“Hast seen the white whale?” a Melville-loving officer aboard a research vessel asks Donovan Hohn, in his dazzling “Moby-Duck,” whenever they pass in the ship’s corridor.
“Hast seen the yellow duck?” Hohn cheerfully responds.
Public sector workers are employed by the government, but they are private citizens. Once a private citizen earns a dollar from the sweat of his or her brow, it no longer belongs to his or her employer. In the case of public workers, it is no longer a “taxpayer dollar”; it is a dollar held privately by an American citizen. Public sector unions are financed through the dues paid by these private citizens, who elected to be part of a union – not a single taxpayer dollar is involved, and no worker is forced to join a union against his or her wishes. No worker in the United States is required to give one red cent to support a political cause he or she doesn't agree with.
The unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February, hitting the lowest point in nearly two years...
Of course once we get all those freeloading teachers and snowplow drivers laid off we can get the number back up again.
And casualties are mounting. No kidding. Mounting:
The layoff notices for more than 1,000 state workers are ready. The state Senate has declared the fugitive Democratic members in contempt and subject to arrest. A judge has allowed police to clear union activists from the capitol after a 15-day occupation of the statehouse.
“Even conservatively,” Milesi says, “I estimate there are three times more acres of lawns in the U.S. than irrigated corn.” This means lawns—including residential and commercial lawns, golf courses, etc—could be considered the single largest irrigated crop in America in terms of surface area, covering about 128,000 square kilometers in all.
A bill in the Wisconsin legislature that would impose penalties for making prank phone calls actually has nothing to do with a recent prank call that duped Governor Scott Walker into chatting candidly with a journalist pretending to be billionaire tea party financier David Koch.
Or, that's what they're saying anyway....
The proposed law would mandate fines from $1,000-$10,000 for anyone who falsifies caller ID data, gives a fake number or otherwise deceives the call's recipients in order to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain information....
And...wait...here's the punchline...
Government regulators and police, however, would be exempt from these restrictions.
The federal deficit is too large for comfort, and most states are struggling to balance their books. Some of that is because of excessive spending, and much is because the recession has driven down tax revenues. But a substantial part was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich. As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.
A secretly funded political group aligned with Rahm Emanuel has donated more than $445,000 to aldermanic candidates to help the mayor-elect in a high-stakes battle over control of City Hall....
Emanuel, sensitive to any suggestion he is a power broker like outgoing Mayor Richard Daley, gains potential council allies. The donors keep their anonymity, thanks to controversial quirks in fundraising laws. And aldermen get the help they seek without appearing beholden to anyone.
Canadian regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.
Really? I Canada right now they're not allowed to lie on the news? That's un-American!
Later today, Gov. Scott Walker -- quickly becoming a darling of Republicans across the country for his plan to take away most collective bargaining rights from public workers...
Dude, I knew those R's are not very choosey but really, this is bad.
Besides chest-thumping fourth-quarter earnings, Goldman Sachs also announced its bonus pool on Thursday. At $16.2 billion, the total is 20 percent lower than the firm's 2007 level but still amounts to an average of just under $500,000 per employee.
That—the quote from the CSMonitor above—was published on January 21 this year, just a little more than a month before David Brooks' column in the NYTimes yesterday in which, with regard to the current deficit–cutting craze:
The sacrifice should be spread widely and fairly.
So there's my problem. I don't remember David Brooks saying anything at all about spreading that Goldman Sachs wealth fairly, unfairly, or any which way at all. But surely he must have, don't you think? A fair guy like David Brooks?
A neophyte freshman representative from Kansas who slipped into Congress on the strength of hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations from heavyweight industries does not want you and me to see a product-safety database compiled by a federal consumer agency.
In remarks to the National Governors Association, Mr. Obama said he backed legislation that would enable states to request federal permission to withdraw from the law’s mandates in 2014 rather than in 2017 as long as they could prove that they could find other ways to cover as many people as the original law would and at the same cost. The earlier date is when many of the act’s central provisions take effect, including requirements that most individuals obtain health insurance and that employers of a certain size offer coverage to workers or pay a penalty.
CNN's Candy Crowley spoke to Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman about the situation in Libya and whether the United States should get more involved in supporting the uprising there. Of course they think we should be imposing a no-fly zone and providing arms to the protesters so they can defend themselves.
What we really need is a nutjob news channel. You know, NNN. And we could put all the nutjobs on that channel and then just turn it off. Just say no, if you happen to be an R. Of course if we did that we wouldn't need too many other channels. Maybe one or two. One for movies and one for March Madness, which is coming soon.
AFL-CIO - More than a million private-sector jobs were added to the U.S. economy during the past 12 months, but they were mainly middle and lower-wage jobs, a new report from the National Employment Law Project finds.
Never mind we've had about 70 inches of snow so far this winter (but tomorrow it's going to rain), this winter was officially declared bad this morning when it turned out we have now used up two snow shovels so far this year. Used friggin' up. As in shoveled so much the shovels themselves just gave up and quit. We started the winter with three shovels and bought a fourth just recently but only two still work, the other two are sad, pathetic, broken things. And we are by no means finished with winter - we often have snow in March and, since I've lived here, have had big snow storms in April and even May. Not to mention the sleet, the ice, and the mud.
If you want to know why the American Revolution started in New England, it's because we can get really, really cranky here in the winter time.
Bratwurst is what we're talking about.
The scene last night, as the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly suddenly, and without warning --- quite literally in the middle of the night --- announced and took a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting "Budget Repair Bill," followed by chants of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" from Democrats inside the chamber after it passed was remarkable.
Last time around, America was more or less humming along with an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. This time we are still digging out of the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression, with an unemployment rate of 9 percent and oil prices on the rise. To even toy with shutting down the government in this uncertain climate is to risk destabilizing the nascent recovery, with those in need of the government safety net (including 43 million Americans on food stamps) doing most of the suffering.