Funny Math Calculator: Special 6th Grade Fascist Model

Tired of calculators that give you the same results time after time! Weary of answers that are consistent with those of Government agencies like WI Dept. of Public Instruction and The Hudson School Board! Want results that prove Public Education is funded by immoral taxation!

Well you’ve come to the right place.
Introducing the Funny Math Calculator (Mod 6F) TM.
Now you can get “funny” results easily and effortlessly. Here’s how it works. With the use of Patent Pending inverse logic algorithm technology, developed by the objectivists at Ayn Rand Laboratories, the Funny Math Calculator(Mod 6F)TM, will adjust results to meet your needs, regardless of the facts. Say those pesky school board members argue that proceeds from revenue sources other than property taxes shouldn’t be figured into the cost per student total.

No problem, just press the “fudge” button and all those hidden or lost funds the Skool Bored denies are instantaneously reintroduced into the answer. Want to find that lost $4.5 million dollars it’s easy with the Funny Math Calculator (Mod 6F) TM press the “find” button and viola, the whereabouts of all that money hidden in French bank accounts is instantly revealed. This special 6th Grade Facist Model adds even more functionality. If you're accussed of creating you own formulas for the purpose of destroying public education, don't worry, your madness will remain a top secret. The FMC 6F has discretely hidden Obfuscation button for this very purpose. We are currently seeking endorsment for the FMC 6F from The Alliance for the Separation of School & State. Your 6th Grader will be thrilled when they discover the FMC 6F under the Christmas tree right next to the Ayn Rand Reader. This revolutionary new mathmatics tool is likely to produce a whole new generation of public education detractors. Don't forget the FMC 6F also comes in brown to match your youngster's new shirt.

The Funny Math Calculator (Mod 6F)TM, retails for $122.57 American.
For a limited time only this OTBL special offers you an extraordinary deal.
By online before the beginning of the school year and the Funny Math Calculator (Mod 6F)TM can be yours for 3 easy payments of $ 40.85, that’s a savings of 10 funny %, and guess what, we won’t let you pay sales tax on this item. Call now 1-800-Funcalc, or order on our secure website www.funcalc.fun.

Remembering Senator Proxmire

As you know, William Proxmire died yesterday. Appointed to fill the US Senate seat vacated by the death of Joe McCarthy, Proxmire severed in the Senate until the end of his term on January 3, 1989. Along with Gaylord Nelson, these two men occupied my state’s Senate from the beginning of my memory until into my 30s. Who can forget the Golden Fleece awards presented by Proxmire?

Like our blogging nemesis, Dr. Bill D, over at OTBL, I too had a real life encounter with Senator Proxmire. I had heard him speak at UW-RF in the late 1970s. In June 1981, I was working at the Polk County Ledger in Balsam Lake. I was a brand new reporter just out of college. It was Friday after work and some of us where at the bar hoisting a few cold ones and in comes Proxmire. He ordered a beer, made the rounds, shook hands and did his politician thing. When he got to me, I asked if he would be around long enough for me to run back to the office, grab the camera and take his picture. He said sure, his car was parked in front of the office and he would meet me there.

So we met up, I took his picture, told him my Gramma used to baby-sit Gaylord Nelson, he laughed and we parted ways. On Monday morning, I got the picture developed, rushed into the publisher’s office and showed old editor the picture that I was sure would grace the front page of that week’s paper.

He looked at it and said, “We can’t use that.”

“Why not, that’s Senator Proxmire!”

“Because,” he replied, “he’s a goddamn Democrat!”

Read more

Holiday Gift Ideas For You Favorite Anti-Guverment Friends

With only 10 days left until the big holiday, we found some quick gifts for those hard-to-shop for anti-community, anti-education, anti-union regressives on your holiday gift giving list.

If you can't afford to buy that gift ride in a flying saucer or send them to Roswell, New Mexico of the 2006 Extraterrestial Festival, get them one of these fabulous shirts. It will help them stand out at the school board meetings and it will help them reflect their true colors.

Free Market Fan Wear

Pen & Ink Jabs: All Quiet On The Wild Western Front

Points to Ponder: The Conceal and Carry Debate


Beep, Beep, Beep...Hypocrisy Sighting Over At On The Border LIne: CPI

On the other side of the border, the OTBL admin is trying to work his math-magic by trying to make a speck of gold dust look like Fort Knox. As always, he is busy trying to polish up the image of his favorite president in time for the holidays. Since it is so short and empty of meaning -- just another data point pulled from the desert sands of Roswell, New Mexico -- I will include his entire post:

Biggest Drop in 56 Years!
Filed under: General, News, Finances, Free Markets --- admin @ 1:02 pm

The Labor Department today, that its Consumer Price Index plunged 0.6 percent in November, its biggest decline since July of 1949. That's 56 years. The slide was led by a record 8 percent decline in the cost of energy. And I thought the energy companies where gouging us.

That is a big drop in the consumer price index, but it is a data point. You will see the OTBL'ers use this data point trick all the time. A favorite is to say they've seen a house in Hudson that's had a for sale sign in the yard for a year and a half. They say this means that real estate isn't selling in Hudson. Of course, houses, multi-family dwellings, etc. are going up all around the city limits, but they ignore the facts and build their case on one house. And they actually call themselves "intellectuals" over there! Be careful Scarecrow, they will steal your diploma and feed you to their favorite, political hay burner.

Of course the OTBL admin is trying to turn it into some nourishment for W -- his favorite, political hay burner. The 8 percent decline in the cost of energy is also an interesting data point and, yes, the oil companies were gouging us.

I did some research on his blog site and I failed to turn up the 12 percent increase in energy in the November CPI. Likewise, he failed to mention the 18.3 percent increase in the cost of energy over the past year.

For your information, the CPI measures the cost of buying a fixed bundle of goods (some 400 consumer goods and services), representative of the purchase of the typical working-class urban family. The fixed basket is divided into some of the following categories: food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, and entertainment. Generally referred to as the "cost-of-living index," it is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Dept. of Labor.

Below is the current CPI measure taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.

With these statistics, it's not the monthly data point that is important. It's the overall trend for given time periods. Below is a trend explanation from the BOL site:

During the first 11 months of 2005, the CPI-U rose at a 3.8 percent
seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This compares with an increase of
3.3 percent for all of 2004. The index for energy, which increased 16.6
percent in 2004, advanced at a 21.7 percent SAAR in the first 11 months of
2005. Petroleum-based energy costs increased at a 22.0 percent annual
rate and charges for energy services rose at a 21.3 percent annual rate.
The food index has increased at a 2.4 percent rate thus far in 2005,
following a 2.7 percent rise for all of 2004. Excluding food and energy,
the CPI-U advanced at a 2.1 percent SAAR in the first 11 months of 2005
after advancing 2.2 percent in 2004.

Look at the cost of energy over the past two years. It's interesting how the OTBL'ers only point out positive data points for Bush's economy and only negative points when it comes to public education. They point fingers at the Clinton News Network (CNN) about not reporting this or that and the then the OTBL'ers turn around and do the same thing. Hypocrisy?

When I saw this CPI statistic today, I knew exactly how the OTBL admin would be reporting it. A mouth ago when gas was over $3, the OTBL'ers were saying that's just free-market economics. Like most of President Bush's sheep -- I mean base -- OTBL'ers don't want to admit the truth about what is happening in Iraq.

Yesterday afternoon, on Wisconsin Public Radio, I listened to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan field questions about Iraq and he said oil is a major reason why we are there -- he quickly added it wasn't the only reason. I believe Congressman Ryan is a Republican. Apparently he can admit the truth.

Scrooge W. Bush: Part 1

You're An OTBL Scientific Intellektual If...

You know you're intellekiigent and enjoy intellektual endeavors, but which ways of approaching mental genius are your style? Looks like I is a Scientific Intellektual. Ewe?

To join the lemmings at OTBL jump here...

Psssst...Beep beep beep...the silence is deafening On the Border Line

I got mine in the mail yesterday. I was anxious to open it, but I decided to wait. I thought I would wait for the fairly unbalanced bloggers on the dark side of the border to report the good news. I checked this morning. Nothing. I checked at noon. Silence. I check later in the afternoon. Mute. Finally, after getting home and shoveling the snow, I had to do it.

I opened my tax bill. There were minuses in front of the percents. How could that be? After all the OTBL gnashing of teeth over the Hudson hyphenated woman’s tax dance, there it was. A tax reduction of 4.7 percent! No wonder the OTBL’ers were picking on the PC Christmas crowd. Their completely engorged agenda of spit showers, anonymous slander and anti-community venom for 2006 went limp.

Now I live in a modest home in the country with a lawn that looks like a bad hair cut and a few trees for me to hug. Nothing fancy like those palaces like those rich Republicans at www.ontheborderline.net. My bill went down $112. I can only imagine the much large deductions they got on their tax bills. I am not sure which ones of the OTBL klan are going to run for the Hudson school board this year, but I am sure the amount they are saving could be used as a down payment on a trip to the Hair Club of Men. As a school board candidate, you need to have a full head of hair.

For you blogger new to the hypocrisy across the valley at the OTBL blog, good news about public education is no news at all.

What a hoot!

A Tale of Two Christmases

The battle continues, Christmas is under attack, but which Christmas is the victim, and whose doing the attacking? It depends who you ask. Here are two different perspectives on the assault on Christmas.

Jewish Capitalist Saves Christmas-Buys Tree at Wal-Mart

“Lauren’s Weekly Rant- 12-08-2004

Last week I did something bizarre: Well, bizarre for a Jew:
Provoked by pure indignation at the Left’s assault upon Christmas , I marched directly to that evil monument of Capitalism, so deplored by the bleeding Left, known as Wal-Mart and purchased a synthetic Christmas tree.”
This writer goes on about the assault on Christmas until she expresses her greatest fear: “So OK- no Jesus, but WHAT on earth did ‘Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer’ do to deserve the wrath of the liberal Left?…..
Next, Santa will get the Heave-ho!” Read the entire account here.

But there’s another take on the assault on Christmas.
Christmas Wars

By Michael Lerner, AlterNet. Posted December 24, 2004.

There is a beautiful spiritual message underlying Christmas that has universal appeal: the hope that gets reborn in moments of despair, the light that gets re-lit in the darkest moments of the year, is beautifully symbolized by the story of a child born of a teenage homeless mother who had to give birth in a manger because no one would give her shelter, and escaping the cruelty of Roman imperial rule and its local surrogate Herod who already knew that such a child would grow up to challenge the entire imperialist system. To celebrate that vulnerable child as a symbol of hope that eventually the weak would triumph over the rule of the arrogant and powerful is a spiritual celebration with strong analogies to our Jewish Chanukah celebration which also celebrates the victory of the weak over the powerful. And many other spiritual traditions around the world have similar celebrations at this time of year.

The loss of this message, its subversion into a frenetic orgy of consumption, rightly disturbs Christians and other people of faith.” Read the entire article here.

Our friends on the other side of the borderline are having a field day defending Christmas against the assault. (Probably in response to Machine Gun Barbie ) . Our biggest fan, bildanielson, intellectual leader of the borderline sheep herd, describes a short description of an upcoming winter break on the Hudson High School calendar as “political correctness run amok “. As one who has not succumbed to this brand of PC, (I say Merry Christmas at every checkout line this time of year) I have to agree. The ACLU has convinced school boards that the mere mention of the word Christmas or any inkling of an affirmation of religion, and especially Christian religion, is close to being a crime against humanity. (Don’t they have real civil liberties issues to address, like the Patriot Act?)
But which Christmas are the borderliners defending? Michael Lerner’s Christmas, that sees a deeply spiritual message in the story of Jesus’s birth or the Christmas of the Wal-Mart shopper who buys a fake Christmas tree out of spite for the left and fears that Santa will get the heave ho ?
Although they talk a good line over there at ontheborderline.net my guess is they’re worried Santa, or more realistically that Wal-Mart isn’t going to get its bottom line Christmas bonus profit.
It seems like the initiation into the Christmas club is pretty easy these days, speak out against the assault on Christmas, listen to Rush Limbaugh, become a "values" voter for the Republican Party. That’s about it, you’re in the club and everyone else is your heathen enemy. Now you’re free to the verbally assault and post veiled threats of violence against neighbors and community members ( including soccer moms and their children) who don’t agree with your narrow- minded view. You can freely mock and ridicule school board members and supporters of public education, after all their all Socialists. You can incite and encourage personal attacks against those who are morally bankrupt (from your logically inverted and perverted Ayn Rand world view), and, oh did I forget to mention preach the Gospel of Greed.
The next time you Borderliners are out defending Christmas, here’s a suggestion (I think God called it a Commandment) Love Thy Neighbor as Thy Self. You guys might want to start practicing the tenants of that religion you pretend belong to.


Pen & Ink Jabs

NR School District Hires OTB&L Consulting For Future Planning Needs

After much debate, endless discussions on the future needs of its school district and countless exposures to voodoo math spreadsheets, the NR school board decided to end its contract with the architectural firm STA&R. Apparently, most of the push to get rid of STA&R came from a group of free-market economists from nearby Hudson who were upset with the fact that STA&R expected to make a profit for their services. Dr. Bill D. Oilwell heads the Hudson group, known as OTB&L Consulting.

The group has been a consultant to the Hudson school district for a number of years. Although members of the group have never actually sat down and discussed school district business with the school board or district administration, they feel their ability to write letters to the editor and use anonymous blog names to slander school board members are all the credentials needed. Make no mistake, they are very skilled at standing up at school board meetings and reading five minute presentations. Likewise, they are skilled at writing sophisticated information request to the school district for complex requests. A sample request is “how many miles did the superintendent drive on May 3, 2003.”

Over a very short period, OTB&L has been able to generate brazillians of such requests. In fact, OTB&L has sent in so many requests for information to the school district that, because of the unanticipated revenue flow generated, the US Postal Service may reduce the cost of a 37 cent stamp in 2006.

Self-proclaimed financial alchemists, the consultants at OTB&L claim, if given a chance to put their two-cents worth into planning the future needs of the NR school system, they will be able to turn New Richmond into a two-bit district. That is a 1250% ROI by their estimates. Even the NR school board’s own Dr. No would vote yes to such an opportunity. OTB&L does not expect to get paid for its services until the project is over and the district is completely sucked dry of all government-supplied funding.

OTB&L will systematically approach the district's planning assessments. First, they will evaluate the current space needs. Second, they will evaluate all district school facilities for a possible reconfiguration to meet classroom needs. Finally, if it is determined that new facilities are needed, OTB&L will provide the designs for a variety of building options.

Although OTB&L said it has no agenda for their studies and recommendations. They pointed out that they may live in the past, but they are not going to have the Big Chief tablets littered with facts and figures from previous district planning groups.

Initial Space Study: Phase 1

Pat Buchanan: Economic Patriotism Is Dead

Have we sold out the greatest country in all history for a mess of pottage?
Willys built the jeeps that carried Ike’s armies across Europe. Ford built the Sherman tanks. Packard made the engines for JFK’s PT boat and for the P-40s of Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers. Studebaker built the Weasel armored personnel carrier. Chevrolet built the engines for the Flying Boxcar, Buick for the B-24 Liberator, Oldsmobile for the B-25 Mitchell Colonel “Jimmy” Doolittle flew in his “Thirty-Seconds-Over-Tokyo” raid in 1942.

...Thanksgiving week, its share of the U.S. market down from 46 percent 30 years ago to 26 percent today, GM announced the closing of nine more American plants and the dismissal of 30,000 more workers.

...That U.S. manufacturing that once employed a third of our labor force now employs perhaps 10 percent does not matter.

...That the most self-sufficient nation in history that produced 96 percent of all that it consumed now depends on foreigners for a fourth of its steel, half its autos and machine tools, two-thirds of its textiles and apparel, most of its cameras, bicycles, motorcycles, shoes, TVs, videotape machines, radios, etc., does not matter.

That tens of thousands of foreign workers are brought in each year by U.S. employers to take high-tech jobs, that U.S. factories are shut down daily here while opening in China, that professional work is being outsourced to India, that we borrow $2 billion a day to finance consumption of foreign goods—none of this matters. The nation does not matter. The country does not matter. For we are all now in a Global Economy.

Fifty years ago, a trade deficit of 6 percent of GDP, a hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs, a growing dependence on foreign nations for the vital necessities of our national life, would have been taken as signs of the decline and fall of a great nation.

Read more in the December 19, 2005 issue of the American Conservative

Today In Labor History

December 14
1852: Daniel DeLeon, socialist scholar and labor organizer

Daniel de Leon was born in the Dutch colony of Curacao on 14th December, 1852. His parents sent him to Germany and the Netherlands to be educated and he arrived in the United States in 1874. Soon afterwards he found work as a teacher of Latin, Greek and Mathematics.

De Leon settled in New York and became a student and later a teacher at Columbia University. Converted to socialism by the writings of Edward Bellamy, De Leon joined the Knights of Labor and worked for Henry George in his campaign to become mayor of the city.

In 1890 De Leon joined the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) and the following year became the editor of its newspaper, The People. In 1891 he ran as SLP candidate for governor of New York and won 13,000 votes.
Over the next few years De Leon, Laurence Gronlund, Morris Hillquit and Abraham Cahan emerged as the main leaders of the party. De Leon, a Marxist, began arguing for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. He claimed that as United States was the most developed capitalist country in the world it was "ripe for the execution of Marxian revolutionary tactics."

In 1892 the SLP Simon Wing ran for President, with Charles H. Matchett as Vice President. They received 21,173 votes. In 1896 the SLP's vote increased to 36,367 and in 1898 reached a peak of 82,204. At that time the party had 10,000 members.
De Leon was highly critical of the trade union movement in America. Originally a member of the Knights of Labor, In 1895 he helped form the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance (STLA) as a revolutionary alternative to the conservative American Federation of Labour. The move was not very successful and after several years only had 20,000 members.

In the 1900 presidential election the Socialist Labor Party candidates received only 33,382. The other major left-wing party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by Eugene Debs and Victor Berger, did better winning 97,000 votes.

On the 27th June, 1905, De Leon and a group of radical trade unionists held a convention in Chicago. Those who attended the proceedings included Eugene Debs, Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, Lucy Parsons and Charles Moyer. At the meeting it was decided to form the radical labour organization, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

In 1908 the Wobblies, as they became known, split into two factions. The group headed by De Leon and Eugene V. Debs advocated political action through the Socialist Party and the trade union movement, to attain its goals. The other faction, led by Bill Haywood, believed that general strikes, boycotts and even sabotage were justified in order to achieve its objectives. Haywood's views prevailed and De Leon left the organization.

De Leon then went on to form the Workers' International Union in opposition to the Industrial Workers of the World. Daniel de Leon died in New York on 11th May, 1914.


Education: Roots In History

From the landing at Plymouth Rock to today, educators and community members have debated over the best way that government should fulfill its responsibility to educate citizens. Underlying these debates are three central questions: What is the purpose of a public education? Who is to receive the educational services provided by the public? And, how does government ensure the quality of these educational services? In various forms, these questions lay beneath all educational changes and reform measures in American history.

Today, school choice, bilingual education, and testing are the hot issues being debated in communities, government chambers, and newspaper op-ed pages. These reform initiatives have lofty goals of increasing access, raising standards of quality, spawning innovation, and empowering students. But as promising as each of these initiatives may be, each produces unintended consequences, thus increasing the complexity of the debate.

Our goal in this material is not to encourage debate but to start deliberation. Contemporary issues cannot be reasonably discussed outside the context of history. To understand where we want to go, we need to first understand how we have come to this point. What follows is an exploration of these issues and their antecedents in history. These topics and timelines are intended to inform community members about the legacy of these vital issues in education today. Much of the information contained in these "Education" posts comes from a PBS series titled: The Story of American Public Education. Check out their weblink.

Ho Ho Ho Happy Halliburton Days

The long list of waste, fraud, bribery and other abuses associated with Halliburton’s Iraq contracts now fill volumes. Vigilant oversight by Rep. Henry Waxman’s office and Pentagon investigators—with the help of company whistleblowers—have uncovered attempts to charge taxpayers $45 per case of soda, $100 per bag of laundry, $10,000 a day to use five-star hotels in Kuwait. (Meanwhile, the troops are sweating it out in tents in the desert). There’s been $167 million worth of price gouging for imported gasoline, and $186 million charged for meals that were never served to the troops, and a $6 million kickback to two employees (fired by the company) from a subcontractor.
War-Profiteering for Fun and Profit

In 1 year, Halliburton's stock doubles as troop deaths double

There are unverified reports that Halliburton now charges troops $5/hr.
to e-mail home. Watch for updates.
Now here's a "fleece market" that taxpayers can be proud of.
Better call my broker. Now may be the time to sell Halliburton shares?

Today In Labor History

December 13
1924: Death of Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), First President of the American Federation of Labor, 1886-1924.

Samuel Gompers was one of the founders of the American Federation of Labor in 1886. He was elected president, a position he held, except for one year, until his death 38 years later.

Under his leadership, the organization grew from a handful of struggling labor unions to become the dominant organization within the Labor Movement in the United States and Canada.
Gompers was born in London, England, on January 26, 1850. His parents were poor immigrant Jews from Holland. In London the young Sam was apprenticed to a shoemaker at age 10. He soon changed trades and became a cigar maker, a trade he brought with him to New York when his family emigrated to America in 1863.

Life was difficult in the crowded slums of New York. There were a few relatively large cigar making shops, perhaps, with as many as 75 employees; but much of the work was done in a thousand or more sweatshops, often the same crowded apartments where the workers lived. Thousands of little children worked in New York sweatshops and factories, as they helped their parents eke out a living.

By 1885, Sam Gompers had become highly skilled at his trade and was employed in one of the larger shops. He was respected by his fellow workers, mostly Germans, who elected him as president of Cigar Makers Union Local 144. He and the other officers were unpaid as they struggled to keep the union together in the face of mechanization and the flooding of the labor market by scores of new immigrants, largely Bohemian.

In 1881 Gompers was sent as the delegate of the Cigar Makers to a conference of various unions which created a loose confederation to be called the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Councils. Although without the title of President, as head of the legislative committee, Gompers became its leader, practically speaking; but the organization was structurally weak and ineffective.

Nevertheless, the need for close cooperation among like-minded labor organizations was abundantly evident; so the organization was reconstituted in 1886 as the American Federation of Labor. This time Gompers was the President. His office was not much more than an 8x10 room in a shed. His son was the office boy. There was $160 in the treasury. As Gompers said, it was "much work, little pay, and very little honor."

Four years later, the AFL represented 250,000 workers. In two more years the number had grown to over one million. Under Gompers, the guiding principle was to concentrate on collective bargaining with employers, and on legislative issues directly affecting the job. Broad social goals and political entanglements were left to others.

Gompers did have an interest in international labor issues. At the conclusion of World War I, he attended the Versailles Treaty negotiations, where he was instrumental in the creation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) under the League of Nations.

He was a supporter of trade unionism in Mexico and, though elderly and in failing health, he went to Mexico City to attend the inauguration of Mexico's reform President Calles; and, also, the Congress of the Pan-American Federation of Labor. It was at the Congress that his final collapse occurred. He was rushed to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas where he died on December 13, 1924.


Voodoo Economics:

They're Smokin' More Than Mirrors

Reagan's Trickle Down Theory Ain't Trickling

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.”

- Supreme Court Justice Louis B. Brandeis

The richest 1 percent of Americans now have more income that the bottom 96 million.
The richest 1 percent owns nearly half the country's wealth.
The top 10 percent owns 80 percent of the wealth.
The Census Bureau reports the gap between rich and poor is the largest in 75 years, just before the Great Depression.

This ideal has degraded to a “greed is good” philosophy and the Ronald Reagan drivel that “government is the problem.” Add the many politicians that are bought by corporate America through campaign donations and the result is legislation that is transforming the U.S. from a democracy to a plutocracy where the rich rule.
“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime?”
- Aristotle

Read more

Corporate Greed Trumps Public Safety at Merck

Another reason to oppose liability limits:

The revelation that pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co. doctored the results of a clinical study of its popular arthritis drug Vioxx is another example of how greed sometimes trumps the public's welfare in today's business climate. The New England Journal of Medicine revealed in an editorial Thursday that Merck failed to report heart attacks in some patients participating in the Merck-funded trial.

"The health of the public, of many, many thousands of people, was at stake here," New England Journal of Medicine executive editor Dr. Gregory D. Curfman said. The bottom line is that Merck fudged data and jeopardized thousands of lives in order to pad its profits. Such corporate greed deserves punishment.

Unfortunately, cases of corporate greed at the expense of the health of the public are not new. Lawsuits have targeted manufacturers of products containing asbestos, for example, as a result of hundreds of thousands of painful deaths suffered by those exposed to that carcinogen. Decades of medical research have shown a clear connection between asbestos exposure and lung disease. Yet the industry continues to deny the link.

What connection do the asbestos deaths have with the latest revelations about Vioxx? Both the asbestos and pharmaceutical industries have strong lobbies in Washington urging lawmakers to limit their liability in lawsuits stemming from the deaths their products cause. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has said an Asbestos Trust Fund bill will be the first major legislation considered when the Senate returns in January. The bill would limit the liability of companies that knowingly put the public's health in danger in order to feed their corporate coffers.

Companies that knowingly put the bottom line above the public welfare do not deserve liability limits. They deserve punishment for their despicable deception and greed; punishment that deters future fraud and deception.

From the Sunday, Dec. 11 Edition of the Decatur Daily

Quotes to Ponder

"Never, ever underestimate the political potency of a declining paycheck."

--Robert Reich,
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor


CK's Holiday "Cheers"

Part 1: The Evil Of Free Market Economics Exposed...In 1843

In "A Chrsitmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

This Christmas season, as you watch one of the many versions of "A Christmas Carol" and are reminded what the Christmas spirit is all about, remember Charles Dickens' was one of the first and most famous, progressive authors who exposed the evils of "free market" economics. That dingy, cold-hearted London cityscape he wrote about was the same backdrop that drove Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles to write the "Communist Manifesto."

"Carol" was published in 1843 and the "Manifesto" in 1848. These authors made it their life work exposing the evils of the unfettered capitalism that drove the Industrial Revolution and was responsible for the degrading conditions of such industrial cities as London.

Both books are a little over 100 pages. Get copies at your local bookstore or the library, read the introductions and forwards. Despite what the bloggers at OTBL might say, you won't burn in Hell if you read the "Manifesto." I recently read FA Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom," -- one of the favorite OTBL books-- and I'm still able to blog about it.

Below is a passage from "A Christmas Carol" that will harken any true OTBL free markerteer back to the good old days they hope to return to:

"The door of Scooge's counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who, in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scoorge kept the coal-box in his room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of s strong imagination, he failed."
If it were Christmas Eve 2005, Scrooge would have threatened to have his clerk's job outscourced and would have anounced that the rising cost of health would mean a reduction in his salary. Remember, Scoorge didn't become a likable, progressive guy until he threw off the shackles of free market selfishness.