Shortly after the McCain-Feingold bill passed Congress in 2002, the smart money was all on the big money: Mega-wealthy donors to the new “527s” would dominate the new political era just as they had dominated the last. Sure enough, such progressive donors as George Soros did make huge contributions to the 527s. But the smart money was wrong: The 527 era has turned out to be one of renewed grass-roots activism and small-donor participation.
This week on some cable-television stations in California, an ad is running that promotes a constitutional amendment to change the criteria -- or more accurately, the proscriptions -- for who can and can't be a president of the United States. It calls for eliminating the language that requires the president to be native-born, and it is sponsored by a group called Amend for Arnold.
Mindful that changing the Constitution of the United States “for Arnold” might not strike dispassionate observers as grounds for an amendment in itself, though, the sponsors take a different tack on their Web site. When you go to the Amend for Arnold home page, the site is called “Amend for Arnold & Jen.”
No union leader disputes Sweeney's success in turning around labor's political program. In last month's election, 59 percent of the union household vote went to Kerry. In Ohio, Kerry got the votes of 66 percent of AFL-CIO union members, up from the 62 percent Al Gore won four years earlier.
The problem is that the number of union members in Ohio, and in the United States, has been dwindling as manufacturing has tanked. In 1992 just 19 percent of voters in the presidential election came from union households. By 2000 that figure had risen to 26 percent, chiefly as a result of the hard work of the AFL-CIO's political program. By last month, though, the share of union households in the electorate had declined to 24 percent.
Rumsfeld faced calls for his resignation this summer over the abuses at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq. Republicans close to the White House said the decision to retain him was driven by the calculation that replacing him would appear to be a concession that the administration made mistakes in Iraq.
Moreover, some Republicans have speculated that Rumsfeld wanted to stay on with the hope that security conditions in Iraq would improve, leaving him with a better legacy.
-- from a Dec. 4 Washington Post story on President Bush's decision to retain Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Wal-Mart has finally found a union it can live with.
Up to now America's largest employer has opposed every effort of its employees to form a union. Wal-Mart doesn't recognize unions; it doesn't even recognize "employees." The proper Wal-Mart name for its workers is "associates," a term that connotes higher status and collegiality and that actually means lower pay and workplace autocracy. For the privilege of associating themselves with Wal-Mart, its employees are paid so little that many can't afford the health insurance the company generously allows them to buy. One study of health care in Las Vegas revealed that a plurality of that city's employed Medicaid recipients worked at Wal-Mart.