Feb 11, 2014, 2:06pm | Allahpundit
A little mid-day treat from an unlikely source.
Feb 11, 2014, 2:01pm | Mike Antonucci
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual survey of union membership last month, and the 2013 numbers were not as bad as many thought. The overall union membership rate remained at 11.3 percent (technically, it fell from 11.26% to 11.25%), and unions grew by 162,000 members to 14,528,000.
The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and even the AFL-CIO focused on the gains in the private sector that were partially offset by losses in the public sector. Regional press reports highlighted state membership rates, but everyone failed to put the two together.
In 2013, almost 90 percent of union membership growth came from one state: New York.
According to BLS, New York added 213,000 jobs in 2013 and 145,000 union members – an astonishing marginal unionization rate of 68.1 percent. The entire rest of the nation added 1,320,000 jobs and 17,000 union members – a marginal unionization rate of 1.3 percent.
The BLS does not disaggregate its state data into public and private sectors, and I was unable to find it myself while digging through the Current Population Survey. However, last month the New York State Department of Labor released statistics that between December 2012 and December 2013 the state added only 110,000 private sector jobs and lost 13,000 public sector jobs.
Anomalies are normal when agencies compute statistics from different sources, but the New York numbers, coupled with the report of unexpected union membership gains in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, require at least a reexamination of this year’s BLS figures.
Feb 11, 2014, 12:39pm | Ed Morrissey
Feb 10, 2014, 2:46pm | Ed Morrissey
The two world leaders paired up for a Washington Post op-ed today, celebrating their efforts to restore the Franco-American alliance from its sorry state of 2002-3. No doubt the relationship hit a nadir when Jacques Chirac balked at a UN resolution that would have approved the invasion of Iraq, and perhaps even lower when the extent of corruption in the oil-for-food program became known — and how much of it enriched the French. My friend Olivier Knox, who worked for Agence France-Presse at the time, recalls just how ugly it got.
Unfortunately for Obama and Hollande, he also recalls when it improved, too:
President Barack Obama and visiting French President Francois Hollande said in a rare joint op-ed published Monday that the world benefits from a France-U.S. alliance that “is being made new again.” But they didn’t give any credit to George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, who did most of the work to repair a relationship that soured in the run-up to the Iraq War. …
At Agence France-Presse, we joked we should change our name to Agence Freedom-Presse. Over at The New York Times, which rarely misses an opportunity to knock the French, foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman harrumphed that France had ceased to be merely “our annoying ally” or “our jealous rival” and was now “becoming our enemy.”
But even during this ugly period, the two countries cooperated on counterterrorism policy, and French troops continued to serve as part of the coalition in Afghanistan. By June 2004, Bush was insisting that relations were “excellent” and publicly marveling at how many cheeseburgers France’s then-president, Jacques Chirac, could eat in one sitting.
By September 2004, the two leaders had joined forces to help drive Syria’s roughly 14,000 troops and intelligence agents out of Lebanon — a major bilateral diplomatic push.
And that was before the pro-American Sarkozy succeeded Chirac, when relations improved markedly.
The only way to ignore that is to compare two points in time while ignoring everything in between. This is a case of two world leaders stealing credit for accomplishments in order to hide the fact that they have very few of their own. Be sure to read all of Olivier’s essay.
Feb 10, 2014, 12:31pm | Ed Morrissey
A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.
The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.
Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.
Eight militants were arrested when they tried to escape, the officials said.
The militant who was conducting the training was not identified by name, but he was described by an Iraqi Army officer as a prolific recruiter who was “able to kill the bad guys for once.”
While we’re enjoying the schadenfreude of this little event, perhaps some of the recruits should be taking note of the entire premise of “suicide-bomb-making school.” What is that — another version of “those who can’t do, teach”? Maybe they should be asking why their instructors don’t do their own field work in the first place, eh?
Feb 10, 2014, 12:05pm | Allahpundit
No, we aren’t, says WaPo. Seems painfully obvious to me that this was some French paparazzo’s way of goofing on Francois Hollande’s travails — president splits with wife/girlfriend because of his secret romance with a celebrity — by transposing them to Obama on the eve of Hollande’s visit to the U.S. But since the news cycle is slow and we’re all bored, expect some churn for it online today.
Feb 9, 2014, 10:01am | Ed Morrissey
“Sunday Reflection” is a regular Green Room feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection only represents my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion.
Today’s gospel reading is Matthew 5:13–16:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Here we have three wonderful analogies of the Church in the world from Jesus, in an instruction that presages the Great Commission at the end of Matthew (Matt 28-16-20). Later, in those passages, the risen Christ would transform his disciples into apostles — those sent out — to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” In this passage, Jesus foreshadows that mission and the Church to come, hinting at the scope of that commission long before the disciples realized the nature of Jesus’ sacrifice.
The analogies here speak of the disciples and the Church in terms of presence, vision, and taste — but not of speech or instruction, oddly enough, even though Matt 28:16 is sometimes translated as “go and teach all nations.” Jesus does not provide an analogy of instruction as such in this passage. Instead, all three of these examples speak of providing an example to the world, and specifically in the world — but not of the world, as we’ll see.
The emphasis on example is perhaps strongest in the second and third analogies. The disciples would have understood immediately the reference to the “city on a mountain” — Jerusalem. The mission of the nation of Israel had always been to be that “city on a mountain,” a community of priests to instruct the world on the Word of God. God intended Jerusalem to be a lamp to all nations, bringing His light into the world, the nations of which would come to the city on the mountain and see the light for themselves through His holy people and their devotion to Him.
The Israelites failed to sustain that mission almost from the moment it was given with the making of the golden calf after the Exodus, and later with the corruption of Jerusalem through idol worship as the kings of Israel desired worldly power over serving the mission of God. This is why the Messiah was necessary for salvation. Jesus tells the disciples that their light would “shine before others” through their “good deeds,” which would then “glorify your heavenly Father.”
The prophet Isaiah proclaims this as well in our first reading today, Isaiah 58:7-10. The prophet tells Israel that the Lord calls them to specific action — to share their bread with the hungry, clothe the naked, remove oppression, and satisfy the afflicted as their atonement. In this passage, Isaiah also uses light as an analogy, saying that “your light will break forth like the dawn,” and also that “light shall rise for you in the darkness.” Following the Lord’s command would mean that “the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard” against the Israelites’ enemies, with their “vindication” in the vanguard.
All of this is predicated on action, rather than just instruction. The city on the mountain is no longer Jerusalem, but the Church. Although they did not know it yet, the paradigm would be reversed: Jesus would send them out into the world rather than having the world come to Jerusalem. Since the nations would not come to the original city on the mountain due to its failures (and its coming fall), the Church would come to the nations of the world to set an example — the example that Jerusalem was intended to provide — and bring the light of the Gospel, set aflame by their works of mercy so that all nations would be converted. Instead of making pilgrims of all nations to Jerusalem, the Church would become a pilgrim to all nations for Christ.
Paul suggests the same in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. “I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom,” Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. “My message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power…” Paul certainly taught with words, too, especially in the letters we have today that continue his teachings. But teaching alone wasn’t enough; Jesus tells his disciples had to set an example, to live their faith rather than just teach it, in order to fulfill their mission and that of the Church.
The analogy of salt is the most interesting in this context, too. Salt had two purposes in the time of the disciples, and to this day: to season and to preserve. It was also highly valued, and Roman soldiers were paid in salt (which is where we get the word “salary,” by the way). The Gospel explicitly mentions taste and warns that a Church that loses its flavor and its value is worthless. This would become a particular problem in Corinth, as I have written before, where the early Christian community had trouble keeping its “flavor,” thanks to the social pressures to conform to the hedonistic norm. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is in essence the same warning Jesus gives the disciples, which relates to the failure of Jerusalem and Israel in their mission. They became too enamored of fitting into the practices of the world instead of serving as an example of God’s law. Jerusalem would soon be trampled underfoot in 70 AD, and although no one knew that at the time of 1 Corinthians, Paul warns that the same would happen to Christian communities if the distinctiveness of living God’s law and the example that set was lost. Without that flavor, the preservation of the Church would be impossible, and salvation for the nations of the world lost as the light faltered and the city on the mountain fell.
This is why all three passages emphasize action, and not just proclamation. Action creates examples, and living a faith acts to preserve it much more effectively than just talking about it. The church in Corinth fell into that error, and Paul had to rescue it from its own lack of flavor and value. We are called to live our faith in the world so that the light of God’s love through Jesus can be seen by all, rather than fit our faith into our worldly concerns or merely discuss it. That is our pilgrimage, and we make it every day.
Feb 8, 2014, 2:30pm | Ed Morrissey
Investors Business Daily’s Michael Ramirez, their two-time Pulitzer winner in editorial cartooning, distills the latest CBO report on ObamaCare to its essential:
Here’s one more look at my most recent column at The Fiscal Times, on the difference between Obamanomics and Reaganomics:
The bet paid off with a massive economic expansion that added almost 7.2 million jobs in the two years between the midterms and Reagan’s re-election in 1984. By the time Reagan left office in January 1989, the American economy would add 16 million jobs and raise the percentage of the population in the workforce from 63.9 percent to 66.5 percent.
Fast forward thirty-two years, and the contrast is striking. Once again, we have a President asking America to stay the course, only this time we have almost five years of failure already on the record. And yet, rather than offer any hint of recognition of the failure of his policies, Barack Obama offered a laundry list of policies recycled from a litany of failures. …
Obama claimed that his policies had resulted in “more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the last four years.” Strictly speaking, this is close to the right number for that specific time frame, which is actually 7.5 million from December 2009 to December 2013.
That ignores the job losses that occurred between the start of the technical recovery in June 2009 despite the passage of the $800 billion stimulus bill in early February 2009, chock-full of promised “shovel-ready jobs” and other measures that would prevent the unemployment rate from hitting 8 percent.
From the start of Obama’s economic policies to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have only added 4.77 million jobs. Spread over 55 months, this averages less than 87,000 jobs added a month – far below the 150,000 per month needed to keep pace with population growth.
So the “death panel” is not just ObamaCare, but Obamanomics. The last couple of jobs reports have merely underscored this conclusion.
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.
Feb 8, 2014, 9:14am | Allahpundit
Via the Blaze. Fifty years after the Beatles conquered pop music, a new Beatles emerges.
Feb 7, 2014, 6:44pm | Guy Benson
The Mayor of Fort Lee, whose city was targeted with disruptive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge by since-fired Christie administration officials , is abruptly changing his story about endorsement politics:
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has accused the Christie administration of an extensive campaign involving gifts to his borough from the Port Authority to solicit his endorsement of the governor’s reelection. When Sokolich did not comply but accepted the gifts which included shuttle buses, snow plowing, filled potholes and emergency radios, he says he now feels he was punished by paralyzing traffic jams in his borough during four days last September. Sokolich’s comments, in a two-hour interview in his office Thursday night in which he mirrored some of the statements that he gave to Bloomberg News, represent his harshest criticism yet of the Christie administration and the first time he has linked last September’s gridlock to his refusal to break from his Democratic party and endorse Christie, a Republican…Efforts to gain his endorsement began nearly two years ago and included a personal tour of the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan.
A-ha! Christie’s motive for political retribution! The governor has stated that he never personally sought Sokolich’s endorsement — and that, in fact, he barely knew the guy at all. “He was not somebody who was on my radar screen in any way,” Christie said of Sokolich. Christie aides have acknowledged that members of the re-election campaign tested the endorsement waters with numerous number of mayors, including Sokolich, but that he was in no way a top priority. In the tenth (!) paragraph of the new Bergen Record story, reporter Mike Kelly finally makes mention of a fairly relevant detail:
Sokolich’s comments are his most extensive since those traffic jams last September and, in a few cases, directly contradict his previous statements.
Kelly doesn’t elaborate (!!), so I guess that task falls on yours truly. Here’s what Mayor Sokolich said, on the record, after ‘Bridgegate’ first broke — when the “this was payback over his refusal to endorse Christie” narrative was all over the media. On CNN:
“I don’t recall a specific request to endorse..but, you know, the events that led up to all of this I guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse.”
In the New York Times:
A member of Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign staff came calling to see if Mr. Sokolich, a Democrat, would endorse the governor, a Republican … Sokolich, however, was noncommittal. ‘I said, “Yes, I’ll consider it, because I’ll consider anything,”’ he recalled. He chewed it over with local council members and two objections arose … And so the mayor let the request go. ‘I never called and said no, I never called and said yes,’ said Mr. Sokolich, who would not name the official who had reached out to him. ‘I think they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no.’”
Weird. In the midst of the breaking scandal, Sokolich recalled that Team Christie’s endorsement-related outreach was pretty tepid. So tepid, in fact, that a formal request never actually materialized, leading the mayor to “let it go,” evidently without any follow-up from the Christie camp. Now, several weeks into the pile-on — with national Democrats seeking to keep banging this drum until Christie’s dead — Sokolich suddenly remembers that his endorsement courting process was super-intensive and spanned nearly two years. All that’s left is for Sokolich to produce a “diary entry” that “proves” his newly-revised recollection of how everything went down. Could Democrats be any more transparent about what they’re trying to do here?
By the way, Sokolich has also recently said that he takes Christie “at his word” that the governor had nothing to do with the lane closure scheme, a sentiment solidified during Christie’s visit to Fort Lee after his January press conference. Sokolich at first tried to tell Christie to stay out of his city, then relented, and the two had a “productive” meeting.
Feb 7, 2014, 3:12pm | Ed Morrissey
It’s popping up on Twitter as I write this, but I’d assume this is a slow-scroll Teleprompter issue. Still, it’s pretty danged funny in context here:
Yahoo’s Chris Moody wonders whether this is a regional pronunciation issue:
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) February 7, 2014
I’ve never heard it pronounced as two different words, but I’m not an expert on linguistics … or on ramen, for that matter. When I was wage-slaving and job-locked, I mostly made Kraft mac & cheese — 30 cents a box, and two meals, if you had a couple of hot dogs with it.
Feb 7, 2014, 11:53am | Guy Benson
Vulnerable Democrats didn’t need Barack Obama’s permission to shun him through November; they were already doing so. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) performed rhetorical back flips to avoid answering whether he’d like the president to campaign with him in the Rocky Mountain state on CNN last week, and the “why” is not a mystery. Ed touched on this earlier, but here are Quinnipiac’s new numbers:
- The incumbent does not top 45 percent (which is also his job approval number) support against any hypothetical Republican challenger. He’s locked in virtual ties in the low 40′s against several.
- The president’s job approval score is 22 points underwater (37/59), and (29/67) among independents.
- Only 42 percent of Coloradans say Udall deserves to be re-elected. A majority of respondents said a candidate’s support for Obamacare would make them less likely to vote for that person.
- Voters in the state disapprove of Obamacare generally by a (37/60) margin. This poll was taken before the CBO released its projection that the law will cost the US economy 2.3 million full-time workers.
- By a 30-point margin (!) Coloradans said President Obama campaigning for Udall would make them less likely than more likely to back Udall.
Toxic. Reading into 2016 presidential polling at this stage is ridiculous, but just for kicks, Hillary Clinton is either trails or is virtually tied with four potential GOP candidates in the battleground state:
Clinton 43, Christie 42
Clinton 44, Cruz 43
Clinton 43, Rand Paul 47
Clinton 43, Paul Ryan 48
Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they’d heard about Christie’s bridge controversy, with 57 percent believing it would “damage” his presidential chances. Colorado voters split (36/42) on whether the New Jersey governor would make a good president, down from (48/29) in November. The feeding frenzy has taken its toll, and national Democrats are trying to plunge the dagger.
Feb 7, 2014, 11:16am | Ed Morrissey
I was planning on avoiding the Robocop reboot, but I may end up changing my mind. I didn’t realize that Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton would be in supporting roles, both with serious Batman cred, although in two different incarnations. Keaton plays the head of OCP, while Oldman has a more critical role as the scientist behind the suit, who’s conflicted about his selling out to OCP, it seems.
Oldman talked with Ryan Lambe of Den of Geek about the film, and about its applicability to current events:
Do you feel the themes in the script chime with your own world view? Because it has quite a dystopian view of the present in the way it relates to current events.
Yeah. It’s as if we’ve… with the original, it was a kind of fantasy about a future, that as you watch it as a viewer, it’s sci-fi. This one, I think you watch it and it’s science fact – you watch it and it looks recognisable. I think the debate of security and safety versus liberty, and how, in the name of security, liberty has been encroached upon… drones is a big argument at the moment, and how they’re saying troops on the ground will be robotic troops at some point.
Freedom of choice. The cynicism of the media. He’s sort of touched on all of this. And in many ways, there’s also the question of the soul versus machine – is it morally and ethically right? Just because you can do it, should you do it? All those questions are important. It’s a political film wrapped up in a [sci-fi story].
I mean, if this was a political movie, but Paul Greengrass was doing it, it would hold up, wouldn’t it? So it’s got a lot going for it.
Do you think it holds up against the first one?
I think it dares to be its own thing. It does similar things to the original, because that looked at how the media represented real-world events, and the role of the police, corporations – as a corporate satire, it was really brilliant. The remake explores those themes in a different, modern way.
Yeah. I like the touch of the inside marketing. “Let’s make him look like a Transformer – the kids want him to look like a Transformer. What do you think? Shall we go for the silver suit or the black suit?” Even the candidates!
It’s a PR campaign, essentially, isn’t it? He’s a puppet.
Yeah, yeah. That idea of, “No, I’m going to give them a man inside a machine. That’s what the public wants.” And the more you find out, the more… I live in America at the moment, in California. But you look at American politics at the moment, and it’s one mess after another, one scandal after another. I mean, it’s falling around him. The empire is crumbling.
You mean it’s crumbling around Barack Obama?
Right, yeah. And you’ve got footage of him speaking in 2008 and 2009 talking about Bush, and how against the Executive Order he is, and how everything was going to be transparent, and now he’s doing the same thing but on steroids. It’s Bush on steroids.
I saw the movie – I’ve only seen this version of RoboCop once – but I thought, “My God, this is the world we’re living in.” I could turn on the regular TV and see this.
I may just make room on my scorecard for this, after all.
Feb 7, 2014, 9:31am | Allahpundit
De Blasio’s fault, of course.
Feb 6, 2014, 3:47pm | Ed Morrissey
Feb 6, 2014, 1:23pm | Mike Antonucci
From USA Today:
Labor unions and deep-pocketed donors promoting liberal causes are flexing their political muscle and have overtaken conservative billionaires in the race to fund super PACs, a USA TODAY analysis of new campaign-finance reports shows.
Nearly three dozen individuals and groups made donations of $500,000 or more to super PACs in 2013, pumping $62.6 million into these super-charged committees that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections.
More than 87% of the money flowed from Democrats or donors backing liberal efforts, such as Keystone XL pipeline foe Tom Steyer, and big labor organizations, such as the AFL-CIO.
Feb 6, 2014, 11:25am | Guy Benson
Nice catch by America Rising. Here’s now-Sen. Kay Hagan campaigning against then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole back in 2008, arguing that North Carolinians deserve better than a Senator who votes with the president (Bush, in that case) a whopping 92 percent of the time:
“It is time for someone to reach across party lines and finally get something done in this country. Voting 92% of time with the president, whether you support him or not, doesn’t work here in North Carolina.”
Guess who’s voted with President Obama 96 percent of the time? How might that degree of unbending partisan fealty “work” in North Carolina, Kay — especially given these numbers? Hagan’s sky-high Obama loyalty score is also more than a tad ironic in light of her recent refusals to say whether she considers the president an asset to her campaign. Question for Tar Heel State voters: Why won’t Kay Hagan appear publicly with a man whose policies she virtually always supports? Puzzling. It can’t possibly be because she’s trying to fool them into thinking she’s not a servile rubber-stamp for his unpopular agenda, can it?
Feb 6, 2014, 9:39am | Allahpundit
There’s divided government, and then there’s divided government.
Feb 6, 2014, 9:39am | Ed Morrissey
The Vatican issued a statement today in response to the report from the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child on the child-abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church for decades, a report which I covered in this post. The Vatican’s response is worth noting, because its envoy to the committee, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, attacks the integrity of the entire process while still pledging to remain committed to working with the panel:
“My first impression: we need to wait, read attentively and analyse in detail what the members of this Commission have written”, commented the nuncio. “But my first reaction is of surprise, because of the negative aspects of the document they have produced and that it looks almost as if it were already prepared before the meeting of the Committee with the delegation of the Holy See, which had given in detail precise responses on various points, which have not been reported in this conclusive document or at least have not seemed to be taken into serious consideration. In fact, the document does not seem to be updated, taking into account what, over the last few years, has been done by the Holy See, with the measures taken directly from the authority of Vatican City State and then in various countries by the individual Episcopal Conferences. It therefore lacks a correct and updated perspective, which in reality has seen a series of changes for the protection of children that, it seems to me, are difficult to find, at the same level of commitment, in other institutions or even in other States. This is simply a question of facts, of evidence, which cannot be distorted!”.
Tomasi also noted the hypocrisy of attacking the Church’s position on abortion, given the panel’s mandate, and accuses the panel of advancing its own political agenda rather than its mandate:
With regard to the Holy See’s reaction to the document, the archbishop affirmed that “the Holy See will respond, because it is a member, a State that is part of the Convention: it has ratified it and intends to observe it in the spirit and letter of this Convention, without added ideologies or impositions that lie outside of the Convention itself. For instance: in its Preamble, the Convention on the Protection of Children talks about the defence of life and the protection of children before and after birth; whereas the recommendation made to the Holy See is that of changing its position on the question of abortion! Of course, when a child is killed it no longer has rights! Hence this seems to me to be a real contradiction of the fundamental objective of the Convention, which is the protection of children. This Committee has not done a good service to the United Nations, seeking to introduce and request the Holy See to change its non-negotiable teaching! So, it is somewhat sad to see that the Committee has not grasped in depth the nature and functions of the Holy See that, however, has expressed clearly to the Committee its decision to carry forward the Convention’s requests on the rights of the child, but defining precisely and protecting first of all those fundamental values that give real and effective protection to the child”.
Tomasi pledges that the Vatican will continue “constructive dialogue” with the panel, but suggests that in the future that becomes a dialogue.
Feb 5, 2014, 1:48pm | Mike Antonucci
The California Teachers Association will set aside up to $3 million to spend on three proposed statewide ballot initiatives in 2014. Currently only one of the three is in the signature-gathering phase.
CTA supports “The Nonprofit Donor Full Disclosure Act of 2014,” which would require “persons engaged in issue advocacy and lobbying to disclose the top funding sources to the organization responsible for the communication on communications sent to the public related to pending legislation and administrative action, and issue advocacy.”
Its language is awaiting approval by the state attorney general.
CTA opposes an initiative that would eliminate “constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including teachers, nurses, and peace officers, for future work performed” and would permit “government employers to reduce employee benefits and increase employee contributions for future work if retirement plans are substantially underfunded or government employer declares fiscal emergency.”
This initiative has been cleared for circulation and must gather 807,615 valid signatures by June 5.
CTA also opposes the “High Quality Teachers Act of 2014,” which would establish a teacher evaluation system based on multiple factors, including student performance, and require school districts to use those teacher assessments, rather than seniority, as the basis for layoff decisions.
The language of this initiative is also awaiting approval by the attorney general.
CTA has a proposal under consideration that should the High Quality Teachers Act qualify for the ballot the union would sponsor a competing initiative to create a teacher evaluation system based upon the CTA Teacher Evaluation Framework.
Each year, each of CTA’s 300,000 members contributes $36 to the union’s ballot initiative fund. This money is rolled over year-to-year if not spent and can be augmented by grants from NEA’s national ballot measure fund.