Apr 062015
 

It’s such a slow day for news, that even Daily Kos is recommending only hits from the past, and because I’m still short of 100%, I’m making this today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 6:40).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A new poll shows that Americans who were unconcerned about climate change as it wreaked havoc around the world are beginning to worry, now that global warming is affecting the appearance of their lawns.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, rising sea levels, the destruction of habitats, and catastrophic weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tsunamis, have not served as the wake-up call to Americans that their lawns’ unsightly barrenness has.

In interviews across the state of California, residents expressed anger and outrage that climate change had been allowed to worsen to the point that it has now severely limited their choice of ground cover, shrubs, and other decorative plantings.

Sadly, Andy seems to have captured the soul of the American voter.

From NY Times: An exuberant crowd that included public-school teachers, union bus drivers and nursing home workers packed into New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on this city’s West Side on Saturday afternoon as Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, issued an urgent plea.

“I am asking you, I am begging you, and — in my teacher voice — I am telling you, go vote,” Ms. Lewis, who wore a “Chuy” button on each lapel, called out, as a cheer rose through the high-ceilinged church. “Go vote!” she called out again. “Go vote!”At the heart of the campaign that has threatened to topple Mayor Rahm Emanuel are labor unions: Amalgamated Transit Union locals, the Service Employees International Union’s Illinois State Council and, perhaps above all, the Chicago Teachers Union. Jesus G. Garcia, the candidate known as Chuy, built his campaign on the backing of teachers, has received his strongest financial support from unions and was talked into running by Ms. Lewis herself. And the crowd inside this echoing church followed orders, scores of people streaming out together and marching down Madison Street to a polling location with less than an hour remaining for early voting in advance of Tuesday’s election.

Go Chuy! Chicago, give your heart to Jesus! (Garcia, not Republican Supply-side). Rahmbo acts more like a Republican than a Democrat!

From Alternet: A Georgia teacher — whose husband sits on the school board — is under fire for telling her students that President Barack Obama isn’t a Christian, and if their parents voted for him they are not Christians either, reports WMGT.

What a Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian statement that is! Even I allow for the possibility that an authentic Christian might have voted for Little Lord Willard, if that Christian were sufficiently stupid and misinformed.

Cartoon:

0406Cartoon

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Sep 012014
 

Labor-day2012

For most of my early life I considered Labor Day little more than a day off at the end of summer.  That’s because I am not a union man.  I have never belonged to a union, nor has anyone in my family.  So what has the labor movement done for me?  I have learned what organized labor has done to improve the lot of all American Workers, and I have come to understand that Labor Day is a celebration of Union labor, and one that is well deserved.

laborThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now…

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income…

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor…

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers…

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

It’s well worth the time to click through for the rest of this article.

Furthermore, here is an excellent video on what labor has done for America.

 

Therefore, to begin my celebration of Labor Day in the best possible way, I wish to thank all of you who are or have been union workers.  My life is better because of you.  And to you and everyone else, have a Happy Labor Day!

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Jul 172014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 87.  It’s largely a rest day for me, except for cooking, cleaning and the many hours I spend in research and writing.  I am tired from being unable to sleep this morning.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: One Quote From Abraham Lincoln Might Just Surprise You

0717lincolnLaborQuote

It’s hard to believe that once, Republicans were the liberal party, not the class warriors for the greediest billionaires that they are today.

From Daily Kos: Boy, Dick Cheney really is determined to caricature himself:

During an event sponsored by Politico, Cheney said the next president needs to "turn around the whole trend" of cutting defense dollars.

"That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways or anything else," Cheney said. "Your No. 1 responsibility as president is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. [Obama] is the commander-in-chief and he’s absolutely devastating the United States military today.”

War always was ChickenHawk Cheney’s highest priority, except when he was hiding behind five deferments.

From The New Yorker: A new study released Tuesday indicates that wearing glasses does not make a person look smarter, but standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry does.

In the study, when participants were shown photos of a person with and without glasses, they registered little or no change in their view of the person’s intelligence.

However, when the photo of the same person was juxtaposed with a photo of Governor Perry, participants suddenly said that the person looked “much smarter” or “brilliant,” with some participants even using the phrase “like a genius.”

While Andy is certainly correct, wouldn’t comparing folks to Crawford Caligula have an even greater effect?

Cartoon:

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Jul 012014
 

The Republican Party won a victory in their War on Workers, because the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) ruled against labor in Harris v. Quinn.  They determined that it violates the free speech of home health care workers to have to either join a Union or pay a fee to a union for their collective bargaining representation.  In so doing they violated precedent and ignored the Constitution, because this an economic issue, not a speech issue.

0701Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a setback to unions by ruling that in-home care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state are not similar enough to full-fledged government employees to be compelled to pay union dues.

The case gathered national attention because it questioned the ability of unions to collect dues from public sector workers. The court said in-home care workers are not full-fledged public employees, thus narrowing the decision to these particular workers.

The question stems from Harris v. Quinn, an Illinois case involving in-home care workers. Illinois and other states have long used Medicaid funds to pay their salaries to assist disabled adults who otherwise might have to be placed in state institutions. The jobs were poorly paid, and turnover was high.

A Chicago chapter for the Service Employees International Union began organizing the workers and pushing the state for higher wages. In 2003, an executive order by then. Gov. Rod Blagojevich designated them as “public employees,” allowing the union to collectively bargain with the state over their benefits and wages. Gov. Pat Quinn later expanded the designation to include personal assistants in the state’s disabilities program.

In 2010, the National Right to Work Foundation, an anti-union advocacy group, sued Quinn and the union, accusing the state and union of conspiring to relabel private care providers so the union could collect union fees…

Inserted from <Chicago Tribune>

Although the five goose-steppers claim that the decision is a narrow one, they lied.  It breaks new ground and sets a precedent that is sure to spawn future similar lawsuits.  Effectively this allows home health care workers to benefit from union representation for free, greatly reducing the incentive workers have to join the union.

What the above article neglected, perhaps intentionally, to report is that the SEIU has done a damn fine job for home healthcare workers, increasing their wages from $7.00 per hour in 2003 to $11.65 today to $13.00 later this year.  The point is, paying a small fee for so much more pay was a boon, not a hardship to workers who chose not to join the Union.

I’m sure I’ll have more video coverage of this to post later this week, but the only response I could find that didn’t goose-step comes from Oregon’s SEIU Local 533.

This issue will need close watching in future, because you can be cure this will not be the end of it.

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Mar 312014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe that this month has gone so quickly.  I’ll continue to be scarce in April.  My schedule makes this month’s seem tame, by comparison.  Please pardon my brevity, lest I run out ofday, before running out of tasks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration.

It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is that he, like many others in agriculture here, is increasingly fed up with immigration laws that he says prevent him from fielding a steady, reliable work force.

“What we have going on now is a farce — a waste of time and money,” said Mr. Herrin, a lifelong Republican who grew up in central California, adding that the country should be considering ways to bring workers in, not keep them out. “We need these people to get our food to market.”

Even Republicans recognize the need to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but the Republican Party continues to sabotage it. To intentionally harm our economy for political gain, however ineptly done, is sedition.

From Think Progress: Last month, Uganda made international headlines when President Yoweri Museveni signed the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, calling for the imprisonment of gay citizens. But one religious leader refuses to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation, and has become a hero to the country’s gay community.

In defiance of the legislation, commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, Rev. Christopher Senyonjo hosts weekly prayer sessions and counseling services to LGBT worshipers and supporters. He also critiques fellow clerics’ “healing” approach to addressing the gay community, whereby church leaders attempt to fix people through prayer. “They said I should condemn the homosexuals,” he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. “I can’t do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church.”

Citing questionable evidence provided by Ugandan scientists, the President justified signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February by arguing that being gay is a choice. According to the harsh law, first-time offenders can spend at least 14 years in jail, while others can serve lifelong sentences. As a result, LGBT people are ostracized and subjected to violence.

Reverend Senyonio aptly illustrates the difference between authentic Christians and Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, like the members of the US Congress, who coined this legislation, and even intended it to include capital punishment for gay people.

From Daily Kos: Mississippi has not been what you’d call a pro-union state, but it’s really hammering that point home this week, with the state Senate passing not one, not two, but THREE anti-union bills and sending them to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature:

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it. […]

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict mass picketing of a residence or place of business. It says pickets would be legal as long as they weren’t violent and didn’t block entrances. But it also makes getting a court stop order against picketing easier.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs.

So basically, "unions GTFO. We will sue you for breathing."

The Republican Party is dedicated to create slave labor that the 1% can exploit without having to build in the third world.  You’re it.

Cartoon:

0331Cartoon

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Mar 302014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feel sufficiently recovered from my volunteer work to function.  At Thursday’s meeting my guys were planning their annual banquet.  I had arranged to bring in a woman from another local organization, who is working on a pamphlet to assist prisoners prepare to meet the parole board, into our meeting in the prison.  She had no experience in that area, so I took her into a side-room to meet with around thirty of the men who have appeared before the board.  It was a tough facilitating job, because a couple of my guys, who felt they had been treated unfairly (and one had been), wanted to dominate the session with complaints.  However valid, that did not relate to her project.   I managed to make that point (several times) and keep it on track, for the most part.  The woman came away satisfied that she had gleaned the raw material she needs. One critically important thing to do before the board is to be real.  As always, I was proud of my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:42 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy:

I have a hard time watching this and not getting terribly angry. Those 123 young women and 23 men who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, deserve to be remembered. But we're watching it happen all over again in developing countries that supply Walmart, Gap, and other marketing and retail giants.

Sorry/not sorry, I’m mad as hell, and I wish we could live in a world where we didn’t have to take this anymore.

Warning: some violent images.

 

It's hard to add anything to this, except that the Republican Party is fighting to prevent such legislation.

Daily KosConnecticut has become the first state to pass legislation raising its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The bill was passed with strong margins in the state Senate and House and Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to sign it Thursday evening

Here's good news for a change. Kudos to CT!!

From Bill Moyers: Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.

In the article, the author debunks ten of Republicans' favorite lies about poverty. Click through for the other nine.

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0330Cartoon

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Mar 122014
 

I could have entitled this the Republican War on the Constitution, because that is the tactic Republicans in several states are using do deny workers their freedom of speech and their freedom of assembly.  Republicans want to make certain that, when workers have grievances, there is no inconvenience to the companies, and that YOU don’t get to see it.

0312GOPWarIn moves that pro-labor legal scholars warn may violate the U.S. Constitution, Mississippi, Michigan and Tennessee Republicans have introduced bills that would strengthen the hands of bosses faced with protesting employees.

“The language is so broad, the potential is so destructive, that what they’re basically doing is outlawing strikes …” University of Texas labor law professor Julius Getman told Salon. “Or they’re doing their best to limit strikes or picketing to situations where you have two or three people standing still. The idea of the union manifesting concerted power of workers is something that they’re seeking to prohibit.”

“People have a right to free speech, but they don’t have a right to keep someone from going to work,” countered state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who introduced that state’s anti-picketing bill.

All three state bills would lower the bar for businesses to seek and secure judicial injunctions against labor picketing – a form of protest long used by workers seeking to dissuade customers or strikebreakers, attract reporters or supporters, and spotlight alleged abuses. In addition to changing injunction rules, the proposal in Mississippi’s House would ban picketing that “has or intends the effect of violence or intimidation, near or contiguous to the business’ customers”; Tennessee’s would ban picketing that is “preventing the pursuit of any lawful work or employment by means of disturbance or nuisance.”

At a private home (say, a CEO’s mansion), Mississippi’s and Tennessee’s bills would make disrupting “the resident’s right to quiet enjoyment” grounds for convicting picketers of a crime. The bill in Michigan’s House would remove current language making certain picketing a misdemeanor, but add language imposing a $1,000 a day fine for a person (including an individual protesting worker, not just an organization or a union official) repeatedly found to have picketed illegally. And the bill passed by Mississippi’s Senate would allow an individual picketer to be thrown in jail for six months… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Salon.com>

These are the very same Republicans, who insisted that it was their Constitutional right to physically accost women seeking abortion services and threaten bodily harm to abortion providers at their homes.

I remember how Republicans in Congress used to wave little paper Constitutions, while falsely claiming that they are supporting it.  In reality, they would trash the Constitution for the 0.1%

Support Labor against these injustices!

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