March 17, 2011

Equal Recall: Wis. Emailer/Blogger Writes That Dems Are As Vulnerable As Republicans, and Thuggery Continues

In the week since Wisconsin lawmakers passed collective bargaining-related legislation, much noise has been made about efforts to recall GOP Senators who supported the measure.

A Google News search on “Wisconsin recall” returns items that are overwhelmingly oriented towards Democrat efforts to recall Republicans. The final sentence of a March 13 Associated Press report by Sam Hananel indicates that “Union officials are also helping mobilize demonstrations in state capitols and spending money on recall campaigns against GOP officials who support efforts to curb union rights,” with no mention anywhere of GOP efforts against “Fleebagging” Dems.

It would be understandable if conservatives and Tea Party sympathizers believe that the Badger State recall momentum is on the Democratic side.

But an email correspondent in Wisconsin who follows matters there closely (Update, 9:00 p.m.: That would be Steve at No Runny Eggs, who has now put up a related post with a polling update) indicates that the split is closer to 50-50 in terms of genuine vulnerability. Specifically, Steve writes (bolds indicating that an atmosphere of leftist intimidation remains quite evident are mine):

(There are) six recalls I’m keeping an eye on. In decreasing chances of success, they are:

  • Dan Kapanke (R-32nd) – Given the two college towns (La Crosse, Eau Claire) and the Mississippi River shoreline in his district, I don’t know how he ever won election. Indeed, he was beaten in the Congressional race in November.
  • Jim Holperin (D-12th) – His district is the mirror opposite of Kapanke’s. All three Assemblymen in the district are Republicans. It also is one of 4 districts where there is a local effort, and it’s the one that has had the most threats directed against it (to the point where one business ordered the recall organizers to not set up there after receiving threats, and not the boycott variety ).
  • Dave Hansen (D-30th) – The district is slightly less Republican than Holperin’s, but once again, all three Assemblymen are Republicans. Again, there is an active local recall committee.
  • Randy Hopper (R-18th) – On paper, he “shouldn’t” be vulnerable. In generic terms, the district is middle-of-the-R spectrum. However … Hopper is not particularly well-liked, especially by his soon-to-be-ex.
  • Robert Wirch (D-22nd) – Despite the fact that 2 of the 3 Assemblymen are Democrats, this district is a toss-up. The top-line races were virtually identical to the statewide races. Once again, there is a local group at work.
  • Alberta Darling (R-8th) – … the North Shore suburbs are a bit “funny”, especially since it is right next to the UW-Milwaukee campus. The main reason the 2008 election was close was Darling had a health issue at a time that was aggressively used against her.

What complicates getting a sense of how things are going is the intimidation campaign against the groups going after Wirch and Holperin. They’re being tight-lipped on how well they are doing.

The rest of the recalls are wastes of time, though if a local group would have formed in Dem Julie Lassa’s district, it may have had a chance.

Thus, my correspondent indicates that in order of vulnerability, Dems are 2, 3, and 5, while Republicans are 1, 4, and 6. That’s as close to equal as you can get.

To give credit to the New York Times, it is one of a very few outlets to note, as it did in its March 12 Wisconsin coverage, that “eight Democrats — as well as eight Republicans — face recall efforts stemming from the dispute.” But otherwise, you’d never know from reading the vast majority of establishment press coverage of Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislation that Democrats appear to have at least as much to be concerned about as Republicans.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

From the ‘I Don’t Think So’ Dept.: Digital Subscriptions at the NY Times

If this were the New York Times of 15-20 years ago, it might be worth considering at about half the prices indicated.

Even though the paper’s tone was insufferably arrogant and obviously left-biased, the journalism was often good enough to justify transcending the distractions.

But after Jayson Blair, Rathergate, national security violations, and myriad other offenses far too numerous to mention here, my answer to this offer is “no way — at any price”:

NYTpriceStructure0311

More detail is here.

Pinch Sulzberger’s letter to news consumers is here.

_______________________________

UPDATE: Ann Althouse thinks subscribing to Times Digital might empower bloggers. I might agree — at about 10% of the price — and there’s a caveat, which is that a reader clicking over to the Times from a blogger’s post burns one of his or her allowed reads.

‘Unemployed Need Not Apply’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:01 am

unemployment-officeThanks to Obamanomics.

_____________________

Note: This item appeared at Pajamas Media under the title “Why It’s Bad Business to Hire the Long-Term Unemployed” and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

_____________________

Those greedy employers are up to their nefarious tricks again. They’re even being overt about it.

If you’re unemployed, many of them won’t hire you. They won’t even talk to you. They don’t want you to waste your time, or theirs, filling out a job application, or submitting your resume. How absolutely awful of them.

Wrong. The “unemployed need not apply” phenomenon is an all too predictable and awful result of over two years of horribly misguided economic policy.

First, let’s acknowledge that employers are mostly acting rationally.

Especially in this economy, perhaps until recently — and that’s a big maybe — the main focus of many if not most businesses has been to figure out how to stay in business. In an environment where a serious hiring mistake may mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closing them, employers looking for help cannot afford to take unwarranted risks. Before they go into the hiring market, they ask themselves if the old reliables in their current crew can handle the increased workload caused by staff departures. They may also consider whether some or all of the tasks involved can be outsourced, automated, or even eliminated.

If they reluctantly conclude that they must hire someone new, company managers will go through their own internal networks of relatives, friends, and acquaintances to see if they can find someone — employed or unemployed, but largely prescreened — who is up to doing the work. They may also look at the possibility of proactively recruiting people who have impressed them in their business interactions while currently working at customers, suppliers, or competitors.

When the avenues just described come up empty, employers will let the general job market know that they are looking. It is there where the bias in favor of people who are currently employed comes out, and for several valid reasons.

If a person is already working somewhere else, they’re demonstrating that on a daily basis, not in the recent or sometimes distant past, their work habits and output are more than likely satisfactory to someone else. There’s at least a decent chance that this person has kept his or her skills sharp, and has kept up with technological and market developments in the industry. The effort involved in training such a person in their new job will often be fairly minimal. There will also be a lower likelihood that the person will flunk a background check, credit check, or their drug test.

With the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed, the situation completely flips. Work habits and attitudes, even if once great, become suspect. Skills may have eroded. On the job training efforts are more likely to be substantial, take longer to stick, and are more likely to fail. The chances that the new person will steal because of financial hardship, has gotten into legal trouble while unemployed, or has fallen into substance abuse are all greater.

Employers who are avoiding the unemployed are merely saying, “We only have so much time and energy to put into a job search, and we can’t afford to make a business mistake. So we’re going to avoid considering the unemployed to reduce the chances of making such a mistake.” Contrary to the belief of those who apparently feel that it’s somehow an employer’s duty to hire the unemployed, and despite the fact that bad decisions to overwork current staff or to abandon necessary tasks are often made, there is nothing wrong with this. It’s about survival.

That this is not at all comforting to the unemployed who are aggressively looking for work is undeniable. Those who are in that position through no real fault of their own have every reason to be angry that they and millions of other Americans are in the same position. But they should not be mad at employers. They should be mad as hell at their government. It is their government, under the failed leadership of those who created what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy for 2-1/2 years, which deliberately chose to create a high-unemployment economy.

In the 1980s, in the wake of a recession and economic conditions that were in many ways more severe than the 2008-2009 “Great Recession,” President Ronald Reagan chose the path of tax cuts and regulatory restraint. As a result, seasonally adjusted unemployment, which peaked at 10.8% in November 1982, the last month of that recession, fell almost continually during the following two years to 7.2%, and kept falling. Meanwhile, economic growth exploded. Employers, even those who would have preferred not to, hired the unemployed because there was no other way to meet the burgeoning demand for their companies’ goods and services.

By contrast, during the first 20 months after June 2009, the end of the most recent recession, unemployment rose from 9.5% to 10.1% several months later, and stayed virtually stuck at that level for a full year. In recent months, the unemployment rate has finally come down to 8.9%. But that’s largely because there are hordes of potential workers who are so discouraged that they’ve stopped even looking; thus, they aren’t included in the official unemployment statistics. As for economic growth, it’s been anemic compared to other post-recessionary periods, and through six quarters is less than half of that seen under Reagan.

I assert that the administration deliberately chose the high-unemployment option because its economists knew what happened the last time a president tried to bring about an economic recovery using “stimulus.” During the 1930s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, unemployment never went below 12%. But Democrats in Washington chose Obamanomics anyway.

The long-term consequences of that choice will likely be harder on the long-term unemployed than they were under FDR. Employers today are looking for specific, specialized skills. If you don’t have them, you won’t get hired. If you become unemployed and don’t use them, you can and often do lose them. Getting them back, or building new ones, can be arduously difficult, and prohibitively costly.

Sadly, there are early signs that the government is trying to figure out how to pin the blame for the “unemployed need not apply” phenomenon on employers instead of themselves. Sorry guys. You have overseen the utterly preventable destruction of human capital that is arguably unprecedented in human history — and it’s your fault.

Positivity: Saint Patrick

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Catholic.org:

… Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone’s Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church. …