The Rail Strike
Today the House is going to take up legislation to avoid a nationwide strike by railroad workers.
With less than two weeks until the strike deadline, President Biden called on Congress to impose a deal that was negotiated earlier this year to avert a shutdown of the country’s freight railroads.
In his statement the President said this:
“I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown.”
That deal was recently voted down by four railroad unions representing most of the union members. The rail workers have said they are angry and frustrated that the deal lacked paid sick days or other substantial changes to an attendance policy that penalizes workers for taking time off while they are sick.
What is interesting to note is this:
In 1992, two days into a crippling railroad strike, then Senator Biden came to the Senate floor and decried the lopsided nature of federal labor laws dealing with the rail industry — laws, he argued, that essentially allowed corporations, regulators and, ultimately, Congress to run roughshod over workers.
He said then:
“We need to restore a measure of balance to these negotiations,” before voting with just five other senators against halting the strike.
Thirty years later, as president, he is turning to those same laws to prevent another strike and impose a tentative contract agreement that his administration brokered, but multiple rail unions voted to reject.
It’s just easier to be “Union Joe” as a single senator among 100 than it is as president of the United States.
Same Sex Marriage Approved
Yesterday the Senate voted 61-36 to pass a law validating same sex marriage.
What is interesting about this passage is to look at the timeline and the changing nation we live in.
In 1996, just 27% of Americans supported same-sex marriage.
In fact, that year President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages.
Now, just 26 years later, we have a law making it legal as 71% (Gallup Poll) support same-sex marriage.
In its approval yesterday, the measure repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and requires state recognition of legal same-sex marriages.
Republicans pushed for religious freedom protections and amended language that shields nonprofit religious organizations from having to provide services in support of same-sex marriages, but they were voted down.
Disney In The News
In the last week Disney fired its CEO and then introduced what it called a boundary breaking movie titled “Strange World.”
The movie was different for them in that it featured a gay teen romance as the main character, an environmental message and no princesses. Not exactly the Disney of your parents and grandparents childhood.
Well, the movie grossed $11.9 million over the three-day weekend and $18.6 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday.
That was far below what was expected and needed to be a Disney success. The film’s budget was a reported $180 million.
Variety has projected that it could lose as much as $100 million.
Was This The Best Person For The Job?
When Sam Brinton was recently appointed and celebrated by the Biden Energy Department as the “first gender fluid person in the federal government, there were questioned if it was the right person for the role and if the appointment was more to support the transgender community.
Well, Brinton is now facing felony charges and has been placed on leave after being accused of stealing luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Brinton is due in district court in Hennepin County, Minnesota, on Dec.19 on felony theft charges that carry a five-year prison term.
According to court documents police used video surveillance to catch Brinton on Sept. 16 taking a woman’s hard-sided Vera Bradley roller suitcase from the airport’s baggage claim area while traveling to St. Paul from Washington.
Brinton made the trip without any checked baggage but showed up at one of the luggage carousels and snatched the woman’s suitcase, according to a complaint. Brinton removed the luggage tag and “left the area at a quick pace,” police said in the complaint.
Brinton checked into the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront hotel and left the next day with the bag, which was worth $2,325 including its contents, according to the victim.
The President Sounds Like Reagan or Clinton
I watched the President yesterday as he visited a computer chip manufacturing site in Michigan.
As I watched and listened to him talk of the booming economy I was reminded of speeches Presidents Reagan and Clinton gave as the economy boomed in their terms.
Do you think we’re in that kind of economy, because I don’t.
Yet, I think the President believes it.
He boasted of his record in creating manufacturing jobs. “We’re strengthening American manufacturing. We’ve created more jobs in the first two years of any presidency, 735,000 manufacturing jobs, and counting,” he said. Again he is counting the jobs people went back to after Covid.
The pandemic shutdowns eliminated 1.4 million jobs from February 2020 to April 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 800,000 had been restored when Mr. Biden took office in January 2021.
The Democrats Choose Today
Today the Democratic caucus will choose their new leadership beginning January 2023.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) is expected to be chosen to lead congressional Democrats.
Rep. Jeffries’s election would make him the first Black man to lead a major political party and mark a generational shift. He is 52 and will replace Nancy Pelosi. His team will include Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and Pete Aguilar of California replacing Stony Hoyer and James Clyburn.
Besides the age difference it will also be the first time there is no white male on a leadership team in congress.
Some Media Thoughts
Remember NBC reporter Miguel Almaguer who reported there was more to the Paul Pelosi attack story? He was pulled from the air and hasn’t been heard from since. Are you like me wondering why?
Little coverage but a judge allowed Devin Nunes defamation lawsuit against NBCUniversal to proceed, saying the former congressman had “plausibly alleged actual malice” over a Rachel Maddow comment.
Interesting to see in the Georgia run off Hershel Walker is campaigning with Brian Kemp, the Governor who fought back against Donald Trump, and the former President is staying away.
How come all the coverage of election deniers are one sided? Always with the 2020 election. How about 2016 and Democratic leaders who denied the election?
Soon to be new leader Jeffries wrote this on President Trump:
“Stop Pouting, History Will Never Accept You As A Legitimate President.”
“The more we learn about 2016 the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes,” he tweeted in 2018, two years after the election.
He added: “America deserves to know whether we have a FAKE President in the Oval Office.”
“History will never accept you as a legitimate president,” he tweeted from his personal account in 2020.
One more example:
“Is Donald Trump” A. a legitimate President… B. a Russian Asset… C. an organized crime boss… D. a useful idiot,” he tweeted in 2019. “The American people deserve to know.”
If Jeffries were a Republican running for a leadership position would all America know this?
Other leaders have been deniers too:
Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Congressman who is in line to be ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. In 2021, he led the second Trump impeachment effort. In 2017, he was the second House Democrat to attempt to block Trump’s electoral votes from being counted.
He then wanted to impeach Trump only four months into his term.
How many know that? Maybe Republicans aren’t the only deniers.