November 10, 2011

‘Ohioans for Workplace Freedom’ to Submit Right-to-Work Amendment For 2012 Ballot

From 610 WTVN in Columbus:

Could right-to-work be coming to Ohio?
The group behind Issue 3 plans to push for it next year

The group that got Issue 3 passed in Ohio now has its eyes set on another goal: making Ohio a right-to-work state.

22 states, mostly in the south and western parts of the country, currently have right-to-work status. It would prevent employees of a company that is unionized from being forced to join the union or pay union dues as a condition of their employment.

Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, says Issue 3 was just the first step in a series of initiatives they want to pursue.

… The organization, “Ohioans for Workplace Freedom,” plans to hold a news conference this afternoon to introduce plans to put a right-to-work issue on the ballot in 2012.

Specifically, as relayed to me in an email a short time ago, the amendment’s intent is described thusly:

Title: To guarantee the freedom of Ohioans to choose whether to participate in a labor organization as a condition of employment

SUMMARY

To add Section 22 to Article I of the Constitution of the State of Ohio The proposed amendment would provide that, in Ohio:
1. No law, rule, agreement, or arrangement shall require any person or employer to become or remain a member of a labor organization.
2. No law, rule, agreement, or arrangement shall require, directly or indirectly, as a condition of employment, any person or employer, to pay or transfer any dues, fees, assessments, other charges of any kind, or anything else of value, to a labor organization, or third party in lieu of the labor organization.

The proposed law would not:
1. Prevent any person from voluntarily belonging to or providing support to a labor organization.
2. Apply to agreements entered into or renewed prior to the enactment of this section.

As they say, “developing …”

Christmas Tree Tax Only ‘Delayed’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:44 am

Jiminy Christmas, a stupid tax gets proposed, and all the President can do is delay it?

From Mike Brownfield at Heritage (bolds are mine):

Christmas is more than a month away, but the Obama Administration just couldn’t wait to hang a shiny new ornament on every fresh Christmas tree in America: a 15-cent tax to support a new federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees. Following a public outcry, the White House changed course, not a day later.

No, it’s not a joke. Heritage Vice President David Addington broke the story Tuesday night on Foundry.org, writing that in the Federal Register of November 8, it was announced that the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace.” Among its goals: “to enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.” Yes, you read that correctly. The Obama Administration wanted the federal government to handle public relations for Christmas trees.

How did the White House want to pay for it? With a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year.

The good news is that this Christmas story has a happy ending, at least for now. Not 24 hours after Heritage posted its report, the Obama Administration decided to delay its Christmas tree tax while the Department of Agriculture reconsiders its order, as ABC’s Jake Tapper reported. But what’s troubling is that, had this story not come to light, and had Americans not spoken out, yet another tax — another mandate from the federal government — would have been imposed on industry and the American people without their knowledge.

Brownfield also notes that this tax was an attempt by large-quantity sellers to force smaller sellers, who didn’t see the value of contributing to a marketing campaign when it was voluntary, to pay up. So, in a phenomenon seen all too frequently, they ganged up and tired to get their big-government buddies to help them. I commented on big biz-big gov alliances early last year (“Big Business As Unreliable Defender Opponent of Free Markets”).

(Aside: I thought they were supposed to “holiday trees” now. Where did the PC Police go?)

Net Archive and Campaign Materials Prove That Voter-ID Opponent Husted Campaigned As a Big Fan in May 2010

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:20 am

Now that the off-year election campaign is over, it’s important to circle back to who was charge of overseeing the balloting, and will remain so until (heaven help us) the end of 2014.

Unfortunately, that would be Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Husted does not deserve the support of his own party, which should in turn be embarrassed that it asked the people of Ohio to elect him in 2010.

This post will show that Husted, on a issue critical to the fairness and integrity of elections, posed as someone he wasn’t during the 2010 GOP primary, abandoned his pose during the general election campaign, and did the exact opposite of what he promised during the primary once he took office.
(more…)

Initial Unemployment Claims: Finally, an SA Number Which Will Stay Below 400K After Revisions

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending November 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 390,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 400,000. The 4-week moving average was 400,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 405,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 398,753 in the week ending November 5, an increase of 29,106 from the previous week. There were 452,657 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Business Insider’s email had a prediction of 400K. So did Bloomberg and Reuters.

We’ll take a lower claims number any time, even if after it’s revised next week it will probably be a 6,000 or 7,000 reduction instead of the current 10,000. Also, some important context: The first time claims went over 390,000 during the final three years of the Bush administration was in mid-July 2008, a month or so after the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy began. In the over 170 weeks since then, claims have only come in under 400K only eight times, all this year. In other words, it’s taken three-plus years to sort of get back to where we were when the recession as normal people define it began. Today’s news is a hopeful start, but we need consistent readings in the 350K-375K range for several months before we can even begin to start feeling better about the direction of the employment market.

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UPDATE: In terms of the four-week average, we’re finally back to where we were almost seven months ago:

UnempClaims4wkAvg7mos110511

Again, the downward direction of claims is nice, but does anyone recall being particulary happy with the economic situation seven months ago? Neither do I.

‘The Cain Scrutiny’ Update, Via IBD (Also, Alveda King: ‘Establishment Wants to Destroy Herman Cain’)

This is so good, I’ve decided to delegate my latest “Cain Scrutiny” update to the editorialists at Investor’s Business Daily:

Will Someone Tell Us What Herman Cain Did?

After 10 days of saturation coverage by the media, we still don’t definitely know any more about Herman Cain’s alleged misdeeds than we did when Politico first broke the story. Media balance, anyone?

Since breaking the sexual harassment story about the presidential contender in late October, Politico alone has published more than 100 dispatches. TV networks aired a whopping 99 stories in the first nine days. And the Cain saga continues to merit front page treatment at major newspapers.

Yet with every news outlet working overtime to keep the Cain story alive, we still know next to nothing about what Cain allegedly did. Which is basically right where the story was when Politico broke it in late October.

Indeed, the only actual, undisputed, verifiable facts about this story are that two women filed sexual harassment complaints against Cain more than a decade ago when he was head of the National Restaurant Association, and settled their claims out of court.

… It’s true that two other women, including Sharon Bialek, have accused Cain since the original story broke, although only Bialek has identified herself and provided any details — 14 years after the fact.

But anyone who comes forward today should be greeted with a high degree of suspicion, since doing so guarantees instant celebrity status, giving her a powerful incentive to fudge the facts.

And in any case, Bialek seems less credible by the day. She’s had money trouble, her fiance apparently had never heard of the alleged abuse before she went public, she met and hugged Cain at a Tea Party event just last month, and she happens to live in the same apartment building as key Obama adviser David Axelrod.

A week ago, legendary take-no-prisoners former editor at the Washington Times Wes Pruden said that “The case against Mr. Cain smells like an exercise manipulated by one of his rivals for the Republican nomination.” He was probably right.

But anyone watching the developments of the past week gets the clear sense that Obama’s Democrats are seeing this as their one and only chance to take out Cain on harassment claims. The “coincidences” are too obvious. The circus has gotten so out of control that if someone tries to bring out additional claims next year, they’ll be ignored. So it’s now or never.

I’m only going on instincts here and no special knowledge, but those instincts are telling me that if Cain really is telling the truth, his decision concerning whether or not to tough it out until he either wins or loses the nomination — regardless of the outcome — may be one of the most important any presidential candidate will ever make. I know you’re going through hell, Herman, but if you really haven’t done those things of which you’re accused, please, please, don’t give in, and stay in the race to the end. At this point — again, if the truth is on your side — it’s about a lot more than you.

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UPDATE, 9:30 a.m.: Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a FoxNews.com op-ed

Why the Establishment Wants to Destroy Herman Cain

There are two reasons the liberal media can’t get enough of the Herman Cain smear campaign:

1. They would rather report unsubstantiated allegations and gossip than report the real issues, because talking about the real issues would not be in the best interest of the president. …

2. The establishment is threatened by a strong conservative with such a large platform.

For many years, the Democrats have had a 90% stranglehold on the black vote. This is because many blacks feel that Republicans are racist and only care about the rich, while Democrats love them, give Blacks welfare, etc. When a strong, charismatic, BLACK conservative goes head to head with Obama, many blacks who have not yet done so will actually listen to both sides of the political argument.

… Mr. Cain would structurally change the voting demographic. There would be more black economic conservatives, and the Democrats would lose their stranglehold on the black vote. The establishment is threatened by that, so they will try to assassinate Mr. Cain’s character, hoping he doesn’t get the chance to go head to head with President Obama.

… There are people on both sides of the aisle and beyond who are disturbed by Mr. Cain’s unorthodox campaign. He rocks the proverbial boat so to speak. So, it’s not entirely about party politics. …

The establishment, which includes the Obama camp is terrified of what Mr. Cain represents.

Herman Cain is the epitome of the American dream.

… Mr. Cain is the fulfillment of Uncle M. L.’s dream.

… This controversy is nothing more than a political ploy by the establishment to attempt a high-tech lynching, a brazen – if transparent – effort to eliminate this man who actually dares to present solutions for America’s problems.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111011)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Occupy Updates:

  • Toronto“Drug overdose reported at Occupy Toronto site”
  • “Staffer says she was urinated on near Occupy Nashville protesters” — “The state is investigating reports that at least one staff member on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill has been urinated on from above a Legislative Plaza courtyard just a few yards from where dozens of Occupy Nashville members are continuing their protest.”
  • Occupy Oakland Hearts … Wells Fargo? (HT Weasel Zippers via Hot Air)? — “Last week, one or more Occupy Oakland protesters smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo branch. This week, the group’s general assembly agreed — in a near-unanimous vote Monday — to temporarily place $20,000 of the group’s money in an account at the country’s fourth-largest bank holding company, Wells Fargo Bank.”
  • In a story timelined early Wednesday afternoon“Four Oakland City Council members will call for the immediate removal of the Occupy Oakland encampment today,” because, among other things, they “have hurt downtown businesses with vandalism.” You don’t say? I’m probably going out on a limb here (/sarc), but I’ll bet that at least a few of the business owners hurt aren’t part of the despised “1%.”
  • John Nolte’s very useful but nonetheless incomplete incident compilation at BigJournalism.com is up to 189.

At Hot Air — “Great news: $98 billion estimate for California high-speed rail is lowball.” Now it’s more like $117 billion. People who criticized John Kasich for turning down $400 million in “light rail” (i.e., 39 mph-averaging slow choo-choo) money should be feeling quite humiliated right now, but they surely aren’t. By the way, the estimated cost out of California at the year-ago link to Kasich’s rejection was $65 billion.

Gallows humor, Obamanomics edition — “New documents obtained by Judicial Watch show acting National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Lafe Solomon joking that the NLRB’s suit against Boeing would kill jobs in South Carolina.”

Correspondent Dan Bloom reports a small victory for full disclosure readers can use to impress their friends at cocktail parties — “A committee selects celebrities eligible for a Walk of Fame star and those who accept pay US$30,000 in costs and fees.” In other words, the Walk of Fame thing is and always has been a massive PR stunt. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as Dan noted, it was pretty pathetic for the news media to play along all these years and act like it was the celebrity equivalent of a sports hall of fame. Now the Associated Press includes the sentence just quoted at the end of related reports. In the grand scheme, it’s pretty trivial — except at the aforementioned cocktail parties.

Democrat Evan Bayh in the Indy Star (“Another regulation means fewer jobs, less reliability”) — “The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule will put tens of thousands of jobs in our state directly at risk by affecting Hoosiers’ utilities that rely on coal-fired power to keep our lights on and manufacturing facilities working.” You must be wrong, Evan; I know this because the Associated Press’s Chris Rugaber keeps me telling us that regulations don’t kill jobs (/sarc; Rugaber is up to at least three such contentions; latest here — “Just two-tenths of 1 percent of layoffs since Obama took office have been due to government regulation, the data show”).

Positivity: Montclair man to run Finishes New York City Marathon two years after having stomach removed

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

UPDATE: Success — “Pat Armstrong, the 38-year-old stockbroker from Montclair who had his stomach removed two years ago, finished his first marathon in 4 hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds.”

From Montclair, New Jersey:

Published: Friday, November 04, 2011, 4:00 AM; Updated: Friday, November 04, 2011, 6:02 AM

The thing you notice about Pat Armstrong is how casually he talks about his body and how even the most dreadful luck can be assuaged by the best scientific knowledge of our time.

That’s life, he tells you. Every birth is a wild card, the result of an incalculable number of throws of the genetic dice. His just happened to have stomach cancer permanently encoded in his family’s DNA.

So there was only one way to prevent the inevitable — a complete gastrectomy, the procedure is called. While you might think that’s no way to live, Armstrong manages exceptionally well. We mention this because you can judge for yourself Sunday morning as you watch that swarm of runners step off at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge around 9:40 a.m., when something extraordinary is going to happen without anyone making mention of it.

Because of those 45,000 people you’ll see running the New York City Marathon, only one will have no stomach.

Yes, literally. The organ was removed from Armstrong’s body in June 2009, because every reputable study and one world-class oncologist told him he probably had no other alternative if he wanted to live past his early 50s.

What they didn’t tell him was that he’d be able to run a marathon just 29 months later, but that’s what this 38-year-old stockbroker from Montclair will set out to do this weekend.

“My main goal, obviously, is just to finish this,” Armstrong said the other day. “I may have a rough last six miles, but the body can handle a half-marathon pretty easily — you can train for two or three months and finish one. But once you get past distances like (20 miles), that’s when it gets interesting.”

He’s run a fair number of 10K races, clocking an impressive 42 minutes, 45 seconds in one during a fairly intense training period. His best half-marathon time was 1 hour, 42 minutes, back in March. But he’s never attempted the full 26.2-mile ordeal — mostly because his knees weren’t being cooperative until recently. Now, he says, “I’ve found a little more speed in the last couple months.”

Speed or no speed. This ain’t a sprint, as the cliché goes. It’s a quest that leaves most doctors baffled.

“Although you can live without a stomach, most patients just don’t recover as well as Mr. Armstrong has,” said his oncologist, Manish Shah, who is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “So you can lead a normal life without a stomach.

“But not that many people can run a marathon — and even fewer can without a stomach. Actually, I don’t know if it has ever been done before,” Shah said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.