Friday, March 11
Friday Lifeform Blogging
RIP Dave Allen
Dave Allen, the Irish comedian famous for his relaxed joke-telling style with cigarette in hand and whiskey tumbler at his side, has died in his sleep. He was 68.
His agent Vivienne Clore confirmed that he had died at home unexpectedly. He had been unwell over Christmas but had recovered, and was not suffering from any life-threatening illnesses.
"Now it seems there was this English soldier that went to Ireland for a vacation because he knew he could get the best whiskey there. (Dave takes a sip from his glass and smiles at the audience from over its rim ... ) Well ... after having had "quite" a night of pubbing he found himself wandering along the side of an Irish road at a very early hour of the morning.
One of the funniest, most acerbic comics ever, amd my Dad's favourite. He'll be sadly missed.
Thursday, March 10
Get 'em While They're Young, and They'll Be In Bondage Forever
I've been reading the summary of the new US Bankrupcy legislation ( thanks to Rude Pundit for pointing to it) and, aside from the general everyday evil clauses* that allow credit card companies to own you and your labour forever, there is this:
What are the Rethugs (and tame Dems, like Leiberman and Biden) planning? You know it's nothing good. Now that Pell grants have been substantially reduced and look to be about to be removed entirely, students will have to rely either on minimum wage jobs or credit to pay tuition and living costs at university.
" A new formula for calculating eligibility for college financial aid will eliminate federal Pell Grants for up to 80,000 to 90,000 low-income students and will affect funding levels for up to 1 million others.
Only after graduation do students find that they are unable to pay back the debt, because even a college degree doesn't guarantee a living wage these days.
Not exactly generous, and I note that the sciences are not included, or teaching, nursing and medicine or many other professions.
In the U.S., student loan debt is exempt from bankruptcy discharge for five years after a student leaves school. And according to commentators there has been an explosion in student debt in recent years:
"Student loan debt is 85 percent higher among recent college graduates who took on debt while attending public four-year colleges than among graduates from a decade ago. Recent graduates owed an average of $15,100 in 1999/2000, up from $8,200 in 1989/1990. Student loan debt increased by 55 percent among recent graduates of private four-year colleges with student loan debt. These graduates owed an average of $16,500 in 1999/2000, compared to $10,600 in 1989/1990 (all figures in 2002 dollars).
This clause smells to high heaven of a future plan not to allow students to claim protection from overwhelming debt, ever. That will mean even less people will be able to afford college.
The Future of American Education?
Bush and his cronies really want an ill-educated sharecropper population, don't they? "Oh no, we can't have educated people, they might figure out what we're up to, and heaven forbid they may have the time or money to fight us politically. Let's keep them in debt bondage forever." Either that or it's a way to drive poor kids into the military. Or both.
And Democrats voted for this. So much for their being the party of the little person.
Time for a revolution, Bring guns and money. ( What's that you say, Mr. Tony Blair and Mr. Charles Clarke? I'm advocating armed revolt and should be banged up indefinitely without charge or trial?)
*Those General Everyday Evil Clauses:
*During the recent debate on tightening the bankruptcy code, the
lawmakers rejected a proposal to prohibit corrupt companies from issuing huge
payouts to senior executives shortly before entering bankruptcy. They blocked
consideration of a measure that would have curtailed the ability of companies
like Enron and WorldCom to shop for the most favorable bankruptcy courts; such
actions have had the effect of disenfranchising employees and retired workers
from the process.
*They defeated a proposal to protect those employees and retired
workers when their companies go bankrupt. They refused to close the
"millionaire's loophole" that permits wealthy individuals to shelter their
assets from lenders by creating special asset-protection trusts.
*And on Wednesday, they rejected a proposal to put a nationwide
limit on the homestead exemption, a provision that has enabled corporate
executives to buy expensive homes in states like Florida and Texas to shelter
their assets from creditors.
"Donald Rumsfeld News Brief "
Occasional Ceph Blogging No.9
Cartoon copyright David Farley,(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Unions, U.S. Fight Over Union Audits
Tue Mar 8, 2005
By Erwin Seba
HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. labor union locals are being audited by teams of federal government inspectors in what officials say is part of a labor law enforcement campaign and union leaders charge is payback for opposing President Bush's reelection.
"We kind of looked at it as something of a shot across the bow of labor," said Bob Frase, executive assistant to the secretary-treasurer of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE).
The union, based in Nashville, Tennessee, has advised all of its local units to expect audits this year. PACE represents 275,000 workers in the paper, chemical and energy industries.
"We haven't seen anything like this before," Frase said.
The inspectors are being sent by the U.S. Department of Labor to audit the locals' annual reports of income and expenditures required by U.S. law.
"This administration is strongly dedicated to enforcing the law," said Labor Department spokeswoman Pamela Groover. "Employers and unions who abuse workers are going to feel the impact."
The Department has increased enforcement of safety and pension laws in addition to tightening rules on labor unions, Groover said. The AFL-CIO said the audits are meant to burden all labor unions.
"It means diverting time from critical work to a massive amount of paperwork," said AFL-CIO spokeswoman Suzanne Ffolkes. "It's not surprising given their record on working people. They've been anti-labor since Bush's first term."
At a PACE local representing workers at two Houston-area refineries, the Labor Department auditors arrived in early January and stayed for two weeks, said David Taylor, secretary-treasurer of PACE local No. 4-227.
"They came in every day and stayed all day," Taylor said. "They said it was our first audit since 1983. My secretary's been here 25 years and she said she had never seen this before." The auditors asked the local to reclassify some expenditures and refile the reports but found nothing improper, Taylor said.
"I've got a very good bookkeeper," he said.
Wednesday, March 9
More Like Cracker White Than Prussian Blue
Cute little buggers aren't they? Little, blonde, identical twin twelve-year-old tykes in kilts, singing and playing away. Awww, so kyooot.
This is what they said when interviewed:
"What do you think is the most important social issue facing the white race right now? Do you have any songs that address this issue?"
"Not having enough white babies born to replace ourselves and generally not having good-quality white people being born. It seems like smart white girls who have good eugenics are more interested in making money in a career or partying than getting married and having a family. And yes, we are working on some new songs about this issue."
"Please tell me the significance of the name Prussian Blue."
"Part of our heritage is Prussian German. Also our eyes are blue, and Prussian Blue is just a really pretty color. There is also the discussion of the lack of "Prussian Blue" coloring (Zyklon B residue) in the so-called gas chambers in the concentration camps. We think it might make people question some of the inaccuracies of the "Holocaust" myth."
These are some of their lyrics:
Aryan Man Awake
When the man who plows the fields is driven from his lands,
When the carpenter must give away what he’s built with his own hands,
When a mother’s only children belong to her no more,
And black masked men with guns come bashing down the doors.
Where freedom exists for only those with darker skin,
Where lies and propaganda will never let you win.
Where symbols of your heritage are held with such contempt,
And benefits of country ’cept tax are you exempt.
Chorus:Aryan man awake,
How much more will you take,
Turn that fear to hate,
Aryan man awake."
(by Lamb and April)
Seems to me that dear little April and dear little Lamb have been very carefully taught.
"You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught "
Rodgers and Hammerstein, South Pacific
"You've got to be carefully taught"
May their parents rot in hell for what they've done.
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004