Monday, July 30, 2007

The 11th Hour - documentary

“As an example, if we retrofitted all government buildings built pre 1950, and we created tax environments to help cities and municipalities and states and the federal government to retrofit those buildings, we could create 3 million industrial jobs plus we could import much less oil from the middle east. But more importantly we’d be having a much cleaner environment.”

Leo Gerard, USW President
from The 11th Hour - documentary
“The 11th Hour” is a new feature length environmental film in which I appear. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, it documents the environmental crises we face.

With the help of over fifty of the world’s most prominent thinkers and activists, including reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, “The 11th Hour” documents the grave problems facing the plant’s life systems: global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction and depletion of the oceans’ habitats.

However, the most powerful aspect of “The 11th Hour” is not a portrait of a planet in crisis, but its offering of hope and solutions. The film ends with a call for restorative action through reshaping human activity.

“The 11th Hour” opens in New York and Los Angeles on August 17. On the 24th it opens in more cities and in the following weeks across the country. I strongly encourage you to go see it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Care for Kids!

Tell congress to put families first!

More than 9 million American kids have no healthcare coverage including 163,000 Hoosier kids.

Congress has the opportunity to fully fund the State Children’s Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $50 Billion to provide health care coverage to millions of children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid and can’t afford private insurance.

This new funding has already been approved by U.S. Senate and House budget resolutions. We need to ensure that $50 billion additional funding is approved in the final budget.

For additional information or to sign the petition electronically, go to

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dirty Chao


Workers at the Department of Labor (DOL) will have some good clean fun this week when they pass out bars of soap saying "Chao Thinks You Stink" and "Get Clean with Local 12". The workers, members of AFGE Local 12, are responding to DOL Secretary Elaine Chao's recent comments in Parade Magazine that American workers need to improve their personal hygiene in order to be more competitive. "While we're having a little fun at the Secretary 's expense," said Local 12 President Alex Bastani, "what isn't funny is the Secretary's disdain for American workers." After all, Bastani notes, "This is the very same Secretary of Labor who denied over 2 million workers their right to overtime." Local 12 recently defeated an effort to privatize over 250 jobs at the DOL at both the regional level and in the Washington DC National office. Also featured at the Tuesday and Thursday events will be a bubble machine. Photo of Chao that will appear on the bars of soap, photo courtesy of AFGE 12


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bush's only word

At first, I thought that President Bush might only ruin our country. I'm now beginning to think that there is a pretty good chance that he might ruin the world. I predict that Bush and his psychiatric disorder and how he was able to hoodwink the citizens of the United States, will be the makings of documentaries someday rivaling what happened to the people in Germany before and during the reign of Hitler. Bush is an embarrassment.

As soon as Bush started name calling with his "axis of evil", and said of those who attack our troops, "bring em on", I knew we were in serious trouble.

The republicans use of impeachment to simply embarrass a President may well have made the use of impeachment impossible to use practically in the future. Sort of like crying wolf, or making it seem like simply a game. Plus, how could Bush be impeached knowing that his puppeteer Chaney would be just as bad, and who knows, maybe even worse if he were to assume the Presidency.

It looks like this is one of those things we’ll just have to wait out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Birkholz Announces Candidacy

Press Release

July 11, 2007

Debra Birkholz announces candidacy for State Senate, District 8

Birkholz formally announced her candidacy today at the LaPorte County Labor Coalition meeting in Michigan City. She has the endorsement of Jim Robinson, United Steelworker District Director and several retiree
organizations. Having recently retired after a 32 year career at NIPSCO, Birkholz was elected four times as president of the clerical union at NIPSCO. Birkholz said, “ No one will ever be able to replace Anita Bowser but we do not have to lose her passion and commitment to seeing state government work for everyone.” She has been a resident of LaPorte County for nearly forty years and currently is the secretary of the LaPorte County Democratic Central Committee. She also serves on the LaPorte Labor/Management Committee. Birkholz is married to Mike Birkholz, one of the owners of Shaffner Tire in LaPorte. Together they have five children and four grandchildren.

Indiana Toll Road

Having lost by just one vote to Jim Arnold in the March Democratic caucus to fill the late Sen. Anita Bowser’s seat, I was particularly disappointed to read our current state senator say, “there hasn’t been enough time to make a justifiable conclusion” (H-A, 6/30/07) on whether the lease of the Indiana Toll Road was the right thing to do.

Now more than ever, we need elected officials in Indianapolis willing to stand up and say “no” to every effort by this governor and his colleagues to sell off parts of state government. There’s a reason the U.S. House Transportation Committee just two months ago sent the governor a letter saying it was opposed to such sales or leases of public assets that obviously don’t serve the public interest.

Privatizing what should be government functions hasn’t worked well on the federal level, much less the state. The New York Times said it well on Jan. 16 when it editorialized that “full inquiries and public hearings are vital if the rich and shadowy world of privatization is ever to be plumbed for the scandal it is nurturing.”

At the state level, Texans admit their privatization of welfare services is a failure. The $900 million contract with Accenture will be ended two years earlier than planned with the highly respected Austin Statesman saying that “state employees are better suited for administrative functions and privatization is no guarantee that taxpayers are going to save money.” In Florida, even Republican lawmakers who once supported privatization schemes there are said by the Feb. 17, 2005, St. Petersburg Times “to be disillusioned by the reality.”

With this governor hoping to sell off or lease other state assets like the Hoosier Lottery, we need state legislators willing to stand up and take the long view of the public interest. That’s why if I am successful in my campaign for state Senate, the voters can count on me as one who will fight privatization tooth and nail.


La Porte

Monday, July 09, 2007

Stop the Insanity!

3,606 dead American soldiers

26,558 wounded

$442 billion dollars so far

What does war look like?

"Like the backside of a baboon. When the baboon is up in a tree, with its hind end facing us, there is the face of war exactly: scarlet, scaly, glazed, framed in a clotted, filthy wig." Hecuba

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Let's Stop Unfair Trade

Today, we need to celebrate our
independence, not lose it.

(Tell the Presidential candidates America deserves a real Independence Day.)

We hear a lot about national security from our Presidential
candidates — but none of them will tell you that one day we may
depend on foreign manufacturers for our national security.

That’s right — as America increasingly depends on foreign-built
products, our manufacturing base continues to erode. The same
manufacturing base that supplies the equipment our troops need
to keep America safe.

This Independence Day, Americans need to ask our Presidential
candidates to do more than just talk a good game and sit on their
hands while China and other countries cheat on our trade laws
with illegal subsidies, currency manipulation and dumping.

They’re taking America’s jobs — 49,000 a month in manufacturing

Today is the day we’re supposed to celebrate our independence.
But every year, we’re becoming less independent.

Tell our Presidential candidates that America needs to start
enforcing the trade laws and safeguarding our national security.

After all, what better day than today to start standing up for
America’s independence?

Paid for by Stand Up For Steel, a coalition of the United Steelworkers
and America’s major steel companies.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Alliance for American Manufacturing

Manufacturing in the United States

Manufacturing in the U.S. generates about $1.4 trillion, or 12 percent of our gross domestic product, accounting for nearly three quarters of the nation’s industrial research and development (R&D), two-thirds of our nation’s total exports of goods and services, and supports more than 20 million high-paying jobs. Manufacturing also ensures we have a strong industrial base to support our national security objectives.

AAM believes that America’s leadership in the information age does not mean that we have to accept defeat when it comes to manufacturing. On the contrary, the nation that has the ideas and innovation, as well as cutting-edge technology and manufacturing, is the nation that will win the global economic battles of the future.

Inside modern manufacturing facilities, you will see the most productive, highly-skilled labor force in the world applying the latest in information, innovation and technology.

The fact is, our manufacturing industry has been, and will continue to be, a vital component of America’s success.

Today, Manufacturing Faces Extraordinary Challenges and Opportunities

American families and communities depend on a strong manufacturing base to improve our quality of life. American manufacturers should have more opportunities to export their products and increase production in the U.S., but a staggering set of circumstances has resulted in millions of layoffs and threatens the foundation of our economy: rising health care and retirement costs, a trend towards outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries, currency manipulation that distorts the marketplace, and unchecked cheating on international trade rules.

Some critics argue that a decline in manufacturing is inevitable. AAM begs to differ. Other sectors of the American economy—finance, information, services, technology—are clearly on the rise. But that does not mean manufacturing should decline. Just as manufacturing depends on technological advances and on access to information and finance, these sectors depend on manufacturing.

With manufacturing, America gets

More R&D – American manufacturers are responsible for two-thirds of research and development investment in the United States, and nearly 80 percent of all patents filed come from the manufacturing sector.
More Technology – American manufacturers are the leading buyers of new technology of any economic sector in the United States.
More Jobs – American manufacturing directly employs 14 million Americans and creates 8 million additional jobs in other sectors.
More Growth – American manufacturing is the largest single contributor the U.S. economy.
Tomorrow, America’s Success Depends on a Strong Manufacturing Base

As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated on Feb. 28, 2007, “I would say that our economy needs machines and new factories and new buildings and so forth in order for us to have a strong and growing economy.”

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the industrial age is not over. In fact, just the opposite is true. From nanotechnology, and robotics, to lasers and biotechnology; we are on the cusp of incredible advances in manufacturing. And America must be the nation that leads the world into the next stages of development.

Manufacturing is, and will continue to be, an integral part of the “new economy.” With manufacturing, the new economy will thrive. Without manufacturing, much of this new economy wouldn’t even exist.

Just In Indiana
  • Manufacturing jobs lost from 2000-2007: 110,700
  • Manufacturing accounts for $67.2 billion of the state’s GSP, the number 1 contributor to the state’s economy.
  • 45,200 jobs lost, 2001-2006 (all sectors), as a result of the trade deficit with China, equaling 1.5% of the total state employment in 2001.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Merle Haggard for President

Merle says it all with this song. Go Merle, go! Even Senator Lugar is feeling the heat. George W., wake up kid, you're ruining our country. Let us all vow to take back the rest of our wonderful country before it's too late.