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2011 February 22 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Why Are Public Employees Protected?

Because politicians are a criminal class, is the basic answer.

For more than 80 years after George Washington became the first President, all Federal employees “served at the pleasure of the President”. Every village postmaster was a Presidential appointee, literally every job was filled by the President.

Well the country expanded and political parties oozed out of the corruption caused by any collection of money. So the President appointed people suggested by local politicians, and every time the Presidency changed hands, massive numbers of jobs changed hands in what was known as the “spoils system”.

People were hired based on campaign contributions [bribes. and the practice still applies to ambassadorships] and the job holders were expected to continue to support their patrons [kickbacks from their salaries].

A lot of people got fed up and the rules were changed by multiple laws. The Civil Service was taken out of the world of politics and put on the basis of ability to do the job. Public employees can only be fired for failing to do their jobs, not at the whim of politicians, managers, or supervisors.

People who say you can’t fire public employees are too stupid to understand the rules. I have done it when I was on Civil Service and if you follow the rules, the employee generally resigns, knowing that they have no chance of keeping the job they weren’t doing. It isn’t immediate, and you have to maintain a “paper trail”, but the result is never in doubt.

You can’t fire people who are doing their job. You can’t give people “outstanding” performance reviews, and then claim they can’t do their job. You can’t simply complain about them. You follow the procedure and keep the records.

Public employees are protected because voters elect scum to public office. If the voters displayed a bit more discretion, Civil service wouldn’t be necessary.

February 22, 2011   1 Comment

This Is Improvement?

From CNN: Wal-Mart lost shoppers during the holidays

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Despite aggressive price-slashing, free shipping and other gimmicks, Wal-Mart lost shoppers during the critical Christmas shopping period, resulting in a same-store sales decline in its fourth quarter.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world’s largest retailer, reported an overall 1.1% decline in its same-store sales — it’s seventh straight decline in the quarterly measure, this time in the period that includes the key November-December gift-buying months.

Nothing is going to improve until there is an increase in demand, and that can’t happen without jobs. The pathetic “stimulus” bill was too small to provide a real boost to the economy, and the austerity that everyone is championing will drive the US back to recession and deeper into deflation.

February 22, 2011   11 Comments

Christchurch Update

The BBC is now reporting that 65 dead in Christchurch

The tremor caused widespread damage as it occurred at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) during lunchtime when Christchurch was at its busiest.

The mayor of New Zealand’s second-biggest city says 120 people have been rescued from the ruins.

The country’s deadliest natural disaster in 80 years struck at 1251 (2351 GMT on Monday), 10km (6.2 miles) south-east of the city.

Most of the people died in vehicles when buildings collapsed on them.

Update from TV New Zealand: Live updates: day two

2.50pm: Reporter Ruth Wynn Williams says a cordon spanning two blocks has been put around the 26 storey Hotel Grand Chancellor building for fear it will collapse. No one is allowed in. It is understood the building, which is Christchurch’s tallest building, is sinking in its foundations.

To recap 2:32pm
– death toll stands at 75, with 300 missing
– there are fears the 26 storey Hotel Grand Chancellor building could collapse
– temporary morgue facilities set up
– major damage to power infrastructure
– water and sewerage services disrupted
– phone networks under pressure
– hospitals damaged, patients being transferred
– PM vows Christchurch will be rebuilt

If you look at the USGS Australia Region map, the red lines are the faults, you can see that this is an intense period of activity. New Zealand is in the southeast corner of the map.

Also from the USGS site the details of the 6.3 quake and the aftershocks.

February 22, 2011   Comments Off on Christchurch Update

They Are Killing The Dolphins

Gulf Gusher symbolMcClatchy reports on the infant deaths caused by BP’s greed: Infant dolphin deaths spiking in Gulf after oil spill

GULFPORT — Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths, researchers are finding.

The Sun Herald has learned that 17 young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines.

The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies is doing necropsies, animal autopsies, on two of the babies now.

Dolphins were my childhood playmates in the bayou. They are mammals and have to breathe at the surface. When the surface is covered in oil they can’t breathe because their blowholes become clogged. The poisonous dispersants were sprayed on the surface oil, further affecting the dolphins. The fish the dolphins eat are also poisoned.

The dolphins are on the top of the food chain, just like humans, and the oil has poisoned the food chain.

February 22, 2011   2 Comments