Moshe Z. Marvit spots the organizations behind "right-to-work" laws plotting to get those laws passed at the municipal and county levels. "Right-to-work" laws essentially allow workers to enjoy union representation without paying dues, which does little except starve unions -- it doesn't lower wages, or right-wingers would have said so, and if it doesn't lower wages, as Mr. Marvit notes, it's hard to argue that it "lures businesses." Trouble for right-to-work proponents is that Taft-Hartley's allowance of right-to-work laws in a "State or Territory," and "territory" means "territory," not "city" or "state." But it only takes one judge to say differently.
Community broadband fans, take note: the government of Chanute, KS, population 9,119, has decided to offer its gigabit fiber-optic service to homes and businesses, and AT&T is throwing a tantrum about it. AT&T is trying to block Chanute's service at the state level, and when you note that Chanute's service costs a mere $5 more monthly than AT&T's DSL service that is not even one one-hundredth as fast, you can sorta see why. Chanute's utilities director seems fairly more optimistic that he'll get the OK from the state to raise bonds. I'm not -- unless Sam Brownback decides to let his foot up off the throat of Kansas now that he's got his second term.
Citizens for Tax Justice finds the House one-year corporate welfare extension bill only a little less nauseating than their planned 10-year extension. Note well: "Often a lawmaker or a special interest group will argue that the tax extender legislation should be enacted because it includes some provision that seems well-intentioned but makes up only a tiny fraction of the cost of the overall package of tax breaks." Is a $40 tax break for teachers who buy school supplies (or even the wind power tax credit or mortgage debt forgiveness exception) really worth tens of billions of dollars in corporate handouts? Given that no law of physics prevents Congress from passing worthwhile tax credits on their own, I call that a hostage situation.
Know that Red Cross claim that they spend 91 cents out of every donated dollar actually helping people? Well, not exactly -- over the last few years they've spent as much as a quarter of their donations on administrative overhead including fundraising, which meets the recommendation issued by the Better Business Bureau. But that might also be bunkum, since some 70% of Red Cross spending relates to its blood business -- where the Red Cross takes donated blood and sells it to hospitals and health care facilities. And you thought you were donating it!
Finally, we have yet another casualty of the rush to get the government funded: House leadership strips the Massie-Sensenbrenner-Lofgren defense appropriations bill amendment -- which would have curtailed NSA "backdoor" searches on American data, and which passed the House by an almost 3-1 margin back in June -- out of the end-of-year omnibus spending bill. The House leadership, selling out actual bipartisan, popular, and needed legislation in the name of "getting something done"? Why, that is the MOST! SURPRISING! THING! I! Have EVER! HEARD!