Sunday wrap

Vaunted Stimulus larded with costly union-only kickbacks ... When U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold recently trumpeted news of federal stimulus money for a nursing home renovation, the numbers were eye-catching for Wisconsin, never a leader in grabbing bucks from Uncle Sam. One nursing home in Chetek was ticketed for $2.8 million. And even though it will use $1 million less than that, it was still one of the largest recipients among hundreds of rural projects across 39 states. Cause for celebration in the small northwestern Wisconsin community? "It's kind of a joke as far as I'm concerned," said Carmen Newman, Chetek's city clerk-treasurer. "I don't understand how they can say this is stimulus." Chetek Mayor Dianne Knowlton added: "I don't see how the project benefited." Knowlton and Newman, like local government officials around the state, partly were reacting to the dawning reality that a $499 billion appropriation in Washington, D.C., will not shower enough money to cover small-town America's long list of needs and wants. Even when some dollars do flow, they might go for a project that already was on the verge of getting other federal funding. And, often, local officials will have to repay it. They call from all over the state. Local officials and contractors say stimulus rules on paying union-scale wages could give large statewide contractors a boost in the competition to bring Knapp Haven into the 21st century. Others point out that non-local firms pay extra costs for travel and for housing workers. The prevailing-wage requirement and a buy-American mandate in the stimulus law could combine to raise the total cost of the project, local officials worry. Officials in Chetek, a Barron County city of 2,100, seem frustrated with the lack of outright grants for various projects they had once hoped stimulus money could cover. "I haven't seen anything that stimulated me," Mayor Knowlton said of the economic package. (jsonline.com)

ABC News reports Stimulus fraud ... But -- this was a project that had already been approved by Davenport city council to be paid for by federal monies, Margaret Murphy the Assisted Housing Manager for the city, tells ABC News. When the stimulus bill passed, some astute city workers realized they could have some of that order paid for by the stimulus because of the American steel used in the stoves. So the city of Davenport submitted $13,000 for 42 stoves (and installation) paid for by the stimulus. The point is: those stoves would have been purchased and installed anyway. Where the impact of this may be that the $13,000 in non-stimulus federal funds can now pay for something else in Davenport. Perhaps something stimulative. Perhaps not. But again, not everything is as it seems. This project was going to happen anyway. (blogs.abcnews.com)

Sotomayor holds membership in radical leftwing racist group ... Back in the 2006 nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court , Barack Obama criticized the philosphy on confirming Supreme Court Justices stating the Senate should "only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and is nice to his wife." He further objected that, "once you get beyond intellect and personal character there shouldn't be further question to whether the justice should be confirmed. Meaningful advice and consent includes an examination of a judge's philosophy, ideology, and record." I imagine this is the kind of "empathy" Obama was looking for in a nominee, however the benefit of the doubt could rule she mispoke. Similar statements, however, seem to make clear exactly how she feels her sex and race influence her judgement: "Our experience as women and people of color affect our decisions. Whether born from experience or physiological or cultural differences ... our gender and national origins may and WILL make a difference in our judging. Personal experiences affect the facts judges CHOOSE to see." That statement is pretty clear cut, and as far as I know completely unreported by the media. Just looking at Sotomayor's record, we can already see how she is prone to rule in race cases. We also shouldn't ignore what we ended up with the last time a nominee mentioned race and gender influencing decisions. However, the most disturbing reflection of Sotomayor's character is the company she keeps. According the American Bar Association, Sotomayor is a member of the NCLR, otherwise known as "La Raza". (newsbusters.org)

More than a handshake ... President Barack Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It's not the handshake that no one in the news media or otherwise wants to acknowledge. Everyone had a good look at this particular handshake but no one commented then or now. I feel someone should comment on this faux pas or omission of any comment. Obama gave Chávez a bro handshake, which has a lot of connotations, unlike a normal handshake, which actually has no meaning. This type of handshake is used in the context of two men showing each other that they have common goals. So far, everyone seems to ignore this even though the film clip showed it distinctively. This type of shake is only used when two people are standing on common ground, basically signifying the same as bowing to one another. (theadvertiser.com)

AFSCME picks, freezes, personalizes, polarizes oppressive Red Cross ... American Red Cross workers picketed a blood drive at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital Friday. The contract for 225 members of the Local 3145 of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees expired March 31, was extended to April 26, and remains in limbo, said union Spokesman Larry Dorman. Dorman and three of the 10 union members wearing union t-shirts and carrying placards on the sidewalk of the hospital on Montauk Avenue said that the stalemate in contract negotiations could threaten the blood supply as well as the quality of jobs. At risk, they say, are health-care standards, sufficient rest time for drivers between shifts, wages and the supervision of blood drives. (theday.co)

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com

Dems threaten worker-choice in Virginia ... Robert McDonnell, Virginia's former attorney general, formally accepted the Republican Party of Virginia's nomination for governor Saturday in Richmond before a crowd of over 10,000 delegates. He also countered Democrats' recent characterization of the Republican Party as the party of “no.” It is the Democrats that deserve that moniker, he suggested, as he described his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “card check,” which would allow unions to be formed at workplaces if a majority of workers sign union authorization cards. “When it comes to the job-killing card check bill which threatens Virginia's Right to Work law, a cornerstone of our business success, our opponents will say no to protecting the secret ballot, and no to safeguarding Virginia's Right to Work law,” he said. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Sickening jumbo union disintegrates in desert ... A bitter, protracted leadership struggle within one of the nation’s most progressive unions apparently ended Friday when Unite Here General President Bruce Raynor resigned, ceding control of the international apparel and hotel workers union to the man with whom he shared power, John Wilhelm. Raynor said he decided to quit after Wilhelm’s allies, accompanied by nearly a dozen security guards, broke into his New York office and stole personal files related to mediation sessions aimed at reconciling the two leaders’ differences. “It was more reminiscent of the Sopranos than anything I’ve ever seen in my trade union career,” Raynor said in an interview. “It sickened me. It convinced me that things had gone so far that I no longer wanted to be associated with Unite Here.” A Wilhelm spokeswoman disputed Raynor’s version of events, saying that union officials were responding to repeated reports from Unite Here staff who had witnessed the destruction of documents in the union’s New York headquarters. “Our lawyers advised us to take precautions to make sure that the office and its equipment were secure,” spokeswoman Pilar Weiss said. “The files were the property of the union, not Bruce Raynor.” (lasvegassun.com)

How Whilhelm took Sin City: By Card-Check ... John Wilhelm was dispatched to Las Vegas in 1987 to salvage a casino workers union rattled by devastating losses. The Culinary Union was debilitated by a citywide strike three years earlier that sapped resources and morale. Six hotels persuaded employees to decertify the union, and four others illegally reneged on the Culinary contract. The union’s health care plan was tanking. Wilhelm, a Yale graduate who cut his teeth organizing the university’s clerical and blue-collar workers, came to Las Vegas as the Western regional director for the Culinary parent, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. And in 1989, he moved the Strip’s labor relations into a new chapter. He negotiated a landmark deal, allowing casino owner Steve Wynn to simplify job classifications in exchange for organizing rights at the Mirage — and at future Wynn casinos. The victory for labor: Rather than having to hold elections to organize — a process that allowed management the upper hand over organizers — workers were able to organize simply by signing union cards. Before long, operators up and down the Strip fell in line. (lasvegassun.com)

Union-backed Dem baron plagued by earmark corruption ... A Pennsylvania defense contractor to whom Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., directed millions of dollars in congressional earmarks has been blocked from doing business with the Navy amid allegations of fraud. Word of the suspension comes during an annual defense contractor trade show in Johnstown, Pa., the heart of Murtha's congressional district. Seven of the world's largest defense contractors, who have been among Murtha's biggest campaign contributors over the years, are helping to bankroll this week's "Showcase for Commerce." At a brief news conference Friday in Johnstown, Murtha turned aside questions about the suspension of Kuchera Defense Systems Inc., a family-run business that has supported Murtha with $60,000 in donations to his campaign and his political action committee since 2002. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Rahmbo cuts Obama's personal travel budget ... There are no official events are his schedule Saturday, so President Barack Obama had plenty of time to devote to his other roles — father and husband. The president watched one of his daughters play in a morning soccer game just a short drive from the White House. In the evening, he's taking first lady Michelle Obama up to New York for date night. The White House is keeping mum about details on soccer and the quick trip to Manhattan. No word on which daughter — Malia or Sasha — was scurrying on the soccer field at Palisades Park. And there aren't any details on just what the Obamas will do in New York. What is known is that the Obamas will fly on a smaller plane than the jumbo jet he usually uses. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Dues-starved Teamsters get boost in labor-state ... Workers at Washington County’s five recycling stations have formed a union. About 15 workers will be joining the Teamsters International union. The move was granted by the Washington County Board of Supervisors earlier this month. "I think it will give them some structure," said Paul Engel, a business agent at the Teamster’s Albany office. "They’ll have working conditions they’ll get to collectively bargain for. Any changes in working conditions will have to be subject to negotiation." More than 170 county workers are members of the Teamsters — including employees at the county’s nursing facility Pleasant Valley Infirmary in Argyle and workers in the highway department. (poststar.com)

Teamster Talk

International Collectivism

Ecuador Leftist picks Chavistas over Obama ... Correa said the Ecuadorian people had chosen a “profound, rapid and peaceful revolution”. He promised to “deepen and radicalise” the process of change, “now, not tomorrow”. Correa announced that Ecuador would become a full member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). ALBA is a trading bloc promoting pro-people regional integration based on solidarity and cooperation. Its current members are Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica and Saint Vincents and the Grenadines. He said all Latin American countries “have a common past and our common destiny is unavoidable. The vast majority of Latin American leaders are fighting for Latin American integration.” On the same weekend, Chávez and Correa signed five bilateral cooperation agreements on oil exploration, tourism, food sovereignty, mining and banking. Correa said key sectors of the economy, including oil and mining, must be in government hands: “We will fulfil the goal of having strategic sectors in government hands.” (greenleft.org.au)

Debate challenge shuts up Chávez ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has cancelled an edition of his TV show, Alo Presidente. The cancellation comes amid arguments with the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa about a live televised debate. Mr Chávez has broadcast some 18 hours of special editions of “Alo Presidente” since Thursday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program. But the latest edition has been withdrawn at late notice with no explanation from the government. After around 18 hours on air over the past two days, the third installment of President Chávez's marathon program was suspended with no official reason given. The decision to suspend Alo Presidente comes after a series of challenges and counter-challenges about holding a televised debate with the Peruvian writer and arch-critic of President Chávez, Mario Vargas Llosa. Mr Vargas Llosa is currently in Venezuela to attend an opposition-led seminar about democracy and authoritarianism in Latin America. (portalangop.co.ao)


Saturday wrap

Obama's vaunted Stimulus mired in ugly labor racial discrimination ... Three months after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, Black contractors and advocates say they have yet to see a fair share of capital from the stimulus package that promised to disperse billions of dollars in construction projects. According to John Macklin, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors, and regional vice president for the northeast region of the association which extends from Maine to Virginia, states in his region are being affected by project labor agreements that permit projects to be awarded exclusively to union contractors, which only represent 15 percent of the workforce, he said. “That means the union discriminates against more than eight out of ten construction workers who would otherwise be able to work on a construction project if not for a union-only project labor agreement,” said Macklin. “Those contracts that are subject to project labor agreements typically discourage minority contractors and non-union contractors from bidding…” (stlamerican.com)

Unprecedented: Obama drops case U.S. had won by default ... Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews. The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms. Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago. (washingtontimes.com)

Related video: Securing Philly polling places

Management rights to be curtailed by Obama NLRB pick ... Never mind Big Labor’s continuing all-out push to take away workers’ right to a secret ballot in the workplace with Card Check, which is officially and misleadingly known as the Employee Free Choice Act. Even if Card Check fails in Congress, the game will be rigged against small business owners and the managers of private corporations if President Obama wins Senate approval for Craig Becker as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Presently associate general counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Becker wants to use new bureaucratic regulations to interpose government between workers and the alleged atmosphere of compulsion created in the workplace by owners and managers. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Related video: Meet Craig Becker, AFL-CIO Obamunist

Obama preps Sotomayor for typical under-the-bus routine ... "Her word choice in 2001 was poor," spokesman Robert Gibbs said, seeking to settle what has become an early stumbling point for President Obama's nominee as she prepares for her Senate confirmation battle. "I think she would change that word," Mr. Gibbs said, adding that he based his comment on "discussions with people that have talked to her." (washingtontimes.com)

Update: The ACORN-U.S. Census ... Judicial Watch said the documents describe 18 different areas of responsibility that ACORN asked to be given. The Obama administration has downplayed ACORN's involvement, saying the organization with which Obama worked earlier in his political career, would be allowed to "recruit" census workers. But the documents show that ACORN also is an "executive level" partner with the ability to "organize and/or serve as a member on a Complete Count Committee." The census documents regarding ACORN also show the organization also signed up to "encourage employees and constituents to complete and mail their questionnaire; identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials; appoint a liaison to work with the Census Bureau; provide space for Be Counted sites and/or Questionnaire Assistance Centers, sponsor community events to promote participation in the 2010 Census." The documents also show the Census Bureau wants ACORN to teach other organizations about the process, Judicial Watch said. "Given its history of illegal activity and fraud, ACORN should be nowhere near the 2010 Census," said Fitton. "And shame on the Obama Commerce Department for continuing to demonize conservatives by lumping together law enforcement and anti-immigration groups with 'hate groups.' This discriminatory policy raises First Amendment concerns. Indeed, these documents provide further evidence that the Obama administration is politicizing the 2010 Census." U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, meanwhile, has called for congressional hearings into ACORN's finances that apparently includes a procedure called a "forensic audit." (wnd.com)

Related video: Beck takes on ACORN-U.S. Census

Obama, Reid disgruntle moderate desert Dems, too ... Does Mr. Saloisen really believe it is only Republicans submitting letters about being disgruntled with an administration that is leaning so far left to appease the minions of the George Soros-led Moveon.Org, the far-left leaning arm of the Democrats and the ultra-liberal ACLU? This is not “moving into the future.” I recommend he take a look around him at the disappointed independents and moderate Democrats, where I place myself, who may have supported change but didn’t expect such a far-left ideology permeating the White House and the Congress. He might be very surprised if he tested the temperature of those waters. As for the 2010 U.S. senatorial race in Nevada, every disgruntled independent and moderate Democrat will vote his conscience and the results may be far from Mr. Saloisen’s prognostication and liking. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid may be on life support, or else the president wouldn’t have made a trip to Nevada to take him off the resuscitator. (lasvegassun.com)

Congress' Culture of Corruption: It's Dems Turn Now ... Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana Democrat, said Friday he has been subpoenaed in a federal grand jury probe of the lobbying firm PMA Group, the first tangible sign that the corruption investigation of the well-connected firm has spread to Capitol Hill. The 13-term congressman is one of several lawmakers linked to the Alexandria-based lobbying firm, which shut down after it was raided last year by the FBI. The investigation appears focused on the firm's campaign contributions and millions of dollars in spending earmarks that lawmakers targeted for PMA's defense contractor clients. (washingtontimes.com)

Intolerant union leader quits Stern-Burger SEIU ... I believe the new union is misappropriating funds and telling lies. I no longer can represent the members honestly. Appointed, not elected, SEIU Director K. Sermersheim sent a letter to the supervisors and county department heads requesting immediate implementation of layoff procedures. This is bargaining? Why spend $250K and travel to Puerto Rico in 2008? The answer: "That was a mistake." SEIU is $45 million in the red. SEIU gave disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich $800,000 in return for collective bargaining rights for 37,000 home health-care workers and gave him $1.8 million for his two runs for governor. The Los Angeles Times reports that SEIU President Andy Stern is under federal investigation. Union Executive Tyrone Freeman misappropriated funds to his wife's day-care center for $1.1 million and still remained in office for seven years. I want to join a union that is fair and represents the members. You lose nothing by changing unions. Your current contract continues and remains in place. Some 106,000 members have petitions to decertify from SEIU. We are fed up with high dues and no representation. (thecalifornian.com)

SEIU-fueled feud fells Raynor ... The long-simmering clash between rival factions at the labor union UNITE HERE grew increasingly bitter Friday as its general president resigned and accused his opponents of breaking into his office to steal sensitive files. Bruce Raynor said he was being forced out of his post and would take another top spot at a newly formed union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. UNITE HERE represents roughly 400,000 hotel, restaurant and clothing workers (indystar.com)

Workers decertify striking Teamsters but strike boss digs in ... A day after Metalworks President Tom Paine announced that Teamsters Local 406 had been voted out by Metalworks, workers represented by the union were still carrying signs and looking very much like strikers in front of the company’s freight entrance on Sixth Street. The only change since the announcement has been an increased police presence, strikers said. A City of Ludington Police Tahoe sat on Fourth Street near Conrad Industrial Drive while a Mason County sheriff’s cruiser sat on Sixth near the freight entrance of Eagle XPress, next to Metalworks. Union Steward Gregg Wilbur said on the 212th day of the strike that the union members are still of the belief they’re on strike. “People are still doing what they need to do,” Wilbur said. (ludingtondailynews.com)

IBEW strikers suspected in attempted blackout ... In the midst of a severe thunderstorm late Wednesday night, vandals damaged a Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) radio tower and other specialized electrical equipment in Clearfield County. Were it not for the prompt response of company employees working in that area as part of Penelec's workforce continuity plan - implemented May 21 after members of IBEW Local 459 went on strike - this act of vandalism could have resulted in lengthy power outages to customers. A failure alarm for the radio tower was received at the Penelec regional dispatch office in Erie that alerted the company there was a disturbance. The specialized equipment located at the site includes radio-controlled switches that help Penelec dispatchers maintain electric service throughout the region. Once the problem was identified, crews were dispatched and the necessary repairs were made. As a result of the suspected sabotage, Penelec is enhancing its security around company facilities. The Pennsylvania State Police and local authorities are investigating. In addition, the company has notified the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security. (news.prnewswire.com)

Police union official embezzler down ... This week's cover story, "Officer Down," traces the rise and fall of Calvin Hullett, a former Metro PD lieutenant and head of the local police union now serving a 10-month prison term for embezzlement. At the center of the case against Hullett are two surveillance cameras installed at the Andrew Jackson Police Youth Camp, footage of which can be found in the video above. (blogs.nashvillescene.com)

Rep. Corrine Brown placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Corrine Brown, D-FL, a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, (aka Card Check). WHAT: Brown received the following dirty money: Boilermakers Union (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $3,500 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $4,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The American Federation of Government Employees have had eight convictions, The Service Employees International Union has had nine convictions and The Boilermakers have had 10 members convicted, while the IBEW has had 14 members convicted. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL BROWN GIVE IT BACK: Brown did not respond to The Examiner’s request for comment. THE SCORE: Number of Democrats who have given it back: 0 • Number of Republicans who have given it back: 0 • YOUR TURN: You can reach Rep. Brown’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-0123 (washingtonexaminer.com)

Libertyville reader compares Obama, Chávez ... Having watched Barack Obama for the first time in days, it occurred to me that this man could not manage a Citgo station under the national supervision of Hugo Chávez. He has never met a payroll and certainly has no clue about management of a business. His appointees that oversee the treasury, national security, etc. have proven in less than 100 days to be incompetent. Wake up America! It is time to become adults and vote these incompetent people out of office who rely strictly upon appealing to people who never pay taxes to elect them year in and year out. They are nothing but Socialist at best or Communist at worst. They will weaken this country to the point of disaster for your children and your grandchildren. In the next election it is important for you to support the United States and its founding principles so our nation can continue to exist as the greatest in the history of the world in the shortest period of time. That means promote capitalism and the free market. Further, as far as national security is concerned, bullies only understand strength. This administration does not understand that principle. I learned that on the playground at my school when I was a child. My father taught me how to box so I could ward off bullies. It worked like a charm. (dailyherald.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez chides Obama ... President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela has prepared a new gift for his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama. As he spoke on a TV and radio talk show ‘Hello, Mr. President’ Friday, Chavez answered one of its participants who asked him if Obama had read the book ‘The Open Veins of Latin America’ by the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, which Chávez had given him as a present at the summit of the Americas in April. Chávez said he had no information on this but he was thinking of a new present to hand to Obama at the next summit – Vladimir Lenin’s political work ‘What Is To Be Done?’ It was not immediately clear, however, if Chávez, who is building an original version of Latin American socialism in his country, said it seriously or with a pinch of irony. (itar-tass.com)

Communists suspected in foiled political execution ... Two men are in custody awaiting trial in connection with an assassination plot against the founder of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, police said Saturday. The pair were arrested after a pistol and ammunition were smuggled into Hong Kong from mainland China in August and were due to go on trial soon, said the city's police commissioner Tang King-shing. The men are charged with being involved in a plot to kill Martin Lee, 70, the founder of the Democracy Party, which has pushed for universal suffrage in the former British colony. Lee has for two decades been a hated figure for hardline pro-China factions and was given police protection in the unrest that followed the 1989 fatal crackdown on democracy protests centred on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Now retired as leader of the Democracy Party, lawyer Lee was campaigning for pro-democracy colleagues ahead of the Legislative Council elections in September when the arrests took place. (earthtimes.org)

Dan Quayle vindicated in Iran ... Two weeks from today, Iran’s presidential election will determine whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Holocaust-denying, Israel-hating, America-bashing incumbent, remains in office, whether his country continues its drive to become a nuclear power, and whether a state with a key role in Iraq, Afghanistan and other international flashpoints remains hostile to the West. The stakes could scarcely be higher, but it is the lowly potato that has been grabbing attention. The Government is handing out 400,000 tonnes of free spuds in rural towns. It says that it is merely distributing the surplus from a bumper crop, but Mr Ahmadinejad’s opponents accuse it of bribing the poor. “Death to potatoes,” they chant at rallies. (timesonline.co.uk)
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