Monday, 9/6/10, Public Square

The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events.

In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day.


Filed under The Public Square

21 responses to “Monday, 9/6/10, Public Square

  1. Zippy

    Obama’s starting in the right direction, but I still think he really needs to throw down the gauntlet:

    Published: September 6, 2010

    WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday is to call for as much as $50 billion in government spending to start up a long-term public works plan emphasizing transportation projects – roads, rail and airport runways – over the next six years.

    Mr. Obama will lay out the plan, which is intended to promote the creation of construction jobs over the coming year and beyond, during a trip to Milwaukee on Monday afternoon, where he will observe Labor Day by attending a union festival. It would require Congressional approval, as it envisions extending and revising a broad transportation policy bill that is usually renewed every five years or so, but has been stalled in Congress.

    Despite its uncertain prospects, the White House is highlighting its proposal as one part of a broader economic recovery package that Mr. Obama is to unveil during a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday.

    With Democrats looking at a bleak election season, in large part because of high unemployment, the White House has been scrambling to find ways to jump-start the sagging economy.

    Mr. Obama’s plan would call for investment over six years, the White House says it would be front-loaded with an initial investment of $50 billion in taxpayer money, to help create jobs in as early as next year. The administration says it would work with Congress to find ways to pay for the plan, so that it would not add to the nation’s rising deficit. One possibility would be to cut existing subsidies for oil and gas exploration and production. Historically, transportation projects have been paid for largely with dedicated taxes such as those on gasoline.

    White House officials said Mr. Obama wanted to rebuild 15,000 miles of roads, construct and maintain 4,000 miles of railway – enough track to span the continent — and rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of airport runways while putting in place a system that would reduce travel time and airport delays.

    The president will also call for what the White House is describing as an “infrastructure bank” that would focus on paying for national and regional transportation projects.

    The $787 billion economic recovery act passed by Congress at the beginning of Mr. Obama’s presidency already included considerable spending on roads and other transportation infrastructure. But the White House says Mr. Obama’s new plan is different, because it would focus on a “long-term vision” as well as create jobs in the near term.

    Since the end of last year, when the long-term surface transportation legislation expired, infrastructure investments have been continued on a temporary basis, even as a trust fund that finances them has fallen into insolvency, the White House said. Mr. Obama’s plan would call on Congress to enact a long-term reauthorization of that bill.

    The idea for an infrastructure initiative, and in particular an infrastructure bank to leverage public money for private investment, is one that the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has been promoting for some time within the West Wing. It was not included in the original $787 billion stimulus program in early 2009 because the administration and Congressional Democratic leaders wanted to pass that package as quickly as possible given how fast the economy was sinking in the weeks before Mr. Obama took office; changes in the way public projects are determined and financed would have met resistance in the large committees of Congress that have jurisdiction.

    Lately the White House has been consulting with Representative James L. Oberstar, the Democrat from Minnesota who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and who has been developing legislation of his own.

    The administration also has consulted with an influential, tri-partisan trio – Ed Rendell, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania; Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California; and Michael R. Bloomberg, the independent who is mayor of New York — that recently formed a group called Building America’s Future to press for more public and private partnerships to invest in and modernize roads and bridges, air traffic control systems, waterways, electricity grids and more.

    The White House offered only sketchy details of the plan during a background briefing for reporters Monday. Senior administration officials said they have no estimate for how many jobs would be created, but that it would be a ‘’a substantial number.” And they declined to specify the total cost of the transportation package, beyond saying that the initial $50 billion would represent a substantial chunk of it.

    The officials said that, under the best case scenario, if Congress acts quickly, the plan could start creating jobs over the course of 2011. But the officials emphasized that the White House does not view the proposal as a “stimulus, immediate jobs plan,” calling it instead a “six-year reauthorization that’s front-loaded.”

    With only a few weeks of this year’s Congressional session left before lawmakers head home to campaign for re-election, the White House concedes it may face an uphill battle in getting the plan passed this fall, either before lawmakers break for the mid-terms or afterward, in a lame-duck session. Typically, transportation measures do get bipartisan support, but they often require months of work.

  2. What will be the “reasons” Republican Congress Critters will use to oppose putting Americans to work in jobs that improve America? I know they will, and I don’t think they will sound reasonable, but their constituents will buy them anyway. Their hate has has had a negative effect on the ability to think clearly.

    • Zippy

      Paul Krugman has some less-than-cheerful observation in his usual NYT column (link omitted for now).

      Suffice is to say that 2010 is not 1938 (there was no TV–for most people–and no internet). The dynamics can turn on a dime.

      Krugman is basically right, though, the inattentive masses have been sold on the idea that somehow the Democrats and Obama caused this mess and, if they didn’t, they sure as hell ain’t fixing it.

      There’s some legitimacy to the latter point, but as Krugman points out, many of those living at the endurance of the arrogant super-wealthy have bought into the notion that government spending is always bad–but, incredibly, don’t accept the corrolary–the thing that huge tax cuts require–mainly that huge deficits and borrowing more money must be a good thing.

      Krugman himself, eminent argument that he make for temporary deficit spending, is still avoiding the elephant in the room, i.e., where did all the wealth go?

      No one wants to talk about that, and even Krugman once mislabeled this anti-tax types as “deficit hawks.”

      They are not deficit hawks. Those in power (such as Arizona’s Jon Kyl) have spent their entire careers deliberately creating huge deficit–and then have the nerve to present themselves as champions of fiscal responsibility.

      Because they know the corporate whores of the Chamber of Commerce will parrot this obvious lie.

      So for the rant (I know I do that too much). And thanks, as always, for the soapbox.

  3. Some timely words from Robert Kennedy —

    “Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product … if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

    “Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

  4. Zippy

    One forgotten hero who needs to be remembered this labor day: Joe Hill

    “Don’t mourn, organize.”

  5. Zippy

    P.S. Yeah, I know, Joe Hill was a (gasp!) socialist!

    Funny how much the ruling class fears that idea. It would be easy enough to point to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the wink-and-a-nod capitalism to condemn communism.

    An educated person might even launch a scatching critic of France under Mitterand.

    None of which would have much relevance to Obama, but the straw man has been made with a remarkable degree of straw.

    I say: if this be socialism, then let’s make the most of it.

    • tosmarttobegop

      when I was in high school a teacher told us that the United States was moving more to a Socialist nation.
      He also told us that the country had moved from a manufacturing nation to a serve nation and that manufacturing was dead.

      • Zippy

        In my view, he had part of the picture dead-on. The whole problem with the “service economy”
        is that manufacturing never stopped.

        It–along with a great deal of the “service” has been outsourced.

        The quality of both have suffered tremendously, but with the concentration of wealth and ownership we’ve seen (“We’re Beatrice!”), the ultimate metric has become stock value.

        It’s become acceptable even to lose billions of dollars a quarter if you can convince the Wall Street crowd that money can be made from it.

        It’s insane, but greed always is.

  6. tosmarttobegop

    Just got back from the in-laws in Sterling, over the years they have turned their back yard into some what of a isolation garden of Eden. Shade and plants with two pond and waterfalls. Enough bird feeders to attract almost every species of birds including the ever so small and cute humming birds.

    Though not a expensive lay, it is a great place to set and think while the birds fly in to eat and sing.

    My wife and her sister spent from sun up to sun down making and canning jars of apple butter and one apple pie…..

    Which to my shame since I do not get this best of all treats I will admit I ate my full of!

    OMG the wind was bad on the way home, any time you traveled over a bridge above ground level it would push the truck almost to the other side of the road. I am relieved I was not on the motor cycle!

    My brother-in-law and I discussed the economy and some world events. Sorry to say we did not come up with the answers… LOL.

    I found or suddenly remembered that there is something about their water that does not agree with my body.
    NO not that! Just that the more of it I drank the quizzer I felt. Normally different water does not effect me.
    In fact I still miss the copper flavored water of Parsons Ks. where Grandma once lived.

    • One evening last week Griffin and I were watching the weather channel and the coverage was all about Earl. They had a weather man standing on a North Carolina beach and he was telling us it was getting worse by the minute, already the wind was gusting as high as 35 mph. Griffin and I just looked at each other, there really wasn’t anything to be said.

    • You heard what happened when the wind quit blowing in Kansas, didn’t you?

      Everyone fell down.

      • Zippy

        Heh, People know heat in AZ–ugh–and occasionally know floods (though nothing like we’ve seen in, say, Iowa).

        But they really have no idea what “severe weather” is.

        “Severe weather” is being out in the desert without water. That can kill you. And an occasional poor sap or (even worse) a kid might get caught up in a rushing wash.

        But they have no idea what a real storm is, or what really cold weather is, let alone snow/ice etc.

  7. “…I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves.” — Robert F. Kennedy, May 6, 1961

  8. david B

    Don’t miss Michael Moore’s Labor Day Column:
    Happy Fuckin’ Labor Day!
    By Michael Moore

    • Zippy

      “Fuck the UAW?”

      Good God. If he really said that, I am in awe of the utterly tone-deaf, narcissistic stupidity of that statement. Even politically, that makes zero sense.

      Has Rahm ever read, you know, the fucking history of the fucking Democratic party? Or this more about keeping the best corporate sponsors?

      Assuming that there’s any interest in a keeping a Democratic coalition of, ya know, actual people together, that’s not just shooting yourself in the foot.

      It’s more like shooting yourself in the head.

      Never mind the morality of it.

      It’s fucking retarded.

  9. indypendent

    As long as the moral code of our citizens seem to be profit at any cost – the decimation of the working class is in trouble.

    We even see these so-called Christians in the Republican Party who are on the warpath to let unbridled greed be seen as a good thing.

    I actually heard one of these televangelists talk about how Jesus wore only the finest linen and only ate the best food.

    How did he manage all that while being born in a stable because there was no room at the inn?

    I guess Jesus just worked hard and used all those government tax breaks and/or subsidies to make himself wealthy.

    So if Jesus was only concerned about making money – then why did he hang around with the social outcasts of society?

    We seriously need to get our priorities straightened out in this country.

  10. Zippy

    Well, it’s only fair to note that adminstration did help the auto industry remain alive, and under some criticism.

    And I think I’m turning as reactionary as the overstimulated media wants us to be. Shit.

    While not specifically denying that Emanuel uttered those words, a White House aide rejected the implication that the chief of staff wasn’t looking out for workers toiling at GM and Chrysler.

    “Throughout the entire process that saved the auto industry, Rahm tirelessly defended and advocated on behalf of the auto workers,” the aide said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is simply ridiculous.”

    And UAW President Bob King doesn’t seem to be offended.

    “If it wasn’t for Rahm Emanuel,… if it wasn’t for President Obama and the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, we wouldn’t have an auto industry. Millions of more people would be out of work today,” King told CNBC on Friday morning.

  11. prairie pond

    Hmm, lets see…

    Rahm reportedly hates the gays, the unions, the progressive party activists, and, um, well, the bloggers on the left, even though it was Gibbs who produced that gaff, and Plouffe who trashed the gays on the very day Prop Hate was struck down.

    Ya gotta wonder, is there any part of the “base” that this administration loves?

    Oh yeah. The donors.

    But I hear checkbooks snapping shut all over the country.

    WHO TF do they think will save them at the polls? The repukes and their minions?

    I think “tone deaf” is being too polite.

  12. “And I think I’m turning as reactionary as the overstimulated media wants us to be. Shit.”

    Yep! Let’s think about it. The Koch brothers give their money so their agenda will keep their pockets full. To get the message they bought out their money moves to the media. And we all react — republicans are ecstatic, democrats discouraged. Day after day the Koch brothers money buys ads, now the ‘mood’ of the country is written about in all the op-eds (no one even has to pay money for those)! Now come the tweets and the blogs and the social network sites. Now who can argue against what is common knowledge? Whether it be the story the Koch brothers wanted told, that President Obama is _______, whether it be the ‘mood’ of the voters… It’s working, it’s really working!

    • indypendent

      Alot of the trouble with any message being heard is the fact that the average American’s attention span is that of a 1-month old baby – exactly nada – zip – zero.

      Everybody wants results instantly in today’s society. It took alot of years for our country to get in this deep hole but yet they want one person to get us out instantly.

      If I was Obama, I’d tell them all to go f__k themselves and not even run for re-election. He has his money locked up – he has free health care for the rest of his life – a pension – and he will certaily be able to write several books and go on speakign circuit.

      Especially if the Republicans get back into power and f__k it up even worse than they did before – and we all know they will.