I Work Around Geniuses

4 10 2016



She chairs House Select on Labor, and she has promised, if (“when” — Ed.) Koster wins, to file a bill in the next session for a RTW referendum on a future ballot.  She, BTW, is Holly Rehder, who lives in Sikeston, and whose district includes about half of Sikeston, and also Charleston, Benton and Scott City.  It’s the northernmost part of the Delta, not only in Missouri, but overall.

She, BTW, is someone who isn’t instantly aware of the boneheadedly redundant nature of what she proposes to do.

What is even scarier than that is that, so far, nobody higher than her on the party-chamber totem pole is trying to talk her out of it.  If the blind superviseth the blind…


Tight’s Bad

22 09 2016



NBA, players’ union outline joint ‘meaningful action’ plan in letter

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have worked together over the past several days to create a plan for handling potential protests by players during the national anthem, sources told ESPN.com.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts on Wednesday sent a joint letter to all players. In the document, obtained by ESPN, the two sides pledged to work together to find a way to take “meaningful action” in NBA cities in the wake of the unrest in the country over police shootings and related incidents.

Let me translate this for you:

Silver is begging players not to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before games this upcoming season.

If you stop reading right now, you pretty know know all you need to know.  However, this deserves a more detailed explanation.

Because football a game form of ground combat warfare, the men who play it have something of a solider-like mentality.  This was one of the reasons why I figured from the outset that the black Mizzou football players were acting not on their own volition, but in reaction to the provocation from older adults on campus.  Furthermore, the men who coach NFL teams or any level of football have a Weberian officer- and NCO-like mentality.  This is why the NFLPA is the weakest of all the major American sports’ players unions, and why the NFL CBA is the most team- and owner-friendly compared to the others.  You no more want football players to have an independent rebellious streak than you want Army privates to have it, for much the same reason.  Similarly, college football recruiting and military recruiting share a bevy of similarities.

This is why only a few NFL players are doing the kneeling.

In contrast, the NBPA is strong, and the NBA CBAs are much more player-friendly.  The universe of NBA players is as a generality much more tight and socially cohesive than the NFL’s.  The relationship between coaches and players in the NBA is not the Weberian military command style structure as one finds in the NFL, it is more of a preacher-parishioner relationship or a motivational speaker-paying audience relationship.  The best NFL coaches are the best disciplinarians, while the best NBA coaches are the best motivational speakers.

Furthermore, NBA players on what seem to be bitter rival teams are very friendly with each other when the game clock is not on, while that is not generally the case in the NFL.

One more piece of this puzzle:  While the NFL is heavily black, the NBA is even more heavily black.  And, unlike football, the game of basketball and black hip hop culture were conceptually merged a long time ago.  Let me put it another way:  Football happens to have lots of black players, while the NBA is a black league.

Put all these pieces together, and what do we have?

When a few NFL players kneel during the national anthem, a few NFL players kneel.  Nothing more.

If one NBA player decides to kneel, the whole league is going to kneel, because one doing it will create social pressure on everyone else to do it, everyone from the last guy on the bench in each team up to the head coach.  Any player who doesn’t will quickly become a social outcast, and any coach who doesn’t will lose credibility among his players, and will no longer be able to be a good coach anymore.  Remember, motivational speaker, not military general.

Adam Silver has seen how even a few NFL players kneeling is hurting ratings in all football, NFL and college.  If we see video of all coaches and players kneeling, it’s going to do existential damage to the NBA.

Silver is trying to pander to key players’ union officials so that they exert pressure within their ranks not to kneel.

Wasted Space and Wasted Time

12 09 2016

Jefferson City

I ask of thee, spirited protesters who made a lot of noise in the Capitol rotunda this morning:

Why there, why now?

You say you want a $15 an hour minimum wage.  Yeah, the General Assembly could do that.  But it won’t, because that is way above the labor market equilibrium in rural Missouri.  You also say you want union organization and representation for low wage service workers.  If you really wanted that, you’d be organizing that in those work places and among those employees.  And you’d be doing it in a state with a union-friendly political and legal culture — If the General Assembly had passed a RTW bill this spring, one that Nixon would have vetoed, and the General Assembly was going to try to override the veto during this week’s veto session, (and I’ll be in Jefferson City for only one day), then I could see rallying there.  But there was no RTW bill this session.  Even if RTW does happen, it wouldn’t make the unionization of fast feeder employees that much harder, if at all.

Right On Cue

31 08 2016

Jefferson City

The biggest money streams into the war chests of both Chris Koster and Eric Greitens are coming from people who are most heavily invested and acutely interested in RTW/PP.

Which snarky blogmeister has been writing in a certain low-traffic alt-right node for a year and a half that MO-GOV-2016 would turn pretty much exclusively on RTW/PP, and that white working-to-middle class union members and union sympathists, who pay very close attention to the union brass’s political endorsements, are the crucial marginal swing constituency in statewide elections?

There he goes, on the other side of the mirror, the one with more gray hair today than yesterday.

Team Green vs Team Blue

26 05 2016


Read closer, and this is almost as much about a divide within organized labor as it is a divide between some elements of organized labor and environmentalists.  These divisions will become obvious when we find out where the Trump votes are and where the Hillary votes are from the organized labor space.

Also, I think this has helped me figure something out:

Trade union leaders may remain wary of some GOP candidates because they support causes like right-to-work laws that unions traditionally oppose. But right-to-work, which allows workers to opt out of union dues and fees, doesn’t smother jobs; research shows that it often boosts investment and hiring.

I’ve been writing it myself here, because RTW/PP is actually a frequent feature of my professional existence, that whether or not a state is RTW or not doesn’t make a difference on actual real world conditions, that those are determined by many factors more important than RTW-or-not.  It’s just that since union leaders think it’s a BFD, they’ll make the union rank and file think it’s an absolutely existential issue, and in Missouri statewide politics, union rank-and-file households are the crucial marginal swing constituency, so there won’t be a Republican Governor ever as long as s/he supports RTW and the General Assembly remains in Republican hands.  My suggestion for Hanaway, Kindercare, Brunner, is that one of them breaks ranks on RTW.

However, what this tells me, from the article, is that union leadership is using RTW-PP as a LOOK SQUIRREL diversion to paper over not only the internal blue team politics between the blues and the greens, but also the schism within organized labor between Trump-leaning construction and trades unions and Hillary-leaning public and service employees unions.


Tidings of Discomfort

16 11 2015

St. Peters

Mark Parkinson, one of the few General Assembly Republicans to get it, for the most part, was going to run for SEN-23-R next year, as he himself is TLed out of the House, and SEN-23 is opening up because Tom Dempsey is TLed out of it, or would be if he hadn’t already resigned early.

He just threw in the towel today.

It’s all because of this stupid RTW battle.

There are two other Republicans in the primary, and of course, the Republican primary is the de facto election.  Either one has been able to raise way more money than Parkinson, whose bank account was mainly self-funded, and not with much.  Various unions are bankrolling one, to oppose RTW, various business groups are funding the other, to support it.  Parkinson himself supports RTW, and voted for it and for the override every year.  Like I wrote here some time back, I don’t think having it really changes much of anything compared to not having it, so whether it happens or not is almost a non-issue to me.  While I don’t think it’s good politics for statewide Republican candidates and for some other Republicans, I’m not going to grind over Parkinson supporting it, and in turn, endorsing the one of the remaining two candidates that does over the one that opposes it.  Even if I was mad about it, it’s no use being mad at him now, because his political career is just about over.

What I am grinding over is how everyone screaming, hemming and hawing over this trivial issue is drowning out the sorts of issues that really need to be talked about, and things that Mark Parkinson and a scant few others would be talking about and everyone else would be hearing about.  But for RTW, Parkinson could have made his bones and won SEN-23 on the transfer law issue alone, considering the geography of SEN-23.

Living in the Differential

16 09 2015

Jefferson City

Today’s the first day of the veto session.

The votes aren’t there on RTW.  It’s the same case as it was last year and the year before:  While the actual RTW bill during the actual legislative session got more than 2/3 of the vote in both chambers, enough of those who voted for it in regular order can’t muster up to courage to override Nixon’s veto.

To me, the really weird part about the RTW issue in Missouri and everywhere else is the huge differential between how little of a real effect it does have (or would have) on the ground when it is (or would be) enacted in states that were previously closed-shop states, and the effect that interested stakeholders think it would have, such that both sides of pumping rivers of money into this town to make sure it either does or does not happen.  Obviously, those who would be affected by it the most don’t agree with my insouciance; that’s why they’re spending all this money.  Nobody is going to spend the serious coin on lobbying and media buys that both sides are doing right now in Missouri if they didn’t think that there was a lot at stake.  These people don’t waste money on chimeras, I can assure you of that.

Likewise, I would have this same attitude if a RTW state actually changed or was contemplating changing to closed-shop, I wouldn’t think it would make much of a difference, but both business groups and organized labor would be pouring big money to make sure it doesn’t/does happen, respectively.

I just happen to think that there are many more important factors in wage/salary equilibria in various places than the open shop versus closed shop paradigm.

One thing I will say with near certainty is that Chris Koster is a cinch for the next Governor if the Republican nominee either states openly or it is well known by enough people that s/he will sign RTW.  While the money stream on both sides is about the same, it is a net liability for any Republican candidate for Governor to be for it in terms of electoral politics.  Everyone knows the General Assembly will remain in Republican hands for quite some time to come, so everyone knows that they will send the Governor a RTW bill year in and year out.  Therefore, the unions know that they’re going to need someone sitting in 100 Madison that will veto it every time s/he gets such a bill.  The unions will mobilize their foot soldiers and move heaven and Earth to make sure of that.  And that will cost the Republican nominee in 2016 some very crucial and marginally consequential white working-middle class support.  Unless the Republican nominee openly promises to veto RTW bills and better yet demands that General Assembly Republicans give up pushing RTW bills.

Though I don’t know why I’m bothering doleing out that advice.  First off, none of the announced or speculated Republican candidates for Governor will actually do that, and none of them strike me as having the capability to pivot.  Second, not a one of them do anything for me and none of them really impress me in general.