Astroturf vs. grassroots

It’ll be David taking on Goliath once again tomorrow evening in Annapolis.

On the astroturf side, union protesters, joined by teachers, are expected to be bussed in between 5,000 and 10,000 strong to Lawyers Mall for a rally tomorrow evening. AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka is expected to be the keynote speaker for the two-hour long union march and rally. For them, it’s all about keeping their hold on the goodies because Maryland already is a state under Democratic Party control and even though right-to-work legislation has been introduced it’s not likely to advance to even a committee vote.

The grassroots will be represented across the street by a few dozen who realize that the union’s goodies have started the state down the road to financial ruin and believe the steps taken in Wisconsin are necessary to right the ship. It’s most telling that the unions objected loudest not to the changes in pension and healthcare contributions Wisconsin public sector employees would have to shoulder, but to the new reauthorization schedule and taking away the dues checkoff in paychecks. Follow the money.

Locally, Cathy Keim is spearheading the effort to represent Salisbury at the event, and I plan on going with her to cover and participate. There are two slots left in her vehicle, although if others wish to drive that would certainly help. Cathy can be reached at (443) 880-5912.

Unions have their place in this nation, and I have no animus toward collective bargaining in the private sector. But there is a reason public-sector unions were discouraged until the 1960’s. Moreover, unions overstep their boundaries once they force workers to participate and contribute money to candidates and causes the rank-and-file may not completely support.

Come up to Annapolis and be part of that “irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” Before long, we won’t be the minority anymore!

Friday night videos – episode 61

I have a bunch of political stuff this week, so I’m right back at it.

We’ve been saddled with a moratorium on Gulf drilling ever since the Deepwater Horizon accident almost a year ago. Now other real people are being hurt – those who depend on black gold for their livelihood. Frank McCaffrey of Americans for Limited Government investigates.

On the other hand, government has to provide incentives for “green” projects to commence. But what if the money runs out? Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains.

I can’t stay off the music the whole time. It was the late, great Ronnie James Dio who sang, “if you listen to fools, the mob rules!” Here’s a real-life example.

You may have heard about this video, which rocked National Public Radio and forced a corporate shakeup. Speaking of government-subsidized projects, why do we keep paying for this?

The next two videos depict a day in the life of an Arizona rancher on the Mexican border. I got these from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Imagine living life like that. This poor guy needs help, and securing the borders better would be his best source of assistance.

And yes, I have tunes. This was taped last week on Kim’s iPod as Semiblind rocked the Lagoon here in Salisbury. This is an original called “Take Control.”

So there you have it, done on the fly. By the way, I think I can do Semiblind videos from now until Christmas thanks to Kim!

The lessons of Madison

Over the past few decades, a familiar mantra of those trying to expand government via the avenue of new programs and bureaucracies was the catchphrase, “it’s for the children.” Wisconsin unions may use that claim as well, but many little darlings and their parents were adversely affected by the labor strife in Madison when area school districts closed because teachers called in “sick.” Teachers played the role even to the point of receiving phony doctor’s excuses for stress-induced illnesses onsite.

But before we embark on a discussion of the lessons being taught by these Wisconsin events we need to review our own annals.

(continued at The Patriot Post…)

Friday night videos – episode 59

Another edition of this long-running series is upon us, and the star doesn’t need rehab! Let’s see what we’ve got this time.

The recent CPAC event was a gold mine of video inspiration for conservatives. For example, Human Events interviewed Ann Coulter before she made her remarks.

Not to be outdone, latched onto Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for her take.

And on it went, as both entities catalogued dozens of interviews there.

Since the last time I did this, a number of videos have looked at the battle between TEA Party stalwarts on one side and Big Labor on the other, in Wisconsin and elsewhere. I have four different videos on the subject, beginning with Wisconsin’s protest.

Americans for Limited Government has its take on the Madison protests, then covered the event in Annapolis.

Expanding on the coverage was Renee Giachino and CFIF’s Freedom Minute.

But there’s one more protest which comes from inside the Wisconsin state house.

Sore losers. Wonder what would happen if Maryland Republicans adopted the same style of tactics?

This is different and a humorous take on overbearing nanny state governance from CEI, who is usually good at this sort of thing.

I don’t wear makeup but I sure don’t drink coffee with soy milk either.

Okay, there’s no music video this time because next week will be an all-music edition. So that’s it for this edition of FNV.

Odds and ends number 26

I have a bunch of stuff today which piqued my interest but only needs anywhere from a sentence to a couple paragraphs to take care of. So here goes.

Over the last few days as the Madison protests continue, we’ve had Big Labor flex its muscles in a number of locations around the country. Needless to say I can’t be everywhere at once, and I was working during the Annapolis protest.

However, my blogging cohorts have helped me out. With on-the-spot reports I feature my Potomac TEA Party Report friend Ann Corcoran from Annapolis and the excellent photojournalist who goes by the moniker ‘El Marco’ reporting from his hometown of Denver on his Looking at the Left website.

Corcoran also lets us know that the unions will be back with their Astroturf in Annapolis on March 14, with the intent of making this a bigger and better protest. (By the way, school is scheduled to be in session for Wicomico County students on March 14 so the teachers here risk the last preparation day for grade 3-8 assessment tests if they skip town to attend.)

Turning to national politics, the other day I was talking about the prospects of Ron Paul’s third Presidential bid. Well, the ‘money bomb’ on Monday for the Liberty PAC that Paul leads raised over $750,000 – the ticker inhabits the front page of the Liberty PAC site. Guess he can afford those plane trips now and, if I were a betting man, I’d wager an announcement of his 2012 campaign will occur shortly after (or even during) the Iowa trip.

Finally, let’s talk about a poll or two. This morning Rasmussen released a poll claiming that 67% of Americans don’t support the ‘cut-and-run’ Democrats in Wisconsin (and now, Indiana) – naturally, the only group which approved by a bare plurality (48-44) are those who self-identified as Democrats.

Speaking of those who identify themselves as progressives, I have some exciting news on a new experiment.

I’m working with Progressive Delmarva‘s ‘Two Sentz’ on a joint poll which will appear at both sites later this afternoon; it’s the final polling on the City Council primary race.

While I’ve found that the fundraising results roughly parallel the polling I’ve done insofar as the top contenders are concerned, it’s obvious my readership skews to the right. So in order to perhaps get a clearer picture of the electorate I figured I needed to add some lean to the left. So we’ll see what the results show when the poll ends on Monday.

And then we’ll all see just how accurate we were Tuesday night.

Madison: the shape of things to come

I’ve written for The Patriot Post for a number of years, but they invited me recently to contribute to their commentary page.

Last May we saw violent political riots in Greece and last week a February of discontent began in Madison, Wisconsin. While the issues at the heart of the Wisconsin protest aren’t exactly identical to the austerity measures dictated to the Greek government as a condition of accepting a continent-wide financial bailout, they’re still all about spending money the government doesn’t have.

The Madison protest arose from a GOP bill which would both curtail the negotiable items in labor contracts and bring to heel the ability of public sector unions to continually collect dues by removing “closed shop” provisions for certain employees and mandating annual authorization elections — those provisions strike (no pun intended) at the heart of the Big Labor political machine. To stall the inevitable passage Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate took advantage of a rules loophole and left the state, leaving their Republican counterparts fuming but powerless to take action on the law. Considering these Democrats have been offered sanctuary by religious leaders in adjacent states, they could be gone awhile.

(continued at the Patriot Post…)

Engage the purple shirts (and release the hounds!)

In the wake of the Madison showdown, the Service Employees International Union (affectionately known about these parts as the purple shirts) is holding a number of local rallies to show their support. I don’t think they have the cajones to show up in Salisbury, so they’ll be in friendlier Maryland territory – Annapolis.

The details are as follows (h/t to Ann Corcoran and Potomac TEA Party Report):

Time: 12:00 PM (Tuesday, February 22)
Location: Lawyers’ Mall, Maryland State House
Address: 100 State Circle – Annapolis, MD. 21401

What a way to sully George Washington’s birthday – a real group of freedom fighters would be on Governor Scott Walker’s side, not backing Wisconsin’s ‘cut-and-run’ Democrats. But we know how the SEIU rolls, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see a few of their toadies in the General Assembly sneak out and show their support. (It would be even cooler for GOP members to mount a counterprotest – like these union thugs would vote for Republicans anyway. Our job is playing to the real people of Maryland who believe unions should be kept in check and do what they are supposed to do – organize workers, not play political games.)

As of this moment, the SEIU website shows 26 rallies in 22 states – mainly those where union presence is heaviest. A notable omission from the list is Virginia. Delaware isn’t on the list yet, either; then again, Annapolis isn’t all that far for them.

This would be a great opportunity for those TEA Party activists (well, the ones who aren’t trying to make a living like yours truly) to bring your cameras and verify that these purple shirts act with decorum and respect for opposing views. Yeah, like that will happen – the 1-2″ of snow predicted for Tuesday morning will arrive too soon to cover the mess they’re sure to leave given the track record of lefty protests. It also may give the Anne Arundel County schoolteachers some cover if school is cancelled due to the wintry conditions. (Saves them from calling in ‘sick.’)

In the meantime, I stand with Governor Scott Walker. Maybe we’ll find one of those cut-and-run Democrats hiding in Annapolis at the rally – if so, make sure he or she is returned to Madison, Wisconsin.