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Understanding left’s all-out assault on Koch Brothers through prism of liberal prejudice

It should come as no surprise to those who have been following liberal talking points for the past six months (at least) that liberal bloggers and left-of-center pundits would be all over the prank call a David Koch imposter placed to Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker.  At least since Jane Mayer’s lengthy New Yorker “exposé” last summer on the free-market-loving billionaires, the Koch Brothers have been elevated to join George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as ranking members on the approved left-wing list of right-wing demons.  Stories about the call led Memeorandum throughout the day yesterday, multiplying with each passing hour, even into the night.

No matter that Walker didn’t recognize Koch’s voice thus showing as Ann Althouse put it, that “Scott Walker is not close to Koch“.  This non-recognition, Walker’s very failure to accede to the imposter’s odd suggestions could not be allowed to wreck the narrative that the call showed Walker, as one of our critics put it, to be “the underling updating his boss.”

Their critics want us to believe that these nefarious rich white men are pulling the strings behind Republican politicians, indeed, the entire conservative enterprise, in order to advance their own interests while sucking the lifeblood out of the working man.  The New York Times has now picked up on this latest meme from the left.

It seems these bloggers and pundits on the left want to make these “evil” billionaires the story instead of the ideas they promote.  John Hinderaker offers an explanation for the left’s “all-out assault” on the Koch brothers:

Simply because they are rich–their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world–and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.

(H/t Instapundit.)  That’s part of it, but, I wonder if it could also be a failure of imagination, that some liberals just can’t even imagine that conservative businessmen would be in it for the principle of the matter.  Last September, writing about the Mayer piece, the Washington Examiner‘s Timothy P. Carney observed that while lots of rich people support political candidates and causes, (more…)

Could Jerry Brown surprise us in taking on public employee unions as he has surprised (some of) us in taking away their costly perks?

So focused have I been on Wisconsin this past week that I put on the back burner a post I was planning on California, then when reading one of my favorite blogresses, caught this comment which almost perfectly summarized my views on Governor Jerry Brown’s first eight weeks back in the governor’s office after twenty-eight year away.  Over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin blogged about her conversation with Tea Party leader Mark Meckler:

On California he told me that he thinks Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is doing a far better job than his Republican predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “If anyone has a chance, [Brown] has a chance” to straighten out the state’s finances, he argued. But he remains skeptical. “I don’t know if he can separate himself from the unions.”

When I read that in “his first executive order as governor, Democrat Jerry Brown ordered state employees to return some 48,000 cell phones paid for by the state“, I wondered why, despite facing bloated state budgets, Arnold had never taken this step.*  Nor did the Governator take steps to eliminate any number of the excesses that Brown has found — and seeks to eliminate.

That said, in going after these cuts, Brown is not looking at some of the structural problems in the state’s spending that need to be fixed.  Like his counterpart in the Badger State, he needs to take on the compensation schemes for public employees.  Here, I share Meckler’s skepticism; I don’t know either if he can take on the public employee unions.

Eccentric Jerry Brown may be, but dogmatic he is not (save perhaps on the environment).  He didn’t, as I wrote last November, earn the nickname Moonbeam “for being a team-player“.  He could surprise us on this one as he’s surprising us on spending.    (more…)

Another Democrat calls it “war” when Republicans advance their agenda through the legislative process

Well, if you’re at war,Democrat, why are you fleeing to the safety of another jurisdiction instead of manning the battlements as most people do in such conflicts.

Do these guys have any regard for popular elections?

“It sounds like war to me, and I think that’s what he’s declared this (legislative) session,” [Indiana House Minority Leader Patrick] Bauer said.

He said Democrats are ready to negotiate but won’t return to the Statehouse until Republicans stop pushing their “radical agenda.”

Um, Patrick, so, you’re telling Republicans elected to a majority in last fall’s election that their agenda is “radical,” so you’re going to take your marbles and run away?   Last fall, Indiana voters elected more Republicans than Democrats to the Indiana House, ending your term as Speaker.  That means, you no longer get to set the agenda.

And just like his Wisconsin counterpart, Jon Richards, he describes majority Republicans’ attempts to advance their agenda as war.  What is it with these Democrats, can’t they accept it when Republicans win elections?

Just amazing that Mr. Bauer, after forty years in the legislature, many in the minority, could call it “war” when the party that won a majority of seats in the most recent elections, moves to advance its agenda through the legislative process.  If the agenda were so radical, Bauer should be able to peel off enough Republicans to vote against it.  Failing that, he and his fellow Democrats should easily be able to persuade Hoosiers to reject Republicans in 2012 and replace them with less radical Democrats.

But, no, Indiana House Democrats, like their Wisconsin Senate counterparts, are acting like spoiled children who can’t get their way and run for the hills, er, the state of Illinois.   Don’t see any Republicans running away in states where Democrats are in control.  Nor did we see it in 2009 where there were a lot more such states. (more…)

Public Employee Unions: mechanism forcing taxpayers to fund Democrats

Whereas various liberal commentators and left-of-center bloggers have contended, to borrow the mild language of CNN’s Roland S. Martin, that Governor Walker seeks to “to end the collective bargaining rights of the various public employees“, that Republican, in fact, in the words of Ed Morrissey proposes only “to limit collective bargaining to wages only — not policy and work environment issues — and to end the ‘closed shop’ in the government sector.

Walker is not, as some have suggested, trying to bust unions, but merely standing up for the state’s taxpayers against public employee unions.  And those unions, as Michael Barone reminds us, siphon money from taxpayers and into the hands of the Democrats:

Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.

It’s Barone, read the whole thing.  Would the Democrats and their media allies be fighting so hard if Walker and his fellow elected Republicans weren’t challenging a mainstay of Democratic campaign finance?  There is, as I noted before, a clear conflict of interest when public employee unions engaging in politicking.

Let’s hope that the media firestorm generated by Governor Walker’s modest proposal will cause us to promote an open debate about such politicking.  Recall that in the California gubernatorial race last fall, much ado was made of Republican nominee Meg Whitman pouring tens of millions of her own funds into her campaign, but little reporting was done about the tens of millions public employee unions poured into the campaign of her opponent (and his Democratic allies). (more…)

With media help, Unions and their left-wing allies pull out all stops to undermine Wisconsin Republicans’ electoral mandate

My, how the MSM give into left-wing spin, with Yahoo! offering this headline, “Prank call adds to Wis. governor’s woes: A candid chat with a “billionaire donor” turns into a PR nightmare as the tape goes viral” on its home page.  “The call,” AP writer Ryan Foley contends, “also revealed Walker’s cozy relationship with two billionaire brothers who have poured millions of dollars into conservative political causes, including Walker’s campaign last year.”

How much tilting of the news to the favored narrative can we find in one sentence?  Not until later in the article do we learn that the Koch’s PAC only gave “$43,000 to Walker’s campaign” while David Koch “gave $1 million to the Republican Governors’ Association, which funded ads attacking Walker’s opponent in last year’s election.”  (Seems Mr. Foley got the message that the Kochs are now high on the approved left-wing list of conservatives to demonize.)  His line makes it sound like Walker received millions in their billionaires’ largesse.

“Cozy relationship” with those billionaires?  Huh?  If the relationship were so cozy, the governor would have recognized that the prankster was not David Koch.  The call, Michelle Malkin notes, shows “that Walker is not in deep, dark cahoots or collusion with Koch. If he were, he would have caught on quickly.” And despite Foley’s spin, consistent with the blather on the left-wing blogs, Walker, Jim Geraghty reminds us, “simply explains why he’s approaching the issue the way he is, and pretty much shrugs off the ‘zany’ comments from the faux-Koch, like, ‘you’re not talking with these Democrat bastards, are you?’

Over at Verum Serum, John does find one comment in this 20 minute call that gets “close to embarrassing” when “the crank caller suggests putting some ‘troublemakers’ in the crowd. Gov. Walker says we ‘thought about that’ but then goes on to say that he’s hoping there is no trouble so that the media gets tired of covering the protests.”

Ann Althouse finds that Walker ignores the “over-the-line things the Koch impersonator said“, going on instead “with his standard points, which is probably the standard strategy that most politicians use when people interact with them.” (more…)

High Crimes & Misdemeanors?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 3:44 pm - February 23, 2011.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Gay Marriage

I don’t want to debate the “right” or “wrong” of the Obama Administration’s latest gymnastics over gay rights issues.

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that, at Obama’s direction, it would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in a court case where it’s being challenged.

Spokesman Jay Carney said Obama has always opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as “unnecessary and unfair.”

But I would like to offer this provocative question:

Should a President who both knowingly signs a law that is unconstitutional (Obamacare) AND who refuses to defend a law (DOMA) passed by Congress and signed by a President that he deems to be unconstitutional be charged with impeachment?

And they told me that if I voted for McCain, there would be an Imperial Presidency.  They were right!


-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Those critics who fail to engage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:24 pm - February 23, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Real Reform

I didn’t feel much feeling like  blogging yesterday.  Fortunately, I chanced on one blog post and one column which, I believed, well addressed some of the problems of the day, decided to excerpt them and so provide fresh content for you, our readers.  George Will’s column provided a nice synopsis of the situation in Wisconsin.  While I found mosth of his material to be insightful and enlightening, I chose to quote only one paragraph because, I believe, it zeroed in on the problems posed when public employee unions’ politick.

Unfortunately, instead of addressing the concerns George Will raised (and with which I, by quoting, sympathized, our critics (well, all but one initially) who chose to chime in in the comment thread, refrained from addressing his point.  They weren’t interested in taking issue with his argument showing perhaps why there is no conflict of interest posed by public employee unions providing political assistance to those they are electing to, among other things, set their salaries.

They ignored his concern and instead focused their attacks on us, Governor Walker, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and a number of other individuals and institution from the standard left-wing catalogue of approved demons.  And at least one woman misrepresented the facts.

Instead of addressing they point of the post, all the critics save Cas (and later aj), responded either by repeating the standard liberal talking points on Wisconsin or by hurling insults.  Now, I won’t defend those more supportive of my views for responding to ad hominem with ad hominem.  Indeed, I have criticized them for such language in the past and do so again now. (more…)

Fleeing to Illinois to block a vote, Wisconsin Democratic Senator whines that Republicans won’t let him vote

You got to love the cheek of Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), one of ring-leaders of 14 truant Wisconsin Democratic Senators who’ve fled the Badger State for the Land of Lincoln.  (Guess they must like the tax rates there, considering the number of tax increases Wisconsin Democrats passed when they ran the state legislature).  This guy flees the state so as to prevent a vote on one issue, yet whines that a committee chairman won’t let him vote on another.

Poor baby!

Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the chair of the chamber’s Committee on Transportation and Elections (on which Mr. Erpenach serves), “refused to let him vote because he and the 13 other Senate Democrats left the state Thursday“:

Senators routinely participate in committee meetings by phone and are allowed to debate, offer amendments and vote on measures. But Lazich said she wasn’t allowing Erpenbach to vote because he had an invalid reasons for being absent.

“I won’t extend courtesies for unethical behavior,” Lazich told Erpenbach.

“Do you want the headline to be, ‘Republicans won’t let Democrats vote,’ even though we’ve allowed that many, many times?” Erpenbach said.

Emphasis added.  Skipping out to avoid voting on one issue seems a pretty invalid excuse for not being in town to vote on another issue..

Oh, and Jon, you got the headline wrong.  It’s not that Republicans won’t let Democrats vote.  It’s that Democrats have fled the state so Republicans can’t vote, even though Wisconsin voters elected them to run the state legislature and to serve in the governor’s mansion.  What cheek, saying Republicans won’t let him vote when he flees the state expressly to block a vote scheduled by majority Republicans! Oh, some Democrats today just don’t realize how silly they sound! (more…)

Governor Walker Makes His Case

Just watched Governor Scott Walker’s talk to the people of his state (and given the ink this story has generated nationwide) the American people as well.  I think it’s well worth your time:

I liked how he began, saluting the state’s public employees, then went on to compare they benefits they receive to those of private sector employees.  Starting at 5:16, he takes on the problems posed by collective bargaining for public employees and why he seeks to limit its use in his state.

On the whole, his delivery was sound, but he did eat a few words.  His speech was, in many ways, Reaganesque with his effective interweaving of personal anecdotes, yet he lacked the Gipper’s velveteen voice and avuncular manner of delivery.  And he acknowledge that Midwestern “trait” of passionate, but civil debate.

I agree with Ann Althouse (my source for the video) who “thought Walker did an excellent job of articulating his side of the controversy.”  (Via Instapundit.)

Wisconsin Republicans Confront Obstructionist Democrats

“Isn’t it good,” Michelle Malkin asks, “to see Republicans playing hardball with delinquent Democrats?”  Indeed, it is, Michelle.  Indeed, it is.  And let’s hope this is how Republicans start treating Democrats who believe election returns should only result in a governing agenda when they win.

If you hadn’t heard already, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that state Senate Republicans plan to withhold Democrats’ pay, well, that is, those Democrats who don’t show up to do the job to which they were elected (which is the Badger State is none of them):

Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to make Democrats hiding out in Illinois come back to Wisconsin to pick up their paychecks.

The Senate Committee on Organization voted on a 3-2 party line vote, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against, to change Senate rules so that senators who miss two consecutive floor days can no longer have their paychecks dropped automatically into their bank accounts. The vote was taken by paper ballot, which allowed Democrats to cast their votes from out-of-state.

Democrats who have already missed two consecutive floor sessions will now have to come to get their paychecks directly from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) on the floor of the Senate.

Love it.  Let’s hope Republicans across the country take heed to what Wisconsin Senate Republicans are doing.  If the Democrats try to undermine their efforts at real government reform, they need to pull out all stops (as provided by the provisions of their state constitutions and the rules of their respective legislative chambers) to combat these obstructionist tactics.

Harry Reid Wants to Quash Freedom in His Home State

Now, here’s an issue where I dare say some of our liberal critics will agree with me (at least, I hope they will), that is, in opposing the policy one leading Democrat supports.

Instead of calling the Senate into session the week before the continuing budget resolution expires, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Mt. Crumpit Nevada) has decided to ignore his federal responsibilities to wade into state politics.  He’s called for limiting the freedom of Nevadans and Americans who travel to the Silver State.  And he wants to make it easier for men to exploit (and police to incarcerate) women who elect to practice the world’s oldest profession:

Sen. Harry Reid on Tuesday called for “an adult conversation” about prostitution in Nevada, saying it is an impediment to economic development because it discourages businesses from moving here.

“Nevada needs to be known as the first place for innovation and investment – not as the last place where prostitution is still legal,” he said in a speech to the Nevada Legislature.

Yup, he wants to ban prostitution.  Allahpundit reminds us that

. . . local lawmakers weren’t thrilled at the sight of the U.S. Senate majority leader strolling into the chamber to lecture them on an issue that pales in significance to the state’s crushing unemployment rate (the highest in America) and massive deficit. As for his anecdote about businessmen passing on Nevada due to the brothels, the current lieutenant governor claims he’s never had someone tell him that before. (more…)

Those undemocratic Democrats

My, my, my, my, what is it with Democrats in Midwestern States.  They see their party lose seats in the state house and when a bill comes up, they oppose, they run for the hills, er, a neighboring state.

Now, they’re shutting down the legislature in the Hoosier State:

Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.

A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

All to protect the power and perks flowing to public employee unions through their privileged bargaining positions.  Oh, yeah, and the cash that flows from the state treasury to the public employee unions and into Democratic campaign coffers — and for ads on their (i.e. Democratic candidates’ behalf.

Somehow, I just don’t think these will play well with Indiana voters — or those in other jurisdictions.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  ILoveCapitalism offers:

I love how all this exposes the Democrat leaders’ real agenda. Not civility. Not unity. Not bi-partisanship. Not post-partisanship. Just clinging to political power – and its companion, political money.

When Democrat leaders say words like unity, civility, bi-partisanship, etc., they really mean that Republicans should cave into them; let them win. If Republicans win – and apparently are serious about their principles – then it all flies out the window

Governor Walker Takes On Democratic Interest Group*

In his piece on the union unrest in the Badger State, George Will sums up the essence of the problem of public employee unions, a problem which has tainted politics not just in Wisconsin, but also here in California:

Such unions are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it always wants to do anyway – grow. These unions use dues extracted from members to elect their members’ employers. And governments, not disciplined by the need to make a profit, extract government employees’ salaries from taxpayers. Government sits on both sides of the table in cozy “negotiations” with unions.

For those challenging the notion that Governor Walker is some kind of dictator, acting as a corporate shill or some such, Will reminds us that in his previous job, the Republican had had stand-offs with public employee unions, “As Milwaukee County executive, he had similar dust-ups with government workers’ unions, and when the dust settled, he was resoundingly reelected, twice.”  And was elected Wisconsin governor after those dust-ups.

Hey, Bruce, did you notice under whose portrait Walker sits for his interview?  Here’s a clue, Will finds that Walker’s “calm comportment in this crisis” reminds him of the actions of another noble Republican just about thirty years ago.  🙂

*whose politicking represents a clear conflict of interest .

House Republicans Make Serious Effort to Hold Line on Spending

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:54 pm - February 22, 2011.
Filed under: Congress (112th)

While many of us wish House Republicans would take a bigger whack at the federal deficit than they already have, Peter Wehner commends them for the seriousness of the cuts they have made so far:

At 4:40 a.m. on Saturday morning the House, by a vote of 235-189, passed a bill to cut $61.5 billion from this year’s budget. This level of cuts, which would be significantly higher if annualized, constitutes the largest reduction in non-security discretionary spending in history (the cuts are compressed into seven months rather than 12 because the fiscal year starts in October). It fulfills the pledge by House Republicans to cut domestic discretionary spending levels to 2008 levels (pre-stimulus and pre-bailouts).

He reminds us that the main reason Ronald Reagan failed to cut spending in the 1980s was that congressional Republicans balked — as they did in 2005 when then-President George W. Bush tried to reform Social Security.  And while these cuts will only make a dent in the federal deficit, Wehner contends that “in less than a week” the House Republican caucus has shown “a level of fiscal seriousness and fidelity to limited government that is unmatched in our time. In the process it has shamed the president and his party, whose level of fiscal irresponsibility is also unmatched in our time.”  Indeed.  Read the whole thing.

Via Glenn Reynolds who quips, “He’s right that these are unprecedented cuts. But I can’t help but think . . . Move the decimal over a place and it’ll be a lot more serious.

Have media ever asked Democrats to explicitly deny Trutherism?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:07 am - February 22, 2011.
Filed under: Democrats & Double Standards,Media Bias

As we deal with the double standards today in American politics with Democrats and various left-of-center pundits and editorial boards refusing to condemn rhetoric hurled against their adversaries similar to that they rushed to condemn when uttered by a handful of activists on the right, perhaps we should wonder as well at the fascination some of the same pundits and media figures have with birthers, those who question the place of the president’s birth.

Of course, we could quiet the controversy rather quickly if the president just agrees to have the State of Hawai’i release his long-form birth certificate. That would silence all but those who refuse to let the issue go (as I believe they long ago should have, especially when the then-Republican Governor of the Aloha State Linda Lingle confirmed that the actual certificate shows Obama was indeed born in her jurisdiction, one of the fifty sovereign states).

Last Thursday, Doug Powers reminded us that  over the previous weekend NBC’s David Gregory asked the Republican House Speaker and apparently other conservatives “about their beliefs concerning President Obama’s birthplace and faith” as if the topic were “an all-out media fad.”  Powers includes Jim Treacher‘s quip, “I don’t recall anybody ever asking Nancy Pelosi if it was her job to correct any of the myths and misinformation that were spread about George Bush.”

Ace offers his own unique and (most) insightful take on the matter:

One may feel that these subjects are beyond dispute and therefore it’s fair game to ask public officials to deny or affirm them. But when did the media ever ask Democrats to explicitly deny Trutherism? Or to demand they stop calling Bush a war criminal, as he’s, you know, provably not, the way they continue demanding that Republicans swear Bam-Bam is not a socialist (which is actually is)?

Why do the media never ask Democrats to “differentiate themselves” from the extremists on their side of the political aisle?

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…)