A little flotsam and a little jetsam

Victorian posy of pansiesMy husband was working on a Word document that needed to have paragraphs and subparagraphs numbered.  As I’m sure you know, if you start inserting paragraph numbers without creating distinct styles, Word takes on a life of its own, and starts generating multiple styles.  Eventually, every paragraph in my husband’s document was numbered either 4 or 5, and each numbering had a different format.  Since I enjoy word processing, my husband asked me if I could fix it.  He confidently expected it would be a three or four minute job.  Thirty-minutes later, I was still working on it.  It turned out that the document was so horribly coded I couldn’t fix it.  Instead, I had to strip it to basic text and then re-code.  The point of this is that some things cannot be fixed.  They are so profoundly ill-conceived or damaged that they have to be scrapped and started from scratch.  So it is with Obamacare:  It is so dreadful, corrupt, and dysfunctional at every level that it cannot be fixed.

I was raised by a narcissist and can tell you, both from my experience and from having read up on the subject, that narcissists lack a sense of privacy.  Or, more accurately, they lack a sense of your privacy.  Their sense of their own privacy is highly developed.  But if your parent is a narcissist, you are not allowed any physical or mental realms into which they are barred from intruding.  They own you.  To the extent that Leftist ideology has a great deal in common with malignant narcissism, it’s scarcely surprising that Leftists don’t have a problem with turning you inside out and making you their own.  You are not a stand-alone individual; you are a subset of the narcissist’s own grandiose sense of self.

Dennis Prager says most of what needs to be said about the appalling judicial decision in Colorado that threatens to send a man to prison for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Do you remember Lee Iacocca?  Dan Akerson, GM’s CEO does not.  Pity.

Let’s be clear.  The historical St. Nicholas, on whom Santa Claus is based, was as a Greek from the region that is now Turkey.  He was Caucasian, although he probably had a swarthy complexion.  That’s fact.  Santa Claus is a 19th century American construct.  He’s pretend, so people can pretend him to be whatever the heck color they desire.  My imaginary Santa Claus is a pleasant turquoise, just because I like it that way.  This whole debate is as ridiculous as the notion that Jesus is a fair-haired, blue-eyed Northern European.

Spengler talks about what “land for peace” really means in the Middle East (or anywhere, for that matter).

Ford attacks its government sponsored competitor

I drive Japanese cars for one very important reason:  they’re designed so that the vertically challenged can see over the steering wheel and the hood without having to use pillows.  For me, that’s the alpha and omega of car buying.  Go for the companies that manufacture seats that go “up” high enough.  Others say their seats go up, but they’re lying.  I also like the reliability I’ve had with my Japanese cars, but that might just be luck, and it’s probably a fluke that my GM minivan (which I owned almost a decade ago) was a lemon.

This commercial, though, really make me want to stand up and cheer for Ford:

The Unions and GM

I’m ambivalent about unions.  When they first arose as a real market force at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, I believe they were a necessary counterbalance to industries that (a) had unlimited power in the employment market place and (b) that abused that power something awful.

I started turning against unions in the 1970s, when I witnessed the unutterable garbage pouring out of the California’s teachers union (of which my dad was a member).  The union did little to improve teacher’s wages (believe me, very little), but got it’s sticky, uninformed, politicized fingers in every aspect of public education, to education’s great detriment.

Nowadays, we still have unions, but we don’t have the situation that prevailed in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  We have a fairly educated American workforce, we have vast bodies of legislation protecting the worker, we have the free flow of information, we have a mobility unimaginable a century ago (meaning workers have an easier time following jobs), and we’re struggling to compete in something equally unimaginable a century ago:  a world economy.

Also, unions, which used to protect blue collar workers from true abuse (dangerous working conditions, unsustainable wages, the abuses of factory towns, etc.), now exist at greatest strength in the government sector, a thought I find discomfiting, since both feed at the public trough, free of market forces.

With those thoughts in mind, I offer you an interesting press release that came in today’s email:

Center for Union Facts
For Immediate Release
November 11, 2008

Union Job Rules, Unreasonable Demands Big Factor in GM Downfall
GM’s Concessions to Unions Have Put the Company’s Long-Term Viability in Question

Washington D.C.- General Motors Corporation (GM) is driving its way toward bankruptcy or a government funded bailout, thanks in large part to restrictive work rules placed on the organization by the United Auto Workers (UAW). Last night, General Motors chief executive, Rick Wagoner said the company would need a federal aid package before Barack Obama takes office in mid-January.

GM has said that they will need an $11-14 billion cash injection in order to continue conducting business. Without that bailout, GM said Friday that it might halt production as soon as the middle of next year. Deutsche Bank Group, one of the world’s leading financial service providers, downgraded General Motors yesterday morning, targeting their stock value for $0.

Much of this turmoil stems from restrictive UAW job rules that prevent GM from having the flexibility to be competitive in the global marketplace, particularly during an economic downturn. One of the most egregious examples is the union job bank, which continues to pay workers whose jobs fell victim to technological progress or plant restructurings even though they aren’t actually working. The job bank, established in the mid-1980s, requires GM to pay displaced workers nearly their entire salary plus benefits and pension.

UAW also bullied GM into gold-plated health care benefits that are unsustainable. For each car GM makes, more money is spent for health insurance than on steel for its construction. Workers gained the right to smoke while on the assembly line, and some pay $0 deductable on doctor’s visits.

“The United Auto Workers have bled General Motors dry, leaving the company in a tattered state, and the union members extremely vulnerable,” said Richard Berman, Executive Director for the Center for Union Facts. “Job banks that pay workers to do nothing and other harmful union rules are at the heart of GM’s imminent bankruptcy. It will be truly unfortunate if union demands over many years result in another bankruptcy or bailout.”

“This should come as a lesson to government officials considering passing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would put more power and control into the hands of union chiefs who bankrupted one of America’s signature corporations.”