Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Business: October 2009


KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Yesterday, Judy Thomas of the The Kansas City Star reported that eBay corporate officials would not allow an eBay auction to go forward. The auction has been planned by abortion opponents who wished to raise money to help in the defense of Scott Roeder, 51, who is charged with first-degree murder. Roeder is accused of killing Wichita abortion doctor, George Tiller. Tiller was shot last spring while standing in the foyer of his church. Even from his jail cell, Roeder has warned that "similar events" of violence would continue.

The online company's action followed a week of increasingly vocal outcry against the auction (Rhonda Holman: WE Blog, Mike Hendricks: Prime Buzz, RoederWatch, etc). The company provided a statement, yesterday, saying that the intended auction violated its policy against "offensive material" and that it would "not permit the items in question to be posted to the eBay site." The company added that the items would be "removed if they are posted."

The Kansas City Star had reported that "an autographed copy of 'A Time to Kill,' a memoir of a man who served time for firebombing abortion clinics, is one of the likely offerings. So is a manual from the 'Army of God,' which advised people on ways to close clinics, including by bombing."

Jasper and the Economy

In Defense of Economics

HAYS, Kan. - I always read Walter Williams, economics professor and right-wing syndicated columnist with an overlapping interest in constitutional scholarship. I am amazed at his skill as a propagandist for the right, never telling an actual lie, but supporting the right-wing agenda by careful omission and innuendo. Williams often leaves the reader with the impression that American corporate capitalism is the same as "free enterprise" or the operation of the "free market." He leaves the impression that economic transactions between individuals and other economic entities in the modern United States of America are the same as the transactions Adam Smith described in his Wealth of Nations (shortened title). No doubt Williams has read Adam Smith. Most who refer to the "unseen hand" concept resulting from Smith's work have not. Here is some of what Williams omits (apparently intentionally, in order to serve his ends):

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) held an October 21 lunchtime roundtable comprised of four local journalists--two from the Kansas City Star, and two from commercial television. Hosted by KCPT's Executive Producer of News and Public Affairs, Nick Haines, the roundtable was an opportunity for about 25 local folks to ask questions about the current (and future) state of journalism. Haines, a veteran journalist himself and host of KCPT's Kansas City Week in Review, a weekly digest of Kansas City area happenings, did a masterful job of making the reporters human and approachable as those of us in the audience asked questions about the future of local journalism. The four reporters attending were: DeAnn Smith of Fox affiliate KSHB-TV; Kris Ketz of ABC affiliate KMBC-TV; Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star, and host of a daily show on local public radio, KCUR; and Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star.

WICHITA, Kan. - Workers of Local Lodge 639 at Bombardier Learjet in Wichita, KS, ratified a three-year agreement by a 95 percent vote on Saturday October 3.

The agreement calls for yearly raises and a 14 percent immediate increase in the pension plan. The company and the Union entered into a partnership agreement to explore ways to hold the line on health care, leaving the cost of one plan unchanged and the other with modest increases.

IAM negotiators also made numerous improvements in contract language, bucking a current trend of companies demanding concessions and cuts from employees. IAM leaders say the Learjet contract shows there are ways to weather the economic storm without using tough times to attack worker pay and benefits.

"There were no takeaways in this contract," said District Lodge 70 Directing Business Representative Steve Rooney.

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - A Missouri billboard is enlightening, but maybe not in the intended way. It says more about the state of our citizenry and the state of general knowledge (or lack thereof) than it does about Obama.

A red and yellow billboard posted along I-70 near Blue Springs is gaining attention from the local media. Watching the following video made many points, some that I would assume that the person that paid for the billboard did not intend. Check it out and then read on:

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - I love Business Week magazine. I read it dutifully every week, and have done so for years. It has, in my estimation, the best balance of Capitalism and Corporate Responsibility. Unlike so many other business mags, BW has always looked at all sides of issues, not just the side that will generate the most money.

In the October 12 issue, an article entitled "Why Business Fears the Public Option,"the magazine lays out a few points about the issue of "Cost Shifting," one of the attacks that the insurance industry has mounted.

TOPEKA, Kan. - For the past two years the Kansas legislature has devoted major energy trying to undo a decision made by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Director, Roderick Bremby, which prevented Sunflower Electric from moving ahead with the construction of two coal-fire power plants slated for construction in the southwest Kansas community of Holcomb.

Following the departure of Gov. Kathleen Sebeilus, Gov. Parkinson in private negotiations with Sunflower Electric Cooperative gave them what they wanted and put the health of Kansans at risk by having the legislature pass legislation that prevents KDHE from doing its job in the future.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Network Neutrality, or "Net Neutrality" for short, is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. When we open up our browser to surf the web or check in our MySpace account, we expect to get were we want to go without encountering complications.

Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice when they are using the Internet. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data -- not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service. Net Neutrality prevents the companies that control the wires from discriminating against content based on its source or ownership.

SALINA, Kan. - At this time, it is estimated that as many as 5 million families already have lost their homes or still face the prospect of losing their homes in just the coming few months. Ever since the financial industry crisis began in mid-2007, even some of the news outlets that I have respected just spit out these words like parrots, "lenders are in a crisis."

A "crisis for lenders" they say. Then, we had the massive bailouts to lenders in late 2008 under Bush and in early 2009 under Obama. Lenders in crisis? It seems like "the media" has always implied, "the good lenders bent the rules a little bit, with all their generosity and compassion, to lend money to certain people who now are refusing to make good on the loans, now thrusting these good lenders into crisis." Why a crisis for lenders? Is that really true?

I submit to you that there's no real harm to lenders, except a little bit of reduction of their extremely high profits of recent years. The only devastation here is the slow and persistent robbing of the middle class to make the ultra richer even wealthier. Please let me explain.

WASHINGTON - Number crunchers are having a political heyday over health-care reform. Yet, one in particular, is having a field day in shaping the debate. A consulting firm known as the Lewin Group, aka United Health, whose research is making the rounds by opponents of the hotly debated public insurance option.

Respectively stated, by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, Lewin Group is an "independent research firm." Rep. Eric Cantor of Va., House Republican whip, says it is "the nonpartisan Lewin Group."

Also, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the key Finance Committee, refers to Lewin Group as "well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."

What these prominent members of the Republican Party fail to mention is that the Lewin Group is owned entirely by United Health Group, one of this countries mega health insurance providers.

Letter to Jerry Moran

Throughout the health care debate, I have stressed that more Americans will gain access ... once costs are controlled and reduced. I continue to advocate for... medical liability reform, an increased emphasis on wellness and disease prevention, providing tax incentives to low-income families to retain or purchase private health insurance, implementation of health information technology, and training more medical professionals and encouraging them to practice in underserved areas. I also support finding responsible ways to address the problems caused by pre-existing conditions and to increase the size of the pool of insured. - U.S. Representative Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)
Dear Representative Moran:

In your special edition of "This Week in Congress" you listed several ways that you believe will fix health care.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Representative Lynn Jenkins had, for lack of a better term, a rough August. She finally came back to Kansas to hold town hall meetings (which she failed to personally appear at months earlier). Lynn Jenkins, based on her robo calls, was expecting a largely supportive crowd for her stance as being a member of the party of "no." What Rep. Jenkins discovered was that she could not get away with failures in judgment back home, such as her "Great White Hope" comment. Even more telling of Lynn Jenkins' failure in representing the Second District was her incident in Ottawa where she laughed at an uninsured mother and her son. With such an atrocious trip back home in August, you would expect Rep. Jenkins to be ready to get back to work and actually serve her constituents in some attempt to save face. Unfortunately, this week Representative Jenkins continued her pattern of failure. This Wednesday Rep. Lynn Jenkins released this Tweet:

Meeting with Kansas Bankers this morning and speaking on the floor this afternoon. 10:37 AM Sep 15th from Facebook

TOPEKA, Kan. - Nurses in Kansas and across the nation have joined President Obama in pushing for health insurance reform. One of the longstanding purposes of the Kansas State Nurses Association is working for the "improvement of health standards and the availability of health care services for all people." One of the chief roles a nurse has is to be a staunch patient advocate, so it's no surprise we stand boldly for reform.

Recently, I had a discussion with a colleague who practices in the Kansas City, KS area about the current health insurance reform debate and our first-hand observations as nurses. She underscored the need for urgent reform from not only a practical perspective, but also touched on the political ramifications that command we take action now: "We see the reality of the need for health care insurance reform everyday in the lack of suitable coverage for our patients, decisions on how our long our patients can be hospitalized, in how carefully we must nurse our documentation to qualify for reimbursement, the cost of our own health care policies, and the unsustainable costs to the state and federal government. For those who insist on obstructive negativity in even talking about how to deal with the health care insurance problem, beware, the likelihood of approaching this problem again in the future will be low with such a high political cost being evident," she said.

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