LA Times, Belo Corp, implement new round of employee cuts and cost savings

January 31, 2009

Trade journal Editor & Publisher reports that Publisher Eddy Hartenstein sent Los Angeles Times staffers a memo yesterday detailing changes to the sections in the print edition, as well as the loss of as many as 300 jobs throughout the newspaper. Editor Russ Stanton followed with a memo of his own.

Both are available here.

And A.H. Belo Corp. will lay off approximately 500 employees at The Dallas Morning News and its three other dailies, CEO Robert Decherd told employees in a memo that said pay cuts and the newly popular industry practice of furloughs had been considered and rejected by management.

Those surviving the Belo layoffs will feel the pain of the company’s financial squeeze in big and little ways, ranging from the suspension of matching contributions to employee 401(k) retirement plans — to charging for parking at the Dallas Morning News.

Monthly reimbursement for wireless devices paid some employees will be “substantially” reduced to $35, saving $200,000 annually, he said.

Staring in May, employees will be charged $40 a month to park in outdoor lots owned by the company. Those parking in the garage of The Belo Building will find their monthly charge bumped from $40 per month to $70 per month. The fees will generate about $520,000 a year, Decherd said.

The Belo bad news is here. The Company’s diversified group has holdings in television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets and owns KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix.


Hmm? This is a contest?

January 31, 2009

It’s Rush — in a heartbeat

President Obama and a liberal lobbying group are ramping up efforts to ensure passage of the massive generational tax or “stimulus package,” by reaching out to Congress with both carrots and sticks.

While the president and his top aides are using all the trappings of the office, courting members through phone calls, cocktail parties, West Wing sit-downs and even a politically mixed Super Bowl party, liberal groups are dispensing with the niceties and seeking to drive a wedge between Republicans and one of the right’s most influential leaders.

Politico writes that Americans United for Change, a left-leaning group employing aggressive tactics, will begin airing radio ads today in three states Obama won — Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada — with a tough question aimed at the GOP senators there: Will you side with Obama or Rush Limbaugh?

“Every Republican member of the House chose to take Rush Limbaugh’s advice,” says the narrator after playing the conservative talk radio giant’s declaration that he hopes Obama “fails.”

The radio buy comes on the heels of TV campaign by Americans United for Change and other liberal groups that began Thursday and targets GOP senators in Maine, New Hampshire, Alaska and Iowa, and another by the Laborers Union aimed at Senators in Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada and Tennessee; both designed to rally support for the obscene spending measure known as the stimulus package.

Michael Steele: Urges strict enforcement of immigration laws

January 31, 2009

This column written by the newly elected Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele addresses his views on illegal immigration and border security.

It begins: Until Congress passes legislation that starts and ends with securing our borders and puts a premium on strict enforcement of our immigration laws, we must make our voices heard. But understand, in order to hear our voice, you must take the time to listen to what we’re saying.

Should our Senators do that, they would hear the five principles that guide the American people’s resolve on immigration.

Read the rest of what he wrote on the subject in June 2007. The well defined “five principles” are cogently presented in his article.

Are Arizona’s Republican senators and congressmen listening?

Judge finds Obama’s arguments “unpersuasive”

January 31, 2009

A military judge has thrown a curve into the Obama administration’s plan to suspend legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, denying the government’s request to delay the case of a detainee accused of planning the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.

To halt proceedings for 120 days, as Obama wants in order to conduct a review, the Pentagon may now be forced to temporarily withdraw charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and possibly 20 other detainees facing trial in military commissions, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Nashiri, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent, is facing arraignment Feb. 9 on capital charges relating to the al-Qaida strike on the Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. service members and injured 50 others in October 2000.

Army Col. James Pohl, chief military judge at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said that he found the government’s arguments “unpersuasive” and that the case will go ahead because “the public interest in a speedy trial will be harmed by the delay in the arraignment.”

The Washington Post article is here.

Oh!Bama’s embarrassing relatives

January 31, 2009

George Obama, the half brother of President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police on a charge of possession of marijuana, law enforcement authorities announced today.

Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama was arrested on charges of possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and resisting arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Mutembei said.

He is being held at Huruma police post in the capital of Nairobi.

CNN Correspondent David McKenzie talked with George Obama at the jail where he is being held. Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations.

George Obama and the president, who share the same Kenyan father,  hardly know each other, although they have previously met. He was one of the president’s few close relatives who did not attend the inauguration in Washington last week.

Seeing Red AZ previously reported on Obama’s Kenyan aunt Zeituni Onyango, in the U.S. illegally and living in public housing in Boston. She was referred to as “Aunti Zeituni” in Obama’s memoir and contributed $265 to her nephew’s campaign, in violation of the law that disallows such contributions from foreign nationals.

Read the CNN report here.

Pullen scores again! Wins national GOP treasurer position

January 30, 2009

Newly reelected Arizona Republican Party chairman, Randy Pullen, has done it again! Today, Pullen, a certified public accountant, was elected treasurer of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Pullen, who worked at Deloitte & Touche and is an expert financial consultant, will be the go-to guy regarding oversight and compliance with federal election filing laws.

He beat out Maryland Republican National Committee member Louis Pope.

Congratulations are in order for Randy Pullen. The two back to back major victories are most definitely praiseworthy.

A new dawn as Michael Steele takes the GOP helm

January 30, 2009

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has emerged victorious as Republicans chose him over four other candidates. Mike Duncan the incumbent GOP chief bowed out earlier in the day after declaring, “Obviously the winds of change are blowing.”

Steele’s upbeat message was this is “the dawn of a new party!”

GOP delegates erupted in cheers and applause when his victory was announced. He’ll serve a two-year term.

Steele, an attorney, is a conservative, but is considered the most moderate of the five candidates running. He became the first black candidate elected to statewide office in Maryland in 2003. He made an unsuccessful Senate run in 2006. Currently, Steele serves as chairman of GOPAC, an organization that recruits and trains Republican political candidates, and in that role he has been a frequent presence on the talk show circuit.

He vowed to expand the reach of the party by competing for every group, everywhere. “We’re going to say to friend and foe alike: ‘We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us.’ And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over,” Steele said. “There is not one inch of ground that we’re going to cede to anybody,” he added. “This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction.”

Michael Steele has been a visitor to the Valley, meeting with GOP activists and touting the GOPAC message. 

Read his congratulatory statement after the swearing in of Arizona’s 22nd Governor, Jan Brewer,  here.

Mike Duncan bows out of RNC leadership race

January 30, 2009

Mike Duncan, former President George W. Bush’s hand-picked national party chairman, abandoned his re-election bid today after his support steadily erode over three rounds of balloting, ensuring a fresh face at the GOP’s helm.

“Obviously the winds of change are blowing,” Duncan said as he withdrew from the race and got a standing ovation. The Kentucky Republican thanked Bush and said of his two-year tenure: “It truly has been the highlight of my life.”

The move scrambled a field now down to four as the Republican National Committee moved ahead with a fourth round of balloting, with candidates seeking to reach the 85-vote majority threshold to become the new chairman. Whoever wins will inherit a party trying to recover after crushing defeats in back-to-back elections that saw Democrats take control of Congress and the White House.

The complete Yahoo report is here.

Potential silver lining for a gray stimulus plan

January 30, 2009

In a co-authored letter sent yesterday, Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) urged the Senate leadership to include provisions in the economic stimulus package that would require businesses using stimulus money to use E-Verify to ensure the jobs are going to American citizens. The House version of the bill, which has passed, included an amendment requiring the use of E-Verify, but the current Senate version does not include it.

The so-called stimulus plan is not beloved by Republicans who voted unanimously in opposition to it yesterday. However, as the minority party we have less than full impact on the provisions of the bill. If it passes the senate, inclusion of the E-Verify program will be a must to show the Democrats care about keeping American jobs with American workers.

The letter written by Sens. Sessions and Nelson is available here. We urge you to read it.

Whada’ya know? Napolitano’s getting tough on “criminal aliens”

January 30, 2009

 “More bang for the buck”

Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is ramping up her Homeland Security gig by declaring she wants “criminal aliens” off American streets. Suddenly she is scrutinizing existing immigration enforcement programs to see if taxpayers are getting the most “bang for their buck.”

“That sounds very simple, but it’s historically not been done,” Napolitano said, speaking out of both sides of her mouth to reporters and senior Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials yesterday. An estimated 113,000 criminals, in the U.S. illegally, were deported last year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency speculates there are now as many as 450,000 criminals in federal, state and local detention centers who are illegal aliens.

Napolitano said she wants to improve data-sharing among local, state and federal facilities. So far, there are jails in 26 counties across the country with computer systems that can interact instantly with immigration systems, according to Napolitano.

To put that in perspective, Arizona alone has 15 counties.

The goal is for federal immigration officials to ascertain whether an inmate is an illegal immediately after being processed into a detention facility. Upon release, immigration officials can begin deportation procedures.

ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said the agency plans to expand this plan to all state and local detention centers over the next four years, according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Napolitano is renown for her comment illustrating her lack of commitment to constructing a security fence along our southern border: “Show me a 50-foot fence, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder,” was her blasé retort when questioned about the lack of progress being made.

In these perilous times Americans should hope she has a stronger dedication to implementing actual security for the nation than she did for the state of Arizona.