Everybody knows the fight was fixed, 20

5 10 2015

I’m not generally a fan of violence nor specifically a fan of assault.

However.

I cannot dredge up even the smallest bit of concern at the sight of an Air France executive chased over a fence by workers:

Kenzo Tribouillard , AFP/Getty

These workers are fighting for their jobs. They’re literally doing to the executives what the executives would—metaphorically—do to them.

I have no illusions that labor violence in the US would not be met by even greater police violence, nor that the citizenry would support the workers. Whatever our paeans to ‘plain-spoken hard-working salt-of-the-earth heartland’ types, what we Americans really respect is money.

If you have to work to get it, okay, fine, but if you’re out there doing what someone else can do (cheaper), shut up and get back to work.

There’s an incident recalled in Adam Gopnik’s essay “Trouble at the Tower” in which a tourist (British? American?) was prevented (roughly?) from getting off at the wrong platform by the elevator operator. She complained, he was fired, the rest of the tower workers went on strike until he was restored to his position.

Naturally, sympathy in France gathered quickly around the wronged operator and his striking friends, while sympathy in the Anglo-American side gathered around the roughed-up lady. . . [S]he was just trying to have a good time, we think. But he was only doing his job, they think.

Gopnik elaborates upon and, honestly, overplays the disjuncture between the customer/producer mentalities (just as I overplay the respect for money/work disjuncture), but I think he does get at something about cultural defaults: the French sympathy tends toward the worker, while the American does not.

In France, the storming of the offices of the jobs-cutting executives (or the blockade of roads by tractors) is not a horror, but a tactic. In the US, workers respond to cut jobs by reapplying for the same position at a lower wage.

And if corporations kill workers? Oh, well.

(Is it worth noting that the one of the few corporate executives who’s going to jail for killing people is doing so for killing customers, not workers? I think so, yes.)

There are plenty of us (in both countries) who would set the switch differently, but we’re straining against custom. What they (we) take as right we (they) can scarcely imagine here.

So to see what is possible—that fighting back is possible—well, if I’m not exactly thrilled by the assault, there is a certain grim satisfaction in that man’s ripped shirt.





Wrecking ball*

26 02 2015

So, Company Man Scott** has decided that union-bustin’ = freedom-fightin‘.

In response to a question about how to defeat ISIS/ISIL, he Manfully*** argued that:

“We need have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message that not only will we protect American soil, but…freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need that confidence,” he said. “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Yes, because union members and protesters are JUST LIKE TERRORISTS.

[redacted curse]

[redacted curse!!!!!!]

[redacted redacted cuuurrrrsssssssseeeeeHOOOOOOooooowwwwlllllll!!!!!!!!!!!}

~~~

*I was initially thinking of Emmylou’s “Wrecking Ball”, but those for Miley Cyrus’s version—“I came in like a wrecking ball”—would work well, too. That video, tho’—huh.

**I do try to be at least somewhat mature in my presidential campaign posts, but as I’ve mentioned, Walker brings out the worst in me. Given the various names/descriptions I had considered before settling on this one (for this post, at least), “Company Man” seems downright neutral. I will try to bring my Howling Badger under control, but please understand that this is as much restraint as I could currently summon. Especially after a shitstorm like this.

***Yeah, yeah, big tough guv then has to whinge (yet again!) about his words being taken out of context and the media’s out to get him, sniffle-whimper-pout. You can take on unions and terrorists, but reporters are apparently too much for you.

****No, I don’t have anything quadruple-asterixed, above, but not for nothin’, I’m still in the market for a good 2016 campaign theme. I was thinking “Clusterfuck 2016”, but I do prefer a title that’s not going to get hung up naughty-words filters.





Wait a minute honey, I’m gonna add it up

30 06 2014

Jesus fucking christ.

FireShot Screen Capture #001

Unions screwed, women screwed out of protected screwing.





For together we cannot fail

2 09 2013

This is history, not abstraction.

This is life, today, all around the world.





Replace unionized labor with child labor

20 11 2011

Our boy Newt, GOP flavor of the moment:

“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model,” he said. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

You can see why pundits praise his intellect.

(Via Politico)





I don’t want to spend the rest of my days/keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say

19 02 2011

So in the short time I’m a ghost. . . .

Tunisians drive dictator Ben Ali out of office.

Egyptians drive  dictator Mubarak out of office.

Jordan’s king fires cabinet, promises reform.

Yemenis gather to protest their government.

Bahrainis gather to protest their government, and are killed in their sleep.

Libyans gather to protest the leadership of the insane Qaddafi, are mowed down by snipers, and prevented from receiving medical care.

Iran’s pro-Ahmadi legislators get all shouty in their demands for death of opposition figures.

LiveAction doctors video shot at Planned Parenthood, slanders PP as enabling child sex-work.

US House of Representatives votes to defund Planned Parenthood.

US House of Representatives votes to continue Army sponsorship of NASCAR.

Senator Ron Paul wins CPAC presidential straw poll.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposes bill to strip government unions of most of their reason for being, as well as to effectively privatize UW-Madison; the Republican-controlled Senate attempts to slam this though in less than a week.

Wisconsin Senate Democrats abscond from the State, preventing action on the bill.

Tens of thousands of public union members and their supporters gather at the Capitol [nb: an absolutely gorgeous building] in support of their rights and dignity, and in opposition to Governor Walker.

My 50-year old sister and public high school teacher attends her first protest ever. Has a ball, and calls to tell me about it.

Packers win the Super Bowl.

~~~

And because I have been a ghost, I have had no time to say what I wanted to say:

Go Tunisians! Go Egyptians! Go Bahrainis and Yemenis and Libyans and Iranians and Syrians and everyone everywhere who wants to be free and is wiling to sacrifice themselves for that freedom.

You are strong and brave and beautiful and fragile and all the more strong and brave and beautiful for your fragility.

Women of these United States, it is well past time that we took our own lives in our own hands.

I salute Nancy Pelosi and Gwen Moore and Jackie Speier and everyone else, male and female, who stood up for us on the House and Senate floors. But it is not enough.

It is long past time for us, for more of us, for me, to stand up for one another, to stand up for ourselves.

And for my sister, my nieces, my friends, Badgers, countrymen:

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
“Forward” is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Raise her glowing flame
Stand, Fellows, let us now
Salute her name!

~~~

And the SuperBowl? That’ll do, Pack, that’ll do.





Gimme the ball, gimme the ball, gimme the ball—yeah!

25 10 2009

How should you regulate an activity in which damage is inherent to that activity?

Less abstractly, if certain positions in football necessarily lead to brain damage, what should be done?

Over at TNC’s blog a number of us were chewing over the implications of Malcolm Gladwell’s recent article on dementia in football players. Gladwell compared footballing to dog-fighting—a comparison which I’m not exactly sure holds—but the info regarding the high probability of long-term brain damage even for non-NFL players is worthy of further consideration.

Some argue that risk is inherent in all kinds of activities; that doesn’t necessarily mean such activities should be regulated. It’s a reasonable enough point, but it’s not clear that such a laissez-faire attitude is the correct one for this situation.

One, the football and practices fields are workplaces, and as such, are not the same as recreational places.  How is it okay to state that football players—most of whom have careers of less than 4 years—have to suck it up while we as citizens would never tell coal-miners or uranium workers to suck up cave-ins, black lung disease, and long-term radiation damage?

They’re adults, they’re getting paid—and better than any miner is is not an excuse to overlook the dangerous conditions of the workplace itself. Yeah, the minimum wage for rookies is $193,000 (and oh, what I wouldn’t give to make a minimum of even $93K), but is it acceptable to say If we pay you enough, it’s okay to damage you to the point after which it is difficult to enjoy the rest of your life? And if so, how much is ‘enough’ to take away the rest of that person’s life?

That the NFL Player’s Association has thus far done a shitty job of taking care of its members hardly excuses the NFL—or, for that matter, the NCAA (which is a racket deserving of its own post)—for putting its players in a situation in which the only way to do the job well is to damage oneself.

Which leads to the second point: There is a distinction between activities in which risk of damage is omnipresent to those in which risk of damage is necessary. Downhill skiing, rock climbing, bicycle racing, even, as Gladwell points out, professional auto racing, are all risky activities, but to succeed in these endeavors one only risks, but does not necessitate, damage. There is risk of a wipe-out on skis or a bike or in a car, but if you wipe out you probably don’t win. Success does not depend upon damage, but upon the avoidance of damage.

Success in football, however, requires damage. Some positions are risky in the sense of ski or bike racing—punting, say, or perhaps even quarterback—but others require the players face off and smash into one another play after play after play. To be an offensive or defensive linesman is to throw your large body against another large body, to prevent anyone from getting past you or for you to try to get past the other.

That’s the whole point of these positions: to try to hold or break the line.

Football doesn’t work without linesmen. And thus far there is no way to play the game without incurring damage to these players.

So what to do?

Beyond a call for further research, I don’t know. I’m a football fan, but, for many reasons, an ambivalent one. I don’t, for example, enjoy pro boxing, not least because I see damage with every blow. I don’t see the damage to these heavily-equipped and masked men, and as much I recognize the importance of the linemen, I pay more attention to the flash players—the quarterbacks, receivers, running- and cornerbacks. Whoo-hoo! I cheer, when my team scores.

And no, it’s not the linemen who score.

So, again, what to do? Dismiss the whole thing as unworthy of concern: These guys are meatheads. . .  They know what they’re in for. . .  Hey, at least they’re getting paid well. . . ?

Or recognize that players are in fact workers in a large and profitable enterprise and, as such, deserve the same consideration for their safety as is—or ought to be—for every other worker?