Bad Deeds for 4/29/2010

 

Voters Conned into Switching to the Republican Party – Since mid-March, at least 99 written complaints have been submitted to state elections officials by Orange County residents who say they were registered to vote Republican without their consent. The Register found an additional 74 voters who said they were duped or coerced into registering to vote as a Republican by signature gatherers who initially asked them to sign petitions for causes like legalizing marijuana, fighting cancer or cleaning up beaches.

This isn’t the first time. A similar situation in Orange County occurred in 2006, when a similar fraud pattern in Orange County resulted in 167 voters complaining to election officials that they were switched to Republican registration without their permission.

 

How Wall Street Creates Socialists – Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn’t issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week’s congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits.

Capitalism has not taken a hit like this since Mr. Potter made his appearance as the evil banker on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” No leftist polemicist could come up with as damning a description of contemporary capitalism as the contents of an e-mail that Goldman’s Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre sent to his girlfriend.

“Well,” he wrote, “what if we created a ‘thing’, which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?”

Perhaps Fab once read the Karl Marx who wrote: “The more abstract money is, the less natural its relationship to other commodities.”

If money is an abstraction, the investment industry’s creative inventions are abstractions of abstractions of abstractions. Banks no longer just give people loans to buy houses. Now Wall Street’s geniuses — and they are ingenious — trade bizarre financial products in which the original loan is packaged with thousands of others and buried under piles of equations and economic gibberish.

Goldman may face SEC charges, but it’s the entirety of our deregulated financial system that’s on trial. In this new order, the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs goes not only into creating products that actually enhance our lives (from refrigerators to laptops to iPods) but also into fashioning “absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical” financial products whose main function is to enrich a very small number of well-placed people.

 

New Mine Accident: Mine Had Numerous Safety Violations – Two western Kentucky miners were missing Thursday and rescuers were unable to contact them after a roof collapsed in a large underground coal mine that had a history of safety violations, officials said.

The Dotiki mine has recorded well over 300 “significant and substantial” violation reports from the Mine Safety and Health Administration since the start of 2009. The tally ranked the mine seventh among U.S. mines for the most such violations, according to a report published earlier this month by Business Week magazine.

So far this year, Dotiki Mine near Nebo, Ky., also has been cited at least three times for violating an MSHA standard regarding “protection from falls of roof, face and ribs” of mine areas.

 

Mine Industry Spokesman: No New Regulations Are Needed – What did you expect? Mining industry spokesman Bruce Watzman said there is no need for new regulations.

Massey Energy Company used a tactic popular with some companies to avoid being placed on notice of a “pattern of violation” that could result in tougher enforcement. Mining companies are contesting hundreds of citations, creating a backlog that is overwhelming government officials. The massive backlog often delays a finding of a pattern of violation.

Lawmakers heard from a coal miner who said he used to work at the Upper Big Branch mine but quit because he claimed Massey tolerated unsafe working conditions.

Jeffrey Harris, of Beckley, W.Va., said mine workers would take a number of gas monitors to check for gas levels, but only report the lowest reading.

“They would take air readings until they got the right one,” Harris said.

Harris said workers would tear down ventilation curtains and rehang them only when inspectors came. Workers also shut down equipment when inspectors were at the mine so they couldn’t take readings while they were mining, he said.

 

A Registered Hate Group Helped Write Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law – Certain moments in our nation’s history have consistently opened the door for the least civil voices to enact evil through civil policy: think the institution of race-based U.S. slavery, the Indian removals, Jim Crow laws, legalized segregation, the federal protection of lynching mobs, and, don’t forget, the Japanese internment camps, among others. In each case, hard economic times led otherwise sane people to unleash insane injustice under the guise of public policy.

There’s something about hard-knock times that consistently opens civil minds to uncivilized acts. When those minds hold the power of the policy pen, then personal malice becomes government-sponsored acts of terror against its own citizens.

This time it is the good, economically recessed, fear-ravaged people of Arizona who have elevated bottom-dwellers to the place of law-makers. They actually handed a registered hate group, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), the pen and asked them to help write Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, which requires police officers to ask for “papers” from anyone they “suspect” might be an illegal immigrant. If they cannot prove their legal residence, they will be thrown in jail. This Machiavellian law places the U.S. in company with Apartheid South Africa, Nazi Germany, and the Antebellum South, each of which demanded the presentation of “papers” demonstrating the individual from the minority group was allowed to be in certain areas of town.

 

FAIR Pres. Dan Stein suffers brutal takedown

When faced with government sponsored evil, look injustice in the eye and say “no.” Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform now.

 

10 of 20 Supermarkets Fail Seafood Sustainability Rating – Greenpeace has released the fourth update of their Carting Away the Oceans report, where they give us the latest review of the best and worst sustainable seafood supermarkets for 2010. In an effort to push for an environmentally friendly and sustainable seafood marketplace, Greenpeace has done an in-depth ranking of 20 popular seafood retailers, rating them on factors like their seafood policies, initiatives in sustainability, and the quality of their labeling in providing consumers concise and accurate information about the seafood they purchase. Greenpeace also makes note of how many species each company sells that are on Greenpeace’s red list, a list compiling the 22 most unsustainable seafood products on the market.

Greenpeace gives each grocery chain an overall rank from 1-10. 1-3 is a failing grade, 4-6 is passing, and 7-10 is good. Though no one has yet reached that highest division, 10 of the 20 companies reviewed made a passing grade, with many taking audacious strides to improve their previous scores, and setting new precedents in the marketplace for sustainable seafood (Target’s score went from 30 to 60 in less than two years.).

Here are the scores:

· Target 62.24
· Wegmans Food Markets 60.89
· Whole Foods Market 60.49
· Safeway 58.1
· Ahold 57.84
· Harris Teeter 51.46
· The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) 48.71
· Delhaize 45.11
· Wal-Mart 43.47
· Trader Joe’s 40.2
· Price Chopper 39.54
· ALDI 38.75
· The Kroger Company 32.25
· Costco 18.75
· SUPERVALU 15
· Giant Eagle 13.5
· Publix 12.5
· Winn-Dixie 12.5
· Meijer 10
· H.E. Butt (HEB) 7.5

 

Rick Perry’s Shaky Coyote Story – By James Moore

The governor of Texas is a weinie. I can’t reach any other conclusion after reading the report about him shooting a coyote that threatened his daughter’s puppy. Rick Perry said that he was jogging on a hill country trail near where he lives in a rented home and the animal came out and threatened his little dawgie. Governor Gun pulled out a Ruger and sent the coyote to the big lonesome and empty prairie coyotes go to when governors gun them down.

But I’ve got some questions, your governorship.

First, I can say I’ve run thousands of miles on trails in Texas and I have never once thought of carrying a gun. Well, yeah, a squirt gun. I used to have a Doberman that came after me on a dirt road and I solved that by mixing some ammonia into water and putting it into a little squirt gun. Got the big dog in the eyeballs next time he came barking after me and when he saw me pass by a few days later he ran away more like a chicken than a dog. No shot fired in anger.

Perry said he carried the gun because he was afraid of snakes and that a number of people living in that area have lost pets to wild animals. Well, Governor Gun, that’s the way nature is ordered. Big fish eat little fish. Wild animal eat domestic animal. You don’t want your cat turned into a coyote hairball, keep it in the house. But afraid of snakes and you carry a gun? I don’t know any trail runner under the Lone Star sky that hasn’t come across a rattler or seven. And not one of them ever said, “Hey, I think I’ll carry a gun and kill rattlers the next time.” Unless you surprise a rattler, it’s going to slither away real danged fast. And governor, I’ve seen you run; you aren’t going to surprise a snake or a turtle.

And, although I’ve never done it, seems to me like running and carrying a gun has to be kind of uncomfortable. I read you were packing your pistol in a holster. I just find it odd that you put on the running shorts, the Nike shoes, a tee shirt, and a ball cap, and then strapped on your coyote widow maker. Who the hell does such a thing?

There’s something else. If this happened in February, why are you just now sharing this? It seems to me that you would have been a little excited the day you turned coyote killer and you might have mentioned it to a reporter or a political pal that could have let it slip to someone, somewhere. But nothing until two months later? Sorry, sounds a little too neat. And if you were trying for the tough guy image, whacking a coyote isn’t really gonna do that for you. Nor is packin’ heat cuz you are afraid of things that go slither in the sun. I guess I have to say I don’t believe your story.

Prove you killed a coyote. Habeas coyote corpus. Ah, but you can’t produce a body because the critter has been gone for two months. You said he’s “mulch.”

So’s your story, Governor Gun.

Regards,

Jim

 

 

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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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