Should state workers lose union rights, open season or self defense in South Dakota, innuendo explored, photographing a fading winter, and pillows at 10 paces.
1) SHOULD STATE WORKERS LOSE UNION RIGHTS?
How many other states are keeping an eye on what’s happening in Wisconsin? All night long the Legislature’s budget committee held a public hearing on whether government workers should be stripped of their collective bargaining rights.
“We will listen to you as long as it takes,” said Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) at 3:30 a.m. So the hearing will resume today. Forty-percent of the teachers in the Madison school district called in sick today, so they could continue a rally. The entire school system was subsequently shut down.
The pending bill would require most public workers to pay half their pension costs — typically 5.8% of pay for state workers — and at least 12% of their health care costs. It applies to most state, local and school employees, but does not apply to police, firefighters and state troopers, who would continue to bargain for their benefits.
Other than police, firefighters and troopers, raises would be limited to inflation unless a bigger increase was approved in a referendum. The non-law enforcement unions would lose their rights to bargain over anything but wages, would have to hold annual elections to keep their organizations intact and would lose the ability to have union dues deducted from state paychecks.
This is all intended to help balance the state’s budget. But it does tend to pit state worker against state worker. Why, for example, shouldn’t a police officer or firefighter share in the sacrifice if a teacher does?
A comment attached to that union video, however, shows the depth of feeling on both sides. “People need to wake up and start paying their own way and get off the backs of the private sector that has been getting **** by Doyle for years. Where… were you when it’s all good, when it’s working out in your benefit and others are getting bent over and paying 90% of your benefits?” it said.
2) OPEN SEASON OR SELF DEFENSE?
On the other side of our western border, there’s another interesting piece of legislation IS getting some attention. South Dakota is considering a bill that would allow the killing of someone in defense of an unborn child. Critics are saying it’s a license to kill abortion providers. The sponsor says it has nothing to do with abortion. It’s about self defense.
3) INNUENDO EXPLORED
Why do we use innuendo to get our points across rather than just say what we want to communicate? Everyone knows what’s being said. Why don’t we just say it? This new video steps oh so close to the land of the passive aggressive.
4) PHOTOGRAPHING A FADING WINTER
Today’s entry in News Cut’s invitation to provide a single picture to describe the current state of winter comes from Jeff Jorgensen of Brooklyn Park. “I took this photo just below the Coon Rapids Dam in Brooklyn Park. The water has been high all winter due to ice jams and when the river broke up this week some amazing ice was revealed. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos but those ice chunks are about 10 feet thick,” he reports.
5) PILLOWS AT 10 PACES
They had the annual pillow fight in San Francisco the night before last. Nobody actually organizes this, but it happens anyway.
Bonus: When People Do Good (cont’d). When members of the armed forces are deployed, it’s often up to the parent left behind to care for their children. But what happens when both parents deploy? Would you move hundreds of miles to help one family? One woman did.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: While researching her best-selling book “Seabiscuit,” Laura Hillenbrand stumbled across an article on Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who endured incredible hardships during World War II. She reached out to him and forged a connection that she chronicles in her latest book.
Second hour: The fall of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has led to unrest in other Middle Eastern countries. Will the spread of pro-Democracy protest topple other leaders?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours:Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis present highlights from “Say it Loud: Great Speeches on Civil Rights and African American Identity.”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Ron Paul wins the CPAC Straw poll, Mitt Romney leads all Republicans and President Obama in New Hampshire, Senator John Kyl won’t run again in Arizona, and Political Junkie Ken Rudin runs the numbers with Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Second hour: TBA