community Service means Business!

5 November 2004

rescue me...

Rescue American Jobs
thank the huricane season...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. jobs soared at the sharpest rate in seven months in October, the government reported on Friday, helped by a surge in construction activity as hurricane-battered areas in the Southeast were rebuilt.

The high-tech sector is booming under President Bush
The Labor Department just reported that the unemployment rate in the information-technology (IT) sector in the third quarter plummeted to just 3.4 percent — down from 6.2 percent in the first quarter. “Some 408,000 more Americans worked in IT this summer than . . . six months earlier,” says InformationWeek magazine. That’s a spectacular increase of 14 percent.

Today, 3.4 million Americans work in IT — precisely the same number as in the spring of 2000 when the tech bubble inflated to bursting. The difference between now and then is that jobs are rising in healthy fashion as demand for new computer and communications gear increases worldwide. We have finally worked the Clinton-era excesses out of the system, just as we have in the economy overall.

What’s remarkable about recent IT growth is that the work force is undergoing a dramatic realignment, with higher-paying jobs increasing at home. While fewer workers are employed in the United States today as computer programmers and analysts, many more are employed as managers and network and database administrators. That’s just the way trade is supposed to work in the model developed two centuries ago by Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Also last week, a new study for the Organization for International Investment by Matthew Slaughter, a highly regarded Dartmouth economist, found that “insourcing,” the hiring of Americans by U.S. subsidiaries of companies based abroad — many in the technology sector — has been rising. Such firms employed 5.4 million at last report, up from 2.6 million in 1987, and paid them 31 percent more than the U.S. average.

help is on the way...

Read the employment report here.
The labor market definitely benefited from the recover from hurricane season. Construction saw 71,000 jobs created in October, while professional and business services payrolls rose by 97,000, with a large number of temporary jobs created.
Manufacturing jobs dropped by 5,000, while retailers created 21,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% for the month, in line with expectations and up from a 0.1% rise in September.

The labor market over the last 12 months
Month Change*
October '04 337,000
April 346,000
September 139,000
March 353,000
August 128,000
February 83,000
July 85,000
January 159,000
June 96,000

December '03 8,000
May 208,000
November 83,000
Total jobs created: 2,025,000*Change in nonfarm payrolls. Source: Labor Department

The economy is fundamentally in good shape, Zandi said, but there could be bumps with higher interest rates in the future. “As the job market gains traction, I think we are going to see long-term interest rates push up and we're going to have to adjust to that,” Zandi said.
The housing market and vehicles sales will both struggle with higher rates, he said.The White House trumpeted the jobs growth as the results of the president’s policy.
"What we saw today was a continuation of what we've seen from the summer of 2003,” White House Economic Adviser Greg Mankiw told “Squawk Box.” “We've seen 14 months of job gains. The economy's heading in the right direction. The president passed his jobs growth bill in the summer of 2003 and the economy turned around then and we've seen a robust growth since then.”


heal thyself....

Kai Wright, AlterNet
Many progressive black voters entered this election in a
jubilant mood, with increased engagement and high turnout
in key states. But their effect was often countered by new
evangelical voters -- some of whom were African

Margo Baldwin, MobyLives
The publisher of George Lakoff's latest book describes her
battle with the New York Times and the power of independent
More MediaCulture:

Molly Ivins, AlterNet
Stop thinking about suicide or moving abroad.  Want to feel
better?  Figure out what you can do to help rescue the
More Molly Ivins:

4 November 2004


$1 trillion in Social Security to fake U.S. budget deficit numbers for next five years
Posted by: Admin on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 07:05 AM GMT
The media keep reporting the fake U.S. budget deficit numbers. For example, a July 31, 2004 Washington Post story states:
The White House forecast yesterday that the U.S. budget deficit for this year will be a highest-ever $445 billion
A Sep. 7, 2004 Washington Post story states:
Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry retorted, "Only George W. Bush could celebrate over a record budget deficit of $422 billion."
An Oct. 14, 2004 Reuters story states:
The U.S. budget deficit expanded to $412.6 billion in the 2004 fiscal year
However, those numbers are cooked by including the Social Security Trust Fund. As explained by a Nov. 13, 1996 U.S. Congress research paper:
On-Budget and Off-Budget Entities. Under the unified budget approach, first implemented for fiscal year 1969, trust funds and federal funds are merged together into a single budget presentation. Over the years, Congress and the President have enacted specific exceptions to this approach. Entities included in the unified budget are referred to as "on-budget" entities; those excluded from the unified budget are known as "off-budget" entities. At present, the Social Security trust funds and the postal service fund are the only off-budget entities. The consolidated budget totals presented in the budget include both on-budget and off-budget transactions.
A Sep., 2004 Congressional Budget Office publication conveniently provides budget numbers for both the "off-budget" and the "on-budget", as estimated by both the CBO and the OMB. The CBO pegs the real 2004 ("on-budget") deficit at $574 billion, and the OMB pegs it at $599 billion. The CBO estimates a surplus of $153 billion for the "off-budget" (i.e. mostly baby boomers paying into the Social Security Trust Fund for the own impending retirement) to arrive at a "unified" deficit of $422 billion, the mythical number quoted by the media and even the supposed opponent to the current administration.

(SEE: to the right in the same chart, the rightmost column sums up the budgets for the five years from 2005 to 2009. A trillion dollars of Social Security Trust Fund money is earmarked to reduce the five-year deficit from $2 trillion to $1 trillion.
If the past year is any indication, this trillion dollars will never be reported in the mass media.

As highlighted by, according to an Oct. 21, 2004 Toronto Globe & Mail newspaper article (free cache):
China's Communist rulers have a blunt message for anyone who frets about the planned Chinese takeover of Canada's biggest mining company: Get ready for more to come.

In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail in Beijing this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing made it plain that the controversial $7-billion takeover of Noranda Inc. is just a small element in a much more ambitious strategy of investment in Canada's resources sector to feed China's voracious appetite for raw materials.

"Given our rapid economic growth, we're facing an acute shortage of natural resources," the Foreign Minister told The Globe.
"No matter how plentiful our natural resources, when you divide them by our population of 1.3 billion, the figure will be very small," he said.
"The Chinese government is encouraging Chinese enterprises to make investments in Canada, particularly in the field of resources exploitation."
It is the first public comment on the Noranda issue by a senior Chinese leader since the controversy over the planned takeover erupted last month.

Towns Hand Out Tax Breaks [and cash], Then Cry Foul as Jobs Leave
Posted by: Admin on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 06:05 PM GMT 
As highlighted by, according to an Oct. 20, 2004 New York Times article of the same title (free cache at the link):
Galesburg, Illinois, People in this big-shouldered town, birthplace of the poet Carl Sandburg, say Maytag broke their hearts. After a decade of tax breaks and union concessions to keep the company in a place that has been making refrigerators for more than 50 years, Maytag closed its factory last month, terminating 1,600 jobs.
Maytag may be done with Galesburg, but Galesburg is not done with Maytag.
District Attorney Paul L. Mangieri wants to sue Maytag to recoup what he says were excess tax breaks in a broad package of incentives to keep the company here. Much of the money, he said, came from a purse that would have gone to schools in this economically fragile community.

"We gave Maytag these incentives, and they accepted them," said Mr. Mangieri, a Navy veteran who grew up in a small town not far from here in western Illinois. "We did it based on faith and trust. If we don't do anything now, it sends a message that we lack the resolve to treat the rich and privileged the same as everybody else."

Maytag says it honored its agreement and took just the breaks to which it was entitled.

There are echoes of Mr. Mangieri's argument in Putnam County, Fla., which gave $4.5 million in cash and tax breaks to attract a call center owned by Sykes Enterprises, only to have it pull up stakes this month after less than five years in Palatka.

"We ought to sue them," said Timothy Keyser, a Putnam County lawyer who opposed the tax breaks from the start. "They sold the county a bill of goods."

[...] In New York, State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi said in an audit this year that a program that gives millions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses that promise to create work ended up rewarding some businesses that lost jobs. Other state officials disputed those findings.

3 cheers heard round the world....

An Industry in India Cheers Bush's Victory
Published: November 4, 2004

ANGALORE, India, Nov. 3 - India's outsourcing companies were jubilant Wednesday that the elections in the United States will return President Bush to office.

"This is great news for the offshoring industry," said Nandan M. Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys Technologies, a software services company. The trend toward outsourcing will now become even more inexorable, Mr. Nilekani said.

Offshore outsourcing, or the moving of work from the United States to low-cost centers like India, was an issue in the presidential election. The Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, blamed Mr. Bush and outsourcing for the loss of thousands of American jobs.

Mr. Bush, in contrast, was largely silent on the issue. But members of his team, among them N. Gregory Mankiw, the chief economic adviser, and Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, have both defended outsourcing as another form of free trade.
Mr. Kerry referred to ''Benedict Arnold companies and C.E.O.'s'' that sent jobs overseas. He promised that as president he would end tax deferrals for companies that send work abroad.

The tone of some campaign comments criticizing outsourcing was noted with some concern in India. The Times of India, the country's leading newspaper, called outsourcing the "swear word" of the 2004 elections. Thousands of workers in India's technology centers like Bangalore and Hyderabad closely followed the campaign. India's outsourcing industry employs over 800,000.

in the news

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices spiked up above $51 a barrel on Wednesday as increasing signs of an electoral victory for President Bush raised the prospect of continued high demand in the world's biggest energy consumer.

U.S. election tallies projected a growing lead for Bush, including the key swing states of Ohio and Florida, helping to reverse a slide in prices this week on speculation that a win by Democrat Senator John Kerry could usher in lower prices.

U.S. light crude surged as high as $51.20 a barrel, putting a floor under a week-long 12 percent rout. At 2:24 a.m. EST, U.S crude was up $1.27 at $50.89.

"A Bush administration continued in its present form would have a Department of Energy that is extremely fossil fuel-centric and, because of the focus on fossil fuels, we would expect prices to rise," said economist Jason Schenker at Wachovia Securities.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fewer Americans filed jobless claims last week and worker productivity slowed sharply in the third quarter, government data showed on Thursday, hinting at better conditions in the country's sluggish labor market.

Financial markets took the data in stride, with both the dollar and benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury bonds hovering following the release, awaiting the more important October employment report due out on Friday.

First-time claims for state unemployment benefits shrank to 332,000 in the week ended Oct. 30 from 351,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said, though an official noted that part of the decline had been due to fewer hurricane-related claims in Florida.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims to fall more moderately, to 340,000.

"I think the latest decline by jobless claims supports the possibility of an improving labor market that will probably take the form of the addition of nearly 200,000 jobs to payrolls for the month of October," said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's Investors Service.

A second report showed third quarter productivity growth slowing sharply to a 1.9 percent pace, faster than forecast but still half the previous month's 3.9 percent tally, while unit labor costs advanced at a moderate 1.6 percent rate.

Weaker productivity may be good news for the labor market if it means that firms are running out of ways to squeeze existing workers into producing more and would now boost hiring.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - MTV and the nonprofit group Rock the Vote, partners in a massive public awareness campaign to encourage young Americans to participate in today's presidential election, have come under fire from Republicans accusing them of pushing a pro-Democratic agenda and challenging MTV and Rock the Vote's assertions that their get-out-the-vote campaigns are nonpartisan.

The charges stem mainly from a Rock the Vote campaign focused on the issue of a military draft. To get its point across, Rock the Vote sent out 660,000 e-mails in late September with a mock draft card signed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

"You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States, and to report to a polling place near you," read the draft cards.

In addition, Rock the Vote created two public service announcements focused on the issue of the draft and a third celebrity-packed public service announcement (PSA) that referred to the draft as one of many issues young voters might be concerned about. At least one of the draft-themed PSAs ran on MTV for 10 consecutive days in September. Rock the Vote also has devoted a significant amount of content to the issue on its Web site.

red sky in morning....

I See a Nation and I Want to Paint it Red
   by Kerry Jacoby
This piece originally appeared on

As the President accepts his historic victory, and we bask in the warmth of our great conservative win, we have a Republican president, a more Republican House, and a legitimately Republican Senate.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time.

It’s time to get some new judges and Justices. It’s time for Scalia to ascend as Rehnquist steps aside, and for George W. to get someone confirmed who will interpret the law, not make it. Then, Justice O’Connor can be released from her duties, something she’s reportedly wanted for quite some time now, and another strict constructionist can take her place.

It’s time for the Congress and the Courts to LISTEN to the voice of the people -- the people who, in eleven states tonight, sent a very clear message. Marriage, they said, is the union of one man and one woman. They said so by incredible margins -- in the 60 and 70 percent ranges. They said so decisively, and whether or not they voted for George W. Bush. They proved this is not a “wedge” issue. It is a matter of deep concern to the people of America. And it is not for the Court to decide otherwise.

It’s time for the President to get out his veto pen -- or, better yet, for the Congress to exercise good Republican judgment and cut both taxes AND spending. If Congress won’t produce a balanced budget, the president no longer has to worry about his political viability. Far from a lame duck, he is now a man without political strings. He need not run for re-election. He need not worry about his political future. He can use his veto power, without worrying about his long-term political capital.

It’s time for Fallujah to become an ashtray, and for the United Nations to understand where its future interests lie. The political will to move hard against the Evildoers has been awaiting the moment when taking that risk will not lose the president his job. It’s time to finish what those head-slicing animals started when they decided Iraq was not going quietly into the bright sunlight of democracy.

It’s time to get some commonsense legal reform. If there’s anything the American people have had enough of, it’s lawyers and lawsuits. What does it tell you when we can only muster a kind of bemused annoyance when we find that there are Americans among the many lawyers offering themselves up to defend Saddam Hussein in his trial? Of course, we think. That’s what they always do.

Good doctors in America are being run out of business by skyrocketing malpractice insurance bills caused by ridiculous monetary awards teased out of juries by slimy shysters like (former) Senator John Edwards. The president has promised to do something about it, and I believe he will. Because it’s time.

And, after four years of petulance, it’s time for the Democrats to stop pretending the Republicans can only win by cheating and that we didn’t win at all. It’s time for them to get over it and get back to the business of helping us run this great country. We can agree, and we can agree to disagree -- but we must stop disagreeing just to be disagreeable and tearing down our nation just to prove our side right. And it’s time for those same Democrats to tell the cryptocelebrity policy advisors to just go away and leave politics alone.

The politics of hysteria and conspiracy have failed. Patience, calm, and wisdom have prevailed.

Now let’s all get to work doing what Americans do -- fixing what’s wrong and doing what’s right.

November 03, 2004

208 weeks and counting

The Blueprint: Making Change Real
   by Farai Chideya
Ten Simple Ways to Transform American Politics

(This piece is aimed more at people who are already involved in organizing than folks who consider themselves bystanders to the political game. But in reality, we’re all involved; none of us are bystanders; it’s all a matter of perspective. So get in the game!)

1. Stop licking your wounds and figure out what happened in election 2004.
Why didn’t the Democratic Party take the White House? Candidate not charismatic/compelling enough? No innovative messaging on issues of values, morality, and spirituality? Too much air war/not enough ground war? (I.e., too much of an emphasis on running ads, not enough on grassroots get out the vote?) Over-reliance on proxy organizations like 527s doing work the party should have done? Messaging failed to deal with the divide between social liberals and conservatives? Messaging didn’t give economically at-risk Americans any sense the Democrats would do more for them than Republicans? Celebrity messaging didn’t have any traction? And what about alternatives to the Democratic party? Are local third parties winning races for school boards, city council, etc.? Once elected, are they doing good work? Finally, what motivated some long-time non-voters to go to the polls, and why did others stay home?

2. Come up with success metrics and vision plans for groups that tried to affect registration, mobilization, and education.
What is “success” for a youth voter-mobilization group? For an alternative media outlet? For a big 527? For a local community group? Whatever groups you belong to, do an analysis of your tactics and goals; what worked and what didn’t; and what your long-range goals are.

3. Grade yourself.
How’d you do in election 2004? What could you have done better or differently? What did you knock out of the park?

4. Share the knowledge.
Identify at least three organizations that could benefit from your self-analysis, and start a dialogue with them. Find out how you can work together.

5. Join Forces.
Hold, for example, a monthly meeting among like-minded groups to share strategy; put together co-sponsored events; and collaborate on media and messaging.

6. Reward the groups that did the hard, good work. .
Funders need to increase support for groups doing innovative work, which means they need to identify them. Collaboratives of groups working together have a better chance of being identified than ones working alone. Re-granting programs—where a big donor gives money to a nonprofit that makes micro-grants—can work well for fledgling groups.

7. Build shared infrastructures.
Could you share web/email/online fundraising technology? (One good platform is How about an events calendar? Shared office space and administrative help?

8. Realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
The political right spent 30 years building their infrastructure. Change takes time and commitment.

9. Have fun.
Folks are burnt out on politics. Find ways of making it optimistic, fun, fresh, and cutting-edge. Check out the Nonsense New York list for a great model of a distributing info on events that are wicked fun and often political too. (

10. Breathe.
This is just the beginning.

November 03, 2004

P. Diddy Exhausted After 'Running Wild' On Election Day
11.02.2004 10:23 PM EST

P. Diddy says he got off on the wrong foot when it came to his political endeavors in 2004. If he could do things over again, he wouldn't have yelled for folks to get George W. Bush's "ass out of office."

"I was a little reckless with my comments, to be honest," Diddy said on Tuesday (November 2). "I realized I relinquished my power too early after I educated myself. I shouldn't have said that until I felt that there was somebody that could be better for my people. ... I learned a lot in this process. I learned that my power could be used better. Instead of attacking Bush, it would be better to light a flame under young Americans and let them make the decisions."

A more informed Diddy has been sticking to a bipartisan approach in telling people to register and get out to the polls. The objective of his Citizen Change organization has been simple: They want to educate, motivate and empower, and in the process they've made the phrase "Vote or Die" a household slogan.

3 November 2004

from the desk of Dannai Harriel

From: Leslie Bachurski []
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 12:13 PM
Subject: Proposed Cuts to Port Authority

Attached is the petition form endorsed by the Allegheny County Transit Council to distribute for signatures relating to a dedicated and predictable funding source for public transit in the Commonwealth.  Please feel free to copy this petition and begin to get signatures so that we may submit them to the legislature and the Governor. You don’t need to print the whole document just print a couple of pages of the petition and repeat as needed.

Please return to: John L Tague, Jr. C/o of ACTC, 3rd Floor, 345 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2527
Please return by 11/09                        

Port Authority of Allegheny County has proposed cuts to bus, rail, incline, and ACCESS services.

Make your voice heard NOW!

Attend and Register to testify at the Public Hearing to be held by Port Authority on Thursday November 4,  2004 at the Sheraton Station Square.  Call 412-566-5103 to register to speak at the hearing.

Write or call your representatives in the State House of Representatives, State Senators and Governor Rendell and insist that adequate funding for public transportation be provided immediately!

If you need help finding the address or phone number of your elected officials you can call the League of Women Voters at 412-261-4284.

Only the PA House and Senate and Governor Rendell can enact legislation that would provide a sufficient level of funding to block these cuts!

The following has been proposed:

¨     No bus, rail, Mon Incline, or ACCESS service after 9PM on weekdays

¨     No bus, rail or ACCESS service AT ALL on weekends or holidays

¨     Elimination of 70 Port Authority routes

Please take action!  Thousands of people rely on public transportation!  These cuts would be devastating!


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