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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 20, 2011 12:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Should county commissioners be donating tax money to charity?. The next post in this blog is What's the buzz?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Wisconsin, a splash of cold water in the face

The new Republican governor there has embarked on a major reality check, which is bringing the public employee unions out into the street, Cairo-style. Canceling federal-pork-fueled train projects, making public employees pay more toward their own health care and pensions -- are we really talking about Madison, Wisconsin?

Comments (60)

Yes, and Madison being a Gubberment town! Walker has guts. Perhaps he got Dr. No's share of hair?

Those state employees better suck it up. Somebody's got to pay Blankfein's bonus!

The unions agreed to the salary and benefit changes Walker wants. The real battle is over the right to collectively bargain and unionize.

Gotta watch those former corporate tax lawyers...

Diane Ravitch (CNN) is spot on regarding this:

Now conservative governors and mayors want to abolish teachers' right to due process, their seniority, and -- in some states -- their collective bargaining rights. Right-to-work states do not have higher scores than states with strong unions. Actually, the states with the highest performance on national tests are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, where teachers belong to unions that bargain collectively for their members.

But then, if we required Teachers to join the Teamsters we could dress them all in Brown and see them hustle like the average UPS driver.

The unions agreed to the salary and benefit changes Walker wants.

The union did not agree to any such thing until after the fact. What Walker did was simply what it takes to actually get these folks to finally acknowledge that business as usual ain't gonna work any more. After their collective tantrum peters out, they'll have to recognize that "the new normal" applies to them, too. Perhaps a few will recognize that their union "leaders" led them off a cliff.

The real battle is over the right to collectively bargain and unionize.

...or is that: unionize and collectively bargain?

I don't recall hearing that the WI bill would prevent unionization. It does restrict the scope of PE unions' bargaining ability. No effect on private unions - just the PE unions. There is a fundamental difference between the two.

Without the restraints on the PE unions' bargaining powers, the bill would be pointless - as Walker (and any realistic person) knows.

Nothing much has changed in Mad City over the last 40 years -- most any movement is cause enough to get ten thousand students out on the streets.

Nothing much has changed in Mad City over the last 40 years -- most any movement is cause enough to get ten thousand students out on the streets.

And most of the guys are only out there because the hope to score with a hot woman.

In the interest of fair and balanced....

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/18/6079270-wisconsin-gov-made-his-own-problem

"Gov. Walker wants to take away the collective bargaining rights of the state employees' unions, with the exception of the three that supported him in the last election. He says it's because there's a budget crisis going on, but as we reported on the show last night, the "repair" he's calling for would fix the giant dent he made himself. From the Madison Cap Times:

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist."

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

"One Wisconsin Now, the progressive watchdog group that has provided the closest monitoring of Walker’s budgetary gamesmanship, explains:

“Since his inauguration in early January, Walker has approved $140 million in new special-interest spending that includes:

“• $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation.

Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs.

“• $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants.

“• $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at best the benefit provided to ‘job creators’ would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day.”

State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, sums up this scheming accurately when he says: “In one fell swoop, Gov. Walker is trying to institute a sweeping radical and dangerous notion that will return Wisconsin to the days when land barons and railroad tycoons controlled the political elites in Madison.” "

So a little deeper digging looks a lot like budget issues we are familiar with here... pork to the rich and then find a way to make the little guy pay.

Wisconsin’s public employees don’t want collective bargaining. They have won extraordinary concessions not by persuasion but by threatening the disruptive actions they are engaged in now. Teachers who have left the classroom (calling in "sick") to demonstrate show their priorities are pay, not educating students.

Additionally, because they do not trust the collective bargaining table, public employees have used dues to fund the campaigns of legislators who will put pressure on the management side to cave to union demands.

I'm surprised the Republicans haven't tumbled to this some time ago. One of the largest contributor bases for Democrats is unions. Cut off dues deductions through the payroll system (one of Walker's non-negotiable demands), and you cut off that funding source. Throw in the Supreme Court's Citizens' United unlimited-corporate-money decision, and you leave the Republicans free to enact their legislative agenda.

Unions aren't the primary target, here. They're roadkill on the way to the target.

"Now conservative governors and mayors want to abolish teachers' right to due process, their seniority, and -- in some states -- their collective bargaining rights."

She forgot to mention he is OK with collective bargaining on wages.

I think the most pain is someone is actually playing hardball back with the unions for once.

Thank you, LucsAdvo. It's a Republican issue. Why? Because unions don't vote R. Break the unions and benefits will be gone for everyone. Forget FMLA, health insurance, vacation, etc. We might as well all work for Plaid Pantry. The gains unions made back in the day trickled down (the only time trickling down works, sorry Reaganomics fans if any are left to tell the tale) to all or most leading to a decent life and work place. Quit bashing the unions and take a harder look at the corporate tax breaks given. Good Lord.

So a little deeper digging looks a lot like budget issues we are familiar with here... pork to the rich and then find a way to make the little guy pay.

Really?.

I guess it looks like that to Maddow, OWN and you.

Hammers/nail.

What tired, class warfare line do you have to address the 3.1B to 3.6B deficit that Wisconsin faces come July?


Looks like Oregon may be next in the debt line:
http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2011/02/18/oregon-debt-capacity-nearly-drained.html

Tax breaks are a way to help businesses and individuals deal with the high tax burden while at the same time engaging in a little social engineering. I'd prefer an outright tax cut, but that's just me.

OTOH, public unions create public expenditures and eventually debt, while businesses, including corporations, create jobs. Jobs produce goods and services and eventually tax revenues. Who would you rather give tax benefits to?

Daisy Chain is right. Unions have forged the way for most ot the recent progressive benefit changes we have. Once the CEOs and CFOs (and their manager counterparts in the public sector who are not governed by the collective bargaining agreements they often rail against)agree to unionize and work for a reasonable hourly pay, decent health care and a modest retirement package I'd be happy to discuss further changes.

Bill to End Collective Bargaining for Teachers Advances
http://www.tnreport.com/2011/02/bill-to-end-collective-bargaining-for-teachers-advances/ February 17, 2011

Republicans bent on reining in the power of Tennessee teachers’ unions faced a congregation of indignation in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.

But that didn’t stop them from moving a measure to dissolve mandatory collective bargaining in the state’s public school systems.

Senate Bill 113 passed out of the GOP-dominated committee on a 6-3 party-line vote,

I am going to guess that most of the posters on this blog were not born with silver spoons in their mouths. And even if your mommy and daddy did manage to crack the American dream and make it big, some of us do remember where our grandparents came from. Seamtress (union), meter reader (union), farmer (not union), teacher long ago (not union).

JoWriter - As for businesses creating jobs really ? Did you mean jobs in China, India, Mexico, and Kuala Lumpur amongst other places? Or do you mean crappy retail jobs working for Wally World and H Depot (I will skip that nickname in deference to Jack).

cc You never really addressed the pork for the rich. Let's talk after you explain why all those things are sacred while cutting pay for teachers and nurses while the price of food and energy is rising is a good thing. Do you think some people's standards of living need to suffer so others can get even cushier? And as for the class warfare b.s. Lame. It's about fairness. And trust me, it's pretty likely that I make a lot more than you do and have a lot higher net worth. But I am by no means rich. Just a member of the soon to be extinct upper middle class.

So the self-named 'Job Creators' (immensely rich persons and businesses) all got their taxes waived in order to be able to afford (re-)hiring folks ... so where's the jobs? }crickets{

A couple of aspects on the Wisc. sensation:

Koch Industries Slashed WI Jobs, Helped Elect Scott Walker, Now Orchestrating Pro-Walker Protest, By Lee Fang, ThinkProgress.ORG, Feb 18th, 2011 ... Walker is facing a growing backlash over his attempt to cut pay and eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in his state. Although Walker is claiming his power grab is an attempt to close a budget gap, the budget “crisis” was engineered by Walker as soon as he got into office. As Brian Beutler reported, half of the budget shortfall comes from Walker’s own tax cuts for businesses and other business giveaways enacted in January.

A number of the big business interests standing with Walker are beneficiaries of his administration’s tax giveaways. But the greatest ally to Walker is the dirty energy company Koch Industries. In response to the growing protests in Madison, Koch fronts are busing in Tea Party protesters ....

... a major player in Wisconsin: Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs ....

...[Koch] one of the biggest contributors to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, funneling $43,000 over ....

According to the EPA, Koch businesses are huge polluters, emitting thousands of pounds of toxic pollutants. As soon as he got into office Walker started cutting environmental regulations ....

[Koch brothers financed the Tea Party into existence and directs its stooges, (for those who didn't know). Their father started and bankrolled the John Birch Society.]

UPDATE: Koch's Americans for Prosperity group has launched a new website and petition called www.standwithwalker.com. The new site attacks all collective bargaining, not just for public sector unions. Koch's front group also declares: "In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms."

Whoa. Hey, Oregon GOP: get right on that. Adopt Scott Walker. Now that Bob Tiernan quietly quit the job, new OGOP Chairman Alvin Alley gets to look the fool if he says he agrees with Walker Ways, or look the fool if he says he doesn't agree with Walker Ways. No doubt Lars Larson is going to drill down on this point at Alley's next scheduled daily free airtime liarfest.
Bringing Home 150 Troops From Afghanistan Would Fix Wisconsin's Budget "Crisis", by Robert Greenwald, Rethink Afghanistan ... Walker is using phony budget projections to manufacture a staged “fiscal emergency” in his state so that he can whack programs and political opponents, but even his fake “emergency” pales in comparison to the cost of the Afghanistan War to his state. In fact, the U.S. would only have to bring home 151 troops from Afghanistan to save more money than Walker’s ridiculous union-busting plan. Better yet, ending the Afghanistan War altogether would save taxpayers in Wisconsin $1.7 billion this year alone, more than ten times the amount “saved” in Walker’s attack on state employee rights.

One might ask, “Isn’t Walker’s fake budget crisis a state budget issue? How would ending the Afghanistan War pay for that?” We get this question a lot when we talk about the cost of war to a state’s taxpayer. Keep in mind that ....

Heck, Oregon already has had about that many -- 151 troops -- public-employees (Oregon Guards) brought home who won't ever have to be paid medical costs or retirement pensions . . . .

This is one of the first times, as a Democrat, I feel sorta a tug towards the GOP. Walker is doing truly courageous work. No chance this will come to Oregon, but, still, keep fighting Scott! Public employee unions... ugh!

If this is such a dire fiscal emergency, as Walker claims, then why are police and fire unions exempt from the changes?

"I am going to guess that most of the posters on this blog were not born with silver spoons in their mouths."

True, but on the flip side, my father was in the union and couldn't wait to get out. He thought it was going to drive the place he worked for out of business and 5 years after he left it did.

I guess my question is what do you suggest he cuts to make up a $3.6B deficit? Welfare payments? Rent subsidies?

That's the secret sauce, everyone gripes when their ox is gored, but someone somewher needs to give up something.

semicynic - There is a train of thought that the Repugs are waging war on women ( http://pol.moveon.org/waronwomen/ ) and since the vast majority of teachers, social workers, etc. are women, they are targeted while more traditionally male jobs (cops and firefighters) are left alone. Men tend to favor Repugs more anyway.

Steve - As for Mr. Hypocrite, is he taking a pay cut as governor and is he requiring all his staff to take pay cuts? Is the legislature getting pay cuts? Are all public employees getting pay cuts and having bargaining rights cut or just some? Just sayin'


Interesting that Obama visits Intel where the modern workforce relations needs no collective bargaining while obsolete unions give us Wu.

Unions have not cared what kind of defective people they elect as long as they were D, human & their payroll dues deductions go to Ds.

Look at TriMet. It a thoroughly Democrat creation that is completely insolvent, out of control & rushing towards the abyss. All while the Democrat planning class declares wonder and enamor for the new spendy stuff.

These public employee unions are trying to pitch that deep fiscal problems are not their fault. But the effect of 3 decades of buying politicians who agree to collective bargaining agreements that could not and cannot be paid for is at the center of the government crisis. Even without the current economy the chickens have come home to roost.

Example: NY has a total state and local unfunded fringe benefit liability of $300 Billion. Many other states have similar and proportionately severe liabilities that can never be paid.
All told the country has Trillions it can never pay.

The adding to this quagmire is these D union pandering politicians are the same ones who perpetually obstruct any reforms to entitlements that are unfunded by 10s of Trillions.

It's over and the Ed Schultzs and & Thom Hartmans are melting down as democrats try and preserve their meal tickets to elections.

Without the public employees and labor unions they are done.

"As for Mr. Hypocrite, is he taking a pay cut as governor and is he requiring all his staff to take pay cuts?"

I don't know, but I'd be for it also. Right now, I think I'd look at any suggestion. How far you think he'd get with asking everyone in state govt to take a 10% pay cut like in the real world when things get tough?

The problem is that they've known about this for a while (at least in WI) and the unions have not stepped forward to offer one suggestion until they get their hand forced. Otherwise, they've had their way (unless you can tell me the last time a pub employee union got told no).

In OR, I'd like to see Kitz just kill some bureaus they are in instead of this sham I want all managers to resigna nd then he does nothing.

The only "major reality check" I've noticed in Wisconsin is that the GOP governor and legislature have quite decisively shed the illusion that they care about anything other than tearing down people who have achieved, by dint of that quaint notion called "solidarity", a modest level of security.

Some would look at the guy who has decent medical insurance and think, "Now I deserve that, too." The instinctive GOP response is instead to think, "That guy has got a better deal than I, and I really resent it, so I'm going to make sure that he gets reamed by insurance companies, too."

I'm unsure exactly when the GOP elevated the idea of "cutting off your nose to spite your face" to the level of Holy Scripture, although it has certainly been dogma since the days of Saint Ronnie.

"Some would look at the guy who has decent medical insurance"

I don't think he is changing their med insurance, I think he is asking a contribution.

Again, if a state is $3.6B short, what do you want to cut? I think spreading the cuts among public employees (yes, including the gov and mgrs and elected pols) is probably the least painful.

"... Intel: where the modern workforce relations needs no collective bargaining."

While still a Technical Institute undergrad, my academic rainbow arc was interrupted as I was conscripted by IBM (privilege, of conferring draft avoidance), to program some computers they had lacking programmers. There were always more job openings 'in computers' than there were job applicants & fillers -- what's come to be known as 'the high tech' field. So, early in my IBM tour of duty early at the outset of my high-tech career, I asked right away, Why was there NO Union (of) computer-workers, data professionals, information processors? And the answer was: Computers pay such good benefits that a Union is not an improvement.

And it was (is?) true. We (programmers) were treated as gods; I traveled in limosines and private planes to situations for the sole purpose of putting me and a computer in the same room. ... back in the days when the computer couldn't travel.

Look at high tech Intel's example: The friggin PresidentoftheUnitedStates hustles his butt all the way across the country to bow gratefully prostrate before the Almighty Computer Circuit ... where there -- still today! in today's Great Jobs Recession -- are high tech job openings (for self-selecting applicants) ... anyone? ... anyone? . . .

Or look and see the same in the money quote of the Greatest 'Jeopardy!' game show player, who recently lost the game to Watson Blue (too-obviously colored a liberal Democrat 'machine'): "I, for one, bow to our new computer overlords" ... or something like that.

"The friggin PresidentoftheUnitedStates hustles his butt all the way across the country to bow gratefully prostrate before the Almighty Computer Circuit"

Y'know that actually makes sense since the night before he was kissing Google/Facebooks behinds. It's really great when you hit the lottery and you can get the Pres to give his canned speeches on how we are gonna out-think everyone else.

However, how about going to the Chamber of Commerce (or where-ever) and helping the small biz guy? I mean we are not all coders or engineers in this economy.

"There is a train of thought that the Repugs are waging war on women"

Indeed. Women and children hardest hit!

Of course, men getting told they'll get no gov. bailout money for jobs isn't a war on men. There is no mancession! I enjoyed reading one woman writing that men should just retrain, its their fault for being in dead industries.

Robert Reich in '09:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opxuUj6vFa4

Only in America would we have 80% of the wealth in the hands of a few--and Wall Street colluding to extract even more wealth from the people--but attack TEACHERS as the source of our financial problems. It's stunning, profoundly sad, and the biggest case of ignorance I've heard of in the past century of American history.

In other words, the propaganda of the super-wealthy is working, folks. You're regurgitating it verbatim.

And as for the class warfare b.s. Lame. It's about fairness. And trust me, it's pretty likely that I make a lot more than you do and have a lot higher net worth. But I am by no means rich. Just a member of the soon to be extinct upper middle class.

Be sure to let me know when the extinction occurs, you poor thing. Richer people than you engage in class warfare regularly - save the self-absolution for someone more gullible. The one nugget to be gleaned from your tailings is the issue of fairness. That, of course, comes frighteningly close to the real issue at hand - is it fair for one class of workers to be held harmless from shared sacrifice simply because they work for the government? Add in the facts that most of their salaries and benefits are derived from the income of others and that their employers are rarely held personally responsible for caving to union demands. It's a cozy arrangement with no real-world corollary - OPM spent by elected officials and bureaucrats to feed the insatiable maw of unions in return for their votes. Who's being treated unfairly in this scenario?

cc You never really addressed the pork for the rich.

Oh, pardon me for not "addressing" your obfuscations, Mighty Oz. Of couse they are replete with the usual rosy-hued fish, either-or fallacies and your friend, the scarecrow.

Let's talk after you explain why all those things are sacred while cutting pay for teachers and nurses while the price of food and energy is rising is a good thing.

Suffer!? - Oh that's rich (like you're not). I wish I could suffer like the poor PE teachers and nurses in Wisconsin. I doubt they'll be eating watery gruel any time soon. Rising prices don't distinguish between private and public employees, so, yeah, i think they should share the pain. Why not, speaking of sacred?

Do you think some people's standards of living need to suffer so others can get even cushier?

Yup, and I eat babies, too.

Right now, the PE's are definitely demanding their cushy lifestyle be insulated from the harsh reality of Wisconsin's deficit. Which DOES and WILL exist independent of your fanatasies.

I wonder why the PE unions and members didn't worry about the effects of their contractual demands on the budget every time they negotiated a contract. Could it be because they didn't care...

...'til now?

How awfully collective of them.

and now, answering a question from upthread, seriously folks:

"my question is what do you suggest he cuts to make up a $3.6B deficit? Welfare payments? Rent subsidies?"

Risk phobia thinks penny ante. McCovey's 7 Habits of Successful Managers says Deal with the big things first. The BIGgest thing is the 800-lb gorilla squishing your life and my life and the lives of all of us, (aka a 10 or 20 TRILLION dollar deficit), and it is the USGovt Militarism.
The latesst 'Budget' for example -- 4 Trillion taxbucks appropriated in these parts:
1.5 Trillion to run Social Security -- untouchable
1.5 Trillion to run Medicare -- untouchable
2 Trillion to run The Government -- with discretion

Hey, wait, that adds up to 5 Trillion.
So what, we'll 'borrow' One Trillion?
Okay, then what discrete things does our discretion buy?
Well, besides 'welfare payments' and 'rent subsidies' and before we get to those, right off the top to run The Government we pay the pentagonal Defense Dept One Trillion dollars, hard-nose brass-tacks no-compromise untouchable. The Second Trillion to run The Government is negotiable, depending on interest rates.
But The Government doesn't have any enemies to Defense against,
and no Earthly purpose or rational reason to have any Defense ... department.
Yeah, so what? Pay 'em, it's the American taxpayer custom.

On May 15, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge vetoed a bill granting bonuses to veterans of World War I saying: "patriotism... bought and paid for is not patriotism." Congress overrode his veto a few days later, enacting the World War Adjusted Compensation Act. Each veteran was to receive a dollar for each day of domestic service, up to a maximum of $500, and $1.25 for each day of overseas service, up to a maximum of $625. Amounts of $50 or less were immediately paid. All other amounts were issued as Certificates of Service maturing in 20 years.

Some 3,662,374 military service certificates were issued, with a face value of $3.638 billion. Congress established a trust fund to receive 20 annual payments of $112 million that, with interest, would finance the 1945 disbursement of the $3.638 billion due to the veterans. Meanwhile, veterans could borrow up to 22.5% of the certificate's face value from the fund. In 1931, because of the Great Depression, Congress increased the maximum value of such loans to 50% of the certificate's face value. By April 1932, loans amounting to $1.248 billion had been made. Although there was Congressional support for the immediate redemption of the military service certificates, President Hoover and Republican congressmen opposed such action, because the government would have to increase taxes to cover the costs of the payout, and that would slow the recovery.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars continued to press the federal government to allow the early redemption of military service certificates.

...

The Bonus Army massed at the United States Capitol on June 17 as the U.S. Senate defeated the Bonus Bill by a vote of 62-18.

The marchers remained at their campsite waiting for President Hoover to act. On July 28, 1932, ... President Hoover ordered the army to evict the Bonus Army from Washington. [Wikipedia source]

At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them — an action which prompted the spectators to yell, "Shame! Shame!"

After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and adamsite gas, an arsenical vomiting agent, entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack.

See my comment upthread citing analysis which shows Wisconsin's "$3.6B deficit" can be eliminated by cutting 151 troops out of Afghanistan and bringing them home, pulling in the USGovt Militarism horns.

Deal with the Big-as-in-Billions things first. A new custom. It's in the olde Constitution. Think of it as the new Consti2tion. Then go join the Workers Solidarity demonstration in Salem on the steps of the Capitol, today, meeting in 5 minutes

Ecohuman...with your wife being a teacher, of course you are not biased. The days of sacred cows are over. Get used to it because this financial mess affects us all for generations.

is it fair for one class of workers to be held harmless from shared sacrifice simply because they work for the government?

Is it fair for you to ignore the fact that they already do? No--but you do it. Claiming that this group of folks don't sacrifice is stunningly self-centered of you, cc. Unless I'm mistaken, and you're on speaking terms with all of them?

Add in the facts that most of their salaries and benefits are derived from the income of others

Nice try. ALL salaries and benefits are derived from the income of others. Even yours. What are *you* sacrificing, cc?

OPM spent by elected officials and bureaucrats to feed the insatiable maw
of unions in return for their votes. Who's being treated unfairly in this scenario?

The "insatiable maw"? To put all union wages in perspective, cc, they equal what Goldman Sachs brought in less than ONE DAY in 2010. I wonder where Goldman Sachs got that money, and where it went?

But you're not interested in the bigger picture of inequity and injustice and fraud, are you cc? Because if you were, you'd spend your long, rambling comments discussing it. Instead, you focus your seething anger on those who, when taken together, account for less than 1% of the wealth being extracted from the economy by the super-wealthy.

Ecohuman...with your wife being a teacher, of course you are not biased. The days of sacred cows are over. Get used to it because this financial mess affects us all for generations.

Again, the same tired, tired tale. Teacher in Oregon sacrifice every year, with pay cuts and freezes, furlough days, layoffs (there are thousands happening this year across the state), continually reduced health care benefits, continually worsening retirement benefits (news flash--teachers entering the profession the past decade or so won't be living off their pension), continually inccreasing class sizes, more and more students with serious, violent behavioral problems and poverty-stricken home lives, and so on. Yet given all of this, somehow, people *still* assume "teachers" are getting soft pillows and gold bars, and do not sacrifice.

More and more, excellent teachers turn away from the teaching profession. I wonder why that is, if there's some golden nest egg waiting for them?

"sacred cow"? That's utterly, completely crap. The mass delusion that people seem to want to participate in so fully--that somehow, teachers and public school workers live off the fat of the land--is a key reason why the economy and the state of education and citizenship continues to decline in America.

Only in America would we have 80% of the wealth in the hands of a few--and Wall Street colluding to extract even more wealth from the people--but attack TEACHERS as the source of our financial problems. It's stunning, profoundly sad, and the biggest case of ignorance I've heard of in the past century of American history.

Collusion is in the eye of the beholder. And, of course, you see it everywhere. It's so simple - it explains everything. It's what you do.

SOP in defense of the beleaguered PE's is the conflation of their oppression with the existence of rich(er) people as a zero-sum situation.

That, and characterization of this bill as an ATTACK (see, my shift key works, too) on teachers ...as the *source* of our financial problems.

Wow. That's attributed to whom, other than you, exactly?

Be sure to ignore the deficit, the results of the recent election in WI and the actual compensation of PE's v. private sector workers. Be sure not to mention any less sympathetic PE's since that doesn't fit the propaganda you're regurgitating.

This bill is no more an attack on teachers than a progressive income tax is an attack on the rich ...and the upper middle class, such as LucsAdvo.

Drama, drama, drama.

Is it fair for you to ignore the fact that they already do? No--but you do it. Claiming that this group of folks don't sacrifice is stunningly self-centered of you, cc. Unless I'm mistaken, and you're on speaking terms with all of them?

Answer a question with a question, (and a straw man and an ad hominem) while you're at it, I always say.

But then I'm self-centered, tee-hee.

Nice try. ALL salaries and benefits are derived from the income of others. Even yours. What are *you* sacrificing, cc?

Taxes are a troubling detail, there. Taxes being the source of PE salaries and benefits.

Don't see the important difference?

Don't look.

The "insatiable maw"? To put all union wages in perspective, cc, they equal what Goldman Sachs brought in less than ONE DAY in 2010. I wonder where Goldman Sachs got that money, and where it went?

Me, too. I suppose it came from those whose incomes has dropped in the last few years AND from those whose hasn't. I guess the larger burden is on the former, doncha think?

But that's beside the point of the post, isn't it?

But you're not interested in the bigger picture of inequity and injustice and fraud, are you cc? Because if you were, you'd spend your long, rambling comments discussing it. Instead, you focus your seething anger on those who, when taken together, account for less than 1% of the wealth being extracted from the economy by the super-wealthy.

My goodness!

I'm all for truth, justice and the American way, there, buddy.

Thanks for the compliments on my writing style - sorry I couldn't accomodate you on your off-topic rants, but I think you're more than capable of holding up both ends of the argument.

As for my "seething anger", let's not project too much. If it helps you to demonize me and ascribe such terrible motivations to me, simply because I favor the bill in Wisconsin (you remember, at the top of the page), I'm OK with that.

I don't offend as easily as some people


cc, your angry snark isn't impressive at all. I genuinely believe you think it is, though. What makes you sound like noise and not signal is your goal--in every post, it is to tear into people, not ideas. What's troubling is when confronted with a real idea to discuss, you quickly and breezily try to make a joke about it and move on, like this:

I'm all for truth, justice and the American way, there, buddy.

Then, you quickly feign victimstances, like this:

If it helps you to demonize me and ascribe such terrible motivations to me

And *that* is why I don't take you seriously. Ever.

The balance of power is swinging back from the left. Deal with it.

Those ruling have set it up, propaganda and it has worked to divide the people. So we can squabble. I do think that the question is what can happen as a result when a narrow percentage own more than ever in our country. I suspect many of those have in order their finances and homes in other parts of the world, leaving the mess in our country for the rest to deal with....such as what is going on in Wisconsin right now.

"it is the USGovt Militarism.
The latesst 'Budget' for example -- 4 Trillion taxbucks appropriated in these parts:
1.5 Trillion to run Social Security -- untouchable
1.5 Trillion to run Medicare -- untouchable
2 Trillion to run The Government -- with discretion"

Don't disagree, but I believe I was talking about the Wisconsin budget. Oregon is going to be looking at the same thing, unless they can get away with kicking the can down the road while the economy recuperates.

Just remember folks until about 1970, most public employees managed to get paid fairly without any unions...

There is another bleeding red (deficit) elephant in the house... unfunded federal mandates. The states and municipalities have a duty to challenge all of this (unlike the Fireman's spineless stance on the Feds and unnecessary treatment of Bull Run water). I wonder how much budget would come back out of all that. And "W" was famous for shoving unfunded mandates at states and municipalities. The reason the feds don't fund it is because finding the money for that nonsense is not easy... so make it everything someone else's problem.

Dave A - I believe you should modify your statement with the states where that was true because it certainly was not true all over the US.

cc I don't engage with those who go for the ad hominem stuff. It's not nice to fight with unarmed men so I am told.

cc, your angry snark isn't impressive at all. I genuinely believe you think it is, though. What makes you sound like noise and not signal is your goal--in every post, it is to tear into people, not ideas. What's troubling is when confronted with a real idea to discuss, you quickly and breezily try to make a joke about it and move on

I'm not trying to impress you, though I am sorry you're "troubled" yet again. You seem to be troubled or stunned or astounded or disappointed ad nauseam. If my "jokes" don't amuse you, don't laugh.

I think your position on most subjects is abundantly clear. You are more than willing to discuss "real ideas" only insofar as they conform to your orthodoxy.

When "real ideas" means "your ideas", and come in the context of off-topic rants, obfuscation, ad hominems, red herrings, straw men and the like, I "tear into people" like you (speaking of "victimstances").

Agreement with the Wisconsin bill and the underlying reasons and need for it, is, believe it or not, a "real idea". Belief that PE unions are part of the fiscal problem in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) is a real idea. I can separate the people from the system and I'm not attacking anyone - that's another of your. I don't blame public employees for getting what they can through their unions. I DO blame them for whining. If there was a way to extract repayment from the jerks who helped "negotiate" Wisconsin into this mess, that would be my first choice. But, they are where they are, and the deficit is real, so something's got to give. I believe that non-PE union folks have already "given at the office" in this recession. Maybe teachers (and nurses and puppies) have sacrificed in some areas, but sacrificed only when no more gelt could reasonably be extracted from their "adversaries" - the taxpayers.

And *that* is why I don't take you seriously. Ever.

I'm sure you take yourself seriously enough for both of us.

PS: What's with the "angry" inferences?

I won't play your game, so I'm angry?

No, you guys amuse me.

cc I don't engage with those who go for the ad hominem stuff. It's not nice to fight with unarmed men so I am told.

Non-sequitur aside, of course you do - read the above.

Tell me, was it lumping you in with Maddow that did it?

Pssshh.

"unlike the Fireman's spineless stance on the Feds and unnecessary treatment of Bull Run water"

I wouldn't call it spineless, he hasn't had to do anything yet and he'll be able to double water rates within 5 years. Gotta pay for those pensions and green houses somehow.

...are we really talking about Madison, Wisconsin?

Of course! Why do you think there are so many people out in the streets? The PRM is alive and well.

LucsAdvo:There is another bleeding red (deficit) elephant in the house... unfunded federal mandates. The states and municipalities have a duty to challenge all of this (unlike the Fireman's spineless stance on the Feds and unnecessary treatment of Bull Run water)...

Steve:...I wouldn't call it spineless, he hasn't had to do anything yet and he'll be able to double water rates within 5 years. Gotta pay for those pensions and green houses somehow.

Seems spineless to me when he has a rep for being a bully.

He has done plenty that many don't know about. $135 million already for that Powell Butte Tank project, and millions more for another one so he can dismantle our historic reservoirs, and there is more, the money down the drain doesn't stop with them.

You are right LucsAdvo, we have a duty to challenge this, if our city won't, we need our Senators to get that Waiver for us.

I'm not trying to impress you, though I am sorry you're "troubled" yet again.

Still not taking you seriously, cc. You're a caricature, by choice. You don't stand for anything.

On second thought, not so sure the Senators are on our side...saying that they are waiting for Leonard is like...

Again, could one of the Walker supporters here explain why collective bargaining is perfectly OK for police and firefighters, but not for teachers and trash collectors?

Don't hold your breath, semi-cynic. The real reason is which unions supported gov. dufus and which did not...

Meanwhile, in the hopes to have a real bit of fun ...

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2011/02/20/may-1933-hitler-abolishes-unions/

"On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police."

Parallels?

Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished.

Hitler was a "freedom loving American", then.

Mussolini did this too, abolishing trade unions after forming the National council of Corporations. Strikes and lockouts were made illegal. He created "fascist" labor unions which were anything but unions.

Don't hold your breath, semi-cynic. The real reason is which unions supported gov. dufus and which did not...

Ah, now we know real reason - not.

"gov. dufus" - pretty classy.

Are you unable to understand what Walker said about exempting the police and fire unions, or does it just not fit the meme?

LucsAdvo, ecohuman...

Godwin's Law.

Fail.


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As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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In Vino Veritas

If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009

The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 285
At this date last year: 137
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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