Too many things to comment on. Katrina. Wow, that seems to have blown the lid off American complacency. I had to check my hearing after listening to Bush’s speech. Which Texan was that ? G.W. Bush or L.B. Johnson? Ah, but don’t get ahead of yourself, Toby. We’ll erase poverty and racism and still eliminate the estate tax. We’ll even do it by waiving federal prevailing wage rules in reconstruction work. I guess this follows Barbara Bush’s logic: the hurricane is the best thing that ever happened to those lazy New Orleanian evacuees, so they should be happy with substandard wages. And there are plenty of service jobs available in Texas with the likes of Babara and King George I. “Another mint julip, darling, and make ’em just like they used to in the Big Easy.”
A few suggested readings/listening:
On a gas prices, listen to Barak Obama’s September 14 podcast. Solve the energy crisis and the pension crisis all at once. Make a deal with the US automakers: the government will take over retiree pension obligations if the automakers agree to stringent benchmarks for building fuel efficient/flexible fuel/hybrid cars. (By the way, this podcast–and Al Franken’s–is also distributed via Apple’s iTunes Store, suggesting an interesting opening for progressives).
AFL-CIO Update: UNITE-HERE finally announced they are leaving the AFL-CIO on September 13th. A few days later (on Sept 21st), the Change to Win Coalition announced a September 27th convention in St. Louis to found a new labor federation. Not much advanced notice, so don’t expect the rank and file to show up.
Obama’s talk reminded me of the tears of Boeing executives over their machinist strike. According to an NPR report (that I cannot find) the company cannot give in to its workers because that would undermine competitiveness against Airbus (the European Union aircraft manufacturing consortium). I’m thinking, wake up corporate America! The reason you can’t compete with the Europeans is because their governments pay for health insurance and pensions. This is not an unfair trade practice. This is smart capitalist policy. Having grown up among the US managerial class, I am comfortable declaring that America’s so-called “better types” are too prejudiced against ordinary people to know a good deal when they see it.
Meanwhile, my own family relocation is complete and I hope to be a more active blogger.