Texas trucker looks at terrorist scare

The Patriot Act. Let me make sure I have this right, that’s the plan passed by our loving, caring, government to protect us from the evil in the world.

Well, for all of you out there that still believe that, or that ever believed it, I would like to make you a great deal on my beach house in Phoenix. Do you actually think that any self-respecting terrorist is going to follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the Patriot Act?

I recently had to renew my Haz-Mat endorsement for my commercial driver’s license, and I guarantee you there were no terrorists in that office getting their fingerprints scanned for government scrutiny. There were some teachers, health professionals and even insurance agents getting scanned as required by their jobs.

Maybe its just me, but it seems to me like this act is geared more toward being able to control the movements of all Americans, not the terrorists — the government knows that these people are not stupid.

Remember 9/11? The people responsible for successfully pulling off such a feat are not going to stroll into an office and willingly give their prints to a government agency.

Because of the fact that I have hauled every kind of toxic and hazardous waste imaginable in the last 12 years, and before that I held a secret security clearance in the military, I have to take this as an insult to my personal and professional integrity.

And to top it all off the price of a CDL (commercial driver’s license) has increased from $55 to over $140. I wonder where all that money is going?

And $3-plus dollars a gallon for fuel? What about all that money?

— A Texas trucker

Virginia delegate reports from AFL-CIO convention

I am attending the Virginia AFL-CIO State Convention as a delegate with my AFT local. Of interest to us were comments by Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia.

Kaine, as you may recall, was the first Virginia governor to appoint a leader of the AFL-CIO, Danny LeBlanc, to his cabinet. There was also another first — the Republican-controlled state Legislature rejected the governor’s appointment. Kaine retorted by appointing LeBlanc to another post which did not need the Legislature’s approval.

More important are the implications of Kaine’s election for the future. His win over Jerry Gilgore, who had called on the help of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and George Bush, was viewed as an ominous sign of the wave of peoples’ opposition to the Republican Party in Virginia. Interesting, as Virginia is a “right-to-work-for-less” state. Kaine said his win could not have occurred without the help of the state AFL-CIO.

— A Washington, D.C. teacher

Minnesota labor has its eyes squarely on the elections

Over 500 delegates attended the 48th Convention of the Minnesota AFL-CIO in St. Paul, Aug. 7-9. Much of the convention was dominated by political issues in this important election year. Delegates were united and energized to do what they had to do to win the elections.

The political action director of the state AFL-CIO welcomed the defeat of incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary Aug. 8 as a victory for the people and a first omen of things to come. One of the delegates was circulating a slogan for this fall’s elections: “November 7, 2006 — the party’s over!”

The convention passed a strong resolution calling for the timely withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Despite the fallout over the “Change to Win” split, over 10,000 new members were organized into the Minnesota AFL-CIO last year, led by teachers, nurses and public workers’ unions.

— An Iron Ranger