Daily Archives: March 20, 2011

Politcus USA: Republican House Committee Legislates Climate Change out of Existence

March 20, 2011- The House Republicans have killed the Select Committee on Global Warming, and now they’ve taken the next step: legislating climate change out of existence. Yes, that’s right: all our troubles are at an end. Who needs a magic wand when you have a House full of Republicans?

Sean Pool writes in Science Progress,

House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee demonstrated their commitment to science denial Wednesday by unanimously voting down three separate amendments offered by Democrats to reaffirm basic facts about climate science. They then unanimously voted to pass the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution.

What’s next, a headline like “Breaking News: Gravity No Longer Exists; Is Dismissed by House Republicans as anti-Christian Secularist Plot!”?

This is essentially what Democratic Representative Edward Markey asked:

The Cap Times: Grass Roots: Fallout on veterans fuels insider critique of state budget

March 19, 2011- There's got to be lots of talk behind the closed doors of state government offices about the challenges of making it work under Gov. Scott Walker's controversial spending plan. We know rank and file workers in spitting distance of retirement are getting out while the getting is good. But barely a peep of concern from state government brass over the impact of the budget on services has gone public.

Into the void steps the secretary of the state's troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, who says proposed cuts to his agency would hurt veterans.

Ken Black is in the rare position of not depending on the governor for his job, but on the Board of Veterans Affairs that appoints him, and he's airing his concerns about the Walker budget right on the department website.

In a letter posted earlier this week, he says the budget does not reflect the state's historic "commitment to provide the benefits and services our veterans need and deserve."

LaCrosse Tribune: 100 new jobs; 1 big protest — Walker comes to City Brewery

March 19, 2011- Gov. Scott Walker had to compete with the clamor of protesters Friday to announce City Brewing Co. will receive almost $500,000 in tax credits for several projects expected to create up to 100 jobs. The crowd pressed signs against a locked entrance downstairs as the governor spoke in the brewhouse, at times sounding like he had a background band of drumbeats and chants.

Hundreds gathered along Third Street in opposition to the governor’s plan to virtually end collective bargaining rights for most state public workers. A Dane County judge Friday temporarily blocked the law from taking effect.

Walker’s remarks in La Crosse primarily focused on the brewery’s planned $13 million in projects over the next three years, which earned it $490,000 in Economic Development Tax Credits from the Department of Commerce.

Such developments aren’t about Republicans or Democrats, “they’re about Wisconsin jobs,” Walker told about a dozen people in the audience.

In a prepared release, Walker said, “Our No. 1 priority is helping Wisconsin businesses create jobs.”

Green Bay Gazette: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker releases e-mails about union rights

March 19, 2011- In the days after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to strip the state's public workers of nearly all their union bargaining rights, his office was flooded with a deluge of e-mail.

Some constituents cheered. Others could not have been more forceful in their opposition.

"Your handling of the current situation in Madison is an embarrassment to the people of Wisconsin. You appear to be an ignorant puppet and I am ashamed to have you as governor of the state I call home," wrote a person who said he lived in Wisconsin and is married to a teacher.

Countered a woman who identified herself as a Milwaukee Public Schools employee: "Despite the outcry from the great majority of my colleagues, I am very much in favor of the changes you are proposing. This legislation is more than fair to us in the public sector and will bring a measure of financial relief to the people of our state. Keep up the good work, Governor."

Wisconsin State Journal: Footnote: What’s the difference between the budget repair bill and the biennial budget?

March 19, 2011- The State Journal's Footnote will try to explain the often heard, but perhaps not widely understood, phrases, ideas and controversies in the news. It runs weekly on Sundays.

Q: For weeks, news reports focused on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. Then, on March 1, Walker released his biennial budget proposal. What is the difference between the two?

A: The budget repair bill is for the current two-year budget cycle, which ends June 30.

The state, unlike the federal government, must balance its budget by the end of each biennial period, said Dennis Dresang, a UW-Madison professor emeritus of political science and public affairs.

The revenue and spending projections upon which the current budget is based were made in the fall of 2008, and the budget took effect July 1, 2009.

"Not surprisingly, projections made more than two years ago were off — in this case it was primarily that revenues were lower than forecast," Dresang said. "So, we need to balance the current budget."

Center for Economic Policy and Research: Governor Walker Tells Post Readers That He Doesn’t Understand Basic Economics

March 17, 2011- It's always scary when someone in a position of responsibility doesn't understand some of the basics of their job. Apparently this is the case with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

In a column in the Washington Post this morning Walker noted that under his new compensation package for public sector employees in Wisconsin, workers in the state will still be paying a far smaller portion of their health care benefits than most workers in the private sector or federal employees. He then comments:

"It’s enough to make you wonder why there are no protesters circling the White House."

Actually, it's enough to make you wonder what Governor Walker could possibly be thinking.

Washington Post: Scott Walker Op-Ed: Striking the right bargain in Wisconsin

March 16, 2011- Imagine the outrage if government workers did not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. Consider the massive protests that would be staged by labor leaders all across the country.

Think I’m talking about Wisconsin? No, I’m talking about the federal government.

Contrary to what the Obama administration would lead you to believe, most employees of the federal government do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. That means the budget reform plan we signed into law in Wisconsin on Friday is more generous than what President Obama offers federal employees.

Our reform plan calls for a 5.8 percent pension contribution from government workers, including myself, and a 12.6 percent health insurance premium payment. Both are well below what middle-class, private-sector workers pay. Federal workers, however, pay an average of 28 percent of health insurance costs.

It’s enough to make you wonder why there are no protesters circling the White House.

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