tainted to keep. If he votes Republican, sounds Republican, and backs Republicans, then he must still be Republican.

Spector is not worthy of being called a Democrat. Although his numbers have gone up in Pennsylvania since he switched, there is no guarantee that he will not go back to the Republican side if he wins re-election. I would not be at all surprised to see him do such a dirty thing. Let him be an independent. Then he and Joe Liberman can commiserate and vote together. They certainly deserve each other.

Remember the Southern Pols Who Opposed the US Auto Bailout?

Today's Atlanta Journal's headlines include "Georgia Auto Parts Plant Hiring 100 Workers." It goes on to report that the Kia parts supplier will pay these lucky workers between nine and eleven dollars an hour. In these tough times that pay will help feed a family along with the welfare check, because it does not raise a family beyond poverty level.

Southern politicians have long opposed labor unions and have recently gleefully looked on as the American automakers have hovered near the brink. The pols want Detroit to fail, because the Japanese and Koreans have settled in the south to avoid the unions. Kia is building a plant in western Georgia, and this parts supplier is gearing up to provide support. I'm sure that there will be long lines at the recruiting tables as those who are hurting financially line up to get what little money is offered.

Eleven dollars an hour equates to just under $17,000 per year. Better than nothing, but not much. Those workers are at the mercy of the company with no protection and probably little in the way of benefits. Yet the folks who are lucky enough to get one of these jobs will feel like they have died and gone to heaven. They will be getting a paycheck.

Republicans have worked long and hard to fight the unions and ensure that workers have little in the way of retirement and benefits. They fight health insurance reform, give tax breaks to industry, fight for companies to avoid paying taxes, and generally ensure that they make big bucks on the backs of those who do the real work. Here in the south those Republicans, who are now in control, will continue to attract foreign companies with the promise of big tax breaks and no labor unions. Wages will continue to be lower, but workers will think they have a great deal and a great future.

My father hated labor unions. He actually carried a pistol at work when organizers came around. Yet he retired with next to nothing (I think they called it "profit sharing.") and lived his last days on social security. He thought he had a great deal. His father, on the other hand, was a miner and a member of the miners union. He knew how the mining companies treated their workers and the high price they paid for the money they were paid.

I felt the same way as my dad about labor unions for many years. However, in recent times as I have seen companies dissolving retirement funds and throwing workers who are nearing retirement onto the streets, I have changed my mind. Those people in the early years of the twentieth century knew the hardships of low wages for hard work and long hours and harsh treatment at the hands of big corporations. They fought and in some cases gave their lives so that future generations of workers would have it better.

Now we are going in the opposite direction. I wonder what the future holds. Will our younger generations have to fight all over again to regain those rights their great grandfathers fought so hard to achieve? Are we more progressive now? Will big business look after its workers better or will the bottom line still be gained at the expense of those who produce the product?

Most "retirement plans" are based upon 401k's these days. We see what happens to those, when the economy sours as it inevitably does. However, the pols and the companies with the assistance of Wall Street have all convinced us that we should have "control" over our future. The companies love this. It costs them much less and they can use the extra money to pay their CEO's the big bucks. In the meantime the retired worker goes back to work to make ends meet and tries to make enough to supplement the dwindling retirement fund and social security.

When the nursing home beckons, the government gets what little is left and the old worker gets to sit in his wheelchair and reminisce about the great job that he had. His retirement was good, but the president wrecked the economy and he ended up with nothing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The American Patriot's Bible?

A friend, with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, suggested that I go to The American Patriot's Bible site and order one NOW! Apparently, in order to be a proper "patriot" you must (1) be a Christian and (2) own one of these volumes.

Listen to the Rev. Richard Lee hawk this publication for only $39.95:

Get your bonded leather version now, before they are all sold out! See the color prints of Washington crossing the Delaware and the flag raising on Iwo Jima. All ordained by God in this King James Version, the only true Bible. Learn in Revelations how God created the United States of America as his chosen country for the 21st century. The ACLU will hate it and the mainstream media will shun it, but every true patriot must have one. Do not be caught at your next "Tea Party" without one.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Tax Money and NASCAR Racing


Army Official says sponsorships worth money
: The U.S. Army will pay Stewart-Haas Racing $11.6 million to sponsor Ryan Newman's #39 car for 23 races this season, and the Army official who oversees it says the money is worth it. Army and National Guard (#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were the only branches of the military that served as primary sponsors for cars in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Lt. Gen. Benjamim Freakley said the Army looks at different ways to determine if the sponsorship is worthwhile but admits it comes down to one thing. "At the end of the day, for the Army, it's does someone join the Army or not," Freakley said. He said 41 people agreed Saturday at the Army's booth at the track to be interviewed by an Army recruiter. "That's powerful," Freakley said. Army sponsorship is a year-to-year agreement. Because Congress controls the money that goes to the military, the budget can fluctuate from year to year. That, Freakley says, makes it challenging to do multi-year deals. He said he won't know his budget until this summer. He said he and his group have started to assess the sponsorship and what they want to do for 2010 but no decisions have been made.

Are any sponsorships "worth the money?" In my opinion, no. Most are hoaxes perpetrated by Madison Avenue. Corporations waste billions each year on advertising, be it NASCAR or the Superbowl. In the case of the military branches I see not reason for them to spend millions on NASCAR sponsorships. Over the last several years most, if not all of the various branches, have bought sponsorships in race teams and wasted those millions of tax dollars.

The Army rep. says that 41 people signed up at their booth. They pay $11 million to have a booth? I know that NASCAR is a money hog, but surely something could be worked out for the military to recruit at races without paying millions for the opportunity. The NASCAR world usually trends to the right politically, or so it claims, so there should be no problem with military recuiting on site.

My guess is that recruiters would do the same amount of business at NASCAR races even if they did not have a team sponsorship. Twenty-two million dollars would buy a lot of body armor for our soldiers in harms way. I certainly hope that the President's people will take a long look at the value of this activity and force the military branches to put it to a much better use.