- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2010

AND FROM THE TOP

“As we recognize the contributions of the American workers who have built our country, we must continue to protect their vital role and that of organized labor in our national life. Workers have not always possessed the same rights and benefits many enjoy today. Over time, they have fought for and gained fairer pay, better benefits and safer work environments. From the factory floors during the Industrial Revolution to the shopping aisles of today’s superstores, organized labor has provided millions of hard-working men and women with a voice in the workplace and an unprecedented path into our strong middle class. By advocating on behalf of our families, labor unions have helped advance the safe and equitable working conditions that every worker deserves.”

— From President Obama’s 2010 Labor Day proclamation

PART DEUX

“In the weeks and months ahead, policymakers will be debating what should come next. There are some who will suggest that when times are tough, its time to get tough on working people. Theyll suggest that we cut back on worker training, to cut back on worker safety — and to cut back on giving workers a voice in their workplace. I totally disagree.”

“To those who say we can no longer afford to train, retool and educate our work force, I say we cannot afford not to. To those who want to cut corners and disregard safety in the workplace, I say: Keeping workers safe matters far more than saving a few cents. And to those who want to deny workers a voice in the workplace, let me be clear: This Secretary of Labor recognizes respects and celebrates a workers right to organize and bargain collectively.”

— From Labor Secretary Hilda Solis‘ official statement for Labor Day. See her deliver it at www.dol.gov.

THE GRANDER OLD PARTY

Opinion polls consistently suggest a big, fat Republican sweep at the midterm elections, causing party members to momentarily swoon, indulge in schadenfreude, do a small jig, indulge in more schadenfreude, then get down to serious business before lame duck season kicks in. But wait. The public appears to favor some Republicans more than others.

“The best type of candidate to be this fall is a Republican challenger. Given a choice of four hypothetical candidates of differing party affiliations and experience, Americans are most likely to prefer ‘a Republican who has not served in Congress.’ Those who would prefer a Democratic candidate opt for an incumbent over a newcomer,” says Gallup Poll analyst Jeffrey Jones.

Indeed, 38 percent of voters favor a newcomer to the Grand Old Party while 15 percent would vote for the incumbent, a new Gallup/USA Today survey finds. A quarter prefer the Democratic incumbent while 16 percent look to a Democrat who has never set foot on Capitol Hill. The same survey finds that 48 percent now favor Republicans in their districts, while 43 favor the Democrats.

“The appeal of non-incumbents is apparent in another question in the poll that finds 75 percent of Americans saying Congress would be changed for the better if most of the present members of Congress are replaced with new members,” Mr. Jones adds.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Chili-lime deviled eggs, portabello rosemary caprese skewers, chipotle baked beans, plum and tomato salad, Mediterranean bison burgers, grilled pound cake with grilled strawberries, watermelon bombe ice cream cake.

— Among suggested Labor Day barbecue menu from Shaina Olmanson, “The Family Kitchen.” Intrepid chefs, see those recipes here: www.babble.com/best-recipes.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

From the “Oh Dear” Desk: alleged White House “party crasher” and “Real Housewives” reality TV star Michaele Salahi will auction off the red sari she wore to that State Dinner for India 10 months ago to charity. OK. But Mrs. Salahi is paring her wardrobe down in other ways as well. She plans to pose for, uh, Playboy.

“And not just artsy ‘top half’ naked — we’re talking full-frontal, birthday suit naked. Salahi’s rep tells us the shoot will go down later this month and Michaele is ‘very excited’ about posing down,” says TMZ.com, the gossip video site. “We’re told Playboy honchos have not yet determined whether or not Salahi will get the cover — but she would ‘love it.’ “

DOWN TO THE WIRE

“Many AP staffers are producing content that refers to the situation in Iraq. … Whatever the subject, we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is.”

“To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials. The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months. Iraqi security forces are still fighting Sunni and al-Qaida insurgents. … Unless there is balancing language, our content should not refer to the end of combat in Iraq, or the end of U.S. military involvement. Nor should it say flat-out (since we can’t predict the future) that the United States is at the end of its military role.”

— From a Sept. 2 memo to Associated Press staffers from editorial standards editor Tom Kent.

POLL DU JOUR

- 52 percent of Americans say they celebrate Labor Day as the unofficial end of the summer, 32 percent say they honor U.S. workers.

- 58 percent did not take a summer vacation this year, 41 percent did.

- 52 percent of those who took a vacation cut back on expenses.

- 39 percent say summer 2010 was “good or excellent.” 38 percent say their summer was “fair.”

- 23 percent had a “poor summer”; 5 percent said the summer was their “best ever.”

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Aug. 30 and 31.

Laborious memos, rants, announcements to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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