McAllen, Shanghai, and Twitter

31storm_nagin_190New Orleans Sometimes, but not all that often, I get to say, “Hey! You heard it first here!” This is one of those days.  Today’s NYT, President Obama is reportedly all up in everyone’s face in the White House about whether or not they have read the New Yorker story on why the frick are the healthcare costs so high in McAllen “poor-as-dirt” Texas.  He’s arguing that this proves the pudding on why we desperately have to have a national healthcare solution.  Thanks for reading the blog, Mr. President!  Next time, go ahead and write a comment rather than embarrassing your staff in the big house.

In New Orleans we have another phenomenon that has relaxed a city that is frankly known for being laid back and relaxed.  Mayor C. Ray Nagin is in his 2nd or 3rd day of swine flu quarantine in Shanghai, China, and the proud citizens of New Orleans are pretty comfortable in not feeling we are missing much of anything.  Sympathy cards are being sent, but it turns out that they are going to the city officials in Shanghai.  There’s talk about a prisoner exchange.  We will have to follow this, but at a distance of course.

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SEIU’s Good Obama Bet

Andy Stern, SEIU

New Orleans Recent press reports and a big story in the Wall Street Journal have been sniping at the huge $85M set of contributions that the Service Employees International Union made on the Obama campaign. On one hand they seem to be insinuating crass influence buying and on the other hand they are hinting at financial mismanagement. Poppycock! Pundits, pols, and others can throw a lot of brickbats at SEIU and its leadership, but not for these decisions that actually show real leadership, risk taking, and exactly what it should mean to accept the challenge in these hard times to run a union and try to organize the unorganized.

Unions are dying and bleeding members on a daily basis. SEIU under its president, Andy Stern, made a huge bet with Obama once they came into the Obama camp in the spring of 2008, and understood that their stewardship of membership dues only mattered if they could prove it really meant something in terms of real change, and that means a different set of labor laws and a chance at real health care reform for members whose wages can’t afford most policies now and members who work in that industry.

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