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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, March 21, 2005

GM Feeling The Pinch

The Wall Street Journal reports today that General Motors intends to slash its white-collar work force in the near future.

GM Plans to Cut Salaried Staff; Overhaul Looms

CEO's Measured Approach Falls Short as Costs Soar; Health-Care Issue Heats Up
By LEE HAWKINS JR., Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


After years of trying to avoid a wrenching overhaul, General Motors Corp. plans to slash its North American white-collar work force, signaling the start of a more aggressive attack on deep structural problems in its core auto business.

The salaried-staff cuts, which could be as deep as 28% in certain departments, are a prelude to a GM effort to seek health-care concessions from its largest U.S. union, the United Auto Workers, and map out further cuts in its North American operations, people familiar with the ituation said last week. (link)

This action only scratches the surface. Employee healthcare costs to GM are staggering. But the UAW is not going to be of any help in alleviating the burden.

And as long as GM has forklift drivers making over a hundred thousand dollars a year, a fact that will not be ameliorated, the company's problems are only going to worsen.

Three Days And Counting

Terri Schiavo has been denied food and water now for nearly three days. While our overpaid and underperforming employees in the Congress debated the finer points of Constitutional law and, as a related matter, whether it was an overreach by Congress to get involved in this terrible tragedy. Finally, enough of them have come together to move Terri's rescue forward - if agonizingly slowly.

POLS OK SCHIAVO 'RESCUE'
By IAN BISHOP


WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented high-stakes drama, the House voted early this morning to give brain-damaged Terri Schiavo a second chance at life by putting her fate in the hands of a federal court.

With little fanfare, President Bush — who rushed back from his Texas ranch — was expected to sign the measure taking jurisdiction away from the Florida state courts and permitting Schiavo's parents to sue in federal court to reinsert her feeding tube and resume her medical treatment.

"I think hours do matter at this point," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said.

The Senate approved the bill by an unrecorded voice vote earlier last night.

The House vote was 203-58. (link)

The problem, of course, remains with Terri Schiavo's life being in the hands of the judiciary; this time it will be a federal district judge who will rule. And the judiciary has proven to be woefully unpredictable.

I was hoping over the weekend to see President Bush step in and issue an executive order requiring that Terri be fed and hydrated. But I guess that is beyond his authority. Or something.

Anyway, let's hope our government moves quickly on this. An innocent life is at stake.

This Is An Argument For Starvation?

Linda Stasi, writing for the New York Post, relates a personal experience with regard to her mother's having suffered a stroke, becoming brain-dead, and being starved to death. Somehow it seems she doesn't see anything bizarre about the decision she and other family members made to sit idly by as her mother wasted away.
GOV'T HAS NO RIGHT INTERFERING IN THIS TRAGIC CASE
By LINDA STASI

MY MOTHER, Florence Stasi, was forced to linger in a brain-dead state for weeks after she'd actually "died."

We were forced not only to agonize with her but also to feel like murderers when we wanted her removed from life support.

Mom had insisted on making out a living will years earlier.

"I have no desire to be fed through a tube and have people standing around crying over me like wilted lettuce," she'd laugh.

Try telling the people who "saved" your mother that they had no right and that you want them to disconnect the tubes.

"You realize you'll be killing her," a stupid young intern told me. "She'll starve and suffer."

They reluctantly unhooked her. She was put in a sun-filled corner room, where her sister and nieces — good Italian women who know better than doctors how to let someone die — sat with her and told her things.

About two weeks later, I was sitting with her when the monitors started going wild. I took her hand and told her, "It's OK, Mom. I'm OK, Mom. Nobody's having any fun — and it's time you had some again. I love you."

Somehow, she opened her eyes and looked at me and let me know it was indeed OK. Then she closed them for good. (
link)
Ms. Stasi writes as if she is triumphant. Personally, I find her inactions barbaric. Her mother starved to death.

And let me provide a little clarity as it relates to Terri Schiavo's story.

1) She is not brain-dead.

2) She is not a vegetable.

3) She is not dying (or wasn't before we pulled her feeding tube).

Terri Schiavo is suffering from severe brain damage and requires help. The kind of help we are willing (for now) to provide a few hundred thousand Alzheimers sufferers out there.

Stasi ends her article with this:
I know one thing now. The government has no business in our homes or in our lives or in our deaths. Death is a family matter. Congress needs to stay in its own house on this one.
But this "family matter" is at the core of the problem. Terri Schiavo's estranged husband wants her killed. Her parents want her to live. In such circumstances, government routinely gets involved.

You did your reputation no favors with this article, Linda.

The Tide Is Turning ... Here At Home

I read, with jubilation, this report from John Burns to the New York Times:
There Are Signs the Tide May Be Turning on Iraq's Street of Fear
By JOHN F. BURNS

In the first 18 months of the [Iraq] fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital's core with something approaching impunity.

But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, , insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed.

But the change American commanders see as more promising than any other here is the deployment of large numbers of Iraqi troops. American commanders are eager to shift the fighting in Iraq to the country's own troops, allowing American units to pull back from the cities and, eventually, to begin drawing down their 150,000 troops. (
link)
John Burns has had a rather unique role with the Times over the last few years. He is so well-respected in the field of journalism that his article, wreaking of positive news in the war on terror, had to be run by the editors. The fact that they didn't bury the story on page 82 tells me that it was of too much importance.

There are experts who have predicted all along that we would eventually prevail in Iraq - if we maintained a modicum of courage and stayed the course. We have; we will.

We're getting ever closer to bringing the boys - and girls - home. Halleluyah.