Bring It On!

Healing the Rift Between Labor Unions and Environmentalists

December 15th, 2008 by Tom Harper

Over the last few decades, one of the Right’s favorite divide-and-conquer tactics has been to drive a wedge between labor groups and environmentalists.

This phony Either/Or dilemma — you can have a job OR you can protect the environment — is just that: phonier than a $3 bill. Rightwing think tankers and smoke-and-mirrors artists have been promoting this myth since the 1970s.

But labor unions and the Green movement were working together at the recent U.N. climate conference in Poznan, Poland. Both groups were pushing for renewable energy as the answer to global warming and the economic meltdown.

About 25 American union representatives were at the conference, representing workers from the steel, electrical, transit and service industries, among others.

David Foster is the executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition that includes the United Steelworkers Union and the Fish Travel. He said: “There is a very wide cross-section of American unions that reflects the growing engagement of American unions’ support of climate change policies. There’s a power in the joint vision that we just don’t have functioning on our own.”

Workers’ rights and environmental protection have both taken some devastating hits over the past eight years (and the Hit Man hasn’t even left office yet).

David Hawkins, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, talked about the rightwing effort to maintain that fake “jobs OR the environment” dilemma: “They keep on shouting that scare campaign at every opportunity they get. An alliance is a powerful way of sending the message that you can have both.”

The Sierra Club is fighting for stronger whistleblower protections for workers who speak out against safety or environmental violations. And the Employee Free Choice Act is strongly endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club.

(Don’t listen to the rightwing droolbags. Here are the facts about the Employee Free Choice Act.)

Robert Baugh, chairman of the AFL-CIO energy task force, said there are still “some differences” with environmental groups, but “we also have a lot of common interests.”

He also said: “The climate crisis and a new energy policy is an opportunity for our country to actually have a strategy about the environment, about manufacturing. We think that by addressing the environmental crisis, we actually can have the opportunity to create good, green jobs.”

As just one example: a windmill has about 800 parts. Somebody has to manufacture, install and maintain them.

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Look: They Love George Bush In Iraq

December 14th, 2008 by Windspike

Just found this on one of the yahoo pages. Looks like George has not fully gained the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq.

I’m still voting that George, Dick and the whole kit and caboodle of those who wished for democracy’s spread to work in Iraq move on over there after 20 Jan to finish their mission. Of course, George isn’t that committed to the work in Iraq. He’s moving to some fancy digs in Dallas instead, it seems.

Late add - looks like it’s finally up on Youtube. Of course, Fox News folks are trying to hint that Saddam would have handled it differently:

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I Have Converted. I Am Now a Catholic

December 11th, 2008 by Tom Harper

I got me some religion. No more secular heathen posts from this newfound Christian. I Seen The Light! I Believe!

I may lose some liberal readers, but I’ll gain a whole shitload of Biblehumpers. So there.

Who converted me? No it wasn’t one of those plastic-haired televangelists. And it wasn’t that Jehovah’s Witness who knocked on the door at 7 a.m. last Saturday.

This here is my new mentor. My guru. I was stumbling in the dark, blinded by sin and ignorance, when Cardinal Jorge Medina showed me the light. I been Saved!

My former godless unenlightened self would’ve thought that Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet was a bad person. You know — jailing people without charges, torturing and killing them and stuff like that. Now I realize those are GOOD things.

Similarly, I used to think Madonna was good. She’s had a 25-year show business career. She’s brought joy to millions of people all over the world. But the good Cardinal showed me the error of my ways. “This woman comes here and in an incredibly shameless manner, she provokes a crazy enthusiasm, an enthusiasm of lust, lustful thoughts, impure thoughts,” he thundered.

And suddenly, I Got It! That was my Epiphany. And now I feel the overpowering Love of Jesus! And I realize — Madonna is BAD.

Burn, you Sinner!

Thank you Cardinal Medina for showing me The Way.

Lawd, pass me one of them there snakes. I can handle it.

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The Little Plunger That Could

December 10th, 2008 by Omnipotent Poobah

Say it ain’t so Joe! Joe the Plumber found his time shilling for the McCainiacs to be appalling and dirty? I’m shocked, flabbergasted, and gob-stopped. A political campaign that seems less than genuine and willing to bend the truth to its dirty break-point and beyond? Why, that’s downright unpatriotic.

Joe, you are either the densest sum-bitch in all creation or more naive than a 2-day old, baby swaddled in duct tape.

Joe Dishes But He Doesn’t Take It Himself
But Joe, while you’re expressing your outrage, how about a little for yourself? You’re the man who claimed to be a plumber but wasn’t. You’re the one who had back taxes to pay while railing against Obama tax cuts you incorrectly claimed wouldn’t benefit you. You’re the one who held court on foreign policy - no doubt learned at the Institute for International Relations and the Plumbing Arts. In fact, you weren’t even a good shill. You missed some campaign speeches where they clearly expected you to show and mumble your dunderheaded, ill-informed excuse for rational political thought.

Here’s the thing Joe, you have some gall. You’ve pumped your carnival barker career for all it’s worth. You accepted donations for that plumbing license you desperately needed until you got a book offer. You plastered your mug across the international news and made your 15 going on 30 minutes of fame a saleable commodity. Joe, how are you any different than those awful politicians who shocked you?

The Noun-Article-Noun Oracle of Homespun Goodness
Joe is the walking, talking embodiment of what’s wrong with politics in this country. His proper noun-article-proper noun homespun goodness is nothing but pastiche. He stands for nothing except a book editor’s pocket to put his hand in and accomplished nothing other than riling up the lemmings who can’t tell the difference between a Baptist and a Muslim and an African-American and an “A-Rab”. In doing so, he became the Emperor Lemming who led his fellow gaggle in a march off the cliff. He encouraged the non-critical thinking required to judge what is put in front of people - in this case a humble wannabe plumber with an ego as large as all outdoors. He managed to further lower the IQ of a significant portion of our significant number of national knot-heads.

But, it could’ve been worse. McCain could’ve won and made him the Secretary of the Treasury.

I have to say I’m shocked by something here. I’m shocked that anyone really cares what you thought of the evil stadium of political gamesmanship, but I shouldn’t be. It’s because of people like you that I’ve lowered my expectations of voters into an underground trench. So low you’ve appalled me and made me feel absolutely dirty.

After all, you learned from the best.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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Our broken accounting.

December 10th, 2008 by Dusty

The Center for Public Integrity has a fantastic site up that lays out all the horrors of the Bush Administration for our perusal. In fact, my graphic to the right is filched from that site. They list 128 failures by the Bush Administration and folks…its ugly…damn ugly. From their site:

In this, a comprehensive assessment of these failures, we found more than 125 examples of government breakdown in areas as diverse as education, energy, the environment, justice and security, the military and veterans affairs, health care, transportation, financial management, consumer and worker safety, and more - failures which adversely affected ordinary people and made the nation a less open or less secure place to live. While some are, by now, depressingly familiar, many are less well-known but equally distressing. And though the list is diverse, it also reflects some recurring - and troubling - themes.

Some of these problems were in place well before George W. Bush’s inauguration, but were exacerbated by his policies or worsened by his administration’s actions (or inactions). Many of the failings are tied to Bush appointees who appear to have been selected primarily on the basis of ideology and loyalty, rather than competence. Every administration has its share of political cronies, of course, but the examples of the past eight years seem especially stark:

This accounting of the outright failures of our federal government will take your breath away..that is if you care, and I trust that you do. Check it out and tell me what bothered you the most. I am still reading it but felt I had to put this post up first. The pdf report in it’s entirety can be read and downloaded here. All 110 pages of it.

Crossposted at Sirens Chronicles.

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Governor Rod Blagojevich: Corrupt Politician or Working Class Hero?

December 9th, 2008 by Tom Harper

Or maybe both. He’s been all over the news today — another politician turns out to be corrupt. Rod Blagojevich and Elliot Spitzer have both stood up to the robber barons on behalf of regular people. Too bad they’ll both be remembered for their scandals more than anything else.

Blagojevich stood up to Marie Antoinette Bank of America, whose refusal to lend money to Republic Windows and Doors forced the company to close.

He was also one of the first politicians to tell pharmacists that they could either be Grand Inquisitors OR pharmacists — but not both.

But back to Bank of America. As you’ll remember, Bank of America received billions of dollars in handouts from You. Me. Us. The taxpayers. The purpose of this giant multi-billion dollar giveaway was:

A. So that banks would start lending money. In turn, companies could stay in business, employees could keep their jobs, and people would continue to buy things; thereby keeping other businesses up and running.


B. To purchase more yachts, Learjets and luxury vacation homes for banking executives.

Unfortunately a few Bank of America shitstains thought the answer was B.

Bank of America canceled the financing for Republic Windows and Doors, forcing the company to close their factory and lay off 240 workers. This is the factory that got so much publicity when 200 laid-off workers took over the premises.

This incident has highlighted the importance of labor unions. They’re not just some colorful icon from the 1950s. We need them. Now more than ever. Jobs With Justice is hoping this event will galvanize the labor movement.

And this factory closing has pinpointed the absurdity — the intelligence-insulting hypocrisy and double standard — of the Wall Street bailout. Hundreds of billions of dollars were just handed over to a few CEOs. No questions asked; no strings attached. If we just give these tycoons a trillion dollars, they’ll do the right thing and start lending it out so the economy will stay afloat.

Riiight. How’s that working out?

Yesterday Rod Blagojevich ordered all state agencies to stop doing business with Bank of America, just in case that might remind them that We The Taxpayers gave them a few billion dollars so they would Start LENDING it.

He said: “We hope that this kind of leverage and pressure will encourage Bank of America to do the right thing for this business. Take some of that federal tax money that they’ve received and invest it by providing the necessary credit to this company so these workers can keep their jobs.”

Now, apparently Bank of America has made a token gesture to show how “concerned” they are. Let’s hope they won’t demand another taxpayer handout in return.

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The Press Pressed to Extinction

December 9th, 2008 by Omnipotent Poobah

Before the media was the media, the media was the press - newspapers, magazines, anything that was newsworthy and came off of Gutenberg’s best contribution to mankind. Being a member of the press may have made you hated, but you were still respected and entrusted with one of the most important responsibilities in a democracy.

Newspapers and magazines are from a slower time. People once had the time, patience, and education to spend an hour or so with the daily paper. Then, radio came along. Reports became more timely and urgent - a trait accelerated by WWII. Radio may have lacked some of the rich detail of newspapering, but there was still newsy meat on the aural bones. In the ways it was unlike a newspaper it compensated with additional richness. The sounds of a raging battle 3,000 miles away brought home the impact better than the most detailed newspaper account. Reporting was still top notch, because most radio reporters came from newspapering and they knew the impact of thoughtfully chosen words.

When television first flashed in the living room, reportage - usually done by newspaper/radio veterans - was excellent. They found a heyday niche where the richness of words, the hue and saturation of sound, and the immediacy and impact of pictures came together under thoughtful and talented writers.

Newfangled Media Mushrooms
But by the 70s the news business began to fall apart. TV audiences began losing the ability to distinguish information from entertainment. TV reporting credentials became based more on hairstyle than skill. People had markedly less time to spend on news and so the shortcut of TV became the easiest way to stay informed. Audiences began to stop reading and start watching. The evening routine narrowed from a half hour or so with the print headlines to the 30 second drips and drabs of TV, and eventually, all the other newfangled media sprouting like mushrooms after a rain.

The press started a long, slow decline that is finally reaching its illogical conclusion. First, evening daily newspapers died. Then, competitors merged. TV, radio, and newspapers entered into “strategic marketing concepts” where all would share reporters or combine story feeds.The newspapers usually got the short end of the “strategic” stick and daily newspapers declined further.

Today daily newspapers are dying like dinosaurs after the asteroid. Venerable names like the Chicago Tribune are bankrupt. Newspaper reporter and editor jobs are scarcer than auto manufacturing jobs. Some of the most famous papers in the country - like the Christian Science Monitor - have gone web only. But it’s a shift that other publications have tried and so far only seem to delay the inevitable death.

As the Downturn Turns
For the first time major metropolitan areas will soon find themselves without a newspaper, even in cities where there may have been dozens not so long ago. Local coverage will suffer as national and international coverage becomes more homogenized and devoid of anything other than the snappiest information that will fit a 30 second slot regardless of it’s newsworthiness.

Of all the industries affected by the economic downturn, none is more stricken than newspapers. The country is willing to bail out banks and prop up automakers. Insurance companies get the helping hand and I’m sure other industries are lining up for the government dole. Not so with newspapers. They’re on the ropes and aren’t asking for a penny. Yet one could make a reasonable claim that their importance to this democracy goes well beyond the balance sheet. Newspapers did, and still do, perform a vital service for America. Their passing is nothing to sniff at. There’s already a hole where talented and committed writers once stood and as more leave, they will leave a gaping hole in our society.

Being a media or press proponent these days isn’t a popular position. The media, many times through its own arrogance or ineptitude, is hated as much as the current President. But much of the vitriol comes from blaming the messenger for the bad news they bring - a stance evidenced by the complaints about unpopular news and views being voiced acorss the entire political spectrum. The press finds itself being labeled both right and left wing at the same time, a mutually exclusive condition if ever there was one.

Free, strong, and Independent
However, I’m proud to be a proponent of a free, strong, and independent press. They are far more valuable to the country than most people realize and without them the numerous failures we’ve experienced over the last few decades would have been virtually unknown to the public the failures most affected.

When the last newspaper dies and television kills the radio star, and the Internet kills the television star, and the next generation of media abandons the Internet star, the world will be much worse off for the newspapers’ passing.

Cross psoted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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Thought For The Day: Well, Go Figure - Interactivity and Action Are Better than Sedentary Observation?

December 9th, 2008 by Windspike

…a new study out shows, once again, a pretty strong link between happiness and NOT watching television.

As much as you enjoy the 52in flat panel with the bluray disc operating 1080p quality images, shut the bugger off and go do something outside. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just being poorly prepared for the existing weather. Invariably, the weather always looks worse from the inside looking out the window. They do make all those snazzy technical fabrics for a reason - get outside (oh, and yes, the irony that I’m typing this on a monitor does not escape me).

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If Fitz says it, it must be so!

December 9th, 2008 by Dusty

There is no one I trust more than Patrick Fitzgerald. No one. He is apolitical and he does his job to the best of his ability.

The IL governor must be as dirty as they come. Fitz said so, and I quote:

“But the most cynical behavior in all this - the most appalling - is the fact that Governor Blagojevich tried to sell the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Obama. The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.”

I just hope the mud doesn’t fly onto others that seem clean at this Jesse Jackson Jr. TPM Muckraker is staying on top of this. Soon as I locate the complaint I will link to it.

Update: Here is the complaint via the Chicago Trib. Some choice quotes from the complaint:

During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something
real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH later stated, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the Senate seat “is a fucking valuable
thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking
golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another
consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.”

What a peach of a man eh? Christ what scum.

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Rove Book: How to Win Enemies and Influence Idiots

December 8th, 2008 by Omnipotent Poobah

So, Karl Rove is going to write a book. A book about who hates George Bush. A book that’ll “name names“.

Karl, you’re joking about this, right? This’ll be the easiest payday you’ll ever have.

With pole numbers lower than whale shite, the difficulty will be finding people that like George. If you need 100 people to hate the guy, just choose 100 random people off the street and fill your quota fast. In fact, you could pick 100 people off any street in any country on the planet and still leave people standing in line to tell you what a douchebag he is.

As for naming names, I’ll sign up. So will everyone else. The list of people who hate George Bush will be long and distinguished. It’ll be an honor equivalent to a spot on Nixon’s enemies list. There’ll be rallies in the streets with people holding signs saying, “Sign Me Up”! Besides, he already has the names and addresses of most Americans courtesy of various snooping programs and the collusion of America’s biggest telcos. The list will be a snap.

The Affable Asshole’s Personal Historian
Of course, Turd Blossom’s book is just one of the first shots in the shooting war that will become a rewritten history of the Bush Presidency. There’s already a group charged with making the Presidential Midget look like a giant striding across the world stage and the book is just one part of the charade. The commission will want to rename airports and federal buildings around the country for the Affable Asshole. Or perhaps they’ll recommission the USS Abraham Lincoln - the Mission Accomplished ship - to the USS Dubya, replete with a special plaque on the flight deck where the historical backslapping and codpiece modeling took place. After all, it worked for St. Ronnie and the Five O’Clock-Shadowed One.

In fairness, deceptive instant histories follow many administrations. Kennedy had one - ditto Nixon and Reagan. The Egos-in-Chief can’t stand untrammeled history looking back on them and hero worship is a powerful aphrodisiac - facts be damned. The difference between George’s self-proclaimed history and most others’ is that the others had some shreds of truth to work with. If all your accomplishments dance on the head of a pin, you’re working with some mighty thin source material.

Read the rest of this entry »

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