Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Mashup (4/25/11)

  • Once more unto the breach, dear friends – to begin, I give you Former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm (here – shocking that he’s actually taking a break from bashing President Obama for now)…
    If the conventional mantra about California being on the forefront of the nation's political trends holds true, it's really bad news for America's taxpayers.

    According to a new L.A. Times / USC Dornsife poll, a majority of Californians -- 52% to 38% -- are just fine with Democrat Jerry Brown's plan to fill the state's chronic budget deficit with $14 billion in new or renewed taxes along with cuts, as long as they get to vote on it.

    This despite the recent history of waste, corruption and spending abuses in the most populous state's vast government.

    This despite the state's continuing 12% unemployment rate, second-highest in the country.

    This despite the weak 44% job approval rating for Gov. Brown.
    Oh blah blah freaking blah, Malcolm (and by the way, Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History…your former boss’s old man…would have unilaterally invaded someone or something else for a 44 percent job approval rating).

    And isn’t Malcolm’s framing here absolutely hilarious? Namely, that a tax increases poses “ominous implications” for U.S. taxpayers? And this, given the fact that, in addition to taxpayers of the Golden State who are fine with a tax increase, about 64 percent of those polled here have no problem with a tax increase on our country’s higher earners?

    So, if voters favor development of clean energy, I guess that poses “ominous implications” for ExxonMobil. Or if voters think the “birther” argument is BS, that poses “ominous implications” for Donald Trump.

    I’ll tell you what – as opposed to more hectoring of the L.A. Times’ journalistic mistake, I’ll merely link here once more to Professor Krugman, who rebuts Malcolm’s idiocy better than I could.

  • Next, Kevin Ferris of The Philadelphia Inquirer weighed in on the recent Republican candidates’ debate for the Philadelphia mayoral and city council elections (here)…
    One candidate, former Democrat Karen Brown, was a no-show. Organizers said she had promised to attend but had a last-minute scheduling conflict. Given that the debate was sponsored by the Loyal Opposition, the GOP radicals who believe that political parties should try to win elections, it's not surprising that the party's candidate wouldn't show for the upstarts' event.
    Ordinarily I could care less about intra-party GOP hissy fits, but it turns out that, as noted here, the so-called “Loyal Opposition” wing of the GOP is run by someone whose name should live in infamy when it comes to Repug local-area politics…
    It’s a little after 8pm and Kevin Kelly is not happy. The Philadelphia Loyal Opposition leader is at the podium of last night’s Republican debate inside the German Society at 6th and Spring Garden. He says Republican City Committee-endorsed mayoral candidate Karen Brown won’t be making it, even though “she agreed to be here.” The word “cowardice” is thrown around more than once.

    Kelly says he’s exchanged several phone calls and text messages with Brown. She even allegedly sent a head shot for the occasion and Kelly openly mocks someone from her campaign in attendance, sitting in a folding chair amongst the audience. “I think you got the phone information wrong,” says the Brown staffer who would leave before he could be identified.

    “Don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining out,” says Kelly, still from the podium. “It’s very disrespectful what you’re doing here.”
    Hmmm…”cowardice,” “disrespectful”? Kind of amusing to hear this from Kelly who, as noted here, once maligned Patrick Murphy’s military service in Iraq, saying that Patrick’s claim that he risked life and limb with many, many others in our services was a “mischaracterization” (Kelly served in the Air Force in 2006, which makes his claim even more ridiculous given that Murphy served in the Army from 2003-2004).

    But then again, when it comes to handicapping a political contest, it’s pretty typical of Ferris to cast his lot with a character who is almost as disreputable as he is.

  • That leads us to Ferris’ pundit playmate at the Inky, Smerky himself (here – the subject is the air traffic controllers nodding off)…
    …what's essential is that air traffic controllers not alternate between a normal schedule and an overnight shift. Their bodies can't adjust. Better to have a dedicated night shift whose bodies can adapt to the unusual schedule.
    Great idea, actually. Of course, as noted here…
    The FAA budget is about to be cut again, but the only question is by how much. House Republicans have passed a bill rolling back funding to 2008 levels, while Senate Democrats have pushed through a bill that would keep funding stagnant. If recent short-term budget negotiations are an indication, the final bill will hew much more closely to Republican demands.

    Like everything else in the US, air safety is subordinated to cost. That dozens of major airports across the US rely on a single air traffic controller for overnight “graveyard” shifts raises deeply troubling questions. What if this lone controller becomes physically incapacitated? What happens if an emergency arises in which one airplane must receive the full attention of the lone air traffic controller?

    There is abundant evidence to suggest that sleeping on the job is the inevitable outcome of working conditions imposed on air traffic controllers.
    So, Smerky, would you care to stand up to those zany teabaggers, more than a few of whom listen to your radio program and read your column I would imagine, and call for more FAA funding?

    I don’t know the answer to that question of course, but the fact that our intrepid little pundit ended his column with a hosanna to The Sainted Ronnie R and what happened to the controllers under the watch of our 40th president is more than a bit of a giveaway as far as I’m concerned.

  • Returning to Bucks County, I wanted to highlight this recent story in the Courier Times about the negotiations between the Pennsbury School Board and the teachers in that district…
    A state appointed mediator overseeing talks between the Pennsbury school board and the teachers union ended a negotiation session Thursday after two board members who had not attended previous meetings entered the room, according to district officials and a union spokesperson.

    Board president Gene Dolnick called the unannounced arrival of board members Allan Weisel and Simon Campbell - who are not a part of the board's negotiation team - "disrespectful to the negotiating process and to the entire Pennsbury community."

    Dolnick added "a chance to reach a settlement was derailed" by their appearance.

    Campbell said that he and Weisel attended the meeting only to observe the talks and informed both parties of this intention when they arrived.

    According to Lucy Walter, spokesperson for the Pennsbury Education Association, when Campbell and Weisel arrived, school board representatives asked for a caucus. At this point, she added, the PEA negotiating team left the room to accommodate the request for a caucus.

    "Mr. Dolnick then asked us to leave," Campbell said Thursday. "I told him he has no legal right to ask a fellow elected official to leave the room and stop observing the process."

    After meeting separately with both sides, mediator John Cairns, according PEA and district officials, announced that he was adjourning the meeting as the "structure of the bargaining session had been changed."
    And timed no doubt with this result in mind, a member of Campbell’s little peanut gallery just happened to chime in with this letter to the Courier Times a day or two after the story was published.

    Simon wants a strike, people. End of discussion.

  • Finally, I really don’t have much to say about this…

    …except to note in response that it should be no surprise that I generally detest conservatives.
  • No comments: