Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Locked Out America

Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, those union-bashing Wisconsin politicians, are squealing.  They are furious that their beloved Green Bay Packers were deprived of a win when inept "replacement" (read "scab") referees got everything wrong and gave away the win to Seattle.  Funny how much experience and professionalism means to Paul and Scott today.  Maybe if teachers and paramedics put on Green Bay uniforms they could get a little respect.

The professional union referees have been locked out all season.  In a marketplace that is worth billions, this lock out tactic is being used to squeeze workers.  The billionaire owners know they have a society addicted to football.. . and to betting on football.  Estimates are all over the place, but some say hundreds of millions of dollars shifted in those nanoseconds at the end of the game.

And lock outs are the new norm in big sports.  The NFL players were locked out last year.  The NBA season was cut short.   The hockey players are locked out right now.

The Green Bay Packers are a unique team because they are owned by the community.  Wouldn't it be fun to see all 200,000 owner/fans occupy the NFL offices?  We'd probably have to send some referees to provide security.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Striking Moment

As I was driving around the city last week, I enjoyed honking my horn whenever I saw a group of striking teachers.  I gave them a big thumbs up and they cheered.  Cheap thrill I guess, but I'll take my thrills whenever I can get them.

Lessons I learned from the strike that I already knew but needed to be reminded:

Pay attention to the people who are actually doing the work and facing the conditions they fight to improve.  Outside "education reform" think tanks don't have "cred."

The parents who supported the teachers surprised the media who thought they would immediately hate  being inconvenienced.

A democratically run Union, which apparently is what the teachers Union became under new leadership, may be messier, but is stronger.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dave Yes, Andy No

My TV watching won't be nearly as much fun now.  No, it's not because the Democratic Convention is over.  It's because Andy Roddick retired from tennis and Roger Federer was defeated at the U.S. Open.  Please don't let it be Andy Murray this year.  He's such a pill.

A few moments at the Convention reminded me of my favorite political movie: "Dave."  Remember the plot?  The evil handlers of a President in a coma persuade the President's identical look alike to take his place.  Dave, the look alike, is too good and too clever a man to let the evil ones get away with it. (Crazy plot, good movie.)

I first thought of "Dave" when those Castro twins showed up.  One is the Mayor of San Antonio and the other is running for the Senate.  They look so identical that if one got sick, the other could easily take his place.

The other "Dave" moment came during President Clinton's speech.  One of the lines that brought down the house was when he said the "magic formula" for fixing the budget was "arithmetic"!  In the movie, Dave brings in his accountant to look over the U.S. budget.  The accountant knows how to correct the numbers.  So do we.