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On public opinion & public employee unions

Some Democrats as well as their ideological allies in the media and the leaders of their various auxiliary organizations seem to see victory in their defeat in Wisconsin this past week.  “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka,” for example “dubbed Gov. Scott Walker Thursday ‘the Mobilizer of the Year’  for the labor movement, saying Walker’s move to take away collective bargaining rights for public employees will boomerang on Republicans.”  James Taranto summarizes E.J.Dionne’s recent column as saying that “Republicans won a legislative victory but overreached, just as Democrats did a year ago [with Obamacare], and they are going to pay a political price, just as the donks did in November.

Now, to be sure, the recent poll numbers among Wisconsinites for Walker’s modest reforms don’t look much better than do those for Obama’s major health care overhaul.  Yet, here’s one distinction to bear in mind.  The intense debate over Walker’s plan took place over three weeks, a relatively compressed time frame for a debate of this magnitude.  By contrast the debate over Obamacare unfolded over three seasons (Summer 2009, Autumn 2009, Winter 2009-10), with the House passing the bill just after last year’s Spring Equinox.

The shorter time frame for the Wisconsin debate has not given people much time to consider all the issues involved in this reform/budget package.  Consider, for example, polling on Obamacare.  While Democrats had been talking about reform since the transition, the debate didn’t start heating up until the spring of 2009, becoming really intense that summer.  At the beginning of that sultry season, a slight plurality favored the Democrats’ reforms.  While people supported health care reform in the abstract, once they learned the details of the plan crafted in Washington, D.C., they became increasingly skeptical and indeed outright opposed.

Similarly, while people favor the rights of public employees to organize in the abstract, the more they learn the details of Walker’s reforms curtailing their privileges, the more citizens will realize how these reforms protect Wisconsin taxpayers from unions who have gained an inordinate amount of power in recent years.  As the reforms limit the unions’ privileges, they giving local governments (including school districts) greater flexibility in providing benefits to their employees. (more…)

HRC to Accuse Black Churches of “Anti-Gay Crusade” in Maryland?

Just over two years ago, the Human Rights Campaign issued a press release, faulting “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” for sending “a private e-mail to its members in Illinois urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to civil unions legislation currently under consideration.  Mormons,” HRC informed us

. . . have notably utilized private networks to torpedo pro-LGBT policies in the past, most recently in their home state of Utah, where a package of fair-minded legislation called the Common Ground Initiative was systematically killed in the state legislature. Most notoriously, Mormons funneled millions of dollars into California last year to pass Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that stripped lesbian and gay couples of the right to marry in the state.

This led Board of Director Bruce Bastian to accuse the Church of “fighting an anti-gay crusade throughout the nation, targeting any form of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.”  This past week, the Democratic Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates a bill recognizing same-sex marriages in his state because support had melted away:

One of its co-sponsors, Delegate Tiffany T. Alston, a freshman Democrat from Prince George’s County, had withdrawn her support, apparently bowing to pressure from her constituency, which contains a powerful religious community.

Two national groups that oppose same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, both highlighted African-American and religious opponents of the bill as central to its defeat.

“Particular thanks must go to the African-American pastors, church members and delegates who spoke out against the attempted hijacking of the concept of ‘civil rights,’ ” the Family Research Council said in a statement.

Disappointed “in the outcome,” Del. Doyle Niemann of Prince George’s County offered a similar assessment, “In my area, the power of the black churches was a big part of the problem. Those churches just haven’t come around on this.”  In its statement on the developments in the Maryland marriage debate, HRC did not mention those churches.

Wonder why HRC chooses to single out Mormons with such attacks.

Charlie Sheen’s Latest Drug: Publicity

Charlie Sheen may well be outsmarting us all in saying increasingly crazy things in order to keep himself in the news, but that need to have us all pay attention to him is itself an addiction.  He’s not seeking fame through good and noble deeds, but seeking it in order to fill an inner void.

Just as he used his star power to lure countless women into his bed.  Or used his wealth to buy whatever narcotic it was though could give him the quickest high.  Now, he’s found a new means to get high.  And the constant attention he craves may well only momentarily serve to fill the emptiness.  He may need try something novel to find the necessary excitement.

Another strange way to find validation through attention.  Kind of kind a child throwing a tantrum.

One day, people are going to start tiring of Sheen’s shenanigans.  Various media outlets will see their ratings drop and stop covering this particular celebrity.  And he’ll have to look elsewhere for his latest fix.

FROM THE COMMENTS: Sebastian Shaw offers a sage insight:

Charlie Sheen may very well end up dead from a drug overdose. Hollywood hasn’t helped him at all; in fact, it has hurt him along with the media trying to exploit his weirdness.


Has Barney “Differentiated” Himself from Nasty Rhetoric of his Ideological Confreres in Wisconsin?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - March 12, 2011.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Remember when just about a year ago, the unhappy Barney Frank insisted that Republicans “differentiate themselves” from a few nasty comments made by irate Tea Party protesters and a lot of hateful rhetoric imagined by Barney’s own ideological allies. Wonder where that Democratic partisan is today given the amount of hate speech (and hateful antics) coming from interest groups backing his political party  in Wisconsin.