Making a list, checking it twice

In Ohio, we’re trying to use a citizen veto to overturn Ohio’s new union-busting law. The first part of the process involved collecting more than a million signatures to put a referendum on November’s ballot. Now that the issue is on the ballot we have to get enough “no” votes to prevent the law from taking effect. The organization leading the effort is called We Are Ohio, and the objective is “Vote No on Issue Two”.

I wrote about how we did a We Are Ohio local event here about a month ago. At last month’s gathering, we compiled a list of attendees. I went to another We Are Ohio event last night in a county east of where I live. I gave the list we had compiled at last month’s local event to the (paid) organizer who is now on the ground. She’ll add our list to the names she’s collected herself in the two weeks she’s been working in this area.

Several firemen spoke to us at last night’s event and explained why they have joined the effort to try a citizen veto of Ohio’s law that strips collective bargaining rights from public employees. I suspect one of the fireman-speakers last night is (or was) a GOP voter. I believe this because the fireman was careful to refer to the folks who passed this law as “politicians”. I’m finding that the Republicans who are active in this thing rarely use the words “Republican” or “Kasich”, although the facts are that the bill was drafted by Republicans, passed by Republicans, and signed by former Fox News personality, John Kasich.

Too, the fireman spoke with what sounded to me like a real sense of betrayal and that’s another common theme I’m hearing. He said he never imagined that teachers, police officers and firefighters would somehow end up as “the problem” because everyone, at one time or another, has relied on a teacher, a police officer or a firefighter. He said “I didn’t know I was next”. At that point, a UAW member in the crowd shouted “I always know I’m next!” and everyone laughed.

Humans Stubbornly Refuse to Become Interchangeable Cogs

(Tom Toles via

The boneheadedness of the average MBA, and the harm the breed has done to the American economy, can never be overstated. And yet the Media Village courtiers will never stop attempting to polish the turd, per the Washington Post/Bloomberg:

Many industries find themselves in a quandary. They often need older workers for their expertise, yet they also may need to accommodate their physical disabilities and their desire for more flexible schedules. And as workers stay on the job longer, they may need training in new technologies or work procedures.
In the past decade, the number of seniors in the labor force has grown nearly 60 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2018, the number of workers 65 or older is projected to climb to 11 million, from 6.5 million today.
Baby boomers are fueling the trend. Healthier and better educated than any previous generation, many plan to continue working, at least part time, well past traditional retirement age. Human resources managers say voluntary retirement nearly stopped after the stock market collapse in 2007.
“When do people choose to retire?” asked Karen Smith, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute. “When they are able to replace their income.” …

Ya think?

Actually, it’s worth reading the whole article, just to watch every quoted expert dance around the very real problem for workers in every age group — the old pharts limping around gulping painkillers because they’re terrified of losing their group insurance, the twenty-somethings who can’t get the hands-on training they need because companies won’t invest in new workers, and the sandwich generation stuck in the middle and terrified of having to support both their parents and their adult children. But, hey — the most recent quarterly profits look just great, and top management’s looking forward to another record-breaking round of bonuses! Besides, everyone knows it’s the deficit that’s really keeping American workers awake at night… that, and the heartbreak of knowing that some small, shrinking percentage of their fellow workers are still trapped under the onus of free-market-resistant unions.

Or just another country

The S&P downgrade will no doubt lead to a round of “this country used to be the greatest in the world, now look at it” from many quarters — teahadists, Sinophilic Friedmanians, vodkaphilic Noonanians, and so on.

Whether or not one believes in the notion of “American exceptionalism”, how can anyone think that it’s a useful concept? Yurp sucks, the Chinese think we’re fat and lazy — what do you do, from a policy-making perspective, with these trenchant insights? Anyway, the most stalwart believers in American exceptionalism are ready to move to Costa Rica if their marginal rate comes up a few points and ready to insist we copy the glibertarian policies of the economic “tiger” (be it Celtic, Asian, or Baltic) du jour.

American exceptionalism is just an excuse to be stupid, to claim that it’s awesome to pay 16% of your GDP for shitty health care, to dream of tall buildings and missions to Mars, to worry that East Asians are laughing at us, to rock out to Lee Greenwood as we act as “the world’s policeman”. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?

For the Record: An Alternate View

Barney Frank has written a clear, detailed and carefully reasoned explanation of why he voted against the debt ceiling bill.  It’s long enough to send most of behind the screen, but I want to highlight on the front page what my congressman had to say about our job now:

Dear Friend,

I appreciate you taking the time to let me know of your views on the debt limit.  As I will explain later, I think part of the reason that we wound up with a very unsatisfactory bill – one that I voted against – is that there was a disproportionate volume of communications from people who take a wholly negative view of virtually all government activity.  Fortunately, now that their efforts have called some fundamental values into question, a more broadly representative sector in the American public is speaking out and I think that will have a good result. [emphases added]

That is:  keep those cards and letters coming, now, through the summer, and all the way to Christmas.

There’s a lot more, all worth reading, reminding us (me) that despite the relatively negligible damage done up front by this deal, the potential remains for much worse to come.  To get Frank’s take, there’s a lot more below the jump. Read more

It’s always darkest before it goes pitch black

A couple quotes from the comments, one that I agree with and one that perfectly encapsulates what I disagree with most.

Steve M.:

President Perry will assure us that tax cuts are the best way to generate revenues for our nuclear war against Iran. And the GOP majorities in both houses will agree.

Commenter Emma:

And you know what? I hope Obama loses in 2012. I hope we get a Romney presidency with Republican supermajorities. I hope you then learn the difference between sane and crazy.

Romney scares me a lot less than Perry, but a Romney presidency with Republican supermajorities would mark the end of American civilization. We’d get some form of “the Ryan plan”, some new crazy war somewhere to justify defense increases, the end of the social safety net, the end of federal support for science and education, the end of the EPA, the list goes on and on.

How could anyone wish for that?

And a president Perry with Republican supermajorities would be worse.