During a discussion about ongoing challenges to the economy Thursday, Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young referred to Hispanic workers as “wetbacks,” an ethnic slur used to describe migrant workers. He has since apologized.
“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young told Alaska public radio station KRBD. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”
Rep. Don Young of Alaska apologized for using a racist term but not before GOP leaders jumped all over him publically. According to Latinofoxnews.com:
“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Young said. “There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform.”
His remark brought a rare rebuke from U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and other high-ranking party leaders, who called his comment “offensive.”
“Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said. “I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse…”
LANSING, Mich. — Even with the outcome considered a foregone conclusion, the heated battle over right-to-work legislation in the traditional union bastion of Michigan shows no sign of cooling.
Authorities in Lansing were bracing for an onslaught of demonstrators Tuesday at the Michigan Capitol as the Legislature reconvenes for what could be final votes on bills. Hundreds of people gathered early Tuesday to get inside.
“I want to try to get into the gallery. I want to see the proceedings,” said Wes Nakagiri of Livingston County’s Hartland Township, an engineer with an auto parts supplier. “I’m for the legislation, but I can see both sides.”
If it is passed and signed into law, Michigan would become the 24th right-to-work state, banning requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.
“I’m for the legislation, but I can see both sides.” It sounds reasonable to me and pretty much sums up how many folks feel–yea–both sides seem to make sense.
What’s it all about? Emanual and union president Karen Lewis each tell a different story. Lewis’s can be heard in the above video.
But when it comes to exactly what the strike it about, the stories of the city and the union vary dramatically. Shortly after Lewis finished saying that the union was striking over contract negotiations, teacher evaluations, lack of proper air conditioning, and broader pedagogical issues — such as class size and out-of-class services for poor kids — Emanuel addressed the press.
“This is totally unnecessary, this is avoidable, and our kids do not deserve this,” he said.
The mayor, who fashions himself an education reformer, wore no tie. While Emanuel usually doesn’t mince words, his anger appeared more internalized, more resolute. At moments, he appeared to be on the verge of tears. His hand shook visibly as he took a sip of water in between statements. “This is a strike of choice,” he said.
We had a discussion on this blog the other day about beating Pinata Nikki Haley with stick. Some union in South Carolina did it. that did seem rather harsh until I heard Nikki Haley speak about it.
It sounds to me like the good governor is sort of asking for it. “Union Thugs?” “Beating up on the unions?” When you talk like that, it does nothing to bring people together towards a common goal, which SHOULD be improving our economy, especially in South Carolina which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Ohio governor John Kasich had to following to say:
“The people have spoken clearly. You don’t ignore the public. Look, I also have an obligation to lead. I’ve been leading since the day I took this office, and I’ll continue to do that. But part of leading is listening and hearing what people have to say to you.”
Apparently the average Ohio voter didn’t like the idea of dissolving labor unions. What started off as an attempt to balance responsibility for benefits a little better ended up being an attempt by Kasich and his political cronies to union bust. The good people of Ohio were having none of that yesterday.
I got the following email last night. It seemed to be more than a rant. Often our words are careless–like when we call something people have paid in to most of their lives an entitlement, like someone is doing them a favor.
Guest post by BEAR Jones
The following is a rant, feel free to delete without reading!
I spent some time today looking over my Federal Earnings Record.
I started paying Social Security Taxes in 1959 (year before I graduated High School)
I started paying Medicare Taxes in 1966
I continued paying both until I retired in 2005
I’m 69 years old now and those A-holes in Washington say I’m in an “Entitlement Program”
I feel like I spent 40+ years paying “Retirement Insurance” premiums. Now they want to screw with the funding of these programs! I’m not even complaining about all the tax money I gave Federal , State and Local government to fund their activities.(which I’m still paying) I held up my end of the deal with the Government and they shouldn’t be allowed to change their end of the deal.
Sorry, I needed to vent…..Bear
We all need to think before we call Social Security and Medicare ‘entitlement programs.’ It sounds like our retirees are on some sort of free hand-out program rather than something they have paid in to their entire lives.
[Plan taken down. Too expensive. But the rant remains.]
Democratic State Sen. Dave Hansen Wins First Wisconsin Recall Election!
Sen. Hansen’s victory is a validation of the lengths he and the rest of the ‘Wisconsin 14’ went to in their efforts to stall the Wisconsin GOP’s extreme right-wing, anti-working family agenda,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Michael Sargeant. “His constituents understand that he fights for them, not for extreme ideologues.”
There are the nuts and bolts. Scott Walker and crew did their best to recall Sen. Hanson’s last election victory, to no avail. This victory will probably be the first of many for Democrats who stood their ground for public employees. Wisconsin is a union state and things like what happened in Madison last winter just do not sit well.
Three Democratic state senators are being targeted for recall and each have at least $140,000 in the bank, according to spending reports filed Monday with state election officials.
Insulting public employees is just not the way to impress voters. Walker and his gang need to find another way to balance their state budget, rather than doing it on the backs of the public employees.
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved a broad rollback in benefits for three-quarters of a million government workers and retirees, the deepest cut in state and local costs in memory, in a major victory for Gov. Chris Christie and a once-unthinkable setback for the powerful public employee unions.
The National Labor Relations Board has moved to stop Boeing from building airplanes at a nonunion plant in South Carolina. The Board suggests that a unionized American company cannot, without violating federal labor law, expand its operations into one of the 22 states with right-to-work laws, which protect a worker’s right to join or not join a union.
Here is the question: Can a company in a right to work state move or open a branch in a state that is a union state? Is it the existence of a union in that company that makes this a National Labor Relations Board issue?
I believe this decision is dead wrong. I can’t tell you why I think blocking Boeing is wrong, I just feel it is. Decisions like this one makes for bad feelings about organized labor.
Reprinted with permission from Susan J. Demas whose guest opinion appeared in the Huffington Post.
Unless you are saving lives on the operating table or vaccinating children in Africa, it takes a certain kind of chutzpah to constantly insult and berate teachers.
Because chances are, your job is nowhere near as important as that of the folks responsible for shaping the young minds of tomorrow. That goes for lawmakers, lobbyists and yes, annoying reporters like myself.
Anyone who has to corral a bunch of sugar-addled kindergartners or try to break through to angry teenagers deserves hazard pay. Because if our kids don’t get the education they need in their early years, they are screwed. That didn’t used to be the case, when the auto industry was fat and happy and doled out jobs as high school graduation gifts.
But nowadays, if kids don’t earn a college degree, they are almost completely shut out of the middle class. Maybe an associate’s degree in a technical field will suffice. But that’s about it.
Teachers are critical to this process. So are parents, but most of them are too busy working 60 hours a week, often at a couple jobs, to teach their kids very much at home. And let’s face it. Once kids start bringing home algebra, most of us are hopelessly lost.
Family and Friends Night at the New Sudley Manor Starbucks!
Come out Thursday night, April 14, from 5-8 pm and visit the new Starbucks at 10638 Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas Crossroads. The new Starbucks is near Chick Filet and Walgreens and features a drive through. The new store is also the first Starbucks to be Leed Certified:
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® certification program as a benchmark for success. (LEED® is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)
Family and Friends events are very nice and a good way to sample new treats at Starbucks. The store manager extended a very special invitation to Moonhowlings contributors so make sure you stop by. Once the store is open, patrons will have improved laptop hookups, a patio, and a drive through for those who don’t have time to go in.
See you there. (pppssssssst no meals tax in the county)
Several weeks ago, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) stirred things up by ordering the removal of a mural in the Maine Labor Department depicting a few scenes from the labor history in the state. Scenes from Rosie the Riveter tat Bath Ironworks to the a shipyard strike. According to Huffington Post:
The governor has said that he wants the mural out of the Department of Labor because it doesn’t fairly depict the perspective of employers: “Were the bosses in the mural? Were the employers in the mural? History is about two sides … I think it’s inappropriate for [the mural] to be in the Department of Labor when everyone comes in, employers and employees, and they’re confronted by one side of the question.”
The mural was erected in 2008, after the Maine Arts Commission chose Taylor’s piece through a jury selection.
There was a hue and cry over the quiet removal of the mural and now the empire strikes back. The U.S. Labor Department has told Maine to put the mural back or pay the price, in today’s Huffpost:
The federal government is stepping into the labor mural controversy in Maine, demanding that the state either put the artwork back up at the Department of Labor or repay the cost of the mural.
In a letter first obtained by the Associated Press, Gay Gilbert, a senior U.S. Labor Department official, writes that the federal government appropriated the funds to Maine for the mural.
What a difference a few decades makes. Ronald Reagan, the golden boy of the Republican party would be an outcast in the fair state of Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, as well as some other places here in the United States.
Reagan himself had been president of the Screen Actors Guild which was a union. The Screen Actors Guild has connections to the AFL-CIO. He was a strong supporter of Poland’s Solidarity Movement and had great respect for its leader, Lech Walesa.
Reagan castigated the Polish government for outlawing Solidarity.
“By outlawing Solidarity, a free trade organization to which an overwhelming majority of Polish workers and farmers belong, they have made it clear that they never had any intention of restoring one of the most elemental human rights—the right to belong to a free trade union.”
Many have argued that Walesa’s leadership in Poland was the beginning of the end of communism. Just what is it that these elected officials fear?
They fear the power of numbers. Had those in Wisconsin only been a few hundred dissonants, they would have been arrested and jailed. That is hard to do with thousands.
Perhaps those opposing the rights of public employees to form unions and to engage in collective bargaining need to reexamine their motives. Maybe they had better put their American flags away while they are lifting their legs on Miss Liberty’s golden door.
Reagan’s ” Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost!” will be just a lone echo in the wind if someone doesn’t get rid of these union busters elected to office.