Archive for December, 2005

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

How José Latour got out of Cuba
It took decades, but he made it: He Wrote His Way to Freedom

“According to U.S. Treasury regulations, Cubans living in Cuba couldn’t have bank accounts in the States. So I flew from Washington to Toronto, and opened an account at the Royal Bank of Canada. And all my revenue from selling rights to my books, or whatever–they were sent to this account.” But he was scrupulous about paying Cuban tax on all his income: “I was very careful not to give them the opportunity to charge me with any sort of common crime.”
. . .
Back in Cuba, Mr. Latour was waiting out the first months of his Canadian emigration process (“I was fearing that I might be sent to jail, or something”) when an unexpected opportunity presented itself: A Spanish translation of “Outcast,” the book he’d written in English, was about to be printed in Spain; its publisher asked Mr. Latour to come to that country for a promotional tour.

“I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it–if you also invite my wife, my son and my daughter.’ Let me explain. . . . Cubans living in Cuba need written invitations to file an application with the immigration authorities. I said, ‘I will cover the expenses of my family; you will cover my out-of-pocket expenses.’ . . . And they said, ‘OK, perfect, no problem.’ They figured [it] out.”

The Spanish publisher got the Cubans to grant permission for the family’s trip. At the airport, on Aug. 5, 2002, Mr. Latour produced a Royal Bank of Canada credit card. “That was it: around $3,000. That’s how I paid for the plane tickets. So I didn’t violate any laws.”

Even then,

All the Latours took out of Cuba were the clothes they wore.

At least he and his family were able to leave.

Like Val says, the barges run in only one direction.

The Ladies in White, the wives and mothers of imprisioned dissidents, are not allowed to leave Cuba to receive the 2005 Sakharov prize for freedom of thought that the EU awarded them earlier this year. Instead they get to stay in Cuba where they are constantly harrassed. Mary Anastasia O’Grady has more on them.

(technorati tags , )

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

The name is Bone, James Bone,
and he’s asking, Where Is the Car?

Probably the most egregious flaw in Mr. Volcker’s report is its handling of a contemporaneous document referring explicitly to discussions with the secretary-general in Paris in November 1998 about Cotecna’s bid. The internal company memo–a “trip report” written by Annan family friend and then-Cotecna executive Michael Wilson to other Cotecna officials who were also in Paris at the time–says in part: “We had brief discussions with the SG and his entourage.” Despite the memo’s use of “we,” the Volcker inquiry held that Mr. Wilson did not meet personally with the U.N. chief, and concluded that “The committee has not been able to corroborate Mr. Wilson’s claim that he had a meeting with the secretary-general about Cotecna’s bid for the inspection contract as set forth in the Paris memorandum.” (My italics.)

This is a distortion in one or Mr. Volcker’s key findings: The memo said “we” not “I.” Never did Mr. Wilson claim that he met personally with Kofi Annan. Indeed, the Volcker report itself says Mr. Wilson “repeatedly asserted” that he did not meet the secretary-general in Paris. Mr. Volcker’s team did discover, however, that Kojo Annan, in Paris as part of the Cotecna contingent, met his father in the U.N. chief’s room at the Hotel de Crillon on Nov. 28, 1998. The Volcker report failed even to address the possibility that the “we” in the memo might refer to talks between the U.N. secretary-general and his son, or between the U.N. chief and another Cotecna representative (i.e., one who was not Mr. Wilson).

This is where the missing Mercedes comes in. The Mercedes was purchased by Kojo Annan in his father’s name four days before the Hotel de Crillon meeting–and about two weeks before Cotecna won the U.N. contract. The use of the U.N. chief’s diplomatic status qualified the car for a $6,541 discount on the purchase price and a $14,103 tax exemption when it was imported to his native Ghana. Mr. Volcker’s investigators found a memo on the computer of Mr. Annan’s personal assistant asking him to authorize a letter to Mercedes. “Sir, Kojo asked me to send the attached letter re: the car he is trying to purchase under your name. The company is requesting a letter be sent from the U.N. Kojo said it could be signed by anyone from your office. May I ask Lamin to sign it?” the assistant wrote.

Neither Kofi Annan, his aide Lamin Sise, nor his assistant, Wagaye Assebe, can recall what happened, and the original documents have disappeared–but somehow the Mercedes was purchased with the diplomatic discount anyway. Abdoulie Janneh, the U.N. official who arranged the tax exemption in Ghana was recently promoted to U.N. under-secretary-general, in charge of the Economic Commission for Africa.

And the car is still “missing”. My guess is that the car is parked in a garage built from tsunami relief funds. Not that Jan “the Americans are stingy” Egeland, the United Nations top disaster official, is telling.

Today’s articles from Maria
Dr. Sowell looks at Cheap politicians and asks,

How many people in the top layer of their respective professions are going to sacrifice the future of their families — the ability to give their children the best education, the ability to have something to fall back on in case of illness or tragedy, the ability to retire in comfort and with peace of mind — in order to go into politics?

Particularly when politics has become a never ending mud-slinging marathon?

From the NY Post: Steve Dunleavy has been LOOKING AT GITMO FROM THE INSIDE, Amir Taheri’s FANTASIES OF THE ‘REALISTS’, Michelle Malkin’s Hypocrites, and Linda Chavez’s Anti-patriot politics.

From TownHall: Of Mice and Minutemen

Other interesting items
A flag for Cubazuela
El cóndor pasa.

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Flying blind
I had just read this post from Philomathean, MSM Blows the Cover on Terrorist Nuke Monitoring Program

Recent revelations by The New York Times and other members of the press regarding the CIA’s secret prison system and the NSA’s efforts to monitor terrorist communications have severely harmed national security. The mainstream media do not appear to care, as long as their stories hurt President Bush. Meanwhile, every “scoop” about the government’s efforts to prevent a terrorist disaster make such a disaster more likely.

The press has always had broad discretion in what gets reported. But now they’ve gone too far. David Kaplan of U.S. News & World Report has just blown the cover on “a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities.”

This is yet another instance where the press behaves as if we were not at war, while endangering all of us.

Philomathean’s post reminded me of a sermon I heard on September 11. On September 11 this year I listened to a church sermon where the person giving the sermon said that on 9/11/2001 the USA had “sand thrown in its eyes”.

Some sand. Six hundred and sixty-two people from NJ died at the WTC alone, out of a total 2,996 killed or missing on just one morning. That is not what I would call “sand in the eyes”, but the sermon giver’s outrage was placed elsewhere. His outrage was saved for the 2,000 soldiers who died in Iraq, because they were sent there by Bush. Buried under all the verbiage, the message was that the USA has no enemies, that there is not much in the way of danger, and that we’d all live in peace if only we’d turn our swords into plowshares. I kid you not. I fully expected him to introduce Peter, Paul and Mary, and break into chords of Kumbayah while we all held hands.

But the fact is, we are at war. Thousands of people around the world have died over several decades at the hands of Islamist fascists who want to impose their vision of a caliphate on everybody.

This is not a new war.

Yesterday I read in the Sunday NYT Magazine that Uli Derickson died this year. I had the privilege of briefly meeting Ms Derickson in the late 1980s, a few years after her ordeal. Ms Derickson was a woman of luminous beauty and tremendous courage. She saved the lives of the people of flight 847, which was kidnapped by Lebanese Shiite Muslims in 1985. The NYT obitiuary calls her, The Peacemaker of Flight 847, and justly so. Back then the terrorist kidnappers [*] were able to listen to her.

Four years ago the story changed; the last four American planes that were hijacked couldn’t be saved by the courage of a great woman. There was no more listening. The focus had changed from making hostage deals to simply killing.

The war that went unnoticed for so many years is now very much in front of our eyes, if we have our eyes open.

The press chooses to close their eyes, and, as Philomathean said, cash in on any “scoop” about the government’s efforts to prevent a terrorist disaster, which makes such a disaster more likely – as long as it hurts Bush. Like the guy that gave the sermon, they’re flying blind.

[*] Update As a coda to this post, I attach a correction the NYT posted on its website (emphasis mine),

A Lives They Lived essay on Page 59 of The Times Magazine today about Uli Derickson, a flight attendant who negotiated with hijackers during a T.W.A. flight in 1985, includes an outdated reference to one of them. Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who was captured two years later and imprisoned in Germany, was released last week.

he flew home to Lebanon last Thursday, four days before a German hostage, Susanne Osthoff, was released from unnamed kidnappers in Iraq.

Other blogs and articles on leakers
Enlighten NJ What Are The Motives Of The Leakers and Their Media Enablers?
Ankle Biting Pundits states,

. If you can’t see the difference between detecting drugs and detecting nuclear bombs then there’s really no hope for you, as you are stuck in the September 10th world of fighting terrorism by using law enforcement techniques. And we all know how that worked.

The Volokh Conspiracy has a series of posts on the subject from the legal point of view.
The New York Times’ Christmas Gift
The Paranoid Style In American Liberalism
The NY Times Strikes Again
Cassandra posts on the Fourth Branch of Government.
Update What They Did For “Love”

Welcome, Michelle Malkin readers!

(technorati tags )

Monday, December 26th, 2005

The history behind Munich, Lost Budgie, and others
The History Behind Munich: Separating truth from fiction in Spielberg’s movie at Slate:

Spielberg, in inventing a story about violence begetting violence “inspired by real events” is raising questions worth asking. Even so, Israel’s response to Munich was not a simple revenge operation carried out by angst-ridden Israelis. Both the larger context, and the facts on the ground, rarely get in Spielberg’s way. A rigorous factual accounting may not be the point of Munich, which Spielberg has characterized as a “prayer for peace.” But as result, Munich has less to do with history and the grim aftermath of the Munich Massacre than some might wish.

Kesher Talk has a series of posts examining the Munich Massacre and “Munich” the movie:

Munich remembered: The PLO and the Germans and the French
Munich remembered: The Athletes
Munich remembered: The Olympics
Munich remembered: The Protagonists Speak
Munich remembered: First they came . . .
Munich remembered: the British Arabists
Munich remembered, the movie: “Inspired by Real Events”

That was then. This is now: Lost Budgie posts on Tariq Ramadan:

Killing 8-year-old Jewish children is “contextually explicable” according to Tariq Ramadan, a featured speaker at the “Reviving The Islamic Spirit” convention being held at the National Trade Centre in Toronto Canada from December 23 to 25, 2005.

In the local news,
Princeton Future seeks donations. Well, cry me a river.

Carnival time
Carnival-large
The Carnival of the NJ bloggers is hosted by Media in Trouble. Dr. Sanity has the Carnival of the Insanities:


Heard the Word of Blog?

On a lighter vein, Jib-Jab’s latest

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Merry Christmas
Christmas makes Hitchens tetchier than any other holiday.

This was a useful demonstration of what I have always hated about the month of December: the atmosphere of a one-party state. On all media and in all newspapers, endless invocations of the same repetitive theme. In all public places, from train stations to department stores, an insistent din of identical propaganda and identical music. The collectivization of gaiety and the compulsory infliction of joy. Time wasted on foolishness at one’s children’s schools. Vapid ecumenical messages from the president, who has more pressing things to do and who is constitutionally required to avoid any religious endorsements.

Melanie Phillips, on the other hand, reminds us

That is why the great social reform movements of the 19th century arose from evangelical Christianity. The monumental campaign against slavery, which in turn gave rise to a host of other progressive movements such as women’s rights, temperance and prison reform, was instituted by Christian activists. It could only have been promoted by people whose religious faith gave rise to outrage at slavery’s wholesale denial of human dignity.

And that is why modern social programmes attempting to deal with problems such as drug abuse or criminality tend to achieve much better results if they have a religious framework.

Some of the most spectacular examples have occurred in America. The InnerChange programme in jails, for example, which immerses prisoner volunteers in an intensive Bible–based programme for 18 months prior to their release, has dramatically slashed recidivism rates. Secular critics throw up their hands in horror at such ‘brainwashing’ but the fact is that it seems to work.

Donald Luskin looks at tax receipts and I believe he’s ready to ask Santa for more tax cuts. Kofi and Saddam sing a song at Dr. Sanity.

Pajamas Media’s changed into Santa’s bathrobe

and the Llamas are in full regalia, along with Roberto‘s family. Even the Pope’s wearing his Santa hat.

Dave Johnston’s lapsed into Seinfeld mode, but Sluggo thanks his friends. Click on the Christmas tree above to wish Captain Marlow a Merry Christmas. Lost Budgie welcomes Aiden.

In Miami, Val asks, So, what’s your favorite Christmas memory? while Steve helps him get ready for the pig roast. Dave Barry has a Santa Update.

Daniel has a The Christmas post: Santa out, ethnic Jesus in in Venezuela. In London, Scott‘s off on holiday.

At La Shawn’s A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. [Update I just realize I omitted the next sentence when I did the post this morning. My apologies.] Mr. Snitch! and Dan say Merry Christmas to our troops.

Jeanette has a lovely post on Navidades in Puerto Rico that reminded me a lot of how we used to celebrate Christmas at home when I was a kid and my parents still lived in Puerto Rico.

The Achoress writes about Advent and Antiphons through the years…

I cannot help – in these final days of Advent – to think about what God did, in a lonely cave on the outskirts of Bethlehem, when He condescended to enter into the pain and fear, the tumult and whirlwind of the world…when he “set his tent among us,” not merely “dwelling” among us as lofty king, but literally “with” us, with hunger, the capacity for injury and doubt…

From the author of SC&A: My time to keep my part of the bargain has to be one of the best posts of the year, a diamond among the many jewels in SC&A’s vault:

Prayer certainly isn’t for God. With or without our devotions, His power is constant.

Prayer isn’t even necessarily for the object of our prayers, be that ourselves or others. That may sound cruel, but it is true. The universe God created was for all of us, not just one of us. While we are each important in God’s eyes, we are part of a community of man, a family. There are times when individual and specific prayers appear to go unanswered, yet in truth, the community is served. The universe is a delicate balance, in which time, events in the present, past and future all factor into that balance.

That’s a post to not only read, but to bookmark.

Via The Anchoress, music from The North American Music College Choir

And in that note, I wish you all happy holidays, a happy Christmas and a happy Hannukah.

(technorati tags )

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

STRIKE OVER — RETURN TO WORK, says TWU. See today’s post updates

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Bust Toussaint, part II, and my unpadded walls

(Part I here)
The NY Post shares my sentiment. Pamela disagrees, slightly.

Wolcott sides with the union, and says,

Predictably, rightwing bloggers are bouncing off their padded walls angrily demanding that the union be crushed and its leaders jailed. Some have even begun using Reagan as a verb, as in, “Somebody needs to Reagan the TWU the way he did the air controllers’ strike.”

I am thrilled to have been linked to by Mr. Wolcott, but hasten to clarify that there’s no padding here at F’sB. The walls, like everything else Fausta, are all organic, with no artificial additives.

If Mr. Wolcott would care to read again my post, he’d realize that the first objection I list to the TWU action is

the local union has decided to undermine the international union

and that the only other text (aside from Update times) I emphasized in bold print refers to the deleterious effect the strike has on the union’s members. Anyone can verify that with a cache screen shot, if you care to.

In fact, the one way the TWU might survive this ordeal may be that its membership repudiate the strike and follow the TWU International by “going back to work, en masse”, as quoted in yesterday’s Daily News. Should the remaining workers that haven’t returned to work by then be fired? Of course.

Toussaint is the president of the union local, he is not the union. Of course, Mr. Wolcott and any visitor to this blog may interpret “Bust Toussaint” as synonymous with “bust the union”, but I suggest that it’s not the same.

Jeff Jarvis says Excercise will be good for [Wolcott].

At the NY Sun: Kalikow Warns Talks May Be ‘Futile’

The intensification of warring words between Mayor Bloomberg and the president of the transit union, Roger Toussaint, means both sides have dug in for a protracted strike.

The drama comes to a head today when Mr. Toussaint appears in Brooklyn Supreme Court, where Judge Theodore Jones, who levied a $1 million a day fine against the union Tuesday, will decide whether to send the union leader to jail. Judge Jones said yesterday that jail time was a “distinct possibility” for Mr. Toussaint and his top two deputies for violating an injunction barring the union’s leaders from inciting or authorizing a strike.

To which I say, make it a certainty, Judge!

At the NYT, Resolution to Transit Strike May Be Imminent

Let’s hope the NYT is right.

Via Mara, All Hail The New York Transit Worker


‘Twas five days before Christmas and all through the town;
Not a train was up running, they’d all been shut down.

The turnstiles were locked and the stations were cleared,
in hopes that Old Bloomberg would give them their share.


Don’t miss the rest.

Meanwhile, “Al Sharpton and other black leaders blasted Bloomberg for calling union leaders “thuggish” on Tuesday. They said the comment was racist because the union is less than 30 percent white”. Hey, Al, With Roger, all lose out.

Update: More at A Blog For All, Mister Snitch!, and Jane Galt

Update 2: Strike Blogging: It’s Joke Time
This PhD in Chemistry compares salaries in 1980, at the time of the prior transit strike.

12 noon: STRIKE TO END
Transit Union to Vote on Ending Strike Under Framework Set by State Mediators. No Timetable Is Announced on Resumption of Service
Light at end of the tunnel!
Union May Soon Send NYC Transit Workers Back to Work

Transit workers will take steps to restore service to New York’s buses and subways while the union and transit authority resume negotiations after a three-day strike, a state mediator announced Thursday morning.

Strike to End, Negotiations Resume

No timetable was announced for the restoration of service.

Transit Workers Agree to End Strike; Talks Continue

At least 12 hours will be needed to get the city’s subways and buses back up and running, said New York City Transit spokesman James Anyansi.

You can go to 1010 Wins for live broadcasts.

2PM Enlighten sees a Striking Difference.
The WSJ Subway Strike News Tracker says “service likely wouldn’t be restored until Friday morning”.

3:23PM: TWU Local 100 website: STRIKE OVER: RETURN TO WORK

When: If your tour has started, report immediately. If not, at your scheduled report time. If you are RDO, on your next scheduled shift.

(also posted at Blogger News Network)

(technorati tags )

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Kofi chides the Times reporter, Power Line talks to the Times, and other news
James Bone of the London Times insisted on an answer over Kojo’s Mercedes, and Kofi got indignant: Kofi Annan lashes out at media over Oil-for-Food scandal

The outburst happened at Annan’s year-end press conference, when Bone mentioned a Mercedes-Benz which Kojo Annan imported into Ghana, using his father’s diplomatic immunity to avoid taxes and customs duty. He added that some of the Secretary-General’s version of Oil-for-Food related events “don’t really make sense”.

“I think you’re being very cheeky,” Annan interrupted.

“Listen James Bone, you’ve been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years. You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving and please let’s move on to a serious journalist.”

I am shocked, shocked that Mr. Bone made bones over such a trivial matter as a Mercedes Benz, and in the presence of the Excelentísimo Kofi. (/sarcasm)

Update: In 2005 America’s economy grew while Kofi Annan shrank

But the worst failing grade for the year goes to the United Nations and Kofi Annan. Paul Volker’s report on the Oil for Food scandal concluded that $10 billion worth of Iraqi oil was illegally smuggled to adjacent nations; that Saddam Hussein collected $229 million in bribes from 139 of 248 companies involved in the oil business, and illegal payments from 2,253 out of 3,614 firms providing humanitarian goods to Iraq. So Dennis Kozlowski stole $600 million from Tyco and got eight to 25 years in jail, while Kofi Annan supervised more than $10 billion in Oil for Food theft and will stay in his job since, in his own words, “the business of the United Nations is not reform.”

—————–

John Hinraker’s trying to engage the NY Times in a colloquy, and wrote to them:

I don’t think you should be quoting anonymous “officials” making incorrect assertions about legal issues, while not pointing out that their assertions are wrong. (I would also note that the NSA intercepts are not “inside the United States.”) And I don’t think that a partial sentence from one of the controlling decisions, buried at the end of a long article and not repeated in subsequent articles, removes the incorrect impression you convey that the NSA program is, in all likelihood, illegal. Also, with all due respect, I think your treatment of the 2002 FISA case is itself misleading.

He’s still waiting for an answer.

Dhimmitude today:Australia – Pastor Under Muslim Death Sentence Sued for Mentioning It

Today’s weirdest headline: Big Bird’s Caretaker Charged With Murder

‘allo, Evo, is that you?
Via Babalu, The telephone conversation was cordial, and in the course of it Rodriguez Zapatero told Morales that the call he received from an impersonator on a show on Spain’s COPE radio was an “unacceptable” prank..
You can listen to the prank here, in Spanish, of course.

Maria’s articles of the day
Proud to be a conservative

On the subject of the NSA, Not a Suicide Pact and The Left’s privacy hypocrites. Also don’t miss ACLU Freedom of Information Request Would Gut NSA Program

The requests submitted today seek all records about “the policies, procedures and/or practices of the National Security Agency for gathering information through warrantless electronic surveillance and/or warrantless physical searches in the United States …”…. Information received by the organization will be made public on its Web site.

Or as Jay put it,

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at http://mail.yahoo.com/config/login?/ or Gribbit at http://mail.yahoo.com/config/login?/. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 115 blogs already onboard.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Hitchens interview at Newsmax
Via Maria, Christopher Hitchens: Bush Crippled by Agency Fratricide

Partly because of the debilitating inter-agency fratricide between State, Defense and CIA, the administration has never been able to speak with any coherence about such critical matters as WMDs and the connection between Saddamism and Islamism.

The damage done by this failure is now irreparable. Clearly, the Iraqi democracy theme is more appealing, but that case makes itself without any administration “spin.” Meanwhile, it is a rare week that does not bring news of some appalling blunder or misjudgment: most recently the planting of “good news” in the Iraqi press and the misuse of the NSA.

Read it all.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Bust Toussaint
Via Mr. Snitch!: Transit Union Split Over Strike: Upper level may seek to takeover and settle labor dispute

The international arm of the Transport Workers Union is stunned and angry that its Local 100, representing New York subway and bus workers, turned down a contract offer from management and ordered its members to walk off their jobs, CBS2 News has learned.

Sources within other large public employee unions tell CBS2 reporter Marcia Kramer that the TWU’s international leadership is considering taking over the local and seeking a settlement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Those sources say the upper level of the TWU thinks the MTA’s latest offer is fair and worthy of further consideration and negotiation. They stand against a militant faction within Local 100 that pressed hard for a strike.

It’s ridiculous enough that the local union has decided to undermine the international union. We’re having record-cold weather. It’s the height of the Christmas shopping season, and of the holiday travel and tourist season. Everybody in the city is affected by this. Additionally, this is an illegal strike. The amount of animosity and anger among the seven million people affected by this is tremendous. The N Y Sun (via Maria) explained yesterday,

The New York transit strike begun today is a blatantly illegal act of economic sabotage by a union so selfish that it is willing to destroy one of the most important business weeks in the city in a last-ditch attempt to preserve privileges that most private sector employees can only dream of — like the ability to retire at age 55 with a full pension, or the ability to not contribute at all to health insurance costs.

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend who spent one hour walking to work and one hour walking home in this cold weather. She’s willing to spend three hours a day, in addition to her regular work schedule, driving a NYC bus (yes, she knows how) if it means bringing the city back to normal.

Half Sigma proposes how to break the strike. At Atlas Shrugs, NY Transit STEEEEEEERIKE! Yer OUT!. Mr. Snitch! says

It may be the worst miscalculation from a labor leader since the baseball umpires’ strike of 1999.

The Anchoress asks WWRD. Insignificant Thoughts Blog says

Merry Christmas, TWU. You’ll understand if Roger Toussaint standing on a podium spouting off about how deplorable your working conditions are while he makes $110k a year with an SUV on the ready fails to strike a chord in the depths of my heart.

The N Y Sun, today

Early in the morning the president of the Transport Workers Union International, Michael O’Brien, a political adversary of Mr. Toussaint, urged the union not to strike, a stance that suggested an internal rift between the international and the local union.

Later in court, a lawyer for the international union, David Rosen, said the parent union would not provide any financial assistance to its local, whose assets are said to be $3.6 million plus the value of their seven-story union headquarters on the West Side of Manhattan.

“The union is engaged in an unauthorized strike,” Mr. Rosen said.

As a result, Judge Jones withdrew the orders of contempt against the international union.

News Copy asks,

The question now is why [TWU local president] Roger Toussaint is not in jail for contempt of court

Enough is enough. Throw Toussaint in jail, fire the striking workers, and get the transport running again.

Update A mug for mayor Mike Bloomberg

And, by the way, Bloomberg LP, the company that mayor Bloomberg started, didn’t offer pension plans (it offered a 401K, not a vested pension plan), automatic pay raises, or non-contributory health benefits to its employees even in the days when Mike ran it.

Update, 1:44PM Transit officials said about 1,000 transit workers crossed pickets Tuesday and were put to work cleaning and doing paperwork. Put them behind the wheel, Mike!

Update, 2:21PM Throw Roger from the train! (emphasis mine)

The most furious of all should be the 33,700 workers who are on the street without paychecks and facing huge penalties for violating the Taylor Law.

They are about to lose thousands of dollars each – and their union will be financially broken by $1 million-a-day fines – unless they pressure Toussaint to return them to service, having gained all they are ever going to gain through his extortion. Remarkably, the president of the TWU International is urging the transit workers to go back to work on their own, en masse. And well they should, because the makings of a good deal await them.

3PM: Mayor Bloomberg: Get the Buses Running. (my friend will agree with this)

New York has plenty of licensed school bus drivers, tour-bus drivers, regional commuter-bus drivers, and more. Might not some or most of them want a few hundred dollars in extra pay during the week before Christmas for working some city shifts?

Update, December 22 Welcome, James Wolcott readers! Please do read my follow-up post.

(technorati tags )