Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thank you for writing, Peter.
We will look into this immediately.
Thank you for giving us updates of Mindanao.
Nevertheless, I am surprised that in your story of September 25, 2006 Strike looms at Dole Phils.; dispute now in the hands of labor secretary you said "The trimmed demands for three years would only cost the company around P2 billion, or about one percent of its annual net profit."
This was the exact point I raised in an email I sent you on September 8 (and also to Sunstar), which you did not acknowledge nor gave an update. I understand that this was a quote, but I believe this figure is wrong, and unless corrected, may cause people concerned to make conclusions that are unfortunate.
Probably another information that may be useful for you is that Dole Philippines contributes about 16-20% of ANNUAL REVENUES or at least USD848M (at 54:1, that will be about PhP45B) to Dole Food. At 10% net income from revenues (which is robust in these times), the annual financial considerations in the three year package the union is seeking will be about 16% of net income. I agree that even with this amount, 16% of net income is affordable.
This is not about whether DPI should give in or not. What I am raising to your attention is that perhaps the 1% of annual net income that was quoted is a mistake and that Mindanews should look into that statement from the union.
PeTeR to editor Hide options Sep 8 From: PeTeR < firstname.lastname@example.org> Mailed-By: gmail.com To: email@example.com Date: Sep 8, 2006 8:48 AM Subject: Dolefil strike I read Sunstar's Gensan story of September 7. I had heard of the strike vote at Dole from my Dad, who retired from Dole in 1993, but still resides in the Dole area. My younger brother works for Dole. So this interests me very much. The writer quoted NAFLU-KMU's Tony Pascual saying that their economic demands will amount to PhP2B, about 1% of Dole's annual net profit. I thought Mr. Pascual was pretty much exaggerating. No one earns that much. I thought the writer (there was no byline, so maybe it was "praise release"?). I believe the writer or the editor should have checked Mr. Pascual's statement before writing or publishing the story. I cannot believe Dole can earn PhP 200B in one year (culled from the 1% of annual profit, as the story says). Can you? No way, just cannot believe. With limited time to ask for figures, I did an internet search. The PhP 200B could probably be close to Dole Food Company, Inc.'s ANNUAL REVENUES. Dole Food Company Inc. is the mother company of Dole Philippines. DFCI has operations in about 20 countries and had revenues of USD5.3B in 2004. Obviously, this USD5.3B is not only from the Philippines. I also learned that Dolefil's NET PROFIT was PhP 239M out of PhP 5.7B revenues in 1998. It is statistically impossible for Dolefil to have revenues, much less, profit, in the amount Mr. Pascual says or the writer quotes. It is not unbelievable that Dolefil has said no to the union's demands. Was Mr. Pascual very believable when he said this? or na-ilad ba si writer? As Bill Maher said (sorry this is not verbatim, but what I can only remember) to Larry King on CNN, media are supposed to be more intelligent. (Bill Maher is a comedian -- should we believe him then?) Sadly this story appears here as well (Mindanews).
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Helen H. writes:
Should I say, another rejoinder to this?
Thursday, September 21, 2006
To Beat a Man, You Need a Plan
The election is all about Bush, and that’s not necessarily good for the Dems.
The Wall Street Journal: September 15, 2006
Autumn is the true American New Year. This is when we make our real resolutions.
The perfect fall has two things, present pleasure (new exhibits, shows, parties) and something to look forward to—for the political, the upcoming election.
Which is my subject. My resolution is to try in a renewed way, each day, and within my abilities, to be fair. I find myself thinking so much of William Meredith’s poem about the advice he’d received from older writers: “Look hard at the world, they said—generously, if you can manage that, but hard.”
In light of that, my sense of things: They say the election is all about Iraq. It’s not. It’s about George W. Bush. He dominates the discussion, or rather obsesses the discussers.
He is talking a lot lately, out there in America, and in the Oval Office. People don’t say as often as they used to, “You watch Bush’s speech last night?” Or they don’t ask it with the same anticipation and interest.
I think that Americans have pretty much stopped listening to him. One reason is that you don’t have to listen to get a sense of what’s going on. He does not appear to rethink things based on new data. You don’t have to tune in to see how he’s shifting emphasis to address a trend, or tacking to accommodate new winds. For him there is no new data, only determination.
He repeats old arguments because he believes they are right, because he has no choice—in for a penny, in for a pound—and because his people believe in the dogma of the magic of repetition: Say it, say it, to break through the clutter.
There’s another reason people don’t listen to Mr. Bush as much as they did. It is that in some fundamental way they know they have already fully absorbed him. He’s burned his brand into the American hide.
Pundits and historians call Mr. Bush polarizing—and he is, but in some unusual ways. For one thing, he’s not trying to polarize. He is not saying, “My team is for less government, your team is for more—my team, stand with me!”
Mr. Bush has muddied what his team stands for. He has made it all come down to him—not to philosophy but to him and his certitudes.
What is polarizing about him is the response he elicits from Americans just by being himself. They have deep questions about him, even as he is vivid to them.
Americans don’t really know, deep down in their heads, whether this president, in his post-9/11 decisions, is a great man or a catastrophe, a visionary or wholly out of his depth.
What they increasingly sense is that he’s one thing or the other. And this is not a pleasant thing to sense. The stakes are so high. If you woke most Americans up at 3:00 in the morning and said, “Tell me, looking back, what would you have liked in an American president after 9/11?” most of them would answer, “I was just hoping for a good man who did moderately good things.” Who caught Osama, cleaned out Afghanistan, made it proof of the possibility of change and of the price to be paid by those who choose terror as a tactic. Not this historical drama queen, this good witch or bad.
The one thing I think America agrees on is that George Bush and his presidency have been enormously consequential. He has made decisions that will shape the future we’ll inhabit. It’s never “We must do this” with Mr. Bush. It’s always “the concentrated work of generations.” He doesn’t declare, he commits; and when you back him, you’re never making a discrete and specific decision, you’re always making a long-term investment.
This can be exhausting.
And yet: You know he means it when he says he is trying to protect America. You know his heart is in it. You know he means it when he says there are bad guys and we will stop them. And that has meaning.
With all this polarity, this drama, this added layer Mr. Bush brings to a nation already worn by the daily demands of modern individual life, the political alternative, the Democrats, should roar in six weeks from now, right? And return us to normalcy?
Well, that’s not what I sense.
I like Democrats. I feel sympathy for the hungry and hapless, identify with aspirations, am deeply frustrated with Mr. Bush. More seriously, I believe we are at the start of a struggle for the survival of the West, and I know it is better for our country if both of its two major parties have equal responsibility in that struggle. Beyond that, let’s be frank. Bad days are coming, and we’re all going to have to get through them together, with two parties, arm in arm. It’s a big country.
But I feel the Democrats this year are making a mistake. They think it will be a cakewalk. A war going badly, immigration, high spending, a combination of sentimentality and dimness in foreign affairs—everyone in the world wants to be free, and in exactly the way we define freedom at dinner parties in McLean and Chevy Chase—and conservative thinkers and writers hopping mad and hoping to lose the House.
The Democrats’ mistake—ironically, in a year all about Mr. Bush—is obsessing on Mr. Bush. They’ve been sucker-punched by their own animosity.
“The Democrats now are incapable of answering a question on policy without mentioning Bush six times,” says pollster Kellyanne Conway. “ ‘What is your vision on Iraq?’ ‘Bush lied us into war.’ ‘Health care? ‘Bush hasn’t a clue.’ They’re so obsessed with Bush it impedes them from crafting and communicating a vision all their own.” They heighten Bush by hating him.
One of the oldest clichés in politics is, “You can’t beat something with nothing.” It’s a cliché because it’s true. You have to have belief, and a program. You have to look away from the big foe and focus instead on the world and philosophy and programs you imagine.
Mr. Bush’s White House loves what the Democrats are doing. They want the focus on him. That’s why he’s out there talking, saying Look at me.
Because familiarity doesn’t only breed contempt, it can breed content. Because if you’re going to turn away from him, you’d better be turning toward a plan, and the Democrats don’t appear to have one.
Which leaves them unlikely to win leadership. And unworthy of it, too.
By Alcuin Papa, Veronica Uy
Last updated 10:49pm (Mla time) 09/20/2006
(UPDATE) INSTEAD of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, why not abolish the Senate instead?
This was the reaction of PCGG Commissioners Ricardo Abcede and Nicacio Conti to opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s move to revive a bill proposing the abolition of the commission that was formed to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cronies.
“It’s really up to Congress. I don’t want to cling to any position. But let us compare our records. Maybe it is the Senate that should be abolished, not the PCGG,” Abcede said.
Conti pointed out that since it was established in 1986, the PCGG has remitted around 60 billion pesos to the National Treasury.
He said that during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the PCGG recovered 35 billion pesos, or more than half of the total amount recovered since 1986, outperforming all previous administrations in ill-gotten wealth recovery.
The PCGG also won a string of vital cases against the Marcoses and their cronies, including those on the Swiss accounts, the coconut levy fund, and the disputed shares of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. which will generate around 25 billion pesos for the government, he said.
Conti said the commission has also handed over several thousands of hectares of agricultural lands to the Department of Agrarian Reform for distribution to landless farmers as beneficiaries.
By comparison, Abcede said that out of 2,200 bills filed by the present Senate, only nine have been passed into law.
“How dismal can you get? There are endless investigations supposedly in aid of legislation instead of meaningful legislation to uplift our country,” he said.
He also cited a statement of Senator Edgardo Angara that the present Senate was “the least productive in the last 20 years.”
The PCGG performs a vital task “going against powerful and even dangerous people. We are small and simple public servants doing what is right,” Abcede said.
He pointed out that it has a long list of accomplishments achieved with a meager budget, “smaller than the pork barrel of any legislator.” With a report from Christine Avendaño
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Read also that he said in a NBC interview that Iran does not speak of war, but read this. O heck, see below:
Following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 2, 2006.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: I hereby declare that this sinister regime [Israel] is the banner of Satan. It is the banner of the Great Satan. All it does is to implement the orders of the criminal America and England. They think that the peoples are the same as they were 100 years ago. They are not aware that things have changed in the world. Today, all the peoples have awoken. The Iranian people is the standard-bearer of this awakening for all the peoples. As we can see, from the southernmost point in South America to the easternmost point in Asia, all the people are shouting a single cry. With placards in their hands and clenched fists, they shout: Death to Israel.
Crowd: Death to Israel.
Death to Israel.
“It’s time that they make up their minds because the Cebuanos have long made up their mind and the Cebuanos do not want this Province to be broken apart. Maybe they should try listening to the Cebuanos if they are still confused. Let’s give them a chance but they should make up their mind and stand up for what is right, whatever the political cost and regardless of personal interest. The Cebuanos know what is right. As Cebuanos themselves, they should know what is the right thing to do."
Isn't it possible that they are not really confused, that they have made up their minds, that they are standing up for what is right? That they have listened to their own constituents, and that their people actually want them to support the additions?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
New York Times
The Pope’s Words
Published: September 16, 2006
There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.
The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.
In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.”
A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue.
The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.
September 18, 2006
Did the Pope Apologize?Contrary to many media reports, Pope Benedict XVI did not apologize on Sunday for his September 12 discourse at the University of Regensburg. He did not retract his words, and did not say he regretted his speech. Unless, of course, you consider an apology his expression of remorse that some misunderstood him, took offense, and reacted violently and irrationally, thus proving, ironically, the accuracy of his original thesis; that cultural dialogue is a pipedream unless all sides reject religiously-motivated violence.
I can understand the journalistic misread. Many surely think that Benedict, as a German intellectual, must be as hard to understand as Heidegger, Hegel, or Kant. Maybe they skipped the reading and took the easy road of juicy sound bites. But Benedict is no typical German intellectual. He's so smart, and his thought is so refined, that he can be simple, profound, and precise at the same time. What he says, in its full context, is what he means, and much to the consternation of those who would like to offer their altogether unique interpretation, there is no need for fancy hermeneutics.
After a year and a half of a low-key pontificate, Pope Benedict finds himself on center stage. He didn't mean to make a debut. That's not the way he is. Shy by nature and strong by faith, his meek demeanor reflects the kind of rare, humble soul that is most comfortable in absolute obscurity — but stands up nicely and fearlessly in the spotlight when the mission so demands.
Those who begged for a retraction from the pontiff for his supposed explosive words, including Muslim fundamentalists and the New York Times, don't know Pope Benedict. Perhaps they thought his academic discourse on the relationship between faith and reason, in which the example of Islamic fundamentalism was a small part, had been pieced together by an out-of-touch Vatican bureaucracy. Or more likely, perhaps they never read it.
Equally outlandish were the pundits who said Pope Benedict's "gaffe" should be overlooked as a well-intentioned public relations blunder committed by a pope still wet behind the ears. To my amazement, once-harsh critics of John Paul II now gushed with praise over the late pope's "spotless record of inter-religious dialogue" as they invited "Pope Ratzinger" (arguably John Paul II's closest friend and theological bosom buddy) to try to call up distant memories of his predecessor and learn from him a thing or two.
With so many examples of media hubris, some may have missed the irony of this weekend's violent protests. In the name of Islam, angry Muslims in the Middle East torched papal effigies and Christian churches. These were violent protests against anyone who would dare call them or their religion violent. The senselessness reached new heights when gunmen killed a Catholic nun with four bullets in the back of the head. It was a fitting "thank you" to a woman who was dedicating her life to the sick and dying in a hospital in Somalia. Her patients, of course, were mostly Muslim.
But these were street folk, kids. With a little graciousness, we could chalk up their shameless behavior to ignorance. It would be a stretch to think they had read the Arabic translation of Pope Benedict's speech to German professors.
It is harder to find excuses for grown-ups. The Pakistani parliament led the way on Friday by condemning Pope Benedict. However, they avoided any comment on the Pope's central thesis: that violence and religion don't mix — not because Christianity says so, but because it flows from the very nature of God. Heads of state, including the president of Iran and the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Turkey, jumped on the bandwagon with equally hollow condemnations, bereft of any intellectual rigor. Instead, they stuck to ad hominem talking points.
Get ready. Today we will read self-congratulatory reports by journalists everywhere that the Pope finally changed his mind. The pressure, they will say, was just too much for this aging man who found himself with no other alternative than to offer a resounding "mea culpa." But by doing so, they will prove, once again, Benedict's intellectual clarity and spiritual honesty was, for them, too much to digest.
Yes, the Pope is "deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address," as he said on Sunday, but he is equally firm in reiterating his original challenge to all of us, of all faiths, to reject all forms of religiously-motivated violence. Don't believe it because I said it. Pope Benedict speaks just fine for himself, "The true meaning of my address, in its totality, was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect."
And in the meantime, we're still waiting for political and religious leaders in the Middle East to take up the Pope's challenge, and to do so unapologetically.
God bless, Father Jonathan
Monday, September 18, 2006
Picked-up from Michelle.
Going around Qaeda-friendly sites
The script in red calls for the Pope's beheading. The rest of the translation:
"Swine and servant of the cross, worships a monkey on a cross, hateful evil man, stoned Satan, may Allah curse him, blood-sucking vampire."
Methinks, MSM played this one irresponsibly.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The writer quoted NAFLU-KMU's Tony Pascual saying that their economic demands will amount to PhP2B, about 1% of Dole's annual net profit.
I thought Mr. Pascual was pretty much exaggerating. No one earns that much. I thought the writer (there was no byline, so maybe it was "praise release"?). I believe the writer or the editor should have checked Mr. Pacual's statement before writing or publishing the story.
I cannot believe Dole can earn PhP 200B in one year (1% of annual profit, as the story says). Can you? No way, just cannot believe.
With limited time to ask for figures, I did an internet search. The PhP 200B could probably be close to Dole Food Company, Inc.'s ANNUAL REVENUES. Dole Food Company Inc. is the mother company of Dole Philippines. DFCI has operations in about 20 countries and had revenues of USD5.3B in 2004.
I also learned that Dolefil's NET PROFIT was PhP 239M out of PhP5.7B revenues in 1998.
It is statistically impossible for Dolefil to have revenues, much less, profit, in the amount Mr. Pascual says or the writer quotes. It is not unbelievable that Dolefil has said no to the union's demands.
Was Mr. Pascual very believable when he said this? or na-ilad ba si writer? As Bill Maher said (sorry this is not verbatim, but what I can only remember) to Larry King on CNN, media are supposed to be more intelligent. Sadly this story appears here as well.