Monday, September 12, 2011

Jack Kelly yesterday...

My brother was in town this past weekend, so I didn't have as much time to post (these things happen). It's funny, my 40th birthday was close to, but after, 9/11/01. My (now-ex) wife had a surprise birthday party for me, and invited my brother. Now, I will say that if it had been me, I would not have hesitated to fly then, but, you know, he went ahead and flew up here and I was impressed.

I was always annoyed by the statement that 9/11 changed everything. But only a moron would suggest that 9/11 was not a very important event. After all, religious extremists in the Middle East were willing to kill themselves to kill thousands of Americans, in America. Clearly if aL Qaeda had attacked a chemical plant in the US, they might have killed thousands or perhaps ten of thousands of Americans. I think it was very appropriate for the PG to dedicate almost all of yesterday's paper to 9/11.

One glaring exception, you guessed it, was Jack Kelly's column, "Sad times for unions". He starts with an extended whine about how mean Hoffa junior was he said (use the ballot box) to take out Republicans in a speech on labor day. Kelly's hurt feelings are particularly ironic considering how often he has said that the liberal media has mus-charecterized Republicans and Tea Party types. That drifted into gloating about how little Obama has done for unions. I suppose we are not supposed to think about what role Republicans in policies Obama was not able to get passed (including a large enough stimulus to actually help the economy).

Kelly then quotes George Will, who points out that states that have removed automatic payments for public sector unions have seen a large drop in those union's membership. Now, I didn't research that, but it seems like George Will probably wouldn't make stuff up or misquote stuff. Anyway, it is not hard to imagine that state governments might well have taken advantage of the change in status for the unions to intimidate union members, or also possibly workers could simply prefer to keep the money for themselves (even thinking they would still be protected by and benefit from the union).

I was struck that Kelly chose to ignore the ten year anniversary of 9/11. But even more than that, it is as though, on this anniversary, Kelly is sending us a meta-message. Of course there is the usual message that union leaders are evil, but also there is this suggestion that public sector union members realize they are being paid too much, have too high of benefits and want to do their jobs for less. Those jobs, by the way, involve teaching our children (determining our future, except where they are hamstrung by school boards that don't want to teach science or literature, etc). Even more significant, some of the jobs are people who race to our rescue when we are hurt, who (hopefully) race to protect us when we are in danger or race into burning buildings we are running out of. Like the Twin Towers, where some firefighters did not come back out of.

Jack Kelly has thrown true heroes under the bus in the service of the Tea Party. Which actually means in the service of the super rich, who pull the puppet strings of the Tea Party.


spork_incident said...

it seems like George Will probably wouldn't make stuff up or misquote stuff

*cough* *sputter* *cough*

(I could go on.)


spork_incident said...

Adding: Strip away the fancy words and the veneer of Tory rectitude and you'll find Will to be just another Teabagger.


EdHeath said...

Well, yeah, I confess I a) figured Will's national reputation might prevent him from telling too big of a whooper and b) sort of had David Brooks in mind (because I read the Times online instead of the Post). I generally watch Meet the Press on Sunday mornings, but when Kugman is on This Week, I will watch at least their roundtable, where Will is a frequent guest. I think you are right, I think Will is so desperate to be liked by somebody that he will play up to the Tea Party. He wants to be the Oracle at Delphi, but end up seeming mostly annoying.

Bitter Clinger said...

A few weeks ago you said, “You actually accuse me of being a religious fanatic because I trust scientists.” Yes, absolutely. As you admit, you accept what they say on faith. Gnostocracy is the rule of experts. (The initial ‘g’ is silent in English.) The word blends two Greek words: Γνωσις (pronounced GNOsis with the ‘o’ long and the ‘g’ audible) meaning ‘knowledge’ and Αρχον (pronounced ARkhon) meaning ‘ruler’. In a perfect gnostocracy, the smartest, best-educated people make all the decisions for the rest of us. This system of government by experts and peer-reviewed literature is what William F. Buckley denounced when he famously said that he’d rather be ruled by the first three hundred names in the Cambridge phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. Gnostocracy has been around since Abraham and Joshua and is the underlying principle of Western Theology. The fact that you embrace the concept makes you a religious zealot. Your arguments against Kelly and me are called ad hominem, meaning against the man. I made perfectly good arguments against the unions, starting with an a priori argument based upon the unions basic function and then followed by a posteriori examples illustrating my original point. You replied with nonsense. I read Krugman’s blog about education when he wrote it and said, “Anyone who has read Freakonomics by Dubner and Levitt (twelve years ago) know those statistics won’t hold up.” Burge had one of the better posts. There were a lot of others. I like your criticism of Kelly for cherry picking his comparisons (Texas vs. Chicago) but when a Nobel Winning Economist does it, you think it is OK. But that is not my argument against Public Schools I dislike public education because it is mandatory. The only difference between marriage and rape is choice. The only difference between education and brainwashing (state indoctrination) is choice. In all fifty states, we have no choice. At least rape is only of the physical. When I think about the bile, the human feces, being poured into our children’s brains, the destruction of their mind, spirit, and soul I am horrified. You say yourself, “Pittsburgh schoolteachers might be assigned to some literally dangerous schools to teach in.“ What about the little kids that are forced to go to those schools? In North Minneapolis a half dozen children are killed in youth violence every year. We have NEVER had a teacher killed. You claim that Democrats help poor people; union autoworkers are not poor; Federal, State, and local government workers are not poor; Cash for Clunkers did not help the poor (actually hurt them); the unemployed are not poor; affordable health care is not going to be affordable to poor people; first responders are not poor; construction workers are not poor, and teachers are not poor. No one that the President has helped has been a poor person. He is simply buying patronage with what he see as his voting base with taxpayer money. If Spook is criticizing you because you were too lazy and too irresponsible to fact check George Will, considering Will has had a few dozen factual errors in over 15,000 columns, I will agree with him. If Spook was trying to make it seem that Will’s facts were wrong this time, he is being mendacious. Unions are bad for the majority of their members, they are bad for their industry, and they are bad for society. Happy Birthday and Good Luck on turning forty is like falling off a cliff. Everything will be downhill from now on.

EdHeath said...

Bitter Clinger, you might be right that I am making an ad hominem attack against either you or Jack Kelly (or both of you), but you will have to do better to make your case. For example, I say I trust the conclusions of climate scientists on climate change, but you need to show where I have ever said that I think climate change scientists should determine what specific policy goals should be undertaken, or what form that policy (or policies) should take, or that scientists should have any other role in determining policies. That said, I do advocate paying attention to alarms some types of scientists raise, where public health is at risk. Whether it is lead in paint and gasoline or climate change, it strikes me as stupid for me to say I know better than PhD’s who spend all their time and brain power studying these things.

Meanwhile, you yourself make various claims without giving us a shred of evidence. You say public schools are bad because a) they are mandatory and b) they are filling our kids brains with shit and brainwashing the kids. Fine, demonstrate (not to say prove) that the subject matter is “bile”. You say unions are bad for “the majority of their members, they are bad for their industry, and they are bad for society.” Look, I don’t want to call you ignorant, but making blanket statements like that implies you have no awareness of income inequity and also the history of unions. Making a blanket statement that the unemployed are not poor implies you have no idea about the current structure of unemployment, and attacking public schools implies that maybe you do understand the structure of unemployment, and you want to make the poor poorer. Yes, I would not say that teachers, police, firemen, EMS and all types of federal, state and local government workers are poor. That does not mean they should have to take pay cuts until they reach the poverty line. Many government workers have, through their unions, negotiated voluntary pay cuts, yet you don’t mention that, why is that?

You also show that you don’t read things very closely. I mentioned my brother flew to Pittsburgh shortly after 9/11/01 for my fortieth birthday. And I believe it is Spork, not Spook. Are you trying to persuade me or the two or three people who read this blog? You will need to back up your generalizations and generally pay better attention.

Heir to the Throne said...

He starts with an extended whine about how mean Hoffa junior was he said (use the ballot box) to take out Republicans in a speech on labor day.
Odd the Dems who defended Obama for not responding to Hoffa's comments at the event are now in full outrage over Romney doesn’t respond to townhall questioner’s “treason” comment about Obama

EdHeath said...

So in other words, HTTT, Republicans can say anything they want because any union member ever said anything. How about we prosecute Romney for animal cruelty. Or for cruelty to actual people when his predatory financial firm bought up companies, raided the pension plans the workers had been paying into and then dissolved the companies, leaving the workers out of work and with no pension after decades of work.