NH: First images from gun rights demonstration @ Plymouth State University

The two main organizers, Brad Jardis and Mozingo, reportedly decided at the last minute not to bring rifles to their rifle-open-carry event. This as a result of a judge’s restraining order, which may in and of itself have accomplished part of their mission for them. Latest details continue to come in here: forum.freestateproject.org How to buy an ad: RidleyReport.com gun rights new hampshire open carry free state project firearms guns on campus, live free or die right to keep and bear arms dave ridley report second amendment ridleyreport rifles pistols revolvers, gun bans gun control liberty leftists authoritarians universities university colleges schools staters students forbidden nh virginia tech public domain raw video libertarian news. virginia tech shootings second amendment weapons firearms new hampshire gun rights plymouth state college. NH activist deploys cop-watching drone The images look as crude as the first Daguerreotype but are perhaps half as as groundbreaking. Click link below, if available, or see video descrip for details. forum.freestateproject.org
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Human Rights in Islam – Yassir Fazaga

Yassir Fazaga talks about Human Rights in Islam. A must listen lecture! • He talks about the concept of Justice • The kind of Importance Islam gives to the concept of Justice • The Protection of Human Rights “Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala does not consider us by the colour of our skin or our social status or any of that but rather Allah Azza Wa Jall Judges us according to our deeds and according to our actions. That is Justice, that is, no one is worthy of worship but Allah and the Angels bear witness and those who possess knowledge bear witness that Allah stands firmly for Justice.” Allah Azza Wa Jall Says: Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that Allah is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise. [Surah Ali-Imran, Ayat 18] About Yassir Fazaga Yassir Fazaga is an inspiring, multi-lingual speaker sought-after from USA through Canada to the Middle and Far East. He was born in Eritrea in Northeast Africa and moved to the United States at the age of 15. He has a Bachelors Degree in Islamic Studies from Imam Saud University, Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Virginia in addition to his Masters Degree in Psychotherapy from the California State University of Long Beach. At present, Shaikh Yassir is undertaking his Masters in Theology at Loyola Marymount University. He serves as the Imam (Religious Leader) of the Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF) in
Video Rating: 4 / 5

DC Voting Rights

DC Voting Rights
Virginia Insurance
Image by dbking
Source: Wikipedia…

Voting rights of citizens in the District of Columbia differ from those of United States citizens in each of the 50 states. D.C. residents do not have voting representation in the United States Congress. Instead, they are represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate who may sit on committees, participate in debate and introduce legislation, but cannot vote on the House floor. D.C. has no representation in the United States Senate.

The United States Constitution grants Congressional voting representation to residents of the states, which the District is not. The District is a federal territory ultimately under the complete authority of Congress. The lack of representation in Congress for residents of the U.S. capital has been an issue since the foundation of the federal district. Numerous proposals have been introduced to remedy this situation including legislation and constitutional amendments to grant D.C. residents voting representation, returning the District to the state of Maryland and making the District of Columbia into a new state. All proposals have been met with political or constitutional challenges; therefore, there has been no change in the District’s representation in the Congress.

The "District Clause" in Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution states:

[The Congress shall have Power] To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States.

The land on which the District is formed was ceded by the state of Maryland in 1790 following the passage of the Residence Act. The Congress did not officially move to the new federal capital until 1800. Shortly thereafter, the Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 and incorporated the new federal District under its sole authority as permitted by the District Clause. Since the District of Columbia was no longer part of any state, the District’s residents lost voting representation.

Residents of Washington, D.C. were also originally barred from voting for the President of the United States. This changed after the passage of the Twenty-third Amendment in 1961, which grants the District three votes in the Electoral College. This right has been exercised by D.C. citizens since the Presidential election of 1964.

The District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973 devolved certain Congressional powers over the District to a local government administered by an elected mayor, currently Adrian Fenty, and the thirteen-member Council of the District of Columbia. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the city council and intervene in local affairs. Each of the city’s eight wards elects a single member of the council and five members, including the chairman, are elected at large.

In 1980, District voters approved the call of a constitutional convention to draft a proposed state constitution, just as U.S. territories had done prior to their admission as states. The proposed constitution was ratified by District voters in 1982 for a new state to be called "New Columbia". However, the necessary authorization from the Congress has never been granted.

Pursuant to that proposed state constitution, the District still selects members of a "shadow" Congressional delegation, consisting of two "shadow Senators" and a "shadow Representative", to lobby the Congress to grant statehood. These positions are not officially recognized by Congress. In addition, until recently Congress forbade the spending of any District funds to lobby for voting representation or statehood.

There are multiple arguments for and against providing the District of Columbia with voting representation in the Congress.

The basic argument among advocates of voting representation for the District of Columbia is that as citizens living in the United States, the nearly 600,000 residents of Washington, D.C. should have the same right to determine how they are governed as citizens of a state. This argument has been laid forth by many legal scholars. For example, Justice Hugo Black described the right to vote as fundamental in Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964). He wrote, "No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined."

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act allows U.S. citizens to vote for the Congress from anywhere else in the world, except the District of Columbia. If a U.S. citizen were to move to the District, he would lose his ability to vote for a member of Congress. This is in contrast to citizens who have permanently left the United States, but are still permitted to vote for Congress in their home state.

The primary objection to legislative proposals to grant the District voting rights is that such action would be unconstitutional. The composition of the House of Representatives is described in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

In addition, the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution similarly describes the election of "two Senators from each State". Opponents of D.C. voting rights point out that the District of Columbia is not a U.S. state and is therefore not currently entitled to representation under the Constitution. Proponents of voting rights claim that Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 (the District Clause), which grants to the Congress "exclusive" legislative authority over the District, also allows the Congress to pass simple legislation in order to grant D.C. voting representation in the Congress.

This argument is heavily debated on each side and opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States have been divided on the matter. In Hepburn v. Ellzey in 1805, the Supreme Court found that Congress could allow residents of the District access to United States federal courts in order to sue residents of other states, even though such a right is not explicitly stated in Article Three of the United States Constitution. In 1940, the Supreme Court held in National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tidewater Transfer Co., Inc, 337 U.S. 582 (1949), that the District can be treated as a "state" for purposes of federal court jurisdiction. However, opponents of legislation to grant D.C. voting rights point out that seven of the nine Justices in Tidewater rejected the view that the District is a “state” for other constitutional purposes. Conservatives also point out that if the power of Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation" over the District is used to supersede other sections of the Constitution, then the powers granted to the Congress could potentially be unlimited.

On January 24, 2007, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on this subject. According to the CRS, "it would appear likely that the Congress does not have authority to grant voting representation in the House of Representatives to the District."

Unlike U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam, which also have non-voting delegates, citizens of the District of Columbia are subject to all U.S. federal laws and taxes. In the financial year 2007, D.C. residents and businesses paid .4 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita. This situation has given rise to the use of the phrase "Taxation Without Representation" by those in favor of granting D.C. voting representation in the Congress. The slogan currently appears on the city’s vehicle license plates. The issue of taxation without representation in the District of Columbia is not new. For example, in Loughborough v. Blake 18 U.S. 317 (1820), the Supreme Court said:

The difference between requiring a continent, with an immense population, to submit to be taxed by a government having no common interest with it, separated from it by a vast ocean, restrained by no principle of apportionment, and associated with it by no common feelings; and permitting the representatives of the American people, under the restrictions of our constitution, to tax a part of the society…which has voluntarily relinquished the right of representation, and has adopted the whole body of Congress for its legitimate government, as is the case with the district, is too obvious not to present itself to the minds of all. Although in theory it might be more congenial to the spirit of our institutions to admit a representative from the district, it may be doubted whether, in fact, its interests would be rendered thereby the more secure; and certainly the constitution does not consider their want of a representative in Congress as exempting it from equal taxation.

Opponents of D.C. voting rights point out that Congress appropriates money directly to the D.C. government to help offset some of the city’s costs. However, proponents of a tax-centric view against D.C. representation do not apply the same logic to the 32 states that received more money from the federal government in 2005 than they paid in taxes.[18] Like the 50 states, D.C. receives federal grants for assistance programs such as Medicare, accounting for approximately 26% of the city’s total revenue. Congress also appropriates money to the District’s government to help offset some of the city’s security costs; these funds totaled million in 2007, approximately 0.5% of the District’s budget. In addition to those funds, the U.S. government provides other services. For example, the federal government operates the District’s court system, which had a budget of 2 million in 2008. Additionally, all federal law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Park Police, have jurisdiction in the city and help provide security. In total, the federal government provided about 33% of the District’s total revenue. On average, federal funds formed about 30% each state’s total revenues in 2007.]

Opponents of D.C. voting rights have also contended that the city is too small to warrant representation in the Senate. However, proponents of voting rights point out that Wyoming has a smaller population than the District, yet has the same number of Senators as California, the most populous state. Additionally, opponents argue that District residents choose to live in the city and are therefore fully aware of the political situation in the capital; voting rights advocates, however, claim that the majority of Washingtonians are in fact native residents. Conservatives in the United States have also made the case that the District of Columbia should not receive voting representation in the Congress because the city government is dominated by the Democratic Party and any new Representatives or Senators would likely be Democrats as well, potentially shifting the balance of power in the Congress.

There is evidence of nationwide approval for DC voting rights; various polls indicate that 61 to 82% of Americans believe that D.C. should have voting representation in Congress. Advocates for D.C. voting rights have proposed several, competing reforms to increase the District’s representation in the Congress. These proposals generally involve either treating D.C. more like a state or allowing the state of Maryland take back the land it ceded to form the District.

A number of bills have been introduced in Congress to grant the District of Columbia voting representation in one or both houses of Congress. As detailed above, the primary issue with all legislative proposals is whether the Congress has the constitutional authority to grant the District voting representation. Members of Congress in support of the bills claim that constitutional concerns should not prohibit the legislation’s passage, but rather should be left to the courts. A secondary criticism of a legislative remedy is that any law granting representation to the District could be undone in the future. Additionally, recent legislative proposals deal with granting representation in the House of Representatives only, which would still leave the issue of Senate representation for District residents unresolved. Thus far, no bill granting the District voting representation has successfully passed both houses of Congress. A summary of proposed legislation is provided below:

The "No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2003" (H.R. 1285, S. 617) would have treated D.C. as if it were a state for the purposes of voting representation in the Congress, including the addition of two new senators. The bill never made it out of committee.

The "District of Columbia Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2006" (H.R. 5388) would have granted the District of Columbia voting representation in the House of Representatives only. The bill never made it out of committee.

The "District of Columbia Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2007" (H.R. 328) was the first to propose granting the District of Columbia voting representation in the House of Representatives while also temporarily adding an extra seat to Republican-leaning Utah by increasing the membership of the House by two. The addition of an extra seat from Utah was meant to entice conservative lawmakers into voting for the bill by balancing the addition of a likely-Democratic representative from the District. The bill did not make it out of committee.

The "District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007" (H.R. 1433) was essentially the same bill as H.R. 328 introduced previously in the same Congress, though with some minor changes. This bill would still have added two additional seats to the House of Representatives, one for the District of Columbia and a second for Utah. The bill passed two committee hearings before finally being incorporated into a second bill of the same name.[31] The new bill (H.R. 1905) passed the full House of Representatives in a vote of 214 to 177. The bill was then referred to the Senate (S. 1257) where it passed in committee. However, the bill could only get 57 of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster and failed on the floor of the Senate.

] Following the defeated 2007 bill, voting rights advocates were hopeful that Democratic Party gains in both the House of Representatives and the Senate during the November 2008 elections would help pass the bill during the 111th Congress. Barack Obama, a Senate co-sponsor of the 2007 bill, said, during his presidential campaign, that he would sign such a bill if it was passed by the Congress while he was President.

On January 6, 2009, Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in the Senate, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton in the House, introduced the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009. This bill is substantially similar to its 2007 version.

Given the potential constitutional problems with legislation granting the District voting representation in the Congress, scholars have proposed that amending the U.S. Constitution would be the appropriate manner to grant D.C. full representation. The last attempt at the amendment process was the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, proposed by the Congress in 1978. This proposed Amendment would have required that the District of Columbia be "treated as though it were a State" in regards to congressional representation, the electoral college (to a greater extent than under the Twenty-third Amendment) and the constitutional amendment process. This proposed Amendment would not have made the District of Columbia a state and had to be ratified within seven years in order to be ratified. The Amendment expired in 1985 when it was ratified by only 16 states, short of the requisite three-fourths of the states. No further actions have been taken to amend the Constitution to grant the District representation since the proposed Amendment expired. Any new proposals would have to start the amendment process over again.

The process of reuniting the District of Columbia with the state of Maryland is referred to as retrocession. The District was originally formed out of parts of both Maryland and Virginia which they had ceded to the Congress. However, Virginia’s portion was returned to that state in 1846; all the land in present-day D.C. was once part of Maryland. If both the Congress and the Maryland state legislature agreed, jurisdiction over the District of Columbia could be returned to Maryland, possibly excluding a small tract of land immediately surrounding the United States Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court building. If the District were returned to Maryland, citizens in D.C. would gain voting representation in the Congress as residents of Maryland. The main problem with any of the proposals is that the state of Maryland does not currently want to take the District back. Further, retrocession may require a constitutional amendment as the District’s role as the seat of government is mandated by the District Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Retrocession could also alter the idea of a separate national capital as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

A related proposal to retrocession was the "District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004" (H.R. 3709), which would have treated the residents of the District as residents of Maryland for the purposes of Congressional representation. Maryland’s congressional delegation would then be apportioned accordingly to include the population of the District. Those in favor of such a plan argue that the Congress already has the necessary authority to pass such legislation without the constitutional concerns of other proposed remedies. From the foundation of the District in 1790 until the passage of the Organic Act of 1801, citizens living in D.C. continued to vote for members of Congress in Maryland or Virginia; legal scholars therefore propose that the Congress has the power to restore those voting rights while maintaining the integrity of the federal district. The proposed legislation, however, never made it out committee.

If the District were to become a state, Congressional authority over the city would be terminated and residents would have full voting representation in the Congress, including the Senate. However, there are a number of constitutional considerations with any such statehood proposal. Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution gives the Congress power to grant statehood; the House of Representatives last voted on D.C. statehood in November 1993 and the proposal was defeated by a vote of 277 to 153. Further, like the issue of retrocession, conservatives argue that statehood would violate the District Clause of the U.S. Constitution and erode the principle of a separate federal territory as the seat of government. D.C. statehood could therefore require a constitutional amendment.

THE OBAMA SOCIALIST/MARXIST MACHINE SPRINGS INTO ACTION IN WISCONSIN TO DEFEND UNION WORKERS “RIGHTS”

THE OBAMA SOCIALIST/MARXIST MACHINE SPRINGS INTO ACTION IN WISCONSIN TO DEFEND UNION WORKERS “RIGHTS”
Virginia Union University
Image by SS&SS
JUST IMAGINE THE GALL OF THE CONSERVATIVES ASKING US TO PAY FOR SOME OF OUR PENSIONS AND MEDICAL COSTS , WHY THEY’RE TAKING AWAY OUR "RIGHTS"

TAKING AWAY SOME OF YOUR OVERBLOWN SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT MAYBE BUT NOT YOUR RIGHTS

THERE IS NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT FOR YOU TO COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESULTS …………….STRIKE
THEREBY HOLDING THE STATE TAXPAYERS HOSTAGE WHILE YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU’LL BE PAID………………. MORONS
AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE THIS TRY…………………..YOUR FIRED
IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE ONCE TO THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS
YOU CAN HAVE SOME TOO
WISCONSIN IS BROKE
YOU GET IT ……………………………….BROKE, BANKRUPT, KAPUT, NO MORE MONEY FOR YOU ………………………….. AND ASKING YOU TO PAY A SMALL PORTION OF YOUR OWN WAY TO KEEP YOU ALL EMPLOYED IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY
IF I WAS GOVERNOR I’D FIRE THE BUNCH OF YOU

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF UNEMPLOYED IN WISCONSIN FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHO LOST THEIR JOBS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS AND WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR JOBS AND PAY A LITTLE OF THEIR OWN WAY
SO STOP LYING AND SAYING YOUR SICK AND GET YOUR COLLECTIVE BUTTS BACK TO WORK
=====================================================================

Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.

THE PRESIDENTS POLITICAL MACHINE worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.

Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.

By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were organizing additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Under Walker’s plan, most public workers – excluding police, firefighters and state troopers – would have to pay half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health-care costs. They would lose bargaining rights for anything other than pay. Walker, who took office last month, says the emergency measure would save 0 million over the next two years to help close a .6 billion budget gap.

"Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama told a Milwaukee television reporter on Thursday, taking the unusual step of inviting a local TV station into the White House for a sit-down interview. "I think everybody’s got to make some adjustments, but I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."

The state Capitol sat mostly quiet at dawn on Friday, the calm before another day of furious protests. Scores of protestors lay sleeping in the nooks and crannies of the ornate statehouse, wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags next to piles of empty pizza boxes. They included college students, middle-aged schoolteachers and even a handful of families with their small children.

Room 328, a cramped hearing space where members of the public can speak on the budget bill, was packed full of eager but bleary-eyed protestors. One after another, the speakers used their two minutes to blast Walker’s measure, sometimes looking straight into a local television camera that was broadcasting the proceedings.

"We are the people and our voices must be heard!" one woman said.

The proceedings showed little sign of slowing. By 6:45 a.m., those who had signed up to speak five hours earlier were finally getting their chance.

"We are so thrilled you are here," said Rep. Janis Ringhand, a Democratic state assembly member from Evansville who was moderating the hearing. "We know we are outnumbered as far as votes, but it could be you who makes the difference."
The White House political operation, Organizing for America, got involved Monday, after Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy M. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, spoke to union leaders in Madison, a party official said.

The group made phone calls, distributed messages via Twitter and Facebook, and sent e-mails to state and national lists to try to build crowds for rallies Wednesday and Thursday, a party official said.

National Republican leaders, who have praised efforts similar to Walker’s, leapt to his defense.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) issued a stern rebuke of the White House, calling on Obama to wave off his political operation and stop criticizing the governor.

"This is not the way you begin an ‘adult conversation’ in America about solutions to the fiscal challenges that are destroying jobs in our country," Boehner said in a statement, alluding to the president’s call for civility in budget talks. "Rather than shouting down those in office who speak honestly about the challenges we face, the president and his advisers should lead."

Unsustainable costs

The battle in the states underscores the deep philosophical and political divisions between Obama and Republicans over how to control spending and who should bear the costs.

By aligning himself closely with unions, Obama is siding with a core segment of the Democratic Party base – but one that has chafed in recent weeks as the president has sought to rebuild his image among centrist voters by reaching out to business leaders.

Republicans see a chance to show that they’re willing to make the tough choices to cut spending and to challenge the power of public-sector unions, which are the largest element of the labor movement and regularly raise tens of millions of dollars for Democratic campaigns.

Governors in both parties are slashing once-untouchable programs, including education, health care for the poor and aid to local governments. Some states, such as Illinois, have passed major tax increases.

States face a collective budget deficit of 5 billion through 2013. Many experts say state tax revenue will not fully recover until the nation returns to full employment, which is not likely for several years.

Beyond their short-term fiscal problems, many states face pension and retiree health-care costs that some analysts say are unsustainable. Some states already are curtailing retirement benefits for new employees, although many analysts say it will take much more to bring their long-term obligations in line.

The huge debt burdens coupled with the impending cutoff of federal stimulus aid later this year have spurred talk of a federal bailout. The White House has dismissed such speculation, saying states have the wherewithal to raise taxes, cut programs and renegotiate employee contracts to balance their books.
In Wisconsin, state Democratic senators staged a protest of their own Thursday, refusing to show up at the Capitol for an 11 a.m. quorum call – delaying a vote that would have almost certainly seen the spending cuts pass.
It was unclear where the missing legislators had gone, and several news outlets were reporting that they had left the state.

"I don’t know exactly where they are, but as I understand it, they’re somewhere in Illinois," said Mike Browne, spokesman for Mark Miller, the state Senate’s Democratic leader.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller told CNN that they were "in a secure location outside the Capitol."

Republicans hold a 19 to 14 edge in the Senate. They need 20 senators present for a quorum, which is why one of the Democrats has to show up before they can hold the vote.

Democratic legislators in Texas employed a similar tactic in 2003 to try to stop a controversial redistricting plan that gave Republicans more seats in Congress. It passed a couple of months later.

The organized protest at the state Capitol drew an estimated 25,000 people, and long after the quorum call, thousands remained on the grounds, from children in strollers to old ladies in wheelchairs.

Inside the Capitol, the scene late Thursday night was part rock concert, part World Cup match, part high school pep rally and part massive slumber party.

The smell of sweat and pizza drifted through the building’s marbled halls. A drum circle formed inside the massive rotunda, and scores of university students danced jubilantly to the rhythm. There were clanging cowbells and twanging guitars, trumpets and vuvuzelas.

Outside, another throng had gathered to cheer and chant before the television cameras, and to break constantly into the crowd’s favorite anthem: "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!" And everywhere were signs, each with its own dose of disdain for Walker’s budget bill: "Scotty, Scotty, flush your bill down the potty." "Walker’s Plantation, open for business." "You will never break our union."

Many of the protesters, including Laurie Bauer, 51, had been on hand since Tuesday, with no plans to leave until the issue is resolved.

"It’s one thing about the money. We’d be willing to negotiate the money," said Bauer, a library media specialist at Parker High School in Janesville. But "he’s trying to take away our human rights. . . . I don’t want my kids living in a state like that."
Loren Mikkelson, 37, held the same position: Budget cuts are negotiable, but collective -bargaining rights are not.

"We can meet in the middle. We’re willing to give. . . . He’s acting like we’ve never given anything. We’ve given," said Mikkelson, a airfield maintenance worker who said he has endured furloughs and pay cuts in his county job. "We just want a voice."

Implications for Obama

The state-level battles and Obama’s decision to step into the fray illustrate how the budget choices state leaders are facing probably will have direct implications for the president’s political standing.

Wisconsin and Ohio are likely battlegrounds for Obama’s re-election effort. Mobilizing Organizing for America around the budget fights could help kick-start a political machinery that has been largely stagnant since the 2008 campaign and reignite union activists who have expressed some disappointment with Obama.

But by leaping in to defend public workers, the president risks alienating swing voters in those states and nationwide who are sympathetic to GOP governors perceived as taking on special interests to cut spending.

Obama, in his comments to the Wisconsin TV reporter, tried to walk a fine line – noting that he, too, has taken on the unions.

"We had to impose a freeze on pay increases on federal workers for the next two years as part of my overall budget freeze," he said. "I think those kinds of adjustments are the right thing to do."

Walker, meanwhile, called his proposals "modest" and appeared to be trying to show distance between public employees and workers employed by private companies, who he said expressed support for his policies during visits he made to manufacturing plants this week.

"Many of the companies I went by, like so many others across the state, don’t have pensions, and the 401(k)s they have over the last year or two, they’ve had to suspend the employer contribution," Walker told Milwaukee radio station WTMJ. "So, not a lot of sympathy from these guys in private-sector manufacturing companies who I think reflect a lot of the workers in the state who say what we’re asking for is pretty modest."

dennisb@washpost.com wallstenp@washpost.com

Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years

Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years

Virginia Foster Durr was a monumental champion for civil rights. A white southerner who returned to Alabama in 1951 after twenty years in Washington, she was horrified to revisit the racism of her childhood. In her struggle to understand the South and battle isolation, she wrote hundreds of letters–humorous, sharp and observant–to her friends up north, among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, Hugo Black and C. Vann Woodward.

With a keen intellect and an insatiable appetite for justice, Durr wrote from the front lines of the sit-ins, freedom rides and student protests. She was a member of the NAACP and a long-time friend of Rosa Parks, accompanying Parks home from jail the night of her arrest. As one of the few white supporters of the Montgomery bus boycott, Durr lived on the margins of that city’s black and white communities, her home a popular gathering place from government officials, journalists and young activists.

Published on the 100th anniversary of Durr’s birth, her letters offer a window onto a society in turmoil, chronicling the events that transformed the South and the nation. Her writing adds a distinctive glimpse into the day-to-day battles for racial justice at a pivotal moment in American history.

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Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years

Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years

Virginia Foster Durr (1903-1999) was a monumental champion of civil rights and yet, as a privileged white southern woman, an unlikely one. Freedom Writer is a collection of her letters from across three decades of struggle for the cause of racial equality. In 1951, returning to her native Alabama after a twenty-year absence, Durr was deeply affronted by the same unchecked racism she recalled from her childhood. To help understand the South and battle her sense of isolation, Durr wrote hundreds of letters–humorous, sharp, and observant–to her friends outside the region, among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, Hugo Black, Jessica Mitford, and C. Vann Woodward.

Durr often wrote from the movement’s front lines–the sit-ins, freedom rides, and student protests. Moving in the same circles as Rosa Parks, E. D. Nixon, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, Durr often put her life on the line as a bridge between blacks and whites during dangerous times. Countless details of this personal journey, and the shifting political landscape across which it unfolded, found their way into Durr’s correspondence.

Originally published on the one hundredth anniversary of Durr’s birth, Freedom Writer explores the life and times of a woman whose insatiable appetite for justice immersed her in many of the defining issues and events of the day.

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