People of the world donate pizzas to striking Wisconsin teachers.
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I’ll deliver them.
ha! ha! ha! Let’s cheer on the death of public sector workers. Very funny there, Chris. Pardon me if I forget to laugh. Why don’t you start picking on some bigger fish, like Dick Fuld or Angelo Mozilo or Joe Cassano? They are the reason we are where we are, although that is an inconvenient truth for many of the right wing neanderthals that comment on your site, who prefer to scapegoat striking workers, who deserve our support, not tasteless calls for their death. Shame on you Chris for your Ann Coulter-ish sense of humor, which is not in the least bit funny.
You’re on the mend, sir.
I love the principles by which “progressives” stand. FINE to equate a US governor with dictators that murder and torture thousands+… FINE to literally physically attack those with whom they disagree… FINE to threaten violence and/or death to those on the right …. FINE to break the law by getting illegal & false sickness excuses from doctors and get paid by the taxpayer to strike illegally…
But – let a non-liberal show displeasure about something by saying “I’d like arsenic topping” on a pizza …..WHOA! This guy’s now “tasteless” and “a neanderthal” etc etc.
Two sets of rules: theirs and everyone else’s. Can’t wait until we have more and more elections like 2010 and we throw most of the bums out.
“Shame on you Chris for your Ann Coulter-ish sense of humor, which is not in the least bit funny.”
Dollarbill finally posted something insighful. Chris’ sense of humor is very similar to Ann Coulter’s — wry, original, deft, and full of wit and whimsy. This wonderful quality makes them the two best commentators on the passing scene today.
Why do so few Lefies ever write anything funny? Why do so few Lefties have a sense of humor?
Dollarbill when the day comes that public workers return to their proper position of being employees who respect their employers comes and do as instructed by their superiors, that will be the day they will stops being the source of humor for so many.
If they want to assert themselves they should start their own business.
Oh I forgot, they will need somebody to guarantee them a profitable business, so skip it.
Chris is getting his strength back at an alarming rate, but please laizzez faire him for now. Sheesh.
Last weekend I posted something with your name on it, but the timing was horrible, because right about then Chris went to New Haven to inspect the bathrooms at Yale, so you probably never saw the message or link. Here’s the link, though the subject being covered now seems about a decade old:
By the way, with regard to your recommendation that I take up NYT Sunday crosswords: I already do ‘em! I have a collection from quite a long time back, because for years a teaching colleague, who subscribed, would bring in the Sunday magazine every Monday. I’ve worked my way through perhaps 200 of them (four years’ worth) and still have a pretty good stack in reserve. When that source dried up (colleague cancelled the subscription), I found another free source. And lately, I’ve also been doing the KenKens, which I’m strangely fascinated with. Thanks for the suggestion.
Nicely stated, JM.
Send the pizzas.
Welcome back CF.
Dollar bill, just hahahahahahaha. Tool!
I think Walker should take the givebacks, stop collecting the union dues via payroll deduction and declare victory. Public sector workers shouldn’t have fewer rights than private sector workers. Union funding typically drops by 30-40% when they have to collect their own dues. If that doesn’t bring some sanity to the situation then he should focus on making Wisconsin a right to work state.
Yes, Coulter was so funny, wasn’t she, when she said “We need somebody to put rat poisoning in (Supreme Court) Justice Stevens’ creme brulee,” “That’s just a joke, for you in the media.” Breathtakingly wry, and original, and oh so witty.
Au contraire, Inagua, lefties have Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, Jim Hightower, and plenty of humorists in our camp. Their shtick, however, isn
t casually laced with the type of adolescent cruelty and base, nihilistic instincts that Coulter and Limbaugh display regularly for your depraved tastes. The fact that you like Coulter tells me all I need to know about where you’re coming from.
Jack Martin, doing his best imitation of Ayn Rand: Public sector workers should get down on their knees and assume their “proper position” (grovel, grovel) to men “who start businesses,” the only employers that count, of course. No workplace democracy for you, teachers, nurses, since you are just parasites to society, right Jack? You public sector workers are our “servants” and as such “you will do as instructed” like good obedient housepets. Until you act appropriately, we “superiors” will continue to treat you with contempt. So get used to it. Long live the dictatorship of the employer!!
Jack Fuld, Angelo Mozilo, Joe Cassano: now there are Galt-ian men of high moral character, true “free market” men who we should worship. Men of accomplishment, not moochers of the taxpayers, like public sector workers. Except when their companies are being bailed out by taxpayers (AIG), or scoring a “get out of jail free card,”(Mozillo), or walking away with $500 million bonuses (Fuld). Don’t criticize them; criticize our worthless teachers, and our lazy no-good firemen and cops. Why can’t they just accept their lower place in society. Haven’t they read Ayn Rand?
[A nice capsule description that captures the sense of privilege and hoity-toity entitlement -- "who do those uppity, greedy public servants think they are?" --exhibited by Jack Martin and other neanderthal commenters on your site. -DB.]
“The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats.” — Phil Agre
Last time I checked there is no such thing as workplace democracy.
The people in charge decides what to do, then the workers who are selling their time do whatever is expected or the go home.
The way they keep their jobs is by adding some type of value everyday. The ones with job security have some type of value add that is very hard to replace all of the other are always exposed.
You may be wondering who makes this decision on value add. In the end it is always the customer not the boss. For all bosses know it is the customer who decides to retain the company in the future, not the boss.
An employee is a servant to the boss.
A boss is a servant to the customer.
The above is always true except of course with government workers.
Government workers are just starting to discover that both their boss and customer is very unhappy with their underperformaning value add.
If you don’t like the simple facts to bad for you.
Thanks for the post. I had missed it and was afraid that you had declined accept my apology. In the future I will attempt to disagree with less personal insult. (Except for Dollarbill, who has just posted some rubbish thats needs severe treatment.) Our basic problem might be that we approach issues differently. I generally attempt to find either a general principle that one can reason from or a discrete fact that can be analyzed. You view this as “an attempt to pin me down.” For example, when discussing a scientific question it is necessary to understand that the essence of science is predictable, observable and repeatable results. If one party fails to understand that basic principle, then intelligent discussion is impossible. It would be like discussing the the predicate nominative or a gerund or a dangling participle with someone who uses double negatives. I also like arguments that are supported by concrete examples. You, not so much.
I also belatedly saw your inquiry, and I will respond when I know you are checking in. I am here pretty much all the time, as I really like Chris’s humor, especially his headlines.
“The fact that you like Coulter tells me all I need to know about where you’re coming from.”
Why does it matter where I am coming from? Or that I admire the writing and wit of Coulter and Fountain? Why can’t what I say stand on its own merit? Isn’t a stopped clock correct twice a day?
I asked you the other day to defend your statement that “this is a pure power grab by Walker,” by pointing out the four specific points at issue and asking your views on each. You declined to respond, but are back today with more unsupported charges and strawman arguments.
So let me ask you again, How is it a power grab to ask unions to collect their own dues? To be recertified by a majority of their members each year? To limit wage increases to CPI? To not have collective bargaining rights for fringe benefits?
LLS: you never do things like that. First you make a successful blog in a town like this, Second you have followers, Third; you write whatever the hell you want just because. Chris is not a Coulter but I like her just because she is from New Canaan. Get it? I mean the humor. Probably not.
Few, if any, on this right leaning board champion Fuld, Mozillo and others in the private sector (btw, there is enough public and private sector blame to go around) who had leading roles in our nation’s recent banking collapse, so I fail to see why you continue to make reference to the ‘banksters’ in response to anti-union commentary.
As I said once before, the distinct difference between ‘banksters’ and public sector unions is that consumers have a multitude of choices while tax payers – short of moving – do not. If you dont like how the major banks operate, move your money to a local community bank or a credit union. Furthermore, if you didnt like the role banks played in the financial collapse, neither did I nor most people critical of the unions. The banks got their medicine with the Dodd Act and with the vaporizing of stockholder wealth. Sure the Dodd bill maybe imperfect or flat out garbage, but its a start, much the same as Walker’s union legislation.
Has anyone watched Waiting for Superman Yet? Saw it last night, its stunning.
Jack M. said: “Last time I checked there is no such thing as workplace democracy.”
Check again, Jack. There is such a thing. It’s just not commonplace. You’re describing the world as you have seen it, maybe as you prefer to see it.
Jack said: “The people in charge decides [or decide] what to do, then the workers who are selling their time do whatever is expected or the [they] go home.”
Again, yes, that is the traditional way of the work world. Sounds a bit drudgeryish, no? But–
Jack said, “The way they keep their jobs is by adding some type of value everyday. The ones with job security have some type of value add that is very hard to replace all of the other are always exposed.”
You make it sound ever so simple, Jack. And quite unpleasant, I think. But is your formula realistic? Is that all we have to do to keep our jobs? Just “add some type of value everyday”? I can give you a couple of reasons that workers, even bright, eager, innovative ones, might lose their jobs. For one thing, the economy might change, drastically and suddenly, so that workers who once were “secure” now find themselves unemployed. This situation has hit both private and public employment in the past few years. Why pretend that everyone who lost a job was a slouch?
For another thing, the hallowed “market” can decide that workers somewhere else are cheaper to hire, not because the almighty customers decided that the established workers are dumb, lazy good-for-nothings, but because all a company has to do is find needier job applicants, in another region of the country or another part of the world, and local employees who once had solid jobs are now out of luck. If “adding value” means taking large cuts in pay and benefits, or moving to Alabama or Cambodia, your “straightforward” explanation becomes a tad crooked.
I hope the Wisconsin business keeps getting more and more traction, and I expect it will, because the core issue eclipses the usual tedious R vs D and Liberal vs Conservative claptrap. (Isn’t claptrap a great word?)
The core issue being this: Public employees are no more deserving–no less, but no more, deserving– of guaranteed ANYTHING than private employees are. Job security, pay seniority, health insurance benefits, pension payouts, you name it … why do public workers have inviolate “rights” that private workers do not have? We taxpayers who are footing the bill weren’t consulted in these long-term contractual arrangements, and now we are getting cranky. This might be unwelcome but it isn’t unreasonable.
P.S., Who was it who compared CF and Ann Coulter? Really, I’m sure he was raised to know better than to wear a cocktail dress on a Sunday morning talk show.
Belle Haven said, “LLS: you never do things like that. First you make a successful blog in a town like this, Second you have followers, Third; you write whatever the hell you want just because. Chris is not a Coulter but I like her just because she is from New Canaan. Get it? I mean the humor. Probably not.”
Belle, help me know what you’re referring to. “You never do things like” what? Like start a blog without succeeding? Like . . . what?
Grump, yes, “claptrap” is a great word.
Don’t you think, though, that a public sector employee deserves a little bit better security than a private sector employee? I know you just said no to that, but shouldn’t you be able to “count on” governmental stability that you just can’t count on from a private corporation or small business? The privateers (sorry about the unfriendly diction there) are looking to make a profit, so they–theoretically, at least–will take the kinds of oh-so-admirable risks that the gov’t shouldn’t be taking. In return for stronger job security, the public employee gets lower pay and/or not-so-spectacular perks.
“Public employees are no more deserving than private sector workers are?”
What about police officers and firefighters? On 9/11 private sector workers lost their lives because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Firefighers and police officers lost their lives because they were doing their job. They ran into the towers when everyone else was running out. I am happy to pay taxes to help pay our police and firefighters fairly. It’s the least that I can do because they risk their lives for me every day, and their family members risk losing a husband, wife, father or mother for me every day. I work hard, but don’t risk losing my life as part of my job description. If I have a problem that requires their assistance, the return on my “investment” may be priceless.
LLS: Good job destroying Jack Martin’s antiquated, dictatorial, Darwinian view of the workplace. His view of workplace relations takes us back to the 19th century, and no intelligent person wants to return to that. How would you, Jack Martin, propose to evaluate a firefighter or police fighter on how much “value add” he brings to his job? Or a nurse? The question implies that these public sector workers bring no value add to their job, which is simply too stupid to even bother countering.
Cos Cobber: While it is true that banksters took a fall, NONE of the major miscreants saw jail time, which is really what they deserved, given the massive fraud they perpetrated on our economy, and the devastation they caused to the rest of the economy, through all their phony and destructive financial “innovations”. The damage they caused wasn’t just to their own balance sheets, and their own investors, but to the whole of the economy. 8 million jobs lost. People too easily forget about the extent of the destruction. We’re still emerging (slowly) from it. And what was the verdict for the banksters? No jail time, no restitution. Nothing, except some very weak regs from Dodd-Frank, which they are busy evading. And they’ walked away from the damage with huge gains, courtesy of the American taxpayer, laughing all the way to the bank. And despite the weak tea of the Dodd bill, they are still thriving today, ready to wreak havoc on us yet again, because many are still in the “too big to fail” category and know they have an implicit guarantee from the feds that they will be bailed out again. I would love to seem outrage from commenters on this site about that (as opposed to the misdirected outrage concerning the contractual obligations entered into by union reps years ago, by govs –Repub and Dem alike –are you listening John Rowland?). what ever happened to that Tea Party notion of the sanctity of contracts? Guess it doesn’t apply when public sector workers are involved, does it?
Inagua: I haven’t forgotten about you. I don’t want to get into the weeds of union practices, like compulsory dues, except to say that stripping collective bargaining rights from union members is busting the union pure and simple. Daniels did it in Indiana, and he got away with it, which means fewer protections for workers once they get to 20 or 25 years on the job. They get pushed out for younger workers earning less. Fat-boy Christie would like to do it in NJ, but he won’t be able to do it. Malloy is a champ, and unions know they have a friend in him. It won’t happen here, Thank God.
Old School Grump: News flash to you: Public sector workers are taxpayers too! I was the one who compared CF and Ann Coulter, as their eliminationist humor is the same. To wit (or lack thereof):
CF: “I’ll order a dozen (pizzas) with a double arsenic topping.” (to kill the public sector workers). How hilarious!!
AC: “We need somebody to put rat poisoning in (Supreme Court) Justice Stevens’ creme brulee,” How hilarious! Killing a liberal-leaning SC Justice just doubles me over with laughter.
Anyone who can’t appreciate this humor must be some kind of leftist prude. But the humor is the same…
Last Liberal Standing workplace democracy is a pure fantasy as all companies are run by dictators, better know as the customers. The customer does whatever they want, when they want to.
If the company fails to satisfy the customers the customers are merciless and allows the company to fail and the workers to be put out of work, with no remorse.
The customers could care less if the employees are happy, being treated fairly or being paid a living wage. Apple is a perfect example as they make and sell very popular products made by near slave labor in China.
The work place is not kindergarten, it is a place to create and deliver products and services at a price customers are regularly willing to pay.
Nobody wants bright, eager, and innovative employees who don’t add value.
To very very honest I don’t think you know what innovative means in a business context. Innovation in business is related to the introduction of something new as it relates to product acceptance, profitability and market performance expectations being met. Not awards for just showing up.
Old School Grump
Perfect synopsis of the core issue. Couldn’t agree more
Private sector unions have some usefulness, when correctly used and applied. When a private sector worker is taken advantage of, some other private sector worker is better off, like management that get concessions during a recession, and then when the recovery arrives that same management congratulates itself with huge bonuses, when really it was just a rising tide lifting all boats, except that the workers that got screwed.
This is not the case with public service workers. Management does not gain from the loss of of the lower tier. Everyone gains at the expense of the taxpayer, and the decision makers (givers of public pay and benefits) do not usually have a stake in the payment of the promises.
“I don’t want to get into the weeds of union practices, like compulsory dues, except to say that stripping collective bargaining rights from union members is busting the union pure and simple.”
Many public sector unions do not have collective bargaining rights, including all Federal employee unions. Do you really think those unions are “busted?”
You also appear ignorant of the facts of this particular case where “collective bargaining rights for benefits” is code for “using the union owned health insurance company.” Here is an article about a local Wisconsin school district that was able to break free of this insurance company:
I understand that you are reflexively sympathetic to unions, and that you do not want “to get into the weeds,” but don’t you think it would help to learn just a few basic facts before expressing such strong opinions?
Its pretty clear Dollarbill, you have your view of the world, we have ours. Our ideology won in Wisconsin and is winning in Indiana and New Hampshire. Your view has won in CT. We’ll see what happens.
Its pretty obvious that reduced government and reduced union rights has made for better results for the middle class in states in the south. Wake me up from sleep when I see Toyota, VW or Ford build an auto plant in the pro-union north. Let me know the next time you pay extra for pro-union services. We all vote with our wallets everyday. When the 2010 census data is released this spring it will continue to show that Americans are migrating to states with a more business friendly job environment, particularly for low and middle skilled employment.
Waiting for Superman sums up my view on Unions. Watch it.
Jack Martin said, “The work place is not kindergarten, it is a place to create and deliver products and services at a price customers are regularly willing to pay. Nobody wants bright, eager, and innovative employees who don’t add value.”
You’ve summed it up rather well, JM. “The work place is not kindergarten.” So if I bring up the subject of what “the market” can do to employees and their families by simply doing its impersonal business, that’s kindergarten stuff? Employees can be hard working, diligent, dependable, honest, and so on, and if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own–because of changes in consumer preferences, or because much cheaper labor can be found elsewhere, or because more desperate nations are willing to pollute with impunity–who cares?
I think your answer is, Not my problem. If I’m right, my next question is, Do you take delight in that impersonal dynamic?
Could it be that this is the fundamental difference between a liberal and a libertarian–that a liberal questions the system if it means people will suffer through no fault of their own, but a libertarian actually gets a kick out of the “wisdom” of the market?
Could anyone here calculate the cost of a pizza created and made by a union pizza shop? And would anyone buy it at that price? My guess is the Wisconsin teachers would vote with their own pocketbooks to buy the non-union version.
“My guess is the Wisconsin teachers would vote with their own pocketbooks to buy the non-union version.”
Considering that 29% of Milwaukee’s public school teachers sent their own kids to private school in 2004, I suspect that you are right.
This isn’t related to Wisconsin, but just an interesting anecdote.
I needed a lot of work done to a bedroom and hallway in my house last fall. A local building inspector recommended a local guy who I have seen at political meetings railing on behalf of local union workers.
When he got in my house and was giving an estimate, for the first part of the job, he was going to have a dumpster delivered, along with 4 day laborers for the gut work. What a hypocrite. Fighting for the need to hire unionized workers, but being willing to subcontract work to poverty-level non-union guys for his profit. Has anyone else ever seen that happen, or was that an isolated incident?
Last Liberal Standing,
“Employees can be hard working, diligent, dependable, honest, and so on, and if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own–because of changes in consumer preferences, or because much cheaper labor can be found elsewhere, or because more desperate nations are willing to pollute with impunity–who cares?
I think your answer is, Not my problem. If I’m right, my next question is, Do you take delight in that impersonal dynamic?”
When a worker becomes obsolete barring disability it is their fault as they did not keep up with the times.
As far as it not being my problem you are wrong, it is my new advantage.
When people choose not to compete it does make winning easier at any endeavor.
As far as taking delight in the impersonal dynamics of capitalism I don’t but I also have no choice as it is the current way of the world and if I wish to compete and have some chance of winning I must work within reality.
There are interesting points of view from Florida politicos in an article in their papers today. Google “Florida’s pension system ticking time bomb”
They seem ready to knock off pensions for future hires and get people to contribute to 401K’s instead.
Sorry – I don’t know how to link articles to your site.
LLS at 9:43,
The thing is, the word “deserve,” a loaded term to begin with, is downright inflammatory in the current economic environment whenever it’s connected to taxpayer dollars. Think about all the contexts in which it is being tossed around these days. Do high income earners deserve the extension of the tax cuts? Do homeowners who can’t meet their mortgage deserve a principal reduction? Did the homebuyers who benefitted from the $8,000 tax credit deserve that windfall? And now under the spotlight … do public workers deserve guarantees of a level of job security, pension income and health coverage that are an unobtainable fantasy for more and more people in the private workforce? As much as people get worked up and get nasty on this subject, it is a fair question to ask.
Okay, Grump, it’s a fair question to ask.
And while we’re on the issue of what people “deserve,” I suppose it’s also fair to ask, Does anybody deserve anything? The extremists among the rugged individualists might say that life is tough, and everyone should be willing to fight for everything they want or need, so in that scenario it could be argued that nobody deserves anything they can’t wrest from someone else. And if the situation becomes dire enough, as it would if there were a lifeboat and only a finite number of people could get in, it’s truly a fight for survival. (This may seem like a far-fetched metaphor, but as I see it, public sector employees were able to enjoy bountiful benefits when conditions were cheery; now that times are tougher, it’s as though the plentiful supply of lifeboats has disappeared. People are willing to fight for what they want, need, or are accustomed to, and other people begrudge them what used to be granted more or less without rancor.)
Perhaps my metaphor is mixed. Perhaps I haven’t really addressed your objection to the word “deserve.” All I meant in the first place was that public employees ought to get better job security in exchange for the lower risks their employers generally take and the (theoretically) less remunerative salaries that are paid.
Jack M. wrote: “When a worker becomes obsolete barring disability it is their fault as they did not keep up with the times.”
And: “As far as it not being my problem you are wrong, it is my new advantage. When people choose not to compete it does make winning easier at any endeavor.”
And: “As far as taking delight in the impersonal dynamics of capitalism I don’t but I also have no choice as it is the current way of the world and if I wish to compete and have some chance of winning I must work within reality.”
In reply: You depict a damn nasty world. It’s not the world I inhabit. Yes, if things got reallllllly awful–and they might–your approach may become necessary. Everyone will be swarming endlessly on occupational and entrepreneurial treadmills, competing not just to “win,” as you put it, but even to survive.
In the meantime, I’m not choosing to compete, certainly not in a way that resembles the dog-eat-dog scenario that you celebrate. Yet I’m doing just fine. How do you explain that? By your criteria, I should be miserable.
Does anyone read LLS’s posts anymore?
Well, if brevity be the soul of wit, then … no.
Should I stop, Cos?
Of course not, LLS! I read you, but shorter comments woukld probably garner more readers.
LLS at 9:55,
“This may seem like a far-fetched metaphor, but as I see it, public sector employees were able to enjoy bountiful benefits when conditions were cheery; now that times are tougher, it’s as though the plentiful supply of lifeboats has disappeared. People are willing to fight for what they want, need, or are accustomed to, and other people begrudge them what used to be granted more or less without rancor.”
It’s not a far-fetched metaphor at all, it’s a concise and accurate description of what we’re talking about here. The plentiful supply of lifeboats really has disappeared, because times really are tougher. Those job protections and health care benefits and retirement plans that were indeed given without rancor in cheerier economic times now look like the centerpiece of “the good life” to people who no longer have any hope of obtaining them. I know this is mind-boggling (I mean that, I’m not being sarcastic), but, for now at least, public employees who have these benefits, no matter how hard or dreary or underpaid their jobs may be, are among society’s “haves.” And since the linkage between tax dollars and public workers is so direct and visible, you’re probably going to be in the line of fire for a while.
Looks like we agree on something. That’s refreshing.
The point I’d add is that nobody involved is necessarily rotten, despite what gets written in this blog. The teachers and other public sector employees aren’t heinously greedy or selfish, and they’re not trying to wreck America; they’re just a bit self-pitying and myopic. And the Republican executives and legislators aren’t heartless union busters (I hope); they’re just desperate to save the ship SOMEhow.
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