Licence Plates on Bikes

According to WIVB and the AP:

Two bills recently introduced in the state Assembly would require that all bikes in the state be registered each year and sport a license plate.

The first applies to personal bicycles. The license plate would cost $25 for the first year and $5 each year after.

The second bill would require a $50 license plate fee for commercial bikes. It would also require casualty insurance.

All bikes would have to pass a safety inspection — including lamp and equipment requirements — to get the license.

An overwhelming majority of those polled on WIVB.com consider this just another potential cash grab by the New York State government.

Bloomberg on Unions

In an op ed in this morning’s New York Times, Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes an interesting tack in dealing with America’s  “Union Issue:”

That’s why we are asking the state to give us the legal authority to collectively bargain a layoff policy with the teachers’ union — and in the meantime, to conduct layoffs based on common-sense factors like eliminating teachers who have been rated unsatisfactory, found guilty of criminal charges or failed to meet professional certification requirements.

To the extent that collective bargaining agreements or state laws are no longer serving the public, we should change them. That is what democracy is all about — and that is our responsibility. The job of labor leaders is to get the best deal for their members. The job of elected officials is to get the best deal for all citizens.

Rather than declare war on unions, we should demand a new deal with them — one that reflects today’s economic realities and workplace conditions, not those of a century ago. If we fail to do that, the fault is not in our unions, or in our stars, but in ourselves.

Meanwhile:

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale estimated that the crowd was over 100,000 people before the rally began at 3 PM. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, police estimated the crowd size at around 70,000 three hours before the rally began, “Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the number of protesters around the Capitol is on the scale of last Saturday’s peak crowd of an estimated 68,000 and could swell even more for a 3 p.m. rally.”

Most major media outlets remained silent on the issue through the weekend. As tensions mount in Wisconsin and Wisconsin Democrats remain outside the state.

12 LINKS ON 02/25/2011

DISNEY BUYS TOGETHERVILLE

NEW YORK – Walt Disney has acquired Togetherville, a social network for children under the age of 10 and their parents. Togetherville provides tools that allow parents to interact with and monitor their kids. For example, parents approve children’s friends. Meanwhile, children can interact with friends, exchange gifts, play games, watch videos and create art. They can also comment on, or “heart,” friends’ activities and update their status with pre-screened phrases, such as “Who is going to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid?” or “Aced the test. Oh yeah!!”.

VINYL SALES UP

According to recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers, vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold, the format’s best year since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

Vinyl’s increase in popularity is providing a beacon of hope for independent record stores — an industry that has suffered with the increase of digital downloads this past decade.

THE RETURN OF KEITH OLBERMANN:

A tough job, even when my salary went up five grand when I hit my one-year anniversary. But as I said, my boss, Stan Sabik, was great. 20 years in the business and the Bureau Manager for UPI Audio and still he treated me like I wasn’t a punk kid with a really bad mustache and incredible arrogance. If I didn’t like one of his decisions he’d hear me out and once in a long while he’d say “how is this possible? You’re right” and change his mind. I could even go back at him two or three times to appeal something and he’d yell and I’d yell back and we’d never hold it against each other.

Time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come up with a budget deal. If they don’t reach one in eight days, the federal government could shut down — much like it did about 15 years ago.

MORE THOUGHTS ON RADIOHEAD

Still, I think music fans and cultural observers need to grapple with this a little: Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey, came out 18 years ago. Here’s another way to think about it: when that album came out, I was 13; now I’m 31. And from at least The Bends to the present, they’ve commanded the attention of the musical press and the rock audience as one of the top ten — or higher — bands at any given moment. You might have loved Radiohead, you might have been bored by them, you might have wished they’d gone back to an earlier style you liked better, but you always had to pay attention to them, and know where you stood. For 18 years. That’s an astonishing achievement.’

IS DONALD RUMSFELD A LIZARD?

Donald Rumsfeld has been all over the media to plug his new book, and yesterday he surfaced on the Opie & Anthony Show, where comedian Louis CK happened to be a guest. Over the protestations of the sycophantic hosts, Louis repeatedly pressed the former Defense Secretary on whether he’s a flesh-eating lizard person. It starts around the 2:30 mark:

PARKER LEAVES PARKER SPITZER

Confirming weeks of speculation (beginning with a Jan. 10 Wall Street Journal report), CNN vice president Ken Jautz announced today that journalist Kathleen Parker would leave the show, which has been renamed ‘In the Arena.’ Jautz wrote in a memo to his staff, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that “Kathleen Parker has decided to leave the program to focus on her writing, and we have decided to take the show in a new direction.”

SCHOOL BOARD FIRES ALL TEACHERS

PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers. More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.

WHERE’S MY MILK FROM?

FACEBOOK HELPED EGYPT UPRISING

Emails obtained by The Daily Beast show that Facebook executives took unusual steps to protect the identity of protest leaders during the Egypt uprising. Mike Giglio on how the social media giant scrambled to keep pace with Egypt’s revolution. As unlikely protests swept across Egypt on January 25, an administrator from the Facebook page that was helping to drive the uprisings emailed a top official of the social network, asking for help.

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT IN JEOPARDY

President Obama’s assertion that the federal ban on same sex-marriage is unconstitutional has expanded the political debate on legal rights for gay Americans. The administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act “will affect every nook and cranny of gay rights,” says James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union.

BREAST MILK ICE CREAM

Anyone pining for some ice cream in London now has an unusual option to consider: ice cream made from mothers’ breast milk. The Icecreamists shop has made headlines for using milk from as many as 15 women to make its new “Baby Gaga” flavor. The rare offering proved a hit with customers at the Covent Garden store — the first batch sold out within days of being introduced. A serving of Baby Gaga, which is reportedly flavored with vanilla and lemon zest, goes for 14 pounds — or about $22.50.

NBAPA supports Wisconsin Workers

Unions across the country are standing with the workers of Wisconsin against the unprecedented attacks by Gov. Scott Walker. Count the National Basketball Association’s Player’s Association among their ranks. The NBAPA has been threatened with layoffs, contraction, and steep cuts in pay and benefits in their current collective bargaining negotiations with NBA commissioner David Stern and the assorted team owners. Considering that no one ever bought a ticket to look at Mark Cuban, a Maloof brother or (shudder) Donald Sterling, their’s is a struggle worthy of support. Well solidarity is a two way street and it is a very positive development to have NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter  and Milwaukee Buck Keyon Dooling – also an NBAPA VP speak out on behalf of Wisconsin’s workers. Thursday’s late night vote in the state assembly to strip the public sector employees of their very rights to collectively bargain was, for Hunter and Dooling, a bridge too far.