ROACHBLOG

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Friday, May 13, 2005
 
Swiftboat Taverns for Truth

Ok, so I was fishing up north with the elder Roach a few days back, and since the fish were not particularly cooperative, we found ourselves dining in some of Northwest Wisconsin's finer "out of the way" establishments. One place had these nifty coasters:
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This sort of obvious smear campaign seemed strangely familiar.

MADDatGM.com is sponsored by a trade association called the "American Beverage Licensees". The campaign is a brainchild of Richard Berman, who maintains several non-profit" fronts, mostly for the food, beverage and tobacco industries. Richard Berman is not a very honest person. Most of the money that flows into his "non-profit" organizations ends up in his pocket. His numerous "Institutes" and "Centers" are funded entirely by industries that wish to avoid regulation and avoid paying a living wage, but don't want anyone to know what they're up to.

His beliefs are dictated by those who write checks for him. Here is a sampling of his quotes:
“The crusade to establish 0.08 BAC as the uniform ‘drunk’ arrest level would have you in jail for behavior statistically safer than using a car phone.”

“[There is a] lack of evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer.”

“Our offensive strategy is to shoot the messenger. Given the activists’ plans to alarm beyond all reason, we’ve got to attack their credibility as spokespersons.”
So, Mr. Berman is on record as believing that:I don't think it's coincidence that we are seeing more and more absurd attack campaigns like this, propped up by fake front organizations--the GOP has shown us all how well it works.

So, the next time you're in a bar in Wisconsin and you see a Tavern League logo, remember what these folks stand for, how they think, and who their friends are.
 
 
Friday Rat Blogging


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Wednesday, May 11, 2005
 
Pensions.
What is the obligation of a company to adequately fund its pensions? Apparently, not much. United Airlines has made the news over the last couple of days as their pet bankruptcy judge released them from their horrendously underfunded employee pension plans. Of course, the plans wouldn't have been quite so ridiculously short of money if United hadn't stopped putting money into them when they filed for Chapter 11 around two years ago.

Luckily for the employees, the US taxpayers will get to pick up the tab via the PBGC, which will end up paying United employees around two thirds of what they thought they had agreed to when they got hired. Except for the pilots, who will get more like 25 percent because their pensions were larger and they are required to retire earlier. In return, the PBGC will get some IOU's from United which will almost certainly turn out to be worthless, as United tips into oblivion.

US Airways pulled this same trick during their first trip into Chapter 11. They are now deep into their second try. Nobody seriously expects them to make it out.

Here's the really cool part:

Glenn Tilton, United's CEO, received 1.1 million dollars in salary and bonuses last year. Bruce Lakefield at US Airways got $425,000 in salary and 760,000 shares of (probably worthless) stock. But the BOD made it up to him by promising him triple his annual salary if the company is sold or goes belly up.

It gets even better. These irresponsible and poorly run companies are not alone. Would you like to know how much money the entire airline indusry made during its six most profitable years in history?

$22.8 billion.

Now, how much do you think this same industry has shorted its employees on the pensions they were promised?

$25.5 billion.

Do you think that there is even the slightest chance that any of these companies will make good on their pensions? Do you think that any major airline with these obligations won't enter Chapter 11 to take advantage of this taxpayer funded windfall? Do you think that there might be another company or two that will likewise take advantage of this generous option?

I think I know the answer.
 
Monday, May 09, 2005
 
It's comforting to know...
that this woman would pass Pat Robertson's litmus test to become a Supreme Court Justice.



What's that she's holding? Oh, why it is an untrasound of her daughter fetus. No wait... it's Jesus!!!

Dear Lord, please save me from your followers.
 
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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