Paul Ryan’s Office Calls Cops On Jobless Protesters

From Huffington Post:


Staffers for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called police on Thursday evening to disperse unemployed protesters staging a sit-in at his Kenosha, Wis., office, according to the protesters and police.

Two protesters told HuffPost they’re unhappy with Ryan’s proposals to gut social programs and also his new policy of not holding free public meetings with constituents during the congressional recess.

During the summer of 2009, Ryan hosted some 17 town halls. Admission to Ryan’s one town-hall style event in his district this summer will cost $15, according to the Whitnall Park Rotary Club, which is hosting the Milwaukee-area event on Sept. 6.

“People don’t realize that they have every right to stand up and talk to their congressman,” Shanon Molina, 31, told HuffPost on Friday.

Molina, who lives in Kenosha with her daughter, said she lost her full-time job as an office administrator in 2009. For 18 months she received unemployment benefits and picked up a few shifts as a waitress and bartender. In January, she landed a new job as an office administrator, but at half the hours and half the pay of the previous job, which she said she’d had for 10 years.

“I have a child to support, I have a house to keep up,” Molina said. “I didn’t choose to be in this situation. I’m in an emergency here.”

The unemployment rate is 10 percent, unchanged from a year ago, in nearby Racine — the closest city with numbers available.

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Tar Sands Chance for Revitalized Climate Movement at 11th Hour?

From Common Dreams:

Setting Aside Differences, Seizing the Moral High Ground

by Gary Houser
Published on Friday, August 19, 2011 by

Momentum is now decidedly building for what might well become a breakthrough moment in the climate movement. This movement – attempting to address the transcendent issue which now threatens the very survival of civilization – has been hampered by a disempowering case of disunity. From the very beginning, there has been a divide between those seeking to affect the necessary change from within the system and those who held the belief that the process itself had already become corrupted through the inappropriate influence of the vested interests opposing any change.

There was an effort to move legislation through Congress, the main bills “in play”  channeled by Waxman-Markey in the House and Kerry in the Senate. On this side were  Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection as well as the established groups such as  the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Defense Fund. Grassroots activists watched these bills essentially neutered as the fossil fuel lobby made its power play. They warned that the stakes were far too high to allow the climate issue to become a political football. They argued that the autonomous laws of physics pushing the disruption to a tipping point cannot be delayed to accomodate the “horse-trading” that occurs within the Beltway.

Wherever one might have stood on this question, it is unarguable that the verdict is in.  Any hope of Congress being able to enact a meaningful climate bill has utterly collapsed. Not only has the specific legislation been abandoned, but also the issue itself. Currently, a serious plan to rein in greenhouse gases is not even on the agenda.

Given such paralysis, the path to such control must be found elsewhere. Enter the issue of a proposed pipeline to carry massive amounts of tar sands crude oil from Canada into the U.S.  This decision is not in the hands of Congress.  As the pipeline would cross an international border, the decision is entirely up to Obama as president.  As what is shaping up to be the largest scale civil disobedience on climate in U.S. history gains momentum (over 2000 people already signed up), a truly unique opportunity has emerged to place past differences aside and seize the moment to create the kind of empowered movement so totally necessary to prevent catastrophe.

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The Erosion of Roe and Why You Should Give a Sh*t

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Major Backlash at Right-Wing Ohio Governor Has Him Scrambling for ‘Compromise’ With Progressives

From Alternet:

Recall victories in Wisconsin and plummeting approval ratings have John Kasich scared–and now he wants to make a deal with labor and progressive groups.

By Sarah Jaffe 
August 19, 2011

It turns out that wholesale attacks on workers’ rights aren’t nearly as popular in a rough economy as conservative governors thought.

The latest one to realize he’s overstepped his bounds and offer “compromise”? Ohio governor John Kasich.

Kasich, elected in 2010 with just 49 percent of the vote, pushed through an attack on public workers similar to the one Wisconsin’s Scott Walker championed. Senate Bill 5 (SB5) was passed and signed into law in March, and eliminated most collective bargaining for state workers, as well as increased the amount of money they had to pay for their pensions and made it harder for unions to collect dues.

It spawned mass protests that might have been overshadowed in the public imagination by the sheer size of the Madison resistance. But progressives sat up and took notice when Ohio activists, led by the coalition group We Are Ohio, collected 1.3 million signatures on a petition to allow Ohioans to vote on the bill themselves, putting it on the ballot in November’s election. Ohio’s “Citizen Veto” is an unusual law; it gave activists 90 days to collect a minimum of 231,149 signatures to stop the bill going into effect until the voters have a chance to decide. The results were so outstanding—more than five times the required number of signatures–that the group and 6,000 supporters held a parade through the city of Columbus to deliver the signatures to the secretary of state’s office.

With all the momentum on the side of the workers, and with his poll numbers swiftly dropping, Kasich has decided it’s time to compromise. “It’s really hypocritical of the guy,” Ohio State Representative Mike Foley, D-Cleveland, told me, “He’s the one who said ‘If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run over you with the bus,‘ and now he says ‘I believe in talking.’ Well, he doesn’t believe in talking at all, he believes in my way or the highway.”

Now that it looks like labor and progressive groups might be in charge of the bus, Kasich sent a letter to We Are Ohio Wednesday and held a press conference, calling for union leaders and others opposed to the bill to meet him Friday to discuss compromise. The group formally rejected any deal with the governor, refusing to meet with him until the bill has been repealed. August 30 would be the last day that such a move, which would require calling the legislature back into session, would be possible before the deadline to pull the issue from the ballot.

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Thom Hartmann – Fox News Doesn’t Know Jack about Economics or Food Stamps

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Tr-Ash Talk: State of Failure (Coal Ash)

From Earth Justice:

Raviya Ismail
17 August 2011

Twelve states lack any regulation of coal ash toxic waste

Yes, we’re still waiting. And while we wait for comprehensive federal standards that regulate toxic coal ash, we have some more bad news about the state of states’ coal ash disposal.

We joined with Appalachian Mountain Advocates to release a report detailing the lack of state-based regulations for coal ash disposal and the 12 worst states when it comes to coal ash dumping: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Among the conclusions:

  • Alabama coal ash ponds are completely unregulated at the state level, yet more than 5 million tons of ash from the Kingston TVA spill were shipped in for disposal.
  • Georgia’s aging ponds rarely undergo regulatory inspections, although 13 of 29 ponds are at least 40 years old.
  • Illinois ranks first in the number of coal ash ponds with 83. Only about a third of the ponds are lined or monitored.
  • Indiana has more operating coal ash ponds (71) than any other state, but its lax oversight resulted in eight contaminated sites and numerous pond spills.

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