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Questions for those defending the flight of the Wisconsin 14*

Despite my best efforts, my fellow Californians last November elected Jerry Brown to a 4-year term as governor.  And despite their low view of the state legislature, Golden State voters simultaneously returned Democrats to power there, even electing a dead Democrat to the state Senate.

Whether we Republican like it or not (and I do not like it, not one little bit), voters have empowered the Democratic Party to address our state’s manifold problems.

With this as background, I ask my liberal friends who are cheering the protests by public employee unions and their national Democratic allies in Wisconsin as well as the flight of that state’s Senate Democrats, how would you feel if minority Republicans behaved as your current “heroes” are behaving?

How would you react if Tea Party protesters, taking successive days off from work and shutting down important industries, besieged the state capitol in Sacramento, sporting signs comparing Governor Brown to Hitler, Stalin or Osama bin Laden and his policies to Nazism, Communism or Islamic extremism (or used a sexual slur to refer to the Democrats’ union allies)?  How would you feel if the Republican National Committee were helping organize these angry protests while their participants said there rallies were akin to recent uprisings against dictators?

How would you feel if Republican legislators walked off the job and fled to Reno, preventing the state legislature from reaching a quorum and acting on legislation in line with promises Brown made on the campaign trail?

Please, please, please, please before you praise the Wisconsin 14 and the union protests, answer those questions.

*and the pro-union protests.

Federal Non-Recognition of Gay Marriage Benefits Gay Couples?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:21 pm - February 21, 2011.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Marriage

Via Glenn:

CHANGE: Same-Sex Couples in CA, NV & WA Reap Big Federal Tax Bonuses: “Thanks to a 1996 federal law aimed at preserving traditional marriage, thousands of same-sex couples in California, Nevada, and Washington state could get big tax bonuses on their federal returns starting this year. The bonuses are off-limits to heterosexual married couples—a sharp reminder of the ‘marriage penalty’ that often dings two-earner couples.” Sounds like somebody in Congress, or the Clinton Administration, should have thought that whole “Defense of Marriage Act” thing through a bit more.

Texas Gays May Get Means to Protect Themselves on College Campuses

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:10 pm - February 21, 2011.
Filed under: Academia,Freedom,Gay America,Second Amendment

Via e-mail, reader Peter Hughes alerted me to a looming victory for gay rights in the most unlikely of places, the Lone Star State.  According to the Houston Chronicle,

Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

This is great news for gay people whom many believe are more vulnerable than straights for harassment based on our sexuality.  If a potential bashers know that gay students might be packing, they’ll be less likely to attack.  And if they do attack, gay people will better be able to defend themselves.

Kudos to Texas legislators for considering providing gay men and lesbians with an important tool to protect against ourselves against those who would do us harm.  Let’s hope gay organizations in Texas and nationwide push the legislature to act speedily on this important gay rights measure.

Pelosi Looking to Blame Republicans for Her* Mistakes

House Republicans,” Kara Rowland writes in the Washington Times, writes, “this weekend approved a funding bill that cuts 2011 spending levels by $61 billion compared with 2010, but the measure now goes to the Senate, where majority Democrats oppose it.”  Actually, I quibble with the word to which I added emphasis in that sentence.  While Republicans voted the bill out of the House, it’s won’t be going to the Senate right away.  You see, according to the Senate’s web-page, the Senate will be out of session next week.

So, that doesn’t give the Democratic-controlled chamber much time to consider the funding bill and work out compromise legislation with the House before the continuing resolution funding the federal government expires the following week, on March 4 to be precise.  The reason we need such a resolution is that last year when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, they failed to pass a budget for the 2011 Fiscal Year (which began last October 1).

Too busy were Democrats with the big ticket items on their party’s agenda, that they neglected one of the legislature’s fundamental responsibilities, passing a budget.  So, without a budget, both Houses need to agree to a “short-term spending resolution to keep the government running” after March 4.  Without this resolution, the government shuts down.

Now, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as I reported on Friday, is laying the groundwork to blame Republicans for such a shutdown.  But, if it weren’t  for her failure last year when she was House Speaker to pass a budget, Congress wouldn’t this month be considering a continuing resolution.  Her successor John Boehner has had to finish up the work she and her fellow Democrats left undone.  And if Mrs. Pelosi’s Senate counterparts were committed to avoiding a government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would call his chamber into session.

The shutdown, Rovin writes in Hot Air’s Green Room, “will be the Democrat’s fault plain and simple.(more…)

Governor Walker’s Common Sense Reforms

On Facebook, a friend whom I love and respect despite her left-of-center politics linked a web-page which supports the truant Wisconsin lawmakers and calls the legislation they seek to block, a “radical attack on nurses, teachers and public employees”.  Governor Scott Walker’s judicious proposal is anything but radical and is in fact the modest kind of reform we need here in California to address the spiraling cost of benefits for our public employees, costs which, former Democratic State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown contends, account for “80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits“.

Over at the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes quotes the Badger State’s bold and brave governor to show just how modest his reforms are:

Walker believes the changes he’s proposing are relatively modest. “I’m asking them to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pension – right about the national average for contributions. And I’m asking them to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums – up from 6 percent. The national average is around 25 percent.”

So Wisconsin’s public employees will still have benefit plans more generous than most workers across the country. And these steps are being taken with the express purpose of avoiding major layoffs and dramatic paycuts. .  . . What’s more, Wisconsin teachers pay as much as $1100 each year in compulsory union dues. If the legislation passes, they will no longer be required to pay thosee dues – returning that money to their own pockets.

Emphasis added.  With the dues no later automatically deducted from their paychecks, Wisconsin state employees now have the choice whether or not to pay them.  In addition to ending ” government collection of union dues,” Walker’s reforms would “allow workers to opt out of unions, and require unions to hold recertification votes every year.

That makes a lot of sense.  Right now, the Wisconsin state government has served as the collection agency for institutions which “spent $573,868 on Wisconsin’s 2010 elections — almost all of it going to Democrats“. (more…)

Will Wisconsin voters oust Senate Democrats who shirk their duty?

Kudos to Governor Scott Walker and Republican in the state Senate for standing up to the obstructionist Democratic legislators who have decided that the best way to serve Wisconsin is to flee to Illinois.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is playing hardball, saying that

. . . his chamber would meet Tuesday to act on non-spending bills and confirm some of the governor’s appointees even if the Democrats don’t show up — a scenario that should outrage their constituents.

Senate Democrats acknowledged that the 19 Republicans could pass any item that doesn’t spend state money in their absence. The budget-repair bill they have been blocking requires a quorum of 20 senators to pass, while other measures require only a simple majority of the chamber’s 33 members.

Of those 33 members, 17 were elected last November to a 4-year term, 11 of them, Republican and 6, Democrat.  The remaining 16, 8 Democrats and 8 Republicans, will be up in 2012.  Republican challengers are going to have an easy time crafting campaign ads against those 8 Democrats.  They’ll just remind voters that when the chamber to which they were elected voted on important matters facing the state, the Democrats were hiding outside the state.

Come 2013, look for an even more Republican Senate in the Badger State.

Your son can’t get a good education if teachers walk off the job

In a post linked by Glenn Reynolds, Robert Costa posts this picture:

In the post linking Costa, the Blogfather reports something else:

KIDS? EDUCATION? THE HELL WITH ‘EM: Madison schools will close again on Monday — the 4th school day in a row — to accommodate teachers protesting at the Capitol. They don’t care about your kids. They care about themselves, and about money, and political power.

It’s not Governor Walker closing schools and preventing the children from getting an education.  These folks would rather engage in politics than teach the children.

Perhaps, Wisconsin would be better served if those marching on the state capital found another line of work.

UPDATE:  “If this” were really “‘about the kids’,” Doug Ross writes, “rather than about the greed and arrogance of the public unions, teachers would be in the classroom teaching instead of fraudulently calling in sick, with help of doctors aiding and abetting that fraud.