Various Direct Links

31 March 2012

Repudiation: Cardinal Keith O'Brien on Same Sex Marriage

It is not uncommon for me to take an opinion piece, like that written by the Senior Roman Catholic in Great Britain, Cardinal O'Brien, in the Telegraph yesterday, and refute their words paragraph by paragraph.  This is particularly the case with those who argue against marriage equality as there is no logical argument against equality.  But, the folks at Information is Beautiful have done a far more beautiful job this time than I have ever written.

Click here to link to the full size graphic.  This is a magnificent repudiation of the Cardinal.  Well done.

FollowUp 19: Wisconsin Republican Dirty Tricks

Yesterday, United States District Judge William Conley overturned parts of the law that ended collective bargaining for public sector employee unions in Wisconsin.  The entire decision is online with thanks to Channel 3000.
The sole issue before the court, therefore, is whether the State’s dismantling of public union rights in piecemeal fashion implicates constitutional protections. Plaintiffs assert two causes of action: (1) an Equal Protection claim as to all three challenged provisions in Act 10; and (2) a First Amendment claim as to the prohibition on automatic dues withholding for members of general employee unions.
The court finds that plaintiffs have not met their burden with respect to their Equal Protection challenge to Act 10’s principal provisions limiting the collective bargaining rights of general employees and their unions. The State, however, has not articulated, and the court is now satisfied cannot articulate, a rational basis for picking and choosing from among public unions, those (1) that must annually obtain an absolute majority of its voluntary members to remain in existence or (2) that are entitled to voluntary, assistance with fundraising by automatic deduction, at least not a rational basis that does not offend the First Amendment. So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights.
Accordingly, the court will (1) grant defendants judgment on those claims challenging restrictions on the collective bargaining rights of general employee unions on Equal Protection grounds, (2) grant plaintiffs summary judgment on their claims challenging annual, absolute majority union recertification and denial of voluntary union dues deductions as to general employee unions on Equal Protection and First Amendment grounds, and (3) enter the appropriate relief.
These are important for the survival of Wisconsin unions for teachers, municipal employees, and some others.

So, an appeal may follow and the recall of Governor Walker becomes all the more important.

16 November 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
30 November 2011, FollowUp 1.
4 December 2011, FollowUp 2.
11 December 2011, FollowUp 3.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 4.
15 December 2011, FollowUp 5.
30 December 2011, FollowUp 6.
13 January 2012, FollowUp 7.
17 January 2012, FollowUp 8.
25 January 2012, FollowUp 9.
2 February 2012, FollowUp 10.
9 February 2012, FollowUp 11.
12 February 2012, FollowUp 12.
18 February 2012, FollowUp 13.
22 February 2012, FollowUp 14.
6 March 2012, FollowUp 15.
12 March 2012, FollowUp 16.
16 March 2012, FollowUp 17.
30 March 2012, FollowUp 18.

3 April 2012, FollowUp 20.
4 April 2012, FollowUp 21.
11 April 2012, FollowUp 22.
14 April 2012, FollowUp 23.
17 April 2012, FollowUp 24.
21 April 2012, FollowUp 25.
29 April 2012, FollowUp 26.
2 May 2012, FollowUp 27.
6 May 2012, FollowUp 28.
10 May 2012, FollowUp 29.
13 May 2012, FollowUp 30.
23 May 2012, FollowUp 31.
24 May 2012, FollowUp 32.
30 May 2012, FollowUp 33.
2 June 2012, FollowUp 34.
4 June 2012, FollowUp 35.
5 June 2012, FollowUp 36.

Praise: Earth Hour 2012

This is the sixth year that people around the world are turning off their lights for an hour.  Earth Hour.
Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.  
More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.

Starting with the World Wildlife Fund in Australia, now all around the world.  Let's save a bit of energy and think about what more we can do.  We live in a closed ecosphere and must protect our home.