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Monday, August 21, 2006

 

Dispatches From the Republican War on Reality

Feministing reports:

School nixes abstinence ed upon realizing 65 students are pregnant. I guess that would be a hint that your sex ed program is less than successful.

In Canton, Ohio, a school board decided to expand sex education to allow for discussion on contraception after realizing that 13 percent of one high school's female students were pregnant. Yeah.

There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.
The new Canton school board program promotes abstinence but also will teach students who decide to have sex how to do so responsibly, bringing the city school district's health curriculum in line with national standards.

........................

I mentioned this on Al's show this morning. When I talk about the GOP being the party of "magical thinking" and putting "wishes and prayers" over "results" I am not just talking about the war.

Every Republican policy championed by Bush, from economics to science policy to sex education is "faith based". The bottom line for Mike Castle and you Bush zombies: Republican style governing simply DOES NOT WORK.

Comments:
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Weekend Edition: Say it Ain’t So, Fighting Joe


Joe Biden’s color picture jumped out at readers from the pages of this week’s
New York
Times.

Wearing a starched, striped, open-necked shirt beneath a crisp grey suit, his
longish
graying hair catching the breeze, the Senior Senator from Delaware looked
passionate,
raw, and inflamed with rage and indignation.

Precisely what is it that had gotten the 34-year Senate veteran and
ex-Presidential
candidate so indignant?

The failure of the Bush administration’s post-war policy in Iraq? No.

The state-sponsored holocaust cartoon exhibit now on display in a country (Iran)
whose
leader maintains the holocaust is a “myth”? No.

Child pornography, perhaps? No, sadly.

Not even the price of gasoline was on the Senator-who-would-be President’s mind.

What was on the Senator’s mind—what had him really steaming—was Wal-Mart.

Returning to Des Moines (the scene of his infamous “I started thinking as I was
coming
over here…” speech in which he went on to plagiarize the speech of a British
politician;
a speech which existed, unfortunately for Joe and his soon-to-be-abandoned
Presidential
campaign, on a video handily provided to the media by the Dukakis campaign)
Biden took to
a podium and ranted for a reported 15 minutes against one of the greatest
economic
success stories in American history:

Biden summed up his problem with the largest non-government employer in the
nation as
follows, and I am not making this up:

“My problem with Wal-Mart is that I don't see any indication that they care
about the
fate of middle-class people. They talk about paying them $10 an hour. That's
true. How
can you live a middle-class life on that?”

Now, I don’t know where in the Constitution it is written that retailers must
provide a
“middle-class” life for their employees. I don’t imagine the woman who vacuums
Biden’s
nice Senate office every night is being paid a “middle-class” wage. Nor, I would
bet, is
the guy who starched Biden’s nice, striped, this-will-look-good-on-camera shirt
at the
dry cleaners getting a “middle-class” wage.

But that vacuum lady and that dry-cleaning guy don’t concern Biden precisely
because they
are not employed by a company that has thus far been unsuccessfully targeted for
organizing by Big Labor.

And Big Labor wants to unionize Wal-Mart big-time, which is—let’s be honest—the
real
agenda here.

Personally, I couldn’t care less if Wal-Mart employees decide to unionize or
don’t decide
to unionize. Having met Sam Walton and toured any number of Wal-Mart stores with
senior
Wal-Mart managers and junior Wal-Mart managers and just plain Wal-Mart
associates made
rich through "Mister Sam's" generous stock grants over the years, I have a hard
time
believing people with that kind of strong, proud culture will throw in its lot
with the
work-rules crowd. But anything is possible.

I just think when a guy who’s claim to fame is that he’s been in the U.S. Senate
for 34
years decides to pick on the most successful retailer ever created, it bears
some looking
into.

For starters, Biden is being cute when he says the folks at Wal-Mart “talk
about” paying
$10 an hour. They don’t talk about it—Wal-Mart actually does pay ten bucks an
hour.

And ten bucks an hour is, for the record, double the minimum wage.

Second, Wal-Mart did not exactly act like the British Navy when it came to
hiring the 1.8
million individuals who now work there worldwide. (The Brits, in the early
decades of
their naval history, used press gangs to “recruit” seamen for their ships by,
among other
techniques, getting poor sods unconscious-drunk onshore and carrying them
offshore before
they came to.)

In fact, a recently opened Wal-Mart superstore in one of the most anti-Wal-Mart
locations—Northern California—had 11,000 applicants seeking 400 of those lousy,
non-middle-class-enabling $10-an-hour jobs that Senator Joe finds so
problematic.

Here’s the story:

Wal-Mart has accepted more than 11,000 applications from Bay Area job seekers,
marking
the largest volume of interest it has received at any of its Northern California
stores,
said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin.

“I needed a job ASAP, and they had their doors open,” said Virginia Ford, 19, of
Oakland,
who had applied for 25 jobs in three months before she landed one as a cashier
at
Wal-Mart in Oakland on Tuesday.

—San Francisco Chronicle, August 2005

Doesn’t sound like Ms. Ford was kidnapped and forced to work at gunpoint: sounds
like she
just wanted a job; and Wal-Mart provided it, as Wal-Mart has provided 1.799999
million
other jobs around the world.

Now, for comparison's sake, let’s look at Joe Biden’s record on creating
middle-class
jobs, since he's the one complaining about it.

This is what his web site says on the topic:

Recognizing that America's 25 million small businesses employ nearly half of the
private
work force, generate more than half of the nation's gross domestic product, and
are the
principal source of new jobs in the U.S. economy, Sen. Biden helped secure an
upgrade of
Delaware's Small Business Administration branch office to full district office
status.
Prior to this announcement, Delaware was the only state in the nation without a
district
office.

So, there you have it: what Joe Biden did to create jobs was he got the Feds to
shell out
for an SBA “district office,” the web site of which lists five individuals.

Thus by my math one could say Senator Joe has, in his 34 year career, created
five jobs
that might not otherwise have been created if he had not spent those 34 years in
the U.S.
Senate.

By comparison, when Joe Biden was sworn in back in 1973, Wal-Mart had just over
3,500
“associates”—the term Sam Walton used for “employees”—and generated $167 million
in
sales. (If you get a chance, look up one of the old annual reports on the
Wal-Mart web
site: they are straightforward, earnest and touchingly old-timey.)

Today, Wal-Mart employs 1.3 million associates in the U.S.—and another 500,000
outside
the U.S.—which together amount to a very large a number of people who’ve
willingly
accepted one of those non-middle-class-enabling jobs. For the record, Wal-Mart's
U.S. job
growth compounds at an astonishing 19% over the 34 years that Fighting Joe Biden
has been
on Capital Hill.

A little back-of-the-envelope math makes the numbers even larger: assuming
turnover
(people who leave) at Wal-Mart runs about one-third of total employment each
year (and
that’s a guess: most low-end retailers run far higher than that) then Wal-Mart
has
employed, over the last 34 years, an additional 2.5 million Americans on top of
the 1.3
million currently working in dead-end, unattractive, non-middle-class jobs at
what is now
double the minimum wage.

So that means as many as 3.8 million Americans have found employment thanks to
Sam
Walton’s low-cost retailing model—compared to the five bureaucrats wangled out
of the
U.S. budget by Fighting Joe Biden.

Clearly Wal-Mart knows a thing or too more about creating jobs than the Senator
running
for President.

But is $10 an hour a “livable wage,” as Biden and the other
Democrats-who-think-they-can-become-President-but-don’t-realize-Hillary-already-
has-the-nomination-locked-up
clique would argue it is not?

For many Americans, including the reporters—and I count two of them as
friends—who
despise Wal-Mart, it is not. But for many Americans, it clearly is—otherwise,
nobody
would work for Wal-Mart.

They’d go to 7-11 or McDonalds or Circle K, or somebody offering a job at
minimum wage.
But they don’t. Almost 4 million of them—by my calculations—have gone to
Wal-Mart for
work.

And I haven’t even gotten to the economic benefit accruing to the 100 million
Americans
who shop at Wal-Mart each week in the form of lower prices than they would
otherwise pay
if Sam Walton hadn’t revolutionized discount retailing.

Assuming consumers save ten bucks each visit over the pre-Walton era of
every-day-low-pricing, that amounts to a $1 billion-a-week benefit to American
consumers,
or $52 billion a year. Not bad.

How much has Joe Biden or any of his anti-Wal-Mart peers have done for the
average
American? Let’s look at his web site. Here’s Senator Joe fighting drugs:

As Co-Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Sen. Biden has a
long
record of accomplishment in passing bills to combat drug use and help drug
addicts kick
their habit. He wrote the 1988 law creating the nation’s “Drug Czar,” who
oversees and
coordinates national drug control policy. Today, Senator Biden continues to work
to stop
the spread of new drugs such as Ecstacy, Rohypnol, and Methamphetamines.

Given the current meth epidemic sweeping the American middle-class, I’d say not
much has
changed since Joe “wrote the law” creating a “Drug Czar.”

As for the environment…

Sen. Biden believes we should strengthen the Clean Air Act to cut cancer-causing
emissions. He also helped lead the effort to make polluters pay for the clean up
of toxic
waste sites. When polluters don't pay, taxpayers do. That's why Sen. Biden wants
to
restore the Superfund Trust Fund and force corporations to take responsibility
for their
actions.

“When polluters don’t pay, taxpayers do.” Tough talk from Delaware’s Senior
Senator!
However, I see no record of how Joe has ever applied that tough talk to two of
the
largest employers in his state, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors, whose main
product
happens to pollute the atmosphere.

Perhaps it’s because he’s been spending so much effort “fighting for”—to use a
favorite
phrase of the Senator Forehead-types of all parties and persuasions—education.
Here’s
what his web site says about that:

Investing in education is one of Sen. Biden's top priorities. To better prepare
today's
students to meet the technology challenges of tomorrow, he has undertaken bold
initiatives in the Senate to close the "digital divide" and ensure that all
students have
access to the on-ramp of the information super highway.

Talk about your controversial stance! It’s like my own Attorney General, Dick
Blumenthal,
bragging about “taking on the tobacco companies,” as if that was somehow a risky
thing to
do.

And here’s how Joe spins his vote to go to war in Iraq:

As a longtime member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden knows
that no
foreign policy may be sustained without the informed consent of the American
people. And
of all the mistakes the Bush Administration made in Iraq, perhaps the biggest
was they
never leveled with the American people.

If Senator Joe honestly believes Bush’s “biggest” mistake of the war in Iraq was
that
Bush “never leveled with the American people,” rather than, for example, “they
never
planned for how they'd run Iraq after the war,” then he is even less insightful
than I
imagined from his Wal-Mart diatribe.

But with Biden, as with most Senators, whatever their party, the issue is not
intellectual honesty. The issue is “What can I do to get elected to something
bigger?”
And since Biden is one of those poor souls—whose ranks include Chris Dodd, Mark
Warner,
John Kerry and John Edwards—who believes he stands an actual chance to become
the
Democratic Presidential nominee over Hillary, then he is going to do stupid,
short-sighted stuff like castigate the country’s largest private employer.

Or plagiarize speeches from British politicians.



Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up
 
That wasn't the real me, Jase.
 
REal Hube,

You have a fan I guess.

Fake hube -

If that is a Weekend Edition Transcript, where is the link?
 
if the school system had taught the young ladies to read, thew wouldn't need a condom demonstration class, they could read the instructions on the box.
 
Reading is the devil's business. The young'uns might grow up to read the New York Times. No need to open that can of worms.
 
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