Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Henry Waxman Laying the Smack Down

Democratic House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman is holding oversight hearings into the billions in waste, fraud, and abuse of U.S. funds in Iraq.

During today's hearings, Waxman called out the the State Department for blocking Timothy Carney from appearing at the hearing, apparently because the Bush administration has rushed him to Baghdad.

Later, Waxman took L. Paul Bremer III, the former U.S. occupation chief in Iraq, to task for failing to establish any control over billions of dollars in Iraqi funds.

Republican Rep. Tom Davis called it “Old news.” No, Tom, it's called oversight, and it's your job.

Support the Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act is legislation that was brought up today in Congress that would:

1) establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations,

2) Provide mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes, and

3) Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, of course, opposes it. Why? The AHLA says that the Act would be "a direct assault on the rights of every hotel worker in the U.S." So, according to the association that represents hotel companies with whom workers unions bargain, the above three results would be a detriment to workers rights. Riiight.

Click here to let your representative know you support workers' rights.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Night Links

Since we've been out of pocket for a few days, here's a bunch of stories to catch you up with what's going on in the world:

  • Colorado's new law banning state spending on illegal immigrants has cost more than $2 million to enforce - and has saved the state nothing. I think Tom Tancredo's head just exploded.

  • Landlords are expected to raise apartment rents for a third-straight year in 2007. With the projected rise of 5% this year, rents would be 14% higher than at the end of 2004. Over the same period, paychecks are expected to rise 4%, adjusted for inflation.

  • Bowing to local business community pressure, Los Angeles officials have rescinded a controversial law that raised the minimum wage for thousands of hotel workers in the mostly non-unionized airport corridor.

  • The U.S. lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, a new study by Harvard and McGill University researchers says.

  • Democratic Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York introduced legislation last week designed to punish attempts to deceive and intimidate voters.

  • Flordai Governor Charlie Crist wants to spend nearly $33 million to replace the state's ATM-style voting machines with systems that provide a clear paper trail.

  • Dollars for Darfur is a national high school fundraising effort to stop the genocide in Darfur. Half of the money raised will fund humanitarian efforts for Darfuri refugees and the other half will fund the advocacy efforts of the Save Darfur Coalition. It was started by Nick Anderson and Ana Slavin of Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts.

  • New York state has lifted a barrier that prevented Medicaid recipients from accessing emergency contraception medication without a prescription even after the federal government approved its over-the-counter sale last summer.

Alternative Energy News - February 5, 2007

  • Ecotourism goes urban: Hotels vary in steps to shrink their carbon footprint.

  • California Attorney General Jerry Brown, elected last November, has requested a meeting with automakers to discuss a resolution of the litigation currently in federal court between California and the automakers over greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

  • Jon Anda, Vice Chairman at Morgan Stanley, has agreed to serve as President of the new Environmental Markets Network, a collaboration designed to enlist top leaders of America's financial community to serve as advocates for market-based economic solutions to global environmental and climate issues.

  • The San Gabriel Valley is on the cutting edge of advancing alternative fuel technology, which has received additional attention due to new regulations.

  • Mayors attending the 75th Winter Meeting of The US Conference of Mayors have called for $4 billion in an Energy and Environmental Block Grant to help cities combat global warming.

  • By requiring everything from using smaller cars to embedding energy conservation into new college buildings, an executive directive by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will change the way Kansas state government operates.

  • EPA staff scientists are recommending tightening the nation’s ground-level (tropospheric) ozone standards.