Sep 27

I sure hope so

Hey, a new union!

Domino’s Pizza delivery driver Jim Pohle could have quit when he saw a competitor offering an extra 25 cents an hour in wages and his bosses wouldn’t match it. But he decided instead to stand up and form the nation’s only pizza drivers union to successfully organize workers.

Now he represents 11 drivers as president of the American Union of Pizza Delivery Drivers Inc. at the franchise where he has worked off and on for more than a dozen years. Experts say he has created a model for fast food workers wanting to organize in other locations.

“When they declared us tipped employees and refused to pay us the Florida minimum wage of $6.40, I was kind of angry. I came home that night and I told my buddy, I said ‘We are forming a union,’” he said.

Good on ya, Jim. Labor, organized and otherwise, has been under attack – quite successful attack – for, well, ever. Specifically within the last 60 years, the right has achieved so many successful microrollbacks of labor power that nearly the entire field has been rendered impotent. And the microrollback method is also the model that the right is using in their attempts to end womens’ right to choose.

It may just be one tiny little union, but I’m all for good news of that sort. Particularly while I’m watching the GOP in the Senate today as they grab the Constitution and use it for toilet paper, with only token resistance from the Dems. Well, OK, as the day goes on, more are stepping up. Still no holier than thou Obama, though. What a piker.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, new union. Collective action is one of the best ways for the powerless to have some measure of security against the powerful. It’s a balancing act, sure, but when the Man is denying you $6.40 an hour because you get “tips”… well, then the Man can go fuck himself.

Sep 12

Voting Irregularities, again!

In Montgomery County, the problems began Tuesday when voters arrived at polling places to find the electronic voting machines could not be used because election officials had not delivered the cards voters needed to operate them. Voters were told to come back later or were given provisional ballots or photocopies of provisional ballots to fill out. At some precincts, the cards arrived quickly and the process was moving normally within an hour of polls opening. At other locations, it took three hours for the cards to arrive. Some voters left without casting ballots.

“I just couldn’t vote,” said Ellen Coppley, who lives in Chevy Chase but works in Washington, D.C., and had a meeting Tuesday night that she couldn’t miss. “You can’t declare an election when some of your people weren’t allowed to vote.”

Unfortunately looks like this year’s primary elections are remake of the 2004 election. Massive voter disenfranchisement, especially in minority and Democratic strongholds.
Typical GOP standards, can’t win the election fair and square then by all means cheat!

Sep 11

The Decline Phase

I’ve Someone who is totally not me has been saying for a number of years now that we, the United States, are clearly in the decline phase of our empire. With increasing cultural and economic rigidity combined with ever louder proclamations of our greatness, I think it inarguable that the power of our empire is diminishing. Even as the world’s only superpower, it is diminishing.

In any event, Billmon takes the time on the anniversary of the greatest intelligence and leadership failure of our nation’s history to riff on this same theme. Since he echoes my thoughts, I thought I’d quote him. Plus, that way I don’t actually have to, you know, write my own thoughts down. Woohoo!

What I’ve learned (from 9/11, the corporate scandals, the fiasco in Iraq, Katrina, the Cheney Administration’s insane economic and environmental policies and the relentless dumbing down of the corporate media — plus the repeated electoral triumphs of the Rovian brand of “reality management”) is that the United States is moving down the curve of imperial decay at a amazingly rapid clip. If anything, the speed of our descent appears to be accelerating.

The physical symptoms — a lost war, a derelict city, a Potemkin memorial hastily erected in an vacant lot — aren’t nearly as alarming as the moral and intellectual paralysis that seems to have taken hold of the system. The old feedback mechanisms are broken or in deep disrepair, leaving America with an opposition party that doesn’t know how (or what) to oppose, a military run by uniformed yes men, intelligence czars who couldn’t find their way through a garden gate with a GPS locator, TV networks that don’t even pretend to cover the news unless there’s a missing white woman or a suspected child rapist involved, and talk radio hosts who think nuking Mecca is the solution to all our problems in the Middle East. We’ve got think tanks that can’t think, security agencies that can’t secure and accounting firms that can’t count (except when their clients ask them to make 2+2=5). Our churches are either annexes to shopping malls, halfway homes for pederasts, or GOP precinct headquarters in disguise. Our economy is based on asset bubbles, defense contracts and an open-ended line of credit from the People’s Bank of China, and we still can’t push the poverty rate down or the median wage up.

[colbert]Well, if you were aiming for ‘depressing’, Billmon, mission accomplished.[/colbert]