Irony, Thy Name is UFCW

I saw this a day or two ago, but I wasn’t going to post about it. For one thing a friend and I were just discussing Walmart recently, and she brought up a concern about them that I do agree with, and I didn’t want her to think I was continuing the discussion by hiding behind the blog (Hi, friend!). That’s not what I’m doing. I do, however, love irony, and Wizbang has more details that just make the irony of this tale all the more rich and utterly irresistable:

“For as long as I can remember, Wal-Mart has been The Great Satan to unions. Their fierce resistance to allowing unions into their stores and facilities has been a thorn in their side, and the retailing behemoth’s rise to the top of the food chain has driven them to fits of outrage.

(Note: I’ve repeatedly said I’m no fan of Wal-Mart, but I loathe the unions more in this case.)

Wal-Mart’s position seems simple: most of their employees are unskilled laborers, and they pay competitive wages for those types of workers. It’s a bit harsh, but I have to concede it — there seems to be an infinite supply of potential employees, which essentially disarms the unions of their most potent club — the withholding of qualified workers.

So the United Food And Commercial Workers (UFCW) has decided to shame the giant into complying. They’ve organized a picket at a Wal-Mart in Las Vegas.

But protesting, especially in Vegas, is hard work. It’s hot — often over 100 degrees. The days are long, the sun beats down brutally, and traffic fumes are vile. So the union did what so many other businesses do — they outsourced the picketing.

In order to draw attention to Wal-Mart’s paying its workers an average of $10.17 an hour with benefits, the UFCW hired a bunch of temps at $6.00 an hour with no benefits. And while the oppressed, exploited Wal-Mart workers slave away in air-conditioned comfort, those blessed with the Union paychecks walk up and down outside in the sun until they get blisters on their feet. The Wal-Mart workers are coerced into taking regular breaks in a private area; the Union employees are dropped off at the beginning of their shift and left to fend for themselves for the entire day.” [emphasis mine]

JayTea and I must have similar kinks in our brains, because when I first read about this I wondered if it would occur to somebody at Walmart to step outside and offer those poor exploited workers the better paying, air conditioned jobs inside the store- and so does Jay Tea.

Previous posts about Wal-Mart are here and here, here and we thought elsewhere, but we cannot find it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Read the Anchoress Today

And be sure to click on all her links. She does a great news round up this morning, so I don’t have to. Yippee!
I especially like this one, but that’s because it so nearly resembles the sorts of letters a certain relative of ours sends to family members.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Studies in Journalism

Byron Calame is the public editor for the Times. In a column of September 2, he explains something about how corrections to columns should work and why:

“Opinions expressed on the editorial and Op-Ed pages of The New York Times aren’t part of the public editor’s mandate. But the facts are. And so are corrections of any misstatements.

So when I discovered on Aug. 19 that Paul Krugman’s Op-Ed column that morning contained a sweeping assertion that was wrong in at least one respect, a formal correction was my sole concern.”

Fair enough.

“For the sake of present and future readers, there seemed to be a need for a formal correction—one that is distinct and clearly labeled. Publishing a formal correction does more than alert readers of that day’s paper to an error. It triggers a process that appends it to the electronic versions of the article in NYTimes.com and in electronic databases. And as NYTimes.com expands, I think the value to readers of having corrections appended promptly to articles becomes quite significant.

But Mr. Krugman has been reluctant to formally correct his misstatement…”

Mr. Krugman seems to think a foolish insistance upon actual facts is nitpicky. Mr. Calame, to his credit, continued his efforts to make an honest man out of Krugman. He notes the irony in the fact that Krugman’s current embarrassed position is largely due to an uncorrected error in an article from April 4, 2001. Shorter versions of the same story which went out by wire service did not have the error, so it appears to me Krugman had to look rather hard to find the mistake upon which to base his claims.

Says Calame,

“But if the Miami Herald had caught and corrected its omission back in 2001, Mr. Krugman might have been spared at least some of the tangle in which he finds himself now. One would think that possibility would give him some appreciation for what a formal correction could mean to readers of his column.”

Donald Luskin wants to know then, why Krugman’s third correction to the same column never made it to the Times’ print edition and never has been appended to the article in the Times’ own website or archival editions. It’s been ten days… and counting. Luskin says

“Calame told me only that “I intend to deal with them in the ways that I believe will best benefit the readers of The Times.” That Orwellian locution would appear to mean he will do absolutely nothing, and that he doesn’t wish to be bothered while he’s doing it.”

Telling lies seems to be a rewarding process for Krugman, or he wouldn’t keep doing it. Luskin points out two more in recent columns:

“Krugman claimed that FEMA “had become a highly professional organization during the Clinton years, but under Mr. Bush it reverted to its former status as a ‘turkey farm,’ a source of patronage jobs.” And in his column Monday, he said FEMA “earned universal praise during the Clinton years.” Huh? As Investors Business Daily pointed out,

‘Bill Clinton’s choice to be Southwest Regional FEMA director in 1993 was … Raymond “Buddy” Young, a former Arkansas state trooper, [who] got his choice assignment after leading efforts to discredit other state troopers in the infamous Troopergate scandal. If a storm like Katrina struck the Big Easy back then, Young would’ve been in charge.’
A week ago, Krugman claimed that “federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.” His example? The U.S.S. Bataan. Huh? As the Q&O; blog pointed out, a September 1 bulletin from the U.S. Navy proves that Bataan was “flying medical-evacuation and search-and-rescue missions in Louisiana” as early as the morning of August 31. Pretty fast mobilization, and certainly better than “never.” Especially considering that, as the Neuro-Conservative blog pointed out, just three days before — on Sunday, August 28 — the risks were generally thought, in fact, to be so remote that the word “Katrina” appeared only once in the New York Times (in an “NFL Roundup” from the Associated Press wire).”

When I was a child, I spake as a child and thought as a child and I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. In school I used to pretend that I worked at a newspaper desk, that my teachers were my editors passing out journalistic assignments, and that my stacks of worksheets were actually news reports I was working on. Imagining I was doing something worthwhile and noble made the tedium of public school somewhat more sufferable. I believed that the press was not biased, I believed it told the truth, and I also hoped (rather than believed) that somewhere in the world tiny people, perhaps two or three inches high, really lived and behaved much as the Clock family in Mary Norton’s charming classic The Borrowers. I still wish these pretty fairy tales were true.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Complexity vs Flexibility

Over at Wizbang there was a discussion on the best foods and equipment to use in an emergency kit. Some favored one food or storage method over another. Those who lived in Alaska or the Northeast recommended hand-warmers, candles, and matches, those who lived in sunny southern California recommended taping a pair of flip flops to the bottom of every family member’s bed, because broken glass in the middle of the night was more likely to be an immediate danger than freezing to death.

One commentor said that it appeared to her that this emergency kit business was far more complicated than it seemed, and she appeared to think this meant it was best handled by ‘experts’ working for the Federal Government. In fact, she said, “If FEMA’s policy is every man, woman, child, infirmed, elderly person for himself, then please spend FEMA’s tax money on said survival kits and send them to every man, woman, child, etc.”

It will not be a surprise to our readers that I disagreed. The basics of everybody’s preferred emergency kit was the same- food and water, some emergency first aid supplies, a can opener, and some way to protect the body from the elements, whether those elements were frost, broken glass, heat, or water.

What varied were the details- and that is as it should be.

Some people will prefer (or find cheaper) spaghettios, some would prefer cans of Dinty Moore stew, some like oats, instant potato flakes, and dehydrated carrots- that doesn’t make an emergency supply kit complicated. That makes it flexible. The point is you look at your particular region and consider carefully what sorts of dangers you are most likely to encounter. A hurricane is very low on my list, living inland as we do. However, we do live near a creek that does flood, so we need to consider that as well as blizzards. In our last location drought was far more likely than flooding. Those who live near a highway should be prepared to evacuate quickly in the event of a toxic spill on the freeway. Your emergency kit will contain some items specific to your location, just as how the kids dress for school in November depends partially on whether they go to school in Arizona or Alaska.

You need to buy what is available to you in your area, and what is most economic in your area. In some parts of the country you are more likely to be able to grow figs in your backyard than others (and thus, could dry them for your disaster kit at almost no cost). The wild foods available will differ from one region to another as well. If we lived in a warm area where palm trees grow, we would know that broken palms provide a delicious food sourd in the heart of the palm tree. Here we are more likely to be chewing licorice root and drinking sassafrass tea.

Your emergency supplies will also differ from your neighbor’s because it should contain foods that your family will eat, foods your family likes on a regular basis. It really isn’t helpful to have food you hate in the survival kit, especially if you have kids. A child’s appetite will already be deadened by the trauma of some disasters (variable by child and disaster, of course)- and they won’t eat much if they hate it. They won’t even feel hungry, and quite young children will quickly become dehydrated or suffer low blood sugar for this reason. You must include foods the children like.

This is also important because you must rotate your supplies, replenishing the emergency supply with fresh foods and incorporating the older foods into your daily menu. You’re going to be eating those foods whether you have a disaster or not.

So the specific food stuffs in my kit will be different from the food items in your kit. I do not have a baby, so I won’t have diapers, but I do have an incontinent disabled child, so I will have extra large disposable training pants. We have six daughters, so we will have supplies necessary to meet the unique needs of young ladies that a family of boys would not. Again, this is the beauty of personal responsibility for your family’s own emergency kit- it’s flexible, individual, and tailored by and for the family that puts it together, unlike a government bureaucracy approach, which typically has to be a “one size must fit all ‘coz we’re too big to do it any differently approach.”

This is a HUGE country and FEMA is not God (neither is the government). It cannot be every where all the time. They have to have time to mobilize resources and shift them in the right direction- unlike the individual, local and state officials who will already be in the vicinity of their own local emergency. FEMA’s policy has always been that individuals and local and state officials are to understand that FEMA cannot be there for at least 72 hours. They are not first responders. I know I’ve said this before, but it simply must be understood.

This does not mean that it’s necessarily any particular person’s fault when that person suffers an emergency situation. Quite often preparations go awry- they are washed away in a flood, or, as happened to us once, shattered on a Kansas highway and forgotten as family members are busy bleeding and in need of medical attention- and air lifting out to a better hospital. This is nobody’s fault, not even FEMA’s. Because some people cannot prepare is no reason most shouldn’t. Because sometimes your preparations will go up in smoke, or wash away in a flood, or get flattened in a horrific car accident is no reason to avoid preparing at all. My heart aches for those who suffered in this disaster, every one of them. I am sure that some were unable to prepare, and that others did prepare, but events overtook them. I do not believe, however, that every person who suffered dreadfully from this disaster had a disaster kit that just washed away.
Those too young, too old, too disabled did pay a price- but they suffered the cost of their local and state officials refusing to implement their own disaster plan- and those officials knew, they have always known, that FEMA has told them they won’t be there for 72 hours. Anyone may know this who reads FEMA’s website, or reads the copies of LA’s and NOLA’s disaster plans, all of which are online.

Do not depend upon the behemoth of large government to turn itself on a dime and find its way to your door within hours of an emergency. Do what you can to prepare so that you will be able to help others and be a blessing instead of a liability.

Click here to read FEMA’s suggestions for your family’s disaster plan.

A table of contents to our previous posts on disaster preparation is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Not Yours To Give

Timotheus, one of our favorite commentors (actually, we don’t have any we don’t like), reminded me elsewhere of a little publication that went a long way toward changing my political thinking.
I don’t remember exactly where I first came across it, but I do remember when. We were living in Nebraska, so it was about 13 years ago. It was one of those head-smacking moments when you realize that what you have been taught and what you assumed all your life isn’t really compatible with what is right and true. Probably most of our readers have seen it before, but I will share it again in a moment.

Howard Dean recently claimed that he believed Judge Roberts loved the law, but that he didn’t love the American People. I do not know why Mr. Dean feels qualified to judge the contents of Judge Robert’s heart, a task God generally reserves for himself, and I have seen no evidence that Mr. Dean is at all accurate in his hubristic judgement. However, even if he were right, he would be wrong.
Mr. Dean, I do not want the ‘love’ of a Supreme Court Justice who does not love the law. Such love is worse than useless, it is harmful. If I had to choose between a Justice who loves ‘the people,’ an abstract body, and a judge who loves the Law, I want the Justice who loves the law. In the United STates we live, or are supposed to live, under the Rule of Law. The dispassionate, unbiased application of that law protects us from the tryanny of others far more than the imagined abstract love for an abstract concept of ‘the AMerican People.’ Only God is capable of rightly dividing and applying the concepts of mercy, justice, and love. A Justice who loved the people but did not love the Law would be most unjust. He would not understand that certain things are not his to give or deny.

Which brings us to the article that Timotheus reminded me of. You may read it by clicking on the link in the title to this post.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Complexity vs Flexibility

Over at Wizbang there was a discussion on the best foods and equipment to use in an emergency kit. Some favored one food or storage method over another. Those who lived in Alaska or the Northeast recommended hand-warmers, candles, and matches, those who lived in sunny southern California recommended taping a pair of flip flops to the bottom of every family member’s bed, because broken glass in the middle of the night was more likely to be an immediate danger than freezing to death.

One commentor said that it appeared to her that this emergency kit business was far more complicated than it seemed, and she appeared to think this meant it was best handled by ‘experts’ working for the Federal Government. In fact, she said, “If FEMA’s policy is every man, woman, child, infirmed, elderly person for himself, then please spend FEMA’s tax money on said survival kits and send them to every man, woman, child, etc.”

It will not be a surprise to our readers that I disagreed. The basics of everybody’s preferred emergency kit was the same- food and water, some emergency first aid supplies, a can opener, and some way to protect the body from the elements, whether those elements were frost, broken glass, heat, or water.

What varied were the details- and that is as it should be.

Some people will prefer (or find cheaper) spaghettios, some would prefer cans of Dinty Moore stew, some like oats, instant potato flakes, and dehydrated carrots- that doesn’t make an emergency supply kit complicated. That makes it flexible. The point is you look at your particular region and consider carefully what sorts of dangers you are most likely to encounter. A hurricane is very low on my list, living inland as we do. However, we do live near a creek that does flood, so we need to consider that as well as blizzards. In our last location drought was far more likely than flooding. Those who live near a highway should be prepared to evacuate quickly in the event of a toxic spill on the freeway. Your emergency kit will contain some items specific to your location, just as how the kids dress for school in November depends partially on whether they go to school in Arizona or Alaska.

You need to buy what is available to you in your area, and what is most economic in your area. In some parts of the country you are more likely to be able to grow figs in your backyard than others (and thus, could dry them for your disaster kit at almost no cost). The wild foods available will differ from one region to another as well. If we lived in a warm area where palm trees grow, we would know that broken palms provide a delicious food sourd in the heart of the palm tree. Here we are more likely to be chewing licorice root and drinking sassafrass tea.

Your emergency supplies will also differ from your neighbor’s because it should contain foods that your family will eat, foods your family likes on a regular basis. It really isn’t helpful to have food you hate in the survival kit, especially if you have kids. A child’s appetite will already be deadened by the trauma of some disasters (variable by child and disaster, of course)- and they won’t eat much if they hate it. They won’t even feel hungry, and quite young children will quickly become dehydrated or suffer low blood sugar for this reason. You must include foods the children like.

This is also important because you must rotate your supplies, replenishing the emergency supply with fresh foods and incorporating the older foods into your daily menu. You’re going to be eating those foods whether you have a disaster or not.

So the specific food stuffs in my kit will be different from the food items in your kit. I do not have a baby, so I won’t have diapers, but I do have an incontinent disabled child, so I will have extra large disposable training pants. We have six daughters, so we will have supplies necessary to meet the unique needs of young ladies that a family of boys would not. Again, this is the beauty of personal responsibility for your family’s own emergency kit- it’s flexible, individual, and tailored by and for the family that puts it together, unlike a government bureaucracy approach, which typically has to be a “one size must fit all ‘coz we’re too big to do it any differently approach.”

This is a HUGE country and FEMA is not God (neither is the government). It cannot be every where all the time. They have to have time to mobilize resources and shift them in the right direction- unlike the individual, local and state officials who will already be in the vicinity of their own local emergency. FEMA’s policy has always been that individuals and local and state officials are to understand that FEMA cannot be there for at least 72 hours. They are not first responders. I know I’ve said this before, but it simply must be understood.

This does not mean that it’s necessarily any particular person’s fault when that person suffers an emergency situation. Quite often preparations go awry- they are washed away in a flood, or, as happened to us once, shattered on a Kansas highway and forgotten as family members are busy bleeding and in need of medical attention- and air lifting out to a better hospital. This is nobody’s fault, not even FEMA’s. Because some people cannot prepare is no reason most shouldn’t. Because sometimes your preparations will go up in smoke, or wash away in a flood, or get flattened in a horrific car accident is no reason to avoid preparing at all. My heart aches for those who suffered in this disaster, every one of them. I am sure that some were unable to prepare, and that others did prepare, but events overtook them. I do not believe, however, that every person who suffered dreadfully from this disaster had a disaster kit that just washed away.
Those too young, too old, too disabled did pay a price- but they suffered the cost of their local and state officials refusing to implement their own disaster plan- and those officials knew, they have always known, that FEMA has told them they won’t be there for 72 hours. Anyone may know this who reads FEMA’s website, or reads the copies of LA’s and NOLA’s disaster plans, all of which are online.

Do not depend upon the behemoth of large government to turn itself on a dime and find its way to your door within hours of an emergency. Do what you can to prepare so that you will be able to help others and be a blessing instead of a liability.

Click here to read FEMA’s suggestions for your family’s disaster plan.

A table of contents to our previous posts on disaster preparation is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Not Yours To Give

Timotheus, one of our favorite commentors (actually, we don’t have any we don’t like), reminded me elsewhere of a little publication that went a long way toward changing my political thinking.
I don’t remember exactly where I first came across it, but I do remember when. We were living in Nebraska, so it was about 13 years ago. It was one of those head-smacking moments when you realize that what you have been taught and what you assumed all your life isn’t really compatible with what is right and true. Probably most of our readers have seen it before, but I will share it again in a moment.

Howard Dean recently claimed that he believed Judge Roberts loved the law, but that he didn’t love the American People. I do not know why Mr. Dean feels qualified to judge the contents of Judge Robert’s heart, a task God generally reserves for himself, and I have seen no evidence that Mr. Dean is at all accurate in his hubristic judgement. However, even if he were right, he would be wrong.
Mr. Dean, I do not want the ‘love’ of a Supreme Court Justice who does not love the law. Such love is worse than useless, it is harmful. If I had to choose between a Justice who loves ‘the people,’ an abstract body, and a judge who loves the Law, I want the Justice who loves the law. In the United STates we live, or are supposed to live, under the Rule of Law. The dispassionate, unbiased application of that law protects us from the tryanny of others far more than the imagined abstract love for an abstract concept of ‘the AMerican People.’ Only God is capable of rightly dividing and applying the concepts of mercy, justice, and love. A Justice who loved the people but did not love the Law would be most unjust. He would not understand that certain things are not his to give or deny.

Which brings us to the article that Timotheus reminded me of. You may read it by clicking on the link in the title to this post.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Churches Do

A friend delivered supplies to the shelter at Mountain View church of Christ (previously mentioned here and here), and she reports
“Although they had a new bunch of folks come in, the emphasis has definitely
changed to getting folks into apartments and jobs. The brother at the desk
told my son they have placed about 600 folks thus far…

Right now they are needing items to help folks get established in
apartments — basic essentials. They are trying to send basic cookware and
dishes along with a box of food. Beds and air mattresses are also needed.

Other items they specifically requested were over-the-counter medications
and first aid supplies (particularly hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, tho’ I’m
sure bandaids, etc. would also be welcome). They are now getting folks who
are sick, probably from the poor conditions in New Orleans after the water
rose.

Items they don’t get much of that go quickly: laundry supplies, lotions,
towels, sheets. They also need mouthwash. On the toiletries, they have
requested regular size bottles but not jumbo.

It is uplifting to us to see the joy in the brethren at Mountain View in
this situation. Their building isn’t very large, and their kitchen
certainly isn’t well-equipped. In fact, I’m not sure how they manage to fix
food for 90-100 folks twice a day in it. One of the ladies said, “We didn’t
know how we were going to do it, but what we’ve needed has come. We just
had to do it.” I hope that makes sense. They absolutely don’t have the
best building for this kind of work. But they have taken a faithful
attitude and added excellent organization and been richly blessed.

They have been so blessed by the outpouring of help that they have boxed up
their excess which will be picked up tomorrow and taken to Louisiana to be
used there.

This, folks, is Christianity. The magnitude of lessons we can learn from
folks like the brethren at Mountain View is staggering.”

A few days ago Amanda Witt at Wittingshire shared these moving words as part of a longer post:
“Churches are families. The people in them look out for each other–driving elderly members to doctors appointments or grocery stores; turning up in the middle of the night to stay with small children while their mama goes to the hospital to have a baby; taking meals to people who are sick, mowing their lawns, cleaning their houses, doing their laundry; finding jobs, homes, cars for people who have lost theirs. We have not spent a single holiday alone since we moved to Washington, because strangers invited us to be with them–and in doing so became friends.

Churches do all these things and more not because they’re paid to do it, but because they’re family and that’s what families do.

Yes, churches also worship God. But God is by his very nature communal–a trinity–and he tells us that if we can’t love other Christians, whom we can see, then we can’t love God, whom we can’t see. Love one another, he says. Love one another.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What Churches Do

A friend delivered supplies to the shelter at Mountain View church of Christ (previously mentioned here and here), and she reports
“Although they had a new bunch of folks come in, the emphasis has definitely
changed to getting folks into apartments and jobs. The brother at the desk
told my son they have placed about 600 folks thus far…

Right now they are needing items to help folks get established in
apartments — basic essentials. They are trying to send basic cookware and
dishes along with a box of food. Beds and air mattresses are also needed.

Other items they specifically requested were over-the-counter medications
and first aid supplies (particularly hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, tho’ I’m
sure bandaids, etc. would also be welcome). They are now getting folks who
are sick, probably from the poor conditions in New Orleans after the water
rose.

Items they don’t get much of that go quickly: laundry supplies, lotions,
towels, sheets. They also need mouthwash. On the toiletries, they have
requested regular size bottles but not jumbo.

It is uplifting to us to see the joy in the brethren at Mountain View in
this situation. Their building isn’t very large, and their kitchen
certainly isn’t well-equipped. In fact, I’m not sure how they manage to fix
food for 90-100 folks twice a day in it. One of the ladies said, “We didn’t
know how we were going to do it, but what we’ve needed has come. We just
had to do it.” I hope that makes sense. They absolutely don’t have the
best building for this kind of work. But they have taken a faithful
attitude and added excellent organization and been richly blessed.

They have been so blessed by the outpouring of help that they have boxed up
their excess which will be picked up tomorrow and taken to Louisiana to be
used there.

This, folks, is Christianity. The magnitude of lessons we can learn from
folks like the brethren at Mountain View is staggering.”

A few days ago Amanda Witt at Wittingshire shared these moving words as part of a longer post:
“Churches are families. The people in them look out for each other–driving elderly members to doctors appointments or grocery stores; turning up in the middle of the night to stay with small children while their mama goes to the hospital to have a baby; taking meals to people who are sick, mowing their lawns, cleaning their houses, doing their laundry; finding jobs, homes, cars for people who have lost theirs. We have not spent a single holiday alone since we moved to Washington, because strangers invited us to be with them–and in doing so became friends.

Churches do all these things and more not because they’re paid to do it, but because they’re family and that’s what families do.

Yes, churches also worship God. But God is by his very nature communal–a trinity–and he tells us that if we can’t love other Christians, whom we can see, then we can’t love God, whom we can’t see. Love one another, he says. Love one another.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Healthy Snack- From a 7y.o.’s POV

So the FYB, who just had his more than adequate lunch topped off with a bowl of ice-cream, is asking for a snack to fill his other hollow leg.

He is told that he may have a piece of fruit from the basket on the table. He says hopefully that apples are a healthy fruit, and there are some near the basket but not exactly in it. I say that yes, apples are healthy, and he may have an apple. Sometimes I despair of myself. I am old enough, Father William, to know better. I’ve been doing the mothering thing for nearly 23 years, but still, my mind is simply not agile enough to interpret these things properly.

He meant a caramel apple.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments