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Articles for this week's Archive

WalMart prices: how low is too low?
Homeless and Felons Sway Election
Ana Marie Cox: Evidence is for Lawyers Not Journalists
Man Gives Wife Surprise Lexus
Electrifying Kiss Turns Out to Be Medicated ChapStick

Friday, December 24, 2004

WalMart prices: how low is too low?

In preparation for the holiday season, PBS, the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Democratic party went on the warpath against Wal-Mart to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping elsewhere. We interviewed some of the leaders of these organizations to determine why.

"WalMart is definitely bad for America," reporter Hedrick Smith, producer of the PBS Frontline special "Is WalMart Good for America?" told us. "They buy goods from China, just because it's cheaper. Why not buy from America? All they care about is having the lowest prices. But it's not because they care about the customers. They want the lowest prices so you'll shop there and they'll make more money!"

"WalMart adds jobs to communities," Democratic Spokesman Weiner Soreloser said, "but they're not good jobs. We used to say they took away jobs, but we had to take that back. Now we just complain that WalMart jobs are crappy. And service jobs in communities near WalMart are also crappy. People should not have to work in jobs they don't like. People should feel fulfilled, or else not work. France has 15% unemployment, and they're happy."

"WalMart is tough, but fair," Jeff Schomburger, VP of Proctor and Gamble and a WalMart supplier told us. "They're committed to lowering costs and improving productivity. Many suppliers have adopted new technology to gain WalMart's business and improved their own business."

"See?" said Soreloser, "they are tough! Is that the American way? I don't think so."

"What concerns us is the manufacturing jobs leaving the country," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "We have tried for many years to raise the cost of labor in America. Now businesses are fighting back by going elsewhere for labor. Is that fair? People in China don't want jobs making crap for us. WalMart should use American labor. People don't want low prices.

"We need to explore the good side of inflation."

"The worst part is, poor people can go to WalMart and afford nice things," said Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP. "How can we tell poor African Americans that they need us and the Democrats to get government handouts for them - if they are able to buy what they want because of WalMart's low prices? We need to keep poor people poor and unable to afford goods they want. That way, they will stay angry and keep supporting us. Otherwise, who is going to look out for them?"

The AFL-CIO recently made a list of all US companies that outsource labor and goods from outside the country in order to organize a boycott of these companies, but had to give up when that list included all the companies in the country.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Homeless and Felons Sway Election

Today, Dec 23, 2004, almost a thousand homeless and felons held a parade for the victory they handed to Christine Gregoire for Governor of Washington.

"This is a great day for the homeless," said Carol King, president of Help for the Homeless of King County. "Never before have homeless, and indigent felons, been able to vote in such large numbers, let alone sway an election."

Carol was referring to the over 700 votes uncovered in King County, Washington after the first election count, that were allowed to be added to the vote totals after the election by the Washington Supreme Court.

Just over 527 voters registered at 500 4th ave, which is the King Country Records and Elections Office. They registered as living there according to Washington law because they are homeless. An additional 48 of the new voters live at 511 3rd Ave, a known crackhouse.

"The homeless are allowed to vote like everyone else. This year we were able to register about 400 new homeless voters," said Elections Superintendent Bill Huennekens. "And the home at 511 3rd Ave is not a 'crack' house, it is a flophouse. With many different kinds of felons, not just narcotics traffickers.

"Luckily, we were able to mail out the absentee ballots to the military late, so many of them weren't able to vote. Did I say 'luckily?' I meant 'unfortunately.'"

We sought to interview some of these homeless, but it was difficult to find them, not having addresses. Though we did find a Jack Handsome.

"I have been wanting to vote for years," he told us. "I was apparently able to according to the law, but not having ID I couldn't, no one ever held my hand and filled out the paperwork for me. They registered and even voted for me, it was great."

At the 'flophouse' we talked to a few people. "The Republicans don't want us to vote," said Charlie Applethorn, "something about the 'law.' Well I have news for them, what kind of 'law' doesn't let people vote just because they've committed violence. The National Voting Rights Institute helped me to register and vote by using a different name. No one is taking my rights away!"

The parade ended on a sad note when it was discovered that Gregoire didn't need the homeless vote after all, since after 3 vote counts the King county election board, consisting of teams of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican, was able to switch enough votes to take 12 votes away from Rossi and add 47 votes to Gregoire by simply changing the standards halfway through the 3rd count, handing her the victory.

"Even though in the end our efforts weren't needed," Carol King said, "I like to think in a small way we still made a difference."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Ana Marie Cox: Evidence is for Lawyers Not Journalists

In a recent interview with Ana Marie Cox, self described journalist for several magazines and currently author of the Wonkette blog, on the "Rathergate" memos on MSNBC, she said "I think [the bloggers] did a disservice to the debate because they made the debate about the documents and not about the President of the United States." We tracked her down to clarify her position.

"George Bush may have been up to something," she said, "that is what we should have been discussing. Instead, we discussed evidence. What are we, lawyers? You know, I find it really hypocritical of the Right to rip on trial lawyers all the time, and then when there are accusations against a Republican, all of a sudden they're like 'show me the evidence.'

"They should have been talking about the accusations against Bush, not trying to determine if there was evidence for them or not. I mean there were, like, six months of missing Bush military documents, don't they care? There were, like, six years of missing Kerry documents, from '72 to '78. But we never looked into Kerry's past. You don't see us looking for 'evidence' of his 'dishonorable discharge,' or pressuring vets to 'lie' about war crimes. What would be the point of that?

"Why is the Right so obsessed with evidence? Like with Powell at the UN talking about photos of trucks and missle tests. And needing more intelligence. I mean like, whatever. Yeah the Right does need more intelligence. Ha ha. You don't see us harping about evidence all the time. We support the Kyoto Accord even though it won't lower pollution at all. We want to make people feel better, not just look for 'evidence' that a plan works.

"And when I say 'we', I am speaking both as a Democrat and a journalist. Journalists are always unbiased, it is our job."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Man Gives Wife Surprise Lexus

Kurt Logenheim asked us to be there when he gave his wife, Marlene, her surprise Christmas gift this week, so we agreed. Inspired by commercials for Lexus, he bought her a Lexus GX 2005.

"She's been wanting an SUV for a long time," he told us. "She has to drive the kids around in a minivan, and she hates it. I figured, hey why not do it like in the commercial and surprise her?"

Our reporters and camera operators were there when he surprised her, we were there for the entire exchange.. He brought her outside covering her eyes with his hands, and took them away yelling "tada!"

The look of shock on her face was unforgettable, this reporter cannot do justice to the true surprise and amazement she displayed.

"What is that?" Marlene asked.

"That's your new SUV honey," Kurt beamed. "See it has all these cool features, it remembers your position where you sit, and the heat and air conditioning is automatic, you just set the temp-"

"How much was it?" she interrupted.

"Well that's rude, you know I can't tell you."

"Honey, where did we get the money for this?"

"It's my money I wanted to surprise you. On TV it looked like a great idea so - "

"You mean you've saved up over fifty thousand dollars without me knowing? I handle all the financials."

"Well no you know about the money, we had tons in the Vanguard Money Market account -"

"That was Jason and Robert's college money!"

"Well , er, yeah I know. Don't worry honey, I make $50k a year, we can save it up again."

"They are both in junior high, how are we supposed to save enough in four years?"

"You know, you really don't know how to accept a gift. You are supposed to say 'thank you'"

"Thank you? For flushing our savings down the toilet? Thank you? For destroying years of saving in one act of idiocy? Thank you for not even consulting your wife in the most expensive purchase we've ever made except for our house?"

"But on TV - "

"Forget the TV! How could you do this? How could you be so stupid!"

"What is your problem? It's a great car, you always wanted one -"

"Augh! I'm going to mother's. Call me after you've returned the car."

"Return it? It's a gift! How can I return it?"

"If you do not shut that mouth I am going to slap it right off."

"Ok now you're starting to make me angry."

"Augh! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!"

Marlene threw her hands in the air and ran inside at that point.

Later after Marlene left with the kids - in her minivan - to go to her mother's in Peoria, we talked to Kurt. We asked if he planned on returning the Lexus.

"I guess I have to, though I don't think they take new cars back," he complained. "I might have to sell it back. I guess that means I'll lose about ten grand on the whole fiasco.

"It didn't really go like I expected. I don't get it, on TV it looked like such a great idea. Surprise your spouse with a new car. Man, there is just no pleasing some women.

"I have to make it up to her somehow or else I'll be sleeping on the couch all week. I think after I sell the Lexus back, I'll use the money to buy her a nice tennis bracelet."

Monday, December 20, 2004

Electrifying Kiss Turns Out to Be Medicated ChapStick

"I was really excited," said Tim Jugend about his first date with Elaine, the barrista at his local Starbucks, "The date went great, we had so much in common, it was like the stars were aligned or something.

"Then at the end of the date when I dropped her off at her apartment, we kissed. And it was like fireworks! I felt my lips all tingly, like sparks literally flew between us. It was the most magical kiss I'd ever had in my life.

"We scheduled a date for the next day. When I went to pick her up she invited me up for a few minutes. That's when I saw it on her dresser -

"Medicated ChapStick.

"Of course! That's why the kiss was so great! How could I have been so gullible? She probably slathered it on right before, knowing the medication would make my lips all tingly.

"So I walked out and didn't even say goodbye, I was so disappointed."

"I've tried calling him, I don't know what's wrong," Elaine told us. "The date went great, at the end, we kissed. He is a great kisser. Then yesterday he just walked out on me and won't return my calls."

When we explained Tim's reasoning, Elaine told us, "What? Yeah I use medicated Chapstick, so what? It doesn't work, I haven't tried that since junior high. As if he could feel anything through those dead, chapped, peeling lips of his."

"Of course she denies it, " Tim told us. "Did you really think she would admit it? Manipulators never admit it, they fool even themselves. What I'd like to know is why would she do that? Why couldn't she have just been honest and given me a normal kiss? Why do I keep meeting these liars that want to take advantage of me?"

We tried asking Elaine, but she was busy out on other dates, "I have to pick someone up to take to the company Christmas party," she explained.

Tim called us and told us he is ready to talk anytime.