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Labor Notes

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No, not the superb labor newspaper, just a few links with commentary.

1. Dave Johnson has an interesting post up (with many links) on the NLRB decision to speed up labor elections, noting the power of recess appointments. The deciding votes in this election were Obama’s 2 recess appointments. Craig Becker and Mark Pearce have led a number of important changes to the NLRB, making it a functioning board that gives labor an increasingly fair shake and infuriating Republicans. Yet Obama hasn’t learned the lesson of recess appointments despite the overwhelming obstruction to his appointments. Seemingly temperamentally opposed to angering Republicans who will never be placated no matter how much he caves, he has issued less than 40 recess appointments, as opposed to over 170 for Bush. Obama needs to use this power if he can’t get up and down votes on his appointments in order to not only help working people, but to govern effectively.

2. Joe Burns excerpts from his new book at In These Times, arguing that labor needs to resort to radical measures in order to revitalize the movement. Using the 1989 Pittston coal strike as an example, Burns argues:

For the labor movement to have any chance at reigniting the spark that was present back in the first part of the twentieth century, it must again develop into a fighting, grassroots force, capable of confronting corporate power. While many contemporary trade unionists continue to be stuck in a mindset that favors compromise and compliance over resistance and militancy, several labor conflicts of the last twenty-five years stand out for the tenacity of the union members involved, the level of rank-and-file activism, and the willingness to confront the system of labor control.

I don’t disagree. Pittston used all sorts of tactics, from blockades to sit-ins to violence. In the end, the UMWA succeeded. It was a great moment, though one labor as a whole didn’t learn enough from. After all, what does the labor movement have to lose at this point. As I argued during the Wisconsin protests, there is no reason for labor not to throw the kitchen sink into their organizing tactics. If you are going to go down, as even supposedly Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo seem to want, you might as well go down fighting and at least start building for the future. And more direct tactics may well inspire working-class people and young people to think of organized labor as representing their future and things spiral up from there. Optimistic, but possible.

However, I also think that while radical tactics, even including violence, have their place in the movement, it will take more than a single factor to reinvigorate labor. Burns knows this too, but there’s a lot of rhetoric from labor writers about doing this or that thing that will turn out the labor movement. I certainly agree that taking a more direct-action approach is absolutely an excellent idea. At the same time, we are a long time from 1937 when radicalism was well within the lived memory of most working-class people. Whether this would affect how working people responded to such tactics, I do not know, but it’s worth noting that we need a lot of labor education as well as part of the package to revitalize the labor movement.

In any case, I look forward to reading Burns’ book. Check it out.

3. We rarely see labor disputes with our own eyes these days. Strikes are so rare–I believe that at the present there is not a single strike going on in the United States. That’s amazing and depressing. But I am presently in the Hudson Valley of New York and there is a consistent presence at the entrance to Marist College in Poughkeespie over unfair labor practices. There’s not a lot of info about it online (which is unfortunate). However, if you Google “Marist College Labor Dispute” you can click on a PDF of a flyer claiming the Marist is undermining the Carpenters union by contracting with low-wage and benefit companies to undermine union labor. The campaign seems to be about embarrassing Marist though the lack of a proper website suggests the limitations of its implementation. Anyway, boo on Marist.

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  • chomko

    Re #3, it’s pretty much the exception that proves the rule, but we just saw a 12-hour wildcat strike Sunday/Monday in Philadelphia (halted by an injunction, of course, and by management delaying layoffs for a week). Local bakery (Amoroso’s) wants its drivers to take over their routes as independent contractors, only the drivers (Teamsters Local 463) aren’t biting.

  • Murc

    Even supposedly Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo

    A bit of a threadjack, but, well said, sir.

    It can’t be said enough that we can do better than Andrew Cuomo, who ran on union busting (during a recession) reducing state employee rolls (during a recession) and capping property taxes (which worked GREAT in California!).

    This is New York, dammit. The home of FDR, the state with some of the richest labor history in the U.S. We can do better.

    • gmack

      Continuing the threadjack: what Murc said. It was a pretty sad day when the major party candidates were Andrew Cuomo and Carl Fucking Paladino.

      • I may need to write a rant post against Cuomo. He is an embarrassment.

        • The vast majority of working people would be disgusted by murder and assault in employment disputes, and would be disgusted by academic cheerleaders for killing and injuring other working people. If you are going to play Trotskyite fantasies about the thirties, please keep yourself out of the actual labor movement.

          • wengler

            DNFTT.

          • Get bent, Pithlord.

            UA496 Plumbers and Pipefitters.

    • Norman.-..Thomas….

      DNFFT

  • c u n d gulag

    I went to college at Marist from ’76 to ’81 (hey, I wanted that extra year for more partying – it was a fun school).
    Back then, it was very much a blue collar college. Most of us who went there were the first in our families to go to college.

    I was an Adjunct there in the mid-late ’90’s, and it was no longer a blue collar college. The worst cars in the parking lots were the professors.

    If what I read is true, I’m very disappointed in my Alma Mater. But, it’s changed so much in the last 35 years, it’s unrecognizable, and, so, something like this is not at all unexpected. Just shameful…

    Shame on you, Marist!!!
    And shame on you, Dennis Murray, President of Marist since 1979, you fucking asshole. Dutchess County is a very depressed area, where people are desperate for jobs. You’ve been sitting on your fat ass in the same fucking chair for 32 years.
    I hope you get fired.

    I’d hold back any money if I was in any position to give any, or ever had.
    Now, I’m glad I never gave a fucking nickel.

  • c u n d gulag

    Oh, I forgot to add that Marist pays and treats its Adjunct’s like shit.
    I taught there for 5+ years because I loved the kids and the Department I worked in, not for the money.

  • I also think that while radical tactics, even including violence, have their place in the movement, it will take more than a single factor to reinvigorate labor.

    So violence in a labor dispute is just a matter of tactics with you. It’s OK to kill someone over health benefit disputes?

    Vicarious bloodthirstiness from tenured radicals never goes out of style apparently.

    In the early nineties, dozens of replacement worker miners (“scabs” to vicarious violence freaks like yourself) were murdered in the North West Territories in Canada. Their families are still around.

    I kind of wonder why Scott and Rob promote assholes like you.

    • richard

      I’m going to give Loomis the benefit of the doubt and assume that his endorsement of violence in labor actions meant destruction of property and not injury or death to humans. If, however, he endorses the latter, then I too am surprised, to put it mildly, that he has been asked to post here (on a nearly daily basis).

      • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

        Kinda takes the sting out of all the times Mr. Loomis has been excoriating other progressives, though.

        But let’s probe the distinction you raise a bit more. Are you suggesting that the people on the front lines of labor disputes, those whose violence is being endorsed, are receiving proper preparation and coaching about the limits of violence? And training on how to turn non-violent when those limits are reached? Or maybe they routinely check in with academics to make sure they aren’t crossing the line?

        I don’t find a partial, nuanced endorsement of violence very reassuring; please forgive my cynicism.

        • NBarnes

          “Behind every safe and stable social order stands the shadow of the executioner.”

          Violence is inescapable. Pretending otherwise is naive. Either the labor movement resists, violently if necessary, or they will be put down, violently if necessary.

          Among adults and given the history of the labor movement, this would be so self-evident as to be banal. But we’re not among adults here, so I’ll give you a chance to find your smelling salts and get up off your fainting couch.

          But keep the salts handy, the topic is broad and somebody may mention Joe Hill. Or Sacco and Vanzetti. Or any of the hundreds of people that have died in the US alone in the name of justice for working people.

          • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

            Right, so let’s abandon the pretense of partial, nuanced endorsement of violence.

            • No problem. If they send the Pinkertons to my picket line with clubs, my response will not be nuanced at all. Neither was my grandfathers, no, nor his father before him.

      • DocAmazing

        Yeah, the owners of Massey Coal are known for their reverence for life.

        I love the eternal call for unilateral disarmament by the kind of people Phil Ochs was singing about.

    • MPAVictoria

      “In the early nineties, dozens of replacement worker miners (“scabs” to vicarious violence freaks like yourself) were murdered in the North West Territories in Canada.”

      Cite?

    • Kal

      “So violence in a labor dispute is just a matter of tactics with you.”

      I don’t think you’re a pacifist, from what I remember, so I’m curious to hear what distinction of principle (vs tactics or strategy) is applicable here.

      Maybe it would help to talk about a more concrete case. Lets say you have a strike happening somewhere, and management is bringing in scabs, and strike leaders are considering forcibly blocking the entrance to the plant. We’re not talking about murder, but we’re not talking about simple civil disobedience, either; we’re talking about a serious effort to hold ground by means of barricades and, if necessary, blunt objects. Because we don’t want to consider tactical questions, let’s assume that strike leaders have good reason to believe 1) that they can actually hold the entrance, that the state will be unable or unwilling to force them aside, and 2) that relevant public opinion will back them. Do you believe the strikers have some sort of obligation to stand aside and allow the plant to be run by scabs? If so, why?

      (Note that labor relations have gotten considerably more violent than this hypothetical in the past in the US, and speaking for myself, I see no reason why, say, western miners in the early part of the 20th century were wrong to use lethal force to defend themselves against National Guard troops called out to attack them by murderously corrupt governors.)

    • “scabs” to vicarious violence freaks like yourself

      You see what he’s doing here?

      He’s making opposition to union-busting through the use of replacement workers appear disreputable by pretending that it is indistinguishable from murdering them.

      • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

        Nah, you’ve missed it.

        Advocacy of violence has something to do with what he finds indistinguishable.

    • dave3544

      If there’s a strike and there is the possibility of “violence,” management calls in the police. The police show up armed with clubs, TASERs, pepper spray, and guns. The obvious message being that if labor should use the tactic of violence – in any form, then management is more than ready to overwhelm and defeat them with violence.

      If labor is holding a protest as peaceful as can be, the police show up armed with all their weapons. Again, the message is clear.

      Lastly, anyone who thinks that it is labor and not the police – the tools of management (or “law and order,” if you will) who engage in random acts of violence in any of these types of disputes is sadly, sadly mistaken.

  • What, exactly, counts as a strike? (That’s a real question.) In addition to the case noted above, I’ve seen workers picketing (and in some cases keeping workplaces shut) several times in Philadelphia- mostly construction, mostly short-term (a day or so), in addition to seeing the big inflatable rat a few times at various places. I’d guess I’ve seen picketing (and no one working) 3 or 4 times in Philadelphia in the last two years.

    • This question of what constitutes a strike is a good question that I don’t have a very good answer for, given that I can see a lot of gray area here. I did read something today noting that the nation only saw 20 strikes total last year or something like that and that there were currently no strikes going on right now. But how precisely this deals with other sorts of pickets I don’t know.

      On that Marist flyer, it specifically said that this was not a strike or a call for any sort of work stoppage. They wanted to make very clear that they were not engaging in such a move. Could be for legal reasons, I’m not sure.

      • DrDick

        A formal strike involves a total work stoppage and a call for all other unions to respect the picket lines. I think that most of what we have been seeing is informational picketing without a work stoppage.

        • Rich C

          Right, and in construction in presumably means that the union would not be in a position to stop work, since a union contractor (for that particular trade) wasn’t hired.

  • wengler

    This post is interesting because it covers some of the territory of a discussion of ‘eco-terrorism’ on Democracy Now! today. Any sort of direct action these days might be subject to a federal terrorist enhancement that could turn trespassing and property destruction into life in prison.

    As for violence, I find it funny that commentators that casually endorse military destruction overseas are fainting society ladies when it comes to labor violence. Saying that it has a place doesn’t suggest endorsement. Instead it reminds everyone that US labor history has been horribly violent, with nearly all of it coming from anti-labor forces. Honestly, if the owners of this country don’t fear anything, they aren’t going to give you nothing. There is very little societal appreciation of reciprocity in this country, just take, take, take as much as you can. This attitude leads to dead miners and powerless, poverty-stricken workers.

    I think think the operative phrase here is that you wouldn’t have had a MLK without a Malcolm X.

    • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

      you wouldn’t have had a MLK without a Malcolm X.

      Eventually, we will be wise enough that our imaginations will encompass that possibility and we won’t actually need to instantiate future violent foils.

      • wengler

        Resistance to injustice will always take many forms. It is the structure of the society that determines how violent it will become.

      • DrDick

        Labor will renounce violence when management does, including the deployment of state sanctioned violence (police as strike breakers).

        • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

          As long as Labor isn’t saying they’re being violent to open a space for MLK to exist, we’re cool.

          • wengler

            You will recall that both MLK and Malcolm X shared the same fate. So did an number of others. The powers-that-be have a very comfortable relationship with violence.

            Direct action is the best bet. And the current system should be challenged in new unexpected ways. I see a lot of this happening overseas, but very little of it here. Instead I attend labor rallies where everyone is pissed off and wondering how the hell they are going to even hold on to what they have.

          • DrDick

            We are engaged in an asymmetrical class war here where the other side has the money and resources, as well as dominates the political and legal system. This means that whatever they do is legal, while labor actions are increasingly illegal (see Wisconsin).

            It is not just MLK, however. It is also Gandhi. Indeed there is a substantial body of evidence indicating that nonviolent social movements only succeed in the presence of much more violent alternative. Before you can create change, you have to get their attention. How much attention have nonviolent progressive protests gotten in the past decade?

            • DrDick

              To be clear here, I am not actively advocating violence, but rather positioning the place of violence in the labor (or any other social) movement. Violence clearly brings with it a whole suite of problems for those employing it in this manner, but it is often necessary (in conjunction with nonviolent means) to accomplish change.

            • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

              Before you can create change, you have to get their attention.

              If we are seeking the best ways to get attention, wouldn’t we want to murder members of the media, instead of relevant participants?

              If they are acting as foils to create space for MLK/Gandhi/etc, then who cares if it isn’t rational. In fact, that helps, right?

              =========

              I don’t understand how your argument doesn’t amount to an endorsement of the craziest mis-targeted violence possible. Who would need limits? Throw a scare into ’em!

              • DrDick

                First and foremost, “violence”=/=”murder”. There are many forms of violence far short of murder. Violence does not even necessarily mean violence against people. Also as dave3544 notes upthread, the corporate interests (generally represented by the police or even National Guard) are far more likely to initiate violence than labor is. I do not think that labor should simply lie down and let themselves be kicked without fighting back.

                • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

                  I understand the self-defense part.

                  As long as Labor isn’t saying they’re being violent to open a space for MLK to exist, we’re cool.

                  I am troubled by the “opening space for MLK” meme. It sounded for a moment like you were endorsing that. Did I get confused? My apologies.

                • Malaclypse

                  I do not think that labor should simply lie down and let themselves be kicked without fighting back.

                  I dislike unilateral disarmament. But on the other hand, it seems like the empirical endpoint of “violence is okay when labor does it, because they are fighting back” is escalated violence, which most often leaves the good guys the ones who are dead.

                  I also look at certain people who are okay with Libya, because this time it will be/is different, because our guy is in charge now [and the converse, Normy, who finds Libya awful, because this time it is not his guy in charge]. We all have impulses towards tribalism, and I wonder if finding violence to be acceptable, as long as we find the violent actor to be “one of us,” is not playing a part.

                • DrDick

                  Mal-

                  I am not a fan of violence and am not saying violence is desirable even on our side, only that sometimes it is necessary. As you indicate, unilateral disarmament is suicide.

                • DrDick

                  hv –

                  The point about MLK and Gandhi is that historically nonviolence has not been very effective in the absence of other more dangerous groups on the same side. If there is not someone else who is potentially much more destructive, non-violence generally gets you ignored, at best. That is not to say that this is, can, or should be a coordinated strategy. Just a historical observation.

                • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

                  DrDick, I apologize but I don’t even know what we are discussing/contesting anymore, and I am reluctant to put pixels in your mouth.

                  I understand the history; I am not sure which remark gave the impression that I didn’t. Further, this claim doesn’t in any way contradict history:

                  Eventually, we will be wise enough that our imaginations will encompass that possibility and we won’t actually need to instantiate future violent foils.

                  That’s where it all started, right?

                  Confused.

    • Anonymous

      He didn’t say that violence has had a place historically in labor struggles. He said that violence has a place in the movement, meaning without question the current movement. If he is claiming that the labor movement should use violence against people as a tactic, we should know that .

    • The whole idea of ecoterrorism is absurd as presently constructed. While such a thing is possible, a bunch of hippies burning a lot of SUVs or torching an unpopulated subdivision is not terrorism. If they started taking hostages, that’d be different. But this is a real convenient term for law enforcement prosecuting crimes against well-insured property as vigorously as possible.

      • Anonymous

        I agree that branding it as terrorism is ridiculous. But I definitely think there should be strong penalties against blowing up cars and burning down subdivisions no matter the motivation

        • wengler

          ‘Strong penalties’ is a very vague statement.

          Would you say that it should be destruction of property with full restitution and some time in jail, or should it be a full-on federal case with criminal conspiracy charges combined with a terrorist enhancement to make it multiple years in a SuperMax facility that is specially administered for terrorist convictions? Because that is where several ‘eco-terrorists’ are now for causing property damage to logging interests.

          • Anonymous

            Let me make it less vague. Up to ten years in federal prison..as I said I’m against calling this terrorism but I’m also against condoning the behavior. I also think it is a terribly ineffective strategy

            • But I definitely think there should be strong penalties against blowing up cars and burning down subdivisions no matter the motivation

              Up to ten years in federal prison

              I do not believe you’d support ten years in federal prison for some drunk hellraisers who decided that blowing up some cars in a used car lot or starting fires on construction sites was fun.

              I think you’re looking specifically at the motivation.

              • Malaclypse

                I believe the phrase “up to” was used. Not that I’m agreeing with Anonymous, but s/he did not say ten years in all cases.

                • richard

                  That what Anonymous (who was me posting from home) said -“up to ten years”. I would not want ten years for the isolated drunk incident. I would want ten years for somebody who repeatedly and deliberately did this act

  • The biggest hotel workers union in Hawai’i has staged several boycotts of the Hyatt Regency recently. I guess a boycott is of limited duration; striking may be something the union’s not prepared to do when tourism is down and its strike fund may be short.

    My first day on the job at a Waikiki hotel I was faced with a picket line by this same union back in 1990. It got what it wanted back then after about a three-week strike of the hotel I worked at and half-a-dozen others covered in the contract.

  • dave

    The notion that, under current cultural circumstances, strikers would be doing anything other than fucking themselves by resorting to overt violence, is the most worrying of all those hinted at above. In the end, it really isn’t about a confrontation of force between labor and bosses, because labor will lose – as it has lost, continuously, for the last 100 years. Such gains as it had, came from being positioned relative to forces in civil society and politics willing to accommodate demands for social justice.

    If, in the present epoch, such forces are relatively absent, and even if in the past they might have been created in part at least by wider fears of external socialism, they will not be recreated now by the violence of an isolated, minority, unionised working class in a world without that external threat. In the USA of the PATRIOT Act, such a movement would be squashed like a bug. One might retort that in some cases, violence is all you have, but then, unfortunately, you have nothing.

    • soullite

      Please, non-violence fetishists like you just don’t ever want people to commit violence. The idea that it has anything to do with concern over ‘effectiveness’ is simply concern-trolling by someone who things violence should remain a state monopoly.

      Plus, your scaremongering indicates that you know jack-all about the historic labor movement. They fought the police, they fought the army, it’s not like the powers that be didn’t attempt to ‘squash them like a bug’ before.

      • dave

        Oh fuck off you twat. Non-violence fetishist my arse. You’re really going to take on the security-industrial complex with a crowbar and a molotov cocktail? Or are you thinking of graduating to assault-rifles and C4? Who needs red-baiting when there’s idiots like you around to do it for them.

        • soullite

          Please, if the BS about the military having the capability to shoot the dick off a dog in San Diego from outer-space was actually true, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would have lasted all of three minutes.

          In real life, Americans have ready access to high powered rifles, each of which is capable of ripping through even the most advanced body armors in the world, which are not bullet-proof, but merely resistant to sidearm fire, and which are designed to stop shrapnel, not bullets. In real life, tanks can be knocked out by a stick of dynamite under a sheet of metal pressed into the proper shape, or by bulldozers (or several other bits of construction machinery). Crowbars and molotovs are primitive compared to what a clever person can whip up in their basement or buy at the local wal-mart.

          You think they weren’t out-armed in the olden days too? The real thing here is that you are overly comfortable and don’t really want change. Especially not if it means the rabble getting serious. That might hurt you and your cushy, over-privileged lifestyle. You’re fine with change, if it happens on your terms, which means it never happens. You are that great white moderate – the truest opponent of real change that has ever been or ever will be.

        • soullite

          You use the term ‘red-baiting’ like it has any meaning in 2011. It does however, reveal the fact that you’re more afraid of the made-up communists rattling around in that empty head of yours than you are of the real threats to the American way of life: Corporate domination and political corruption.

          It’s hard to believe that someone who talks like that ever had any kind of commitment to labor rights to begin with.

          As I said, your ignorance of labor history is obvious: You clearly think the old labor struggles didn’t involve shooting and blowing things up, despite the fact that they, you know, did. They were fought with rifles and dynamite, not crowbars. It wouldn’t be ‘graduating’,it would be a return to form, and there is no such thing as an ‘assault’ rifle. That is a completely made-up term. I bet you speak breathlessly of ‘automatic’ pistols too, as if there were any other kind.

          • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

            …there is no such thing as an ‘assault’ rifle. That is a completely made-up term.

            Wikipedia disagrees. As do at least references #7, #8, #9, & #10.

            In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:[7][8][9]
            It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (i.e. a buttstock);
            It must be capable of selective fire;
            It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
            Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine.
            And it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters (984 feet)

            and

            The US Army defines assault rifles as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges.”[10]

            • mark f

              Yeah, but short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges didn’t have a name before. Someone just completely made it up!

            • Hogan

              Wikipedia disagrees. As do at least references #7, #8, #9, & #10.

              Watch out there.

              • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

                It has improved both of those things!

          • Malaclypse

            I bet you speak breathlessly of ‘automatic’ pistols too, as if there were any other kind.

            Most often seen types of pistol are the single shot, revolver and semi-automatic.

            alternatively:

            I bet you speak breathlessly of ‘automatic’ pistols color television too, as if there were any other kind.

      • The idea that it has anything to do with concern over ‘effectiveness’ is simply concern-trolling by someone who things violence should remain a state monopoly.

        Phew! Good thing!

        Because if it was an actual argument about efficacy, you might have to think about it rationally. Maybe even come up with a response to it.

        • mark f

          You just need to read up on the olden days, when burly men armed with automatic pistols (as if there’s any other kind!) and The Anarchist’s Cookbook lassoed their bulldozers and created the Workers’ Paradise that advocates of gay rights have squandered away.

  • “I believe that at the present there is not a single strike going on in the United States.”

    Um, not hardly. In Chicago, quite notoriously, there has been a strike going on at the famous Congress Hotel for eight bloody years now. It’s the longest hotel strike in American history. Management took away all the workers’ benefits and cut their pay down to minimum wage, but the workers still bravely carry on the struggle, even after all these years.

    The Congress Hotel occupies prime real estate along Michigan Avenue in the Loop and the daily picket lines have come to seem like a permanent fixture in Chicago’s landscape. As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama joined the picket line. Last week was the 8th anniversary of the strike, and the union involved, UNITE HERE Local 1, held a rally outside the hotel that attracted hundreds, in spite of the pouring rain.

    You can read more about the strike here:
    http://goo.gl/9nVcZ

  • Malaclypse
    • wengler

      Jesus Christ that was winger-level stupid.

      • Malaclypse

        No, winger-level stupid is “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your cell phone milk frother and your car egg separator and your HDTV Kammenstein magnetic spice rack and your large house pink Himalayan salt.” What MY wrote is “even-the-liberal-[insert center-right pundit name here]-level toadying.

        On balance, I find McMegan’s stupidity worse than Yglesias’ toadying.

        • Malaclypse

          Did the moderation standards change? Does a perfectly good word like “toady” trigger it?

          • Hogan

            Let’s see if “lickspittle” gets through . . .

          • This is ridiculous – astonishingly dumb hv

            I think mixing html tags into the link might be the cause?

        • wengler

          My microwave is a tool of counter-revolutionary forces!

        • Malaclypse

          On balance, I find McMegan’s stupidity worse than Yglesias’ toadying.

          I meant to say I find MY more offensive than McMegan. I blame my shiny i-phone, which totally makes up for my more expensive health coverage, for the distraction.

          • mark f

            Does this qualify as stupid or toadying?

            [A] constituent from a town hall meeting . . . reportedly said that the falling price of iPads doesn’t offset the increased price of food because “I can’t eat an iPad.” Which is true. But [when] entertainment get cheaper then you have more money left over for bananas.

            I don’t know if it’s either. It’s just sort of perverse.

            • Malaclypse

              I don’t know if it’s either.

              I think that what it is, is a complete and total inability to grasp what real poverty is.

              • Malaclypse
              • mark f

                Real poverty is only being able to afford discounted brown bananas after splurging for Yglesias-recommended labor songs on iTunes.

    • mark f

      Shifting goal posts, non-sequiturs and flaccid humor. That is some truly Jonah Goldbergesque work.

  • Marek

    I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Burns give a presentation on his book a few weeks ago. I recommend the book highly.

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  • Anonymous

    labor notes is a socialist rag that prints anything but the truth steve downs is a moron

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