Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Milwaukee County's Board of Supervisors: You could not make us up!

If someone bent on reducing the size, compensation or powers of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors had installed Manchurian Supervisors - sleeper agents primed to act like a pack of idiots at a time calculated to hurt the Board politically - she could not have done better than the current - and presumably authentic - crew of Dimitrijevic and company.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but, if I did, we'd be through the looking glass with this bunch. You have to want to look bad to bad to foul up so thoroughly.

Let's assume that you are an ardent opponent of Act 10 and an active supporter of decertified county unions. You could do one of two things.

You might recognize that, while these unions are no longer certified collective bargaining agents, they are still associations of the county employees who choose to belong to them and that they are free to advocate for certain working conditions. You could meet with them. You could listen to them. You might even vote for the terms and conditions that they want.

But you'd have to be upfront about it. What you could not do is violate the open meetings law. You could not enter - or propose to enter into - agreements with these associations as bargaining agents of the employees. You'd want to acknowledge what you were doing.

I wouldn't advise it but you could even go a step beyond. You might persuade yourself - although you'd be wrong - that Act 10 is unconstitutional and that you are really entitled to collectively bargain with those unions that have been decertified under its terms.

Of course, you'd have to ignore the advice of your own lawyers. This is something that serious people tend not to do, but at least you'd be an honest fool.

But, once again, you could not violate the open meetings law. You should not skulk in the corners to hide what's happening and you should definitely not misrepresent  what you were up to.

In either scenario, you would not want to do these ill advised things while there were serious legislative proposals to restructure the board.

You would not resort to that last refuge of the scoundrel and the clueless and imply that those advancing those proposals are racist.

You would not do any of these things.

But here's the thing.

If you knew better, you would probably not be a member of the board majority. Because, up there, it looks like Manchurian Supervisors - each and every one.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Monday, April 29, 2013

World Ends ! Women and minorities hit hardest !

So goes the old joke about a New York Times headline. The target is the tendency of the American left to want to see everything through the lens of race and gender.

Over the years, the left has repeatedly demonstrated that it is beyond satire. So it goes. Three members of Congress introduced a resolution expressing concern that climate change may cause "food insecurity" and "food insecure" women may be forced into "sex work" (we used to call it prostitution) and early marriage.

Were that to happen (I'm not persuaded it's likely), that would indeed be an awful consequence. But one would think that starvation or, if you prefer, "food insecurity" would be a problem for everyone.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Earth Day reflection

So it's Earth Day.

Excuse me, but I'm nonobservant.

Oh, I did once. In fact, I was there at the beginning. I remember celebrating the very first Earth Day as an eighth grader at Greenfield Middle School. I can even remember the old Ecology flags. Indeed, I can remember the term"ecology."

But I lost the faith. Reality can do that to you. The past 43 years of the environmental movement have been marked by too many shoes that did not drop and too many scares that took on the aura of hysteria upon sober reflection. Global freezing became global warming. Global warming became climate change. The Population Bomb turned out to be a dud. The fossil fuels that were supposed to be gone by now are not.

This is not to say that reasonable environmental safeguards aren't necessary. It's just that I tend to believe that the environmental impacts of public policies ought to be based on a rational assessment of costs and benefits without a metaphysical overlay.

If I did, I might wish to offer up to Gaia Don Bodreaux's heartfelt gratitude for the way in which capitalism has made our world cleaner, healthier and safer.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Now for something provocative ...

Don Boudreaux, a libertarian economist at George Mason, publishes a great blog called Cafe Hayek. In arguing for ,limited government, he asks liberals who don't like social conservatives and conservatives who don't like state intervention in the economy, why they support big government in other contexts. He writes the following:
Here’s why I ask the above questions: every time I’m in a supermarket check-out lane and catch the headlines of the reading materials on sale there – soap-opera digests, magazines featuring Oprah and other entertainment celebrities, and the like – I literally get a bit of a queazy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It somewhat sickens me that people care who Jennifer Anniston is dating, what Oprah is eating, or why male hunk du jour just ditched female sex-goddess du jour for some other equally vacuous if va-va-va-voom!-inducing babe. I don’t wish to prevent anyone from reading about or caring deeply about these matters about which I truly couldn’t care less. But it scares me that people who read that nonsense – because they care about that nonsense - have a say in how my life is conducted. I resent the fact that such people, if only through the ballot box, influence how government orders me about. 
The more expansive is the scope of government authority, the more my life is subject to commands issued in part under the influence of people who read Us magazine. 

Is it?

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.