So there will be a Christmas in New York after all, as the transit workers' strike has ended and subways and buses are scheduled to run on time Friday morning. Still, the whole experience should remind New Yorkers - who apparently need reminding - what a destructive force public sector unions can be to the effective operation and safety of a city, let alone the morale of its residents. At least the Mayor and Governor are insisting that there will be no amnesty granted on the fines levied against union members. We'll see if that holds up. But of course the strikers should have been fired en masse, anyway.
The Spectacle Blog
So the TWU is going back to work, its leaders are still not in jail, and New York should be back to normal by tomorrow morning. Now all there is to see is whether Bloomberg agrees to letting the union (thugs?) off for their court-imposed fines as part of a settlement. Wait for it. He who makes cigars illegal in New York bars and restaurants is capable of any treachery.
W. James Antle III assesses Bill Weld's chances in the race for governor of New York and hints at Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's ruthlessness. For a closer look at Spitzer making friends and influencing people, check out what he told John Whitehead, former Goldman Sachs chairman, after he dared write an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Spitzer:
"Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done. You will wish you had never written that letter."
Jed & Peter: I don't know why the union is so upset about the word "thug." It's not as if they were being called "refugees."
Reading through headlines about the successful extension of the Patriot Act, its difficult not to think that were the roles switched, Harry Reid's boast of killing the legislation would have been trumpeted as the statement of an idiot akin to Bush's "Mission Complete" speech.
Bloomberg pretty much responds to the PATCO solution here:
"The fines are what is going to hurt," he said. "Fines don't make you a martyr and fines you don't get back."
I just loved Toussaint's response to being called a "thug":
So do you mean to say that when you stop doing that, then you do become thugs and selfish people? Thank you for clarifying the point, Thuggy McThugThug.
As a tactic, appending a controversial piece of legislation to a larger appropriations bill is a sneaky, but classic, method of forcing Congressmen to prioritize. Yet any doubts about how appropriate it is to do so should be alleviated in the ANWR case -- drilling in Alaska is directly related to our activities in the middle east. So don't mind Sen. Lieberman's speech castigating the Republicans for disrespecting the "rules" of the Senate -- he's disrespecting his own hawkish record, and showing us the same stuff that made him a viable vice-presidential candidate for Gore.
As the New York transit strike slogs through Day 3, the biggest outrage seems to be directed not at the strikers, but at Mayor Bloomberg, who called the strikers' conduct "thuggish", "unconsciounable" and "cowardly." Of course, the strikers' union and its supporters are calling Bloomberg a racist for calling the thugs thugs.
But what no one seems to recall is that the term "thug", as applied historically to New York unions, goes back quite a long spell. Even before Jimmy Hoffa became part of the New Jersey landscape, it was simply routine to refer to union "thugs" around New York, if only to differentiate them from Mafia, political and other common New York thugs, especially street thugs. It ain't racism, folks. It's merely a more precise use of the Queen's English.
One can only wonder how long it will be before Dominique de Villepin comes to the defense of Transport Workers Union Local 100 prez and strike leader, Roger Toussaint. Bloomberg is no racist. But is he an anti-French xenophobe? We can only hope.
Dave: Yep, saw that. If he was in Lebanon yesterday, will he be part of the government of Syria today? He is sure to be feted in Lebanon, Syria and other fetid places where terrorists seek succor. In any event, methinks a warrantless search for him is in order. Wherever he is should be declared a free fire zone.