Archive for March, 2009

Squeezing Workers

March 31, 2009

A side benefit to the recession for corporations is they can use the fear of layoffs to try to get more out of their workers:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/03/30/eshelman/index.html?source=newsletter

I can vouch for this personally.  The company I work for has been going to ever increasing lengths in recent months to extract greater efficiency from workers.  Frankly, in this job environment, corporations have their employees by the balls.

Detroit Dance Card Complete

March 29, 2009

The road to the Final Four has been successfully mapped out by Connecticut and Villanova from the Big East, the Big Ten’s Michigan St, and North Carolina from ACC country.  It figures to be an interesting weekend at Ford Field, with the basically home-standing Spartans tangling with Hasheem Thabeet in the first game, and the Wildcats and Tar Heels running the floor in the nightcap.  Buckeyenewshawk had Pitt in his bracket, so don’t ask him who’s going to win a week from tomorrow night.

I was very impressed by how Michigan St played today against Louisville.  They took the Big East regular season and tournament champions completely out of their game by never once being flummoxed by Rick Pitino’s pressure defenses.  They consistently were able to get good looks at the basket, and the Cardinals had no answer for Goran Suton in the 1st half.  The Spartans came out in the 2nd half and blew a close game open and left me sitting there waiting for a Louisville counter-run that simply never happened.  The Spartans are almost certainly the weakest on talent of the four remaining teams, but they play very disciplined and cannot be overlooked.

Also impressive was how Connecticut handled Missouri’s pressure and took it to the Tigers.  Mizzou made a good run to get to the Elite 8, but it was pretty clear the whole game that UConn was better, even thou Mizzou kept the final score respectable.

Less successful in the Big XII team keeping things respectable department was Oklahoma.  The Tar Heels jumped on them out of the gate and this game was never a contest.  Blake Griffin is an absolute beast.  If he comes out for the NBA Draft (and why wouldn’t he) whoever holds the #1 pick has to take him, IMHO.  But he had no help.  Teammates passed up open perimeter shots in favor of shot clock violations on a couple occassions, whereas UNC got scoring from all kinds of places.

Of course the game of the weekend was obviously the Pitt/Villanova affair in Boston.  That was an outright heavyweight clash for 40 minutes at the TD Banknorth Garden, a mano y mano fight to the closing bell.  And Villanova was about to go down in the annals of choke job history when that full court inbound pass got stolen, and then they fouled Levance Fields at midcourt with 5.8 seconds left allowing Pitt to tie the game at the foul line.  But then Pitt got caught flat-footed on the ensuing final play and no one was willing to risk getting called for a foul trying to play actual defense in the paint, though in that situation non-brutal contact would not have drawn a call.  But I think it correct that Villanova got that win, irregardless of process.  Going 22-23 from the foul line should be rewarded, and they made plays all night.  Of course, after a shaky start, so did Pitt.  That was a great college basketball game, and we’ll be lucky if any of the 3 in Detroit are that good.

On a lighter note to finish, we of course are now down to the Futile Four to see who becomes the anti-champion.  That would be the team that lost to a team that lost to a team that lost etc.  The anti-champion of the Midwest was Wake Forest (to Cleveland St to Arizona to Louisville to Michigan St), of the West was California (to Maryland to Memphis to Missouri to Connecticut), of the East was Florida St (to Wisconsin to Xavier to Pitt to Villanova), and of the South was Temple (to Arizona St to Syracuse to Oklahoma to North Carolina).

There Are Worse Things Than Deficits

March 28, 2009

At least that is what Joe Conason is telling us:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/03/27/deficits/index.html?source=newsletter

I have become convinced that DC Republicans don’t care about Democrats spending money.  They just don’t like what Democrats choose to spend it on.  And DC Democrats don’t really care about Republicans spending money.  They just don’t like what Republicans choose to spend it on.

Misplaced Blame?

March 28, 2009

From Media Matters for America:

Where’s W? The disappearing of a president

Like last week, much of the coverage this week of the AIG executive bonuses was devoid of any mention of the Bush administration’s role in the controversy. A USA Today/Gallup poll question about who was to blame for the AIG bonuses conveniently left out the Bush administration as a possible response, despite the administration’s decision to give AIG billions in aid without requiring that the company withhold the bonuses. Similarly, a Wall Street Journal article about Geithner and his aides’ involvement in decisions about AIG’s bonus payments did not note that it was the Bush administration that negotiated a November 2008 stock purchase agreement with AIG through which the Bush Treasury Department injected $40 billion into the company without requiring that the bonus contracts be nullified.

Worse yet, the conservative Washington Times took things a step further, reporting GOP criticism of Democrats over the AIG bonus issue and quoting a Republican strategist asserting: “This is not something [Democrats] can point to George Bush. … They own the issue of giving bonuses to the AIG executives.” Glaringly absent was any mention that the $53 million in AIG bonuses that the article mentioned were reportedly paid out under the Bush administration or that a Bush-appointed special inspector general for TARP has stated that the Bush Treasury Department knew about the AIG bonus contracts and did not insist on their cancellation as a condition of AIG’s receiving bailout money.

One does sometimes get the feeling that Bush’s recession is going to unfairly become Obama’s recession rather too quickly.

Letter From Congressman Wilson

March 27, 2009

Dear Friends,

There are many highlights from this week to tell you. First, I hosted a telephone town hall meeting on healthcare reform on Wednesday evening and more than 4,700 residents from across Ohio’s Sixth District took the time to listen to part or all of the meeting; some offered their stories and opinions about healthcare reform. Since healthcare reform will be one of the most complex issues we’ll deal with this year, I wanted to reach out to the residents of southern and eastern Ohio early on in the process.

Healthcare costs have increased four times faster than inflation and that’s hit working families extremely hard. As families fight to pay for, or even find healthcare, we need to engage in positive discussion and debate to solve our healthcare problems. Every American citizen should be getting the best possible coverage at the best possible price. I hope you’ll stay in touch with my office as the debate on healthcare reform progresses in Congress.

RECOVERY FUNDS AT WORK:

This week I was also able to make several announcements about funds that will soon be headed to the Sixth District from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

First the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) posted that it will begin distributing one-time payments of $250 in June to eligible veterans and their survivors to help mitigate the effects of the current economy. To be eligible, VA beneficiaries must have received compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, or spina bifida benefits at any time between November 2008 and January 2009. No application is necessary. The VA will use its existing payment records to determine eligibility.

This economy is hurting families all across the country, but the jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are 18 and older is 11.2 percent. That’s significantly higher than the corresponding 8.8 percent rate for non-veterans in the same age group. Though $250 won’t solve their problems, it tells our veterans that we know they’re hurting. We hope this will not only help them, but help the economy.

In addition, the Social Security Administration will be sending out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits beginning in early May. No action is required to get this one-time payment either. However, if someone receives both Social Security/SSI and VA benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment.

On Wednesday, I was able to announce that the Sixth District will receive more than $6.8 million to make improvements to public housing as part of the Recovery Act. The metropolitan housing authorities of Portsmouth, Jefferson, Ironton, Belmont, Columbiana, Athens, Gallia and Noble will use that money to develop, finance and modernize their public housing.

Yesterday I also announced that our district would benefit from nearly $171 million in transportation and transit projects. I was proud to support the Recovery Act because I knew it would mean hundreds of transportation and transit jobs for our area. I’m pleased that the state is focusing on projects like the Nelsonville Bypass ($150 million) and the Wellsville Intermodal Facility ($5.7 million). These are just two examples of the excellent infrastructure projects to be funded in our region that will boost our long term economic health.

Finally, just today I was able to announce that our district is set to receive more than $600,000 in health center funding from the Recovery Act. Many families rely on community health clinics as their main healthcare provider. So, not only are these funds being invested in much needed healthcare for our area, but the money will help create or save more than 13 jobs.

Sincerely,


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

2009 BGSU Football Schedule Announced

March 26, 2009

It is highlighted by a September road game with Missouri and a home game with Boise St.  Also the Falcons were thankfully picked in an off year for the ESPN2 Election Night random MAC game timeslot, as opposed to say a Presidential year.  For full schedule:

http://bgsufalcons.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/032609aaa.html

Nice to have 6 home games overall.  And personally, always nice when they have a road game at nearby Kent.

In less happy news, the Bowling Green Lady Falcons WNIT run was ended this evening by Indiana.  The final was 75-67.  A fuller accounting of the game is not up on the BG website yet.  Oh well.  A ton of underclassmen this team could be scary good next season.  Lets certainly hope so.

Take This Job And Shove It

March 25, 2009

A former AIG executive feeling betrayed, and shares his feelings with New York Times readers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25desantis.html?th&emc=th

A lengthy letter, but I could probably summarize it in two words were I so inclined.

BG Great Passes Away

March 24, 2009

Howard Komives, a star of the BGSU basketball teams of the early 1960s and one of the school’s all time leaders in several major statistical categories, has passed away at the age of 67:

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090323/NEWS13/903230337

From Player to Owner

March 24, 2009

A 35 year process for John Stallworth.  In 1974 he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and played his entire Hall-of-Fame career in the Steel City.  After his playing career ended, he launched a succesful business career, which has now reportedly given him the money to become an investor in Dan Rooney’s ownership group.  I don’t know how large a share Stallworth will have in the team, pending League approval.  It would be cool if it were 8.2%

Joe Conason Wants to Play Hardball

March 24, 2009

By going after the billions of dollars being hidden in tax shelters:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/03/23/big_clawback/index.html?source=newsletter

Makes perfect sense to me.