Category Archives: damn lies

AT&T: Hands Off My Earned Leave!

You heard me Ma Bell.  You too Mellon Bank

BACKGROUND

This is going to be brief, but here’s the gist of it:

  • the company I worked for went into Bankruptcy
  • from the beginning we were assured that wages and accrued Paid Time Off (PTO) would be paid
    • THIS WAS CRITICAL because if 15,000 people started using up the PTO they had accrued, the entire company would have fallen apart before it could have been pieced-out and sold-off
    • it was also policy to pay out PTO if you left the company; there was no “use it or lose it”
  • now the Committee of Unsecured Creditors has objected to the PTO payout, calling them “golden handshakes” and bonuses
  • … nothing could be further from the truth — those who accrued the most hours are those who worked the hardest for the company, and for the creditors during this bancruptcy period — people who put off vacations and time off to BILL HOURS to clients which is the sole source of revenue for the company.  It’s painfully ironic that those who worked hardest are positioned to lose the most…
  • for the record, I wasn’t one of those working the hardest — I used 101% of my annual PTO last calendar year; and I still had over 90 hours in the bank when I left…

Many of my colleagues are writing to the judge to explain their position and situation — that’s all well and good, but there seems to be a very real chance that the judge could find legal reasons to support the objection.  Changing that one man’s mind seems like a slim chance to me…

It’s getting a little late in the process, but it just occurred to me that maybe we can find support in the employees of the Committee members, or in their customers.  Do you want to work for, or give your consumer dollars to, a company that demonstrates such disrespect forhard working employees and their families?  Especially in the middle of a recession?

CALL TO ACTION

  1. If you work for AT&T, tell management that you are aware of this situation and you think it’s a shame.  Feel free to email your corporate lawyers at James.Grudus@att.com (full address below).Mellon employees and customers:  same thing, and Mellon’s lawyer is at david.m.kerr@bnymellon.com

  2. If you agree that this is wrong and want to spread the word:
    LINK TO THIS POST; blog about it, email the link, etc.
    TWEET it — I don’t get fully get twitter, but have at it.
    Visit SaveMyPTO.com for more viewpoints and updates
    If you are a lawyer or legal buff, the case dockets are at BearingPointInfo.com

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Filed under angry, cathartic, corporate rebellion, cuz I'm on a roll, damn lies, debunking, desperate, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, money money money money, property rights, rant, sad

innocence lost

When my daughter J was a newborn, I remember a conversation with my wife about what it meant to have a daughter. I told her that even though our infant daughter was a perfect, tiny little angel up to that point it was bittersweet because “daughters will break their father’s hearts.”  I wasn’t entirely sure what I meant at the time, but I knew it to be true.  my wife asked her father about my comment, and he agreed, and even recalled one of the times when it was particularly true for him in their relationship.

anyhow, so I was singing one of my favourite new songs to J yesterday:

Oh no, no, I never go to work.
Oh no, no, I never go to work.
Oh no, no, I never go to work.
Oh no, no, I never go to work.

On Mondays, I never go to work.
On Tuesdays, I stay at home.
On Wednesdays, I never feel inclined.
Work is the last thing on my mind.

On Thursdays, it’s a holiday!
And Fridays I detest.
Oh it’s much too late on a Saturday,
And Sunday is the day of rest.

I modified the lyrics a little bit to make the song an apology for leaving her, because I had to go to work.  something like, 

It’s Monday — so I gotta go to work,
I don’t want to — but I’ve got to make some money,
On Tuesday — I’ll probably go to work,
Cuz really — I’m just a mindless wage-slave…

something like that.  

“honey, I’d love to stay home with you — no NO, I never want to go to work!” I say.

my daughter responds with all earnestness, virtually pushing me out the door with her hug: “oh daddy, that’s just a song.

so somehow along the line, in her two and a half brief years, my daughter has learned that working 40 hours a week Monday to Friday is the norm, and “playing trumpet everyday” is only appropriate in songs.  I guess I thought that it would take a few years of public-schooling before she built a box around her creativity and energy and resigned herself to working for a living… and I can’t help but feel like a failure as a father.

maybe it’s not too late to turn her ship around.

once again ladies and gentlemen — They Might Be Giants: [zip forward to 0:30]

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Filed under damn lies, fear of the day, I believe the children are our future, money money money money, music, reasons to homeschool

Krugman misjudges the Canadian Health Care system

I actually heard this on the radio last week, but the Club For Growth gives a good summary:

In a debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared US, liberal economist Paul Krugman tried to defend universal healthcare, but in the process, got humiliated by the audience. Check out this wonderful excerpt from the transcript (PDF):

PAUL KRUGMAN
And private insurance? That’s the thing, I— Actually, can I just —I wanted to ask a question. And—

JOHN DONVAN [MODERATOR]
Please—please do—

PAUL KRUGMAN
—and I wanted to ask, actually two questions, to the audience. First, how many Canadians, would Canadians in the room please raise your hands. [ONE PERSON APPLAUDS, LAUGHTER]

JOHN DONVAN
We have about seven hands going up—

PAUL KRUGMAN
Okay, not as many as I thought. Okay, of those of you who are not on the panel who are Canadians,, how many of you think you have a terrible health care system. [PAUSE] One, two—

JOHN DONVAN
We see—almost all of the same hands going up. [LAUGHTER]

PAUL KRUGMAN
Bad move on my part. [APPLAUSE]

This is funny because Krugman completely misjudged his audience, and because I don’t like him because I think he’s a tremendous blowhard.

I’m not going to try to argue that the response of the 7 Canadians in question prove that the Canadian healthcare system is inadequate or inferior to the US system.  Obviously it’s too small a sample size and the nature of the debate probably skewed the ideology of Canadians participating.

What I am going to argue is this:  the Canadian healthcare system is not overwhelmingly better or preferential to the US system, as evidenced by the sheer number of Canadians that emigrate to the United States on a consistent basis.

The yearly flow of US citizens to Canada each year has been up and down over the past 15 years, with no clear trend, but seems to hover around 5,000 (plus or minus 1,000) [chart].

The yearly flow of Canadian citizens to the USA also has no clear trend, but appears to be about 15,000/year, with a range between 10,000 and 20,000. [chart]

I believe people vote with their wallets, and they vote with their feet; and at least 3 to 1, people choose to stream into the US and live with the terrible healthcare system* we have than stay in Canada where they get free health care*.  If you consider the migration patterns in proportion to their populations, it looks even worse for Canada:  1 in 2200 Canadians run south of the border, and 1 in 60,600 Americans take off to the Great White North.

It seems that Canadians are far more likely to become Americans than to die in a traffic accident, although they’d probably consider the latter more tragic.

* HEATHLY DOSE OF SARCASM, IF YOU DIDN’T GET IT

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Hillary on subprime ‘crisis’: “everybody bears some responsibility”

on Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, many people opted for those cheaper mortgages. They could’ve had a fixed mortgage at a higher rate, but they opted for a cheaper one. Should they not bear some responsibility?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Tim, I think all of us should[1]. But I’d say three things about that. The bankers, the mortgage lenders, the brokers, all bear a lot of the responsibility, because many of the practices that were followed were just downright predatory and fraudulent. There is no doubt about that[2]. I started talking about this last March. A lot of people got into subprime loans who frankly could’ve been in a conventional fixed-rate loan. They were basically told that this was a better opportunity for them. Should they take responsibility? Yes, but [3] look at what will happen if we continue this cascade of foreclosures. Housing values are down. They’re down 6 percent[4]. That’s over $1.3 trillion in housing values in the last year. So everybody bears some responsibility[5].

[1] I, for one, bear no responsibility for any part of the subprime mortgage crisis, and I call shenanigans on Hillary Clinton for implying that I do.  If anyone can prove otherwise, have at it.

[2] I think there is plenty of doubt in her claim that practices were predatory and fraudulent; sure, some may have been predatory, and some fraudulent, but I doubt that many were both.  If they were fraudulent, borrowers should have no problem demonstrating as much and get back their losses plus damages.

[3] this “yes, but” clause is mixing issues; the state of nationwide housing values has no bearing on personal responsibility.  Should I stop paying my car loan because the price of gas is over $3?  Right.

[4] housing was a bubble anyhow, and the dramatic drops are more a function of that bubble than of 0.3% of houses being foreclosed (not that the foreclosures help the situation).

[5] Again, I refute this claim on it’s face, and object to any responsibility that Hillary is trying to project on me or my family.  It doesn’t take a village to screw up a home loan.

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Filed under angry, cuz I'm on a roll, damn lies, dumbfounded, finance, lies, politics, rant, shenanigans

35 years of change…

OK, this is a bit of a tangent, but when I hear Hillary talk about change, I think about Dennis Hopper.  Dennis Hopper — who started out in Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, was dubbed New Hollywood’s first “drug burnout”, who probably coined the phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30” — now pushes mutual funds for those wild-eyed, idealist… Wall-Streeters(?)  His commercials for Ameriprise Financial pretty much concede on behalf of his whole generation, “yup, we sold out” (or grew up, not that I blame them).

Didn’t anyone tell Hillary that her generation already had their stab at fixing America from the comforts of the White House?  It was almost a generation ago, 16 years, that the Clintons were elected the first time.  I can’t imagine anyone is stirred by “change” pitched by idealistic boomers anymore; that she doesn’t understand why people don’t see her as the Change candidate just shows how far out of touch she is.

While Obama may technically be a boomer, he’s 14 years younger — a young father, not an AARP card-carrying near-grandparent.  If you asked her in 1991 if a 60 year-old U.S. Senator, who spent 8 years in the White House as a special advsior (her experience argument, not mine), would represent “change” in Washington, what do you think she’d say?

[not that I buy Obama’s vision of change either.]

[omg, she just said she “found her own voice” in New Hampshire — like she didn’t know who she was until this week.  and she’s cracking her voice again.  I think I’m going to cry.  ugh.]

[35 years of change in photos]

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regarding the Peace prize

nuff said.

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31 consecutive years of trade deficits

In the comments to this thread on Lou Dobbs decrying our trade deficits, one Mike Laursen had the winning quote in my book:

You’d think that our having thrived through thirty-one years of trade deficits might spark the thought that maybe trade deficits don’t matter that much.

Ah yes, remember how great things were before the huge trade deficits?  The crappy-funk economy that was the mid-70’s; gas shortages and national ‘malaise’?

Until someone can offer some better proof — historical precedence even — that these trade deficits are bad, I don’t buy it.  The prediction that impending doom is right around the corner is as old as mankind, and it sells a lot of books and TV airtime…

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Filed under angry, damn lies, economics, I believe that trade deficits are our future, politics