- The Koch Brothers and Wisconsin – But, What About Common Cause? – The New York Times has an article that runs under the headline "Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute." It includes this:
To Bob Edgar, a former House Democrat who is now president of Common Cause, a liberal group that has been critical of what it sees as the rising influence of corporate interests in American politics, the Koch brothers are using their money to create a façade of grass-roots support for their favorite causes.
"This is a dangerous moment in America history," Mr. Edgar said. "It is not that these folks don't have a right to participate in politics. But they are moving democracy into the control of more wealthy corporate hands."
This is really something. Who does the New York Times think funds Common Cause? Non-wealthy, non-corporate interests? Talk about a facade of grass-roots support. Common Cause's 2008 annual report — the most recent one posted on the Common Cause Web site, which is pretty pathetic for a group supposedly in favor of transparency — lists the Ford Foundation, the GE Foundation,and the Carnegie Corporation of New York as among its backers.
The 2008 Common Cause annual report lists five donors in the top giving bracket of between $100,000 and $999,000. They include:
Donna A. Curling, whose husband's company, ChoicePoint, was acquired in 2008 for $4.1 billion.
Mr. and Mrs. John C. Haas, whose family controls charitable and income-producing trusts (the Philadelphia chemical company Rohm & Haas was acquired by Dow Chemical) reportedly worth worth a total of more than $4 billion.
Markos Kounalakis, whose wife, a real estate developer, has enough money to endow a professorship at Stanford.
Chang K. Park, whose company supplies 80% of the remote controls for Time Warner Cable.
What Common Cause is is a bunch of millionaires and billionaires trying to prevent other millionaires and billionaires from participating in the political process the same way they do. In other words, they are hypocrites. The Times could write a story headlined Billionaires' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute and have the article be about not the Koch brothers but about the funders of Common Cause. But the left-wing interest groups rarely get that kind of treatment in the Times, where these left-wing interest groups are more commonly quoted approvingly as expert sources rather than scrutinized skeptically or suspiciously as targets.
And, then there is George Soros and his front organizations supporting Obama
- The Mitch Daniels Defense: It’s for the Children – Gov. Mitch Daniels is already under fire for his decision to refuse to push for the passage of the right-to-work laws in Indiana. But supporters are pointing to two factors that they feel make Daniels’s action understandable: his 2005 executive order that banned collective bargaining for state workers and his determination to make education reform a priority in 2011.
In other words, comparisons to Wisconsin are unfair: right-to-work laws aren’t the same as collective bargaining powers. In addition, Daniels has publicly declared his support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts.
“His reluctance on the right-to-work [law] right now is rooted in his desire to see this education [reform] work,” says Ryan Streeter, editor of ConservativeHome.com and a former colleague of Daniels in the White House. Streeter argues that Daniels has been planning for a long time to make this year about education reform – and that a huge battle over right-to-work laws could jeopardize that.
“He’s gearing up for a fight. This is not going to be an easy thing. He’s received a lot of criticism just in the local media for his plans,” says Streeter, talking about how Daniels wants to introduce vouchers and expand charter schools.
Daniels also wants more teacher accountability. “Teachers should have tenure, but they should earn it by proving their ability to help kids learn. Our best teachers should be paid more, much more, and ineffective teachers should be helped to improve or asked to move,” Daniels argued in his State of the State speech last month.
“In general, he wants to be able to rewrite the contracts so that people can be fired and moved along on merit,” Streeter remarks. “And that in itself is just a huge deal. He’s already part of the way down a path with the teachers and the unions in these discussions and so I think this whole right-to-work event right now just makes that whole other process all the more difficult.”
If Mitch Daniels wants to run for President, he really needs a quick response social media team that will respond to minor misinterpretations and/or gaffes.
This response changes some impressions of mine but color me still skeptical.
- Elton Gallegly’s new clout helps him battle illegal immigration – Rep. Elton Gallegly slides into a black leather chair, picks up the chairman's gavel and raps it lightly to call the meeting to order.
Flat-screen TVs mounted to the walls of the wood-paneled chamber flicker to life with the Republican congressman's image as he gives his opening remarks at a hearing on illegal immigration and its effect on the American work force.
"Good morning," Gallegly begins. "I have long said that the way to solve the problem of illegal immigration is fairly simple.
"First, we must enforce our laws and secure the border. Second, we must remove the magnets that encourage illegal immigration. And finally, we must remove the benefits that make it easier for them to stay."
Gallegly has given this speech, or some variation of it, hundreds, quite possibly thousands, of times. He has been a consistent and outspoken voice against illegal immigration since he gave up his job as mayor of Simi Valley and headed east for a career in the U.S. House nearly a quarter-century ago.
Read it all
- Wisconsin Licensing Dept. Looking Into Doctors’ Notes – Wisconsin officials are investigating complaints about doctors who handed out medical excuses for pro-labor protesters at the Capitol.
Dave Ross, of the state Department of Regulation and Licensing, said the agency is looking into accusations that a number of local doctors provided the notes for protesters who missed work during the week. Ross said the department will review complaints with the independent Medical Examining Board as soon as possible.
Tuesday's statement came a day after University of Wisconsin Health, which employed some of the physicians involved, said it was also looking into the matter.
Physician Lou Sanner was one of the doctors who provided notes. He told The Associated Press on Saturday that doctors wrote the notes for what they saw as legitimate health issues arising from stress.
Let the wrist slapping commence