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Archive for June 24th, 2011

Bookman: Georgia Farms in Labor Crisis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Bookman: Georgia Farms in Labor Crisis
Jay Bookman: After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia. It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.



A message from Planet Chelonia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

A message from Planet Chelonia
As ever the Republican brand of bipartisanship is to threaten to burn down the town if the Democrats don’t hand over the matches.

As budget negotiations broke down over the issue of Eric Cantor and Jon Kyle not getting 100% of what they want as a bipartisan gesture, it is good to look upon the men who have made Washington D.C. the shining beacon of non-accomplishment it has become.

When Democrats have asked for some additional stimulus as part of any budget deal with the hope of y’know making more employees that might pay more taxes — oh and be happier with their lives, it was met with a stinging rebuke.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday morning … ripped Senate Democrats for calling for more stimulus spending as part of the deal.

“What planet are they on?” he asked.

The Planet Earth perhaps you’ve heard of it?  And upon it in this country the unemployment rate is 9.1% and the underemployment rate is much higher.

But McConnell never has thought much outside of his own little shell.



Masturbation: The Typing Requirement

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Masturbation: The Typing Requirement
Only when I first started reading what other people had written did I begin to realize that possessing the ability to write shouldn’t automatically demand that a person become a writer.

Only when I first started reading what other people had written did I begin to realize that possessing the ability to write shouldn’t automatically demand that a person become a writer.

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At Least 23 Killed in Trio of Explosions in Baghdad
On Thursday, 23 people were reported killed and at least 82 wounded in a series of three bombs that detonated in a crowded market in south Baghdad, according to the BBC. BBC: The blasts hit the Shurt al-Raba market in the south of the city, an interior ministry official told AFP news agency. … An interior ministry official said explosives loaded into wooden carts were detonated in the market at 1845 (1545 GMT). One bomb went off near Husseiniya, a place of worship for Shia Muslims, reports said. Read more

On Thursday, 23 people were reported killed and at least 82 wounded in a series of three bombs that detonated in a crowded market in south Baghdad, according to the BBC.

BBC:

The blasts hit the Shurt al-Raba market in the south of the city, an interior ministry official told AFP news agency.

… An interior ministry official said explosives loaded into wooden carts were detonated in the market at 1845 (1545 GMT).

One bomb went off near Husseiniya, a place of worship for Shia Muslims, reports said.

Read more

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Federal Ban On Pot Targeted By Ron Paul, Barney Frank

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Federal Ban On Pot Targeted By Ron Paul, Barney Frank
WASHINGTON — Two House members introduced a bill Thursday that would remove marijuana from the list of federal controlled substances and cede to the states…

Ian Fletcher: The Coming Upheaval in Republican Economics
What’s the coming alternative to free-market-centered economics? Economic nationalism. This means, for a start, a turning away from the post-1948 Republican party’s embrace of free trade and returning to the party’s traditional protectionism.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: War Economy: The Selling of Afghanistan, 2011
The last president’s legacy was tarnished when he declared “Mission Accomplished” too soon. It would be tragic if this president declared victory too late.

A Debt Ceiling Deal Is Only The Beginning
A debt-ceiling deal would be the start, not the end, of an uphill climb to control federal entitlement spending….


Conservative Media Leap To Demonize NLRB’s Changes To Rules On Unionizing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Conservative Media Leap To Demonize NLRB’s Changes To Rules On Unionizing

The right-wing media have vilified a proposal by the National Labor Relations Board to change rules regarding union organizing elections, accusing the NLRB of trying to establish “quickie elections.” In fact, the proposal would establish no time frame for holding elections, and it modernizes procedures before and after elections.

Right-Wing Media Claim NLRB Is Trying To Establish “Quickie Elections” To Allow Unions To Do “Instant Organizing”

NRO’s Kirsanow: “NLRB’s Proposed Rules Would Implement ‘Quickie Elections.” Former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow wrote in a post on the National Review Online blog The Corner:

In a nutshell, the NLRB’s proposed rules would implement “quickie elections,” a process that would allow unions to organize a workplace as easily as they could have had the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as “card check”) passed.

[…]

Yet the “quickie election” rules proposed by the NLRB will shorten the time frame to a mere 10-20 days. Make absolutely no mistake: That’s not enough time for even the largest and most sophisticated employers to counter what the union has been telling employees while organizing them for the last 6-8 months. The union win rate will far exceed 68 percent. [National Review Online, The Corner, 6/21/11]

Fox Guest Hanretty: “This Would Absolutely Allow Unions To Do Instant Organizing.” On Happening Now, former National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Karen Hanretty said:

HANRETTY: You know, this would absolutely allow unions to do instant organizing. So, in other words, they could take months of preparation to organize and hold a vote without the employer even knowing, without the employer even having the opportunity to wage their own campaign. [Fox News, Happening Now, 6/22/11]

WSJ Editorial: NLRB “Delivered A Plan For ‘Quickie’ Union Elections Designed To Make Organizing Easier.” From a Wall Street Journal editorial headlined “The Union ‘Quickie’ “:

When Big Labor failed to persuade even a Democratic Congress to pass “card check” legislation, it turned to Plan B: the National Labor Relations Board, which yesterday delivered a plan for “quickie” union elections designed to make organizing easier. [The Wall Street Journal, 6/22/11]

Heritage Foundation Analyst At NRO: “The NLRB’s Proposed Snap Elections” Are “Another Case Of The Obama Administration Putting Unions Ahead Of Workers.” In a post on The Corner, Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst James Sherk wrote:

The NLRB’s proposed snap elections, which Peter Kirsanow described here yesterday, are another case of the Obama administration putting unions ahead of workers. Unionization has plummeted in the private sector because very few workers want to join. Unions want to reverse that trend by denying employees an informed choice. [National Review Online, 6/22/11]

In Fact, Proposal Would Establish No Time Frame For Elections

CAP’s Madland: Rule Doesn’t Specify Time Frame, Addresses “Roadblocks That Commonly Are Thrown Up When The NLRB Attempts To Set Up An Election.” David Madland, director of the Center for American Progress’ American Worker Project, wrote:

The proposed rule announced today by the National Labor Relations Board to create a standard process for union elections is an important step toward giving workers a fairer way to choose whether to form a union. The rule would reform an election process that far too often resembles Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown’s foot just as he begins his kick, with scheduled elections frequently delayed or canceled and workers left flat on their backs.

This common sense proposal would standardize an inconsistent election process. The NLRB is correct when it says the proposed rule would “reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.” The proposed rule does not specify a specific time frame for elections, but rather recommends a number of changes that would help put an end to delay tactics used by employers or unions, creating a more level playing field, ensuring stability and fairness for all parties, and reducing confrontation in the workplace.

[…]

The proposed rule would address the roadblocks that commonly are thrown up when the NLRB attempts to set up an election. There is currently no limit on employers’ or unions’ ability to demand a pre-election hearing on most any issue, including the eligibility of employees to vote, or the scope of the bargaining unit, which can be used to delay an election. Many of these issues could be resolved after voting, and others are manufactured for purposes of delay and don’t need to be resolved at all, ever. As former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein explains, “The problem has been that a party in any election case has the ability to undermine the expression of employee free choice by manipulating Board procedures to create delay.” [AmericanProgress.org, 6/21/11]

NLRB: New Rules Would Eliminate A Review Process That “Almost Never Result In A Stay Of The Election.” From the NLRB’s “fact sheet” on the proposed changes:

Current procedures:

Elections routinely are delayed 25-30 days to allow parties to seek Board review of Regional Director rulings even though such requests are rarely filed, even more rarely granted, and almost never result in a stay of the election.

Proposed procedures:

The pre-election request for review would be eliminated, along with the unnecessary delay. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]

NLRB: Current Rules Encourage “Pre-Election Litigation” Over Issues That “Ultimately May Not Need To Be Resolved.” From the NLRB fact sheet:

Current procedures:

Encourages pre-election litigation over voter-eligibility issues that need not be resolved in order to determine if an election is necessary and that may not affect the outcome of the election and thus ultimately may not need to be resolved.

Proposed procedures:

The parties could choose not to raise such issues at the pre-election hearing but rather via the challenge procedure during the election. Litigation of eligibility issues raised by the parties involving less than 20 per cent of the bargaining unit would be deferred until after the election. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]

NLRB: New Rules Would Require Parties To State Their Positions At Outset Of Hearings. From the NLRB fact sheet:

Current procedures:

In contrast to federal court rules, the board’s current procedures have no mechanism for quickly identifying what issues are in dispute to avoid wasteful litigation and encourage agreements.

Proposed procedures:

The parties would be required to state their positions no later than the start of the hearing, before any other evidence is accepted. The proposed amendments would ensure that hearings are limited to issues resolving genuine disputes. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]

Right-Wing Media Say Unions Already Win Nearly Two-Thirds Of Elections …

Wash. Examiner: “Apparently, The Big Labor Bosses Aren’t Satisfied With Winning More Than 60 Percent Of Workplace Representation Elections In Recent Years.” From a Washington Examiner editorial:

The new workplace representation election rules are needed to “remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of questions concerning representation,” according to the NLRB. Unions want the NLRB to severely limit or kill management’s ability to oppose unionization before representation elections and to expose abusive campaign practices by union thugs after workers vote. Apparently, the Big Labor bosses aren’t satisfied with winning more than 60 percent of workplace representation elections in recent years. [The Washington Examiner, 6/22/11]

NRO’s Kirsanow: In Recent Years, Unions Have Won “Approximately 68 Percent Of Elections.” Kirsanow wrote in a post on The Corner:

Indeed, in 2009 and 2010 unions won approximately 68 percent of elections (this does not include the number of petitions withdrawn by unions). [National Review Online, The Corner, 6/21/11]

… But More Than One-Third Of Successful Union Petition Drives Never Even Reach An Election

Labor Journal Article: 35 Percent Of Union Drives Never Reach An Election. Writing in Industrial & Labor Relations Review, MIT doctoral candidate John-Paul Ferguson found that between 1999 and 2004, about 35 percent of cases in which an election petition was filed — meaning organizers collected enough signatures to trigger the election process — did not result in an election ultimately being held. From a chart published with his article:

[Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, article 1]

Big Government Grossly Misrepresents NLRB’s Proposal

Big Government: Rule Changes Include “Electronic Voting,” Removal Of Secret Ballot, And “Giving Digital Readouts Of The Home Addresses And Contact Information” Of Employees. From a June 21 post on BigGovernment.com:

The rule changes would include: electronic voting, which may open up fraud, as well as coercion and intimidation of voters who no longer have the protection of private ballots; rushed elections so employees don’t have time to inform themselves about having to pay union dues, live and work by union rules, and support a vast leftwing political machine; the inability for employers to challenge the validity of voting employees until it’s too late; and giving digital readouts of the home address and contact information for all the employees the union is targeting. [BigGovernment.com, 6/22/11]

NLRB: Proposal Allows Petitions, Notices, And Voter Lists To Be Transmitted Electronically — Says Nothing About Electronic Voting Or Secret Ballots. From the NLRB fact sheet:

Current procedures:

Parties or the Board cannot electronically file or transmit important representation case documents, including election petitions.

Proposed procedures:

Election petitions, election notices, and voter lists could be transmitted electronically. NLRB regional offices could deliver notices and documents electronically rather than by mail, and could directly notify employees by email, when addresses are available. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]

NLRB: Proposal Changes “The Procedures [NLRB] Follows Prior And Subsequent To Conducting A Secret Ballot Election,” Not The Election Itself. From the NLRB fact sheet:

On June 21, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board, Member Hayes dissenting, proposed reforms of the procedures it follows prior and subsequent to conducting a secret ballot election to determine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining. The proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]

NLRB: Current Rules Require Employers To Provide Names And Home Addresses Of Employees — Proposal Adds Phone And Email Contact Information. From the NLRB fact sheet:

Current procedures:

The final voter list available to all parties contains only names and home addresses, which does not permit all parties to utilize modern technology to communicate with voters.

Proposed procedures:

Phone numbers and email addresses (when available) would be included on the final voter list. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]


Report: NBC Giving Donald Trump A Big Raise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Report: NBC Giving Donald Trump A Big Raise
NBC Universal is renewing Donald Trump’s contract to host “The Celebrity Apprentice” for two years, and giving Trump and his co-producer Mark Burnett a big raise, according to The New York Post.


‘Whitey’ Bulger Arrested In California After 16-Year Manhunt
James “Whitey” Bulger, the legendary gangster who once led South Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, was arrested along with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in California Wednesday night. The FBI confirmed the arrest, and said in a brief statement that recent publicity had produced a tip that led to the apprehension of Bulger, ending a 16-year, international manhunt.

Report: Private Prisons Love Mass Incarceration, And Want Politicians To Love It Too
Private prison companies have helped fuel government policies which lead to an increase in prison population and boost their profits, according to a recent report.



Media Dumps Palin for Bachmann

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Media Dumps Palin for Bachmann


Could Be a Year Before Giffords Returns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Could Be a Year Before Giffords Returns
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-AZ) doctor “says it will be about a year before it can be known whether she can return to Congress, bringing into question whether she will be able to meet Arizona’s May 2012 filing deadline for reelection,” Politico reports.

Insiders Doubt Debt Deal by July 1
National Journal’s Political Insiders Poll finds a majority of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress doubt that the bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Vice President Joe Biden will be able to craft a deficit-reduction plan by their self-imposed July 1 deadline.

Cellphone Shows Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links
“The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency,” the New York Times reports.

“The discovery indicates that Bin Laden used the group, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, as part of his support network inside the country… But it also raised tantalizing questions about whether the group and others like it helped shelter and support Bin Laden on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency, given that it had mentored Harakat and allowed it to operate in Pakistan for at least 20 years.”

Perry Gets Lukewarm Response at Latino Convention
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “received a tepid response from a Latino group” after “joking about the pronunciation of a Hispanic appointee’s last name,” the AP reports.

While listing his Hispanic appointees, McClatchy reports Perry “also noted that he named Jose Cuevas as chairman of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, an appointee whose name bears striking similarities to the popular tequila, Jose Cuervo.”

Said Perry: “That is the right job for that man.”


Arab-Jewish dialogue: Is there a purpose?  

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Arab-Jewish dialogue: Is there a purpose?  
The word dialogue inherently bears a soft, constructive meaning that few people would quibble about. Dialogue is surely better than arguing, unquestionably better than fighting, and absolutely necessary if we are to have any success whatsoever in connecting with others…


Killing One Bird With Two Stones
The Republicans not only don’t want new taxes, they also want to lower taxes on business. The Democrats want to capitalize an infrastructure bank but cannot expect new spending for that. Putting these two goals together, why not lower taxes…


CHART: Corporate Tax Holiday Pushed By GOP Increases The Amount Of Money Corporations Invest Offshore

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

CHART: Corporate Tax Holiday Pushed By GOP Increases The Amount Of Money Corporations Invest Offshore
Several Congressional Republicans have been promoting the idea of enacting a tax repatriation holiday, which would allow multinational corporations to bring money that they have stowed offshore back to the U.S. at an extremely low tax rate (instead of the usual 35 percent). House Republicans have introduced legislation that would allow corporations to repatriate money […]

Several Congressional Republicans have been promoting the idea of enacting a tax repatriation holiday, which would allow multinational corporations to bring money that they have stowed offshore back to the U.S. at an extremely low tax rate (instead of the usual 35 percent). House Republicans have introduced legislation that would allow corporations to repatriate money at a 5.25 percent tax rate, while House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said this week that a repatriation holiday is a “good idea” that he’d like to see “every day.”

This comes even though a similar tax holiday in 2004 failed to deliver its promised economic growth or job creation. And other problems with this sort of corporate tax giveaway is that it encourages corporations to shift assets offshore, in anticipation of the next holiday. After all, why pay taxes at 35 percent if you think Congress will keep giving you a chance to pay 5 percent?

Research from Northwestern University has shown that corporations actually moved more funds offshore after the 2004 repatriation holiday, in anticipation of Congress enacting another holiday sometime, and that “by the end of 2006 the total ‘permanently’ reinvested abroad had exceeded the 2004 peak.” In fact, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out, “in each of the three years following the 2004 tax holiday, these companies increased the amounts of new ‘permanently reinvested’ foreign earnings by three times as much, on average, as they had in the each of the ten years before the holiday”:

According to the Joint Economic Committee, a repatriation holiday would cost nearly $80 billion over 10 years. Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Tim Pawlenty have all endorsed this corporate tax giveaway.