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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Signs Laws Restricting Unions (Right To Work)

Source: Reuters

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday signed into law a pair of measures banning mandatory membership of labor unions in a state that is home to the auto industry and birthplace of the United Auto Workers union.

His signature makes Michigan the nation's 24th "right-to-work" state and only the second in the industrial Midwest.

"I have signed these bills into law," Snyder said at a press conference.

Opponents of the laws have vowed to try to overturn them in the courts or through a ballot initiative. They also could try to force recall elections of some lawmakers who supported right-to-work.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/11/usa-unions-michigan-sign-idUSL1E8NBF0B20121211

Chicago Breaks Record With 281 Snow-Free Days. White Christmas? Keep Dreaming.


Winter may be coming, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

In addition to unseasonably balmy temperatures, Chicago has gone a record 281 consecutive days without a measurable amount of snow, from March 4 until Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for snow-free days was 280, set back in 1994.

If the pattern holds through the rest of the month, it could be a harbinger of what winter — which officially starts on Dec. 21 — could bring.

“It’s tough to say yet if this is a predictor of the whole winter, but if we finish out all of December like this, then it would be more telling,” said Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist for the weather service who is based in Romeoville.



Israeli Soldier: 'Cameras Are Our Kryptonite'

Published December 11, 2012

A recent article on Ynet, and excellent analysis by Ali Abunimah on the Electronic Intifada, yields this gem of a quote (emphasis Abunimah’s):

One soldier admits that the presence of cameras – presumably in the hands of Palestinian and other videographers – inhibits the soldiers from being even more abusive: T. says the cameras on the ground undermine the forces’ efforts. “A commander or an officer sees a camera and becomes a diplomat, calculating every rubber bullet, every step. It’s intolerable, we’re left utterly exposed. The cameras are our kryptonite.”

Of course, Abunimah acknowledges that the presence of cameras does not always restrain the Israeli military’s use of lethal violence against protesters:

While “T.” worries about “calculating every rubber bullet,” Israeli soldiers have found ways around rules nominally meant to prevent wanton killing of Palestinians.



Job Openings in U.S. Rose in October to Four-Month High

Source: Bloomberg

By Shobhana Chandra - Dec 11, 2012
Job openings in the U.S. climbed in October to a four-month high, indicating the labor market is on the mend.

The number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 128,000 to 3.68 million from a revised 3.55 million the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Hiring also increased.

The pickup in openings lays the ground for the job growth needed to sustain consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. At the same time, the lack of stronger employment prospects and a jobless rate that remains elevated help explain why Federal Reserve policy makers, meeting today and tomorrow, are weighing additional easing to spur growth.

“There’s improvement,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. Even so, “the progress on payrolls is nothing to be excited about,” and “the Fed is taking aim at the high unemployment rate,” he said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-11/job-openings-in-u-s-rose-128-000-in-october-hiring-climbed.html

Thousands Gather At Michigan Capitol As House Session Begins

LANSING — Led by three police officers on motorcycles, hundreds of union workers and activists marched from the Lansing Center to the Michigan Capitol building this morning, chanting "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Right-to-work has got to go!" along the way.

Crowds of people were streamed into the Lansing Center before the march, including a bearded man in a Santa suit carrying a sign declaring the "GOP stole Christmas."

When the group arrived at the Capitol, they were greeted by a crowd of thousands who had already settle upon the Capitol lawn, shouting, singing and pumping their arms in what is expected to grow to the largest public protest the seat of state government has ever seen. Some 10,000 protestors, supporters and media from inside and outside Michigan are gathering to speak on the controversial issue that has divided the state, and sent ripples across the country.

• WATCH LIVE: http://www.house.mi.gov/htv.asp">Go to Michigan House website and click on Watch House TV Broadcast Channel

Union members hoisted a large inflatable rat to the top of the Capitol steps, dubbing it the "Snyder rat."



LANSING, Michigan: Eight Capitol Protesters Charged With Felonies

Source: The State Journal

LANSING, Mich. (The State Journal) - Eight people arrested Thursday during protests at the state Capitol, who officials said tried to push through state police troopers to enter the Senate chamber, have been charged with felonies.

Each of the six men and two women - all from southeastern Michigan - face a charge of resisting, obstructing and/or opposing a police officer. They face up to two years in prison.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he issued the charges today.

In a statement, Dunnings said: "It was attested to me that (the protesters') tactics went beyond passive resistance, and involved physical aggression towards the police who were charged with protecting the public safety during this tumultuous debate."

Read more: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/234793/2/Eight-Capitol-protesters-charged-with-felonies


Plan For Aiding Arid West Includes Idea For Major Water Pipeline From Nation's Midsection

ST. LOUIS — Even as drought-stricken Midwestern states squabble over diminishing water supplies in the region, a new federal-state study raises the idea of constructing a 670-mile pipeline to divert water from one of the Mississippi's major tributaries to help seven arid states in the West.

For two years, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming have been considering ways to provide more water for the growing populations in the West. A plan scheduled for release later this month will include a proposal for a pipeline to ship water west from the Missouri River, along with a number of less ambitious options.

The pipeline proposal, which would cost an estimated $11.2 billion and take 30 years to complete, is expected to intensify the debate over how to ease one growing region's shortages without harming the interests of others.

Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Dan DuBray said the pipeline idea is in the very early stages, a long way from reality.

"The idea of constructing conveyances to move water resources between other basins and the Colorado has been raised before and was once again submitted as an idea in this process," DuBray said. He said the proposal will be evaluated, but that the agency doesn't view it as "among the most practical or cost-effective proposals submitted."



Senate Wants Suit On Filibusters Dismissed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss a citizen lobbying group's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate rules setting a 60-vote threshold for defeating filibusters.

Emmet J. Bondurant, a lawyer representing Common Cause in the case, said the nation's Founding Fathers never intended to allow a minority in the Senate to block a majority from considering a bill. But that's what the rules now allow, he told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

The Senate's lawyer in the case, Thomas Caballero, said the Constitution gives the Senate the authority to make its own rules.

Sullivan gave no indication when he might rule on the Senate's motion to dismiss the case.



Egypt's Military Assumes Temporary Powers Ahead Of Vote As Country Braces For More Rallies

Associated Press
6:24 p.m. EST, December 10, 2012

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military assumed responsibility Monday for protecting state institutions and maintaining security ahead of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum, as the country braced for another round of mass demonstrations by the supporters of the country's Islamist president and the liberal opposition over the disputed charter.

The referendum on a contentious new constitution lies at the heart of a bitter political battle that has deeply polarized Egypt and triggered some of the worst street violence between backers and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi since he took power in June as the country's first democratically elected leader.

So far, Morsi has stood firm on the referendum, refusing to yield to opposition demands that he scrap the vote scheduled for Saturday. The opposition, meanwhile, was still trying to decide late Monday whether to boycott the referendum or rally Egyptians to vote "no" to the draft constitution, and hoping that a massive turnout for a rally Tuesday would force the president to cancel the balloting.

"We still have a chance, with popular rejection, to stop the referendum," said Basil Adel, a former lawmaker and liberal activist.



'Fiscal Cliff': No One Retreating; Talks Seem At Standstill

Source: Associated Press

Updated: Dec 10, 2012 5:33 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - A year-end deadline approaching, negotiations to avoid an economy-rattling "fiscal cliff" appeared at a standstill Monday. Republicans pressed President Barack Obama to name specific spending cuts he will support, while the White House insisted the GOP agree explicitly to raise tax rates on upper incomes.

At a campaign-style event in Michigan, Obama warned his listeners their taxes will rise on Jan. 1 without action by the Congress. "That's a hit you can't afford to take," he declared.

He spoke one day after meeting privately at the White House with House Speaker John Boehner, whose office expressed frustration with the talks to date.

"We continue to wait for the president to identify the spending cuts he's willing to make as part of the 'balanced' approach he promised the American people,'" said a written statement from the Ohio Republican's office.

Read more: http://www.kcautv.com/story/20301640/rank-and-file-question-gop-fiscal-cliff-stance
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