Re: Like White Resentment

1

Do I have to talk funny to become a cop in Boston?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:05 AM
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You just have to change your last name to Hooker.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:07 AM
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I confess to an at least sometime burning hatred of unions (the extent to which it is comical will depend on your sense of humor). I put it to you that unions are intrinsically worthy of burning hatred, perhaps occasionally carried to an excessive and thus perhaps comical extent.

Further, though, you will surely concede (a) that things worthy of our burning hatred may nevertheless prove socially useful and (b) unions are often much less worthy of our burning hatred than investment banks and similar.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:08 AM
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1. yeah, your accent needs to be somewhat patrician, like John Kerry's


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:09 AM
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I put it to you that unions are intrinsically worthy of burning hatred

Um, why?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:09 AM
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pretty far left liberal...he's developed an almost comical burning hatred for unions.

I know we had a thread on this.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:11 AM
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I've definitely mentioned that fact before.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:12 AM
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Is it too late to go back and edit The Departed?

You've got a 1400 on your SATs. You're an astronaut, kid, not a Statie. Unless you want to make a lot of money.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:13 AM
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I know we had a thread on this.

On liberals who hate liberalism? Don't we do that in like every politics post?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:13 AM
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Um, why?

Because they are human organizations with the normal frustrating blend of internal politics, bureaucratic procedures, and other ordinarily maddening features of human organizations; because on top of that they cloak themselves in irritating self-righteousness; because--and I concede in advance and this was clearly evident in my first comment--in their legitimate pursuit of their interests, they sometimes inconvenience me.

Please note, stras, before you get all irate, that I am quite likely to develop a burning hatred of fuzzy bunnies if, say, they're ruining my garden.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:15 AM
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The problem is that everybody, liberal or conservative, who has any effect on the conventional wisdom or the public discourse holds a job for which union membership is irrelevant because there have already been many barriers to entry, first education and then probably guild membership.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:16 AM
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They are big, bureaucratic organizations, which is annoying. But we need some of those on our side.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:17 AM
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Oh, another problem is that the only union that anyone involved in creating pop culture ever has any contact with is the Teamsters.

Really, I boycotted Futurama for a few weeks after Hermes Conrad made that incredibly stupid remark about Labor Day.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:19 AM
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Because ... they sometimes inconvenience me

Boo hoo.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:19 AM
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we need some of those on our side

I kind of conceded that in 3(a).


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:20 AM
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Please note, stras, before you get all irate, that I am quite likely to develop a burning hatred of fuzzy bunnies if, say, they're ruining my garden.

Now you've done it. Stras is half bunny.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:20 AM
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...which is to say, there's nothing that falls between those ellipses that doesn't apply to every other organization, good or bad, under the sun.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:20 AM
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Boo hoo.

You'll have to do better than that, stras. I was being totally reasonable in 3.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:21 AM
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Now you've done it. Stras is half bunny.

Truer than you know.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:21 AM
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18, please see 17.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:21 AM
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every other organization

Which part of the word "ordinarily" are you having trouble with?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:22 AM
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Truer than you know.

Less true than you think.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:23 AM
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21: What part of "intrinsically worthy of burning hatred" are you having trouble with?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:23 AM
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Less true than you think.

It's more like two-thirds.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:24 AM
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17-18, 20-21: Oh, lord. Can't we forestall the whole argument that's about to occur by just agreeing that you both hate America equally?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:24 AM
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FUCK THE TROOPS


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:25 AM
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What part of "intrinsically worthy of burning hatred" are you having trouble with?

None that I can tell. If unions area kind of human organization, and all human organizations are intrinsically worthy of burning hatred, then unions are intrinsically worthy of burning hatred.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:25 AM
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just agreeing that you both hate America equally?

I demand that you recognize my superior quality of America-hatred. Also, I demand that you grade my papers, so I can devote myself fully to trolling stras.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:27 AM
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Everybody trolls Unfogged, eventually.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:28 AM
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slol, what I'm saying here is that 3 is a vacuous claim, the kind typically made by "pox on both their houses" types who judiciously avoid informing themselves about, say, the history of capitalism and the labor movement, but blithely decide to adopt a "fuck 'em all" attitude anyway. It's not trolling, it's just a stubborn insistence on ignorance.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:29 AM
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so I can devote myself fully to trolling stras

Degree of difficulty: 1.5/10


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:29 AM
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Everybody trolls Unfogged

You started it.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:29 AM
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the kind typically made by "pox on both their houses" types who judiciously avoid informing themselves about, say, the history of capitalism and the labor movemen

Which part of "unions are often much less worthy of our burning hatred than investment banks and similar" are you having trouble with?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:31 AM
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B-but I . . . banned?

That's okay. Wrongshore will take up the gauntlet!

Where the hell is Wrongshore?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:31 AM
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irritating self-righteousness

I simply don't understand why so many people have such a problem with this. I swear to god, if puppies exuded self-righteousness, people would cross the street to kick them.

Resentment of self-righteousness is half the reason we've had this stupid conservative backlash over the past 30 years. How dare blacks, women, Native Americans, etc. act as if they had been wronged? They try to act like being oppressed was bad or something!

I'm not saying it's a handsome character trait. I'm saying get the fuck over yourself. If somebody's right, then they can go ahead and be self-righteous.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:31 AM
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stras clearly has this situation under control, and needs no help from me.

9 was particularly sweet.

30 too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:33 AM
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It's not trolling, it's just a stubborn insistence on ignorance.

Distinction without a difference.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:33 AM
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Jeezis, this is like the damn Obama thing again. I support unions. Why must I like them, also?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:34 AM
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Where the hell is Wrongshore?

Hopefully making another tasty mix. I've been enjoying the shit out of Blues from Wrongshore lately.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:34 AM
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re. 30 -- Blog Proprietor! Yoo-hoo, Blog Proprietor! Don't vacuous claims usually get a mf banned around here? Do something!


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:35 AM
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What public unions do for you.


Posted by: Lord Crustacean | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:35 AM
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I support unions. Why must I like them, also?

Presumably there's some ground between like and burning hatred. But I could be wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:35 AM
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I think that public sector unions can be a real pain. I am not a fan of the corrections officers union in California, because they push policies that put more people behind bars.

Whole Foods could sure as hell use a union. I think that the SEIU does a lot of good.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:36 AM
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Ooh, 41 was interesting. I hope this brand-new commenter sticks around. I can't wait to see what insightful things he (or perhaps she???) will say next.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:37 AM
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It is considered a truism among labor-friendly economists that unions will be the most particularistic and greedy when they are small and unrepresentative of the broader working class.

Look at it this way:in a political environment as unremittingly hostile to organized labor as the U.S. since the 1980s, practically the only unions that survive will be the ones that wield some unusually powerful leverage (e.g. airline pilots, unfireable public employees, and Massachusetts police officers). So the unions that are most salient today (I'm overstating the case a little bit; cf. the SEIU) are those that are the least sympathetic to John Q. Public.

There is a creditable argument that a more broad-based, representative labor movement would create less deadweight loss than the tiny pockets of labor organization we have today.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:37 AM
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Thank you, slolernr, for giving us the essential reminder that unions are not the only entity on earth which is entirely pure and good. I hope this thread can go as well as when we were reminded of the same fact about Obama.

Personally I was hoping for a discussion of how moderate conservatives are moderate in that they limit their hatred to "public sector unions" rather than all unions everywhere, and whether it makes sense for them to do so.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:38 AM
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Every single name on that list is a policeman. Unionization has something to do with it, but here it looks as though the police have attained autonomy. Something like that happened in Portland, OR, where the mayor hasn't controlled the police for decades.

It's worthy of study how that happened. One suspects fear-mongering and race-baiting, threats of blackmail (police have lots of info), and cooperation by demagogic politicians supporting their local police.

Civilian control of military and police units licensed to kill is always pretty iffy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:38 AM
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Presumably there's some ground between like and burning hatred

Seriously, I thought (3) was proof against critique. I hate unions, but I hate banks worse. How does this not make me a pretty much perfect, if rather misanthropic, American liberal?

Also, I confessed to (potentially) hating fuzzy bunnies; to the extent this was an ethnic slur on stras, I deeply apologize.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:38 AM
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45 to 46! Sorry for my snarkiness, it now seems that it was unnecessary.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:39 AM
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Unions, by their nature, arrogate to themselves:a) the right to self-organize, outside the purview of democratic society in general, b) the right to declare the state of exception and suspend the rules in a strike, c) the right to place the interest of their members in conflict with the interests of the general population. Unions are a subset of anarchy.

Bourgeois liberalism is a totalitarianism. Of course it doesn't like unions.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:39 AM
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Just sayin'.


Posted by: Lady Lobster | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:39 AM
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52

Unionization has something to do with it, but here it looks as though the police have attained autonomy.

I think the same is said of the prison guard union in some states. "I'm the guy on the wall keeping you safe" is a pretty good card to be able to play (though I don't think military salaries reflect that).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:40 AM
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Thank you, slolernr, for giving us the essential reminder that unions are not the only entity on earth which is entirely pure and good

You know, it was my intent in 3 to draw out baa and his enabler, ogged, on the much greater hatability of organized capital over organized labor.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:41 AM
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54

Were unions such fine things, they wouldn't be dying out, now would they?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:41 AM
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53: The confusion comes from the word "intrinsically". It seems to imply that this property applies to unions for some reason that is unique to them.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:42 AM
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Oh come on. The irritating, self-important, work-to-rule shop steward is a stock character for good reason -- just as his adversary, Mr Moneybags, is a stock character. Unions are quite capable of running a business into the ground, or making your life more difficult by way of pettifogging obstructionism and so on. But freedom of association and collective action are a real pain in the ass, as has often been proven to our net benefit. Just not uniformly.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:43 AM
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Unions depend on political support, and they haven't gotten it since 1980. Laws on the books are not enforced. The withering of unions was not a spontaneous popular movement.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:43 AM
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I support unions.

"I support unions, but I do think they're intrinsically worthy of burning hatred." Hmm, let's see how that works for other stuff. "I support the ACLU, but I do think it's intrinsically worthy of burning hatred." Huh, that doesn't really work either. "I support gay marriage, but I do think it's intrinsically worthy of burning hatred." Nope, not really.

I wouldn't expect anyone - or at least, any self-professed liberal - to make those other kinds of claims, because mainstream American liberalism already accepts that civil liberties (broadly taken) and gay rights are good things. But the modern center-left is a whole lot more uncomfortable when it comes to workers' rights. "Oh, unions? I mean, yeah, I like the minimum wage and all, but god, aren't they all lazy and smelly and corrupt and everything? I think I saw that in a Simpsons episode. And do they have to get all uppity about their rights and everything - going on 'strike' and all? I mean, all I want is my garbage collected on time, people! Gahhhd!"


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:44 AM
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Unions vary just as much as any other collective entity, like companies or towns or countries. We get the unions we deserve.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:44 AM
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58: stras, you cannot be serious. Why do you think I hate organizations? Because I love liberty. Therefore I actually do like the ACLU, gay marriage, and so forth.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:45 AM
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One suspects fear-mongering and race-baiting, threats of blackmail (police have lots of info), and cooperation by demagogic politicians supporting their local police.

Actually, the problem was largely created by the Massachusetts legislature, which the police lobby holds in a vice grip. I'm not saying Boston and the other cities are entirely blameless, but they are really more the victims here (along with the utility companies and road crews and anyone else who is obliged by law to pay for "private details" of bored looking off-duty cops earning time-and-a-half for standing around). The so-called Quinn bill was an especially egregious giveaway by the state at the expense of the municipalities that foot the bill for the police payroll.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:45 AM
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Unions work for all of us.


Posted by: Count Crawdaddy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:46 AM
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54 is worth 1 full JBS unit in the non-sequitur game.

now where are the cock jokes, people?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:46 AM
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I support unions as long as they don't stage an assault on the fundamental institution of Western society and call themselves marriages.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:46 AM
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Were unions such fine things, they wouldn't be dying out, now would they?

Same with polar bears.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:47 AM
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66

When gay unions strike! No musical theater for you.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:48 AM
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52: The prison guard union is one of the most powerful lobbies in California. In Oregon during my last year working hospital workers and the prison guards were represented by the same union, and if hadn't been for an uprising among the membership, my union would have supported one of the prison guards' initiatives (mandatory-minimum, three strikes, something like that). For them prisons are a growth industry pure and simple, and the more people there are in jail, the more jobs they get. That is not in any way a caricature of their position. They are some of the nastiest people in American politics.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:48 AM
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No, 58 is right on. We refuse to recognize unions because we hate the idea that collective action, with its accompanying hassles, might be involved in making liberty real. But it is. And we're paying the price for not realizing that.

Hey, why is the political thread filling up while the Sexydepot/crazy Craigslist ads thread right below it is languishing? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO UNFOGGED?


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:48 AM
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I support both unions and intersections as long as they stay the fuck out of my Venn Diagram.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:48 AM
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Count me surprised at slolernr.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:49 AM
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Unions are a subset of anarchy.
versus
Why do you think I hate organizations? Because I love liberty.

Cage match!

I'm cross-bench on this one, FWIW. I think unions are damn near the opposite of anarchy, and are an important bulwark in the defense of liberty. I am also strongly influenced in my views of unions by how they are instantiated in Germany.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:50 AM
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57:Big Bill Heywood din't need no stinkin gov't help.

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth. ... Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work', we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wage system.' It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism.[1]

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:50 AM
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But the modern center-left is a whole lot more uncomfortable when it comes to workers' rights.

Various parts of the center-left are uncomfortable with various things associated with the left. Once upon a time, the ACLU was a swear word; I think Shumer recently noted how fucked up DC was by the Dems not so long ago by pointing out the power of the ACLU at that time. Insofar as workers' rights are special, it's probably a function of income and the relationships between it and (a) likelihood of autonomy, and (b) a pull rightward in election politics. That's a guess, though; I'm not sure workers' rights are a special case.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:51 AM
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Count me surprised at slolernr.

<Gritting teeth> Why, Ben?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:51 AM
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Why do you think I hate organizations? Because I love liberty.

Care to respond with any more empty platitudes? "Organizations are anti-liberty!" I like that one, it's a good one. And what if I could come up with an organization, theoretically, which existed to protect people's liberty? "Impossible! Why, I hate organizations - because I love liberty!" How about, say, the ACLU? Or how about unions? Jesus, it's like trying to teach a two-year-old.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:51 AM
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Why do you think I hate organizations? Because I love liberty.

Next: slol quotes from Road to Serfdom.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:51 AM
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Because your cummerbund wasn't union-made.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:52 AM
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69: Ah, but how do you feel about set difference ... hmmmm? hmmmmm? And what about the Hausdorff distance? What do you have to say about that, heebee?

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO UNFOGGED?

Exactly. I though it was just me, but realize now the rot is much deeper. So I'm back to help make things worse.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:53 AM
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it's like trying to teach a two-year-old

Thanks for your mature brilliance. If you had not taught me that things I don't like might sometime prove socially useful, I would not have conceded it forty-three minutes previously.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:53 AM
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I've got a brief (on behalf of a public sector labor union!) going out this afternoon and can't stop to read the linked article or comment on this thread, but, man, do public sector employers sometimes totally suck (I'm looking at you, Respondent [REDACTED]). Unions are often all that stands between a public sector employee and being royally fucked over.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:54 AM
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Same with polar bears.

And Native Americans.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:54 AM
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man, do public sector employers sometimes totally suck

fixed that for you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:55 AM
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For them prisons are a growth industry pure and simple, and the more people there are in jail, the more jobs they get. That is not in any way a caricature of their position. They are some of the nastiest people in American politics.

w-lfs-n, aren't you more surprised that Emerson hates unions, per the above? Oh, the humanity.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:56 AM
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If you had not taught me that things I don't like might sometime prove socially useful, I would not have conceded it forty-three minutes previously.

That's not what I'm trying to "teach" you. What I'm trying to "teach" you is that you apparently don't understand these things before you don't like them, and you certainly don't understand the relationship between them and the liberties you claim to love.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:58 AM
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Same with polar bears.

I've often said just this!

54 was, of course, trolling. There's an awful lot of earnestness around here.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:59 AM
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I could understand thinking that particular unions are pernicious, Tim.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:59 AM
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Jesus in heaven, stras. The position I've articulated here is virtually indistinguishable from the (Franklin) Roosevelt administration's. I support unions. Indeed, I support government support for unions. I would support returning to the Wagner Act if I thought it at all politically possible.

I still don't like them.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:59 AM
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In defense of slolerner, I'm pretty sure anytime anyone has mentioned an organization composed of humans on this blog, he has piped up about his burning hatred for them.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:59 AM
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w-lfs-n, aren't you more surprised that Emerson hates unions, per the above?

Emerson was specifically talking about the prison guards' union, and he's absolutely right about that.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:00 PM
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What I'm trying to "teach" you is that you apparently don't understand these things before you don't like them, and you certainly don't understand the relationship between them and the liberties you claim to love.

Oh, please, stras. There are no sectors of the American life that you (a) have said you hate, and yet (b) understand are necessary or at least have been useful to date?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:01 PM
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And what about the Hausdorff distance? What do you have to say about that, heebee?

Hey, if this Hausdorff guy picks any point in his yard, I'm making a beeline back to my yard. And then taking the sup over all possible starting points he might have chosen for beelines back to my goddamn yard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:01 PM
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81. they're both dying out b/c of their long, bitter, deadly feud. A hundred years ago, they were friends. But then at a party someone stole a case of Bud. In retaliation, the native americans stole a case of CocaCola. The bloodshed hasn't stopped since.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:01 PM
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89: Joke, bunny.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:01 PM
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Emerson, I spent about an hour over at the MIA trying find something with which to troll you over on dsquared's CT Mankiw thread.

Economics must serve the people, because we all must serve the people, who are the gov't of by for the people. So we all work for the gov't. Not.

Economics serves Capital, and that's ok fine with me. Labour should take care of themselves and each other, and fuck the gov't. They don't belong there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:02 PM
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But slol, your reasons for hating them (burningly!) apply to just about anything (modulo the self-righteousness). They inconvenience you—heavens. They are made up of humans, and therefore are flawed—good god above.

None of these is a reason to dislike unions in particular. (Nor are all together.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:02 PM
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What I'm trying to "teach" you is that you apparently don't understand these things before you don't like them, and you certainly don't understand the relationship between them and the liberties you claim to love.

Is our children learning?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:02 PM
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In defense of slolerner, I'm pretty sure anytime anyone has mentioned an organization composed of humans on this blog, he has piped up about his burning hatred for them.

Are you sure you're not thinking of stras?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:02 PM
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The position I've articulated here is virtually indistinguishable from the (Franklin) Roosevelt administration's.

Sorry, is this an argument from authority that cites the guy who built concentration camps for Japanese Americans?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:02 PM
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Sorry, is this an argument from authority that cites the guy who built concentration camps for Japanese Americans?

Sorry, is this an ignorant and irrelevant riposte apparently meant to condemn wholesale the most pro-union administration in American history?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:04 PM
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Joke, bunny.

Sorry. My rabbity attention span sometimes deceives me.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:04 PM
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Despite building concentration camps for Japanese Americans, he was a better president than some other presidents, partially because of his pro-labor policies.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:04 PM
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Hey, if this Hausdorff guy picks any point in his yard, I'm making a beeline back to my yard.

But how much honey is in the beeline? And will you be storing it in appropriate containers?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:05 PM
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54 was, of course, trolling.

I wasn't. Polar bears suck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:05 PM
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(And your hating-organizations-because-of-loving-liberty line is bizarre. Organizations can ensure our liberty! Indeed, you claim to like the ACLU, a self-righteous organization whose initiatives have probably inconvenienced you (though you may not have known it, or may have approved of being so inconvenienced) and which is composed of humans—humans who do such lovely things as exploit the ACLU's weird organizational structure to get people to donate money to their junk-mail operation instead of their liberty-supporting operation without their knowledge, for instance. God, do I ever hate the ACLU! Oh wait, no I don't.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:05 PM
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99: How many non sequiturs do you want to string out without actually responding to anyone's arguments, slol? You're aware that "argument from authority" is a fallacy, right?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:05 PM
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I gotchyer liberty right here.

49% of employers illegally threaten to close a worksite during union organizing drives if workers choose to form a union.
51% of employers illegally coerce workers into opposing unions with bribes or special favors during union organizing drives.
91% of employers force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors during union organizing drives.

Posted by: The Baroness Brine Shrimp | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:06 PM
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54 was, of course, trolling.

You still get the JBS points.

There's an awful lot of earnestness around here.

Fuckers.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:06 PM
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105: arguments from authority can be fallacious, but 98 contained its own fallacy, insofar as half of it constituted a claim that Roosevelt isn't the right authority.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:07 PM
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None of these is a reason to dislike unions in particular

Exactly, Ben. I have previously noted that my comment in 3 was specifically designed to assert that the hatability of organized labor owes to their possessing generic features of self-interestedness and bureaucratic idiocy, while organized capital possesses similar features while being much more hatable.

I do not see how anyone who is not insane could take this as a right-wing attack on unions.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:07 PM
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54 was, of course, trolling. There's an awful lot of earnestness around here.

UNIONS HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH WITHOUT YOUR TROLLING!!!


Posted by: earnest | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:07 PM
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108 puts it perfectly.

the reason "argument from authority" is a fallacy is not that all humans are intrinsically unreliable and therefore all arguments are invalid.

if strasmangelo and slolernr want to troll each other can't they just do so at baa's blog?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:09 PM
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without actually responding to anyone's arguments, slol

To which of your arguments do you feel I have failed to respond, stras?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:09 PM
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108: I'll concede that I muddied the waters of 105 by attempting to double-dip on the fallacy.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:10 PM
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Who said anything about the right wing?

If your positions on hatred-worthiness lead you to the position that wherever two or three (or more!) are gathered, your hatred will be there too, it might be time to tone it down.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:10 PM
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You're aware that "argument from authority" is a fallacy, right?

There goes French philosophy.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:11 PM
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if strasmangelo and slolernr want to troll each other can't they just do so at baa's blog?

Unfortunately no; it doesn't have comments.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:11 PM
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Be thankful because it was unions who brought us the weekend, and -- more recently -- flamewars while at work during the week.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:11 PM
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112: Ben's 104, or my 58, for starters.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:11 PM
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can't they just do so at baa's blog

No comments there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:11 PM
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97: Sarcasm. You defended your views on unions by saying they had flaws common to all organizations, yet somehow you only bring this up when unions are mentioned*. It's okay, though, you also mentioned banks. You probably also hate nazis.

*Of course, you might have brought this up at other times, but I'm guessing it's rare compared to the rate of organizations mentioned.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:12 PM
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Oh, another problem is that the only union that anyone involved in creating pop culture ever has any contact with is the Teamsters.

Who were Republican as often as not, but that's forgotten.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:12 PM
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116, 119: Leading to a regrettable shortage of pwnage over yonder, and necessitating all the more here, where participatory democracy is not feared and hated.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:13 PM
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As far as I can see, an awful lot of unions do a very important job, extremely badly. That's often quite a good reason for hating someone (doctors, Chiefs of Metropolitan Police, etc)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:13 PM
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You're aware that "argument from authority" is a fallacy, right?

Yes, of course I am. I had supposed it would be acceptable to invoke the Roosevelt administration precisely because it marked the high-water mark of American support for unionization. During that administration, there were stronger protections for unions on the books--from the Norris-LaGuardia anti-injunction act, which actually dated from the Hoover administration, through the National Industrial Recovery Act, to the Wagner Act--than at any other time. It is worth noting that despite being in the midst of the Great Depression (i.e., possibly the worst time to promote unionization, owing to the ready availability of un- and under-employed labor) and therefore almost certainly owing to the Roosevelt administration's policies, rates of unionization among American workers soared, especially after the Wagner Act.

Yet, Roosevelt had plenty of reservations about unions; so even did Wagner (who was much more pro-union than Roosevelt, I think it's safe to say).

That's what I meant.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:14 PM
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Yet, Roosevelt had plenty of reservations

I was only kidding about the Native Americans, dsquared.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:15 PM
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Crap. dsquared slol.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:15 PM
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To come to slol's defense (though I'm not sure comments from me amount to help on this issue), I realized recently that I'm uncomfortable with unions because (a) sustainable large agglomerations of people mean sustainable large agglomerations of power, and (b) whenever I see sustainable large agglomerations of power, I think, "He's about to fuck me pretty hard." My perfect labor market is a pseudo-libertarian fantasy of perfect competition among very small firms all competing for labor, all able to measure such labor properly, and with government support for programs Capital doesn't provide.

I realize that's not the world we live in, and that therefore unions probably are necessary as a countervailing force (to steal a term). But that doesn't make me comfortable with them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:16 PM
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125: Wrong funny-looking ethnics.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:16 PM
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I like unions in principle, but everyone I've known who's belonged to one (which is, like, two people) has expressed the belief that they get screwed over by their unions about as much as by their employer. Power corrupts and all that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:16 PM
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Ben's 104, or my 58, for starters.

Okay, first, I have already conceded misanthropy. (Let me therefore roll in Ben's 114 as being addressed here.) So if it's the hyperbolic phrase "burning hatred" you're objecting to, which I borrowed from the post, fine; let's substitute "substantial irritation."

Second, it sounds to me like you would like me to acknowledge that organizations are necessary to protect the liberty I love. I so acknowledge. I think this is what I said, in comment no. 3, subcomment part (a).


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:19 PM
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re: 129

Not been my experience. The couple of times I dealt with the union I used to be in [years back] they were tremendous. Very helpful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:19 PM
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slol, I at least understand exactly what you're saying. The general zeitgeist of wild-eyed boosterism is sadly unlikely to subside for quite some months; it's a bad old stage of the electoral cycle for the Lesser Spotted Nuance.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:19 PM
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Polar bears suck.

What's your stance on recently-discovered Grizzly-Polar* bear hybrids?

*I hearby name these bears Pozzly Bears.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:20 PM
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*I hearby name these bears Pozzly Bears.

They're already called "pizzlies."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:22 PM
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129: Let me introduce you to 3,200 union members who don't feel that way.


Posted by: Duke of Krill | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:22 PM
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127: Thing is, we already have steady agglomerations of power intent on fucking us over with plain old global capitalism. It's not just that unions are a necessary counterweight, it's that history without them seems unbearable to me. Given what unions and their legacy have left me - the minimum wage, the forty-hour work week, basic rights and standards in the workplace - and what global capitalism has given me - a fucked health care system, a poisoned and overheating ecosystem, the military-industrial complex - I'm more than happy with unions.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:22 PM
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Those are Grolar Bears.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:22 PM
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124:The only thing I ask of of the Feds is they keep the frickin Army & Nat Guard out of labor disputes. We handled the Pinkertons just fine at Homestead.

We outnumber Capital, and in America we are well-armed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:23 PM
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Public sector unions do tend to have more actual and wannabe politicians in them than the median (presumably because their opponent in negotiations faces a political budget constraint rather than a market-determined one). That would probably make them in general worse, because wannabe politicians are nearly always bad news.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:23 PM
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Pozzly is better than Pizzly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:24 PM
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I think we can all agree, though, that whatever it's called, the grizzly/polar bear hybrid is almost certainly the baddest-ass bear currently on offer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:24 PM
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Wait, the fuck? I just looked at the link, and shouldn't it more appropriately be slugged, "Why Some People Think Cop Unions Aren't In the Public Interest," or "Cops Are A Bunch of Fucks" ? It's not like you have a bunch of AFSCME represented maintenance workers or SEIU members clogging up the top ranks of the city's payroll.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:25 PM
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135: Now I feel a little conflicted about my choice of cell phone carrier. Not saying all unions are bad by any means; some aren't all that great, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:25 PM
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What's your stance on recently-discovered Grizzly-Polar* bear hybrids?

It's like a total waste of a bear, that's what I think! First, unless I'm very much mistaken, the offspring is infertile, and polar bears especially really need to focus on gettin' it on with other polar bears. Also, polar bears look cool and grizzly bears look cool. The mashup looks like a polar bear who's gotten all muddy. Boo!

I pre-emptively call myself racist.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:26 PM
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I like unions in principle, but everyone I've known who's belonged to one (which is, like, two people) has expressed the belief that they get screwed over by their unions about as much as by their employer.

And everyone I've known who has expressed this sentiment would benefit from working in a non-union environment.

These people are the same ones who bitch about having to pay taxes - "Why should I have to contribute to the well-being of some group that doesn't do anything for me except all the things it does for me?"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:26 PM
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136: I don't think I disagree with any of that. I'm particularly willing to believe that "that history without them seems unbearable to me"; that is, that I much of what I take for granted, I owe to fights that the unions fought. But that doesn't keep me from going to my happy place, where the labor market works as I dream.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:27 PM
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130: The thing is, slol, if the irritation's source is primarily in your own misanthropy, it's not very interesting. Yeah, substantially irritated by unions, great, just like you were substantially irritated by fuzzy bunnies (as you acknowledged) and the time your kid moved your shoe trees around. It's a claim about you, just couched as a claim about unions.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:28 PM
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in America we are well-armed

And about to be much more so.


Posted by: Barnacle Jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:28 PM
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The reason (IME) that "far left liberal" people can abide a hatred of unions here in MA is the fact that the most visible union members (police officers, firemen, etc) are not normally associated with the wider progressive agenda. In fact, they're uber-conservative when it comes to social issues.

Yes, they are all well and good when agitating for better working conditions, wages, etc. But should a gay Irish heritage association try and march in the St. Patrick's Day parade - wait, did I get caught up in an Alabama Klan rally?

So, there's a natural disconnect between people who in general would be open to the range of issues that are usually bundled with increased union power, and those that are in unions here in Boston as a reality.


Posted by: hunger_artist | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:30 PM
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145: Actually, neither of the people I am talking about is that sort of person.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:30 PM
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First, unless I'm very much mistaken, the offspring is infertile

I take it back. That's not badass at all.

Unless, of course, you take the tack that, since it has no offspring to be concerned about, it will plunge itself with that much more abandon into the fray! Remember, he who is concerned for his own skin or that of others is a lesser soldier than he who cares not a whit for his own life!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:30 PM
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149: in other words, the left doesn't like the white working class and vice versa. There in a nutshell is the problem with American progressive politics.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:31 PM
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Unions are designed to provide a market-based solution to a failing of labor markets. Public sector unions, for this reason, are more problemmatic - but that's a reason to run the government better; not a reason to discourage public employees from unionizing.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:31 PM
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150: Fair enough. My association with unions has tended to be with relatively powerless ones, so my experience may differ.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:34 PM
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136:I just don't get how someone can so accurately describe capitalist gov't and then expect unions to be supported and nurtured by said gov't.

Tocqueville anyone? Private associations are to be in opposition, to be a check on gov't. We would be justifiably skeptical of a church, the ACLU or NAACP, or any other countervailing power becoming dependent on that fucking Senate of millionaire lawyers. Yet liberals want the Feds to get their grimy little fingers into the entrails of unions, and are shocked when unions lose power and attraction. How ever did this happen?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:35 PM
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147. Ben, for the umpteenth time, I was trying (and it is now overwhelmingly proved, completely and abjectly failing) to point out that whatever labor does to earn anyone's ire (and I opted to concede that they do) capital does too, only worse. The vacuity of the claim about unions was an intentional part of the comment.

I deeply, deeply regret my error in supposing I had framed this in a compact yet comprehensible manner. (To, apparently, all but dsquared and Gonerill and maybe Tim but I'm never sure about Tim.)


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:36 PM
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||

Di! Where did your blog go?

||


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:37 PM
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and maybe Tim but I'm never sure about Tim

It's the eccentric punctuation, isn't it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:40 PM
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157: It went bye-bye...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:40 PM
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some aren't all that great, though

Absolutely true.

(Am I unbanned yet? I'm running out of crustaceans.)


Posted by: Viscountess Prawn | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:41 PM
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The only thing I ask of of the Feds is they keep the frickin Army & Nat Guard out of labor disputes. We handled the Pinkertons just fine at Homestead.

But the Baldwin-Felts kicked the miners' asses at Blair Mountain. I'm sure there must be an aphorism analogous to "don't pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel", only involving firearms.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:42 PM
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"Don't pick a fight with a man with a firearm"; how's that?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:43 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:44 PM
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Come on Bob. When Reagan came into office the Feds became strongly anti-union. That's how it happened. Carter IIRC was far from pro-union. There probably hasn't been a pro-union government since 1968.

Unions did pretty well 1932-68 because government wasn't fighting them and was often supporting them.

This conflicts with various syndicalist and anarchist plans which have never been realized, but it's pretty well grounded in US history.

Communism is state capitalism and anti-union in that sense.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:46 PM
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146: does your happy place involving no longer legally recognizing corporations?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:47 PM
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This thread is an example of the soft bigotry of low expectations. Even the worst evil associated with unions pales in comparison to what a corporation is capable of -- but we all expect corporations to be evil. It's similar to how Republicans can get away with lying because we all expect Republicans to lie all the time.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:51 PM
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As if this thread weren't enough evidence of something gone awry at Unfogged, there's an article on swimming practice, olympian-style, in the style section of the NYTimes, no less, and yet nary a mention here.


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:53 PM
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165: God, would that be awesome. I would love for the next corporation that dumps some toxic waste in somebody's neighborhood to get its board of directors arrested for murder and criminal conspiracy.

Ah, well, back to focusing on something more realistic, like these drawings of killer robots.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:55 PM
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Soon it will make me miss when the endless circular unresolvable threads were all about gender.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:56 PM
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Does everyone agree that unions don't always serve the public interest?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 12:58 PM
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170: Do you mean in practice, or by design?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:00 PM
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"... I also wonder how much this is a Massachusetts phenomenon. ..."

Not very much. Such stories are common.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:00 PM
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Does everyone agree that unions all organizations that have ever existed since the dawn of time don't always serve the public interest?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:01 PM
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gee KR, you're really going out on a limb there, aren't you?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:02 PM
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Does everyone agree that unions don't always serve the public interest?

Too overbroad, James. You'll want to narrow this question if you want a meaningful answer. Does anything always serve the public interest?



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:02 PM
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Does everyone agree that unions don't always serve the public interest?

Sure, but they're supposed to serve the interests of their members, not of the public at large.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:03 PM
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What would be just the right amount of overbroad?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:03 PM
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171

"170: Do you mean in practice, or by design?"

Both. Unions exist to serve the interests of their members. Sometimes these interests coincide with the public interest, other times they don't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:03 PM
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"Tangling with a fella with a gun is like trying to nekkid-rassle a pizzly."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:04 PM
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To answer a more sensible question that James didn't ask (and depending on how one defines "public interest"), individual unions aren't meant to serve the public interest. So they don't.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:04 PM
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I tried to organize a union at my job in the 1990s. We had the enforced meetings with the union-busting lawyers to talk about how we should all trust our employer to know what is best for us. Good times.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:05 PM
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Jesus Christ, is this Awful Threads Week at Unfogged? Slol has been perfectly clear, and dsquared comments are also right on, especially 123. The answer to people who think unions suck and should be abolished isn't that they shit magical rainbow ponies, it's that they're important and useful even though they, like every other human organization, suck. Arguments about whether the current economic and political structure of the United States causes unions, on average, to suck even more than other sorts of human organizations, and that's a reason for more unionization rather than less, can be saved for later.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:06 PM
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And I see that my 180 was pwned by 178, and my 175 by Knecht's 173. But James, where in the world are you going with this?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:06 PM
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Does everyone agree that unions all organizations that have ever existed since the dawn of time don't always serve the public interest?

Moonlite BunnyRanch has always served the public interest.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:07 PM
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Also, since the white bears are much more badass than the grizzly, miscegenation can only weaken the breed. Pizzle on your pizzlies.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:08 PM
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they, like every other human organization, suck

"Without people nothing is possible; without institutions nothing is lasting."

(I told you I was scraping the bottom of the crustacean barrel.)


Posted by: Fierce Sea Mite | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:10 PM
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Jesus Christ, is this Awful Threads Week at Unfogged?

Apparently.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:11 PM
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"Too overbroad, James. You'll want to narrow this question if you want a meaningful answer. Does anything always serve the public interest?"

So say the statement is true but trivial. I think the reluctance of some union supporters to ever criticize unions is significant and counterproductive.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:11 PM
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181:

bob forgets (though Emerson reminds him) that pre-Reagain, labor relations were structured by the government in ways that were beneficial to unions, at least compared to the laissez-faire approach that preceded Roosevelt.

What happened in your organizing drive?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:12 PM
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(I told you I was scraping the bottom of the crustacean barrel.)

I haven't seen barnacles or wood lice yet.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:13 PM
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ARE UNIONS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT AND SHINY AND SPARKLY EVERYWHERE EVER? CAUSE IF THEY ARENT THEN THEY SUCK FOREVER ANSWER ME NOOOOOOOW!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SOCRATES | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:14 PM
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188: Have you no respect for the strawman union that you would tear one down so heartlessly?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:14 PM
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183

"But James, where in the world are you going with this"

That people should support unions when they serve the public interest and oppose them when they don't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:15 PM
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Jesus Christ, is this Awful Threads Week at Unfogged?

It's been great for my productivity, though.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:17 PM
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193 has it exactly right.

Oh, btw: go McCain '08!


Posted by: The Public Interest | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:17 PM
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people should support unions when they serve the public interest and oppose them when they don't.

Presumably, this statement also works for private corporations. Was that you I saw picketing Nestle, James?

Yes, it was the obvious rejoinder, but also necessary.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:18 PM
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Could a pizzly whip a liger? I don't think so.

Living in the deep south, my experiences with unions are few, but I think of them fondly, as I might think of a dying folk art.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:18 PM
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194: Yeah, me too. But I will never get back the hour that I spent catching up with the race thread last night. I'm scared to even look this morning.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:19 PM
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189: Okay. It's true but trivial. Also: It's not really a criticism. You rightly note that individual unions aren't meant to serve the public interest.

So why do feel that bringing up this true-but-trivial non-criticism advances your point that unions are undercriticized?



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:20 PM
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Also, since the white bears are much more badass than the grizzly

But the hybrid will presumably be able to tolerate a broader range of ecosystems than a plain old polar bear. Badassitude does no good if it's stuck in the frozen north. A small sacrifice in total badness of ass can be redeemed by greater mobility.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:20 PM
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200: Ben explains humanity!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:21 PM
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I endorse slol for the Presidency of the United States.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:25 PM
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It's impossible for anyone sincerely to believe that unions are undercriticized. For nearly the past 30 years, there's been an all-out assault on unions from every conceivable angle -- for many readers, that's longer than we've even been alive. The only way unions are undercriticized is if they're secretly guilty of genocide.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:26 PM
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Grizzlies are more badass, but polar bears are hotter. The Pizzly would be like AWB, except scarier.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:27 PM
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Georgeraham Lincolnton fucked the shit out of pizzlies.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:28 PM
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BTW, one (possibly unnecessary) historical note: the "irritating, self-important, work-to-rule shop steward" was created by private corporations. US Steel wanted to make sure that their employees knew their place. Therefore, after the Federal gov't forced them to accept the USWA, USS and its brethren rejected all efforts by the union to aid productivity: after WW2, the union wanted a continued role in the management process, making suggestions for efficiency, etc. USS told them, essentially, "Piss off, we know how to run our company. Run along like the ignorant millhunk you are."*

It was in this context that restrictive work rules developed - the company wouldn't permit individual initiative by workers (they could only do what the non-union foreman told them to do), so the union fought to restrict the power of the foreman. Action, reaction, blame the union. It was ever thus.

* John Hoerr, And the Wolf Finally Came


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:28 PM
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Yeah, the DLC Dems really hate unions. The whole "pander" meme probably came from the way Democrats used to support unions politically. Slate, Kaus, Kinsley, and all the other shits of that type.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:29 PM
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203 is true, so true that I feel that I must reduce my endorsement of slol to the Vice Presidency. For the Presidency, I endorse the pizzly-liger hybrids currently under development in secret CIA labs as a new weapon in the War on Terror.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:30 PM
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since the white bears are much more badass than the grizzly

Au contraire. Polar bears benefit from a lower body mass; it makes them more agile in water. And there's nothing else in their environment that fevers real toughness. Grizzlies, on the other hand, benefit greatly from denser muscles and bone; it helps them forage.

So when scraps happen between the two, advantage goes to the land bear.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:30 PM
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the only people who prefer "pizzly" to "pozzly" are people with small penises.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:34 PM
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it's a mystery to man, angel and god how i wrote "fevers' instead of "favors"


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:34 PM
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Polar bears benefit from a lower body mass; it makes them more agile in water.

Like Native Americans!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:36 PM
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the only people who prefer "pizzly" to "pozzly" are people with small penises.

It's a GROLAR BEAR, people. I feel VERY STRONGLY about this and will argue about it AT LENGTH. Especially with Bob and Emerson.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:36 PM
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Kodiaks have badass pretty much sown up in bear vs. bear contexts. The polar & brown bears just aren't big enough.

Otoh, polar bears are the only ones that consistenly hunt people, so that's something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:39 PM
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That people should support unions when they serve the public interest and oppose them when they don't.

I disagree! As a liberal Democrat, I feel people should oppose unions when they support the public interest and support them when they harm the public interest! Also, mandatory abortions for all! Finally, there is a dangerous gap in knowledge of oral sex technique among elementary schoolers that must be filled by our nation's public schools.

after WW2, the union wanted a continued role in the management process, making suggestions for efficiency, etc. USS told them, essentially, "Piss off, we know how to run our company.

Big difference between European (e.g. German) and American unions. American unions are boxed into the conflict model as opposed to the cooperative one. In fairness, the unions ended up accepting this bargain as well and it negatively affected their management style.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:39 PM
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I'd like to cast my vote for grolar bear. Pizzly or pozzly makes this animal sound like a puppet. Or perhaps a poppet.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:40 PM
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So when scraps happen between the two, advantage goes to the land bear.

Here we see some really pernicious terra-normativity. What makes you think this scrap will take place on land?



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:41 PM
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214: Kodiak bears cannot, to my knowledge, build armor from meteor rock with their fearsome intelligence and their opposable thumbs.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:43 PM
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Otoh, polar bears are the only ones that consistenly hunt people, so that's something.

So far.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:44 PM
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I know you're trying to be ironic, but OMG is this true.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:45 PM
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219: Once they figure out the carbon cycle, they're all coming after us.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:46 PM
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Crap. 220 in response to "there is a dangerous gap in knowledge of oral sex technique among elementary schoolers".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:50 PM
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203: Yeah, I think that's kinda Slol's point, in part. People are predisposed to believe that unions suck and many of their interactions with unions tend to confirm that predisposition. That being the case, your chances of convincing them to support unions are better if you can give them a rationale that doesn't require them to reject what they already "know."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:51 PM
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Pizzly or pozzly makes this animal sound like a puppet.

A puppet that'll rip your face off. But never mind what they're called, the more important question here is who is more deserving of criticism by the decent left: the Union of Associated Pizzlies, Ligers, and Tigons or The Lollypop Guild?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:51 PM
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Kodiaks have badass pretty much sown up in bear vs. bear contexts. The polar & brown bears just aren't big enough.

I hesitate to correct your taxonomy, but a Kodiak is a brown bear/grizzly. A distinct subspecies to be sure. And, size isn't everything. Polar bears are larger than most grizzlies, but not as strong. Of course, Kodiaks, being the largest grizzlies, may well be the strongest bears.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 1:59 PM
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"there is a dangerous gap in knowledge of oral sex technique among elementary schoolers".

i blame unions.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:00 PM
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199

"So why do feel that bringing up this true-but-trivial non-criticism advances your point that unions are undercriticized?"

Well my real point was you just have to add one clarifying word, "Always", to baa's title "Why Some People Think Public Sector Unions Aren't in the Public Interest." to make the claim obviously true. Which makes me wonder what ogged means by "It does make one think.".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:02 PM
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I blame the Lollypop Guild.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:02 PM
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there's an article on swimming practice, olympian-style, in the style section of the NYTimes, no less, and yet nary a mention here.

I saw that, and there's another article on an Olympic swimmer with a heart arrhythmia, and I posted about neither article. You deeply humorless people have no idea how good I am to you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:03 PM
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Are you a grolar or a shower?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:05 PM
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230 to 213.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:05 PM
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"there is a dangerous gap in knowledge of oral sex technique among elementary schoolers".

i blame unions.

Well, Michael, we can agree that this might be true in the U.S. context, where we are stuck with the manifestly inadequate Wagner-Act-plus-Taft-Hartley-Act framework. But if you look at Germany, Benelux, and Scandanavia, where a more comprehensive form of labor organization prevails, union interests are much more congruent with the broader public interest, and their grade schoolers are therefore much more adept at oral sex.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:06 PM
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their grade schoolers are therefore much more adept at oral sex.

So you're saying that if we sent Rush over there for a fact-finding trip with a suitcase full of Viagra, he'd change his position on unions?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:11 PM
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You can all go to hell. Flocke is my shop steward.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:16 PM
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234: What's wrong with that dog?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:17 PM
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Otoh, polar bears are the only ones that consistenly hunt people, so that's something.

I really loathe inconsistent predators.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:19 PM
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I hesitate to correct your taxonomy, but a Kodiak is a brown bear/grizzly.

Yeah, I was being sloppy, but everyone was talking about `grizzlies' as if they were a species, so it was a sloppy all round. Grizzlies are another subspecies of brown bear, but tend to be on the smallerside (aiui, because their inland diet is more limited). Kodiaks and other coastal browns are bigger, and polar bears typically somewhere in the middle.

A 10ft tall, 1500lb brown bear pretty much meets anyones requirements for `badass', I would think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:24 PM
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190: I did use barnacle, I did!


Posted by: Thane of Wood Lice | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:24 PM
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235: I think you mean "that adorable infant killing machine of the vast Arctic wastes," and there's nothing wrong with her that a little consistent hunting of humans won't fix (though she doesn't eat solid food yet).


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:27 PM
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238: My bad. Did you use tongue worms?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:27 PM
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Are you googling, or do rattle off names of obscure crustaceans as a party trick?


Posted by: Emperor Tongue Worm | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:30 PM
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what Not Prince said, except that I think that the shitting of magical rainbow ponies is a worthwhile goal to work toward


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:31 PM
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I mean, I know I am


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:32 PM
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Will somebody please let Kraab back in before she fossilises.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:32 PM
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238: I suggest that SK start adopting foreign titles of nobility. Duchessa di Gamberetti, perhaps?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:33 PM
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241: I used to know someone who studied crustaceans and did rattle off obscure ones as a party trick. I think I'm all out now (I only remembered tongue worms because, well, wouldn't you?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:33 PM
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We approve.


Posted by: Duchessa di Gamberetti | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:35 PM
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crustaceans


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:36 PM
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My bear expertise has been called into question. I thought grizzly=brown bear. Wikipedia confirms this is not so.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:36 PM
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People did notice that "almost comical burning hatred" was in the post, right?

Everyone I know who has had to deal with unions as management finds them to be an incredible pain in the ass. One expects, however, that being a pain in the ass to management is largely the point of the union, because being a pain in the ass is a good way to get things accomplished.

Still, I'm not sure what's so scandalous about guys working lots of overtime getting paid for it. It's more than the mayor? Big whoop.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:37 PM
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247 ==> 245 and, as it turns out, 246.

(I am not making this one up.)


Posted by: Knight Tiny Right-Handed Hermit Crab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:39 PM
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248: This seems a fitting one to end on. Now, I must away.


Posted by: Undersecretary of Uncultured Crustacea | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:42 PM
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Hm, wikipedia also mentions that grizzlies can reach 1500lbs, run at speeds up to 35mph, and that large, distinctive hump is muscle, and it's there to power their forelimbs. I don't believe Kodiaks have that muscle-hump. Also, the scientific name for the grizzly is Ursus artos horribilis, which is pretty badass. Compare to the Kodiak: Ursus arctos middendorffi. Which one would you be afraid of?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:44 PM
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This link is finally unavoidable.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:46 PM
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254: reminds me of this


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:53 PM
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253: "Middendorff" is an unfortunate name. "Refuse pile village"?


Posted by: bizzah | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:55 PM
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One expects, however, that being a pain in the ass to management is largely the point of the union, because being a pain in the ass is a good way to get things accomplished.

This, alas, often turns out not to be true. Many times being a pain in the ass is about asserting one's own importance, not accomplishing substantive goals. Endless hours get spent incorporating people's input when the only input that was really needed was "eh, good enough."

Of course, none of that is unique to unions, and there's no reason why pain-in-the-ass union reps should bother people more than pain-in-the-ass managers, lawyers, accountants, bureaucrats, "community leaders," etc., ad nauseam.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:56 PM
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I wish I could remember more of what Bill Bryson had to say about bears. I remember this much*: "All the books say that if you encounter a grizzly bear, don't run because the bear will just chase after you. But I'm going to tell you the truth. If you see a grizzly, run like hell. You won't escape, but you might as well enjoy another 5 seconds of life."

*paraphrasing

To the idea of escaping by climbing a tree: Then it's just you and a mad bear in a tree. How did that make you better off?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 2:57 PM
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254: How many five-year-olds could a grizzly bear take in a fight?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:05 PM
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254 shows how far Unfogged has fallen out of the big leagues of classic comment threads. They get through the whole thing without mentioning Obama even one single time.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:15 PM
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Even the noobs are lamenting the good old days.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:18 PM
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Bear eats as many five-year-olds as it damn well feels like, that's how many.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:20 PM
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254: My favorite step in the inquiry: "How old is the grizzly?"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:20 PM
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258: If you're attacked by a grizzly, probably your only chance of surviving is to play dead and hope it only somewhat mauls you before losing interest.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:20 PM
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Unless you have a knife and lots of training.

Also, Obama could probably find common ground with the bear. He would point out that the bear was actually angry at international capitalism and the associated habitat destruction, not Obama himself.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:27 PM
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Baroness Priapalid should settle on a firm identity for herself.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:28 PM
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30 is the most unintentionally hilarious Unfogged comment ever, I think. Congrats, Stras.

Back to the original post: I take it that the point of the link is to imply that, because a lot of cops earn more than the mayor, that unions are Bad?

Which is a stupid argument. Cops hold their jobs a lot longer than mayors do. Cops arguably do dangerous and socially necessary work. Cops in cities like Boston that have reached upper management levels apparently make enough to be able to live quite comfortably *in the city itself*.

Why is any of this a bad thing?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:29 PM
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I don't get the title of this post, btw. Is it a Lur thing, and I wouldn't understand?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:29 PM
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I take it that the point of the link is to imply that, because a lot of cops earn more than the mayor, that unions are Bad?

I believe baa meant to imply that the police are taking an awful lot of money from taxpayers. From the linked article, the average lowly patrolman in Boston made $93k last year.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:38 PM
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I was sort of stunned during the NYC transit strike to hear all these "liberals" complaining that transit workers made $50,000 or whatever it was. Wow.

45 is right and a very good point.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:38 PM
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At least when Unfogged sucks we still have the movies. (First link stolen from LGM.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:39 PM
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267: Because it's only true of cops, and not of other city workers? Because cops often use their fat paychecks to move out of the cities they police, which they call "the jungle"? Because police work isn't as dangerous as cops pretend it is?

Cab drivers and convenience-store clerks are at higher risk, for near minimum wage.

Come on, B.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:42 PM
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Cops in cities like Boston that have reached upper management levels apparently make enough to be able to live quite comfortably *in the city itself*.

And then some, I'm guessing. Median income in Boston is--q&d info, of varying ages, so who knows--a little less than a third of the lowest total number on the linked page. Which is (a) a pretty good living, and (b) not the sort of wage scale people normally think of when they hear "workers' rights." (None of which is to say anything in judgment of the fairness of those salaries.)

This, it seems to me, must be a pretty standard tactic when you're on the other side of the table from a union: release income number that are substantially higher than that of most of the population in order to weaken affection/affiliation/whatever from the public for the unionized group. Because I see these sorts of income surprises (or whatever the word would be) whenever there's a labor fight going on, it seems. I assume the effectiveness depends on the union and the service provided, and I bet cops do pretty well on that score. (And maybe the effectiveness is also affected by an unconscious assessment of the likelihood that your job would be unionized.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:44 PM
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264- No, the bear will maul you pretty good. You need to find whatever you can find to throw at it. Yell a lot and loud. Be real agitated. That's about all you can do.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:46 PM
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271: English Showalter teaches French? The world is out of joint.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:46 PM
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Ogged fails to acknowledge that I actually *sent* him that Olympic swimming article last night and told him to post on it. He refused. I then sent it to Ben, who also refused.

Instead we got this cheerful thread about unions.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:49 PM
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You don't stand a chance against a bear without Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. They're particularly susceptible to ankle locks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:50 PM
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Liberals exclude unions from their liberal causes for the same reason that Bill Bennett excluded complaints against gambling in his moralizing crusade.

Very few people will let their political views get in the way of their self interest. They would prefer obvious hypocrisies and double standards.

I assume that out there, somewhere, there is a tenured professor of labor history who has written moving accounts of the brave organizers of the 19th century, and is adamantly opposed to unions for grad students and contingent faculty.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:52 PM
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269: I have zero actual problem with the idea that public servants should be paid well.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:53 PM
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273: That's certainly the reason they published teacher's salaries during the strikes in my hometown.

Still, most of the reason that the cops' salaries end up so high is due to overtime (i.e., absent overtime, most of them are well below the mayor.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:54 PM
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The right question here (for baa or whomever): what do you think is the proper salary for a Boston policeman?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:54 PM
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250, 267: The thing that's weird about the overtime the cops are getting is the legal requirement that it be cops who fill those jobs in the first place. So it's a low-end income distributional issue.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:58 PM
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275: That was your first clue?

(Apparently today is my day to be a little bitch to Ben.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 3:59 PM
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276: In defense of ogged's discretion, that particular swimming article was pretty devoid of actual discussable content, just typical pre-Olympic buildup pablum, get a little human interest going to help move the products off the shelves. Feh.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:00 PM
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I'm in the UAW, so all you Pinkertons get off my lawn.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:00 PM
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Er, sorry, mixing up the income sources. It's the detail work that's particularly bizzare, and in most (all?) other states usually goes to regular construction workers, rather than off-duty cops.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:01 PM
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281: 2% less than whatever you're making, for whichever "you" is asking the question.

Alternatively, enough that good people fill the jobs and don't leave. What that might be, I don't know. I guess you could look at police jobs/city jobs/similar jobs in other cities.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:04 PM
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281: Or is the complaint that the mayor isn't getting paid enough?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:04 PM
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This private vs public distinction is sort of silly as its deployed here. SEIU gets it's cred as being a union for low wage workers. But it represents like 300,000 California state employees. I work for a big time public sector union, and I'm working right now on helping some lunch ladies get a living wage.


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:06 PM
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Look, if cops are underpaid they'll shoot you.

Do you want to be shot?

Then give them the money.

They'll still shoot people, but not you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:06 PM
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275: That was your first clue?

I'd suspected for a while, but that one confirmed it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:08 PM
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280.1: One side effect of the amount of time I spend volunteering in PK's class is that I'm now more firmly convinced than ever that elementary school teachers are revoltingly underpaid.

Here's what I figured out. 20 kids is the state limit for elementary school classes before 4th grade. Figure that every kid is going to have one Bad Day a month--which is a really really optimistic estimate. That means that every school day, *one* kid in the class is going to be having some kind of tantrum or other about something.

And we're assuming that none of the kids in the class is going through a parental divorce, or is neglected, or has borderline depression, or anything else that would raise that "one day/month" average. (FWIW, I'm pretty sure that a solid 25% of PK's class actually do have various problems of this sort--and these are kids whose parents are invested and involved enough to put them in a program that the parents have to actively ask for.)

PK's teacher is like, calm and supportive and kind to the tantrumming kids, and he's pretty on the ball about which kids have which problems and about working with the parents (if the parents are willing to accept his help), *and* the kids still somehow learn stuff. The man deserves to earn at *least* what my husband makes--god knows his work is both more difficult, and more socially beneficial.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:11 PM
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284: We must be thinking of different articles then. Was yours the one about the boy on the girls' synchronized swimming team, who's barred from Olympic competition because boys don't get to *do* synchronized swimming?

I'm working right now on helping some lunch ladies get a living wage.

Good for you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:13 PM
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elementary school teachers are revoltingly underpaid

Jesus, no kidding. And then compare their wages to non-unionized daycare workers, whose jobs are often even more demanding.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:14 PM
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I actually *sent* him that Olympic swimming article last night and told him to post on it. He refused. I then sent it to Ben, who also refused.

Get your own blog.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:23 PM
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293: No I'm thinking of the one on Ryan Lochte. This is the first in a series featuring Beijing Olympic hopefuls, who will offer training tips and fitness advice for recreational athletes. I just did not find much there there, and this advice was laughable for almost any "recreational swimmer" who does not have a prior competitive swimming background: ... or try to break a minute in the 100-meter freestyle, a good benchmark for speed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:26 PM
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Why aren't public school teachers paid more, even on the public employee scale rather than the hippie "teachers are worth more than bombers" scale? The legacy of being a job done by women when other careers were closed to them? The ever-villainous combination of property tax funding and local control? The steady drumbeat in the news about how lousy public schools are?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:27 PM
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There's also the one on Rebecca Soni. The Lochte article was vapid.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:34 PM
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Why aren't public school teachers paid more

They are in good school districts. I bet the favorite teacher shared by Ogged and Mr. Oudemia could afford to live in almost the same neighborhood as her students.

It's really all about race. The suburbanites don't want to spend money to teach "those people." It would just be sending money down a "black hole."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:36 PM
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Not to spite our burning yearning to call as many people as possible racist, but are there any other reasons?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:40 PM
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They are in good school districts.

Not down here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:40 PM
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There's only one good school district.

Ok, maybe two.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:41 PM
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299: Yes. It might engender feelings of resentment.

... among these are Life, Liberty and Freedom from Resentment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:42 PM
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, but are there any other reasons?

If it varies by district, I assume it's (a) property taxes, and (b) the ability of those best able to afford the taxes to opt out by going private or moving to a richer district. And perhaps--this is a justification/explanation I've heard--some sense of how important or unimportant a teacher is in comparison to the family/community that raises the kid.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:44 PM
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Why aren't public school teachers paid more

More people want to be teachers than bus drivers, and a lot of them are idealistic about their jobs and view doing it for poor money as a sign of devotion or something?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:46 PM
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I believe it was mentioned upthread, but the pernicious aspect of public employee unions is that it is the taxpayer who foots the bill, not the money grubbing shareholders of the evil corporations or the rent seeking landowners. The fact that the authorization of this looting of the public treasury is by politicians who are in the pockets of said unions, by virtue of enforced payroll deduction political contributions just adds to the burnination.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:49 PM
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295: We both know that the discussion on my blog wouldn't be nearly as fun as the discussion here.

297: All of that.

Also, I disagree with Rob about this "good school district" thing. In some very wealthy districts, public school teachers can make reasonable middle class salaries, especially if they have graduate degrees and/or several years' experience. But there are a lot of "good" districts and good schools, and in most of 'em, teachers earn like maybe $40-50k, if they're lucky. Which is shit, really.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:51 PM
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You're stacking your complaints too high, TLL. If overpaid city workers are also grumbling about enforced payroll deduction political contributions, screw em.

The "our schools are bad because of the teachers' unions" BS probably is on the way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:53 PM
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There are no more fun discussions on this blog.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:53 PM
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There was an article in the NYT recently about some school in NYC that's going to pay its teachers $120,000 (and the principal, who will be the founder, only $90,000, prompting some principal to equivocate on the word "cheapen").

More people want to be teachers than bus drivers, and a lot of them are idealistic about their jobs and view doing it for poor money as a sign of devotion or something?

Then why don't more of them wear hair shirts?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:53 PM
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The "our schools are bad because of the teachers' unions" BS probably is on the way.

Your play, Mr. Shearer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:54 PM
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The "our schools are bad because of the teachers' unions" BS probably is on the way.

Now that one is just pernicious.


309: I've given up blaming myself for that. Now I'm blaming you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:55 PM
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307: Shit, but about average for full-time male workers in their prime earning years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:55 PM
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I'm pretty close to a public school teacher, actually (I teach at a community college financed by the taxpayers for Lorain County, OH) and I earn about 50K. That's good money around here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:56 PM
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Then why don't more of them wear hair shirts?

Because working for less money helps the public in ways that wearing hairshirts does not?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:56 PM
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They might be doing it for less money in order to help the public, or as a sign of devotion, but those are different things.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:57 PM
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Never said they were overpaid, JE. But they are not exactly going to be offshored, are they? (I am aware that some tasks are, so maybe there is hope). And as for complaints about the payroll deductions, I agree, screw 'em. If you don't like it, quit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:58 PM
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some sense of how important or unimportant a teacher is in comparison to the family/community that raises the kid.

This is true, by which I mean it's true both that people believe this and that, to a very large extent, teachers *do* make a lot less difference than families.

That said. Teachers can help. A lot. Even kids whose families/communities are fucked up. First, because a lot of fucked-up families mean well, but need support--how to talk to kids, how to support their achievement, etc--and teachers can help with that (and do). Second because kids *do*, in fact, spend a lot of their time in school--and if the school is well-run and the teachers supportive and optimistic, that's a sold 2/3rds of a kids waking day spent in *that* environment.

The problem is property taxes (and last I heard, a lot of poor communities taxed themselves at *much* higher rates than rich ones--nonetheless, the difference in local average incomes still meant that poor schools were very underfunded), local funding of schools, white flight in the 70s, and yeah, the resentment of people who don't want teachers making as much (or more) than they do.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:58 PM
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311: I once knew three people who took advantage of provisions of their teacher's contract.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:58 PM
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(Inclusive or, of course. In either case they'd have to be disposed to turn down raises, which I'd wager is rarely the case.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:58 PM
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But there are a lot of "good" districts and good schools, and in most of 'em, teachers earn like maybe $40-50k, if they're lucky.

That might imply a larger household income than the households of a lot of the students' homes. Which makes it harder to argue for raises, particularly if you believe the schools are not very good, generally (or, alt., that your school is fine, given its current payrate).

It's a tough problem, I bet.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 4:59 PM
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I ruined unfogged. If no political links are posted I'll stop ruining things, but I can't suppress my true nature.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:00 PM
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Viewing the low pay as a symbol of devotion to the cause doesn't imply that you'd forego offered raises.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:03 PM
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poor communities taxed themselves at *much* higher rates than rich ones

If you're going to fund schools through property taxes, there's no wat around that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:05 PM
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Here in Wobegon teachers are paid rather poorly compared to urban teachers, but well compared to most other people in town. Many of them came from very similar towns, and many are well-integrated in the community. Wanting to live here is the decider. One teacher I know has a cheap little prefab house on 30 acres of pasture where she keeps 10 horses.

The religious right is weak here, and I've never detected any sign of anti-education grousing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:07 PM
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311: I actually thought this post was written as Shearer-bait, and was pleasantly surprised to find that James was pretty toned down in it.

Shit, but about average for full-time male workers in their prime earning years.

Yeah, so? Teachers jobs are among the most important jobs around.

I know that sounds all starry-eyed liberal, but it's damn well true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:07 PM
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Our education policy blows, but I'm not sure any changes I would make, if appointed king, wouldn't make it much, much worse.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:07 PM
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If you're going to fund schools through property taxes, there's no wat around that.

Or if you fund by local taxes of any sort, with the possible exception of creating a large shopping destination for a large population. Like Emeryville in the bay area.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:08 PM
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Teacher's jobs are perfectly fine jobs, teachers are good people, and teachers have to spend a lot of money and time before they start work, but I don't see any reason to be indignant that their pay is average.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:10 PM
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That might imply a larger household income than the households of a lot of the students' homes.

Absolutely. Nonetheless.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:10 PM
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327: Well, for one thing, I'd have public schools funded at a statewide level.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:13 PM
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331. So much for local control. And you will get lower overall funding, with the "extras" provided by local public school "foundations". Like what happens now.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:17 PM
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Funding at the statewide level, and some degree of open enrollment.

Our whole system is organized in order to privilege rich districts, though, and as far as that goes our traffic patterns, settlement patterns, tax structure, and even our financial system (as we're seeing) are structured around Good Schools in Good Neighborhoods, so good luck in changing anything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:19 PM
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There was a good argument in one of the glossy mags that local control is a bad thing. The best thing about local control is that it probably does increase community involvement in education, on the average, but it also allows certain communities to skimp on education.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:24 PM
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331: We do that here. Result: all of the public schools are underfunded instead of just most of them. OK, cultural factors, service income, well-established private school tradition, but still. I tend to think that if federal dollars are good enough for retirees they're good enough for schoolkids.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:26 PM
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"service income" s/b "service economy"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:26 PM
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I think that it would be difficult at best to get rid of local control of schools. It is about their kids, afterall. But if the local "elites" have enough private school slots, like here in Pasadena, no one cares what happens at PS 123


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:28 PM
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pernicious aspect of public employee unions is that it is the taxpayer who foots the bill

So? I mean, the taxpayer isn't some special beastie -- if he wants stuff done, he should be prepared to pay for it. If he can't pay for it, why should the worker donate his time?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:31 PM
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334 is correct.

And yes, if you fund at the statewide level, taxpayers will yank money away from the schools--that's the white flight problem I also mentioned. I have no problem with federan funding as a supplement. Or with mandatory percentages, etc. Or with taxing private educations at luxury rates.

337: Fuck "their kids." My kid is no better or more deserving than anyone else's kid; every kid is "our kid," and we oughta fucking see it that way, already.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:32 PM
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338: The agency issues are different for taxpayer/politician/public employee than for shareholder/manager/private employee. I'm not sure how far that goes, but public sector unions aren't exactly the same animal as private sector unions.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:34 PM
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every kid is "our kid,"

There's a PSA going around on local billboards that says, "An abducted child is everybody's child." It always makes me laugh - so warm and cozy, to be abducted! You belong to everyone!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:34 PM
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I agree that it would be difficult, but not because "It's their kids". We don't have local control of social security or medical standards or homicide law or lots of other important things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:35 PM
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Baroness Priapalid should settle on a firm identity for herself.

ogged drove me to it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:38 PM
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331: I think that part of the problem is that we probably do ask the schools to do much too much, given that family structure, etc., is so important. Which, I suspect, means that you have to decide how much you want to attempt to give everyone the "same" shot at a later life influenced by education, knowing that a few can probably make that jump, vs. some form of conforming the schools such that there is steady accretion of value over time (meaning, possibly, a generation or two) to the broad public that is served in that neighborhood. But (a) I don't know the first thing about education policy, and how clear those tradeoffs are, and (b) I so, so wouldn't want to be the one deciding on the balance, if those factors are in opposition.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:39 PM
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342. But you have never had local control of those things. And much as I agree with B's sentiment- "we're from the government and we're here to help" often does not have the intended result. I don't think people intentionally screw their own kids. (apologies to all pedophiles).


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:40 PM
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306: enforced payroll deduction political contributions

No such thing. Union dues can't legally be spent on political contributions. (Trust me, that law is enforced.) The money comes from voluntary PAC contributions by members.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:42 PM
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Well, clearly, there's a certain amount of difference, but still. If the taxpayer wants something done, he should be prepared to pay, so arguments against public sector unions based on `the cost the taxpayer money' leave me rather cold.

Couldn't you have local control but federal/state funding, to some extent? I.e. there's a local board which makes decisions on day-to-day management, but ultimately the money comes from elsewhere, if you wanted to keep local participation up?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:42 PM
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The money comes from voluntary PAC contributions by members.

Ex recto, but they tied to pass a referendum to that effect in CA, but the "unions" defeated it.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:44 PM
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I just wanted to say Priapulid, which I misspelled.

TLL, I think that it's just an inertia problem. Local schools are entrenched, and as I said, people's life plans, whole cities and their transportation patterns, and our tax and financial system are organized around Good Neighborhoods With Good Schools.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:44 PM
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My kid is no better or more deserving than anyone else's kid

Surely he has much better hair.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:47 PM
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I.e. there's a local board which makes decisions on day-to-day management, but ultimately the money comes from elsewhere

Have you seen the Education Code? When Senator Pettifogger (R. Assholia) wants to mandate teaching creationism, and it's his bill or nothing, who will stop him?

No child left behind ring a bell? (sorry)


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:48 PM
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168: THere's a ballot initative being talked about in Colorado that would do just that.


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:50 PM
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Texas's creationism problems would probably be worse with local control.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:50 PM
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267

"Why is any of this a bad thing? "

I don't know a lot of the details about Boston police pay but here are some reasons it could be bad.

Lists of this sort are often dominated not by the best workers but by those workers best at gaming the system, who search out and exploit every little loophole in order to obtain the most money for the least effort. Of course this can a problem for any compensation system but it is generally worse for public sector union shops because of the difficulty involved in changing provisions which are being abused especially when the union has manged to get them enacted as law. Here for example there is apparently a law mandating make work overtime for police.

The education bonus is probably a racket too. I suspect the education requirement is generally met by for profit schools offering night or weekend courses to existing employees. People take these useless courses just to check off the boxes required to get the bonus pay with no expectation or desire to actually learn anything. The schools kick back part of their profits as campaign contributions and everybody is happy except the taxpayer.

Overtime pay is also notoriously subject to gaming and abuse and can provide perverse incentives. For example from the book "Cop in the Hood" (via Marginal Revolution):

"Motivated primarily by a desire for court overtime pay, police officers want arrests on their own terms, ideally without victims, complaints, or unnecessary paperwork. Young officers make more arrests than veteran officers. These officers believe that making arrests is police work. In my squad, the top three officers in arrest totals were three officers with the least experience. An arrest-based culture can exist in a low-drug environment, but without a limitless supply of arrestable criminal offenders, an arrest-based culture cannot make a lot of arrests. Neighborhoods, without public drug dealings will not produce a high number of arrests."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:51 PM
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I don't think people intentionally screw their own kids.

No, they don't. And if teachers have the backing (i.e., time, access to support services, discretionary funds, personal skills--which can be taught, you know), they can talk to people who do not *want* to screw their own kids about the ways that they, the parents, can help their kids with problems. Easy-ass shit like, "he's a bright kid, but he's afraid to try because he doesn't want to fail. He needs to hear a lot of praise so he'll get some self-confidence" or "she's not really behind the average yet, but she's starting to *think* of herself as behind--I'd like to set up an individual education plan for her so that we can get her a little extra help with reading and make sure she's on track with the rest of the class by the end of the year." Or setting up contests with "prizes" like books for kids who don't have 'em at home--not because their parents are actively trying to undermine their educations, but because the parents aren't themselves readers, and aren't really paying attention to whether or not their kids are learning to read.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:52 PM
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Yay everybody! You got it right! Sorry, crustacean guild, I was having lunch. Kudos to Stras in 58, politicalfootbball in 145, JRoth in 39, B in 267, PGD in something shortly after that, Rosaura Revueltas in Salt of the Earth, James B. Shearer on a hotdog, and all the little hardshell bugs of the sea who came together so we could all be strong as one. I was having really good lunch which included fava beans and broccoli from my friend's garden.

In other news, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted today to require trucks entering the port not only to adhere to much higher environmental standards, but also to require them to be employees of larger firms rather than so-called independent contractors, so the weight of environmental upgrades won't fall on the truckers themselves. Recognition of employee status will allow truckers to unionize; they have previously demonstrated overwhelming support for unionization, but have been frustrated because they are classified, deceptively, as independent contractors.

(Sorry if I missed a whole bunch of you fighting the good fight, jms, Emerson, etc. What do you need solidarity praise from me? I don't even have a job, much less a union.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:52 PM
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My kid is no better or more deserving than anyone else's kid; every kid is "our kid," and we oughta fucking see it that way, already.

Let us know how that goes.

Also, why did it take the "organizations that suck" thread so long to get to school boards? Local control sounds wonderful and sometimes is, but it's also true that the lower you go on the political food chain, the more likely you are to find stuff being run by people who don't have a clue.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:53 PM
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, but it's also true that the lower you go on the political food chain, the more likely you are to find stuff being run by people who don't have a clue.

I suspect that varies a lot by locality.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:55 PM
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Eh -- you have a broad curriculum, which says stuff like `evolution should be taught in schools' and so-on, and then you leave implementation up to the local boards.

You probably also need some sort of proper national examination system as well, if you're going to do that. Use the power of teaching to the test in a good way!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:56 PM
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every kid is "our kid,"

If that's the case, I sure wish you lazy fuckers would take on some of the middle-of-the-night duties with our kids, because I'm exhausted.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:58 PM
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the lower you go on the political food chain, the more likely you are to find stuff being run by people who don't have a clue.
especially if the pol in question is using these low turnout, low vote total elections as the first rung up the political ladder. a local school district seat can be won with 1000 votes total, out of several thousand cast.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:58 PM
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National examination system

The article I mentioned proposed that. Dsquared has also proposed a national curriculum.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:58 PM
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preview is your friend


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:59 PM
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357: another problem with local school boards -- that is, boards at the level of individual schools, completely amateur -- is that the principal can walk all over them. They're way easier to game.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 5:59 PM
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And as for unions in politics, SKraab is right mostly. Federal level PAC is all voluntary contributions. State and local varies. In Cali there's a voluntary contribution requirement as well. I think the initiative TLL is referring to was to make the bureaucratic process for this more onerous so that in the name of giving workers more freedom they'd have less political power.

For ballot initiatives, the sky's the limit .You can spend general dues dollars and corporations can just take the money you pay buying their stock and plough that in too.


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:00 PM
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There's a PSA going around on local billboards that says, "An abducted child is everybody's child." It always makes me laugh - so warm and cozy, to be abducted! You belong to everyone!

Your child was abducted by EVERYONE! It was a group effort. Like in Murder on the Orient Express.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:00 PM
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Spoilers, rfts!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:02 PM
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311

""The "our schools are bad because of the teachers' unions" BS probably is on the way."

Your play, Mr. Shearer."

Well if you had been paying attention during my previous rants on this subject you would know for the most part I think our schools are doing as about as well as can be expected. Mostly because they don't actually make much difference. For their own reasons both the left and right like to argue otherwise, the left in hopes of raising teacher pay, the right in order to bash the teachers unions and public schools.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:02 PM
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I should add, my idea of local control is probably way more local than Americans' -- aren't school districts in America massive?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:02 PM
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360: I told you I'd take the baby off your hands a long time ago. Send it fedex.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:04 PM
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First, Kill All the School Boards, Matt Miller.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:04 PM
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369. depends on the district. LAUSD is massive, and completely fucked up.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:04 PM
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If the taxpayer wants something done, he should be prepared to pay, so arguments against public sector unions based on `the cost the taxpayer money' leave me rather cold.

I agree with that. All I'm suggesting is that politicians' incentives are even less poorly aligned with taxpayers' than managers' are with shareholders, so the interaction between politicians and public sector unions won't reliably set wages at a level that's neither too low or too high. I assume that's about as controversial as "the sun rises in the East"; I'm not trying to make a grand pronouncement here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:05 PM
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307

"... But there are a lot of "good" districts and good schools, and in most of 'em, teachers earn like maybe $40-50k, if they're lucky. Which is shit, really."

In many parts of the country $50k a year is good money particularly for a 9 month job. There is no reason for teachers to be paid more given that it is a relatively unimportant low skill job.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:05 PM
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373 is reasonable.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:08 PM
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There is no reason for teachers to be paid more given that it is a relatively unimportant low skill job.

La-la-la, look at me, my name is James B. Shearer and I spout inflammatory nonsense to get a rise out of people. La-la-la.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:12 PM
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I think the initiative TLL is referring to was to make the bureaucratic process for this more onerous so that in the name of giving workers more freedom they'd have less political power.

Right. Prop 226 would have required unions to get annual written permission from each worker to use any portion of dues for political purposes and annual written permission to allow the employer to use automatic dues deduction.

But workers already have the right to opt out of the portion of dues spent for any political purpose, GOTV, etc. (as well as for organizing) and pay only the portion spent on collective bargaining and representation (see CWA v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988) ).

The purpose of the act was very specifically to decimate unions' political influence and weaken the Democratic Party.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:16 PM
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My wife is a teacher; we're a union family. And 374, Shearer, is one of the most profoundly ignorant statements you've ever shared on this blog.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:19 PM
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356: Brother Wrongshore, glad you're here. The L.A. port decision is so great. A friend of mine has been working on it pretty much non-stop. His wife will be very glad he won't need to spend quite so much time flying to CA.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:20 PM
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378: It's a repeat performance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:26 PM
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379, our friends assuredly know each other.

OT: My forearm is burning something fierce from typing and mousing. I have an adjustable chair and an adjustable keyboard tray (up and down, no tilt) but I can't get comfortable. Any tips?

Also, teaching is a relatively unimportant low-skill job compared to NINJA NUCLEAR SCIENTIST BRAIN DOCTOR WHO HAS TO SAVE THE WORLD AND OPERATE ON HIS OWN BRAIN TO DO SO, especially if he's got the midnight shift.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:35 PM
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Yeah, I'm sure we have plenty of friend crossover.

Have you tried a trackball mouse? Mine has been a big improvement. There's also mousing with your non-dominant hand.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:47 PM
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381
carpal tunnel syndrome
it helps to stretch your palm from time to time


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 6:58 PM
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Thanks, friends. Switching the mouse is sure a head trip. I'll get away from the 'puter for a while and see if it helps. Also: Tiger Balm!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:03 PM
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381

"Also, teaching is a relatively unimportant low-skill job compared to NINJA NUCLEAR SCIENTIST BRAIN DOCTOR WHO HAS TO SAVE THE WORLD AND OPERATE ON HIS OWN BRAIN TO DO SO, especially if he's got the midnight shift"

Low skill in that on average home schooled kids do ok because teaching is just not that hard. Most parents can do a satisfactory job if they have sufficient free time.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:26 PM
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on average home schooled kids do ok because teaching is just not that hard

One or two kids to a teacher who holds all the cards versus twenty kids to one teacher who does not is comparing apples and oranges, James.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:32 PM
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Most homeschooling parents are educated.

Most teachers only have a 4-year BA or BS, but that's not exactly "unskilled". Unskilled is food service, construction labor, etc.

Around here $40,000 is very good and $30,000 is OK. Wobegon is not a rich area.

And everything is relative.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:35 PM
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Low skill in that on average home schooled kids do ok because teaching is just not that hard.

Teaching one's own children at home is hardly comparable to teaching 20-30 unrelated children who differ widely in preparedness, motivation, self-control, and perhaps English fluency. Teaching in a public school classroom if hard, and it's especially hard to do well.

Most parents can do a satisfactory job if they have sufficient free time.

I can't decide whether to attack the factual inaccuracy of that statement or its utter irrelevance to the society we actually live in.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:36 PM
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Even cheaper than Elgin, ND.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:41 PM
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386

"One or two kids to a teacher who holds all the cards versus twenty kids to one teacher who does not is comparing apples and oranges, James."

True the smaller class sizes help. But there are advantages the other way too like more experience.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:45 PM
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387

"Most teachers only have a 4-year BA or BS, but that's not exactly "unskilled". Unskilled is food service, construction labor, etc. "

I mean low skilled among jobs requiring a college degree. Education majors tend to be near the bottom (among college majors) in terms of smarts (as measured by SAT scores).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:49 PM
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Hmm, maybe if we, say, paid them more?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:54 PM
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Man. Catching up on a couple of days of this shit all at once is bizarre. Let me be among the many welcoming our new hybrid ursine overlords.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:56 PM
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Education majors tend to be near the bottom (among college majors) in terms of smarts (as measured by SAT scores).

Yeah, but don't you see that as somewhat problematic? I sure do. Admittedly, part of the problem is the professional birth control practiced by the education establishment that insists on education credentials as opposed to, say, actual subject matter expertised (or even demonstrated competence in teaching). But you have to wonder whether the comparatively low status and pay of teaching compared to other jobs that require a college degree isn't somehow causally connected to the deficiencies too frequently found in teachers.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:57 PM
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as measured by SAT scores

Which has precisely no bearing on the difficulty of the job.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:58 PM
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LB!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 7:58 PM
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I sure do think my son's teachers do a great - and highly skilled - job. I learn whenever I talk to them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:03 PM
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LB ! I hope you haven't joined a public employee union. I hear they are very bad.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:04 PM
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No, but I'm liking the job. I hadn't realized how much groveling I was doing at my old firm until I stopped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:08 PM
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I regard your old firm with a burning hatred.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:15 PM
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If you knew much about them specifically, rather than simply hating them qua organization, it's perfectly possible that you'd develop a new level of burning hatred just for them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:21 PM
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The main reason why teachers are underpaid is that too many share Shearer's "anyone can do it" attitude. This attitude stems mainly from:

1. The fact that it involves working with children (how hard could it be? they're only children, after all. Similarly, amongst medical specialties, pediatrics pays less than many other fields which have to do with the medical care of adults, even though you do, in fact, have to be highly skilled to work as a pediatrician).

2. The fact that it is a predominantly feminine "helping professions" field (If it's done by women, who are working with children, how hard could it be? And after all, doesn't it look similar, in some respects, to some of the things that women have traditionally done, and continue to do, without pay in the home? and God knows, nobody, much less women, ever relies upon skill sets in the privacy of the home).

The feminine "helping professions" model can probably be traced back to a more masculine, but priestly (so not really, or not quite, male) "clerical calling" model, where "vow of poverty" expectations would have some bearing on rates of pay.

You couldn't pay me enough to homeschool, and I really don't think I'd be very good at it, though I have a PhD.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:21 PM
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Congratulations again, LB.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:23 PM
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If you knew much about them specifically

I believe I know a little about them specifically, from your comments over the years, and therefore I hate them with an extra burning hatred. Like a white hot resentment.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:29 PM
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404: Why must you sow the seeds of hatred and disunity and dissent? It's just like in that other thread, which I'm not even going to mention. Why, slol, why?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:32 PM
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394 makes good points. Also: the low status of education majors within colleges is pretty widespread. I was surprised when I first encountered them how deeply ingrained the stereotypes about people choosing it because it's an easy major were. After a while I gave up on the reflexive attempts to be fairminded and started to develop my own stereotypes.

If I were going to hate any union, the ones I have enough experience with to want to hate are teachers unions. Luckily I was introduced at an impressionable age to this book, and instead developed an image of unions as deeply heroic and massively flawed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:36 PM
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399: Sigh. I live in envy...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:39 PM
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La-la-la, look at me, my name is James B. Shearer and I spout inflammatory nonsense to get a rise out of people. La-la-la.

Look at me, I'm Heebie, and I... I... Motherfucker, I can't think of anything mean to say about Heebie. It just makes me hate her more.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:46 PM
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I mean low skilled among jobs requiring a college degree. Education majors tend to be near the bottom (among college majors) in terms of smarts (as measured by SAT scores).

Got data to back that up?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:48 PM
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129: Also, Di by no means are we perfect. I've been learning a lot from focus groups lately, not so much about my own peeps, but about the labor movement generally as seen from the members' perspective. And not all of what I'm learning is good.

But what you're reporting about your friends certainly isn't universal. And there really are a lot of good people trying to lift the whole enterprise.


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:51 PM
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394

"Yeah, but don't you see that as somewhat problematic? I sure do. Admittedly, part of the problem is the professional birth control practiced by the education establishment that insists on education credentials as opposed to, say, actual subject matter expertised (or even demonstrated competence in teaching). But you have to wonder whether the comparatively low status and pay of teaching compared to other jobs that require a college degree isn't somehow causally connected to the deficiencies too frequently found in teachers."

It would only be a problem if above average smarts were needed. Which it doesn't seem to be particularly for the lower grade levels. So why artificially reduce the supply of teachers by imposing superfluous requirements? In fact I expect the 4 year education degree requirement is itself not really necessary and is mostly guild protectionism.

There is a fairly wide range among US public schools in terms of teacher pay, physical facilities etc. Studies have repeatedly shown that once you adjust for the background of the students these differences make little difference in school performance. There is overwhelming evidence that just spending more money on schools is not by itself a reliable way to improve student performance.

Liberal support of higher pay for teachers seems like conservative support for higher military spending to be a matter of faith divorced from any empirical considerations of effectiveness. More evidence of liberal detachment from empirical reality is their reluctance to accept one of the few differences among schools that shows up as significant to student outcomes, namely that bilingual education as currently practiced is harmful.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:54 PM
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So, here's something that I've often wondered about people who complain that union workers are overpaid. Shouldn't at least, like, half of the blame for that go to the people on the other side of the negotiating table? Is someone going to argue that the union should, for some reason, not push to get as much as they can in a negotiation just like every other rational actor? Is it the union's fault if their adversary in the negotiation caves?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 8:55 PM
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When I hear people say they hate teachers' unions, it sounds awfully similar to "I hate defense lawyers."

the low status of education majors

My mother, who's been teaching public high school for over thirty years, thinks that much the undergraduate education curriculum is a waste of time and mostly serves to get lots of talented people to change their majors.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:01 PM
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"Studies have repeatedly shown" is not very specific.

I once did a quick and dirty run through the states based on teacher pay / SAT scores. Two high-paying states had bad results (Delaware and DC, counted as a state). Two low-paying states had good results (N.D., again! and Utah). In the other 16 cases the dumb states paid teachers badly and the smart states paid teachers well. And by and large, I think that the unionized states performed better than the non-union states.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:01 PM
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409

Got data to back that up?

Yes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:03 PM
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410: Oh, I know. It may have been a silly comment for me to make. I was just thinking that experiences like those my friends have had are among the reasons people gripe about unions, especially if people aren't hearing the good things about unions, too.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:04 PM
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409: I'm too sleepy to review this, but the National Report on College-Bound Seniors ought to have what you're looking for. It should allow you to compare SAT scores and intended college majors.

N.b. This is not to imply that I think SAT scores are a terrific indicator of anything other than SAT scores, and perhaps parents' income.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:06 PM
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it sounds awfully similar to "I hate defense lawyers."

Hm. Defense lawyers protect the public, and are a fundamental element of a criminal legal system that is designed to be adversarial.

Teachers' unions protect the jobs of teachers, sometimes against arbitrary and harsh decisions, but they aren't a key part of the education system as it was designed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:12 PM
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415: Bzzzt. That's data broken down by the intended major of high school seniors, not by the actual major of college students/graduates. (Though I found it interesting how consistently close the intended education majors' scores were to those of people who intended to major in business. I also smile at that because my brother intended to major in business when he started college and I intended to major in education and neither of us actually did.)

My mother, who's been teaching public high school for over thirty years, thinks that much the undergraduate education curriculum is a waste of time and mostly serves to get lots of talented people to change their majors.

This is believable. My experience with a grad school education curriculum is probably one of the main reasons I am a lawyer today... I'd be happier as a teacher, but not enough happier to drag myself through the rest of the certification process.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:12 PM
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Boy, I really am sleepy. The rest of that thought about defense lawyers protecting the public was along the lines of "any one of us could theoretically be charged with a crime, and the existence of defense lawyers means that we would be able to mount a defense."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:13 PM
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418: Except that alot of people mean civil defense lawyers when they say that. And by and large...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:14 PM
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James, that's "intended" major.

Did you know, when I went off to college, I intended to major in theater?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:14 PM
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I think a reflection on the type of countries that ban effective, independent unions can help elucidate what is good about them. if communist dictators, evil juntas, and ass-backward southern states alike can agree on this point, then we're right to do just the opposite.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:15 PM
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423: Word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:16 PM
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No, but I'm liking the job. I hadn't realized how much groveling I was doing at my old firm until I stopped.

Congrats LB!

I seem to bee pathologically incapable of groveling. I'm sure it's shut a number of doors but what do you do? I'm happy for you, for the shift.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:19 PM
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423 is excellent.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:26 PM
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414

""Studies have repeatedly shown" is not very specific."

The Coleman report and others which have generally replicated its findings. Here is a recent review. A quote concerning the original Coleman report:

" An obscure provision in the 1964 Civil Rights Act called for a study of inequality of opportunity in education "by reason of race, color, religion, or national origin." The general assumption of educators, indeed Coleman's assumption, was that the funding differences between black and white schools would be large, and that these differences would provide the central explanation for unequal achievements of blacks and whites. In 1966, after conducting what was then the second largest social science research project in history-involving 600,000 children in 4,000 schools nationally-Coleman and his colleagues issued Equality of Educational Opportunity. It became, according to journalist Nicholas Lemann, "probably the single best-known piece of quantitative social science in American history," and it contained a number of surprising findings. First, the disparities in funding between schools attended by blacks and whites were far smaller than anticipated. Second, funding was not closely related to achievement; fam ily economic status was far more predictive. Third, a different kind of resource-peers-mattered a great deal. Going to school with middle-class peers was an advantage, while going to school with lower-class peers was a disadvantage, above and beyond an individual's family circumstances."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:30 PM
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414

"I once did a quick and dirty run through the states based on teacher pay / SAT scores. Two high-paying states had bad results (Delaware and DC, counted as a state). Two low-paying states had good results (N.D., again! and Utah). In the other 16 cases the dumb states paid teachers badly and the smart states paid teachers well. And by and large, I think that the unionized states performed better than the non-union states. "

Whites do better than blacks in school so you have to adjust for the racial composition of the student body to fairly compare DC and North Dakota. However as I recall blacks in DC schools do worse than blacks elsewhere (like NY) despite higher spending in DC.

The same holds for union vrs nonunion if the nonunion states are associated with a higher fraction of black students (as one would expect if they are mostly in the South).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:40 PM
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414

"I once did a quick and dirty run through the states based on teacher pay / SAT scores. Two high-paying states had bad results (Delaware and DC, counted as a state). Two low-paying states had good results (N.D., again! and Utah). In the other 16 cases the dumb states paid teachers badly and the smart states paid teachers well. And by and large, I think that the unionized states performed better than the non-union states. "

Whites do better than blacks in school so you have to adjust for the racial composition of the student body to fairly compare DC and North Dakota. However as I recall blacks in DC schools do worse than blacks elsewhere (like NY) despite higher spending in DC.

The same holds for union vrs nonunion if the nonunion states are associated with a higher fraction of black students (as one would expect if they are mostly in the South).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:40 PM
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Why, slol, why?

I'm mad, bad, and dangerous to know.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:42 PM
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419

"This is believable. My experience with a grad school education curriculum is probably one of the main reasons I am a lawyer today... I'd be happier as a teacher, but not enough happier to drag myself through the rest of the certification process."

In which case the relative standing of education majors would be even worse after all the talented students are driven out.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:43 PM
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An example of how you can spend a lot of money and accomplish nothing in terms of student achievement.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:44 PM
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Somebody remind me why we engage with Shearer?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:48 PM
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412

"So, here's something that I've often wondered about people who complain that union workers are overpaid. Shouldn't at least, like, half of the blame for that go to the people on the other side of the negotiating table? Is someone going to argue that the union should, for some reason, not push to get as much as they can in a negotiation just like every other rational actor? Is it the union's fault if their adversary in the negotiation caves?"

Just so long as you recognize that the adversary in public sector negotiations is the public and when the union wins the public loses. So if the outcomes are consistently unfair to the public perhaps the public should consider changing the process.

Just as the public changed the rules of evidence to make it harder for defense lawyers to get rapists acquitted by smearing the victim.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:51 PM
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Seems to me that hatred of the plaintiffs' bar is greater than that for the civil defense bar. Evil trial lawyers and all that.

As for teachers, I can't say that I have ever hated them as a class. I certainly had, and my kids have had, teachers that were maddeningly incompetent, in one way or another. One's helplessness, and the system's seeming helplessness, in the face of individual incompetence is a big part of the negative view.


Posted by: NĂ¡pi | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 9:59 PM
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Well, Mr Shearer is certainly on a roll this evening. I await, either with bated breath and an earnest sense of eager anticipation, or else, perhaps, with something more like a jaded sense of world-weary resignation, his attempt to blame whatever is wrong with the teachers' unions on whatever is wrong with illegal immigration. He has already mentioned "bilingual education," of course, but only briefly and seemingly tangentially, though in a manner which hints, provocatively, of a road he has not yet rhetorically taken. A failed opportunity, that, and frankly, a bit of a disappointment. Bring your A-game, James.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:02 PM
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Just so long as you recognize that the adversary in public sector negotiations is the public and when the union wins the public loses.

Shearer: Reall that tupid? Or just disengenuous? It's SO HARD TO TELL.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:02 PM
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But James, there is no such thing as an objectively fair price -- just what the market will bear, after all.

You wouldn't be arguing that the public interfere with market outcomes, would you?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:04 PM
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437: +y, +s, +goddammit.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:05 PM
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M/tch M/lls is read!

Just so long as you recognize that the adversary in public sector negotiations is the public

On the contrary, I've never negotiated with a public sector union. Sounds like it might be fun, though!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:07 PM
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the adversary in public sector negotiations is the public

No, it's the government.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:09 PM
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438

"But James, there is no such thing as an objectively fair price -- just what the market will bear, after all.

You wouldn't be arguing that the public interfere with market outcomes, would you?"

I specifically referred to public sector negotiations. No market involved.

And I am not a simplistic libertarian who believes market outcomes are always optimal for society. For one thing the market outcome depends on the structure of laws and customs in which markets are embedded. Change a law and the market outcome may change. I have no problem in theory with attempts to structure society to align market outcomes with the interests of society as a whole. For example I generally support antitrust laws.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:16 PM
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Hey, wow, I (having ignored this thread) was thinking I'd parachute in and make some crack about the Boston Police Union not being all public sector unions, ogged, but no, Shearer's about to set himself on fire to prove a point so carry on, carry on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:21 PM
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Most of Shearer's points -- the low correlation between spending and outcomes, the low scores of education students on standardized tests, etc. -- are recognized issues within education research and he's expressing them politely. If we don't want this to be a complete echo chamber he's worth having around.

Public sector unions are problematic when it comes to things like merit pay. It's an issue, no question. But if you raised the base level of pay it would be easier to put more of it at risk, and also easier to draw in entrepreneurial and ambitious employees. Also, public sector unions have a point about how hard it is to measure merit on an individual level.

But for teachers, I think there would be gains to trying to identify the really worst and really best teachers. Obama supports this! And so have some teachers unions.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:24 PM
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That said, here's how it works for people who are ogged.

God, not reading the threads: I'm becoming labs, here. Oh well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:30 PM
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Obama, merit pay, and the teachers unions:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/10/AR2007071001304.html


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:32 PM
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And so have some teachers unions.

Right. The effects of teachers unions are, as with all human organizations, a mixed bag of advantages and drawbacks. The question is whether their absence would create a cure-worse-than-the-disease situation. It's like every welfare conversation I've ever had where somebody starts ventilating about this or that specific case. Yes, we're all familiar with the perverse incentives welfare creates. But doing away with it would create an entirely new raft of problems that are just as resistant to a solution.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:37 PM
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If we don't want this to be a complete echo chamber he's worth having around.

Yeah, fair enough. I do suspect there is something deeply and fundamentally flawed about the very concept of the "education major."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:41 PM
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It's like every welfare conversation I've ever had where somebody starts ventilating about this or that specific case. Yes, we're all familiar with the perverse incentives welfare creates. But doing away with it would create an entirely new raft of problems that are just as resistant to a solution.

447: Yeah, but those would be problems with the free market! Which, by definition, has more benefits than costs!


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:41 PM
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447 pwned by 445.1.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 10:42 PM
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I have no problem in theory with attempts to structure society to align market outcomes with the interests of society as a whole.

But then it isn't meaningfully a market in the sense in which markets are so useful. After all, you've picked a winner.

The point of the free market is that you structure costs properly, and then you get good outcomes. You align inputs to societal needs, not outputs. If you don't get the output you wanted, it doesn't mean the output was wrong, or unfair, unless the inputs are wrong.

As far as I can tell, the anti-public-sector union argument's vulgar form (not the NPH position) boils down to conscription dressed up in `public benefit' clothing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:02 PM
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Shearer has been unusually fact-based this evening.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:05 PM
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I do suspect there is something deeply and fundamentally flawed about the very concept of the "education major."

Nothing flawed about the concept, IMHO. There's actually a good deal of cognitive science that can be immensely useful in developing pedagogical approaches. Flawed, I think, more in the execution -- though my position is biased by having attended a program that I hope very much is not characteristic of education programs generally.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-20-08 11:31 PM
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A tangential note on carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain problems: I highly, highly recommend a nutritional supplement with MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Each of them is helpful; they seem more so in combination. Between them, they help strengthen both joints and connective tissues and replenish the body's supply of sinovial fluid, the stuff that lubricates joints. It's not a miracle cure or anything like that, but for me it makes the difference between typing without pain versus developing nasty aches after a couple hours' sustained writing, and between being able to support myself for most walking without my cane and needing the cane for more than short distances. It's the sort of stuff that manifests in the problems you stop experiencing. Broadly speaking, the highest dosage you can get of the three in combination is likely to be a good pick.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 1:04 AM
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Thaks, Bruce. I'll get back on the glucosamine and look for the three in combination.

I think ditching my Mac keyboard and getting somethig where I don't need to pound the keys as much might help too.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 1:17 AM
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Somebody remind me why we engage with Shearer?

Something to do with procedural liberalism, I think.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 1:19 AM
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"But then it isn't meaningfully a market in the sense in which markets are so useful. After all, you've picked a winner."

No you haven't, you have picked a set of rules. For example basketball played 4 on 4 would look different than basketball played 5 on 5. The NBA chooses a rule set which it thinks will produce the most entertaining games for fans. It is constantly fiddling with the rules to try to improve the game.

Similarly society can't choose outcomes directly, it can just choose between rule sets. Society should attempt to choose a rule set which serves its overall interests. I support rule sets which give markets a large role in making decisions about allocating resources and the like. But there are many such rule sets and people will prefer the ones that produce societies to their personal taste. There is no objective way to select one, the political process will aggregate people's preferences in some way and produce a compromise rule set. When it produces results that many people find objectionable they will attempt to change the rule set to something which will produce results more to their taste.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 2:03 AM
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Somebody remind me why we engage with Shearer?

Y-O-U-H-A-V-E B-E-E-N-T-R-O-L-L-E-D


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 2:06 AM
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"... I'd be happier as a teacher, but not enough happier to drag myself through the rest of the certification process."

Well it's easy to say you would be happier but reality might be disappointing. I have a friend who is a public school teacher who generally likes dealing with the children well enough but is often aggravated by her principals. And I think she has regrets about choosing a teaching career for economic reasons although she was smart enough for something more challenging. Of course a short stint as a paralegal didn't work out too well as she concluded lawyers were all scum so law probably would not have been a good alternative.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 2:18 AM
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"Public sector unions are problematic when it comes to things like merit pay. It's an issue, no question. But if you raised the base level of pay it would be easier to put more of it at risk, and also easier to draw in entrepreneurial and ambitious employees. Also, public sector unions have a point about how hard it is to measure merit on an individual level."

Teacher union opposition to merit pay is only a big problem if merit pay would greatly improve schools which I think is very unlikely. And I don't particularly see the point in drawing in entrepeneurial and ambitious employees as I don't think these traits are needed in teachers.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 2:29 AM
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459 is, in fact, a very helpful reality check. I'll disagree with you on the"smart enough for something more challenging" part, but you are right that loving the job itself doesn't mean you will love the Job.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 4:47 AM
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I do suspect there is something deeply and fundamentally flawed about the very concept of the "education major."

I do agree with this. Knowing what I do about the skills and talents of my teacher friends, I find it boggling that my unemployed PhD friends cannot teach high school. I can see a theoretical possibility that maybe the ed majors have been taught special, powerful teaching skills, but I'm not at all sure that that is true. Likewise there's the practical possibility that a lot of PhDs might be inarticulate and useless. Nonetheless, it's pretty much carved in stone that in the public schools the PhDs won't even be given a shot (as interns or trainees, for example), even though some of them perform very well (without ed degrees) in private and church schools.

A PhD friend (anthro and linguistics) registered in an MA ESL program. The director was quite unfriendly and made it quite clear that he would be given no credit for work accomplished -- that is, he would get no credit for his previous grad-level work in linguistics and anthropology, but would have to take additional courses in these fields (which happened to be glorified undergrad courses labeled "421/521"). It was pretty clear that this was institutional corruption -- part of their MA-ESL programs mission as pulling in tuition dollars, so my friend was in effect buying his certification rather than learning anything.

My experiences with ed majors and the three ed classes I have taken confirm my skepticism. The three ed classes had little practical value, without being at all interesting in a scholarly way, and mostly seemed to be exercises in dealing with arbitrary authority. One of the teachers was downright stupid and had been granddaddied in to a field in which she had no training; she survived seniority and by working the people in charge.

Against the above, a lot of a HS teacher's job is working the bureaucracy and the methodology, so teaching people to deal with arbitrary authority was necessary.

It's all part of the way that the old humanities education has been utterly marginalized and devalued in our society.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:29 AM
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I might add that my sister with the MA in Ed does not believe that there was anything for her to learn in her MA courses. She regarded it as paying money for a pay raise and costed it out, tuition cost against salary increase for x years. I believe that it started to pay off after 3 or 4 years.

The education MA has to be handled carefully. What you do is get the BA, get a job, get permanently hired, rise to the top of your scale, and only then get your MA, which adds 2 or 3 steps to your scale. If you get an MA before getting a job, it will be harder to get hired since they'll have to higher you on the MA scale. And once you get the MA, it's harder to change jobs for the same reason.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:42 AM
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It was pretty clear that this was institutional corruption -- part of their MA-ESL programs mission as pulling in tuition dollars, so my friend was in effect buying his certification rather than learning anything.

NCLB has exacerbated this problem by putting a higher premium on the M.Ed.

Institutions like Lesley University offer programs that verge on diploma-mill degrees: get your M.Ed. in six weeks during your summer vacation, that kind of thing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:46 AM
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I might add that my sister with the MA in Ed does not believe that there was anything for her to learn in her MA courses.

I mostly* agree, from my M.Ed experience -- but would add that this does not mean that treating education like a professional degree is bad in concept. I did a few research papers in law school related to educational issues (cognitive styles, bilingual ed) and found the scholarship I was reading immensely useful and challenging. I was able to use a good portion of it in my teaching of rhetoric at the time. Sadly, I was exposed to virtually none of that scholarship in the M.Ed program.

*I did take one cross-disciplinary course in School Law that was incredibly rewarding. Law student and grad students in education sitting down together to discuss legal issues affecting schools, the way the legal issues intersect with pedagogical goals, and brainstorming on available alternatives for pursuing the pedagogical goals within a sensible risk management structure. Very, very good class.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 6:55 AM
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You know, it's a day late and several dollars short, but I still can't believe I missed a chance to bitch about the Boston Police Union. Comparing that union to any other union is an insult to, like, everything, including the sky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 7:03 AM
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Sorry to miss this thread. I haven't read it all but:

1. Public sector unions are unlike private sector unions in three ways: a) they are usually monopolies enforced by law, b) they often don't face market forces holding down compensation, c) they can vote themselves rich.

2. That said, the value of a non-corrupt police force is enormous. So I'd want police relatively well paid. But better than the mayor?! And don't get me started on police details or the education bonus.

Thanks for linking, ogged...


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 12:15 PM
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So I'd want police relatively well paid. But better than the mayor?!

Comment 281 and 288.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 12:18 PM
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Hypotheses:

SAT scores aren't the holy grail of intelligence that some people think they are.

Being a good--nay, excellent--elementary school teacher might require some skills that don't show up on standardized tests.

Standardized tests might be *completely irrelevant* to the skills required for being a good elementary school teacher.

If we don't want this to be a complete echo chamber he's worth having around.

Meh, I'd rather have people around who have intelligent arguments to put forward, rather than boilerplate bullshit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 1:42 PM
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The difficulty is defining what makes an elementary school teacher good. The whole concept of educational "value-add" has been a bug-bear for advocates of teacher merit pay. The problem -- as Shearer noted and got hammered for -- is that we have very little idea what 'educational inputs ($, class size, teacher qualities), if any, have positive outcomes on educational outputs (test scores, educational and professional achievement, drop-out rate, student satisfaction, whatever). As PGD notes, this is just a fact of the world accepted by almost everyone involved in education research.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 1:52 PM
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"SAT scores aren't the holy grail of intelligence that some people think they are.

Being a good--nay, excellent--elementary school teacher might require some skills that don't show up on standardized tests.

Standardized tests might be *completely irrelevant* to the skills required for being a good elementary school teacher."

So there is no reason to be concerned that poor black students do worse on standardized tests than rich white students since the tests don't mean anything anyway?

And if you can't identify the skills required to be a good teacher in some reasonably reliable way how will paying more get you better teachers?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 2:51 PM
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The research does show clearly that if you define student achievement using standardized tests, teacher quality has a huge impact on it. Not teacher quality as measured by resume or degrees, but just quality. The same teachers consistently boost standardized test scores among their kids, year after year. If teacher quality didn't matter, you wouldn't expect so much of a within-teacher correlation in score increases.

That's something measurable, which can be encouraged and rewarded.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 4:54 PM
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So there is no reason to be concerned that poor black students do worse on standardized tests than rich white students since the tests don't mean anything anyway?

The standardized tests might not be completely irrelevant to getting into a good college, whether or not they're good predictors of teaching ability.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 4:58 PM
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But you have to wonder whether the comparatively low status and pay of teaching compared to other jobs that require a college degree isn't somehow causally connected to the deficiencies too frequently found in teachers.

To the extent that education majors tend not to be bright, it's our own damned fault. It's not a position that gets a lot of respect; at my high school, it was what girls did that wanted to have a good way to be a mom and make a little money, and it was the B and C students. If you were a good student, you were obviously designed for something besides teaching.

So no kidding, I never considered elementary or secondary ed teaching as a career. It doesn't pay enough and I was taught it was for dumb kids. I think either of those would have to change to get more talented teachers, but I could be convinced that that's not where the money needs to be spent. Brightest kid in the world isn't going to do shit as a teacher if the school itself is underfunded.

What's weird is that I now teach. And not bragging when I say I'm good at it. And what's really weird is not that I'm not qualified to teach high school; I'm sure there's lots of things I don't know about younger teenagers and pedagogical methods and school districts. It's that I could become qualified by taking a certification class everyone thinks is meaningless.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:14 PM
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It's that I could become qualified by taking a certification class everyone thinks is meaningless.

A singe class?


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:19 PM
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Pardon, a short set of courses.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:22 PM
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I don't know what state you're in, but here it's something like 50 credit hours minimum, on top of whatever 4-year degree one already has. Which I think is insane.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:27 PM
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472: Do you have a link for that? I thought that I had heard otherwise (though I may be misreading your comment, or misremembering what I was told).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 5:34 PM
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I would also like a link.

Some potential problems. Are the student assignments random? Otherwise the "good" teachers could just be selecting good students or the good students could be clustering with the teachers with a "good" reputation.

Who gave the tests? The easiest way to raise test scores is to cheat and this has proved to be the explanation for many a teaching "miracle".

Are the gains permanent? Short term gains aren't worth very much.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-08 6:00 PM
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