Monday, 2/28/11, Public Square

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48 responses to “Monday, 2/28/11, Public Square

  1. Here are two different pieces that speak to state pension plans. Very interesting.

    The Truth About Pensions

    The basic moral is that the official story these days — of years and years of huge giveaways to unions, resulting in gigantic, unpayable debts — is just wrong: to a very large extent, the pension shortfall has emerged just since 2007, thanks to the financial crisis, and even then it’s not nearly as big relative to future state incomes as widely imagined. Here’s a key figure:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/the-truth-about-pensions/?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto

    Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who ‘Contributes’ to Public Workers’ Pensions?
    http://tax.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/UBEN-8EDJYS?OpenDocument

  2. My oldest daughter comes home this morning! Color me very happy. She’s been to Bali, Japan, China… since I’ve seen her. 😉

  3. prairie pond

    I’m happy for you, Fnord. I bet you’ll be up all night talking. And eating, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company. Enjoy!

    • She departed Beijing Monday, 2/28 at 6:55 am, landed Chicago Monday, 2/28 at 5:40 am, left Chicago less than two hours ago — I expect to have to carry her into her house. 😉

  4. I can’t find any place to validate this info, so let’s call it a rumor until we know whether it’s true.

    ——————–

    Report – Sen. Dale Schultz will not vote for budget repair bill
    If true, 1 down, 2 to go

    Reports are flying that Wisconsin District 17 senator Dale Schultz (R) Richland Center will not support Walker’s budget repair bill.

    http://solidaritywisconsin.com/article/report-sen-dale-schultz-will-not-vote-budget-repair-bill

  5. indypendent

    Does it bother anyone else besides me that Republicans seem to get their jollies off of demonizing people?

    These folks demonize Democrats – okay, that’s a given due to politics.
    The Religious Right have demonized everyone else that does not adhere to their strict narrow version of Christianity.

    But they are now demonizing teachers, police and firefighters. Do these folks think these people are somehow disposable and can just vanish into thin air simply because the Party of NO does not like them?

    Plus, I find it very telling that two of these folks’ most popular political entertainers (Limbaugh and Beck) are both college dropouts. Since when is being educated a sin or something to be demonized?

    People boasted about voting for George w. Bush because he was a guy you could have a beer with. Okay, that only means he was a little cowboy with a big hat and and an even bigger mouth spouting off a line of B.S.

    come to think of it – Bush was a Harvard man – but maybe that was just because he was a Bush???

    • Here’s an op-ed piece that says “debt” is the newest sin they’re after —

      Evangelicals Preach the Gospel of Getting Out of Debt

      Yes, to me it does seem hypocritical of them to take this stand now, and not when bush the lesser was in office. I’ve become accustomed to them ignoring time before Jan 20, 2009 when everything they’re against ‘began.’ My biggest complaint about the evangelicals remains their ability to see what is wrong with everyone else and act as judge and jury. It’s always taken all my time just to work on improving me. Wizards at time management?

      • indypendent

        I was in the midst of these Evangelicals for many years and beleive me, this is nothing more than the ‘flavor of the month’ trendy thing with this group.

        If these folks truly cared about getting out of debt, then why did they allow their preachers to build such a huge monument to themselves, adorn the front door with a huge gawdy and tacky golden/cyrstal cross?

        It is now ‘chic’ and to be a part of the ‘in’ crowd to be for cutting the federal spending.

        But did you notice that when it comes to programs that these people specifically benefit from – they are silent.

        Very telling indeed.

      • indypendent

        On the Opinion Line, there is a comment about money donated to churches is already taxed.

        Taking this logic further then would mean since our paychecks are already taxed -then when we take that money and buy something, no taxes should be added on the price.

        Now how long do you think our society would last if nobody ever paid any taxes on anything since our paychecks have already been taxed?

      • Did other people let that person know how skewed their ‘thinking’ is?

      • indypendent

        Well, I put in my 2 cents worth – of which I am sure you already guessed that – LOL

        Have a good time with your daughter when you see her. Does this daughter live in town or nearby? If not, how long will visit be?

      • She lives here in Wichita with her family — hubby and the three of five children who are left at home. Two of her sons are grown and live in Portland, Oregon. This was a work trip — the company she’s employed at is an international company with offices all over the world, but it did sound like there was a good amount of fun time available.

        She told me about a Chinese woman she met and worked with. She said this woman’s husband is Japanese and both had learned English in school but neither knew the others native language so they spoke to one another in English — except when they had an argument and then they both spoke their native languages. The woman said they both knew English very well but not well enough to be mad in it.

  6. indypendent

    I worked for a natural gas pipeline in 1978. We were a non-union company while most of the other companies were union.

    You know why we retained and kept our employees happy? Because we kept up with the union wages and benefits – so there was no need for a union contract.

    Our company made just as much profit as the union companies did but yet our management CHOSE to treat their employees fair.

    Maybe that is what has been missing in the past few decades – management and CEO’s of corporations have been so busy outsourcing jobs allegedly due to need to make a profit but yet they found a hell of alot of money to pay their CEO a handsome bonus after laying hundreds of employees.

    And what happens to the remaining employees once the workforce has been cut? The remaining employees are expected to work twice as hard for the same pay or even threatened into taking a paycut.

    And all the while the CEO and the corporations are crying into the beer of their bought-and-paid for politician as to how they just cannot make any profit unless all unions are busted.

    Sometimes it is just greed that causes the problem. Perhaps the CEO and corporations need to take a hard look in their truth mirror. But why do that when they can now legally buy any politician they want?

    Do I defend all unions carte blanche on what they do – NO. I’ve know some unions that are just as greedy as these CEOs and their corporate masters. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Republicans keep saying that collective bargaining is not right because the unions take their dues and funnel them into the Democrats. Well – isn’t that what the corporations such as Koch do – as well? They get their employees to contribute to political parties

    So why are Repubkicans getting their panties in such a bunch?

    • indypendent

      Maybe it’s not so much panties bunching as the Republicans want to fix the system – to the point where the only money going to political parties is theirs and from their people?

      Why so much fear of a fair political fight if these people feel so superior?

      • prairie pond

        Don’t forget that one of Thomas Frank’s main points in both What’s the Matter with Kansas and The Wrecking Crew is that the repukes set out early on to “defund” the left and all their supporting organizations.

        This is the end game of that strategy.

  7. Or, the other alternative would be for Walker to quit being so obstructive and against the will of the people! He could get his debt refinanced! It’s really up to him, and if he is this poor an administrator I suspect the voters will notice.

    —————–

    (Reuters) – Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker said on Monday that absent senate Democrats have 24 hours to return and vote on a measure to reduce the power of public sector unions or the state will miss out on opportunity to refinance its debt.

    “Now they have one day to return to work before the state loses out on the chance to refinance debt, saving taxpayers $165 million this fiscal year,” Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie said in a statement.

    “Failure to return to work and cast their votes will lead to more painful and aggressive spending cuts in the very near future,” the statement said.

    • indypendent

      the sky is falling…..the sky is falling……

      yeah, right.

      I read somewhere that when Wisconsin Walker was that county executive (which he is proud to boast of many times), he fired some security guards because he wanted to privatize (there’s that golden GOP code word) those services.

      Well, those security guards filed a lawsuit and the ruling just came down a few weeks ago that these guards get their jobs back and backpay.

      Now how much cost savings did that little fiasco cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin?

      I think people all over the country are watching how this plays out. Did you notice all the Republicans were on the same talking points in the Sunday news shows yesterday?

      I suspect these fine folks are counting on the support of those Evangelicals – and they will get it carte blance just like Reagan used the RR to get the votes to get him into the White House.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Actually, the cost will be borne by residents of that county. Point well made, indy; just how long will it take?

  8. A little protest humor: “A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies…looks at the tea partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.”

    (Acquired from a political group on FB)

  9. The G.O.P.’s Abandoned Babies

    Republicans need to figure out where they stand on children’s welfare. They can’t be “pro-life” when the “child” is in the womb but indifferent when it’s in the world. Allow me to illustrate just how schizophrenic their position has become through the prism of premature babies.

    Of the 33 countries that the International Monetary Fund describes as “advanced economies,” the United States now has the highest infant mortality rate according to data from the World Bank. It took us decades to arrive at this dubious distinction. In 1960, we were 15th. In 1980, we were 13th. And, in 2000, we were 2nd.

    Part of the reason for our poor ranking is that declines in our rates stalled after premature births — a leading cause of infant mortality as well as long-term developmental disabilities — began to rise in the 1990s.

    The good news is that last year the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the rate of premature births fell in 2008, representing the first two-year decline in the last 30 years.

    Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, the president of the March of Dimes, which in 2003 started a multimillion-dollar premature birth campaign focusing on awareness and education, has said of the decline: “The policy changes and programs to prevent preterm birth that our volunteers and staff have worked so hard to bring about are starting to pay off.”

    The bad news is that, according to the March of Dimes, the Republican budget passed in the House this month could do great damage to this progress. The budget proposes:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/opinion/26blow.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

    • indypendent

      If the pro-life supporters really cared about the sanctity of life – they would start by caring about all children – not just the preborn.

    • indypendent

      For all their bellyachine, the Republicans just need to learn what to do if they choose to opt out of the new health care reform law.

      But seeing that most of the Tea Party Republicans and Fox News watchers appear to be of the Medicare population – they sure don’t want to change their heatlh care insurance. They’ve got it pretty good now.

      • indypendent

        I suspect these Tea Party mad hatters and Fox News hounds are into that mantra – all for me and none for thee.

        Do you think is going to be in the new Bible that the Conservative Christians are rewriting?

    • More on the opt-out option being moved up from 2017 to 2014 —

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20037404-503544.html

  10. Freebird1971

    Last US veteran of WWI dies in W. Va. at age 110
    10 Comments
    By VICKI SMITH
    Associated Press
    Photos
    «

    * Last US veteran of WWI dies in W. Va. at age 110

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Frank Buckles enlisted for World War I at 16 after lying about his age. He made it home again and ultimately became that war’s last surviving U.S. veteran, campaigning for greater recognition for his comrades-in-arms before dying at 110.

    Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said. He was 110

  11. indypendent

    Interesting reading about Saudi Royals and how they like them some welfare as long as they are able to siphon money from ‘off budget’ programs to finance their lavish lifestyles.

    Hmmm….now where have we seen that ‘off budget’ trick pulled before?
    Think back to no-bid contracts for the two ‘off budget’ wars.

    Could it be the little cowboy president who just so happens to be the same little cowboy that took a stroll with the Saudi King while holding hands with him?

    It must be true – birds of a feather flock together.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/28/wikileaks-saudi-royal-wel_n_829097.html

  12. indypendent

    Where are the cries of RINO against Christie and Huckabee? I suspect both of these guys are smart enough to know that it is unwise to pick on a First Lady who has chosen to work on the problem of childhood obesity.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/27/republicans-defend-first-ladys-obesity-efforts/

  13. indypendent

    Bush lifted sanctions against Libya in 2005 and it seems quite a few people and businesses got rich. Obama continued this practice until the recent protesters seem to be winning. Obama has now called for putting sanctions back on Libya.

    If Gadhafi gets ousted – where does that leave the relationship between America and the new Libyan government?

    I suspect some televangelists and political entertainers would be only too happy to tell us it is some Muslim plot to take over the world.

    But maybe it just boils down to this – we need to keep out butts home and stop all this meddling in other countries backyard.

    If we were not so dependent on foreign oil – we could tell all these countries where to shove their oil barrels.

    But, alas, Reagan helped to stop our country from finding alternative energy in 1980’s when he had the solar panels taken off the White House roof (Jimmy Carter had those installed) and then turned around and gave weapons to Islamists in Iran.

    Seems the die was cast from that point on? Is it really any wonder today’s Republicans are so against finding alternative energy, creating green jobs and that high speed rail?

    Seriously, too many rich fat cats are making money off the Middle East oil.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41833115/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

  14. ‘Anonymous’ targets the brothers Koch, claiming attempts ‘to usurp American Democracy’

    The decentralized protest group “Anonymous” has a new target: no, it’s not a middle eastern dictator, a major bank or even a bit player in the military-industrial complex.

    It’s none other than tea party financiers Charles and David Koch, who were being targeted, an open letter stated, for their attempts “to usurp American Democracy.”

    “Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin,” an announcement posted to anonnews.org declared.

    “Governor Walker’s union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process,” they explained. “The Koch’s have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state’s power supplies.

    The group, which was responsible for taking MasterCard Worldwide offline for an entire day — along with numerous other organizations that plotted against secrets outlet WikiLeaks — said it would now be “actively seeking vulnerabilities” in Koch industries.

    “In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed,” the release added. “Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/27/anonymous-targets-the-brothers-koch-claiming-attempts-to-usurp-american-democracy/

  15. wicked

    Do over?
    We’ll have our full poll on the Wisconsin conflict out tomorrow but here’s the most interesting finding: if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.

    http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2011/02/do-over.html

    • I see it coming in January if they can’t find a way to do it sooner. So much about him has become public knowledge, most of which anyone with sense wouldn’t have wanted aired nationally. Of course, he hasn’t provided evidence he has sense.

      • One of our mutual friends says this: “hopes that still-sane Americans in selected states are feeling buyer’s remorse for having put TeaTards in control of legislatures and governorships.”

        Another moniker you just have to admire! 😉

    • indypendent

      I predict Florida will soon be wanting a do-over for their governor in the next year.

      But you can’t blame Rick Scott for their failure in good judgment. It was not like Scott’s background and previous dealings with our Medicare system was exactly kept a secret.

  16. ‘Anonymous’ takes down Americans for Prosperity website

    ‘Anonymous’ takes down Americans for Prosperity website

    The online activist group “anonymous,” which has used coordinated denial of service attacks — a crude but effective Internet weapon — to temporary disable sites belonging to foes ranging from Scientology to WikiLeaks foes — has turned its firepower on the Koch-backed conservative group Americans for Prosperity, making the group’s site intermittently unavailable tonight.

    From the typically immodest press release, which begins, “Dear Citizens of the United States of America”:

    It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.

    …Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers’ political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.

    …Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse – is complicit in these attacks. We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries’ paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/Anonymous_takes_down_Americans_for_Prosperity_website.html

  17. Barack Obama: “I am willing to work with anyone—Democrat or Republican, governor or member of Congress—to make the Affordable Care Act even better and more affordable.”

    I’m thinking this takes the air out of someone’s sails and might be political genius.

    • indypendent

      Obama is, and has always been, a smart politician. I am not here to say Obama has always been right and that I agree with him 100%.

      But I am thankful and grateful we are talking about President Obama and NOT President McCain – or worse yet – President Palin.

  18. Generals’ complaint targets Phelps lawyers

    THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

    Nine retired U.S. Air Force generals have filed a complaint with state regulators to seek disbarment of 10 lawyers who are members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka.

    http://cjonline.com/news/2011-02-28/generals-complaint-targets-phelps-lawyers

    • indypendent

      wow – take away their lawyering licenses and where would they get their funding?

      isn’t that how this gang makes their money – by slapping lawsuits against anyone who dares to trample their Constitutional rights?

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        IIRC, two of them (Shirley and ??) are state employees, not practicing law. Fred, of course, was disbarred in1979 in Kansas. Do not know about any of the others.

  19. indypendent

    Iran is objecting the London 2012 logo claiming it is racist.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see what they profess to be complaining about.

    Perhaps Iran has their own version of the Religious Right that sees hidden messages in simple things like a purple Teletubbie that carries a purse of some talking doll that some RR thinks is trying to hypnotize everyinto become an Islamist.

    I guess it’s true – people are universally all the same. The Iranians have their crazy fringe just we have them here in the states.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/Iran-objects-to-2012-London-Olympics-logo-022811?GT1=39002

  20. indypendent

    Well, well, well……billions of taxpayer dollars and simply gone down a big black hole and yet not one single Tea Party/Republicans getting their panties in a bunch about this.

    I wonder how many of the above named persons have stock in the war-time contractors – is this a reason why no body cares about this massive federal spending?

    Or is because GWB put these wars ‘off budget’ so that is like some war-time fairy came in to pay those bills?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/28/wartime-contractors-waste-billions_n_829251.html

  21. CapnAmerica

    J Cowles wrote this on another blog.

    Worth a re-post here:

    There was a time when most of the finest universities were in the US — Harvard, Yale, Caltech, Berkeley, Brown, Brandeis, Stanford, etc. — with only the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, and the Sorbonne elsewhere. But over the decades, American universities have prostituted themselves to the marketplace to such an extent that American universities these days are little more than glorified vo-tech schools that train successive crops of docile cube-drones for life as maximally efficient consumers in a late-capitalist economy. This is something Stanley Fish, in his “NY Times” column, often refers to as the “monetization” of higher education, i.e., the only subjects worth studying are subjects that enable you to make a buck and to make yourself more salable to the various warlords of the Corporate State. Education in the broad sense — preparing people to make a life by studying the arts and humanities, as well as to make a living — that kind of humanistic and humane education is largely a thing of the past.

    Read more: http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/2011/02/does-u-s-have-finest-universities/#ixzz1FJCVWUFr

  22. I had an email from my favorite leggie (hat tip to PrairiePond!) —

    Dear Linda,

    The GOP is waging a war on women, and the hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

    They’re trying to regulate what happens when an individual woman meets in private with her doctor, and they want to deny a medical procedure based on a woman’s income.

    This is from a political party that says it’s all about liberty! It’s just immoral.

    That’s why, at a recent hearing on the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” I called them out on it. Our friends at the Crooks and Liars blog posted the video and I thought you should see it.

    Click here to watch my hearing statement and see what Republicans are trying to get away with.

    Someone needs to make it clear to my Republican friends that you can’t be for “less government” at the same time that you add layers of red tape between a patient and her doctor.

    More important, we have to stop any attempt to take away the basic right a woman has to safeguard her own health.

    So spread the word. Share this video with your friends, your family, even your casual acquaintances.

    1. Forward this email.
    2. Tweet it.
    3. Post it on Facebook.
    4. Talk about it.

    This bill is bigger than you and me. The people who support this bill don’t believe in a woman’s right to make basic health decisions. That’s the bottom line.

    Anthony