NFL Players to Join State Federations

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
 
   

It happens too often. Workers become more productive, often risking serious injury on the job, and make the owners more money. But instead of sharing the wealth, the owners demand givebacks and threaten to shut down the company if the workers don’t agree.

The only difference this time is that the workers include such household names as Drew Brees, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning and James Harrison—all stars of the National Football League. NFL team owners are threatening to lock out players next season, and  the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is joining with the other workers in the stadiums and the rest of the union movement to fight management’s greed. Today, the NFLPA announced that its members will fully affiliate with all AFL-CIO state federations and the central labor councils where their NFL teams are based.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

This act of solidarity is the kind of action we need to confront the issues facing all working people, especially in these difficult economic times. For the players, the families whose jobs and financial security rely on the game and the millions of devoted fans, we hope that this unity helps move the NFL and NFLPA further towards a successful resolution to the current negotiations.

Help the NFLPA “Block the Lockout”  by signing its petition. The players want to play football and fans passionately want to see America’s most popular sport. If you want to see NFL games next season, sign the petition on Facebook here or on the NFLPA lockout page here.

The owners terminated the collective bargaining agreement two years ago because, they say, it isn’t working for them. But they refuse to provide audited financial information to explain what is wrong in a business that generated $ 9 billion in 2009 during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The owners are demanding that the players give back $ 1 billion, although not one team has lost money. They also want players to pay for team travel and the cost of running practice facilities.

Not only are the players affected, but the jobs of more than 25,000 concession workers at stadiums across the country are threatened by the lockout, which would cost more then $ 140 million in revenue for each of the 32 NFL cities.

On top of that, the owners have threatened to make the players pay for their own health care in case of a lockout. As it is, management provides only five years of health care coverage after players retire. Players’ NFL careers average only 3.4 years and many retire with a range of serious health problems. Not many people would argue that facing a 325-pound lineman running at full speed over and over could be dangerous to your health.

The NFLPA has long been a part of the union movement and players have often supported their working brothers and sisters. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who grew up in a union family, sits on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, as did his predecessor, the late Gene Upshaw.

NFL players also recently appeared at an IAM conference in Florida in support of NASA workers who were facing layoffs because of the end of the U.S. manned space program. They joined workers at the Avondale shipyard in New Orleans to help save their jobs and spoke at the AFL-CIO Youth Summit.

At the IAM conference, union President Thomas Buffenbarger said this about the players’ struggle:

The circumstances may be different, but the need for workers to stick together is the same everywhere, whether it’s at NASA, at Delta Air Lines or the NFL.  

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

State GOP Asks For Gubernatorial Election Investigation By U.S. Attorney, New Secretary Of The State; Attorney Ross Garber Hired By State GOP To Investigate Election

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

State Republican chairman Chris Healy is asking for formal investigations of the gubernatorial election by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the chief state’s attorney’s office, and the new secretary of the state who will take office in January.

The state Republican Party has hired well-known attorney Ross Garber, who said in a letter to federal and state authorities that the GOP discovered evidence of ”significant deficiencies, irregularities and improprieties” in Bridgeport on election night.

In a radio interview Monday morning with commentator Jim Vicevich, Healy said that the election in Bridgeport was “a circus” that was “completely out of control.”

“I’ll make a little news here,” Healy said on the radio show on WTIC-AM. “We are going to formally ask for an investigation from the federal authorities – in writing. … We’re going to ask the U.S. Attorney to look into it. We’re going to ask the state to look into it. I’m going to ask the new secretary of the state to look into it.”

Healy also described the Bridgeport election as “a complete farce” that needs to be investigated.

“By any standard – or lack thereof – the voting that went on in Bridgeport, whether it was incompetence, negligence or outright, premeditated fraud, was a complete farce – and in fact, disenfranchised the very people that went there casting their ballots freely and openly,” Healy said. “There were no controls here on the issue of copying ballots. … The Democratic registrars were in charge of ordering ballots. They ordered 21,000 ballots.”

Capitol Watch

Morning Bell: The Obamacare Burden To Your State Budget

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Facing a $ 25 billion deficit for their next two-year budget cycle, Texas lawmakers are considering closing the gap by dropping out of Medicaid. “This system is bankrupting our state,” State Representative Warren Chisum told title=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/politics/07ttmedicaid.html?partner=rss&emc=rss” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/politics/07ttmedicaid.html?partner=rss&emc=rss”>The New York Times. “We need to get out of it. And with the budget shortfall we’re anticipating, we may have to act this year,” he said.

And Texas is not alone. American Legislative Exchange Council director of the health and human services Christie Herrera tells title=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/us/politics/12ttmedicaid.html?src=twrhp” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/us/politics/12ttmedicaid.html?src=twrhp”>NYT: “States feel like their backs are against the wall, so this is the nuclear option for them. I’m hearing below-the-radar chatter from legislators around the country from states considering this option.”

Medicaid already eats up a huge share of state budgets. In Texas, for example, more than 20 percent of the state budget is spent on Medicaid. The crisis facing states across the country is that Obamacare forces states to massively expand their already burdensome Medicaid rolls. Starting in 2014 states must expand Medicaid to all non-elderly individuals with family incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. At first, Obamacare picks up the first three years of benefit costs for expansion. But in 2017 states begin to shoulder a larger and larger share of these benefit costs, maxing out at 10 percent by 2020.

But that is just the benefit costs. Obamacare does not pay for any of the costs necessary to administer the expansion of the Medicaid rolls, rolls that are expected to increase by approximately 50 percent in states like Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. The Heritage Foundation’s Ed Haislmaier and Brian Blase title=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/Obamacare-Impact-on-States” href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/Obamacare-Impact-on-States”>found that just the administrative costs of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion will cost almost $ 12 billion by 2020. As Heritage visiting fellow Lanhee Chen title=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/11/How-Obamacare-Burdens-Already-Strained-State-Budgets” href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/11/How-Obamacare-Burdens-Already-Strained-State-Budgets”>details, some states are beginning to add the benefit and administrative costs together, and the picture isn’t pretty: id=”more-46502″>

Texas recently concluded that the Medicaid expansion may add more than 2 million people to the program and cost the state up to $ 27 billion in a single decade. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration estimated in April that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion would require an additional $ 5.2 billion in spending between 2013 and 2019 and more than $ 1 billion a year beginning in 2017. In California, the Legislative Analyst’s Office concluded that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will likely add annual costs to the state budget in “the low billions of dollars.”

Mississippi, Indiana, and Nebraska each retained Milliman, Inc., a national health care econometrics firm, to perform a fiscal analysis of the Medicaid expansion on their states’ budgets. For Mississippi, Milliman estimates that between 206,000 and 415,000 people will be added to Medicaid, with a 10-year impact on the state budget of between $ 858 million and $ 1.66 billion. The seven-year cost of the Medicaid expansion in Indiana is estimated to be between $ 2.59 billion and $ 3.11 billion, with 388,000 to 522,000 people joining the state’s Medicaid rolls. Finally, Milliman estimates that Obamacare will result in nearly one of five Nebraskans being covered by Medicaid at a cost of $ 526 million to $ 766 million over the next decade.

Obamacare’s unfunded mandates are a fiscal time bomb set to explode state balance sheets across the country starting in 2014. States can prepare for the worst by slashing discretionary spending where possible and lowering existing health care costs by repealing their own burdensome health benefit mandates. But the only real solution is full repeal of Obamacare.

Quick Hits:

  • Responding to recommended cuts from President Obama’s fiscal commission, NPR said it’s title=”http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/128819-npr-says-its-imperative-that-its-federal-funding-not-be-cut” href=”http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/128819-npr-says-its-imperative-that-its-federal-funding-not-be-cut”>“imperative” that it receives federal funding.
  • President Obama’s economic stimulus title=”http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obama-panel-probes-stimulus-waste—-at-Ritz-Carlton-107236598.html” href=”http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obama-panel-probes-stimulus-waste—-at-Ritz-Carlton-107236598.html”>waste, fraud, and abuse oversight board will meet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Phoenix later this month.
  • Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D) says President Obama should come back to the health care bargaining table with a title=”http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44993_Page2.html” href=”http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44993_Page2.html”>“mea culpa” if Democrats want to have a meaningful conversation about improving the future of health care.
  • Seven of the nation’s title=”http://wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=2115275″ href=”http://wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=2115275″>10 richest counties surround Washington, D.C.
  • As part of our “Lunch with Heritage” series, Nina Owcharenko, Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies, will answer your questions on what is wrong with Obamacare at title=”http://blog.heritage.org/2010/11/11/reforming-health-care-live-online-chat-friday-at-noon-et/” href=”../2010/11/11/reforming-health-care-live-online-chat-friday-at-noon-et/”>noon today.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

The High-Speed Case for State Control of Transportation Funding

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style=”float: right; margin-bottom: 1px; margin-left: 1px;”> href=”http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/DeptOfTransportation-Seal.svg_.png”> class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-46486″ title=”DeptOfTransportation-Seal.svg” src=”http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/DeptOfTransportation-Seal.svg_.png” alt=”” width=”240″ height=”240″ />

The Obama administration is still in denial about the message the American people sent Washington last Tuesday. In letters to Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A94T120101110″>obtained by Reuters, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood threatened to take away stimulus money from the states unless they used it for President Barack Obama’s high-speed rail plans. LaHood wrote:

I respect the authority of governors to make decisions for their states. If, however, you choose not to participate in the program, we would like to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Ohio’s involvement in the project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money.

There is only one waste of money going on here and that is President Obama’s high speed rail plans. Heritage fellow Ron Utt has href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/03/America-s-Coming-High-Speed-Rail-Financial-Disaster”>written extensively on why high-speed rail is such a financial disaster: id=”more-46485″>

In 2008, Amtrak’s inspector general published an analysis of government subsidies to passenger rail in Europe and compared them to Amtrak’s subsidies. One purpose of the review was to address the contention that passenger rail in other countries, especially HSR, operates at a profit (i.e., without subsidies). For 1995-2006, the study found that the governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, and Austria spent “a combined total of $ 42 billion annually on their national passenger railroads.” The $ 42 billion that these six countries, which have a combined population of 269 million, spent on just passenger rail in 2006is roughly proportionate to the $ 54.8 billion (most of which was funded by user fees) that the government of the United States (population of 309 million) spent on all forms of transportation, including highways, rail, aviation, water transport, and mass transit.

To put the European commitment to passenger rail in perspective, rail ridership (high speed, conventional intercity, and metropolitan commuter rail) in these six countries accounted for just 7.9 percent of all surface transportation modes on a per passenger, per billion kilometer basis. This suggests that these countries received a poor return on their money given that more than 90 percent of passengers in these countries chose other travel modes– mostly auto–despite the subsidies.

States should not have their transportation funding priorities dictated to them by the federal government. That is why one of the top href=”http://www.heritage.org/research/projects/solutions-for-america”>Solutions for America for the 112th Congress should be to href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/08/Re-embracing-Federalism”>Re-embrace Federalism.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Is Israel a rogue state?

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Scott)

The Cambridge Union recently debated the proposition: “The House believes that Israel is a rogue state.” Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Latner is a Cambridge University law student who joined the team arguing the affirmative of the proposition. Israpundit reports that Latner seized the opportunity to take on others on his side including Lauren Booth (the Islamic convert and sister of Cherie Blair) to argue in favor of Israel.

Latner won the debate for the opposing side. He received a standing ovation from the majority of the room. Irish newspaper columnist Kevin Myers calls Latner’s speech “the most brilliantly audacious defence of Israel since Moses parted the Red Sea.”

Latner’s remarks include the impromptu additions mde to the text by Latner in brackets. Latner originally the text of his remarks to Philip Weiss (a guy who I think it is fair to describe as a hater of Israel) in response to Weiss’s request. Weiss omitted Latner’s paragraphing; I have guessed at the paragraph breaks and added them back in for the sake of readability.

Here is Latner’s affirmative case:

This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I’m not. I’m a realist. I’m here to win. I have a single goal this evening – to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the ‘Aye’ door. I face a singular challenge – most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds.

This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I’d be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it. I want to win, and we’re destined for a tie. I’m tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do – simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they’ll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel. It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international ‘laws’ to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that’s been done to death.

It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalised stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues. But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they’re your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state’ rogue’. If it did, Canada, the US, and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain’s treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigour.

More importantly, I just don’t think we can win with those arguments. It won’t change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won’t. So I’m going to try something different, something a little unorthodox. I’m going to try and convince the die-hard zionists and Israel supporters here tonight, to vote for the proposition. By the end of my speech – I will have presented 5 pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a ‘rogue state’ than at least ‘rogueish’.

Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is ‘bad’. I will not be arguing that it doesn’t deserve to exist. I won’t be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is ‘rogue’. The word ‘rogue’ has come to have exceptionally damning connotations. But the word itself is value-neutral. The OED defines rogue as ‘Aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time ‘, while a dictionary from a far greater institution gives this definition ‘behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way ‘. These definitions, and others, centre on the idea of anomaly – the unexpected or uncommon. Using this definition, a rogue state is one that acts in an unexpected, uncommon or aberrant manner. A state that behaves exactly like Israel. The first argument is statistical.

The fact that Israel is a Jewish state alone makes it anomalous enough to be dubbed a rogue state: There are 195 countries in the world. Some are Christian, some Muslim, some are secular. Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish. Or, to speak mathmo for a moment, the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051% [Ed.: The math is in error, as Murphy points out]. In comparison the chance of a UK lotto ticket winning at least £10 is 0.017% – more than twice as likely. Israel’s jewishness is a statistical abberation.

The second argument concerns Israel’s humanitarianism, in particular,Israel’s response to a refugee crisis. Not the Palestinian refugee crisis – for I am sure that the other speakers will cover that – but the issue of Darfurian refugees. Everyone knows that what happened – and is still happening in Darfur is genocide , whether or not the UN and the Arab League will call it such. [ I actually hoped that Mr Massih would be able speak about this – he’s actually somewhat of an expert on the Crisis in Darfur, in fact it’s his expertise that has called him away to represent the former Dictator of Sudan while he is being investigated by the ICC. ]

There has been a mass exodus from Darfur as the oppressed seek safety. They have not had much luck. Many have gone north to Egypt – where they are treated despicably. The brave make a run through the desert in a bid to make it to Israel. Not only do they face the natural threats of the Sinai, they are also used for target practice by the Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border.

Why would they take the risk? Because in Israel they are treated with compassion – they are treated as the refugees that they are – and perhaps Israel’s cultural memory of genocide is to blame. The Israeli government has even gone so far as to grant several hundred Darfurian refugees Citizenship. This alone sets Israel apart from the rest of the world. But the real point of distinction is this: The IDF sends out soldiers and medics to patrol the Egyptian border. They are sent looking for refugees attempting to cross into Israel..

Not to send them back into Egypt, but to save them from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and Egyptian bullets. Compare that to the US’s reaction to illegal immigration across their border with Mexico. The American government has arrested private individuals for giving water to border crossers who were dying of thirst – and here the Israeli government is sending out its soldiers to save illegal immigrants. To call that sort of behavior anomalous is an understatement.

My Third argument is that the Israeli government engages in an activity which the rest of the world shuns — it negotiates with terrorists. Forget the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a man who died with blood all over his hands – they’re in the process of negotiating with terrorists as we speak. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators that has been sent to the peace talks with Israel. Abed Rabbo also used to be a leader of the PFLP- an organisation of ‘freedom fighters’ that, under Abed Rabbo’s leadership, engaged in such freedom promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli highschool students. And the Israeli government is sending delegates to sit at a table with this man, and talk about peace. And the world applauds.

You would never see the Spanish government in peace talks with the leaders of the ETA – the British government would never negotiate with Thomas Murphy. And if President Obama were to sit down and talk about peace with Osama Bin Laden, the world would view this as insanity. But Israel can do the exact same thing – and earn international praise in the process. That is the dictionary definition of rogue – behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal.

Another part of dictionary definition is behaviour or activity ‘occuring at an unexpected place or time’. When you compare Israel to its regional neighbours, it becomes clear just how roguish Israel is. And here is the fourth argument: Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. At no point in history, has there ever been a liberal democratic state in the Middle east- except for Israel. Of all the countries in the middle east, Israel is the only one where the LGBT community enjoys even a small measure of equality. In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or both. But homosexuals there get off pretty lightly compared to their counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, who are put to death. Israeli homosexuals can adopt, openly serve in the army, enter civil unions, and are protected by exceptionally strongly worded ant-discrimination legislation. Beats a death sentence.

In fact, it beats America. Israel’s protection of its citizens civil liberties has earned international recognition. Freedom House is an NGO that releases an annual report on democracy and civil liberties in each of the 195 countries in the world. It ranks each country as ‘Free’ ‘Partly Free’ or ‘Not Free’. In the Middle East, Israel is the only country that has earned designation as a ‘free’ country. Not surprising given the level of freedom afforded to citizens in say, Lebanon- a country designated ‘partly free’, where there are laws against reporters criticizing not only the Lebanese government, but the Syrian regime as well. [ I’m hoping Ms Booth will speak about this, given her experience working as a ‘journalist’ for Iran,] Iran is a country given the rating of ‘not free’, putting it alongside China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Myanmar.

In Iran, [as Ms Booth I hoped would have said in her speech], there is a special ‘Press Court’ which prosecutes journalists for such heinous offences as criticizing the ayatollah, reporting on stories damaging the ‘foundations of the Islamic republic’ , using ‘suspicious (i.e. western) sources’, or insulting islam. Iran is the world leader in terms of jailed journalists, with 39 reporters (that we know of) in prison as of 2009. They also kicked out almost every western journalist during the 2009 election. [I don’t know if Ms Booth was affected by that] I guess we can’t really expect more from a theocracy. Which is what most countries in the middle east are. Theocracies and Autocracies. But Israel is the sole, the only, the rogue, democracy. Out of every country in the middle east, only in Israel do anti-government protests and reporting go unquashed and uncensored.

I have one final argument – the last nail in the opposition’s coffin- and its sitting right across the aisle. Mr Ran Gidor’s presence here is the all evidence any of us should need to confidently call Israel a rogue state. For those of you who have never heard of him, Mr Gidor is a political counsellor attached to Israel’s embassy in London. He’s the guy the Israeli government sent to represent them to the UN. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s here tonight. And it’s incredible. Consider, for a moment, what his presence here means. The Israeli government has signed off,to allow one of their senior diplomatic representatives to participate in a debate on their very legitimacy. That’s remarkable. Do you think for a minute, that any other country would do the same? If the Yale University Debating Society were to have a debate where the motion was ‘This house believes Britain is a racist, totalitarian state that has done irrevocable harm to the peoples of the world’, that Britain would allow any of it’s officials to participate? No. Would China participate in a debate about the status of Taiwan? Never. And there is no chance in hell that an American government official would ever be permitted to argue in a debate concerning it’s treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But Israel has sent Mr Ran Gidor to argue tonight against [a ‘journalist’ come reality tv star, and myself,] a 19 year old law student who is entirely unqualified to speak on the issue at hand.

Every government in the world should be laughing at Israel right now- because it forgot rule number one. You never add credence to crackpots by engaging with them. It’s the same reason you won’t see Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins debate David Icke. But Israel is doing precisely that. Once again, behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal. Behaving like a rogue state.

That’s five arguments that have been directed at the supporters of Israel. But I have a minute or two left. And here’s an argument for all of you – Israel willfully and forcefully disregards international law. In 1981 Israel destroyed OSIRAK – Sadam Hussein’s nuclear bomb lab. Every government in the world knew that Hussein was building a bomb. And they did nothing. Except for Israel. Yes, in doing so they broke international law and custom. But they also saved us all from a nuclear Iraq. That rogue action should earn Israel a place of respect in the eyes of all freedom loving peoples. But it hasn’t.

But tonight, while you listen to us prattle on, I want you to remember something; while you’re here, Khomeini’s Iran is working towards the Bomb. And if you’re honest with yourself, you know that Israel is the only country that can, and will, do something about it. Israel will, out of necessity act in a way that is the not the norm, and you’d better hope that they do it in a destructive manner. Any sane person would rather a rogue Israel than a Nuclear Iran. [Except Ms Booth]

If you have read this far, whatever else you do, don’t miss Kevin Myers’s column.

Via readers Mick Finn and Sara Kennedy.




Power Line

Saving the Golden State (Guest Voice)

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


Saving the Golden State

Saving the Golden State
by Michael Reagan

The late psychic Edgar Cayce was famed for predicting that in the not-too-distant future the entire state of California would collapse into the Pacific Ocean and disappear beneath the sea.

That may be a questionable forecast, but the collapse of the Golden State into a sea of debt is already upon us, and if we don’t act now to begin to reclaim California it will soon be too late to save it from disappearing under a mountain of IOUs that cannot be repaid.

We had a chance to begin saving the state when level-headed Meg Whitman ran for governor and Carly Fiorina ran for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat, but the effort failed — not because of a lack of money to fund their campaigns but for a lack of the kind of political savvy needed to win elections.

As the elder son of the late California Gov. Ronald Reagan, I watched and worked for his campaigns for California governor and then president of the United States and I learned at his knee the art of the kind of political action that wins elections.

My Dad dedicated himself to governing wisely and well, because he loved California and wanted it to stand as a beacon light for good government.

Now I believe it’s my turn and my obligation to the Reagan heritage to pitch in and fight to lead Californians in a campaign to reclaim the state my Dad loved and served so well for eight years as governor.

I am impelled to act by the tragic circumstances that have led thousands of employers and job creating entrepreneurs to flee to other states such as Texas which have been happy to throw out the welcome mat to Californians who bring new industry and jobs and investment capital with them.

According to the Los Angeles Times, during the last fiscal year 135,173 more people moved out of California than moved in from other states. It’s no longer a case of “Go West, young man;” now the advice is to move is eastward where fiscal sanity prevails.

Why have so many fled this glorious, sun-blessed state? Well, for one thing it’s the tragic fact that unemployment stands at an horrific 12 percent, more than two percent higher than the national average.

The state is broke. There are no jobs here — they’ve gone to Texas or China. We can’t pay for unemployment insurance or pay our bills. We have allowed the labor-union thugocracy to bankrupt our state. And the situation will get worse now that the majority of voters have handed the state’s future over to Governor-elect Jerry Brown, and allowed Barbara Boxer — who never saw a spending bill she didn’t like — to return to her job as a senator.

I don’t blame my fellow Californians for this sorry situation, I blame the leadership of the Republican party, which is badly in need of new blood — of dedicated party members who are willing to roll up their sleeves and go out and find grass-roots candidates and back them to the hilt.

We can win elections when we turn from building from the top down and start building from the bottom up. That’s the way successful parties go about the business of winning elections.

It’s important to observe the stunning success of the GOP in other states. Their success was entirely due to their grass-roots efforts that attracted such newly activated groups as the tea parties, the AFP and other such neighborhood-level political activists.

It’s time to get to work rebuilding the party of fiscal sanity and restraint. We must reclaim California and do it now. If we fail, California will become the Greece of the new world.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Look for Mike’s books and other information at Reagan.com. E-mail comments to [email protected] ©2010 Mike Reagan. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate and is licensed to run on TMV In full.


The Moderate Voice

Connecticut’s Chris Healy As The Next Republican National Chairman? Mentioned Despite Big Losses In Nutmeg State

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The 2010 elections provided some of the greatest political advances in history for Republicans, but that wave never fully arrived in Connecticut as the party lost races for governor, U.S. Senator, and five Congressional seats.

Those failures have prompted some rumbling that the losses should spell the end of the nearly four-year tenure of Connecticut state Republican chairman Chris Healy.

But in a bizarre twist, Healy is now being mentioned in the national media for a major promotion – to be chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Healy’s name has been floated widely in The Associated Press, Roll Call, and The Washington Post’s influential political blog, among others.

In a 24-hour whirlwind, Healy’s candidacy has grown from a behind-the-scenes, back-room whispering campaign to a full-blown public race. As a nearly four-year member of the national committee because of his state chairmanship, Healy already knows many of the 168 national members – and he needs 85 votes to oust embattled, outspoken chairman Michael Steele.

“A number of people on the committee, which is where it counts, urged me to think about running,” Healy said in an interview. “We need to create a real national Republican army. The record does not indicate that the Steele team can do it. At some point, you have to come out and say the emperor has no clothes.”

Healy, 53, said he has no idea who mentioned his name to The Washington Post, adding that he has “full confidence of passing a polygraph” on the leak. He is being mentioned along with former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, former Nevada Gov. Robert List, former New Jersey chairman David Norcross, and current Wisconsin chairman Reince Priebus, among others.

Based on the losses last week in high-profile races, Healy said he is prepared to hear questions about why Connecticut’s party chairman should be picked over others in states where Republicans made huge gains.

“I think that’s a fair point,” Healy said. “We were unsuccessful, but in the big strategic picture, people on the RNC can look me in the eye and say I took a party that was dormant and made it fully engaged in the Internet age. We recruited a lot of good candidates without a lot of help from the chief executive – and that’s fine. … We didn’t even have a web page when I took over. Now, we have one of the best social media networks. We’ve got thousands and thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter.”

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell taped radio commercials for U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, but she was not a major public presence on the campaign trail.

When asked if Rell had helped the Republicans, Healy responded, “No, she didn’t do anything, which is unfortunate. She chose not to, and that’s her choice. It just is what it is. You can’t make people do things if they don’t want to.”

Healy said he would not criticize Rell personally, saying she needed to speak for herself. Rell could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Insiders also said that Rell did not help the state House Republicans, who increased their total by 14 seats – the highest one-year gain by any political party since the state’s party lever was eliminated in 1986.

A leading Republican, though, disagreed sharply with Healy.

“It’s amazing,” the Republican said. “Chris Healy evidently recruited every candidate, raised every dollar, and was evidently responsible for every Republican who won this year. At the same time, Governor Rell and other Republican leaders seemingly did nothing to help any candidate. The only thing bigger and more inflated than Chris’s ego is the Goodyear blimp. He would fit right in with all the other modest, team-playing politicos already dominating the Washington scene.”

Capitol Watch

Almost ten percent of state employees will retire early

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Nearly 5,000 state employees will take advantage of the early retirement incentives passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Granholm in September, saving the state tens of millions of dollars in this year’s budget. The Associated Press reports:

Nearly one out of every 10 state workers plans to retire by the end of the year, about 1,400 more than expected and enough to save the state more than $ 60 million this budget year, a state spokesman said Monday.

A total of 4,755 workers will be gone by Jan. 1. Workers already eligible or close to retirement were offered slightly better pension benefits to leave, and about a third of them accepted the offer, said Kurt Weiss of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

About one-third of those jobs will not be replaced and those replacements will be with lower salaries and a restructured benefits package. That brings to nearly 10,000 the total reduction in the state’s public workforce in the last ten years.

Michigan Messenger

Video: Myths and Facts-Is Israel an Apartheid state?

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, discusses the myth that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is similar to the treatment of Blacks in Apartheid South Africa.

Check out Mitchell Bard’s other videos on YouTube.

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Daled Amos

Right Doctor Podcast: Redstate’s Erick Erickson Talks House Leadership, His New Book Red State Rising, And Presidential Contenders

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Listen to the Right Doctor Podcast here.

Erick Erickson talks about his book and the conservative movement in the future. He also talks about the jostling in the House for leadership positions. Was it the Tea Party’s fault that we lost some key Senate races? Is he glad that we don’t control the Senate?

And the most annoying question of all, “Who is the front-runner for 2012?” You might be surprised at the answer:

Liberty Pundits Blog

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