Took part in a strong protest this morning here in Tampa as Bush’s motorcade passed on its way to a conference on trafficking of women, an issue which, opportunistic photo ops aside, has only become more grave since Bush cut $20 million in enforcement.  It was a good chance for a range of groups – Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, MoveOn, several union locals – to come together to bear witness to this administration’s real record of broken promises.  My estimate would be about 300 folks out against the President’s policies and about a dozen there in support, which is a proportion similar to what it’s been both of the other places (in Pennsylvania and Connecticut) I’ve seen his motorcade go by.  Was it this way under Clinton?

Zach reports on the demonstration today by Locals 34 and 35 in response to Yale’s “signing bonus” sham:

Today at noon, hundreds ( Jay Driskell and i estimated somewhere between 300 and 500) of workers in Local 35 and Local 34 gathered in front of woodbridge hall to present president levin with invoices for the retro pay Yale’s stealing from them. The invoices are stamped “past due” and read “Please immediately remit payment of my retroactive salary increase in the amount of $[insert amount here]. This amount represents payment due to me for my loyal, dedicated service to yale… Your offer of $1500 is unnacceptable and insufficient to cover the services rendered. Failure to remit full payment as due will result in further serious action. Levin didn’t have enough respect for the workers – or evidently didn’t feel that the crisis was serious enough – to warrant coming out and talking to people. Instead, he made Nina Glickson stand outside the front steps and collect the invoices of several hundred workers…In the next few hours hundreds more invoices will be faxed in. Negotiations resume at 3pm.

The Yale Daily News (hereafter YDN) is back in business with a, in all fairness, relatively balanced piece on negotiations and the upcoming strike. As is often the case, the biggest fault is in the information that’s missing – this time, first, that while negotiations didn’t restart until August 12, the unions have been calling for intensive negotiations to begin for months; second, that while Yale tripled it’s “signing bonus,” that bonus still represents between 0 and 40%, depending on the worker, of the retroactive pay that Yale removed from the table. Fortunately, the men and women who work at Yale know better than to go by what they read in the YDN. The rest of us in the Yale community should all as well.

Looks like Bush may be losing support among another traditionally Republican bloc of voters:

“He pats us on the back with his speeches and stabs us in the back with his actions,” said Charles A. Carter of Shawnee, Okla., a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. “I will vote non-Republican in a heart beat if it continues as is.”

“I feel betrayed,” said Raymond C. Oden Jr., a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant now living in Abilene, Texas.

Many veterans say they will not vote for Bush or any Republican in 2004 and are considering voting for a Democrat for the first time. Others say they will sit out the election, angry with Bush and Republicans but unwilling to support Democrats, whom they say are no better at keeping promises to veterans. Some say they will still support Bush and his party despite their ire.

While there are no recent polls to measure veterans’ political leanings, any significant erosion of support for Bush and Republicans could hurt in a close election. It could be particularly troublesome in states such as Florida that are politically divided and crowded with military retirees.

Registered Republican James Cook, who retired to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after 24 years in the Air Force, said he is abandoning a party that he said abandoned him. “Bush is a liar,” he said. “The Republicans in Congress, with very few exceptions, are gutless party lapdogs who listen to what puts money in their own pockets or what will get them re-elected.”

…Since 1891, anyone retiring after a full military career has had their retirement pay reduced dollar for dollar for any Veterans Administration checks they get for a permanent service-related disability. However, a veteran who served a two-or-four-year tour does not have a similar reduction in Social Security or private pension.

A majority of members of Congress, from both parties, wants to change the law. A House proposal by Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., has 345 co-sponsors.

But it would cost as much as $5 billion a year to expand payments to 670,000 disabled veterans, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld earlier this month told lawmakers that the president would veto any bill including the change.

The proposal is stuck in committee. A recent effort to bring it to the full House of Representatives failed, in part because only one Republican signed the petition.

“The cost is exorbitant. And we are dealing with a limited budget,” said Harald Stavenas, a spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee…

Good for these vets for deciding that the ones who want to deploy them for unjust and unnecessary warfare abroad and then welcome them back to the same shaft designated for every other working-class American are not on their side. The (first) Gulf War, and the official refusal to treat or even recognize the Gulf War Syndrome our soldiers suffered from exposure to our weapons, is only the most disturbing case. On a related note, one of the gratifying changes to see at the most recent round of anti-war protests was a departure from the pitfall too many on the left fell into in Vietnam: targeting the largely working class soldiers who carry out orders rather than the men who sit behind desks who send them. Looks like the latter group may be in for a comeuppance…

From the Inquirer:

Police and Secret Service handling of anti-Bush and anti-war demonstrators at the president’s appearance in Philadelphia today resulted in lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union filing an emergency complaint in federal court.

The complaint on behalf of ACORN – Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — by ACLU legal director Stefan Presser contended authorities violated not just the demonstrators’ Constitutional right of free speech but a 1988 permanent court order resulting from federal and local authorities’ handling of demonstrators during the 1987 Constitution bicentennial celebration…

A few of us were there as legal observers this morning, and the wave Bush gave to the protesters as he drove by was…well, regal.

Have to say, this is the first time I’ve been mentioned on David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag – unfortunately, it wasn’t being lambasted for my crazy leftism. Needless to say, the author of this article pulled a silly maneuver in trying to discredit a march by demonstrating that a) there were people there who couldn’t provide footnotes on the spot for each of their assertions, b) there were people there who were far to the left of, say, David Horowitz, and c) there weren’t many people there for the early-morning rally before the 5,000 person march. This is the kind of logic that convinces the reader every time, as long as the reader is David Horowitz. If only I hadn’t been a legal observer that day, maybe Michael P. Tremoglie could have written me up for dangerous ideas or inadequate research. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, nice to know he thinks I have a sense of humor… Certainly helped in getting through his writing. I do regret giving him ammunition by mentioning the low turnout for the rally but given that he identified himself as a school teacher and that the comment was in the context of the several-thousand person march that would follow later in the day, I don’t think it was overly reckless. Just to redeem myself, I’ll have to make a point of getting written up as a left-wing crazy on that website as soon as possible…