The Spectacle Blog

Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 11:16AM

Paul, not only will it be ugly in those tunnels, but it'll also be generally unpleasant all around. There won't be a whole heck of a lot of Christmas cheer once a citizen hops on a bus that was made unavailable to him days earlier because someone didn't want to pay into an already extravagant pension plan. And I doubt the workers themselves will be joyous that their strike, which earned them such ill-repute, earned them so little -- to the point where the union itself, as you point out, might actually implode.

And your RINO point is strong in quite another way; this is a city that's a liberal haven, a Democrat depository. Yet they couldn't satisfy these workers? What does that say about liberal efficacy?

Oh, and all this talk about RINOs reminds me about another subject entirely, something G.K. Chesterton once said about rhinos, that there's something eminently funny about a creature that existed yet looked as though it didn't. That applies quite well to Pataki and Bloomberg.

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 10:55AM

Firing the transit workers and breaking the union would be glorious, but short of that the damage they are doing to themselves and their cause may ultimately bring about the union's demise in any case.

This is a union that cannot seem to recognize when it is winning a negotiation: the MTA backed off its demands to raise the retirement age for new workers to 62, from 55. That was a huge victory for the union. The MTA backed off its (pathetically modest) demand that workers contribute a whopping one percent of their earnings to help pay for health care benefits, instead of the current big fat zero. That was a huge victory for the union. The MTA agreed to a 10.5% salary increase phased in over three years, at annual rates of 3, 3.5 and 4 percent, something a lot of private sector workers would be very happy to be promised (if it weren't for the minor fact that you can't make promises like that in the private sector, because you might not be able to pay for them). THAT was a huge victory for the union. So why did they walk?

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Re: Gettin’ Their Memorial On

By on 12.21.05 | 10:22AM

Oh, I think the whole "conviction" thing was the problem in the first place. Anyway, I don't even think that Snoop was speaking out of loyalty. Given his age, I doubt Snoop had an opportunity to meet Tookie before the latter went to jail; unless, of course, they met in jail, which is altogether likely -- you know, sitting around the recreation room, writing children's books, imagining how to make the world a better place through peace and tolerance. It makes you yearn for Malcom X.

Snoop's comments are as opportunistic as all the other jackals who made that man's funeral into such a circus. If Tookie was truly redeemed, if he had truly repented, you would not know it by the behavior of those in attendance. For Snoop to claim he was observant of Tookie's metanoia is the same as Judas noting that Jesus had a few good points.

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Christians Against Christmas

By on 12.21.05 | 10:15AM

Andrew Santella reviews Puritan and Quaker bans and boycotts on Christmas in the 17th century, and observes that many Christian denominations in America did not celebrate it into the 19th century.

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Re: Gettin’ Their Memorial On

By on 12.21.05 | 9:53AM

Any discussion of Snoop Dogg's support for Tookie Williams ought to include a lyrical quotation from "Drop it Like It's Hot":

I'm a gangsta, but y'all knew that
Da Big Boss Dogg, yeah I had to do that
I keep a blue flag hanging out my backside
But only on the left side, yeah that's the Crip side
I suspect that Snoop's professed belief in his former leader's innocence stems more from loyalty than from conviction.
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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 9:35AM

Of course they should all be fired. Fines aren't enough: The transit workers' union, like PATCO, should cease to exist. Then maybe NYC can pay its cops, firefighters, and teachers as well as it pays people who drive around in circles.

(Actually, PATCO does still exist -- sort of. Check out their hilariously amateurish official website.)

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Re: The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 9:32AM


Most folks who live in New York or use public transportation regularly are supernaturally fluent in the routes -- stop any native in that city for directions, and you usually get a treatise on the benefits of one line over another. Training will probably involve the financial aspects.

Yesterday, a judge ordered that for every day the Transport Workers Union continues its strike, it must be fined $1 million a day, which the union plans to appeal as "exorbitant". $1 million sounds like a lot, that is, until you consider how much an apartment in New York costs, let alone just how large the union is (33,700).

Do the math. $29 a union member, per day, during an illegal strike which has crippled an economic giant of a city dependent on mass transit. Yet these strikers face no jail time, and as of this writing, no threat of losing one's job. The fine should be $1 billion, not $1 million.

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Gettin’ Their Memorial On

By on 12.21.05 | 9:18AM

Funerals ought to be taken seriously, so I suppose that when translated to the "gangsta" version, it would of course have the requisite "bling," i.e. completely unnecessary accessories. Here's what AP writer Peter Prengaman noticed:

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The PATCO Solution

By on 12.21.05 | 8:56AM

We have been neglectful of our New York relations, leaving them to suffer the outrages of an illegal transit strike without comment. Let it begin here.

I was doubtful that the strike would go a second day. For that reason alone, I was opposed to the PATCO solution: fire every one of them who won't come back to work by tomorrow, and replace them starting tomorrow morning.

I was opposed to this because it will take a while to teach the new generation of Ralph Kramdens the routes the buses must travel. But how hard can it be? New Yorkers aren't being well-served by their governor and their mayor, who aren't taking as hard a line against the strikers as they could.

I haven't researched the law on this yet, but if the strike is illegal, why can't the judge order the workers back to work and jail the union leaders for contempt? Let's raise the heat on these guys, and start issuing pink slips at sundown.

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