Skragnon's Blog

Civil disobedience

December 31, 2009
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Some light reading for the new year.  Does one wish to make a resolution?

Civil Disobedience

By Henry David Thoreau
I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts — a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

“Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero was buried.”

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others — as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders — serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few — as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men — serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be “clay,” and “stop a hole to keep the wind away,” but leave that office to his dust at least:

“I am too high-born to be propertied,
To be a second at control,
Or useful serving-man and instrument
To any sovereign state throughout the world.”

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of ‘75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

— Henry David Thoreau

Originally published 1849


I regret to inform you …

December 27, 2009
1 Comment

that needing to reconstruct your computer after having to do a format and reinstall of your operating system is probably the closest thing a man will ever experience to giving childbirth.

The emotional pain wracks one’s soul as you try to wring out all of your most common bookmarks from the recesses of your mind.  The rooting around looking for those discs (or otherwise) to reinstall your software gnaws at the bottom of your gut.  Did I get them all?  I couldn’t have, the list was much longer before the *(&*%)&^)*&%(&*^ system had to be redone.  ARRGHH!

Ah, well.  Hundreds of bookmarks gone, but a silver lining was to be found.  I had transferred all my e-mail contacts to my Blackberry a couple of weeks ago.  Salvation!  I would have dug out the straight razor if I had to try and reconstruct that nightmare.


Posted in Random Thoughts

The coming Christmas

December 19, 2009
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As we once again roll into the final stretch of the Christmas season we will soon find ourselves surrounded by our family, loving and otherwise.

I’ve found these last couple of years that Christmas is a holiday with mixed feelings.  As a Catholic I am joyful that we will shortly be celebrating the birth of our Savior, yet I am also saddened by the absence of friends or family that we have lost in the several years past.  Lost through distance or being welcomed into the loving arms of God himself.  Joy and sorrow.  Two sides of the same coin.  Can I strive to not let the sadness permeate the joy?  All I can do is try, despite the melancholy surroundings of the seasons here in the Upper Midwest.

Truth be told, I prefer the snow over the rain.  Yeah, it may be cold and wet, but it is also beautiful.  Silent snowflakes falling in the moonlit darkness, a silent whisper on the wind of a coming chill, the crunch of the snow beneath your feet as you walk amongst the fragrant pines of the woods in search of that perfect tree.  Glittering snow off in the distance reflecting the moon’s glow from high above revealing all that is about you.  A feeling of being watched?  Of course, the owl in the tree aloft is looking over its shoulder and considering the nature of the intrusion.  In a flurry of wings and drifting flakes it is gone, a silent hunter of the night.

Ah, magic is all about us in nature.  We merely need to let our eyes remain open and be receptive of God’s creation.


Posted in Random Thoughts

Climategate summarized

December 2, 2009
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I claim no credit for the below beyond reprinting it.  I stole this off the Daily Express website located here.  It is one of the responses to an article that I thought would provide some perspective on the Climategate scandal.

HERE IS HOW CLIMATEGATE WORKED

An easy explanation of what ClimateGate means,

ClimateGate emails and computer programs were taken from a main server at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. It is not known if this was a theft or the actions of a whistleblower, disgusted with what the lead scientists at CRU were doing.

ClimateGate exposed the cabal of 20 – 30 scientists (not just at CRU) that peer reviewed each others papers, strong-armed scientific journals to only print their views, and then sat on the IPCC panels as authors judging which published studies go into the IPCC final reports. This is why they always keep shouting “peer reviewed studies, peer reviewed studies, peer reviewed studies”. They owned the peer review process.

ClimateGate exposed that this small group has been adding positive corrections to the raw global temperature data, inflating the amount of published temperature rise over the last 50 years. Both CRU in the UK and NASA-GISS in the US add these biases. At CRU, the programmers did not even know what and why some corrections were added every month. Only since satellite monitoring for comparison have the amounts of biasing leveled off.

ClimateGate exposed the leaders of this cabal instructing each other to delete emails, data files, and data analysis programs ahead of already filed Freedom Of Information Act requests for raw data and computer codes, clearly a crime.

ClimateGate exposed the “trick” about the Hockey stick figure and other studies that performed proxy construction of past temperatures. After all, reconstruction of the last 1,000 years of climate is the first step in predicting the future with super computer programs as explained below:

Everything about all 21 super computer programs used by the IPCC to determine future global warming rely on best-determined past sensitivities to solar and volcanic effects (climate forcings) from the proxy temperature record.

1. The elimination of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age (the handle of the hockey stick) was necessary so that past solar effects could be minimized, thereby allowing almost all of the warming in the last 75 years to be blamed on Greenhouse Gasses. Raw data (like tree-ring thickness, radioisotope of mud layers in a lake bottom, ice core analyses, etc.) are used as a proxy for reconstruction of the temperature record for 1000 AD to 1960 AD. To ensure desired results, statistical manipulation of the raw data and selecting only supporting data, cherry-picking, was suspected and later proved to make the hockey stick graph. Look closely at the plot here where the hockey stick is one of the plots:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/16/cern_cloud_experiment/

2. The slope of long-term 10-year running average global temperature using thermometers from 1900 to present (the blade of the hockey stick) was maximized with the sloppy gridding code, Urban Heat Island effects, hiding the declines, and even fabricating data (documented in the leaked source code comments revealed with ClimateGate). This ensured that the Greenhouse Gas sensitivity coefficients in all 21 of the super computers was maximized, and that maximizes the temperature result at year 2100 based on Greenhouse Gas increases. This thermometer data was used to replace the tree ring-divergence after 1960 and plot this over the climate history data of (1) above giving the false impression that the reconstructed 1000 AD to 1960 AD results are more accurate than they are.

3. Because tuning of the super computer programs uses back casting, the computer outputs could always replicate the 20th Century (by design); therefore it was assumed that the models had almost everything in them. Because of (1) and (2) above, nearly all climate change predicted by the models was due to CO2 and positive feedbacks and hardly any of the climate change was for other reasons like solar, understood or not.

4. Over the years, when better numbers for volcanic effects, black carbon, aerosols, land use, ocean and atmospheric multi-decadal cycles, etc. became available, it appears that CRU made revisions to refit the back cast, but could hardly understand what the code was doing due to previous correction factor fudging and outright fabricating, as documented in the released code as part of ClimateGate.

5. After the IPCC averages the 21 super computer outputs of future projected warming (anywhere from 2-degrees to 7-degrees, not very precise), that output is used to predict all manner of catastrophes. (Fires, floods, droughts, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, insects, extinctions, diseases, civil wars, cats & dogs sleeping together, etc.)

So shut-up or be called a denier,
live the way we tell you to live,
pay more for everything, and
just send money for my research on the effects of global climate change on horseshoe crabs (which have been around for about 440 million years through all possible temperature ranges).

I hope that this makes the ClimateGate controversy easier to understand.

• Posted by: NucEngineer


Posted in Global Warming

Same sex marriage

November 4, 2009
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The first definition of marriage in the Random House Dictionary states “The social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.”.  It also defines marriage as “The formal declaration or contract by which act a man and a woman join in wedlock.”.  It is this latter definition, considered obsolete by Random House, and ignored by our society at large, that I contend is at the heart of the solution regarding the discomfort in our society today regarding same-sex marriage.  I propose to argue that same-sex marriage has been unintentionally restricted by the very movement attempting to “legalize” it, and that marriage itself has been incentivized by the government.

By its very definition marriage is a contract, yet one of a religious nature.  One that has a social standing widely known and understood amongst the populace at large, yet the fact that it is a contract is seemingly ignored by not only the people who wish to defend it, but also those who wish to change the culture of a nation and a world to have same-sex marriage be recognized at the same level as a traditional religious marriage.

The institution of marriage contains many psychological and physiological benefits, which have been hashed, rehashed, dissected, reviewed and just plain argued about since the pursuit of same-sex marriage came into the consciousness of the society at large.  None of these are intended to be discussed here.  People of much larger intellectual fortitude, faith and even legal bearing have weighed in on this controversial topic.

My belief is that same-sex marriage as a concept should not be restricted, however it is not marriage.  As a Catholic, I believe that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.  It is nature’s divine manner to ensure not only the continuation of our species, but the harmony required for true happiness in both a man and a woman’s life.  Marriage is the foundation of the family, as nature intended for it to exist with male and female joining to give birth to a following generation.  Marriage is so vital for a good society that governments worldwide have incentivized marriage by providing tax breaks, and other special rights to those that are within the bounds of a traditional marriage.  Those same governments have developed legal protections for marriage, real or imagined, because of the solid rock foundation that marriage will give to the society at large.

Same-sex marriage goes against that intended purpose of marriage as put forth by God.  Yet I will not deny any couple the opportunity; no, not opportunity, for it is such a poor word in this situation; the right, to freely enter into a legally binding contract with all the rights and privileges that a traditional marriage would normally entail.  Government should not have imposed itself, in such a manner as I recently described, between two people willing to enter into a contract to simulate a marriage.  Our governments recognize the ability of one person to enter freely into a contract with another on such a vital question as to their right to live by the use of a power of attorney document.  It can be used to accept, or deny, medical care in a hospital, even if the question if someone should live or die.  However the understood social contract of a traditional marriage assumes that a power of attorney already exists.  Do doctors ask the wife of a husband who is brain dead on a respirator to get a piece of paper before they ask her to remove life support?  No, they merely ask her permission, and then proceed based on her response.  To be sure, a document might be signed prior to the execution of the decision, but that is to document that the wife made the decision of her own free will in order to protect the hospital afterwards.  So if a traditional marriage has this innate power, why not the same-sex marriage contract?  Why should it be required to go above and beyond the documentation required for a traditional marriage?  In both cases I believe it is government interference.  Both in stripping the power of the contract in this instance (by ignoring, or not enforcing those contracts that have been created), and in not providing the framework for an alternate structure that will allow people that do enter into a contract simulating marriage to have it recognized and enforced.

As for myself, I have reconciled with both my secular and religious selves the question of same-sex marriage.  It cannot be marriage, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Call it anything else: civil union, union contract, contract of the soul, etc.  Redefining marriage is to hot of an issue because it goes to the very foundation of how people view themselves through the lens of their religion.  However government needs to get out of the way of people living their lives, and it needs to become neutral in the discussion by removing the incentives for being married in the tax code.  Government should also not put in place disincentives towards either traditional marriage or a civil union.

Same-sex marriage advocates have hindered their own cause by demanding that their position, one of allowing a joining in matrimony between same members of the same gender, be referred to as marriage.  However, they are choosing to ignore the religious aspect of marriage.  Religion holds a deep sway in a person’s heart and mind.  It is not something that can be rationalized away for the sake of a perceived inequality on the part of another.  Yet if the religious can be separated from the equation, then I believe many people who currently oppose such action would be willing to accept a marriage equivalent in the same-sex community.  Operatively the intent would be the same.

Some would argue that what I propose is “separate, but equal”, in the tradition of segregation.  Yet is it not what religions currently believe?  My sister, when she married, did so with a justice of the peace.  The state considered her married, yet before she and her husband could get their child baptized, they were required to be married in the church as well.  Marriage in front of a judge, is not considered a true marriage, within the confines of the church.  In the eyes of the church, only a marriage performed before the eyes of God truly bonds.

The concept of marriage as a contract is not new.  In fact it has legal precedent as shown by a news article in Time Magazine in 1936.  A couple chose to pledge themselves in marriage via a contract, properly signed and notarized.  This is seemingly a radical concept in the United States, however apparently was quite common in Europe at the time.  (Contract Marriage 1936)  The new, yet oddly old, concept I have proposed as the most ethical solution to our society’s challenge to deal with an ever more vocal minority of our populace is to allow that minority to freely enter into a legally binding contract with all the same rights, benefits and privileges of a traditional marriage.

Ethically, allowing same-sex couples to contractually join is the most moral position.  Kant tells us that people should be treated as an ends, never merely as a means, as this promotes equality, and that all positions should be both universal, as well as reversible.  Should same-sex unions be allowed?  Of course, for I cannot deny one person the choice to bind themselves to another, and still retain the right to do so as I have done with my wife.  This stance satisfies both of Kant’s categorical imperatives regarding a moral position.

Utilitarianism demands that the moral worth of an action be determined by the utility it brings to society.    Utility in this instance could be perceived in the stability that such same-sex unions can bring to such a volatile portion of society by reducing promiscuity, limiting the spread of disease, and stabilizing the transitory nature of this minority.  These are instrumental values, whereas the intrinsic values of happiness and well being are equally satisfied.

At the outset of this paper I stated that the right of people to contract, to the ends of entering into a bond simulating marriage, should not be infringed.  However it is government interference into the right of contract that has impeded such progress.  Government has placed such heavy legal burdens on these contracts that they become unnecessarily overloaded with legal jargon that they become unintelligible to the average person, if they aren’t eventually invalidated by our own courts.  Even in situations where a will has been prepared with the intent to pass on the effects of one partner to another, they have been found to be invalid, and thus required extensive litigation to claim what would normally be passed immediately from one person to another in a traditional marriage. (Nishimoto n.d.)

In July of 2000 the Vermont legislature passed Act 91 which simply reads “Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under Vermont law, whether they derive from statute, policy, administrative or court rule, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage.”  (State 2008)

In reading these forty-four words all that I contend that is required are contained.  The law provides recognition that ultimately marriage is a contract between two people, and that such a contract should not be restricted as only being between men and women, but to be open to any pair of people wishing to bind their lives together.

At least one state government has made the move, by getting out of the way and allowing people to enter into a relationship with the force of contract, and without the mounds of paperwork that have so far been thrown into the fray.  All people are capable of love and caring.  All people are capable of commitment to another, well beyond their immediate needs for companionship.  All people should be able to use the power of the contract to enter into an agreement similar to marriage.


Sovereignty

October 24, 2009
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Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a concept.  A radical concept to be sure at the time.  That being that the individual was sovereign.  That the citizen was king, and not the government.  Oddly enough a government was formed and framed around that very idea.

Now, 222 years later it has become quite apparent that government is once again king, and to quote:

“House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the individual health insurance mandates included in every health reform bill, which require Americans to have insurance, were “like paying taxes.” He added that Congress has “broad authority” to force Americans to purchase other things as well, so long as it was trying to promote “the general welfare.”

Thank you very much Mr. Government.  I was unsure where I stood regarding my place compared to my government.  Of the people, by the people, for the people.  Such an antiquated concept days.

Dear Citizen,

You shall take the substandard health care that we mandate, and you will pay for it.  If you do not, we will put you in jail.  Additionally, since it is for the “general welfare” you shall also be required to purchase a Chevy Volt (our government owned car company isn’t doing as well as expected) because it is good for the environment.  Also, please be informed that your dietary desires have been changed.  Effective immediately you will not be allowed to eat meat, because it increases your cholesterol and increases our health care costs.  Don’t worry about all the people working in the meat industry, we’ll find them new jobs in the green economy (we’ll figure out the pesky details of if you can actually earn a living later).

Signed,

Your Federal Government (because our own rules don’t apply to us)

sov⋅er⋅eign⋅ty

[sov-rin-tee, suhv-]

–noun, plural -ties.

1. the quality or state of being sovereign.
2. the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royalty.
3. supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.
4. rightful status, independence, or prerogative.
5. a sovereign state, community, or political unit.

Posted in Politics

Late night phone calls.

September 26, 2009
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Ever been laying on the couch late at night, or crawling into bed, after a day of working hard?  Your body is exhausted and your mind is beginning to shut down for that well needed rest.  The only thing you are looking forward to is closing your eyes and drifting off into dreamland.

Then the damn phone rings.  You’re up with a start and looking around the room going “What the hell was that?”.  After the second ring you realize that the barking handset is your evening’s nemesis.  Reaching over you pick up the handset and look at the caller ID and go “Who the hell is that?”.  The heart starts to beat a little faster.  Is it the police?  Has something happened to a parent?  Sibling?  Really, who is calling this late a night and it not be an emergency?  You answer.

“Hey honey, (hic) whatcha’ wearing?”

Oh, hell.  The wife is out with some friends for the weekend and she’s drunk.  I love her. 🙂  Send me pictures, and let me get back to sleep.

Do I really care if my wife is out having a good time?  Hell no!  She needs time away from me and the kids as much (if not more so) than I.  Was I really upset that she called?  After realizing that it wasn’t the drunk tank or a cop on the side of the road calling about something more serious, I was fine.

Love is a funny thing.  We’re so much more likely to forgive something that our loved ones do, than someone else in our lives.  Passion of the heart will lead our misery away.


Posted in Random Thoughts

The grrr factor.

September 16, 2009
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Have you ever noticed that just when you think things are improving, something happens?  Car breaks down, kids get sick, the economy takes an enormous dump the size of the Marianna Trench, etc.

Well, it’s those random acts of the universe that I consider the grrr factor.  There isn’t anything you can do about them, you just have to deal with the issue at hand.  Yet you have this undeniable urge to just grit your teeth and go “grrrrr”.  The only thing it does is to serve as a relief valve.

Long story short, I’m employing the grrr factor a lot these last couple of weeks and it is keeping me sane.

Grrr on, my friends.


Labor Day (con’t.)

September 9, 2009
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Some further ramblings regarding unions:

Some may have heard of the issue between Mercury Marine and their labor union.

Mercury put what they characterized as their final best offer on the table.  If it failed, then the plant was moving to Stillwater, OK.  The union voted against the proposal, and when Mercury said that they would leave town, all of a sudden the union is waving its arms around going “We thought Mercury was going to come back to further negotiate!”.

I’m sorry, do we need to review the definition of “final”?  This is where relying on someone else to determine what you earn, or even if you have a job will lead you.  Right to the edge of losing your job.  Here’s some commentary from another blog.

The worst part is that these drones were so focused on their own pocket book that their consideration of the long term impact wasn’t even on the radar.  Now I don’t advocate that people should be considering everyone else when making decisions for themselves, but they should have considered the impact of their decision.  It wasn’t like Mercury Marine was looking to substantially cut pay and benefits for current workers, they wanted to start new hires at a reduced pay, and to bring benefits in line with those of the non-union employees.  Hardly earth shattering.  Instead, 450 or so people got to determine the livelihood of nearly 5,900 people in the area.

Eventually the union revoted (after the deadline) to accept the offer from Mercury Marine.  Personally, I would have voted to decertify the union and take my chance with the free market.

Oh, and if anyone had was at a loss for the definition of final, see below.

fi⋅nal

[fahyn-l]

–adjective

1. pertaining to or coming at the end; last in place, order, or time: the final meeting of the year.
2. ultimate: The final goal is world peace.
3. conclusive or decisive: a final decision.
4. constituting the end or purpose: a final result.
5. pertaining to or expressing the end or purpose: a final clause.
6. Law.

a. precluding further controversy on the questions passed upon: The judicial determination of the Supreme Court is final.
b. determining all issues presented, so that no further decision upon the merits of the issues is necessary: a final judgment or decree.
7. Phonetics. occurring at the end of a word or syllable, as the (t) sound in bit or bite.

–noun

8. that which is last; that which forms an end or termination.
9. Often, finals.

a. the last and decisive game, match, contest, or round in a series, as in sports.
b. the last, usually comprehensive, examination in a course of study.
10. the last edition of a newspaper published on any day.
11. Music. the tonic note of a church mode.

Labor Day

September 7, 2009
1 Comment

As the days of summer seem to quickly tick past, Labor Day weekend has become the defacto close of fun and frivolity.

Yet as I consider the purpose of the Day, and what we are to celebrate (not that anyone actually does) I am saddened.  At one time labor unions performed an admirable purpose.  They guarded the worker from overzealous owners and foremen, they provided a structure for the common worker to express their dissent due to a lack of government protection.

Now, as we rapidly move forward to modern day, we have come to a point where both state and federal governments have established a plethora of alphabet soup agencies to do the work that at one time the unions had performed.  What purpose do labor unions still perform?  Do labor unions bring anything to the table in this modern day?  Do we separate labor unions from trade unions?  How does the concept of the Right to Work work in this environment?  How do we blend in the concept of Right to Work States into the mix?

As a general rule I argue labor unions (as separately defined from trade unions) are an anchor around the neck of business.  They should be discarded as the dinosaurs they have become and be encouraged to die a quick death (hemlock would be a good suggested method).  Labor unions are counter productive to their purported purpose of maintaining a fair work environment.  Labor unions eventually protect the least productive employee, and create work rules that raise the cost of doing business to the point that a business either declares bankruptcy or moves out of town.  Where the hell are the jobs they were protecting now?  Gone.

I separate a trade union because trade unions are much more similar to the old guilds than modern labor unions.  They act as a means for continuous educational training, for obtaining jobs and ensuring a consistent work quality.

More thoughts later.


Posted in Politics
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