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Imagine If Those Greedy Players Were Getting Paid!

[ 26 ] September 23, 2014 |

In addition to the comedy, I’d just like to note that (presumably non-premium) Michigan football tickets have a face value of 75 smackers. But don’t kid yourself, when professional owners take money from the players, they’ll totally slash ticket prices, scout’s honor!

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This Day in Labor History: September 23, 1969

[ 18 ] September 23, 2014 |

On September 23, 1969, President Richard Nixon issued the Philadelphia Plan, forcing building trades unions to allow black members into their ranks. Nixon did this believing that it would show him as a strong civil rights president without having to do very much to give in to the more radical demands of the civil rights movement. More importantly to Nixon, he saw it as a way to undercut organized labor, creating a coalition of African-Americans and Republicans against racist unions. Opponents of the new principle of affirmative action immediately sued to kill the new policy, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its favor in 1971 and the Supreme Court rejected the appeal. Affirmative action was introduced into federal hiring practices for the first time.

A central tenet of the civil rights movement, and an underrated one in the popular memory of the movement, was equality at work. In the 1960s, the construction unions in Philadelphia, as they were nationwide, were almost exclusively white. These were good paying working-class jobs and also bastions of economic discrimination. African-American citizens in Philadelphia began organizing in 1967 to integrate construction work. This organizing eventually led to federal attention. In June 1969, a Nixon advisor announced the plan, including specific numerical goals, to the unions of Philadelphia. On September 23, Nixon made it federal policy through his secretary of labor, George Shultz.

The Philadelphia Plan required that 6 Philadelphia area building trades create numerical “goals” for integrating their locals if they wanted to receive federal contracts. White construction workers around the country opposed this idea. They did so for a variety of reasons. Overt racism drove many, but it’s also important to remember that the building trades had developed traditions of passing jobs down to family members. Setting affirmative action targets meant that for every African-American granted a job, someone’s son or cousin or nephew was not getting a job. They also thought they had worked hard to rise in the world and believed that this was the government letting a special class of people equal them without working. Of course, racism also infused these last two reasons, not to mention the mental gymnastics it took to talk about how you worked so hard to get your job compared to these blacks when it was your dad who secured it for you.

For the building trades therefore, being forced to integrate was seen as a direct attack on the white male enclave they had created. This hard hat anger at the overall tenor of social and cultural change became manifested in the Hard Hat Riot of 1970, an event that unfortunately created a stereotype of unions hating hippies even though this was just a couple of building trades locals in New York. In Pittsburgh and Chicago, construction workers held sizable anti-integration rallies. In the former city, 4000 construction workers rallied when the city government halted all contracts to negotiate with African-Americans demanding integrated work. AFL-CIO head George Meany strongly criticized the plan, siding with his building trades over the civil rights movement that always had a complex relationship with organized labor.

Southerners in Congress immediately attempted to not fund the program. Led by North Carolina senator Sam Ervin and West Virginia senator Robert Byrd, they hoped to kill it in its infancy and stuck a rider onto a bill funding relief for Hurricane Camille to do so. But the order survived after Nixon threatened to hold Congress in session over Christmas to pass the bill. Now, Nixon had little interest in strong enforcement of the plan. He certainly didn’t care about actually integrating these locals. Nixon used the Philadelphia Plan to defend himself when his administration’s civil rights record was attacked, as it often was. Nixon also hoped it would undermine union control over construction labor by creating non-union but integrated competitors to the unions. Many civil rights leaders saw through Nixon’s ploy, claiming he was doing virtually nothing here but to try and split the Democratic Party coalition. This was of course, correct. John Ehrlichman bragged about this very thing. And in fact, Nixon was angry that labor and civil rights groups had teamed up to defeat his nomination of Clement Haynesworth to the Supreme Court and splitting these two groups was a top political priority.

And in fact, real progress in desegregating construction work was very slow, in no small part because Nixon did virtually nothing to push the integration of construction after the Philadelphia Plan’s approval. In 1971, Nixon advisor Chuck Colson successfully weakened the plan’s enforcement and by this point, Nixon himself had no interest in the subject in the face of his coming reelection campaign and domestic political concerns about inflation. By 1971, Nixon realized the real political power was in white resentment, not civil rights. and that ended his interest in pursuing the implementation of the Philadelphia Plan. This move allowed many building trades and other conservative unions to support Nixon in 1972, with the AFL-CIO withholding support for George McGovern. Much had changed in three years.

When the courts did enforce integration, white workers hazed black workers and just refused to work with them. With this level of resistance, the federal government turned more toward voluntary desegregation programs without enforcement. Ultimately, the political will was not there to create widespread integration of the building trades. Yet the Philadelphia Plan did advance affirmative action as federal policy and so I guess Nixon deserves a certain amount of credit for this, even if he did it for crass political reasons. It brought the principle of specific numerical goals into affirmative action, the dreaded “quotas” conservatives of the 90s loved to talk about as they were largely rolling them back through the courts.

I drew on a number of historical works for this post, including Joshua Freeman’s article “Hardhats: Construction Workers, Manliness, and the 1970 Pro-War Demonstrations,” from the Summer 1993 issue of the Journal of Social History, Kevin Yuill’s Richard Nixon and the Rise of Affirmative Action, Dean Kotlowski’s Nixon’s Civil Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy, and Trevor Griffey’s “‘The Blacks Should Not Be Administering the Philadelphia Plan’: Nixon, the Hard Hats, and ‘Voluntary’ Affirmative Action,” in Goldberg and Griffey, ed., Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry.

This is the 119th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

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Syria!

[ 162 ] September 22, 2014 |

So now we’re bombing Syria, in a way we never imagined we might be bombing Syria!

Oh, how the world turns. I realize that I should have a stronger opinion on all of this, both on political and professional grounds. I suppose on both the campaign leaves me feeling cold; it should be fairly clear by this point that there is always the potential for someone worse than the people we’ve decided to bomb at a given moment. I’m also deeply skeptical that either the Kurds, the FSA, the Syrian Army, or the Iraqi Army will be able to take advantage of the airstrikes to do anything very useful against ISIS, although the attrition factor will probably wear on the group over time.

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First Rule of Witch Club: You Must Have Fabulous Hair

[ 78 ] September 22, 2014 |

There are very few occasions when I have a sizable chunk of time to myself these days. When I do, I sometimes take the opportunity to binge-watch a show that’s captured my attention. Yesterday I finally got to delve into the second season of ” Witches of East End.”  I’m proud to have season one under my belt!

Anyway, here’s the scoop: “Witches of East End” is a treat. A very frothy, light, sweet treat. It’s got just enough thrills and laughs to keep it from veering into daytime drama territory and the acting is good enough to elevate the stories and characters (which may seem familiar but not annoyingly cliched).

Want to get a handle on what the show is like? Think “True Blood” but without the horribly muddled politics, a prettier cast, a prettier locale, less intense sex and less blood spatter. The setting is gorgeous (set in an idyllic Northeastern coastal town, filming was done in Wilmington, NC and Vancouver, British Columbia) and the set design is nothing less than sublime; I’m completely obsessed with the witches’ enormous, artfully-cluttered Victorian home.

“Witches of East End” is about two young women who find out they’re part of a family of witches. When their devil-may-care aunt arrives and shapeshifter begins terrorizing their mother their lives are completely upended. Add in some scandalous past lives and a love triangle that’s not exactly what it seems (although I guessed from the start what was up because I am the smartest person in the universe) and I think we all know what’s going to ensue. If you guessed “kookiness” you are correct and get a year’s supply of anal lube and this basin of male tears I’ve been collecting for the past week.

Reading fan comments, I wanted to riff on the show’s most controversial elements:

Joanna (mom witch): Julia Ormond’s not-quite-American accent takes serious getting used to but I think she brings a gravitas to the role that is very appropriate for a character that’s supposed to be at once nurturing and extraordinarily powerful. In the end, I really really enjoy her in the role.

Freya (hot, booby, love-triangle Daughter): Apparently some fans find her “woe is me I’m torn between two amazing lovers” shtick really grating, but I think Jenna Dewan Channing is so incredibly winning in the role, I don’t mind her at all. In fact, I kinda love her. She’s perfect in the as the beautiful,  open-hearted wild child.

Aunt Wendy (cool, crazy aunt you will never be so don’t even try witch): Surprise! Wendy was created by the show’s creators; she was not a part of  inspirational books. Surprise two! EVERYBODY likes Aunt Wendy. And why wouldn’t you?–SHE’S. AWESOME. Madchen Amick took the role and ran with it–she’s having so much fun, you can just tell.

The Infamous Love Triangle: *Sigh* So many feels. I give the author/writer props for making the “nice guy” in the triangle something other than the boring guy who’s face we’re supposed to stomp on on our way to the dangerous “bad boy.” Dash Gardiner is not just the “good guy,” he’s genuinely good. (But maybe not as good as we thought he was. SO MANY FEELS!) Problem is the writers did such a good job driving home the idea that Dash is handsome, successful, loving and kind (at least to his fiancé, Freya) that he is now more compelling than his brother, the “bad boy.” And then there’s the fact that the bad boy, Killian, simply doesn’t register as that bad to me. He’s not brooding enough, he’s not tortured enough. He’s good-looking, sure. I like his looks more than Dash’s. But I just like Dash better. I know there’s more to the story–who knows?…maybe Dash is the end game. But right now the writers are making it pretty clear Freya and Killian are star-crossed lovers, destined to be together in the end. It’s for that reason I wish I liked Killian more or liked Dash a whole lot less. Right now I am very much TEAM DASH and I’m pretty sure that’s not the winning team. That being said, I very much look forward to seeing what’s in store for the character. (And every other character.)

So here’s to season two. Won’t you watch with me?

 

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Alinsky! Alinsky! Alinsky!

[ 78 ] September 22, 2014 |

[Relevant background.]

Stanley Kurtz is excited about the Hillary Clinton/SAUL ALINSKY connection, and did I mention that it involved Saul Alinsky?

Alinsky’s original quarrel with the young radicals of the 1960s, which Hillary alludes to in her letter, was over the New Left’s tendency to make noise rather than get things done. Working effectively, Alinsky believed, requires ideological stealth, gradualism, and pragmatic cover. In his day, Alinsky took hits from more openly leftist ideologues for his incrementalist caution, as Obama and Hillary do now. Yet he was no more a centrist than his two most famous acolytes are today.

[...]

During her time in Arkansas, Hillary may seem to have moved to the center. The Rose law firm, after all, was nothing like Treuhaft, Walker, and Burnstein. It was an establishment law firm representing the most powerful economic interests in the state. With the help of Dick Morris, moreover, Hillary took on the Arkansas teachers’ unions from the right as she led Bill’s education initiative during his final governorship. In retrospect, all of this was largely pragmatic positioning. When Hillary finally got to the White House and assumed the co-presidency, she veered sharply back to the left on a whole range of issues, especially Hillarycare.

The same pattern will repeat itself should Hillary be elected president. Hillary has never abandoned her early leftist inclinations. She has merely done her best to suppress the evidence of her political past, from barring public access to her thesis on Alinsky during her time in the White House, to papering over the significance of her internship at Treuhaft, Walker, and Burnstein, to pretending that she turned away from Alinsky after her undergraduate years, when in fact she brought his methods and outlook into the heart of her political work. Her strategic preference for polarization and targeting enemies is well documented from her time in the White House, even, or especially, by sympathetic writers such as Bernstein.

Let’s leave aside the ridiculous idea that Hillary Clinton has some kind of revolutionary goals. Even according to Kurtz’s own analysis, it doesn’t matter. If you’re committed to incrementalism and pragmatism, whether you end goal is moderate liberalism or the public ownership of the means of production, you will govern as a moderate liberal and sometimes to the right of that. Like, er, Barack Obama. But, in conclusion, ALINSKY!

Kilgore has more.

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SEK on Graphic Policy Radio tonight! Call in and heckle him! Tweet mean stuff!

[ 20 ] September 22, 2014 |

I’ll be on Graphic Policy Radio again tonight discussing Fox’s new Batman-related show Gotham. The show begins at 10 p.m. EST and you’re more than welcome to call in, tweet at me, or drop me a line on Facebook if you have something you’d like to add to the program — or if you’d just like heckle or berate me. The choice is yours!

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DF-21D

[ 32 ] September 22, 2014 |

My latest at the National Interest takes a look at the Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile:

The DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has generated a tremendous amount of interest over the past five years. If it works, it poses a very serious threat to U.S. Navy (USN) carriers, as well as to the other advanced warships of the USN, of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, and others.

This is an expansion and revision of an old LGM post.

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Foreign Entanglements: Brutes and Burning Man

[ 2 ] September 22, 2014 |

On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, Ed Carpenter and I talk about misogyny in the military, and Burning Man:

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This Day in Labor History: September 22, 1862

[ 99 ] September 22, 2014 |

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared slaves in all parts of the U.S. in rebellion free on January 1, 1863 if they did not rejoin the United States. While not a complete abolition of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation signaled slavery’s death knell and is one of the most important presidential acts in U.S. history. It also made taking away the labor system that led the South to secede from the Union away from its leaders, undermining the economic stability of an already beleaguered rebellion.

While Lincoln abhorred slavery personally, as president, he was very cautious about acting against it. There were several reasons for this. First, he had campaigned on the idea that slavery was recognized in the Constitution for the states and the real battle was in the territories. Given the intense hatred of Lincoln from the Democrats who were still a real force in many states after 1861, including the political powerhouse of New York, such a reversal of his campaign rhetoric would have been hard to imagine. Second, Lincoln was very nervous about what millions of free blacks would mean for the country. Could they live together in peace? Even into the war, Lincoln was toying with colonization schemes to send slaves back to Africa. Third, Lincoln’s biggest problem other than the rebellion itself was keeping the border states in the Union. Baltimore had to be placed under martial law while Kentucky had “neutrality” that needed to be respected. Freeing the slaves would have just stirred up more anger in those states and perhaps made it impossible to keep them from seceding. Finally, Lincoln consistently deluded himself, to the point of his death, that the majority of the white South really wanted to be part of the Union and so tried to give them incentives to rejoin. Freeing the slaves would have made that impossible.

On the other hand, African-Americans, north and south, knew what the war was about. While many in the North were trying to say it wasn’t about slavery per se, like southern whites, African-Americans never had any question of the stakes. Frederick Douglass and other northern black leaders urged Lincoln to immediately emancipate the slaves and organize black regiments for the Army. Perhaps more importantly, slaves themselves took advantage of nearby U.S. troops, fleeing to the military. Generals such as Benjamin Butler quickly recognized the potential of taking away the South’s labor force and turning that into a Union labor force. But Lincoln, nervous about the effects of making this an official policy on his plans to lure the South back into the Union, originally rejected the idea.

By mid 1862, Lincoln began to change his mind about the expediency of freeing slaves. The situation in the border states was more secure, with the ardent secessionists now significantly outnumbered by unionists. Congress pushed him on this, passing in March 1862 a law barring the military from returning escaped slaves to their owners. Still, Lincoln decided to avoid Congress and issue the proclamation as Commander in Chief, thus avoiding a tense debate and possible rejection. Lincoln wanted a major victory by Union forces before he issued it so it didn’t look desperate. Unfortunately, he had George McClellan as his commanding general, which meant that no major victories was likely. With the partial victory at Antietam a few days earlier as good as Lincoln was going to get, he decided this was the time.

14disunion-img-blog427

Currier and Ives print on Lincoln using the Emancipation Proclamation to crush the rebellion

The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in areas of the South under rebellion on January 1, 1863. People criticize Lincoln today for the partial nature of the Emancipation Proclamation and for the fact that it provided immediate freedom for no one. For slaves in the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, not to mention the subjugated areas of the Confederacy like parts of Tennessee, slavery did not end at the beginning of 1863. The morally pure thing to do was to free all the slaves immediately. Certainly that is what Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison demanded. And yes, it mandated the Union actually win the war for the slaves to be freed instead of freeing the slaves it actually had control over. But the partial nature of the proclamation was political genius. No, it didn’t free anyone. On the other hand, it made the ending of slavery in the Confederacy official federal and military policy. And slavery simply could not survive in Kentucky if it was ended in Mississippi. Plus it gave a moral reason to fight the war, one with increasing importance as soldiers who might have been racist but had never personally witnessed slavery were outraged when they went to the South and saw the horrors of this labor system first hand. When combined with the doctrine of free labor that already drove Republican policy, the eradication of slavery becoming central to the war effort was both morally correct and politically savvy.

It’s not as if word about the Emancipation Proclamation immediately spread around the South. But as rumors leaked out, slaves began fleeing by the thousands to Union lines. By 1865, this would have a severe impact upon the plantation economy. Booker T. Washington remembered the day the Emancipation Proclamation became knowledge at his home:

As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom…. Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.

On the other hand, Democrats were outraged. Horatio Seymour, running for governor of New York and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in 1868, called it, “a proposal for the butchery of women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, and of arson and murder, which would invoke the interference of civilized Europe.” But in fact, Europe largely approved of the move, although the commonly held myth that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to keep Europe from recognizing the Confederacy is significantly overstated and was only a minor factor in its existence or its timing.

By June 1865, 4 million slaves would be free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation.

We see the Emancipation Proclamation as a key moment in the African-American freedom struggle, and for good reason. But it’s also an absolutely central moment in American labor history because it was the decisive moment when the nation officially rejected the system of slave labor that had built so much of the antebellum country.

This is the 118th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

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The Winger Cliche Machine

[ 86 ] September 22, 2014 |

Andy McCarthy is amazing:

At National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy criticized “tendentious ‘sports journalists,’ the majority of whom are decidedly left of center, are much less guarded about their hostility to conservatives than their fellow progressives on the political beat.” He gave exactly one example of this: ESPN allowed its own correspondent, Kate Fagan, to speak on the issue. (Fagan also writes for espnW, which McCarthy told us is “where the network focuses on women in sports and, seamlessly, on political and social matters that the Left has successfully branded ‘women’s issues.’”)

Fagan, as the taped interview shows, said the issue was bigger than Ray Rice, and she wanted the NFL to “throw the kitchen sink at domestic violence,” which meant in her opinion going into schools and “talking to young men about dealing with anger about how they treat women: I think that’s where you’re going to see change… going into the school systems and the younger spaces and really reprogramming how we raise men.”

This McCarthy took to mean that “boys would be instructed that differentiating men from women breeds domestic violence,” and that was “how radical ideas — like the Left’s war on boys — get mainstreamed.” He proposed instead that we focus on “the breakdown of the family, the scorn heaped on chivalry, the disappearance of manners, and the general coarsening of our society that result from relentless progressive attacks on traditional values and institutions.” If only boys opened doors for girls again, there’d be no need for this reprogramming! (Other key phrases in McCarthy’s column: “the Obama Left’s agenda,” “ACORN,” “Al Sharpton’s National Action Network,” and “Alinsky-style community organizing.”)

Docked a notch for not mentioning Bill Ayers. Admittedly, the idea that there was no violence against women when patriarchal chivalry was stronger deserves no better than McCarthy’s prose.

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Henley

[ 0 ] September 21, 2014 |

Jim Henley needs our help.

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The Week In Gregg Easterbrook

[ 39 ] September 21, 2014 |

Magary has already spotted Easterbrook’s argument that a banal last-minute kneel-down “was the most exciting NCAA play TMQ has seen in years.” Amazingly, I don’t even think that was the most ridiculous thing in the column this week. For example:

Then there’s Kaepernick. He is a gifted athlete who has an engaging personal story, and he looks great naked. (In consecutive offseasons, Kaepernick has stripped to pose for magazine covers.) But increasingly it seems he is in over his head as an NFL quarterback.

The nude photograph thing speaks for itself (particularly given the amount of space Easterbrook has spent thigh-rubbing about cheerleaders over the years.) On the football point…in over his head? Look, Kaepernick didn’t have a great game last week, and he makes some of the mistakes one would expect of a young QB. Yes, challenging Richard Sherman on first down with the conference championship game on the line wasn’t a great decision. But we should also remember that he was one throw away from a road win against a team that humiliated one of the greatest QBs in league history on a neutral field two weeks later. He was a top-10 QB last year, and he’s been above-average this year. He’s very good.

Things get worse!

Latest Nutty Sports Contract: Over the weekend Robert Quinn signed a mega extension with about $41 million guaranteed. The Rams want to lock him up, contractually speaking, because he was second in sacks in 2013. But Les Mouflons were mediocre on defense in 2013, and since the start of that season, have allowed at least 30 points on six occasions. If Quinn is a franchise-quality defender, why is the St. Louis defense unimpressive?

Well, first of all, the Rams had the 11th best defense in the league last year and the 7th best in 2012, so the empirical basis for the claim is erroneous. Nobody paid to write about the NFL should use “arbitrary number of games with X points allowed” as a metric, not least because a team’s offense is highly relevant to how many points a team allows. But even if the Rams did have a mediocre defense, so what? Houston had a below-average defense last year; does that mean J.J. Watt isn’t a “franchise player”? The 1983 Giants allowed an above-average number of points-per-game, so that means Lawrence Taylor wasn’t a franchise player? Or maybe in a team player even great players can play on mediocre teams? And this point is entirely obvious? Ye Gods. This is “Jon Hunstman could still surprise you!” level stuff.

Still relevant.

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