Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ford cracks down on rest room breaks

Ford cracks down on rest room breaks - 10/27/05: "In a memo that was distributed Tuesday to workers at Ford's Michigan Truck plant in Wayne, plant managers said too many of the factory's 3,500 hourly workers are spending more than the 48 minutes allotted per shift to use the bathroom. "
Who needs 48 minutes over 8 hours to use the bathroom, anyway?

Miers withdraws as Supreme Court Nominee

This is probably for the best. More to come, I'm sure.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Delphi's Steve Miller and the UAW

In a display of straight talking possibly never before seen in Detroit, Delphi CEO Steve Miller responded strongly following criticism from the UAW and the Governor of the State of Michigan to the Delphi bankruptcy. Labor's day of reckoning with Delphi was going to come eventually and Miller decided that Wednesday, October 12, 2005 was going to be the day.
(The Detroit News, Thursday, October 12, 2005) TROY -- Delphi Corp. Chairman Robert S. "Steve" Miller made a fiery defense Wednesday of his decision to take the auto-parts giant into bankruptcy and warned the company's 33,000 union workers to expect huge pay cuts by early next year.

In a tense press conference, Miller acknowledged for the first time the angry reaction from the United Auto Workers and other unions to his demands of 60 percent wage cuts at dozens of factories across the United States.

But the 63-year-old Miller bluntly repeated that he expected the UAW to agree to dramatic reductions in wages and benefits by mid-December, or he may ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reject the current union contracts.

"Paying $65 an hour for someone mowing the lawn at one of our plants is just not going to cut it anywhere in industrial America for very long," Miller said, referring to the average combined wages, benefits and pensions of an hourly Delphi worker.

He also lashed out at a wave of criticism -- led by UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Gov. Jennifer Granholm -- of Delphi's move to sweeten executive severance agreements just before Saturday's bankruptcy filing.

"Some people insist that fairness requires that we slash wages across the board," Miller said. "Well, I'm sorry. ... There are large disparities in this country and around the world in what people can expect for mowing a lawn versus managing a huge business."

Miller said he believed Granholm "did not fully understand" that the severance deals were necessary to prevent executives and top managers from quitting for other jobs.

"We are in a market for human capital," he said. "If you pay too much for a particular class of employee, you go broke. You pay too little, and you won't have anyone left to do the work."

Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Wednesday that the "governor stands behind her comments. I think the governor was very clear."

Miller also defended his $3 million signing bonus to join Delphi, "to replace all the other stream of income I was asked to give up." He said he expected to take a cut in his $1.5 million annual salary as part of the restructuring.

With extraordinary candor for a Fortune 500 chief executive, Miller said he did not fear a potential strike by the UAW because it would only make the restructuring of Delphi's U.S. operations harsher.

"I believe the United Auto Workers has competent, adult, honest leadership," he said. "Absolutely nothing can be gained from a strike at any Delphi facility other than to hasten and expand the number of plants that might have to be closed."

There was no immediate comment from the UAW on Miller's remarks.
What will be interesting to see is how Miller's tone affects GM's relations with the UAW. That day of reckoning is not far over the horizon, either.

Hey, Noah, can I get a lift?

Lucky me! I live in the area shaded in yellow!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It IS a Video iPod!!!!

(But what the heck is that near the woman's face?)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Left's Foul Mouth

Following my post yesterday about Delphi's bankruptcy filing, I set up a news and blog search for article and posts on that topic. My search came up with a bunch of hits, including this one. Thinking that the post might be an interesting piece about one blogger's perspective on the Delphi bankruptcy, I clicked on the link. What do I get? Bush-bashing from yet another angle, replete with diatribes against rich corporations, references to homosexuality and sodomy (you know, for a group that has "endorsed" gay rights to the extent the left-wingers have, they sure use it as an epithet often enough) and the word "b***sh**" (I am not a prude, but I am not going print this word, even as an example of someone else's bad behavior).

What is it about left-wing bloggers, that they cannot engage in dialogue about any topic they don't like without dropping into the gutter? I know that Rush Limbaugh would say its because they lack any ideas and so they resort to extremism to make up for this. I don't buy this. I am coming to the conclusion (actually, I reached this conclusion a long time ago) that this is who these people are: gutter-dwellers. I think that's why they have the principles (or lack thereof) that they do and I think that's why they act the way they do. The two are inseparable; its just that when left-wingers are "winning" they are able to present a better front; the gutter-dragon, however, lurks just below the surface (see, e.g., the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

al-Qaeda and Iraq

Somewhat lost over the past couple of days with the NYC subway terror threat, has been much discussion of the letter from al-Qaeda number 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri to al-Qaeda in Iraq number 1 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That letter was, according to the Counterterrorism Blog, captured in a counterterrorism operation in Iraq.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, of the Counterterroism blog, notes 2 significant aspects of the letter:

"First, the letter shows the al-Qaeda leadership's increasing sensitivity to public opinion. Zawahiri writes of the importance of popular support for al-Qaeda, and rebukes Zawahiri for the Iraq insurgency's "brutal tactics -- noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading." I've written before (most recently in the Weekly Standard) of al-Qaeda's increased efforts to tailor their message to appeasement-minded Westerners. Apparently, Zawahiri has also given some thought to how he can bolster al-Qaeda's image in the Muslim world.

"Second, the letter shows Iraq's current importance to al-Qaeda's jihad. Officials have said that Zawahiri's letter outlines al-Qaeda's four stage plan:

The letter of instructions and requests outlines a four-stage plan, according to officials: First, expel American forces from Iraq. Second, establish a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible. Third, extend the jihad to neighboring countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant -- a term that describes Syria and Lebanon. And finally, war against Israel. US officials say they were struck by the letter's emphasis on the centrality of Iraq to Al Qaeda's long-term mission.

This letter further confirms that we shouldn't withdraw from Iraq prematurely. If we were to do so, the country could collapse into a state of chaos that would allow al-Qaeda to gain a foothold and perhaps establish something similar to pre-9/11 Afghanistan: a geographic area where the group could train terrorists and plan attacks against the West."
I agree.

Google's New Feed Reader

Google (which hosts this blog) has a new RSS/Atom reader out. It is definitely worth a look see if you read more than a couple of blogs per day. Try it out at:

Use the Atom feed for this blog:

as your test feed.

Let me know what you think.

Avian Flu

There has been a lot of press the last few days about the Avian flu. Now, as Powerpundit points out, Avian flu may have surfaced in the Danube delta region of Rumania. Hopefully, this is the more benign version of that influenza strain.

Video IPod???

SAN FRANCISCO - A new video-enabled iPod is expected to be unveiled by Apple Computer Inc. during a press conference next week — though the maverick company is masterful at foiling such predictions.
This would definitely be a cool device -- but it's probably something else. But, hey, that could be interesting too!

Delphi Automotive Systems Bankruptcy

Delphi Automotive Systems has filed for bankruptcy. This just might be the opening salvo in the most momentous shift in labor relations since the 1930s. Or it might just be the beginning of the end for one or more iconic American corporations. Those of you who know for whom I work know which way I hope it goes. I will be posting on this quite a bit, I think, esp. as it relates to the labor aspects.

UPDATE: The Delphi bankruptcy petition and related filings can be found here.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Nobel "Peace" Prize

OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons.
Well, another ridiculous choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rather than award the prize to President Bush who arguably has done more to secure peace (in a real sense) in the world than anyone else alive at the moment, the Nobel Committee has again picked someone who promotes "peace", meaning the absence of war. El Baradei joins such notables as:

Jimmy Carter: The man who may be more responsible than any other for the rise of Islamic terrorism for his abject failure to respond to Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979

Yasser Arafat: What more do I need say here?

Mikhail Gorbachev: The final leader of the most murderous regime in history; a regime that set in place the climate for today's Islamism with its invasion of Afghanistan in 1980.

Kofi Annan: the man who oversaw the watering down and ineffectual enforcement (and fraudulent use of) the United Nations Oil for Food Program.

It is only surprising (and I am not being tongue in cheek here), given that list, that Adolph Hitler and Neville Chamberlain were not awarded the prize in 1939 for the Munich Accords, which preserved "peace" at the expense of dismembering Czechoslovakia. Perhaps they would have won the award if Hitler had just held off invading Poland until October 1939.

Who don't you see on the list:

Pope John Paul II
Winston Churchill
Ronald Reagan
G.H.W. Bush

The little fingers of each one of these men were far more deserving of the award than el Baradei and his group of inept weapons inspectors.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Taiwan Tells Google Off

Taiwan apparently has had enough of Google's political correctness:
"Taiwan's government has asked Web search company Google Inc. to stop calling the self-ruled island a 'province of China' on its Google Maps service, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday."

I don't think its likely that Google will change its description, at least not if it wants to do business with mainland China.

Harriet Miers and the Missed Opportunities

I am going to weigh in here and say that I don't know enough about Harriet Miers to know whether this was a good selection or not. However, I do agree with several points made on the Wall Street Journal editorial page today:
"We've always thought Mr. Bush should welcome an ideological Court fight, both because it would educate the public about the Constitutional issues at stake, and because he ultimately would have prevailed in putting another conservative jurist on the bench. In choosing Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush missed an opportunity for that kind of debate.

"He also missed a chance to send a message that taking firm sides in our judicial debates is not politically disqualifying. The President could have selected from numerous qualified men and women--minority and white--who have spent their lives arguing for conservative principles on the bench or off. We're referring to the Michael Luttigs, the J. Harvie Wilkinsons, the Edith Joneses.

"Is the President sending a message that these distinguished conservatives are too controversial to be nominated for the High Court, even with a Senate containing 55 Republicans? The lesson this nomination in particular will send to younger lawyers is to keep your opinions to yourself, don't join the Federalist Society, and, heaven forbid, never write an op-ed piece. This isn't healthy in a democracy, and in this sense a Supreme Court fight over legal philosophy that ended in a conservative victory would have demonstrated to the left that Borking no longer works."

Monday, October 03, 2005


Is it me or has there been a web problem today? Blogger was down for a very long time this morning and now I cannot log on to check my order.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mystery Photo

Not Trajan

Could this be Trajan???

Is Nothing Sacred?

Now they are going after the New Car Smell.

TOKYO - Anyone who's pulled away from the dealer's lot in a shiny, new sedan knows the seductive scent of fresh plastic, paint and upholstery that evokes a rush of pride and consumer satisfaction.

But that unmistakable new-car smell may soon be heading the way of the rumble seat: recent research linking it to a toxic cocktail of harmful chemicals is spurring efforts by Japanese automakers to tone down the fumes.

The End must be near.

More on Double Standards, Part 2

Try to imagine this one with Mohammed and the nineteen 9/11 hijackers:

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish bookmaker Paddy Power was fending off the wrath of Christians in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Ireland on Friday over an advert depicting Jesus and the Apostles gambling at the Last Supper.

The billboard posters, on display in the Irish capital, adapt Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of the event to show Jesus with a stack of poker chips, Judas with 30 pieces of silver and other apostles clutching hands of cards.

"There's a place for fun and games," says the caption.

Father Micheal MacGreil, Jesuit priest at St Francis Xavier's Church in central Dublin, branded the advert "grossly inappropriate and vulgar."

"This is an insult to the religious sensitivities of a lot of people and should be withdrawn immediately," he told Reuters.

I didn't go out looking for all these examples; I came across them over the last 2 days when I was doing other web surfing. I am trying to make 2 points here: first, that it seems to be fair game to make fun of Christ and images central to His time on earth and secondly, ANY images or concepts making fun of Islam are strictly off limits.

I am not advocating making fun of Islam (or any other religion, for that matter). My point is that it seems to be too easy these days to take liberties with Christians, while grossly politically incorrect to poke fun at practitioners of Islam.

Draw your own conclusions.

More on Double Standards, Part 1

Can you imagine this movie being called "The Koran"? Neither can I.