Tuesday Mashup (9/28/10)

  • 1) The Bucks County Courier Time informed us of the following yesterday (here)…

    Pennsylvania should be considering right to work legislation to make the state more competitive in the current economic climate, said Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley.

    The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Cawley has expressed that point of view while campaigning in parts of Pennsylvania. He can be seen in an online video at the Altoona First Festival in Blair County with a tea party member who asks his position on the Right to Work Act.

    “The last thing we need to do is put more impediments and demands on the expenses we face,” Cawley says in the video, which can be viewed on YouTube.com. “Right to work legislation is something that its time has come.”

    Water wet, sky blue, teabaggers are really Republicans in search of a political convention and/or an angry mob (assuming they don’t constitute one themselves) – this is a recording, I know.

    This Wikipedia article gives us at least two reasons why the “right to work” movement is yet another triumph of right-wing propaganda: 1) In 2003 the rate of workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers was highest in right-to-work states, and 2) Opponents argue right-to-work laws create a “free-rider” problem, in which non-union employees (who are bound by the terms of the union contract even though they are not members of the union) benefit from collective bargaining without paying union dues – to say nothing of the fact that the “right to work” movement is sponsored by right-wing groups anyway, of course.

    Meanwhile, Cawley’s fellow supervisor Diane Marseglia does the right thing again (here)…

    As Bucks County officials prepare to solicit bids to build a new courthouse, Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia is making another push for an agreement that would require contractors on the project to follow union rules and policies.

    The project labor agreement Marseglia wants has been a source of controversy since the early discussion about the Justice Center project took place in 2004.

    The board of commissioners’ Republican majority say they have explored and rejected the possibility of using a PLA or similar requirements, and Commissioners Charley Martin and Jim Cawley said they won’t support one now.

    Even if the political support existed for a PLA on the Justice Center, putting it in place now would delay the project by months, Bucks County Purchasing Director Maureen McIlvaine said.

    “When other people have done this, it has taken months and months and months to hammer out the details of the labor agreement,” McIlvaine said.

    As Blue Mass Group tells us here, however…

    A Project Labor Agreement is a trade-off between the project owner…and the people building the project. Basically, the (county) agrees to hire all workers on the project through specified union halls, and non-union workers have to pay union dues while on the project. In exchange, the (county) gets a guarantee of labor peace – no strikes, slowdowns, etc. – and also sets wages for the life of the project so that it won’t be hit with unanticipated wage increases.

    What this does not mean is that non-union contractors are prohibited from bidding on these projects. It may mean that, in practice, they are unlikely to win them. But they can still bid. Even the PLA-hating Beacon Hill Institute describes the situation this way (PDF, p. 7):

    …open-shop contractors contend that their competitive advantages are nullified by the PLA. The result is that in practice, if not in principle, they are unable to bid competitively on jobs that have a PLA requirement.

    Furthermore, the Supreme Judicial Court held a decade ago that PLAs are acceptable only in certain kinds of construction projects.

    We do not articulate a bright-line, litmus-test standard for determining when the use of a PLA is appropriate. Nor do we conclude that a PLA will be justified in all, or even most, circumstances. A project must be of substantial size, duration, timing, and complexity, and the interplay between all four of these factors must be considered. It may be that, in certain cases, the sheer size of a project warrants the adoption of a PLA.

    I know I’m just a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but if I were in charge of the construction of the Justice Center, I would implement a PLA to control costs and make sure everyone working on the project had comparable skill sets to ensure the quality of the work.

    (Again, as much as I don’t want to see Tom Corbett win in November, part of me wouldn’t mind in the least seeing Jim Cawley leave this county for a minimum of four years.)

  • 2) Next, I give you the following from The Weakly Standard (here – on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon…more wingnut harrumphing over the recollections of Kennedy confidant Ted Sorensen – typical of conservatives; too much trouble to just leave the man alone at this point I guess)…

    While maintaining his standard posture that John F. Kennedy was a man of uncommon intelligence, charm, grace, wisdom, and magnetism, he is more contemptuous of Richard Nixon this time than abusive. Indeed, all goes relatively well until the last two sentences:

    Though it seemed at the time to be a battle between two opposing worldviews, the truth is that the two candidates did not vastly differ in that first debate. And while Kennedy would probably find a home in today’s Democratic Party, it is unlikely that Nixon would receive a warm welcome among the Tea Party.

    Oh? The Richard Nixon of 1960 may or may not get a friendly reception from the Tea Party of 2010—however that is defined—but is Sorensen serious when he suggests that the John Kennedy of 1960 “would probably find a home” in the party of Eric Holder, DailyKos, Keith Olbermann, MoveOn.org, Barbara Boxer, and Alan Grayson?

    What Ted Sorensen’s boss would have thought of gay marriage, cap-and-trade, racial quotas, Bill Ayers, and nationalizing General Motors, we can only speculate.

    Oh, I think we can do a little bit more than that on at least one issue (there’s enough red meat in what Philip Terzian says for a few more blog posts I guess, but this will have to do for now).

    I’ll let those in charge of the Nixon legacy defend Tricky Dick (my guess is that, since Nixon invented the “Southern strategy” that gave political clout to the life forms who largely comprise the teabaggers, I think he would be better received than anybody thinks), but as far as JFK is concerned, I have a feeling that he would have indeed defended legislation to reduce carbon emissions in pursuit of both saving the planet and ultimately ending our addiction to oil.

    And I say that because of quotes such as this (from here)…

    All this is not unrelated to world peace. “When a man’s ways please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter human rights – – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation – – the right to breathe air as nature provided it – – the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

    And the .pdf from here contains the following words from our 35th president (at the Institute for Conservation Studies in Milford, PA on September 24, 1963, in a tribute to conservationist Gifford Pinchot)…

    I begin today a journey to save America’s natural heritage – a journey to protect the past and preserve the future.

    Today’s conservation movement must therefore embrace disciplines scarcely known to its prophets of the past. It must marshal our vast technological capacity on behalf of our vast resource supplies.

    The American people are not by nature selfish and wasteful. They are not unappreciative of the heritage of the past and their obligation to the future. But without guidance and information, without leadership and inspiration, without the qualities provided by Pinchot in his day which this Institute can provide in our time, mistakes will be made – mistakes which can never be undone.

    Fortunately there is evidence that this nation, once alerted, can take constructive actions – actions for which our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be ever more grateful than we.

    The dispute is no longer one of principles or goals – it is now merely a question of pace and means. And no one maintains that the obligation to use our resources efficiently and thoughtfully depends solely on the Federal Government. Nor is conservation merely the job of the park ranger or the forest ranger, the soil conservationist or the game warden. Conservation is the job of us all.

    …the role played by the Federal Government is a key one. Its attitude, effort, legislation and example all influence the national pattern.

    But in the field of resources, opportunities delayed are frequently opportunities lost – and those that are not lost are clearly more costly to achieve.

    This Nation is now rising to the challenge of exploring the vast universe of space. That is as it should be – for we cannot afford to ignore that challenge. But neither can we afford to neglect the universe here below.

    …”a Nation whose national resources are destroyed must inevitably pay the penalty of poverty, degradation and decay…Conservation…is the key to the future.”

    Yeah, speaking only for myself, I think Kennedy would have been “all over” cap and trade legislation; more than that, I can just imagine how rightly stinging his rhetoric would be over our inaction to date.

  • Update 10/31/10: And I’m sure this makes Terzian’s day.

  • 3) Finally, we found out from that Franklin and Marshall poll last week that Mike Fitzpatrick was supposedly leading Patrick Murphy by 10 points in the PA-08 contest (here).

    Well, this tells us that Murphy has a slight lead over Mikey in this recently-commissioned poll (which is pretty much what we figured anyway…that this contest would go down to the wire, I mean).

    And to help our incumbent congressman, click here.

    (And speaking of Mikey…)

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