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Thursday, July 30, 2009

JBS Swift and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

I believe this is the second lawsuit. At least that I've seen in print. A couple of dozen people have gotten sick from the recall (see previous Jane articles below). Note, in the High Plains Ag Journal blurb pasted at the end of this post, it isn't the ground round they are eating. We've already been told that JBS Swift has announced plans to bring case meat to a grocer near you and take out all those annoying meat departments at your local supermarket.

Yum.
Greeley Tribune Sells Citizens Short
JBS Swift Sink Greeley's Goodship Lollipop
Kidney Failure--A JBS Byproduct for Greeley Citizens

Jane Note* I've amended the following paragraphs I originally posted by taking them down. After my luncheon partner clarified that Swift Communications is not related to JBS Swift I realized my assumptions here were all wrong. The Fence Post is in Windsor. The About Us link on the website is blank. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Greeley Tribune produces much of the content as they are both parented by Swift Communication.. The assumptions were incorrect on my part that Swift Communications and JBS Swift are directly related. It will teach me to not write late at night. I've left the article up discussing the newly filed lawsuit against JBS Swift. I've also added a portion of an article, immediately following, from the Fence Post.



According to the company's prospectus, “Capitalizing on our production platform, we are now pursuing a global direct distribution strategy that will enable us to improve our ability to service current customers and allow us the opportunity to directly service new customers, primarily in the food service and retail channels. ... We intend to shift a significant part of our sales efforts into direct sales to end-user customers in order to capture this incremental margin.”

While this move may not mean anything for consumers in terms of price — grocers would still control that — it could mean a lot to JBS, which stated in its prospectus it intends to cut out the third parties to increase its profit margins. It did so earlier this year by creating a new trucking division, JBS Carriers, based in Greeley to eliminate third-party carriers.

JBS officials have been aggressive since they bought the former Swift & Co. plant two years ago this month, demanding cost efficiencies throughout its operations. It started in Greeley by returning a second shift back to the packing plant and hiring 1,100 more workers, and changes that resulted in $90 million in cost efficiencies. Last year, it acquired an Australian beef packer, Tasman, as well as Smithfield Beef Co. and Five Rivers Cattle Co., which expanded not only the company's beef packing plants, but feedlots. The company now has the capacity to process more than 28,000 head of cattle and 48,500 hogs in the United States. It's parent company, JBS SA (South America), based in Brazil, has acquired other holdings throughout the world.

It's unknown if JBS officials intend to make any changes or expansions to its Greeley plant with the additional money from the public offering. Public offerings are usually a way to raise cash quickly. The sale is still subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Suit: Boy was sickened by JBS Swift beef
Suit: Boy was sickened by JBS Swift beef

DENVER (AP)--A New Mexico boy who got sick after eating sirloin from JBS Swift Beef Co., has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against the Greeley, Colo.-based company.

JBS Swift has recalled 380,000 pounds of beef due to connections with outbreaks of E. coli.

Thirteen-year-old Alex Roerick and his mother, Hollie, of Albuquerque filed their lawsuit July 6 in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Their lawyer, Bill Marler, said July 7 that Alex developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, after eating shish kabobs made from the meat in May. Marler's firm also represents a California client who developed the illness after eating the meat.

A JBS Swift representative was not immediately available to comment.


Bullhorns, Public Protests, Gail Collins, Healthcare, and David Brooks

Love Gail Collins, tepid toward David Brooks, got a bullhorn mentality, and I am really upset about the path the health care reform is going down right now and the blue streak up the Democratic Congress' spine.

But this all reminds me of a discussion I had a while back with a group of friends around the beginning of the Iraq debacle. We were talking about how the media covered modern public protests and how much of the public seemed unmoved or irritated by these protests. Irritated by the intrusion in their daily life of the reality of democratic governance. I wonder, now, a few years and a few debacles down the road, if the same thing would happen if those demanding a real public option took to the streets in every capital city across the nation in a mass peaceful quasi sit-in on capital grounds.

We want an option designed for 'us'--not the insurance executives, not for the wealthy elite, not for the comfort of the election campaign cycle in Congress.

Although in Denver the capital building is already falling down around the groundhogs ears so maybe there is an alternative choice. But I digress.

The poll numbers had it early on. The Republican and Blue-Dog press machines and operatives are rolling up their sleeves and gathering steam. The health and insurance lobbyists are rolling out their green muscles--why can't we all show our own numbers. Those Blue Dogs would be rolling over and howling forgiveness until their bacon got fried in the next election frying pan.

Personally I'd like to see that about now. The peaceful demonstrations that is--the bacon frying has a future too but less productive at the moment. No blocking traffic so the grumpy already well-insured and insulated people can still get to work. No implants to cause trouble to discredit the whole demonstration. Just human bodies all assembled in one place to show the politicos just where the real power of this nation lies. The voter. Collectively, assembled, and demanding accountability from their representatives in both Houses.

What’s Wrong With a Single-Payer System? - The Conversation Blog - NYTimes.com
But actually, they are. And so are we. The reason the country can’t solve the health care mess is because the people with the biggest bullhorns don’t speak honestly and clearly about it. Nobody understands the Democratic plan, and that scares the public. The irresponsible Republicans are just waiting to make whatever comes out sound terrible. The responsible Republicans are working to come up with a compromise that’s going to be even more incoherent than the Democratic version.


Fort Collins Blog Found

Well maybe discovered is a better term for it. I am still just learning the ropes to finding all the cool blogs around the area.

I didn't sleep well last night and went late night surfing and found a few more to add to my growing collection (on the right hand side). The Beet Street Blog was my favorite local blog I came across so far. I found it by doing a search on blogger.com for Fort Collins. It has a lot of cool information and updates on the site. It is an easy read too. A nice respite after ranting on health care and following those news leads.

Does anybody know if there is an equivalent one that posts this kind of information for Greeley?

Thursday Night Music and More continues through August 13 in the Civic Center Park providing the community with live music, good food and free fun from 6-8pm. August 6 will see Euforquestra at the Park and Interstate Cowboy will be entertaining everyone August 13. The First Friday Art Walk for August will be held on August 7 as usual, and on Saturday August 8, there is a Herb-a-fair, celebrating all things herbal at the Gardens on Spring Creek from 10am to 3pm. There will be classes, demonstrations, a Garden of Eatin’ and you can buy herbs grown in the Gardens Greenhouse. August 8 also sees the return of the French Nest Market held in the Civic Center Park from 9am to 3 pm. Should be a lot of fun for everyone!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jane Paudaux's Parody on Senator Udall's Health Care Letter

The layout of the previous posting isn't fitting well into everyone's screen (thank you for the phone calls). I've reposted just the parody part of the Udall letter here upon request. In the previous posting it is below the Udall letter.

Jane's Parody of Senator Udall's Post


Dear Jane,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding health care reform. I have tried diligently to avoid reading the views of the have-nots but obviously did not succeed where your letter is concerned. It has taken me a number of days to get back to you as I have been meeting with insurance and health executives contemplating any potential increases to my political war chest. Although I certainly want you to know how much I appreciate your taking the time from your humble existence to express your specific views on the reformation of the insurance companies and the elitist health care industry which faces our nation today--regardless if I am going to pay any attention to your lower class plea for equality.

As you know, many proposals have been put on the table by our friends, the insurance executives, for promoting the least amount of change to our health care system in order to make it work out most profitably for the elite interests in this country. I recognize there are many, slight variations, on philosophies and ideas for the best way to ensure that the insurance companies will remain in absolute power while killing any nonsense about having to respect the lower classes in this country as other civilized and industrialized nations do across the world. As your Senator, it is my job to pay lip service to listening closely to the various stakeholders involved in this process while seeking out active means to promote my own future well-being and the self-interests of other, wealthier, citizens than yourself. This process has helped significantly affirm my own elitist bias on what is best for wealthy Coloradoans and our friends the insurance and health executives of America. One thing I firmly believe, however, is that the status-quo must be cloaked with some minor changes, like nonprofit cooperatives for the masses, because, well, there was the French Revolution a long time ago, and the natives are getting more savvy and restless. This pathway to equality for masses is simply unacceptable and unsustainable for the elite in America today.

While we move forward in this nondebate, looking for the best way to ensure, my reelection, by the wealthiest and the most powerful in America, there are a number of key requirements which will guide my consideration. Any health reform must: 1) allow the elite and wealthy not to suffer at the expense of those of lesser means; 2) bring costs down so we can tell all the sheep out in La-La-Lollipop land the Senate has succeeded in finally creating a government-sanctioned second class citizenship for the masses--the first time since 1776; and 3) push the notion that well-meaning insurance executives in-lieu of health professionals should remain in the position of deciding which people get care, what level of care they get, and just how much profit they will make off of each patient, doctor, and care facility; 4) call for insurers to provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or medical history as long as the patient or business has enough money to pay the skyrocketing premium--allowing the truly needy to continue expressing their democratic right to die under the nation's bridges; and 5) be prepared to sacrifice the lower classes to the God of Misleading-Fiscal-Projections so my buddies in the Senate can cover their arses when we are caught in bed with the insurance and health executives on the morning after.

I will continue to pretend to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting legislation in the interest of those willing to donate to my election; it is also about ensuring the end to the divide that is threatening to paralyze the accumulation of wealth by the most powerful in our nation's politic. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can refuse assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov.


Warm Spit,

Healthcare: Democratic Senator Mark Udall's Letter to Jane

This letter from Mark Udall, Colorado Senator (D), arrived in Jane's email box this morning. I have taken the liberty to pull out the subtext, otherwise known as Cow Pucky (D), in Senator Udall's letter and paste it following the Senator's original letter below to share with my readers.

As for the idea that Senator Udall is doing his job, I have to wonder whose interests he is truly acting in. Certainly not mine and not in the interests of anyone I personally know. But then again I am not a member of the millionaire club, the soon to be millionaire club, or any Stepford Country Club. So I would certainly question that Senator Udall is doing anything but underscoring the public notion that the Senate is no longer in the hands of the middle-class but is firmly planted under the silk red sheets of the insurance and health care industry. (I've checked campaign funding and he looks more embedded into the mining and industrial interests than health care--at least on paper at this point. Although these "constituents" are no doubt some of the wealthiest and most powerful elite in Colorado.)

from do_not_reply@markudall.senate.gov
to JanePaudaux@gmail.com
date Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 11:27 AM
subject Reply from U.S. Senator Mark Udall
mailed-by markudall.senate.gov


July 29, 2009


Dear Jane,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding health care reform. I appreciate your taking the time to express your specific views on this important topic facing our nation.

As you know, many proposals have been put on the table for reforming our health care system to make it work for all Americans. I recognize there are many, often competing, philosophies and ideas on the best way to move forward. As your Senator, it is my job to listen closely to the various stakeholders involved in this process as well as actively seek out input from across the state to help inform my understanding of what is best for Colorado. One thing I firmly believe, however, is that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.

While we move forward in this debate, there are a number of key requirements which will guide my consideration. Any health reform must: 1) allow people who like the coverage they currently have to keep it; 2) bring costs down so that all Coloradans are able to cover their families while staying within their means; 3) preserve the critical doctor-patient relationship, ensuring that decisions about treatment are made by those who know the patient the best; 4) call for insurers to provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or medical history; and 5) be fiscally responsible. By ensuring that these pieces are part of reform, we can provide the stability in health care that is currently lacking for hard working Coloradans - stable costs, stable coverage, and stable quality. As Congress continues looking for the best ways to meet our nation's health care challenges, please know that I will always keep the best interests of Coloradans in mind. Along the way, I will certainly remember your particular thoughts and concerns.

I will continue to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov.


Warm Regards,

Signature

Mark Udall
United States Senator, Colorado

MEU/jpw


_______________________________________________

Jane's Parody of Senator Udall's Post

Dear Jane,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding health care reform. I have tried diligently to avoid reading the views of the have-nots but obviously did not succeed where your letter is concerned. It has taken me a number of days to get back to you as I have been meeting with insurance and health executives contemplating any potential increases to my political war chest. Although I certainly want you to know how much I appreciate your taking the time from your humble existence to express your specific views on the reformation of the insurance companies and the elitist health care industry which faces our nation today--regardless if I am going to pay any attention to your lower class plea for equality.

As you know, many proposals have been put on the table by our friends, the insurance executives, for promoting the least amount of change to our health care system in order to make it work out most profitably for the elite interests in this country. I recognize there are many, slight variations, on philosophies and ideas for the best way to ensure that the insurance companies will remain in absolute power while killing any nonsense about having to respect the lower classes in this country as other civilized and industrialized nations do across the world. As your Senator, it is my job to pay lip service to listening closely to the various stakeholders involved in this process while seeking out active means to promote my own future well-being and the self-interests of other, wealthier, citizens than yourself. This process has helped significantly affirm my own elitist bias on what is best for wealthy Coloradoans and our friends the insurance and health executives of America. One thing I firmly believe, however, is that the status-quo must be cloaked with some minor changes, like nonprofit cooperatives for the masses, because, well, there was the French Revolution a long time ago, and the natives are getting more savvy and restless. This pathway to equality for masses is simply unacceptable and unsustainable for the elite in America today.

While we move forward in this nondebate, looking for the best way to ensure, my reelection, by the wealthiest and the most powerful in America, there are a number of key requirements which will guide my consideration. Any health reform must: 1) allow the elite and wealthy not to suffer at the expense of those of lesser means; 2) bring costs down so we can tell all the sheep out in La-La-Lollipop land the Senate has succeeded in finally creating a government-sanctioned second class citizenship for the masses--the first time since 1776; and 3) push the notion that well-meaning insurance executives in-lieu of health professionals should remain in the position of deciding which people get care, what level of care they get, and just how much profit they will make off of each patient, doctor, and care facility; 4) call for insurers to provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or medical history as long as the patient or business has enough money to pay the skyrocketing premium--allowing the truly needy to continue expressing their democratic right to die under the nation's bridges; and 5) be prepared to sacrifice the lower classes to the God of Misleading-Fiscal-Projections so my buddies in the Senate can cover their arses when we are caught in bed with the insurance and health executives on the morning after.

I will continue to pretend to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting legislation in the interest of those willing to donate to my election; it is also about ensuring the end to the divide that is threatening to paralyze the accumulation of wealth by the most powerful in our nation's politic. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can refuse assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov.


Warm Spit,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Greeley Colorado Tribune "Sells" Citizens Short with Editorial

In my personal view this editorial on JBS Swift removes any doubt the lack of visionary leadership and responsibility of some of Greeley's government and business community. Having a positive opinion of JBS Swift is fine. But for a paper to put out a commentary without acknowledging the obvious historical problems and long term downsides to this company is irresponsible. Greeley may as well hire the Dallas Cheerleaders to serve as journalists in this community.

Truly I am sorry to come to this conclusion. I kept hearing the negatives but was trying to be understanding of the political pressures faced and the overwork local papers and their staffers face in modern times. But I simply shake my head after reading this piece and wonder how these people look in the mirror every morning and face their neighbors.

Time for a new vision in city government, (although the city manager is just doing his job to pump positive), a new strategic vision for the economic development groups, and a new news venue.

I have said I would not post a comment on the Greeley Tribune again and I will stand by that statement. This is just garbage politics. Plain and simple garbage politics.

Some of my other articles on the topic. Additional articles can be found in the archives on this page:
Is Walter Cronkite's Ghost Living in Greeley Colorado?
Greeley Tribune's Letter to Jane Paudaux
JBS Swift Sinks Greeley's Goodship Lollipop

The creepy editorial...
JBS gives Greeley economy a boost | Greeley Tribune
Several years ago, Greeley's leaders fought hard to keep the headquarters of the former Swift & Co. meatpacking company in town. The company was rumored to be considering a move to another community for its corporate headquarters, now at Promontory.

The efforts of Greeley's elected officials to keep the company headquarters in town paid off then, and they appear to have paid off again last week.

The new owners of the company, JBS USA, announced on consecutive days last week two moves that could benefit Greeley:

»The Brazilian owners of JBS are planning a $2 billion public offering, which they hope will allow the company to expand into the “case-ready” beef market.

» JBS announced that up to 30 corporate jobs are moving from Green Bay, Wis., to Greeley. The employees are executives in the former Smithfield Beef Group, which was purchased by JBS last year.

If there was any doubt about JBS USA's commitment to grow and expand, or any doubt about the company's commitment to its corporate headquarters in Greeley, those doubts seemingly were eliminated with the announcements last week.

“This is very good news,” Greeley city manager Roy Otto said, adding that it “demonstrates the emphasis JBS has for Greeley.”

Added Larry Burkhardt, president of Upstate Colorado Economic Development: “I'm encouraged to see that kind of consolidation that puts a focus on their headquarters here.”

Although the number of jobs coming from Green Bay is not huge, high-paying corporate jobs are always welcome in Greeley.

The public offering, meanwhile, is likely to make a big splash in the industry.

JBS hopes to use the money to change the way it distributes some of its beef in the next five years. It would create in-house cutting rooms to create in the industry what is known as case-ready beef. The meat would leave the plant in cuts that are ready to be placed directly on store shelves. Now, the meat leaves packing plants in bigger cuts that must be prepared for the shelf by grocery store meatcutters.

JBS has been an aggressive company and employer since it bought the former Swift & Co. plant two years ago. It added a second shift to the Greeley plant, hiring 1,100 more workers, and it has acquired other beef companies (Smithfield, for example, and another in Australia) along with feedlots to expand its dominance in the U.S. and world beef markets


Health Care: Jared Polis A Republican in a Blue Dog Suit

Jared Polis should be in theater. He has crafted a wonderful disguise of being a liberal through, highly-crafted, public relation work. I'd ask Mr. Polis if he truly understands the meaning of liberal. Because you are rich and come from Boulder doesn't make you liberal Mr. Polis. Funding a foundation focused on education and "questionable" interest in the lower income segments of the community doesn't make you a liberal either.

In my book being a humanist makes what people brand as a liberal in modern times. Being able to weigh the externalities of the health care debate and translating them into future good, including economic and financial good, makes you liberal. If you are all about the here and now and what looks good at the top of the ladder--you, sir, are of no liberal mind. You have no vision and you certainly are not representing all your community--even if the median income in Boulder is higher than average for the state.


liberal (adj.) Look up liberal at Dictionary.com
c.1375, from O.Fr. liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous," from L. liberalis "noble, generous," lit. "pertaining to a free man," from liber "free," from PIE base *leudheros (cf. Gk. eleutheros "free"), probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure), from *leudho- "people" (cf. O.C.S. ljudu, Lith. liaudis,leod, Ger. Leute "nation, people"). Earliest reference in Eng. is to the liberal arts (L. artes liberales; see art (n.)), the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, not immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (the word in this sense was opposed to servile or mechanical). Sense of "free in bestowing" is from 1387. With a meaning "free from restraint in speech or action" (1490) liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88. Purely in ref. to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c.1801, from Fr. libéral, O.E. originally applied in Eng. by its opponents (often in Fr. form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.
enlighten Look up enlighten at Dictionary.com
1382 (O.E. had inlihtan), "to remove the dimness or blindness (usually figurative) from one's eyes or heart," from en- + lighten. Enlightenment is 1669 in the spiritual sense; 1865 as a translation of Ger. Aufklärung, a name for the spirit and system of Continental philosophers in the 18c.
"The philosophy of the Enlightenment insisted on man's essential autonomy: man is responsible to himself, to his own rational interests, to his self-development, and, by an inescapable extension, to the welfare of his fellow man. For the philosophes, man was not a sinner, at least not by nature; human nature -- and this argument was subversive, in fact revolutionary, in their day -- is by origin good, or at least neutral. Despite the undeniable power of man's antisocial passions, therefore, the individual may hope for improvement through his own efforts -- through education, participation in politics, activity in behalf of reform, but not through prayer." [Peter Gay]


The make-up you are wearing isn't very appealing Mr. Polis, and I fail to see where the more educated Boulder citizens and Coloradoans who put you in office are going to forgive you for actively sinking the public option on health care and possibly the Obama Administrations ability to be effective in the future. Of course, by my stereotype, you don't need the wealth of office, just the power. Perhaps your underlying plan is to move into being lobbyist after being defeated. But the least you could do for the good people of Colorado is to take off the Red-Riding Hood Cloak and show those big eyes and big teeth. Do your job as a self-proclaimed liberal or at least don't hide behind the skirts of the Blue Dog democrats. It could easily be said that you, and your wealthiest friends, essentially purchased your office in 2008.

Jared Polis (D) Winner
(60% of vote)
Raised: $7,353,034
Spent: $7,323,502
Cash on Hand: $29,533
Last Report:December 31, 2008
legend PAC contributions $24,250 (0%)
legend Individual contributions $1,310,022 (18%)
legend Candidate self-financing $5,992,550 (81%)
legend Other $26,212 (0%)
Industry contributions from the 2008 campaign both above and below

Jared Polis (D)

IndustryTotal
Democratic/Liberal$429,390
Securities & Investment$116,217
Retired$84,850
Computers/Internet$60,730
Real Estate$49,660
Misc Finance$42,200
Lawyers/Law Firms$39,828
Printing & Publishing$26,030
Business Services$23,900
Candidate Committees$21,250
Misc Business$17,350
Health Professionals$12,055
Construction Services$10,600
Lobbyists$9,900
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products$9,900
Non-Profit Institutions$8,650
Hospitals/Nursing Homes$8,600
Retail Sales$8,150
Misc Energy$7,300
Civil Servants/Public Officials$7,300
NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2007 - 2008 House election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Friday, July 17, 2009.

Do you seriously think sinking the Obama administration will get you re-elected in 2010 after you held on to his coattail in 2008?

From the upcoming 2010 campaign cycle tracking below

Jared Polis (D) *

ContributorTotal
National Assn of Retail Druggists$2,000
Henry Cueller for Congress 2002$1,000

Jared Polis (D)

IndustryTotal
Health Professionals$1,000
Candidate Committees$1,000


Your comments are rather transparent in the strategic game of politics. Creating a defense for voting "no" on the main issue of our modern times--for the sake of those holding and hoarding wealth--reeks of a Democrat in Republican drag. A Conservative in the cloak of a Liberal--if you insist on PR labels. And you, sir, have just outed yourself in prime time media.

I hope the good citizens of Boulder and Colorado check you at every turn and make you accountable. You can start Mr. Polis by fully disclosing the relationships you have had, the discussions you have had, and any increase in funding or tacit support you have received from the health care industry, private PACS, the insurance industry, and their associates. Names and amounts Mr. Polis. Update your electorate please. Don't skimp on the details.

And before I go, yes I am on a rant, let me remind you of your "nonprofit foundation's" mission. You are willing to recognize the inequalities in America pertaining to education. My guess would be it is a very important strategy to get those soccer-moms to the voting polls. I'd give you more credibility behind your actions if it just wasn't so illogical and convenient for you to vote against the same families in their pursuit for well-being, health, and equality in our democratic society.


Jared Polis Foundation

Mission: Our mission is to create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community.

General Overview: The Jared Polis Foundation was established in 2000 to support educators and students, involve parents and families, and strengthen Colorado’s schools and communities. Located in Boulder, we are funded primarily by Jared Polis and focus our resources on giving low-income students and families access to technology through our Community Computer Connection program, contribution to public discussion of important educational issues and innovations through the Jared Polis Education Report, acknowledging and recognizing the outstanding contributions and dedication of educators through our Teacher Recognition Awards, and creating new opportunities for under served and out of school students to receive a high-quality education through the start-up of the New America Schools and the Academy of Urban Learning.


*Note: All campaign contribution details come from www.opensecrets.org
Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center.

Jared Polis gets top Dems rethinking health care : Nation and World : Boulder Daily Camera
At the heart of the skirmish is the question of how to pay the trillion-dollar cost of health reform, one of the trickiest questions of the debate and one that is already dividing Democratic lawmakers. The House version of the bill raises about half that money from a new tax of as much of 5.4 percent on families earning more than $350,000 or individuals earning $280,000.

Polis led a mini-revolt of House freshmen last week against the surtax, circulating a letter that gained 21 Democratic signatures and claiming that it would take a heavy toll on small-business owners, many of whom don't file as corporations


Democratic Senators Create Second Class Americans

There is no excuse for creating a second class citizenry in this country under the name of "get-me-re-elected". If a health care overhaul gets passed without a true public option I am ready to leave my thirty years of Democratic credentials on the nightstand and walk away. This is about all the senators not just a few.

I've had it with the jelly-fish spineless corporate-loving Senator--all sixty of them. Their spots are showing and no amount of public-relation-misleading-patching is going to cover their naked backsides this time. Has anyone mentioned to these walking-on-a-thin-rail jerks that it is not just the extremely poor who are without health care options?

The poor don't vote. But small business owners do. Mom and Pop's, the cracked backbone of America, suffers. Those 8.5 million and counting who just lost their jobs are in line to suffer. Oh wait, 2 million are probably bankers and wall street dough boys--scratch them. But you get the point.

Currently word is that a small group of democratic senators are holding their breath and their faces are turning blue. I say let them drop where they sit. They've gutted the public options. This group now wants non-profit health care cooperatives to service those who can't afford the elitist insurance companies.

I just bet they do. These are the "blue doggers" who have received the biggest contributions pouring in from private health groups and the insurance industry since the Obama administration made clear the agenda months ago. Insurance rats have already killed the single payer option that would have been the best equalizer of citizenship this country has seen since LBJ's civil rights act. Now they are after the public option.

One of the founding members, former Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, had paintings of blue dogs in his office by artist George Rodrigue, prompting some of the roughly 20 lawmakers to joke that they were yellow dogs who'd been "choked blue" by the party's liberals. Rep. Tauzin later switched to the Republican Part
Non-profits cannot compete head to head with private companies. They do not raise capital the same way and they have various rules and regulations (added to by the Bush Administration) to limit their ability to compete with the private sector. This is the way it is supposed to be and it is one of the justifications for charitable nonprofits not having to pay taxes and having to do specific services to justify their place in the world. Traditionally these organization have done what private companies will not do because there is not enough profit in the market to make it attractive.

Quasi-nonprofits Freddie and Fannie got into competition with the mortgage brokers and look where that whirlpool of a mess ended up--on all our living room floors.

Now imagine being an insurance executive. If you have the government in competition with you it is going to be really tough. Government has a fat wallet and fairly easy access to that wallet. As a competitor you have to get lean and mean to compete with someone who can out-spend you. Especially when they don't have to do much public marketing to attract customers. Remember the US Postal System before FedEx? However, a nonprofit, doesn't have a chance in hell of outspending a for profit company. Especially if it is a cooperative. It's organizational structure will be bulky and the management will be steering a massive steel tanker instead of the zippy little red sports car like the private insurance companies. Only there won't be a fat wallet behind that tanker in the nonprofit world. Blighted areas or social groups will have blighted cooperatives which give blighted health care.

This will be government sanctioned second rank citizenship this handful of senators will impose on the country. That is if the House bill isn't any better. If Obama does not refuse to sign this back-scratching law put before him when it comes without a public option. If these senators are going to dance on the corporate dime and fail in their obligation to all the people they serve--not just the elite. I'm done. Ready for a third party. Any third party at this point.

Maybe I can get the ghost of my friend's cat Mittens to run for office. He'd do less harm and he has the good hair and looks to get the nod.

Health Policy Now Carved Out at a More Centrist Table - NYTimes.com
The fate of the health care overhaul largely rests on the shoulders of six senators who since June 17 have gathered — often twice a day, and for many hours at a stretch — in a conference room with burnt sienna walls, in the office of the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana.

President Obama and Congressional leaders agree that if a bipartisan deal can be forged on health care, it will emerge from this conference room, with a huge map of Montana on one wall and photos of Mike Mansfield, the Montanan who was the longest-serving Senate majority leader, on the other.

The battle over health care is all but paralyzed as everyone awaits the outcome of their talks.

Mr. Baucus says his group will produce the bill that best meets Mr. Obama’s top priorities, broadly expanding coverage to the uninsured and curtailing the steep rise in health care spending over the long term, what policy makers call “bending the cost curve.”

Still, if the three Democrats and three Republicans can pull off a grand bargain, it will have to be more conservative than the measures proposed by the House or the left-leaning Senate health committee. And that could force Mr. Obama to choose between backing the bipartisan deal or rank-and-file Democrats who want a bill that more closely reflects their liberal ideals.

Already, the group of six has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker.

Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives.


President Lyndon Johnson's speech in 1965--the text.

I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of Democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause.

At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. There, long suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many of them were brutally assaulted. One good man--a man of God--was killed.

There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our Democracy in what is happening here tonight. For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great government--the government of the greatest nation on earth. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country--to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man. In our time we have come to live with the moments of great crises. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues, issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression.

But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved nation. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For, with a country as with a person, "what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.

And we are met here tonight as Americans--not as Democrats or Republicans; we're met here as Americans to solve that problem. This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose.

The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal." "Government by consent of the governed." "Give me liberty or give me death." And those are not just clever words, and those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty risking their lives. Those words are promised to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man's possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom. He shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.

To apply any other test, to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race or his religion or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny Americans and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish it must be rooted in democracy. This most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country in large measure is the history of expansion of the right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument: every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to insure that right. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes.

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable, has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and, if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name, or because he abbreviated a word on the application. And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state law.

And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books, and I have helped to put three of them there, can insure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. In such a case, our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color.

We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath. Wednesday, I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote. The broad principles of that bill will be in the hands of the Democratic and Republican leaders tomorrow. After they have reviewed it, it will come here formally as a bill. I am grateful for this opportunity to come here tonight at the invitation of the leadership to reason with my friends, to give them my views and to visit with my former colleagues.

I have had prepared a more comprehensive analysis of the legislation which I had intended to transmit to the clerk tomorrow, but which I will submit to the clerks tonight. But I want to really discuss the main proposals of this legislation. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections, federal, state and local, which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

This bill will establish a simple, uniform standard which cannot be used, however ingenious the effort, to flout our Constitution. It will provide for citizens to be registered by officials of the United States Government, if the state officials refuse to register them. It will eliminate tedious, unnecessary lawsuits which delay the right to vote. Finally, this legislation will insure that properly registered individuals are not prohibited from voting. I will welcome the suggestions from all the members of Congress--I have no doubt that I will get some--on ways and means to strengthen this law and to make it effective.

But experience has plainly shown that this is the only path to carry out the command of the Constitution. To those who seek to avoid action by their national government in their home communities, who want to and who seek to maintain purely local control over elections, the answer is simple: open your polling places to all your people. Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin. Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen of this land. There is no Constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong--deadly wrong--to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.

There is no issue of state's rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer. But the last time a President sent a civil rights bill to the Congress it contained a provision to protect voting rights in Federal elections. That civil rights bill was passed after eight long months of debate. And when that bill came to my desk from the Congress for signature, the heart of the voting provision had been eliminated.

This time, on this issue, there must be no delay, or no hesitation, or no compromise with our purpose. We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in.

And we ought not, and we cannot, and we must not wait another eight months before we get a bill. We have already waited 100 years and more and the time for waiting is gone. So I ask you to join me in working long hours and nights and weekends, if necessary, to pass this bill. And I don't make that request lightly, for, from the window where I sit, with the problems of our country, I recognize that from outside this chamber is the outraged conscience of a nation, the grave concern of many nations and the harsh judgment of history on our acts.

But even if we pass this bill the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. But a century has passed--more than 100 years--since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight. It was more than 100 years ago that Abraham Lincoln--a great President of another party--signed the Emancipation Proclamation. But emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.

A century has passed--more than 100 years--since equality was promised, and yet the Negro is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American. For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated? How many white families have lived in stark poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we wasted energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

And so I say to all of you here and to all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. This great rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all--all, black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor.

And these enemies too--poverty, disease and ignorance--we shall overcome.

Now let none of us in any section look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another section or the problems of our neighbors. There is really no part of America where the promise of equality has been fully kept. In Buffalo as well as in Birmingham, in Philadelphia as well as Selma, Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom.

This is one nation. What happens in Selma and Cincinnati is a matter of legitimate concern to every American. But let each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities and let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel to root out injustice wherever it exists. As we meet here in this peaceful historic chamber tonight, men from the South, some of whom were at Iwo Jima, men from the North who have carried Old Glory to the far corners of the world and who brought it back without a stain on it, men from the east and from the west are all fighting together without regard to religion or color or region in Vietnam.

Men from every region fought for us across the world 20 years ago. And now in these common dangers, in these common sacrifices, the South made its contribution of honor and gallantry no less than any other region in the great republic.

And in some instances, a great many of them, more. And I have not the slightest doubt that good men from everywhere in this country, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Golden Gate to the harbors along the Atlantic, will rally now together in this cause to vindicate the freedom of all Americans. For all of us owe this duty and I believe that all of us will respond to it.

Your president makes that request of every American.

The real hero of this struggle is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety, and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this nation. His demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change; designed to stir reform. He has been called upon to make good the promise of America.

And who among us can say that we would have made the same progress were it not for his persistent bravery and his faith in American democracy? For at the real heart of the battle for equality is a deep-seated belief in the democratic process. Equality depends, not on the force of arms or tear gas, but depends upon the force of moral right--not on recourse to violence, but on respect for law and order.

There have been many pressures upon your President and there will be others as the days come and go. But I pledge to you tonight that we intend to fight this battle where it should be fought--in the courts, and in the Congress, and the hearts of men. We must preserve the right of free speech and the right of free assembly. But the right of free speech does not carry with it--as has been said--the right to holler fire in a crowded theatre.

We must preserve the right to free assembly. But free assembly does not carry with it the right to block public thoroughfares to traffic. We do have a right to protest. And a right to march under conditions that do not infringe the Constitutional rights of our neighbors. And I intend to protect all those rights as long as I am permitted to serve in this office.

We will guard against violence, knowing it strikes from our hands the very weapons which we seek--progress, obedience to law, and belief in American values. In Selma, as elsewhere, we seek and pray for peace. We seek order, we seek unity, but we will not accept the peace of stifled rights or the order imposed by fear, or the unity that stifles protest--for peace cannot be purchased at the cost of liberty.

In Selma tonight--and we had a good day there--as in every city we are working for a just and peaceful settlement. We must all remember after this speech I'm making tonight, after the police and the F.B.I. and the Marshals have all gone, and after you have promptly passed this bill, the people of Selma and the other cities of the nation must still live and work together.

And when the attention of the nation has gone elsewhere they must try to heal the wounds and to build a new community. This cannot be easily done on a battleground of violence as the history of the South itself shows. It is in recognition of this that men of both races have shown such an outstandingly impressive responsibility in recent days--last Tuesday and again today.

The bill I am presenting to you will be known as a civil rights bill. But in a larger sense, most of the program I am recommending is a civil rights program. Its object is to open the city of hope to all people of all races, because all Americans just must have the right to vote, and we are going to give them that right.

All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship, regardless of race, and they are going to have those privileges of citizenship regardless of race.

But I would like to caution you and remind you that to exercise these privileges takes much more than just legal rights. It requires a trained mind and a healthy body. It requires a decent home and the chance to find a job and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of poverty.

Of course people cannot contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write; if their bodies are stunted from hunger; if their sickness goes untended; if their life is spent in hopeless poverty, just drawing a welfare check.

So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we're also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates. My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English and I couldn't speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast and hungry. And they knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them, but they knew it was so because I saw it in their eyes.

I often walked home late in the afternoon after the classes were finished wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that I might help them against the hardships that lay ahead. And somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.

I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students, and to help people like them all over this country. But now I do have that chance.

And I'll let you in on a secret--I mean to use it. And I hope that you will use it with me.

This is the richest, most powerful country which ever occupied this globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the president who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.

I want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election. I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races, all regions and all parties. I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth.

And so, at the request of your beloved Speaker and the Senator from Montana, the Majority Leader, the Senator from Illinois, the Minority Leader, Mr. McCullock and other members of both parties, I came here tonight, not as President Roosevelt came down one time in person to veto a bonus bill; not as President Truman came down one time to urge passage of a railroad bill, but I came down here to ask you to share this task with me. And to share it with the people that we both work for.

I want this to be the Congress--Republicans and Democrats alike--which did all these things for all these people. Beyond this great chamber--out yonder--in fifty states are the people that we serve. Who can tell what deep and unspoken hopes are in their hearts tonight as they sit there and listen? We all can guess, from our own lives, how difficult they often find their own pursuit of happiness, how many problems each little family has. They look most of all to themselves for their future, but I think that they also look to each of us.

Above the pyramid on the Great Seal of the United States it says in latin, "God has favored our undertaking." God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will. But I cannot help but believe that He truly understands and that He really favors the undertaking that we begin here tonight.

President Lyndon B. Johnson - March 15, 1965




Monday, July 27, 2009

Greeleyville Gets A Facelift

Welcome to the new face of Greeleyville.

Comments and criticisms are welcome. It will be a work in progress. Right now I have been working on getting the comment section to work below each posting. The template I am using also has a list of the feed comments at the top of the blog so you can read through all the comments. I may remove the small widget comment device in the middle if the comment to each post works well. I have moved all the previous postings from the old template and everything should be here--somewhere. The question of course is "Where." I will need to rebuild the blog links and other small nuances.

Addendum: I know only the tech geeks are really interested in this stuff but... Okay the new comments are up and working under each new post. What I did not figure out is how to save all the old comments with the new template. Some of them are saved but not all. I have downloaded all the old ones though so I can restore them if blogger fixes the import device (it isn't working right now and supposedly they are working on the matter). Here goes the facelift.

Addendum 2: It looks like the comments came through the facelift with few wrinkles. A couple are gone but the ones that posted from gmail accounts made it just fine.

Uranium Mining Impacts on Navajo Land From NYT

A timely piece Weld County citizens might want to consider digesting.  Pun taken of course. 

I had a good friend who moved a few years ago nearby Gallup New Mexico to work in a government office.  When he called his father, a once prominent environmental scientist, the man flipped.  I could hear him screaming at his son from across the room.  "Are you nuts?  Do you have any idea how much uranium contamination is in the air around that place!"  His son went anyway.

I've posted several paragraphs but there is much more to the story--so I suggest following the link. 

Uranium Contamination Haunts Navajo Country - NYTimes.com
The Slowman home, the same one-level cinderblock structure his family had lived in for nearly a half-century, was contaminated with potentially dangerous levels of uranium from the days of the cold war, when hundreds of uranium mines dotted the vast tribal land known as the Navajo Nation. The scientist advised Mr. Slowman, his wife and their two sons to move out until their home could be rebuilt.

“I was angry,” Mr. Slowman said. “I guess it was here all this time, and we never knew.”

The legacy wrought from decades of uranium mining is long and painful here on the expansive reservation. Over the years, Navajo miners extracted some four million tons of uranium ore from the ground, much of it used by the United States government to make weapons.

Many miners died from radiation-related illnesses; some, unaware of harmful health effects, hauled contaminated rocks and tailings from local mines and mills to build homes for their families.

Now, those homes are being demolished and rebuilt under a new government program that seeks to identify what are very likely dozens of uranium-contaminated structures still standing on Navajo land and to temporarily relocate people living in them until the homes can be torn down and rebuilt.

Stephen B. Etsitty, executive director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and other tribal officials have been grappling for years with the environmental fallout from uranium mining.

“There were a lot of things people weren’t told about the plight of Navajos and uranium mining,” Mr. Etsitty said. “These legacy issues are impacting generations. At some point people are saying, ‘It’s got to end.’ ”


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Walter Cronkite's Ghost Living in Greeley Colorado?

Frank Rich hits it out of the ballpark, again. While nurturing our memories of Uncle Walter he slowly, and diligently, brings up the curtain and exposes the media elite as one of the "good old boys".

Journalistic integrity and the media industry has long been an interest of mine. The power of the media is absolute in a society where information has become competitive. So many untrained cooks in the kitchen giving out half-baked information makes the gourmand chef all that more powerful. Of course the key is finding the Gourmand information source.

Access to information (including education) is a public good in my noneconomist viewpoint and the free market is known to experience inefficiencies when access to information is limited or controlled--asymmetrical information. Essentially, minus the geeky economic stuff, creating scarcity in any market creates market power and concentration (read: monopolies). The more control any entity has over sources of information, with the intent to limit that information or create scarcity, the more attractive that entity becomes to other powerful influences trying to corrupt (or control) the spread of information. When authority figures wade into the picture it becomes a raw tit-for-tat power exchange. "You allow me to control you and I'll allow you to continue to have your power and make a profit."

Thus, again in my view, the power of the media in few corporate hands is absolutely corrupt. The small guys do not have the capital to grow and cannot get the capital to enter the game (big assets are needed) as long as those who hold the scarce information will not share it with the small guy. Instead those holders of the information give it out in watered down segments as performance rewards for the big guns--in return for brokering the survival of their financial and power kingdoms. Who said the feudal system was dead?

Hence one of my concerns I have about settling in Greeley. Centralized control of information distribution and special interest control in local government. However I admit to little understanding of the people history behind the situation--the driving factors. I have had people tell me it is all about the good old white boys and land power brokers out of the sixties. Then another has mentioned missed sustainable economic opportunities which have pulled skilled workers into other local cities and left Greeley essentially a bedroom community. Political interests aren't at home--they are being directed to other growth oriented areas with more long term potential for a high quality of life. But as I sort through these ideas I still come back to the all-mighty power of the voter. Who is voting in this town and what future are they voting for?

I am getting a sense that most productive young families are not thinking about hanging around. Their future is somewhere else. This is a temporary stop. Which, of course, doesn't bode well for Greeley twenty years from now. It is kind of like how the poor always vote middle class because they vote what they believe their future will be rather than voting the realities of their interests now.

My big question though remains "Why isn't the local media talking about this stuff?" I see lots of fluff. Lots of reports on crime to keep people feeling like those they elect are keeping them safe--regardless of real accountability. Frank Rich's column gives some insight into the killing of the kind of debate every community needs and the type of job integrity it takes to overcome the killing field power brokers. In my view, until guts are rewarded more than a fat wallet again, integrity will continue to take a seat on the back shelf. How many parents ask of their children's date "Are you a good and honest person" before "What do you do for a living and how will it benefit me and mine comes out of their mouth"?

"And that's the way it is..."

Personal Note to fellow geeks* What I don't fully understand is communications theory, or maybe math theory, about how the interactions between news source A with infinite other variables--consumers plays out. The Internet is fascinating in its capacity for changing the oligopoly power broking in the news media industry. Instead of being point A, or B, or C, interacting with thousand of variables now there is peer to peer exchanges. There are thousands of variables interacting with thousands of variables. So if there is another geek out there who thinks of systems in terms of math equations or diagrams--please phone home. Or email at least. I'd love to know more about it.

Op-Ed Columnist - And That’s Not the Way It Is -NYTimes.com
What matters about Cronkite is that he knew when to stop being reassuring Uncle Walter and to challenge those who betrayed his audience’s trust. He had the guts to confront not only those in power but his own bosses. Given the American press’s catastrophe of our own day — its failure to unmask and often even to question the White House propaganda campaign that plunged us into Iraq — these attributes are as timely as ever.

That’s why the past week’s debate about whether there could ever again be a father-figure anchor with Cronkite’s everyman looks and sonorous delivery is an escapist parlor game. What matters is content, not style. The real question is this: How many of those with similarly exalted perches in the news media today — and those perches, however diminished, still do exist in the multichannel digital age — will speak truth to power when the country is on the line? This journalistic responsibility cannot be outsourced to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart.

Greeley Nativists, Immigration Reform, and Higher Prices

It is good to see the Obama administration wading into the cesspool called immigration. Otherwise known as the Gangs of New York Sewer Waters. Although I prefer to call it the Nativist's United in the United States--but that's another story.

The reforms Obama is setting forth, below from the Los Angeles Times Article, make pragmatic sense. Obama, in my opinion, strategically attempts to put the emphasis for regulation of illegal workers back on corporate affairs while giving some power, or perhaps dignity, back to the individual. Hence the individual becomes the political unit with more political power than business.

In my world that is called a democracy. A republic of individuals making decisions rather than corporations making decisions for the widgets it needs to keep living.

Yet it is a tricky subject politically. So many citizens are driven into a frenzy with the idea that "these people" take "their jobs". In fact supply and demand dictate the labor market. Workers are the supply and employers have control of the demand (and the hiring). Government policies regulate a market. Fighting a market war based on focusing on supply rather than demand is futile. Although it does keep more police and authority types employed.

Keeping those strapping prime-age bucks twenty-to-forty dedicated to upholding the law and paid well isn't a stupid strategy. Even if it is not the most economically efficient. Rather related to idiotic laws on marijuana but not quite the same.

The demand for drugs remains constant, regardless of price and supply, so suppliers are driven to take larger risks to meet demand for higher prices. In the labor market the supply of willing low-wage workers in this country has diminished as per capita income has risen yet demand has increased as the economy expanded during the 90's and early 2000's. In my view Illegal workers, as long as social, economic, and political conditions are poor in their homeland are going to do whatever it takes to feed their families and change their circumstances. Risking a couple of weeks where death is a good possibility crossing the lengthy border is better odds than trying to overthrow a corrupt government where millions die. The few illegals absent of any color, except white, have much less hardship and are seemingly pursued less diligently by law enforcement and the general public. This is likely due in part, my assumption, to the fact they escape profiling and often have high skills that will eventually land them a Visa, except for the criminals. This is the high end of illegal immigration. (See The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration by Gordon M. Hanson overview cited at the end of this article). The other glaring, likely, reason is political brownie narcissistic points for local, state, and national politicians willing to mislead, twist, and cherry-pick the public misperceptions hatreds for exploitation in reelection bids.

Then again the consumer demand for the lowest price point possible helps to drive this entire market scenario. Employers in some industries, unwillingly to compete by making steady good leadership choices, investments in technology, and other improvements, still turn to widgetized labor (the unskilled illegal immigrant) for the lowest price and to offset bad planning projections for quick growth. Illegal labor is much easier to manage (fewer executives or trained supervisors required) than legal workers who have access to authority systems. Illegals are cheap and they work hard without many complaints.

One in four immigrants was employed in professional occupations and one in five was employed in service occupations in 2004. In comparison, one in three native-born workers was employed in professional occupations and one in seven was employed in service occupations.7 Immigrant workers comprise 14.3% of the U.S. workforce and were a significant proportion of the workforce in these occupations in 2003: farming, fishing, and forestry (39.7%), building and grounds maintenance (29%), production (21.7%), construction and extraction (21.5%), and food preparation and serving (20%).8 Foreign-born full-time workers earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by a full-time native worker.9

Employers create the demand regardless of the limitations on supply. It is easier than competing on quality terms and organizational practices. It's a short run cost effective gain to drive more profit and increase more investment capital--thinking in the long run that more capital will pull the employer out of the cycle. Yet the train light at the end of that long dark tunnel never goes away because the company retains a workforce with shoddy business practices and the businesses that build good practices will almost always be in the lead.

However the Obama's willingness to promote unified online records of private citizens without making clear whether or not Congress is going to update the decrepit privacy laws in this country makes me nervous. Currently the Administration is open about going after the consolidation of medical records. It is also known that police departments are entering into their database of prisoner records any record of any person arrested--whether they are proven innocent, released, or not. It is also known that most of our "in the air" conversations are being routed through just a few central points and the data is ripe for being harvested in some Chenesque basement. If your child is picked up for a curfew violation where do those records go and what can they be used for? Enquiring minds want to know. The Online-employment program is another huge slippery slope. Great idea on the surface but flawed underneath for the big brother opportunities it opens up. And jumpin' Jimminy Crickets--they are working to make it mandatory to tag our cows and other animals with electronic ID chips these days. Where will it end?

My most horrific vision is of a single small microchip embedded in my right wrist. But okay I may be getting a little extreme here. I hope.

Certainly it is a double-edge argument. Personally I do not feel threatened by illegal immigrants. I do feel threatened by criminal activity beyond the arm of accountability--that includes illegals with criminal history, financiers, bankers, Tim Geitner and, in general, politicians. I grew up in a farming agricultural community and other than the illegal immigrants poor driving skills the community understood and acknowledged the benefits these people offered to the labor market on a cyclic basis.

Even with employment of possible qualified native workers, there would have been a shortage of 500,000 workers in 13 occupational categories during the 1990s without non-citizen workers. These categories included: miscellaneous agricultural workers (shortage of 108,392 workers), maids and housekeeping cleaners, sewing machine operators, grounds maintenance workers, construction laborers, other production workers, cooks, painters, construction and maintenance, janitors and building cleaners, butchers and meat, poultry, fish processing workers, other metal workers and plastic workers, packers and packagers (hand), and packaging and filing machine operators and tenders. 6
At the same time I like to feel safer in my community too. I'd like to know that my hospital has the same information as my doctor if I have an emergency. I'd like to know that rich people like Michael Jackson have as much difficulty getting a hold of their drugs with pseudonyms as my neighbor Spike. There are obvious benefits in efficiency and cost to the taxpayer. Again jumping back across the ping-pong net to the privacy advocate's side, as we experienced in the Bush/Cheney nightmare, the disregard for, and the blatant manipulation of existing laws must be remedied. We also need some assurance that it cannot happen again.

Yet, to date, that I know of, the Obama Administration has not openly courted the revision of existing privacy laws with the exception to back off the obvious misuse of existing legal loopholes.

I'll have to do more research on the topic of privacy though. Immigration on the other hand is an endless hole. The labor market doesn't adapt quickly enough to some market changes to keep up. Immigrant workers fill that gap and always will. And, our politicians, will always respond to the emotional outcry of Nativists. It is called job security. By designing policy to limit immigration and then shredding the real reform before it becomes law or denying enough funds to enforce the law--the voters are happy, business is happy, and the pol is re-elected. It is a win/win/win/lose deck of cards. Only the immigrant workers lose.

There have always been Nativists just as there have always been immigrant labor pools. Where do you think the Irish went they had all those famines? The Italians in the 20's? These groups have always been an easy powerless escape goat for politicians and underachievers to point at to deflect attention from their own shortcomings upon.

Before the email arguments start pouring in--yes I understand the economy is in recession. And I understand it looks like a jobless recovery. Yet already illegal immigration is falling off and rolling back--the labor market demand shrinks for all labor including immigrant labor. Let me ask you--Is your teen planning on going out and picking tomatoes to earn enough money for college or to help save the family mortgage? When your son or daughter gets out in that field do you really want them in the middle of pesticide alley? Or perhaps you really want your mate to pick up the slack by taking that second job at JBS Swift?

The employer accountability is a good thing but I am not naive enough to think there will not be any consequences. Higher wages and better working conditions will have to be made to accommodate legal workers. That means higher operation costs (unless the company is willing to cut executive pay or product quality to compensate). Then again there is always the China factor solution to contend with...

Higher prices are on the way--you asked for it--you got it.

But at least this Obama policy makes a little more sense than just politics as usual.

I have a visitor coming in October who may be able to help guide me a bit more on the topic of privacy. I'll revisit it then.


Obama setting the priorities on immigration - Los Angeles Times
The recent administrative changes include:

* New guidelines directing immigration agents to target employers who hire illegal immigrants rather than simply arresting undocumented employees.

* A requirement that all local police agencies deputized to check immigration status and turn criminals over for possible deportation sign new agreements pledging to focus on those who pose a risk to public safety.

* The implementation of a rule that requires federal contractors to use E-Verify, an online employment-verification program.

* The expansion of a program that uses government databases during the booking process to find illegal immigrants in the nation's jails.

Napolitano is expected to address immigration detention next. Administration officials said top experts are looking at all detention facilities, private and public, to see whether they are efficiently, safely and effectively operated. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the detention centers, has been heavily criticized for providing inadequate medical care and for violating detainees' due process.

From the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Series on American Competiveness. The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration by Gordon M. Hanson. It is a Google Book online.

This Council Special Report addresses the economic logic of the current high levels of illegal immigration. The aim is not to provide a comprehensive review of all the issues involved in immigration, particularly those related to homeland security. Rather, it is to examine the costs, benefits, incentives, and disincentives of illegal immigration within the boundaries of economic analysis. From a purely economic perspective, the optimal immigration policy would admit individuals whose skills are in shortest supply and whose tax contributions, net of the cost of public services they receive, are as large as possible. Admitting immigrants in scarce occupations would yield the greatest increase in U.S. incomes, regardless of the skill level of those immigrants. In the United States, scarce workers would include not only highly education individuals, such as the sofware programmers and engineers employed by rapidly expanding technology industries, but also low-skilled workers in construction, food preparation, and cleaning services, for which the supply of U.S. native labor has been falling, In either case, the national labor market for these workers is tight, in the sense that U.S. wages for these occupations are high relative to wages abroad.... This analysis concludes that there is little evidence that legal immigration is economically preferable to illegal immigration. In fact, illegal immigration responds to market forces in ways that legal immigration does not. Illegal migrants tend to arrive in larger numbers when the U.S. economy is booming (relative to Mexico and the Central American countries that are the source of most illegal immigration to the United States) and move to regions where job growth is strong. Legal immigration, in contrast, is subject to arbitrary selection criteria and bureaucratic delays, which tend to disassociate legal inflows from U.S. labor-market conditions.


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