Off the Waterfront. The side effects of clunker cash. Obama on the range. The cooperative public option. Plus more.
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Obama’s Waterfront:
I found myself groaning this afternoon while reading through the subject article. Groaning in that the subject article was clearly written by someone who really didn’t have all the facts, and groaning in that I would be compelled to devote the time necessary in order to write this note to you. In my opinion, the press should be beyond reproach in terms of the accuracy of the “facts” it prints.
To begin with, Kazan’s story revolved entirely around the 1950s NY harbor docks, and was based upon a twenty-something piece exposé published in the New York Sun. In fact, the series won Malcolm Johnson a Pulitzer prize for local reporting in 1949. There was no real analog to such eye-opening circumstances in other ports. While Johnson’s exposé discussed all port areas within the bi-State harbor, Kazan’s book, the subsequent Schulberg screenplay and the Brando movie were rather location-unspecific. Believe me: there were (and are) big differences.
Within that context, “Our modern version of the commission…” is not, as Mr. Lott writes, the US Labor Department’s OLMS. Rather, it is the Waterfront Commission of New York & New Jersey (The Waterfront Commission). The Waterfront Commission is an organization established by a US Congress-approved compact between the States of New York & New Jersey (Circa 1953), within which plenary oversight (including the licensing of all waterfront workers within the harbor) is granted to a police-like agency that was once probably quite useful but is now a general millstone around the collective neck of the NY/NJ region’s population. I say millstone, inasmuch as a per-ton assessment is levied on all NY/NJ import and export cargo in order to fund the Waterfront Commission’s annual budget. Sadly, however, the agency does very little in the way of productive work and is quite often the object of investigation itself. As an agency at the relative bottom of the political food chain, no one should be surprised.
Moreover, the presence and influence of organized crime on the NY/NJ waterfront, while once probably sizable, is now overblown and likely exaggerated. That’s not to say that this particular industry (or any other) is lily white, but it is an assertion which acknowledges that all facets of industry, government, religion, etc., etc., are vulnerable to greed, avarice and the like. The waterfront industries (within any U.S. port) are no more susceptible to these human conditions than are any other public or private sector entity.
That being said, I’m uncertain as to which public agency should be tasked with general oversight over all Labor/Management interactions. Perhaps none should. Perhaps there should be several. Perhaps it should be left in the hands of local law enforcement. I really don’t know.
What I do know, is that as a 14-year, relatively high level employee at US Dept of Labor Headquarters in Washington; focused on the marine cargo handling industry, I was fully unimpressed with the Federal government’s ability to act in a meaningful way when addressing almost any manner whatsoever. In such a light, under-funding a government agency may make a lot of sense.
I’m sure Mr. Lott is correct in his coverage of OLMS’s successful prosecutions of labor union officials during the last two Bush Administrations. I also think it’s appropriate to prosecute individuals who would illegally profit off the blood and sweat of their “brothers and sisters.” But given the financial impact on the country as a whole, such “crooked” actions by Labor “leaders” probably can be considered as trite in the face of the hundreds of billions of dollars ripped from the savings and retirement funds of countless citizens by greedy bankers and related corporate schemers within the same span of time…
Go after the big game first; not just those who oppose your
— R.L. Signorino
Re: Eric Peters’ Clunker Program Throws a Rod:
First, I will calibrate my words carefully.
I’m a conservative. I abhor the drunken sailor spending of the elite in Washington (with apologies to drunken sailors for that cruel comparison). I abhor the fact that the elite don’t remember that they are there to serve the United States, and not their own self-interests. I admit that the feds have made a hash of administering the CARS program.
With that in mind, I must offer a defense of the CARS program as the first of their programs to have done some actual good for the country.
It has replaced thirsty gas-guzzlers with more fuel-efficient cars. Mr. Peters’ quibble about the amount of fuel saved is not apropos. He makes it sound like the net saving is four miles per gallon, but how many trades resulted in savings of ten or more miles per gallon? And how many cars are each saving four or more miles per gallon? And how many thousands of miles will each of those cars be driven at their net savings?
It has replaced emissions-producing cars with cars producing fewer emissions.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online