Archive for February, 2011

A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally

SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, is holding rallies at state capitols around the country to demonstrate solidarity with public employee unions in Wisconsin. The union has scheduled an event at the Gold Dome in Atlanta at 4 pm today.

This has been posted on the far-right Free Republic site, under the headline:
“Atlanta Tea Party and Many Other Groups, Facing Off the SEIU Thugs Wednesday”

“Members of the various Tea Party, 9/12, and other freedom-oriented folks in the Atlanta area will be assembling in the vicinity of Georgia State Capitol this coming Wednesday afternoon at 4 pm. We’ll be providing balance to the ravings of the passengers aboard the SEIU Thugbus, which is scheduled to vomit forth its stooges at that same place and time.

If you are within three hours drive of ATL, come join us.

Dan and others from RTC will be there, with the usual accoutrements. As always, each participant is responsible for compliance with all applicable local laws.

Rally …

Continue reading A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally »

Gingrich gets blunt reminder of his past

Newt Gingrich was speaking at the University of Pennsylvania last night and afterward took questions from the students.

Here’s the first one:

“You adamantly oppose gay rights… but you’ve also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second. As a successful politician who’s considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?”

As Politico reports:

“Gingrich, speaking to about 800 at a speaker series event on the west Philadelphia campus, tried to cut off the question.

“I’ll bet almost everybody here can gather the thrust of your question,” he said. “I appreciate the delicacy and generosity in the way it was framed. … I hope you feel better about yourself.

“I’ve had a life which, on occasion, has had problems,” he added. “I …

Continue reading Gingrich gets blunt reminder of his past »

Indiana GOP appears ready to shove Dick Lugar overboard

“If Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

– John Danforth, former three-term Republican senator from Missouri and UN ambassador under President George W. Bush, in a November 2010 interview

“Today, with their permission, I present you with the names of the 77 percent of the Republican chairman of Indiana who are willing today to support me in this campaign. What’s important to note also, is that the remaining twenty-three percent are not telling me they’re committed to Mr. Lugar; they simply have a policy of not endorsing in a primary…. Honorable Chairmen, Republican leaders, Tea Party activists and friends, we must begin, because it IS OUR time, and so I’m proud to announce to you my candidacy for the United States Senate on behalf of …

Continue reading Indiana GOP appears ready to shove Dick Lugar overboard »

Anti-union push spreads to Indiana; so does Dem walkout

From The Indianapolis Star:

“House Democrats are leaving the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, The Indianapolis Star has learned.

A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

The House was ca(lled) into session this morning, with only two of the 40 Democrats present. Those two were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present….

Today’s fight was triggered by Republicans pushing a bill that would bar unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to kick-in fees for representation.”

The provision being …

Continue reading Anti-union push spreads to Indiana; so does Dem walkout »

A powerful new poll pulls back the curtain on fear, frustration

In a post last week about the future of the Democratic Party in the South, I warned that those Democrats who advocate giving up on the South in effect advocate giving up on white working-class voters, which would have implications well beyond Dixie.

A new poll on attitudes about the economy, published in The Washington Post, provides a lot more fodder for that discussion. It found that white Americans are considerably more pessimistic about the nation’s economic future, considerably more frustrated and, not surprisingly, considerably less supportive of Obama and the Democrats. Those attitudes were particularly prevalent among white Americans with less than a college education.

As the Post writers describe it:

A mere 10 percent of whites without college degrees say they are satisfied with the nation’s current economic situation. Most – 56 percent – say the country’s best days are in the past, and more, 61 percent, say it will be a long time before the economy begins to …

Continue reading A powerful new poll pulls back the curtain on fear, frustration »

The infidelity of states’ rights proponents

NOTE: This post includes material published in a post late last week. It is published here as the electronic version of today’s column in the AJC, to give AJC readers a chance to comment and share.

In Congress and at the state Legislature, states’ rights are all the rage. According to many conservatives, Congress can act only in those areas in which the Constitution explicitly empowers it to act. All other responsibility resides with the states.
column

In particular, conservatives claim that the commerce clause — which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states — has been distorted to apply to areas well beyond what the Founders intended, particularly in health care.

Georgia’s Republican congressmen have been among those leading that charge. Last year, U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price — both of whom are physicians — were co-sponsors of a resolution declaring that “the very future of freedom and limited government depends on a restoration of American …

Continue reading The infidelity of states’ rights proponents »

Libyan madman reportedly slaughtering his own people

For all the anger directed at Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, he isn’t Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

So far, at least 200 Libyan protesters have been killed by the Libyan military, and with the regime teetering, Gadhafi’s son, Saif, has warned in a TV appearance that “instead of crying over 200 deaths we will cry over 100,000s of deaths… We will flight to the last man and woman and bullet. We will not lose Libya. We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us. We will live in Libya and die in Libya.”

And Saif has the reputation of a moderate.

With no foreign press allowed in the nation, verifiable first-hand reports are impossible. But multiple witnesses report that the Libyan navy is lobbing shells at civilian areas and helicopter gunships are firing on crowds. Two Libyan fighter pilots have defected, landing their jets in Malta rather than take part in the slaughter. There are reports of foreign mercenaries being flown in to carry out violence against the Libyan people …

Continue reading Libyan madman reportedly slaughtering his own people »

In Wisconsin battle, it’s not about the budget

You still can’t find a single Democratic state senator in the entire state of Wisconsin. All 14 of them remain in self-imposed exile in Illinois, and as long as they stay there, they can continue to prevent passage of a highly controversial bill that would sharply reduce benefits for teachers and other government employees and, more importantly, gut public labor unions.

It’s that second aspect of the bill that has drawn national and even international attention. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

The bill would require most public workers to pay half their pension costs – typically 5.8% of pay for state workers – and in many cases at least 12% of their health care costs. Union leaders have said they are willing to accept those concessions, which total nearly $330 million through June 2013.

Under the bill, the unions could not bargain over anything but wages, would have to hold annual elections to keep their organizations intact and would lose the ability to have union …

Continue reading In Wisconsin battle, it’s not about the budget »

On tonight’s Travelin’ Music, Justin Bieber … NOT!

When I heard that some unknown jazz newcomer had beaten out the hyperpopular Justin Bieber as Best New Artist at the Grammys last weekend, I was intrigued.

When I learned that the artist in question, Esperanza Spalding, played a stand-up bass — my favorite jazz instrument — and also sang — I love female vocalists — well, it wasn’t hard to pick this week’s kickoff tune for Travelin’ Music.

Here is Miss Spalding performing in a recent tribute to Stevie Wonder at the White House. (I don’t believe I’ve ever featured Stevie, which is a terrible injustice to the man that I’ll have to correct soon.)

Continue reading On tonight’s Travelin’ Music, Justin Bieber … NOT! »

The hypocrisy of the Tenthers and states’ rights defenders

Conservative Republicans make a great show about states’ rights these days. It’s all the rage. The Tenth Amendment, they say, limits Congress to those areas in which the Constitution explicitly empowers it to act. All other responsibility resides with the states. They’re also not real happy with the way the commerce clause — in their eyes — has been stretched to apply to areas well beyond what the Founders intended, particularly health care.

Georgia’s Republican congressmen have been among those leading that charge. U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price — both of whom happen to be physicians — were co-sponsors last year of a resolution declaring that “the very future of freedom and limited government depends on a restoration of American federalism and a real decentralization of government power.”

In remarks on the House floor, Gingrey has protested bitterly against a “‘Washington-knows-best’ solution and a one-size-fits-all approach,” and both men supported a new House rule …

Continue reading The hypocrisy of the Tenthers and states’ rights defenders »