Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicago's Roosevelt University offers "Occupy Everywhere" course

Roosevelt's Loop campus, October 10, 2010
One of my teachers at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois, Donald Steinhardt, once confided in class that he almost wasn't hired there because his alma mater, Roosevelt University, "was a little pink," in the words of a school board member. Pink as in pinko, meaning communist.

Well it was a lot pink--and apparently it still is. Although I'm glad Consolidated School District 230 offered him the job--he was one of the best teachers I had.

The Chicago Loop campus of Roosevelt, home of "Progressive Learning," which ironically is across the street from the spot in Grant Park where Occupy Chicago failed to set up a tent city, will be offering an Occupy class this semester.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Thirty-two undergrads are enrolled this semester in "Occupy Everywhere," a three credit political science course offered at Roosevelt University that takes a look at the movement and the issue of social inequality in the United States.

"I study social movements and this was something unfolding right in front of us," said Jeff Edwards, who is teaching the class. "We can take advantage of being in Chicago."

Last fall, Edwards watched Occupy Chicago's General Assembly gather outside his classroom to meet in Grant Park. The idea for the course was born, though he first wanted to make sure the movement had some staying power.

Students will read the Occupy Gazette, the movement's newspaper, and attend General Assembly meetings. Occupy Chicago leaders may present guest lectures.
New York University (NYU) is also offering an Occupy course. And for a brief spell, Columbia University was planning an Occupy movement class but administrators evicted the idea. The Ivy League school isn't as progressive as Roosevelt or NYU, I guess.

The Roosevelt course ends just before the G8/NATO summits in Chicago. The Sun-Times says students aren't required to join the leftist movement, but two admitted occupiers have signed up for Occupy Everywhere.

I can't think of a goofier way to waste student loan money. The higher education bubble continues to be strained.

Oh, Professor Edwards: I'd like to be one of your guest lecturers. If he's still alive, Donald Steinhardt will vouch for me. Among the topics in his class at Sandburg was--and I'm not making this up--Theater of the Absurd.

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NAT GAS Act naturally bad

Americans for Prosperity argues, rightly in my opinion, that Congress needs to focus on simplifying our tax code, not picking winners and losers. Last spring a Republican and a Democratic member of the House introduced H.R. 1380, the NAT GAS Act. It proposes the expansion of tax breaks--and creating some new ones--for the sale, production, and the conversion of natural gas-powered vehicles.

We're not talking nickles and dimes. According to the Heritage Foundation, among those breaks are a $64,000 tax credit for each natural gas-powered truck and $100,000 for each fueling station.

AFP composed an open letter to Congress about this boondoggle, which you can read here.

Who could be a major beneficiary of this crony capitalism valentine?

Leftist gazillionaire George Soros is one, and another ├╝ber-rich guy, T. Boone Pickens, who was blowing wind power down our throats four years ago, is another.

UPDATE February 2: John Sullivan is the Republican who introduced the NAT GAS Act, and he is the recipient of a $4,800 campaign contribution from Pickens.

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Romney projected winner in Florida Primary

Kennedy Space Center
Fox News is projecting that Mitt Romney will win the Florida Primary--the former Massachusetts wins all 50 of the Sunshine State's 50 delegates.

Newt Gingrich is expected to finish second, with Rick Santorum taking third, and Ron Paul in last among the active candidates.

Florida's Republican Primary is a closed race--Democrats and independents cannot cast a ballot.

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NLRB overreach: Usurping edition

Stone City, Iowa
Did President Obama usurp powers from the Senate with his so-called recess appointments? Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) thinks so.

From the Daily Caller:
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley accused President Obama of dictatorial behavior in a floor statement Thursday, saying that his recess appointments were not the first acts he has taken to circumvent the constitutional system of checks and balances.

"President Obama's decision to bypass the constitutional advice and consent of the Senate is not an isolated incident," Grassley said, according to prepared remarks. "It is merely the latest escalation in a pattern of contempt for the elected representatives of the American people and the constitutional separation of powers."

Obama appointed Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while the Senate was in recess, after the Senate indicated that they would not confirm his nomination.

Grassley accused the president of "usurping legislative powers" by overriding and working around Congress when possible. This, Grassley argues, is in violation of the Constitution.
It's hard to believe, but Michigan is considering right-to-work legislation. However, however, of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, only the Great Lake State lost population in the last decade.

From the Detroit Free Press:
Another skirmish is expected today at the Capitol in an intensifying battle between the forces of management and labor in Michigan.

But as a Republican-controlled House committee prepares to pass four bills to weaken unions, many on both sides await a fight seen as the main event -- legislation to establish right to work in Michigan.

The push for a right to work law -- under which no one could be required to financially support a union as a condition of employment -- gained momentum this month when a similar measure won partial approval in Indiana. The Hoosier state is expected to become the first industrial Midwest state to approve such a bill, which awaits final approval of the Senate and Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Ahd what about Indiana?

ABC 7 Chicago:
An Indiana Senate committee has passed a right-to-work bill, and Governor Mitch Daniels says he is ready to sign the bill once it clears the full senate.

The bill is expected to clear the senate on Wednesday.

The right-to-work bill is controversial. Protesters were on hand at Indiana's state capitol for Monday's committee vote.

Indiana could be a right-to-work state as early as Wednesday. 22 states are already right-to-work states.
Which brings me to Illinois. From the Washington Examiner:
Folks in Springfield, Ill., witnessed a bizarre scene two years ago. Thousands protested outside the Capitol, chanting: "Raise my taxes! Raise my taxes! Raise my taxes!"
Springfield, Illinois
Who protests for higher taxes?

Government unions do. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees helped organize the rally.

This is the new face of the union movement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this past Friday that union rates fell again last year. Fewer than one of every eight Americans now belong to unions.
The National Mediation Board bar is open!


Unions Say Workers' Rights Curtailed Under FAA Funding Deal


Union: ‘We Can Live Within’ Labor Rules In FAA Funding Compromise

Transportation Union Blesses Deal On FAA

More on the Employee Rights Act from the Washington Times:
When Congress approved the National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act) in 1935, it reformed and updated federal labor law to reflect the harsh realities of the American workplace at the mid-point of the Great Depression. Thanks to the Wagner Act, the labor movement was so strengthened that when union membership in the private sector of the economy reached its apogee in 1953, great industries like steel, railroads, autos and mining were dominated by Big Labor. But even then, barely more than a third of all private sector workers were union members. By the time the 21st century dawned, fewer than 10 percent of private sector workers belonged to unions.

It's been a different story in the public sector, which has been fertile ground for powerhouse unions, including the American Federation of Government Employees, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Today, these Big Labor giants represent nearly 40 percent of all public employees and make up more than half of all unionized workers in the country. Being unionized puts these public employees in adversarial relationships with the taxpayers who fund their paychecks.

Only 23 states have right-to-work laws that protect workers who choose not to join unions, and federal employees are not even covered by these laws. The result is effectively a union shop for most public workplaces. But before unions win over a majority of government workers, Congress should quickly pass new legislation to update federal labor laws and regulations, much as the Wagner Act did in 1935. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., have introduced just such a bill, the Employee Rights Act of 2012.
Workforce Fairness Institute: WFI Issues Comment Concerning Department Of Agriculture Labor Law Violations Rule Change

LaborUnionReport: #OccupyAFL-CIO? #OccupyDC Loads Up, Heads For AFL-CIO's HQ

OpenMarket: Michigan SEIU Scam the Product of Government Collective Bargaining

FreedomWorks: FreedomWorks, Dick Armey, Jim DeMint to Participate in Spartanburg Rally for School Choice on February 2nd

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From the SRCC: Reminder about Obama and his promise on the deficit

Yes, Candidate Obama promised to cut the deficit in half in four years.

From the Senate Republican Communications Center:
President Obama Once Pledged To Cut The Deficit In Half By The End Of His First Term

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “And that's why today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At The Fiscal Responsibility Summit, Washington, D.C., 2/23/09)

REALITY: ‘CBO Projects A $1.1 Trillion Federal Budget Deficit’ For 2012

“CBO projects a $1.1 trillion federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2012 if current laws remain unchanged.” (“The Budget And Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 To 2022,” Congressional Budget Office, 1/31/12)

“If the CBO estimate is correct, it would mean that the United States recorded a deficit of more than $1 trillion for every year of Obama’s first term. The deficit was $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010 and $1.3 trillion in 2011. The largest deficit recorded before that was $458 billion in 2008.” (“CBO Projects $1.08T Deficit, Higher Unemployment,” The Hill, 1/31/12)
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