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Category Archives: Labor

Waiting for Goodell

Waiting for Goodell

Never before would I have thought that “boo hoo” and “hue and cry” would come together so seamlessly, much less over something in one sentence combining sea hawks, meat packers, and prayers interceding the virgin Mary that reads in perfect syntax to any American.  Or that two such otherwise diametrically opposed figures as Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state Senator Jon Erpenbach — who almost ran against Walker in the recall election — would be on the same page about something that pertains to unions, workers, and contracts.  Then again, it’s not much like me to opine my two cents amongst the inflated currency of the vox populi over a topic in which none other than my own ignorance can rival my actual interest: football.  But the occasion is much too infrequent for when I can scribble about Samuel Beckett and the Green Bay Packers in one shot, so here goes…
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We Are(n’t) Wisconsin

We Are(n’t) Wisconsin

No, it wasn’t — stolen that is, the recall election, though the same may not be said about our hopes and faith in this state.  If prayer is the last refuge of a scoundrel (at least according to Lisa Simpson — who may or may not have been unwittingly subverting the famous quote by Samuel Johnson, for whom “patriotism” was the last refuge), then I would add that denial and conspiracy are the last bastions for liberals to talk amongst themselves, scuttling underground while licking their wounds after losing an election.
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Watch Wear You Step

Watch Wear You Step

Before I step on any toes by inadvertently insulting anyone (great disclaimer, no?), let me hasten to showcase how slow and behind-the-times I myself am: I had not even heard of TOMS shoes until a week ago or so.  This in spite of the fact that I used to work across the street from a shoe store here in town that sold and even advertised TOMS in their window display.  I saw the unmistakable flag in the window but had no reason to put one and one together.  Frankly, the logo conjured nothing in my mind more than the national flag of Argentina…

and an inscrutable curiosity wondering what “TOMS” could be an acronym for, since it was in all-caps and without any apostrophe.

I rather suspect I am not the target audience for any consumer product, much less anything having to do with fashion, but if I had been included in some sample survey or focus group, I would never have guessed in a million years that a flag with two blue horizontal stripes separated by a white one — or a blue field emblazoned with a white stripe — with a corporate logo reading “TOMS” would have anything to do with footwear.  Indeed, just for kicks, a quick Google search of “what does TOMS stand for” brings up the following:

1.  Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
2.  Telecom Operations Management Systems
3.  The male of various animals, such as turkeys or cats.

They b(u)yline of TOMS is “shoes for tomorrow,” so I can only infer that “toms” is short for tomorrow.  Still, as a marketing gimmick, the whole thing is lost on me — but not just for abstract advertising purposes: I myself would not buy a pair of TOMS shoes in the first place, in part because I can’t even afford the flimsy-looking things, but mostly because it represents many of the key problems with charitable giving by way of corporate profit, up to and including the irony of the law of unintended consequences together with its hell-paved path of best intentions.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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May D(ay) in China

May D(ay) in China

Each year on the near-south side of Milwaukee a few hundred folks gather together to commemorate the Bay View Tragedy, the bloodiest day — May 5 1886 — in the history of the labor movement in Wisconsin.  I won’t bother rehashing the clash right now (you’re welcome to read about it here).  Instead, I would like to reconsider it in the context of our contemporary world, from Fox News and Foxconn to Scott Walker and Steve Jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The ABCs of Asymmetry (ICYMI)

The ABCs of Asymmetry (ICYMI)

Today marks the last day of the (ir)regular session of the Wisconsin State Legislature; good riddance to bad rubbish indeed!  While halfway through lent, this lapse Catholic is glad the state is giving up Republican mandates for a short while at least.  Plus spring has sprung, and with it that irrepressibly burning eternal.  Keeping with the lenten theme, the days are longer (lengthened, you might even say), the sun brighter and warmer.  With recalls soon to be set, there is light for sure at the end of this tunnel that has been the yearlong winter of our discontent, and hope outshining the audacity of dopes.
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To Kilt a Mockingbird

To Kilt a Mockingbird

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

To turn a George Bernard Shaw quip on its head, might it be said that England and Scotland are two cultures separated by a common economy?  For that seems truer than suggesting that it’s two accents and aspirations separated by a House of Commons, much as romantic myth or the zeitgeist of exiles would have it otherwise.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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What’s Yours Is Mine: Stop ‘N’ Gogebic

What’s Yours Is Mine: Stop ‘N’ Gogebic

Imagine if the Chicago Bears proposed to gauge Lambeau Field from end zone to end zone 30 yards wide and 50 deep, with lots of littered blue-and-orange insignia to go around.  How well do you think that would go over?  Or better yet, the Vikings, up to and including all the connotations of sacking cities (not quarterbacks) and looting.  Or what if Mexico just said, You know what?  You have completely desecrated Texas, so we’re taking it back.  To hell with your Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and your pugilistic James K Polk!  So it is peculiar that one matter strangely absent in the debate and debacle of the proposed Gogebic mine in northern Wisconsin is the apparently bypassed sovereign nation status of the Bad River Tribe of Ashland and Iron Counties, recognized by the federal government of the United States of America, if not by Governor Walker or the Republicans in the State Legislature.  Perhaps they can make it up to the tribe by renaming a school mascot — say from the “Fighting Chiefs” to the “Corporate Whores.”  At least the Raiders, the Plunderers, because all it comes down to is landscape piracy and ecological racism.  Hut hut, hike! Read the rest of this entry »

 

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