THE WORLD RESENTS our prosperity, but perhaps it should get the speck out of its own eye before it tries to jerk the stick out of ours. The British take an average of five weeks’ vacation each year. The Italians and Germans take six weeks. In France, most full-time workers take two months off every year.
What about us? The average American worker takes 10 days off each year. According to one study, Americans give back 415 million unused vacation days to their employers per annum. So before the world has a fit over our economic clout, they might want to consider getting out of their hammocks and doing some work. A little productivity goes a long way.
MONTHS AGO, I was critical of President Bush’s immigration reform proposals. The initiative hasn’t even been enacted yet, and the Border Patrol estimates that the number of illegals captured at the border has increased by 30 percent. It seems that a great many Mexicans are under the impression that some form of amnesty has already been enacted, and they are rushing in to take advantage. If this is the case before the proposal becomes law, what’s going to happen if it actually passes?
THOSE OF YOU who point to Europe as an example for us to emulate will be glad to know that the city council of Monza, Italy, has banned fishbowls. Anyone keeping fish must provide a fully equipped aquarium. According to “The Week” magazine, councilman Giampietro Mosca claims, “A fish kept in a bowl has a distorted view of reality.” Sounds to me like the city council of Monza has a distorted view of reality. Perhaps the citizens should provide a fully equipped aquarium for the council to live in.
MICHAEL MOORE IS known for his so-called documentaries, most of which are textbook examples of propaganda. In his films he takes on corporate America, the rich, conservatives — you know, Satan and all his minions. Moore is a self-proclaimed champion of the “little guy.” Unless the little guy happens to own a small business.
In that case, the little guy is Satan. In an interview with the Arcata, Calif., Arcata Eye, Moore said, “You know in my town the small businesses that everyone wanted to protect? They were the people that supported all the right-wing groups. They were the Republicans in the town, they were in the Kiwanis, the Chamber of Commerce — people that kept the town all white. The small hardware salesman, the small clothing store salespersons, Jesse the Barber who signed his name three different times on three different petitions to recall me from the school board. @$%! all these small businesses — @$%! ‘em all! Bring in the chain [stores]. The small businesspeople are the rednecks that run the town and suppress the people. @$%! ‘em all. That’s how I feel.”
Let me see if I can get this straight. Corporations are evil, because they oppress the little guy — as long as the little guy is a dues-paying, union member Democrat. If the little guy is a small-business-owning Republican, then the corporation that drives them out of business is doing us all a favor.
IN ANOTHER EXAMPLE of love and tolerance, Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg released a memo updating Democrat candidates on polling data. The memo addressed the loyalty of the Bush base of support. Greenberg’s memo split the Bush base into several demographic categories. No big deal right? Data is usually dissected demographically.
But most pollsters and strategists don’t refer to their population segments as “The Faithful,” “Country Folk,” “White Deep South,” “F-you Boys,” and “F-you Old Men.” Most pollsters would refer to these groups by such tags as “White Evangelicals” or “White non-college Male Seniors.” Seems like name-calling is taboo these days, unless you happen to be making fun of whites, males, Christians, or any combination of the three.
WHILE EVERYONE IS harping on the Enrons of the world, you might want to peek at some of the labor unions. Pat Tornillo, former president of the United Teachers of Dade, used his business card to charge $4,000 worth of jewelry. According to Reader’s Digest, he was buying custom tailored suits, flying to India, Bangkok and Australia, and visiting expensive spas.
Another teacher’s union head, Barbara Bullock, is reported to have embezzled $2.5 million from the Washington, D.C. union she oversaw. In just three months, the Labor Department took enforcement action against 34 union officials and employees. In 2003 the total number of criminal enforcement actions was 143.
One-third of labor unions file their financial reports late, or not at all. In addition, most of these are never audited. I’m all for busting white-collar criminals. But not all white-collar criminals work for corporations. Some of those criminals might be representing the employees.
Mike North is a professional land surveyor, amateur historian and interim member of the Walker County school board. Send comments to him at Mike@myhumbleopinion.net. To read his past columns or contact him by Internet, visit www.myhumbleopinion.net