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michael jardeen...musings about news and lifei dream...of something better | i care...too much it seems

Last Build Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 05:06:27 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2004 Michael Jardeen

Sun, 28 Mar 2004 05:03:28 GMT

4/01: focus on Bib Laden "A MISTAKE"!
A previously forgotten report from April 2001 (four months before 9/11) shows that the Bush Administration officially declared it "a mistake" to focus "so much energy on Osama bin Laden." The report directly contradicts the White House's continued assertion that fighting terrorism was its "top priority" before the 9/11 attacks. Specifically, on April 30, 2001, CNN reported that the Bush Administration's release of the government's annual terrorism report contained a serious change: "there was no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden" as there had been in previous years. When asked why the Administration had reduced the focus, "a senior Bush State Department official told CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden.". The move to downgrade the fight against Al Qaeda before 9/11 was not the only instance where the Administration ignored repeated warnings that an Al Qaeda attack was imminent). Specifically, the Associated Press reported in 2002 that "President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions". Meanwhile, Newsweek has reported that internal government documents show that the Bush Administration moved to "de-emphasize" counterterrorism prior to 9/11. When "FBI officials sought to add hundreds more counterintelligence agents" to deal with the problem, "they got shot down" by the White House...more [] Bush gets slaped down by Clarke, and what does the White House do? They focus on character assasination. The funny thing is that Clarke voted for Bush. I love the images of Condi Rice looking like she was sucking on a lime -- of course she has time to go on 60 minutes, but not to testify under oath...mj

Tue, 16 Mar 2004 06:49:01 GMT


Sun, 14 Mar 2004 01:56:28 GMT

The wheel spins...
I started my new job last Monday. I now work for the City of Tacoma. I'm back to the customer service game. My almost 5 months with Verizon Wireless were great, and I would go back gladly if I had to. VZW is a great company, with great people, and a great customer service attitude. It doesn't mean they're perfect -- no one is, but it was cool working for a company that had a genuine desire to make money while serving it's customers. Other changes are also coming. I got my notice to pay for the coming years subscription to Radio for this blog. I have decided to stop and instead I am looking for free alternatives. More then likely I will use something that allows me to do the blog off of my existing web site. I will update when I have an answer -- but 30 more days and this will go silent...mj

Sun, 07 Mar 2004 18:28:21 GMT

Job Growth Anemic in February
The U.S. economy added a paltry 21,000 jobs last month, according to a surprisingly weak government report on Friday that turned up the heat on President Bush as he seeks re-election. The February jobs report from the Labor Department was the latest in a string that had fallen far short of expectations, dashing hopes employment would soon turn decisively higher. "The job market is stuck in a cycle of inertia," said John Challenger, head of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "The fact is, we are going to have to get used to slow job creation in this country." The details in the report were uniformly bleak. Private-sector employment showed no gains. Government hiring was the only reason the non-farm payroll count rose. In addition, job creation in December and January was weaker than previously thought, by a combined 23,000 jobs. And while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent, that was only because many people stopped looking for work. Employment as measured by a survey of households plummeted... ...The Bush administration released a forecast last month that looked for average job growth of about 300,000 a month this year -- a forecast that looks increasingly pie-in-the-sky... ...An average of just 42,000 jobs have been created each month in the last three months, down from the 79,000 average of the prior three months. Economists say gains near 150,000 are needed each month just to keep pace with labor force growth. In addition, the report showed pay gains have slowed, while the average length of time workers who had lost jobs stayed unemployed climbed to its highest level since January 1984...more [Yahoo News] I am part of those statistics. I move to a new job as of tomorrow. The problem is that I am moving from a private sector job with Verizon Wireless to a Civil Service job at the City of Tacoma. I will have now had four jobs in the past 8 months, as I move up the food chain. The only risk in my new job is its temporary classification. I will know by late October, if I will have to start job hunting again. Bush has so trashed the job economy - i guess he thinks we can all survive on cake...mj

Sun, 07 Mar 2004 18:05:57 GMT

Buffett speaks: Raise My Taxes!
Berkshire chairman's annual letter attacks CEOs, funds, Bush tax policies, and the trade deficit. In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, released Saturday, Warren Buffett sounded a number of familiar themes. The closely watched Berkshire chairman praised his company's managers, accepted personal blame for some miscues, and proudly noted his firm's remarkable 39-year compounded annual gain in book value of 22.2 percent. On the political-economic front, he attacked Bush administration policies on taxes and the dollar, and complained again about wayward CEOs and board members (adding mutual fund companies to his list of offenders). Buffett, who has been a vocal critic of a number of Bush administration tax policies, used the letter to voice his opposition again. "Tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the Administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives," he wrote. "If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning." Nevertheless, Berkshire's own tax bill has risen dramatically. In 2002, Buffett noted, the company paid $1.75 billion in federal taxes. This year, it expects to pay $3.3 billion, a sum Buffett estimates to equal 2.5 percent of total taxes to be paid by all U.S. corporations...more [CNN Money] Think about two things from this. First, this is a very rich man who understands that the reason you tax the rich more is because they can afford it. Second, if you think about the tax numbers you should be scared. Those numbers simply drive home one of the greatest flaws of the current tax structure, most companies pay next to nothing, Under Bush, the rich are winning....mj

Sun, 07 Mar 2004 06:35:30 GMT

Merger lucrative for cellular execs
AT&T Wireless leaders to get $85.7 million The directors and top five officers at Redmond's AT&T Wireless Services Inc. will get $85.7 million in cash if that company is bought by Cingular Wireless LLC, according to federal documents filed yesterday. Some shareholders are proposing limits on such lucrative arrangements, while one analyst questioned whether the performance of the nation's third-largest cellular carrier justifies those payouts. But employees do get a break of sorts: The company has called off its extensive layoff and relocation plans, leaving any such decisions to its new owner...more [Seattle P-I] Of course those delayed layoffs are great. It means the new owners get to take the blame. Warning to ATT customers, you can look forward to dealing with a lot of really happy employees...mj

Sun, 07 Mar 2004 05:52:16 GMT

Stupid Companies...EB Games
(image) The Electronics Boutique, better known as EB Games, is a well-known dealer of second-hand video games and equipment. Recently, the EB Games store at the Gulfview Square Mall mistakenly purchased some stolen merchandise. The way it handled the situation has landed that store in the ABC Action News Hall of Shame. The workers at the EB Games store told ABC Action News they're not allowed to talk about the store's policy relative to stolen goods, but longtime customer Michelle Doganis had plenty to say. "I think it stinks, absolutely stinks. I would never do anything like this," she exclaimed...more [F'd Company] This is a gem. A sure sign that stupidity is alive and well, and not only at the White House. So, you're a large company, you've violated state laws, and you traffic in stolen goods. When you find this out, what do you do? Do you try to make the situation right? No, you try to profit off the victim, and then you brush her off. Electronic Boutique is another sign of just how dumb companies and people can be...mj

Sat, 21 Feb 2004 17:19:04 GMT

A transcript from Lou Dobbs' show last night on CNN: PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What if you could solve the manufacturing crisis with the stroke of a pen, instantly create millions of new manufacturing jobs? Well, behold, the future of American manufacturing. Now, the idea that flipping burgers is manufacturing would be funny if we weren't serious about it. White House economic adviser Greg Mankiw actually raised the idea in his report to Congress. GREGORY MANKIW, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: The definition of what constitutes manufacturing is far from clear. For example, when a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, is it providing a service or combining inputs to manufacture a product? VILES: At the core of manufacturing is the idea of added value. And fast-food jobs don't add much value. If they did, they would pay better. So critics are suspicious of the administration's timing and motives in raising the issue during an election year, when its record on manufacturing jobs is so dismal. ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COUNCIL: McDonald's is not something that just sprung up last week. It's been around for most of the post-World War II period. And to bring up the possibility that now we should start thinking about reclassifying fast-food preparation as manufacturing, it's just plain fishy. VILES: Mankiw said it's important to have an accurate definition of manufacturing, in case the government decides to base policies on the definition, for example, tax cuts targeted to help manufacturers. Now, oddly enough, the White House does not support the policy, but that's exactly what Democrats John Edwards and John Kerry are proposing. (END VIDEOTAPE) VILES: Now, none of this is to demean fast-food jobs. For many young Americans, they are a terrific first job or a part-time job, but nobody would argue they are equal to the manufacturing job that have helped build the American middle class -- Lou. DOBBS: It almost makes one want to ask, are they really serious? VILES: What exactly were they thinking? DOBBS: Well, that's not the first time that question has been posed in the last week or two...more [CNN] Is this administration clueless or what? I was laughing so hard when Dobbs asked if they were serious. The delivery was perfect. Is this floundering group of goofs in DC serious? One stupid comment (exporting jobs is good for America), wacky job numbers, and now McFactories, you really have to ask what they put in their water...mj

Fri, 20 Feb 2004 18:05:33 GMT

Bush AWOL or Deserter?
(image) Too bad Bush didn't take his service seriously enough to actually do it. The UCMJ still list death as the maximum punishment for Desertion in time of war. Uniform Code of Military Justice:
Article 85 Desertion
Article 86 Absent Without Leave The bottom line here is that George Bush received special treatment. The issue is his inability to deal with the truth. The result is his lack of credibility as a man sending off people to die in Iraq. It really does matter...mj

Fri, 20 Feb 2004 17:15:23 GMT

Business/Greed Ramble
The fallout of the Cingular purchase is going to be interesting. Cingular bought a broken empire at a premium (over $1800 per customer). The economics of the deal make no sense. Both companies are going to be distracted over the next year while they deal with this situation. My personal prediction is that most of ATT's employees will be out of work over the next two years.
It's going to be an interesting business year. If Bush wins, we can expect four more years at the trough. In the Wireless industry, we can expect more mergers, as the industry consolidates, and repositions for the next big expansion. Landline companies like Qwest, are so dead....mj [disclaimer: I am an employee of Verizon Wireless, any comments on my part have nothing to do with the company or it's opinions.]

Thu, 19 Feb 2004 23:01:34 GMT

Bush Abandons The Unemployed
So much for the so-called "compassionate conservative" in the White House.
America appears to be waking up. The Bush economy is designed to put more money back into the hands of the rich, while ignoring the needs of the unemployed and vets. From sending jobs off to other countries, and cutting training funds, where does it stop? The difficult task will be to get past Bush's massive war chest of special interest, and rich friends money...mj

Thu, 19 Feb 2004 08:28:51 GMT

Bush's "DISGRACEFUL" Treatment of Vets
Yesterday at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, President Bush thanked American soldiers for their service, saying, "In the war, America depends on our military to meet the dangers abroad and to keep our country safe. The American people appreciate this sacrifice." And while this tribute is heartwarming, it has not been matched with the kind of resources that show appreciation. On the contrary, President Bush has refused to adequately fund some of the most important priorities to soldiers, veterans and their families. Last year, while troops were at war, the president proposed slashing $1.5 billion from military family housing and tried to "roll back recent modest increases" in bonuses paid to soldiers serving in combat zones. Meanwhile, the president refused to extend the child tax credit to one million children living in military and veteran families. And this year the misleading is only getting worse. While the president rambles on about how much he appreciates troops and veterans, Congressional Quarterly reported on February 4th that Bush's own Secretary for Veterans Affairs told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the president rejected a desperate request for $1.2 billion in funding needed for veterans' health care. Many lawmakers said the president's decision "only proved the administration's disinterest in supporting veterans' programs." The Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement after receiving the White House's budget, calling it "disgraceful" and saying it was a "disgrace and a sham." [] I can only hope that people figure this stuff out. Bush has so screwed up the budget that other then funding his war mistakes, and tax cuts for his rich friends, there's nothing else left....mj

Tue, 17 Feb 2004 07:53:46 GMT


Tue, 17 Feb 2004 07:42:55 GMT

MS dominance poses security threat
Biology stirs software 'monoculture' debate Dan Geer lost his job, but gained his audience. The very idea that got the computer security expert fired has sparked serious debate in information technology. The idea, borrowed from biology, is that Microsoft Corp. has nurtured a software "monoculture" that threatens global computer security....more [CNN] A great example of the price of speaking your mind. The concept is so simple and so elegant, and so hard to really argue against...mj

Mon, 16 Feb 2004 07:38:29 GMT

Too much time on their hands...
Check out Grape Plasma bombs...mj