MORNING BUZZ: Burning Questions, With Friends like these, and Who Protest?

Morning Buzz Blog

Good Morning!
Lots to talk about in the news today.

Burning Questions
An old abandoned warehouse is on fire again and it should tell you something that the guys trained to deal with hazardous fires don’t want any part of this one. Seriously, Des Moines Firefighters are standing outside the building doing their best but they’re not going to risk going into the place…even with portable oxygen on!
I heard from a few people, “why didn’t the City just clean this up?”. Lots of reasons….the first of which is they didn’t own it the first time it was on fire. The second time they apparently did own it but…(and I’m guessing here) just taking this stuff out of the building is going to be a trick. I’m sure there are ridiculously complicated EPA standards for how to deal with it. It could take years for the City to get permission to go into the building…
I’m not arguing for deregulating disposal of those hazardous materials. I do think, in a case where a City, for instance, gets stuck with a mess like this…there should be some latitude on getting it to the proper storage and disposal.

With Friends Like these…
Thank You Great Britain, for talking a good game about retaliation against the Assad regime and then stepping aside and saying…”you do it”. That was always going to be the case anyway. US Navy ships are in the area and would take the risk.
The fact that Parliament didn’t even want to support action, in principal…is, to me, sign that Western Nations are sick of stepping in to “help” only to be vilified later by the people who asked for help. This is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I can’t imagine letting a government use Chemical weapons on innocent people. We have the ability to change the situation or at least to give someone pause about doing it again. Still, there’s part of me that wants the West to let this one play out on its own.

Who’s Protesting?
I saw all the stories with video of thousands of people protesting lower wages for fast food workers. Looked like a lot of people. Well it turns out there’s a reason for it. NPR was the only news outlet that actually asked the people protesting if they WORKED at a fast food joint. The NPR story I heard said only about 10 percent of the people who were out there were employed at a fast food chain. The rest were Union leaders and “community organizers”.
Now, I’m not saying that workers at fast food places don’t want to be making more money. I’m sure they do. My problem is that Labor Unions and “community organizers” (read:professional protesters) were the bulk of the crowd. That adds context to the story and should have been reported.
My other issue with this story is that these are entry-level jobs. No doubt they don’t pay well. I’ve said here often…my first “entry-level” job in Journalism paid me about eight or nine dollars an hour. That was after I’d turned down jobs for 11k and 14k/year. That’s also after I’d spent four years in College.
I just think $15/hour for what the marketplace regards as an entry-level job is too much.

Benefits
So the Postal workers Union is upset about rules that force the service to fully fund its retiree benefits out 75 years? They protested a bill to make changes to postal delivery, cutting Saturday delivery and (this is the part we don’t hear about) asking Union carriers to pay more of their benefits and including a clause that allows the Postal service to lay off workers.
75 years seems like a lot, I agree. The other two provision I am all for. I love my postal carrier and he works hard. Can you imagine carrying a 50lb bag around in 99 degree heat?
I imagine, however, if those carriers asked the people they deliver to, they’d find these homeowners pay more these days for benefits and are not guaranteed a job. If I’m reading the chart right, it would appear letter carriers make anywhere from $34,000 starting to $57,000 at the top end of the scale.

Booker
I’m sure “thank you” notes are going out from across the country to the guy running against Corey Booker for mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Rumors have floated for years about Booker’s sexual orientation. He’s let those rumors go. His opponent seized on that saying that there were reports Booker liked to get manicures and pedicures…

“Maybe that helps to get him the gay vote, by acting ambiguous.”
“It’s kind of weird,” Lonegan added. “As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure.”
“I don’t like going out in the middle of the night or any time of the day for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish, is how it was described,” Lonegan said. “I have a more peculiar fetish; I like a good Scotch and a cigar; that’s my fetish, but we’ll just compare the two.”

I’m sure those thank you notes will come in from the Republicans trying desperately to expand the pool of people who vote for conservatives. I’m sure this will erase the image some of those voters have of a racist, homophobic party of religious zealots.
When you have to revert to making your political contest about whether you’re more of a “man”…you’re in trouble. A real man makes a substantive argument.

Struck a Nerve
Finally, someone wrote in on Facebook to ding me for putting up the question about the tooth fairy. We ran the story about how much the TF is bringing these days on average ($3.10/tooth) As a Parent of kids whose teeth are falling out weekly, I found it interesting. It’s a cultural touchpoint. One of those “when I was a kid” kind of discussions. Anyway, her beef was that we put the TF story ahead of stories on Syria. We didn’t. We put the story at the end of a block of news that started with two stories on Syria. The TF story isn’t important, it’s not breaking news…but we didn’t treat it that way.

I hope you all have a good weekend
PWD

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