Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in December, 2010

Chapter 7, Cool Our Fever from Thom Hartmann’s Rebooting The American Dream.  In this chapter Thom examines the American relationship with oil and other natural resources.  In particular, different ways to reduce the “strategic value” of oil to the U.S. economy.  What makes this a great read is the real world solutions presented, such as the way a cloud covered Germany has become the world’s #1 producer and user of solar energy.

In 1999 progressives in Germany passed the 100,000 Roof Program (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz),8 which mandated that banks had to provide low-interest 10-year loans to homeowners sufficient for them to put solar panels on their houses. They then passed the Renewable Energies Law (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) and in 2004 integrated the 100,000 Roofs Program into it.9 The Renewable Energies Law mandated that for the next 10 years the power company had to buy back power from those homeowners at a level substantially above the going rate so the homeowners’ income from the solar panel would equal their loan payment on the panel and would also represent the actual cost to the power company to generate that amount of power had it built a new nuclear reactor.

At the end of the 10 years, the power company gets to buy solar power from its customers at its regular rate, and it now has a new source of power without having to pay to maintain (and eventually dismantle) a nuclear reactor. In fact, while the reactor would have had a 20- to 30-year lifespan, the solar panels typically have a lifespan of 50 years.

Enjoy the rest of the chapter

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is tackling the issue of Credit Checks role in hiring decisions.  The EEOC charged that the use of credit checks violates applicants civil rights and is not a business necessity.

It’s about time.  This is one of many bogus “criteria” used by some employers.  They like to argue that these are needed as a way to weed out those that may want to steal from the companies treasury.  That may be true for the CFO and positions that actually have access to the company funds but for everyone else this is not relevant.  Hopefully, this practice can be eliminated and save both union and non-union workers this invasion of their privacy!

Happy Holidays to all those that visit this website.  It has been said that “the two most valuable things you can give are your love and your labor”.  This video celebrates both, even though the context for “labor” is slightly different than the quote.  I hope you enjoy this video of the song Labor of Love by Andrew Peterson.  All the best to you and yours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjYi4tYvXU

This weeks chapter from Thom Hartmanns’ latest book – Rebooting The American Dream.  Here is an excerpt followed by the link.

Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding (more on this in chapter 10), this is definitely not what the Founders of this nation or the Framers of the Constitution had in mind. Numerous legislative solutions to corporations’ corrupting politicians with money or influence have been offered over the years, from the Tillman Act of 1907 to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as McCain-Feingold. All have been weakened or even struck down, in whole or in part, by the Supreme Court in its defense of the free-speech rights of very wealthy individuals and corporations.

So how is it that lobbying is widespread in the developing world (where it’s often referred to as “bribery”) but rare in developed countries—except for the United States? The answer has much to do with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the “rights” of corporations and its interpretation of our First Amendment, which forbids the government from limiting “free speech,” particularly interpreted to mean political free speech.

 

http://www.truth-out.org/make-members-congress-wear-nascar-patches66103

This is a huge relief for the more than 1.4 million long-term job seekers who already have lost their emergency unemployment benefits. But this deal comes at a terrible price: It rewards obstructionists with huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

To get their way, Senate Republicans terrorized millions of jobless workers—making them live in fear for months as cold weather and the holidays approached. Some of our jobless brothers and sisters lost the ability to warm their homes or put food on the table and gas in the car. Some working families even lost their homes to the Big Banks that caused our economic meltdown—all so Senate Republicans could get tax breaks for the rich. These tax cuts throw away precious resources needed for investments in jobs and will do very little to propel economic growth.

Senate Republicans have shown themselves to be morally bankrupt hypocrites. They capitalized on the hardships of our country’s most vulnerable people to extract tax cuts for their rich friends, like the top executives of Goldman Sachs. Just yesterday, they reported they’d be splitting $111 million in bonuses this January. They’ll save millions on their taxes—money that should go toward fixing the mess they helped create.

And we know this is not the end. Soon, the same lawmakers who fought to get tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires will be coming after your Social Security and Medicare. Count on it. They’ll say we need to have “shared sacrifice”—but they won’t ask Wall Street and moneyed interests to share in the sacrifice required to clean up the mess they created. Instead, they’ll come after working people.

If it wasn’t clear already, it’s clear now: We’re going to have quite a fight on our hands between now and 2012. We’ll need your help to preserve vital middle-class programs—and to beat back these deficit hypocrites at every turn.

Here’s what I’m asking you to do. Sign up for the front lines by pulling out your mobile phone right now. Send a text message with the word DEAL to 225568—we’ll send urgent alerts to your mobile phone when deficit hypocrites try to defraud the middle class by launching attacks on our Social Security, Medicare and more in 2011.

We must vigorously oppose solving our country’s long-term financial problems on the backs of working people. If the America we all love is going to survive this century—or even this decade—we’ve got to find a way to restore balance in our politics and our economy.

How do we use our power to escape caving in to Wall Street and moneyed interests? And how do we create the millions of jobs we need now and move toward a future of broadly shared prosperity? I don’t have all the answers today. But I do know we can’t keep doing what we’re doing now. I know we have to fight harder and louder and more creatively—and I know we can only win together.

Please pull out your mobile phone and text the word DEAL to 225568. We’ll keep you updated on our fight to stop deficit hypocrites from stealing our hard-earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Two years ago, working Americans had high hopes we would ultimately emerge from the deep, punishing financial debacle with a sharp focus on a fundamentally stronger, fairer and more balanced economy. We can’t throw in the towel and give up now. Too much is at stake. We’ve got to redouble our efforts and fight harder than ever to move forward for working people. And we need you standing with us.

In solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

continue reading…

Interesting timing for Chapter 5, Medicare Part E - for Everybody from Thom Hartann’s new book REBOOTING THE AMERICAN DREAM.   Interesting due to the fact that a Virginia judge just announced his decision that the individual mandate provision of the Affordability Act of 2009 is unconstitutional.  While this decision is of dubious legal value, it does bring health care reform back to the forefront of political discussion.  This chapter explains the intent for Medicare to eventually cover all Americans and why this system would be better than both our current system and the “exchange” offered as part of the Affordibility Act.

The Labor Tribune recently ran a story originally seen in the Washington Missourian.  It covers the story of a Union family that discovered their roots in Franklin County ran deeper than they knew.  This was brought to light when an old grave marker was toppled .  This grave marker was in need of extensive repair and was actually made of metal.  It would have been too expensive to repair but the offer to help from Sheetmetal Workers Local 36 in St. Louis saved the day!

A great story and you may even know some of the area residents involved.

You can keep in touch with the St. Louis labor scene by subscribing or visiting the Labor Tribune at www.labortribune.com

Our friends at LEO have notified us that there will be a public hearing with the Franklin County Commission, December 14th at 6pm at East Central College:

Collectively we own our national waterways and we should all comment on this decision. Franklin County MO is considering changing zoning codes to allow coal ash dumping and may allow Ameren Missouri to build a huge landfill right in the vulnerable floodplain of the Missouri River, upstream from intakes for St. Louis. We are asking our County to wait until EPA rules and to appoint an Expert & Community Interests Advisory Committee to write protective zoning laws on all landfills. We would like the Advisory Committee to provide input to the 3 County Commissioners before any decision is made.

Franklin County is inundated w/ streams and is home to a stretch of Missouri River that provides drinking water for millions and habitat for endangered species. Our message Tues night will be to consider the risks and be responsible. We hope you can assist by informing others, making comments to the Commission and potentially being there that evening to fill the room. For more information on what has transpired on this issue and our proposed solution, go to www.leomo.info and the website Blog from the Bottoms.

We encourage everyone who is able to attend.

An Informed and Educated Electorate, Chapter Four of Thom Hartmanns’ Rebooting The American Dream.

http://www.truth-out.org/thom-hartmann-chapter-4-an-informed-and-educated-electorate65685

After Reagan blew up the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, two very interesting things happened. The first was the rise of rightwing hate-speech talk radio, starting with Rush Limbaugh that very year. The second, which really stepped up fast after President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which further deregulated the broadcast industry, was that the moneylosing news divisions of the Big Three TV networks were taken under the wings of their entertainment divisions—and wrung dry. Foreign bureaus were closed. Reporters were fired. Stories that promoted the wonders of advertisers or other companies (like movie production houses) owned by the same mega-corporations that owned the networks began to appear. And investigative journalism that cast a bright light on corporate malfeasance vanished.

The Missouri Democratic Party announced today that State Auditor Susan Montee was selected to be the new Chair of the Missouri Democratic State Committee by acclamation.

After her selection, newly-elected Chair Susan Montee released the following statement:

I look forward to working with Democrats in all corners of Missouri as we strengthen the Missouri Democratic Party. I know that 2010 was a challenging election cycle for Democrats in our state, and now, more than ever, we need to unify as we work towards a successful election in 2012. We have strong leaders like Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill who look out for the best interest of our state, and I will work tirelessly to ensure they have the support they need to continue representing Missourians.

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