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Author Topic: Unions  (Read 25604 times)
G M
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« Reply #50 on: February 21, 2011, 12:06:28 PM »

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338

Kids at New York's Abraham Lincoln High School told me their teachers are so dull students fall asleep in class. One student said, "You see kids all the time walking in the school smoking weed, you know. It's a normal thing here."

We tried to bring "20/20" cameras into New York City schools to see for ourselves and show you what's going on in the schools, but officials wouldn't allow it.

Washington, D.C., officials steered us to the best classrooms in their district.

We wanted to tape typical classrooms but were turned down in state after state.
School work
(abc news)

Finally, school officials in Washington, D.C., allowed "20/20" to give cameras to a few students who were handpicked at two schools they'd handpicked. One was Woodrow Wilson High. Newsweek says it's one of the best schools in America. Yet what the students taped didn't inspire confidence.

One teacher didn't have control over the kids. Another "20/20" student cameraman videotaped a boy dancing wildly with his shirt off, in front of his teacher.

If you're like most American parents, you might think "These things don't happen at my kid's school." A Gallup Poll survey showed 76 percent of Americans were completely or somewhat satisfied with their kids' public school.

Education reformers like Kevin Chavous have a message for these parents: If you only knew.

Even though people in the suburbs might think their schools are great, Chavous says, "They're not. That's the thing and the test scores show that."

Chavous and many other education professionals say Americans don't know that their public schools, on the whole, just aren't that good. Because without competition, parents don't know what their kids might have had.

And while many people say, "We need to spend more money on our schools," there actually isn't a link between spending and student achievement.

Jay Greene, author of "Education Myths," points out that "If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved ... We've doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools aren't better."

He's absolutely right. National graduation rates and achievement scores are flat, while spending on education has increased more than 100 percent since 1971. More money hasn't helped American kids.

Ben Chavis is a former public school principal who now runs an alternative charter school in Oakland, Calif., that spends thousands of dollars less per student than the surrounding public schools. He laughs at the public schools' complaints about money.

"That is the biggest lie in America. They waste money," he said.

To save money, Chavis asks the students to do things like keep the grounds picked up and set up for their own lunch. For gym class, his students often just run laps around the block. All of this means there's more money left over for teaching.

Even though he spends less money per student than the public schools do, Chavis pays his teachers more than what public school teachers earn. His school also thrives because the principal gets involved. Chavis shows up at every classroom and uses gimmicks like small cash payments for perfect attendance.

Since he took over four years ago, his school has gone from being among the worst in Oakland to being the best. His middle school has the highest test scores in the city.

"It's not about the money," he said.

He's confident that even kids who come from broken families and poor families will do well in his school. "Give me the poor kids, and I will outperform the wealthy kids who live in the hills. And we do it," he said.

Monopoly Kills Innovation and Cheats Kids

Chavis's charter school is an example of how a little innovation can create a school that can change kids' lives. You don't get innovation without competition.

To give you an idea of how competitive American schools are and how U.S. students performed compared with their European counterparts, we gave parts of an international test to some high school students in Belgium and in New Jersey.

Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks, and called them "stupid."

We didn't pick smart kids to test in Europe and dumb kids in the United States. The American students attend an above-average school in New Jersey, and New Jersey's kids have test scores that are above average for America.

Lov Patel, the boy who got the highest score among the American students, told me, "I'm shocked, because it just shows how advanced they are compared to us."

The Belgian students didn't perform better because they're smarter than American students. They performed better because their schools are better. At age 10, American students take an international test and score well above the international average. But by age 15, when students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th.

American schools don't teach as well as schools in other countries because they are government monopolies, and monopolies don't have much incentive to compete. In Belgium, by contrast, the money is attached to the kids -- it's a kind of voucher system. Government funds education -- at many different kinds of schools -- but if a school can't attract students, it goes out of business.

Belgian school principal Kaat Vandensavel told us she works hard to impress parents.

She told us, "If we don't offer them what they want for their child, they won't come to our school." She constantly improves the teaching, saying, "You can't afford 10 teachers out of 160 that don't do their work, because the clients will know, and won't come to you again."

"That's normal in Western Europe," Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby told me. "If schools don't perform well, a parent would never be trapped in that school in the same way you could be trapped in the U.S."

Last week Florida's Supreme Court shut down "opportunity scholarships," Florida's small attempt at competition. Public money can't be spent on private schools, said the court, because the state constitution commands the funding only of "uniform . . . high-quality" schools. Government schools are neither uniform nor high-quality, and without competition, no new teaching plan or No Child Left Behind law will get the monopoly to serve its customers well.

The longer kids stay in American schools, the worse they do in international competition. They do worse than kids from poorer countries that spend much less money on education, ranking behind not only Belgium but also Poland, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

This should come as no surprise if you remember that public education in the United States is a government monopoly. Don't like your public school? Tough. The school is terrible? Tough. Your taxes fund that school regardless of whether it's good or bad. That's why government monopolies routinely fail their customers. Union-dominated monopolies are even worse.

In New York City, it's "just about impossible" to fire a bad teacher, says Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. The new union contract offers some relief, but it's still about 200 pages of bureaucracy. "We tolerate mediocrity," said Klein, because "people get paid the same, whether they're outstanding, average or way below average."

Here's just one example from New York City: It took years to fire a teacher who sent sexually oriented e-mails to "Cutie 101," a 16-year-old student. Klein said, "He hasn't taught, but we have had to pay him, because that's what's required under the contract."

Only after six years of litigation were they able to fire him. In the meantime, they paid the teacher more than $300,000. Klein said he employs dozens of teachers who he's afraid to let near the kids, so he has them sit in what are called rubber rooms. This year he will spend $20 million dollars to warehouse teachers in five rubber rooms. It's an alternative to firing them. In the last four years, only two teachers out of 80,000 were fired for incompetence. Klein's office says the new contract will make it easier to get rid of sex offenders, but it will still be difficult to fire incompetent teachers.

When I confronted Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, she said, "They [the NYC school board] just don't want to do the work that's entailed." But the "work that's entailed" is so onerous that most principals just have just given up, or gotten bad teachers to transfer to another school. They even have a name for it: "the dance of the lemons."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2011, 09:38:54 AM »

Famous people caught reading the forum: Something I have been trying to say for a long ime picked up by Joe Klen, Time magazine!

"DougMacG   Re: Unions   June 11, 2010
There was a time I suppose when organizing workers made sense because the greedy capitalist had too much power as perhaps the only employer within commuting distance of a town and whatever paltry sum they paid is what you had to accept or not work.  For one thing, that is NEVER the case with a public employees union.  There is no greedy capitalist involved - just the will of the people / consent of the governed."
---------------
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2011/02/20/in_wisconsin_protesting_the_greed_of_the_public_250813.html
February 20, 2011   Joe Klein  TIME.com
In Wisconsin, Protesting the Greed... of the Public?
"...far too many state legislatures, of both parties, that have been cowed by the political power of the unions and enacted contracts that force state and city governments to be run for the benefit of their employees, rather than for their citizens. This situation is most egregious in far too many school districts across the nation. The events in Wisconsin are a rebalancing of power that, after decades of flush times and lax negotiating, had become imbalanced. That is also something that, from time to time, happens in a democracy."
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ccp
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« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2011, 10:36:27 AM »

Wow, Fareed Zakaria let this through (editor of Time)!

It is really an outrage how the Dems are out in force demogagueing this.  We should be grateful to them for weekends, the 8 hour day. rolleyes
Collective bargaining is a *right* akin to voters rights, the right to liberty, the right to property etc etc. rolleyes

This turns back 50, 60, 80 years of "progress". rolleyes

The average Joe has the right to tell their prosepctive employer what their salary should be and not told what their pay should be. rolleyes

All people who own property or pay state income/sales or other taxes should be the ones outraged.   angry
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: February 24, 2011, 11:47:00 AM »

The Real Story in Wisconsin
 Our nation is in the stranglehold of Progressive Democrat dominated unions that are producing a crisis dropout rate across the country.  The Wisconsin government is saying that the Public Teachers Union is making more than double on average than the average voter that they are taking money from (1).  The current bill allows them to keep their collective bargaining for salary but have to give it up for benefits, and yes contribute a small sum toward their healthcare and retirement like the rest of America.  The Progressives are screaming, calling people Hitler, jumping up and down, for a very small reasonable cut to their bargaining power and salary.  Tea Party people finally got upset about Obama taking over one seventh of the economy in Obamacare and spending $3 Trillion of their grandchildren's money, by giving it to unions and special interests.

The Even Bigger Story
The bigger story is the public connection from the Democrat dominated teachers unions to the democrat President of the United States.  So the even bigger story is that Progressive Democrat Obama and Democrat Pelosi took the time to make a public press release showing their support for the Teachers Unions in Wisconsin.  What is significant is that they took their valuable time to support a single State single Democrat dominated Teachers Union, with the Middle East on fire, Iranians sending ships through the Suez Canal for the first time since the Islamic revolution in 1979, China building a military that might challenge ours, the counter-demonstrations to the Sharia led government in Iran, or the 100s of thousands of people that have been murdered in the Sudan by Muslims.  They have not made a press release in announcing that the progressive Obama government  is embarking on the largest sale of arms to the Middle East of any of our past administrations (Fortune Magazine Cover Story 2/28/11).   Yet the two most powerful Democrats have time to talk about a local State issue where Teachers get paid almost twice as much as the private sector and produce underperforming students.     

The bottom line is that Progressive Democrats have dominated the Teacher's Unions across this country, and the Union donations to public officials for over 40 years.  They give hundreds of millions to choose their boss (elected officials) and their boss pays them back with salary and pension increases.  Cozy!  The result is a curriculum that leans overwhelmingly progressive and amounts to indoctrination, and you wonder why your kids come out of public school with some of the attitudes they do.  It is a broken system without competition that has degraded in quality to the point of a crisis.  In Los Angeles county the dropout rate is over 34% and is about 1 in 3 or 4 nation wide (32% drop out rate)(2).  About one-fifth of the nongraduates hail from 25 large school districts, including New York City; Los Angeles; and Clark County, Nev. (3)

So Wisconsin is really about the future education of your children and grand children in every state and who is going to be teaching them for a majority of their life.  And it is about the future freedom of all of our lives by ending the unholy alliance of big unions and big government. 

(1) The average salary for an MPS teacher is $56,500. When fringe benefits are factored in, the annual compensation will be $100,005 in 2011.  http://maciverinstitute.com/2010/03/average-mps-teacher-compensation-tops-100kyear/

(2) http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/high-school-dropout-rate-climbs-to-349.html

(3) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0610/Graduation-rate-for-US-high-schoolers-falls-for-second-straight-year

You have a few more days to purchase your Early Bird Tickets, don't delay.  Also some of you asked how you can support this event.  You can buy our Patriot Partner Ticket; these tickets are what help us break even.  You can also bring a couple of friends and neighbors, better yet buy them a ticket, pick them up and get them to the event.  You can forward this invitation to as many people as you know, with a personal recommendation.  Buy your tickets here - www.CelebrateFreedomAmerica.com

For Freedom, Gary Aven
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JDN
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« Reply #54 on: February 24, 2011, 12:17:34 PM »

I and many Americans watch the WI debate unfold. Again
I think I and most(?) Americans think changes need to be made;
accountability and excess benefits among others.

But I and maybe many Americans think a deal is a deal. The
teachers bargained in good faith; they have a contract and the
State signed and agreed.

Why legislate changes if you don't like the contract. Why not
at the next barginning session, at contract renewal demand
and negotiate changes?  Wouldn't all of us on this forum demand
the same if we had a written contract?
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G M
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« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2011, 01:39:23 PM »

If there is no money, then there is no money.
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ccp
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« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2011, 02:16:11 PM »

"The
teachers bargained in good faith; they have a contract and the
State signed and agreed."

Well, a little more accurately, the Democratic party machine signed and agreed.
Taxpayers had no clue.
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JDN
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« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2011, 04:14:19 PM »

If there is no money, then there is no money.

It that was only true!

My point about contracts.  Take LA; obviously we have fiscal problems.  So does CA.  No money....

So you are saying that the LAPD should be willing to re negotiate their absurdly rich retirement plan mid year?
I doubt if the local police officers would share your sense of fairness...

Contracts should be honored; and then at renewal re negotiated. 
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G M
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« Reply #58 on: February 24, 2011, 04:18:08 PM »

Yes. Just as private sector employees have had to tighten their belts, so should public employees.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2011, 05:45:58 PM »

The analogy I think is this:  As in bankruptcy reorganization, when a company is going bankrupt, the federal bankruptcy judge can come in an re-jigger the contractual rights of bondholders and other creditors, employees, and stockholders so that the company can survive.  if possible this is of greater value to all concerned than having to liquidate the company and sell its assets off, typically for pennies on the dollar.

By the way, Obama showed great disrespect for the sanctity of law by fg the secured creditors of GM and putting the unions ahead of them -- contrary to law.  I haven't the time or the inclination to spell all this out, but I make the claim simply, clearly, and with confidence.  Anyone interested should go look it up for themselves.

Also, worth keeping in mind is the American Contract Law includes some very flexible concepts that certainly surprised me when I started law school and I think might surprise some of us here.  It places a very high value on economic efficiency and allows for people to break contracts far more than you might think.
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ccp
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« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2011, 07:31:38 PM »

MSNBC announcers with great glee yesterday citing polls that people of Wisconsin are "breaking" with Governor Walker.  I am a bit surprised (and disappointed) that most people appear to think collective bargaining for government employees is OK.  I don't get it.  They like paying for the largess.  Without limiting this won't taxpayers always have to be at risk of being held up for more money?

****« REVOLT!: STATES LEAD THE WAYTHE DICK MORRIS POLL ON WISCONSIN
By Dick Morris02.24.2011
ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE DICK MORRIS POLL and FIRST STATEWIDE POLL RESULTS OF WISCONSIN VOTERS

February 24, 2011

Dick Morris, a veteran pollster with thirty years of experience in national and international polling, is announcing the launch of The Dick Morris Poll, which will focus on timely political issues and candidates. Drawing on his polling expertise, Dick will provide the results and an analysis of each poll.

Dick Morris was President Clinton’s pollster for 20 years, and has done polling for 30 Senators and Governors and 14 presidents or prime ministers in foreign countries.

The Dick Morris Poll, to be published at least once a month, will use the traditional polling method of telephone calls to registered voters. On occasion, internet polls will be done of a carefully drawn random sample of likely voters – in order to avoid the bias of relying only on those participants with a political predisposition.

The initial poll is the first published poll of voters conducted within the state of Wisconsin and was completed on Monday, February 21, 2011 and Tuesday, February 22, 2011.

WISCONSIN POLL RESULTS

The Dick Morris Poll conducted a telephone survey among 409 likely Wisconsin voters. The survey has a margin of error of +- 4%.

Findings: Wisconsin voters break almost evenly on Governor Walker’s proposed reforms, supporting them by a margin of 51-47.

They support many aspects of the proposal by significant numbers:

VOTERS SUPPORT CHANGING THE BENEFITS TO STATE WORKERS, PAY, AND AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF UNION DUES

• By 74-18, they back making state employees pay more for their health insurance.
• By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions.
• By 54-34, Wisconsin voters support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member.
• By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.

VOTERS OPPOSE CHANGING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

ANALYSIS: Voters back the principal of collective bargaining. But they are also willing to limit these negotiations so that they would not impede education reforms.

For Governor Walker to prevail, he must focus on his goal of achieving reform in schools. He will not prevail as long as his proposal is essentially negative in nature (i.e. limiting collective bargaining). But if he emphasizes the positive intent that lies behind the proposal (i.e. giving schools the flexibility and freedom to implement education reforms), he will find a solid public majority behind him.

(c) COPYRIGHT 2011, DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN. REPRINTS WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION ONLY.****
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #61 on: February 25, 2011, 03:53:53 PM »

ROBERT M. COSTRELL
The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year:

•Social Security and Medicare. The employer cost is 7.65% of wages, the same as in the private sector.

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Associated Press
 
Teachers protest in at the State Capitol in Madison.
.Slideshow: Teachers Revolt
Public employee protests spread across the Midwest.
.•State Pension. Teachers belong to the Wisconsin state pension plan. That plan requires a 6.8% employer contribution and 6.2% from the employee. However, according to the collective-bargaining agreement in place since 1996, the district pays the employees' share as well, for a total of 13%.

•Teachers' Supplemental Pension. In addition to the state pension, Milwaukee public-school teachers receive an additional pension under a 1982 collective-bargaining agreement. The district contributes an additional 4.2% of teacher salaries to cover this second pension. Teachers contribute nothing.

•Classified Pension. Most other school employees belong to the city's pension system instead of the state plan. The city plan is less expensive but here, too, according to the collective-bargaining agreement, the district pays the employees' 5.5% share.

Overall, for teachers and other employees, the district's contributions for pensions and Social Security total 22.6 cents for each dollar of salary. The corresponding figure for private industry is 13.4 cents. The divergence is greater yet for health insurance:

•Health care for current employees. Under the current collective- bargaining agreements, the school district pays the entire premium for medical and vision benefits, and over half the cost of dental coverage. These plans are extremely expensive.

This is partly because of Wisconsin's unique arrangement under which the teachers union is the sponsor of the group health-insurance plans. Not surprisingly, benefits are generous. The district's contributions for health insurance of active employees total 38.8% of wages. For private-sector workers nationwide, the average is 10.7%.

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Associated Press
 
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
.•Health insurance for retirees. This benefit is rarely offered any more in private companies, and it can be quite costly. This is especially the case for teachers in many states, because the eligibility rules of their pension plans often induce them to retire in their 50s, and Medicare does not kick in until age 65. Milwaukee's plan covers the entire premium in effect at retirement, and retirees cover only the growth in premiums after they retire.

As is commonly the case, the school district's retiree health plan has not been prefunded. It has been pay-as-you-go. This has been a disaster waiting to happen, as retirees grow in number and live longer, and active employment shrinks in districts such as Milwaukee.

For fiscal year 2011, retiree enrollment in the district health plan is 36.4% of the total. In addition to the costs of these retirees' benefits, Milwaukee is, to its credit, belatedly starting to prefund the benefits of future school retirees. In all, retiree health-insurance contributions are estimated at 12.1% of salaries (of which 1.5% is prefunded).

Overall, the school district's contributions to health insurance for employees and retirees total about 50.9 cents on top of every dollar paid in wages. Together with pension and Social Security contributions, plus a few small items, one can see how the total cost of fringe benefits reaches 74.2%.

What these numbers ultimately prove is the excessive power of collective bargaining. The teachers' main pension plan is set by the state legislature, but under the pressure of local bargaining, the employees' contribution is often pushed onto the taxpayers. In addition, collective bargaining led the Milwaukee public school district to add a supplemental pension plan—again with no employee contribution. Finally, the employees' contribution (or lack thereof) to the cost of health insurance is also collectively bargained.

As the costs of pensions and insurance escalate, the governor's proposal to restrict collective bargaining to salaries—not benefits—seems entirely reasonable.

Mr. Costrell is professor of education reform and economics at the University of Arkansas.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #62 on: February 28, 2011, 12:19:20 PM »

By ROBERT BARRO
How ironic that Wisconsin has become ground zero for the battle between taxpayers and public- employee labor unions. Wisconsin was the first state to allow collective bargaining for government workers (in 1959), following a tradition where it was the first to introduce a personal income tax (in 1911, before the introduction of the current form of individual income tax in 1913 by the federal government).

Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty.

In fact, labor unions were subject to U.S. antitrust laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was first applied in 1894 to the American Railway Union. However, organized labor managed to obtain exemption from federal antitrust laws in subsequent legislation, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Remarkably, labor unions are not only immune from antitrust laws but can also negotiate a "union shop," which requires nonunion employees to join the union or pay nearly equivalent dues. Somehow, despite many attempts, organized labor has lacked the political power to repeal the key portion of the 1947 Taft Hartley Act that allowed states to pass right-to-work laws, which now prohibit the union shop in 22 states. From the standpoint of civil liberties, the individual right to work—without being forced to join a union or pay dues—has a much better claim than collective bargaining. (Not to mention that "right to work" has a much more pleasant, liberal sound than "collective bargaining.") The push for right-to-work laws, which haven't been enacted anywhere but Oklahoma over the last 20 years, seems about to take off.

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Associated Press
 .The current pushback against labor-union power stems from the collision between overly generous benefits for public employees— notably for pensions and health care—and the fiscal crises of state and local governments. Teachers and other public-employee unions went too far in convincing weak or complicit state and local governments to agree to obligations, particularly defined-benefit pension plans, that created excessive burdens on taxpayers.

In recognition of this fiscal reality, even the unions and their Democratic allies in Wisconsin have agreed to Gov. Scott Walker's proposed cutbacks of benefits, as long as he drops the restrictions on collective bargaining. The problem is that this "compromise" leaves intact the structure of strong public-employee unions that helped to create the unsustainable fiscal situation; after all, the next governor may have less fiscal discipline. A long-run solution requires a change in structure, for example, by restricting collective bargaining for public employees and, to go further, by introducing a right-to-work law.

There is evidence that right-to-work laws—or, more broadly, the pro-business policies offered by right-to-work states—matter for economic growth. In research published in 2000, economist Thomas Holmes of the University of Minnesota compared counties close to the border between states with and without right-to-work laws (thereby holding constant an array of factors related to geography and climate). He found that the cumulative growth of employment in manufacturing (the traditional area of union strength prior to the rise of public-employee unions) in the right-to-work states was 26 percentage points greater than that in the non-right-to-work states.


Beyond Wisconsin, a key issue is which states are likely to be the next political battlegrounds on labor issues. In fact, one can interpret the extreme reactions by union demonstrators and absent Democratic legislators in Wisconsin not so much as attempts to influence that state—which may be a lost cause—but rather to deter politicians in other states from taking similar actions. This strategy may be working in Michigan, where Gov. Rick Snyder recently asserted that he would not "pick fights" with labor unions.

In general, the most likely arenas are states in which the governor and both houses of the state legislature are Republican (often because of the 2010 elections), and in which substantial rights for collective bargaining by public employees currently exist. This group includes Indiana, which has recently been as active as Wisconsin on labor issues; ironically, Indiana enacted a right-to-work law in 1957 but repealed it in 1965. Otherwise, my tentative list includes Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida, Tennessee, Nebraska (with a nominally nonpartisan legislature), Kansas, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The national fiscal crisis and recession that began in 2008 had many ill effects, including the ongoing crises of pension and health-care obligations in many states. But at least one positive consequence is that the required return to fiscal discipline has caused reexamination of the growth in economic and political power of public-employee unions. Hopefully, embattled politicians like Gov. Walker in Wisconsin will maintain their resolve and achieve a more sensible long-term structure for the taxpayers in their states.

Mr. Barro is a professor of economics at Harvard and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution
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ccp
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« Reply #63 on: March 02, 2011, 12:15:48 PM »

On O'Reilly yesterday  Stossel went out onto the streets of NYC and asked pedestians what they thought of what is going on in Wisconsin.  He estimated roughly half the people had no clue about it.  Yet when we hear polls telling us a majority are for the collective bargaining "rights" it is clear most people don't really understand all the implications.  I doubt very much most people would support government union collective bargaining if they understood how it really affects them or this country as a whole and how corrupt it really is. 

O'Reilly has really changed his strategy in his overall presentation.  It is obvious he has plays his guests as straw men while he pretends to be the reasonable middle of the road one.  By doing so he can attract Bamster and others to appear on his show and boost his own ratings.

I think many viewers have caught on to his ruse.  But that is another story.

****John Stossel takes to the streets
 
Fox Business anchor John Stossel set out to determine how much ordinary citizens know about the political battle in Wisconsin. "I would say half the people were clueless," Stossel reported, "but it's not that complicated - all you have to do is watch a few news shows and read a bit." Given the public's lack of knowledge, Stossel took issue with how recent polls are worded. "The polls game the language, and even you use the term 'collective bargaining rights. Who's to say it's a right? Let's call it collective bargaining power." The Factor contended that most Americans inherently sympathize with unionized workers: "There is a lot of suspicion that government is corrupt, Wall Street fat cats are corrupt, but workers just want enough to feed their families and send their kids to college."**** 
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ccp
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« Reply #64 on: March 02, 2011, 12:39:00 PM »

Rachel fled the board so I will post a Buchanan piece.  I admit he probably is a bit of an anti-semite but his articles are far more in the real world than her philisophical postings which are nice for college students to fantasize about but have no place in the real world IMO:

****CommentsWhy Scott Walker Must Win
by Patrick J. Buchanan

03/01/2011

The anti-democratic methods President Obama's union allies are using in Wisconsin testify to the crucial character of the battle being fought.
   
Teachers have walked off in wildcat strikes, taking pupils with them. Doctors have issued lying affidavits saying the teachers were sick, a good example of ethical conduct for the school kids.
   
Thousands of demonstrators have daily invaded the Capitol, chanting, hooting, banging drums. Hundreds have camped out there and refused to leave so the Capitol building can be cleaned.


   
Is this democracy in action? Is this what 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green went out to see that Saturday morning in Tucson?
   
Picketers have carried placards with the face of Gov. Scott Walker in the cross hairs of a gun sight. He has been compared to Hitler, Mussolini, Mubarak. Democrats have fled the state to deny the elected Wisconsin Senate a quorum to vote.
   
Such tactics cannot be allowed to triumph in a republic.
   
Why is the left behaving with desperation? Because it senses what this battle is all about. Not just about pay, but about power.
   
The Republicans are not only resolved to guarantee government workers pay a fair share of the cost of their pensions and health care. They are in a purposeful drive to disarm and demobilize the tax-subsidized armies of the Democratic Party and end sweetheart deals between unions and the poodle politicians they put into office.
   
"Walker wants to end collective bargaining," is the wail.
   
Actually, what the governor wants to end is the scandalous practice of powerful unions raising millions and running phone banks and get-out-the-vote operations for politicians who thank them with wages, benefits and job security no private employer can match.
   
Since the 1960s, government unions have been able to sit behind closed doors with the politicians they put in office and write contracts, the cost of which is borne by taxpayers who have no one at the table.
   
They call this collective bargaining. A more accurate term is collusive bargaining. And Walker means put an end to the racket.
   
When Ford sits down with the UAW, Ford negotiators represent the executives, directors and shareholders. Should they give away the store and Ford have to raise prices, and be undercut by Honda, all Ford workers, shareholders and executives suffer.
   
This is a healthy adversary procedure where Ford and the UAW each represents the interests of those who sent them, and both share a stake in keeping Ford prosperous.
   
When government unions sit down with the politicians they put into office, the relationship is not adversarial. It is not healthy. It is incestuous. And taxpayers must pay the cost of their cohabitation.
   
Gov. Walker also seeks to end the practice of having the state government collect union dues from state workers.
   
Indeed, why should a Republican administration collect dues for the benefit of union bosses who constantly labor to see to it those Republicans are not re-elected? Let the unions collect their own dues.
   
Walker would also require public service employee unions to hold annual elections by secret ballot to determine if state workers want the union to represent them, or if they would prefer to have their deducted union dues put back in their paychecks.
   
Legislators submit to voters every two years.
   
Why ought not unions to do the same?
   
In Wisconsin, the die is cast and Walker cannot yield.
   
For if he yields, the state and its 3,000 cities, counties, towns and school districts will be forever at the mercy of these unions.
   
If he yields, it will be a triumph for the tactics of intimidation, wildcat strikes and mass demonstrations to block legislative action.
   
The senators who fled will come home heroes, and Walker will have broken the hearts of the people who put their faith in him.
   
If Walker yields, governors and legislators across America will read the tea leaves and back away from taking on government unions. That means higher and higher taxes, as in Illinois, and eventual sinking of the states into unpayable debt and default.
   
The correlation of forces is in Walker's favor. Time is on his side. When you are holding a winning hand, you do not offer to split the pot.
   
After his opponents invaded the Capitol, called him Hitler, fled the state, and tried to shout down and shut down the legislature with raucous demonstrations, what other cards do they have left to play?
   
Walker has recalled Ronald Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers as an example of how a strong leader must stand up even to a popular union when it is wrong.
   
There is an earlier example. When the Boston police went on strike and criminals ran amuck, and Sam Gompers came to the defense of the cops, Gov. Calvin Coolidge sent a telegram to that founding father of the American labor movement, "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time."
   
Scott Walker cannot lose this fight, because his country cannot afford to have him lose it.****

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G M
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« Reply #65 on: March 03, 2011, 11:22:16 AM »

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/longhorns-17-badgers-1.html

Longhorns 17, Badgers 1

Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.

Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times' staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:

And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-'n'-paste lefty factoid du jour:

    Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:

    South Carolina – 50th
    North Carolina – 49th
    Georgia – 48th
    Texas – 47th
    Virginia – 44th

    If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.

The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn't complete bullshit.

As a son of Iowa, I'm no stranger to bragging about my home state's ranking on various standardized test. Like Wisconsin we Iowans usually rank near the top of the heap on average ACT/SAT scores. We are usually joined there by Minnesota, Nebraska, and the various Dakotas; Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire...

... beginning to see a pattern? Perhaps because a state's "average ACT/SAT" is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion's share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students - regardless of state residence - tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.

Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it's mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic).

So how to compare educational achievement between two states with such dissimilar populations? In data analysis this is usually done by treating ethnicity as a "covariate." A very simple way to do this is by comparing educational achievement between states within the same ethnic group. In other words, do black students perform better in Wisconsin than Texas? Do Hispanic students perform better in Wisconsin or Texas? White students? If Wisconsin's kids consistently beat their Texas counterparts, after controlling for ethnicity, then there's a strong case that maybe Texas schools ought to become a union shop.

Luckily, there is data to answer this question via the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is an annual standardized test given to 4th and 8th graders around the country to measure proficiency in math, science, and reading. Participation is fairly universal; if you've had a 4th or 8th grader in the last few years, you're probably familiar with it. Results are compiled on the NAEP website, broken down by grade, state, subject and ethnicity.

So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?

2009 4th Grade Math

White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

2009 8th Grade Math

White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

2009 4th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

2009 8th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

2009 4th Grade Science

White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

2009 8th Grade Science

White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)

To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin. In 18 separate ethnicity-controlled comparisons, the only one where Wisconsin students performed better than their peers in Texas was 4th grade science for Hispanic students (statistically insignificant), and this was reversed by 8th grade. Further, Texas students exceeded the national average for their ethnic cohort in all 18 comparisons; Wisconsinites were below the national average in 8, above average in 8.

Perhaps the most striking thing in these numbers is the within-state gap between white and minority students. Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin. In other words, students are better off in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools - especially minority students.

Conclusion: instead of chanting slogans in Madison, maybe it's time for Wisconsin teachers to take refresher lessons from their non-union counterparts in the Lone Star State.

****
Update: a few emails complaining that I focused on NAEP 4th and 8th graders, and didn't address Krugman's "point" about Texas dropout rates. I would note that "average state dropout rate" (non-controlled for ethnicity) is as uninformative as "average state ACT/SAT." Some research suggests Hispanic students, for example, tend to have higher dropout rates than black students despite performing marginally better on standardized tests. But still, the level of Texas dropout rate claimed by Krugman (38%+) is rather disturbing, and it does seem rather odd that somewhere between 8th and 12th grade Texas students are attacked by an epidemic of stupidity.

So I decided to investigate.

Mr. Krugman (please note - I don't call anyone "Doctor" unless they can write me a prescription for drugs) doesn't mention where he gets his dropout statistic from. I suspect a database somewhere in his lower intestine. So I endeavored to find most detailed / recent / comprehensive state-by-state dropout table, which appears to be this 2006-7 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Event Dropout Rates for 9th-12th graders during 2006-7 school year:

White students: Texas 1.9%, Wisconsin 1.2% (national average 3.0%)
Black students: Texas 5.8%, Wisconsin 7.8% (national 6.8%)
Hispanic students: Texas 5.6%, Wisconsin 5.2% (national 6.5%)

White and Hispanic Texas students indeed seem to dropout at a higher rate than their counterparts in Wisconsin, although in both cases (a) the difference is not statistically significant; and (b) in both cases, both states are significantly below the national average. Among black high school students, Texans have significantly lower dropout rates than their national cohort and Wisconsinites. Black high school students in Wisconsin have significantly higher dropout rates than national.

Your first question is probably, "why do the union teachers in Wisconsin hate black students?" Sorry, can't help you there, I'm stumped too.

Your second question is probably, "why are these number so discrepant with the 30% dropout numbers I've always read?" The reason is these are event rates, representing the probability a kid will drop out in a specific year. For cumulative dropout rate, you would have to compound; for example if the 1-year dropout rate is 10% the 4 year survival would roughly be 0.9^4 =~ 65%.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #66 on: March 03, 2011, 11:11:08 PM »

GM's Iowahawk post is spot-on.  My daughter's huge, lilly-white, suburban public high school has a graduation rate of 99% and an on-to-college rate of 93%.  That tells you who lives in the district, not how good the teaching is.  You correctly measure schools and teaching by distance traveled.  How far did you take each kid in the last year, not how smart was that kid before he walked into the classroom.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #67 on: March 04, 2011, 12:12:48 AM »

I too found it a useful analysis for cutting through progressive FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2011, 10:42:48 AM »

When you step back and try to get a sense of the larger picture in the battle between the states and their public employee unions, two elements emerge. One seems small but could prove decisive, and the other is big and, if I'm seeing it right, carries significant implications.

The seemingly small thing is that the battles in the states, while summoning emotions from all sides, are not at their heart emotional. Yes, a lot of people are waving placards, but it's also true that suddenly everyone's talking about numbers; the numbers are being reported in the press and dissected on talk radio. This state has a $5 billion deficit; that state has projected deficits in the tens of millions. One estimate of New Jersey's bill for health and pension benefits for state workers over the next 30 years is an astounding $100 billion—money the state literally does not have and cannot get. The very force of the math has the heartening effect of squeezing ideology right out of the story. It doesn't matter if you're a liberal or a conservative, it's all about the numbers, and numbers are sobering things.

The rise of arithmetic as a player in the drama is politically promising because when people argue over data and hard facts, and not over ideological loyalties and impulses, progress is more possible. Governors can take their stand, their opponents can take theirs, and if they happen to argue the budget problem doesn't really exist, they'll have to prove it. With numbers.

The big thing that is new has to do with the atmospherics of the drama.

 Asst. Editorial Features Editor David Feith on teachers union priorities
.Let's look for a second at one of the most famous battles, in New Jersey. A year ago Chris Christie was sworn in as the new governor. He immediately faced a $10.7 billion deficit and catastrophic debt projections. State and local taxes were already high, so that if he raised them he'd send people racing out of the state. So Mr. Christie came up with a plan. He asked the state's powerful teachers union for two things: a one-year pay freeze—not a cut—and a modest 1.5% contribution to their benefit packages.

The teachers union went to war. They said, "Christie is trying to kill the unions," so they tried to kill him politically. They spent millions on ads trying to take him down.

And it backfired. They didn't kill him, they made him. Chris Christie is a national figure now because the teachers union decided, in an epic political drama in which arithmetic is the predominant fact, to ignore the math. They also decided to play the wrong role in the drama. They decided to play the role of Johnny Friendly, on whom more in a moment.

If the union leaders had been smart—if they'd had a heart!—they would have held a private meeting and said, "Look, the party's over. We've done great the past 20 years, but now taxpayers are starting to resent us, and they have reason. They're losing their benefits and footing the bill for our gold-plated plans, they don't have job security and we do, taxes are high. We have to back off."

They didn't do this. It was a big mistake. And the teachers union made it just as two terrible but unrelated things were happening to their reputation. In what might be called an expression of the new spirit of transparency that is sweeping the globe, two documentaries came out in 2010, "The Lottery" and "Waiting for Superman." Both were made by and featured people who are largely liberal in their sympathies, and both said the same brave thing: The single biggest impediment to better schools in our country is the teachers unions, which look to their own interests and not those of the kids.

In both films, as in real life, the problem is the unions themselves, not individual teachers. They present teachers who are heroic, who are creative and idealistic. But they too, in the films, are victims of union rules.

View Full Image

Getty Images
 
Marlon Brando in a scene from 'On The Waterfront' with Lee J Cobb.
.That's the unions' problem in terms of atmospherics. They are starting to destroy their own reputation. They are robbing themselves of their mystique. They still exist, and they're big and rich—a force—but they are abandoning the very positive place they've held in the American imagination. Polls are all over the place on union support, but I'm speaking of the kind of thing that is hard to quantify and that has to do with words like "luster" and "tradition."

Unions have been respected in America forever, and public employee unions have reaped that respect. There are two great reasons for this. One is that unions always stood for the little guy. The other is that Americans like balance. We have management over here and the union over here, they'll talk and find balance, it'll turn out fine.

But with the public employee unions, the balance has been off for decades. And when they lost their balance they fell off their pedestal.

When union leaders negotiate with a politician, they're negotiating with someone they can hire and fire. Public unions have numbers and money, and politicians need both. And politicians fear strikes because the public hates them. When governors negotiate with unions, it's not collective bargaining, it's more like collusion. Someone said last week the taxpayers aren't at the table. The taxpayers aren't even in the room.

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns

click here to order her new book, Patriotic Grace
.As for unions looking out for the little guy, that's not how it's looking right now. Right now the little guy is the public school pupil whose daily rounds take him from a neglectful family to an indifferent teacher who can't be removed. The little guy is the beleaguered administrator whose attempts at improvement are thwarted by unions. The little guy is the private-sector worker who doesn't have a good health-care plan, who barely has a pension, who lacks job security, and who is paying everyone else's bills.

This is a major perceptual change. In my lifetime, people have felt so supportive of unions. That great scene in the 1979 film "Norma Rae," in which the North Carolina cotton mill worker played by Sally Field holds up the sign that says UNION—people were moved by that scene because they believed in its underlying justice. When I was a child, kids bragged if their father had a union job because it meant he was part of something, someone was looking out for him, he was a citizen.

There were hiccups—the labor racketeering scandals of the 1950s, Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters. But they served as a corrective to romanticism. Men in groups will be men in groups, whether they run a government or a union. Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan captured this in their 1954 masterpiece, "On the Waterfront," in which Terry Malloy, played by Marlon Brando, stands up to the selfish, bullying union chief Johnny Friendly. Brando's character testifies to the Waterfront Commission and then defiantly stands down Johnny and his goons. "I'm glad what I done today. . . . You hear me? Glad what I done."

We're at quite a moment when public employee unions remind you of Johnny Friendly. They're so powerful, such a base of the Democratic Party, and they must think nothing can hurt them. But they can hurt themselves. And they are. Are they noticing?

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G M
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« Reply #69 on: March 04, 2011, 01:12:23 PM »

"Are they noticing?"

No.
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ccp
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« Reply #70 on: March 04, 2011, 01:21:59 PM »

"In both films, as in real life, the problem is the unions themselves, not individual teachers. They present teachers who are heroic, who are creative and idealistic. But they too, in the films, are victims of union rules."

Bullshit.  The problem is as it always is - greed.  Almost all teachers in NJ ***love*** the unions.   It is not just the unions it is the idea that union members want to get as much out of the system for as long as they can.  This is human nature.

In my opinion this new strategy of Republicans saying its the unions and not the union members - sorry - that is total crap.  It is the culture of both at least here in NJ.

The vast majority of teachers in NJ are Democrats, feel the rich should pay up, and Christie is the devil incarnate.  They feel entitled and have been getting pay raises, good insurance and pension benefits for decades.  Compared to the 70's I believe they are better off.

I want them to do well.  But the money is not there and I refuse to pay more.  Enough is enough.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #71 on: March 06, 2011, 09:16:05 AM »

The editorial board of the NY Times (Pravda on the Hudson) struggles mightily  cheesy
===============

At a time when public school students are being forced into ever more crowded classrooms, and poor families will lose state medical benefits, New York State is paying 10 times more for state employees’ pensions than it did just a decade ago.

That huge increase is largely because of Albany’s outsized generosity to the state’s powerful employees’ unions in the early years of the last decade, made worse when the recession pushed down pension fund earnings, forcing the state to make up the difference.
Although taxpayers are on the hook for the recession’s costs, most state employees pay only 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions, half the level of most state employees elsewhere. Their health insurance payments are about half those in the private sector.

In all, the salaries and benefits of state employees add up to $18.5 billion, or a fifth of New York’s operating budget. Unless those costs are reined in, New York will find itself unable to provide even essential services.

To point out these alarming facts is not to be anti- union, or anti-worker. In recent weeks, Republican politicians in the Midwest have distorted what should be a serious discussion about state employees’ benefits, cynically using it as a pretext to crush unions.

New York does not need that sort of destructive game playing. What it needs is a sober examination of the high costs of wages and benefits, and some serious proposals to rein them in while remaining fair to hard-working government employees.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pursued a reasonable course, making it clear that he expects public unions to make sacrifices, starting with a salary freeze. He wants to require greater employee contributions to pensions and health benefits, with a goal of saving $450 million.

Negotiations begin this month, but so far union leaders have publicly resisted Mr. Cuomo’s proposals. If they don’t budge, Mr. Cuomo says he will have to lay off up to 9,800 workers. That would damage the state’s struggling economy. Some compromise must be found.

Here are the three most expensive areas of spending that need to be addressed:

WAGES Last April, in the midst of one of the worst financial crises that New York and the nation have ever faced, the state’s unionized workers got a 4 percent pay raise that cost $400 million. It came on top of 3 percent raises in each of the previous three years. These raises were negotiated long before the recession began, by a Legislature that routinely gave in to unions that remain among the biggest political contributors in Albany.

During the same period, many private-sector workers had their pay or hours cut. Private-sector wages in New York dropped nearly 9 percent in 2008. In 2009, Gov. David Paterson pleaded with the unions to give up the raises to help the state out of its crisis. Union leaders attacked him in corrosive television ads, and Mr. Paterson eventually caved, settling for an agreement that reduced pension payments to new employees. The deal wasn’t enough to address New York’s serious fiscal problems.

The average salary for New York’s full-time state employees in 2009 (even before the last round of raises) was $63,382, well above the state’s average personal income that year of $46,957. Mr. Cuomo’s proposed salary freeze for many of the state’s 236,000 employees is an important step to rein in New York’s out-of-control payroll. It could save between $200 million and $400 million.

He may need to go further. Even after the current labor contract runs out on April 1, more than 50,000 workers are in line for step increases and longevity pay negotiated in that contract, which will cost about $140 million. A clause in the state labor law known as the Triborough Amendment allows contract provisions for all workers to proceed until a new contract is reached.

This clause, unique to New York, was a well-meaning attempt to give some balance to state unions, which by law are not allowed to strike and had no leverage to draw management to the table in flush years. The problem with the Triborough Amendment is that it gives the unions far less incentive to bargain, as we saw last year.

==============

(Page 2 of 2)



The amendment should be re-examined. Allowing the state to cut wages or benefits without a contract would be unfair, especially given the no-strike law. But the state should, at least, have the power to freeze wages and benefits once a contract runs out, which would give both sides an incentive to bargain.


PENSIONS In 2000, employee pensions cost New York State taxpayers $100 million. They now cost $1.5 billion, and will be more than $2 billion in 2014. Wall Street’s troubles are a big part of that. But so are state politics. The Legislature, ever eager to curry favor with powerful unions, added sweeteners to pensions and allowed employees to stop making contributions after 10 years.
In 2009, Albany began to recognize the deep hole it had dug. Under the state Constitution, a worker’s pension benefits cannot be cut back once granted. So under the agreement Mr. Paterson reached with the unions, a more rigorous tier was created for nonuniformed employees hired after 2009. It raised their retirement age from 55 to 62, required pension contributions every year instead of just the first 10, and capped the amount of overtime that is calculated in pension benefits.

The deal did not go far enough. New employees can still retire with full benefits at 62, while most American workers must wait until 65. They can still drive up pension payments by earning overtime in their final years, up to a $15,000 cap. And most important, they have to contribute only 3 percent of their pay to their pension; the national norm for public employees is double that.

In the next few weeks, Mr. Cuomo will propose a less-generous tier for new employees. Ideally, it will address all of these problems: pushing the full-retirement age to 65, raising employee contributions to 6 percent, and ending the use of overtime in calculating payments.

An investigation by The Times last year found that 3,700 retired public workers were getting six-figure pensions, largely because of overtime abuse, and that number is expected to grow. The system even allows workers on full pensions to double-dip and return to state employment, a practice the Legislature should end. Recently, Gannett Newspapers found more than 2,000 people collecting both state salaries and pensions.

It is also worth considering giving new employees the option to join what is known as a defined-contribution system, similar to the 401(k) plans widely in use in the private sector, and reducing the reliance on a guaranteed benefit system that has proved so ruinously expensive. The 401(k) system shifts the risk of a falling stock market to the employee instead of the state, but in the long run may be necessary to protect vital state services from economic downturns.

HEALTH INSURANCE As national health care costs have soared, the state’s payments for employees’ and retirees’ care has more than doubled in the last decade. This fiscal year, the state will pay $3 billion; that is projected to keep growing by $300 million to $400 million a year.

Health care contributions by state retirees are considerably lower than for workers in the private sector or the federal government, and will almost certainly have to be raised as baby boomers retire.

Current state employees pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums for single policies, and 25 percent for family policies, which is roughly in line with national averages for the public sector. But it is considerably less than most private workers pay — 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

If the state is unable to achieve the necessary savings in wages and pensions, it may need to seek higher insurance contributions for all state workers. That benefit is not protected by the state Constitution.




Unlike Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Governor Cuomo is not trying to break the unions. He is pressing them to accept a salary freeze and a reduction in benefits for new workers. The unions need to negotiate seriously.

We are also urging the governor to rethink his pledge to cap property taxes and allow a tax surcharge on high incomes to expire at the end of this year. That would bring the state an additional $2 billion this fiscal year, and $4 billion the following year — not enough to solve the fiscal crisis, but a serious down payment.

The state’s middle-class workers will have to make real sacrifices. New York’s many wealthy residents, all of whom are benefiting substantially from a new federal tax break, should have to pay their fair share as well.
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JDN
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« Reply #72 on: March 09, 2011, 07:38:37 PM »

If there is no money, then there is no money.

It that was only true!

My point about contracts.  Take LA; obviously we have fiscal problems.  So does CA.  No money....

So you are saying that the LAPD should be willing to re negotiate their absurdly rich retirement plan mid year?
I doubt if the local police officers would share your sense of fairness...

Contracts should be honored; and then at renewal re negotiated. 
Yes. Just as private sector employees have had to tighten their belts, so should public employees.

GM; can you explain WHY in Wisconsin Police and Firefighters are exempt???  Why not ALL public employees? 

"Walker and GOP lawmakers are trying to close a $137 million budget shortfall with a plan that calls for curbs on public employee union bargaining rights and requires public workers, with the exception of police and firefighters, to cover more of their retirement plans and health care premiums.
Public employee unions agreed to financial concessions that they say will help meet the state's fiscal needs, but Walker has said the limits on public bargaining are a critical component of his plan. His bill, which already had passed the state Assembly, would bar public workers other than police and firefighters from bargaining for anything other than wages."
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G M
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« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2011, 07:52:11 PM »

I don't know.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #74 on: March 09, 2011, 08:33:55 PM »

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, March 09, 2011 -- 8:00 PM ET
-----

Wisconsin Senate Advances Bill Opposed by Unions

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.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/03/09/us/AP-US-Wisconsin-Budget-Unions.html?emc=na
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G M
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« Reply #75 on: March 10, 2011, 05:25:23 PM »

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/117732923.html

Capitol Chaos: Lawmakers Get Death Threats
By Jon Byman

Story Created: Mar 10, 2011

Story Updated: Mar 10, 2011

MADISON - The State Department of Justice confirms that it is investigating several death threats against a number of lawmakers in response to the legislature's move to strip employees of many collective bargaining rights.

Among the threats the Justice Department is investigationg is one that was emailed to Republican Senators Wednesday night.  Newsradio 620 WTMJ has obtained that email.

The following is the unedited email:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it's going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it's a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn't leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so "high" on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won't
tell you all of them because that's just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it's
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will "get rid of" (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it's worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!
 Reply Reply to all Forward
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ccp
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« Reply #76 on: March 10, 2011, 05:41:58 PM »

Compare the restrained peaceful Tea Party events to the screaming, yelling, name calling, disruptive tresspassing MOB that is the union protesters.

OK Bamster where are you now??? when speaking of civility.

Next step is to fire all these people if they don't report to work.

This is EXACTLY what FDR even feared.  The taxpayers are being held hostage by public employees.

Let them keep it up.   They are not helping there cause any.

They are lucky to have jobs.

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G M
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« Reply #77 on: March 10, 2011, 06:25:52 PM »

http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-do-these-people-many-of-whom-are.html

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Why do these people, many of whom are professionals, feel no fear in expressing such death wishes in the open?
You have seen the video of Twitter death wishes directed at Sarah Palin, by people who did not feel the need to hide their identities.

So like clockwork, death wishes (threats?) are being tweeted about Scott Walker, again often using real names.

And these were before last night's Senate vote (a Vimeo version is here in case YouTube takes it down):
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #78 on: March 10, 2011, 08:13:08 PM »

Andrew:  If you are reading this thread too, then I would submit the proposition that these efforts at physical intimidation are another aspect of liberal (American use of the word here) fascism.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #79 on: March 10, 2011, 11:46:56 PM »

(Intended in good political humor,) Gov. Scott Walker reportedly did not say this:

We don't mind Unions joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.
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« Reply #80 on: March 11, 2011, 07:52:53 AM »

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/30580

Obama silent as liberals make death threats
March 10, 2011 by Don Surber

This is not about the threats made against Republican Congressman Peter King for daring to hold a hearing on threats to America from radical Muslims.

I comment on radio talker Charles Sykes in Milwaukee posting an e-mail to: Sen. Kapanke; Sen. Darling; Sen. Cowles; Sen. Ellis; Sen. Fitzgerald; Sen. Galloway; Sen. Grothman; Sen. Harsdorf; Sen. Hopper; Sen. Kedzie; Sen. Lasee; Sen. Lazich; Sen. Leibham; Sen. Moulton; Sen. Olsen.

They are Republican state senators in Wisconsin.

Some union supporter threatened them:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so “high” on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!

Where is the denunciation from Barack Obama?

The lefty media has praised him repeatedly for his calls for civil discourse.

The Associated Press from January 2010: “Tampa, Fla. — Trying to bury a year of polarization, President Obama has escalated his appeal for politicians and voters to settle differences without tearing each other apart. His plea: ‘Let’s start thinking of each other as Americans first’.”

PBS from January 2011: “Obama’s Call for Civil Discourse Resonates Around the Country.”

He keeps calling for it.

But as leader of the Democratic Party he does nothing about it. He has never in 6 years in the national eye ever denounced Democratic Party excesses.

He should leap on this one to quiet things in Madison and to bring civil discourse to that state’s capital city.
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ccp
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« Reply #81 on: March 11, 2011, 11:04:49 AM »

Ironically The One was busy hosting a summit on school bullying.  What a joke.  We have nothing but bullying going on in Wisconsin by the liberals (aka, *regressives*), and not a peep about that but he is telling us how kids made fun of his ears as a child.

The hypocracy of this man knows no bounds.
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« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2011, 01:01:16 PM »

Enemies of progress
The biggest barrier to public- sector reform are the unions
Mar 17th 2011 | from the print edition
 IF JIMMY HOFFA were reincarnated as a modern trade unionist, he would probably represent civil servants. When Hoffa’s Teamsters were in their prime in 1960, only one in ten American government workers belonged to a union; now 36% do. In 2009 the number of unionists in America’s public sector passed that of their brethren in the private sector. In continental Europe most civil servants belong to unions, though these generally straddle the private sector as well. In Britain more than half of public-sector workers but only about 15% of private-sector ones are unionised.

There are three reasons for the public-sector unions’ clout. First, they can shut things down without suffering much in the way of consequences. Second, they are mostly bright and well-educated. There are some Luddites left, such as Bob Crow of London’s perennially striking Tube drivers. But it is much harder to argue with Randi Weingarten, the articulate head of the American Federation of Teachers. Most workers in the public sector are women, and many of them are professional types. A quarter of America’s public-sector workers have a university degree. Officers of the British Medical Association (which represents doctors) and America’s National Education Association (the biggest teachers’ union) often appear on the news as experts on health and education rather than as representatives of interest groups.

Third, they now dominate left-of-centre politics. Some of their ties go back a long way. Britain’s Labour Party, as its name implies, has long been associated with trade unionism. Its current leader, Ed Miliband, owes his position to votes from public-sector unions. Spain’s prime minister still likes to brandish his union card. In America the links have become more explicit. Between 1989 and 2004 the biggest spender in federal elections was the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and $39.4m of the $40m it shelled out over that period went to Democrats. One in ten of the delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver was a teacher.

At the state level their influence can be even more fearsome. Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California points out that much of the state’s budget is patrolled by unions. The teachers’ unions keep an eye on schools, the CCPOA on prisons and a variety of labour groups on health care. It was the big public-sector unions which squashed the 2005 reforms proposed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, then California’s governor.

In many rich countries average wages in the state sector are higher than in the private one. But the real gains come in benefits and work practices. Politicians have repeatedly “backloaded” public-sector pay deals, keeping the pay increases modest but adding to holidays and especially pensions that are already generous.

Many Germans were horrified to discover that the EU rescue package for Greece last year helped to bail out public-sector workers who could retire in their mid-50s on almost full pay. One scam in American cities has been to link pensions to employees’ earnings in their final year, rather than average earnings over a longer period. Naturally the subway drivers or policemen concerned put in heroic overtime in that final year.

Reform has been vigorously opposed, perhaps most egregiously in education, where charter schools, vouchers, academies and merit pay all faced drawn-out battles. Even though there is plenty of evidence that the quality of the teachers is the most important variable, teachers’ unions have fought against getting rid of bad ones and promoting good ones.

As the cost to everyone else (in terms of higher taxes and sloppier services) has become clearer, politicians have begun to clamp down. In Wisconsin the unions have rallied thousands of supporters against Scott Walker, the hardline Republican governor. But many within the public sector suffer under the current system too.

John Donahue at Harvard’s Kennedy School points out that the egalitarian culture in Western civil services suits those who want to stay put but is bad for high achievers. Heads of departments often get only two or three times the average pay. As Mr Donahue observes, the only American public-sector workers who earn well above $250,000 a year are university sports coaches and the president of the United States. Hank Paulson took a 99.5% pay cut when he left Goldman Sachs to become America’s treasury secretary. Bankers’ fat pay packets have attracted much criticism, but a public-sector system that does not reward high achievers may be a much bigger problem for America.



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« Reply #83 on: March 27, 2011, 06:16:14 AM »

For weeks the national media focused on union protests in Wisconsin.  Aging hippies trashed the state capital, union members were bused in from across the country in color-coded T-shirts, and Democratic state senators hid in an Illinois motel.

Each little drama was an organized response to Republican Governor Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill that negated labor’s influence with state employees. You could not turn to any cable or network newscast without seeing Walker, or see other states’ Republican governors and legislators copying him. Then, through a legislative maneuver, Walker outfoxed the Democrats and passed his budget bill.

The TV crews’ klieg lights went out. The political circus packed up. Our attention turned to Japan and Libya.

Perhaps we all looked away too quickly.

The story that no one talks about, that has the biggest impact on the 2012 election, is slowly brewing – with Republicans barely paying attention.  The two sides in Wisconsin did not drop their weapons. They just settled into high-stakes trench warfare.

Wisconsin has what can only be described as a screwy recall law; get enough signatures on a petition, and you can trigger new elections. (Why is this screwy?--Marc)  Democrats hope to use this law to undo the statehouse majority.

Recall elections possibly can begin as early as June for 16 Wisconsin senators who are being targeted – eight Republicans for their votes in favor of the law that ends most collective bargaining powers for public-employee unions, and eight Democrats for running and hiding in Illinois in what turned out to be a failed attempt to stop the GOP from voting on the measure.

When Republicans won big in 2010, Wisconsin was the best example of that midterm wave and the most significant warning to President Obama’s re-election campaign: Three-term U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., went down, and the GOP took the governor’s mansion, two more congressional seats, and state legislative majorities. All in a state that Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama won as the Democrats’ presidential candidates.

While Wisconsin’s story fell off the front page, the left – fueled by unions, the Democratic Governors Association, and MoveOn.org – have begun a multimillion-dollar TV campaign to support the audacious recall effort.

The only Republican strategy- and money-machine that really seems to understand the potential effect is the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), headed by former national GOP chairman Ed Gillespie. The RSLC is so worried that it is making an unusual mid-cycle investment of money that it could have used in 2012.

Unions and the left are far outspending pro-business interests and the right on recall ads.

Democrats are wise to see more is at stake than a single state’s senate majority and a new political map that could unseat two freshmen Republican congressmen. They know this is the first battle of 2012 – their version of 2010’s surprise election of Scott Brown, R-Mass., who won a blue-state U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Ted Kennedy.

Republicans won in Massachusetts because conservatives around the country poured money into Brown's campaign; he raised a million bucks a day and couldn't spend it all.  His opponent, Democrat Margaret Coakley, was strapped and forced to beg money from Washington lobbyists in the last 10 days of the race, which Brown quickly used in a commercial against her.

Massachusetts Democrats got ambushed. Will Republicans let that happen to them in Wisconsin?

Make no mistake, this will have a chilling effect on every other state dealing with public-employee collective bargaining or pensions in the next two years – which is just about all of them.  If Walker and other governors cannot tame public pensions and union contracts, you will see tax hikes across the country enacted under freshmen GOP governors in the next few years. It is simple math.

If Republicans don't engage with real cash in Wisconsin, they could lose the state senate in advance of redistricting this summer, embolden unions, and scare hell out of Republicans in statehouses everywhere.

Walker may have won on policy – yet Republicans could face massive losses nationally if they don’t win those state recalls.

Just because the Democrats came back from Illinois doesn’t mean the left surrendered.
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« Reply #84 on: March 30, 2011, 09:29:13 AM »

Death Threats by the Dozens in Wisconsin
The rhetoric of the pro-union Left gets disturbingly violent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The language of quoted material, including profanity, has been preserved.

‘We will hunt you down. We will slit your throats. We will drink your blood. I will have your decapitated head on a pike in the Madison town square. This is your last warning.”

Is this a passage from Bram Stoker’s Dracula? A snippet from al-Qaeda’s latest missive? No, this e-mail reached Wisconsin state senator Dan Kapanke (R., La Crosse) on March 9, after he voted for GOP governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget and labor reforms.

Kapanke is not alone. While the mainstream media generally yawn, leftists threaten top Wisconsin Republicans with murder.

“Across the whole Republican caucus, I think we have received at least a dozen, credible, specific death threats,” one well-placed legislative staffer in Madison told me. “This was not just ‘Go to Hell,’ but threats that rose to a level that made people feel unsafe.”

The Left launched its civility campaign on January 8, after Jared Lee Loughner’s alleged, fatal shooting spree in Tucson. Barely two months later, the Left killed its own initiative in Madison, when politics interfered.


Civility anyone? A placard carried by an anti-Scott Walker protester
depicts the governor of Wisconsin with a rifle’s crosshairs on his face.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin Capitol Police have investigated numerous threats against elected officials over the last four weeks,” Wisconsin’s DOJ stated March 11. DCI chief Ed Wall added: “The Division of Criminal Investigation takes these kinds of threats seriously and will follow through with the investigation and prosecution whenever possible.”

Wisconsin officials have identified the sender of two specific death threats e-mailed to 15 Republican state senators at 9:18 p.m. on March 10. They will not release the suspect’s name while their probe continues. However, these chilling (uncorrected) words now are on the record:

Subject line: Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!

I want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and your republican dictators have to die. This is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records. We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head. However, this isn’t enough. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the message. So we have built several bombs that we have placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent. This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won’t tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families and themselves then We will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) the 8 of you. Please understand that this does not include the heroic Senator that risked everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. The 8 includes the 7 senators and the dictator. We feel that it’s worth our lives becasue we would be saving the lives of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. Goodbye ASSHOLE!!!!

FUCK YOU ASSHOLE, I AM FORMALLY REQUESTING TO SEE THE 30,000 EMAILS YOU HAVE GOTTEN MAKING YOU COMPLY WITH THE OPEN RECORDS LAW. I ASSURE YOU THAT NONE OF THEM ARE IN SUPPORT OF YOU OR ANYTHING THAT YOU OR YOUR STAFF STAND FOR. YOUR STAFF MEMBERS HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED TO THE HIT LIST AS WELL AS THOSE OF THE OTHER SENATE MEMBERS WE HAVE THREATENED. PLEASE ADVISE THEM OF THE IMPENDING DANGER LEADING TO THIER DEATHS.

Consider some of the pro-union-Left’s other death threats:

● Police in Eau Claire arrested anti-Walker protester Patrick J. Knauf, 43, on March 2. He allegedly phoned in a bomb threat against Heartland Aviation, where Walker conducted press conferences on February 28 and March 2.

● On the morning of March 3, 41 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition appeared on the capitol grounds in Madison.

“I don’t like to see live ammunition outside when I have significant crowds,” University of Wisconsin Police chief Susan Riseling testified at a court hearing on protesters’ access to the structure. “You can’t do much with live ammunition without the gun, but the presence of it doesn’t thrill me.”

● “It’s not safe, I think, to be walking on the street and be a Republican in Madison right now. The hatred on the Left is just out of control,” GOP state senator Glenn Grothman told CNN on March 10. “I have never seen a lobbying group more angry,” Someone slipped a note under his office door. In red letters, it said: “THE ONLY GOOD Republican is a DEAD Republican.”



● Wisconsin Tea Party Patriots coordinator Mike Hintz recalls sitting in his suburban Milwaukee home on March 12 when his cell phone rang. “There was a male caller on the phone and he said ‘I hope you’re wearing a bullet-proof vest’ and hung up.” As Hintz told WISN-TV: “I took it to mean this person was threatening my life by shooting me.” Hintz believes he was targeted because of his prominent support of Governor Walker’s budget-repair bill. While police could not trace the call, they increased patrols of Hintz’s neighborhood.

● A Wisconsinite named Bill Spears sent one state-capitol staffer this uncorrected, homophobic e-mail on Wednesday:

I saw your remarks in todays paper about the people who appose the Walker Plan-you sorry piece of shit-you won’t have your cushy job very much longer-as soon as we get your boss the faggot Fitzgerald recalled – the sorry fucking parasite on the taxpayer of Wisconsin- every damn one of you should be exterminated-

It is your covey of little shitbirds that are worse than child molesters-You fuck faces you forget who pays your salary-I can’t wait until you are right in the unemployment line behind the rest of us-were you in the barrel list night-which orifice do you prefer?

The giant graffiti wall that is Twitter features numerous calls for Governor Walker’s murder, complete with egregious spelling and grammatical errors:

● Drew R. Hood (screen name DrewHood) wrote: “Walker must die. Write that 500 times fast.”

● Lamar Smith (Mough_Dough): “Dey need to gone head & kill Scott Walker. Im tired of hearing about this shit.”

● Lauren Kauffman (lauren_2121): “I hope scott walker dies. someone please shoot him?!”

● Josh Harmon (jritsynme): “Scott walker is destroying the state of Wisconsin!!! I wish a anvel would fall out of the sky and KILL the scumbag!!!”

● Jody on FishHawk (FishHawkRdJody): “GovWalker soon as we starve you, shove you in filthy shacks w/100 others & kill most of UR family THEN you can use holocaust. U vile cretin.”

● Jeconti (J-Shack): “Scott walker cut food stamps its over he getting assassinated..!”

Lee Stranahan, a self-described “pro-choice, pro–single payer, antiwar, pro–gay rights independent liberal,” is appalled at the mainstream media’s ho-hum attitude about this outrage.

“Proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media,” he wrote Tuesday in the left-of-center Huffington Post. “It’s bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome, and progressives should be leading the charge against it.”

These death threats are doubly pernicious:

At worst, they are truly homicidal, if those sending them actually intend to murder those whom they threaten.

At best, even empty threats are anti-democratic, since they can intimidate elected officials, activists, and other citizens into milquetoast governance and advocacy.

Are the Right’s hands spotless in Wisconsin? If they are not pristine, they seem far less potentially bloody.

Democratic spokesman Graeme Zielinski told WISN-TV that volunteers aiming to recall GOP state senator Alberta Darling got roughed up on March 13.

“They were physically assaulted,” Zielinski said, “They had their clipboards thrown, petitions destroyed, buttons torn off of them.”

Shame! Whoever did this should be prosecuted, and their example never repeated — on the right, or elsewhere.

Now, where is the condemnation against the anti-Walker Left for its criminal behavior?

In the Battle of Madison, and perhaps beyond, death threats appear to be a virtually exclusive tool of the pro-union Left.

That suggests two possibilities:

Pro-taxpayer rightists would love to issue death threats, but resist temptation, knowing full well that the slumbering mainstream media would arise, showcase such a development, and discredit conservatives.

Or, maybe, free-marketeers have not issued death threats, because — compared to their left-wing counterparts — they simply are better people.

— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/262428/death-threats-dozens-wisconsin-deroy-murdock
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« Reply #85 on: March 30, 2011, 12:18:23 PM »

2nd post.

MARCH 30, 2011 12:00 P.M.
Bench Brawl in Wisconsin

The Left long ago stopped pretending that court proceedings were anything other than exercises in raw-power politics, and so they’ve taken their fight against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to the state supreme court — not in the form of a lawsuit, but in the form of a multimillion-dollar intervention into an election to a ten-year term on the court.

Wisconsin supreme court justice David Prosser went to bed one night a respected former prosecutor, and woke up the next morning the target of a $3 million union-run smear campaign, falsely accused of being an enabler of pedophiles. That is what you get when you oppose the political machine that has been fleecing taxpayers in Wisconsin and elsewhere for a generation. Or, as in the case of Justice Prosser, when they suspect you might merely stand in their way and do your job.

Let’s take that specific outrageous claim first. When Prosser was a district attorney, a Catholic priest was accused of improperly touching two boys in their home — running his hand across their chests, but nothing more. Creepy, yes, but probably not prosecutable. With no more evidence than that to go on, with one witness refusing to testify, and with the family not  keen on sending its young children to the witness stand in a case in which it would be practically impossible to prove a serious crime had been committed, Prosser, with the family’s agreement, declined to file charges. He reported the incident to the diocese and asked that the priest be removed. Long after Prosser was out of office — 14 years, in fact — further accusations against the priest came to light: accusations of which the prosecutor had known, and could have known, nothing. For this, the union-backed Greater Wisconsin Committee accuses him of conspiring to protect pedophiles from justice. That is a shameful libel — even Politifact, generally hostile to Republicans, gave the claim a low rating on its Truth-O-Meter.

Even the boys in the case denounced the ad as the exploitative fraud it is, and one averred that he’d vote for Prosser. But what is the suffering of exploited children when there are union dues on the line?

When you’ve lost the election, lost the vote in the legislature, and don’t have the law on your side, lies, invective, and blunt force — the Left’s main weapons in Wisconsin — are what you have left. Expect to see a lot more of them deployed.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee is preparing to throw $3 million into the judicial election to defeat Prosser — not because it is feared that he will fail to administer the law impartially, but because it is feared that he will. To that end, Wisconsin Democrats are working to install one of their own on the court and, if the GWC ad is any indicator, they are prepared to do just about anything to win. Because of legal restrictions, Prosser cannot solicit contributions to aid his campaign under this onslaught. But you can help his campaign by helping the Wisconsin Club for Growth (donate here) or donating to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (donate online here; fax donation form here).

It is important that conservatives nationwide make this campaign their own. What is at stake in Wisconsin is not just one piece of legislation or one bill restoring a measure of sanity to the state budgeting process. The question to be answered in Wisconsin is: Who works for whom? Do the public employees work for the citizens, or are the citizens mere cattle to be disposed of at the pleasure of the bureaucrats and their union bosses? Every arrow in the quiver — court cases, judicial elections, recall, lawsuits, lies, libels, and brute thuggery — will be thrown at this case, along with lots of money derived from the union dues that state and local governments helpfully deduct from their employees’ paychecks on the unions’ behalf. Wisconsin may seem an unlikely battleground, but a line must be drawn, and this is the place to draw it.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/263367/bench-brawl-wisconsin-editors
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« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2011, 07:18:50 AM »

We hope the tea partiers don't faint, but House Republicans this week voted 225-195 to restore $20 million in federal spending—for the District of Columbia's school voucher program. This is the program, terminated by Democrats in 2009, that gave some 1,700 D.C. students (virtually all of them black or Hispanic) up to $7,500 per year to attend a private school.

Most District residents ardently supported the voucher program, while the teachers unions—locally and nationally—reviled it. This proved to be an embarrassment to professional Democrats—from the Presidency down to local school boards—who still claim to be the party of the poor but who have no clue how to win elections without prostrating themselves for union support.

Thus in 2009 we had the spectacle of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, then head of a subcommittee that oversaw the program's funding, stringing along its supporters with intimations of support if they jumped various hoops, such as getting the D.C. Council to support it. The Council did. Whereupon Senator Durbin ginned up a new hoop.

This week the Obama White House put out a statement that it "opposes targeting resources to help a small number of individuals attend private schools." It continues to say there is no evidence of academic improvement. As we noted in a 2009 editorial, "Democrats and Poor Kids," the Education Department was in possession then of a study showing gains in reading scores and no declines in math relative to public schools.

The President this week didn't promise a veto, so if perchance it passed the Democratic Senate, he just might sign it. That's the undying optimist in us. The cynical view would be that Mr. Obama will do what the unions say he must to win their re-election cash.
===================
Having lost their fight in the legislature, Wisconsin unions are now getting out the steel pipes for those who don't step lively to their cause. A letter we've seen that was sent to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin shows that Big Labor's latest strategy is to threaten small businesses with boycotts if they don't publicly declare their support for government union monopoly power.

Dated March 28, 2011, the letter is addressed to "DEAR UNION GROVE AREA BUSINESS OWNER/MANAGER," in Racine County. And it begins with this warm greeting: "It is unfortunate that you have chosen 'not' to support public workers rights in Wisconsin. In recent past weeks you have been offered a sign(s) by a public employee(s) who works in one of the state facilities in the Union Grove area. These signs simply said 'This Business Supports Workers Rights,' a simple, subtle and we feel non-controversial statement given the facts at this time."

We doubt "subtle" is the word a business owner would use to describe this offer he is being told he can't refuse.

The letter is signed by Jim Parrett, the "Field Rep." for Council 24 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is the most powerful union in the AFL-CIO. The letter presents a litany of objections to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's changes to benefits and public union collective bargaining power, describing them as "things that make life working in a 24-7 facility tolerable."

The missive concludes by noting that, "With that we'd ask that you reconsider taking a sign and stance to support public employees in this community. Failure to do so will leave us no choice but do [sic] a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members."

So even businesses that stay neutral in the political battle are considered the enemy and will be punished. Charming stuff, and especially coming from a union that claims (wrongly) to be losing its constitutional rights. Free speech for others apparently isn't all that important.

On Wednesday we called the telephone number listed under Mr. Parrett's name but his voicemail was full. We then spoke with union officials who said they'd ask Mr. Parrett to call us back, but he never called. He has since confirmed the accuracy of the letter to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which reports that the threat is an outgrowth of a boycott campaign by other unions that has targeted M&I Bank and Kwik Trip because those companies or their executives supported Mr. Walker's budget proposals.

This kind of union thuggery is all too common and is in keeping with the larger political goal of preventing union members from exercising their own rights of free association. The Walker reform that union leaders hate the most would require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of their members and let those members opt out of paying union dues.

Union chiefs like Mr. Parrett know what that means for their political clout. After taking office in 2005, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels used an executive order to end collective bargaining for public workers—a power granted by former Governor Evan Bayh.

The number of state public employees has since fallen to 28,700 from 35,000. But more important, the vast majority of those employees stopped paying union dues. Today, 1,490 state employees pay union dues in Indiana, down from 16,408 in 2005. Similar declines have played out in Washington State and Utah, when those states gave members the freedom to choose.

This is the prospect that has Wisconsin labor leaders so furious these days—furious enough that they'll even threaten the livelihoods of local business owners who won't join them at the barricades. This is the nasty modern reality of government union power.


« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 07:21:42 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #87 on: April 01, 2011, 08:12:38 AM »

What's not mentioned in the top piece about school vouchers is that they cost $7500 and obtain good results, while DC spends at least $28,000 per pupil--many think this figure is understated--and obtain horrible results. Not sure how saving at least $21K per student per year can be cast as proliferate spending.
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JDN
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« Reply #88 on: April 04, 2011, 10:56:58 AM »

There is no question something needs to be done about public unions, but I'm not sure the WI solution is particularly fair...


"Walker's measure, which was supported by every Republican senator, calls for state and local workers to pay more toward their retirement and health benefits, concessions that unions accepted.

But it would also bar most public-sector unions from negotiating future compensation, prevent them from automatically collecting their members' dues, and require them to receive annual votes from their membership to stay in business. Critics contend it is an attempt to neutralize one of the Democratic Party's strongest backers. The law would not apply to police, state troopers or firefighters, whose unions are more likely to back Republicans."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-wisconsin-recall-20110404,0,3716147.story
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G M
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« Reply #89 on: April 04, 2011, 11:04:39 AM »

Why not?
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JDN
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« Reply #90 on: April 04, 2011, 11:09:11 AM »

I think the focus should be to obtain concessions towards workers paying more towards retirement and health benefits.  And the unions agreed to do so.

Nor do I understand why it's "fair" that "the law would not apply to police, state troopers or firefighters, whose unions are more likely to back Republicans"
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ccp
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« Reply #91 on: April 07, 2011, 02:25:39 PM »

On Fox it is pointed out that in Wisconsin one of six states to allow voter registration the same day as election day.  You needn't show valid ID.  A "neighbor" can simply act as a witness vouching for you.  We will not hear a peep from Jimmy Carter who flies around the world pretending he is watching for voter fraud. 

***Officials throughout Wisconsin were conducting their county canvasses on Thursday, the final review of voting records that will allow the state to certify this week's closely watched elections.

But the certification, which could come Thursday, is unlikely to bring closure in the passionately fought contest for a seat on the state Supreme Court, where union-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg leads over incumbent David Prosser by just 204 votes and a recount is virtually inevitable.

It would be the first statewide recount in Wisconsin in more than 20 years and could begin next week if Prosser, a former Republican member of the assembly, requests it.

To help officials prepare for it, the state's Government Accountability Board sent out a memo on Wednesday to county clerks and members of Milwaukee's county election commission.

The memo stressed that local officials needed to "maintain all memory device and programing for the April 5, 2011 Spring Election in its original form. Please do not erase and transfer memory devices."

"We are in unprecedented times in many respects," the memo read, "but particularly with regard to a potential statewide recount, which has not occurred since 1989 ... A thorough completion of the County Board of Canvass at this time may reconcile inconsistencies and issues that will likely save you time and effort in the pending recount process."

With 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting, and all absentee, provisional and write-in votes tallied, Kloppenburg, an assistant state attorney specializing in environmental affairs, had edged out Prosser 740,090 votes to 739,886, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper and WTMJ-TV.

Kloppenburg insisted throughout the race that she would be an impartial and independent judge if elected to the high court.

But the contest was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker and controversial curbs on collective bargaining he and his GOP allies in the legislature recently passed.

Because Prosser is a Republican who had expressed support for Walker last fall, opponents of the anti-union measure characterized him as a proxy for the governor and his anti-union policies, which have triggered massive protests here and 16 recall campaigns targeting lawmakers who supported and opposed the measure.

Under Wisconsin law, for a recount to take place Prosser would have to request it, which he is expected to do.

The costs of a recount are covered by the state if the vote difference is less than one half of 1 percent. The results from the Kloppenburg-Prosser contest fall well within that range.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher)


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687 CommentsShow:  Newest FirstOldest FirstHighest RatedMost Replied    Post a Comment Comments 1 - 10 of 687FirstPrevNextLast121 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 11 users disliked this commentHenry D Wed Apr 06, 2011 07:05 am PDT Report Abuse The biggest problem with Yahoo sorting by popularity is that once you vote, and go to the next page, they are all resorted...and you miss reading some comments.
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17 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this commentsam i am 12 hours ago Report Abuse ...i voted, and all i got was this lousy posting...
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10 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this commentNeb 3 hours ago Report Abuse Elections Have Consequences.
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121 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 21 users disliked this commentgoldn rule Wed Apr 06, 2011 05:43 am PDT Report Abuse Wisconsin wake up and do the right thing for once.
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23 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this commentStraight Shooter 19 hours ago Report Abuse News out of Wisconsin says a recount should be completed by May 15th. Just have to wait and see how that turns out.
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48 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 7 users disliked this commentGo_Aet 19 hours ago Report Abuse The message is loud and clear: WE SEND YOU THERE TO CREATE JOBS!!!! DON"T DO ANYTHING FUNNY!

WHERE ARE THE JOBS???
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22 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this commentmissssoutherngirl 5 hours ago Report Abuse THIS GOERS FOR ANYTHING ,,lol GOOD FUNNY

If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward
the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result. All the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it. Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment, with enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water.

Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana. Why, you ask? Because in their minds, that is the way it has always been!***
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #92 on: April 13, 2011, 01:48:28 PM »

Opting Out of Unionization
In Wisconsin, public employees have a new right.

Thanks to Gov. Scott Walker’s new labor law, Wisconsin may just be the next state where union rolls start shrinking. If history’s any indication, plenty of government workers will eventually take advantage of their new ability to opt out of unionization and stop paying expensive union dues.

Surprised? You might be, thanks to the broad-strokes style of most media coverage of the political battle over the legislation. The teachers and other government workers protesting at the capitol were taken to be representative of state union workers as a whole.

But Walker’s hoping that they’re not — and that many government workers will be glad to stop paying dues. On an appearance on Fox News Sunday in February, he said, “If we’re going to ask our state and local workers who are doing a great job to pay a little bit more, to sacrifice, to help to balance this budget, we should also give them the flexibility [to chose whether they pay dues].”

Walker saw that as a significant cost-savings benefit for Wisconsin’s government workers, arguing that “for those members . . . who don’t want to be a part of the union . . . [and] don’t want that deduction each month out of the paycheck, they should be able to get that $500, $600, or in some cases $1,000 [per year] back that they can apply for their health care and their pension contribution.” Politifact, which skews liberal, rated Walker’s calculations of how much workers could save “mostly true” after contacting unions and finding out how much they charged members annually.

Making union membership or portions of union dues voluntary has a track record of resulting in fewer employees’ paying. Consider Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an executive order limiting collective bargaining for state workers. In 2005, when Daniels signed the order, 16,408 state employees belonged to the union. Now 1,490 do.

Looking at states where “paycheck protection” has passed shows a similar pattern. Paycheck protection prohibits state and local governments from automatically deducting a portion of their employees’ wages to finance a union’s political contributions. While Supreme Court rulings, including the 1988 decision Communication Workers v. Beck, have established that union workers cannot be forced to pay the portion of their dues that would finance political activity and lobbying by the unions, it can be very difficult in practice to get that exemption unless the state has paycheck protection in place.

In 2006, a Heritage Foundation analysis found that after paycheck protection was passed, public-sector union donations to candidates declined by about 40 to 50 percent. Take Utah, which passed paycheck protection in 2001. In the following year, donations from the Utah Education Association declined by 75 percent, while the Utah Public Employees Association donated nothing that year, according to the Utah Taxpayers Association. In 2005, the UEA reported that only 6.8 percent of teachers were donating to the political arm of the union, down from 68 percent before the law.

Or look at Idaho, where paycheck protection went into effect in 2009. In 2008, public-sector unions spent around $184,000, according to the data provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. In 2010, they spent $157,000, a decrease of about 15 percent. Overall, public-sector unions accounted for just under 2 percent of the state’s campaign contributions that year, a drop from their 3.3 percent share in 2008.

Another sign that many union members likely aren’t happy with their forced unionization is the difference between union-membership rates in states with right-to-work laws, under which employees can refuse to join their companies’ unions or pay dues (though they’re still covered by the union contract), and in states without such laws. In right-to-work states, 6.5 percent of workers belong to a union, according to 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor. In the remaining states, the unionization rate is over twice that: 13.8 percent.

Polls also show that many union members disagree with Big Labor on politics. A March Rasmussen poll showed that 27 percent of public-sector union members consider themselves conservative and 17 percent Republican. The same month, a Gallup poll showed that between 24 and 27 percent of unionized government workers identified as Republican. Yet public-sector union PACS gave 92 percent of their federal donations last year to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

And without any choice available to union members, it’s not even clear whether liberal members would spend their money the way the union does. They may prefer to donate to other causes or candidates, or to keep the money for themselves.

If Wisconsin public-sector employees want union representation, and if they agree with the unions’ political stances, they’ll continue to pay dues, and the unions will thrive. But if not, they will finally be able to opt out of subsidizing the electoral preferences of their union bosses.

— Katrina Trinko is an NRO staff reporter.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/264545/opting-out-unionization-katrina-trinko
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DougMacG
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« Reply #93 on: April 13, 2011, 03:52:35 PM »

Easy to see now why certain partisans were up in arms about worker choice.

Right to assemble, speak freely, even negotiate as a group is fundamental, but so is the right of another person to work without joining and the employer's right to hire anyone qualified who wants the job with market wage and benefits.

I continue to assert that the evil capitalist in the case of a public union is the 'consent of the governed'.  When someone explains to me how the right to be overpaid and under-worked rises above consent of the governed I will consider changing my view.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #94 on: April 21, 2011, 01:43:08 PM »

We knew that Big Labor had political pull at the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board, but yesterday's complaint against Boeing is one for the (dark) ages. By challenging Boeing's right to build aircraft in South Carolina, labor's bureaucratic allies in Washington are threatening the ability of states to compete for new jobs and investment—and risking the economic recovery to boot.

In 2009 Boeing announced plans to build a new plant to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner. Though its union contract didn't require it, Boeing executives negotiated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to build the plane at its existing plant in Washington state. The talks broke down because the union wanted, among other things, a seat on Boeing's board and a promise that Boeing would build all future airplanes in Puget Sound.

So Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. In October 2009, the company settled on South Carolina, which, like the 21 other right-to-work states, has friendlier labor laws than Washington. As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn't have "strikes happening every three to four years." The union has shut down Boeing's commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.

This reasonable business decision created more than 1,000 jobs and has brought around $2 billion of investment to South Carolina. The aerospace workers in Puget Sound remain among the best paid in America, but the union nonetheless asked the NLRB to stop Boeing's plans before the company starts to assemble planes in North Charleston this July.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
A worker walks past one of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners at the production facility in Everett, Wash.
.The NLRB obliged with its complaint yesterday asking an administrative law judge to stop Boeing's South Carolina production because its executives had cited the risk of strikes as a reason for the move. Boeing acted out of "anti-union animus," says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of "discouraging membership in a labor organization" and thus violates federal law.

It's hard to know which law he's referring to. There are plentiful legal precedents that give business the right to locate operations in right-to-work states. That right has created healthy competition among states and kept tens of millions of jobs in America rather than heading overseas.

Boeing has also expanded its operations in Puget Sound while building its South Carolina presence. Ultimately, the NLRB seems to be resting its complaint on the belief that Boeing spent nearly $2 billion out of spite, which sounds less like a matter of law than of campaign 2012 politics.

Boeing says it will challenge the complaint in an NLRB hearing in June, but Big Labor also has sway at the five-member board. Recall that President Obama gave a recess appointment last year to Craig Becker, a former lawyer for the Service Employees International Union who once wrote that the NLRB could impose "card check" rules for union organizing even without an act of Congress. Even a Democratic Senate refused to confirm him.

Beyond labor politics, the NLRB's ruling would set a terrible precedent for the flow of jobs and investment within the U.S. It would essentially give labor a veto over management decisions about where to build future plants. And it would undercut the right-to-work statutes in 22 American states—which is no doubt the main union goal here.

With a Republican House, Mr. Obama's union agenda is dead in Congress. But it looks like his appointees are determined to impose it by regulatory fiat—no matter the damage to investment and job creation.

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G M
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« Reply #95 on: April 21, 2011, 01:48:32 PM »

"Centralized economic planning will really work this time!"-Obama supporter
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #96 on: April 24, 2011, 07:29:26 AM »

School District Employee Disciplined for Political Phone Call

Updated: Apr 22, 2011 7:12 PM

By Molly Hendrickson

A Sheboygan gas station owner is baffled after a mystery caller tells a clerk it's a bad idea to do business with a Sheboygan-area state senator.

It started Tuesday when a woman called Dick Hiers's Northeast Standard gas station after she thought she saw Senator Joe Leibham there. Her call was caught on the answering machine.

"I think that this whole thing has to end. It has to stop," said Hiers. "This type of stuff is totally uncalled for."

Hiers never thought his little gas station in the heart of Sheboygan would be the stage of political controversy. Then again, his week has been full of surprises.

"I was working back here and the answering machine went off, and I was a little surprised by that, and when I heard the message here, I was even a little more surprised."

The answering machine here in the back of the store was left on from the night before and was recording the entire conversation.

Caller: "Can you verify that was Senator Leibham at the gas station this morning?"

Gas station clerk: "Senator Leibham?"

Caller: "Yes. Do you guys support him?"

Clerk: "I have nothing to say about that, I am not politically involved."

Caller: "Alright, well you can tell Dick he's not good for business, I'll tell you that."

Shocked over the 26-second conversation, Hiers quickly traced the call -- only to get surprise number two.

"And it turned out to be coming from the Sheboygan area district school office," he said.

"Obviously our school district equipment and the facilities are for the purposes of school," Superintendent Joseph Sheehan responded. "Any type of phone call leaving any types of threats or condoning any type of intimidation is strictly prohibited."

The superintendent, who was out of the area Friday, said the district's taken what it calls "appropriate disciplinary action."

The woman is a district employee but school officials say that 8:15 call was made before she was on the clock.

It turns out it wasn't the senator but his brother at the gas station.

As for Dick Hiers, he is still wants answers, saying this week full of surprises is a sign things have gone too far.

"Everybody's money is green, it's all the same, and I don't pick and choose who can come into my business," Hiers said.

Senator Leibham, who was not available for comment, has filed an open records request with the school district. The district says it's working on the request.

http://www.wbay.com/story/14499316/2011/04/22/school-district-employee-disciplined-for-political-phone-call
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ccp
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« Reply #97 on: April 25, 2011, 04:59:44 PM »

I had a postal worker in the office some time ago.  The person came in for the third time after hurting his back.  I gave him a note to take a week off the first time and then another two weeks off during the second visit.   He comes back again and now states his back is better.  (Frankly I thought he was better the second time but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.)  So, I ask, if your back is better than why are you here?  You want even more time off?  He replied yes, he was thinking another week or two.   I asked, why if your back is better?  He said well, I have lots of sick time and I am going to retire in a few months (patient is age 59).  I stated I don't do this and will not write a false note.  I said I don't get it.   You know the Post Office is going borke and is billions in the red.  He says no it isn't.   It has plenty of money.  Some postal workers were laid off at other locations not mine.   In fact I just got a raise.

To make the rest of the story short, I refused the note.

The attitude, the sense of entitlement, the abuse of the system....  Taxpayers like me are finally waking up:

****California voters want public employees to help ease state's financial troubles
A cap on pensions and a later retirement age — even for current public employees — are supported by the poll's respondents.

By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
 
April 24, 2011, 4:23 p.m.
Reporting from Sacramento— California voters want government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the state's financial problems, favoring a cap on pensions and a later age for collecting them, according to a new poll.

Voter support for rolling back benefits available to few outside the public sector comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and Republicans in the Legislature haggle over changes to the pension system as part of state budget negotiations. Such benefits have been a flashpoint of national debate this year, and the poll shows that Californians are among those who perceive public retirement plans to be too costly.

Voters appear ready to embrace changes not just for future hires but also for current employees who have been promised the benefits under contract.

Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%.

Although pension costs today account for just a fraction of the state budget, they are putting local governments under considerable financial strain, and analysts say effects on the state may not be far off.

"It's pretty clear that there's broad support for making changes in the area of pensions," said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who co-directed the bipartisan poll for The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Many public safety officers can retire at 50 with a pension equal to 3% of their final salary for each year worked — for example, 60% of salary after 20 years on the job. Many other state employees can retire at 55, with 2.5% of salary for each year worked. And tens of thousands of public workers may also purchase "air time" — credit for years they do not actually work — to boost their retirement income.

Guaranteed pensions have faded from corporate America in recent decades, replaced largely by 401(k) accounts that workers pay into and that rise and fall based on the fluctuations of financial markets. Voters back an integration of such plans into the government retirement system, with 66% supporting a blend of the traditional pension and a 401(k).

"It's just gotten way out of hand," said Beverly Marcelja, a 67-year old Democrat and retiree living in Tracy, in the Central Valley.

David Martinez, 59, a nonpartisan voter who lives in Rowland Heights, said existing retirement plans reflect a time when private-sector workers were afforded the same pensions.

"It's come to the point where the government is paying much more than private industry is," he said. "It should be equal."

The public sentiment is a cause for concern for organized labor. Public employee unions that spent millions of dollars helping to elect Brown are working aggressively to keep their pensions intact. But the governor has made clear that he believes they must make concessions as the state struggles.

Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said the public is trapped in a "moment of envy" over benefits that he maintains are far from lavish.

His union's position is that every worker should be entitled to a pension, not an unsecured retirement reliant on Wall Street earnings. Policy makers should focus on winning back a stable retirement for private-sector workers rather than demonize public employees, he said.

Some state and local public employee unions have already agreed to some changes, such as a delay in the retirement age for new hires.

"It's one thing for Republican governors in Wisconsin and Indiana to support these types of changes, but seeing this type of support from California voters, even California Democrats, is really remarkable," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP strategist.

Among Democratic respondents, 71% supported increasing retirement contributions for future hires and 66% backed a pension cap for both current and future workers. However, fewer than half of the Democrats surveyed favored cutting benefits and raising the retirement age for current employees.

Majorities of Republican and nonpartisan voters favored every potential money-saving pension change they were asked about.

Linda DiVall, a Republican pollster who co-directed the poll, said the results show that on the subject of retirement benefits, the public believes it is "unfair what the state employees have going for them."

Although Republicans have crusaded for years against what they view as bloated government pensions, California voters are not confident that they are best suited to tackle the issue. Only 29% said Republicans would best handle a revamping of the pension system, whereas 43% would prefer that an overhaul be left in the hands of Brown and his fellow Democrats.

And although voters strongly supported downsizing parts of the pension system, they were divided on whether most public employees were compensated appropriately. Forty-three percent said wages and benefits were too high; 33% said they were about right; 12% said they were too low.

The Times/USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences poll surveyed 1,503 registered voters from April 7 to 17. It was conducted by a bipartisan team of polling companies based in the Washington, D.C., area: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm.

The margin of error is plus or minus 2.53 percentage points. Some pension questions were posed to half the respondents and have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.58 percentage points.

shane.goldmacher@latimes.com
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times****

 
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ccp
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« Reply #98 on: April 29, 2011, 02:20:50 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/

I think one could counter this by pointing out government unions wipe their behinds with taxpayer monies.

Could some highly visible person start a campaign that all taxpayers should avoid any business that is intimidated by unions or shows union solidarity in a public way?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #99 on: May 13, 2011, 08:05:22 AM »

By ARTHUR B. LAFFER
AND STEPHEN MOORE
The Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint last month against Boeing to block production of the company's 787 Dreamliner at a new assembly plant in South Carolina—a "right to-work" state with a law against compulsory union membership. If the NLRB has its way, Dreamliner assembly will return to Washington, a union-shop state, along with more than 1,000 jobs.

The NLRB's action, which Boeing will challenge at a hearing next month, is a big deal. It's the first time a federal agency has intervened to tell an American company where it can and cannot operate a plant within the U.S. It lays the foundation of a regulatory wall with one express purpose: to prevent the direct competition of right-to-work states with union-shop states. Why, as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley recently asked on these pages, should Washington have any more right to these jobs than South Carolina?

A recent New York Times editorial justified the NLRB decision by arguing that unions are suffering from "the flight of companies to 'Right-to-Work' states where workers cannot be required to join a union." That's for sure, and quite an admission. We've been observing that migration pattern for years, but liberals have denied it's actually happening—until now.

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David Klein
 .Every year we rank the states on their economic competitiveness in a report called "Rich States, Poor States" for the American Legislative Exchange Council. This ranking uses 15 fiscal, tax and regulatory variables to determine which states have policies that are most conducive to prosperity. Two of these 15 policies have consistently stood out as the most important in predicting where jobs will be created and incomes will rise. First, states with no income tax generally outperform high income tax states. Second, states that have right-to-work laws grow faster than states with forced unionism.

As of today there are 22 right-to-work states and 28 union-shop states. Over the past decade (2000-09) the right-to-work states grew faster in nearly every respect than their union-shop counterparts: 54.6% versus 41.1% in gross state product, 53.3% versus 40.6% in personal income, 11.9% versus 6.1% in population, and 4.1% versus -0.6% in payrolls.

For years, unions argued that right-to-work laws were bad for workers and for the states that passed them. But with the NLRB complaint, they've essentially thrown in the towel. If forced unionism is better for the economy of a state, why would the NLRB need to intervene to keep Boeing from leaving Washington? Why aren't businesses and workers moving operations to heavily unionized places like Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania and fleeing states like Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas?

In reality, the stampede of businesses from forced-union states like Washington has accelerated in recent years. A 2010 study in the Cato Journal by economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University found that between 2000 and 2008 4.8 million Americans moved from forced-union states to right-to-work states. That's one person every minute of every day.

Right-to-work states are also getting richer over time. Prof. Vedder found a 23% higher per capita income growth rate in right-to-work states than in forced-union states, which over the period 1977-2007 amounted to a $2,760 larger increase in per-person income in those states. That's a giant differential.

So now the unions concede that this migration is indeed happening, but they say that it is unhealthy and undesirable because workers in right-to-work states are paid less and get worse benefits than the workers in union states. Actually, when adjusting for the cost of living in each state and the fact that right-to-work states were poorer to begin with, a 2003 study in the Journal of Labor Research by University of Oklahoma economist Robert Reed found that wages rose faster in states that don't require union membership.

Employers that move away from forced-union states mainly do so not to scale back wages and salaries—although sometimes that happens—but to avoid having to deal with intrusive union rules, the threat of costly work stoppages, lawsuits, worker paychecks going to union fat cats, and so on.

Boeing officials have admitted that their decision to build the new Dreamliner plant in South Carolina was due in part to the fact that the company could not "afford a work stoppage every three years" as had happened in Washington state over that past decade. (By the way, this is the comment the NLRB complaint cites as proof of "retaliation" against union workers.)

Boeing is merely making a business decision based on economic reality. In fact, the company chose South Carolina for the new plant even though Washington has no income tax and South Carolina does. The two of us are often accused of arguing that income tax rates are the only factors that influence where businesses and capital relocate. Taxes certainly matter. But Boeing's move shows that taxes are not always the definitive factor in plant location decisions. In the case of Washington the advantage of its no income tax status is outweighed by its forced-union status. Lucky are the six states—Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida and Wyoming—that are both right-to-work states and have no income tax.

While there are only six right-to-work states that also have a zero earned income tax rate and three zero earned income tax rate states that have forced- union shops, their performance differences over the past decade (2000-09) are revealing. Of the nine zero income tax rate states, those six that are also right-to-work have grown a lot faster than the three with forced-union shops: 64.9% versus 53.8% in gross state product, 59.0% versus 46.8% in personal income, 15.5% versus 10.3% in population and 8.2% versus 6.9% in payrolls.

The Boeing incident makes it clear that right-to-work states have a competitive advantage over forced-union states. So the question arises: Why doesn't every state adopt right-to-work laws? Four or five are trying to do so this year, and have faced ferocious opposition from the union movement.

But that shouldn't stop state legislators in forced-union states from doing what's in their workers' best interests. They need to decide whether they want to continue to see jobs and tax receipts exit their states, or whether they want to adopt laws that afford their workers the right to join a union or not. The only alternative is to build a regulatory Berlin Wall around their borders to keep their businesses from leaving.

Mr. Laffer is the chairman of Laffer Associates. Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Journal's editorial page. They are co-authors of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).

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