Just because I didn't see the speech on Afghanistan doesn't mean I can't have an opinion or two about the whole thing, amplified by K.O. here (and sorry for the triple negative in that statement)...
...and I thought this was a nice, mellow little summer-ish kind of tune.
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A little nostalgia for those in my generation, with a twist. Via Doctor Zaius.
Open thread below...
George Zornick writes The Senate Hears Tales From the Struggling Middle Class:
?Families who are scraping by every day see no real relief in sight,? Amanda Greubel, an Iowa mother of two, told a roomful of U.S. Senators Thursday morning. ?We hear that corporate welfare continues and CEOs get six-figure bonuses at taxpayer expense, and we look across the kitchen table at our families eating Ramen noodles for the third time this week?.We know that money talks around here, and that means you don?t hear us.?
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard Greubel?s pleas during a hearing called ?Stories from the Kitchen Table: How Middle Class Families are Struggling to Make Ends Meet.? As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee three floors below, outlining American plans for ?longer-term sustainable development that focuses on spurring growth? in Afghanistan, Senators on the HELP Committee heard about the urgent need for ?nation building here at home,? as President Obama put it in his address to the country last night.
Greubel and her husband work for the public school system in DeWitt, Iowa, and both had their salaries reduced during recent state spending cuts. She tried to convey to the committee the real effect it had on her family. ?The loss of that income required a complete financial, emotional, and spiritual overhaul in our family,? Greubel testified, describing shopping trips to Goodwill stores and discount supermarkets, and cold cereal for her children at dinnertime. ?We did everything that all the experts said we should do, and yet we?re still struggling. When you work as hard as we have and still sometimes scrape for the necessities, it really gets you down.? ...
It was overall an unusual display in the Senate, as stories of economic hardship were brought directly into official hearing rooms. Sen. Tom Harkin, who chairs the committee, appeared visibly distressed during some of Greuber?s testimony and later called it ?one of the most eloquent statements about the plight of the middle class and what?s happening to families out there that I?ve ever heard.? (You can watch her testimony here, at the 51-minute mark).
But the hearing also had a feeling of futility to it. The Senate is mired in gridlock, and earlier this week wasn?t even able to pass re-authorization of the Economic Development Act, which would have provided grants to economically distressed areas to generate job growth. The reauthorization enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the past.
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At Daily Kos on this date in 2008:
This week the Washington Post will be taking a two-part, front page look at the failure of al-Hurra, an Arabic-language propaganda network financed by the U.S. government and created to win those ever-elusive hearts and minds in the Middle East. But let?s save you some time because the reason for this $350 million dollar failure is pretty much summed up in these three lines:[A] succession of executives who either had little experience in television or could not speak Arabic.
One news anchor greeted the station's predominantly Muslim audience on Easter by declaring, "Jesus is risen today!"
In 2004, when an Israeli airstrike killed the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, virtually all Arabic news channels interrupted their regular programming. Al-Hurra continued with a cooking show.
And now that the mystery of why al-Hurra only manages to attract 2% of its target audience is solved, perhaps the Washington Post could take some time to investigate the Pentagon sponsored propaganda program that propelled us into a war in Iraq. The one that has cost more than $500 billion, 4,103 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Because the Washington Post still hasn?t bothered to report on that story.
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Heather @ C&L provides a link to piece by Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Blog site (LINK) that had my "I Told You So" reflex quivering like a dog crapping a peach pit the second I read the headline.
I remember reading about this when the drooling idiot they have for a governor out there was grandstanding to the media at the little signing party he threw for them in order to make sure it got him some national attention.
Ga's Farm Labor Crisis Playing Out As Planned
7:22 am June 17, 2011, by Jay
After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.
It might be funny if it wasn't so sad.
Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars' worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they've done to Georgia's largest industry.
I began my working days as a 13 year old ranch/farm hand so I think I kind of understand some of the underlying principles here and well... I don't know who's dumber... Georgia politicians... who could probably raise the collective IQ in their state 50 points just by jumping off a cliff somewhere en masse... or the gob of goobers that voted for 'em... which probably included at least some of the farmers who are watching their crops turn into next year's fertilizer as we speak.
Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him.
The results of that investigation have now been released. According to survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.
In response, Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia. Somehow, I suspect that would not be a partnership made in heaven for either party.
As an editorial in the Valdosta Daily Times notes, "Maybe this should have been prepared for, with farmers' input. Maybe the state should have discussed the ramifications with those directly affected. Maybe the immigration issue is not as easy as 'send them home,' but is a far more complex one in that maybe Georgia needs them, relies on them, and cannot successfully support the state's No. 1 economic engine without them."
It's simply easier to flip burgers for $8 an hour than it is to do hard, backbreaking manual labor in the hot sun for the same eight bucks. But a bunch of ignorant rednecks who have been raised to hate Latinos and other minorities and need some feeble ass excuse to pop out when someone asks why and all you'll get is, "They take decent jobs away from real Murkins".
According to the survey, more than 6,300 of the unclaimed jobs pay an hourly wage of just $7.25 to $8.99, or an average of roughly $8 an hour. Over a 40-hour work week in the South Georgia sun, that's $320 a week, before taxes, although most workers probably put in considerably longer hours. Another 3,200 jobs pay $9 to $11 an hour. And while our agriculture commissioner has been quoted as saying Georgia farms provide "$12, $13, $14, $16, $18-an-hour jobs," the survey reported just 169 openings out of more than 11,000 that pay $16 or more.
In addition, few of the jobs include benefits - only 7.7 percent offer health insurance, and barely a third are even covered by workers compensation. And the truth is that even if all 2,000 probationers in the region agreed to work at those rates and stuck it out - a highly unlikely event, to put it mildly - it wouldn't fix the problem.
No people... those illegal aliens are in your state because your state's youth is not exactly beating a path to the boondocks to get all those "great" jobs the Mexicans are "taking away" and somebody's got to get the stuff into and out of the ground before it can wind up on your table. You want to keep believing the bullshit sound bites and propaganda, fine. Just expect me to point fingers and laugh my ass off every time you make the papers with it.
As promised, here's the skinny on the governor's NEXT New big thing that he hid behind when confronted by all those pissed off farmers a couple of weeks ago:
How's it going down on the farm?
The Associated Press (LINK)reports:
The first batch of probationers started work last week at a farm owned by Dick Minor, president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. In the coming days, more farmers could join the program.
So far, the experiment at Minor's farm is yielding mixed results. On the first two days, all the probationers quit by mid-afternoon, said Mendez, one of two crew leaders at Minor's farm.
"Those guys out here weren't out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, 'Bonk this, I ain't with this, I can't do this,'" said Jermond Powell, a 33-year-old probationer. "They just left, took off across the field walking."
Mendez put the probationers to the test last Wednesday, assigning them to fill one truck and a Latino crew to a second truck. The Latinos picked six truckloads of cucumbers compared to one truckload and four bins for the probationers.
Just as an aside, Minor Brothers Farm is listed as the second largest recipient of federal farm subsidies in the state, collecting a total of $11.4 million between 2000 and 2009.
The right-wing media have vilified a proposal by the National Labor Relations Board to change rules regarding union organizing elections, accusing the NLRB of trying to establish "quickie elections." In fact, the proposal would establish no time frame for holding elections, and it modernizes procedures before and after elections.
NRO'sKirsanow: "NLRB's Proposed Rules Would Implement 'Quickie Elections." Former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow wrotein a post on the National Review Online blog The Corner:
In a nutshell, the NLRB's proposed ruleswould implement "quickie elections," a process that would allow unions toorganize a workplace as easily as they could have had the Employee Free ChoiceAct (also known as "card check") passed.
Yet the "quickie election" rules proposed bythe NLRB will shorten the time frame to a mere 10-20days. Make absolutely no mistake: That's not enough time for even the largestand most sophisticated employers to counter what the union has been tellingemployees while organizing them for the last 6-8months. The union win rate will far exceed 68 percent. [National Review Online, The Corner, 6/21/11]
Fox Guest Hanretty: "This WouldAbsolutely Allow Unions To Do Instant Organizing."On Happening Now, former National Republican Congressional Committeecommunications directorKaren Hanretty said:
HANRETTY: You know,this would absolutely allow unions to do instant organizing. So, in other words, theycould take months of preparation to organize and hold a vote without theemployer even knowing, without the employer even having the opportunity to wagetheir own campaign. [Fox News, Happening Now, 6/22/11]
WSJ Editorial: NLRB "Delivered APlan For 'Quickie' Union Elections Designed To Make Organizing Easier."From a Wall Street Journal editorial headlined"The Union 'Quickie' ":
When Big Labor failedto persuade even a Democratic Congress to pass "card check"legislation, it turned to Plan B: the National Labor Relations Board, whichyesterday delivered a plan for "quickie" union elections designed tomake organizing easier. [The Wall StreetJournal, 6/22/11]
Heritage FoundationAnalyst At NRO: "The NLRB'sProposed Snap Elections" Are "Another Case Of The Obama Administration PuttingUnions Ahead Of Workers." In a post on The Corner, Heritage Foundation SeniorPolicy Analyst James Sherk wrote:
The NLRB's proposedsnap elections, which Peter Kirsanow described here yesterday, are another caseof the Obama administration putting unions ahead of workers. Unionization hasplummeted in the private sector because very few workers want to join. Unionswant to reverse that trend by denying employees an informed choice. [NationalReview Online, 6/22/11]
CAP'sMadland: Rule Doesn't Specify Time Frame, Addresses "Roadblocks That CommonlyAre Thrown Up When The NLRB Attempts To Set Up An Election." David Madland,director of the Center for American Progress' American Worker Project, wrote:
The proposed rule announced today by theNational Labor Relations Board to create a standard process for union electionsis an important step toward giving workers a fairer way to choose whether toform a union. The rule would reform an election process that far too oftenresembles Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown's foot just as hebegins his kick, with scheduled elections frequently delayed or canceled and workersleft flat on their backs.
This common sense proposal would standardizean inconsistent election process. The NLRB is correct when it says the proposedrule would "reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-electionprocedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and documentfiling." The proposed rule does not specify a specific time frame forelections, but rather recommends a number of changes that would help put an endto delay tactics used by employers or unions, creating a more level playingfield, ensuring stability and fairness for all parties, and reducingconfrontation in the workplace.
The proposed rule would address theroadblocks that commonly are thrown up when the NLRB attempts to set up anelection. There is currently no limit on employers' or unions' ability todemand a pre-election hearing on most any issue, including the eligibility ofemployees to vote, or the scope of the bargaining unit, which can be used todelay an election. Many of these issues could be resolved after voting, andothers are manufactured for purposes of delay and don't need to be resolved atall, ever. As former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein explains, "The problemhas been that a party in any election case has the ability to undermine theexpression of employee free choice by manipulating Board procedures to createdelay." [AmericanProgress.org, 6/21/11]
NLRB: New Rules Would Eliminate AReview Process That "Almost Never Result In AStay Of The Election."From the NLRB's "fact sheet" on the proposed changes:
Elections routinelyare delayed 25-30 days to allow parties to seek Board review of RegionalDirector rulings even though such requests are rarely filed, even more rarelygranted, and almost never result in a stay of the election.
The pre-electionrequest for review would be eliminated, along with the unnecessary delay.[NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: Current Rules Encourage"Pre-Election Litigation" Over Issues That "Ultimately May Not Need To BeResolved." From the NLRB fact sheet:
Encouragespre-election litigation over voter-eligibility issues that need not be resolvedin order to determine if an election is necessary and that may not affect theoutcome of the election and thus ultimately may not need to be resolved.
The parties couldchoose not to raise such issues at the pre-election hearing but rather via thechallenge procedure during the election. Litigation of eligibility issuesraised by the parties involving less than 20 per cent of the bargaining unitwould be deferred until after the election. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: NewRules Would Require Parties To State Their Positions At Outset Of Hearings.From the NLRB fact sheet:
In contrast tofederal court rules, the board's current procedures have no mechanism forquickly identifying what issues are in dispute to avoid wasteful litigation andencourage agreements.
The parties would berequired to state their positions no later than the start of the hearing,before any other evidence is accepted. The proposed amendments would ensurethat hearings are limited to issues resolving genuine disputes. [NLRB.gov,accessed 6/22/11]
Wash. Examiner: "Apparently, The Big Labor BossesAren't Satisfied With Winning More Than 60 Percent Of Workplace RepresentationElections In Recent Years." From a WashingtonExaminer editorial:
The new workplace representation electionrules are needed to "remove unnecessary barriers to the fair andexpeditious resolution of questions concerning representation," accordingto the NLRB. Unions want the NLRB to severely limit or kill management'sability to oppose unionization before representation elections and to exposeabusive campaign practices by union thugs after workers vote. Apparently, theBig Labor bosses aren't satisfied with winning more than 60 percent ofworkplace representation elections in recent years. [The Washington Examiner,6/22/11]
NRO'sKirsanow: In Recent Years, Unions Have Won "Approximately 68 Percent OfElections."Kirsanow wrote in apost on The Corner:
Indeed, in 2009and 2010 unions won approximately 68 percent of elections (this does notinclude the number of petitions withdrawn by unions). [National ReviewOnline, The Corner, 6/21/11]
LaborJournal Article: 35 Percent Of Union DrivesNever Reach An Election. Writing in Industrial & Labor Relations Review,MIT doctoral candidate John-Paul Fergusonfound that between 1999 and 2004, about 35 percent of cases in whichan election petition was filed -- meaningorganizers collected enough signatures to trigger the election process -- did not result in an election ultimately beingheld. From a chart published with his article:
[Industrial& Labor Relations Review, Vol.62, No. 1, article 1]
BigGovernment: Rule Changes Include "Electronic Voting," Removal Of Secret Ballot,And "Giving Digital Readouts Of The Home Addresses And Contact Information" OfEmployees.From a June 21 post on BigGovernment.com:
The rule changes would include: electronic voting,which may open up fraud, as well as coercion and intimidation of voters who nolonger have the protection of private ballots; rushed elections so employeesdon't have time to inform themselves about having to pay union dues, live andwork by union rules, and support a vast leftwing political machine; theinability for employers to challenge the validity of voting employees untilit's too late; and giving digital readouts of the home address and contactinformation for all the employees the union is targeting. [BigGovernment.com, 6/22/11]
NLRB:Proposal Allows Petitions, Notices, And Voter Lists To Be TransmittedElectronically -- Says Nothing AboutElectronic Voting Or Secret Ballots. From the NLRB fact sheet:
Parties or the Board cannot electronicallyfile or transmit important representation case documents, including electionpetitions.
Election petitions, election notices, andvoter lists could be transmitted electronically. NLRB regional offices coulddeliver notices and documents electronically rather than by mail, and coulddirectly notify employees by email, when addresses are available. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: Proposal Changes "The Procedures [NLRB] Follows Prior And Subsequent ToConducting A Secret Ballot Election," Not The Election Itself. From the NLRB fact sheet:
On June 21, 2011, the National LaborRelations Board, Member Hayes dissenting, proposed reforms of the procedures itfollows prior and subsequent to conducting a secret ballot election todetermine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collectivebargaining. The proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessarylitigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate theuse of electronic communications and document filing. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: Current RulesRequire Employers To Provide Names And Home Addresses Of Employees -- Proposal Adds Phone And Email ContactInformation. From the NLRB fact sheet:
The final voter listavailable to all parties contains only names and home addresses, which does notpermit all parties to utilize modern technology to communicate with voters.
Phone numbers andemail addresses (when available) would be included on the final voter list.[NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
Bill Minor has an interesting article on the current state of politics in Mississippi. He closes with questions most of us who follow politics closely are asking:
Even as he leaves the governor?s office, the question remains: Is Barbour going to keep a hand in the Republican machine he has built in Mississippi? That raises the other logical question: If Phil Bryant becomes governor, will he continue to be a puppet with Haley pulling the strings?My guess is that Bryant, should he become governor, won't be easily controlled by Barbour. That may lead Barbour to focus more on D.C. lobbying than anything else.
I see that the feds finally caught "Whitey". Dude was chilling in Santa Monica in plain sight. He was even wearing a Red "Sax" hat for crying out loud! And here I thought he was living in some town way off the beaten path down in Mexico. It must be nice to have a certain skin tone when you are a criminal,---especially when you are an old one. Folks just tend to kind of leave you alone.
Whitey, it was a nice run, but it's time to retire to a nice quiet and secure nursing home run by the feds.
Speaking of aging white people; as the white population ages, you minorities just continue to kick out these damn babies. Now, unfortunately for some, A-merry-ca might have a problem.
"For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and a growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.
Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women ? mostly single mothers ? now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also of continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.
The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race and householder relationships.
Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.
?We?re moving toward an acknowledgment that we?re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color,? said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation." [Story]
Oh Lawd! Could this be far behind?
Finally, I know that you Negroes love your television, but this is ridiculous. And can some USC fan out there tell me if the guy that the Sixers took with the 16th pick can actually play? Is he the next Dirk? Or is he the next Shawn Bradley?
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With Vice President Joseph Biden's bipartisan deficit talks suddenly unraveling, all eyes are now turning to the two people ultimately responsible for resolving the partisan standoff on spending and taxes: President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) caught many off guard Thursday by pulling out of Biden?s group, which has been meeting frequently since May 5 to hammer out a massive bipartisan deficit reduction package.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) knocked ?the non-adult attitude of Sen. Kyl and Leader Cantor? and said it is now up to top Congressional leaders to get the job done.We can only hope Harry Reid has as say. Otherwise...
"I think it's now, with what Kyl and Cantor's done, I think it's in the hands of the speaker and the president and sadly, probably, me,? Reid said.
Doesn't the drug-selling President's announcement mean the surge worked and all the soldiers can come home now?[...]
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Title: The EchoArtist: The Epsilons
Thursday! Time for a little bit of soul. The Epsilons were managed by Otis Redding and disbanded after his tragic death. They also backed Arthur Conley on his hit "Sweet Soul Music". What's your favorite bit of soul?