by Carl, 12/07/2012, 8:03 AM

33 Responses to “Open Thread 12/7”

1. Serial conservative spews:

Right-to-work bills pass in Lansing

Thursday’s actions also come a month after voters defeated a statewide referendum that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, denied the November vote was a mandate for right to work.

From The Detroit News:

Where would Democrat legislators run if they thought they could avoid a quorum (they can’t)?

Wisconsin? That would be ironic.

2. Michael spews:

- Hip hop, like nearly every other genre has some people who support gay civil rights.

Yay, Macklemore! Thanks for posting that.

3. greg spews:

@1 How did Moneybags Mitt end up in Michigan? Do you think the people are ready to play fiddle to the Koch Brothers Band and make Michigan a work for less State?

4. greg spews:

@1 How did that Koch Brothers Union Busting act work out for you in Ohio this year? Why did people not buy what Moneybags Mitt and the Koch Brothers were selling?

5. greg spews:

Serial Conservative, Do you remember what Kirby Wilbur told his die hard conservative crowd on election night? GOP chair Kirby Wilbur joked to the crowd if someone like McKenna can’t get elected in this state, it might be time to move to Texas.

6. Roger Rabbit spews:

@1 Meanwhile, in Congress, Rethugs complain because Democrats won’t let them take from Medicare retirees and give to the rich.

7. Roger Rabbit spews:

How do people get rich? By owning businesses. How do businesses make profits? By stealing from their customers like this:

Roger Rabbit Commentary: When Republicans talk about “economic freedom,” what they really mean is they don’t want government to regulate dishonest businesses and they don’t want customers to have a right to sue those who steal from them. The next time you find “gray charges” on your credit card, remember that this Dishonest Moment was brought to you by your local Republican crooks.

8. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Greg, the story seems that they had to pass this now, because they could not do it next year, and the Republicans did lose 5 seats. The way it was brought up, there is a chance it could be struck down by the courts. Even in Nebraska with their Unicameral legislature bills don’t get rammed through this fast. Economists are even saying it may not even work. All it might have done is make Lansing even more toxic. Ford and the Big Three were neutral on this one, although something that Ford said made them a little bit more than neutral. They said they count the UAW as a partner, plus the UAW with Ford prior to 2008 to turn the company around. Seems they have done pretty good since.

9. greg spews:

@ Roger Rabbit, I made sure that Hawaii’s new Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was informed about Ryan & Boehner’s plans to give disabled vets the shaft. It will be interesting to see who will be next on the GOP hit list.

10. greg spews:

Hawaii’s Warrior Tulsi Gabbard & Pacman United. She will spice things up for Ryan & Boehner if they are looking for a fight.It looks like Nancy Pelosi has a new young gun who likes to scrap.

11. Politically Incorrect spews:

Why do you people hate business and capitalism? It’s the best system there is and, like Larry Kudlow always says, the best path to prosperity.

BTW, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are rich guys. Why don’t you guys attack them? Could it be that they like to mouth progressive platitudes while raking in the dough, so that makes them OK as far as the wealth-redistribution crowd is concerned?

12. EvergreenRailfan spews:

I thought the Sound Transit boardmembers were selling out when they bought 3 new locomotives for SOUNDER from Idaho-based MotivePower-Wabtec. Turns out, although since it is Idaho and they do not have to be pay for it, it is a Union Shop.

Railroading is a highly-skilled industry, and the brotherhoods(most railroad unions started out as fraternal organizations that evolved into Labor Unions) have a lot of clout, preserving the craft distinctions that anti-union people think slow things down. Earlier this year, I was reading an artiole in TRAINS Magazine about CSX’s Cumberland, MD shops, about it’s recent modernization(the overhaul is done assembly-line style), and the author described how they found the traditional craft designations and restrictions useful, and railroad crafts that one thought were obsolete just adapted to the Diesel era, like the boilermakers and pipefitters. Plus, Railway Labor is governed under the Coolidge-era Railway Labor Act, and is designed to keep the nation moving, and negotiations are drawn out, and contracts perpetual. The latter part could be reformed, but can’t just be done with a quorum of the National Mediation BOard, like the rule on counting those eligible that did not vote as no votes.(If Republicans who opposed that change had to face that, they would not be in office) When you see a contract talk ending in a strike, those are over contract amendments(RLA applies to airlines as well). Both sides have issues with the law, perhaps because it hamstrings them all. By the way, I saw on the Teamsters website about a contract reached with a small railroad(500 miles of track) in Indiana, the Inidana Railroad, a railroad that pioneered one-man trains, power switches, and remote control in regional railraoding, and won back business that other railroads had lost to trucks. I was shocked that the railroad was union, and the Indiana Railroad does cross state lines, so it is probably covered under the RLA, not Indiana Labor Law. The one man trains did not cost any jobs, or as the railraod president said in an interview with TRAINS magazine years ago, it did cost jobs, truckers jobs! Some of the business they were able to bid on, distribution center work, usually only a few carloads at that. The remote control beltpack and one man crews helped them do it more efficiently.

13. No Time for Fascists spews:

Why do you people hate business and capitalism?
That statement is too overly broad to be answered. Cite some specific things you think us people hate about business and capitalism and we can provide answer.
If you don’t, then you are just casting FUD and you are fool and a idiot.

14. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Also, what I was shocked about the purchase was Sound Transit did not buy the model that matched the horsepower of the current EMD F59PHIs used to pull(and push) SOUNDER trains, the MPI MP36PH, with about 3600hp(the F59s are around 3000-3200hp), but the MP40, which is the extent of the EMD 710 range at 4000hp(although the max the engine gets on freight models is 4400hp), although they use a GE prime mover for a model they are building for the MBTA in Boston, that gets 4600hp. Although high horsepower is not always the best, the recent stalled train on the Lakewood extension was caused by a lack of adhesion on wet rails, when a sander on the locomotive failed. When that works, there are no problems getting up the grade. The MP40 can pull a 12 car train on flatter terrain, like in Toronto.

15. greg spews:

@11 Are you quoting Larry Kudlow the one who wrote the book “Bullish On Bush: How George Bush’s Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger,” ?? This just goes to show how the idiot right-wingers have lost touch with reality.

16. EvergreenRailfan spews:

No Time for Fascists, I noticed Politically Incorrect brought up Warren Buffet. One of Buffett’s purchases was motivated by a disdain for sharing it with other shareholders, BNSF. A couple times before he bought the 70% he did not already own, BNSF wanted to finish double-tracking the Southwest Transcon, Chicago to LA, but the record profits they were getting, shareholders wanted(at the time, they were capitolizing off of failures of Union Pacific as the latter was acquiring Southern Pacific), so the project was on hold at times, but they eventually got the last segments done(including triple-tracking Cajon Pass), but there was one last undertaking that was too costly and hard to get passed the BNSF board, Abo Canyon, New Mexico, it was still single-tracked and hemmed in by topography. After the buyout, and then the EIS was approved, it was go-time on the project, and it opened last year. No longer are trains held up on sidings for hours while they alternate, although the other measure done to cope with that bottleneck, stayed, longer trains.(UP and BNSF had been fight it out on that, I think UP topped them at 3 and a half miles long).

17. MikeBoyScout spews:

@11 Usually Incorrect

BTW, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are rich guys. Why don’t you guys attack them? Could it be that they like to mouth progressive platitudes while raking in the dough, so that makes them OK as far as the wealth-redistribution crowd is concerned?

The Gates Foundation to which both Gates and Buffet have committed tens of BILLIONS of dollars is just a wee bit more than mouthing progressive platitudes.

You are so very tiresome.

18. MikeBoyScout spews:

I’m sure we can help House Republican Leader Cathy McMorris-Rodgers in identifying budget cuts. Let’s just start at her website

I was proud to serve as a conferee on the 2007 Farm Bill, which was enacted into law in 2008, representing the interests of Eastern Washington farmers and ranchers. I continue to support policies that expand markets for our farmers, reduce their energy costs, increase their water supply and assure the future vitality of our land.

Is there any pork in the Farm Bill Cathy?
Amazingly the Washington Post did a whole series on the Farm Pork Bill you so proudly trumpet.

Harvesting Cash: A Year-Long Investigation into Farm Subsidies

How to Spend an Extra $15 Billion
In the past five years alone, the U.S. government has handed out more than $95 billion in agricultural subsidies. Post reporters criss-crossed the country in 2006, identifying more than $15 billion in wasteful, unnecessary and redundant spending.

Funny that a Pork program so loaded just slipped her mind when asked.

19. Michael spews:

O’ those fun loving Republicans…

On Wednesday, during an appearance on CNN’s Situation Room, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) became speechless when asked to list the spending reductions Congress should adopt, as host Wolf Blitzer pressed the Chairman of the House Republican Conference for just one example. Fellow guest Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) just threw his hands up in frustration and detailed the $1 trillion plus in cuts Democrats have already supported.

I saw McMorris-Rogers on the TeeVee last week and she was just babbling. The TeeVeee people carried on as if everything was normal, but nothing McMorris-Rogers said made any sense.

20. No Time for Fascists spews:

This is an interesting perspective on raising the age. Is it true?

The one thing we know will be a side effect of increasing the Medicare eligibility age is that insurance premiums will skyrocket. It will make Medicare more expensive because they lose relatively healthy 65 and 66 year-olds from their risk pool, and it will make private insurance more expensive because they add relatively sick 65 and 66 year-olds to their risk pool. Insurers hate the idea for just this reason. As a result, everyone’s premiums will rise, and cost-shifting will ensue from the government to its citizens.

Do the proposed cost savings come from significantly more people dying of untreated illnesses so they won’t need to be covered?

21. rhp6033 spews:

I just read an article about the “new retirement realities”, which encourage people to forget what they previously believed to be true about retirement and retirement planning.

One of the statements was that many people assume that they can work a few more years to make up the difference between available funds and their retirement expenses. The article said that a significant majority of people are not working at age 65, due to layoffs (it’s hard to get a job when you are 55, let alone 60); having to care for a disabled parent, spouse, or child; or becoming too sick to work themselves.

So raising the retirement and Medicare age excludes those people from medicare cover during that “gap’ period, and passes the expense down to Medicaid, state aid, charities, ect.

22. Michael spews:

. It will make Medicare more expensive because they lose relatively healthy 65 and 66 year-olds from their risk pool,

Yep! Raising the age doesn’t do much to save money and those healthy 65 year-olds are paying for the not so healthy older folks.

23. Expat(!)Chad spews:

5. greg spews:

Serial Conservative, Do you remember what Kirby Wilbur told his die hard conservative crowd on election night? GOP chair Kirby Wilbur joked to the crowd if someone like McKenna can’t get elected in this state, it might be time to move to Texas.

3 years ago conservatives in WA caused the population of the Republic of the Philippines to increase by one old male and one ancient Basset Hound. But SHE doesn’t vote, the bitch.

24. Roger Rabbit spews:

Sneaky Lying Weasels

“Republicans slammed right-to-work legislation through the Michigan House and Senate on Thursday ….

“Just hours after the measures were introduced, both chambers approved measures prohibiting private unions from requiring that nonunion employees pay fees. The Senate quickly followed by voting to impose the same requirement on most public unions. …

“Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who previously had said that right-to-work was ‘not on my agenda,’ said Thursday he would sign the measures.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Never ever trust any Republican; and remember there’s no such thing as a “moderate” Republican.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

@21 Work until you die — that’s the GOP’s plan for American workers. And they call us commies?

26. Roger Rabbit spews:

“The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take its first serious look at the issue of gay marriage, granting review of California’s ban on same-sex marriage and of a federal law that defines marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: We’re gonna find out if the conservatives on SCOTUS live in the same century as the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

27. greg spews:

@24 In Hawaii Linda Lingle won 62.5% of the vote getting re-elected as Gov. in 2006. In 2012 the people gave moderate pro-choice Linda (she ran away from Mitt & Ryan like a sprinter) 37.4% and elected Mazie Hirono to the US Senate with 62.6% of the vote. People do tend to figure out what self proclaimed moderate republicans sell and what they bring are not the same.

28. Roger Rabbit spews:

@18 It’s time to let free market-loving farmers have free markets! They’ve lived under socialism long enough. Free the farmers!

29. Roger Rabbit spews:

@1 Don’t worry, there’ll be payback. Rethugs can count on it. See, e.g., @27.

30. Roger Rabbit spews:

This is what a “moderate” Republican looks like:

“Lingle … vetoed a bill that would have required all hospitals in Hawaii to provide emergency contraception to rape victims ….”

and …

“In August 2007, the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated a Lingle appointee’s exemption of the Hawaii Superferry from having to undertake an environmental assessment before operating in Hawaii waters. … Despite the Court’s ruling, the ferry sailed to Kauai without an environmental assessment. It was met by protesters on surfboards who turned the ferry back to Oahu. Lingle summoned a massive police and Coast Guard response. She told Kauai protesters that they would be charged under Hawaii’s anti-terrorism laws if they continued to interfere with the Superferry’s operation.

“Lingle sought a legislative exemption from environmental law on behalf of the Superferry (known as Act Two). Several Maui groups, including the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition challenged the law as unconstitutional, citing a violation of separation of powers, and favoritism towards a single company. The ferry suspended all Hawaii service in March 2009, days after the Hawaii Supreme Court struck down Act Two as unconstitutional.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: All Republicans are extremists, every last one of ‘em. There’s no such thing as a “moderate” Republican. How can you call a governor a “moderate” who threatens to prosecute people as “terrorists” for exercising their freedom of assembly and free speech rights? That isn’t moderation; it’s totalitarianism.

31. EvergreenRailfan spews:

I was wrong a little bit on railway labor, at Amtrak, there is a little wiggle room. When then-Amtrak President W. Graham Claytor(a Reagan Appointee, by the way) restarted the failed private Auto Train, he did an experimental labor agreement with the onboard service crew. The sleeper attendents, coach attendents, servers, lead service attendents(diner), Lounge servers, and cooks are cross-trained, and can fill-in when needed elsewhere on the train. The only job they are not cross-trained in is engineer and conductor. The shop crews in Sanford, Florida, looks like the traditional craft rules apply. It is a separate contract than the rest of the network, and if an employee who normally works the Empire Builder(example) transfers to the Auto Train, their seniority starts all over. The Auto Train is a unique market, and has one of the highest fare recovery for a long-distance train.

32. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Roger Rabbit @29

One Republican said he changed his vote because employers in his district said he had good relations with the unions, and said this would only cause trouble.

33. EvergreenRailfan spews:

I just got this month”s TRAINS Magazine(January 2013), and the cover story “Private failure, public success” was about the train I mentioned in my earlier post. Another article was on the construction of 4 TALGO trainsets done in Milwaukee, with 2 bound for the Pacific Northwest, and 2 ordered for Wisconsin under the Doyle Administration, headed for storage. One of the reasons the maintenance facility was an issue, is TALGO does not trust US Railroad management with overseeing of the products they sell them. In the 1950s, three US Railroads tried out an earlier model, and unfortunately the three were, the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific, New York, New Haven and Hartfod, and the Boston and Maine. All three were not well financially, and one of the things that suffer when that happens, is maintenance.