Our new mission. To have fun with old ads, and look at America in years past.


Saturday, January 10, 2004

Missoulian: ACLU readies for possible reality of Patriot Act II

If this doesn't scare the livin' holy hell outta ya, I don't know what will. This is the best I can do, folks. I'm tryin' to put the word out. Too bad no one's listenin'!

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'm hungry!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

In an absolutely unrelated follow up to that post, I'm sorry to say that I am presently suffering through another Hoosier bomb. This team couldn't play a decent game of ball if you let them have a 5 on 3 advantage. I have to admit, I've been using the bully pulpit of Sports Dawgs to draw some serious attention to this team. Pathetic only begins to describe it. After a debacle at Temple where they only shot 23%, they are losing by 20+ points at Wisconsin. I am hoping tried and true Hoosier fans are NOT okay with this.
Here's to that first victory... in a month or two, most likely.

MSNBC - U.S. offers tips on avoiding overtime pay

Wow. I sincerely hope this link holds up. Just in case it doesn't, I'll reprint the text below. Don't think the government is out to screw you? Think again.

U.S. offers tips on avoiding overtime pay
New labor rules expected to take effect early this yearThe Associated Press
Updated: 6:33 p.m. ET Jan. 05, 2004WASHINGTON - The Labor Department is giving employers tips on how to avoid paying overtime to some of the 1.3 million low-income workers who would become eligible under new rules expected to be finalized early this year.


The department's advice comes even as it touts the $895 million in increased wages that it says those workers would be guaranteed from the reforms.

Among the options for employers: cut workers' hourly wages and add the overtime to equal the original salary, or raise salaries to the new $22,100 annual threshold, making them ineligible.

‘We're not saying anybody should do any of this.’

— Ed Frank
Labor Dept. spokesperson

The department says it is merely listing well-known choices available to employers, even under current law.

"We're not saying anybody should do any of this," said Labor Department spokesman Ed Frank.

New overtime regulations were proposed in March after employers complained they were being saddled with costly lawsuits filed by workers who claimed they were unfairly being denied overtime. But the regulations themselves have stirred controversy over how many workers would be stripped of their right to overtime pay.

The issue is being seized by Democrats in their attempt to win back Congress and the White House.

A final rule, revising the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, is expected to be issued in March. The act defines the types of jobs that qualify workers for time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours a week.

Overtime pay for the 1.3 million low-income workers has been a selling tool for the Bush administration in trying to ease concerns in Congress about millions of higher-paid workers becoming ineligible.

But the Labor Department, in a summary of its plan published last March, suggests how employers can avoid paying overtime to those newly eligible low-income workers.

"Most employers affected by the proposed rule would be expected to choose the most cost-effective compensation adjustment method," the department said. For some companies, the financial impact could be "near zero," it said.

Employers' options include:

Adhering to a 40-hour work week.
Raising workers' salaries to a new $22,100 annual threshold, making them ineligible for overtime pay.
If employers raise a worker's salary "it means they're getting a raise — that's not a way around overtime," Frank said. The current threshold is $8,060 per year.
Making a "payroll adjustment" that results "in virtually no, or only a minimal increase in labor costs," the department said. Workers' annual pay would be converted to an hourly rate and cut, with overtime added in to equal the former salary.
Essentially, employees would be working more hours for the same pay.

The department does not view the "payroll adjustment" option as a pay cut. Rather, it allows the employer to "maintain the pay at the current level" with the new overtime requirements, said the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division administrator, Tammy McCutchen, an architect of the plan.

Labor unions criticized the employer options.

Who's doing what

— Workers producing goods: 35 percent
— Workers providing services: 65 percent Today

— Workers producing goods: 17 percent
— Workers providing services: 83 percent

Mark Wilson, a lawyer for the Communications Workers of America who specializes in overtime issues, said the Bush administration was protecting the interests of employers at the expense of workers.

"This plan speaks volumes about the real motives of this so-called family-friendly administration," Wilson said.

He says cutting workers' pay to avoid overtime is illegal, based on a 1945 Supreme Court ruling and a 1986 memo by the Labor Department under President Reagan.

But McCutchen disagreed. If changes were made week to week to avoid overtime, they would be illegal. A one-time change is not, she said.

"We had a lot of lawyers look at this rule. We would not have put that in there if we thought it was illegal," she said.

"Unless you have a contract, there is no legal rule ... prohibiting an employer from either raising your salary or cutting your salary," she said, adding, "We do not anticipate employers will cut people's pay."

The final plan does not require approval from Congress. That hasn't stopped Democrats and some Republicans from trying to block the rule, thus far unsuccessfully, out of fear that millions of workers would become ineligible for overtime.

Department officials say about 644,000 higher-paid workers would lose their overtime eligibility. But the proposal says 1.5 million to 2.7 million workers "will be more readily identified as exempt" from overtime requirements. Labor unions claim the figure is about 8 million.

The Labor Department is aware of lawmakers' concerns has read tens of thousands of comments about the proposal, McCutchen said.

"We understand what the public concerns are and we're going to be doing our best to address them," she said. "It's important to allow us to finish that process so we can back up our words with some good-faith action."