In today’s episode, your friendly neighborhood columnist addresses some of the odder items found in his “in” box.
SBlt Fading firebrand and former uber-candidate Sarah Palin is back in the news this week. Settle down now, or I’ll clear the court of public opinion. Those of you who are still in like with her (Surely, it’s not still love?) are going to harrumph and say “Why are you still picking on Poor Sarah. Hasn’t she suffered enough?”
No. She, apparently, doesn’t think so either.
The former governor of Alaska has written a book about the war on Christmas. My, what a timely subject. But then Sarah’s appeal has always largely been about timing, hasn’t it?
Those who find solace by steeping in the fermenting brew over at Fox News will be (overly) familiar with this theme. It is Bill O’Reilly’s favorite topic – with the possible exception of himself. The hypothesis of this alleged conflict is that heathens like me are waging an epic culture war on Christmas. The most damning evidence of this war is the appalling number of reckless citizens who greet fellow holiday revelers with “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!” Whatever.
All I know is that the heathens are losing — big time.
Show me the spot in America where Christmas can be avoided between Halloween and New Year’s and I’ll book passage. This past year I personally witnessed Christmas merchandise being artlessly arrayed about the shelves of a local retailer over Labor Day weekend. Some of it even had legitimate connections to the birth of Christ.
• As you may be aware, two anti-gay rights measures, both a California law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision is expected soon. The Associated Press has discovered that the legal brief in support of these laws offers a very narrow definition of what constitutes a family. A man, a woman and their biological offspring are it. All other iterations are “second best,” including adoption. So says one John Eastman, who is chairman of something called the “National Organization for Marriage,” an organization which is actually against almost everything. Eastman made the “second best” remark about Chief Justice John Roberts, who has two adopted children. Mr. Roberts is expected to decide against gay rights and in favor of his own children’s “second best” status. And the world goes ‘round on wheels.
• Barely a week after coming out in favor of increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek reported that his company posted profits of $537 million for the last quarter. That’s up from $394 million last year. “At Costco,” Jelinek said, “we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business.” He went on to elaborate that “We know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty.”
Costco’s corporate policy is to pay its workers substantially above average wages. In 2011 its employees made, on average, $45,000 a year, as opposed to $17,486 for workers at Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart.
This is not corporate altruism, however, but sound business policy. According to an article in “The Daily Beast,” Costco realizes about $10,000 profit per annum per employee as opposed to $7,400 for Walmart. The differences don’t end there. Costco employees have the right to unionize and both part-time and full-time employees have access to reasonably priced health insurance.
So let’s summarize: stockholders are handsomely recompensed for their investment, workers are paid a better-than-living wage and consumers are rewarded for their patronage with low prices.
Tell me again why this is not the corporate model for most — if not all — American companies?
• Conservatives all across the nation have been hell-bent on eradicating Planned Parenthood. Abortion has been the wedge issue, even though it’s a minute proportion of what this highly beneficial organization actually does. Texas is the “model” for other states, having gutted its family planning budget and closed more than 50 women’s clinics. So what are the repercussions thus far? The progressive Texas Policy Evaluation Project surveyed 300 pregnant women who were seeking abortions. Overwhelmingly, the reason cited for their status was lack of access to birth control. Texas’s State Health Commission predicts that as a result of this purge, approximately 24,000 unplanned births will occur between 2014 and 2015. State Medicaid costs will, in turn, increase by $273 million.
Tell me again how opposing Planned Parenthood limits abortions and cuts costs for taxpayers?
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!