August 22, 2009

Letter to Reporter

During the period of negotiations between Mercury Marine and their employees, we’ve heard continuously of Mercury Marine’s dire financial straits. Out of curiosity, I viewed Brunswick’s quarterly report and what I found was surprising.

Mercury Marine did indeed have sales decrease over 40% from a year ago quarter and lost $7.8 million. While that sounds pretty serious, it doesn’t tell the whole picture. That loss of $7.8 million included restructuring charges of $9.6 million. Restructuring charges are one-time charges related to layoffs and worker buyouts. Often quarterly results are reported in financial media excluding one-time charges; since the charges happen once they don’t tell you much about the state of a business. If we take the very reasonable action of ignoring these $9.6 million one-time losses, Mercury Marine had a quarterly profit of $1.8 million. Let me reiterate, Mercury Marine had a PROFIT of $1.8 million in the second quarter. Mr. Schwabero didn’t mention to the media, community and the workers that Mercury Marine actually was profitable based on its operations. Did Mr. Schwabero do this to extract more painful concessions out of its workers and more generous government incentives? Mr. Schwabero, I challenge you to explain your reasoning for making your company’s financial situation seem worse than it really is.

Mercury Marine is proposing permanent wage and benefit reductions to cover a loss caused by one-time expenses. Additionally, the current financial situation is caused by a 43% downturn in outboard business versus a year ago. The market will improve substantially over the next few years. If Brunswick isn’t satisfied with Mercury’s quarterly profit $1.8 million, they can wait a few years; it’ll get better. A more equitable method of restructuring would have Mercury offer generous early retirement packages to their workers in order to reduce manufacturing capacity.

February 2, 2009

It’s just like that… except it’s not at all.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. had an apoplectic fit over increased funding for birth control in the stimulus bill. He takes issue particularly with a comment by Speaker Nancy Pelosi about how funding for birth control helps the economy:

“The family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those -- one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

Navarrette squeals about how this implies Pelosi support eugenics just like Margaret Sanger. But is Pelosi saying anything incorrect?

Children cost money. Maybe in Navarrette’s world they don’t but here in real world they do. They cost money to the parent for food, clothing, etc and to the government for education, health care, food stamps, etc. More children = more expenses. Pelosi is not advocating forcible sterilization like eugenicists; she’s saying kids cost money and if people have less kids, we don’t have to spend as much. It’s common fucking sense.

Navarrette seems to think there’s something racist about what Pelosi said but perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King would disagree. From his acceptance speech winning the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood:

“The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.”

January 5, 2009

Aren’t Republicans FOR AIDS Relief?

With the huge stimulus package, some conservatives are crying foul over the increased debt it will require. Since the states are requesting up to $1 Trillion in funding, state Republicans are throwing in their two cents. Glenn Grothman sent out a press release saying how Doyle should cut programs instead of asking for more money. That’s not out of the ordinary. But read the second to last sentence:

“Be it their past energy package, agriculture package, transportation package, No-Child-Left-Behind program or AIDS relief, we have had enough stimuli out of Washington.” (Emphasis added).

Is Glenn Grothman OPPOSED to AIDS relief? The other complaints are just standard conservative complaints but AIDS RELIEF?! Bush’s only international success has been PEPFAR and he’s been in favor of increased foreign aid to fighting AIDS.

I called Grothman’s office and they stated that Grothman doesn’t support deficit spending and has concerns about some parts of the AIDS relief program. I mentioned that he didn’t say that, he implied that AIDS relief was not something worth spending money on and asked if Senator Grothman really wanted to take that position. They didn’t really respond.

We knew Grothman was crazy but seriously, opposed to AIDS RELIEF?

January 3, 2009

Slashdot | Overzealous AirTran Boots 9 Passengers Off

So here’s what I don’t get. Let’s say these 9 passengers were really terrorists. They’ve gone through metal, bomb and explosive detectors. What is it that they could possibly do to a plane? Yell annoyingly at others?

Slashdot | Overzealous AirTran Boots 9 Passengers Off