Daily Archives: March 18, 2011

The Progressive: Wisconsin Teacher in Apparent Suicide, “Distraught” Over Walker’s Cuts

March 17, 2011- Jeri-Lynn Betts, an early childhood teacher in the Watertown, Wisconsin, school district, died on March 8 of an apparent suicide.

A colleague says she was “very distraught” over Gov. Scott Walker’s attacks on public sector workers and public education.

Betts, 56, was a dedicated teacher who was admired in the Watertown community.

“She was an amazing person,” says the Rev. Terry Larson of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown, where she was a member. “She really put her heart and soul in her work,” adds Larson, who officiated at her memorial service on March 15.

“She was one of the good guys,” says Karen Stefonek, who used to teach with Betts. “She was very, very dedicated, and worked so well with the little special needs children. She just was very, very good with them, and very well respected in the district.”

AlterNet: Wisconsin Recall: Tea Party Express Warns GOP In Danger

March 17, 2011- In an urgent e-mail to its members, the Tea Party Express warned:

For the past two weeks Democrats have out-hustled, out-worked, and out-fundraised Republicans in the RECALL campaigns that are being launched against Gov. Walker and the Republican State Senators.

The e-mail was sent after Sam Stein of The Huffington Post reported:

Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.

Hard to say if the TPE folks are truly alarmed or just saw a fund-raising opportunity, but Stein's reporting should give progressive activists heart, if Republicans operatives are anonymously expressing concern.

Together the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America, have raised $800,000 for the recall campaign against Republican State Senators Alberta Darling, Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper, who has since been outed by his wife as an adulterer.

Think Progress: Koch Industries: ‘Carbon Dioxide Is Not A Pollutant’

March 18, 2011- John Hinderaker, who works for a firm employed by Koch Industries, argues that efforts to regulate the greenhouse pollution of the petrochemical giant are wrong because “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.” “Climate change is not caused by pollution; history proves that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not control worldwide temperatures,” Hinderaker wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is a natural substance that is essential to life on earth.” On Thursday, Koch Industries promoted Hinderaker’s radical denial of basic climate science on its Twitter feed and Facebook page:

“Let me address the argument that carbon dioxide is benign because we exhale it,” Rep. Jay Inslee explained this week when Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) parroted the same line as Hinderaker about the greenhouse gas. “That’s about as good an argument as saying a tsunami isn’t dangerous because we drink water.”

Amnesty International: Warning on US states’ plan to severely restrict workers’ rights

March 17, 2011- Amnesty International has urged several US states to abandon planned legislation that would drastically restrict workers' rights.

States including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee have proposed bills severely limiting the collective bargaining rights of trade union members. A similar bill was passed in Wisconsin on Friday.

"State governors must withdraw support for these measures which, if adopted, would violate international law," said Shane Enright, Amnesty International's trade union adviser.

â??The US has an obligation to uphold the rights of American workers – including the specific right to organize and bargain collectively."

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill on Friday that undermines the ability of unions in the public sector to protect workers. The legislation also takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees, limiting their negotiation rights only to wages.

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