Friday, May 09, 2008

Bank of America applies for patent for process that more effectively screws American workers

And I wonder what all the labor union retirement fund managers who own stock in BofA are going to think about this?

BofA has filed a patent application for a method of finding which country a client would benefit most to outsource workforce to. The patent application titled Country Assessment includes the descriptor:
"A typical American employee demands a high salary, good benefits, a good work environment, vacation time, and other job-related perks such as reimbursement for higher education. These job-related perks are expensive and may not be cost-effective for the business entity. A business entity is forced to commit significant resources to employ an American work force and may often find that the demands of American employees far exceed the allotted budget."
Of course, BofA is entitled to file a process patent application for a country selection algorithm (though why such algorithmic patents are permitted in the first place is beyond me). But, it is a little ironic they continue to call themselves "Bank of America" while they are in the business of making it easier for American businesses to find workers overseas who don't demand such things as "a good work environment, vacation time, and ... reimbursement for higher education."

Way to go BofA!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cow Pies

Here's yet another reason why all Bush Administration statements should be considered false until proven otherwise by painstaking research and invetsigation, and why any claims that the surge is "working" should be subject to the same validation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shorter Jonah Goldberg

Again, all of this 'going to the text' of what I've written and comparing it to the texts upon which I claim to have based my book, and pointing out the massive inconsistencies and vacuousness of my assertions is just missing the point. Which is that liberals are fascists, even though lots of fascist things are good, and liberals are no good at all. Or something.

We MUST read this book next!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Do Carbon Credits Equal Indulgences?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"If those are rights, ...

ladle me up some of them wrongs."

Slate has another excellent Dahlia Lithwik article, this one about the Supreme Court discussing the rights of prisoners of war.

Imagine that some American tourists went to Venezuela (or Cuba or ??) and got arrested for being regime change covert agents. The US government, and everyone else, says they were not. Chavez holds them for six years without describing the evidence against them and some of them can't even talk to a lawyer. He says he organized "status reviews" and he is satisfied that he needs to hold them for national security reasons. Would the US say, his procedures look pretty good, I guess those people need to be held? Or would the US say that he is a crazy dictator with a self-serving view of justice?

Of course, my hypothetical is not important if it is too different from the Guantanamo situation. What do you think? Is it relevant?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Life imitates a Mastercard commercial

Picketers200_2What union carpenters make in Washington, DC: $24 an hour.

What non-Union carpenters make in Washington, DC: $16 an hour.

What the carpenters union pays the homeless to walk picket lines, so the union carpenters can keep working at $24 an hour: $8 an hour.

Hypocracy of the carpenters union: Priceless.

Oh, Blackwater, keep on rollin'

Not much activity here this past month, so I will kick start.

As you've read -- at least fourteen of the seventeen killed by Blackwater were unjustified murders, according to the FBI investigation. But there is no court of jurisdiction to try any of the "contractors" in. Can't do America. Can't do Iraq.

That ain't the part that is pissing me off so much, though. I am fairly numb to Bush and his toy soldiers at this point. Or maybe, if I think about the murders I get too upset, so I think about other aspects of the situation.

Why do we have so many contractors over there in the first place? Why aren't we fighting a military war with military?

Granted, I need some data to back up these assertions and I got no data - so this is mostly a conjecture post (which I freely admit), but run with me on this for awhile.

For several years in the mid 20-aughts the military was telling us they were meeting recruiting targets. (Notice that you've not read any stories about recruiting targets the past year or two - but you were reading lots for awhile.) It sounded fishy to me back then. I realize in 2001 (late) and 2002 there were likely lots of signups to fight the Taliban. But once we went into Iraq and Americans started dying, I bet that recruitment dried up.

It is my hunch the only way the military came close to recruiting targets in 04 and 05 was by setting the targets unreasonably low. (Which is a tough thing for someone outside J1 in the miliary to evaluate. [see my footnote]) So, perhaps they hit targets in 04 and 05, but they didn't get enough soldiers into the pipeline. And since we are not reading about hitting targets in 06 and 07 (here is one story I found), my guess is they can't even hit their low targets now.

This would explain why soliders are being asked to serve second and third terms in Iraq. This would explain why terms keep getting extended.

And this would explain why the military has to outsource. It makes sense for the military to outsource whatever roles it can to private firms who can pay more and hold looser reins. And that would explain why we have so many contrators over in Iraq wrecking (reeking?) havoc.

It also suggest that, even if there were a modicum of public sentiment for going into Iran, there is not miliary force from which to do it. And, if a real (not self created) problem broke out somewhere else in the world, we would be hard pressed to react effectively.
[footnote] I dug up some very round numbers. In January 2004, there were about 500,000 in the US Army. The 2007 Washington Post article cited above said that the FY 2007 Army recruiting goal was 80,000. So, if the average length of service in the Army (figuring in casualties) is a little over six years, then they are maintaining size by hitting the 80,000 goal. Of course, this is just Army - and doesn't consider reserves. It also doesn't consider specific skills, officer count, and lots of other things. But it is a decent starting number. So, how long do you think the average service term is? Certainly some people are lifers, but don't many serve their two or four years and get out? And, even if the average term is over six years, are we rebuilding the army if we simply replentish at that rate? Could it be that the 80,000 recruiting goal does not meet needs, but a higher goal is not acheivable - so they won't set a goal they can't make?

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Over

Republicans wave the white flag and acknowledge that seeming to oppose universal healthcare is political suicide--a landmark shift and rare rhetorical victory for the Dems.

All that remains now is for the Democrats to implement some shitty, piecemeal plan that fattens their insurance industry contributors whilst pissing off Americans who thought that universal coverage meant universal coverage.


Akbar Ganji, a leading Iranian dissident, weighs in on the effect of US saber-rattling on Iranian foreign and domestic policy. Hers' an excerpt:

A military attack on Iran would also yield terrible political consequences. It would foster the growth of fundamentalism in the region, which would be bad for the United States and other Western countries and even worse for the Islamic world. Fundamentalism—with its inhuman view of women, hatred of freedom and democracy, and denigration of human rights—is a significant factor in the underdevelopment of Islamic communities. Fundamentalists largely reject Western art, morality, philosophy, culture, and science, though they make an exception for technologies of violence. This narrow-minded view of some of humanity’s great achievements is particularly harmful to Muslims. But a military attack on Iran would reignite the conviction that the Judeo-Christian West, led by the United States, is assaulting the world of Islam, from Afghanistan and Palestine to Iraq and Iran; and it would encourage the view that fundamentalist methods are the best way to fight the non-Muslim invaders. Western governments must not equate the battle against fundamentalism with a battle against Islam—as President Bush does when he describes the “war on terror” as a “crusade,” or when he speaks of “Islamic fascism.” It not only isolates moderate and democratic Muslims; it also provides fertile ground for fundamentalists among them.

We can already see this dynamic at work. After the 1997 election of Mohammad Khatami as president of Iran, civil society, human rights, and political freedoms became the dominant concerns in Iranian political life. The current U.S. military threat has given the Iranian government a freer hand in repressing Iran’s budding civil society in the name of national security, provided a pretext to entrust key political posts to military and security officers, and so eclipsed democratic discourse that some Iranian reformists see themselves caught between domestic despotism and foreign invasion.