Dear Readers: I am looking forward to sharing news about the Great Lake State this week, which seems to have avoided being sucked up in a “death spiral” like the Golden State! This will be the topic of my Canto Talk chat this week (which is moved to Wednesday, because Thursday the SLOBs are having a Beer Summit). So, listen in Wednesday, Jan. 16th (7 pm PST/9 pm CT/10 pm EST, – click HERE)
I will be joined by my long time friend, who is like a second brother to me. His name is Lloyd Conway, who happens to be one of the kindness, hardest-working, and scholarly people I have met!
A funny story to share, before I go on to the meat of this post: We met in junior high school. Our conversation was a debate about which civilization was superior, the ancient Egyptian or Hittite.
If you can’t guess which side of the debate I was on, then you don’t read me often enough. But, I digress.
Lloyd is a great example of something I think more citizens should consider doing — actually get involved in local government. He will be telling us a little bit about how he finally landed a spot on the Charlotte City Council. It is at the local government where smart, sensible Americans can implement the most effective plans that will protect us from big government intrusions. (Speaking of which, do check out the scary Obama press
rant conference today).
Lloyd is also an instructor at several institutions of higher learning, and he has a related website: Teaching History and Social Studies.
This blog is my attempt to share what I do (or have done) as a civil servant, U.S. Army and National Guard veteran, city council member and social studies teacher. Mixing experience and education, being open to inter-disciplinary insights into how the world works, and seeking unconventional explanations for how and why things are as they are are my goals. I won’t necessarily endorse every idea, theory or book that is discussed here, but the creative endeavors of independent thinkers deserve a hearing, and even when disagreeing with a writer’s premises or his conclusions, one may still find a kernel of truth or a fresh insight to share.
We will be chatting about the “Right to Work” law passage:
As my work brings me to downtown Lansing, Michigan almost daily, I was an eyewitness to the protests taking place at the Capitol steps in response to the Legislature’s lame-duck session debate and subsequent passage of ’right-to-work’ bills, signed into law hours later by the Governor. What follows are my observations, made while coming into Lansing just after 7;00 a.m., and during the day, on break, at lunch, and upon leaving mid-afternoon.
Scene at Capitol and Ottawa Streets, Lansing, Michigan, just after 7:00 a.m.
…… Putting aside for now rival explanations for the union/high wage vs. right-to-work/more jobs history of other states (such as the education of each state’s workforce, they value added by local manufactures, tax and regulatory climate, et cetera), one could imagine that, as wages trend lower, Michigan will become more attractive to new or expanding businesses, and that they will create jobs – at wages more in line with national or world-wide levels of compensation than is the case when a union can advocate effectively for a better deal for its’ members, even as that deal may raise the cost of labor to a point where fewer jobs are created.
Governing Magazine reports that some cities are considering monitoring of conversations on public transit, including Traverse City, Michigan, where this author recently stayed overnight while on a work assignment. That hits home; it is one thing to read of news happening in far-off places; it is quite another to pass it on the street.
The question before us is whether we have a right to privacy, and if so, whether it extends beyond the curtilage of our dwelling-places into the public arena. Our federal Bill of Rights enumerates certain of our liberties; the Ninth Amendment specifically states that the enumeration of certain rights does not disparage others held by we, the people. Those rights are generally understood to be the ancient ‘Rights of Englishmen,’ ours by inheritance as inhabitants of former English colonies, as ‘Common Law,’ the most famous exposition of which is Blackstone’s. Thus, some rights are ours, as a matter of common custom and usage. Ivan Illich may have had something like this in mind when he penned ‘Silence Is A Commons’ in criticism of the invasion of public spaces by commercial and political speech, amplified technologically, that forces itself upon our consciousness through the sheer ubiquity and volume of the noise-making devices at their owners’ command.
It should be a very interesting show!