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I think we're confusing the issue on the inflation rate. The inflation rate is measured from December 2006 to December 2007. During that period prices increased by 4.1%, and average wages, after adjusting for inflation, fell by .9%. The Social Security COLA is based on a comparison of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from October of one year to October of the next. Generally speaking, the COLA understates inflation. The government workers' pay raise is a whole other issue. What federal government workers in the Kansas City area ended up with is a bit more than 3%. That would put us (I work for Social Security) at pretty much the average ie a 3% increase in pay coupled with a 4.1% rise in inflation would translate to a net loss in real wages of around .9%. The 12.5% raise is based on a study undertaken by the first Bush administration that was designed to bring federal pay into line with the private sector. The accuracy of the study has been called into question, and to be honest, while I sure would like to make 12.5% more than I am making, I don't see the justification for that large an increase. By the way I spent the first 17 years of my working life in the "real world." I worked for large corporations (Union Pacific Railroad, Mead Paper products, Diamond Shamrock Chemical) as well as small family owned businesses. I've been a union memeber and I've worked for virulently anti union employers. Each experience has allowed me to shed quite a few prejudices that I once had. I've learned that small business owners are not greedy and heartless and that they really do struggle to pay even a minimum wage, let alone provide health insurance. That union workers are first and foremost workers who work hard and take a great deal of pride in their work. Finally I've learned that government workers earn every dime of their pay. The day before I started at Social Security, I was convinced that government workers were underworked, overcompensated, and that we would all be better off if there were fewer of them. I now know better.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2008 on Country is fortunate at Unfettered Letters
Once upon a time back in the 60s there well MAY have been a liberal bias among reporters. Reporters, however don't determine what will get preferred placement, or what stories will be followed up on. The truth is that if there truly was a liberal bias in the media, Al Gore would have been president in 2000. Who out there represents the liberals?
Toggle Commented Nov 4, 2007 on Bias, news judgment at Unfettered Letters
jack, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I can't say that I disagree with anything you said. Of course there is no simple solution to this. Each side needs to make concessions and to take some risks for peace. (I already attempted a much longer reply, but it disappeared when I tried to post it) I'll try to cut to the chase: both the Palestinians and the Israelis need to have secure recognized borders. Israel currently has an overwhelming military advantage over the Arabs. It can therefore bargain from a position of strength. It has not faced an organized Arab army since 1973, thanks to the Camp David accord. Yes Hamas and Hezbollah are nasty, but they don't have masses of tanks, or artillery. They have no air force, no navy. Until the U.S. begins acting as an honest broker to the peace process in the mideast, I don't see much hope for progress. The point of first post was that there are two sides to this conflict. In the U.S. there seems to be a tendency to see the conflict strictly through the eyes of the Israelis. Until we recognize that the other side has some legitimate greivances, we can't move forward. Arabs bleed and die just like Israelis bleed and die. This is a conflict that does not lend itself to "bumper sticker" solutions. For now I'll let it go at that. I don't want to have to retype this whole thing a third time. mrgubmint
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2007 on Middle East at Unfettered Letters
Lives were lost, not as a result of the law governing wiretapping, but rather the incredible incompetence of this admnistration. According to the Dierctor of National Intelligence, NSA first approached the Justice Dept at 10:52 am on May 15th for a FISA warrant. By 12:53 (2 hours and 1 minute later)NSA had enough information to begin the wiretap. They then waited for over six hours to hear back from DOJ. When DOJ finally gave it's approval it was more than 6 and a half hours after it was clear that all legal requirements had been met.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2007 on Congress, do something at Unfettered Letters
The situation in the mideast is quite a bit more complicated than the writer would have us believe. As a start, the bulk of lands acquired by Israel since 1948 were the result of the 6 day war in 1967. That war was initiated by the Israelis in response to Arab mobilization for a "possible" attack on Israel. However threatened Israel may have felt, the truth is that Israel initiated the war. As for the willingness of Arab countries to accept Palestinian refugees from Israel. Why are they obligated to do this? They were not consulted when European Jews chose to make Palestine their homeland. The fact is that Israel was populated by Arabs when Israel declared it's independence in 1948. Those Arabs were and are people. They have a right to live in peace like all other people on this planet. I don't dispute the need for a Jewish state. I recognize that Jews were betrayed by virtually all nations of the world during the holocaust. Having said that, however I think we (the west) need to understand that Palestinians, and Arabs generally, have a real grievance with the west and the U.S. specifically. We have for years ignored the simple fact of their humanity. Until we understand the pain that Israel and we cause them, we will never understand why they hate us like they do. And we will never be free of the fear of terrorism.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2007 on Middle East at Unfettered Letters
Of course Mr Slough has the freedom, as an American, to leave this country if he so chooses. More important, however, he has the duty as a free citizen to stay and work to change the country. Love it or leave didn't make sense 40 years ago, and it makes even less sense now.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2007 on Not spreading freedom at Unfettered Letters