Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PLANNING FOR THE APOCALYPSE....The New York Times reports that business lobbyists are feverishly working to get lots of business-friendly regulations in place before the Bush administration expires, "in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor."

I'd say that's a pretty sound belief. And hardly a surprising one, either. But here's something I didn't know: when the Bush administration took over in 2001 it unilaterally froze nearly all of Bill Clinton's last-minute regulatory changes, eventually changing or killing about 20% of them. But the next president won't be able to do that:

Whoever becomes the next president, Democrat or Republican, will find that it is not so easy to make immediate and sweeping changes. The Supreme Court has held that a new president cannot arbitrarily revoke final regulations that already have the force of law. To undo such rules, a new administration must provide a compelling justification and go through a formal rule-making process, which can take months or years.

So the stakes really are higher this time around. I can hardly wait to see what kind of last minute damage Bush decides to inflict on the Republic as his term in office draws to a close.

That said, here's my favorite part of the story:

A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave....The National Association of Manufacturers said the law had been widely abused and had caused "a staggering loss of work hours" as employees took unscheduled, intermittent time off for health conditions that could not be verified. The use of such leave time tends to rise sharply before holiday weekends, on the day after Super Bowl Sunday and on the first day of the local hunting season, employers said.

News flash: workers sometime call in sick even when they aren't! And this is causing a "staggering loss of work hours." Clearly we need new regulations to cut down on Super Bowl malingering.

Kevin Drum 2:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

IOKIYAR.

Thanks, Ralph.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 2, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Poor babies! I just feel so sorry for those corporations!

The real problem is that businesses don't give employees adequate vacation time. This complaint is just a function of the fact that we don't get treated as well as workers in most other developed countries.

Posted by: David in NY on December 2, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'm shocked - shocked - to find out there's gambling going on in this casino!

This kind of thing is all the more reason for the eventual Democratic nominee to campaign hard on the down-ticket races, to collect IOUs for a new First 100 Days strategy of huge legislative changes, with hopefully a 60+ seat Senate majority.

Posted by: Greg in FL on December 2, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Settle down, hotshot. I don't suppose you realize all the last second damage that Bill and Hillary languished on the Republic in the wanning days of their administration. Pardon for Marc Rich, anyone? How about stifiling environmental regs that could have killed our timber industry? And as if that wasn't enough, they pretty much trashed the white house before they left, denigrating that grand mansion like a bunch of spoiled brat frat boys.

Posted by: egbert on December 2, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose a new administration could do what the Bush administration did and simply ignore whatever restraints are imposed upon it from outside the executive branch. That worked pretty well from a policy implementation standpoint, for the last seven years.

Posted by: redacted on December 2, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote (sarcastically): Clearly we need new regulations to cut down on Super Bowl malingering.

More precisely, the article says that employers want to prevent new regulations that will increase malingering.

I don't know why hard-working, responsible liberals like Kevin Drum go out of their way to support people who are irresponsible or lazy.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 2, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK


Obvious questions: Does Congress have the power to change that ruling that the next President can't reverse Bush's regulatory rulings for years? And will the Senate Republicans filibuster any attempt to do so? Probable answer: "yes" to both questions.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on December 2, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

>I don't know why hard-working, responsible liberals like Kevin Drum go out of their way to support people who are irresponsible or lazy.

Or, they're people who are angry at mistreatment by their employers. Then feeling trapped in their jobs and left with no recourse due to labor laws tilted in the employer's favor, they then rebel by any means left to them. Such employers may find problems increase, not decrease, if the steam-release valves are all shut off.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on December 2, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should just cancel the Super Bowl.

Posted by: harvey Holcomb on December 2, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Completely and totally off-topic, and for this I apologize. But Kevin: I've been reading your blog sine before you switched over to TWM, and one thing that has bugged me ever since is your byline under the Political Animal title graphic. It's all aliased and gloppy-like. Hey, if I can't criticize your writing, I have to find *something* to bitch about on here.

So, humbly, I offer:
http://gotommy.com/pa_logo_byline-tc.gif

and then scurry back into 'Net obscurity.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Tom on December 2, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's been so long since I've cruised the comment section, I forget whether egbert is one of the classic parody trolls or not.

Does anybody else remember Ari Fliescher getting caught lying for claiming the Clintons trashed the White House? I do. Or the Roadless National Forests that W overturned under guise of "Fire Safety".

Oy. Impeachment hearings would have begun in 2002 had George not gotten the chance to play cowboy.

Posted by: def on December 2, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Eggy (not that you're around to, you know, defend your latest absurdity) it was Reagan and James Watt who killed the timber industry.

Putz

Posted by: Trollhattan on December 2, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

News flash: Presidents sometime invade countries tied to terrorists even when they aren't!

Posted by: craigie on December 2, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Quoting Kevin's post: "on the day after Super Bowl Sunday ... workers sometime call in sick even when they aren't!"

Actually after Super Bowl Sunday many people are sick.

Would you want a severely hung over person operating dangerous heavy machinery?

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on December 2, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I interpreted the Supreme Court reference as having been in effect since prior to Bush's term -- otherwise he would have reversed a whole lot more than 20% of Clinton's outgoing executive orders.

And yes, equating Marc Rich with environmental devastation in appalachia is an excellent debating tactic. Keep it up.

Posted by: Nat on December 2, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Egbert: It's Clinton's fault. There's an original thought, eh?

Posted by: W Action on December 2, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Pass a law that says that businesses employing full time employees must offer three or four weeks off. Call it personal days, vacation, sick, whatever.

There's no loss of competitiveness, relative to other US companies, if every business has to comply. As for the jobs that will be lost to foreign competitors, those jobs were leaving anyway, a change would, at worst, just speed it up a tiny bit. OECD countries are our competitors for exports, and they almost universally have more worker benefits. We don't compete with less developed countries.

We're one of the richest countries in the world. We can afford it. People almost all wish for slightly more time off. There's a collective action problem here, requiring government solution for enhanced welfare.

Posted by: luci on December 2, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah Eggie,

I'm with ya bud. Ever since Clinton pardoned Marc Rich my life has turned to shit. My house burned down 3 times, my ex wife left me, somebody stole my Prius and my boss canned me. I got cancer and impetigo and now can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. I got run over by a bus the other day and now I owe the hospital 120Gs. That's what happened to me when Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. Devastating.

DFH

Posted by: DFH on December 2, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the two biggest days for alcohol consumption in the US are New Years Eve and the super bowl game.

New Years Eve does not cause a work problem because the following day is a holiday.

One way to combat "Super Bowl flu" would be to change the game to a Saturday, or to rearrange dates so that the following Monday is a holiday.

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on December 2, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

DFH, It just so happens that all that happened to you also happened to me. All except the impetigo whatever that is.

Posted by: namvetted on December 2, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

egbert,
Your parody conservative trolling is too obvious. Subtlety is your friend.

Posted by: phleabo on December 2, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with phleabo: the trolls need to work on their routines. I suggest they learn from Norman Rogers, who at least is fun.

Most postsecondary teachers can tell what a student is going to get in a humanities course after reading only a very, very little bit of his or her writing. Think paragraphs. It is the same thing with the local trolls. After one post way back when, none of them have varied in tone, format or level of argument. You can go back and compile them to check for yourself. I put them at C-, with the exception of Norman, who rates an A-.

And Al says he's a writer, or wannabe writer! I hope they learn of the wise and perpend.

Posted by: Bob M on December 2, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is just an example of an uninformed person (Kevin) making a dopey comment about people abusing the FMLA. Intermittent leave essentially allows employees to take time off any time they want with immunity, or be late for work or leave early also with immunity. Unfortunately, it has resulted in widespread abuse and, even when not abused, it puts a very significant strain on business. Folks like Kevin prevent a reasonable discussion of the issue and how the problem could be diminished without unfairly hurting persons with genuine illnesses who are unable to work, such as requiring leave to be taken in half day increments.

Posted by: brian on December 2, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

So what is the subject of this posting? The supreme court, presidential rules and regulations, Stupid bowl time off, trolls, or what?

What ever happened to that congressional act to declare the entire Bush presidency and everything it did "null and void"?

Posted by: slanted tom on December 2, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

brian, the picture you paint is pretty horrible, all right. Fortyunately, in my experience it is 180-degrees from reality. Just speaking simply as a shift supervisor - my turnover went down when my bosses had to give medical leave when appropriate, women who had babies didn't lose their jobs for it, and I didn't have to train new employees so frequently.

FMLA isn't bestowed the moment someone is hired. There is a minimum number of hours that must be clocked before it kicks in, you don't get it just because you ask for it - your doctor has to fill out the forms, and verify your medical condition under penalty of perjury, and it goes through HR. And it does not cover tardies or early outs.

There are problems with the system, sure. But on balance, it is a hell of a lot better than before. But what do I know? I'm a sucker. I actually worked for a living. I didn't shuffle papers in an effort to screw over the people actually performing real, tangible work in an attempt to benefit the suits.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 2, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ankle bracelet transmitters for all employees.

Posted by: ferd on December 2, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Intermittent leave essentially allows employees to take time off any time they want with immunity, or be late for work or leave early also with immunity."

This kind of logic is why I left the Republican party. Would that be people who have regular dialysis or chemotherapy. Same for people on cardiorehab, chronic conditions, or frequent follow up appointments with physicians.

Real abuse there. What a bunch of slackers...not.

Posted by: Ex - Republican Yankee on December 2, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Making the regulations harder to reverse will just raise the stakes and provide motivation for doing the digging it will take to prove the criminality that will inevitably be involved.

Posted by: Jessica on December 2, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I await the 2009 legislation to criminalize the Republican't party.

Posted by: craigie on December 2, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

If there's anyone that's a slacker here, it's clearly these business lobbyists. After all, they've had, what, seven years to get this administration to do their every bidding, and now all of a sudden they're worried that a few environmental or labor laws haven't been sufficiently weakened yet?

What have those bums pictured in the article been up to since 2001? Calling in sick?

Posted by: cdc on December 2, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps we should just cancel the Super Bowl.

Posted by: harvey Holcomb"

And be subjected to corporations howling all the louder.

Posted by: cal1942 on December 2, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Americanist is busy on the previous post, so he asked me to step in and say that all of you guys are stoooooopid assholes and that anybody who disagrees with me is only proving my point. I mean, if any of you had any credibility you'd realize that progressives like us can't afford to call in sick even when they are because then we destroy the credibility of people who really are sick.

Man, you guys are dumb, doncha tink?

Posted by: tomeck on December 2, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"I await the 2009 legislation to criminalize the Republican't party.

Posted by: craigie"

Legislation not needed. Republicans criminalized themselves almost 4 decades ago.

Posted by: liberalwasp on December 2, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

News flash: Republican senators sometimes go to the men's room even when they don't have to! Clearly we need new regulations to cut down on stance widening and subsequent press conferences.

Posted by: skimble on December 2, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Brian you're what? 14.

The family leave act does not permit employees to arrive and/or leave whenever they feel like it.

Putting fabricated information in your comments destroys your credibility. The people who comment here are far more experienced, are brighter and better informed than you are.

Posted by: cal1942 on December 2, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Meck, may I call you meck?, you just don't get it do you? Sure you SOUND vaguely like the tA (smugly smiles) but yer sooo stooopid when you spell out "because". EVERYBODY knows the correct tA usage is "cuz".

Sheesh, man, you give progressives bad breath or something. You'll never PERSUADE me that you can handle the assignment with omissions like those I noted for you (patiently taps pencil on keyboard and glancing at TV football while waiting for the Stillers game later on tonight and chuckling quietly remembering Pitt's upset of them 'eers last night......)

Posted by: TJM on December 2, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Are the Repubs going to steal the "C"s from the typewriters? (By the way, do they actually have typewriters in the White House?) Or will they just repeal all those "stifiling environmental regs".

Golly, those Democrats sure got us in ever so much trouble last time, didn't they?

Posted by: Kenji on December 2, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't it take awhile for these rules to become final? I thought the rules are proposed and then there is a comment period. Even after they become final, the rules can be challenged in court. What if a President Hillary Clinton adminstration decides not to defend the rules in court?

Posted by: Jose Padilla on December 2, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try TJM, but you blew it when you asked if you could call me Meck. I mean, tA just doesn't ask permission for anything. He takes his own permission and throttles it. That said, you were right to get on my shit for the 'cuz. If I wasn't the epitome of a lazy progressive (giving REAL progressives like tA a bad name) I would have nailed it the first time. That, and I'm watchin' the Chicago Bores, you'd think I'd know better by now.

Posted by: tomeck on December 2, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

FMLA isn't bestowed the moment someone is hired. There is a minimum number of hours that must be clocked before it kicks in, you don't get it just because you ask for it - your doctor has to fill out the forms, and verify your medical condition under penalty of perjury, and it goes through HR. And it does not cover tardies or early outs.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 2, 2007 at 4:57 PM

This is true. At my previous job there were several hundred employees and the FEW ones that were taking family leave REALLY DID have a good reason to do so and all the forms from doctors, etc. were filled out. We never heard of ANYBODY abusing that system. Of course, what may have helped that was the 60+ hours (min.) of personal time (depending on years of service-not counting vacation) that *all* employees were given at the beginning of each fiscal year. You could also take it in increments of 1/10ths of a hour and use it to leave early-if you ran out of stuff to work on-or you just wanted to go. Nobody cared. They *did* care about using PT to count for late to work and you had to use a full hour or more for the *start* of your scheduled work hours.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 2, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what the Democratic President does:

Cancel those last minute Bush regulations. Cancel a bunch of others, too.

Also implement the cancellations throughout the Federal government's operations.

Courts will order the Executive to stand down, right up to Clarence Thomas' doorstep.

Defy. Constitutional Crisis? Yup.

The Republicans can come and get it.

Argument over, once and for all. The government (individual federal employees) has (have) more guns at their disposal, which ought to be some solace to the NRA.

But fuck 'em anyway.

Posted by: John Thullen on December 2, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I have been opposing impeachment. It's now time to rev it up. We need to get the WH focused on something other than destroying the country.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 2, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert....

exhibiting his stupidity yet once again.

Posted by: angryspittle on December 2, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

"in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor."
Uh, what with Schumer et al shilling for the Wall Street crowd (like the counting of performance bonuses for fund managers as "capital gains" instead of "income" to get a lower tax rate - not that capital gains should get a lower tax rate anyway ...) I am not so sure. We must really press the Dems to live up to their image, and I mean *press.* (and "Press", heh.)

Posted by: Neil B. on December 2, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's Bush who changed regulations, so that mountain top removal coal mining can be done. He isn't one to protect forests, mountains, the treasury or human lives.

Posted by: MarkH on December 2, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

blue girl and others:

You are absolutely wrong in asserting that FMLA does not cover tardies or leaving early. It absolutely does for persons certified for intermittent leave.

That is one problem with posters here. They declaratively state facts that are simply wrong. Or they switch the subject, such as blue girl wanting to talk about reduced turnover apparently related to FMLA leave for the birth of a child, a leave right which no one is proposing to change.

There are workplaces with little abuse. There are workplaces with significant abuse. And the abuse is spreading because word gets around that FMLA leave certification is a way to avoid getting in trouble for absences/tardies. The idea that "certification" from a doctor is a big hurdle for someone who wants to abuse the system is nonsense and sometimes an employee secures a certficiation in good faith and then abuses the right to take intermittent leave.

Take the example of migraine headaches. I realize migraines are a serious health problem and an employee should have protection for legitimate absences related to migraines. The problem is that once certified for intermittent leave for migraines, the employee then has a free pass to come in late, leave early or miss work without prior notice whenever he/she declares they have a headache. Some employees will not abuse it at all. Others will abuse it by either getting certified when they don't actually have migraines or using the certification to be absent when they don't actually have a migraine. A practical and fair step to diminish this is to require employees to take at least a half day off when they say they have to be late due to a migraine or some other certified chronic health condition. The employee who legitimately cannot work due to a migraine still would be protected, but since the abusing emplyee would suffer a half day loss of pay or paid time off, it would diminish abuse of the leave right for days on which the employee is late because they know they can used their FMLA certification, not because of any true migraine (or other health condition).

For those of you honest enough to consider the issue, think about a workplace situation where one or several employees in a department have the right to come in late or take off whenever they want and nothing can be done about it. Sound like a problem to you?

Posted by: brian on December 2, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's an unpleasant irony that those who were so very much afraid of a 'big government' that would repeatedly interfere with the average man's life, privileges and freedoms, are defending large corporations which are so much much more intrusive.

Except for notable exceptions like the draft, prohibition and a few others, It's your boss and place of employ that has the greatest amount of control of your average day-to-day life. They tell you what to wear, how long to work, what days to work, what time of day to work, how much you make, what kind of insurance you will have, and even attempt to enforce rules about what kind of off-time activies you may do. They even retain the right to change any of these things they want at any time w/out recourse to you except to quit and find another job. I'm sure there's more that i'm forgetting. The chief danger of bush is his policy of allowing large business' access to government power. We will pay for that far longer then the national debt.

Posted by: Aaron on December 2, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Aaron:

You're not far from the mark. Those who are afraid of big government merely want to chop things up into smaller totalitarian units, the easier to give more little mussolinis supervisory positions, and the easier to control everyone else.

Control is more efficient at the state level and the local level and at the corporate level and, let's not forget, at the family level. Local control encourages more innovation in the area of ...... control.

Yup. You're free to quit. Interestingly, you're not free to not eat. It's not that they don't like force, it's that they like it to look like it's the average Joe's idea.

Posted by: John Thullen on December 2, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Aaron wrote: It's an unpleasant irony that those who were so very much afraid of a 'big government' that would repeatedly interfere with the average man's life, privileges and freedoms, are defending large corporations which are so much much more intrusive.

I know this is a popuar point of view, but I don't get it. The government takes around 1/3 of our income. A corporation doesn't take any money from me unless I choose to do business with them (There are exceptions. Utilities are often monopolies that cannot avoided.)

Enforcement of government decisions is by the police at gunpoint, if necessary. A corporation can only sue me.

There are a stupenodous number of government regulations. A corporation can regulate its own business, but cannot regulate other parts of one's life. Government can regulate every aspect of one's life, including the most intimate. A corporation cannot prevent gays from marrying or ban abortion. Government can.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 2, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

--Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: Quotation Man on December 2, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

A corporation doesn't take any money from me unless I choose to do business with them

Man, are you missing the forest for the trees. The oil companies take money from you in the form of taxes that go to military support for their activities, subsidized by you.

The food you eat is built around corporate welfare, and you pay more for it. Corporate welfare is built into the cost of almost everything. Today's LAT has a story about how lobbying prevented a better anthrax vaccine from being made available.

Government is only the "enemy" to the extent that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fortune 100. Which it completely is.

Posted by: craigie on December 2, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

I say we allow Fed malingering.

Employees come in late the day after each Fed board meeting.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 2, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

craigie, it's true that corporations bend government to their benefit when can do so, but they're not the only ones, nor are they the biggest recipients of government largesse. The amount of your money that goes to corporations is a lot less than the amount that goes to me and other seniors for Social Security and Medicate. Farmers get many billions of dollars. Aid to foreign countries is substantial, not to mention students, welfare recipients, scientists, and so forth.

No one of these groups "owns" the government.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 2, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

brian: "That is one problem with posters here. They declaratively state facts that are simply wrong."

That's rich, coming from a concern troll like you, who serves up so many whoppers that Burger King has recently declared you an honorary franchise.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, & currently in Chicago on December 2, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

What happened to the W Impeachment??? The little eggbert should have been in jail by now. We would not be concerned with additional damage from the Bush Co. if someone had followed thru. Its not too late IMPEACH & JAIL BUSH & CO. NOW!!

Posted by: Dennis 'd Mennace on December 2, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Farmers get many billions of dollars.

Big agribusinesses get many billions of dollars, you mean.

nor are they the biggest recipients of government largess. The amount of your money that goes to corporations is a lot less than the amount that goes to me and other seniors for Social Security and Medicare.

Businesses attempt to, and largely succeed at, privatizing reward and socializing risk. That means their activities cost you money, whether you go in their doors or not.

And Social Security and Medicare are not "government largess", unless you believe that roads and schools are also some kind of socialist scam. Which, you probably do.

Posted by: craigie on December 3, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain, but I seem to remember that the alleged Lincoln quote about corporations is falsely attributed to him. I think that I remember reading that his own son stated that he never stated what was attributed to him.

Posted by: brian on December 3, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush has anything like patriotism in his heart, it is for business and combining Mexican labor with American capital and turning America into some sort of open borders, cheap labor enterprise zone.

Posted by: Luther on December 3, 2007 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK
Ah, Kevin.

Settle down, hotshot. I don't suppose you realize all the last second damage that Bill and Hillary languished on the Republic in the wanning days of their administration. Pardon for Marc Rich, anyone? How about stifiling environmental regs that could have killed our timber industry? And as if that wasn't enough, they pretty much trashed the white house before they left, denigrating that grand mansion like a bunch of spoiled brat frat boys.

Posted by: egbert on December 2, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

You lying scum.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2001/05/19/MN169709.DTL

Audit clears Clinton staff of vandalism
No 'damage' to White House
Christopher Marquis, New York Times
Saturday, May 19, 2001

(05-19) 04:00 PST Washington -- Accounts that departing Clinton administration officials destroyed office equipment and committed other acts of vandalism in the White House during the presidential transition were significantly overblown, a manager at the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said yesterday.

The General Services Administration found nothing unusual about the condition of White House offices after Clinton officials left, and President Bush's staff said it had no records that indicated damage or subsequent repair work, the accounting office manager said.

Posted by: Jim Chesterfield on December 3, 2007 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK
craigie, it's true that corporations bend government to their benefit when can do so, but they're not the only ones, nor are they the biggest recipients of government largesse. The amount of your money that goes to corporations is a lot less than the amount that goes to me and other seniors for Social Security and Medicate. Farmers get many billions of dollars. Aid to foreign countries is substantial, not to mention students, welfare recipients, scientists, and so forth.

No one of these groups "owns" the government.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 2, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

The social security fund has been pillaged for decades to pay for wars that are waged to benefit corporate interests and other expenditures causing budget short falls. Citizens don't see returns on that money - corporate shareholders do.

You talk about agriculture subsidies as if we're back in the 1940s, with Radar O'Reilly's and Clark Kent's parents running Iowan corn fields. There are very few small family farms in the US - Subsidies to agriculture are for the benefit of the big corporate operations. The rest of your fantasy, about aid going to students, welfare recipients, scientists would lay me out on the floor laughing if it wasn't such a tragedy. Look at the budget, ya fool - we're going broke supporting a defense industry which isn't making us any safer. Its job is to provide muscle for corporate thieves and murderers around the globe.

America lost its way a long time ago.

Posted by: Jim Chesterfield on December 3, 2007 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK
The Supreme Court has held that a new president cannot arbitrarily revoke final regulations that already have the force of law.

I'm sure that only applies for a transition from a Republican President to a Democratic President.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on December 3, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah brian - those slackers leaving early for chemo were a real drain on the department...[/eye rolling.] I was more concerned about their overall wellbeing than picking up some of the slack for a couple of hours.

What I said was, in my experience, the system was not abused. But I never viewed my staff as my enemy, either. If someone left early, there was a reason, and for the most part, appointments are scheduled in advance and staffing accommodations are made accordingly, on the posted schedule, in advance.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 3, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I can hardly wait to see what kind of last minute damage Bush decides to inflict on the Republic as his term in office draws to a close.

None. He's already just mailing it in. By the time the last six months roll around, he won't even bother to show up for work.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 3, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave....The National Association of Manufacturers said the law had been widely abused and had caused "a staggering loss of work hours" as employees took unscheduled, intermittent time off for health conditions that could not be verified.

This one's easy. People take sick leave when they're not sick because they're not allowed by their employers to take other vacation/personal leave days that they're owed. Assuming, of course, they get more than a pittance of vacation/personal days in the first place.

Posted by: Pee Cee on December 3, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like I'm late to the discussion, but nobody mentioned that this is *unpaid* leave. So it's not like employees are cheating the company. And if some company has a problem with too many people out after the Super Bowl, there is an obvious Free Market (tm) solution: pay a bonus to people who show up on that day.

Posted by: Dave on December 3, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hey "brian,"

Nice straw man. Why not take him to the next youtube debate and give him a spin on the floor? Sounds like the "there have been several bombings at shopping malls around america and you have sixty seconds to torture the location of the next one before it goes off, which torture do you use?" question from the republican debate last summer.

Note #1: FMLA leave is unpaid. Got it? Revenue neutral to the company.
#2: The solutions are adequate staffing and process management, same as always.

It's like kindergarten around here.

For those of you honest enough to consider the issue, think about a workplace situation where one or several employees in a department have the right to come in late or take off whenever they want and nothing can be done about it. Sound like a problem to you?

Posted by: trollhattan on December 3, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that once certified for intermittent leave for migraines, the employee then has a free pass to come in late, leave early or miss work without prior notice whenever he/she declares they have a headache. Some employees will not abuse it at all. Others will abuse it by either getting certified when they don't actually have migraines or using the certification to be absent when they don't actually have a migraine.

Brian, I have over 20 years upper management experience with "Big 5" consulting companies and one of the largest banks. I can say, beyond a doubt, your scenario is pure BS. The incidence of abuse so minor it isn't worth supervisory time to discuss it. Slackers and system abusers always show up as performance problems and decide to leave on their own (or be forced out due to performance problems). Large scale FMLA abuse is myth.

Or would you prefer to put limits on it and "throw the baby out with the bath water?"


Posted by: Ex - Republican Yankee on December 3, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Slackers and system abusers always show up as performance problems and decide to leave on their own (or be forced out due to performance problems). Large scale FMLA abuse is myth.

I'll second that. Anyone who might have become an FMLA abuser on my crew was usually winnowed out before they had the requisite time-on-job for their eligibility to kick in.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 3, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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