An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Over the Hump

The Gazette featured Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan putting the onus for increased revenues for 2004 on the state of Maryland:

Duncan also rejected slot machines - Ehrlich's top priority - saying that the county and state would prosper by investing in biotechnology and other new ventures.

"I want to live in a community that has a long-term strategy to attract the world's best and brightest and doesn't have to rely on people cashing in their Social Security checks at slot machine palaces," Duncan said, in a refrain that other top Democrats are sure to echo as they develop a message to use against Ehrlich.

Yesterday’s Kausfiles is interesting for the spin it puts on what some are suggesting would be a Dean third party candidacy if his little dance with the Dems doesn’t work out.

I found this snippet from CQ’s midday update thought provoking, following on the heels of the LA Times in-depth look at Senator Reid’s family’s success in lobbying.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, became a millionaire in the late 1990s "thanks to investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other benefits with his help," the Los Angeles Times reported today. In a 4,300-word story, the newspaper detailed how Stevens became wealthy, including helping to save a $450 million military housing contract for an Anchorage businessman who made the senator a partner in a series of real estate investments that turned a $50,000 stake into at least $750,000 in six years. An Alaska Native company that Stevens helped create "got millions of dollars in defense contracts through preferences he wrote into law. Now the company pays $6 million a year to lease an office building owned by the senator and his business partners," the paper said. Stevens, in a written response to questions submitted by The Times, said all his official actions were motivated by a desire to help Alaska, and that he played no role in the day-to-day management of the ventures into which he put money.

And one cannot help but wonder if the labor union movement in the U.S. is being revitalized by the efforts of organizers around the country. In particular, the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, is just one example of the success that many are having in using lists, listservs, websites, and online activism to supplement a resurgent organizing effort on the ground:

December 10 was a huge success with thousands of workers and their allies rallying in over 71 cities nationwide to send a single message: Workers Rights Are Human Rights! More than 2, 500 hundred rallied in Washington on the steps of the Department of Labor, over 5,000 marched with Rev. Jesse Jackson in Los Angeles, 4,000 rallied in Boston, 2,500 protested with President Sweeney in NY, 2,000 rallied with Sen. Barbara Boxer in San Francisco, over a thousand rallied in Minnesota, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia and 500 participated in St. Louis, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland and Miami. There was civil disobedience in New Haven and New Jersey. In Atlanta, workers and their allies closed operations at the notorious anti-worker law firm Jackson-Lewis. December 10 was just the beginning.