Day: March 29, 2011

Wisconsin Judge Halts Further Implementation Of Union Law

So suddenly, once again, the Emperor Walker has no clothes…

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin judge on Tuesday barred state officials from any further implementation of a law that strips most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued an emergency injunction prohibiting enactment of the law earlier this month. But the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law anyway on Friday.

Publication is typically the last step before a law takes effect, but it’s unclear if the bureau’s action amounted to that; the law’s supporters say it did, but opponents say the secretary of state had to designate a publication date.

Sumi stopped short of issuing a declaration saying the law was not in effect during a hearing Tuesday but said her earlier order had either been ignored or misunderstood. She said anyone who violates the new order would face sanctions.

State Department of Justice spokesman Steve Means said the agency believes the law was properly published and is in effect.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, who wrote most of the collective bargaining law, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, Walker’s top aide, issued a statement saying the agency will evaluate the judge’s order.

“We will continue to confer with our legal counsel and have more information about how to move forward in the near future,” Huebsch said.

The law requires most public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance. It also strips away their rights to collectively bargain for anything except wages.

Stunning new footage of an entire town’s destruction vividly depicts the scope of Japan’s disaster

The following video demonstrates the size and power of the tsunami that hit Japan earlier this month. 

The Week

The Video

In the days following Japan’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, YouTube lit up with footage shot by witnesses to the disaster. But perhaps the most terrifying video took more than two weeks to emerge. In a five-minute clip (watch it below), a camera-equipped bystander in the northeast town of Kesennuma takes refuge on a tall building’s roof as frighteningly powerful waves roll across the town’s seaside road, sweeping up cars as if they were children’s toys. The water rapidly builds, before quickly overwhelming most of Kesennuma’s small buildings. At the 2:54 mark, a stranded boater can be seen struggling unsuccessfully to beat back the current; in a matter of 180 seconds, most of the town has been consumed by an unstoppable torrent of black water.

The Reaction

This might be the “most insane” footage to date, says AllahPundit at Hot Air. “By the end of the clip, if not for that lone building on the right edge of the frame, you wouldn’t know civilization had been there.” Truly, footage like this makes the terrible truth of what happened in Japan come to life, says Alex Alvarez at Mediaite. Actually witnessing such destruction “helps put things in perspective, and brings a dose of reality where words and still images cannot.” Watch the incredible footage:


 

O’Reilly And Hume Laud Idea Of American Exceptionalism In Obama Libya Speech

If Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly are praising the president’s “Libya Speech”, either hell is about to freeze over or Obama is now officially “Republican-Lite”.

Mediaite

President Obama’s speech explaining America’s objectives in Libya strayed far from the partisan and, judging by the immediate response on the O’Reilly Factor, it may have won him some points on the right. Bill O’Reilly and Brit Hume assumed the task of giving the first reaction to his comments on Fox News, and while they were both somewhat disappointed in the lack of urgency, there was a mutual appreciation for his “emphasis on effectiveness” and American exceptionalism.

For O’Reilly, the most important meta-issue in the balance during the speech was the state of American exceptionalism in light of her third war in a decade. Having questioned that the President had, to a certain extent, permitted France to make the first move in the war rather than the pattern that emerged during the Bush administration of America acting preemptively, O’Reilly reiterated during his Talking Points Memo that “Gaddafi is a monster” and, as Americans, “we do not turn a blind eye to atrocities.” That said, he later told Hume that, while he believed Obama should have “just joined forces in the beginning” with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his caution in approaching a new battle front was appreciated.

Read more…

See video here…

Fox News executive admits his attempt to link Obama to socialism was a lie

Raw Story

During the 2008 presidential campaign one Fox News executive repeatedly tried to smear Barack Obama with charges of “socialism.”

Liberal watchdog group Media Matters has uncovered audio that indicates Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was just engaging in what he called “mischievous speculation.”

In 2009, Sammon told an audience aboard Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college that his 2008 attempt to link Obama to socialism was “a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”

“Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to quote, ‘spread the wealth around,’” Sammon said. “At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”

During the 2008 campaign, the then-Washington deputy managing editor repeatedly suggested that Obama had socialist tendencies.

On Oct. 14, 2008, Sammon said that Obama’s comment to Joe Wurzelbacher “is red meat when you’re talking to conservatives and you start talking about ‘spread the wealth around.’ That is tantamount to socialism.”      Read more…

Walker Administration Announces Implementation Of Anti-Union Law, Despite Judge’s Order Against Publication

"What court order? We won't honor no stinkin' court order!"

The madness of King Scott Walker of Fitzwalkerstan!

TPMDC

The administration of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has begun implementing its controversial new law curtailing public employee unions, following a move on Friday declaring it be in effect, and despite a judge’s ruling that enjoined said implementation.

“It is now my legal responsibility to begin enactment of the law,” Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker, told reporters, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Huebsch said that the state will begin withholding pension and health benefits contributions from government employees’ paychecks, while also no longer automatically deducting union dues. The first paychecks to be affected will be April 21.

A week and a half ago, a judge in Dane County (Madison) blocked the law on procedural grounds, ruling that a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — had violated the state open-meetings law by failing to give proper 24-hours notice. The judge’s order “restrain[ed] and enjoin[ed] the further implementation” of the law, including the prevention of Secretary of State Doug LaFollette (D) from publishing the act in the Wisconsin State Journal, which acts as the state’s official newspaper for the purpose of giving the public official notice of new laws — the final step for the law to take effect. That decision is now going through an appeals process, which remains up in the air.    Read more…

 

President Obama Tries — Without Success — To Explain His Way Around An Undeclared War

John Nichols – The Nation

President Obama finally got around to speaking to the American people about the fact that he has led the country into a third war.

The speech was, to no one’s surprise, ably delivered. The president spoke with emotional and rhetorical power of how he felt there had been a need to intervene in order to prevent “a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.” He explained how there are times “when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are.” He decried the temptation “to turn away from the world” and promised that “wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.”
 
Those are noble sentiments, well expressed.
 
Unfortunately, he also spoke about how he had initiated the way on his own: “I ordered warships into the Mediterranean.” I refused to let that happen.” “I authorized military action…” “At my direction…”
 
The problem is that presidents are not supposed to start wars, especially wars of whim that are offensive rather than defensive in nature. That was the complaint against George W. Bush when he failed to obtain a declaration of war before ordering the invasion of Iraq, that is the ongoing complaint against Obama for maintaining the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that is the legitimate and necessary complaint against Obama now, a complaint that should come not just opponents of the military intervention but supporters who want that intervention to be lawful and legitimate.
 
The president did not address the fact that the Libyan adventure is an undeclared war. In fact, he barely mentioned the Congress that is supposed to declare wars, saying only: “And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.”
 
But the Constitution does not discuss “consulting the bipartisan leadership…” It says that: “Congress shall have the power… to declare war, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”
 
That was the point that Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, made with regard to the speech.