Daily Archives: January 4, 2011

9th Circuit: Mt Soledad Veteran’s Memorial Cross "Unconstitutional"

I’m sure Rees Lloyd and the other veterans will have something to say about that in court. Rees predicts civil disobedience if the cross in San Diego is ordered torn down. The memorial land was transfered to the federal government when it was previously ordered torn down.
This may be heard by the 9th circuit en banc, but this could be going to the Supremes.
From the folks at the Alliance Defense Fund:

Statement by ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joe Infranco in reaction to the ruling: “The memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom shouldn’t be dishonored because the ACLU finds a small number of people who are merely offended,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Joe Infranco. “It’s tragic that the court chose a twisted and tired interpretation of the First Amendment over the common sense idea that the families of fallen American troops should be allowed to honor these heroes as they choose. No one is harmed, constitutionally or otherwise, by the presence of a cross on a war memorial. There is great harm to tearing these memorials down.” (ADF Media Information)
___________________
Trunk v. Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, No. 08-56436 (9th Cir. Jan. 4, 2011)
Excerpt:
Before: Harry Pregerson, M. Margaret McKeown, and
Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge McKeown

The Supreme Court’s framework for evaluating monuments on public lands and for resolving Establishment Clause cases under the First Amendment leads us to conclude that the district court erred in declaring the Memorial to be primarily non-sectarian, and granting summary judgment in favor of the government and the Memorial’s supporters.
We are not faced with a decision about what to do with a historical, longstanding veterans memorial that happens to include a cross. Nor does this case implicate military cemeteries in the United States that include headstones with crosses and other religious symbols particular to the deceased. Instead we consider a site with a free-standing cross originally erected in 1913 that was replaced with an even larger cross in 1954, a site that did not have any physical indication that it was a memorial nor take on the patina of a veterans memorial until the 1990s, in response to the litigation. We do not discount that the Cross is a prominent landmark in San Diego. But a few scattered memorial services before the 1990s do not establish a historical war memorial landmark such as those found in Arlington Cemetery, Gettysburg, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Resurrection of this Cross as a war memorial does not transform it into a secular monument.
We acknowledge the good intentions and heartfelt emotions on all sides of this dispute, and recognize the sincere anguish that will be felt regardless of whether we affirm or reverse the district court. We also acknowledge the historical role of religion in our civil society. In no way is this decision meant to undermine the importance of honoring our veterans. Indeed, there are countless ways that we can and should honor them, but without the imprimatur of state-endorsed religion. At the same, time in adopting the First Amendment, Founders were prescient in recognizing that, without eschewing religion, neither can the government be seen as favoring one religion over another. The balance is subtle but fundamental to our freedom of religion.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Vancouver Unions Ready to Gouge City & Taxpayers

A year and a half ago I was applauding the Vancouver Firefighters Union over their declining a wage increase, seeing the economy slipping further into recession. Comments left on my blog back then informed me the “sacrifice” wasn’t as altruistic as I assumed.

If there was need of any further proof of that we see it today as we are informed that Vancouver and two unions stalled on contracts. The “two unions” are the Police Command and Firefighter unions who will not agree to the city’s offer and instead, are demanding hefty wage increases, even though our economy has not improved and in fact, has worsened since the firefighters made their “concession” to a wage freeze in July 2009.

At issue today is the Fire Suppression Unit, IAFF Local 452 holding out for an “8.2% wage increase for contract year 2010 with another 2% COLA in contract year 2011. In addition, they want a 10% longevity pay for over 25 years service, payoffs of unused sick leaves and a reduction in number of hours worked in a week.”

We also see the Police Command Unit, OPEIU Local 11 holding out for “Commanders pay 10% above a Lieutenants Pay, and a Lieutenant’s pay 22.4% above a Sergeants’ pay” in both contract years.

In the case of the Firefighters Union, the city offers no wage increase and a 10% increase in their contribution towards dependents health insurance premiums for contract year 2010 and no wage increase and a 15% contribution toward dependents health insurance premiums in contract year 2011.

For the Police Union the city offers no wage increase in each contract year and the same contribution towards dependents health insurance premium as for Firefighters, 10% and 15%.

Currently, the average wage for a Vancouver Firefighter with 19 years of service is just over $75,000 a year base, not including overtime, differential or specialty pay. They receive 288 hours a year sick leave accrual, with a maximum of 1,911 hours accrual. They receive 336 hours vacation accrual with a maximum of 824 hours accrual. The work a 49 hour week of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty with every 8th day being a day off to ‘true up’ the hours accordingly.

For the average Police Commander with 10-years service, they receive $112,908 a year in base salary, not including overtime or differential pay. They receive 302 hours average Paid Days off accrual a year with a maximum of 604 hours. They receive 120 hours a year sick leave accrual with a maximum of 1024 hours.

Were these better times, I might be inclined to lean more towards the two unions, although I think 8.2% is a bit steep, but they aren’t better times. Many feel today that once historians look back, this so called ‘Great Recession’ will actually be seen more like another ‘Great Depression.’

Clark County has had double digit unemployment ongoing for some 2 years and there is no end in sight. Private sector jobs continue drying up along with revenues paid into state & city coffers, where these increases would come from.

While I hold both Firefighters and Police in the highest of regard, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is bare. We taxpayers just don’t have it. It is unreasonable that while we blast overspending at all levels of government, public unions step in and demand even more spending on them.

We already see the loss of one fire station in Vancouver. The city of Kelso’s Police Union demands recently saw the loss of 3 Police Officer’s and one Police clerk. Public outrage caused county commissioners to decline accepting their scheduled pay increase and car allowance.

Even though much of the blame can be placed on poor choices by elected officials in deficit spending, that doesn’t change the fact that there just is no money left for citizens to give.

We’d like to feed our families too.

The matter is now slated for arbitration with both sides being held to whatever is decided. Disturbing is reading of the arbitration process,

“The arbitrator is limited in factors to be considered in reaching a final decision. Such factors include the cost of living as well as a comparison of wages hours and working conditions of like employers of similar size on the West Coast. The public entity’s ability to pay is not a factor for consideration in the arbitration process.”

I am truly left wondering just who we elect and who chooses a career to “protect and to serve” really gives a damn about the taxpayers!

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Oregon National Guard 2-162 of to Receive Presidential Citation for Efforts During Operation Phantom Fury, The Second Battle of Fallujah. Hooah.

Congratulations to the 2-162. You make us proud. 
The Presidential Unit Citation is the highest honor a unit can receive in the entire military–not just the Army. It is the equivalent of the indvidual Medal of Honor.  

News Release from: Oregon Military Department OREGON ARMY NATIONAL GUARD UNIT TO RECEIVE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION
Posted: January 4th, 2011 1:27 PM
Corvallis, Ore. – Corvallis-based Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, of the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is scheduled to receive the Presidential Unit Citation at the Corvallis Armory, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.
The Presidential Unit Citation, which is the highest decoration any U.S. military unit can receive, is awarded to units of the armed forces for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after Dec. 7, 1941.
From Nov. 3, 2004, to Nov. 24, 2004, the unit experienced some of the heaviest fighting of the Iraq war in the city of Fallujah.  The unit was initially selected for an attack on the city, but soon came under heavy enemy resistance, which lasted a period of days.
Check it out, someone made a video of these guys.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Hey Randy: This Food Trailer is Illegal

But it’s located at the Illegal Alien Day Labor Center (renamed “Workers’ Plaza” has that nice communist ring to it, doesn’t it?). See that trailer? Randy says those aren’t “carts” and that they’re illegal. See those blocks underneath the trailer? Illegal.
Ten bucks says he does nothing about the illegal food cart because, let’s face it, it’s already a work center for illegal aliens and is paid for by the taxpayers. It should be noted, however.
The rules are only for those who aren’t in the favored groups approved of by the city cadres. Please make a note of it.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Priority for GOP: KILL IT. PERIOD.

Oh, I know it will be tough, but do what you told us you would and then go back and do it piece by piece and replace it.

Text of Bills and Resolutions to be Considered during the Weeks of January 3 and 10, 2010 The following are links to the text of bills and resolutions scheduled for consideration during the week of January 3, 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rules Package for the 112th Congress

* Note: The links to the text above are to the “conference print” version of H.Res. 5. After consideration by the House Republican Conference, the text will be updated to reflect any amendments adopted by the Conference.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 and the balance of the week

To be considered during the week of January 10, 2011

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

9th Circuit: Mt Soledad Veteran’s Memorial Cross "Unconstitutional"

I’m sure Rees Lloyd and the other veterans will have something to say about that in court. Rees predicts civil disobedience if the cross in San Diego is ordered torn down. The memorial land was transfered to the federal government when it was previously ordered torn down.
This may be heard by the 9th circuit en banc, but this could be going to the Supremes.
From the folks at the Alliance Defense Fund:

Statement by ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joe Infranco in reaction to the ruling: “The memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom shouldn’t be dishonored because the ACLU finds a small number of people who are merely offended,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Joe Infranco. “It’s tragic that the court chose a twisted and tired interpretation of the First Amendment over the common sense idea that the families of fallen American troops should be allowed to honor these heroes as they choose. No one is harmed, constitutionally or otherwise, by the presence of a cross on a war memorial. There is great harm to tearing these memorials down.” (ADF Media Information)
___________________
Trunk v. Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, No. 08-56436 (9th Cir. Jan. 4, 2011)
Excerpt:
Before: Harry Pregerson, M. Margaret McKeown, and
Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge McKeown

The Supreme Court’s framework for evaluating monuments on public lands and for resolving Establishment Clause cases under the First Amendment leads us to conclude that the district court erred in declaring the Memorial to be primarily non-sectarian, and granting summary judgment in favor of the government and the Memorial’s supporters.
We are not faced with a decision about what to do with a historical, longstanding veterans memorial that happens to include a cross. Nor does this case implicate military cemeteries in the United States that include headstones with crosses and other religious symbols particular to the deceased. Instead we consider a site with a free-standing cross originally erected in 1913 that was replaced with an even larger cross in 1954, a site that did not have any physical indication that it was a memorial nor take on the patina of a veterans memorial until the 1990s, in response to the litigation. We do not discount that the Cross is a prominent landmark in San Diego. But a few scattered memorial services before the 1990s do not establish a historical war memorial landmark such as those found in Arlington Cemetery, Gettysburg, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Resurrection of this Cross as a war memorial does not transform it into a secular monument.
We acknowledge the good intentions and heartfelt emotions on all sides of this dispute, and recognize the sincere anguish that will be felt regardless of whether we affirm or reverse the district court. We also acknowledge the historical role of religion in our civil society. In no way is this decision meant to undermine the importance of honoring our veterans. Indeed, there are countless ways that we can and should honor them, but without the imprimatur of state-endorsed religion. At the same, time in adopting the First Amendment, Founders were prescient in recognizing that, without eschewing religion, neither can the government be seen as favoring one religion over another. The balance is subtle but fundamental to our freedom of religion.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

My, What Big Bank Accounts You Have, Public Employee Unions**UPDATED WITH KULONGOSKI COMMENT

**UPDATED WITH KULONGOSKI COMMENT**

H/T Catalyst which pointed up this website outlining the contributions to state candidates and causes in 2010.
Wow, check out those PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION contributions. Hmmm…what’s that “Vote Yes for Oregon” group? Oh, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION contributions.
When the left tells you that the Citizens United case tips the campaign contributions in favor of business, don’t you believe them.
In an interview with Willamette Week (here), Kulongoski talks about power and public employee unions. 

Let’s say you are [a special interest] and you’ve got a million dollars. And you’ve got 10 candidates. You give $100,000 to each of them. And you elect six. And you say, “This is a good investment.” But you also lost four. Or, let’s say you have a million dollars and you instead say, “You see that guy? People think he can’t be beat. I’m going to put all [one] million dollars against that person.” And you defeat him. Which of those scenarios do you think affects 90 legislators the most? The latter. Look, politics is always about power. The question is whether power is equally distributed. Public-sector unions have got no competition right now. They have the ability to come together in a room with a number of like-minded people and start building the base. There are about 220,000 public employees in the state. If you add in federal employees, it’s about 240,000. State, city, county, federal. Give each of them a spouse. Now I’m about up to almost 500,000. Give them each a child. Now spread the group out. I’m telling you, in a state with 2.4 million voters, that’s a powerful group.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Oregon National Guard 2-162 of to Receive Presidential Citation for Efforts During Operation Phantom Fury, The Second Battle of Fallujah. Hooah.

Congratulations to the 2-162. You make us proud. 
The Presidential Unit Citation is the highest honor a unit can receive in the entire military–not just the Army. It is the equivalent of the indvidual Medal of Honor.  

News Release from: Oregon Military Department OREGON ARMY NATIONAL GUARD UNIT TO RECEIVE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION
Posted: January 4th, 2011 1:27 PM
Corvallis, Ore. – Corvallis-based Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, of the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is scheduled to receive the Presidential Unit Citation at the Corvallis Armory, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.
The Presidential Unit Citation, which is the highest decoration any U.S. military unit can receive, is awarded to units of the armed forces for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after Dec. 7, 1941.
From Nov. 3, 2004, to Nov. 24, 2004, the unit experienced some of the heaviest fighting of the Iraq war in the city of Fallujah.  The unit was initially selected for an attack on the city, but soon came under heavy enemy resistance, which lasted a period of days.
Check it out, someone made a video of these guys.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Hey Randy: This Food Trailer is Illegal

But it’s located at the Illegal Alien Day Labor Center (renamed “Workers’ Plaza” has that nice communist ring to it, doesn’t it?). See that trailer? Randy says those aren’t “carts” and that they’re illegal. See those blocks underneath the trailer? Illegal.
Ten bucks says he does nothing about the illegal food cart because, let’s face it, it’s already a work center for illegal aliens and is paid for by the taxpayers. It should be noted, however.
The rules are only for those who aren’t in the favored groups approved of by the city cadres. Please make a note of it.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Priority for GOP: KILL IT. PERIOD.

Oh, I know it will be tough, but do what you told us you would and then go back and do it piece by piece and replace it.

Text of Bills and Resolutions to be Considered during the Weeks of January 3 and 10, 2010 The following are links to the text of bills and resolutions scheduled for consideration during the week of January 3, 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rules Package for the 112th Congress

* Note: The links to the text above are to the “conference print” version of H.Res. 5. After consideration by the House Republican Conference, the text will be updated to reflect any amendments adopted by the Conference.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 and the balance of the week

To be considered during the week of January 10, 2011

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

My, What Big Bank Accounts You Have, Public Employee Unions**UPDATED WITH KULONGOSKI COMMENT

**UPDATED WITH KULONGOSKI COMMENT**

H/T Catalyst which pointed up this website outlining the contributions to state candidates and causes in 2010.
Wow, check out those PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION contributions. Hmmm…what’s that “Vote Yes for Oregon” group? Oh, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION contributions.
When the left tells you that the Citizens United case tips the campaign contributions in favor of business, don’t you believe them.
In an interview with Willamette Week (here), Kulongoski talks about power and public employee unions. 

Let’s say you are [a special interest] and you’ve got a million dollars. And you’ve got 10 candidates. You give $100,000 to each of them. And you elect six. And you say, “This is a good investment.” But you also lost four. Or, let’s say you have a million dollars and you instead say, “You see that guy? People think he can’t be beat. I’m going to put all [one] million dollars against that person.” And you defeat him. Which of those scenarios do you think affects 90 legislators the most? The latter. Look, politics is always about power. The question is whether power is equally distributed. Public-sector unions have got no competition right now. They have the ability to come together in a room with a number of like-minded people and start building the base. There are about 220,000 public employees in the state. If you add in federal employees, it’s about 240,000. State, city, county, federal. Give each of them a spouse. Now I’m about up to almost 500,000. Give them each a child. Now spread the group out. I’m telling you, in a state with 2.4 million voters, that’s a powerful group.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com