Daily Archives: April 3, 2011

RAW Story: Minnesota Republican: ‘I watched Minneapolis get destroyed’ by integration

April 1, 2011- As Minnesota's state senate debates a public school funding bill that would remove funding from integration programs in the major cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth and shift it to a statewide literacy drive, one freshman Republican has been particularly blunt in his opinions.

“I watched Minneapolis get destroyed,” Sen. Dan Hall stated on Thursday, "so I not only didn’t want my kids in the school system, I took them out of Minneapolis because they ruined our neighborhoods with integration and [de]segregation."

"My best friends are minority, they think integration in foolish," Hall insisted. "It’s a ploy to get more money. … It’s disrespectful to tell my friends, my minority friends that they can’t make it without extra special help.”

AlterNet: Stock Bubble, Housing Bubble and now … We’re Seeing a Growing Poverty Bubble

April 1, 2011- I look at the rich and the politicians they've managed to put in office, and my first thought is that they know exactly what they're doing — business profits are up, taxes for corporations and the wealthy are being cut at the state level, a high level of unemployment seems to be the new normal — but then I think: What do the economic elite do when something's working for them? Recent history tells us that they keep doing it until everything blows up, and then they get bailed out while we clean up the mess from the burst bubble.

So is that what this is? A class-warfare bubble? An economic-inequality bubble? But if so, what happens when this one blows up? And how will it blow up? And if the whole point of the bubble is to impoverish the middle class, how is the middle class going to clean it up after it bursts?


We know that this is what right-wing politicians and the rich want, obviously. Today, Paul Krugman writes about Republican economic thinking:

Talking Points Memo: House Defeats Effort to Remove Anti-Union Provisions of FAA Bill

April 1, 2011- The House GOP weathered a number of defections to defeat attempts to remove anti-labor language from a bill reauthorizing the FAA on Friday.

An amendment to strip the bill of a provision requiring workers to be present for votes on union representation or be counted as a "no" vote failed 220-206, with 16 Republicans joining Democrats on the losing side of the ledger. Labor groups had been hoping a larger defection might materialize, allowing them to carry the vote.

Despite their success in preserving the measure, House Republicans still have to get past President Obama and the Democratic Senate. The White House has stated that it will veto any FAA bill that includes the provision.


Political Disclosure Corporation: Koch Industries Registers in Alberta

March 25, 2011- An American company registered to lobby government officials in a foreign country normally doesn’t make the news, but when that company is Koch Industries, well, it does.

Koch Industries, led by brothers Charles and David, have been pinpointed as one of many villains in anti-collective bargaining legislation throughout the country, specifically the bill in Wisconsin. (For a briefing on the company’s exposure in Wisconsin, see here.)

But why Alberta? Part of Koch’s business interests center on oil and energy, and Alberta is home to the Athabasca oil sands. The prize? Approximately 170 billion recoverable barrels of oil, the second largest reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia. It’s a wonder they weren’t registered before now.


Rabble.Ca: Tar party: The Koch brothers come to Canada to protect their tar sands interests

March 31, 2011- The first time I heard of the Koch brothers, I was out for beer with some friends I hadn't seen since high school. We were sharing what we'd been up to, and one of them looked at me (the enviro) oddly as he said he now had his own company, but he'd been previously working for Koch Industries.

Intrigued, I asked him what Koch Industries did. He looked at me like I was a half-wit and said "Evil, man. That's what they do."

My ignorance could perhaps be forgiven, given that this was before the Greenpeace U.S. investigative report was published on how Koch Industries — an oil company that is the second-largest privately held company in the United States — had quietly become the "financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition" through its funding of lobbyists, think tanks, and "astroturf" (fake grassroots) campaigns.

Salon: Paul LePage says bad timing in labor mural removal

The Maine governor conceded it was a bad decision to remove the mural before the end of the legislative session

April 1, 2011- Maine Gov. Paul LePage says his timing wasn't the best when he ordered the removal of a mural about the state's labor history from the Department of Labor in Augusta.

In his first public comments on the issue, which have drawn criticism from labor activists across the country, LePage said the public outcry was a distraction from efforts to implement his legislative agenda, such as streamlining regulations and providing tax relief for Mainers.

He told the Portland Press Herald he should have waited until after the legislative session.

He has called the mural anti-business.

The decision continues to draw criticism. On Thursday, the Portland Museum of Art issued a statement that said the removal of the mural tarnishes Maine's reputation as a haven for artists.


Mother Jones: Rick Scott Slashes Support for the Disabled

April 1, 2011- Continuing his assault on Florida's most vulnerable, Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order on Thursday that immediately slashes money for the developmentally disabled. The cuts will reduce payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome,cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities…[which] providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients' safety.

"lt's not like, 'Gee, does this mean I have to skip a vacation this year?'" said Amy Van Bergen, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. "Potentially, these cuts have life and death implications for these people."

 An estimated 30,000 Floridians with severe developmental disabilities receive services that help them live outside of nursinghomes—typically with family or in small group homes. Aides help them eat, bathe, take medication and otherwise care for themselves.

Alternet: Ohio Governor Signs Into Law Union-Busting Bill That’s Even Worse Than Wisconsin’s, Targeting Police and Firefighters

April 1, 2011- Ohio Governor John Kasich yesterday signed into law a bill aimed at limiting the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 public employees. And according to the New York Times, the law is even harsher than the one backed by the Wisconsin GOP.

It is perhaps surprising that Ohio faced more limited public demonstrations considering that its bill, which Gov. John R. Kasich signed Thursday, goes further than Wisconsin’s in several important ways.

While both laws severely limit public employees’ ability to bargain collectively — they both prohibit any bargaining over health coverage and pensions — the Ohio law largely eliminates bargaining for the police and firefighters. Wisconsin’s law leaves those two groups’ bargaining rights untouched. Ohio’s law also gives city councils and school boards a free hand to unilaterally impose their side’s final contract offer when management and union fail to reach a settlement.

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