FOCUS/midwest

Founded in 1962 by Charles L. Klotzer

Archive for April 2009

Autoworkers push for real ownership of troubled car companies

with 2 comments

Retired Jeep Chrysler worker Michele Mauder knows hers is an uphill struggle, but it is one she is tackling with gusto. In quick visits to Washington, D.C., to lobby members of Congress, and in house meetings in Michigan and Ohio, Mauder is struggling to save the American autoworker.

chrysler-assembly-line“No one else is talking about saving jobs,” Mauder says. Pointing to Chrysler’s proposed deal with Fiat, “they’re talking about Fiat building small cars and shipping them here to sell through Chrysler’s dealer network. That doesn’t help taxpayers, workers or retirees,” she says.

While any number of corporate and government committees are discussing ways to save America’s “Big 3” auto companies — GM, Ford, and Chrysler — Mauder says the only way to do it that benefits workers, communities, and taxpayers, is to fundamentally restructure the way the companies do business and make the employees the owners. Together with about 200 active and retired autoworkers, including some former members of Chrysler’s senior management, she has formed the American Auto Workers Ownership Committee (AAWOC) to promote the idea of employee ownership. Mauder is president of the committee. Robert Mason, who says he formerly helped plan corporate strategy in the office of the CEO of Daimler/Chrysler, is the chairman of the group.

“I am hopeful, with a new administration, that they will look at some new alternatives,” Mauder says. The group’s efforts to meet with the administration’s auto task force have been unsuccessful so far. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by writer. Edited by editor.

April 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Study claims gambling “chips away” at national security

leave a comment »

Here’s an interesting release from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about study linking casino gaming to a decline in national security.

A two-decade surge of legalized gambling is chipping away at U.S. security and military readiness, not just the bank accounts of bettors, a comprehensive new collection of research on the hazards of gambling warns.

casino3Casinos drain money from consumer products and services, weakening the economic engine that ultimately drives defense spending, according to the latest volume in the three-part United States International Gambling Report Series.

“We cannot maintain a strong military presence with a weak economy,” said University of Illinois professor John W. Kindt, a national gambling critic and contributing author and editor of the series. “Widespread gambling gambles with our national security by dragging down our national economic security.”

Gambling siphons money from the traditional consumer economy, where an economic “multiplier effect” triples the value of every dollar spent by creating jobs that supply goods and services, according to research compiled in the first academic collection examining gambling and its costs to society. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by writer. Edited by editor.

April 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Pope on a rope: He’s named in Blago indictment

leave a comment »

cellinibill

UPDATE: On Nov. 1, 2011, 76-year-old Bill Cellini was found guilty of conspiracy and bribery. Read the Chicago Tribune’s story. http://trib.in/sT5IfA

For more than three decades, Springfield’s Bill Cellini pulled the strings of Illinois government, becoming arguably one of the most influential operatives in a state with a well-earned reputation for hardball politics.

Until last year, when he was indicted for extortion and conspiracy, Cellini has been virtually untouchable, especially in the capital city, where his cronies and allies occupy key jobs in city and county government — and the local press has treated him with kid gloves.

“Well-known Republican fundraiser” is how he was described in a recent story in his hometown daily. Some insiders, however, referred to him as “the pope.”

Today (April 2), however, Cellini was one of six individuals, including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, named in a 19-count indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Chicago.

The allegations in the indictment give only a glimpse of Cellini’s role in Illinois. A broader picture of his influence was drawn in a civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Springfield at the end of 2006, by a state employee who said he was unjustly passed over for a job. John Gnutek’s complaint, which also named Blagojevich associate Alonzo “Lon” Monk as a defendant, received perfunctory coverage when it was first filed, even though it offered an intriguing guide to the web of corruption that entangled the Blagojevich administration. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by writer. Edited by editor.

April 2, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized