Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Who is Commander Ogg?

Good question. His origin is in Marvel Two In One #5, but this does not say much.

We don't even know the name of the "ambitious Badoon" what got himself killed.

What we can guess is that if they were from the 21st Century instead of the 30th, they could easily have been a member of Dick Cheney Office of Special Plans.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ted Kennedy, Labor and the Minimum Wage

Heard Senator Ted "King" Kennedy on the Senate floor discussing Republicans attempts to kill the vote on the minimum wage (hat tip to Crooks and Liars, your source for all progressive video)

The Liberal War Horse as a passion for the poor and less fortunate that has not dimmed in the last 40 years. Living proof that being wealthy and still favoring the less fortunate are not incompatible.

One of the most persistent talking points by conservatives is that a higher minimum wage destroys small business by forcing them to cut employees because they have to pay out a higher payroll or otherwise be forced to raise prices, and this would lead to an inability to compete with businesses who could pay a lower wage. But is it true? Evidence shows that it is not.

I live in Washington, a progressive state who citizens made the choice 10 years ago to tie minimum age with inflation. As indicated by this chart from Department of Labor, minimum wage was :

Sep 3, 1964 -------$1.15
Sep 3, 1965 -------$1.25

However, the Inflation Calculator at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that you would need to earn $8.00 per hour in 2006 to have the same buying power 40 years ago:

Because of this, Washington pays a minimum wage of $7.93.

Now we come across the following article by Egan of the NY Times (free registration required):

For $7.93 an Hour, It’s Worth a Trip Across a State Line

Across the boarder at Idaho, minimum wage is at the Federal level, $5.15 an hour. 10 years ago the business leaders predicted that small towns on the Washington side of the state line would suffer. But according to Egan:

...instead of shriveling up, small-business owners in Washington say they have prospered far beyond their expectations. In fact, as a significant increase in the national minimum wage heads toward law, businesses here at the dividing line between two economies — a real-life laboratory for the debate — have found that raising prices to compensate for higher wages does not necessarily lead to losses in jobs and profits...

...the state’s major business lobby, the Association of Washington Business, is no longer fighting the minimum-wage law, which is adjusted every year in line with the consumer price index.

...During a recession five years ago, the same group had argued that Washington’s high minimum wage law would send businesses fleeing to Idaho. The group sent out a news release with a criticism of the law from John Fazzari, who owns a family-run pizza business in Clarkston, Wash., just minutes from the Idaho town of Lewiston.
But now Mr. Fazzari says business has never been better, and he has no desire to move to Idaho.
“To tell you the truth, my business is fantastic,” he said in an interview. “I’ve never done as much business in my life.”

So, why are the Republicans so intent on amending to death a bill that actual evidence shows will help rather then hurt the both business and labor?

I suspect it is an irrational hatred of all things related to Roosevelt's New Deal coupled with an almost religious belief that even when presented with evidence, they will still worship at the alter of the market place. And the market place hates regulation.

The alternative is that the Philosophy of the Republican Party circa 2007 is an absolute hatred for the plight of the worker, an a desire to keep the average Joe poor and downtrodden. But that would be cynical of me, wouldn't it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lapdogs and Mediawhores at the Post

For my main area of interest, politics, the biggest and most insidious spreaders of manure in the name of balance is the Main Stream Media.

Whether you call them lapdogs, Pre$$titutes, or mediawhores, the Gang of 500 excell at stenogrphy and are absolutly clueless when it comes to jounalism. In the words of the master comedian Steven Colbert:

Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

Which brings me to an article by Johnny the Wise in yesterdays Washington Post concerning Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the trouble with her "aggressive management style". Reading the article twice, you would be hard press to figure what the hell Weismen is talking about.

What should immediately set off your BS detector is phrases like "Powerful committee chairmen" and "many Democrats complain". Who are these Democrats who are complaining? We don't know. Johnny the Wise only mentioned one name, Rep Marcy Kaptur, who praised the Speaker for guiding through so many popular legislative items so quickly.

Seems like Weisman has a history of shilling for the Bush administration. Surprising.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Welcome to the Commanders Place

I don't know how long I intend to continue with this project, but I should at least give it a try.

Those of you who have read my comments in or Salon may know where I am coming from. While the majority of my Political Beliefs have more in common with the Left then the Right, I am first off a Scientist, Skeptic and Freethinker.

A Freethinker, or one who believes that critical thinking is the only way to deal with life and its many challenges can find America 2006 quite an experience.

On the Right you have all sorts of magical thinking, from Abstinence Education (they don't) to the Project For the New American Century and the Office of Special Plans (when it came to invading Iraq, they did not have one).

But my Progressive brothers and sisters, with their silly stuff like unpasteurized organic food (it will kill you) and obsession with Israel (a double standard?) show that they are not immune to the passion overriding facts.

Everything in Society that effects real people with real problems that require real solutions must be based on evidence that those solutions work.

For those of you who choose to read my random thoughts, please note that while I believe in maximum freedom consistent with maximum responsibility, I live in an evidence based world. I intend to offend the hell out of a lot of people who may not be able to deal with their sacred cows being torn down.