Saturday, November 17, 2012


Still playing out: several sites carried casting suggestions for what is an inevitable outcome of the Petraeus Affair and attendant misdemeanors: a movie. Suggestions for "King David": Daniel Craig or Nicholas Cage. Ms Broadwell, Ms Kelley (interchangeable brunettes): Marisa Tomei and Sandra Bullock. General Allen: Bruce Willis. Mrs Holly Petraeus: Judi Dench.

Twinkies, a "delicacy" to which I was introduced briefly by my husband eager to display the dubious delights of his US childhood to a newly arrived Brit - are no more. Texas-based Hostess, makers of Twinkies, and other, equally dubious delights, is reported to be shutting up shop. The shut-down will put 18,500 workers at 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers out of work. The company blames a bakers' strike. Cynical others (myself included) suspect the following 4-point plan:
1.Ensure company will soon be on the rocks.
2.Force a strike by threatening a variety of unacceptable changes to worker conditions
3.At a moment politically ripe (Democrat returns to White House) file Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings
4.Blame union.

Without a union, Walmart staff are once again cranking up action in readiness for a huge walk-out on Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving.
More power to them !

In today's Huffington Post: Walmart's Internal Compensation Documents Reveal Systematic Limit On Advancement.

AND an excellent post at Cannonfire What to do about Walmart

A CEO, John C. Metz, who owns numerous franchises - most in the restaurant business in Florida - best nationally-known being several Denny's diners has decided to
levy a 5% surcharge on his menu items,
tell customers it is to cover the increased costs of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Not a hanging offence and understandable in one way, if a rather excessive amount. But then he also intends to decrease many of his his employees' hours, so as to avoid having to provide health care cover and pay those costs for which he is charging his customers.

"If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare," Metz told The Huffington Post. "Although it may sound terrible that I'm doing this, it's the only alternative. I've got to pass the cost on to the consumer."
Metz is the franchisor of Hurricane Grill & Wings, which has 48 locations, five of which are corporate owned, and president and owner of RREMC Restaurants, which runs approximately 40 Denny's and several Dairy Queen locations. He planned to use the 5 percent surcharge tactic in all his restaurants starting in January 2014, when Obamacare is fully implemented.
Interesting comment under the HuffPo article:
I have no problem with these right wing fools pushing this BS. This has the potential to push us in two directions. One is of course a push towards a single payer (health care)system, a system that will be much better for the vast majority of our country. The other less obvious one is a push towards working class solidarity that could really lead to the fundamental changes we need to see in our entire economic system. Perhaps even a push to replace the current capital driven system with a worker owned and worker driven system. Look if we get rid of these non-producers at the top of these organizations, people who earn their living off of doing nothing other than exploiting the sweat and effort of others and put the producers (i.e. the employees) in charge then we can get rid of this exploitation cost and put that money in the pockets of the working people of this country, people who will be much more concerned about social outcomes than these current financiers that care only about how much money lines their pockets


mike said...

Hollywood may have to be on stand-by with casting calls for the "Petraeus Affair" participants ooze out of the woodwork every couple of days. Maybe a role will open-up for me soon.

Speaking of "unions", don't forget that all of the states in the United States are now submitting petitions for secession, now known as "Secession 2012". I guess the half of the nation voting for Romney now wants their half of each state. I guess we're back to the Yankees and Confederates again, with the split of the Union. Perhaps it's timely that the movie "Lincoln" is newly released.

Yes, the rhetoric over the Affordable Health Act (aka Obamacare) is producing CEOs willing to preserve or increase profits by taking it out on their employees. PBS' Frontline has two episodes that detail this American crisis and expose the existing health care and insurance companies as a sham:

Regarding Twinkies...the company has $2 billion in unfunded pension liability, which is the root of this bankruptcy. Hostess has been prostituted by private equity companies:
"Workers were being asked to accept cuts, but top executives had gotten massive raises as Hostess was about to enter bankruptcy. Investments in the company's future that had been promised as part of restructuring after the previous bankruptcy were never made." (

Un- and under-funded pension liabilities have been bringing down cities in the US, as well as some companies. This is a big bubble that is bursting as I type. I think that the USPS (Postal Service) is the only company mandated to fully fund their pension liability, which they have defaulted the previous two payments.

Then, there's always the Hamas-Israel Gaza problem, Iran, Syria-Turkey offensive, and our own Afghanistan-Iraq wars to ponder if things get too slow!

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Looking for a role? How about the FBI shirtless guy then?
;-) Or maybe give that one to Bruce Willis and you be General Allen, sending out thousands of e-mails - he won't have many lines to learn - too busy typing!

The secession thing is so silly, isn't it? I bet if it really became an option most people, other than the raving loonies, would run screaming from it. :-)

I'm longing to see Lincoln - but it hasn't shown up yet in our town.
It features 3 favourite actors of mine (D.Strathairn, TL.Jones, and J.Spader). Might have to travel to see it later on if it doesn't turn up here.

Thanks for your further thoughts, info and links re Obamacare & Hostess.

Something is definitely rotten....

Groan...Israel/Palestine - I try never to get into that issue. It has been going on for as long as I can remember, in one way or another. I doubt there's an answer - but then I said that about Ireland/Northern Ireland, and they did manage to find peace at last, if at time an uneasy one.

Wisewebwoman said...

I've seen these unfunded pension liabilities used here even out at the edge of the Atlantic to cease operations after the FatCats have been served their unfathomable bonuses and then yell banktuptcy.

As to Twinkies with their 100 year shelf life, good riddance, I feel so sorry for the workers.

And Petraeus, only in the US would this get so much coverage while distracting us from the real issues.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ But...but the demise of Twinkies means that the cockroaches, sole survivors of the apocalypse, will be denied their dessert item: those indestructible little gooey tubes.

Yes, Petraeus et al have provided much distraction this week - so many, many words, spoken and written. The whole affair has its highly comical side though (as well as a serious one) - which must be partly to blame for such widespread attention.

I wonder if pantomime characters in the UK this Christmas will include
any references to this farcical affair. If they don't, they're missing a trick! :-)

James Higham said...

Still playing out: several sites carried casting suggestions for what is an inevitable outcome of the Petraeus Affair

When will men learn how dangerous women are? :)

Twilight said...

James Higham ~

DC said...

Mertz and his attitude reminds me of a bratty child destroying his own coloring book because his parents wouldn't buy him new crayons, whilst he has a toy box FULL of crayons already. And the comment from the post .....well I wish I had said that! :) Great post Annie!

DC said...

Oh...and I almost forgot....that bratty child that destroyed his own coloring book.....he'll surely blame the dog!

Twilight said...

DC ~~~ Thanks. Wonderful analogy DC!!
Yes, bratty, mean-spirited and verging on sadistic. Capitalism-run-riot is full of such characters - don't know how we'll ever solve that one.

Yes - the comment I quoted was superb wasn't it!

mike (again) said...

Today's revelation regarding Denny's, this from the true head-honcho:

"Don't expect to hear more about an Obamacare surcharge from Denny's franchisee John Metz.

Denny's chief executive John Miller privately reached out to Metz to express his "disappointment" with the Florida franchisee's controversial statements about Obamacare, which sparked a wave of backlash for the national restaurant chain over the past few days. Metz released a statement Monday night expressing "regret" over his statements."

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ Thanks for the update - - YAY!!!! That's good! It was another display of extremely bad judgment on the part of Metz. If he'd kept his mouth shut and done all he threatened perhaps he'd have got away with it.
Perhaps Denny's still will do it, but we're onto 'em now - and will be watching....and the other chains too.
( alter ego is Madame Defarge ;-)

Bichon maltais said...

Your blog is a source of information, I am an avid reader and I wish you good luck .

mike (again) said...

Is Twilight, aka Mdm Defarge, wearing her fingers to the bone with all of that knitting?

Read yesterday that Papa John's Pizza CEO has also backed-off his rhetoric concerning Obamacare by saying it was all a misunderstanding and he had been misquoted.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Oh yes - clickety-clack go my metaphorical needles, stopping only long enough to point out potential victims! ;-)

Another one walking it back eh?
I've just been drafting a post for Saturday about the restaurant/ACA issue. It'll probably be irrelevant by Saturday at this rate.