The Roundup for April 1, 2011
Posting will probably be light over the weekend. See if you can spot the April Fool’s Day joke below!
• The Gadhafi regime has apparently been talking with Western leaders, I assume to set up a cease-fire. Meanwhile, this reports of civilian deaths in a coalition airstrike is getting credible media play. Also, some high-profile thumbs down on arming the rebels, who are slowly rounding into fighting shape on their own.
• The House passed an FAA authorization bill which rolls back some safety regulations, and which includes an anti-union provision that has drawn a veto threat. Democrats almost got that anti-union provision stripped out, getting 16 Republicans to vote with them on the amendment. The Senate has already passed this bill, so this could get cleared up in conference. The House also passed their stupid, useless “I don’t know the Constitution” bill today that makes a bill passed by one chamber of Congress “the law.”
• It’s not the job growth that’s worrying, it’s the quality of the jobs, which aren’t too good. This is why CEO pay is growing 13 times faster than worker pay. And in addition, you have this nagging long-term unemployment problem, and states cutting back on unemployment benefits at the same time.
• Jeffrey Immelt is feeling the heat.
• At least one provision in place from the Affordable Care Act is popular. So popular, in fact, that it’s going broke: the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will have used up all its funding by the end of the month.
• End of the line for Laurent Gbagbo? I’m just hoping for the bare minimum of civilian deaths.
• The labor uprising hits New England: 5,000 protest in New Hampshire against an anti-union bill (in a state of just 1.3 million); and Maine Senate Republicans are stepping out to publicly criticize their tea party Governor, Paul LePage.
• The nuclear power plant workers at Fukushima Daiichi fully expect to die from radiation poisoning. And there are 300 of them working in shifts of 50, incidentally.
• Another bank bailout in Ireland. Incredible.
• Amidst all the terrible news from Afghanistan today, George W. Bush popped up to tell the nation not to leave there too early. He has credibility on this issue why, now?
• Jerry Brown puts forward his own pension reform plan which would mainly stop “spiking,” where state workers goose their salaries in the final year of their contract because their pension gets determined based on that. There are also some worse potential items in there. How many Republican votes will this get Brown? Is there a number less than zero?
• A better development in California is the bipartisan push for the National Popular Vote. The NPV would allow states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the overall popular vote in the country. This would take effect when enough states totaling 270 electoral votes pass the same bill. States with 74 EVs have already signed it into law; California has 55 on its own.
• The Republican balanced budget amendment also has a 2/3 requirement for taxes, so if you think California represents a sound model of governance, you’ll love it.
• Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal is on track for the fall and going smoothly among the ranks, according to the Pentagon.
• Surprised to see African leaders pressuring Robert Mugabe. Pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.
• The University of Wisconsin’s response to the open records request against William Cronon is fantastic.
• By 2015, all vehicles purchased for the executive fleet will be electric, hybrid, or running on alternative fuels.
• Eisenhower looks better and better with age.
• I don’t know where I’ll get my Disney Reward Dollars from now.
• One of the major players in the military junta in Argentina, responsible for many of the disappeared, has been arrested.
• The worst neighbor in the world: He helicopters to work every morning, waking up the whole neighborhood.
(Answer: the joke is that there actually wasn’t one!)