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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Alternet's Joshua Holland: "Bush - Keeping Working Families Poor and Disempowered is More Important Than Protecting Them"

Dome on Dome Evil

Thanks to Joshua Holland of Alternet for this great piece on Chertoff screwing workers out of their right to organize - THANKS JOSHUA!

This is just disgusting:

President George W. Bush may veto legislation to adopt many of the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission unless Senate Democrats drop a plan to allow airport screeners to join unions, a Bush administration official said.

A provision in the security legislation now before the Senate would give government-employed airport security screeners the right to bargain collectively for union contracts and whistle-blower protections.

"That would mean we would have to negotiate with the unions whenever we have to do an emergency deployment,'' Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters.

Or whenever they have to negotiate a new contract.

He cited an instance last August when the agency introduced extra security measures after U.K. authorities uncovered an alleged plot to blow up airliners using explosive liquids.

God, this is a lame argument. You just need to negotiate a contract with the union that has provisions for overtime work in emergency situations.

Bush's senior advisers would recommend a veto of the legislation, which authorizes more than $9.3 billion over three years in security grants to states, if it contains union organizing rights for airport screeners, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

"We vigorously disagree with those provisions in the bill,'' Stanzel said.

The Senate security legislation would implement the recommendations the Sept. 11 commission made two years ago that hadn't already been enacted. The measure includes a provision that requires $9.3 billion in grants be distributed with preference to cities that terrorists are most likely to target.

The Bush administration and Republicans defeated efforts by Democrats in 2002 to include organizing rights for TSA personnel when Congress passed initial legislation creating the Homeland Security Department.

You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a better illustration of the administration's real priorities.

Of course, this is part of a pattern of using security issues and "emergency powers" as excuses for naked union-busting. Remember that Reagan called the air-traffic controllers' strike a "peril to national safety" before breaking it (and the union's back). And let's not forget Bush's suspension of the David-Bacon Act while New Orleans was drowning.

- posted by Joshua Holland of Alternet

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