Friday, February 14, 2014

The rightwing pulled out all the plugs and the NRA is as much a part of the victimization of employees as anyone.

Tennessee's VW workers voted down a right to organize. The UAW needs to file a complaint with the NLR Board for the interference and blatant lies of government officials.

It only goes to prove the people within Red States can't discern their own best interests anymore.

The company was on the side of organization as it part of their business model. The climate for organizing and having workers learn the benefits of being organized was perfect. How can something so perfect go so awry? None of it makes sense.

...The organizing vote also seems to have brought out the worst in some Republican state politicians, who have threatened future financial help for VW projects if the United Auto Workers wins the election.... 

Blatant coercion.

I feel very bad for those folks. They are good decent people, but, they aren't free. They are locked into a life without opportunity. It is very sad.

The UAW isn't just up against corrupt politicians, it is up against the NRA. The union is going to take their guns and so will the company. The NRA is in the middle of this thing somewhere.

A Volkswagen official spoke (click here) to lawmakers this afternoon opposing legislation that would allow employees to keep guns in their cars on company property. 

"We strongly urge the community to reject the proposed bill," Reid Albert, general manager of security, fire and general service for Volkswagen Chattanooga, said. "VW Chattanooga is very concerned with the current legislation, which would take away our right to control our property and would interfere with our ability to take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of all of our employees."

At the core of the debate about the legislation are property and gun rights and whether business leaders should be able to control what an employee keeps in his or her vehicle if it is on company property....

Retribution against a company that believes their property and their employees are safer without weapons. Rightwingers don't like European cultures. Currently, VW can fire any employee they feel is a threat to the well being of their company. That is the way of the Red States. Employees don't have rights, companies do. If VW posts their property and makes it clear they won't tolerate guns they can fire those that oppose those company policies. The workers have protections otherwise. The company has their own security I am sure. Those security personnel have the right to work in a gun free environment.

VW has the right to set policy. They have a right to safe and sane working conditions without the coercion of government. The law ALLOWS guns in the workplace, that doesn't mean it enforces the demand the employees carry them. If the company's policy is to remain as a gun free zone, the employees will have to leave their weapons off property. 

The law provides an additional right to gun owners, but, no different than restaurants that post 'No Guns Allowed,' VW can post their property and expect their employees to respect that policy. 

It is good of VW to seek a plant in the USA, the least any government can do is honor the wishes of an auto manufacturer and their policies. Unfortunately, the automakers are now a battle ground with rightwing extremists. I am sorry they aren't being respected in the USA as they expected to be.

It is here. Complete invasion of privacy and removal of social anonymity.

Why does anyone think this is a great way to live. Maybe we all should just strip naked and get it over with.

I am not going to shopping malls. No way. I like Main Street far better and when this mess appears there at least when customer complain the shop owners will listen.

By Billy Adams
It's 2054 (click here) when a talking billboard in the sci-fi movie Minority Report tells Tom Cruise's on-the-run character: "John Anderton, you could use a Guinness right about now."
Rewind to real life in 2014 and Steven Spielberg's Orwellian-like prophecies, if not fully formed, are about to take shape in Australian shops, thanks to an enterprising Kiwi.

From next month, cameras fixed to 22 digital billboards in Sydney will size up passers-by and show them adverts based, among other things, on their sex and age.

No longer just another face in the crowd, a young mother might see a perfume promotion while her father is more likely to be urged to buy golf clubs.

The personalised ads have been made possible by dramatic advances in facial recognition technology, which is now many times faster, cheaper and more accurate than even a decade ago....

"Just say no." A hunger strike might actually bring him to appreciate life and it's value.

What has he done to be productive with his life? He should be planning to be a citizen worthy of the air he breaths. What is he going to give back to Norway when he completes his sentence. He needs to sincerely reform rather than writing to former acquaintances, playing video games and demanding comforts those young people no longer enjoy.

Does he write about his self reflection and the regret for causing a nation such grief? Where are his pleadings for forgiveness? What does he write that gives parents solace of their loss. His loss of freedom seems to annoy him, but, he needs to do more to prove he is suffering for his acts of violence in a country so intent on peace and the appreciation of life. Does he know how to be a Norwegian? It doesn't seem like it. 

He shows no remorse. Why should he receive greater freedoms and comforts if he has not reflected on his acts and finds remorse for them? 

He needs to know the world is judging him and at least one other person isn't happy with his lack of repentance.   

February 15, 2014 - 4:39AM

Oslo: Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik (click here) has threatened to go on hunger strike for better video games to alleviate his "torture"-like living conditions, in a letter to prison authorities.

The right-wing extremist - who killed 77 people in a bomb and gun attack on July 22, 2011 - enclosed a typed list of 12 demands sent to prison authorities in November.

He described as "torture"-like his living conditions, in the high-security unit in Skien in southeast Norway where he serving out a 21-year sentence.

The demands include better conditions for his daily walk and the right to communicate more freely with the outside world, which he argues are in line with European rights legislation.

He also demanded that his PlayStation 2 games console be upgraded to a Playstation 3 "with access to more adult games that I get to choose myself".
Held apart from other prisoners since 2011 for security reasons, Breivik argues that he has the right to a wider "selection of activities" than other inmates to compensate for his strict isolation.

Breivik also wants his standard weekly allowance of 300 kroner ($A55) to be doubled, particularly to cover his postal charges from written correspondence.
Other demands include an end to daily physical searches, and access to a PC rather than to a "worthless typewriter with technology dating back to 1873"....

If in the area and even if not, come to the Traverse City Comedy Festival. The children are having a great time on Front Street. 

Soar above the 100 Block of Front Street and experience downtown like never before on our new zip line. Enjoy this thrilling adventure racing against friends and family, or on your own. Riders must weigh between 60 and 250 pounds. It’s all Free on Front!

This festival has become a welcome distraction when there is little to laugh about in all the snow and ice that is endemic to Traverse City and the surrounding communities.

Fred Willard of "Modern Family" was presented with the TC Comedy Fest Legends Award. He is a very gifted comedian. 

There are plenty of headliners (click here) here including Sinbad and on Saturday young comedians from NYC are going to be in Traverse City for Improv. Fred should couch them while he is in TC.

The Comedy Fest knows how to do right.

Poor management isn't necessarily illegal.

I heard the complaints in the media about how emergency workers could not achieve their usual response times (and that should be in the record, too. Usual response times.) when there was traffic snarled on September 9th. 

Thankfully, there were no deaths or injuries attributable to the lane closures, but, as I stated before the slower response times causing personal pain and suffering could amount to civil lawsuits, but, not necessarily criminal charges. That is up to the US Attorney to decide. I already know the comparison will be made to other cities with slow response times and it could be a viable defense in any criminal charge.

Another defense of the Governor is that he has tripped over his authority before when taking a State Police helicopter to his son's ball game. That is not illegal. There have been others, namely in the State of New York, that have done the same things and been publicly reprimanded for it. So, Governor Christie reacted to the criticism and corrected his path. 

The facts still remain that as a Governor he has been responsive to the people. They might not like all the shenanigans, but, when they balance his response to them they are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has also improved the circumstances in some instances in New Jersey. He hasn't been completely horrid in governing. He knows what the problems are and how to plot a resolve. He has been successful, albeit, not a huggy, cuddly personality, but, successful. 

By Times of Trenton 
Letters to the Editor
January 28, 2014 at 5:27 AM 

Gov. Chris Christie (click here) has led the way on the expansion of drug courts, in which nonviolent offenders can choose the tough love and hard work of rehab and frequent check-ins over prison.

The governor has championed the idea of mandatory treatment for nonviolent offenders to stop the revolving door of prison, parole and then rearrest for the same drug offenses. It’s working, said the governor, reporting an 11 percent drop in recidivism.

“We must reach out a hand of compassion and common sense to those who commit nonviolent crimes,” he said in his State of the State address. “We must do a better job of reclaiming their lives and putting them back on the road to success and engagement with society.”

That attitude is especially necessary as a scourge of heroin overdoses continues in New Jersey. Experts say heroin users often first become dependent on a prescription drug such as OxyContin or Vicodin. When that habit becomes too expensive to sustain, heroin is the next best thing. It’s inexpensive and it’s becoming easier and easier to obtain....

But, I'll say this again; what is hubris isn't necessarily illegal. Considering he was relying on outside agencies (which is a GOP preference) to carry out the distributions of Sandy Aid puts him at a distance to any questions regarding those monies. He is responsible and he has fired those involved in his second term. I believe he'll seek a more hands on approach this time, but, people are winning on appeal and that matters.

I know all this is frustrating, but, was their MALICIOUSNESS in the actions of the Governor? It would not appear to be so. Was he malicious in his hubris? I bet he was, but, that doesn't rise to the level of crime. The entire mess needs to be left up to the US Attorney and if the state investigative panel is providing additional fact finding and the people find it important, then they are doing the right thing. 

But, they should not lose sight of the needs of the state as outlined in the State of the State address. Those problems are also important and I remind, this is the Chief Executive of the State doing his job. These annual speeches to the legislature by any Chief Executive is a matter of pointing to the problems of the people. It is a job requirement and in the job description. Again, he is conducting his responsibilities. If the legislature puts all that on the shelf and the problems surmount the people will be looking at them in the next State of the State.

The legislature also has to realize they have huge problems that are not solved. If they are going to continue to build an additional path between NY and NJ then what are the benefits. Cost benefits. Short term and long term, will the people of New Jersey benefit from it?

Then there is Camden. It is pretty bad and to realize how bad it is only speaks to the fact there has been huge negligence of that city by the state. The State benefits from vibrant economies and to let cities deteriorate and sink into failure only deprives important tax revenues and growing jobs. At this point, I don't believe Camden can recover on it's own. It is going to take recruitment of business interests that would like to live in Cherry Hill and commute to work. The people of Camden are just as worthy of the attention of the state legislature as those of Fort Lee and Hoboken. 

So, the future is not on hold because the politics is thick and advantageous. People need attention and while the past will receive the attention it needs, the future appears to still be waiting. I don't believe that is a good thing. It will be the end of another school year and will there be more or less graduates from Camden's high school? Those young minds are important and right now they aren't feeling important or seeing a solution for their lives. The median age in Camden is 28 years old. That is tragic. It isn't the equivalent to Yemen, but, it is to Algeria.  The median age in the USA is 37.2 years and there are other countries that can top that. This is a real shame in a state with wealth as New Jersey has.

I am not going to forget this fact. I find it completely outrageous. 
Germany is running away with the competitions. Canada and Germany both have ten medals, but, Germany has seven golds.

The American women's curling team had a better day yesterday. Oddly enough Mrs. Brown returned to her historic performance as her husband arrived in Sochi. I am just sayin'. 

The US Men did well in the short program skating competition, but, the skate today not so much. 

February 13, 2014, news services

SOCHI, Russia -- U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott (click here) fell hard on an attempted quadruple toe loop Thursday in the men's short program at the Olympics, yet finished the routine.

Abbott crashed to the ice on his first jump and slid into the padded end boards, staying down for an extended period, clutching his right hip. It looked as though he wouldn't get up, and his coaches moved toward the entry door to the ice.

But Abbott, 28, struggled to his feet and, to the surprise of many and the applause of the crowd, resumed skating. And he performed quite well, hitting the rest of his elements.

When his music stopped, the four-time U.S. champ drew a huge ovation from the fans. He hit himself lightly in the head while shaking it, as if to say he couldn't believe what had happened.

He wound up in 15th place....

US Men are still cleaning the chronometers in skiing slopestyle. It is one of the newest Olympic competitions that was very popular in the USA. There is no surprise the Americans are still hanging on to the medals.

it almost seems like cheating, but, then there is Norway that always walks away with gold in so many other of the competitions, like cross country. There are just times in Norway when cross country is the only way of traveling across the terrain. So, these guys grow up being Olympic quality athletes.

By Matthew Tynan
February 11, 2014
The Norwegians dominated the cross-country skiing events (click here) on Tuesday, and they now find themselves on top of the medal standings at the 2014 Winter Olympics with 11 total. Ola Vigen Hattestad took gold in the men's sprint event with a time of 3:38.39, with Sweden's Teodor Peterson (3:39.61) and Emil Jonsson (3:58.13) bringing in silver and bronze....

But, there is hope for other nations, the USA for the first time in Olympic history won a bronze medal in the luge. Yes!

The investigation takes back page news while McCrory seeks a raise in teacher salaries.

Is there any doubt? The retreat from fines to reassessment tells everything. 

I haven't heard how much fiscal and environmental damage occurred either. There is an impoverished population that rely on rivers and fisheries to make a living. Under the previous governors, the state fisheries worked with Duke to secure a native species of oyster to insure the commercial oystermen/women had a viable living. 

The native species had crashed in the late 1980s -early 1990s due to heavy sediments in the river and fisheries. Duke found the most viable species of oyster was the native oyster. Duke also found having breeding stock suspended under docks along the waterways returned the native oyster to abundance. That research occurred quite some time ago and was implemented around 2004. So, the sincere loss by this community of North Carolina citizens may be substantial. These folks won't have money to hire lawyers either, they are easily exploited because they don't have the power to retaliate.

Duke University Marine Division (click here) would have detailed information. The studies most likely are even in the public record as peer reviewed research. It was unique. Duke was actually seeking the most viable species that didn't necessarily mean the native species would do the best, but, everyone was pleasantly surprised at their findings and deployment of the strategy to return the oyster beds.

Michael Biesecker
Associated Press
February 13, 2014

...The subpoenas (click here) were issued the day after the AP reported that environmental groups have tried three times in the past year to sue under the Clean Water Act to force Duke to clear out leaky coal ash dumps. Each time, the state agency blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the act to take enforcement action in state court.
After negotiating with Duke's lawyers in private, the state proposed settlements that environmentalists regarded as highly favorable to the company.

Duke, a company valued at $50 billion, would have paid fines of $99,111 for groundwater pollution leaching from two coal dumps like the one that ruptured in Eden. The settlement would have required Duke to study how to stop the contamination, but it included no requirement to clean up the dumps near Asheville and Charlotte.

Among the documents targeted by the federal subpoenas are the correspondence between Duke and the state environmental agency related to the proposed deal highlighted in the AP's story. On Monday, lawyers for the state asked a judge to disregard the agency's own proposed settlement in the wake of the spill.

Clean water advocates have long complained that state regulators are too cozy with the polluters they regulate. But they say that coordination and cooperation has become even more overt since the January 2013 inauguration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a pro-business Republican who worked at Duke Energy for 28 years. Records show McCrory has benefited from at least $1.1 million in political donations linked to his former employer since 2008....

I am not surprised the current governor is touting pay increases to teachers. Currently, the state universities, once considered some of the best in the nation, a huge statement about public universities, have Freshmen enrollments down by 40%. McCrory's abrupt change in policy and fiscal support to the state universities shows. I am very concerned about the state universities, they are among some of the backbone to the nation's brain trust.

McCrory's priority was to defund the public schools and universities and replace them with his friends like those at High Point University, a very expensive private university. I mean this guy is wickedly influenced by his donors and panders to supporting their fiscal viability to continue his political ambitions.

The US Attorney needs to consider reaching out to the Chancellor's of the state universities in reporting their fiscal disasters, the effect on enrollment, the status of the public universities to rankings among others and the future viability they see for their residential students that rely on loans and grants to attend. The students to the NC system, including the famed UNC, don't have families with ready cash to pay even residential tuition rates. These families survive by working two to three jobs and well over 60 hours per week.

February 10, 2014 

JAMESTOWN — The proposal Gov. Pat McCrory (click here) announced Monday to raise the base pay for early-career teachers was met with praise and immediate questions about raises for those with more experience.

Under the plan, teachers with up to 10 years in the classroom – about 42,000 of them – would see their pay rise to $35,000 by the 2015-16 school year. The raises would cost the state about $200 million over two years.

The state’s beginning teachers are among the lowest-paid in the nation, and the current $30,800 beginning salary is not competitive with surrounding states.

“That’s not even enough to raise a family or pay off student loans,” McCrory said in announcing his plan. “How do we expect someone to pay that loan with that starting salary?”...

I wish everyone the best in finally turning around the deterioration of the state and it's precious conservation and environmental assets. The state of NC's economy relies on clean water and viable wildlife. It has a very long coastline, especially when one realizes it has a double coastline in the Outer Banks. The state government, under McCrory, defunded these important conservation and water trust funds. These state funded monies maintained and improved the status of NC's waterways, fisheries, beaches and wildlife areas, some of which contain endangered species. In the past when these monies were threatened by budget pressures, the people have opted for increases in income taxes.

One other aspect to the failure in funding to the state universities, is the fact a great deal of expansion of some of these campuses have occurred over the past decade placing their fiscal viability on the line as well.

The waters of North Carolina and the state universities are very important to the people of the state and they obviously have little to no knowledge of the treats to them and their current deterioration.

I thank the US Attorney for taking a sincere interest in these people and their important economy. I am sure with such competent conservation groups in the state it didn't take much alarm to launch this investigation.

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