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5:21 pm EST        42°F (6°C) in Indianapolis, IN

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Fifty miles from In-dy-y-y,
There’s a place called Kokomo,
That’s a place you’d never go
To get away from it all.

Bodies in the snow,
in In-di-an-a’s Kokomo.
We’ll be out of a job
When President Bush lets Delphi be sold,
(Oh, to the Chinese.)
— sung to the melody of “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys

I’ll say, it’s a good thing the Beach Boys didn’t write “Kokomo” about the highly industry-dependent city fifty miles north of here on U.S. Route 31. Not only would it not have been the mid-1980s hit it was, it probably would have been shot down by any sane record company. wink As I alluded to, the city’s economy is highly dependent on a Delphi parts plant and a DaimlerChrysler assembly plant, and of course, Delphi appears to be working on the corporate right-wing’s favorite strategery for destroying economic justice: declaring bankruptcy in an attempt to weaken or bust unions, in this case the UAW.

It’s a surprisingly effective strategy that, almost overnight, put 15,000 Teamsters into the unemployment lines (and eventually, for the most part, into non-union work) when the trucking company Consolidated Freightways (CF) suddenly declared bankruptcy on September 3, 2002. See, up until the late 1970s, the federal government regulated the trucking industry, particularly when it came to approval to enter a certain market; to gain federal clearance to operate, a prospective trucking company would have to demonstrate a need for greater capacity along a particular route, and approval would only be granted to run that particular freight lane. As a result, there were a hell of a lot less trucking companies in the 1970s than there are today. The industry’s driver workforce was almost fully unionized, and any old-timer still on the road today will tell you that wages were pretty damn good by 1970s standards.

In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter mostly deregulated the trucking industry. The rules were changed so that all anybody had to do to gain approval to run was demonstrate a record of compliance with safety regulations; no longer did one have to demonstrate a need for greater freight capacity anywhere. All of a sudden, hundreds of new companies began to spring up all over the place, and the executives of the old-guard unionized companies knew they had just received a huge gift from Carter. Many of these executives moved to set up non-union “competitors” (owned, of course, by their families, friends, or business partners) to their older unionized companies. For example, the owners of CF set up a non-union company called Con-Way, and the owners of unionized Arkansas Best Freight (ABF) started the non-union USA Truck, Inc..

From there, these executives could instruct the sales staffs of their companies to shunt as much business as possible from the unionized company to the non-union one. For example, the sales staff at CF would tell shipping companies, “we’re sorry, we just can’t haul your freight for less than $1.25 per mile,” and then the Con-Way sales staff would call, and somehow, miraculously, Con-Way could run the load for 95¢ per mile. Shippers aren’t stupid, and will ship their freight as cheaply as they possibly can; essentially, it took about 20 years of sticking to this strategy to bankrupt CF and get rid of all the unionized drivers. It’s not like the Teamsters had 15,000 driving openings to fill at other unionized companies, either, so what ended up happening was that many of these drivers were forced to hire on at large non-unionized carriers like Swift Transportation, Inc. and Schneider National Carriers.

(Of course, with turnover well above 100% because of (a) the pay that hasn’t changed in absolute dollars, and has in fact decreased against inflation, since the ’70s, and (b) the way these large companies more or less treat drivers like shit, these large carriers were more than happy to take in former CF drivers. It helped the large carriers, at least temporarily, to ease the so-called “driver shortage” they artificially force upon themselves. I mean, it should tell you something that 50% annual turnover is considered almost unattainably low in the trucking industry.)

Enough of that, because I again have to point out yet more of the anti-Christian hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. A short blurb in yesterday’s USA Today, on page 3A, pointed out how Catholic social service agencies are now refusing to allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, claiming it is against their “moral values” to do so. Hmmm … so these Catholics would rather leave children who are desperate for a stable, loving home in chaotic foster-care arrangements, or even worse yet in orphanages, than allow committed same-sex couples to provide said stable, loving home? They would rather deny children the stablility, nurturing, and love they so crave than (gasp) let those ‘objectively disordered’ homosexuals adopt said children (insert horror-movie music here)?

This just yet again proves that for all the shit their lying, hypocritical mouths spew about “a culture of life,” Catholics (or at the very least, their leadership hierarchy) don’t give a flying fuck about lives that have already emerged from the womb — except, of course, for the brain-dead, vegetative ones that will never be consciously experienced again. Clearly, they would rather have a child grow up without a truly loving, nurturing environment, and as a result stand a much greater chance of turning into a hardened criminal who doesn’t have any kind of human compassion for anybody, than give up their anti-Christian, anti-gay political agenda and let anybody who is perfectly capable provide such a nurturing home.

Frankly, their bullshit gets even more sickening than that. In this blog post entitled “South Dakota Rules!”, referring to that state’s recent bill to completely ban abortion except to save the mother’s life, I saw the following statement:

Let’s keep our rosaries on their ovaries, eh?

Unbelievable. If it’s not obvious to you by now that this is really nothing more than an anti-woman, anti-freedom agenda of lies, then I’m sorry, but you lack even one-half of a functioning brain cell. These people can only have one possible motive: they need to keep ALL women in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, spitting out a kid every nine months, in order to create hordes of “Christian” soldiers for the eventual armed phase of their war on Constitutional, freedom-loving American values.

Mark my words: it will be just a matter of time before condoms, “the Pill,” and “Plan B” are illegal to sell, dispense, prescribe, or even possess; before tax-paying, patriotic gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Americans are marched off to the gas chambers by the thousands; and before there is a world-wide nuclear Armageddon between organized Christianity and its supposed “sworn enemy” Islam, if the agenda of these types is not forcefully put to an immediate stop. THAT MEANS YOU, FREEDOM-LOVING AMERICANS: WAKE THE FUCK UP ALREADY!

I have a saying I like to use when it comes to my spiritual beliefs, one that echoes former President Ronald Reagan’s belief that he had not left the Democratic Party as much as the Democratic Party had “left” him. In my case, it is just as absolutely and unquestionably true: I didn’t leave the Catholic Church, nor Christ — the Catholic Church has left both me and Christ, Who said absolutely nothing about homosexuality, abortion, or birth control. That has all been made up by a bunch of humans and falsely (not to mention blasphemously) attributed to Christ, and at the Second Coming, the Catholic Church will pay for its blasphemy. (Oh, and before you start quoting your beloved Leviticus on me, put this in your pipe and smoke it: “[He] canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14))