12/7/12

New Michigan ‘right-to-work’ law clobbers Obama-backed unions

By: Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder was blind-sided recently, when he received a report that 90 companies in the state had pulled up stakes and fled–with their thousands of good-paying jobs–to the neighboring state of Indiana, after their new Republican Governor, Mitch Daniels, and his Republican-controlled legislature, enacted ‘right-to-work’ [union-neutralizing] laws, according to a FOXNews article yesterday.

Right-to-work laws prohibit unions from forcing workers to pay union dues.

Indiana’s success is a result of the model built by Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican Governor, Scott Walker, who, with his Republican-controlled legislature, was the first to challenge ‘union influence’ in his blue state, whose benefit and retirement program legacy costs were drowning the state in a billion dollars of red ink.

Armed with this new legislation, which allowed the elimination of the state’s budget deficit without sacrificing a single job, or raising any taxes, Wisconsin began a ‘full-court press’ marketing program aimed at the neighboring union-stronghold blue state of Illinois, touting that they were ‘open for business,’ to companies wanting to take advantage of the substantial savings now available.

On Thursday, with scant warning, Republicans laid the groundwork during the ‘lame duck’ legislative session. Although infuriated Democrats used parliamentary maneuvers to slow action, which was ultimately futile as Republicans hold commanding majorities, 64-46 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate.

And, unlike the famous ‘fleeing’ Democrats in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin before them, who merely delayed legislation to their distaste by denying their opponents a ‘quorum,’ under Michigan rules a simple majority of members may conduct the people’s business.

According to the article, in an interview with The Associated Press, Governor Snyder stated that he had kept the issue at arm’s length while pursuing other programs to bolster the state economy, but pivoted when circumstances dictated the matter be pursued.

Most importantly, Snyder noted the 90 companies that moved from his struggling state to Indiana, saying:

That’s thousands of jobs, and we want to have that kind of success in Michigan.

Then, once a plurality of Michigan voters defeated a ballot initiative, which would prohibited such measures via the state constitution, he took the cue and put this plan in motion just a month later.

Governor Rick Snyder wrapped up the AP interview with profound directness:

It is a divisive issue. But, it was already being divisive over the past few weeks, so let’s get this resolved. Let’s reach a conclusion that’s in the best interests of all.

This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices.

The goal isn’t to divide Michigan; it is to bring Michigan together.

It is certainly a welcome change to see a well-conceived and executed plan come together for a change–perhaps our Republican brethren in Washington, D.C. can take their cue from the quickly changing landscape in the ‘Rust Belt.’

12/7/12

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 12/07/12

The Watcher’s Council

UN Security Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

This week, we were treated to an interesting spectacle.

Every EU country except the Czech Republic either voted for or abstained from voting against the recognition of ‘Palestine’ as a a state, something that essentially gutted the international treaties of the Oslo Accords and the Road Map. A day or so later, these same countries were calling Israel’s ambassadors on the carpet and accusing them of ‘jeopardizing the two state solution’ because they decided to build some badly needed housing on a vacant hillside!

As this week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s ‘Palestine’ – A Celebration At The Funeral points out, the celebration over the recognition of ‘Palestine’ is not a new beginning, but a wake. Here’s a slice:

The UN has finally taken the step of openly endorsing ‘Palestine’. In response to the PLO’s request, the General Assembly issued Resolution 67/19, giving ‘Palestine’ observer status, which means it is a non-voting member who can join other international bodies like UNICEF or the International Criminal Court.

Prior to the vote, Mahmoud Abbas made a typical speech in which he accused Israel of racism numerous times. Coming from the lips of a man whose thesis at Moscow University denied that the Holocaust occurred, this added yet another touch of comedy to the proceedings.

There was never any doubt about the outcome. Given the 51 nation OIC Muslim bloc, those nations like France, Sweden and others with a restive Muslim population and those they were able to influence, Abbas was certain to get what he asked for. The UN General Assembly could probably be relied on to pass a resolution saying Jews had horns on their heads with a decent majority.

What the UN did, essentially, was to flush two international treaties, the Oslo Accords and The Road Map down the toilet, as if they never existed. The resolution unilaterally grants Abbas and the PLO statehood status and ‘the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967′ ( never mind that there was no ‘Palestinian territory’ at that time) ‘including East Jerusalem’ without any pretense of negotiating anything whatsoever. No surprises there, since that’s been the PLO’s real position all along.

Even more farcically, the resolution calls for ‘the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process.’

After what the UN General Assembly claims it granted to the PLO in this resolution, why would they suppose there’s anything left to negotiate? Who makes the best felafel? And why would the Israelis even bother, seeing how the PLO and the so-called international community regards treaties and agreements when it concerns Jews and Israel?

Speaking of which, to those of you whom celebrate it, Hanukkah begins this Saturday night, right after the Jewish Sabbath… take time to celebrate and remember that Israel and the Jewish people have triumphed over much greater odds in the past before. Ma’ale Adumim, after all, is not so far from Modi’in, where a group of Jewish farmers decided that enough was enough and their G-d and their freedom weren’t negotiable anymore… Chag Hanukkah Sameach.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with Waiting for the GOP’s Populist Turn submitted by Joshuapundit. In it VDH examines the next direction for the GOP to go to reclaim its popularity. Unfortunately, given the Republican establishment’s current war on conservatives and anyone associated with the Tea Party, it’s beginning to look more and more like that new direction of conservative populism might end up coming from a third party.

Okay, here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

12/7/12

Pearl Harbor Day

Ask Marion

Pearl Harbor veteran recalls bewilderment of attack

It’s strange how wars are remembered — and forgotten. On this day, Dec. 7, let’s honor Pearl Harbor‘s fallen and never forget that the awful attack was one of several costly battles that day.

HONOLULU — Seventy-one years ago this week, Navy veteran Lou Gore was startled by the muffled thuds of explosions and a burst of commotion while cleaning up from breakfast below deck on the USS Phoenix, a cruiser docked at Pearl Harbor.

Hurrying topside, the 18-year-old seaman second-class was confronted by pandemonium he was unable to immediately comprehend — flames shooting skyward, roiling clouds of dark, acrid smoke, swarms of fighter-bombers buzzing low overhead.

Within moments that Sunday morning, it became clear that the U.S. Pacific fleet was under attack. As reflexes from training took over, Gore and others aboard the Phoenix jumped into action and began firing back with anti-aircraft guns.

“We didn’t know (at first) those were Japanese planes,” Gore, now 88 and visiting the islands with nine members of his family, recalled in a recent interview. “We didn’t know what was happening. I just did my job.”

Gore is one of 100 aging Pearl Harbor Survivors who will attend ceremonies on Wednesday on Oahu marking the 70th anniversary of the Japanese air and naval assault that claimed 2,390 American lives and drew the United States into World War Two.

Nearly half of those who perished were sailors aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which Japanese torpedo bombers sank early in the attack, sending 1,177 of its 1,400-member crew to their deaths.

The USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the ship, now forms a centerpiece of the World War Two Valor in the Pacific National Monument, an historic site administered by the National Park Service.

‘BODIES EVERYWHERE’

Gore’s vessel, the Phoenix, was anchored a short distance from the stretch of harbor known as Battleship Row, where the Arizona was moored when it was hit.

“I’ll never forget watching the … USS Arizona battleship jumping up out of the water, landing and rolling on its side,” Gore said. “There were bodies everywhere. Brooms floating in the water, canisters.”

Long after the two-hour surprise attack had ended, the base remained on edge, he recounted. “Everyone was keyed up. After the attack, at night, it wasn’t safe to be out. People were shooting at shadows.”

The Phoenix, among a handful of light cruisers and other vessels that got out of the harbor during or just after the attack, emerged unscathed.

Besides the nearly 2,400 who were killed, the attack left 1,178 people wounded, sank or heavily damaged a dozen U.S. warships and destroyed 323 aircraft, badly crippling the Pacific fleet.

As has been the practice of past anniversary ceremonies, visiting veterans, relatives and dignitaries will bow their heads for a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. on Wednesday, the time when the attack began, as military jets soar overhead in a “missing-man” formation.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon will render a salute to the fallen crew of the Arizona, and the morning service will end with a “walk of honor” by more than 100 Pearl Harbor Survivors and other World War Two veterans, many of them in their late 80s. The gathering is expected to include seven of the last known 18 survivors from Arizona’s crew.

The turnout by Pearl Harbor veterans on Wednesday is expected to be only about half of what it was last year, when about 200 attended.

Mal Middlesworth, former president of the National Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and current publisher of the Pearl Gram, a quarterly newsletter, estimates there are about 2,700 Pearl Harbor veterans still alive, approximately 5,000 total survivors.

For Gore, a resident of Seattle, this week marks his first visit to Hawaii since the 1960s, and his first opportunity to personally show his two sons, his daughter and a granddaughter where he was on the morning of the attack.

Gore went on to serve in Okinawa and New Guinea during World War Two and remained in the Navy for 30 years, including a brief stint in Korea and two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He retired as a petty officer first-class.

Despite the tributes he is receiving this year as a Pearl Harbor veteran, Gore insists he is no hero.

“I’m grateful to still be alive. So many lost their lives for no reason. … I wish I had been able to save more” (lives), he said.

(This story corrects Gore’s rank in paragraph 2 to seaman second-class.)

How much news did you see on this today? How many of our kids learn about this school? How many of us even remembered it was the 71st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day??

It’s Columbus man’s way to pay tribute to his dad, declining number of Pearl Harbor attack survivors

PEARL HARBOR DAY 2012: A TIME TO REMEMBER, AND TO HEAL