Tennessee VW Plant Prepares for Major Union Vote - The Wednesday AM Quickie 4/17/24

It seems like Sen. Tom Cotton has an unhealthy fixation with maiming political protesters. -Jacob


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Defying Southern Governors, a VW Plant Prepares for Major UAW Vote

A major union vote gets underway today at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the United Auto Workers Union has tried for years to organize workers. A union vote at the same plant failed in 2014 and 2019, but this time, the UAW, with a string of victories last year, thinks it has the labor movement's momentum and worker concerns on its side. For their part, Volkswagen workers complain about lack of paid time off, punishing work schedules, and repetitive stress injuries that are ignored by management.

Organizers are looking to not only address those concerns but raise the general fortunes of VW workers, one plant employee told HuffPost:

“We should not be living on subsistence. We should not just be proud that we can afford an apartment and put food on the table. We should be thriving. What kind of bleak existence do we live in where it’s greedy to want more than to just survive?”

Organizing the VW plant would be an important victory for the UAW in the South, where the labor movement has been stymied by anti-union propaganda and restrictive laws. Governors from six Southern states recently took the extraordinary step of publishing a joint statement discouraging workers from voting to unionize, saying it would jeopardize their jobs.

Southern car plants are centers of electric-car manufacturing, and the UAW has faced particular difficulty in organizing factories run by foreign manufacturers. But VW employees have seen the recent gains made by their colleagues at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. “I want my life to be more like their life,” one VW worker told Bloomberg.

He may get it.

Trump Might Soon Have a Jury Of His (Almost) Peers

Former President Donald Trump has the day off from his criminal trial for falsifying business records related to the Stormy Daniels hush-money payment. Yesterday, seven people were selected for the jury, with lawyers scouring potential jurors' social media posts and searching for signs of anti-Trump animus. Apparently, these mythical politically indifferent citizens exist. "None of [the seven jurors chosen] shared particularly strong views about Trump or politics," according to CNN. After Trump made an "audible" remark about a potential juror, Judge Juan Merchan told the former president's lawyers, "I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. Take a minute to speak to your client."

New York Times Discourages Journalists From Using Divisive Language Like, Uhh, "Palestine"

According to a leaked memo obtained by The Intercept, New York Times editors discouraged their reporters from using words like "occupied territory," "genocide," and, unbelievably, "Palestine." The Intercept's source said that the memo reflected the institutional ignorance inside the Times and its tendency to defer to official Israeli narratives. Amidst typically polarized criticism from activist groups, the Times has been riven by internal debate over its Gaza coverage. The paper recently said that it would conduct an internal investigation to find and fire leakers – the kind of draconian measure that's rarely floated at a media company.


  • Nazi Accounts Find Large Audiences on Elon Musk's X Accounts that glorify Adolf Hitler and Nazism and spread Holocaust denial appear to be thriving on X. They include premium accounts that are able to pay to amplify their content and potentially earn a cut of ad revenue. via NBC News.
  • Critics Call Out Plastic Industry's Lies Scientists and former industry insiders are among those blasting the plastics industry for lying the about the efficacy of recycling. For decades, the industry has promoted recycling as a cure-all while the plastic pollution problem only grew. via CBS News.
  • Former Abu Ghraib Detainees Get Their Day In Court Three Iraqi men who were detained and tortured at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad are suing a military contractor that provided interrogators for the facility. The long-delayed lawsuit will give the men an opportunity to testify about their mistreatment in the notorious prison, although US officials and private-sector collaborators have so far escaped accountability for torture. via The Guardian.
  • OJ's Lawyer Backtracks on Goldman Claims Malcolm LaVergne, the appropriately bizarre lawyer serving as executor of OJ Simpson's estate, has reversed himself after making harsh comments about Ron Goldman's father, Fred Goldman. He said that the estate will now "accept" Goldman's claim to the tens of millions of dollars that Simpson owed the family after a 1997 wrongful death lawsuit. Fred Goldman has said that Simpson "never paid one single penny" to his family. via Hollywood Reporter.


That's how many Google employees were arrested yesterday during protests against the company's work for the Israeli government. The protesters went inside Google offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, California, and refused to leave until Google withdrew from a lucrative cloud-computing contract it signed with Israel. Google, which has previously fired company employees for acts of political protest, said that it placed the nine arrested employees "on administrative leave" and revoked their access to company systems.


4/17: It's Hump Day!


Aaron Rodgers Suffers Batcrap Conspiracy Brain Meltdown

I still prefer his earlier work, but suggesting that Joe Biden has been replaced by an imposter is an interesting turn!

Republicans Panic Over Political Disaster They Created

When it comes to abortion, Republicans have become the dog who caught the car.


"I am a student of history who chose to minor in resistance to genocide, anchored by the Shoah Foundation, and have learned that ordinary people are capable of unspeakable acts of violence when they are taught hate fueled by fear. And due to widespread fear, I was hoping to use my commencement speech to inspire my classmates with a message of hope. By canceling my speech, USC is only caving to fear and rewarding hatred."

-- From a statement by Asna Tabassum, a University of Southern California student who was selected to be this year's valedictorian, only to have her speech canceled by school administrators for unspecified security concerns. Students and alumni reportedly complained that Tabassum made antisemitic social-media posts. Tabassum said she was being targeted with "racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all."

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