Posts filed under ‘Dumbed Down’
Madison — In a raucous clash on the state Senate floor Wednesday that recalled the bitter divides of 2011, Republicans abruptly cut off debate and forced a vote mandating that women seeking abortions get ultrasounds.
The morning’s brief floor session included sharp exchanges and one senator claiming abortions “became the thing to do” in the 1960s.
Democrats protested the bill’s merits and the process by which it was passed, saying Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and his fellow Republicans were trampling on democracy by ending debate after about 20 minutes.
“My first advice to the majority leader is that he seeks psychological help,” Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said at a news conference after the vote.
[...]“Here we go again,” Fitzgerald said. He described Democrats’ approach as, “We don’t like what’s happening from a public policy perspective, so we’re not going to play by the rules.”
The abortion measure passed 17-15, with all Republicans for it and all Democrats against it. Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) was absent.
It now goes to the Assembly, which is expected to take it up Thursday. GOP Gov. Scott Walker has said he would sign the bill.
Wisconsin Republicans are spending their time on this instead of creating ah, hello!, JOBS: No matter how you spin job numbers, Wisconsin near bottom compared to other states. But I’m sure, come the heat of the 2014 campaign, they’ll start screaming about them again. It’s a thing they bring up every two years for a little while and then they go back to their real love: oppressing people.
There’s this, which has been up on the conservative (UK) DailyMail‘s website all day: NSA Domestic Spying Program Foiled 2009 Subway Bombing Plot.
And there’s this: Public Documents Contradict Claim Email Spying Foiled Terror Plot.
Food for thought (I hope).
Hell yeah! Let’s have more “small government:”
The Moore, Oklahoma tornado on May 20, and associated storms, could cost up to $5 billion in insured losses, disaster modeling company Eqecat has estimated, making it the second costliest tornado outbreak on record after Tuscaloosa.
Damage costs are rising because of increased population density, even in mostly rural states such as Oklahoma, which has seen substantial urban sprawl in the last decade, said Greg Carbin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
Another important reason that has received less attention, is that most homes in tornado alley are not built to withstand even a modest tornado.
he result is that residents of tornado alley, insurance companies and the U.S. government are footing a mounting bill from damage that could be limited with better construction, according to several engineers, meteorologists and consumer advocates interviewed by Reuters.
“We have to stop this cycle of a storm coming along destroying things and we build them back the same,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, chief executive of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, a consumer group. “That is the official definition of insanity.”
Tim Marshall, a meteorologist and engineer for Haag Engineering Co in Irving, Texas, said he told the city of Moore about poor construction practices after the huge 1999 tornado.
“We didn’t really change the building codes after the last tornado (1999),” said Elizabeth Jones, community development director of the city of Moore.
In lightly regulated Oklahoma, Republican Governor Mary Fallin has ruled out requiring a safe room or shelter in every school as too expensive, despite the recent deaths, prompting criticism from Democrats who say she is ignoring school safety.
Oklahoma opted to use the 2009 version of the basic minimum U.S. building code and not to update when strengthened rules were issued in 2012, according to Billy Pope, chief executive of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission.
There is no state mechanism to enforce the code, said Pope. Enforcement is left up to local communities and some with populations of 10,000 or less have no inspectors.
“We saw numerous violations of the building codes (in Moore),” said Marshall, a veteran member of the National Weather Service’s rapid response team which went into the town immediately after the May 20 tornado to assess damage.
So, Oklahomans get to have their live-free-or-die! “small government” but we U.S. taxpayers (all of us, not just those in Oklahoma) get to pay to rebuild their regulation-free homes over and over and over again.
This is what then-Senator Joe Biden told CBS’s Harry Smith in May of 2006 in response to the the Bush administration getting millions of phone records from AT&T:
Harry, I don’t have to listen to your phone calls to know what you’re doing. If I know every single phone call you make; I’m able to determine every single person you talk to, I’m able to get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here is, what do they do with this information they collect, that does not have anything to do with al Qaeda? There, there, there’s a whole deal when you talk about this kind of stuff where the, under the law, they’re supposed to demonstrate that they’re getting rid of and not keeping any extraneous information that they pick up on wire taps and/or pick up in sweeps like this.
And the president’s saying, I think I wrote down that he said ‘this is not mining or trolling.’ If it’s true that 200 million Americans’ phone calls were monitored ah, in terms of not listening to what they said, but to whom they spoke and to who spoke to them, I don’t know. That’s, that’s, the congress should investigate this.
Watch the video here.
This is exactly what the Obama administration has done. Where’s Joe now?
Democrats and Republicans are becoming indistinguishable.
My quote of the day from venture capitalist and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer who testified before the Senate a few days ago on income inequality:
I’ll argue here that prosperity in capitalist economies never trickles down from the top. Prosperity is built from the middle out. As an entrepreneur and investor, I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all would have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.
That’s why I am so sure that rich business people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring.That’s why the real job creators in America are middle-class consumers. The more money they have, and the more they can buy, the more people like me have to hire to meet demand.
Exactly. So let’s put this trickle-down BS to bed, once and for all. I mean, how long are we going to wait before we say: Hello! It ain’t workin’.
On a related note, check out this post: Labor’s Falling Share, Everywhere
Here’s the money quote. Prosperity is, in fact, trickling up:
The share of income going to labor as a whole is falling, and also a greater share of labor income is going to those at the highest levels of income. Both trends mean that those with lower- and middle-incomes are having a tougher time.
Yesiree, we now have bipartisan agreement in Washington that it’s okay for the government to spy on millions of Americans, en masse:
The top two senators on the Intelligence Committee on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records after it was reported in The Guardian.
“It is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress,” Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told reporters at an impromptu news conference in the Capitol. “This is just meta data. There is no content involved. In other words, no content of a communication. … The records can only be accessed under heightened standards.”
“I read intelligence carefully. And I know that people are trying to get to us,” Feinstein said. “This is the reason we keep TSA doing what it’s doing. This the reason the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counter-terrorism. This is the reason for the national counter-terrorism center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active.”
Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) backed up Feinstein, saying, “This is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority, and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.”
“It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years,” Chambliss said.
This happened today under Constitutional lawyer, community organizer Barack Obama’s watch:
The US government is collecting the phone records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.
Read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order here.
And there’s this: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily.
I’m a kid of the 60s and 70s and this would have been shocking and totally unacceptable back then. The government wouldn’t have dared do it.
There was a time when — even the president — needed a warrant to get phone records. It’s appalling that We the People have let our government run so amuck.
Can’t wait for congressional Democrats to stand up for us on this. (Yeah. Right. I’m cracking myself up.)
This is how American Apparel advertises a shirt to a woman:
What if they advertised a shirt to a man in the same way?
Pretty ridiculous, huh guys?
WARNING: Outrage overload ahead:
Bonuses at Wall Street firms will rise 15 percent this year despite ongoing pressure from investors, regulators and politicians about compensation levels, according to compensation-consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc.
The projected rise in pay would come after a 5 percent increase in 2012, which was considered “disappointing,” Alan Johnson, head of the firm, said in a presentation to the Wall Street Compensation and Benefits Association that was released publicly on Friday.
Johnson expects chief executives to receive pay packages of $12 million to $25 million, even as investors question what they perceive as a misalignment between performance and pay.
Johnson’s projections – based on his work with banks, brokerages and asset management firms – are closely watched on Wall Street, particularly as compensation remains a hot-button issue for investors and taxpayers alike.
We bailed these people out and now they’re doing this?
When is enough enough and when are We the People going to make some noise?
I’m junking out — looking for flat brainwaves tonight — watching “19 Kids and Counting.”
What a mistake.
The Duggars are touring Japan.
Dad “Jim Bob” (along with his wife and their 19 kids) is trying to find his way to a hotel. He’s having a hard time getting directions and he’s frustrated and irritated that “nobody speaks English.”
(Just sayin’: If someone from Japan plopped down in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas (near where the Duggars live) how many people would speak Japanese?)
He’s trying to be polite. When people don’t know what he’s saying (i.e., they don’t speak English), he thanks them anyway by saying, “Gracias.”
Jim Bob you’re embarrassing. How about taking the time to learn how to say THANK YOU in the native tongue of the country you visit next time around? Is that too much to ask while you complain about nobody knowing English?
(For those who don’t get the “Ugly American” reference, here’s more on that.)
I don’t know what to say on this, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I was against the war before it began and I’ve been against it ever since. I thought we were being lied to all along and it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening.
So much misery.
In my opinion the invasion was one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever seen.
(It’s indicative of the fantasyland George Bush lived in when we’re reminded that Bush gave his “mission accomplished” speech six weeks — SIX WEEKS — after the March 19, 2003 invasion. (The war officially ended on December 15, 2011).)
The answer is a loud: HELL NO!
Who are the “Don’t Know/Can’t Say” people? Who doesn’t have an opinion about this?
Follow the vote here. The results above are preliminary.
P.S. We here in the U.S. are already giving up our “savings” to save the banks. More on that later.
It’s pretty unsettling that our new CIA Director, John Brennan, has so little respect for freedom of the press:
In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote a master’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:
Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.
Government censorship usually means not telling the citizenry about the nasty things it’s doing. “Inflamatory” [sic] articles” are usually ones that expose those things. If a government doesn’t want what it’s doing to be exposed, it shouldn’t do whatever it fears exposure of.
Freedom of the press is essential to a democracy. No one should head the CIA – or be a leader in our government — who doesn’t believe that in their heart and soul.
There’s no way in the world I’m going to pay to see, or spend time watching, Oz: The Great and Powerful.
The name alone tells me whoever produced the film doesn’t get the meaning of the original, which I’ll love until the day I die.
Best motion picture ever.
Using taxpayer dollars to finance family-planning services has become politically thorny in Texas, largely because of Republican lawmakers’ assertions that the women’s health clinics providing that care are affiliated with abortion providers. In the fiscal crunch of 2011, the Legislature cut the state’s family-planning budget by two-thirds, with some lawmakers claiming that they were defunding the “abortion industry.” Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, found that more than 50 family-planning clinics had closed statewide as a result.
Now, amid estimates that the cuts could lead to 24,000 additional 2014-15 births at a cost to taxpayers of $273 million, lawmakers are seeking a way to restore financing without ruffling feathers.
Gee. Who could have ever predicted.
I heard women referred to as girls, girls, girls over and over tonight on E! in the run-up to the Academy Awards. I’m talkin’ Giuliana Rancic, who’s 38, turning to Kimora Lee Simons, who’s 37, and calling her a girl.
The proper term for a mature female human being is woman. Rhe proper term for a mature kitten is cat, the proper term for a mature horse is horse, not pony, and the proper term for a grown dog is dog, not puppy.
Female human beings over the age of 18 aren’t
When do women in the United States get promoted from “girls” to “women?”
Do a Google image search of the word “boy” and you get this:
Do a Google image search of the word “girl” and you get this:
“Girls:” It’s one thing when men diss you. It’s another when you diss yourselves.
Apropos of this, there’s this:
Fla. Medicaid Privatization Plans Moving Forward
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials said Wednesday they expect to approve Florida’s request to privatize Medicaid statewide as long as the state resolves several outstanding issues, including hiring an independent entity to monitor the process and having a robust plan to measure the quality of patient care in the controversial program.
Rick Scott, Florida’s Tea Party Governor, the guy who’s moving this along should be in prison. If you’ve got time, read this: Rick Scott’s Dirtiest Deeds.
I predict Scott will privatize Medicaid in Florida right into the hands of his hospital chain / insurance company buddies and three, four years from now the “Medicare” system in Florida will be a corrupt mess. And people will have died as a result, including Tea Partiers who voted for this narcissistic monster.
I live in “Bronco Country” as in Boulder, Colorado, just up the road from Denver. As you probably know, Tim Tebow spent a year (2010 – 2011) quarterbacking with the Broncos before he was traded to the New York Jets.
The American Taliban tried to turn Tebow into a Jesus-like icon and an anti-women’s choice hero while he was here (it was intense) but it didn’t work. When people found out he was a failure as a quarterback, he wasn’t taken seriously.
Now there’s this:
While Tim Tebow is struggling to find an NFL team that is willing to sign him, he is apparently having no problem booking speaking gigs as the Jets’ backup quarterback is scheduled to address a Texas megachurch whose pastor is notorious for extremist statements about Roman Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, gays and lesbians and President Obama.
Bye Tim. I see you attending tent-style revival meetings in Arkansas in a few years.
Remember NASA’s “Mohawk Guy?”
It’s been quite a six months for Bobak Ferdowsi, the NASA flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission, whose aggressively mohawked hair — and otherwise charming appearance — first attracted attention last summer. Now, he is going to be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama in her box at President Obama’s State of the Union address.
“I found out less than a week ago, honestly, that I’d been invited to the State of the Union,” he said. “I freaked out for a few minutes, just needed a moment to gather myself. It’s really cool, I’m really excited, yet again, to represent NASA and JPL and all of the work that everybody here does. It’s really amazing to me. Sometimes I feel unworthy in some ways to do all this. I think there’s so many talented and fun and amazing people on the project that I worked on, but all across our place. I just feel very lucky to get to do stuff like this.”
As for what he is most excited about, he told BuzzFeed, “I’m really excited to get to represent NASA. I’m excited that people have been excited and watching and paying attention. I am excited to — like anyone would be — to meet the First Family. A little giddy with excitement there, I don’t think I have to hide that. It’s really cool.”
The hair colors Tuesday night will not be missed. Bright red and blue streaks run along the top of his freshly coiffed mowhawk [sic].
Republicans are going to hate this because — SCIENCE — but what better way to say it’s cool to be smart?
And I can’t wait to hear what Fox does with it: OMG, there’s one of the Obama’s hippy Muslim friends!
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list
They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!
To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like. Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.
“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.” Land of the free and home of the brave? No. When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.
We’re a scared bunch of sheeple. We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us. Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.
None of that was true.
Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.
Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.
Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.
And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.
They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe. But they aren’t: “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters. Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after
So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?
Now I know why Barack Obama shot that gun. He wants to kill our right to due process:
Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
Last I knew, every American is entitled to and guaranteed a trial by a jury of his or her peers before he or she is sentenced to anything, much less death.
Now we have the “liberal” Constitutional lawyer Barack Obama’s Justice Department obliterating that for what will probably be forever.
Blows my mind.
I like the plain truth President Obama told Steve Kroft in his 60 Minutes interview tonight:
You know, Steve, I gotta tell you, the — you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you’re talking about elections four years from now.”
And I like the plain truth he told The New Republic too:
One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.
Memo to Obama and all Democrats: Keep it up, hammer away at it, drive it home and for God’s sake, don’t let up!
Yesterday we learned a kid in Florida killed himself trying to prove how safe guns are. Today we hear about a guy who killed himself while cleaning a loaded gun. Who cleans a loaded gun?
Police continue to investigate the Sunday afternoon shooting death of a 55-year-old man who was reportedly cleaning his gun.
Police were called on Sunday at around 2 p.m. to the 300 block of East La Vista in connection to an accidental shooting said Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.
At the scene officers found the man who appears to have accidentally shot himself while cleaning a handgun. The man was rushed to McAllen Medical Center where he later died as a result of his injuries, Rodriguez said.
I swear, people are starting to believe the NRA’s bs about how guns don’t kill people, people do.
Of course we don’t hear about this in the U.S. because it’s well, outside the U.S.:
Australia is bracing for days of “catastrophic” fire and heatwave conditions.
Fires are already burning in five states as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania.
Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia’s six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra.
Severe fire conditions were forecast for tomorrow (local time), replicating those of 2009, when “Black Saturday” wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.
A record heatwave, which began in Western Australia on 27 December and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The highest “catastrophic” bushfire temperature conditions are expected tomorrow, said fire officials, under which people are advised to flee if fire threatens, as the blaze is likely to be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.
In the Australian capital Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds.
Imagine being told “to flee if fire threatens” because strong winds make any potential fire “too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.”
I can relate. This was the view from my living room last June:
The wind wasn’t blowing when I took this photo but it did before the fire was put out. We were all thinking embers. What if flying embers started a fire closer in.
My thoughts are with the folks in Australia tonight because it’s tomorrow there now. Wind, fire and drought are an awful, terrifying mix.
Good luck Australia. And h/t to the U.S. media for their total failure at ah, delivering news. Not to mention mentioning that thing called CLIMATE CHANGE.
H/t to NancyB for alerting me to this “toy:”
The corporatocracy (this time as in the NRA and its buddies, the corporate media) win again:
On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term “gun control” spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears.
This time was supposed to be different. “It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns,” ABC News’s Z. Byron Wolf wrote. He was one among many in the media who believed the momentum for gun control legislation was strong enough to turn the tide on a familiar pattern.
Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term “gun control” on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.
So, on to the next massacre.
I’m old enough to remember when no one had ever heard of bottled water and when people would have laughed at the thought. I’m old enough to remember when carrying around a bottle of water — as an accessory — was unheard of. I’m old enough to remember when we humans didn’t toss millions of plastic bottles into landfills. So imho, this is good. Very, very good:
Water, water everywhere — just not in plastic bottles, says a town in the US state of Massachusetts.
A law passed by the town of Concord went into effect with the New Year, making single-serving bottles of water illegal.
The ban is intended to encourage use of tap water and curb the worldwide problem of plastic pollution.
The bottled water corporatocracy has created a “need” in us for this product but the bottled water industry is the only winner and we’re fools to go along with it.
Here’s more info about the ridiculous use of disposable plastic water bottles here:
According to a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature, approximately 1.5 million tons of plastic are used in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.
Again, I’m old enough to remember when this was unheard of.
That sort guy in the blue shirt on the conservative side represents the people I see at the food bank. Some of them don’t stand a chance but Republicans would have us believe “all” they have to do is “work hard and play by the rules” and they’ll be millionaires.
In Germany, the opposite happens: cops go to banks to protect protesters from the bankers.
This happened today in Germany. Via Reuters:
Police has [sic] searched several offices of Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank AG, in connection with a carbon credit tax evasion case. The Bank’s Co-CEO Fitscheand and CFO Krause are currently under investigation.
Five hundred police officersraided Deutsche Bank offices and other private residences in Frankfurt, Berlin and Duesseldorf on Wednesday.
Five arrest warrants for bank employees were issued following the major Frankfurt office raid, in which the building was surrounded by more than 20 police cars.
I can only imaging the collective IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? FINALLY! YEEESSSS!! that would ring out across the United States if this happened here.
Yeah, I know. Dream on.
Check out Ezra Klein’s compilation of the bills that most likely would have passed if the Senate didn’t have a filibuster (a thing Democrats are thinking about doing away with):
– The DREAM Act
Perhaps the most consequential blocked bill in 2009 and 2010 was the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were children when they immigrated, provided they serve in the military or go to college.
– The DISCLOSE Act
[T]he DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) Act, which would require corporations to disclose their political spending, and bar government contractors, TARP recipients and foreign firms from such spending.
Hey, who wouldn’t want to keep government contractors from contributing to politicians? After all, that’s our tax dollars they’re contributing. We give them our collective money and they spend it in support of one side or the other? No way.
– Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
The act would allow workers to form unions by collecting signatures of more than half of a workplace. Currently, workers hold elections to determine if they’ll have a union, a process which union activists complain is prone to management interference.
– The Public Option
In November 2009, the House passed the Affordable Health Care for America act, a health reform bill that included a government-run health plan or “public option” similar to Medicare that exchange participants could purchase instead of private insurance. That same year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced that he had 51 votes for such a proposal in the Senate. But as anyone who followed the health care debate recalls, the proposal died when Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) declared their intention to filibuster a bill that included it. Absent a filibuster, it’s likely a public option would have gone through.
The Paycheck Fairness Act
This bill would make it easier for women to raise concerns about pay inequity in their workplaces, by requiring employers to demonstrate that any pay differentials between men and women are due to different responsibilities and not just gender, by allowing women to disclose their salaries for the purpose of investigating pay disparities even when otherwise prohibited from doing so, and by banning retaliation against women who bring up pay inequality.
– Permanent Middle-Class Bush Tax Cut Extension
In late 2010, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) offered a bill to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for workers making less than $250,000. Barring further action, the bill would have let the high-income cuts expire.
You get the idea. There’s a lot more. Read on here.
I remember when a filibuster meant Senators had to actually stand up and declare their opposition to a bill so the press would and could note it and so they’d be on television doing so. It took guts because the “whole world was watching.”
The way the filibuster works now, someone in a back room can say they’re opposed and that’s it. No name. No face.
Let’s bring this back:
Do you think Republicans would oppose the DREAM Act or the DISCLOSE Act or the Public Option if they had to sleep on cots and talk for hours on CSPAN about why they do? Are you kidding? No way! The only reason they feel so free to block those things now is because they can remain anonymous.
The filibuster is for chickens.