The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Desperate times, desperate measures

From the Houston Chronicle this morning:

Early voters in the heart of the heated race to succeed former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were greeted Wednesday with red and white signs that read: "Want more illegals? Vote Democrat" and "Encourage Terrorists. Vote Democrat."
Precinct 3 Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers acknowledged paying $2,800 to the Republican Victory Committee PAC for 75 signs that tied Democrats to terrorists, higher taxes and illegal immigration.
"All I am doing is repeating what the leadership of the Democratic Party's position is. So I am not sure why they would be upset about that," Meyers said.

Wow.

Cintas intimidates its own employees

Cintas, a uniform company (they make and launder uniforms for nurses, security guards, etc.), has decided to follow a DHS proposal—it doesn't have the force of law—that encourages employers to fire workers who have Social Security-number mismatches or in other ways fail to re-verify that they are authorized to work in the U.S. The effect of this action will be to intimidate immigrant workers, legal or not, and help them keep their payroll costs down.

The thing is, this is none of the company's business. The affected workers may have legal problems with the IRS or with ICE, but for all practical purposes this doesn't affect the company one way or the other. I don't think Cintas can make a straight-faced claim that the legal status of a minimum-wage seamstress or launderer threatens their business. On the other hand, if their workers worry that in addition to having an expensive and frightening experience with Immigration they also might lose their jobs, they'll be a lot less likely to agitate for a living wage or safe working conditions.

One of my long-standing clients, a labor-rights organization, has documented so many of Cintas' anti-worker policies (starting with poverty wages) that this is really only the latest, not the worst. So if you ever have to rent uniforms for your business, don't use Cintas.

Tribune endorses Bean

The Chicago Tribune has endorsed two suburban Democrats in one week. How unexpected. Imagine the Wall Street Journal endorsing Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters, and you have some idea why I'm surprised. Today they've endorsed Melissa Bean:

Rep. Bean has recognized the need to listen very carefully to her constituents--she's a Democrat in a district that gave 56 percent of its vote to President Bush in 2004. She has charted a moderate, independent course and earned the support of Republicans and Democrats. She has been strong on national defense. She took a risk by voting for the Central America Free Trade Agreement. She knew that would anger some in organized labor—but that it would help businesses in her district expand and create jobs. She is an advocate for small business, gaining her the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She has the Tribune's endorsement for a second term in the 8th Congressional District

Of course, they managed to be flip and condescending in their endorsement, headlining it "Melissa Bean's Moxie," but still, it's a step. They go on to refuse, pointedly, to endorse my representative, Jan Schakowsky; but since no one knows who's running against her, and last time she won with 76% of the vote, I'm not too worried.

Go Tammy!

Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-06) is on WBEZ-Chicago's 848 right now, wiping the floor with her right-wing opponent, Peter Roskam. Tune in if you aren't already listening.

"Well, Peter, I've been to Iraq, where I had steak and lobster every night but I didn't have armor on the truck I drove that carried 5,000 gallons of aviation fuel."

Update: The show is available for download (.mp3, 26.2 MB).

Disclosure: I have contributed money to the Duckworth campaign.