Obama's Katrina

A mostly political Weblog.
June 30 2008 6:46 PM

Obama's Katrina

Plus: Does McCain want a convention fight?

(Continued from Page 36)

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"I disliked Obama almost instantly": Cinque Henderson outlines a plausible Paranoid Revisionist view of Obama. Henderson may not be bitter, but he sure is crabby and contrarian -which makes for good bloggin'. And he doesn't waste your time. He's the black Marty Peretz! Sign him up. ... 10:37 P.M. 

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The Ticket? I Don't Think So! From Thursday's NYT, via Drudge:

Mr. Edwards has carefully played down his aspirations for an administration role. In an interview in January, he said he would not accept a vice-presidential spot or Cabinet position. "No, absolutely not," he said, shaking his head emphatically when asked.

But privately, he told aides that he would consider the role of vice president, and favored the position of attorney general, which would appeal to his experience of decades spent in courtrooms as a trial lawyer in North Carolina; and his desire to follow in the footsteps of Robert F. Kennedy, one of his heroes.

Not long after Mr. Edwards dropped out of the race, John C. Moylan, a close friend and adviser who ran his South Carolina campaign, said Mr. Edwards he would consider a Cabinet spot. "You don't run for president unless you want to work in the administration," Mr. Moylan said.

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Edwards won't be Obama's VP pick. Why? 1) Hey, why not double down on inexperience? 2) If he vets, the vetters haven't called me. ... See also. ... 9:38 P.M.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What "change" may mean: Dave Weigel of Reason describes the confident union push for "card check" legislation  in the next Democratic administration. This is a much more significant issue than the manufactured debate over a gas tax holiday (sorry, Jon!). It's a permanent structural change in the economy. With "card check," unions wouldn't have to win the right to represent workers in a regular secret ballot election. They'd merely have to collect cards from a majority of workers. ...

You can be against "card check" for all the various process reasons we normally favor secret ballot elections--privacy, freedom from intimidation--and still favor greater unionization of the American work force. That would not be my position! It seems to me that a) a tight 90s-style labor market and b) direct government provision of benefits (e.g. health care, OSHA) accomplishes what we want traditional unions to accomplish, but on a broader basis and without encouraging a sclerotic, adversarial bureaucracy that gets in the way of the productive organization of work. ... And here's an example: Ford has developed a seemingly efficient new manufacturing system at its Camacari factory in Brazil, where employees of the company's suppliers work side by side with regular Ford workers assembling cars. But there is a problem transferring the new system to the U.S.:

Ford sources said it is the sort of plant the company wants in the United States, were it not for the United Auto Workers, which has historically opposed such extensive supplier integration on the factory floor. ...[snip]

As in the United States, [Brazilian] assembly workers make more than those employed by suppliers, and the union is eager to ensure that work reserved for the higher paid Ford employees is not being done by lower wage supplier staff.

Labor expert Harley Shaiken of the University of California, Berkeley, said similar concerns are one reason why the Camaçari model is unlikely to be duplicated in the United States. He said the UAW has relaxed work rules at many Ford factories to allow workers to do more than one job, and has even allowed experiments with limited supplier integration.

But he said the UAW is concerned that giving too much on these fronts will just allow the companies to speed up production and transfer more and more work to lower-paid supplier employees.

"Clearly, what is going on in Brazil is pushing that envelope," he said. "I would never say never, but it would be a hard sell."

Even if the union would eventually negotiate a compromise, a firm that doesn't have to negotiate a compromise over every innovation is likely to beat a firm that does, no? And for the same reason a blogger with zero editors should beat a blogger with six editors: Fewer meetings! ... The Wagner Act is not designed for an era of continuous change and improvement. ...

P.S.: Alter and I have a rambling debate on this issue here. ... [via Newsalert1:15 P.M.

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