Joe Kenehan Center

Thursday, January 09, 2003
The Future of GOTV

Just about everybody agrees that the Sweeney/Trumka/Chavez-Thompson team that was elected in 1995 to head the AFL-CIO has done a lot to improve the labor movement’s political operation.

Union families are more likely to vote than their non-union neighbors, in large part because of improved efforts to provide union voters with information about candidates, issues, and elections.

Steve Rosenthal, who recently stepped down as the AFL-CIO’s political director, is widely-respected and gets a lot of credit for helping boost working families’ political power and election participation.

According to this story in Roll Call, Rosenthal is now getting ready to lead a new union-backed “527 group” that will support pro-worker candidates, and this AP story says Karen Ackerman has been named to take over as political director at the AFL-CIO.

I can't pretend to know much about what a “527 group” is. (Here’s a Brookings Institution backgrounder on 527s.) But maybe this sort of thing cause for optimism – representing a refocusing of unions’ political energy away from soft money generation and towards independent action.

Bill Frist, R-Corporate Health Care

This LA Weekly piece is a good summary Dr. Bill’s history of tending to the well-being of corporate interests in health care.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
Tax Debate, Chapter 122

Bush’s new “stimulus” plan has once again set off the debate over about who should pay for necessary investments in education, health care, and transportation that even many Republicans grudgingly pretend to believe in these days.

Citizens for Tax Justice tax guru Robert McIntyre -- in this excellent review of Stephen Weisman’s The Great Tax Wars in The Washington Monthly -- reminds us that this debate has been going on now for generations. (Weisman's book, please don’t forget, was also a Joe Kenehan Center Notable Book for 2002.)

Airlines: Let’s Ignore What Works!

Everything I’ve ever read about the airline industry has touted Southwest Airlines as an example of an airline that “works.”

So isn’t in interesting that while most major airlines want Bush to make it easier for them to boost revenue by muzzling their employees' unions, Southwest is outspokenly doubtful that this is the right move for airlines? Here’s what Southwest itself had to say:

"We're totally, incredibly uninvolved" in the lobbying effort [to restrict airline workers' right to strike], said Ed Stuart, a spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest. "Historically our negotiations have gone very well, and we're the most unionized airline in the industry."

Also worth reading . . .

Brazil’s Lula as FDR.
John Sweeney on jobs and growth.
E.J. Dionne on "class warfare."

Monday, January 06, 2003
America’s Best Songs 2002

TOP 25
(note: this list is not a ranking -- it’s a rough track list of a CD I’ll get around to making once I can get my CD burner to work again.)

Many Rivers To Cross -- The Blind Boys of Alabama

A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix) -- Elvis Presley

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 -- The Flaming Lips

Walking In A Straight Line -- The Mayflies USA

This I What I Do -- Rhett Miller

Oceanbound -- 764-HERO

Talk To Me -- Jay Bennett & Edward Burch

Anchor -- Dear John Letters

It’ll Be The Same Without You -- The Mendoza Line

Pot kettle black -- Wilco

Oak Ridges -- The Sadies

(a year ahead) . . . & a light -- Richard Buckner

My Name Is Jorge -- The Gourds

Lonesome and Losin’ -- Lil’ Cap'n Travis

Virginia, No One Can Warn You -- Tift Merritt

Jerusalem -- Steve Earle

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry -- Johnny Cash

Shallow Heart -- Caitlin Cary

The Death of John Henry -- Ralph Stanley

Don’t Break The Heart -- Laura Cantrell

Everything’s Gonna Be Cool -- Chris Mills

When I Hold You In My Arms -- Neil Young

Lone Star -- Norah Jones

the new cobweb summer -- Lambchop