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Smell the freedom

Republicans believe in only two rights: the right to be humble, and the right to be grateful!

On Wednesday night, Republicans in Wisconsin’s state senate rammed through a retooled version of Governor Scott Walker’s controversial “budget repair bill” with the 14 senate Democrats still in hiding in Illinois. The senate bill eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, a provision that has labor leaders and protesters up in arms. But there’s another explosive provision in the bill that’s received little attention: The bill authorizes state officials to fire any state employee who joins a strike, walk-out, sit-in, or coordinated effort to call in sick.

According to an analysis (PDF) of the Senate bill by Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), the legislation gives state officials the power to fire workers during a “state of emergency” declared by the governor under several conditions. If a state employee misses three working days without an approved leave of absence, that’s grounds for being fired. State workers can also be dumped if, according to the LFB’s analysis, they participate in a “strike, work stoppage, sit-down, stay-in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including mass resignations or sick calls.”

‘Wire’ actress arrested


Another surprise

Suspect in Spokane bombing held extreme right-wing views!

White, right-wing domestic terrorists. Wonder when Peter King’s going to hold a hearing?


We can’t have job-killing regulation! Instead, we get people-killing pollution:

HINKLEY, Calif. – At the end of “Erin Brockovich,” a housewife sick from toxic chromium weeps with joy as she’s handed her portion of a historic $333 million settlement between residents of this small desert town and the utility that poisoned their drinking water.

In real life, that woman is Roberta Walker. She still lives in Hinkley, using her share to buy a new home in what she thought would be a safe four-mile distance from the toxic plume of chromium.

Earlier this year, she and other residents learned that the pollution, which Pacific Gas & Electric was required to clean up, was once again moving and had seeped into their groundwater.

Now, Brockovich has returned to the town that made her famous and is once again rallying residents, sampling the water, and at a water board meeting on Wednesday, her associate is expected to announce that the contamination may be worse than the utility says.

For Walker and others involved in the original case, these developments are like stepping back in time and are a haunting reminder that a landmark lawsuit and a blockbuster movie are no guarantee of safety.
“We didn’t bring a giant to its knees, all we did was wake it up,” Walker said. “This is not happening again — I can’t believe it.”

Virtually Speaking tonight

5pm EST: VS A-Z with Stuart Zechman, Jay Ackroyd and more explorations into the nature of liberalism.
6pm EST: Jay chats with media anthropologist CW Anderson. Media! WikiLeaks!

Click here to listen.

Race to the bottom

We’re all in Mississippi now!

PA fighting back

I love this:

HARRISBURG – A three-story brownstone where former Gov. Tom Ridge has offices for his lobbying firm became ground zero Wednesday in the fight over Pennsylvania’s proposed new budget.
About 250 advocates from organized labor, environmental groups, and social services carried out a surprise ambush on Ridge’s firm, which represents companies drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale. They delivered this message: If the proposed budget will slice education funding, then it should also make big drilling companies pay taxes on the natural gas they extract.

Clutching signs and chanting slogans, most of the activists swarmed into the Ridge Policy Group, just a block from the Capitol, shortly after 2 p.m. They poured through the unlocked doors and began packing rooms on the first and second floors, demanding that someone from the lobbying firm come speak to them.

With their stomping feet causing the floorboards to creak and groan – and likely breaking fire codes – they finally got the attention of Mark Campbell, a partner in the firm and Ridge’s onetime chief of staff. He talked briefly to organizers and promised to tell his clients that activists wanted to speak with them.

“We’ll be back,” the activists warned as the group finally left about 15 minutes later with chants of “No Free Pass for Oil and Gas.” They left a mock invoice for the millions in taxes they say could have been collected from an extraction tax.

Live from Wisconsin

Watch live streaming video from theuptake at livestream.com


Descending on Madison and Indianapolis. Power in a union!

Class war

Rachel Maddow on the haves vs. the have nots:

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