Flap’s Links and Comments for February 28th from 10:01 to 11:04

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 28th from 10:01 to 11:04:

  • Pelosi splits with Reid, dismisses GOP plan to avoid a shutdown – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing no enthusiasm for the new proposal from Republicans to avoid a government shutdown, putting her at odds with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

    Pelosi said in a statement that the GOP's plan for a two-week spending bill cuts funding for critical programs.


    But, the Senate Dems are going to roll over and Pelosi is in the minority.

  • Wisconsin Democrat Legislator GORDON HINTZ: "YOU ARE F’N DEAD!" | Newsradio 620 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Talk, Sports, Weather | Charlie Sykes – Last week, we heard that State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) had been busted in a prostitution sting.

    State Rep. Gordon Hintz was issued a municipal citation in Appleton earlier this month for violating a city sexual misconduct ordinance.

    Appleton police said the citation was issued Feb. 10 in conjunction with an ongoing investigation of Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor, 342 W. Wisconsin Ave., in Appleton. Police searched the business and a nearby residence in the 1300 block of North Division Street Jan. 28, after investigators had staked out the properties for several days after receiving a tip.


    Last Friday…. after the Assembly voted to engross the Budget Repair Bill, Hintz turned to a female colleague, Rep. Michelle Litjens and said: "You are F***king dead!"


    Nice civlity there from the LEFT……

    He is frakking through in politics, baby….

  • Unions vs. the Right to Work – Collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty – How ironic that Wisconsin has become ground zero for the battle between taxpayers and public- employee labor unions. Wisconsin was the first state to allow collective bargaining for government workers (in 1959), following a tradition where it was the first to introduce a personal income tax (in 1911, before the introduction of the current form of individual income tax in 1913 by the federal government).

    Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty.

    In fact, labor unions were subject to U.S. antitrust laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was first applied in 1894 to the American Railway Union. However, organized labor managed to obtain exemption from federal antitrust laws in subsequent legislation, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.


    Read it all

Flap’s Links and Comments for February 27th from 16:09 to 16:16

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 27th from 16:09 to 16:16:

  • The story behind the "Roger Ailes indictment" story – On Sunday morning, the economics analyst and TV commentator Barry Ritholtz dropped a bombshell on his blog: Roger Ailes, the powerful president of Fox News, will be indicted in connection with allegedly telling a News Corp. executive to lie to federal investigators, according to Ritholtz's blog post.

    The story, which was based on what an unnamed source told Ritholtz, quickly boomeranged around the Web and Twitter. Several well-read web sites, including Business Insider and Political Wire, picked up the report.

    As it turns out, Ritholtz's source for the post was a man he happened to meet and strike up a conversation with at a Barbados airport over the weekend, he told me in an interview this afternoon.

    Here's what happened, according to Ritholtz, who just got back from a vacation on the tropical island: He was sitting in the Barbados airport waiting for a plane to arrive and he struck up a conversation with an older man sitting next to him.


    Read it all.

    Which means this is a story about maybe something…..

  • Protesters defy deadline to leave Wisconsin Capitol as of 6:49 PM EST – About 200 pro-union protesters left the Wisconsin Capitol on Sunday, but police stood by as many hundreds of others remained in defiance of a deadline state officials set for clearing the building after an almost two-week-long sit-in.

    The state agency that oversees the Capitol asked the throngs of demonstrators who have been camping out at the Capitol since Feb. 15 to leave by 4 p.m. Sunday or risk arrest, saying the building was in dire need of a cleaning. But in the hours before the deadline came and went, it was clear most protesters did not intend to leave voluntarily.

    One medic instructed the crowd how to prepare for the worst, telling demonstrators to clench their firsts so handcuffs or restraints would not cut off the blood flow and to remove contact lenses in case police sprayed anything that could harm their eyes.

    Police standing nearby said none of that would be necessary, and Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said no one had been arrested as of about 5 p.m.

    He said officers would continue trying to get protesters to vacate voluntarily, but he deflected questions about whether police would arrest demonstrators who refused to leave.


    Will there by arrests if they don't leave?

Flap’s Links and Comments for February 26th from 16:50 to 16:57

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 26th from 16:50 to 16:57:

  • Forbes’s Wisconsin Pension Myth – Unfortunately, his “smoking gun” is not true. Not even close.

    The Wisconsin Retirement System and deferred compensation are two completely separate things. Full-time state- and local-government employees are participants in the Wisconsin Retirement System, which uses taxpayer money to fund both the state (around 5 percent of salary) and employee (another 5 percent) contributions to their pensions.

    On top of that, if they choose, state employees can participate in the deferred-comp plan, where they decide how much of their money to set aside, pre-tax, and a portion is matched by the state. That is in addition to their traditional pension contribution.

    All this can be found in Chapter 40 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, which clearly demarcates each program in separate subchapters. Further, the Wisconsin Retirement System is explained in detail in this paper from the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

    This is what happens when national writers become instant experts in state-benefit issues — expect a correction post soon. Sadly, the toothpaste might already be out of the tube.


    How embarassing.

    Doesn't this guy have an editor?

  • The Real Political Math In Wisconsin – The real political math in Wisconsin isn't about the state budget or the collective-bargaining rights of public employees there. It is about which party controls governorships and, with them, the balance of power on the ground in the 2012 elections.

    For all of the valid concern about reining in state spending — a concern shared by politicians and voters of all labels — the underlying strategic Wisconsin story is this: Gov. Scott Walker, a Tea Party-tinged Republican, is the advance guard of a new GOP push to dismantle public-sector unions as an electoral force.

    Last fall, GOP operatives hoped and expected to take away as many as 20 governorships from the Democrats. They ended up nabbing 12.


    Read it all.

    Gee, Fineman you are such a brain donor.

    Of course, this is a power struggle between the GOP and Democrats.

    Elections do have consequences. I think your Lefty Pal President Obama even said that.

  • Oh, To Be a Teacher in Wisconsin – How can fringe benefits cost nearly as much as a worker’s salary? Answer: collective bargaining. – The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

    Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

    The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year:

    •Social Security and Medicare. The employer cost is 7.65% of wages, the same as in the private sector.

    •State Pension. Teachers belong to the Wisconsin state pension plan. That plan requires a 6.8% employer contribution and 6.2% from the employee. However, according to the collective-bargaining agreement in place since 1996, the district pays the employees' share as well, for a total of 13%.

    •Teachers' Supplemental Pension. In addition to the state pension, Milwaukee public-school teachers receive an additional pension under a 1982 collective-bargaining agreement. The district contributes an additional 4.2% of teacher salaries to cover this second pension. Teachers contribute nothing.

    •Classified Pension. Most other school employees belong to the city's pension system instead of the state plan. The city plan is less expensive but here, too, according to the collective-bargaining agreement, the district pays the employees' 5.5% share.

    Overall, for teachers and other employees, the district's contributions for pensions and Social Security total 22.6 cents for each dollar of salary. The corresponding figure for private industry is 13.4 cents. The divergence is greater yet for health insurance:


    Read it all.

    Is there any wonder why the teachers are protesting in Madison?

    They have a sweet deal in Wisconsin.

Flap’s Links for February 24th from 20:31 to 20:41

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 24th from 20:31 to 20:41:

  • California Little Hoover Commission’s plan rolls back California Public-Employee pensions for current workers – The bipartisan Little Hoover Commission recommended today that California state and local governments roll back pensions for existing employees, dump guaranteed retirement payouts and put more of the pension burden on workers.

    Although any attempt to reduce pensions for current workers would prompt a legal battle, the commission says that public pension funds are in such dire financial straits that they'll never right themselves by reducing benefits for new hires. The recommendation would not affect current retirees. Click here to read the commission's 106-page report.

    The most controversial Hoover proposal would allow state and local governments to freeze existing employee pension benefits and then lower them for future years worked.

    Courts have ruled that pensions are legally protected property and that government has a contractual obligation to follow through with them.

    The Hoover idea echoes a similar plan that the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility has said it hopes to put to a public statewide vote next year.

    Such a measure, if approved by voters, would undoubtedly trigger lawsuits that would test government's ability to alter pension promises prospectively. The foundation believes that its ballot measure would hold up in court.


    Will be tied up in the courts for years.

    Reform has to begin with current new workers and quickly implemented.

  • Groups officially begin recall process for seven Wisconsin lawmakers – The clock is now running for groups trying to collect enough signatures to trigger recall elections against seven Democratic senators, state officials said today.

    Reid Magney, spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, said local groups have officially registered recall committees with his agency to try to recall Sen. Bob Wirch of Kenosha and Jim Holperin of Eagle River.

    In addition, a Utah group, American Recall Coalition, has registered electronically to set up recall committees against Wirch and five other Senate Democrats – Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, Mark Miller of Monona, Julie Lassa of Stevens Point, Fred Risser of Madison and Dave Hansen of Green Bay.

    Magney said his office is still waiting to receive paper registrations from American Recall Coalition but that the out-of-state group may begin collecting signatures for the recall elections in those districts.

    "We thought we were going to have a quiet time after the election," Magney said. "Apparently not."

    The only Democratic senator who is not currently the subject of a recall bid is Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee.

    The groups need about 16,000 signatures to force a recall election for a senator, Magney said. The exact number will vary from 11,000 to 21,000 signatures, he said, depending on how many votes were cast in the 2010 governor's race in the targeted district.


    Recall all of the Fleebaggers

Flap’s Links for February 24th from 20:05 to 20:13

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 24th from 20:05 to 20:13:

  • Walk-outs illegal for California state legislators – Just in Case You Were Wondering – Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana have more in common than great college football and basketball teams.  Each has recently seen an out-of-state exodus of state lawmakers in order to stall or foil legislation that they don't want to see passed. Or that they don't want to be responsible for.

         Though I would have rather seen the in-state USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl than the out-of-state Wisconsin Badgers, I've wondered if the fleeing of Democrat lawmakers from those various Midwestern states, to duck tough votes, might have any precedent in California for Republican lawmakers that might otherwise want to avoid their responsibilities in Sacramento.

         I did consult with some esteemed co-counsel, and here is what I found out: in California, legislators are prohibited by state law from accepting payments for work related to the performance of their legislative functions.  Gov. Code 8920(b)(4) and Legislative Joint Rule 44.   Accepting payments that conflict with their work during the legislative session is illegal.   Accepting payments for lodging, meals, etc., for an "out-of-state travel" (i.e., a "walkout") to avoid performance of legislative duties (which is “work related to performance of legislative functions”) would be prohibited by law. 

         The only exception is receipt of travel payments for a bona fide out-of-state speech, and that is regulated by the FPPC.  Under a specific statute, receipt of a payment for travel outside the state to avoid legislative duties is not allowed.  Government Code Section 8922


    Looks like Wisconsin and Indiana need some tightening up of their legislative rules.

  • Glenn Beck doesn’t speak for mainstream conservatives? – Each time I write a post critical of Fox News host Glenn Beck, scores of conservatives e-mail and comment here at Right Turn that he's "not as bad" as the left portrays him and that, besides, there are worse figures on the left.

    The "left is worse" argument doesn't fly. Listen, I am never shy about pointing out hypocrisy by the left — as I did in response to an anti-Beck letter organized by Jewish Funds for Justice. But the argument that "the other side is worse" is not an argument that justifies Beck's conduct.

    So what should thoughtful conservatives do? I've said it before, but it is especially relevant here: Police their own side. Rather than reflexively rising to his defense when questioned about Beck, why don't conservatives call him out and explain that he doesn't represent the views of mainstream conservatives? Conservative groups and candidates should be forewarned: If they host, appear with or defend him they should be prepared to have his extremist views affixed to them.

    Fox News has every right to have whomever it wants on the air, but, likewise, conservatives have every right to and, indeed, should disassociate themselves from his brand of rhetoric.


    Perhaps not but does William Kristol, Jennifer Rubin and Ron Paul?

    Everyone has a role – good or bad.

  • Glenn Beck: The Most Disturbing Personality on Cable Television – In the past few weeks Glenn Beck has spoken about the coming caliphate that he believes is about to envelope most of the world. He then dilated on the anti-Christ with a man who says he has “new prophetic understanding into the end times.” In 2009, this self-proclaimed prophet wrote a column titled “What Obama and the Anti-Christ Have in Common.” Then, on a recent show, the discussion focused on the coming Islamic anti-Christ. And earlier this week, an irate, bellicose Beck spoke about the “perfect storm” America faces. “I can’t honestly believe we’re finally here,” he said in praising his own prescience. In his version of events, Beck is the solitary Voice of Truth willing to expose the New World Order (complete with references to Van Jones and Code Pink).

    It’s hard to tell how much of what Beck says is sincere and how much is for show. Whatever the case, and even taking into account the entire MSNBC lineup, Glenn Beck has become the most disturbing personality on cable television


    Sorry, but I do not agree.

    Glenn Beck has a role on the RIGHT just as Ron Paul does – and George W. Bush for that matter

Flap’s Links for February 22nd through February 23rd

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 22nd through February 23rd:

  • 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