ENTRY 0005, NOVEMBER 9, 2003

Well, a month has gone by.   The Fires in California have gone out.  We lost 22 lives and over 3000 homes.  All of the fires were far from us.  Only on one day did we have any smoke blowing our way.  Smelled a bit like a bad campfire.  The next night at about 1:00 AM we smelled smoke really strongly.  Turns out that there was a fire burning on the other side of town, and the wind was blowing right through our house.  I checked it out.  We were worried that the fire might have been close by.  It wasn't.  but we slept with the windows closed and the air running on "filter" mode. 

Apart from that, not a lot has happened this month.  We are busy as usual.  No Child Left Untested is keeping all teachers far busier than they were before.  The Governer will soon be replaced by a bodybuilder with no experience that could have prepared him for the job.  Well, he did own a company.  Does anybody know if Planet Hollywood is still open for business?   Soldiers are still dying in Iraq.  Almost 400 now.  And nobody seems to be mentioning the 2500 or so that have been wounded, and the 1000 of them that are permanently maimed. 

People are still yelling about the increase in auto registration fees, calling it the "Car Tax".  They seem to forget that all this does is raise the fee back to where it was in 1999, before they lowered it, because the state had so much money.  People are eager to take a tax break, but are not willing to pony up when things go bad.  Dummies.  I'd pay higher taxes, if I knew it was going to somthing useful.

Oh, and another thing.  The grocery store strike.  Conservatives are barking about that, too.  They are saying that unions have to understand that the world is different.  Mall Wart has made it a different game, and in order to stay competitive, union members will have to be happy with less.  The conservatives point out that checkers in grocery stores are earning up to 18 bucks an hour, and have fully covered medical, while WalMart checkers earn about 8 bucks, with no benefits.  The pundits are up in arms that the union checkers don't want to lose medical.  They are telling them to get real and see how the rest of the world lives. 

What I want to know is why these people, who claim to be standing up for the little guy, aren't yelling for WalMart to raise pay and benefits?  Instead, they hold them up as some sort of standard.  WalMart is nothing to be admired.  Their corporate structure is designed to maximize profits for those on the inside, while giving nothing back to anyone else.  They should not be admired.  They should be scorned as the greedy low-lifes they are.  As was pointed out recently, the five children of Sam Walston will get more under Bush's tax plan than all of the employees in all of their stores combined.  Something is wrong.  Our whole idea of how we should make money, and who should keep it is screwed up.   Every employee should have good pay and good benefits.  WalMart employees should be earning what the grocery store checkers earn.  Not vice versa.

Next time, maybe I will have more uplifting news.
Maybe Dick Cheney will be dead or something.
Maybe John Ashcroft will be discovered in the bed of an underage cuban prostitute.

God, I hope so.

Well, I gotta run.

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