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One of the nation's most powerful labor unions could face a costly onslaught of lawsuits seeking tens of millions of dollars in dues, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the money was collected improperly, legal experts said.
In a ruling Monday, the high court held that Service Employees International Union cannot force people who care for loved ones to be union members and deduct dues from the government checks of those they care for. The practice has gone on for several years in a handful of states, creating a lucrative stream of cash for the powerful labor organization, which represents more than 2 million workers and takes in about $300 million per year.
"The whole point of the decision was that the folks milked by the SEIU weren't really public employees and should not be forced to pay union dues at all," said Hans Bader, senior attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "So they should be able to sue for refund of their compelled union dues back as far as the statute of limitations will allow."
"It could have a large effect," he added.
Every dime refunded to these hard-working folks is money that can't be used for promoting Democrats at the ballot box. And any day when public employee unionista power gets curtailed is a good day for America.
What's not to like about that?
While Dear Leader tries his best to increase the cost of electricity, there's good news on the natural gas front. Thanks to our fracking friends in Pennsylvania, PSE&G is going to cut residential gas bills by 9% for the upcoming winter.
PSE&G today proposed to reduce residential natural gas bills this coming winter by nearly 9 percent, saving customers almost $15 in a winter month or about $100 for the year. In its annual filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, PSE&G said it would reduce its basic gas supply rate this winter to 45 cents from 54 cents — the lowest rate in 14 years.
"We are pleased to once again propose to lower gas bills for our customers during the next winter heating season," said Jorge Cardenas, PSE&G vice president of asset management and centralized services. Since January 2009, our residential gas customers have benefited from multiple rate decreases. Once this decrease goes into effect, gas supply reductions will have lowered bills 44 percent in the last five years.
"In addition", Cardenas said, "customers have enjoyed several months of bill credits this winter that saved the typical customer about $173 since last November."
Cardenas said the company has worked hard to manage the portfolio of gas pipeline and storage agreements to be able to lower gas costs for its residential customers and help keep winter heating bills affordable. The utility also continues to purchase gas from the nearby Marcellus Shale Formation, which has helped to lower supply costs.
(I see what you did there … LOL! -- Ed.)
Instead of tilting at windmills, this is a real example of how America can
become energy independent, and save money in the process. Pissing off the
ecotwits? Yeah, that's just a nice bonus.
Why work hard when hard work isn't rewarded?
America's new consumer watchdog agency has come up with a unique solution for its troubled employee-rating system: Give almost everyone a gold star.
The independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- created under the 2010 "Dodd-Frank" financial industry overhaul to serve as a consumer watchdog -- says it's scrapping its system of employee ratings in response to concerns that it was discriminatory.
That rating system assigned workers a score of between one and five. Due to concerns with the system, everyone who scored a three or above, regardless of performance, will now be getting the top rating of five -- along with the corresponding retroactive pay raises that the top rating brings.
The retroactive payments raise the possibility that workers who slacked off could be rewarded the same as top performers.
"To give an across-the-board raise slaps the face of the people who deserve it," said Linda Swindling, author of "Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done."
The changes come after American Banker found that minority employees were likely to receive lower evaluations than their white counterparts. A 2013 internal agency report found 74.6 percent of white employees received ratings of four or five compared with 65.2 percent of Hispanics and 57.6 of black employees.
Statistics 101: Correlation does not equal causation.
Except when you're looking for racism. Then everything is suspect. That's Political Correctness 101. And Political Correctness always trumps all. Including sanity.
So, rather than validate the employee rating system, perhaps demonstrating that it is indeed accurate, our government will design a new system. And of course the new system will guarantee that the "correct" proportion of minorities are given top-notch ratings regardless of their actual job performance.
How could it not? Merit is so declasse; victimology is de rigeur
now. And equality of outcome has replaced equality of opportunity. Strive for
mediocrity! And don't forget to vote Democrat; they're the guys who made your
life of leisure possible.
I guess how he decorates his locker really isn't Must See TV.
Also, nobody cleared it with the Rams or the NFL first. Oops.
The news comes amid reports that the NFL and the St. Louis Rams were unaware of Sam's docuseries plans and just two days after the Discovery-owned cable network officially greenlighted the reality show. It is unclear when OWN will revisit the project.
"After careful consideration and discussion with the St. Louis Rams, the untitled Michael Sam project has been postponed, allowing Michael the best opportunity to achieve his dream of making the team," said Erik Logan, president of OWN. "OWN is about elevating and empowering people to achieve their best. It's clear that we, along with the world, recognize the important opportunity that Michael now has in this moment. We will continue to support him in his journey to earn a spot playing for the Rams."
So when the Jeff Fisher inevitably cuts #249, will that be spun as a "postponement" too?
They splashed his same-sex kiss on every front page in America.
NFL.com can't stop talking about his "historic" achievement.
But alas, none of that was Good Enough.
Michael Sam is still bitter. He wanted to be the #1 pick. He deserved to be the #1 pick gosh-darn-it, because he's just so damn special. If only the NFL wasn't secretly homophobic.
Michael Sam believes he should've been taken sooner in the draft.
The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th pick in the seventh round, which was the seventh-to-the-last pick in the 2014 Draft. The openly gay football player, who was SEC Defensive Player of the Year, thought a team should have chosen him during the first three rounds.
"From last season alone, I should've been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American," Sam said during a conference call, adding that other teams chickened out on selecting him.
Boo frickin' hoo.
Several NFL team officials, though, disagreed with Sam's assessment that he should've been taken sooner. Speaking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before the draft, they questioned whether Sam's game can transition to the league.
"Most of his production was hustle stuff," an NFC personnel official told the Journal Sentinel. "There's production, but he's short, he's not a really good athlete and he doesn't play good against the run."
He continued: "He's kind of a one-task pass rusher. Just run up the field. And they swallow him up and kind of push him around."
One NFC personnel director stated that Sam doesn't have a position in the league.
"He's not a linebacker, and he's really not a defensive end," the personnel director told the Journal Sentinel.
In other words, he's just like every other 7th round pick. On the cusp. Worth a look, but not guaranteed a roster slot.
The Rams can't cut him. Ever. If he's sent packing it'll be prima facie evidence of Discrimination. The media will go berserk. GLAAD will call for boycotts of the Super Bowl. President Obama will be forced to Make A Statement. The world may very well stop spinning on its axis.
Every statement and action by the Rams will now be scrutinized for latent homphopbia. No perceived slight will be too small, and no attempt to judge Michael Sam by his on-field activities will be allowed unless it is viewed through the lens of his sexual orientation.
That's "historic" alright. It's a historic abrogation of professional football's meritocracy. Which, if you think about it for a minute, is a damn shame.
It's nice to know our Supreme Court still believes the Constitution is constitutional. Sometimes it's hard to tell if our Founding Fathers will survive the progressive onslaught.
The 14th Amendment guarantees "equal protection" to all. Affirmative action elevates one race above all others; clearly making them "unequal." The citizens of Michigan voted to abolish race-based preferences in college admissions. Liberals went berzerk. Their brand of discrimination postulates that minority applicants are unable to compete on a level playing field.
We fought the Civil War partly because one racial group was deliberately held back regardless of their individual accomplishments.
Affirmative action advances that race at the expense of other, more qualified contenders.
Both policies are equally odious.
Discrimination today is not the answer to past episodes of racism. Equality means judging everyone on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Regardless of the color of their skin.
What amazes me is that the decision wasn't unanimous.
The Supreme Court has upheld Michigan's affirmative action ban, ruling that the state has the right to determine whether racial preferences can be considered in college admissions.
In a 6-2 ruling on Tuesday, the justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory. The Supreme Court ruled that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to bar public colleges and universities from using race as a factor in admissions.
Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented. Madam Justice Wise Latina opined that minorities would be "oppressed" if they weren't given preferential treatment. Presumably because she believes they can't compete on the merits. I'd like to ask her, are minority college applicants truly less intelligent? Or merely lazier? Either assumption is insulting on its face. Yet affirmative action cannot survive without making them.
Fortunately the actual scholars on the Court determined that the word "equal"
really is color blind.
I really am sick and tired of homosexuals. Their preening sanctimony brooks no dissent. The hypocrisy of their calls for "tolerance" is no longer ironic, because their totalitarian impetus has become a juggernaut.
There is now an 11th commandment in America. Thou Shalt Celebrate Buggery! Or thou shalt lose thy job.
Mozilla -- most famous for its Firefox browser -- patted itself on the back for standing up for equal rights when it forced out CEO Brendan Eich after only a week on the job.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based organization infuriated many employees and users last week by promoting Eich. The hullabaloo centered on Eich.s $1,000 donation in 2008 to support Prop 8, the California initiative that barred same-sex marriage in the state.
"Equal rights." You use that term. It does not mean what you think it means.
Oh but, homosexuals don't want equality. They want conformity. They demand it. To not bend over and take it up the ass is hatred. Mr. Eich is "anti-gay," nevermind that that the homosexuals are "anti-religion."
We the new paradigm is this. We can have "free speech." Just so long as we don't say anything that gets the buggery boys all hot and bothered. Then it's off with our heads.
Well, I'll tell you what.
If they can get a guy fired for speaking out for traditional marriage, for believing in the Judeo-Christian definition of "family" instead of their warped view in which Heather has two mommies, then I can damn well refuse to do business with the next homosexual who shows up demanding "equality."
Yeah, don't sue me, because you made the rules. You created the heckler's veto. I'm just following your lead.
Take your "equality" and shove it up your ass. I heard you like that.
Why do you suppose an IRS worker needs the personal information for 20,000 current and former employees and contractors on his home pc? Insurance?
An Internal Revenue Service employee took home personal information on about 20,000 IRS workers, former workers and contractors, putting the data at risk for public release, the agency said Tuesday.
The employee took home a computer thumb drive containing names, Social Security numbers and addresses of the workers, and plugged the drive into an unsecure home network, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an email to employees.
"At this point, we have no direct evidence to indicate this personal information has been used for identity theft or other inappropriate uses," the IRS said in a statement.
Mr. Koskinen also swears Lois Lerner did nothing "inappropriate" either. Really. Trust him, and his boss, the guy who said there's "not a smidgeon of corruption" at the IRS. Honest.
You'll notice they don't name and shame the offender. It's called Circling The Wagons, and it's emblematic of a culture that believes it's not accountable to anyone, least of all you or me. So Chairman Issa, haul this guy, his boss, and his boss's boss up in front in Congress, asap. Put 'em on the hot seat.
Ten bucks says they take the Fifth. Because the IRS has nothing to hide.
Rich liberals don't like it when they're asked to pay their "fair share."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's eat-the-rich policies aren't sitting to well with the city's wealthy residents. According to Michael Goodman, a number of them are getting ready to flee the Big Apple for greener pastures, like Florida, where they won't be treated like criminals.
Maybe they shouldn't have voted for the commie in the first place. De Blasio didn't exactly keep his class warfare plans a secret. You reap what you sow kids.
Beyond taxes, the mayor's open hostility is a factor. His insulting treatment of former Mayor Bloomberg at the inauguration remains a cloud over him. As one affluent woman, a self-described liberal, told me, "De Blasio hates me, so I hate him." She doesn't personally know him, but draws her conclusion from his words and deeds.
Liberals want the government to take other people's money, not their money.
The schadenfreude, it is delicious.
Legalized extortion, the maritime union way.
New Jersey spent $700,000 more to have road salt shipped from Maine to Port Newark by barge than it would have cost had the federal government granted a waiver allowing a foreign vessel to deliver the coveted cargo, the state transportation commissioner said yesterday.
Shuttling 40,000 tons of salt over four trips by barge between Searsport, Maine, and Port Newark will cost $1.2 million compared with the $500,000 New Jersey would have spent if the cargo ship Anastasia S. had been permitted to take the load to New Jersey, Simpson said today after a meeting of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
It was the same message Simpson, a close ally of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, delivered on Monday after a special NJ Transit meeting.
"I've never been aggravated more in my life than about this salt issue, because this is a no-brainer for government to fix," he said at that meeting. "If we can't feel that it's in the public's interest to get salt down here, then there's no hope for anything else, as far as I'm concerned."
With the Obama Administration, when there's a conflict between "the public interest" and "union interests," the unions win, hands down, every time.
And the Jones Act exists to protect the maritime unions.
So to recap.
The good news is we got our road salt, which as, um, luck would have it, is just in time because it's snowing again as I write this.
The bad news is it took 2 weeks and an extra 700 grand to get it here.
Your tax dollars at work.
Why should she? Because, to coin a phrase — what difference, at this point, does it make?
To here her tell it, she was only passing along the lies Hillary and Obama told her.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday she has no regrets over what she told the American public about the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks in the immediate aftermath of the deadly strikes.
Rice did a round of Sunday TV interviews a few days after the attacks, in which some of the information she gave was later proven incorrect.
"What I said to you that morning, and what I did every day since, was to share the best information that we had at the time," Rice told NBC's "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory on Sunday. "The information I provided … was what we had at the moment."
Rice said "No," when Gregory asked whether she had any regrets about her statements.
Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith were unavailable for comment.
And Makoula Basseley Makoula spent a year in jail to make sure Rice's story couldn't be disputed.
I suppose nobody in this administration "regrets" that either.
As I reported yesterday, NJ desperately needs rock salt. And we could have had 40,000 tons of it by now, if the Obama Administration is willing to buck the maritime unions and allow for a waiver of the Jones Act.
Today we got their answer — an emphatic "no."
With salt stockpiles dangerously low, the state transportation commissioner said yesterday New Jersey is just one snowstorm away from possibly closing major roadways — and he blames the federal government.
"A lot of the counties and municipalities are out of salt," Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said yesterday. "If we have one more storm, New Jersey is going to have to close its interstates."
Simpson said he has been trying to get the federal government to grant a waiver allowing an empty ship already in Maine to bring 40,000 tons of road salt to Port Newark.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied his request, he said, and the salt remains in Maine.
Close the interstates Jim. Close 'em today.
Hey, it's what Dear Leader did with the National Parks. Shove the Jones Act right back into his unionista-loving face.
The whole thing is absurd. There's a ship ready to get the salt here within 2 days. But it's homeported in the Marshall Islands and thus prohibited from carrying cargo from one U.S. port to another.
We're supposed to wait three weeks while they find a suitable U.S. registered ship.
On Thursday, Simpson said, he received a note amounting to a denial of the waiver and was informed the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration was trying to locate a U.S. vessel that could bring the salt to Port Newark.
They found barges, he said. One that carries 10,000 tons and one that carries 5,000 tons and would get the salt to New Jersey in about three weeks, leaving more than half the load in Maine.
"Tell me how this is in the public interest — to deny New Jersey the ability to protect its own people?" Simpson said. "It's appalling. It's malfeasance."
It's sabotage by cabotage.
Thomas Allegretti, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the nation's domestic maritime industry, said a U.S. vessel will deliver the salt to New Jersey.
"The maritime industry is working to ensure that the state has the resources it needs to meet its seasonal demand," Allegretti said. "Despite short notice by transportation officials, maritime operators are moving to accelerate a request for additional salt and will deliver a new shipment to New Jersey before it is needed again."
Translation? The check is in the mail.
So if Chris Christie wants to make a point, he'll close the interstates
until it gets here. Three weeks of turning trucks back at the Pennsylvania
border ought to get somebody's attention. Let's see the Teamsters union
fight the maritime unions. I'll bring the popcorn.
New Jersey is out of rock salt. And our roads are slick with ice.
There's a ship in Maine with 40,000 tons of rock salt. It could be here in two days.
Getting the shipment to Port Newark has been frustratingly slow because of the state's inability so far to obtain a federal waiver of the 1920 Maritime Act, which requires that the shipment arrive on a vessel flying a U.S. flag.
State Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee said Sunday that state officials have been unable to obtain a waiver of what is known as the Jones Act, which requires that shipments from one U.S. port to another be carried by ships flying under a U.S flag.
More accurately, it has to be a U.S. built ship, owned by U.S. citizens, flying a U.S. flag, with a unionized crew of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
The closest such ship is a month away.
Absent such a waiver, the state will have to send smaller and slower-moving barges to bring the shipment to New Jersey, Dee said.
A spokesman for Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Sunday that his office and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have been in touch with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the state Department of Transportation in an effort to resolve the situation.
Don't hold your breath.
On the plus side, we've finally found an immigration law he's willing to enforce.
Socialist Andrew Cuomo wants to ban guns.
Communist Bill De Blasio wants to arrest anyone who's ever owned a gun.
By voting for these two morons the citizens of New York have shown their disdain for the Second Amendment.
So when Remington needed to choose a state in which to create 2,000 jobs, they didn't choose New York.
Because in Alabama, Freedom still means something.
"High level sources have informed Yellowhammer News that Remington, one of the world's largest gun manufacturers, will on Monday join Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in announcing that they are bringing over 2,000 jobs to Alabama. The company is viewing the move into Alabama as an expansion, but it will likely impact their Ilion, NY plant as well. The New York facility currently employs around 1,200 people. It is expected to stay open, but with a reduced workforce."
Apparently New York didn't learn from Colorado's mistake.
"I make this announcement with mixed emotions," Phillip Howe, president and CEO of HiViz, said in a statement. "Colorado is a beautiful state with great people, but we cannot in clear conscience support with our taxes a state that has proven through recent legislation a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base."
Alas, "Recall Cuomo" is a non-starter. So Remington voted with their feet.
And they join a proud tradition of freedom-loving Americans thumbing their noses at socialism.
Big Labor suffered a "devastating defeat" Friday when workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted against joining the UAW.
Even better, it was a kick in the nuts to Dear Leader.
President Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG's plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.
That's funny. The only folks voting here are average Americans, and they rejected the Democratic Party's line.
The loss is an especially stinging blow for U.A.W. because Volkswagen did not even oppose the unionization drive. The union's defeat — in what was one of the most closely watched unionization votes in decades — is expected to slow, perhaps stymie, the union's long-term plans to organize other auto plants in the South. . . .
Standing outside the Volkswagen plant, Mike Jarvis, a three-year employee who works on the finishing line, said the majority had voted against U.A.W. because they were persuaded the union had hurt Detroit's automakers.
Unions are a cancer on America.
As are the anti-liberty policies of blue state politicians like Andrew Cuomo.
Fortunately we still have the ability to self-correct, and route around the
problem. Good jobs are leaving the socialist enclaves. And any taint of the
progressive stench is unwelcome where freedom reigns supreme.
Those officials being VP Joe Biden and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
Vice President Joe Biden, never one to hide what he's thinking, said Thursday that New York's LaGuardia Airport feels like "it's in some third world country."
"If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2:00 in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said 'where do you think you are,' they'd say, 'this must be America, it's a modern airport,'" Biden said during a speech on infrastructure in Philadelphia.
"But if I blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, 'I must be in some third world country.' I'm not joking," he added as the audience broke out in laughter.
Hell to the yes! LaGuardia is a pit. Newark and JFK are only marginally better. Why? No competition. The Port Authority runs all 3 (along with Atlantic City Airport and Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY). So there's no incentive for any of our airports to woo travelers because they'd just be competing with themselves.
What do you get when you have a captive audience at the mercy of a monopolistic bureaucracy? A level of mediocrity that would make Bangladesh blush. I've seen South American bus stations with better ambience than Newark's Terminal B. And although it's been a few years since I've had to trudge through LaGuardia or JFK I can't imagine they've aged gracefully.
Adding to Joe's crediblity on this one — he rides Amtrak, so presumably he's seen the hellhole that is Newark Penn Station. If he thinks LaGuardia is worse than that, yikes.
Then we have Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, heard on tape saying, "Fuck the EU."
Yeah baby! A bigger bunch of whiny self-important pretentious overbearing nanny-state bureaucrats can't be found. (Except perhaps at the EPA…)
Nuland's criticism of the EU comes in the context of praising United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for picking an envoy to deal with the political crisis.
Nuland argues that the U.N. envoy will "help glue this thing and to have the U.N. glue it. And you know, f--k the EU," she adds.
"Exactly," Pyatt can be heard replying. "And I think we got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to torpedo it."
So she's one for two. Because Ban Ki-moon and the Useless Nations aren't measurably different from the Bozos in Brussels.
But hey, any day where I can agree with something an Obamunist says? Either
I'm getting soft, or these guys are finally finding a clue.
At the Sochi Olympics, the KGB is watching you in the shower.
So far, the story of the Olympics in Sochi has been complaints about and funny photos of the bathrooms and hotel rooms in Russia.
Dmitry Kozak, "the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations," responded to criticism of the accommodations.
"We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day," Kozak said.
Wait, what? Surveillance video of the showers?
Sure, it's par for the course for the KGB.
The little sink sits atop an exposed white plastic pipe, stuck to the wall and surrounded by an unruly gob of caulk. Might as well forget about a shower curtain. The way the bathroom is set up there's no place to affix a rod.
The single room has two lamps — which don't have light bulbs, but that's okay because they aren't near any unused outlets. An overhead chandelier has five shades, three of them with bulbs. There's no phone. The television doesn't work. A brainstorm interrupts an unsuccessful effort to plod through the manual — in Russian. There's no battery in the remote!
Comrades! You guys spent decades extolling the virtues of communism. Google "Soviet apartment block" to refresh your memory and revel in the utilitarian conformity. Then tell me your hotel isn't 10 times better!
It could be worse you know. They could have hired NJ Transit to arrange your
And Barack Obama is just the guy to do it.
Justice Antonin Scalia predicts that the Supreme Court will eventually authorize another a wartime abuse of civil rights such as the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II.
"You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again," Scalia told the University of Hawaii law school while discussing Korematsu v. United States, the ruling in which the court gave its imprimatur to the internment camps.
The local Associated Press report quotes Scalia as using a Latin phrase that means "in times of war, the laws fall silent," to explain why the court erred in that decision and will do so again.
"That's what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot," Scalia said. "That's what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It's no justification but it is the reality."
Panic? You mean like when Obamacare completely implodes, or Janet Yellen craters the dollar? Or maybe something simpler, say a nationwide rollout of Connecticut's gun confiscation? Because I could totally see the Alinskyites rounding up anyone who dares to oppose Obama's Executive Orders.
The IRS already has a list.
I live within that 100 mile cordon of fascism. Chances are that you do too.
And since Obama bought his own Lubyanka it's not inconceivable that he'll want to use it.
Before you dismiss me as a conspiracy nut, ask yourself this:
Do you trust your government?
It's being billed as the first "mass transit" Super Bowl. "Mass hassle" is more like it.
Super Bowl fans who take the train to the big game might confuse the rail station with an airport.
The Transportation Security Administration will be screening all bags for explosives at the Secaucus Junction Station in New Jersey before passengers are permitted on the one rail line serving MetLife Stadium.
TSA officers also will be using radiological detection devices.
NJ Transit estimates 12 to 15 thousand fans will pass through Secaucus Junction on game day. And one at a time they'll get felt-up by the TSA.
But if all this security kabuki makes you late for the game, you can always catch the kickoff on your mobile phone, right?
Uh, no. The NFL plans to block live streams of the game on the cellular networks serving East Rutherford. "Not enough bandwidth" is their lame-ass excuse.
I sure am glad I'll be watching the game from the comfort of my couch.
If you need help with your taxes, don't call the IRS.
As tax day looms, an annual watchdog report to Congress finds that the agency is falling short when it comes to answering Americans' questions about the convoluted tax code.
The National Taxpayer Advocate found only 61 percent of people seeking to speak with a customer service representative last year got through to anybody -- leaving nearly 20 million calls unanswered.
"At the risk of vast understatement, it is a sad state of affairs when the government writes tax laws as complex as ours -- and then is unable to answer any questions beyond 'basic' ones from baffled citizens who are doing their best to comply," the report from National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said.
The study detailed how customer service has steadily declined over the past several years, including at its 400 "walk-in sites." In fiscal 2014, the office said, the IRS will only answer "basic" questions at those sites during filing season. And it will not answer any questions, "even basic ones," after April, even for filers who got extensions.
"In addition, the IRS will discontinue its longstanding practice of preparing tax returns for low income, elderly and disabled taxpayers who seek help," the report said.
With the erosion in services, wait times have gone up. In fiscal 2004, callers were left on hold for just 2.6 minutes. Today, the average wait time is nearly 18 minutes.
Some taxpayers resort to writing letters to the IRS with their questions. The agency received 8.4 million such letters last year, but more than half were not answered by the end of fiscal 2013, the report said.
They blame "budget cuts."
Uh huh. Maybe if they weren't putting so much effort into persecuting the Tea Party they'd have time to assist the people they're supposed to be serving.
Obama doesn't want the IRS to help you. He wants the IRS to punish his enemies.
So Sarah Palin's brother gets audited 6 times in five years. But your 87 year old Aunt Mildred is out of luck when she calls the IRS for help.
A group of Hollywood conservatives (yes, they exist!) gets the full IRS protocology experience. But Obama's brother's "charity" was walked through all the necessary paperwork hoops by Lois Lerner herself.
Curiously the IRS didn't find it necessary to scrutinize Malik Obama's ties to Hamas. You only evoke their ire if you care about the Constitution.
All of that political gamesmanship leaves them with no resources to handle their actual mission — fairly administering the tax code. Because even though the IRS won't answer your questions, you can be damn sure they'll haul your ass in for an audit if you forget to dot even one "i" or cross a single "t."
Unless, of course, the NSA tells 'em you're a Democrat.
Should a mother who cares for her disabled adult son be forced to join a union and pay dues out of her meager Medicaid stipend?
The state of Michigan, and the SEIU, say "absolutely."
Yesterday a lawyer for that mother asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let her be free.
William Messenger of the National Right to Work Committee asked the Supreme Court today to hold that public employee unions are unconstitutional.
"This is—I'm just going to use the word here, it is a radical argument. It would radically restructure the way workplaces across this country are—are run," Justice Elena Kagan said from the bench. Since 1948, she pointed out, states have had the power to enact "right-to-work" laws that limit union power. Was Messenger arguing that "a right-to-work law is constitutionally compelled?"
Messenger didn't back off. "In the public sector, yes," he replied.
His clients, home-care providers paid by the state of Illinois with federal-state Medicaid funds, had started out arguing only that they were not "employees" for purposes of coverage by the Court's previous labor precedents. (Though they get state paychecks, they are selected and supervised by the families they serve.) But after cert was granted, their lawyers, the NRTWC's legal-defense fund, decided instead to go for the kill shot. They want the court to hold that permitting the unions to collect fees for representing non-members—the so-called "agency fee"—violates the First Amendment.
At least four members of the Court seemed ready to reach that "radical" result. The fate of public employee unionism in the nation seemed, by the end of the argument, to lie in the hands of Justice Antonin Scalia.
It's high time for Mr. Justice Scalia to deliver the coup de grace and free us from the tyranny of public employee unions.
The argument against public-sector agency fees is this: Since public employees work for government, everything they bargain about is political. Higher wages, better benefits, new work rules—all affect the state budget. Assessing fees from non-members thus requires them to pay for political speech.
Yes. Public employee unions are by their very nature inherently political. And it's an incestuous relationship. The union collects dues from its members, which it then uses to lobby government officials and contribute to their election campaigns. Those government officials in turn, not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them, always ensure the union's contract demands are easily ratified.
In many cases, like for instance when a recently retired teacher is elected to the school board (with her union's backing), the union ends up negotiating with itself. That's hardly a formula for fiscal restraint. But it does keep the union in clover.
You know who else hated public employee unions? No less a liberal icon than Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Roosevelt openly opposed bargaining rights for government unions.
"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."
And if you're the kind of guy who capitalizes "government," woe betide such obstructionists.
FDR wasn't alone among Democrats, either.
It was orthodoxy among Democrats through the '50s that unions didn't belong in government work. Things began changing when, in 1959, Wisconsin's then-Gov. Gaylord Nelson signed collective bargaining into law for state workers. Other states followed, and gradually, municipal workers and teachers were unionized, too.
Even as that happened, the future was visible. Frank Zeidler, Milwaukee's mayor in the 1950s and the last card-carrying Socialist to head a major U.S. city, supported labor. But in 1969, the progressive icon wrote that rise of unions in government work put a competing power in charge of public business next to elected officials. Government unions "can mean considerable loss of control over the budget, and hence over tax rates," he warned.
Which of course is the reason New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation. Our public employee unions own the government. And they don't care one whit about the taxpayers. We've seen the result. Overly generous union contracts awarded by career politicians who live large on union dues funneled into their campaign coffers while the cities and towns they supposedly represent fall into disgrace.
The Supreme Court now has a chance to level the playing field and wrest control
of our government back into the hands of "We The People." Let's hope they don't
let us down.