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Friday, April 08, 2011

News Factoids for March & April 2011

Part 1 of the long-awaited movie version of Ayn Rand's classic Objectivist novel "Atlas Shrugged" is due in theaters on April 15th. Further details on the Ayn Rand Film Festival at Magic Lantern.
The outgoing Democratic governor of Wisconsin left a $100+ million budget surplus for fiscal 2011; the new G.O.P. governor used the G.O.P.-controlled legislature to hand over $180 million to the Wealthy Class in three bills in his first month in office -- sound familiar? Then Gov. Walker reported that the $137 million budget shortfall was caused by greedy union members, and refused to enter contract talks with public sector unions, even cancelling the Memo of Agreement that allowed state employees to continue working without a contract.

The G.O.P. legislature forwarded a bill ending state employee pension funding to the State Senate. After 30,000 or more worker and citizen protesters (plus many supporters from out of state) massed in the state capitol of Madison, the Democratic members of the state Senate went into hiding, eliminating the quorum needed to vote on the new anti-union bill. Gov. Wanker has two obvious options: call out the National Guard or concede defeat.

Wisconsin does not allow recall elections until an official has been in office for a year; Gov. Wanker will be recalled next year, but meanwhile, the election for Supreme Court went Democratic, the turnout April 4th set records, and the signatures accrue steadily for the 4 to 8 recalls of legislators (only 3 seats need be turned Democratic to return to constitutional rule).
As a reaction to the idiocy in Wisconsin and Ohio and elsewhere, a new movement has appeared, the 'We Are One' Movement, whose website is the oddly-spelled The group was formed to honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech, in which he used the phrase 'we are one' to generate support for the sanitation workers' strike in Memphis, Tennessee; but he was assassinated the next day, on 4 April 1968.

On 4 April 2011, the We Are One organization generated 1,000 rallies held across America in support of all unions (especially beleaguered public unions). The timing is handy: The 2012 election will begin soon enough and We Are One is poised to hold their second annual national rally day amidst caucus fever on 4 April 2012. It will be rather like participating in Earth Day Two, decades ago.

2010 third-quarter U.S. corporate profits of $1.6 trillion represented the biggest one-year jump in history.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, construction of new homes {'housing starts') in February 2011 dropped by 22.5 percent from January; the statistic was also down 20.8 percent from the same period a year prior.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends more money on political campaigning than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined, and it spends more money on lobbying than the next five biggest lobbyists combined. == per eco-activist Bill McKibben, March 2011

The all-time high average U.S. gasoline pump price of $4.11 per gallon occured in July 2008; in April 2011, the average U.S. pump price has risen to 3.71 per gallon - for no actual reason and with no end in sight.
Home Depot has changed their policy on the veteran's/military discount: Now the 10% discount on everything at checkout is given only to active duty folks (with ID) and to veteran's with a V.A. card that shows 'service connected'.

Some Congresses deserve their very own name, such as the 80th 'Do Nothing' Congress of 1947-48. The present idiocy of the 112th Congress, with Republican Speaker John Boehner drunk at the helm, should be called the 'Bonehead' Congress.
I am about to celebrate six years living here in rural New Mexico. I am proud to say that I never signed up for trash pickup here, and have recycled 95 percent of all my trash, by driving it to the yard behind Los Lunas City Hall, or even the 40 miles up to Albuquerque, whenever I went up for some other reason (movies, Mensa, Landmark). What I am unable to recycle - avocado peels, egg shells, some packaging - is put in a plastic grocery bag and taken to the trash can where I buy gas for the car, which amounts to a bag smaller than my head every week or two.

Six years times 12 months times $50 per month adds up to $3,600 that did not get paid out of pocket to the Big Green corporation. Many of you can do the same, and should. (However, if you live in an incorporated city, this may not be an option, as most cities and towns who provide trash service either bill each resident or fund from tax receipts).

But then I take it even further: I pick up other people's trash & litter, such as beer & soda cans or bottles in parking lots (tossing'em in the back of my car to avoid D.W.I. problems), or armloads of empty plastic water bottles at the gym, and recycle them, too. With the solar array in my back yard paying me money each month, and being 'Negative To The Landfill' as far as trash (I recycle more than my own stuff), my carbon footprint is almost as tiny as Ed Begley Jr.'s.
Copyright 2011 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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