Friday, February 25, 2011

Uncommon Grace

The debate had raged for sixty hours. Countless amendments were considered. As the Democrats nodded and napped the Speaker Pro tem called a flash vote. Less than 13 Democrats had managed to vote when the Speaker closed the vote. Game over! As the Republicans filed out in single file the Democrats showed the public why they are now the minority party in Wisconsin.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hoosier Hysteria

When a "right to work" bill was to be voted on 35 Indiana State Representative bolted the state and like all exiled legislators settled in Illinois. The bill was not part of Governor Mitch Daniels' agenda and he may have not wanted to fight that fight at this time so somehow the bill was pulled. One would expect cries of "victory", and a parade of triumphant Democrats, hugs, tears, cheers, honking horns, and high fives but no. Instead the exiled Democrats put forth a list of demands to be met before they would come home. Bear in mind they are the minority party. In essence, the minority demands that the majority abandon its radical legislative agenda. At the Urbana Comfort Suites they have formed their government in exile. One can only hope that they do not expect the decisions they make to be binding on the majority back home.

And just how radical is the Republican agenda? It is earth shaking. Earth shaking enough that one county school district (Warrick) sent home flyers with the students begging the parents to contact their state legislators which even when they are in state isn't always easy. Earth shaking enough that one county superintendent of schools wrote an editorial asking parents to do the same. Not to be left out of the of the weeping and gnashing of teeth, the Indiana State Teacher Association (ISTA) called for statewide rallies.
Viewing the high points of the radical agenda we see;
HB 1002 Charter School Expansion. Expands the Charter School Program and diverts money from the public schools to charter schools.
HB 1479 Private Takeover of Public Schools. Allows the state of Indiana to take over poorly performing schools and for these schools to be managed by for-profit companies. It removes local decision making in schools.
HB 1584 Public School Waiver of state laws. Allows school boards to seek waivers of almost any school law or regulation.
HB 1585 Right to work for Public Employees. Removes collective bargaining rights at the local level.
And the bill that would make Milton Friedman jump for joy and Albert Shanker slit his wrists is;
HB 1003 School Vouchers. This bill allow a family making up to $81,000 to receive a $4,000 voucher to any private or parochial school they choose.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin Teacher's Union Comes Clean

Ranglesque is the term we use to describe the process where tax dodgers pay up when caught and then blame the arcane tax code for their "oversight". Alas the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), you know, the outfit that worries so much about corporate tax breaks has agreed to a settlement with the IRS for $171,091. and provided a ranglesque excuse but of course no apology. Read more about it here.

Why Obama Isn't Talking About Libya

Because no one in his administration can spell it.

Charlie Foxtrot: Dan Quayle Strikes Again!

It's Not About The Children?

No it's not about the children! It's about power!
Hear it straight from retiring NEA General Council Bob Chanin

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upping The Ante?

From the Wisconsin Journal;

"The 97-union South Central Federation of Labor of Wisconsin is laying groundwork for a general strike if Gov. Scott Walker succeeds in enacting legislation that would strip most bargaining rights from most public employee unions."

In other words Wisconsin would face a Greece type shut down. No trash pickup, no school, no driver license renewal . Supposedly the unions are contacting their European counterparts for advice on pulling of this bold stroke.

Under this plan the state would be brought to it's knees and forced to accept the unions' demands. But would it? Probably the reason the United States has never seen a general strike is the fact that the unions do not have the power to pull one off. What if after the initial shock of the population adjusted and decided that many of the "essential services" they were paying for were not that essential after all. Maybe, now that all the stray dogs are gone, they really don't need the animal control people. Sure libraries are nice but less than 10% of the population uses them. Contract that service out with someone who will offer ebooks. No food stamps? Too bad but again this does not affect that many people. No one to read the water meters; charge a flat rate for all residential customers.

Unlike Europe where the unions face a largely centralized adversary these unions would face an array of governmental bodies; state, county, municipal, maybe township and local school districts that are capable of acting independently.

Winning the strike in liberal Madison is not the same as winning a statewide strike.
There are plenty of programs that local governments engage in that have minimal public utility and minimal public support. If the taxpayers are given the option to fund only the programs that have wide public appeal a general strike could be suicide for the labor movement.

Todays Laugh

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