In California, they're trying out the new jungle primary system, as well as a number of ballot initiatives. (See the full list here.) The full 9th Circuit will release its decision today on whether it will review the 3-judge panel's decision overturning the gay marriage ban. There's a non-binding primary in Montana for the GOP, and a binding primary for the Democrats. The closed party primaries held today in New Jersey are binding on both sides. There are also binding primaries on both sides in New Mexico and South Dakota, as well as the North Dakota Democratic side. Generally, this would be all over the news, especially the California primary, but instead all eyes are on Wisconsin.
In the Badger State, they're expecting turnout of about 65%, and if that threshold is cleared, there's a high probability that America and our two-party system will survive to fight another day. The lower the threshold, the higher the chance that we have seen the end of the two party system for a generation, and the higher the probability that we will see street protests that rival those this year in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Canada.
The spending in Wisconsin on the recall is something like $30 million on the side of evil, and about $3 million on the side of truth and light. To a lot of us outside the Beltway, we're very disappointed that the DNC declined to engage, and that the sole peep from our president was a single tweet last night, which said"
@BarackObama It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. –bo
Inside the beltway, they're saying that Obama was right to steer clear as that would have made it a "partisan issue" instead of a state issue, but we'll see.
The state Democrats, along with the unions, have knocked almost a million doors, and phone banked almost a million homes, they expect to do even more today. If Barrett wins today, it is the triumph of many very hard-working, dedicated boots on the ground who will convince people in the third gubernatorial recall in US history (the others were in 1921 and 2003) that their votes matter. In a state where the airwaves are ruled by Walker's cronies' money, AND THEY CHEAT, a win will be exclusively due to the power of grassroots, of handshakes, a triumph of what elections are supposed to be - issues and actions.
Don't underestimate the power of money in elections, and be aware that the Walker contingent is so full of lies that they've sunk this low:
Reports began to surface Sunday from around Wisconsin that those canvassing for Governor Scott Walker were informing residents that if they had signed a recall petition that there was no need for them to vote today as their signature was their vote.
WE know that's not true, but most people aren't smart where politics and elections are concerned. Hopefully voters took the time to listen to the two debates, wherein Barrett stuck to the facts and Walker sidestepped, ignored questions and outright lied. Hopefully, the voters are paying attention to the fact that Walker is the only governor with a legal defense fund, and is on the cusp of indictment. Hopefully they value schools and human beings over corporate tax cuts and the selling of public lands as paid deer-hunting "farms".
This is the first election where the full force of Citizens United is being felt, or the second if you include the GOP presidential primary fiasco. When the votes are finally tallied, which likely won't be until early tomorrow at the earliest, will we suddenly be a plutocracy? That's question number one. Followed by the question of Milwaukee County: will the same voters who turned out in 2008 for Barack Obama come out today? If so, it will be a clear victory for Tom Barrett no matter what happens in the rest of the state. Milwaukee County is that populous, and Obama won with 62% of the vote. There are a number of people who've been interviewed who are voting for Walker NOT because they like him, but because they don't like the recall process. Are these people a large number, or just who the media chose to focus on?
Whatever the outcome, we need to learn from this situation going into November: we need to become even more focused on the idea that EVERY VOTE MATTERS. Turnout counts. Grassroots is all we've got left to fight the half million dollar (and up) donations made by the über rich.
In my household, the fear is truly palpable, and it will be a long night. Fingers crossed the dawn brings joy.
President Barack Obama’s political advisers are pressing labor unions to contribute to the Democratic convention in September to cover a fundraising shortfall resulting from their self-imposed ban on corporate donations, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Democratic officials gave representatives of the major U.S. unions, including the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers, a tour of the convention sites in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23 in advance of a request for donations, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss internal strategy.
The three-day convention will culminate in Obama’s re- nomination in Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6. So far, the host committee in Charlotte is roughly halfway to its $36.6 million goal.
Four years ago, unions contributed more than $8 million to the Democratic convention in Denver, according to financial disclosure reports. - Businessweek
Note that these were anonymous people claiming this. For a convention that started out rocky with unions, Obama will probably find a way to make Charlotte more pro-union and raise enough money at the same time.
James Andrews, President of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO and member of the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee, sees the Convention as a great opportunity to show Charlotte and all its successes and charms to the rest of the world. He sees people with a can-do attitude in the region that will take advantage of this exciting event to create an impact on the community that will last well beyond the Convention.
This video is part of the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee Carolina Stories Series. For more Carolina Stories, visit CharlotteIn2012.com.
The deadline for the petitions necessary to recall Scott Mr-Anti-Union Walker is 5 p.m. this afternoon. The legal requirement is 25% of the number of people who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election, or 540,208 signatures. Despite a lot of nasty acts on the part of the thugsRepublicans thugs, the 25,000 people who collected those signatures will deliver approximately 72,000 signatures this afternoon. Polling indicates that 58% approve of the recall effort.
The state will be spending $100,000 to build a database against which to check the names. The state Republican party sued to be able to do this. The total cost of the recall against Walker, along with those of the lieutenant governor and four (R) state senators is expected to be in the range of $9 million. Seems like a lot of money that could have been saved had Walker and his cronies not gone after the unions. It's not just the $9 million, it's that Wisconsin has been bleeding jobs ever since the Walker regime took power. The state has lost 27,600 jobs, and that understates the 33,800 jobs the state WOULD have had if it matched the rest of the country. (Source with great charts and info here.)
The recall will not be held until summer for a few reasons. First, the name check, and I'm betting the lawsuit that springs from it. Second, there is no Democratic candidate. In Wisconsin, unlike California and some other states, it's not a 1 - 2, recall - new election, rather there needs to be a candidate on the ballot to take the office. There may well be a Democratic primary.
Remember, this is all about the actions against unions and other regular working people, AND the poor. (Read that "great charts and info" link, and you'll see what I mean.) It will boost Obama's chances in Wisconsin in November, and why I have Wisconsin as a DL in the Senate race, even though no one else does.
The other bit of union news comes from members of one of the highest paid (if not the highest paid) group of union workers in the world. That would be the NFL. Yup, they're union workers. And really, if you want to talk high salaries....anyway....they'll be playing in the Super Bowl in February in Indianapolis, which is the capital of Indiana, where the Republicans are trying to pass right-to-work legislation. At least they were, until first, this: (full statement here)
As NFL players, we know our success on the field comes from working together as a team. We’re not just a team of football players—we’re also the fans at games and at home, the employees who work the concession stands and the kids who wear the jerseys of our favorite football heroes. NFL players know what it means to fight for workers’ rights, better pensions and health and safety in the workplace.
To win, we have to work together and look out for one another. Today, even as the city of Indianapolis is exemplifying that teamwork in preparing to host the Super Bowl, politicians are looking to destroy it trying to ram through so-called “right-to-work” legislation.
“Right-to-work” is a political ploy designed to destroy basic workers’ rights. It’s not about jobs or rights, and it’s the wrong priority for Indiana.
And it seems some Republicans are leaving the anti-union fold.
Perhaps good is going to start winning against evil.
You've probably heard by now that Scott Walker and his minions rammed through a bill that strips the ability for unions to use collective bargaining. Watch the protests from Madison. The bill is expected to be finalized at 11am today.
I also know that many of you are making decisions regarding your public workforces, and I know how difficult that can be. I recently froze the salaries of federal employees for two years. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but I did it because of the very tough fiscal situation that we’re in.
So I believe that everybody should be prepared to give up something in order to solve our budget challenges, and I think most public servants agree with that. Democrats and Republicans agree with that. In fact, many public employees in your respective states have already agreed to cuts.
But let me also say this: I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These times demand it. We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We’re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don’t properly reward that bravery.
So, yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises that we’ve made as a nation. And those will be tough conversations, but necessary conservations. As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pain is borne by only one group -- whether it’s workers, or seniors, or the poor -- while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we’re not doing the right thing. I think that’s something that Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.
The government might avoid a shutdown this week....well, for an additional two weeks, anyway. Here is the two week compromise. It's the official list of cuts and terminations. Everything else continues at current levels. Call it death by a thousand cuts: every two weeks, the GOP will terminate more things, and continue fewer things at current levels until the only thing fully funded is war.
Over in Wisconsin, the protesters have been joined by the police, who were sent to move the protesters out. There's an interesting piece on where the pension money comes from. The contention is that the workers fund their own pensions through monies they do not take as current salary. 100%. Now, some say that all monies paid the state workers come from taxes, and that's true, but we don't walk into a restaurant and say "I want 50% of the cost of my meal to go to food costs, 25% to worker wages, and 25% to overhead (or whatever)." Government services cost money - it's what we pay taxes for: police, fire, teachers, librarians, snow removal, pothole repair, etc., etc., etc. Are there really idiots who think these things should be free?
When it comes to teachers, I'm REALLY confused. I speak as someone who had an excelled public education from grades 1 - 12. I appreciate my education, and use what I learned DAILY in my adult life. I could not have become a doctor had Miss Mazza not taught me how to read, and Mr. Hanna not taught me math. (Um, my dad shares math glory...but we can't all have a mathematician for a father. Hi daddy! Love you.) You can thank Mrs. Wissot for the fact that both my print and cursive writing are actually legible. (Yes, really.) And let's not forget my political habit. While I grew up in a political family, that was tactics and elections. It was Mr. Denham who made me learn the Constitution, and stand up in front of an 8th grade class and present a giant report on it. And Mr. Hallman who had us put Sam Adams on trial for treason in mock court, and who handed me my first revisionist history book, which changed my whole view of looking at the world, past and present.
These people deserved far more than they were paid: for all the young minds they honed and inspired. One of my childhood friends just retired after spending 30 years teaching middle school science. She did for those decades what others did for us: gave the basics to a thousand kids who now know things they would not have had she chosen another profession. (Thank you, Deni.)
Remember that education was not always free. Boston Latin (still in operation as a public high school) was opened in 1635. But it wasn't free. There were many schools, especially in New England in pre-revolutionary times. But education wasn't free; it was strictly the province of the rich. Education wasn't compulsory until the late 1800's, and then education became free to all children. We're going backwards now: parents in many school districts are required to provide pens, pencils, paper, books, and other supplies for their kids, not to mention fees for attendance in after-school activities. Do we really want a country where only the rich can be educated?
It's all connected: the Republicans want people who cannot afford education, private police and fire protection, and all other government services to go without. They don't care: they're fundamentally rich in perpetuity. They can afford $30,000 - $40,000/year for tuition, books and fees at a good private school, staring in kindergarten. Sample.
For shame on those who would break the teachers: cutting their numbers, wanting classes of 60 or more, continuing the practice of having them pay for their own chalk and other basics. Is No Child Left Behind a bad idea? Yup. Get rid of it and watch teaching improve. For shame, blaming teachers for systemic problems. Watch what happens if the unions are broken: the decreased test scores, the further erosion of the ability of our graduates to compete globally, the increase in poverty, the exodus of great teachers for private industry.
So that's the week domestically. Big news will be coming out of Libya.
I read Scott's post and the associated comments with interest. Opinions on unions run the gamut from "always right, no matter what" to "kill them now" and everything in between. In certain ways, the opinion set on unions can be compared to that related to the issue of gay marriage in 2003 when people started discussing the potential for it becoming legal in Massachusetts, which it did in 2004.
Back then, a lot of people felt that gay marriage was "against religion", or "an absolute necessity for civil rights" and everything in between. During that time, I was editing a newsletter for a group I am somewhat ashamed to have been involved in, but we had a local print distribution of 1,600, so there was an opportunity for many voices. I wanted to put three pieces on the front page: a pro-gay marriage editorial, an anti-gay marriage editorial, and a piece on civil unions as a moderate approach until public opinion came around. Before the internet, people's actual names were used, and I could not find one single person, in or out of the organization who was willing to write an editorial against gay marriage with their name attached. People would say (honest) "I'm against it, but I don't want anyone to think I hate gays."
My position back then was that the country might not yet be ready for gay marriage, but if the choice was "yes" or "no", with no middle ground, I was going with "yes" because gay people are just people. And people all deserve the same rights.
So now we have the union question: do you stand with them, or against them? If the choice is that stark, where do you fall? Do you take the good with the bad, or throw them out all together. For me, the answer is the same. Standing with the unions is critical not just because of the need to protect benefits, rights, and collective bargaining, but because if the unions are broken, we lost the White House, the Senate, the House, and about 90% of all state and local office in 2012. By huge numbers that look 2010 look like a minor upset.
Progressives who are against the unions, today, in 2011, are aligned with the Republican Party in ways they don't understand. Elections are about money. Money wins elections. And who funds elections from the left? Unions. Who canvasses? Unions. Who prints lit candidates cannot afford? Unions. When much of the electorate figures their one vote is enough, it's the union members who are boots on the ground working, paying for ads, filling audiences.....stop. Think. Read this paragraph again. Take a look at the numbers. Add up the dollar amounts from numbers 3,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,17,19 and 21 and you get $362,277,018.00. That's a little more than half of the total amount spent by the Obama campaign in 2008, for comparison.
Walker, et. al, couldn't care less about the cost of union workers. If they were, they'd be negotiating on the costs, and not screwing the unions for time immemorial. This is a "smart" right-wingnut plan, akin to Karl Rove's placement of DOMA legislation on multiple state ballots in 2006. It's a red herring to destroy progressives, liberals, the working class, the middle class, and employment in the US. Not to mention the safety net.
Do you fall for it? And no, there are no other choices.
PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers. --Providence Journal
Facing a $40 million deficit, the school board voted to terminate all the teachers as of the end of the school year, and then hire back the ones they could afford.
The phrasing there is important: the teachers have not been "laid off." If they had been laid off, union rules would require they be hired back in order of seniority. But by terminating them, they don't have to do that.
Some may think this give the district a chance to get rid of the most mediocre of the teachers. But it also gives them the opportunity to get rid of the most expensive of the teachers--that is, the ones with the most experience.
Following the Wisconsin protests? Of course you are. It's spreading: Indiana Democrats have also decamped to Illinois. Other states with idiot Republican governors are trying to break unions there, too.
So let's spend a little time talking about Ronald Reagan, and then come back to present day. As an aside, when she was 107, my grandmother took ill. She refused food and her (very minor) amount of meds. She was put in a great hospital and the psychiatrist came to see her. She was confused and told him that she wasn't eating because her husband was off at war. "What war?" the doc asked. "The war against Reagan," grandma replied, "The most evil man who ever lived." Yeah, it's genetic with me. In 1984, my husband snuck me out of a Virginia hospital, borrowing a wheelchair with the pole for my IV so I could vote against Reagan. It didn't matter in Virginia, but if I only had one breath left....like I said, genetic.
So why do I bring up the Teflon Alzheimer's patient? Because he was able to break PATCO, the ramifications of which we feel to this day. He cut taxes for the wealthy, and began the dismantling of the social services net, most notably in the '80's against the mentally ill. Detested him then, and haven't mellowed with age.
And now, his followers are trying to do the same to public workers. This time, though, people are paying attention. It's not just that technology brings all sorts of instantaneous information to us, nor that they're sending pizza to the Wisconsin protesters from as far away as the Middle East, and yes, you can, too. It's that this time, people understand what "collective bargaining" means, and why we don't want it to go away forever. Further, people understand that while unions may have overreached as they matured through the 20th century, we all owe a debt of gratitude for those who fought, and sometimes lost their lives, so that we have things, today, that we wouldn't have, without unions. Let's list just a few:
Child labour laws (shout out to Upton Sinclair)
Days off (holidays and vacations)
Health Insurance (I know, don't get me started, but without unions, you wouldn't have it from your employer, either)
OSHA (yup, really, it was the unions that pushed the government to go after unsafe workplaces, like those where they lock people in...oh wait....there's still a problem with Wal-Mart)
FMLA (you really think the government would have come up with this on its own?)
There's more, but you know the list. Virtually every benefit you have at your job (if indeed you have a job) including minimum wage....without that, all wages, since the age of Reagan would be even lower than they are now.
Now, Walker fell for a prank call. Most people think he's pretty stupid for that....those of us who know how he and his ilk pant after the Koch brothers are certainly not surprised. But he actually gets idiot of the day award for being willing to risk $46.6 million dollars of Federal aid. Let's overlook the fact that the idiot governors (and I don't yet have a good abbreviation for them....can't use IIE (Idiots in Exile) since they're not in exile anymore) are in favour of LESS Federal intervention in terms of everything BUT giving them direct dollars. And as an aside, I don't understand why Teabaggers want to pay fewer tax dollars into the Federal pot but receive additional dollars back...but I digress.
Walker will lose all sorts of transportation monies if he breaks the unions, thus increasing his deficit, but he doesn't seem to care about the affects to the populace.
And that, kids, is the crux of the situation. The Republican governors, the Teabaggers, the rich, honestly do not care about anyone who is not them. And I say good - overreach you selfish b**t**ds. This may be one of the best things to happen in terms of organizing regular people: let them realize that everything they've worked for (whatever is left) is about to be taken from them. Rise up, folks. Get angry. Be mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore.
We just need one more puzzle piece. The voice of one lone American. The one who should stand up with the unions. The one who should align with the people. The workers. Middle America. After all, we elected him because he promised to be the president of ALL Americans. Where are you, President Obama? Do you think that saying Justice should cease working for DOMA is enough of a distraction? You should have done that years ago. If we lose collective bargaining, and unions, and worker protections, gays will suffer as well as straights. Where are you Mr. President? Where is your voice?
A lot has happened this week. Washington is debating three separate budget periods at once: a continuing resolution for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, the budget for the next fiscal year, and long-term methods to address the deficit. The GOP has taken the lead for the short term, passing without a single Democratic vote a disastrous continuing resolution to mollify Tea Party members. The President has proposed a budget for next year which includes both cuts and new investments in what he considers to be key areas. And Alan Simpson, much of the media, Paul Ryan, and others seem most interested in the long term. The collision between all of these time periods is creating a very confusing discussion right now!
The process of coming up with the short-term continuing resolution created a lot of fireworks as the conservative-led House tried to create a continuing resolution that the Senate will never pass and the President would never sign, but which is designed to stoke their base and infuriate ours. Perhaps most dramatic was Jackie Speier's heartfelt statement on the House floor yesterday about her own experience with late-term abortion.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is trying to take away public unions' collective bargaining rights, and woke a sleeping giant. Protesters by the tens of thousands descended on the state capital, and Democratic lawmakers exercised their version of the filibuster. But unlike the federal variety, which just involves threatening to keep talking in principle, in their case they had to flee the state. So unlike the federal version, this is an option saved for only the most dire circumstances!
And speaking of protests, the revolution in Egypt has inspired protests across the Middle East. Will they lead to freedom, or radical despotism, or bloodbaths? The answer may not be the same for each country.
Finally, in our own country, despite signs of increased optimism and a booming stock market, the pace of job growth is still anemic. Meanwhile, the specter of inflation is raising its head, particularly for products such as food and cotton affected by the unusual global weather of recent times--climate change in action?
Here's the complete contract between the DNC, the Charlotte Host Committee and the City of Charlotte. It's all here: 250 buses. 800 computers. 30 sets of keys to the media center. 250 printers. 1500 two-way radios. 50,000 sq. feet of space for the convention staff, etc.
And here's what it says about union labor:
17.1. Use of union labor. To the extent permitted by law, to the extent, if any, such labor is available in the region, and except as otherwise expressly agreed by the DNCC, all services, goods, equipment, supplies and materials to be provided or procured by the Host Committee hereunder shall be performed or supplied by firms covered by current union collective bargaining agreements with the unions which have jurisdiction for the work or services to be performed.
With so few union members in North Carolina, one wonders if there will be significant work done by non-union workers just because there aren't the union members available.
When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, she was still a dues paying member of the ILGWU. She was a few months shy of her 108th birthday, and had been paying dues for more than 80 years. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union had merged, and merged again, and is now UNITE HERE. She always wrote the check to ILGWU. Widowed young, she supported her sons by being a dressmaker. When I was young (and the only granddaughter) she'd tell me stories of her experiences, generally while sticking me with pins to get me to stand still as she fit beautiful, unique, dresses onto me. Stories of why unions mattered. The bloodshed to get unions approved. The simple joy of working in a place with windows and air. The ability to give birth and have a week off without having to be back the next day or lose your job. Two of my aunts, and a number of my friend's parents were teachers, also union employees.
Recently, there was a letter in the USA Today from some moron saying that no public worker deserved a pension since they were always overpaid and had better working conditions than everyone else. I made a point of not saving it, as the town the guy lives in is about 15 miles from here, and I needed to avoid the temptation of finding him and yelling at him. "Public workers"????? The "great" working conditions of cops, firemen, EMTs, the guys out clearing the roads before the rest of us awake to yet another snow storm? One of my aunts taught in NYC, she went back to work after she was stabbed by a student (in the 1960's) and finally quit in the '70's after a bullet missed her by not a lot. Yeah, those are the working conditions I'd want, she said with dripping sarcasm.
Do unions sometimes overstep their bounds? Sure. Are they sometimes corrupt? Yup. In some instances are they developed past where they should be? Indubitably. But am I a fan? Absolutely. As Matt reported, a lot of unions are appalled at the choice of Charlotte. Especially since the convention begins on Labour Day. In case you've forgotten, the first Labour Day was held in Boston in 1878, and became a Federal holiday in 1894 in response to the murders of 13 workers and the wounding of an additional 57 during the Pullman Strike - shout out to Eugene V. Debs. (Yes, you should know who he was.)
So there are competing interests about Charlotte: the politics of winning North Carolina (again) and the idea that maybe it will encourage union development in that state, or showcase the lack of unions, or maybe that politics overrides a fundamental set of principles about fair labour practices in the platform (which I'm convinced no one reads aside from me and maybe 10 other junkies, in addition to those who write it.) I don't know. Does the choice of Charlotte say we, the Democrats, are going there and will make a point? Or that unions just plain don't matter? What do you think?
And some unions are very unhappy with the choice to hold the 2012 Democratic Convention there:
It was a stinging rebuke to one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal and influential constituencies. And labor leaders are fuming at the slight.
The selection was “a calculated affront,” said Rick Sloan, communications director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
What’s worse, Sloan noted, the convention is set to begin on Mon., Sept. 3, 2012 — Labor Day.
“Going to a right-to-work state and starting a convention on Labor Day for the Democrats?” he said. “Wow. That’s quite the equation.” ... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 3.2 percent of North Carolina workers are union members, the lowest share of any state. Arkansas and Georgia were tied for second place with 4 percent each. ... “Some of the biggest voices in North Carolina’s labor movement supported Charlotte’s bid to get the convention,” including the Teamsters local in Greensboro and the state AFL-CIO, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said. “So whatever concerns labor might have, they are not of one voice.” ... The labor source said, “There is a labor movement in North Carolina, it’s just small. No one is trying to denigrate that.” But it’s hard to argue that North Carolina is anything but actively hostile to unions, the source said.
Charlotte’s visitors bureau, which spearheaded the DNC bid, once touted the lack of unions as one of the “Top Reasons (To Choose Our Destination)”: “Affordable rates with all major brand hotel chains. Non-union facilities.” The union reference was removed after it was noted by DemConWatch, a blog that monitors convention news.
Here's the comment from SarahLawrenceScott, that led to a subsequent post by Oreo:
I was interested to hear Charlotte's side of the story on this, so I did a little web research, and it made it worse!
This pitch for Charlotte brags about "non-union facilities."
I tried to trace back who was actually using that as a selling point--was it just some business consortium? No. It comes from Visit Charlotte, which is the group that actually runs the Convention Center.
Sorry, Charlotte, but if you're using your lack of unionized facilities as a selling point to certain audiences, the Democrats should stay away.
Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 (8-1) decision in Citizens United vs. FEC. The basic holding was that 100 years of restriction on spendings by corporations and unions are unconstitutional and that a fictitious person (e.g. an organization including corporations) has the same free speech rights as a real person. That decision was 5-4. By an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court held that the movie was electioneering and thus had to comply with disclosure requirements.
I am not convinced that we are now going to see direct expenditures by major corporations. Exxon supports Candidate X or Merck opposes Candidate Y are not exactly the type of endorsements that help candidates in most circumstances. What scares me is third hand expenditures where the corporation belongs to an incorporated advocacy group with a pleasant sounding name. The doors now seem to be open for unlimited contributions to such non-profit (but not tax exempt) corporations who can then spend unlimited funding.
The interesting next question will be the impact on laws that require organizations like unions to allow members to opt out of the use of dues for political speech. I think that the general tenor of the reasoning in the opinion is likely to preclude such rules for non-mandatory organization (e.g. open shops).
The problem is going to be figuring out a fix short of Justice Kennedy retiring. I do not see a quick statutory fix to what is a constitutional ruling. I am not sure that a constitutional amendment can pass. I will have more after I have some time to read this lengthy opinion and the concurring opinions at leisure.