American Elephants

Successful Reform in Wisconsin: Sullen, Angry Unions! by The Elephant's Child has produced an exclusive video report titled “Anarchy 101: How Wisconsin’s Left Embraces Chaos” disclosing who and what were behind the massive demonstrations, the occupation of the Capitol in Madison, and extreme tactics employed to stop Walker’s reforms from being enacted.

Remember the riots and the drums, the signs and the screaming mobs in the Capitol building? Lawmakers  fled to Illinois to avoid voting on Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining law last year. The unions were enraged that government workers and union members were to pay 5.8% of their paychecks toward pensions and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums— a pittance compared to the average in private business.

Since Governor Walker’s reforms went into effect, the doom and gloom scenarios failed to materialize. Property taxes in the state were down 0.4% in 2011, the first decline since 1998. Wisconsin moved up four more places in an annual CEO survey of the best states to do business, after jumping 17 spots last year. The Governor’s office estimated that altogether the reforms have saved state taxpayers more than $1 billion, including $65 million in changes in health-care plans, and some $543 million in local savings documented by the media.

The school board president says the district saved $4 million as a result of last year’s reforms, including $2 million from pension reforms. Schools across the state saved an average of $220 per student because of the ability to introduce competitive building for health insurance. Unexpectedly, only 12% of Wisconsin voters say “restoring collective bargaining rights” is their priority.

The May 8 Democratic recall primary will determine who will run against Mr. Walker in the recall election on June 5. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front runner, is focusing his campaign on jobs, education, the environment and safer communities. No mention of collective bargaining.  Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is heavily supported by unions, but her she has made only passing reference to collective bargaining.

The union reaction was so ferocious because the reforms reduced the clout of Big Labor over state and local taxpayers and the lost ability to milk taxpayers year after year, unchallenged.

Democrats and unions liked to claim that Gov. Walker’s recall campaign was funded by a few wealthy donors.  The head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin claimed that Mr. Walker’s “shady, under-handed and even downright criminal dirty tricks to deny democracy” are funded by “extremist groups.” The language doesn’t vary much across the country, does it?

“Unexpectedly” according to receipts filed by the campaign, the governor received contributions from more than 89,000 donors, and 87% of those individuals gave $100 or less.  22.000 of the donations were from Wisconsinites., but people all over the country sent in contributions. You can join them at  Political courage is all too rare, and should be honored.  Governor Scott Walker is a courageous man.

Just Ordinary Happenings in an Ordinary Day. by The Elephant's Child

— Aurora, Colorado. A six-year-old boy was suspended from school for sexual harassment. First-grader D’Avonte Meadows apparently said the line “I’m sexy and I know it” to a female while he was standing in the lunch line. He didn’t even sing it —”I only said the song,” he told the reporter.

His mother was not pleased. She said she sees things like “fondling, looking up her skirt” as sexual harassment, not quoting an MTV line. “They’re going to look at him like he’s a pervert. And it’s like, that’s not fair to him.” Sable Elementary issued a statement saying it couldn’t discuss the case; but they pointed out a school board policy that defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance. There is no age limit.

— Newark, N.J. TSA failed to properly screen a baby for weapons when it was handed from one parent to another during a metal detector walk through. Both parents were screened before leaving for their gate.  A TSA official said that police were told that the slip up was  a “low-risk factor” given the circumstances of the incident. A short the e later, the TSA personnel realized that the baby had no been checked and began searching for the family.

Port Authority police unilaterally made the decision to evacuate the terminal, sweep the terminal for explosives and re-screen all of the passengers. This, of course, inconvenienced hundreds of passengers and  delayed many flights, said the official who was not authorized to discuss the issue by name because of its delicacy.

Is the country being run by a committee? This seems like the work of a committee, they always mess everything up. Terrorist babies indeed.

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