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Showing posts from March, 2011

Garden Time

Those of you who are interested in a vegetable garden should get started preparing your soil and think about what you want to plant.

Grapes should have been pruned in February but if you failed to do that, better get it done now.

It's not too early to plant lettuce in the ground as well as onions.

I usually wait until Good Friday to plant potatoes.

A Prayer for Workers on the Occasion of the We Are One Mobilization, April 1-4

Almighty God,

We are gathered here today in fellowship and in hope
As women and men committed to justice and freedom,
And as people who honor the dignity and rights of all working people.
We recall today the life and the hope of Martin Luther King, Jr.
And we remember today his vision of a just society, a beloved community.

We have been to the mountaintop,
And we have seen the Promised Land

Even as Dr. King courageously stood with sanitation workers in 1968,
So we stand today with teachers, firefighters, police officers,
And all workers whose rights are today imperiled across this nation
We know, God, that your Spirit is among us
And that Dr. King’s vision abides in our hearts.

We have been to the mountaintop,
And we have seen the Promised Land

We see in one another and in our working brothers and sisters
Your divine signature, God, and we lift it up this day.
We offer this common prayer in one voice to you,
In one mighty chorus across the nation.

We have been to the mountaintop,

Democrats Return, but the Republicans are Still Here

Although the Democrat members of the Indiana House are returning, look for the Republicans to continue their attack on Hoosier working families.

Never before in my memory have Republicans been so blatant in their attempt to hurt the middle class. They sure have made it clear as a bell who they're working for.

I know that the Democrats were able to negotiate some positive changes to what the Republicans were trying to do, but they could only do so much.

I sure hope the eyes of Hoosiers have been opened through all of this.

I hope everyone realizes that Republicans are no longer real Republicans but are instead mean spirited, intolerant and in the pockets of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Work Committee and their rich pals.

Absolutely shameful what they are trying to do.

I know that some are calling this a victory for Indiana workers, but I think to have such rubber stamp politicians licking the boots of some National Right to Work Committee is down right sha…

Attack On Unions is an Attack on the Middle Class

The recent attack on unions in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states is a continuing attack waged against the working class, which has now become obvious to all.

We have observed the systematic dismantling of the middle class over the last 30 years and now it has reached transparency in a war waged against unions. The conservative Republicans, sponsored by big money interests, know that in order to gain complete control of our economic system and the transfer of wealth (that has been going on for some time), unions are the only institutions and firewall protecting workers and the middle-class.

If unions are destroyed or made ineffective, there is no other institution or organization that can help to protect all workers. And make no mistake about it, this is true whether one is in a union or not.

The facts are clear. As union membership has declined, the status of all workers-union and non-union has declined. Union workers make more money, have better benefits and most importantly…

Debunk The Myths About Social Security

I’m tired about writing on the continuing attacks on Social Security. I feel like the boy who cried wolf one too many times. But here we go again; Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, despite its overwhelming opposition by the vast majority of Americans.

Let’s be clear, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are not responsible for adding money to the deficit. As I have stated many times before, the responsibility lies with corporate greed and out-of-control military spending.

Congress needs to hear from all of us. Strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, not weakening them is what the majority of Americans want. Just a few weeks ago, Congress approved huge tax cuts to the wealthy, and now they expect us to pay for them by cutting essential social programs.

Enough is enough! Social Security and Medicare provide essential supports to millions of retirees and disabled workers. The projections are clear. The financing of Soci…

The Assault Continues

All across the country, in state house after state house, the attack on the American worker continues. It doesn’t matter if you are a janitor, teacher, or a steelworker; you are now considered fair game by the extremists in the Republican Party.

The debacle that is playing itself out in Wisconsin is just one example of the onslaught on the middle class. The Governor in Ohio is out to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers in his state. Conservatives in Iowa, Indiana, Rhode Island and elsewhere are supporting Right-to-Work legislation in their state houses to weaken unions and destroy collective bargaining gains achieved over the last 50 years.

All of this is being done on the misguided notion that it’s the unions’ fault that our economy is in shambles. All the while, ignoring, the fact, that the lending and investing practices of the Wall Street elite and our misguided trade policies, caused the worst recession since the Great Depression. Simply put, the Republicans…

Indiana Senator Ed Charbonneau is Bad for Indiana

Whether to allow teachers in Indiana to continue to be able to bargain for working conditions seems to me to be a no brainer. Indiana Republicans seem to have a very poor understanding of what a union even is.

Items that appear in local union contracts which on the surface might seem strange or unusual to most people, have no doubt been placed there for a very good reason at some time in the history of that community of workers.

Anyone who has ever done any work for any entity knows full well that in every group of management there usually can be found at least one wild eyed, crazy acting, member that has no regard for the safety or an understanding of the human behavior of workers causing workers to be harassed, threatened or miserable. School administrators are no different. Some of them are really good and some are simple minded, hard headed egotistical nincompoops.

I can imagine some crazed administrator insisting that the temperature in classrooms be set higher or lower than tha…

Governor Daniels and Indiana Senator Ed Charbonneau Anti-Union

Tell Congress: Don't Take Away Help for Seniors

This week is the first anniversary of President Obama signing the health reform law, which helps millions of retirees afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription.

But the big insurance companies want Congress to stop this. Tell Congress Today: Don’t Take Away Help for America’s Seniors.

The insurance lobbyists and their friends on Capitol Hill want to do away with a law that:

• Lowers prescription drug costs
• Closes the “Doughnut Hole” in Medicare Part D
• Eliminates co-pays and deductibles for preventive tests and screenings
• Provides free annual wellness visit with your doctor
• Helps early retirees keep their health care
• Assists middle-class families with cost of long-term care
• Adds 12 years to solvency of Medicare Trust Fund and cracks down on Medicare fraud

Medicare should take better care of seniors than big corporations. Tell Congress Today: Keep New Health Benefits for Retirees.

Standing Up For Social Security

I Want Ed Charbonneau to Have to Bargain With Me

My Indiana State Senator, Ed Charbonneau wants a law passed to prevent teacher unions from being able to bargain for work rules or conditions.  Maybe he would like to author/sponsor a law that would require himself, as a public servant, to meet the same standards as those that he wishes to impose on our teachers.

Maybe he will consider authoring a law that would require him to collectively bargain with the public for his wages, health care premiums, pension benefits, office space, furnishings, supplies, staff, utilities, phones, travel and above all, certify his election annually?

Our Dred Scott, Oh so True

No Rest for Walker

Indianapolis Rally Against Anti-Union Legislators

USW Slams Walker's Assault on Democracy

(Pittsburgh) – This statement was released this morning by the United Steelworkers (USW) on actions taken last evening by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican Senators.

In a clear violation of Wisconsin’s open meeting law, Wisconsin conservative senators yesterday voted without a quorum to strip the state’s public sector workers – teachers, nurses, and librarians – of collective bargaining rights that the people of Wisconsin granted them a half century ago.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          
March 10, 2011                                                                                                                           
CONTACT:   Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444

United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard said this attack on the rights of Wisconsin’s public sector workers is an attack on all working people. “Although Wisconsin law requires a quorum when Senators vote to spend the people’s money, …

Anti Worker Indiana Legislators

If people in Wisconsin think that the Republicans in their state legislature are acting improperly and against the best interests of the people who work for a living in Wisconsin, they shouldn't feel pregnant because we have Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly that are just as bad.

My own State Senator, Ed Charbonneau would fit in just fine up in Wisconsin. His willingness to take away bargaining rights from Indiana's teachers has given him that distinction.

First They came

By Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

An Open Letter to our Friends, Neighbors and State Politicians

Today, we are writing this open letter to our friends, neighbors, and state politicians. Over the past couple of weeks, democratic representatives have walked out of the State House and are taking a stand against legislation that will have long-term ramifications on Hoosier families. We applaud them for there tenacity and courage. The working families in Indiana will never forget their decision.

The common threads on the bills before them are singular – they enhance the powerful and erode the rights and privileges of working families and their children. So-called right-to-work legislation is a thinly veiled attempt to silence the voices of Indiana working people. The legislation at creating more charter schools and diverting already scarce funds out of the public school system and into pseudo-regulated private enterprise can only damage the future of education in Indiana. These things cannot be taken lightly.

We are in a unique position in time. Men and women that will probably not be…

Do Canadians Love Their Health Care? You Bet They Do. Watch This.

Think About It

Why in tarnation would my Indiana State Senator, Ed Charbonnaeu, Republican in Senate District 5 propose to take away the ability of teachers to bargain over working conditions.
He knows full well the value of this right. So why is he wanting to take rights away from our teachers?

This is truly a slap in the face of working men and women all over our great state and he should do his best to put a stop to what he started.

What's next? Will he some day propose to take the right to bargain working conditions away from people who work in the steel mills or for NIPSCO as well?

The attempt to take this right away from workers is excuse.

Hoosier Manufacturing Summit - All are Invited

Congress of the United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515
Fellow Hoosier,
It is my pleasure to invite you to Playing to Win: Indiana's Future as America's Manufacturing Leader, a summit discussing the Hoosier manufacturing tradition and how we can innovate in order to continue to lead in this field. At this event, I will be hosting experts in the manufacturing sector from around the State of Indiana. Leaders from the automotive industry, trade representatives, business professors, and other manufacturing professionals from across the sector who will gather to share ideas and best practices for out-working and out-innovating the competition.
The first panel, entitled, Racing toward Tomorrow: A Sector-Specific Profile of the Automotive Industry, will tackle the current status of the automotive industry in Indiana and how we can continue to lead in this field. The second panel, entitled, Developing a Winning Game Plan: Policy Prescriptions for continued Growth, will …

Workers and Retirees Still Threatened

Public Workers in Wisconsin, Ohio Still Threatened; Retirees Continue to ProtestWisconsin’s budget stalemate over union bargaining rights shows no sign of resolution, and it could be a long wait, according to the Associated Press. Governor Scott Walker (R) isn’t budging; Democrats in the state Senate who are gone are not planning to come back; and, despite talk of deadlines and threats of layoffs, the state doesn't have to pass a budget to pay its bills until at least May. Even then, there may be other options that could extend the standoff. The bill passed the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly last week after nearly three days of debate. Republicans in the Senate say they have enough votes to pass it once Democrats return.

Further east on Wednesday, the Ohio Senate approved a sweeping bill that would weaken the powers of public employee unions to negotiate contracts, propelling Ohio into the forefront of states seeking to revise public-sector labor laws. Like t…

A Prayer For The Rights of Public Sector Workers

We are gathered here today to pray for the rights of public sector workers. We all rely on public workers to provide essential services for the common good. Teachers, police officers, bus drivers, public health workers and others are an important part of our society.

Our religious traditions insist that workers, as human beings with inherent dignity, may freely associate to improve their conditions at work.

Let us pray together for the dignity and right of workers to live decent lives as a result of their labor.

• Affirm that workers have the right to organize and bargain with their employers over wages, benefits, and a voice on the job.
• Insist that elected leaders honor collective bargaining agreements that were negotiated openly and in good faith.
• Pray that elected leaders will come together with workers to address budget challenges and explore equitable options for the future.
• Applaud the efforts of workers all over the world, in Wisconsin and other countries, to stand up…

The War on the Workers

In a Democracy, Freedom of Assembly Trumps "Free Enterprise"

It's illegal in America now to buy or sell a human being, but a recorded telephone conversation between a Republican governor and a guy he thought was a billionaire benefactor shows that it's still possible to own a politician.

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker didn't have time to talk to Democratic leaders or union officials about his anti-union legislation -- a proposal that has incited protests by tens of thousands for more than a week in Madison. But he jumped on the phone for 20 minutes this week when told the caller was billionaire David Koch, who was Walker's second largest campaign contributor, who provided $1 million to a GOP fund to attack Walker's opponent and who bankrolls radical libertarian organizations and the Tea Party.

Republicans like Walker, owned by billionaires like Koch, are fulfilling demands from corporate interests that government "free" enterprise by slashing corporate taxes and regulation. Over the past three years,…