The Note

"The unions of the AFL-CIO contain thousands of hardworking, dedicated unionists. But the AFL-CIO is a loose trade association of 65 separate and autonomous unions instead of a strong, united organization."

"It has no enforceable standards to stop a union from conspiring with employers to keep another stronger union out or from negotiating contracts with lower pay and standards that members of another union have spent a lifetime establishing, and as it is set up today, I believe, it has no hope of uniting the 90 percent of workers who have no union at all."

"And, sisters and brothers, it is time and it is so long overdue that we join with our union allies and either transform the AFL-CIO or build something stronger that can really change workers' lives . . . "

The Washington Post's Tom Edsall reports on the Stern speech. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be the first speaker at this morning's same-sex marriage hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. How's this for a title: ''Preserving Traditional Marriage: A View from the States"? Gov. Romney is expected to call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to avoid confusing things nationally. LINK

The Note just likes the headline of the Boston Herald story on Gov. Romney's appearance in Washington today: "Mitt's message to the nation on gay marriage: Don't Mass. it up." LINK

The politics of the 9/11 commission:

The Washington Post's Christopher Lee Notes three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, doubts still linger about how the government will continue to operate during an emergency situation. LINK

"Although much of the legislative debate since Sept. 11 has been about how to quickly replace dead or incapacitated lawmakers, less noticed have been such matters as whether Americans would continue to get their Social Security checks, veterans hospitals would stay open, the banking system would function and mail would be delivered. Maintaining such government services, important in and of themselves, would assure Americans that the country remains unbowed, experts say."

The Union Leader's editorial board writes that everyone, including themselves, jumped the gun with headlines proclaiming there were no connections between bin Laden and Iraq. At best, they say, "the jury is still out." LINK

The AP previews Sen. Ted Kennedy's speech this morning, "America is at greater risk of a nuclear attack from terrorists because of the Bush administration's 'single-minded focus on Iraq.'" LINK

The politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran finishes up a must-read three-day look at the rebuilding of Iraq by examining the fledgling government institutions. LINK

"New political institutions to replace Saddam Hussein's Baath Party dictatorship are among the chief legacies of the U.S. occupation. Every city and province has a local council. New mayors, provincial governors and national cabinet ministers have been chosen. The Shiite Muslim majority, shut out of power in Hussein's government, is widely represented, as are religious minorities and women. Hundreds of political parties have formed, and thousands of people have participated in seminars on democracy."

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