Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

Buzzflash: Corporate Union Busters Draw First Blood in Ohio

March 3, 2011- The national corporate campaign to destroy America's public sector unions has drawn first blood in Ohio.

But a counter-attack centered on one or more statewide initiatives or constitutional amendments has become highly likely.

While thousands of protestors chanted, spoke and sang inside and outside the statehouse for the past two weeks (SB 5 Rally), the Ohio Senate voted 17-16 on Senate Bill 5, a bill that will slash collective bargaining for state workers by banning strikes and giving local officials the right to settle disputes. The bill, among other things, also eliminates all paid sick days from teachers.

The vote came amid shouts of "shame on you" and widespread booing from the diverse crowd of teachers, police, firefighters, construction workers, state employees and more.

The bill decimates a legal framework in place since 1983. The vote was surprisingly close as six Republicans joined ten Democrats in opposition. The seventeen yes voters were all Republicans.

Buzzflash: Scott Walker Let State Republican Chair and Campaign Donor Off the Hook in Pension Scandal

March 3, 2011- Was Scott Walker asleep at the wheel as chief executive of Milwaukee County when it came to pension reform?

According to a 2007 article in Milwaukee Magazine, the answer is an emphatic yes: "Walker always seems to drag his feet when it comes to cleaning up the county's pension system."

Non-Wisconsin readers should know that Walker was elected in the backlash reaction to a pension scandal in the county in 2002, and has been riding the pension reform issue ever since. But talking pension reform and implementing it in a timely manner are two different things – and Walker is a very good talker.

Think Progress: Blogger From Koch’s Law Firm Defends Koch, Doesn’t Disclose Ties

March 3, 2011- Fighting back against public scrutiny, Koch Industries is relying on a small army of conservative bloggers, reporters, and lobbyists. Chief among them is John Hinderaker, a blogger at the “Powerline Blog.” However, in his now daily defense of the Koch brothers, Hinderaker has failed to disclose that his law firm counts Koch Industries as a major client.

Hinderaker has been on the war path defending Koch. He has tasked himself with sniping at ThinkProgress posts, spending the last few weeks defending forced-abortion lobbyist and Koch operative Tim Phillips, celebrating Koch’s self-interested propaganda against climate change science, and generally making juvenile swipes at yours truly, including posting my picture and calling me a “high school student.” In a bizarre rant defending “what a great company Koch Enterprises is,” Hinkeraker even claims ThinkProgress is being paid “millions of dollars by left-wing billionaires” to report on Koch Industries. But here’s what he didn’t say:

Huffington Post: House GOP Lobs Tomato Back at Dems in Styrofoam Food Fight

March 2, 2011- Facing a pillory of environmental objections from Democratic leaders over its decision to scrap a composting program for the House cafeteria, the Republican-controlled Committee on House Administration fired back on Wednesday, telling TPM that the plan was a wasteful mess.

Earlier this week, DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) told reporters in a statement that "Evidently the Republican economic strategy for jobs is one word: 'Styrofoam,'" while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) issued their own condemnations of the new non-biodegradable utensils.

Salley Wood, Communications Director for the House Administration Committee, under whose jurisdiction the cafeteria falls, dismissed their complaints as misleading.

"I'm not sure what objection the DCCC has to us saving taxpayers $475,000 by suspending a program that failed to meet is objectives," Wood told TPM.


Consortium News: US Austerity Marks Race to the Bottom

March 3, 2011- As state and federal governments face budget deficits, they are cutting critical programs with austerity budgets that will weaken education, health care, essential services and the economy. …

We are in this race down because of choices the government is making for their wealthy campaign contributors.

Take Wisconsin, not too long ago the state was seemingly well run with a budget surplus. The economic collapse, as it did for many states, created a budget deficit as expenditures rose and revenues declined; and now that the meager Obama stimulus is running out, the deficit is here.

But, in Wisconsin the current deficit and future economic challenges are being made worse by choices made by the government. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau of Wisconsin, the state's official fiscal budget examiner, explained on Jan. 31 how the state went from surplus to deficit:

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