A billboard along U.S. Highway 50 westbound in west central Missouri.
Previously: Black Friday labor demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas (November 23, 2012)
A press release from Walmart:
The following statement can be attributed to David Tovar, Vice President, Corporate Communications.
Nov. 23, 2012 – The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated. We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today. The number of associates that have missed their scheduled shift today is more than 60 percent less than Black Friday last year.
It was proven last night – and again today – that the OUR Walmart group doesn’t speak for the 1.3 million Walmart associates. We had our best Black Friday ever and OUR Walmart was unable to recruit more than a small number of associates to participate in these made for TV events. Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along – the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers.
“…the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers…”
And why would that be? Are they happy campers? Are there consequences for speaking out, either way? Just asking.
No matter how much the corporation tries to spin it, this is the new meme.
A demonstrator in Roeland Park, Kansas on “Black Friday”, November 23, 2012.
From yesterday’s broadcast report on KSHB on the labor demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas:
Lisa Benson, KSHB: [quoting a Walmart press release] “…Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along, the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers.”
A significant fact that doesn’t appear to bother these protesters who are standing for the rights of workers as they work. Now demonstrators say employees need to unionize, but again, there were no Walmart employees at that demonstration, so we were not able to ask them what they want.
“…there were no Walmart employees at that demonstration, so we were not able to ask them what they want…”
Uh, is a demonstration the only place you can seek out employees if you want to ask them questions? Just asking.
That wasn’t the point. This is:
November 24, 2012 9:07 AM
The Black Friday worker actions at Wal-Mart: why they mattered
By Kathleen Geier
….a strategy of gradual escalation that will be the “new permanent reality” for Wal-Mart: keeping the pressure on, and throwing a harsh national spotlight on the retailer’s bottom-feeding, exploitative labor practices.
Why do these actions matter? First of all, there’s the brute fact of Wal-Mart’s enormous size and power. Wal-Mart is the third largest public corporation in the world, and also the world’s largest private employer, and largest retailer. And as historians like Bethany Moreton have pointed out, when it comes to its employees, Wal-Mart, with its roots in the culture of the agrarian South, has always taken an anti-modern, deeply feudalistic and patriarchal approach. Its economic model is based on low-wage labor, and it has been notable as one of the most vehemently anti-union employers in American history. Since Wal-Mart is such a behemoth, and since its ideology is so passionately anti-labor, it has been one of the driving forces in our economy that has been disempowering and immiserating American workers and accelerating economic inequality. Here, for example, are a few shocking stats, from internal Wal-Mart documents that were recently released: low-level workers at Wal-Mart generally start at only $8 per hour, and, even if their evaluations are flawless, are eligible for a yearly raise that is, at maximum, 60 cents per hour. Most workers get only 20 to 40 cents, and the average worker, after working there for six years, would only be making $10.60 an hour….
To put it in the words of an organizer of yesterday’s demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas:
….Walmart set the standard to open on Thanksgiving night. Sears, Kmart, everybody else followed suit. When Walmart does it everybody else does it. So next Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting at the, at the dinner table and some of your family’s not there because they’re at work this is why….
When people start paying attention you’ve already lost, no matter how furiously you continue to spin.
Sweet Jesus, this persecuted-Christian nonsense really pisses me off…
“It’s, well, Christmas all over again. The Grinch is trying to steal our holiday. It’s been so beautiful, the nation comes together, we sing Christmas carols, we give gifts to each other, we have lighted trees, and it’s just a beautiful thing. Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable. They’re miserable, so they want you to be miserable. So they want to steal your holiday away from you.” — Pat Robertson, on The 700 Club, gearing up for another War on Christmas.
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m not a person of faith. I’m not militant about it, I don’t mock or ridicule people who do have a faith tradition they adhere to, I just don’t have one myself.
However, crap like that quote from Pat Robertson really, really pisses me off. Who the hell is he to ascribe me motives and emotions? He doesn’t know me. I’m about the least miserable and most charitable person you will ever meet, and my charity comes from a true and abiding desire to do the right thing and help people in need. No strings attached, no sermons to sit through, just a true desire to facilitate justice, no Jesus or magic sky wizard required.
In my house, we have Christmas; and we have Hanukkah, too. We bake, we gather together, we sing carols and give gifts. We also spin dreidels, make latkes and light candles. But beyond that, we also grab a Harvesters coupon at the grocery store every single time we check out and make a donation to those in our community who don’t have what we do.
My husband teaches at a Cristo Rey Catholic high school for far less money than he would make at a public school because he believes in the mission of the organization, and more importantly, he truly cares about – and believes in – the students in his charge. It’s amazing to run into former students either on college campuses or in the community and to see the look of awe on their faces when he remembers their names. Practically every time we leave the house, one of his students spots us and calls out “Hey Mr. Booth!” Sometimes when I’m out alone a student will recognize me and strike up a conversation so they can tell me what I already know – that I am married to the best man on the face of the earth, one who truly cares and always does the right thing, even when that’s the hard thing to do. Over the summer, one of his former students saw me from across the street and missed his bus just so he could come across the street to say hello and tell me that he was in college and an education major because he never had a male role model growing up, but “Mr. Booth gave me one, and I want to be like him.”
Did I mention that he’s an atheist, too?
And please don’t give me that “no atheists in foxholes” nonsense either, because I know its bullshit.
I spent most of the month of October in a neurological intensive care unit, getting my nutrition through a tube because I couldn’t swallow and I had wonky perception (sometimes the whole world was sideways) and no balance. I walked (unsteadily) with a walker and my muscles were weak and didn’t work.
And during that whole time, it never once occurred to me to pray. My faith was in the physicians and nurses and the allied professionals who were caring for me. It never crossed my mind to doubt or second-guess them, or “go behind their backs” to ask a mystical being for help.
That was the big test. A couple of weeks ago that hit me, and I told Tom that I now knew I had no doubt about my lack of faith and I told him why – that all the time I was in the hospital, it never occurred to me to beg a deity for help. He looked at me like he just had an epiphany and said “neither did I. But I never thought about it until just now.”
Pat Robertson and his ilk don’t get to define me, they don’t get to pretend they know me and what is in my heart, what I feel, what I care about or any other damned thing.
I am not “miserable” but contented, happy, secure and at peace. I don’t want to steal “their” holiday, because it’s not just theirs. It’s mine, too, and nothing makes my non-believer heart sing like the look on my granddaughter’s face when she opens a gift she really wanted – or when she spins a Gimmel and gets to take all the gelt from the pot.
Exactly three years ago, a study was released that suggested that age forty was too soon for women to start getting routine mammograms, because 1900 women are referred for further testing and 1899 of them are in no danger.
Personally, I was pissed, and I was pissed because I am that other one in that 1900. I’m the poster child for early detection and intervention. My brush with mortality was a non-event because I had a mammogram at 40, as my physician recommended.
Now we have Think Progress carrying water for the misogynistic, women-don’t matter-once-once-they’re-past-childbearing-age treatment-deniers:
Routine mammograms have caused more than a million U.S. women to receive “unnecessary and invasive cancer treatments over the last 30 years,” a new study finds, detecting tumors that are harmless. The results come after the government’s Preventive Task Force issued recommendations in 2009 advising primary care physicians against recommending mammograms to women under 40 years of age. Those guidelines stirred political outcry on both sides of the aisle and slowed down work on President Obama’s health care law.
But the study shines new doubt “over the effectiveness of an already controversial cancer screening tool that is aimed at detecting tumors before they spread and become more difficult to treat.”
[ . . . ]
Recent research has confirmed these findings. For instance a 2011 paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that while “some women need mammograms more frequently than others,” a more complex approach to mammography “based on personal risk factors such as age, breast density, family history of breast cancer and even a woman’s personal preference” could help reduce overtreatment and unnecessary testing.
Their malfeasance in posting that piece was a display of bad enough judgment that I have un-bookmarked their site and ‘unliked’ their Facebook page, and will never, ever go to their site again. I refuse to give even the slightest support to any group or organization that, even inadvertently, discounts my worth and right to life, simply because I am a woman, just because I’m no longer fertile.
And what the hell else am I supposed to think? Besides “Oh fuck you,” I mean.
I am the poster child for early detection. My brush with the disease was a non-event that cost less than ten grand to treat because of early detection and screening.
The new guidelines come from the U.S Preventive Services Task Force, a government-sponsored group that provides guidance to doctors, insurance companies and policymakers. The group determined that although mammograms were found to reduce the breast cancer death rate of women 40 to 49 years old by 15 percent, it wasn’t enough to warrant starting to screen at age 40. It also found insufficient evidence for the benefits of screening after age 74.
The task force noted breast cancer deaths have declined since 1990 by 2.3 percent per year overall and by 3.3 percent for women aged 40 to 50 years, attributing that decrease to the combination of mammography with improved treatment. But the group found the potential harm – through false positives and radiation exposure – outweighed the risks.
Groups such as the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging immediately denounced the new guidelines.
“I think it’s shocking to basically spell out in such a bold and callous way which groups of women they no longer care to find cancer in,” said Dr. Linda Gordon, imaging director at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley.
Three years go, when the first “hey, infertile old crones, die already!” balloon went up, I wrote the following::
Someone didn’t think through the implications of telling women over forty that the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t break our way. There has been a great furor among women my age over the implication that one life isn’t worth testing 1900 women, and there has been much effort to explain it to us in terms our poor wittle feminine brains can understand…but my favorite is this one…we might be anxious or worried for a few days if a mammogram picks something up that turns out to be nothing.
That was met with a resounding and collective “Oh fuck you.” from women across the land. We can deal with anxiety for an entire month with a nine dollar prescription for Ativan, and we damned well know it.
Women aren’t the only ones rebelling at the new guidelines. Many doctors are saying they will simply refuse to follow them.
“It’s kind of hard to suggest that we should stop examining our patients and screening them,” said Dr. Annekathryn Goodman, director of the fellowship program in gynecological oncology atMassachusetts General Hospital. “I would be cautious about changing a practice that seems to work.”
The recommendations, issued Monday by a federal advisory panel, reversed widely promoted guidelines and were intended to reduce overtreatment. The panel said the benefits of screening women in their 40s – saving one life for every 1,904 women screened for 10 years – were outweighed by the potential for unnecessary tests and treatment, and the accompanying anxiety. Women considered at high risk should continue to have early screening, the panel said.
Several doctors said that while they understood the panel’s risk-benefit analysis, their patients would not see it that way. “My patients tell me they can live with a little anxiety and distress but they can’t live with a little cancer,” said Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut.
The idea that one cancer death is prevented for roughly 2,000 women screened “doesn’t mean anything until you’re the one,” said Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. “No doubt about it, I’m going to say, ‘Well, you really don’t need it,’ and they’re going to say: ‘You don’t understand. I’m getting the mammogram. I’m not going to take the chance to be the one person that has it.’ “
Nor will anyone I know, am acquainted with, or who has been stuck in an elevator with me for more than three minutes.
The bottom line is, we matter. We’re wives, we’re mothers, we’re grandmothers, we’re nieces, we’re aunties, we’re friends; and every last one of us matters to someone. I personally matter to my husband, my mother, my still-living (and writing her newspaper column at 100) grandmother, my children, my grandchildren, my aunties, my nieces and nephews, my friends and hopefully a few of the folks reading this. Yesterday I got no less than eight text messages and seven emails and Facebook messages telling me that my continued presence on this planet is one of the things they are thankful for. (Not making this up.) I’ve been cancer-free for more than five years (meaning I have crossed the threshold from “remission” to “cure”) and that fifteen people remember it all these years later tells me that I really do matter, no matter what the moneyed healthcare interests think.
At the White House petition site:
We petition the Obama Administration to:
In the spirit of liberty and freedom we believe that decisions, such as what kind of lightbulb we use, should not be made by the government but by the individual. The federal government is phasing out incandescent lightbulbs by law and the last incandescent lightbulb factory in America has closed. This is not the role of the government. Not only did this move shift jobs to China (since CFLs are too dangerous to manufacture in America) it has limited the freedom of Americans to make their own choices in how they will light their homes and businesses. The free market should decide which lightbulbs succeed, not the government.
Created: Nov 15, 2012
Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Climate Change, Energy
Signatures needed by December 15, 2012 to reach goal of 25,000 24,454
Total signatures on this petition 546
Seriously. This must be the new prime in right wingnut dogma.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): we’re running out of light bulb puns (July 12, 2011)
HB 1146: still not too bright (January 7, 2012)
“…So next Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting at the, at the dinner table and some of your family’s not there because they’re at work this is why…”
A Black Friday labor demonstration at the parking lot entrance of the Walmart store in Roeland Park, Kansas.
Starting at noon today approximately one hundred people, a mix of union members, young people, and older activists, demonstrated in front of the Walmart store in Roeland Park, Kansas, protesting the Thanksgiving evening opening and other worker issues. The union members, identifiable by the logos on their clothing, included Teamsters, Communications Workers of America, United Auto Workers, and Carpenters/Joiners.
Mike Frommer, one of the organizers, spoke with the media:
Mike Frommer: …Living wage, full time employment, uh, and most of all, protection from retaliation, to be able to say these things without somebody saying, hey, you know, you’re gonna lose your job if you’re talking like that.
Question: There was a group at Independence [Missouri], at the Walmart. Is there another group, or do you know?
Mike Frommer: Uh, this is, you know, this is a, uh, it’s an online thing.
Mike Frommer: Any individual group can go online, pick out a demonstration that they want to attend, and, and just kind of do their own thing.
Question: It’s not a real organized, just for like [crosstalk][inaudible] here, if you want to show up.
Mike Frommer: It’s, yeah, you can do, you can do it anywhere, you know, any group, we’ve had people that have gone out strike in, in places like Oklahoma City where the workers just walked out. They contacted no one. They just did it by using the web site.
Question: Have any Walmart workers walked out today [crosstalk] that are in this group?
Mike Frommer: At this store? Not at this store.
Mike Frommer: But we just chose this store, just for, for solidarity.
Question: And is it just about Walmart, or is it other retailers that?
Mike Frommer: Well, I, I think Walmart sets the standard. Walmart set the standard to open on Thanksgiving night. Sears, Kmart, everybody else followed suit. When Walmart does it everybody else does it. So next Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting at the, at the dinner table and some of your family’s not there because they’re at work this is why.
The demonstration press release:
For release Nov. 23, 2012
Contacts: Judy Ancel, KC Jobs with Justice [….]
Mike Frommer, UFCW [….]
Santino Scalici, autoworker and UAW member [….]
Local Citizens Join Nationwide Black Friday Protest Against Walmart
A group of local citizens and working people will gather outside the Walmart Store at 5150 Roe Blvd, Roeland Park, KS at noon on Black Friday, Nov. 23rd. They come together to stand with retail and warehouse workers who will be striking and demanding respect and their rights from Walmart on this the busiest shopping day of the year.
Starting last summer, workers all along Walmart’s production chain began the first-ever strikes against the company. Many have joined OUR WALMART, a mutual aid organization of Walmart workers. A number as a result are now facing retaliation by Walmart.
Friday’s rally is organized by Kansas City area working people, including a number of union members, and Kansas City Jobs with Justice, who are concerned about the effects of Walmart’s low wages and poor treatment of its associates on all workers and our communities. They object to retaliation against workers who are protesting bad conditions and harassment on the job. They are dismayed by Walmart’s discrimination against women workers and people of color, wages that average $8.81 an hour, unaffordable benefits, and shifting of costs onto taxpayers. The Missouri Department of Social Services reported last year that 10,028 Walmart employees and their families enrolled in Missouri’s Medicaid program- MO HealthNet, and its well-known that many Walmart Associates qualify for food stamps.
Walmart’s leadership in driving down standards can be seen in the progressive erosion of their workers’ Thanksgiving holiday in the last few years, which has now spread to their competitors. Black Friday has become Black Thursday eliminating one of the few times all year when families have a common holiday and can get together.
Santino Scalici, an autoworker and one of the organizers of Friday’s rally said, “We want Walmart workers to know that when Walmart retaliates against workers who stand up for their rights and dignity, we will be there to support them. It’s time we support Walmart workers in their legal right to a democratic voice in the decisions that affect their lives.”
[emphasis in original]
Pickets along Roe Boulevard in Roeland Park, Kansas.
Three Kansas City area television stations had crews covering the demonstration. There was at least one (apparent) print reporter interviewing people at the demonstration.
From what we heard in the crowd individuals entered a store in Independence, Missouri earlier in the day and passed out leaflets. They were told to leave.
Today, via Twitter:
Heh. She wrote “turkeys sold”. We knew that.
Who got the most? We can answer that. It wasn’t the people in the 4th Congressional District.
From the White House:
President Barack Obama (D): On behalf of the Obama family, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and me I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.
For us, like so many of you, this is a day full of family and friends, food and football. It’s a day to fight the overwhelming urge to take a nap, at least until after dinner. But most of all, it’s a time to give thanks for each other, and for the incredible bounty we enjoy in this country.
That’s especially important this year. As a nation, we’ve just emerged from a campaign season that was passionate, noisy, and vital to our democracy. But it also required us to make choices, sometimes those choices led us to focus on what sets us apart instead of what ties us together, on what candidate we support instead of what country we all belong to. Thanksgiving is a chance to put it all in perspective, to remember that, despite our differences, we are, and always will be, Americans first and foremost. Today we give thanks for blessings that are all too rare in this world. The ability to spend time with the ones we love, to say what we want, to worship as we please, to know that there are brave men and women defending our freedom around the globe, and to look our children in the eye and tell them that, here in America, no dream is too big if they’re willing to work for it.
We’re also grateful that this country has always been home to Americans who see these blessings not simply as gifts to enjoy, but as opportunities to give back. Americans who believe we have a responsibility to look out for those who are less fortunate, to pull each other up and move forward together. Right now, as we prepare to gather around our dinner tables, there are families in the northeast who don’t have that luxury. Many of them have lost everything to Hurricane Sandy, homes, possessions, even loved ones. And it will be a long time before life gets back to normal for them. But in the midst of so much tragedy, there are also glimmers of hope. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen FEMA personnel, National Guard and first responders working around the clock in hard hit communities. We’ve seen hospital workers using their lunch breaks to distribute supplies. Families offering up extra bedrooms. The fire department advertising free hot showers. Buses full of volunteers coming from hundreds of miles away. Neighbors sharing whatever they have, food, water, electricity, and saying again and again how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads. It would have been easy for these folks to do nothing, to worry about themselves and leave the rest to someone else. But that’s not who we are. That’s not what we do.
As Americans, we are a bold, generous, big hearted people. When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work, not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do. Because there but for the grace of God go I. And because here in America, we rise or fall together, as one nation and one people. That’s something to be grateful for, today and every day.
So to all the Americans doing your part to make our world a better place, it is my great privilege to serve as your President. To all our service members, it is my honor to be your Commander in Chief. And from our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving everybody.
Previously: High Broderism: the debt, the debt, it’s the debt…. (November 16, 2012)
On St. Louis Public Radio:
Within approximately the last twenty years, Missouri ranks among the worst states in which the gap between rich and middle-income households has widened. That’s according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we also take note of the report’s finding in which the gap between the very richest and the poor is even larger with the top 5 percent of Missouri households having an average income 11.7 times that of the bottom fifth….
Because the price of a can of creamed corn is so much cheaper than supporting and building an actual, you know, equitable and just society.
We won’t have Todd Akin (r) to kick around anymore.
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
AFSCME, SEIU and NEA Launch Ad Campaign to Protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Education
New poll shows major opposition to cuts to vital services
Washington, DC – The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA) today launched an opening set of television ads in Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, and radio ads in Pennsylvania, Alaska and Missouri. The ads are urging Senators and Representatives to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education.
In addition to ads, AFSCME, SEIU and NEA have released results from a public poll that shows a majority of Americans opposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Education in order to balance the budget. A clear majority want neither a “grand bargain” nor cuts to vital services to reduce the budget deficit. More than half of Americans want to see the wealthy pay their fair share so Congress can invest in job creation and protect our national priorities. The poll was conducted by the Mellman Group between November 9-12, 2012….
Narrator: How do we move our country forward and reduce the deficit? By creating jobs and growing our economy, not by cutting programs that families rely on most.
We need Senator McCaskill to continue to stand up for us by investing in job creation, extending the middle class tax cuts, and protecting Medicare, Medicaid and education from cuts.
Because for working families, it’s all about putting Americans back to work, not cutting the things we rely on most.
Are they afraid, or is this an attempt to provide cover?
And the Twitter signs?
Claire McCaskill @clairecmc
Beautiful drive to KC for annual Ch of Commerce dinner. Always a huge crowd. Who will be named Kansas Citian of the year? 5:14 PM – 20 Nov 12
Ah, yes, the Chamber of Commerce. A well-known bastion of working class values.
This probably means that we can kiss filibuster reform goodbye. Again. (November 19, 2012)
Here we are, stuck in the middle with you (November 9, 2012)