Tuesday Reads

Good Morning politics junkies!! I’ve got a few juicy reads for you today, so let’s get right to it.

First up, the ongoing protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s attempted union-busting in Wisconsin. There already have been a couple of polls showing that the majority of Americans support the fight for workers’ rights, and specifically the right of public employees to bargain collectively.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) announced last night that if Wisconsin voters could have a “do over,” Walker would not win the election for Governor.

if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.

The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.

It’s actually Republicans, more so than Democrats or independents, whose shifting away from Walker would allow Barrett to win a rematch if there was one today. Only 3% of the Republicans we surveyed said they voted for Barrett last fall but now 10% say they would if they could do it over again.

Fascinating, huh? In addition, the results of the latest NY Times/CBS poll shows majority support for public employee unions.

Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.

Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines. A majority of respondents who have no union members living in their households opposed both cuts in pay or benefits and taking away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

A couple of days ago, the Los Angeles Police Protective League blog urged support for Wisconsin publish employees who have been protesting in Madison for more than a week now.

An attack on the collective bargaining process in any of the 50 states is an attack on every unionized worker in America. California, long a pro-labor state, is no exception. Following the Wisconsin governor’s lead, a Republican state assemblyman from Costa Mesa has announced legislation to eliminate collective bargaining for pension benefits by California’s public employees. While Assemblyman Allan Mansoor’s bill – aimed at addressing the increasing costs of retired public employees – stands little chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, it serves as a reminder that we must remain vigilant and prepared to take action whenever our basic union rights are threatened.

President Obama actually spoke in vague terms (does he ever get specific?) about union workers. I won’t bother to quote his meaningless words; I just want to note that Scott Walker responded to Obama’s remarks–and, if anything, he was more vague and meaningless than Obama. What a pair!

In Libya, vicious tyrant Muammar el-Qaddafi (or Gadhafi, or Gaddafi–or however the heck you spell it) is getting more out of touch with reality with each passing day. From The New York Times:

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya is deep into a fantasy world. In an interview with ABC News, he insisted that his people “love me,” blamed the courageous uprising against his rule on “terrorists” and refused to take responsibility for his many crimes.

Only if you believe the old saw, “you only hurt the ones you love.” More details from CNN:

Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi flatly denied Monday the existence of the protests threatening to end his 41-year rule, as reports of fighting between government forces and rebels raged another day.

In a joint interview with ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour and the BBC, Gadhafi also denied using force against his people, Amanpour reported. Excerpts of the interview were posted on the networks’ websites.

“No demonstration at all in the streets,” he said, speaking at a restaurant in Tripoli.

Told by the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen that he had seen demonstrators in the streets that morning, Gadhafi asked, “Are they supporting us?”

“They love me, all my people with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people,” he said.

Now those are truly spectacular delusions!

At Al Jazeera, there’s a great article on revelations about the Gaddafi family drawn from cables released by Wikileaks.

For my fellow conspiracy buffs, here’s a fascinating story from Salon about the latest appeal for parole by RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan.

More than four decades after Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, his convicted murderer wants to go free for a crime he says he can’t remember.

It is not old age or some memory-snatching disease that has erased an act Sirhan Bishara Sirhan once said he committed “with 20 years of malice aforethought.” It’s been this way almost from the beginning. Hypnotists and psychologists, lawyers and investigators have tried to jog his memory with no useful result….

“There is no doubt he does not remember the critical events,” said William F. Pepper, the attorney who will argue for Sirhan’s parole Wednesday. “He is not feigning it. It’s not an act. He does not remember it.”

Of course he doesn’t remember it. He’s a “Manchurian Candidate.”

Pepper also suggests Sirhan was “hypno-programmed,” turning him into a virtual “Manchurian Candidate,” acting robot-like at the behest of evil forces who then wiped his memory clean. It’s the stuff of science fiction and Hollywood movies, but some believe it is the key.

I’m going to leave you with this video of an enraged husband yelling at Christian Taliban pickets outside an abortion clinic where he and his wife went for help with a terrible medical problem. Thanks to Dakinikat who sent this to me last night.

What are you reading and blogging about today?


16 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Beata says:

    Thank you for the round-up, BB.

    Indiana Democratic State Representatives have begun their second week of caucusing at an Urbana, IL hotel. They will not return to IN until the GOP agrees to compromise on key legislation:

    http://www.tribtown.com/news/2nd-27946-boycott-enters.html

  2. Beata says:

    More from Indiana:

    In 2005, on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ first day in office, he signed an executive order ending collective bargaining for public employee unions. It has been downhill for IN workers ever since.

    A recent NPR interview with Daniels, a possible GOP candidate for president in 2012:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/02/28/134111630/indiana-gov-mitch-daniels-tough-on-budgets

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, That video is great, all the power to him!
    Here is an interview from Spiegel with a man whose father has been a political prisoner in Libya since 1990.

    Author Hisham Matar on the Revolution in Libya: ‘Libyans Are Rediscovering What It Means to Be a People’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

    Libyan author Hisham Matar’s father was been imprisoned for years by Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. Matar spoke to SPIEGEL ONLINE about the future of his country, Europe’s role in supporting Gadhafi’s dictatorship and the need for truth and reconciliation in Libya if the despot falls.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: When the protests in Libya started, you set up a sort of newsroom in your London flat. What are you doing there?

    Hisham Matar: It’s a network of friends, Libyans in exile. We make dozens of calls a day to Libya. We are trying to collect, corroborate and publish eyewitness accounts. I have found doctors to be particularly good sources: They are used to keeping a certain emotional detachment.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks! I downloaded his first book to my Kindle a few days ago–saw his interview on Democracy Now.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    PBS ran a documentary about “The Triangle Shirt Factory Fire” last night which was illustrative of low income employees working for a non union concern. They lost their lives because of the lack of safety conditions which they had attempted to bring to the table in a futile effort to unionize.

    Without collective bargaining on the table and a lack or federal regulations to back up their concerns, workers will be at the mercy of private companies who we all know will go to any cost saving measure to ensure more profit.

    They wish to return the worker to the Gilded Age when they had zero rights or a voice in the process.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Wasn’t it a great documentary Pat? I wrote about it on last night’s open thread, there are some links there you may find interesting.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Mink: I had read the book covering this tragedy years ago and was always amazed that the owners basically walked away unscathed by the lawsuit.

        If nothing else, it proved how vital unions were during a time when most workers labored under horrendous conditions. Fourteen hour days, six days a week, with no vacation of sick time included, led to early deaths and medical issues that were addressed by union participation.

        We seem to forget those early days when corporate greed was all that mattered.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Pat, That is what I was thinking the entire time, the jury could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt…

        I feel that we are heading towards a time where workers will be exploited at the will of the big bosses, and there will be nothing to fight for worker’s rights.

        Today companies, will employ people at below a living wage, give them a salary so they do not have to pay overtime, and when it comes to any benefits…ha…good luck with that. The health insurance is usually crap and the cost is exorbitant. This economic mess is just going to exacerbate the situation. Now there is an over supply of people who need jobs, and will quickly fill the shoes of those who lose their jobs when the fat cats crush the unions.

    • janicen says:

      Yes, I really wanted to see it. Unfortunately, the PBS station in Richmond, Virginia didn’t carry it. I suspect that was the case in many conservative jurisdictions; the people who should have watched it were “protected” from it.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      If there was ever a time for the return for passage of the ERA that time is now.

      The Christian Taliban is focusing on not only limiting the rights of women but denying them altogether in a state by state resolve.

    • Branjor says:

      I knew things were getting really bad when I saw an ambulance pull up to a place yesterday which antichoicers are always picketing and the first thought in my head was I hope nobody’s been shot.

  5. foxyladi14 says:

    it is our right to picket even if it,s sometimes wrong.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    President Obama just called John Boehner and spoke to him for around 12 minutes about the continuing resolution, according to press sec. Jay Carney. No word if Boehner sobbed during the call.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wisconsin: Scott Walker tanking | Michael Tomasky | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

    Recalled! Now I like the sound of that. How about Governor Feingold? Has a nice ring to it. Don’t forget that in addition to McCarthy, Wisconsin is the land of William Proxmire, the La Follettes, and loads of liberals. Walker could not be recalled, however, until next year by law.

    There are, however, recall petitions being circulated right now involving eight Republican state senators.