Category: Robert Farley
Couple of points of interest:
@drfarls Professor, you spend a lot of time trying to prove you’re smarter than writers for better-known blogs.
— Edward McClelland (@TedMcClelland) April 16, 2013
See Travis Waldron for a more effective demolition of McClelland’s argument, scoring with this:
Arguing that the reserve clause was a good thing that might need to make a comeback isn’t just the ultimate #slatepitch, it also undermines everything McClelland seems to be in favor of in the labor-business dynamic.
2. Over at the Diplomat I give a little bit of thought to the Kuril Island dispute:
Russia has actually displayed a greater degree of flexibility regarding the Kurils than either Korea or China have with respect to their own claims, despite the fact that parts of the disputed Russia-Japan territory are populated, fortifiable, and strategically important. This last characteristic is particularly relevant given that the Russian Pacific Fleet’s need for easy access to the Arctic is only likely to grow in the future.
Perhaps the lesson is that genuine, consequential, strategic issues are more tractable than the sort of symbolic questions that govern the disputes over the Diaoyous/Senkakus and Dokdos? Because Russia needs access to the Pacific, and because (with the future opening of the Arctic) it may need this access even more in the future, it also feels the need to maintain tolerable relations with Japan. Tokyo, which has less at stake strategically, can feel free to concentrate on symbolic issues.
So sure, this doesn’t look good.
But maybe it was a bad breakup, and maybe he never had a chance to pick up his stuff when the bad stuff happened, and maybe she wouldn’t let him in to come and get it, and wouldn’t even look for his record collection, which had an original edition of Procul Harum’s Procul Haram signed by Gary Brooker, and she said that she couldn’t find it but why would you ever believe her and anyway she wasn’t supposed to be home and he didn’t want to see her anyway because things went down kinda public, and….
Okay, so it doesn’t look good.
This was tough to get through:
Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do—and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five—spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares like the one run by Jessica Tata. In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian.
The last few paragraphs are killers; the Obama plan for universal pre-K is affordable, insufficient, and likely politically impossible.
- Our thoughts are with anyone injured in the bombing.
- Initial reports are very likely to be wrong; this is inevitable, and does not mean that a conspiracy is afoot.
- If you want to know more about what’s going on, you shouldn’t be here.
On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, Matt speaks with Brent Sasley about the Emergency Committee for Israel:
Edward McClelland has been thinking very hard:
The deregulation of the American economy that began in the 1970s has increased the salaries of professional athletes enormously while reducing those of blue-collar workers. In 1975, pitchers Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos appealed to arbitrator Peter Seitz to strike down baseball’s reserve clause and allow them to sell their services to the highest bidder. The Seitz decision, which was upheld by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, began the era of free agency in professional sports. After increasing arithmetically for the first three-quarters of the century, salaries rose geometrically during the past 25 years of the 1900s and have continued to balloon in the 2000s.
Because the reserve clause was eliminated at the insistence of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Seitz decision is considered a victory for organized labor. It wasn’t. It was a victory for the laissez-faire marketplace.
Labor unions are cartels that increase their members’ salaries by bargaining collectively, thus winning a more lucrative contract than workers could negotiate on their own. Baseball players are entertainers with specialized skills. They didn’t start earning their true market value until they were allowed to negotiate individually with owners—the antithesis of collective bargaining.Marvin Miller, the former United Steelworkers of America economist who became executive director of the MLBPA, was a talent agent, not a labor boss.
I would like to suggest that the connection between striking down the reserve clause and the stagnation of American blue collar wages is… murky. What follows is a long discussion of how perturbed McClellan is that Alex Rodriguez is paid a lot of money by the tremendously wealthy, successful businessmen who own the New York Yankees. Thinking about this makes him sad:
As baseball players accumulate plutocratic riches (Rodriguez will have earned a third of $1billion by the time his contract expires), I find myself wondering why I’m supposed to cheer for a guy earning $27.5 million a year—he’s already a winner. When I was 11, I hero-worshipped the Tigers’ shortstop because I could imagine growing up to take his place. Obviously, that’s not going to happen now. Since my past two jobs disappeared in the Great Recession, I can’t watch a professional sporting event without thinking, Most of those guys are set for life, while I’ve been buying my own health insurance for 5 1/2 years…. I know we’re never going back to the days when Willie Mays lived in Harlem and sold cars in the offseason, but the market forces that have overvalued ballplayers’ skills while devaluing mine have made it impossible for me to just enjoy the damn game.
Here’s the thing; while there are obviously problems associated with determining the “value” of the skills of professional athletes, it’s not at all obvious that Alex Rodriguez is overvalued, or that Willie Mays was appropriately valued. Compensation, obviously, depends on how law and organizational rules structure the ability of owner and worker to negotiate; changes in those rules can have dramatic effect on how much players get paid. I don’t know why people still need to point out that investment in Justin Verlander isn’t irrational if the Tigers win, the owners make money, and franchise value increases.
McClelland is unhappy that he has to pay for health insurance, and has determined that the solution is a set of rules that arbitrarily suppress the value of extremely skilled workers. Such rules will be of no direct material benefit to McClelland, although they’ll surely make billionaire team owners happy; perhaps McClelland hopes that elaborate demonstrations of fealty to these billionaires will land him a more lucrative position.
[SL]: This seems to be the “logic” that buttresses a lot of anti-union sentiment, but once again money generated by professional sports that doesn’t go the player does not then go to teachers or cancer researchers or starving orphans — it goes to (generally obscenely wealthy and lavishly taxpayer-subsidized) owners. If you find yourself longing for the good old days where the almost all of the money generated by the labor of players stayed with the owners, you really need to think harder. (I’m guessing that McClelland is one of those guys who thinks it’s a massive scandal when someone buys an SEC QB a pair of shoes.)
[EL]: Whenever you see someone write, “Labor unions are cartels that increase their members’ salaries by bargaining collectively,” you can pretty much assume that they don’t know what labor unions actually do or why they exist.
The following is a guest post by Dr.KennethNoisewater, who you may remember from such logo artwork as our own. Enjoy!
I recently read a fun article at The A.V. Club called “Shitty Miracles,” which refers to projects so stunningly bad one wonders how they were ever greenlighted. The staff of A.V. Club seemed to have so much fun recalling their “favorite” shitty miracles, I thought I’d give it a go myself.
Since “The Room” was mentioned in the Q&A I decided not to discuss it here. Besides, “The Room” is not shitty. It is unbelievably wonderful, a transcendent movie-going experience. If you looked up the phrase “so bad it’s good” in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of Tommy Wiseau winking impishly.
So I’m stuck picking another, erm, winner. And that has to be the 2008 remake of the 1939 classic, “The Women.” Now, the original “Women” is one of my favorite, if not my straight-up favorite film of all time. It is a fast-paced, fast-talking, funny, snarky, silly, feminist (in its own twisted, antiquated way) film about an extremely privileged woman who’s dealing with her beloved husband’s infidelity and her circle of friends’ reaction to her turmoil.
If the original “Women” was sparkly, chilled champagne, the remake is a bottle of Peach Riunite that was left in the sun. It has no bubble, no verve and might make you throw up.
- The casting. It was terrible all-around, but special mention must go to the casting director who’s answer to “Get me a smart, snarky, jaded, single writer” was “I know–Jada Pinkett-Smith!” Not Aisha Tyler. Not Janeane Garafolo. Not Margaret Cho. Jada fucking Pinkett. What’s worse, was that the character was inexplicably made into a lesbian apparently so she could stand around being lesbian and saying lesbianish things like “Hey, that woman who’s banging your husband sure is hot.” I do give the writers credit for not having her wax poetic about trips to the Home Depot, but this movie is such a huge mish-mash of moronic non-sequitors, they probably had to stop somewhere.
- At one point the twiggy tween daughter (who worries about being fat) talks about her father finding her mother’s “coming into her own” sexy. Daughters talking about their mother’s being sexy is dead creepy. Full stop.
- At not one, but two, points in the film, the extraordinarily annoying Sylvia character has over-earnest, goofy, feminist primer sessions with the possibly-more-annoying tween. Feminism is awesome. Talking to young girls about feminism is also awesome. Doing it in a clunky, dated, “where the hell did that come from?” way is not awesome. Oh, and the 1990′s called and it wants its feminist issues back. PLUS, I’m a liberal, not a wingnut. I don’t need my films to be rife with smarmy, obvious propaganda that confirms my worldview.
- The original film nods earnestly–albeit quickly–to the main character’s privilege. And somehow the the time period of the film makes the first world problems of these women seem less irritating. Not so for the remake. Somehow the idea of these thoroughly unappealing women pondering love and loss and how hard it it is for a tough-talking rich woman to get by in the magazine business kind of makes me want to vomit. I simply don’t care. Honestly, the movie would have been better if they had all click-clacked their way in their Manolos–or Jimmy Choos or whatever the hell idiots wear these days– into the middle of the street and had all been run over by trucks. Also, “Sex and the City” wants its…everything… back. (Although, to be fair, SATC was occasionally funny and goodness knows the “Women” remake didn’t steal that from it.)
The 2008 remake of “The Women” is like what chunky vomit would be if it were a visual medium. #WhoFuckingGreenlightedThis?
— Dr.KennethNoisewater (@vacuumslayer) April 3, 2013
I don’t know how the film managed take everything that was good about the original film–its crisp dialogue, its amazing cast, its catty humor– and turn it on its head. So instead of a soapy treat about women and their relationships, you get the treat of watching a horribly mis-cast, humorless pile of shit with leaden dialogue and feminist propaganda disguised as a meandering plot.
Feminism is great. I am proudly and rabidly feminist. The most feminist aspect of “The Women” is it that features no men. If you don’t understand the visual and psychological impact of that, you have no business remaking the film.
P.S. : WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHITTY MIRACLE?