Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good morning, again, to you all. We got our inch of snow and the temps are just above 20 degrees. We decided to postpone our weekly shopping to Wednesday. Normally, we go out on Monday but the weather has been wet (or icy) and dismally gray. We don't think the driving would really be all that bad, by why go out in this mess if you don't have to?

For anyone who is still confused about what is at stake in Wisconsin take a good read of this HuffingtonPost article this morning. I think the main problem is that none of us have any experience with really nasty labor confrontations. Note the reference in the article to the 1886 strike that the then governor attacked with state police. We haven't had that kind of violence since the Federal government, in the depths of the great depression, recognized the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain. We have had long and bitter strikes and some that had episodes of violence but none that had the armed police killing strikers. The article also makes a point that the bill basically negates any meaningful right to collective bargaining--what is left after you are banned from bargaining on benefits and the issue of wages is limited to the rise in inflation? Especially in an economy where the government lies about the inflation rate?

It looks like those Iranian warships are passing through the Suez Canal on their way to Syria. I have noticed that most of the news media have focused on the Israeli reaction (extreme concern) and wondered what Egypt would do. What most of them don't recognize is that there is damned little Egypt can do because the international convention that governs the canal requires that all commercial shipping and warships must be allowed to pass. This article from RTTnews explains the treaty implications far more clearly. Last I heard not state of war exists between Egypt and Iran and the only way Israel could deny Iran passage is if they decided to bomb the canal. I hope that isn't likely.

I hear you, Kay, and would also like to ignore what is happening in this seriously wigged out country. I am so thoroughly sick of the righteous and self-righteous shouting everyone down. I absolutely hate the right-wing notion that a 51% majority is a landslide that gives them the right to run roughshod over everyone while a 55+% majority for the other side is a paper-thin squeaker that is in no way a 'mandate.' Note that Walker won the Wisconsin governor ship by a 52-47 margin--hardly the landslide the news media has made it out to be.

Like you, Lois, I try to tend my own little patch and hope for the best. I have had recurring epiphanies concerning just how well my interests are protected by the various powers that be and always they have come up short. I get really tired of being the expendable party whose good is always sacrificed for the 'greater good.'

This kind of story simply heightens my total lack of faith in our governments. One of the basic functions of government is to protect the health and safety of its people but more often than not over the last several years they have failed that mandate. The owner of Wright County Eggs was able to maintain his operations in several states even though several states' health departments and the FDA knew about serious health and safety failures. The peanut processing company had multiple citations at more than one plant for health violations before an e. coli outbreak forced its closure. We can't depend on the 'private,' for profit company to protect their customers but we can't depend on the government either.

I just noticed an ironic juxtaposition on CNN today. They showed a story on the teachers' demonstrations against a union busting bill in Ohio (worse than the one in Wisconsin) with a story about the efforts by the Federal government to recruit what they term 'stem' teachers--that is teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math. These teachers have already had a successful career from which they can retire and the government underwrites their certification programs. On the one hand a local (i.e., state government) is trying to curtail the rights of teachers to bargain on the conditions of employment while, on the other, the Federal government plans to train specialized teachers they won't have to hire and pay. Does anyone else see anything terribly wrong with this?

I visit a lot of blogs each day. I don't spend a lot of time at each one but here is one I will be visiting more often. The table runner pictured is so very cute!

I just got this at the Indianapolis Star by way of firedoglake and I gave a shout of joy. Indiana Democratic State Senators have joined Wisconsin State Senators in exile in Illinois (some may head for Kentucky) to deny the Republican dominated Senate a quorum to ram through a union busting bill.

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