Scott Walker RECALLED after weakening Unions, cutting their pay, and threatening them with military action

The Government Accountability Board in Wisconsin voted unanimously to recall Governor Scott Walker following the submission of a petition with 900,000 signatures. (Only 540,208 signatures were required.)

Walker was targeted for recall after he pushed through a law last year that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most state workers. It also forced the workers to contribute more to their pension and health care costs, which amounted to a cut in pay.

Walker told reporters he would be willing to mobilize the National Guard in order to address potential repercussions from unions.

source

We Must Wrestle Congress from the Republicans!

As many of you know, because you’ve not seen me around as much as usual, I’ve been devoting a considerable amount of my time to volunteering for a political campaign in my district. I’m trying to help Sharon Sund replace Erik Paulsen in the Third Congressional District of Minnesota. Erik is the Republican who took over the seat held by Jim Ramstad, who was a moderate Republican.

I wrote a blog post during the last congressional race addressing the question: Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway? Go read it if you have a chance, but I can summarize it for you: Have you seen the old Mission Impossible TV show, where the guy reaches down to his neck and pulls off a mask and it’s somebody else? If Erik Paulsen did that, he’d look like this when the mask came off:

Minnesota Third District Congressperson Erik Paulsen, after he takes off the mask.


Scary, huh?

There are three reasons that I’m supporting Sharon, and this has evolved over time so pay attention:

1) She is an Unabashed Liberal Progressive. I feel that we need more people like her in Congress, and I feel that running a “moderate” against a “Bachmann Clone” is a doomed strategy.

2) Although I tend to agree with Sharon on issues across the board, I’m particularly interested in her work in Health Care (that thing we used to have until the SCOTUS gutted it, I kid nervously?) and Green Energy and the related Green Economy. She was trained as a scientist and worked in Green Energy, as well as information technology and has experience in the medical device industry.

3) I’ve been watching her, as well as other candidates for various positions in various settings (the latter, over many years) speaking to audiences and small groups, and there is something Sharon does not ever do: She does not adjust her story on the issues depending on whom she is speaking with. She won’t tell environmentalists that she’s for saving the forests, spotted owl collectors that she’s against saving the forests, and Union representatives that she wants to turn the forests into jobs at any cost. (She is generally pro environment and pro jobs, I quickly add. Not sure how she stands on the Spotted Owl specifically, but I’m not worried.)

4) Some issues are hard, difficult, tricky, and approaches to them have to be nuanced and correspondingly complex. Sharon is reluctant to simplify her position on these issues into a sound bite, and prefers to discuss the complexities and hear what people have to say about them. (See the part above about having a background in science.)

5) After watching her campaign for a while, I’ve realized that Sharon has the campaign organization in place to win in November. She is running for the nomination against another DFLer, Brian Barnes (Brian is a really nice guy and is good on the issues too) so there is a campaign going on now for us to observe how she does. And, Sharon Sund is ahead in delegates (we are almost done with the nomination campaign … the last “convention” is Saturday) and had a great showing last Saturday when nine conventions happened on the same day, even winning in her worthy opponent’s home district.

Here is the list of people I’ve had the pleasure to meet working as a volunteer on this campaign; note that the campaign staff has grown as Sharon’s campaign gains momentum, and various experts have flocked to join. Here is the growing list of endorsements Sharon has received. This is a long list considering that endorsements don’t really start happening until after the nomination, or even the primaries, in Minnesota (we have a complicated system).

And now, the moment you have been waiting for. Here is the web page you can go to in order to donate to Sharon’s campaign.

When Sharon or any other person running for office asks for money, they have to be all nice and stuff. I don’t. IF YOU DON’T GIVE SHARON MONEY I WILL BE REALLY MAD AT YOU. I will, of course, be relying on the honor system to see if you’ve donated or not. But I know when you are telling me the truth and when you are not, so don’t even bother resisting. Just click there now and send Sharon 10 bucks. Or 25, if you can.

ORDER BY MIDNIGHT! … It turns out that if you give some money to Sharon’s campaign right now, by the end of the day Friday, there is a person who will match your donation.

That is all, thank you very much.

What Happened on that JetBlue Flight?

This is the second time this–airline employee freaking about 911 and/or Iran–has happened in recent days, the first time being with a flight attendant.

As mentioned in that report, JetBlue lost another flight attendant in August, 2010 for apparently different reasons:

Only in Boston would you find a Helocoptah.

Please enter your best stab and conspiracy riddled explanation for these events below.

SCOTUS seems poised to destroy Obamacare

One of the most important features of the new Health Care Insurance reform is that everyone has to be on board. Normally, as in a normal country with a normal government and stuff, taxes would be raised in some fair manner and this would pay for health care. In our screwed up country, that can’t happen because it violates the Don’t Tax Me Bro religious belief of 50.01 percent of the country. Apparently. Therefore, the mandated insurance rule that requires everyone has insurance was introduced to make it possible to have a national health care plan that kinda works. However, since the US Government, capable of putting people into concentration camps large and small, capable of massive spying on its own citizens, capable of running down our own economy to fund wars of occupation in foreign lands, can’t, according to the US Supreme Court, tell people that they have to buy health insurance instead of just getting sick enough that society is forced to take care of them for free (but at a higher cost to us).

Fine. Let it be that way, but maybe we have to make some other rules as well. Like, federal funds can be withheld from any state that funds hospitals that treat people without insurance. That would force states to fix this problem on their own. Or not. If not, we get a nice addition to the Third World effect, and the difference between the haves and have nots would grow and become more regional. Then, at least, we get to have a civil war instead of one of those pesky foreign wars! (more…)

Limbaugh Advertisers Continue to Flee; Starbucks Boycott Backfires

I consider these two things to be related, and good:

Rush Limbaugh Advertiser Exodus Continues With Kohler Pulling Content

Rush Limbaugh’s advertising woes continue, as kitchen and bath fixtures company Kohler is the latest company to pull its content from the radio program.

On Monday, Kohler responded to pressure from customers who wanted to know if the company advertised on Limbaugh’s program. Kohler tweeted that the company does not support Limbaugh’s comments and pulled its advertisements from his show.

and

Starbucks Boycott Over Marriage Equality Spurs Tenfold Backlash

The National Organization for Marriage’s decision to boycott Starbucks for the company’s support of the freedom to marry has turned out to be a dismal failure. In the five days since NOM launched its “Dump Starbucks” petition, it has only gotten 19,000 signatures, compared to the nearly 250,000 individuals who have signed SumOfUs’s retaliatory “Thank You, Starbucks” card. In fact, SumOfUs has gotten over 8,000 new signers since 8:30 this morning.

Bwahahahaha

Denise Dittrich will Not Seek Re-Election; Why is this a good thing?

Denise Dittrich is a Democratic member of the Minneosta House, and is in fact my representative in that legislative body. She lost my confidence as a representative when she broke with the central ideals of the DFL (our term for the Democratic Party) and voted in favor of limiting marriage to a man and a woman in Minnesota. She was one of the only Democrats to do that. On looking more closely at her, I found out that she also pushed for the Northstar Rail, which as our second major rail commuting effort in the Twin Cities is a good thing, but also, that she had a personal financial interest in that project.

Dittrich surprised everyone at our local Senate District Convention on Saturday (click here to find out what the heck a Senate District Convention is) and announced that she would not be running for re-election. She spoke in a statement that “As my youngest child graduates from high school, my family and I are beginning a new chapter in our lives.” Indeed. Run for office, get a bill passed that personally benefits you financially, get lucky that the party in power at the moment is your own so they don’t press for an ethics investigation, then just as the party control of the legislature shifts, vote against your party on a major issue (were you ever a real Democrat, Denise?) and then bug out of there while everyone else is distracted with other issues.

We are not amused.

Running an Effective Political Campaign

I have participated in Minnesota Democratic Party (officially known as the DFL1) activities in the past, but never as intimately as this year. In doing so, I’ve observed a number of very interesting things about how a political campaign works, and I’d like to share those observations with you. In particular, I’ll contrast the campaign I’m volunteering for whenever I have a chance (Sharon Sund for US Congress) with the opposing campaign (Brian Barnes for US Congress).

Read More

About that $8 Billion Abortionplex

The Onion ran this spoof:

Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex

TOPEKA, KS—Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible.

During a press conference, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards told reporters that the new state-of-the-art fetus-killing facility located in the nation’s heartland offers quick, easy, in-and-out abortions to all women, and represents a bold reinvention of the group’s long-standing mission and values.

etc etc etc

Then, John Fleming, Jr. a Louisiana physician and Republican U.S. Congresspreson from Louisiana’s 4th district, posted it on Facebook with this note:

[original story from HERE]

The post has since been taken down.

Now, anybody can make a mistake. I suppose. But this kind of mistake is funny enough to tell you about.

John Fleming, famous for opposing taxes on the rich because they are not really rich, and for being something of an idiot.

Flemming is actually somewhat famous as that guy who said that millionaires should not be taxed because they have less money than people think they have. From Wikipedia:

“In a September 19, 2011 interview on MSNBC, in which Fleming criticized President Obama’s proposed plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, Fleming told host Chris Jansing, “The amount that I have to invest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million…. So by the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment.” When Jansing asked Fleming if he thought the “average person” might be unsympathetic to Fleming’s position, Fleming responded, “Class warfare never created a job…This is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. You know in this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice, and once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down.”"

Huh. Turns out the Supreme Court matters

Beginning today and likely running through midweek, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments will hear arguments pertaining to the Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise know affectionately as Obamacare.

The question that will ultimately be addressed is this: Who is in charge here, conservative Supreme Court justices and the Rush Limbaugh-led Republican Party, or the people? We’ll see. Stay tuned.

Either way, just so you know in case you are an American Citizen who is naive on civics: The Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life by the President but only with the “advice and consent” (= approval after a long period of public interrogation) of the Senate. Furthermore, the Supreme Court justices are often selected from the body of judges that make up the Federal system, which were also appointed in a similar manner. Who sits in the Oval Office and the Senate thus determines the long term make up of the court. Keep that in mind when you go into the voting booth (or as you are contemplating staying home) this November.

Belvedere vodka ad is highly questionable

Or, should I say … was highly questionable, as I believe it was pulled very quickly after the consumer reaction to it.

The ad showed what looked more or less like a rape in progress, sort of, or at least a guy being a real jerk and a women being visible terrified by him, with the caption “Unlike some people … Belvedere always goes down smoothly.”

I’m told they make good Vodka, but really, Vodka is just ethanol with some water. Not that I’m recommending ethanol, but you might want to lay off the Belvedere for a few weeks (if you are a regular Vodka drinker) and let them see a dip in their sales. If corporations actually were really people, you could just slap it upside the head, but since they are not, speaking with your feet, as it were, is in order.

Hat tip Asha. Here’s the source.

Obamacare vs. The Affordable Health Care Act

I was recently at a political debate in which one of the debaters, Brian Barnes, said he did not like the term “Obamacare,” lamented that the Republicans are better at coming up with catch phrases than we Democrats are, and suggested that instead of “Obamacare” we call it “The Affordable Healthcare Act.” The person debating against him, Sharon Sund, didn’t really agree or disagree.

As a side note I’ll mention that one of the reasons we have this health care is because of the tireless activism of lots of people including Sharon. Thanks Sharon.

Obamacare Baby Suit

Anyway, I always liked “Obamacare” as a term … I wanted to take that term right from the hands of the Republicans from the beginning. In fact, I made Obamacare Baby Suits and Adult Tee-Shirts, though nobody bought any from me. (Click here to rectify this situation).

And today, I got an email from Barack and Joe: They want to take back the term Obamcare and use it to refer to the Affordable Health Care Act.

Most people eventually catch up to my blog … took two years this time, though, that’s kinda long.

Atheists, Reason Rally, and Greta Christina on NPR

Just one short quote …

“I’m not sure it is to atheists’ benefit to always present a kinder, gentler face,” says Greta Christina, a prominent atheist blogger and author of a new book called Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off The Godless.

Christina says there’s a tension in the movement. On one side are what she calls “firebrands,” such as Oxford biologist Dawkins, who has called some believers “staggeringly ignorant” and “insane.” On the other are the “diplomats,” such as Mehta, who deliver the same message of a Godless universe — but politely. Christina says every modern social movement — civil rights, feminism, gay rights — had the same tension, and you need both.

… then, click here to read it all!

Your Support of Bill C-279 is Urgently Needed Now

“We don’t have a ‘Bill of Rights’ in Canada. We don’t need one.”

A colleague from Canada told me that once. I was pretty sure she was more or less wrong, but I was working in a lab of mainly Canadians at the time and I know that as an Ugly American I had no chance if I disagreed, so I kept my mouth shut. It turns out that only months before that declaration, Canada had passed the Constitution Act, and before that they had the “Canadian Bill of Rights” and subsequently some other stuff has happened along these lines, but just as in the United States, unless you are really quite specific, these sorts of protections don’t extend to everyone, and especially to people who are in certain groups or categories that many seem comfortable viewing as unworthy for some reason or another.

Well, at the moment, transgender Canadians are not protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the prevailing constitutional law. However …

Next month, in April, an extremely pivotal bill is going to be up for debate in the Canadian parliament. It’s Bill C-279, which will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of statuses protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.

Currently, transgender Canadians have no such protections, and may be discriminated against on the basis of their gender by employers, businesses, shelters, institutions (public or private) and individuals without any legal consequence. … This is not okay.

Natalie Reed has all the details here. It appears that Bill C-279 has not received much media attention, and the current political climate in Canada is such that it is at risk of not passing.

So read Natalie’s post and get on this, please. If you know of a petition or something, tell us in the comments!