It’s Official. There Is Finally A Real GOP Candidate For 2012. Ex-Governor Tim Pawlenty.


by Dr. Jeffrey LantLet me tell you something about presidential candidates: the day they announce for the highest office in the land, they figure they'll be the top story… their mug on the front page of America's great dailies, their story featured on the three major commercial networks… and, of course, the object of endless glib commentary on Fox News and CNN.For Pawlenty, the first announced Republican candidate, it just didn't happen.To be sure, there were really major stories being covered March 21, 2011. Can you say nuclear reactors in Japan? That military dust-up in Libya? But even so, you would have thought Pawlenty would have gotten something.And what's got to irk Pawlenty good and plenty is that he has at least some credibility, not least that he was a moderately conservative governor (twice!) of a reliably Democratic state. When Pawlenty looks in the mirror, mirror on the wall… who's the one he sees most of all? Can you say Ronald Reagan?But Pawlenty got skunked… his Hollywood style introduction video ignored… his message to America undelivered.

What a revoltin' development this is. If it had been Tim's predecessor in the Minnesota governor's office -- colorful ex-wrestler and mouth man Jesse Ventura -- you can bet there would have been coverage, lots of coverage.Tim's gotta wonder…"Gentlemen prefer blondes" (1926), Anita Loos said. In the sequel, she told us "But Gentlemen marry brunettes" (1928). Tim can only hope that he's seen as the man America wants to marry. If only he can figure out how to get a date to strut his (good boy) stuff…Minnesota… always the bridesmaid, never the bride.Pity the state of Minnesota. It has had a respectable number of presidential candidates… but nary even a one-term president amongst them.Harold Stassen was the hot stuff in 1938 when he was America's youngest governor. He got a really bad case of Potomac Fever right away (1944) and never did get rid of it. He became a national joke running for president over and over again, a (bad) joke. Minnesota cringed.Then there was Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr., who actually got the Democrat's nomination in 1968… and came within a hair of winning the presidency. "Tricky Dick" Nixon's most important trick was getting the presidency that year. A profoundly decent man, Humphrey learned the hard way that loyalty (to Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam policy) isn't what gets you elected; hard headed realism is. Nixon had it… Hubert didn't.The next presidential candidate from Minnesota, Jimmy Carter's vice president Walter Mondale had this fundamental decency and honesty, too, and it killed him.Right out of the box Mondale, the very essence of the Minnesota boy next door, you know, the one who carries in your groceries with a smile and declines the tip, slaughtered himself. He told America the truth -- that the deficit was unsustainable and there would have to be new taxes. (Deja vu all over again….)I had to admire the man's guts… but you knew, right then, he was a goner.

Ronald Reagan crushed him… and went on to GOP sainthood, the prototype of how to finesse the truth and become the Big Winner.Get the picture?Now there's Timmy Pawlenty, and here's what you need to know about him. His original career choice was… dentist. I kid you not… and once you know it you can see him in white coat, dazzling smile, personable, confiding manner; the man who says "open wide", "little pinch", "spit here."He'd have been a cinch for president of the Minnesota Dental Association… and a lifetime achievement award from the Kiwanis.What's he bring to the table?The problem with those Boy Scout types, the nice guys, is that nice is what they've got, all they've got. Timmie's got likability all right but anything else?His ascent.He was born November 17, 1960, of German and Polish ancestry. You'll hear about his teamster father; his mother who died of cancer when he was 15. And about his meat packing neighborhood with that all-pervasive dead meat smell. (Don't mention that bit too much, Tim; it definitely puts people off. Ask not for whom the smell tolls… it tolls for thee.)Born Roman Catholic, Pawlenty became an evangelical Christian… a fact he will leverage to the max, to get those all important conservative Republican and Tea Party supporters. Powerful, they'll demand a hefty price.Pawlenty's political career shows what nice guys are capable of achieving. He was elected to the Egan, Minnesota city council in 1989, age 28. Elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992, he was re-elected five times and was chosen House Majority Leader when Republicans became the majority party in the State Legislature in 1998.He won a hard fought victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2002… then beat aggressive candidates from the Minnesota Democratic- Farmer-Labor Party and the Independence Party. He was re-elected in 2006. Impressive yes. Memorable no! And the high point of his rhetoric was: "We need to be a party of Sam's Club, not just the country club." Churchillian, he isn't. And America likes its presidents to be masters of soaring speech.Now the nicest guy aims at the highest office. Everyone will like him. Almost no one with think him the Great White Hope of America, and his poll numbers will always be anemic. Just as they are now.You see Tim suffers from Minnesotitis… the disease that takes boys next door and turns them into likable cogs in the wheel… always on the team, hardly ever the captain and never ever champion. Leo Durocher summed up their plight in 1939 with his immortal line, "Nice guys finish last." Tim Pawlenty is about to discover just how deflatingly true that is, as he joins the list of nice guys from Minnesota who couldn't wow America.???

Obamas Tax Plan to Reduce The Debt And How it Might Affect Small Business


On Monday, President Obama revealed a new tax plan that represents not only a change in his economic policy, but also a shift in how he conducts his political strategy. Whereas Obama has become notorious for a strategy of offering substantial concessions to Republicans when it comes to economic issues, his new tax plan shows that he is less willing to compromise when it comes to taxation and debt reduction. Obama's plan includes plans to reduce the national deficit by "more than $3 trillion over 10 years" by increasing taxes on the wealthiest fraction of American citizens. The announcement comes days after a speech made by Speaker John Boehner, which essentially stated the opposite: Republicans would not support any economic bill intended to increase taxes on any sect of the population.

However, to demonstrate how serious he was about his approach, Obama claimed that he would use his veto power on any bill that proposed spending cuts without a simultaneous increase in taxes.According to??several analysts, Obama's statement on reducing the national debt comes at a crucial point in his presidency because it represents a much more combative approach to negotiating with Republicans on economic issues than what he has demonstrated so far. Because Obama has developed a reputation for being too flexible when it comes to negotiating on issues with significant implications for the nation and the economy, his recent move could be interpreted as a way of getting back in touch with his party base before the 2012 election.As for how Obama's new strategy might affect small businesses, what matters first is to what extent Obama's ideas will be implemented. With Republicans seemingly unwilling to negotiate about taxation, Obama might not be successful in getting any legislation through that succeeds in increasing taxes on the rich.

Furthermore, a policy of increasing taxation could have the effect of increasing employment through government spending on investment on projects that promote job creation, but these expenditures might not be seen for months or years. While some may argue that cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans will reduce investments in big businesses and therefore hurt job creation, others may see it as a more fair approach to distributing the tax burden across the American population.What is your take on Obama's new stance? Do you think it will be successful, and what do you think the repercussions may be? Share your thoughts!

Congress President Sonia Gandhi Inaugurates 31 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas…


UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi realized the dream of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by inaugurating 31 Jawahar Navadaya Vidyalayas(JNV) in a number of states, telling other government schools to learn from JNVs. National Advisory Council Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi today inaugurated the newly constructed buildings of 31 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas via video conferencing in various parts of India-- Kerala, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. She was attended by Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at a function to mark the 25 years of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, one of the various landmark initiatives taken by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.Speaking on the occasion after inaugurating 31 Navodaya Vidyalayas in various parts of the country, Congress President said, "Everyone has a right to education and it is not limited to a few," saying the Right to Education Bill (RTE) would address all issues pertaining to education in the country.

The UPA government under is giving scholarships for school students, she pointed out saying the information regarding the schemes must reach all.UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, however, expressed concern over the high drop rate and teacher absenteeism in government schools in rural areas, saying "the dropout rate, particularly amongst the minority and poor, is high and one fourth of the teachers in village schools remain absent." She said teachers should strive to reach the level of the state-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, saying "education in these JNVs should meet the requirements of the changing times."She could not hide her concern for the future of children, asking "why are other government schools not as good as Navodaya Vidyalays?" She said other government schools must learn from JNVs. "One-fourth of the teachers in village schools remain absent. Though admission takes place in good numbers, many children leave studies midway," she pointed out.

She said the JNVs had been largely successful in attaining their objectives of providing good quality education to talented children from predominantly rural areas. However, she stressed upon the need to provide quality education to children with technical inputs.Traveling a time span of 25 years since coming into existence, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas has successfully realized the dream of its architect, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, by providing quality education to every village household. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are fully residential co-educational institutions imparting education from Class VI to XII . About 75 per cent seats are filled by candidates from rural areas. Children of SCs and STs category is provided reservation for the seats in proportion to their population in the concerned district, while one third of total seats are filled by girls.Sharing the occasion with UPA chairperson, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said that it was the dream of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to educate children from backward areas of the countries. " In this context the Government has decided to open a JNV in every district of the country, he informed.

Rajiv Gandhi: a Loving Husband, Caring Father , Son of The Soil.


He was not only a Prime minister of a Nation looking for a new identity, but he was a man who upheld values and traditions. Here is an analysis account of his basic nature as a human being and a s a public and private person(while he was alive)-Rajiv Gandhi is very sensitive, cautious, and shy about showing others his feelings. Though he may love and care for someone a great deal, Rajiv Gandhi rarely expresses his feelings openly and freely. Very often Gandhi's love for someone is expressed by his wish to help him, do something tangible to benefit him or serve him in some way.It is also difficult for him to receive warmth, affection or appreciation, for he often feels that he does not really deserve it or that "they do not really mean it". Gandhi may therefore come across as rather cool and aloof - much more so than he has often talked about how he feels that the expectations from him are enormous.It was sometimes felt that a deeply ingrained critical attitude often makes Rajiv difficult to live with. Rajiv Gandhi has a soft exterior and tends to relate very personally and sympathetically to other people. However, Rajiv sometimes lets his emotions overpower his reasoning and logic, and consequently he is sometimes biased in his opinions. Rajiv Gandhi is impressionable and rather gentle, or at least that is the way he comes across. Rajiv wears his heart on his sleeves and cannot hide his emotions.No matter how he appears on the surface, Rajiv Gandhi has a very soft heart and others can always appeal to Rajiv's sympathetic, affectionate side. He especially cares about the needs of children, mothers and families, and he wants a love partner who values marriage, home and family as much as he does. Gandhi is profoundly offended by unkindness or harshness.He is tolerant and forgiving and always ready to overlook mistakes and give others a second chance.

Rajiv Gandhi expects, and draws out, the best from people and he enjoys making others comfortable and happy. Because of his emotional generosity, his life is rich with friends, and often financial blessings as well. There is another side to Rajiv Gandhi as well, a rather introverted, self-contained, even pessimistic side which tempers his good cheer and generosity, as discussed below.He is dedicated to the people he cares about and conscientious about fulfilling his responsibilities, especially to family. Family solidarity and cohesiveness are very important to Rajiv Gandhi; accordingly, so are the traditions, rituals, and memories that keep the bonds strong.Rajiv Gandhi is apt to do more than his fair share in the family and go the extra mile, but for the most part this is satisfying rather than burdensome to him.In addition to Rajiv's rather introverted, serious or self-contained side, he has a wild streak and urge for emotional freedom that breaks through erratically. Rajiv Gandhi craves both stability and excitement, and the conflict between these two impulses can make Gandhi rather tense and irritable. However, they can also balance each other out. His free and unpredictable side will now be described.Rajiv Gandhi craves excitement, change and discovery, and cannot tolerate a routine or lifestyle that offers little in the way of surprise or challenge. Excitable, spontaneous and enthusiastic about anything new, he may be perceived by others as being too impulsive, especially in personal relationships. It is not easy for Rajiv Gandhi to make or keep commitments, since he does not know how he will be feeling from one day to the next. Emotional freedom is very important to Gandhi. He is warm and affectionate in his relationships with others and has the ability to see the others' point of view, which is greatly appreciated by those around him. Rajiv Gandhi is emotionally well balanced and also has a well developed intellectual grasp.He is not afraid to take chances and follow his ambitions with great determination and courage.

A bit impatient and quick tempered, Gandhi can be uncompromising at times. Rajiv Gandhi also is quite hot-blooded and passionate with a strong desire for marriage.Rajiv Gandhi has a good-natured disposition and an affectionate and cordial manner. Charming, optimistic and outgoing, he is warm and friendly to everyone he meets. Gandhi is at peace with the world and want to share his feelings with his friends and acquaintances.His emotional life tends to be a bit strange and he is likely to fantasize a lot and to weave a web of illusions. Easily swayed by the needs of others, Rajiv Gandhi must learn not to take on others problems and also guard against others deceiving him.He is quietly devoted and faithful to his loved ones and often becomes subservient to his love partner. Rajiv Gandhi is more comfortable showing his love by doing or making something for his loved one, or simply being there for her, rather than by making any romantic, soul-stirring declarations. He is timid about expressing too much sentiment or emotion. Rajiv Gandhi also underestimates his attractiveness and lovability and doubts his own worthiness of love and appreciation.Gandhi is very much aware of his personal appearance, attractiveness and the other hand, Rajiv Gandhi is concerned with getting along with others and he has a pleasing, agreeable manner that people find quite appealing.

Rajiv uses tact or charm to get what he wants rather than intense effort or force. His desire for love and affection colours everything Rajiv Gandhi does.He is kindhearted and generous with both his money and his affections, and he is not happy if he has to budget or restrict himself in any way. Pettiness or stinginess is foreign to Rajiv's nature and Rajiv Gandhi feels most comfortable in an elegant, beautiful atmosphere. Asceticism is not for Gandhi. Gracious and charitable, he enjoys sponsoring social events or cultural activities. Rajiv Gandhi has an optimistic, friendly attitude towards others and tends to bring out the finer side of people. It was expected that he is likely to fall in love with someone who is Noble and idealistic. That surely has happened.Rajiv Gandhi craves emotional excitement and needs to feel spontaneous and free, so he may avoid making firm personal commitments. Unusual or nontraditional forms of love and relationships appeal to Gandhi, and he is attracted to unique, creative or unstable people.Rajiv expresses his feelings openly, but sometimes could feel hurt if people do not respond to him. Rajiv Gandhi also has a strong drive to express himself in artistic ways.

Raebareli on The Path to Progress, Thanking Gandhi Family


Reabareli is witnessing all round development under the guidance of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. It is not limited to roads and educational institutes only. There are numerous projects running in this area, which are making huge impact on the lifestyle of the people here. There has more than 1750 hand pumps been set up during year 2004-09 under Congress President Sonia Gandhi's MP Local Area Development Fund with a total cost of around 3 crore 78 lakh rupees.Besides funds were allotted for the construction of Dharmshalas, shades, Rainbaseras and graveyards. In year 2005-06, Rs 5 lakh was donated to people affected by Tsunami in Tamil Nadu and Rs 3 lakhs were given to a Leprosy Ashram in Munshiganj. In this year itself around Rs 40 lakhs were spent on different developmental work including the construction of baratghars and auditoriums. When Congress President was not representing Raebareli in Parliament, this district used to get electricity from neighboring Sultanpur but it was not adequate for the requirement of the district even if the electricity was generated in Raebareli itself.

Now, due to the effort of Congress President, Raebareli is getting electricity from NTPC Unchahar and getting relatively more electricity than before. A new power sub-station has been set up in Amawa road with a cost of Rs 75 crore. However, due to the biased policy of UP government, people of Raebareli are still facing rampant power cuts. Besides, a 210 MW unit of NTPC Unchahar has functional with a cost of Rs 3,000 crores and now NTPC Unchahar is producing 1050 MW of electricity. Raebareli has got enormous benefit under NREGS and thousands of poor people have got employment under this scheme. From year 2006 onwards, a total sum of Rs 2150 crores has been allotted to the district and it has checked the migration of poor labourers to a certain extent. There are numerous tourist sites scattered in Raebareli and Congress President has tried to push the development of these places. Many Dharmashalas, parks and shelters have been constructed under MPLADF. The ministry of tourism and culture, government of India has also shown special interest for the development of these sites due to the efforts of Congress President.

Interest of the farmer community has always been a concern for the Congress President and she has always shown interest to solve their problem. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the irrigation facilities in this area had deteriorated to the worst and when people talked to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in this regard, there was a quick solution on the card. Due the efforts of Congress President and Rahul Gandhi, Sharada Canal Scheme was completed with the help of Central Water Resource Ministry, costing Rs 105 crores and farmers are getting benefit in irrigation. It is really a new down in the history of Raebareli. Raebareli has witnessed huge progress in the field of rail connectivity, banking, information technology revolution, skill development and various industrial activities thanks to the efforts of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi. Now, Raebareli is not deprived of the rail connectivity with rest of the country. It has got good connectivity with Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu and Patna. Intercity trains are running for Lucknow, Allahabad and Banaras from here.Raebareli railway station has been elevated to A grade and all the facilities are available here. Many long distance trains have been started from Raebareli like Lokmanya Tilak Saket Express, Lucknow-Allahabad Intercity Express, Marudhar Express, Padmawat Express and Delhi Garib Rath. Besides many new halts have been made and platforms been widened.

But the biggest project in Raebareli that has been started on behalf of Congress President is Rail Coach Factory. This is a dream project of Congress President, which intends to provide employment to around more than 25,000 people. This factory will provide 10,000 direct employments and 15,000 indirect employments to the local populace. This factory will cost around Rs 18, 00 crore and will manufacture sophisticated rail coaches for the railway. Though, UP government tried its best to create obstacle in for this project but due to the efforts of Congress President and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, this factory is under construction. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has made tremendous efforts for the betterment of health facilities in Raebareli.A trauma centre has been made in Rana Veni Madhav Singh Memorial Hospital and many health camps were arranged in the rural areas with the under central government scheme. Thousands of patients were given health care facilities through Life Line Express train. There has been good implementation of National Rural Health Mission, and Janani Suraksha Yojana, of central government. Thousands of people were provided free treatment and operation on behalf of Congress President and hundreds of people were helped by Prime Minister's fund.

US Citizenship Benefits For US Military Personnel And Service Men


Recognizing the sacrifices made by the Non-US citizen members working for the US army, the USCIS helps the service men to apply for US Citizenship through special provisions.Non US citizen members of the US armed forces and their dependents are hence eligible for American Citizenship. There are special provisions in the Immigration and Nationality act through which a service man is eligible to apply for Citizenship.Service in the US Armed Forces includes people working in the-Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps-Coast Guard-Reserve of the National Guard-Reserve of the Ready ReserveUSCIS has streamlined a process, which helps the people in active duty as well as the people who have been recently discharged. The non-US citizens working for the US armed forces are required to possess certain qualifications such as knowledge of the English language and the US laws along with being a person with good moral character.WHO CAN APPLYPeople who are serving the US armed forces and people who had served in a period of conflict are eligible to apply.

Service men who were admitted into the US as lawful permanent residents and people who are present physically in the US, at the time of enlistment can also apply.People who are currently working for the U.S. Armed Forces and men who have been discharged from service are eligible to apply if they-had served the US Armed forces for one or more years-are lawful permanent residents-file their application for Citizenship while in service or six months prior to being discharged from their services-are attached to the rules of the US ConstitutionBENEFITS-The service men are not required to submit any filing fee for Citizenship-The Naturalization process can be taken overseas at a US embassy or consulate abroad-Spouses of the service men are eligible to apply for expedited Naturalization-Children of the service men are eligible for Naturalization-Posthumous Citizenship benefits are awarded to the surviving family members of military men who die while in service-Eligible service men of the U.S.

Armed Forces are also exempt from other naturalization necessities such as continuous residence and physical presence in the US-Survivor benefits are provided to the family members of the service men who were deceased when in service.FORMS TO BE SUBMITTEDYou must file form N-400, Application for Naturalization along with N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service. Form N-426 must be certified by the military before submitting to the USCIS.If a person has obtained citizenship through his military service and is separate from the military for a reason other than honorable conditions, before the completion of five years of service, then his Citizenship may be revoked.

Response to Nathan Benefield on The National Popular Vote Plan


Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation calls the National Popular Vote Plan "A radical shift in Elections" and urges the Pennsylvania Legislature to reject the agreement.The National Popular Vote Plan is an interstate compact, whereby participating states would agree to allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote. The compact would take effect when enough states (constituting the requisite 270 electoral votes required to win the Presidential election) agree to participate.Benefield then warns that the plan "could result in disputes over who won the Presidential election." Ironically, this scenario is actually more likely to be triggered under the current winner-take-all electoral system. The organization Fair Vote conducted a study of 7,645 statewide elections from 1980-2006. They found that only 23 of these elections resulted in a recount. That is a ratio of just one recount for every 332 elections. Over 90% of these recount elections resulted in the original winner maintaining the win.On the national level, under the current winner-take-all electoral system, there are 51 potential recounts. To date, there have been 2,135 statewide Presidential elections.

Under the National Popular Vote scheme, recounts would occur far less than under the present winner-take-all-system.Benefield incorrectly calls the Plan "a way to circumvent the Constitution." This is a red herring argument. In actuality, there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution mandating that the President must be selected by a particular electoral method. Accordingly, there is no need for a Constitutional Amendment to change the method that states use for the awarding of electors. The Founding Fathers could not come to a resolution as to how to award electoral votes at the Constitutional Convention. They decided to delegated "plenary authority" to the states to award their electors, as reflected in Article ll, Section 1, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors." Accordingly, each state has autonomy to select electors in any way that they see fit.The Founding Fathers did not advocate or mandate a monolithic method for the states to award their electoral votes. They respected Federalism and delegated the power of awarding electors to the states. In 1789, most states only allowed property owners the right to vote. This gradually changed, not by a constitutional amendment, but through a state-by-state process. The winner-take-all approach of awarding electors was a scheme devised by partisan parochial interests to maximize their political advantage. It was not the grand design of the Founding Fathers. In fact, there is no mention at all of the winner-take-all electoral system in the Federalist Papers and no mention of it during the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention.Mr. Benefield incorrectly argues that the National Popular Vote Plan would supplant the Electoral College. This is a fallacy.

The Electoral College would still exist under the National Popular Vote Plan. On the Monday following the second Wednesday in the December after the election is held, electors representing each state and the District of Columbia will still cast their Presidential ballots. On January 6, the Vice President will declare the winner to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. This process would remain exactly the same.Benefield correctly asserts that the U.S. is "not a pure Democracy but a Constitutional Republic." However, this point is irrelevant to this issue. The National Popular Vote Plan in no way transforms the U.S. into a Direct Democracy. Wisely fearing unsustainable "mob rule," the Founders conceptualized a constitutional republic for the colonists based upon the Roman Republic, wherein the American people would only be indirectly involved in the governance process. Under a Direct Democracy, the American people would vote on all of the issues themselves. If the National Popular Vote Plan were to be adopted, Presidents would be elected the same way every other magistrate in the U.S. is elected from Cemetery Commissioners and County Coroners to Governors and U.S. Senators.Benefield states: "The National Popular Vote would allow candidates to focus on regional issues, or votes in population centers, rather than making a broad national appeal." If Benefield wants candidates to disseminate a nation-wide message, he should support the National Popular Vote Plan. Under the current electoral system, Presidential nominees tailor their messages to voters in only about 15 swing states, relegating the majority of Americans to the electoral sidelines. Under the current electoral system, Presidential candidates spend an inordinate amount of time cultivating support in strategically crucial states. They must appeal to retirees in central Florida, steel workers in Western Pennsylvania, and ethanol growers in Iowa.

Unfortunately, they have no incentive to hear the concerns of New England fishermen worried about the affects of federal regulations on their livelihoods, South Central Los Angeles residents concerned about gang violence, or workers in the Louisiana sugar industry concerned about the affects of lower tariffs on their jobs.Benefield ends his column by branding the National Popular Vote Plan "a radical, dangerous, and ill-conceived shift in our election process." However, this rather hyperbolic description begs the question about how treating every voter with equal reverence can be labeled "radical, Dangerous, or ill-conceived. In addition, if Benefield actually believes this then He must explain why it is acceptable to support a system where a Presidential candidate has incentive to treat a voter in Marblehead, Ohio as hegemonic to a voter in Marblehead, Massachusetts, simply because of his/her geopolitical location. Ohio is a showdown state, while Massachusetts is a safe state.The National Popular Vote Plan would make every vote equal. Under this plan, it would be foolhardy for a Presidential campaign not to devise a strategy to assiduously cultivate support and get out the vote in literally all regions of the nation.

The Governor of South Carolina is Trying to Sell The State


It's a great day in South Carolina, and if you didn't believe it, asked the governor. On September 27 the governor ordered the 16 directors Cabinet agencies under the direct control to change the way their employees answer the telephone. So now when phoning, save the Department of alcohol and other drug abuse services or Department of employment and workforce, callers are supposed to hear the cheery greeting saying: "It's a great day in South Carolina. How may I help you?"The governor says the new greeting will boost the morale of state workers and help to sell the State. It is part of the who I am campaign she says. As hokey as some people think it is, it I'm selling South Carolina as is great, new, positive state that everybody needs to look at. The blogosphere has been inundated with people mocking the new salutation and proposing alternative greetings. One suggestion was "It's still better here than Mississippi. How can I help you?" another was more explicit suggesting that when answering the phone employees should say "Thank you for calling South Carolina where unemployment is high, morale is low and political leaders are very busy wasting resources. How may I direct your call?"The irony is that nothing is particularly great in the Palmetto State at the moment. The unemployment rate stands at 11.1%, the fourth highest in the country.

State workers have not received cost of living increases in four years and no merit-based raises since 2001. Cuts to their pension plans are now being discussed. Health insurance premiums for 410,000 public employees, retirees and family members are going up by 4.5% in January. Medicare payment rates to physicians were cut across the board by 3% in April which is expected to lead to reduced services for the poor and disabled in rural areas.And so it goes on. This year the state's public schools missed out on more than $144 million in federal stimulus money earmarked the teachers because the Gov and her education chief refused to apply for funds which would mitigate a teacher layoffs. The money was then redistributed to the other 49 states which did want it. The new order has gone out that South Carolina and to do not possess a government issue photo identification card who tend to be black and poor will no longer be able to vote.For a clincher, racial hostility seems to be alive and well.

One employee who recently left Sandy Cooper, a state-owned utility of the largest power providers in South Carolina has filed a complaint with the equal opportunity employment commission alleging that in late 2009 the man supervises sense and employees a text message with an image of a gallows from which from the noose and a sign saying for sale near swing set. The complaint is under investigation. Some state agencies have obediently begun complying with the Gov Sonny directive and others apparently not yet got the message. Or are they perhaps indulging in some daring bureaucratic resistance?

Enabling The Rural Poor to Rise Above The Shackles of Chronic Poverty


Employment Guarantee Scheme is designed to minimize the administrative costs and the effects associated with targeted transfers. The EGS guarantees that every individual who wants a job in the rural areas will be given one. There is however the pre-requisite of the worker willing to do work on a piece rate basis. If the EGS provides an employment guarantee it will tend to increase the prevailing level of agricultural wages. The EGS is implemented through a three tier set up comprising committees for planning, direction and co-ordination at the state. India is one of the few countries in the world where all sorts of anti poverty programmes have been tried out. Apart from the Central government sponsored schemes, state governments have tried out various types of poverty alleviation programmes. The EGS operations are driven by a sense of purpose and in the absence of employment insurance in India the EGS can act as an insurance for workers. It can be proved by research that the EGS has performed better than other poverty schemes in India. Ministers such as Nitin Raut have played a significant part in ensuring employment among rural masses.

The Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme has been a subject of much research, much of the deliberations and decisions for and against the introduction of this scheme remains untouched. The Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme is often held up as a model for rural works programmes for other states in the country. Like the MEGS the NREGS is expected to create productive assets to then ensure development of rural areas through unemployment of unskilled labor. The MEGS was set up to those who cannot find work so as to provide a basis level of subsistence. Therefore the main objective of this scheme is to reduce distress and not to enable people to escape from poverty. One of the objectives of the EGS is to create durable community assets for long term development. Assets are created on public resources mainly related to land and water. There has some been criticism about the quality of the work done -the usual problem associated with most public works programmes this scheme has been ineffective for various reasons. The issue of poor monitoring and lack of strong support by social and political groups is also another important reason as to why this scheme cannot be completely effective. Funds are especially collected and ear marked for the scheme through a levy of special taxes on profession, trades and employment. It helps families to escape from the firm grip of poverty that are caused due to low levels of wage rate and spells of unemployment.

Cruse And Associates Uaw Wants Volkswagen Workers to Seek Union Election


The United Auto Workers union has begun passing out cards to employees of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga to determine whether there is enough support to hold a union representation the cards are not the official instruments the union would have to collect from at least 30 percent of the plant's hourly workers to force a union vote, said Gary Casteel, director of the UAW's District 8, which includes Tennessee."We have not started an official organizing campaign," he said, refuting some national media reports."What got some people up in arms is that we passed out some cards, but they were never about setting up an election," Casteel said. "The cards were just gauging the level of support."That characterization was confirmed by Volkswagen spokesman Guenther Scherelis at the plant, which has about 2,700 workers employed directly by the German automaker to build the midsize Passat sedan."We heard that they had distributed those cards, but it is an initiative of the union and not omething that Volkswagen is involved in," Scherelis employees said they had seen the cards or were aware of the union's interest in organizing the plant, but there seems to be no clear consensus on whether there would be enough support to force a union election, much less on whether the UAW could win that vote if it occurred.

While it takes only 30 percent of the workforce to sign cards requesting a union vote - which would then have to be held by secret ballot within 40 days - the UAW has said it would want to see a much higher percentage than that before calling for a vote.In recent years, unions generally want at least 75 percent of a workforce to sign cards before a vote is scheduled. The success rate for union referendums drops significantly when lower percentages of workers sign ballot cards, according to statistics of the National Labor Relations Board, which conducts such votes.Pay disparity existsVolkswagen's hourly pay begins at about $14 and can range to nearly $20 an hour. New workers at UAW facilities such as the General Motors plant in Spring Hill begin at about $17 an hour, and experienced workers make about $29, plus the VW plant, older workers are more supportive of the union than younger employees are. Some younger workers fear they could lose some of their current benefits if the union negotiates a contract with Volkswagen.One of those benefits is a popular vehicle leasing plan through which workers can get a new Volkswagen or Audi vehicle every six months and finance it via payroll deductions. Volkswagen announced in July 2008 that it would spend more than $1 billion to build the Chattanooga plant, which began building the new American-only version of the Passat midsize sedan in April 2011.Sales have been so robust that Volkswagen announced March 22 that it would begin hiring an additional 800 workers and open a third shift to meet consumer demand.

UAW President Bob King has said the union's goal is to organize at least one of the South's foreign auto plants within the next couple of years, with hopes of expanding to others if the first union drive is successful. Industry experts say the UAW's survival is at stake, as its membership has dropped to only 390,000 nationwide from 1.5 million in 1979. Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, has 62 production facilities worldwide, and Chattanooga is the only one that isn't unionized. If Volkswagen workers go union, it would be a first among the foreign-based automakers that have built operations in the South, starting with Nissan in Smyrna in 1983.Other nonunion, foreign-owned plants are operated by Japanese automakers Nissan in Mississippi; Toyota in Kentucky, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi; and Honda in Alabama; German automakers Mercedes-Benz in Alabama and BMW in South Carolina; and South Korea's Hyundai and Kia in Alabama and UAW failed in two efforts at organizing Nissan's Smyrna facility in 1989 and 2001. Unionization drives also have failed at other plants, including the Mercedes-Benz factory near Tuscaloosa, Ala.Cruz & Associates OverviewCruz & Associates is one of the nation's leading labor relations firms, helping businesses manage change in the workplace. We are experienced forward-thinkers who combine hands-on success solving difficult human resources and labor and human resources challenges, with new strategic solutions for keeping the workforce connected to the goals of the organization.Change is the watchword of the future.

Old boundaries are gone. Markets are moving faster than ever before. While organizations can't predict the future, they can be ready for whatever it brings by using the best communications and human resources practices to educate, motivate and align their employees to new operating realities.Cruz & Associates has helped hundreds of clients from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations achieve employee buy-in for new business realities, often in come-from-behind situations. To better serve our clients' needs, we have become more versatile in our capabilities. While we continue to offer the most effective labor relations and campaign management services, we have integrated them with communications strategies, interactive workplace skills, and change management solutions. We too have changed by recruiting top-ranked management professionals and expanding our network of alliance partners.