Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Michele Benson Huck Pottery

At the Palmer Park Arts Market, this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Drop by and say hello. Until then, you can get a glimpse of Michele (at the 0:35 point) in this nice video plug of the Arts Market:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another Thought on Wisconsin

I think the GOP in Wisconsin has way overreached in this conflict. On the one hand, the manner in which the GOP has tried to railroad through this union busting legislation comes across as very unseemly and autocratic. Check this out for some context:



Second, when the legislation seems to only punish those public service employees unions who didn't support the GOP Governor's candidacy, and actually exempts public service employee unions who did support the GOP Governor's candidacy from the legislation, it plays out as if the measure is one motivated by partisan preference and not any kind of principle. And when one of these exempted public service employee unions withdraws its support for and endorsement of the Governor because of how grossly partisan, unfair, and unseemly their exemption seems, you know that the situation is playing out poorly for the GOP in the public arena.

Third, when the whole fiscal crisis is being perceived in some quarters in Wisconsin as one primarily manufactured by the Governor himself, and is then being used disingenuously to attack basic collective bargaining rights that touch on labor freedoms, the lack of good faith here on the part of the GOP seems even more pronounced.

My prediction is that Walker, the GOP Governor, and the GOP legislators in the Wisconsin legislature, who simply refuse to even acknowledge the autocratic nature of the process by which they are trying to impose this preferential legislation, have gone a long way to turning Wisconsin once again as a solidly blue state. I wouldn't be surprised if the Democratic party not only retakes control over Wisconsin's state government in the next few election cycles, but does so decisively and for a fairly long time. I'm already counting Wisconsin's electoral votes in the Obama column in 2012.

Collective Bargaining Rights for State Workers in Wisconsin

The struggle going on in Wisconsin is the big news these days. Here's what I can't understand about the Republican position in this fight:

Collective bargaining is simply the ability of workers to come together to try to negotiate benefits, wages, and other employment conditions with their employers. From my perspective, this is simply a matter of freedom, and it is something that should be promoted and protected by government, not squelched by government.

I also don't understand the argument that somehow people should forfeit their freedoms when their employer is the government (and by extension, "the people"). When people who work for the state have to forfeit their freedom precisely because they are working for state, then that strikes me as walking a bit on the totalitarian line.

Let me try to break this down a bit and understand it better. What is at issue here is the right to collective bargain, not necessarily an entitlement to a particular outcome of the collective bargaining process. Because the legislation seeks to prevent what I think is a right to free association and to use that free association to negotiate labor conditions, without any guarantee as to what the outcome of that negotiation will be, I don't understand at all why Republicans would be opposed to this. It seems as if it is nothing more than antipathy to the whole idea of unions and the rights of labor, in principle, to band together to bargain for benefits.

The argument that the restriction of such freedom is necessary in a difficult financial crisis also seems bogus to me. For one, the financial crisis is partly one of the current Republican governor's own making. He cut taxes and then used the consequences of the loss of revenues generated by his tax cuts to fabricate a budget crisis to bust the union. Secondly, and more importantly, I thought Republicans believed that restrictions of such freedoms are prima facie wrong.

If someone can explain to me why collective bargaining is, in and of itself, a behavior that requires state repression, I'm all ears.

A Republican Supports Federal Funds for Contraception

Albeit for horses as opposed to women!

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blogging

I want to be blogging. I really do. And lord knows there's not a shortage of stuff to blog about. (And I still owe folks a review of Lonesome Dove!) But when push comes to shove and I open up the Blogger "new post" screen, all my initiative and enthusiasm for blogging just withers on the vine. And it's not even that it would take a lot of effort. The blogging mojo just isn't there. I'm not gonna give up on the medium, and I'll keep trying to motivate myself, but I just wanted to let folks know where I am and what's up.