Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Stuff

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Koch Brothers like to keep a low profile - rest assured that those days are over (and in addition to supporting Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films, here is something else we can do - and this looks like one hell of a rally from earlier today)...

...and this is a bit of a catchy number - a little dark, though, I'll admit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Stuff

Looks like the payback has begun in Wisconsin - to help keep this ad on the air, click here...

...and good for Lawrence O'Donnell for giving Baby Newton Leroy another shot here...

...and you just knew the Repugs would find their 2012 presidential "dark horse," didn't you...

Man Becomes GOP Frontrunner After Showing No Interest In Government

...and it looks like another week is "in the books" - enjoy (let's hope this song is apropos on a couple of different levels at least).

Friday Mashup (3/11/11)

  • I give you Christine Flowers, who of course defends Repug U.S. House Rep Peter King and his SCARY MUSLIM! hearings here…

    …the reason (King is) holding hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims is that there is no other distinct group that has been responsible for acts of terror. You can say that white males like Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber and Bill Ayers are a suspect demographic.

    But they've been remarkably quiet lately. You can't say that for those screaming "Allahu Akbar" as they pull the trigger.
    Two things: 1) As noted here, there have been twice as many plots from non-Muslim terrorists since 9/11 as Muslim groups, and 2), Bill Ayres was never tried and/or convicted in a court of law of killing anyone (unlike McVeigh and the Unabomber – nice straw man, Christine).

    God, what a disgusting hack this woman is.

  • Also, I really hadn’t planned to say much over the latest supposed controversy involving NPR and James O’Keefe, who, the last time I checked, was either doing or trying to do something inside of office of Sen. Mary Landrieu without authorization (I think Jed Lewison at Daily Kos pretty much summed it up here).

    However, since our corporate media insists on paying attention to this human stain, it falls upon individuals such as yours truly to respond – this New York Times story, in part, tells us the following (Betsy Liley, the individual taped by O’Keefe, is an NPR fundraiser)…

    On a secretly recorded videotape that Mr. O’Keefe released on Tuesday, Ms. Liley’s then-boss, Ronald Schiller, was heard making disparaging comments about Republicans and Tea Party members. That led to the resignation of Mr. Schiller and NPR’s chief executive, Ms. Schiller (who is no relation).

    NPR also released internal e-mail correspondence it said showed that it had never come close to accepting the donation because the fake group refused to provide the necessary documents.

    Separately, nearly two dozen NPR on-air journalists released an “open letter” to listeners and supporters in which they condemned the “offensive comments” made by Mr. Schiller, saying they “violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.”
    So, both Schillers ended up quitting NPR because it was thought that they didn’t show the following to the “teahadists”…




    and Respect.

    I just wanted to make sure I understood that, that’s all.

  • Update 3/14/11: I wonder if Chris Wallace, while fluffing this cretin, will mention this?

  • Next, I give you last week’s Area Votes in Congress from the Philadelphia Inquirer (here, and yes, they were actually in session for a change)…


    Highway, mass-transit projects. Voting 421-4, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 662) to provide billions of dollars in funding for road and bridge construction, mass transit, and highway safety from March 4 through Sept. 30. The programs are funded not by general appropriations but by the Highway Trust Fund, which gets its revenue from federal gasoline taxes.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

    "Bridge to nowhere." Voting 181-246, the House defeated a Democratic bid to strip HR 662 (above) of funds for building the Gravina Island Bridge linking Ketchikan, Alaska, with an airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island. This is the "bridge to nowhere" lampooned in recent years as an example of wasteful congressional earmarks. While notoriety has cost the Gravina Island project much of its anticipated federal funding since 2005, HR 662 contains $183 million in fiscal 2011 spending for it and the Knik Arm Crossing Bridge, another controversial project in Alaska. This motion sought to remove the $183 million.

    A yes vote was to defund the "bridge to nowhere."

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    So Mikey The Beloved and his playmates support $183 million for this stinking bridge, but they refuse to support Americorps, funding for community health centers…you know, “dumb” stuff that our glorious system of private enterprise is supposed to do instead of that mean, nasty “public sector” (here – to say nothing of this; our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and those caught in this cataclysm).

    Health-law paperwork. Voting 314-112, the House passed a Republican bill (HR 4) to strip the new health law of its rule that businesses issue an IRS Form 1099 to any vendor to whom they pay at least $600 annually. The rule would raise funds for preventive care while helping the IRS catch tax cheats. But it has come under bipartisan assault as a paperwork burden on small businesses.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Carney, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Brady, Fattah, and Schwartz.
    Even if by some chance the Dems had been returned to power in the House last year, this measure or something like it would have eventually passed both houses of Congress anyway; I won’t budge on 90-something percent of the health care reform law, but I’ll cut some slack for this.

    Stopgap 2011 budget. Voting 335-91, the House passed a stopgap measure (HJ Res 44) to keep the government in full operation between March 5 and March 18 while cutting spending by $4 billion over that period. The House and Senate will use the two weeks to negotiate a budget path for the last half of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. Among this bill's cuts are $650 million in highway spending and a $2.8 billion rescission of once-popular earmarks that have been abandoned by their congressional sponsors.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Brady, Carney, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews.
    When Rob Andrews ran against Frank Lautenberg in the Dem primary for Lautenberg’s senate seat awhile back, I thought Andrews was the lowest of the low. However, I have to tell you that I think he’s done a good job of cleaning up his act, as they say, and I think he deserves credit for this principled voted for reasons noted here.

    Oil-industry taxes. Voting 176-249, the House defeated a Democratic motion to HJ Res 44 (above) to suspend the oil-depletion allowance and other oil-industry tax breaks at a time when domestic programs are being cut.

    A yes vote backed the motion.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    The “banksters,” Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Insurance get whatever they want, and everybody else gets it in the neck. Your Republican Party on the job, people.


    Patent-law dispute. Voting 87-13, the Senate retained "first to invent" as the U.S. standard for giving priority to competing patent applications. This stripped a patent-reform bill (S 23) of language to switch to the "first-inventor-to-file" standard used by most other industrialized countries to determine patent winners and losers. The bill remained in debate.

    A yes vote was to retain the first-to-invent standard.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
    I got into the messed-up situation Bushco left behind in the patent office here - third bullet; this legislation seems to be in response to that sorry situation.

    Stopgap 2011 budget. Voting 91-9, the Senate joined the House in passing a temporary fiscal 2011 spending bill (HJ Res 44, above) to avert a government shutdown at week's end. President Obama then signed what is the fifth 2011 stopgap appropriations bill passed by Congress since last fall.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Toomey.
    This week, the House took up bills addressing the U.S. housing crisis, while the Senate resumed debate on reforming procedures for awarding patents.

  • Finally, I think it’s important to note that not everyone is Harrisburg is willing to put up with “Space Cadet” Tom Corbett’s budget, as noted here from our PA-31 Dem State House Rep Steve Santarsiero…

    This week, Gov. Tom Corbett addressed the legislature with his 2011-12 budget proposal. The governor's proposed budget short changes education, the environment and urgent infrastructure needs.

    Particularly troubling to me are the following:

  • A cut of $1.5 billion to education, K-12 plus higher education, including cuts of more than 50 percent to our colleges and universities such as Temple, Penn State and Pitt: The cuts to public schools will result either in a spike in property taxes or draconian cuts in educational programs. The cuts to our colleges and universities will result in massive tuition increases at a time when our students can least afford them. Proposed cuts to the Council Rock and Pennsbury school districts are at least $1.46 million and $1.44 million respectively.

  • Further cuts to environmental protection, while giving the natural gas industry a pass that it gets nowhere else in the United States by not calling for a natural gas drilling tax: We need the drilling tax because it will provide revenue to protect the environment and to fund our education and transportation needs.

  • No mention of our nearly $3.5 billion transportation infrastructure crisis: This is both an economic need – indeed, a dire need – as well as a public health and safety issue. Aging roads and bridges need to be rebuilt. We can no longer delay this work.

  • A proposal to allow teachers to be fired to cut budgets: After proposing to make deep cuts in state aid to our schools, the governor compounds the problem by proposing that schools be given the right to fire teachers to balance their budgets. It may do that, but it also will cause class sizes to grow, diminishing the quality of a public school education and, as a consequence, lowering the value of what is for most of us our greatest asset: our homes.

  • While I applaud the governor for his proposal to provide targeted tax cuts for research and development in the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries and for the growing film industry in Pennsylvania, I am deeply concerned about the direction in which this budget would take our Commonwealth.
    Steve has a lot of company on that score (and to contact him, click here).
  • Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Thursday PM Stuff

    Nothing like speaking truth to stupid - well done, Rep. Ellison (and by the way, heckuva job, Rep. King)...

    ...and this song comes fairly quickly to mind when I consider the life forms who support King and the Repugs generally.

    Thursday Mashup (3/10/11)

  • I give you more hilarity from Irrational Spew over Repug U.S. House Rep Peter King’s SCARY MUSLIM! hearings (here)…

    Washington — Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) took the spotlight at the Homeland Security Committee’s hearing today, railing against Rep. Peter King, the GOP chairman, and describing his effort to investigate radical Muslims as “playing into al-Qaeda” and “going the same route as Arizona.”

    In a bit of political theater, she held up a copy of the Constitution and continued to speak, even as King banged his gavel.
    And Robert Costa tells us that “the ruckus (as Lee held her copy of the Constitution) caused light laughs throughout the hearing room”; well, I’ll watch the tape later and judge for myself, thank you.

    But isn’t it interesting how it isn’t a “ruckus” when Orange Man and his pals do the same thing (from that little stunt where the Repugs read only excerpts of that document that they liked and not all of it at the beginning of the session…where Mikey The Beloved said there was a “President pro temporary” of the Senate).

  • Next, for something perhaps more amusing than that, someone at The Daily Tucker gives us the following (here, with a bit of a link to the prior item above)…

    And so, let’s make The Huffington Post a “no-blog zone” and a “no-read zone” until their “demands” are met: Because, let’s face it, the miserly few, such as Arianna, are making big bucks in blogging, while throwing mere crumbs to the rest of us.

    Arianna, in fact, jets around the globe — to Greece, Switzerland, Chile, Italy and elsewhere — living the high life. Yes, this is the same Arianna Huffington who recently secured a $315-million sweetheart deal with AOL!

    But will the toiling bloggers at The Huffington Post see one red cent of the proceeds? Come on! Don’t be naïve! Everyone knows that Arianna and her cronies intend to pocket every last dime!

    The left-wing blogging queen is utterly indifferent to the needs of her employees and contributors! She channels Marie Antoinette and says in effect: “Let them eat cake!”

    Indeed, “Huffington’s awareness of the strike was confirmed by her statement at a conference [on] Thursday,” The Daily Caller notes, “when she said, ‘Go ahead, go on strike.’ She also criticized ‘the idea of going on strike when no one really notices.’”

    As Bob Dole once said, “Where’s the outrage?!”

    Oh, we notice, Arianna. We’ve noticed for some time. We’ve noticed your lies and your double standards. But this time you’re not going to win.

    This time the left and the right blogosphere will join together to end your corrupt reign!
    As it says in the Constitution, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”!
    Gosh, I didn’t know one of our founding fathers was Karl Marx (here).

  • Further, it looks like it’s time to deflate the “zombie lie” once more than public employees, in particular federal ones, make more than their private sector counterparts (here - even though Cato, Heritage and Breitbart keep peddling this crap, that doesn’t automatically make it true)…

    Cost-cutting House Republicans on Wednesday made it clear that they are eyeing the salaries of federal workers.

    And they don’t like what they see.

    During a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing, panel Chairman Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) noted that “federal employees on average earned $101,628 in total compensation in 2010, nearly four times more than the average private-sector worker.”

    He argued President Obama’s two-year pay freeze for federal workers, enacted in December, “wasn’t really a freeze” because it did not include all increases. He also decried the fact that Obama’s 2012 budget calls for hiring 15,000 more federal workers.

    Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry shot back that studies showing federal workers earn more than private-sector workers are misleading, and said federal workers should not be denigrated.
    Indeed - and to amplify that, I give you the following from here…

    …as with state and local governments, this line of attack is an apples-to-oranges comparison at best and an outright deception at worst. As FactCheck pointed out:

    The analysis is based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and crudely done by dividing total compensation (salary and benefits) by the number of current federal civilian employees. Comparing such averages is quite misleading, for two reasons:

    First, BEA says the figure is inflated by including compensation that is actually paid to benefit retirees, not just for current workers. The figure is at least several thousand dollars too high, by our calculations.

    Second, the average federal civilian worker is better educated, more experienced and more likely to have management or professional responsibilities than the average private worker.

    Over 44% of federal employees have a college degree, compared to about 19% of private sector workers. More importantly, an assessment of salaries (excluding benefits) by the Office of Personnel Management found that on average comparable federal civilian workers are paid 22 percent less than private workers.
    Lather, rinse, repeat – this is a recording.

  • In addition, we also have this item from The Hill…

    …members of the National Federation of Independent Business consistently rank government regulations and red tape as the most important problems facing businesses today. One in five business owners explain that red tape is their single biggest concern – even over taxes, inflation, and the cost of labor.

    The biggest culprit is the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency is engaged in a number of new, over-reaching regulatory efforts that would cripple the ability of American businesses to compete. While the business community understands the benefits of caring for the environment, the EPA adopts new rules and guidance that create burdensome and costly obligations that provide no quantifiable benefits to human health or the environment.
    I should tell you up front that trying to untangle this is going to be a bit of a chore, but I’m going to give it a shot concerning one facet of our environment. And to understand where we are at this moment, we need to go back in time to the beginning of the prior decade.

    As noted here, there were three rulings by the Ninth Circuit Court (in 2001, 2002 and 2005) that, to varying degrees, ruled on the question of whether or not the remains of chemical pesticides in water bodies constituted a pollutant. Basically, the decisions trended towards ruling that the pesticides were pollutants if residue remained in the water, but were not pollutants if they didn’t (fairly logical enough). However, the Bushco EPA issued a rule in 2006 that exempted the application of aquatic pesticides in compliance with (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) from the (Clean Water Act). As the article tells us…

    (The) EPA explained that aquatic pesticides that are sprayed or otherwise applied consistent with FIFRA are not “chemical wastes” because “they are products that EPA has evaluated and registered for the purpose of controlling target organisms, and are designed, purchased, and applied to perform that purpose.”
    So what happened in response?

    Environmental and industry groups subsequently challenged EPA’s final rule in eleven circuit courts throughout the United States. The petitions for review were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit by an order of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. National Cotton Council v. EPA, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 45 (6th Cir. 2009).
    And as a result…

    ..the (Sixth Circuit) Court rejected EPA’s argument that excess and residual pesticides should be exempt from NPDES permitting requirements because they do not qualify as pollutants at the time of discharge.
    And further…

    ..the Court held that EPA’s final rule was not a reasonable interpretation of the CWA since the plain language of the terms “chemical waste” and “biological materials” unambiguously include aquatic pesticides. Accordingly, the Court vacated EPA’s final rule. The Court did not analyze arguments addressing the relationship between the CWA and FIFRA.
    So basically, we have the Obama Administration trying to comply with a ruling on what constitutes chemical wastes in our water that was necessitated by a typically wrongheaded interpretation by the regime of Former President Nutball which said that aquatic pesticide residue didn’t constitute chemical waste because we say it didn’t.

    And as far as U.S. House Repug Bob Gibbs’ complaint about the Army Corps of Engineers is concerned, the following should be noted from here…

    During the presidency of George W. Bush, it appeared that the federal attitude toward the practice (of mountaintop removal mining) was more permissive. Anti-mining activists viewed the election of Barack Obama as producing a president more sympathetic to their cause.

    Shortly after taking office, the Obama administration announced it was taking steps to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal. The Environmental Protection Agency began more rigorous reviews of the valley fill permit applications being considered by the Army Corps of Engineers and announced new guidance for agencies considering water pollution permits.
    To be fair, I should point out that Gibbs is a U.S. House rep from Ohio, where (last I checked) mountaintop removal does not take place (as opposed to the Ohio Valley). However, as noted here, the mining industry was Gibbs’ biggest campaign contributor for the 2010 election cycle, so it’s fairly easy to see that they’re behind this wrongheaded attack on the Obama Administration, which is trying to comply legally with its response to yet another example of Bushco overreach (and here is another example, with repercussions for our beloved commonwealth in particular).

  • Finally, I really don’t have a lot to add to this New York Times story on the civil war currently raging in Libya, but I just wanted to highlight this example of a kind of courage for which mere words do not suffice…

    “I never thought I would come here this way,” said Dr. Rida Mazagri, a soft-spoken volunteer neurosurgeon from Charleston, W.Va., who arrived two weeks ago. “But we have been waiting for 30 years for a spark. We’re not going to let it extinguish. Either he leaves or he finishes all of us. This land does not accept both of us here.”

    Dr. Mazagri said he felt helpless as he watched the war from afar, a once-disdainful expatriate who no longer felt estranged from his native country. After days of watching television, he had had enough. “ ‘Change the call schedule,’ ” he recalled telling his colleagues at the hospital. “ ‘I’m leaving. When I’m going to come back, I have no idea.’ ”

    He booked a ticket that took him to Atlanta, Rome and Cairo, then went overland across a border that had crumbled to Benghazi, the capital of opposition-held Libya.

    “It’s like a member of your family is ill and they might die without you saying goodbye,” said the doctor, 50, who grew up in Tripoli but left 23 years ago.

    Doctors here say 100 volunteers have joined him, from the United States, Egypt and South Africa, as well as from towns stretching from Benghazi to the Green Mountain region to Tobruk in the east. Aid organizations have sent supplies from Egypt and Qatar, and relief workers have managed to recover the dead and wounded from a mercurial battlefield where they said government troops seized two of their own this week.

    The staff takes pride in an oasis of organization in a region without it.

    “It functions,” said Dr. Walid Saad, a surgeon who was scheduled to begin training in the United States this summer. “It’s not like the cities, where there are no police. It’s not like the rest of the country, where there are no more structures of government.”
    Dr. Mazagri works at a hospital in Ajdabiya Hospital, a place where “the wounded come first” which “bears the scars of three weeks of fighting.”

    The story by Anthony Shadid of the Times has numerous anecdotes of courage by heroic souls of that country trying to free themselves from the grip of a demonic ruling nut case. We should offer our prayers and support for now, and whatever else we are able to provide with the passage of time (hopefully not too much time for those risking all).

    Oh, and speaking of countries under the grip of a demonic ruling nut case, I give you this.

  • Update: This doesn’t have anything to do with anything else at this post, but I think it is horrific enough to rate a mention on its own.

    Your Republican Party on the job, ladies and gentlemen.

    What country am I living in again?

    Thursday AM Stuff

    Always good to see Fix Noise humanoid Megyn Kelly get a comeuppance whenever possible...

    ...and as long as we're on the subject, maybe we should hear from "Enema Man" (lots of bad words here, by the way - I don't completely "get" this guy and a lot of his peers, but I respect the fact that, if nothing else, they're performance artists...if our kids are listening to these people, then we'd better take them seriously - I will admit that "Lil' Wayne," or whatever, is a bridge too far).

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    (Not sure about posting for tomorrow…)

    Well, Hosni Mubarak Walker finally did it (here) – shame indeed (and I'll remember this the next time I hear a conservative complaining about a "Democrat" power grab)…

    …and oh God, Newt, please run for president (he said he’ll let us know in May pretty close to my ‘hood – hmm, I smell campaign kickoff)…

    …also, I hope more people understand that this has a pretty witty pun based on “The Sound of Music” – well, we'll see…

    Update 3/10/11: And speaking of Peter King and his "SCARY MUSLIM! Theater," I give you this.

    …and here’s a song about something I wish the Repugs had more of – to hang themselves, of course, which they’re in the process of doing (the overreach with these people is always inevitable).

    Wednesday Mashup (3/9/11)

  • To begin, I should let you know that I checked the web site of our PA-08 U.S. House rep Mikey The Beloved to find out what progress he has made with the daunting task of trying to bring jobs to our district.

    As noted here from last month, he “announc(ed) a small-business advisory panel.” And, with lightning speed and laser-like precision…we have exactly the same entry here. With no update whatsoever.

    Where are the jobs, Mikey?

  • Next, I give you the following from Repug “young gun” Eric Cantor here…

    House Republicans escalated pressure on President Obama to become directly involved in the budget debate roiling Capitol Hill, criticizing the White House for allowing a vacuum of leadership on the issue.

    “Where is the president?” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) asked in a press conference Wednesday morning, repeating the refrain five times in the 10-minute briefing.

    Negotiations on a spending bill to fund the government through September have hit a wall in the six days since Obama dispatched Vice President Biden to meet with congressional leaders at the Capitol. The Senate is expected to reject both the Republican and Democratic plans for spending cuts in votes Wednesday afternoon, and GOP leaders are already predicting that another short-term stopgap measure will be needed when current funding expires March 18.

    “We’re saying, ‘C’mon, let’s see some leadership,’” Cantor said. “We are ready to talk. We are ready to listen.”

    Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) mocked the White House for naming Biden to lead negotiations days before he departed Washington for a five-day trip to Finland, Moldova and Russia. “The vice president’s not even in the country,” McCarthy said. He noted that the White House press secretary refused to identify who was negotiating for the administration in Biden’s absence, and he gleefully recited examples of Democratic division on the proposed spending cuts.

    Neither Cantor nor McCarthy indicated what the next step in the stalemate would be, but both parties are waiting for the Senate to dispense with the two proposals to clear the way for negotiations to heat up in earnest.
    Well, I suspect that they’re going to keep waiting, seeing as how both proposals were “dispensed” with here.

    The gall and hubris of this bunch running the House continues to both astonish and disgust me.

    And that is particularly true when the following is noted (from here)…

    "Under Republican leadership in the early 2000s, spending and government got out of control," McCarthy writes. "As government grew, there were scandals and political corruption. The focus became getting reelected rather than solving problems and addressing pressing issues."

    The book is the latest attempt by GOP leaders to persuade voters their party has changed since it controlled Congress four years ago. Recent polls have suggested Republicans could make major gains in this fall's elections, but voters have broadly negative views of the party. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 24 percent of people see the party positively, Republicans' lowest rating in the poll.

    Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, has been a leading figure in trying to rebrand the party, even though he was a party leader then as now.

    In the book "Young Guns," the trio's rhetoric (including Paul Ryan) against their own party is frequent, even as it is vague on identifying the actual culprits. Former House speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.), former majority leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and former President George W. Bush are almost never named, even as the congressmen suggest the Republican Party must be recast from the Bush era. Obama and Pelosi, meanwhile, are blamed for problems in Washington on nearly every other page.
    Oh, and as noted here, Cantor and his pals have more to lose from a government shutdown than Obama does (though nobody would look too good over it).

    So basically, this represents Cantor and McCarthy as far as yours truly is concerned.

    (I have a feeling that I’ll get sick of looking at this pic way before this bunch can be booted out in 2012.)

  • In addition, I give you the following from Fix Noise (here)…

    Representative Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) decision to hold hearings on American Muslim radicalization has presented an incredible opportunity to American Muslims.

    The course of radicalization over the past two years makes it exceedingly difficult for anyone to assert with a straight face that America is immune to the global Muslim radicalization problem. American Muslims must take the lead in creating solutions to the radicalization of our own. These hearings will provide the long overdue platform for us to step away from the standard denials and apologetics in order to reclaim our Muslim identity from the terrorists and redefine ourselves within the framework of the American pantheon.
    The author of this piece is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, someone who puts kind of a smiling and benevolent face on anti-Muslim bigotry in this country (as noted here, he said that “most U.S. Muslim groups are soaking up the attention with civil rights issues (and) ‘victimology’”).

    Sarah Posner of The Nation tells us more here…

    Unlike more wild-eyed anti-Muslim agitators like Frank Gaffney (with whom Jasser has collaborated) and Pamela Geller, Jasser comes across as calm, sober and professional. He gained notoriety in 2008, with the release of the Clarion Fund film The Third Jihad, which claimed that a fifth column of Muslim extremists have infiltrated America with the intent of establishing a theocratic state. The star of the film, Jasser helped promote the claim that has ricocheted all over the right—that a single document written by a lone Muslim Brotherhood member in the early 1990s proves that American Muslim charities and advocacy groups are part of a plot to subvert the Constitution and America and install an Islamic theocracy.

    More recently, Jasser made an appearance in Newt Gingrich’s 2010 documentary, America At Risk: The War With No Name, produced by Citizens United, the conservative group whose efforts to air its anti–Hillary Clinton documentary led to the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate money in campaigns. The release of the film roughly coincided with the Geller-created hysteria over Park51, as well as with Gingrich’s own calls to ban Sharia, warning of “a comprehensive political, economic and religious movement that seeks to impose sharia—Islamic law—upon all aspects of global society.” The film is notably anti-Obama. (Just last week, Gingrich launched a presidential campaign exploratory committee.)

    Jasser is undoubtedly part of a strategy to deflect widespread criticism that King’s hearings are an attempt smear all Muslims with a broad brush. That’s an accusation that Jasser and others in the anti-Muslim agitprop stable are accustomed to averting. And they do so with a sleight of hand: that it’s not individual American Muslims who are radical, it’s their leaders—Muslim charities and civil rights groups, imams and a religious leadership that is dominated by radicals, who in turn dupe the gullible masses.

    This attack on the Obama administration may well point not only to the possible testimony at King’s hearings but to the right’s political rhetoric heading into the 2012 presidential campaign: vague, unsupported insinuation about the connectedness of Obama, radical Islam and “collectivism.” By speaking to “these groups,” Jasser charged, administration officials “put our country in peril, because they are advocating and promoting and basically apologizing for groups that have ideas that are a slippery slope toward that jihadism.”
    So, as Posner says, we can rest assured that, even though the stated goal of people like Jasser is to defend King’s utterly indefensible anti-Muslim hearings, what he and his fellow travelers really hope to accomplish is to keep beating the drum of Obama supposedly being “the other,” and a closet Muslim, and all of the typical garbage accompanying that laughable claim in the hope of getting electoral mileage out of it on behalf of the Repug 2012 presidential candidate.

    And as far as Jasser’s supposedly pleasant countenance, I cannot help but recall the following lyric of a John Lennon song: “first you must learn how to smile as you kill.”

  • Finally, in between analyzing the quotes from Wordsworth and Faulkner in proclaiming his state budget (actually, references to Charles Dickens might be more apropos since it will hasten ever greater division between the very rich and the very poor), I happen to come across this little item that didn’t seem to generate as much press as I thought it might (the text of what our “space cadet” governor told us is here)…

    I have asked my very capable Lieutenant Gov. Jim Cawley to lead a Marcellus Shale Commission to oversee how we can build around this new industry and how we can make certain we do this while protecting our lands, our drinking water, our air, and our communities, all the while growing our workforce. I've directed Jim and the commission to get back to me with findings in 120 days.
    There are all kinds of hosannas to the wingnuts in Corbett’s little travesty (all of which was thoroughly predictable – heckuva job, PA voters!), including singing the virtues of “tort deform,” “government can’t create jobs,” and invoking John Dickinson, a Continental Congress member who refused to sign the Declaration of Independence (as noted here…well, maybe that was politically neutral, I dunno).

    However, I think putting the thoroughly disreputable Jim Cawley in a position to “oversee” Marcellus Shale development is one of the most atrocious moves of the already-noxious Corbett Administration.

    Time, space and the limits of my sanity do not permit me to catalogue all of the reasons why this is a bad idea. Here is one, though – as noted here, Cawley, while running for Lt. Guv with Corbett last year, accepted campaign funds from Brian Preski, who Corbett (as former D.A.) charged on six counts of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest for allegedly using public resources to conduct campaign work for House Republicans.

    Also, here are some lowlights from Cawley’s term as a Bucks County Commissioner:

  • This tells us that Cawley once said $400,000 of county dough could only be spent for recreational purposes, and that’s why it went to a golf course (another of which Bucks needs like I need a second uvula), even though residents of Bristol had hoped that some of the dough would go to a homeless shelter (and by the way, the county solicitor pointed out that Cawley was wrong).

  • This tells us of a tidy little quid pro quo in which former Bucks Commissioner Cawley and his pal and fellow Commish, Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin, steered $200 an hour in legal services to the Langhorne, PA firm of Begley, Carlin & Mandio (which had given $142,000 to county Republicans and commissioner campaigns in the past seven years), and on that same day, six of the firm's attorneys contributed $9,000 to the county GOP, according to an analysis by the Democrats.

  • This tells us of the role played by Cawley and Martin in the move of the one-time polling place at the Creekside Apartments in Bensalem, PA to a location more amenable to registered Republican voters (the population of Creekside is largely elderly and infirmed who could not make the move…two letter writers to the commissioners complained of crime at the polling location, though they could not substantiate the charge, and both letter writers “are or were GOP committee members”).
  • Actually, as long as Corbett chose to invoke a famous figure from our colonial past, I think he should have chosen Thomas Paine instead of Dickinson; the former famously wrote “these are the times that try men’s souls” here.

    And I’m not sure if truer words were ever spoken.

  • Update 3/24/11: And speaking of Dickens (pertaining to the economy under the U.S. House Repugs), I give you this.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    Well, with Corbett's horrendous budget that he announced today (no surprise, I realize), I guess the unemployed in our beloved commonwealth can look forward to even fewer jobs that are supposedly "there," but aren't of course...and probably never were...and may never be again)...

    ...and I can hardly wait to see what Jon Stewart does with this latest nonsense from Alan Simpson (God, just so sad, seriously - I think there may be a few politicians out there who actually represent their constituents...people like us, basically...but at this point, you can count them on two hands on the federal level if you're lucky; hey Number 44, you want to kill enthusiasm from your "base" for real? Keep giving Grampa Joe "Where's My Stinkin' Geritol?" Simpson the time of freaking day, OK?)...

    ...and speaking of Stewart, it's time to go "down the rabbit hole" with more phony umbrage from Fix Noise...

    ...and in honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, I give you the following from someone I consider to be a great artist regardless of gender.

    Tuesday Mashup (3/8/11)

  • Well, I have to tell you that former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm has, at long last, left me speechless, as it were.

    This post from last Friday (a little late I know) pertains ostensibly to President Obama claiming that tax cuts have helped the economy (we’re on a slippery slope already, I’ll admit), with the response from the designated GOP individual that that’s not enough, of course (anything Obama does is never enough as far as these people are concerned, of course) saying that “spending and regulation must be cut” also (uh huh – suuuure).

    And there is a picture in the post of a burning car that, quite possibly, was lit and overturned by rebels in Libya protesting Moammar Quaddafi.

    And there is absolutely no mention of Quaddafi in the Malcolm post.

    Truly, words fail.

  • Next, I tiptoed into the toxic sludge of J.D. Mullane’s blog, he being the self-righteous know-it-all pundit for the Bucks County Courier Times (maybe a couple of people out there don’t know that) and encountered the following (here, under the headline of “Libya Veers Towards Civil War, Obama Goes Golfing” – yes, I’m serious)…

    Well, what did you expect from Obama? A muscular effort to quell the disturbance? Mediate? It's ironic. He won the Nobel Peace Prize because the Nobel committee believed he could resolve these kinds of troubles. Now he fiddles while the Middle East burns. This president seems out of touch with the seriousness of the situation now engulfing that region. He does almost nothing of importance to address these history changing events, seems confused about how to respond, and then heads to the links.

    And -- he has played seven times as much golf as Bush. Bush quit playing in 2003, you may recall, because he felt it was unseemly for the commander-in-chief to engage in lighthearted sport while young men were dying in war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    And keep in mind that, while millions of Americans remain jobless, Mullane actually gets paid to concoct this literary fecal matter.

    To begin (in response to this Think Progress post about Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich bellowing that we should bomb Libya early and often in response), I give you the following…

    While Gingrich thinks the U.S. military could clean up the situation in Libya in “minutes,” the reality is that it’s a bit more complicated than that. CentCom commander Gen. James Mattis recently said that implementing a no-fly zone would be “challenging” because it would involve “military operations” other than just telling the Libyans not to fly. And as CAP’s John Norris noted, “We shouldn’t kid ourselves. Blowing up a runway or imposing a no-fly zone are not silver bullets.” Norris urges “thoughtful action designed with an endgame firmly in mind,” such as leaving all options on the table — including military action, building an legitimate international coalition, and explaining the best course of action to the American people.

    And this is exactly what President Obama is doing. Allied AWACS planes are currently flying intelligence missions over Libya and the U.S. has been providing humanitarian assistance in Libya for weeks. As the President said yesterday, “We’ve got NATO, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options — including potential military options.” Meanwhile, France and Britain are currently working in the UN to get a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya. “I think at this point there is a sense that any action should be the result of international sanction,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday.
    And in response to the claim about Dubya and golf (yes, I know that this is an “evergreen” zombie lie), I give you the following, telling us that he even broke that pledge, inane as it was (and invoking Dubya and golf at all is particularly moronic given this legendary cringe-inducing moment...and Obama plays golf "seven times as much"? Any sourcing on that, J.D.?).

    (By the way, Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History recently made the news, as noted here, for a typical reason.)

    And while we’re on the subject of Libya, I should note that former Bushie Marc Thiessen said the following here…

    Applying the Reagan Doctrine in Libya is not without risks. While most Libyans want to replace Gaddafi's tyranny with democracy, there are also jihadists and al-Qaeda sympathizers in eastern Libya, where the rebellion is based. Look at any list of al-Qaeda leaders killed in drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions, and you will see many names ending with "al-Libi" ("the Libyan"). How do we distinguish between the Islamic radicals and those who share our aspirations for a free Libya?

    America faced a similar challenge in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where we struggled initially to distinguish between moderates in the anti-Soviet resistance like Ahmad Shah Massoud and radicals like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Today, we have little intelligence to help us determine who the Massouds and Hekmatyars are in eastern Libya - and there is a danger that we could end up arming the wrong people. But our intelligence won't improve unless we get advisers on the ground to start linking up with anti-Gaddafi forces. And if we can figure out who the good guys are, American support could help determine who leads the rebel column that takes Tripoli.
    It’s really hard to surpass the willful blindness of Thiessen’s pinheaded commentary here, particularly when you consider what happened the last time we tried this under The Sainted Ronnie R, as noted here.

    And for true hilarity, Jim Cramer of CNBC’s “Mad Money” said here that “if NATO takes out Gaddafi (just how the #$@! are we supposed to spell this dude’s name anyway?), the stock market will gain 1,000 points.”

    This is from the same guy who said here that the market would fall when health care reform was signed into law (oops) and the market would rise upon the election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate (oops again).

  • Returning briefly to Mullane, he gives us the following (here)…

    A liberal federal judge argues that "mental activity" can be controlled by the federal government under the commerce clause, and therefore the feds can force Americans to buy health insurance.
    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    Agree or disagree with (Judge Kessler’s) reasoning, the question is not one of reaching "mental activity." After all, the government is not stopping anyone from thinking they should not have to buy health insurance. What the mandate intends is to make you purchase health insurance. It does not regulate mental activity, but rather the economic decisions on purchasing (or not purchasing) health insurance.

    You make think that the Commerce Clause does not empower the Congress to mandate that you purchase health insurance (I think it does), but no honest and intelligent person can pretend that the Congress is trying to regulate "mental activity."

    (FTR, this entire "activity/inactivity" nonsense is all beside the point. Whether the Commerce Clause empowers Congress to impose a mandate to purchase health insurance or not, the Necessary and Proper Clause empowers the Congress to enact laws necessary to the enactment of a regime to regulate the health insurance market, regulation which no one can argue is not within the Commerce Clause power.)
    At least Mullane was honest enough to link to another writer on the subject of “mental activity,” since that area is clearly not his strong suit (and by the way, J.D., you're about a week and a half behind when it comes to regurgitating your wingnut talking points).

  • In addition, I find that I also have to cover some already-trodden ground on the matter of the federal budget and the possibility of a government shutdown (here – the author of the post, James Lankford, is one of the Repug “frosh” in the U.S. House; he took over for Mary Fallin, who was elected governor)...

    Each week federal workers plan for a government shut down while hoping that they do not face a furlough the next week. Their families and their plans are on hold. Even as many Democrats ran to the microphones to fear monger about Republicans supposedly trying to shut down the government, Republicans were working long hours with Democrats in the House to get a 2011 budget completed.
    Tee hee hee – Lankford makes a funny...“(Repugs) were working long hours”…

    Besides, as noted here, Lankford ought to have a “heart to heart” with his fellow House Repug Mike Coffman, who “wants to cut Congressional salaries by 10 percent and force federal civilian employees to take a two-week furlough in an attempt to cut costs” (the Denver Post story says that would save about $5.5 billion, which is a pittance compared to the impact of those stinking Bush tax cuts).

    I’ll tell you what – read some of what Media Matters has compiled here on this subject and please tell me, between the Dems and the Repugs, who wants to see a government shutdown and who doesn’t.

  • Finally, I give you the following from Pat Sajak over at Fix Noise (here, on the subject of how those baad li-bu-ruuls have take over Hollywood; with everything going on in the world in Wisconsin and the Middle East, Roger Ailes and company continue to peddle more “values” dreck, eagerly consumed by red state America)…

    Personally, I try not to mix my political side with my entertainment side.
    And this from a guy who said here (before the Repugs declared economic warfare and working men and women in this country, officially that is) that it might be OK for public employees to be potentially denied the right to vote in “certain cases (mainly state elections) in which their stake in the matter may be too great.”

    Thanks for playing our game, Pat. Here are some lovely parting gifts.
  • Monday, March 07, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    It's a good thing that all eyes are on Madison, Wisconsin, but Rachel Maddow tells us here why it's important not to forget about Milwaukee also (to do more, click here - we're winning this thing, people, but we can't let up either)...

    ...and happy 65th birthday to Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band (just a little '80s here, I would say).

    Monday Mashup (3/7/11) (updates)

  • To begin, let me point out that I am completely aware of the situation with Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged “Wikileaker” to Julian Assange. And for what it’s worth, I find Manning’s treatment to be utterly unconscionable (profmarcus has more here, including Glenn Greenwald’s typically thorough and eviscerating commentary on the subject…fdl brings us the latest here).

    Hold Manning in custody under humane conditions (you know, stuff that civilized nations are supposed to do), make the case, and then try him. If he is found guilty, punish him as appropriate for the crime. But is he is found innocent, he should be released.

    If this were happening under Bushco, we would be screaming to anyone with ears to hear (and some who don’t, as it goes). The fact that this is happening under “hopey, changey” Number 44 doesn’t make it any less repellent (more so, probably, given the fact that Obama is a legal scholar who should know better).

  • Update: More here (and it doesn't get one bit better - worse, in fact)...

  • Next, I happened to pass by a TV earlier today with the channel on CNBC, and I saw an instant poll question which, I believe, asked the following (couldn’t confirm this at their web site): Should companies tell job applicants that they do not hire them if they’re unemployed if that’s their policy, or words to that effect (again, I couldn’t confirm the exact wording…it appeared for about three seconds before they went to a commercial).

    Apparently, this practice has been going on for some time, if this USA Today story from last month is any indication…

    (William Spriggs, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor) said the chances of an employer considering an ethnic minority are decreased by one-third if jobless applicants are excluded. The pool of disabled applicants would be reduced nearly 50%, he said.

    The (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), which enforces job discrimination laws, has not issued any guidance on the issue. But some on the five-member agency suggested that could be coming.

    "I hope this gives our people in the field information to start thinking about a possible problem out there," said Stuart Ishimaru, one of three Democrats on the commission. "For employers it raises serious question of liability if, in fact, there is a disparate impact."

    In one prominent report last year, an advertisement from Sony Ericsson, a global phone manufacturer that was recruiting workers for a new Georgia facility, was restricted to those currently employed. The company later removed the restriction after media publicity.

    Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said anecdotal evidence from job postings, conversations with job seekers and her interviews with officials at job placement firms suggests there may be a growing trend of excluding unemployed applicants, regardless of their qualifications.
    And according to individuals who testified before the U.S. EEOC at about the same time as the USA Today story (here)…

    Several examples of discriminatory help-wanted ads were offered: a Texas electronics company said online that it would "not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason"; an ad for a restaurant manager position in New Jersey said applicants must be employed; a phone manufacturer's job announcement said "No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All," according to Helen Norton, associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.
    Also, as noted in this story from last June…

    Some job postings include restrictions such as "unemployed candidates will not be considered" or "must be currently employed." Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though.

    That's what happened with numerous listings for grocery store managers throughout the Southeast posted by a South Carolina recruiter, Latro Consulting.

    After CNNMoney called seeking comments on the listings last week, the restriction against unemployed candidates being considered came down. Latro Consulting refused to comment when contacted.
    Of course they refused, because they know how despicable this practice is (and I’m a little embarrassed that I’m a bit “late to the party” on this topic).

    If anyone knows of other examples of the jobless being denied consideration from employment from companies or individuals engaged in this heartless (to say nothing of stupid) practice, please let me know so I can do whatever I can legally do to utterly shame them.

  • Update 3/20/11: More on this here (h/t Atrios)...

    Update 4/1/11: And of course, leave it to Smerky here to define the problem and provide some weak tea and sympathy, as it were, but then say that government should do absolutely nothing in response.

    Here's a thought: have a state or U.S. representative say, "Do you know what we're going to do in response to employers discriminating against the unemployed like this? We're going to maintain a registry of employers and headhunters/recruiters who do this sort of thing, and we're going to post it online so job applicants in our state can read about these people and be forewarned, that's what we're going to do."

    This country is in a huge mess on so many issues in large part because way too many people have been listening to people like Smerky telling us for the last 30 years or so that government is absolutely useless. It's long past time to ignore these idiots because they were every bit as wrong then as they are now.

  • Further (and in another example of highly questionable news judgment), the Bucks County Courier Times gave this story the banner front page treatment today…

    Republican Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick and Charlie Dent are questioning the worthiness of a conservative group's scorecard that ranks the "Congressional appetite to cut spending."

    The data released last week by Heritage Action, a sister organization to Heritage Foundation, rated votes on 21 of more than 100 amendments that followed House Bill 1, which included $61 billion in cuts.
    Yep, as far as the Courier Times is concerned, the most important story of the day is the response of Republican congressional representatives to a right-wing think tank’s criticism of their spending votes in Congress.

    And news organizations wonder why both younger actual voters and prospective ones don’t read newspapers.

    The story lists some of the headline-grabbing defunding votes, including $447 million in Amtrak funding (sponsored by Pete Sessions - wonder if they talked about this during their “TV swearing-in”?) – the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities provides more here on the typically ridiculous effort of the Repugs to plunge this country back into economic chaos.

    And as you might expect, congressional Dems Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah rated a zero from Heritage for wisely voting No to all of the cuts. But take a guess as to who got the highest rating of 90 from all of our area congressional reps?

    Why, it would be this guy (continue to take a bow, all of you PA-16 numbskulls who insist on sending this meat sack back to Washington every two years to vote No and return absolutely nothing to your district).

  • In addition, the New York Times ran a profile over the weekend of David Koch and his contribution to cancer research (here); he gave a speech opening the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he gave $100 million to help build.

    (The story tells us that Koch suffers from prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed in 1992 and was “originally told he would not live long. Since then, he said, he has treated it with radiation, surgery, hormones and, for the last year, an experimental drug called Abiraterone that he said worked like a miracle.” So basically, Koch was able to take advantage of the highest level of medical treatment that he could afford given his power and influence, though, by supporting Republicans and the teahadists to whom the health care law is a socialist plot, he would readily deny that to everyone in the country with lesser means, which is about 98 percent of us. Also, I find it hard to imagine Koch feeling any notion of philanthropy if there wasn’t at least a little bit of self-interest involved.)

    Koch also called the prank call against Hosni Mubarak Walker where someone impersonated him “identity theft” (too funny).


    In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Koch warned that government spending cuts could impede cancer research. And he urged donors to fill the gap.
    Gee, now who do you think is yelling the loudest for those nasty “government spending cuts”? As I noted above, that would be the Repugs and the “teahadists” supported by Koch money.

    God, this man is truly scum. And get a load of this…

    His gift here means that one of the biggest donors to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, home to some of the top climate scientists in the nation, is an owner of a company that Greenpeace called “a kingpin of climate change denial.”

    Koch Industries — which owns oil refineries, pipelines and consumer brands like Dixie cups and Lycra — responded that “it is Greenpeace that is the denier here — denier of any rational and honest dialogue on the underlying scientific debate regarding climate change.”
    As noted here, Koch Industries, perhaps more than any other corporation, is funding the climate change denial industry. If they withdrew their largess, we could address this problem for real (assuming it isn’t too late by now).

    But I suppose, as far as Koch is concerned, by the time this planet is utterly wrecked as a result of the climate crisis (with Biblical casualty figures and the accompanying refugee crisis), he’ll be dead of prostate cancer anyway.

    Despite what he would readily wish for us, my faith does not permit me to wish it for him as well (though I wish it would).

  • Finally, I would like to dispel one piece of wingnut fiction that I see repeated over and over (including here)…

    Suffice it to say that a lack of collective bargaining power has not much impaired the access of federal workers to the grievance process.
    As noted here, President Kennedy granted collective bargaining rights to federal workers (in 1962, though the Times article doesn’t note the year).

    Just add this to the pile of Fix Noise falsehoods on the whole issue of workers’ rights particularly as regards Wisconsin, as noted here.