This little tidbit I uncovered either shatters the grand Colorado Democracy Alliance (CoDA) conspiracy theory or proves it to be even more convoluted and diabolical than previously imagined. But court documents show two of the Alliance’s core groups — sue-happy Colorado Ethics Watch (CEW) and the Colorado Education Association (CEA), the state’s largest teachers union — on opposite ends of a state supreme court case regarding elections law.
Back in 2008 CEW filed suit against a couple of Republican 527 groups (Senate Majority Fund LLC and Colorado Leadership Fund LLC) claiming that they had overstepped the bounds of campaign finance law by participating in “express advocacy” of state legislative candidates. The administrative law judge ruled against the plaintiffs, and CEW lost on appeal as well. Now the case is headed to the state’s highest court.
CEW’s argument is so absurd based on legal precedent that, well, even CEA has filed an amicus brief defending the Republican groups (so has the Colorado Bar Association, but it’s not as intriguing as the teachers union chiming in). CEA attorney Mark Grueskin summarizes the argument before the Colorado Supreme Court as follows: (more…)
You can help Big Govt Gary do some serious slimming down. We’re talking about a very serious weight problem. Social Security pounds? Medicare bloat? Pentagon paunch? Check out this clever new video to get started:
Efforts to organize constituent groups to contact and lobby their elected officials have grown more sophisticated in recent years. Many of us like the ease of the online petition that automatically directs messages to our representatives based on our input location data — though I frequently prefer to tailor the pre-fab messages with my own words.
I can’t be the only one who has subjected myself to an onslaught of email messages urging me to call my Congressman or state senator over the latest hideously outrageous or earth-saving piece of legislation. A result of the sheer volume of these messages, combined with limited resources and competing priorities, my eyes long since have glazed over most of them. Have I become too cynical? Perhaps.
Why was [Maryland Sen. David Brinkley] getting so many calls? The Maryland State Education Association hired a company to call teachers from throughout the state, and then connect them with their senators.
Unfortunately, there was just one small problem with the approach:
Brinkley, who said he planned to vote against all three tax proposals, said teachers seemed caught off guard and ill-prepared to speak to their senators.
Can you imagine any other advocacy group trying so desperately to hold its constituents’ hands like helping a toddler cross the street (do I know a thing or to about that)? Especially a group on the Right? Well, if someone were to follow the MSEA’s strategy, they at least might want to find a better way to prepare members or supporters for that all-important call with their elected representative.
March is a bad month for Colorado Senate Majority Leader John Morse. Last year about this time he went a little ballistic at Amazon.com on a YouTube video he created — trying to blame the company for deciding to terminate its Colorado Affiliates program rather than pay the Democrats’ new tax.
Last year’s episode looks like a warm-up act for this year’s arrogant display, with John Morse threatening the private homes of citizens who filed an ethics complaint against him. You see, March so far has been filled with Colorado Peak Politics (if you’re not reading this blog regularly, you should be! … and no, I don’t know who is behind it) reporting on a brewing scandal: Democrat legislative leader Morse claiming $40,000 in public reimbursements for things like golf outings, political fundraisers, and out-of-state travel. (more…)
Mothers Against Debt (MAD) has launched a powerful video update about the crushing load of national debt we already face and the danger behind plans to raise the debt ceiling:
Don’t crush the baby! As a dad of two (and soon to be three) young girls, the message hits home with me. Fiscal responsibility and spending discipline, already fixtures in our own household budget, are the watchwords of the day for the federal government Leviathan.
Delaying today’s decisions only magnifies tomorrow’s pain. Let’s start imposing the bitter medicine. Our children will thank us later.
This milestone is the culmination of a decades-long trend in which private sector unions have diminished while Big Labor has targeted government agencies as fruitful sources of revenue. As of 2010, we have the first strong indications that the same observation can be made of Colorado — namely, that more of the state’s union members work for government than for a private employer.
In light of the legislative action taking place in Ohio and Wisconsin, I have written on some of the critical differences related to union collective bargaining between the private sector and the public sector. An even better explanation of the inherent defects in government collective bargaining appears in a recent op-ed by David Denholm published in the Washington Examiner. (more…)
It’s easy to overlook, especially if you’re not a student of U.S. history. But once upon a time, before the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, presidents were inaugurated on March 4. Which makes today the sesquicentennial (that’s the 150th anniversary, for Buckeye fans) of Abraham Lincoln swearing the oath of presidential office in a moment of profound national crisis and delivering his First Inaugural Address:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Union, eh? No, not that kind of union. Someone must have Labor on the brain. Ripped out of context, though, the powerful conclusion to Lincoln’s inaugural could almost speak to the current heightened domestic political strife with its bulls-eye on Madison, Wisconsin. Not that we have nearly approached the level of crisis in 1861. Nor do we wish for such an outcome.
Update II, 4:05 PM:Writing on the Townhall blog, Guy Benson offers up some exclusive video footage of the Wisconsin Democrat senators running away. John Hayward at Human Events offers some fascinating insights and concludes with a bit of powerful advice: “Governor Walker should take a page from the handbook of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and face the unions down. Every teacher who participated in the illegal strike, or brought students to political rallies, should be fired immediately. The taxpayers of Wisconsin don’t have Hollywood celebrities and millionaire union bosses to brew up angry mobs to press their demands. They don’t have the luxury of slipping away from jobs they’re already nervous about to march around the state capitol. The only thing they’ve got is a determined governor, who should join with his colleagues in other states to level the playing field between tax payers and tax consumers, by breaking the public unions once and for all.”
We can debate whether new Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans have chosen a wise course tactically, but there’s no doubt they have demonstrated some serious political fortitude in taking on a major problem. Senate Bill 11 was supposed to come to the floor today. A key part of the solution to a major budget challenge similar to those faced in other states, SB 11 would restrict government union collective bargaining (except for public safety workers) and requiring public employees to pay greater shares of their health and pension benefits.
Of more than historical footnote, Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to grant collective bargaining rights to government workers–just over 50 years ago, in 1959. More than two decades earlier none other than President and Democratic Party icon Franklin D. Roosevelt observed what a bad policy idea that would be: (more…)
Update, 9:00 PM:Common Cause issued a formal “apology” for the vile behavior of its rally attendees, a statement thoroughly deconstructed by James Taranto, who concludes with the zinger: “For the sake of truth in advertising, Common Cause should change its name to Hypocrisy Hub.” Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.
Independent new media journalist Christian Hartsock has a compelling piece up at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog. Hartsock went to cover an event sponsored by the Progressive group Common Cause. The goal seemingly was to organize a grassroots protest of the pro-free market billionaire Koch Brothers and conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for some imaginary collusion on the Citizens United decision, and who knows what else.
Hartsock’s four-minute video (which the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto labels “devastating”) poignantly captures a rich example of unintentional irony and psychological projection exhibited by the Left: (more…)
Kudos to my friend and colleague Todd Shepherd (of Complete Colorado fame) for catching a surprise exclusive live interview with Colorado’s new governor. In the middle of hosting the Sunday afternoon show on 850 KOA, Todd’s jaw hit the floor when none other than John Hickenlooper heard his name being discussed and called in to the show while en route from Pueblo to an event in Colorado Springs.
Click here for the full hour’s audio: the Hickenlooper call starts about halfway through (not to be completely overshadowed is Todd’s discussion with Colorado RNC committeeman and former state treasurer Mark Hillman at the top of the hour).
A preeminent challenge lying ahead for our elected Congress to tackle is the mounting debt and out-of-control spending that grew under Republican leadership and accelerated in the past few years with Democrats in charge. No one is better prepared to help equip you to do your citizen’s part in taking on this challenge than my friends at Mothers Against Debt. Their new video on the idiocy of unemployment benefits as economic stimulus is a real hoot. Enjoy:
The New Year has arrived, and my long hiatus from serious blogging is over. For any blogger, a long hiatus can be a dangerous proposition — threatening the already tenuously small readership and helping people to forget about you. Look, many of you already were going to forget about me anyway over the Christmas / New Year holiday anyway. And having blogged here for nearly seven years (can you believe that?), I felt secure enough to take the time off.
But one major reason for the break was to gear up mentally and spiritually for the battles that lie ahead. Contributing to all the apparently positive gains in the 2010 elections, in Congress and elsewhere? That took some effort, to be sure. The real challenge lies ahead, however — among other things, in striving to keep our elected leaders in Denver and Washington, D.C., (as well as myself) honest in the fight to limit government power and “to promote the blessings of liberty.”
And while I’m at it, what could be more serious than putting to rest how we name this new year in our everyday conversation: Two thousand eleven or Twenty-eleven? Like this cause, I choose and stand firmly in the camp of the latter. Yes, I’m a year late to the game, but like a new convert I bring a zeal to the “Twenty-eleven” crusade. Watch out!
Colorado is an interesting place for education reform, for many reasons. Among them are issues related to teacher professional membership and representation:
In Colorado, public school teachers have a right to join or not join (and not pay fees to) a union or other professional membership organization.
In Colorado, elected school boards are not obligated to enter a collective bargaining relationship with teachers or other employees.
In Colorado, no state laws define collective bargaining for government workers, nor any of the related procedures and guidelines.
In Colorado, school districts with active collective bargaining agreements are required to post them online (and have them available in the school office) for transparency and easy public access.
The first three on the list could apply to very few other states. (I think Utah may be the only other state with all four.) But what they together reflect is a strong basis for local control of education. Local control for school boards to decide — in some cases restricted by the parameters of existing agreements — whether and how to bargain. Even more local control for individual teachers to decide whether and how they want to be represented.
So unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple weeks, you may have heard Douglas County — one of Colorado’s largest school districts — is considering the adoption of a local voucher-style private school choice program. Independence Institute blogger “Eddie” has covered the story well here and here.
With all the coverage in the Denver Post, it’s not surprising that plenty of readers wanted to weigh in with letters published in Sunday’s Perspective section. I was disappointed to see most of the letters rely on misinformed premises and/or produce shoddy arguments. As a result, I feel impelled to respond. (more…)