Solidarity eventually.

I’m not from a union family. My mother reluctantly paid dues to the Communication Workers of America out of a sense of obligation — “they get me my raises” — but never joined. My dad was a salesman. Labor Day was just a long weekend with a cookout.

My first real contact with organized labor was the printers’ union at The Columbus Dispatch, which even then was defanged, the linotype machines having been set aside some years earlier for electronic typesetters. I recall being baffled by their rules (non-union members were not to touch the columns of type being spit from the computer), their pecking order (shop steward? is this a shop?) and their rituals (the coffee-pot thing; some sort of Friday lucky-number drawing), and a little touched by their dignity. Even I, stupid as I was then, could tell that these guys’ time was over, that all their tetchiness about rules was a version of some dotty old lady putting on her white gloves for tea when the only one stopping by is her imaginary friend. Little by little they retired or moved to other jobs, and I imagine that entire shop doesn’t even exist anymore.

Organized labor has been in eclipse for some time now, and the forces of management have done an excellent job briefing the general public on all their sins — the featherbedding, the abuses, the corruption by organized crime, etc. More to the point, in a global market, it’s easy to find others willing to do a job for far less than your contract stipulates, and to find some apologist who will explain, “But $5 a day is good money in (fill in name of Third World country).”

Last year one of the TV stations sent its handsome anchor to China, to show the dinosaurs back home how they do it in the ascendant world power. To anyone with a lick of sense, it looked like a horror show: Workers who leave their homes and families for months at a time to relocate to their factories, where they’re housed in dorms and work the sort of hours that would appall even the cruelest robber baron. This was all reported enthusiastically, enough so that the handsome anchor’s pretty partner, in making chit-chat after the segment, had this to say of the American worker: “I don’t want to say lazy, but…”

I was taking a writing workshop a few months after this, and one of the other participants was a graduating law student preparing for the bar and a career in labor law. He said he and his friends were planning an expedition to a concert where the handsome anchor (he’s a musician, too) was performing, “to call him out.” That’s Detroit for ya. I don’t know if they ever did, but at Labor Day, it’s something to think about: That corrupt, lazy, featherbedding union force had its time in the sun, and that was in improving factory conditions, raising the hourly wage and generally making this country a place where you don’t have to live in a dormitory next to the factory to make a living. This is a good thing. Let’s not forget it.

We went to the Detroit Labor Day parade yesterday, hoping to catch a glimpse of Obama. That was a long-odds hope and it was borne out when we arrived to find Hart Plaza full and the crowd spilling out in three directions. But we got near a Jumbotron, only to discover there was no sound, and by then it felt like it was 99 degrees, so we booked. Turned out Obama declined to campaign and instead sang a few bars of “Chain of Fools” anyway, so there you are. My own video notebook is here, and shitty enough I decline to embed it.

I did get a T-shirt, though.


I took Richard Cohen off my bookmarks months ago, but every so often his broken clock tells the correct time. Like today.

I didn’t go to Slow Food Nation. Sounds like I missed some good meals, but some fairly awful public events.

Finally, I really don’t want this blog to become a gossip site regarding the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee. For one thing, everything we post here becomes stale in, like, 25 seconds; I fully expect the next bombshell to come out of St. Paul will be that some member of her family is running a medical-marijuana grow house during the 20-hour days, and further, that this is evidence of her strong family values. For another, to me, the only thing we really have a right to discuss as voters and decent people is the so-called vetting issue. How McCain managed to pick this crazy lady, with her possible background as a secessionist, never mind her colorful family, is the real issue here. All the rest is noise. I’m not going to police comments on this, but why don’t you read John Scalzi’s take on things, which basically tracks mine about 99.9 percent.

‘kay? ‘Kay. Have a good day.

Posted at 10:51 am in Current events, Detroit life |

52 responses to “Solidarity eventually.”

  1. coozledad said on September 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Yeah. It’s the Christian Identity Movement coziness that ought simply to terrify people.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Is NAFTA killing unions? That’s what i heard at the parade here’bouts yesterday, but with one part of NAFTA being the “North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation,” i think the salvation of the Union Movement is through, not away from participating in agreements like that one. Only helping grow unions in overseas trading partner nations (and requiring permission to organize as a precondition to such treaties) is going to keep the globalization teeter-totter from rocking wildly.

    I’m no Wobblie, but SE Asia needs a few Joe Hills and Big Bill Haywards (and even a few John Reeds and Mother Joneses). We can use trade to enforce protections for that kind of work within those nations, maybe making up for how we muffed the job here in the 1910’s and 20’s.

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  3. LAMary said on September 2, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I’m with Scalzi completely on this.

    This morning I heard the comment on NPR that I had been waiting for. Rick Santorum speaks! He said he had not been enthusiastic about the McCain candidacy, but now that Sarah Palin is on the ticket, “there’s a lilt in my step.”
    He better watch that lilt. People might think he’s a little light in the loafers, if you know what I mean.

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  4. John said on September 2, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Been to the Heartland of America (St. Louis) for the weekend so I missed out on the coal delivery.

    Gasman, your comment That Palin gem questionnaire answer regarding the Pledge of Allegiance reminds me of an oft told tale in Texas. In the early 1920s, Gov. Ma Ferguson… reminded me that the daughter of Gov. James E. Ferguson and Gov. Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson of Texas, Ouida Wallace Ferguson, was married to our hostess’ fourth cousin, twice removed.

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  5. James said on September 2, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I hadn’t had a chance to bloviate about Sarah Palin, yet, so let me share the cartoon I did over the weekend about her. I resisted the easy cheap shots (her kid’s pregnancy) and just went with the surface craziness of the pick.

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  6. brian stouder said on September 2, 2008 at 11:31 am

    James – great comic!

    The cattiest thing I’ll say is – the resume’ of the Governor of Alaska cannot help but Pale-In comparison to the Senator from Delaware

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  7. Connie said on September 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

    My husband spent a few months long ago at the Chevy Truck engine plant in Flint, and while he hated the job and the crazy nasty co-workers he’s a union supporter all the way. My brother in law has been in the UAW for many years, and to listen to him talk about GM you would think there are strange conspiracies all over, and management is always evil. Doesn’t seem to be me to be a way to get things done at work. OTOH, when his unit shut down a few years ago he had enough seniority to pick his next job, and since then has been a test driver at the Milford Proving Grounds, a job he loves.

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  8. caliban said on September 2, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Nancy. Nothing would appall the cruelest robber baron, although that’s a nice turn of a phrase. They are a class simply incapable of being appalled by their own porcine behavior. Death to the labor movement in America was more about the UAW’ partnership with Big Auto and the Partnership of the Traveling Annual Strike Threats than anything else. This year it’s Chrysler, and we’re all agreed on the terms, so where’s that Canadian Club? Then Dwight Eisenhower created the Teamsters Golem, but Jimmy Hoffa wasn’t Walter Reuther.

    The problem is that somehow corrupt Detroit auto workers unions became the face of labor. Maybe I’m naive, but I thought it was Bobby Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. Or trying to force management not to lock fire doors in chicken factories that go up in smoke with workers as tinder. Or Walmart threatening a significant number of Americans with loss of their soul-killing jobs if they vote incorrectly.

    Back in the day, I made a chunk of cash threading nuts onto transmissions in Ann Arbor. And I still have my lapsed UAW card, parked next to my 1969 draft card. I’d say the best question to ask about the labor movement is: Why does the US have a minimum wage that guarantees living in poverty without recourse to medical care? Well, and how much profit is obscene? And why should nitwits that lunch with Cheney make 350 times as much as the people that buy their golden parachutes when they run companies into the ground and invariably start with raping pension plans?

    Last thing I’ll ever have to say about Sarah Palin: Her dad is famously an ex high school Science teacher. Was that Creation Science or does the old man believe in carbon dating? Plumbing the depths of Republican hypocrisy is like dropping a rapacious and toothy old fool off the edge of the Flat World.

    Coozledad: My everlasting problem with groups that identify themselves as Christian is that they invariably define Catholics as unChristian. Even if it’s just an intellectual quibble, I can’t figure out how we’re the cult when we were there first. Then, there is the fact that for the most part, the Christian Identity Movement is some bad-mullet, trucker-hat attempt to sanitize the Klan.

    Tell you what, anybody that would consider voting for anybody with even the remotest aroma of wackos like that, they need to be disenfranchised immediately, and probably chemically castrated. And if this is all about post-denominational Christianity, that’s all fine but she couldn’t explain Teillhard and these people are more concerned with handling rattlers and which pigs are really more equal.

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  9. Danny said on September 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    As a post-denominational Christian, I have very little problem Pierre Teilhard. My passing acquaintance with his work is that the thrust was more philosophical musing than the putting forth of new doctrines which the Church was supposed to adopt and cling to dogmatically.

    That said, his writings on man reaching the “Omega Point” are understandably criticized. Though he employs theistic evolution as the vehicle, the theistic part suffers from de-emphasis to the point that it seems a mere hat-tip included so as not to get him excommunicated. And should it not be troubling to other Christians for someone who is supposedly Christian (and of some authority) to be writing about Man reaching some grand evolutionary goal of demi-godhood almost by Himself.

    ‘Nuff said. Discussions of Pete Chardin are best left for over coffee or a beer. And as a post-denominational Christian of fairly fundamental pedigree, I find snake-handling, prosperity-gospel, word-faith, Christian-identity and other splinter-cult movements to be much more odious and blasphemous. I consider Catholics to be brethren of mine because we have unity in the essentials.

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  10. beb said on September 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Crooks and Liars dot com is reporting that Keith Olberman has been reassigned from the Republican convention to the New York headquarters to report on Hurricane Gustav. This is strange news because Olberman’s meat and blood is politics. Why that away their star attaction for yesterday’s news. And if he’s going to be covering a Hurricane shouldn’t he be – like – in the middle of it, like Anderson Cooper was? Sounds like someone didn’t want a “Special Comment” about the judgement of someone running as the only experience candidate around.

    On my bedstand is James Galbreith’s The Predator State which is about how Republican rule has twisted laws so that corporations are better able to fleece the rest of the nation. Something people should read before voting.

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  11. caliban said on September 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Jeff: NAFTA is a puzzle. Everything that so-called progressives hate about it, and blame Bill Clinton for, has to do with issues that were addressed in the inaptly named Side Agreements, which actually made up the beef of NAFTA and were the heart of Clinton”s international trade agenda. But you won’t hear about this from ideologue nitwits like David Sirota, whose obsession with this subject is almost as unhealthy as Pat Oliphant’s insane insistence that Bill and Hill are racists out to get Obama. (That guy needs a vacation and a sanatorium.)

    The Side Agreements imposed labor, environmental, wage, insurance and other requirements, with means and methods to enforce them. Of course, W shitcanned the Side Agreements within about a week of his illegal investiture, and set across-the-border corporations loose to plunder at will. Which, of course, they did. Unions sort of made an unholy alliance with Moloch when they could have used the terms of the agreements to modify corporate predator behavior. Seems like a gross miscalculation, but maybe. like PeeWee, they meant to do that.

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  12. Dwight said on September 2, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    “in a global market, it’s easy to find others willing to do a job for far less than your contract stipulates, and to find some apologist who will explain, “But $5 a day is good money in (fill in name of Third World country).” “

    Okey dokey. I will.

    South Korea
    Czech Republic

    Did I forget anything? Oh yes. The apology. “Sorry.”

    Labor has a global value in a global market. It’s tough for people to admit they are overpaid. Sorry.

    I can buy a bicycle manufactured in China and shipped half way around the world to my local Target cheaper than I can buy an American built bike — Oh wait. I can’t buy an American made bike. There are none. Sorry.

    Unions have two purposes:

    1. Artificially inflate the value of labor
    2. Protect workers from idiot management

    We all understand the desire to be protected from idiot management.

    But you can’t make bad educational decisions, sleep through high school, eschew college, and expect to make as much as a doctor by ratcheting the manifold on top of 4-cylinder engine for 20 years.

    Sorry. I apologize.

    But then again, I apologize for gravity too.

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  13. caliban said on September 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Danny: If you think Teillhard was worried about being excommunicated, well he was a Jesuit and they weren’t going to kick anybody out for untraditional opinions. Shoot, Jesuits invented, and were killed by Republican lackeys for, liberation theology. Noogenesis makes more sense than Creation Science, and is a useful way to understand ‘evolution’. It’s pretty ignorant of his work to discount Teillhard’s use of the term Christogenesis, and asserting he was a ‘theist’ is just saying he believed in a God that breathes soul into creation. Maybe you meant deist, because he did seem at times to think dolphins were getting to Omega faster.

    It would be a simple intellectual exercise to attribute the origin of any 20th Century idea about post-denominational Christianity to Teillhard’s ‘musings’. In this and the previous centuries, there hasn’t been a philosopher worth a pillar of salt that wasn’t a theologian. Shit, Nietzsche was a theologian. It makes eminently good sense to approach creation as process, if you give anything beyond reptilian acquisition and self-protection a thought. If you don’t buy that, fine. What that leaves you with is Hobbes, Freud, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, and a political party you can’t trust as far as you could throw all their fat asses at the same time.

    Of course, reasonable doubt is essential to faith and the Constitution, but unfortunately, it’s got no place in fundamentalism, most flavors of evangelical doctrine, charismatic or Pentecostal christianity, or the Republican Party. So, who are the True Believers? Doubt is the hope of certitude (so I guess Rene the Dirty Old Fart was a theologian too–Cogito, um cogito pretty sure–ergo sum..) Certitude without doubt, well that’s how ant colonies survive, and if there’s hell below, the road’s paved with some sanctioned version of true belief.

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  14. brian stouder said on September 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Artificially inflate the value of labor

    “Artificially inflate”?

    How is it “artificial”, if the Infallible Markets (ie – management) SIGNED the labor AGREEMENTS?

    Sounds like market forces at work, to me.

    Flip it around.

    Ain’t it “artifically inflated” when Nike (et al) price their shoes 40X higher than cost? Or 50X?

    If they’re so much cheaper to produce, why don’t they sell them for lots less?

    “But – people are willing to pay that price, for those shoes, so it is The Market at Work”…..


    So, with apologies, union agreements are just like “gravity”, too….and winning an increase in the value of labor benefits more people than winning a decrease in the value of labor.

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  15. jcburns said on September 2, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    “It’s tough for people to admit they are overpaid. Sorry.”

    There’s no ‘America First’ in that attitude. I recognize it as the classic über-capitalist “me, me, me, and I don’t care what the market does to you.”

    Me, I care what the market has done to my neighbors, friends, and fellow Americans. And when the “market is at work” in this way, I think the force of collective action is the only thing that restores a more natural balance. The artificiality in the market I can point my finger to is executives and upper management making many many multiples of the salaries paid their base-level workers.

    That is just plain wrong, and to me part of being an American is having the smarts and the guts to say so.

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  16. LAMary said on September 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    The nurses where I work are unionized, as are all the patient care and service employees. Because nurses used to be paid so badly, and were often per diem only, people stopped becoming nurses. Now there’s a huge shortage and a nurse with zero experience, right out of two years of community college, makes 32 dollars per hour. I have no problem with that at all. I see the Bentleys in the doctors parking lot.

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  17. harrison said on September 2, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    first comment:

    it’s not that i’m pro-union; i’m basically anti-owner and its flunkies, middle management.

    about 30 years ago, i worked for a small newspaper in indiana where the general manager and editor knocked unions, but i could tell that they were scared of the publisher of the paper — the head of a small chain. he has this cult-of-personality attitude toward himself which i despised.


    second comment:

    this isn’t the first the gop picked a v.p. who was young, blonde, and pretty, but somewhat lacking in what you could call qualifications.

    i remind you that twenty years ago, bush the elder picked, as his choice for v.p., indiana’s pride and joy (and jr. senator) dan quayle.

    you hoosiers of a certain age ought to remember that one.

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  18. nancy said on September 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    It is hard for people to admit they’re overpaid. However, it’s much easier for management to give themselves another raise than it is for the rank and file.

    And then there’s this, which you don’t often see on the shop floor:

    Other very wealthy men in the new Gilded Age talk of themselves as having a flair for business not unlike Derek Jeter’s “unique talent” for baseball, as Leo J. Hindery Jr. put it. “I think there are people, including myself at certain times in my career,” Mr. Hindery said, “who because of their uniqueness warrant whatever the market will bear.”

    He counts himself as a talented entrepreneur, having assembled from scratch a cable television sports network, the YES Network. “Jeter makes an unbelievable amount of money,” said Mr. Hindery, who now manages a private equity fund, “but you look at him and you say, ‘Wow, I cannot find another ballplayer with that same set of skills.’”

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  19. beb said on September 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Attempted Book Banning. Another gift from the Republican vice presidental nominee

    She is the gift that keeps on giving.

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  20. garmoore said on September 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    With respect to Gov. Palin, is anyone taking any bets on when or if she’ll bow out of the race? It looks like we’re going to have one “OMG, she didn’t!” story after another. At some point, she’s going to decide that running for such a high-level position is not worth the trouble you get from the scrutiny of the national press, especially with the kind of record she’s apparently made for herself. I’m guessing less than two weeks before she needs to spend more time with her family, or whatever euphemism she decides on. Being conservative is one thing; threatening to fire librarians who won’t help her ban books is quite another.

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  21. Suzi said on September 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    What the hell? Book banning, OMG, this is too much! You know some slobbering republicans say she does the naughty librarian look very convincingly.

    I fear she’s too much like Dubya — stubborn, cocky, vain and shallow, to cave in to the loss of prestige and power.

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  22. moe99 said on September 2, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Take your bets on Palin’s chance to

    I ran into a former coworker on the bus last week. She’s an attorney in a private plaintiff’s firm and they are handling an antitrust lawsuit on behalf of nurses in the Detroit area, who allege were the victims of a conspiracy among the hospitals to keep their wage artificially low.

    She visits your fair city quite a bit.

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  23. brian stouder said on September 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    is anyone taking any bets on when or if she’ll bow out of the race?

    Nope, she’s on the ticket to stay, barring some exponentially more damaging revelation…Dan Quayle (as mentioned earlier) taught us that.

    McCain’s snap decision, or ‘roll of the dice’, has done damage to him – which he can only compound by impaling Gov. Palin.

    Looking ahead, Biden has to be carefully polite with her in the debates

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    And the claim of attempted book banning, unsupported by the librarian, is made by the guy Palin beat to become mayor, the incumbent. I’d like to see some confirmation before i’d run with a defeated opponent’s word as anchor for a major claim in a story, but i guess that’s just small town newspapering.

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  25. brian stouder said on September 2, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Jerry Reed, RIP

    As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, he had a string of hits that included “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “East Bound and Down” and “The Bird.” In the mid-1970s, he began acting in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, usually as a good ol’ boy. But he was an ornery heavy in “Gator,” directed by Reynolds, and a hateful coach in 1998’s “The Waterboy,” starring Adam Sandler

    (I always liked Hot Rod Lincoln, myself)

    In a 1998 interview with The Tennessean, he admitted that his acting ability was questionable.“I used to watch people like Richard Burton and Mel Gibson and think, ‘I could never do that.’ “When people ask me what my motivation is, I have a simple answer: Money.”

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  26. moe99 said on September 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Jeff: here’s corroboration of the book banning from a Wasilla native brave enough to provide name and email address:

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  27. coozledad said on September 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    I have nothing but the sincerest admiration for The Editors, and not a little awe, but he failed to mention that when the rats do start fucking themselves, they fuck like, er…rats.
    Putin/Palin: Alaska First!

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I may be wrong, but watching that darn movie twelve times in college i coulda sworn i had the chorus firmly fixed in memory:

    West bound and down, eighteen wheels rollin’,
    we’re gonna do what they say can’t be done —
    We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there,
    Oh I’m west bound, just watch old “Bandit” run.

    Eastbound woulda taken Bandit to Jacksonville, and no Coors distributor. Or did Jerry sing it both ways for each half of the movie? That i don’t recall . . . ah, 1977: Bandit and Han Solo the role models for 1,600 men in Cary Quadrangle, with Bluto our weekend example.

    I, personally, would hate to be vetted. It sounds painful.

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  29. Pam said on September 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Yes, but during her run for Miss Alaska, didn’t Sarah Palin express her desire to improve the world? Doesn’t that count for something? I remember her comments…

    “Harsher punishment for parole violators ….. oh, and WORLD PEACE!”

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  30. Dexter said on September 2, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I worked union and non, and of course union is better, at least in factory work, which was my career. I am in the UAW (retired) now. It’s pointless to argue with folks about rules of demarcation regarding skilled labor and non-skilled classifications until you see someone nearly killed by electricity who had no business even trying to be an electrician-for-a-job, or someone, untrained, kill a machinist by knocking over a high stack of parts with forklift , as the driver had no training.
    The bidding of jobs works well, with seniority ruling, for unskilled jobs which require a couple weeks of training.
    I was in Union Station, Chicago a few years ago; a massive project was going on. Men wore helmets of many colors, and vests , color-coded also. This was done so bosses and union stewards could monitor the work being done , done within the skill levels and classifications they had attained. I was impressed.
    I have horror stories of weekend unskilled guys firing up the welder machinery when no regular skilled welder classification holder was present and setting fire to a huge area containing cardboard packaging. This is just one example…you get the picture.

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  31. Dexter said on September 2, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    In case anybody cares, Gov. Jennifer Granholm ran across the Mackinac Bridge yesterday in her personal best time, a little over 35 minutes. That’s excellent time! My best was a walking time, 66 minutes. Granholm was the leader of the walk, and she chooses to run it instead of walking, with a group of people who win a special lottery for the privilege.

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  32. Jolene said on September 2, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Among the things that kill me about the Palin selection is seeing real Republican politicians–people who have long years of experience, knowledge of the world, knowledge of government, knowledge of a wide range of issues–having to defend her. They are clearly making it up. If I were one of them, I’d be really pissed about being put in that position. It seems well beyond the usual spin.

    On another topic, here’s Obama’s Labor Day speech in Milwaukee. Very relevant to jc’s point re caring what is going on w/ our neighbors. Shorter clips are available on YouTube, but I haven’t sorted through them. This is the whole speech.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Live blogging the Ron Paul do across the river from the RNC —

    This is getting regular updates, which i haven’t seen the NYT doing much of until recently: interesting reading.

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  34. alex said on September 2, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Some old GOP society matron just referred in a speech to the veep nominee as Sarah Pawlenty. Wonder what Freud would say about that?

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  35. basset said on September 2, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    “Hot Rod Lincoln,” at least the version we know, wasn’t Jerry Reed… it was by Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen, Commander Cody being a sculptor from Ann Arbor named George Frayne.

    someone else did it first back in the rockabilly days, don’t remember who though.

    and “Eastbound & Down” was indeed correct… the whole point of the movie was taking Coors to where there was none.

    Jeff, we were in college at about the same time… I remember one of my two roommates, the one from Iowa, walking in on the other two of us, southern Indiana hillbillies both, watching a Burt Reynolds movie through a ditchweed haze in our apartment on East 8th in Bloomington, yelling “Shit! I’m rooming with a couple of SOUTHERNERS!” and stomping out.

    he got over it.

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  36. Linda said on September 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Jolene, not everybody is drinking down the Kool Aid. Richard Brookhiser has had to field all sorts of indignant email about his opposition, and so has David Frum.

    I wonder if this will open up some honest talk from social conservatives about teen sex and pregnancy. I remember reading freerepublic threads in which the cervical cancer vaccine was called a “tramp shot” or a “slut shot,” that good daughters would never need. More than one poster said that their daughter would be a virgin when she married, and she would marry a virgin, too, so why would they need that? Now that “it” happened to the daughter of a conservative bigshot, I’m amused to see conservatives observe that such a thing “happens to everybody.”

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  37. alex said on September 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    The stiffs at this convention sure come across as a lot more, er, stiff. Guess they weren’t very well vetted either.

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  38. Linda said on September 2, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    But you can’t make bad educational decisions, sleep through high school, eschew college, and expect to make as much as a doctor by ratcheting the manifold on top of 4-cylinder engine for 20 years.

    Sorry. I apologize.

    But then again, I apologize for gravity too.

    I am a union member, and did NOT make bad educational decisions, etc. I am a librarian, and before we were unionized (20 years ago), the wages for librarians were so bad here that a guy I work with was once on food stamps. Staffers who had fallen out of favor could be harassed till they nearly had a breakdown, and were run off. The union has not only made wages better, but made work conditions more attractive and kept people in the library field. In the non-union place I worked down South, people would quit the library to work in insurance companies, or anywhere else, because they could not make a decent living as librarians.

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  39. coozledad said on September 2, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    They’ll be stiff enough later Alex, when they lay into the hookers and blow. And I hear Bob Dole has nailed the Viagra concession.
    I’d hate to be on call with the defibrillators in St. Paul tonight.

    The Republican Convention has always struck me as a terrible waste of mortician’s wax, anyway.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Don’t forget the Botox! (“waste of mortician’s wax” — now, that’s funny.)

    Basset, i grieve for your time spent on the banks of the Jordan while i learned alongside the Wabash in West Lay-flat. All the Chicagoans mocked Southerners there too, but they meant “south of US 30.”

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  41. alex said on September 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Banks of the Jordan. Amen, hallelujah!

    At IU, the Chicagoans and other furriners always were astounded to learn people from north of U.S. 30 were from Indiana, Jeff. You were judged by your twang, not just your bling.

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Well, in Valparaiso i was only blocks north of the Lincoln Highway (it’s called Lincolnway in Valpo), but i was still a Hoosier (still am, even in Ahia).

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  43. brian stouder said on September 2, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I canNOT see the Proprietress’s Video Notebook linked above, although I have tried and tried!! My conclusion is, it is just a cruel, cruel tease!

    Say – here is a link to the rest of the pics I snapped at the Obama visit to Fort Wayne last May (Nancy very graciously published several of them hereabouts back in May). It was a cookout, and we have noticed that most weekends the Obama campaign does one of these cookouts at key places around the country. If you get a chance to go to one, do so! I found the whole thing very compelling; it definitely strengthed my sense of connection to the Obama campaign – despite that some folks try and say that Obama can only speak well when there is a teleprompter in front of him (a flat lie).

    Now seems a good time to glance at them again (they are not in chronological order; Flicker befuddles me)

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  44. Calliope said on September 2, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Dwight says:

    “I can buy a bicycle manufactured in China and shipped half way around the world to my local Target cheaper than I can buy an American built bike — Oh wait. I can’t buy an American made bike. There are none. Sorry.”

    Not true. Here’s an incomplete list: Bike Friday bikes are made in Eugene, Oregon. (I own a Tikit, myself). Waterford, some of the finest steel frame bikes made, are made in Wisconsin. Cannondale’s low end bikes are foreign, the high end bikes are made in the U.S. Gary Fisher’s full suspension rigs are made here. Litespeed bikes are made in Tennessee. Seven Cycles are handmade in Watertown, MA. Trek’s Carbon frame bikes are made in the U.S. I believe Surly bikes are also US made. Yes, most bikes are made in Asia now. But there are no American made bikes? Horsepucky.

    I really can’t discuss the rest of Dwight’s post without the use of many profanities. I will say, however, that I am always awestruck and amazed at the disdain that so many modern conservatives have for the American worker. The stupidity is quite breathtaking. Did they learn nothing from Henry Ford? The man was a right bastard, but he understood that, for his company to prosper, his employees needed to be paid well enough to buy his products.

    Well, the american ‘consumer’ has run through his credit, and wages are falling. Who is going to buy all this asian made crap now? Good luck with that.

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  45. Jolene said on September 2, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the cookout pics, Brian. They reminded me of something I’ve been noticing in other pictures of Barack, which is that he seems very natural and warm when he is interacting with his children and even with other people’s children. There are other pictures that show this more clearly than these, but these are good too. It’s not so unusual, I guess, that innocence and sweetness overcome reserve, but it’s very appealing. Sappy, perhaps, but I love the way he wraps them up in his long arms.

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  46. Dexter said on September 3, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Calliope, very enlightening post, thanks.
    Levi “Sex on Skates” Johnson is in the clear, only because he lives in Alaska and not,say..oh, Ohio.
    Alaska’s age of consent is sixteen. He clears all legal hurdles.
    In Ohio, all professional people who became aware of Bristol’s pregnancy would have been required to report Levi Johnson as a child rapist. She’s 17, he’s 18. Only if he was 17 at conception could he be spared two years in the state penitentiary as a sex offender, and he would be in grave danger there as a sex offender.
    He probably would have served about 4 to 6 months lock-up time and the rest on probation.
    These cases are reported in detail in our local paper.
    Only if the prosecutor has reason to not prosecute will the perp be spared prison time.
    In Alaska, 16 year old girls are fair game if the male is 19 or younger.
    Different strokes for different folks.

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  47. Dexter said on September 3, 2008 at 1:27 am

    …wasn’t that something about Obama & Biden just informally popping in at Pier 32 Restaurant in Hamilton, Indiana a couple nights ago? My old co-worker Larry and his family and a friend’s wife were interviewed in the Auburn paper …can’t link it, it’s a pay to read deal.

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  48. Gasman said on September 3, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I did not “make bad educational decisions, sleep through high school, eschew college, and expect to make as much as a doctor by ratcheting the manifold on top of 4-cylinder engine for 20 years.”

    I am a doctor, (D.M.A., doctor of musical arts) and I have been a card carrying union member from the A.F.M., the American Federation of Musicians. (At present my card has lapsed because of some injuries that have kept me from playing professionally for a couple of years.)

    Your ignorance regarding unions is rather profound. I have worked for the same company in two different capacities; one union and one non. In the non union position I was salaried and worked from 12-18 hours per day with no overtime. In the union position I had maximum hours set, mandatory break time, union benefits, and no overtime unless it was negotiated and then the rates were clearly spelled out. Guess which one was a better gig? I have seen the benefits of a union and there is no way in hell that I would go back to the non-union side of things.

    Have there been excesses? Sure there have. There have also been gross excesses in the “free market” but that hasn’t stopped you from extolling its virtue.

    By the way, the market is not free unless all parties at the bargaining table have positions of relatively equal power. Not the case in third world countries. Also, “free market” is supposed to mean competition, not a market that is “free” from risk for cronies of the Republicans in power. I’m all for free markets if they are truly free and fair and if there is genuine competition, unlike the sweetheart deals for Haliburton.

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  49. MarkH said on September 3, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Brian, also on the obit list this past week, Phil Hill. As a fellow F1 aficiando, I’m sure you can appreciate:

    And, in the more obscure dept., “the voice”, Don LaFontaine.

    And, basset, it was Johnny Bond’s version in 1960:

    And (finally), moe99, many thanks for the link to Anne Kilkenny’s WI post about Palin. Please read it, all; it’s very well thought out and articulate, giving this McCain-leaning voter pause. Kilkenny doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind, other than she detests book-banning.

    Is it just me, or does her post make Palin look and sound like the Reese Witherspoon character in “Election”?

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  50. beb said on September 3, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Calliope writes: “Did they learn nothing from Henry Ford? The man was a right bastard, but he understood that, for his company to prosper, his employees needed to be paid well enough to buy his products.”

    I like to note that Ford was also experiencing something like 330% annual turnover of his work-force. He wasn’t just trying to get his workers to buy the cars they made, he was trying to buy some stability on his assembly lines.

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  51. brian stouder said on September 3, 2008 at 9:01 am

    There are other pictures that show this more clearly than these

    Jolene, you got THAT right! (didja like the ones where I cut the heads off of the nominee and his wife, but got a fuzzy pic of Malia?)

    Actually, the following picture made me laugh out loud, later on.

    (the Obama entourage is just arriving, and all heads are turned toward their approach…..except for the kid in the foreground, who is presumeably winning a video game on his DS!)

    Mark – thanks for the heads-up on Phil Hill; I hadn’t heard the news

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  52. Suzi said on September 3, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Moe, thanks for the Kilkenny tip, quite a story, just about how I pictured Palin. It’s on this site too:

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