Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Bob eCache says that the President shouldn't release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to the Katrina-induced spike in oil prices, but the Energy Secretary just appeared on MSNBC and announced that the reserve would be tapped. I agree with Bob, this is not the best idea in the world. I like a cheap tank of gas as much as the next guy, but I don't think it's worth the strategic cost. A lot of the past year's run up in oil prices can be accounted for by the supply being diverted to fill the reserve after Clinton's fiddling around in 1996.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Educators" and Wal-Mart

Katie of A Constrained Vision comments on the NEA boycott of Wal-Mart, especially noting the hypocrisy of the union position. As I pointed out here, NEA's boycott has nothing to do with helping the children, or helping families get their kids through school with low priced necessities. The boycott is all about solidarity with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which has been frustrated in its attempts to unionize Wal-Mart employees.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers 14

SloppyDawg hosts Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers 14, with a really nice set of satellite shots to highlight the state. One of the best carnivals yet, and I wish I'd had time to write soemthing this week to be included.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

NJCarnival 1101

Riehl World View hosts the weekly Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers. Quite a collection of food, fun, remembrance, anger, encouragement, photography, and even golf. A must read for anyone in or from New Jersey!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weekend at the Shore

What a hot, sticky day! Many New Jerseyans are heading down the shore to get away from the heat and have some fun.

No such luck in the SmadaNek household. Here's my weekend project:

Mrs. Smada has spent most of the week up on a ladder working the side, and now it's my turn to pitch in. These are 90-year-old tin gutters, and haven't been properly maintained for probably 20 years. Lots of repairs, along with the necessary scraping and repainting.

Would one of you bring me a nice cold drink? Say about 3:00 this afternoon? Thanks!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers XIII


Don't forget folks: the lucky thirteenth edition of the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers will be hosted at Riehl World View this week. Don't forget to submit your links via

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why Shop at Wal-Mart?

The NEA, AFT, and UFCW would have us believe that Wal-Mart is all about taking advantage of people. As I noted back in this post, they are trying to organize a boycott of Wal-Mart until the company pledges not to tolerate "exploitation of children."

In response to their call for a boycott, I said, "Our family will be purchasing school supplies at Wal-Mart this year." Mrs. Smada took the kids there today. Here's why we make that choice.

(updated to clarify): We bought 3 Elmer's glue bottles (1 for each kid in school). Price was 20 cents each, for a total cost of 60 cents. A comparable bottle, found at the linked Staples site, was priced at $1.99, and would have cost us a total of $5.97

Total cost to me for all those items was $67.63. At comparable retail prices in other stores, those items would have cost nearly twice what I paid. The table below has the details of what we bought, what we paid, and what we probably would have paid without Wal-Mart.

Item Qty
Cost "Retail"

Cost Source
Elmer's Glue 3
$ 0.20 $ 0.60 $ 1.99

$ 5.97
Glue Stick 3
$ 0.20 $ 0.60 $ 0.24
$ 0.71
Theme book 6
$ 0.10 $ 0.60 $ 0.23
$ 1.38
1-inch binder 1
$ 0.55 $ 0.55 $ 0.99
$ 0.99
Boy's shorts 2
$ 4.50 $ 9.00 $ 12.99
$ 25.98
Boy's shirts 3
$ 3.88 $11.64 $ 6.99
$ 20.97
Boy's jeans 1
$ 3.00 $ 3.00 $ 17.99
$ 17.99
striped t-shirts 3
$ 4.88 $14.64 $ 6.99
$ 20.97
Girl's jeans (Jordache) 1
$ 11.00 $11.00 $ 10.94
$ 10.94 eBay
Girl's jeans 1
$ 9.00 $ 9.00 $ 11.98
$ 11.98
Carpenter shorts 1
$ 7.00 $ 7.00 $ 8.99
$ 8.99



The numbers say it all. Why go anywhere else?

Linkage Has an Impact

Mr. Snitch points out "Why all Jersey bloggers should submit their bestest, shiniest posts to the NJ Carnival this weekend." Namely, the added exposure to be gained for your thoughts expressed in writing. I'll second the motion, and add that you should also consider hosting a carnival at your earliest opportunity, like I did.
The result: a gi-normous spike in traffic. Check it out.

Corzine Joins Union Stunt Staged At New Jersey School

Following up on my earlier post, Enlighten New Jersey reports on the Dems' atttempts to influence Wal-Mart through intimidation and boycott on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

I find the participation of the teachers' unions particularly bizarre in this case. Wal-Mart provides access to low-priced supplies for those in need. Trying to block their access to those supplies in this way will hurt their progress through school: how can Johnny learn to write if his family can't afford to buy pencils?

Their participation is especially galling given that the school at which they held the event, Samuel L. Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, failed to meet adequate yearly progress standards this year. Wouldn't the teachers' time be better spent strategizing better ways to teach eighth graders?

By the way, this news article has absolutely NO relationship to the above information. Right.

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Jersey Democrats, Teacher's Unions Conspire to Drive Up Cost of School Supplies

This handy press release announces a press conference intended to pressure Wal-Mart.

The "Send Wal-Mart Back to School" Campaign is part of nation- wide effort being led by the two largest teacher's groups in America, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), and The ATF and NEA have partnered with in what is latest phase in the growing national campaign to change Wal-Mart that began in April of this year.
Apparently, because Wal-Mart is not unionized, the teacher's unions feel compelled to join the UFCW in criticizing the company at every turn. Also piling on will be some of our favorite New Jersey political figures:
Teachers and other speakers at the press conference, which include United States Senator Jon Corzine, Assemblymen Jack Conners and Herb Conaway, and many local political leaders, will highlight how Wal-Mart has repeatedly failed America and our community.
Sure, Wal-Mart has failed America. Failed all of us by bringing us decent quality goods, when we need them, at reasonable prices. While employing 1.3 million people. Profitably.
Their excuse for all the big-company bashing is, of course, "the children."
Speakers will, in particular, call on Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, to adopt a "Zero Tolerance" policy and promise the American people that Wal-Mart will forever end its exploitation of children in the United States and globally, and will no longer break child labor laws in America.
Because, of course, zero-tolerance policies work so well.
Local teachers, community leaders, and students, will also discuss the growing negative effect Wal-Mart has on all of America's families and children, as well as our public schools, because the company increasingly shifts its costs on to American taxpayers.
This press conference is taking place on school property, specifically the Samuel L. Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, New Jersey. Seems to me, that by using a public facility for their press conference, UFCW, the teacher's unions, and the politicians are shifting the cost of their campaign against Wal-Mart onto the taxpayers of Edgewater Park. I wonder how many hours of overtime this will require by the police department, the school maintenance folks, etc.

Our family will be purchasing school supplies at Wal-Mart this year.