Morning Reads for Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012 7:11 am

by Obi's Sister · 46 comments

Here:
- Lincoln County has dead voters. Hmmm, I thought The Walking Dead was filmed in Senoia.
- SoS Kemp certifies GA election results.
- Jedi mind tricks… or black helicopters?
- Roswell St Baptist Church and the City of Marietta at odds over property.
- More property excitement in Cobb. WellStar skirts zoning requirements for their proposed East Cobb campus.
- WellStar also nabs Newt Gingrinch’s former think tank.
- Young GA blogger isn’t happy with one of Glamour Magazine’s choices for “Women of the Year.”
- Doug Richards loves him some Victor Hill.
- This sounds like a much better idea.

There:
- United Airlines computer problems strand thousands of travelers for the third time since June.
- Sirens wail in Tel Aviv.
- The United State Postal Service lost $15.9 billion. Yes, that’s billions with a B. Your government at work.
- Ohio and Pennsylvania post highest jobless claims the week after the election. How inconvenient.
- Zipper problems? Go work for the CIA, but wait a couple of months.
- More Washington budget drama.
- BREAKING: Hostess Brands Inc. is going out of business and laying off most of its 18,500 employees, citing crippling nation-wide strike. In this case the parasite really did kill the host.

In announcing its decision, Hostess said its wind down would mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.

Random Everywhere:
- Head over to Legal Insurrection to learn a new word – solipsist.
- The Thanksgiving dessert table will never be the same.
- Be everyone’s favorite guest! Just in time for all your holiday festivities – donuts injected with liquor! PP Roadshow?

John Vestal November 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hostess seeks permission to liquidate due to strike

Twinkies are going the way of poor Janelle. Luckily, we still have Old Milwaukee.

Obi's Sister November 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

Heard it on the way in this morning. Updated and included above.

Rick Day November 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm

This Hostess fake story again?

Aw hell naw.

See, this is is what happens when news is written solely from Corporate Press Releases due to lazy journalism. The strike was called AFTER Hostess had announced that YET AGAIN (within the past 3 years!) they were filing chapter 7, while the CEO took a 3 fold increase in pay. Why did they go under Chapter 7 a SECOND time? They refused to change with the times. Hostess makes crap junk food. When is the last time you had a Twinkie?

The union had not asked for wage increases. Dude, or whatever you are, they had not had a wage increase in FIVE YEARS.

The plan all along is to sell of the brands, where the REAL value is. This had nothing to do with unions and everything to do with management hating on unions, even pitting them up against each other.

http://recessappointment.com/2012/11/16/hostess-a-lesson-in-blaming-unions-for-your-failures/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/helaineolen/2012/11/16/who-killed-hostess-brands-and-twinkies/

What to know what killed Hostess? THE DAMN FREE MARKET INVISIBLE HANDS DID.

Twinkiegate™ yet another conservative lie.

http://www.politicususa.com/twinkie-gate-republicans-admit-hostess-closing-killing-unions.html

Retract this. It’s a lie.

I Miss the 90s November 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I, too, demand a retraction. PP readers are getting the FoxNews version of the story here.

This is another case of a company out smarting itself and being mismanaged to the point of another bankruptcy.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

The USPS – congress will find a solution in throwing money at it – they could hire more carriers, increase retirement benefits and deliver on Sunday to grow out of their billion plus a month losses ! :)

Home delivery once a week is good by me. And trash pickup can be the next day.
Maybe they can sort it out with the nearby UPS and FedEx stores.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

Just saw on Drudge where union goons caused Hostess to close. Nice work, guys! Better to close the whole company than to have a job! Unreal. Easter Airlines all over again!

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

I had asked an exec buddy of mine about this and will see. Employees can put a company in crisis but seldom sink it. It usually takes assistance from very bad management and a poor business plan.

Years of just giving in to demands in to union leaders or public workers without an eye on future consequences for changing conditions will require much higher prices, revenue, borrowing or taxes.

The blame is seldom clearly one sided.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:22 am

Face it, American labor rates have put them at a total worldwide disadvantage. GM is a perfect example. Paying ridiculously high hourly wages to an assembly line worker for essentially repetitive, unskilled labor killed the company. Someone once said the GM was a didn’t make cars, it was a company who paid for retirement plans. Sums it up in a nutshell. Of course management didn’t have to give in to the demands. Doesn’t really matter now, though.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

Where’s that blasted edit button when I needed it! Anyway…

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:29 am

Case in point, I lived overseas in Bogota for four years. Went to their version of Walmart, which is called Exito. Clerks were all over the place, one at each end of every isle. Why? Labor was cheap and as a result, customer service was second to none and I’ve seen most of this world. I go to Target or even Belks or Kohl’s and clerks are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Again, not their fault. Our labor is just too highly priced. Just looked at the label on my new Polo T-shirt. Indonesia. Also, I just saw the Denny’s story of their 5% Obamacare surcharge and cutting hours to 28. We are so screwed.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 8:36 am

Noway,
GM has about one of the worst mgmt and corporate cultures I have dealt with. The unions might have used it to their advantage and got burned for it. The crazy ( now clever) thing is a third party – the Feds- declared the unions were the ones to save.

John Konop November 16, 2012 at 8:36 am

Norway,

Your logic is why wages have been going down for the last 40 years…….Henry Ford made the point he paid his workers well, so they could have enough money to buy his products. China is having the same problem with the spread between rich and poor growing. A strong middle class fixes many problems in society. A race to the bottom with wages worldwide creates unrest.

I am not saying that unions did not take it too far. But, now unless wages start growing we will have a large underclasss and major fiscal issues. And we cannot win a wage war with India, China……….

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

Ok, John. But how do we reverse it? In the global labor pool our companies cannot pay more in wages just to pay more in hourly wages. The companies will go where they can get the most bang for their buck. Shareholders will demand it.

bowersville November 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

Here is just one article that you may be interested in:

Presidents Reagan and Clinton used White House Conferences on small businesses to successfully boost their economic recoveries.

As the country looks for ways to grow jobs and improve our economy, Congress and the administration should convene a new White House Conference on small business as soon as possible to hear directly from the small business sector as to how they can best help small firms drive the U.S. economy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-small-business/post/opinion-small-businesses-need-clarity-and-consistency-in-the-tax-code/2012/11/12/2eddf6c2-2a81-11e2-b4e0-346287b7e56c_blog.html

Taking on the middle class in an attempt to drive down wages plays directly into the current Democratic talking points, especially the President’s.

John Konop November 16, 2012 at 9:43 am

Norway,

I think we need a balanced approach to the issue. First we need to reform education and merge vo-tech college programs into the high schools asap for non college bound students to fill the 3 million job openings. We also must also end the No Child Left Behind 4 year college prep or out requirements. Second we must enforce violation of trade deals ie intellectual property theft, currency manipulation………why have a contract if you are not enforcing the deal. Third we must change the tax code to stop the advantages for big business over small business ie flatter lower system with no special write offs, forth, China is having the same problem we are having, so it is time to re-negotiate based on lifting all ships not a race to the bottom. Finally, we should end payroll taxes and replace it with a VAT or national sales tax.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

I’m reminded of the Ross Perot/Al Gore debate in ’92. In talking about NAFTA, do your best Perot impersonation and say after me, ” A giiiant suckin’ sound goin’ South…” referring to all the jobs going to Mexico where labor is cheap.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

The US cannot and should not worry about driving wages down. The $8 worker is undereducated with third world math and communication skills.
Technology , improved distribution, efficient work places go hand in hand with a developing nation.

Dumbing down and lower wages is a bad direction.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

Or with those countries who will benefit from the recent Free Trade Agreement that is in place with Latin countries like Colombia. When I was there they were practically salivating to get a crack at our economy. And like most Americans, those folks work like mad but they do it for a pittance compared to our citizens.

Is protectionism the answer? Gephart (sp?) and even Pat Buchanan were/are in favor of it.

As a layman, I’m not smart enough to know the answer, but I’m not sure the brainiacs in Congress are much better.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

Why follow the third world with the expanding spread between the haves and have nots ?

Noway November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

I don’t wan to. What’s the answer?

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

For the US economy dependent to a great extent on consumer spending overall wages must rise. That comes from not enabling the poor with subsidies, education ( focused on students not employees), vocational training, encouraging productivity over subsidies, technology, minimizing govt interference and on and on.

We need long term overhauls in our tax system and government. Unfortunately we will behave as a union mob led by Republicans and democrats to put in short term stimuli to get reelected. This is how they will avert the cliff only to face a steeper one in a year or two . Nothing original here Greenspan talked about it on Bloomberg today.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Noway,

Hostess: I got a very long response from my exec friend that supplied them equipment for 30 plus years. Your negative remarks on the unions and mine on the concern of management did not even scratch the surface. What a horror story of union feather bedding and work rules joined with management misdirections.
Just too long to post.

Obi's Sister November 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

Heard it on the way in this morning. Updated and included link above.

Harry November 16, 2012 at 8:08 am
saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

Don’t sweat it – no one in congress, at the too big to fail financials or ratings agencies are going to jail for it. The bonuses are salted away.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:31 am

Salty, did you really see a story where personnel at the rating agencies are facing jail time? On what charge? Not busting your chops, I’m truly wanting to know more.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

No – but if I was on a jury they and the ones like Goldman Sachs that trained the ratings agencies would bear a very ugly financial hit as would the ratings agencies and mortgage originators. The shock was so many execs sold their companies out for a fast personal buck. And the Feds cooperated by pressure to get everyone in a home and taking on the easy money loans. Bernanke and his predecessor know this.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

Ok, thanks! Not that jail time is not a bad idea..

greencracker November 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

settle a fight between me and my friend yall:

If I rob a gas station with a gun and run off with $200 and the cops get me, I’m in prison for years on armed robbery.

If I defraud investors by lying about what I’m selling them and the cops get me …. o wait the cops pretty much won’t come get me.

One crime yes, uses violence.
The other crime steals exponentially more money.

Why are the penalties so vastly different?

My friend repeats the old saw that it’s because white male fraudsters run the world. Dunno if I believe that. I’d be interested in other opinions.

Baker November 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

I tend to agree with your friend. They don’t necessarily run things but they have enough money to buy off anyone who does. If it’s any consolation, with the entry of folks like Raj Rajaratnam it’s becoming slightly less of a whites only scam.

On a related note: If you haven’t seen the movie “The Other Guys” with American treasures Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, it’s pretty good. Very funny slapstick and Wahlberg is great. The end credits however? Super-depressing and serious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvuDGyUkzoI

They kind of give a quick rundown on the Wall Street meltdown. I’ve said this before and here again, if the Occupy and Tea Party groups hadn’t gotten bogged down for various reasons, this corporate welfare BS is an area where the two could’ve come together and gotten the rest of the country behind them and really changed things.

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm

It has a lot more to do about influence than race. Smoke crack on the ‘hood or snort cocaine in city hall and see who gets burned. Access to the best legal defense doesnt hurt either. The law and justice sometimes pass in the night.

In Cherokee Co you can fail to pay your taxes in one state, promise to work it out some day and get the tea party to back you for a public office to make decisions on the taxpayers money. How’s that for fiscal responsibility ?

Baker November 16, 2012 at 8:59 am
saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

Demographics are shifting in Gwinnett and elsewhere.

Noway November 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

Also this just in, Walmart workers plan to walk out on Black Friday. Great. I hope Walmart fires all of their asses.

bowersville November 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

I came across this petition this morning.

In nearly all of the 23 states which have disclosed the information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. As reported by Mother Jones:…. Democratic staffers of the House education and workforce committee calculated that each 200-employee Wal-Mart store costs taxpayers an average of more than $400,000 a year, based on entitlements ranging from energy-assistance grants to Medicaid to food stamps to WIC-the federal program that provides food to low-income women with children….

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/walmart_strike/?rc=fb_share2&r_by=50504-2278204-CKCyFTx

The study that was quoted was from California in 2004. I have no idea if $400,000 in taxpayer money per store of 200 employees is accurate. Anyway, that appears to be the petition Wal-Mart employees are using.

saltycracker November 18, 2012 at 7:26 am

Walmart does not determine government subsidies any more than your using peanut butter determines farm subsidies.

John Vestal November 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

Let me sneak in birthday wishes for GaReport’s Tom Crawford, who turns [redacted] years young today and has overcome substantial educational deficiencies to become the Gold Dome insider he is! :)

Ed November 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Yes, I’m sure the unions are to blame for Hostess’ demise. Not, you know, the decades of declining sales, virtually no marketing, zero innovation and selling a product that Americans don’t want anymore.

Unions are to blame.

saltycracker November 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Ed,
Not exactly – Believe their management problems were pointed out – Hostess made a lot of acquisitions but were unable to manage or assimilate them for a lot of reasons….

According to my above mentioned input from a supplier: With updated equipment that required only 2 workers and the union demanding 6 to 10 plus an electrician and a mechanic to man it not even Flowers Bakery, a chief competitor & great GA company) could survive.

Even if today it is less, over time, it is a death sentence.

Ed November 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Simple question…when was the last time you even thought about buying a Twinkie?

Tastes have changed. Period. A union may have been the nail in the coffin but Hostess was already dying a slow painful death.

saltycracker November 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

union/mgmt – Kinda chicken or the egg circle process

last purchase: 1992 & checking the pantry, they are still as good as the day I bought them ! :)

And now one of the hottest selling items:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/twinkies-ebay-starting-bid-hostess-bankruptcy_n_2146273.html

saltycracker November 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Wounded vets and families were involved in a tragic accident including a Holly Springs, GA. police office and his wife. Members of our family are their friends.

AJC Story:

By Pat Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Holly Springs couple was among the 16 people injured when a parade float carrying veterans and their families was hit by a train in Midland, Texas, in a horrific accident that so far has claimed four lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a fatal accident that occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday following a parade held to honor wounded service veterans. The flatbed trailer carrying the veterans and their families was en route to a banquet when it was struck by a Union Pacific train at the crossing.

Friends and co-workers of Holly Springs Police Officer Shane Ladner and his wife, Meg, spent much of Friday waiting for updates on their condition.

The department’s chaplain, Sgt. Brian Cain, was flown to Midland to be with the couple.

Ladner, 40, a five-year veteran of the force, was treated for back injuries and released, but his wife remained in serious but stable condition at Midland Memorial Hospital, police spokeswoman Lt. Tanya Anderson said. Doctors amputated her left leg, but there were no other details on the extent of her injuries, Anderson said.

The department said late Friday that plans call for flying Meg Ladner to Atlanta, but that may not occur until Monday.

“We’re a small, close-knit family,” Police Chief Ken Ball said. “It’s been difficult.”

Shane Ladner had been in Midland to participate in the annual “Hunt for Heroes” event that honors soldiers wounded in action. Ball said Ladner was reluctant to attend because he felt he didn’t deserve any special honors.

“He’s a really positive kind of guy and never dwelt on the negative,” Ball said.

Ladner began his law enforcement career with the Hall County Sheriff’s Department prior to being called back to active duty following 9/11. Upon his return to Georgia, he joined the Canton Police Department, where he spent five years before joining the Holly Springs Police Department.

A fund has been set up for the Ladners at Cherokee Bank in Canton. Donations can be made in person, or by mail to Cherokee Bank, P.O. Box 4250, Canton, Ga., 30114. The phone number is (770) 479-3400. Make checks payable to Ladner Benefit Fund. Cherokee Bank has two locations in Canton and one in Woodstock.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/holly-springs-officer-remains-with-injured-wife/nS8JH/

Rick Day November 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

The post office runs a deficit because the Republican controlled House has stripped tens of billions from the USPS to help pay down the deficit.

If it was not for the mandates, the debt would be more like 1.7 Billion.

If Congress had not stripped the USPS of funds over the past 10 years, there would be tens of billions of surplus in the USPS budget.

No business on the planet can deliver the amount of items to every address in the country on a daily basis, and remain in business. The best that Fed Ex and UPS, etc can do is ‘supply on demand.’ Indeed UPS is moving away from delivery as their core service and into logistics (think “Amazon”).

So free market doing what the USPS does, only better? I’m not on board with that fantasy at this time.

I’m sorry, who were you blaming again?

Harry November 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

It’s obsolete, just a conduit for cheap junk mail. Give every poor person a mail app to run on their free Obama-phones in lieu of the USPS, and shut it down.

Harry November 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

BTW Rick, I know you’re working hard to stop the illicit drug activity in and around your business venue, but the word is you need to try harder.

Rick Day November 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

There is only so much one man can do, Harry, besides shut the doors. And I assure you that doing that will not cause drug consumption to decrease, only continue at all the other venues, where it was going on lounge before we opened ours. Professional security company, a $6k video cam system, $3k in ID scanners and APD officer on site is more than most venues, we’ve offered to have the gang units come in and train our staff.

If someone wants to step up and tell me how to ‘try harder more’ my door has always been open. Until then, the city should be more concerned about the mayor’s buddy Mr “G” quietly buying up West Midtown venues, than what the kids are doing down on Spring Street.

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