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Unanimous SCOTUS: States can curb union use of dues for politics

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously supported the right of states to require unions to get permission from members before spending dues on political activities. The case, Davenport v. Washington Education Association (WEA), was brought by Gary Davenport and thousands more non-union Washington teachers.  They had opposed the unions chiefs’ use of their dues to support candidates and campaigns.  Important to note is that SCOTUS did not get into the larger question of whether union brass can automatically collect forced dues for politics from nonunion members in the first place. So if public employees are hoping to free themselves of compulsory dues — not happening.  Check out the decision here at the SCOTUSblog.  (Even they have one, so it is decidedly not cool anymore.)

Naples v. Massachusetts on the Seat Belt Freedom Index

Wearing your seat belt is a good idea. Full stop. Please do not write in telling me that I am urging people to break the law. I am simply recounting a story from 1986, the first time I ever stepped foot in Naples, Italy. Lots of people hate the place — chaotic, sometimes 3 people and furniture driving down the road on a moped, sometimes those mopeds on the sidewalk (but only when cars aren’t parked there)… There is the Mergellina district with heroine and, uh, other things. There is also one of the most beautiful bays and overlooks around, the best, best, best pizza, and there are beautiful women who actually read books (unlike in Rome). So, on balance, […]

Putting mother in the back seat

I adore my mother.  She complains this year that I put in too many tomato, cucumber, eggplant, pepper and basil and parsley plants in her backyard; I tell her that she still has way too much grass.  While she says she doesn’t mind, in the end, she doesn’t water the plants in that quiet revenge that mothers are so good at.  She cooks good stuff for everyone and stuffs the kids with baklava, so no one takes the complaints too far.  It’s called love.  Well, now, mother, whether you water the plants or not, you are going to have to sit in the back seat!  Seems that there is consideration being given to bill H 2361 requiring children smaller than 4’9″ sit in a booster […]

Two-fer from the Globe

Yesterday’s editorial in the Globe on the Governor’s veering away from support for MCAS was spot on. It’s a must read. Today, again, the right stuff and the right tone on the Quincy teachers’ strike (click here). The money quotes (not in the order presented in today’s paper) are: The Quincy strike — which was still under way as of yesterday evening — is illegal under state law, and should be ended immediately. Like municipal leaders across the state, Quincy Mayor William Phelan can’t keep asking the city’s taxpayers to pay the same share of escalating healthcare costs, which in Quincy have almost doubled since 2002. A bill before the Legislature would allow cities and towns to purchase insurance for […]

Market approaches to blogging

Subsequent to a number of emails on the post mentioning Tom Waits, which ranged from deranged and delightful to slightly frightful, I have decided to push the celebrity mention scheme for drawing traffic to the blog. Here goes: Paris Hilton Lindsay Lohan Brad Pitt George Clooney Please note that, henceforth, in accordance with Pioneer General Laws, Chapter 39B, Section 3(a)4.t: All blog entries forthwith must begin with, or within the first 17 1/2 words utilize celebrity names according to the provisions set forth in the present statute. No more than two names shall appear in the blog title, which shall appear at the top of the blog entry. Up to three names can appear in the first 17 1/2 words […]