COLUMNS

TABLE D'HOTE: Summer heat, short column

Wade McIntyre

Congress has yet to authorize a study on how summer temperatures affect the way people listen, but it should. I know when the thermometer hits 100 degrees there are very few people worthy of my listening time.

I suspect high temperatures also affect the attentiveness of people when they read. Unless one is under an umbrella on a beach reading a page-turner mystery, who is going to read when hotness hits the century mark as it did last week?

I hardly listened to anyone last week, read even less, and therefore have little to write about. With readers so hot and also uninterested in reading, this column is appropriately scaled back and mercifully short, like the Gettysburg Address and the economics section of John McCain’s resume’.

Did you shop at Wal-Mart last week? I did, as I was dangerously low on toilet paper and out of bowling ball polish.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart is marshaling all its store managers and department heads in an effort to influence its employees to vote against Democrat candidates, and specifically Barrack Obama, because Wal-Mart believes the Democrats will push for legislation making it easier for blue and white collar employees to form unions.

I wonder if Wal-Mart will still sell me toilet paper if I wear a “Support Your Union” button next time I drop in?

While it is understandable that Wal-Mart and other low-brow type corporations want to keep a tight reign on employee options in order to keep wages and health benefits at a minimum, it seems extraordinarily Machiavellian and childlish that Wal-Mart management would try to tell its workers who to vote for in an election for President of the United States.

Surely in this day and age Wal-Mart employees secure in their cushy jobs at the world’s biggest corporation can figure out, like the rest of us, how to push a voting  button for themselves.

The overnight transformation of U.S. trucking lanes and world container shipping routes into cost prohibitive transportation dinosaurs must surely be of greater concern to corporations like Wal-Mart that have built fuel hungry global empires reliant on oil and low cost foreign labor.

Rather than bullying employees at election time, maybe Wal-Mart brass should be thinking about the end of the cheap oil bonanza and possible death of the massive global shipping industry that fueled globilization and the Wal-Mart rise.

Maybe the retail giant should think about how to truly encourage locally grown food and made in the USA products in order to reduce transportation costs. Of course, buying from organic truck farms and bringing back skilled U.S. labor manufacturing that Wal-Mart helped destroy will mean having to pay workers more and provide better health benefits than Third World and emerging Chinese laborers expect.

A good union should be able to help Wal-Mart  figure out how to do just that.