Saturday Links from The Political Carnival
Oh, tip-toe around all you want, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. You put your private parts and your nose into a place they didn't belong and now you've not only screwed over your home state, but perhaps the entire south. Hope you're feeling pretty good right now.
The issues was the unionizing vote taken a few days ago at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If the vote when for the union, the workers would be covered for additional benefits and in some cases, raises. Not bad if you're a worker. Interestingly the company, Volkswagen was for it.
But other auto manufacturers in the South, noted for their Republican anti-union, anti-labor stands were not so happy. It would mean workers would want to work for Volkswagen instead of their lower paying counterparts. Heavens. That could mean an increase in the living standard for these people. Who would want that?
Certainly not Sen. Corker. He broke with tradition and actively inserted himself into the union election. This may actually be a violation of the National Labor Relations Board rules -- but let's put that aside. Let's say he skirted the issue just enough to be legal and not persecuted (which still remains to be seen).
The Tennessee senator came out and used unnamed sources as saying, well, here's exactly what he said, according to HUFFPO:
"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Corker said last week.
Now how politician-y can you get. He had conversations but doesn't say with whom? And those unnamed sources "assured," not guaranteed him that a vote against unionization would bring a new plant to Chattanooga.
Seems that's not the case at all. So Senator Bobby Pinocchio Corker, before your nose grows so long it causes you to do a face plant into the ground, why not reveal this source of your information? Whoever it was, doesn't seem to have fed you the truth. And how do we know that? Why from the Volkswagen people themselves. Reuters:
Following the union vote, the head of Volkswagen's works council told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the automaker would hesitate to expand in the U.S. South.
"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the South again," said works council leader Bernd Osterloh.
So, now how do you feel, Senator Corksucker? You not only drove a future Volkswagen plant out of your state, but also out of the South. How many jobs did you just fu** your constituents out of?
You're such a Republican. Cost Americans good paying jobs and then call out the President on how little he's done to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It's hard to accomplish both of those when you individually and the Republicans as a party are so hell bent on ruining America.
Most family's rely on the earnings of "the head(s) of household" to see them through. From their earnings, they must put a shelter over their family's heads, feed and cloth them, also provide for all other exigencies of living. If something catastrophic happens and the key wage earner(s) in the family die, hopefully there's some insurance to provide for the survivor's future.
That's why there's life insurance. Not everyone takes advantage of it because it can get costly and there's so many other things that seem to be more pressing. After all, not too many of us think we're going to die until the moment it's upon us. Death is generally something that happens to other people, not us.
When I read about the bill passed that refunded the government after it's shutdown recently, I was surprised by one of the add-ons. No, not the funding of some dam project in Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky. It was the funding of money for the widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He had died shortly before the shutdown and his poor dear widow was assuredly counting on his death benefits package to get her through.
I was struck by this $174,000 to Bonnie Englebart Lautenberg, wondering what all that was about? I mean it had to be important if it was a crucial attachment to the bill to reopen our government. And now I know. It's known as a death gratuity.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) introduced a resolution in the House this week, proposing a ban on death gratuities for spouses of deceased lawmakers.
When a member of Congress dies in office, an item is inserted into the next appropriations bill, granting the equivalent of one year's pay to the survivors of the lawmaker.
On Saturday, Cooper told The Hill that members of Congress should not receive such "special treatment," but should secure their families' futures through life insurance, "like regular citizens."
At first when I read about Cooper's resolution, I thought it was cold. Someone has to die to get this money and I'm sure the family could use any help they can get at this time of need. But when he laid it out that this was special treatment, I got to thinking. I pay annually for life insurance to protect my family. My employers don't contribute. So why should Congress?
It can't be because they need it. It's actually a bit archaic -- a holdover tradition and maybe one past it's necessity.
"The death gratuity became customary starting in 1918 before the birth of modern life insurance (1924), the creation of Social Security (1935), the establishment of civil service pensions (1942), and health benefits under Medicare (1965)," Cooper said. "A lot has changed since 1918, and the gratuity custom should have been abandoned a long time ago."
According to Open Secrets: In 2011, the average net worth of a U.S. Senator: $11.9 Million and the average net worth of a U. S. Congressperson: $6.5 Million. So maybe Cooper's onto something here.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about the particular financial state of the late Sen. Lautenberg -- his recorded net worth was $56.8 million in 2012. Hardly a pauper, yet reopening our government required this money added to our overhead? Really? At that crucial time, this was what the shutdown was over?
And add this little nugget. We also paid Jeffrey Chiesa who was appointed to fill Frank L's seat a full salary for serving until a special election could be held for a permanent replacement, Cory Booker.
Anyone smelling special treatment here? Republicans, this is what you held out for? I thought it was defunding Obamacare. You didn't get that, but you settled for this?
When you stand for something, you have a strong foundation. When you stand for nothing, you collapse.
The GOP no longer stands for anything -- they're as scattered as buckshot at a turkey shoot. Now comes news of another Republican stalwart facing intra-party conflict. The Tea Party is again attacking one of their own-- Senator Lamar Alexander.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will be challenged by conservative state representative Joe Carr in the Republican primary next year, becoming the fourth incumbent Republican U.S. senator to face a primary challenge from the political right.
I guess the south does rise again, along with Wyoming. GOP incumbents, long considered "safe" are now under attack from the right.
Republican U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell faces a challenge from conservative businessman Matt Bevin in Kentucky, Wyoming U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is being challenged by Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham faces at least three primary challengers in South Carolina.
What's a factious party member, long held as a stalwart in the GOP supposed to do?
Twenty Tennessee Tea Party and conservative groups last week published an open letter calling on Alexander to retire with dignity instead of seeking re-election in 2014.
It's becoming pretty clear. There is no one GOP. It's two or three scattered parties, without focus, and with fear as their guiding beacon.
Alexander responded with an opinion piece in The (Nashville) Tennessean newspaper rejecting the call, saying the state needs to send to Washington conservatives who know how to govern.
"Governing means listening, standing up for what you believe in and solving problems to get a result," he said.
Go ahead, Senator Alexander. Tell us what you're standing up for and believe in. Is it right wing craziness or some across the aisle common sense? I bet you choose the wacky right, because you lack the fortitude to govern with your beliefs. Prove me wrong.
It's my kid, and I'll name him what I want to; that's what a Tennessee woman said when she named her baby Messiah. Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew disagreed and went right ahead and changed the baby's first name to Martin.
Just one teeny tiny thing: The baby's parents were in court to argue whose last name he should use, not his first name.
And where in our system of justice does it say a judge's religious beliefs have any place in a court ruling?
I mean other than all those other court rulings by judges who rely on their religious beliefs.
"The word Messiah is a title, and it's a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ," the judge told WBIR-TV, a local channel. ... The judge renamed him Martin DeShawn McCullough, which includes both parents' names.
Judge Ballew-It was concerned about the area's heavily Christian population. How thoughtful of her:
“It could put him at odds with a lot of people, and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is," Ballew said.
But naming a child "Jesus" is okay with her? The judge claims that's not "relevant to this case." Got it. Is she what conservatives would label as an "activist judge"? Just asking.
She must really want to get her judicially faith-based hands on all those other parents who named their babies Messiah in 2012, because last year it was the 387th most common name for baby boys in this country.
Messiah's mom said she'll continue to call him by that name and said she would appeal the judge's decision.
President Obama's speech starts at about 22:50.
He spoke at an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on his "grand bargain" proposal. Despite the GOP's pre-emptive rejection of his ideas, he's trying to break the gridlock over the deficit by cutting corporate tax rates in exchange for job investment to help the middle class.
He suggested boosting natural gas production (as well as solar and wind energy) as long as we "protect our air and our water." Elaborate, please, Mr. President, because fracking is already hurting our air and our water.
And then he came to my favorite part:
I am laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot in a 21st-century economy. Now it’s time for Republicans to lay out theirs. If they’ve got a better plan to bring back more manufacturing jobs, or create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure for the long run, or help workers earn the high-tech skills our businesses demand, let’s hear ‘em. But gutting protections for our air and water isn’t a jobs plan. Gutting investments in things like education and energy isn’t a jobs plan. Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs, and wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare isn’t a jobs plan.
Waitwhat? Did he just imply that he may very well reject the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline disaster-in-waiting project? Oh pleaseohplease make it so.
And the mockitude of the GOP was entertaining, too.
We’ve seen a faction of Republicans in Congress hurt a fragile recovery by suggesting they wouldn’t pay the very bills Congress rang up, and threaten to shut down the people’s government if they can’t shut down Obamacare. Then, rather reduce our deficits with a scalpel in a way that promotes growth – by cutting programs we don’t need, fixing ones we do, and making government more efficient – this same group has left in place a meat cleaver called “the sequester” that harms growth, hurts our military, and guts the investments in education, science, and medical research we need to make this country a magnet for good jobs.
So here’s the bottom line: I’m willing to work with Republicans on reforming our corporate tax code, as long as we use the money from transitioning to a simpler tax system for a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs. That’s the deal. [...]
[From the delivered speech, off script:] I get it, I'm not popular in Tennessee. But I've run my last campaign, so I don't need to spin. The truth is... [and then he went back on script]...
The very last part of the speech got a lot of cheers. Check it out.
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