Day: March 9, 2011

Wis. GOP strips public workers’ bargaining rights

Personally, I am not convinced that Walker and his gang of thugs won this stand-off.

Washington Post

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday night to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers after discovering a way to bypass the chamber’s missing Democrats.

All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker’s so-called “budget repair bill” – a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.

The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday split from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, which spends no money, and a special conference committee of state lawmakers approved the bill a short time later.

The lone Democrat present on the conference committee, Rep. Tony Barca, shouted that the surprise meeting was a violation of the state’s open meetings law but Republicans voted over his objections. The Senate then convened within minutes and passed it without discussion or debate.

Spectators in the gallery screamed “You are cowards.”

Before the sudden votes, Democratic Sens. Bob Jauch said if Republicans “chose to ram this bill through in this fashion, it will be to their political peril. They’re changing the rules. They will inflame a very frustrated public.”

Wisconsin crowd reacts:

 

Bill O’Reilly Suggests Attorney General Eric Holder Should Commit Suicide Over Guantanamo Bay Decision

Eric Holder, Attorney General Nominee

Image via Wikipedia

Once again, we have another candidate for  our “sorting out the crazies” list, Bill O’Reilly…

News Hounds

After persistently attacking the Obama administration for wanting to close Guantanamo Bay prison, now that President Obama has decided to keep it open, Fox News – rather than praise the decision – moved the target and is attacking Attorney General Eric Holder (a regular witch hunt target) for not resigning because he has stated it should be closed. In fact, resignation wasn’t good enough for Bill O’Reilly. He repeatedly suggested that Holder should commit suicide over this “dishonor.”

O’Reilly hosted this “debate” about Holder with attorneys Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle in the regular “Is It Legal” segment – as though to suggest there were a real legal issue about Holder continuing on. O’Reilly told Wiehl, “Honorable people in Roman times killed themselves, in Japanese culture as well.”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Wiehl said.

O’reilly continued, “Or, in America, they resign… Shouldn’t Holder resign because it violates his core principles of decency?”

Nice set up, O’Reilly. You either pressure Holder into resigning or attack him for not sticking to his principles if he doesn’t.

Sure enough, when Wiehl argued Holder should stay on, O’Reilly said, “So he’s a toady.”

Speaking of toadies, liberal-before-Fox Guilfoyle said Holder should resign “for this and many other reasons.”

I’m surprised O’Reilly didn’t give her time to rehash the New Black Panther Party “controversy.” Maybe that was because o’Reilly was too eager to repeat his suggestion that Holder should commit suicide. “Now, you’re a tough cookie, but you wouldn’t go so far as to say Holder should commit seppuku,” O’Reilly “joked,” as the three giggled.

“I don’t think he should do that,” Guilfoyle said.

Then they commented about how Media Matters would be “all over it… all day long.”

As well they should, Bill. As well they should.

WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances

Dirty deeds are often exposed in unexpected ways…

Think Progress

A prank call from a man purporting to be petrochemical billionaire David Koch to Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) a few weeks ago revealed that Walker had crafted his “budget repair” bill in a bid to crush the labor unions. The revelation was at odds with the GOP’s public argument, that removing collective bargaining rights has something to do with the state’s budget deficit.

In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly moments ago, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), one of Walker’s closest allies in the legislature, confirmed the true political motive of Walker’s anti-union push. Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement. Specifically, he said that the destruction of unions will make it “much more difficult” for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin:

FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.

Watch it:

Fitzgerald’s transparent effort to defund his political opponents by stripping the rights of teachers and nurses is facing a backlash. In a few months, the defunders may be deposed. Following a report by ThinkProgress that several pro-Walker state lawmakers are eligible for recall, progressive activists around Wisconsin began filing the paperwork to remove eight GOP state senators from office.

Wisconsin Protesters Break Up GOP Congressman’s Town Hall Meeting In Governor’s Hometown

As some wise person once said, turnabout is fair play.  In the summer of 2009 the Tea Party decided to show their asses at town hall meetings held by both parties.   Now, the right is appalled that “libruls” are doing the same thing….

Huffington Post

Protesters unhappy with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposals forced a GOP congressman to shut down a town hall meeting on Monday in the governor’s hometown, demonstrating that state-level labor battles could become a liability even for Republicans at the federal level.

“This state is so (angry) at Republicans right now because they’re trying to shut down debate,” yelled one protester at the meeting in Wauwatosa, which was being held in a town library. Other protesters responded with loud cheers.

While veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R), who was at the meeting with GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir, insisted that the meeting was open to everyone, a protester said, “You’re trying to shut down any response from these people who live in a free society.” When Vukmir insisted that no one was trying to take away collective bargaining rights, the crowd shouted, “That’s not true!” and booed and hissed at her.

Sensenbrenner eventually said he was adjourning the meeting because attendees weren’t being respectful, which resulted in the unhappy crowd chanting, “Shame!”    More…

Jon Stewart: Has Rep. Peter King Met His Terrorist Sympathizing Past Self?

Mediaite

Jon Stewart discussed Republican Congressman Peter King’s efforts to hold hearings on the alleged “radicalization” of Muslim Americans. In doing so, Stewart unearthed some past footage of King and suggested King might want to think twice about targeting people who might have any association with terrorist organizations.

Stewart asked, “it’s not enough for U.S. Muslims to be law-abiding – to avoid congressional investigation, they have to be actively stopping terror plots?” After humorously asking Italian celebrity chef Mario Batali about crime amongst people of his nationality, Stewart unveiled an old clip of King speaking favorably of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Stewart concluded the terrorist sympathizing King of the past would be in big trouble if today’s Congressman King got a hold of him.

Watch the clip from Comedy Central here…

Kasich’s Assault On Public Unions Brings Boos At State Address, Tears To Teacher’s Eyes

I think this guy is worse than Scott Walker, if that’s possible…

Think Progress

Today, Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich (R) delivered his State of the State address, celebrating the successful passage of his ill-conceived JobsOhio program and for securing Cleveland, OH as the setting for an upcoming movie. But when Kasich began touting the state GOP’s assault on the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 public workers, a hail of boos descended from the gallery, derailing his stream of self-promotion. Youngstown Vindicator reporter Mark Kovac noted that this was “the first time I’ve ever heard heckling” during the State of the State address.

While Kasich painted a rosy picture inside the chamber, thousands of protesters filled the capitol, chanting slogans like “kill the bill” and “we won’t quit” in an attempt to “drown out” Kasich. The Columbus Dispatch captured the pandemonium outside, as teachers, firefighters, policemen, librarians, and other public servants fought to be heard. One of those workers, a 58-year-old teacher Portia Boulger from Chillicothe, OH, broke down in tears over Kasich’s treatment of public employees:

BOULGER: When he says he respects us, it’s a lie. He doesn’t respect me I’m 58 years old. I’ve been working since I was 13 and he wants to take my retirement away from me. Is that respect? Is that respect? No it’s not. He cares nothing about me. He cares about the Koch brothers and the money they put in his pocket. And I’m extremely angry and upset. And I’m not greedy. I am a hard worker and he doesn’t care about me or any of my kind.

Watch:

While Kasich’s seemingly off-the-cuff speech was light on the details, Kasich previewed a budget proposal that would balance the budget on the backs of the less fortunate. While he reiterated his no-taxes pledge, Kasich “will look to save money” by, among other things, “administering the Medicaid insurance program differently.” Given his party’s stated goals this fall, that plan could include cutting Medicaid eligibility in half. Kasich also foreshadowed cuts to Ohio’s school systems. The total damage Kasich plans to inflict, however, will not be known until he releases his budget proposal on March 15. But if precedent serves any guide, Kasich will surely sacrifice the welfare of the majority of Ohioans to pad the pockets of the wealthy few.

Rush on to recycle ‘old’ iPads for cash

Boston Herald

Time is running out for Apple fans who want to get top dollar on a trade-in of their “old” iPad and upgrade to a new iPad 2 when the gadget goes on sale Friday.

“We’ve already facilitated the trade of 10,000 iPads,” said Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer at Boston-based Gazelle.com, a top electronics recycler.

Recent iPad buyers may have been miffed when Apple announced on March 2 that it was ready to start selling a second version of the hot-selling tablet computer, but disgruntled gadget owners can still flip their “old” one for good money to plunk down for a new one.

But seller beware: the adage “time is money” certainly applies to Apple products.

As of yesterday, Gazelle.com was offering $300 for the base model iPad, the 16GB Wi-Fi version that originally sold for $499. Still, that trade-in value is $75 lower than it was the day after Apple’s iPad 2 unveiling last week.

Scarsella urged iPad owners looking to cash in to do so soon, since the price will continue to drop as more used iPads flood the market.

More…

 

Mike Huckabee Responds to Criticism Over Natalie Portman, Obama Comments

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...

Image via Wikipedia

Daily Beast

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pulled back Tuesday a bit from his comments about President Obama’s childhood and Natalie Portman’s pregnancy, and blamed the criticism and backlash on the media’s portrayal of the events.

On his comments regarding the president growing up in Kenya, Huckabee said they “ranged from—this guy is so dumb he doesn’t know that Barack Obama grew up in Indonesia not Kenya—all the way to the other extreme… well I can’t be both. I can’t be the dumbest guy in the room and the smartest guy in the room at the same time.”

As for his comments about Oscar winner Natalie Portman’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Huckabee said he did not bring the topic up and was only talking about her to segue into a discussion about “the economic realities of unwed mothers.”

 
 

House GOPers Looking to Gut Public Housing

Mother Jones

Much has been written about the House GOP’s 2012 budget bill (HR1), which would cut government spending by $61 billion this year by clamping down on non security-related discretionary spending. One line item that’s not getting as much attention: cuts to low-income rental assistance programs for the elderly and the disabled.

A new paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) crunches the numbers on the GOP’s plan, which would target some of the most vulnerable Americans, potentially pushing people who are nearly homeless out into the cold. Here are some of HR1′s greatest housing hits:

  • $5.4 billion in cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD) funding for housing and community development programs (12 percent below their 2010 level).
  • Funding for housing vouchers for some 10,000 homeless veterans would be eliminated.
  • $587 million slashed from housing programs for the elderly (a 71 percent reduction).
  • Funding for 4,500 new units per year of housing for low-income seniors and the disabled would be axed.
  • $210 million in funding cuts or housing for people with disabilities (70 percent).
  • Housing vouchers for 14,000 low-income people with disabilities wouldn’t be renewed, putting them in danger of losing their homes.

These cuts couldn’t come at a worse time. New data from HUD shows that 7.1 million renter households had “worst-case housing needs” in 2009. That means that they received no federal, state, or local housing assistance, earned incomes below 50 percent of the areaS median income, and lived either in severely substandard housing or directed half their income toward housing costs. That 7.1 million figure represents an increase of 20 percent since 2007 and 42 percent since 2001.        More…