PDA

View Full Version : Dover Decision


rlohmann
December 21st, 2005, 06:17 PM
I'm probably preaching to the majority of the choir around here (a choir with which I disagree about nearly everything else) in concluding that Judge Jones' decision in the Dover "intelligent design" case was right.

What troubles me, though, is the number of Americans who disagree. It was either Charles Krauthammer or Lance Morrow--Google is unhelpful--who coined the phrase, "a whiff of the Taliban" in reference to American Protestant fundamentalists. That was at least 10 years ago. Things have gotten worse since.

My own sense is that the NEA, with its abhorrence of any kind of intellectual effort, either in teacher training or in the demands made on students in the schools, is sending American elementary and secondary education into the toilet. American universities, with affirmative-action preferences and "diversity" mantras are continuing that kind of idiocy on the college level.

Without any training in substantive intellectual analysis, American schoolchildren are suckers for our own Taliban.

And we have nobody to blame for this but ourselves.

Dan in Saint Louis
December 21st, 2005, 08:23 PM
My own sense is that the NEA, with its abhorrence of any kind of intellectual effort, either in teacher training or in the demands made on students in the schools, is sending American elementary and secondary education into the toilet.
You clearly have never read an NEA newsletter or their journal. Yes, our schools are in deep trouble, but the NEA is not at fault: American parents are.

Judy G. Russell
December 21st, 2005, 08:42 PM
As you know, I teach at the graduate school level and my sister teaches high school. I have to say both of us would agree with Dan: look first to the parents, who go ballistic at the very idea that their little darlings are not perfect and brilliant. Little Johnny gets a C??? It must be the teacher's fault!

That being said, I agree 100% and then some about the decision itself: "intelligent design" is the creationism wolf in sheep's clothing. This nation was founded as, first and foremost, a secular nation, and it should stay that way.

Lindsey
December 21st, 2005, 10:29 PM
You're way off base blaming the NEA for this one. In fact, it's the teachers in Dover who were in the forefront of fighting this, and Dover is not unusual in that. In this case, it was the school board in Dover who was to blame. (And congratulations to the voters in Dover for throwing them all out at the last election.)

What's at work here is that this is part of the Christian right's stealth strategy: Put up candidates for the local school board, an office most voters pay little attention to (and have little means of evaluating candidates for anyway), and use that as a toehold into the educational system where you can do things like mandate the teaching of creationism (as in Dover) or introduce classes on the Bible (as in a community in west Texas I was reading about earlier today).

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
December 22nd, 2005, 11:50 PM
I read about that West Texas town. The only issue there was not whether they were going to teach the Bible, but which book they were going to use (and which version of the Bible). Geez Louise...

Lindsey
December 22nd, 2005, 11:58 PM
I read about that West Texas town. The only issue there was not whether they were going to teach the Bible, but which book they were going to use (and which version of the Bible). Geez Louise...
Actually, as I read the article, the controversy was over whether to use a textbook to teach a course about the Bible, or to let the Bible itself be the only text for the course (which is what they opted for).

But it wouldn't surprise me that "which version" was also a question. I gather from the article I saw that they chose the King James version. The name of the course, as I recall, was "The Bible in History and Literature." And there are two points that come to my mind about that. (1) The King James version, while a very poetic translation, is not a terribly accurate translation; and (2) it would seem to me that it would be more instructive to read and compare several different translations of the Bible, if your real purpose is to study it as history and literature.

--Lindsey

ndebord
December 24th, 2005, 12:26 AM
For those who have not read John John Jones III's ruling, here is the conclusion which is as good as it gets imo.

"The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board's ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources. "

Dan in Saint Louis
December 24th, 2005, 10:17 AM
"The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."
OHMYGOD! Has common sense erupted in the United States?

ktinkel
December 24th, 2005, 12:01 PM
John Jones III's ruling …Wasn’t that fabulous? It was like feeling fresh air in an unbearably stuffy room.

Nice writing, too.

Dan in Saint Louis
December 24th, 2005, 02:51 PM
Nice writing, too.
Ya' gotta love a talented wordsmith.

rlohmann
December 24th, 2005, 08:04 PM
You're way off base blaming the NEA for this one. In fact, it's the teachers in Dover who were in the forefront of fighting this, and Dover is not unusual in that.The unionized teachers may have done the right thing in this case, but their track record since the nitwitted John Dewey started the idea at Columbia Teachers' College that the purpose of education was to "teach the child, not the subject" has been poor.

Today's public-school teachers are the product of a curriculum without substantive intellectual content and the labor-union midset of the NEA resists strongly any change in that concept. For this reason, one cannot, with a bachelor's or master's degree--or even a doctorate--in any recognized academic discipline, teach in American public schools. In other words, without the requisite--and mindless--courses in "education," no applicant, however educated in the real sense, may teach. (Dr. Maurice Mandelbaum, my philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins, regularly applied to teach summer school in Baltimore and was repeatedly rejected because he had no education credits. He was, in the view of the Ed.D. establishment, an unqualified teacher.)

Try this: The next time some Ed.D. writes an outraged letter to the editor of the Times-Dispatch about some perceived threat to the NEA or its value system, note first that the letter will include the word "professional" at least six times. Then count the grammatical errors in it.

rlohmann
December 24th, 2005, 08:10 PM
I had several years of the education establishment, close up and personal, when I worked for the DC Government many years ago.

While I'd be the first to agree that American parents share the blame, your're defending a system that will not permit a mathematician to teach in the public schools, but will permit an education major who took "Methods of Teaching Mathematics," but never took a math course, to do so.

There's something wrong there.

rlohmann
December 24th, 2005, 08:17 PM
As you know, I teach at the graduate school level and my sister teaches high school. I have to say both of us would agree with Dan: look first to the parents, who go ballistic at the very idea that their little darlings are not perfect and brilliant. Little Johnny gets a C??? It must be the teacher's fault!You aren't required to have education credits to teach the courses you teach. However, in the NEA universe, you wouldn't be allowed to teach unless you had taken "Methods of Teaching Law." (You wouldn't need a law degree, of course; anyone who had the "Methods" course would be considered qualified by the NEA.)

That being said, I agree 100% and then some about the decision itself: "intelligent design" is the creationism wolf in sheep's clothing. This nation was founded as, first and foremost, a secular nation, and it should stay that way.No, it was founded as a disestablishmentarian nation. Most of the Founding Fathers seem to have been Deists.

rlohmann
December 24th, 2005, 08:20 PM
Don't get too euphoric. The native Taliban is rattling its arms.

Judy G. Russell
December 25th, 2005, 02:58 PM
No longer true -- these days someone who is a mathematician would be welcomed with open arms. Given some help with education and teaching concepts, but welcomed. BIG time. Ditto with scientists, language experts and more.

Judy G. Russell
December 25th, 2005, 03:00 PM
The NEA isn't controlling what are called alternate methods to certification. In those alternate methods, particularly for the hard sciences and math, folks who can, teach.

As for the Founding Fathers, I don't think they would have been upset had you substituted the word "secular" for the word "disestablishmentarian".

Judy G. Russell
December 25th, 2005, 03:02 PM
I'm sure I'll be marked for a fundamentalist jihad for saying this, but I always thought all of the Bible was literature. Fiction to be precise.

Judy G. Russell
December 25th, 2005, 03:04 PM
Don't get too euphoric. The native Taliban is rattling its arms.I wish you weren't so right about that...

Dan in Saint Louis
December 25th, 2005, 05:53 PM
the labor-union midset of the NEA
Which came about because college teachers were being paid less than the bus drivers who brought their students to the campus, and less than the beer truck drivers who serviced the corner pub.

Yes, both of those were demonstrable facts when I began teaching. Now, after 31 years at the same college, I am making about the same pay as a fresh graduate in my field going to work for a profit-making business.

Unions are not a cure-all, but there ARE cases where they are needed.

Judy G. Russell
December 25th, 2005, 06:10 PM
Unions are not a cure-all, but there ARE cases where they are needed.People have forgotten, I think, the atrocities of Big Business -- of the mines against the miners, the packhouses against the packers. And while I'm no fan of unions generally today, I still watch with horror as my AP-physics-teaching-ABD-geophysics-educated sister makes less than the garbage collectors...

lensue
December 25th, 2005, 08:53 PM
>the atrocities of Big Business <

Judy, would Walmart apply here? Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 01:37 AM
Not quite in the same way: WalMart has never called out the company police to shoot workers in the streets... But in the sense of the power it exercises (and the way it exercises it), well... if the shoe fits...

ndebord
December 26th, 2005, 02:29 AM
OHMYGOD! Has common sense erupted in the United States?


Dan,

Well, kind of. At the lower levels of government, at least.

ndebord
December 26th, 2005, 02:31 AM
Wasn’t that fabulous? It was like feeling fresh air in an unbearably stuffy room.

Nice writing, too.

Kathleen,

Yes, very nice writing. Considering what is going on here, we could sure use more of the same, all across government.

earler
December 26th, 2005, 05:03 AM
I have a friend, who with his wife, teaches at cuny. They have a nice house in brooklyn, a house up the hudson at 90 miles from town, and an apartment here in paris they use several times a year. I should add they don't come from money. His father was head of the printer's union in nyc. They built up all this themselves. They spend 2 months in paris each year and he comes over 2 or 3 times during the rest of the year. He was hear in november for 10 days, and arrives in january for a couple of weeks. Nice life!

He was v.p. of the professors' union at cuny for a few years and is much involved with administrative matters and teaches less than before. He admits the teachers' unions have been awful, what with their demand for promotion based on seniority only and no testing for continued competence.

I should add the teachers' unions here in france are even worse than in the states. High rate of absenteeism, attempts to inculcate pro soviet thinking for many years, etc. etc.

-er

lensue
December 26th, 2005, 09:49 AM
>attempts to inculcate pro soviet thinking for many years<

Earle, this surprises me--could you elaborate on this. As far as unions what a terrible ordeal in NYC last week with that stike right before Xmas. And on the Soviet front just yesterday I finished watching a superb PBS documentary with opening remarks by Henry Kissinger called Russia At War--the footage of Stalin and Hitler too was incredible. But to hear talk of Soviet type thinking in France's teaching system really startles me. Regards, Len

lensue
December 26th, 2005, 09:53 AM
>But in the sense of the power it exercises (and the way it exercises it), <

Judy, well I still can't make up my mind as to which of my club cards I should give up--Costco which apparently treats its workers much better that Sams Club. Still the Walmart owned Sams Club is 15 minutes to our house out here in Warren County. Walmart seems to have snared some of the products I used to get at Costco and there was a big switch with Sams now using my preferred credit card, Discover while Costco gave up Discover for American Express. Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 10:06 AM
It's always hard to try to balance self-interest with principle (and note I used the non-pejorative word "self-interest" and not "selfishness"). I don't shop at those places so I can't make any suggestions.

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 10:06 AM
Hey we'll take whatever we can get wherever we can get it!

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 10:09 AM
There's a big, HUGE even, difference between public school teachers in the K-12 years and college folks (I am occasionally amazed at what fulltime faculty make at the law school where I'm an adjunct), and there's also a difference between what K-12 teachers make in urban areas and what they make in suburban and rural areas. But a NYC K-12 teacher makes a top salary of perhaps $75-80,000 with years oif experience and education. A transit worker with overtime can easily make $100,000.

Dan in Saint Louis
December 26th, 2005, 10:51 AM
But a NYC K-12 teacher makes a top salary of perhaps $75-80,000 with years of experience and education.
In Saint Louis, that would be an expected salary for a full Professor with 30 to 40 years experience at a public college.

lensue
December 26th, 2005, 11:32 AM
>and note I used the non-pejorative word "self-interest" and not "selfishness"<

Judy, duly noted! Still now that you mention it what exactly is the difference?Regards, Len [g]

Jeff
December 26th, 2005, 01:31 PM
There's a big, HUGE even, difference between public school teachers in the K-12 years and college folks (I am occasionally amazed at what fulltime faculty make at the law school where I'm an adjunct), and there's also a difference between what K-12 teachers make in urban areas and what they make in suburban and rural areas. But a NYC K-12 teacher makes a top salary of perhaps $75-80,000 with years oif experience and education. A transit worker with overtime can easily make $100,000.

I know a four year college where a full professor with tenure makes ~$50,000, in a town where the average cost of an average house is over $250,000 and climbing. The local black humor is "1/3 of your salary is the scenery".

- Jeff

ktinkel
December 26th, 2005, 02:31 PM
I'm sure I'll be marked for a fundamentalist jihad for saying this, but I always thought all of the Bible was literature. Fiction to be precise.Clearly so. And what may not have been fiction has become so from centuries of typos and revisionist editing to make some point or other.

ktinkel
December 26th, 2005, 02:36 PM
But a NYC K-12 teacher makes a top salary of perhaps $75-80,000 with years oif experience and education. A transit worker with overtime can easily make $100,000.And either of those, if they are the primary wage-earner for a family of 4, might be unable to buy or rent comfortable housing in NYC, or even conveniently nearby.

earler
December 26th, 2005, 06:31 PM
The french intelligentsia was very procommunist, the soviet variety, but also the pol pot one later on. Many teachers pushed their political agendas onto their students and could be very nasty for others. My wife, as a teenager in the lycée fénélon in paris (then an all girl lycée as all schools were segregated in those days) was humilated by a professor who taunted her because her last name had a particule, de, signifying a noble family. For a shy young girl it was difficult.

-er

lensue
December 26th, 2005, 11:06 PM
>but also the pol pot one later on<

Earle, I sure hope things have now changed--Pol Pot and for that matter Stalin have definitely been proven to be monsters IMO! Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 11:23 PM
I once had a wonderfully entertaining "argument" with a young woman who said she knew the Bible was the word of God because the Bible told her so. The concept of circular reasoning had, apparently, never occurred to her...

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 11:24 PM
Self-interest generally has the meaning of an appropriate emphasis on the needs of self, whereas selfishness generally has the meaning of inappropriate personal greed.

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 11:25 PM
New Jersey pays more but, of course, our cost of living is a bit higher as well, sandwiched as we are between NYC and Philadelphia.

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 11:26 PM
Sigh... and whaddaya wanna make a bet the "sanitation engineers" in that town make more?

Judy G. Russell
December 26th, 2005, 11:27 PM
And either of those, if they are the primary wage-earner for a family of 4, might be unable to buy or rent comfortable housing in NYC, or even conveniently nearby.Ain't that the truth... housing in the entire region has gone simply through the roof!

Lindsey
December 26th, 2005, 11:55 PM
Fiction to be precise.
That's a bit harsh; "myth" and "legend" for the historical books, perhaps, but that is something of a different nature than straight fiction. (And notice that the Dewey Decimal classification doesn't place mythology in the same category as fiction.) And there are a number of books of poetry, which is also of a different nature than fiction.

But it is rather incredible that if they're going to take a literary approach to the Bible, that they rejected the whole idea of using any kind of textbook, though I think the curriculum they adopted does have a teacher's manual. But any literature course I have ever taken always has a textbook with material that at least gives you a historical and cultural context for the passages that you are reading. And if the translation they have adopted is the King James version, that may indeed be the most poetic, but it's not the most accurate English translation, and any academically worthy study would certainly want to include a more modern translation to be read in parallel with that one.

This appears to be a rather thinly disguised religious Bible study course instituted on the public dime. The strategy of these people is plainly transparent: they don't care that they keep losing in court, they simply intend to keep pushing until they wear the opposition down.

--Lindsey

earler
December 27th, 2005, 05:09 AM
Surprising though it may be, there is still a communist party in france, albeit with only 3-5% of the votes, and there are a couple of extreme left parties that proclaim collectivization of land and nationalization of major businesses to be the solution. While the killing of several million jews, plus gypsies and some homosexuals, by the nazis is universally condemned, if anyone dares speak of the 20 million people killed by stalin and his successors, well that is considered the price one pays to achieve utopia.

-er

earler
December 27th, 2005, 05:50 AM
The Little Red Hen-Modern version

Once upon a time, on a farm in Texas, there was a little red hen
who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few
grains of wheat.

She called all of her neighbors together and said, "If we plant this
wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?"

"Not I," said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will do it by myself," said the little red hen. And so she did. The wheat grew very tall and ripened into golden grain.

"Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.

"Not I," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.

"Then I will do it by myself," said the little red hen, and so she did. At last it came time to bake the bread.

"Who will help me bake the bread! ?" asked the little red hen.

"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.

"Then I will do it by myself," said the little red hen She baked five
loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see. They
wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, "No, I shall eat all five loaves."

"Excess profits!" cried the cow.
"Capitalist leech!" screamed the duck.
"I demand equal rights!" yelled the goose.
The pig just grunted in disdain.

And they all painted "Unfair!" picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

Then a government agent came, he said to the little red hen, "You
must not be so greedy."

"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.

"Exactly," said the agent. "That is what makes our free enterprise
system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as
he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the
productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those
who are lazy and idle,"

And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, for now I truly understand,"

But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She never again baked bread because she joined the "party" and got her bread free.

And all the Democrats smiled. 'Fairness' had been established.
Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps no one
cared.....as long as there was free bread that "the rich" were
paying for.



-er

Bill Hirst
December 27th, 2005, 06:10 AM
... And if the translation they have adopted is the King James version, that may indeed be the most poetic, but it's not the most accurate English translation, and any academically worthy study would certainly want to include a more modern translation to be read in parallel with that one.
--Lindsey

It may be somewhat lacking in accuracy, but it's also the version usually cited by those who believe in the "literal truth" of the Bible. Of course, you usually can't expect a high degree of logic in matters that are decided by faith.

It is nonetheless unsettling that a majority of Americans would seem to favor replacing evolution with religious dogma in our public schools.

-Bill

lensue
December 27th, 2005, 09:28 AM
>Self-interest generally has the meaning of an appropriate emphasis on the needs of self, whereas selfishness generally has the meaning of inappropriate personal greed<

Judy, thanks--still the distinction can sometimes be hard to make. For example, I believe that Walmart's Sams and Costco charge pretty much the same price. I also know that Costco and Sams treat their employees in different ways, although I don't believe in general Sams breaks the law. From where I live I save time and money by using Sams as opposed to Costco. So to what degree am I being self interested and to what degree being selfish? Regards, Len

lensue
December 27th, 2005, 09:37 AM
>While the killing of several million jews, plus gypsies and some homosexuals, by the nazis is universally condemned, if anyone dares speak of the 20 million people killed by stalin and his successors, well that is considered the price one pays to achieve utopia. <

Earle, that's pretty much what this great documentary "Russia's War" from PBS was trying to say--Kissinger made your point several times. I do think that today the vast majority of people don't think highly of Stalin. What a secretive closed place the Soviet Union was under Stalin and those who followed him. The show revealed that the Russians had actually found Hitler's grave and had it brought to Russia where it remained until 1970 when one of the leaders had the remains crushed--the show said that all that remains of Hitler are some teeth they have somewhere. The footage on this show was quite remarkable. They explained how close some of the military people in Germany got to assasinating Hitler--it was a very close call for him. Afterwards there were shots of a shaky Hitler visiting a hospital and shaking hands with some of the others who were wounded in the bomb assassination plot. Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 01:00 PM
That's a bit harsh; "myth" and "legend" for the historical books, perhaps, but that is something of a different nature than straight fiction.Fair enough. And there is some history included here and there.

This appears to be a rather thinly disguised religious Bible study course instituted on the public dime. The strategy of these people is plainly transparent: they don't care that they keep losing in court, they simply intend to keep pushing until they wear the opposition down.Bingo. In one. That's exactly what's been done and what is being done on front after front. It seems to me that, these days, the so-called "Culture War" is mostly a war of attrition.

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 01:02 PM
It is ...unsettling that a majority of Americans would seem to favor replacing evolution with religious dogma in our public schools."Unsettling" is not the word I would use. Frightening, at a minimum. Terrifying, perhaps...

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 01:03 PM
So to what degree am I being self interested and to what degree being selfish?That, I'm afraid, is the kind of ethical decision each of us is forced to make individually... with some difficulty.

rlohmann
December 27th, 2005, 05:40 PM
The NEA isn't controlling what are called alternate methods to certification. In those alternate methods, particularly for the hard sciences and math, folks who can, teach.The key word is "alternate." The NEA still runs the public schools, and mathematicians, like Professor Mandelbaum, are relegated to second-class--"alternate"--citizenship.

As for the Founding Fathers, I don't think they would have been upset had you substituted the word "secular" for the word "disestablishmentarian".I respectfully dissent.

A significant element of the Colonists' grievance against the Crown was the dead hand of the C. of E., which was what we would now call a branch of government. In addition, it wielded major, unaccountable economic power.

Google "'American Revolution' 'disestablishmanterian'" and see what you come up with.

rlohmann
December 27th, 2005, 06:01 PM
People have forgotten, I think, the atrocities of Big Business -- of the mines against the miners, the packhouses against the packers.You weren't around in 1946 when John L. Lewis said "the public be damned."

I was, and I froze my ass off.

That's not directly related to my dislike of the NEA, but it has, together with some labor-relations experience, generated a certain low-level antipathy toward unions.

And while I'm no fan of unions generally today, I still watch with horror as my AP-physics-teaching-ABD-geophysics-educated sister makes less than the garbage collectors...You and I can certainly agree that your AP-physics-teaching-ABD-geophysics-educated sister is worth a salary several orders of magnitude more than she's making, but she has chosen--as have many other talented people--employment that pays less because that's what she wants to do. I admire her for that, as I hope the parents of her students do, but you must concede that the intellectual attainments of the average BS.Ed., on which the pay scales are based, are worth considerably less than hers.

rlohmann
December 27th, 2005, 06:35 PM
Which came about because college teachers were being paid less than the bus drivers who brought their students to the campus, and less than the beer truck drivers who serviced the corner pub.You're making apple-and-orange salad.

It's legitimate for competent teachers to challenge inadequate salaries. My objection is to the dumbing-down, dog-in-the-manger policy of the NEA: People who can read and write better than we must not be allowed to teach.

Yes, both of those were demonstrable facts when I began teaching. Now, after 31 years at the same college, I am making about the same pay as a fresh graduate in my field going to work for a profit-making business.See my note to Judy about her sister (whom I know, and whose casual brilliance I find breathtaking).

In any event, aren't you a kind of ringer? Fortunately for American education, the NEA, despite its efforts, has never, AFAIK, penetrated higher education.

rlohmann
December 27th, 2005, 06:39 PM
When it comes to bad things, I usually am right, unfortunately.

rlohmann
December 27th, 2005, 06:51 PM
In other words, some animals are simply more fair than others.

--
Nancy Pelosi

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Those teachers who use the alternate route to licensure have totally equal status in most public schools after they are in fact licensed. Except that they usually get paid more for their advanced degrees than the plain B.S./B.A. in education folks do.

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 07:30 PM
Of course you are right. What else can you say of a man who refuses to so much as take a left turn on a roadway???

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 07:33 PM
Having been compelled by my choice of employment once to join a union ("Hello, welcome to the Newspaper Guild, sign this form for automatic deduction of your dues or pack up your desk by 5 p.m."), I think I may have more antipathy to unions today than you do. But that doesn't mean I don't recognize the reasons why unions were necessary and, in some industries still, are necessary to counteract the power of Big Business.

As for teachers, actually, anybody who so much as babysits 30 screaming preadolescents is worth his/her weight in gold...

Dan in Saint Louis
December 27th, 2005, 09:05 PM
You're making apple-and-orange salad.
No sir. I agree that we should no more permit incomptent teachers than incompetent truck drivers. My point was that COMPETENT teachers are earning less than truck drivers, even INCOMPETENT truck drivers. What are the anti-union orators doing to get THOSE off the roads?

My objection is to the dumbing-down, dog-in-the-manger policy of the NEA: People who can read and write better than we must not be allowed to teach.
And I say again: you have clearly read neither their newsletters nor their journal. Without getting nosy about your source of information, I would guess that you are parroting some line fed you by an anti-union group.

In any event, aren't you a kind of ringer? Fortunately for American education, the NEA, despite its efforts, has never, AFAIK, penetrated higher education.
I have no numbers handy on membership, but they seem to be pretty strong at the community college level. While it is possible to complain that we aren't really "higher" education, I will state that our students, upon transferring to a four-year engineering university, get better grades than those who began in that same four-year school.

I agree that there are incompetent teachers in the system. They were here before the NEA moved in, and by college policy they will remain in until they choose to leave. I fume when I walk into a history classroom and see the teacher's notes on the board - complete with spelling errors. But that's not the NEA's fault: they would be just as eager to boot the bums, and thus improve the quality of teaching, as you and I are. The NEA is just a convenient target because the anti-union forces wouldn't dare proclaim that state governments and school policies are defective.

Lindsey
December 27th, 2005, 11:21 PM
It may be somewhat lacking in accuracy, but it's also the version usually cited by those who believe in the "literal truth" of the Bible.
Yeah; and probably some of them would tell you, "If it was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me." :rolleyes:

It is nonetheless unsettling that a majority of Americans would seem to favor replacing evolution with religious dogma in our public schools.

It's unsettling that so many Americans apparently have no idea what science is all about! How are we supposed to compete with the Chinese and the Indians when so much of the population is so willfully ignorant?

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
December 27th, 2005, 11:44 PM
It's unsettling that so many Americans apparently have no idea what science is all about! How are we supposed to compete with the Chinese and the Indians when so much of the population is so willfully ignorant?We can't and we won't. The NY Times had a big article the other day about the reverse diaspora for India -- a reverse brain drain for us -- educated and talented Indians taking their educations home to India.

Lindsey
December 28th, 2005, 12:07 AM
I don't believe in general Sams breaks the law.
Don't be so sure:

Suit says missing smile cost job at Sam's Club

By JENNIFER LIBERTO - St. Petersburg Times
June 14, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG - Molly Beavers lost her smile early on in her 19-year career of pushing food samples and collecting grocery carts she could barely see over.

Her scowl may have cost her the job.

A Sam's Club manager fired her in December 2003 for not smiling enough, she says. Beavers' face is partially paralyzed from surgery related to her condition as an achondroplastic dwarf.

<snip>

She said her problems at work began earlier in 2003, when she tripped in a produce aisle drainage hole and fell to the ground. Her demonstration cart and microwave oven toppled over on her, she said.

Beavers filed a workers' compensation claim. Sam's Club did not process the claim nor pay for treatment, the federal complaint states.

Although Beavers recovered, back problems lingered. When she asked to sit on a stool while working, her manager would not allow it, the lawsuit states.

<snip>

Later, when new store manager Ralph Lail fired her, he told her it was because she didn't smile enough at customers and co-workers, the lawsuit states. When Beavers explained her facial paralysis, Lail said, "that's no excuse," according to the federal filing.

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/news/20050614-spt.html

-----------------------------------

ANDREA FLEISCHER, NEW YORK TIMES: It's 6 a.m. and the first shift is arriving at the nation's largest company, and largest private employer. Throughout the day nearly one million people will clock in and begin work at three thousand Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs nationwide.

Part of the vast Wal-Mart network that will ring-up an estimated 220 billion dollars in sales this year. But some employees say profits have been made unfairly, and even illegally at the workers' expense.

<snip>

ANDREA FLEISCHER: . . . Wal-Mart is fighting legal battles with scores of former employees in 25 states — hourly workers who claim the company has cheated them out of hundreds of millions of dollars in overtime pay.

LIBERTY MORALES, FORMER WAL-MART EMPLOYEE: I would work ten or fifteen hours [per week] off the clock.

INTERVIEWER: You wouldn't get paid.

LIBERTY MORALES: No.

INTERVIEWER: But you'd be working.

LIBERTY MORALES: Yes

<snip>

FARRIS COBB, FORMER SAM'S CLUB EMPLOYEE: A lotta times, even though I was supposed to get off, say, like at six o'clock in the morning...I would be there because the managers would make me wait till they got there, at eight.

STEVEN GREENHOUSE: Would they actually order you to work off the clock, or was it something you did that they really didn't know about?

FARRIS COBB, No, they knew. They all knew. That's what they would tell me that, um, you have to do this for the company.

<snip>

ANDREA FLEISCHER: Jon Lehman, a former manager who left Wal-mart on good terms after 17 years, says following one simple rule was the key to survival.

JON LEHMAN: Absolutely no overtime. I don't even want to hear it. If you have overtime, you're gonna be back in here on Saturday morning and we're gonna be getting papers out. We're gonna coach you. We're gonna write you up. I mean, that's what it comes down to. Their jobs are on the line if they have overtime.

ANDREA FLEISCHER: And still more startling — even when employees clock in over time hours those hours don't always show up on their paychecks.

FARRIS COBB: A lotta times they would come in and, uh, just erase your hours.

ANDREA FLEISCHER: Farris Cobb says that sometimes left his two-week paycheck short, four to 800 dollars.

ANDREA FLEISCHER: So you're saying Sam's Club managers doctored time cards, fraudulently played around with time cards?

FARRIS COBB: Oh, every day. They-they did that on a constant basis every day.

ANDREA FLEISCHER: Dorothy English agrees, and she worked in the payroll department.

DOROTHY ENGLISH, FORMER WAL-MART EMPLOYEE: Nine times out of 10 they did not get paid for their overtime.

ANDREA FLEISCHER: English says she's the one who actually altered the time records in the Louisiana Wal-mart where she worked, and she says she did it on orders from management.

DOROTHY ENGLISH: They will adjust those hours in that computer. It's the system. It's Wal-Mart's system that does this. People like me who went in there and did exactly what they told me to do.

--from a transcript of "Off the Clock," NOW, PBS, 11/08/02

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_walmart.html

Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are simply two sides of the same coin. Low prices are nice, but they have to come out of someone's hide, and you can bet that the hides they come out of don't belong to anyone in the Walton family.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
December 28th, 2005, 12:19 AM
We can't and we won't. The NY Times had a big article the other day about the reverse diaspora for India -- a reverse brain drain for us -- educated and talented Indians taking their educations home to India.
I'll tell you, it scares me to death. This, it seems to me, is one of the biggest threats facing this country's future, and George "I'm a war president" Bush is playing the part of the Emperor Nero. In more ways than one. :(

You know what brought Rome down? The Germanic raiders destroyed the aqueducts, and there were no more engineers with the knowledge to repair them. Without water, the city emptied just as New Orleans did after the levees were destroyed.

--Lindsey

ndebord
December 28th, 2005, 02:14 AM
I'll tell you, it scares me to death. This, it seems to me, is one of the biggest threats facing this country's future, and George "I'm a war president" Bush is playing the part of the Emperor Nero. In more ways than one. :(

You know what brought Rome down? The Germanic raiders destroyed the aqueducts, and there were no more engineers with the knowledge to repair them. Without water, the city emptied just as New Orleans did after the levees were destroyed.

--Lindsey

Lindsey,

That probably was part of what brought Rome down, but in its glory years, the richest Roman was only 10 to 20 times richer than the man on the farm. By the end of the Empire, that differential had grown to 220,000 times as much and the middle class had vanished. I think the differential with us is now something like 220 to 1 and growing.

Add in the use of barbarians in the Roman Legions instead of peasants and artistocrats and you can see the difference. In one of the early Gallic battles, the Senate lost 1/3 of its members, as they fought and died right alongside ordinary citizens.

lensue
December 28th, 2005, 10:02 AM
>Don't be so sure<

Lindsey, I've been reading about things like this for some time and I know there's a movie out which goes after Walmart--what I wonder is if this official Walmart policy or just certain employees--bosses and supervisors and managers-- who engage in abuses against their workers. My wife Sue who was in the NYC school system had different principals and assistant principals over the years--some were great--others thought nothing of breaking certain rules. Walmarts is a gigantic operation--it must be hard to make sure everyone is observing official company possibilities. Also it seems to me that there are always workers out there that look for things to complain about and even sue their former companies. I worked in Essex County NJ government and some of the complaints and excuses offered by very bad employees had to be seen to believed. So it seems to me unless it can definitely be shown and proved that Walmart's policies have broken laws how am I supposed to make a decision. Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
December 28th, 2005, 02:01 PM
It's WalMart. Bank on it. There have been a number of lawsuits against WalMart for systemic violations -- and WalMart loses every single time.

rlohmann
December 28th, 2005, 06:17 PM
:cool:

rlohmann
December 28th, 2005, 06:19 PM
But the "licensing" process is nothing more than the completion of nonsensical education courses.

rlohmann
December 28th, 2005, 06:22 PM
You know what brought Rome down? The Germanic raiders destroyed the aqueducts, and there were no more engineers with the knowledge to repair them. Without water, the city emptied just as New Orleans did after the levees were destroyed.That's interesting. My sense is that Rome fell for reasons far more diverse and complicated than that. You will naturally have authority for that assertion.

Lindsey
December 28th, 2005, 10:27 PM
That probably was part of what brought Rome down, but in its glory years, the richest Roman was only 10 to 20 times richer than the man on the farm. By the end of the Empire, that differential had grown to 220,000 times as much and the middle class had vanished. I think the differential with us is now something like 220 to 1 and growing.
Oh, wow, I had never heard that. And that's another growing problem in this country as well--the gap between rich and poor is getting larger by the day.

I saw a book on this very subject (the fall of Rome) recommended on Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo blog today (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/007320.php): Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. I think I want to bite for it.

--Lindsey

davidh
December 28th, 2005, 10:32 PM
I'm sure I'll be marked for a fundamentalist jihad for saying this, but I always thought all of the Bible was literature. Fiction to be precise. I think Lindsey has a point about the variety of literature in the bible.

Don't forget that the writers of the bible also had a big interest in "begats" and in ordinances and statues, as also do some moderns who post in this forum.

Sometimes people have very strong emotional motivations for the positions they advocate. For example, I believe (from what I read on Wiki) that the founder of the Discovery Institute converted to evangelical/fundamental christianity because of the failure of his marriage and therefore had/has a strong aversion to what he perceives as the extreme overemphasis of modern society on materialism, which apparently greatly contributed to that failure. Something or someone who attacks one's motivation for living would naturally feel threatened by a system/theory, such as evolution, that seemingly obliterates one's main motivation in life (such as a particular brand of spirituality). His Discovery Institute is one of the chief promoters of ID and funders of legal challenges in favor of ID.

On the other hand, "Faith of the Fatherless" by Paul Vitz (which I have not read), even though one might accuse if of being anecdotal, suggests strongly that many famous atheists have/had a strong motivation, caused by poor or non-existent relationships with their fathers in childhood, to rebel against ideas which favor any religious concepts which champion a father-like deity figure.

When dealing with such emotionally motivated advocates, name calling is not necessarily a fruitful avenue of argument in the long term. (I think "jihad" is more appropriately applied to the likes of David Koresh of Waco fame or the Ruby Ridge case.) Of course, labelling plays well when one is "preaching to the choir" (even is cases where the choir may be anti-religious or "alternate religious").

I happened to view the Charlie Rose show in which he interviewed the author (I forget her name) who wrote "Team of Adversaries" about Abraham Lincoln. One remark that she made that stuck in my mind was that Lincoln never had a bad word to say about his opponents. (Unlike most political disputes throughout the ages and today too.) She attributed much of his political success to this.

I was rather struck by the story that played on the national network news today and yesterday about the "tough guy" police officer (I think his nickname might have been 'Bull') who is teaching courses to police officers on how to use words to defuse confrontations with dangerous suspects, etc. Maybe rap and jive have a very useful function in addition to selling multimedia productions.

In the Sermon on the Mount, those who engage in name calling are indicted for severe retribution. Furthermore, such luminaries as the Breslover Rebbe has stated that one cannot claim to have "repented" until one can face murderous verbal abuse with equanimity. So "turning the other cheek" could very well be applied to verbal jousts, not just fist fights.

Not that I have any merit to justify my casting stones, I consider myself (having let my righteous indignation get out of hand on occasion) to be among the "dangerous unrepentant suspects".

Peace, sister,

David H.

Lindsey
December 28th, 2005, 10:36 PM
I know there's a movie out which goes after Walmart
Yes, I've seen it--they had a screening on the Nation cruise I was on in November. It's devastating. (And The Nation has had quite a number of articles on the subject of Wal-Mart in its magazine.)

what I wonder is if this official Walmart policy or just certain employees--bosses and supervisors and managers-- who engage in abuses against their workers.
It's happened in states all across the country. I can't believe it's not coming from the top, and from the results of the many lawsuits that have been filed against them, the courts seem to have come to the same conclusion.

As I recall, one of the people interviewed in that movie had been hired for the very purpose of seeing that stores were being run in compliance with the law. But when he tried to call problems to the attention of the Wal-Mart corporate management, he was made to understand that he was out of line. What they actually wanted, it seems, was for him to look the other way, put a happy face on it, and allow them to say that their internal audits showed everything was hunky-dory.

--Lindsey

davidh
December 28th, 2005, 10:37 PM
typo: statutes not statues

davidh
December 28th, 2005, 11:26 PM
correction: rivals not adversaries

Guests from the week between 12/19/2005 and 12/23/2005

Monday
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN
Author,
"Team of Rivals:
The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”

Judy G. Russell
December 28th, 2005, 11:48 PM
I wasn't saying fundamentalists generally engage in jihad. I was suggesting, only partially in jest, that someone who said, as I did, that the Bible is fiction (or at least mythology) could well be marked for retribution by those fundamentalists who do engage in jihadist tactics. Anyone who doesn't think that there are Christian religious jihadists should remember Eric Robert Rudolph.

davidh
December 29th, 2005, 01:04 AM
I wasn't saying fundamentalists generally engage in jihad. I was suggesting, only partially in jest, that someone who said, as I did, that the Bible is fiction (or at least mythology) could well be marked for retribution by those fundamentalists who do engage in jihadist tactics. Anyone who doesn't think that there are Christian religious jihadists should remember Eric Robert Rudolph.

ok

BTW, here's my "operational definition" of jihadist:

Willing to kill those in one's own party who don't adhere strictly to the "faith" or at least to deny them any means of livelihood

basically a mafia or gang attitude

and then after the jihad succeeds

If I don't get my desired cut of the spoils and you're not willing to help me get it then, off with your head

earler
December 29th, 2005, 08:16 AM
Roman history isn't that simple. It was certainly true that in the final years of the republic that the richest were much more than 10 or 20 times richer than the poor. There were huge latifundia and the rich under the early emperors were certainly very much so. Cicero had at least 6 villas.

As for legions, well their makeup had already much changed by the end of the republic, too. The recruitment of barbarians came early on after augustus.

I think the decline and fall of the roman empire deserves more attention than your message provides. Try gibbon for insights.

-er

lensue
December 29th, 2005, 12:47 PM
>WalMart loses every single time<

Judy, everytime? I wasn't aware of that--is there any place where one could look at a record of just how many decisions Walmart has lost and won including decisions first lost and then won on appeal. And what cases going through the courts right now. This is probably not a majority decision but I see a case here Walmart might have won but with google it's hard to know if its the final outcome--there must be a scorecard somewhere! [g]

FWIW which I admit may not be much:
1.http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Law/2005/09/16/pf-1220518.html
November 4, 2005
Wal-Mart wins bid against employee's lawsuit

Regards, Len

lensue
December 29th, 2005, 12:52 PM
> But when he tried to call problems to the attention of the Wal-Mart corporate management, he was made to understand that he was out of line.<

Lindsey, could this result in anyone in management going to jail? Has anyone at Walmart broken the law and been criminally charged? Regards, Len

rlohmann
December 29th, 2005, 08:48 PM
Yes, I've seen it--they had a screening on the Nation cruise I was on in November.IIRC, it's the product of a Michael Moore clone with the same kind of dodgy treatment of the truth that has earned Moore his reputation.

It's devastating. (And The Nation has had quite a number of articles on the subject of Wal-Mart in its magazine.)Ach du lieber Gott! The Nation! That masterpiece of unbiased journalism!

Wal-Mart has been sued for individual acts of wrongdoing with respect to individual employees, and lost, in several venues. So has just about every other large company. What it has not been sued for is any violation of minimum-wage laws or other fundamental labor legislation. The movie doesn't exactly make that clear.

Big Labor is losing ground. Wal-Mart's success is an affront to the AFL-CIO, and they're fighting it tooth and nail. When you look at all the brouhaha about Wal-Mart, just ask whose ox is being gored.

Judy G. Russell
December 29th, 2005, 11:05 PM
A fair enough definition, though slightly more narrow than mine. The "off with your head" part, of course, remains the same.

Judy G. Russell
December 29th, 2005, 11:08 PM
I don't think there's a scorecard listing, no. And the kind of lawsuit I was referring to was not the type you noted, where the issue is a store closing. It's more the sort of thing referenced here (http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/2005/Wal-Mart-$172M-Lunch22dec05.htm). (That just happens to be the first link in Google to the most recent suit I remember.)

Judy G. Russell
December 29th, 2005, 11:12 PM
An interesting assertion, but fundamentally untrue. You might want to chat with my sister, who went through the alternate licensing process.

Judy G. Russell
December 29th, 2005, 11:14 PM
You're not seriously defending WalMart's labor practices, are you? Seriously?

lensue
December 29th, 2005, 11:43 PM
>It's more the sort of thing referenced here.<

Judy, thanks, very interesting. I notice there will be an appeal--I hope I'll remember to look for how that goes. Do you think that Walmart has seriously attempted to correct this problem: "Wal-Mart also claims to have addressed the problem by "adopting new technology that sends alerts to cashiers when it is time for their meal breaks. The system will automatically shut down registers if the cashier does not respond." Regards, Len

rlohmann
December 30th, 2005, 05:57 PM
She did not have to take education courses?

rlohmann
December 30th, 2005, 06:23 PM
Do you mean their real labor practices, or the distorted versions?

"Wal-mart - The High Cost of Low Price" was funded by Move.On, the hard-left outfit that never lets facts get in the way of its ideology. (IIRC, the movie attributed the closing of a hardware store in Ohio, among other things, as resulting from Wal-Mart's rapacious business practices, when in fact the store had closed before Wal-Mart ever opened.)

As I noted earlier, Wal-Mart has lost several civil actions involving individual bad acts by individual store managers. However, as I also noted earlier, Wal-Mart has never been successfully prosecuted, either civilly or criminally, for violations of minimum-wage laws or similar public policies.

Wal-Mart pays wages at the low end of the scale, but nobody is compelled to work there. This practice allows them to set lower prices, a practice which attracts shoppers, many of whom are themselves on limited incomes.

Suppose the masses of the Left managed to force WalMart to raise its wages and benefits. This will result in higher prices, of course. What happens, then to the people on limited budgets who shop there now. Are the AFL-CIO and Move.On going to give them money to make up the shortfall?

If not, please explain how this is all supposed to work.

Lindsey
December 30th, 2005, 07:25 PM
What it has not been sued for is any violation of minimum-wage laws or other fundamental labor legislation.
Are you sure about that?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), along with state wage and hour laws, requires hourly employees to be paid for all time actually worked at no less than a minimum wage and at time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 in a week. . . . As of December 2002, there were thirty-nine class-action lawsuits against [Wal-Mart] in thirty states, claiming tens of millions of dollars in back pay for hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees.

In 2001, Wal-Mart forked over $50 million in unpaid wages to 69,000 workers in Colorado. These wages were paid only after the workers filed a class action lawsuit. Wal-Mart had been working the employees off-the-clock. The company also paid $500,000 to 120 workers in Gallup, New Mexico, who filed a lawsuit over unpaid work.

In a Texas class-action certified in 2002 on behalf of 200,000 former and current Wal-Mart employees, statisticians estimated that the company shortchanged its workers $150 million over four years – just based on the frequency of employees working through their daily 15 minute breaks.

<snip>

In January 2004, the New York Times reported on an internal Wal-Mart audit which found “extensive violations of child-labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals.”36 One week of time records from 25,000 employees in July 2000 found 1,371 instances of minors working too late, during school hours, or for too many hours in a day. There were 60,767 missed breaks and 15,705 lost meal times.

According to the New York Times report: “Verette Richardson, a former Wal-Mart cashier in Kansas City, Mo., said it was sometimes so hard to get a break that some cashiers urinated on themselves. Bella Blaubergs, a diabetic who worked at a Wal-Mart in Washington State, said she sometimes nearly fainted from low blood sugar because managers often would not give breaks.”

A store manager in Kentucky told the New York Times that, after the audit was issued, he received no word from company executives to try harder to cut down on violations: “There was no follow-up to that audit, there was nothing sent out I was aware of saying, ‘We’re bad. We screwed up. This is the remedy we're going to follow to correct the situation.’”

(http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/WALMARTREPORT.pdf)

Thirty-nine class action suits in thirty states sound like a lot more to me than "individual acts of wrongdoing with respect to individual employees . . . in several venues". And I don't think pushing workers to the point that they urinate on themselves or risk going into diabetic shock in order for the company to shave a few pennies off of the price of toilet paper is doing anyone any favors. Besides which CostCo manages to offer low prices without abusing their work force.

Ach du lieber Gott! The Nation! That masterpiece of unbiased journalism!
Feel free to browse through the Wal-Mart reporting on The Nation's web site (http://www.thenation.com/) (just do a search on "Wal-Mart"), and complain about any specific instances of inaccuracy or unfairness you feel you find there, either here or to the magazine itself.

IIRC, it's the product of a Michael Moore clone with the same kind of dodgy treatment of the truth that has earned Moore his reputation.
Well, I wouldn't know what you would consider the requirements for "a Michael Moore clone," but the Wal-Mart documentary (http://www.walmartmovie.com/reviews_latimes.php) was directed by Robert Greenwald (http://www.robertgreenwald.org/about.php), and award-winning documentary producer/director whose film about the 2000 presidential election alone won considerable acclaim. "Greenwald's films have garnered 25 Emmy nominations, four cable ACE Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Award, and eight Awards of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board. He was awarded the 2002 Producer of the Year Award by the American Film Institute." Consider him a partisan hack if you want <shrug> -- you're entitled to your opinion, however slanted it may be.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
December 30th, 2005, 07:47 PM
"Wal-mart - The High Cost of Low Price" was funded by Move.On,
Where did you see that? According to USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2005-10-26-wal-mart-film-usat_x.htm), the film was funded by "private investors." MoveOn.org helped to organize screenings for it (as did a number of other interest groups), but I can't find anything that says they actually financed it.

--Lindsey

lensue
December 30th, 2005, 08:56 PM
>What happens, then to the people on limited budgets who shop there now<

Ralph, exactly--and what about people like me! Regards, Len [g]

Judy G. Russell
December 30th, 2005, 11:11 PM
Correct. She did not. She took a single seminar on approaches to education (how do you get 30 adolescents to sit still and listen to science information, for example) and did the rest on the job with mentoring.

Judy G. Russell
December 30th, 2005, 11:12 PM
Frankly, no, I don't believe WalMart has systemically addressed this. I believe it has systemically addressed how to make it look good in the next lawsuit.

Judy G. Russell
December 30th, 2005, 11:14 PM
Frankly, I don't see a problem with doing things the way my family did when I was a kid: we saved up and we bought a few quality things, and then we made them last.

lensue
December 31st, 2005, 08:22 AM
>Frankly, no, I don't believe WalMart has systemically addressed this<

Judy, what I'd like to know is when we use the term Walmart who are we talking about--it's a big operation. It seems to me we have to know if any specific person has broken any laws. Has the CEO of the company sat down and discussed strategy for cutting off the workers lunch brakes or is just that some managers of stores are gung ho? I'd like to know if the people who take jobs at Walmart know the rules before they come to work or are the rules broken after they come to work--and if so why are they broken. Regards, Len

Lindsey
December 31st, 2005, 09:45 PM
I believe it has systemically addressed how to make it look good in the next lawsuit.
Bingo.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
December 31st, 2005, 09:50 PM
Frankly, I don't see a problem with doing things the way my family did when I was a kid: we saved up and we bought a few quality things, and then we made them last.
The report I linked to in my message to Ralph--the source of the long quotation--lays out how Wal-Mart's practice of lowering prices by squeezing its workers and its suppliers (who in turn have to squeeze their workers) ultimately costs the taxpayers money for things like foodstamps and Medicaid, which a large proportion of Wal-Mart workers turn out to be eligible for. (And in fact, at one time--and maybe even still--Wal-Mart was coaching its workers on how to apply for public assistance.)

--Lindsey

Lindsey
December 31st, 2005, 10:28 PM
I'd like to know if the people who take jobs at Walmart know the rules before they come to work or are the rules broken after they come to work--and if so why are they broken.
I'm not sure what rules you are specifically talking about, but Wal-Mart does have an employee handbook -- which in Derrig v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. d/b/a Sam's Club, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14939 they tried to argue was non-binding on the store because the handbook contained a disclaimer that said the handbook only provided "guidance" and was not a legal contract. The court ruled against them on that, telling them, in short, that the corporation could not have it both ways. If they expected to hold employees to what was spelled out in the handbook, then employees also had a right to expect that company would live up to what it promised there. The corporation, after all, had complete control over what was put in the handbook.

So yes, supposedly everybody knows the rules in advance, but Wal-Mart has tried to say that rules only apply to employees, not to the company. (And whatever rules are in the handbook, they don't give Wal-Mart the right to skirt the requirements of the labor laws.)

--Lindsey

lensue
January 1st, 2006, 11:19 AM
>Derrig v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. d/b/a Sam's Club, employees also had a right to expect that company would live up to what it promised there. The corporation, after all, had complete control over what was put in the handbook... Wal-Mart has tried to say that rules only apply to employees, not to the company. (And whatever rules are in the handbook, they don't give Wal-Mart the right to skirt the requirements of the labor laws.)<

Lindsey, thanks, very interesting case. Where I worked in Essex County NJ they had manuals too and exactly how much weight they should have is definitely something to think about.

I found this:

"Thirty-three states including New York and the District of Columbia hold to the principle that promises made in employee handbooks may be binding on an employer, although there are differences as to what circumstances justify a finding that handbook provisions are binding and as to what circumstances justify such a finding...This ruling was made despite the fact that the Sam's claimed it's manual contained a disclaimer indicating that the Associate Handbook merely provides guidance and is not a legal contract."

I wonder what will happen in those states where that principal is not held to--wonder if the Supreme Court will have to get involved at some point. What also interested me was reading about the employee Derring--he seems to have been an employee with a problem and the court apparently said this even though the manual issue went against Walmart: "The bad news for the plaintiff, is that the court found that he violated a policy justifying his termination."

see http://www.law-quest.com/handbook.htm

But on skirting the requirements of the labor laws could you give me some examples. I'm not sure that this manual dispute is skirting the law--isn't that a disagreement that Walmart certainly has a right to try to settle in the courts. I can truly say that the manuals where I worked were not always written that professionally and you could see where confusion and legal disputes could erupt. Regards, Len

ndebord
January 1st, 2006, 12:27 PM
>Frankly, no, I don't believe WalMart has systemically addressed this<

Judy, what I'd like to know is when we use the term Walmart who are we talking about--it's a big operation. It seems to me we have to know if any specific person has broken any laws. Has the CEO of the company sat down and discussed strategy for cutting off the workers lunch brakes or is just that some managers of stores are gung ho? I'd like to know if the people who take jobs at Walmart know the rules before they come to work or are the rules broken after they come to work--and if so why are they broken. Regards, Len


WalMart makes me remember that old folk song... 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and a deeper in debt. St. Peter don't take me, 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store.

(the words may be slightly off, as it is from memory.)

The sentiment is that rapacious employers take full advantage of workers in some situations. I'm not equating Walmart to the coal industry, but from everything I've seen, they work their people to the bone and try not to pay them for their work whenever possible.

Corporate culture is a funny thing. It's not uniform from one company to the next and if the original founder lasted long enough, those prejudices and quirks became part of the culture. Case in point. I worked for one of the world's largest printers. The founder's original printing plant in Chicago had secret passageways in the walls so he could spy on the employees (just a tad paranoid you see). Mr Donnelley's way of doing things was still in place when I worked in one of their New York branches doing, among other things, the New Yorker! We had company spys in every division and sub-division. On all the shifts there was one person who had two jobs. Occasionally we found out who, but most of the time it was just fodder for gossip.

lensue
January 1st, 2006, 01:08 PM
>that old folk song... 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and a deeper in debt. <

Nick, I remember that song--Tennessee Ernie Ford I think.

>secret passageways ...company spys <

Incredible! I have worked practically entirely in government and I'd like to think that doesn't go on but who knows? Regards, Len

rlohmann
January 1st, 2006, 02:32 PM
Aha!

They could buy cake, for example, and eat that, n-est-ce pas?

rlohmann
January 1st, 2006, 02:35 PM
Then the monolith is in fact crumbling around the edges.

I'm happy to hear that, but it's happening far too slowly. It will have gone away when anyone with a degree in a substantive academic subject will be able to teach in an American public school with nothing more than that single seminar.

But wake me with that happens, if we both live that long. :(

Judy G. Russell
January 1st, 2006, 11:23 PM
I'm afraid you're really quite behind the curve in the alternate routes to licensure, Ralph. Particularly for those with science and math degrees (the need for qualified teachers in those areas is acute, to put it mildly). The educational establishment is moving heaven and earth to get licenses for those folks.

HOWEVER... you also must agree that knowing a subject and being able to teach a subject are NOT the same thing. You and I -- I am sure -- have both had perfectly awful teachers who were in fact experts in their subjects, and utterly unable to communicate that knowledge to anyone else. It doesn't bother me in the least that there has to be SOME training in educational techniques even for someone who really knows a subject well. I suspect you have heard me more than once describe the first class of students I ever taught in Appellate Advocacy as my guinea pigs, and I mean than sincerely. I learned a lot more from them about teaching than they did from me about Appellate Advocacy, I suspect!

Judy G. Russell
January 1st, 2006, 11:25 PM
If you think that this sort of labor practice is ever set down in writing as the result of directives from top management, you have a lot to learn about the laws of conspiracy: it would be illegal and top management ain't dumb. But if you think that this sort of pervasive labor practice just happens to occur in store after store after store in a chain without it being the result of intent, you have a lot to learn about corporate management.

Judy G. Russell
January 1st, 2006, 11:28 PM
Aha!

They could buy cake, for example, and eat that, n-est-ce pas?No, they could buy one good shirt that lasts instead of three cheap shirts that wear out after two or three washings.

Lindsey
January 1st, 2006, 11:50 PM
HOWEVER... you also must agree that knowing a subject and being able to teach a subject are NOT the same thing.
Exactly the point I have been trying to make to Ralph and others who think like him for years.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
January 2nd, 2006, 12:01 AM
What also interested me was reading about the employee Derring[sic]--he seems to have been an employee with a problem and the court apparently said this
Sure, Derrig was also trying to work around the rules, but the point was that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Wal-Mart can't hold its employees to the rules and then turn around and say that the rules are merely "guidelines" and therefore not binding. And it can't make up rules that aren't in the handbook and discipline employees for not following them. Your question was whether the rules were understood beforehand, and the answer is that yes, they are, but Wal-Mart has tried to exempt itself from them.

But on skirting the requirements of the labor laws could you give me some examples.
Good heavens, Len, in this thread we have talked about forcing employees to work off the clock, about working underage workers longer hours than the law allows, about discriminating against women and the disabled in hiring and promotion, about zeroing out employees' overtime hours in the pay records, about disallowing breaks and lunch hours that are mandated by law, about firing and disciplining workers for union activity -- and you don't think you have seen examples of Wal-Mart skirting the requirements of the law????? Open your eyes, man.

--Lindsey

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 12:37 AM
>Wal-Mart has tried to exempt itself from them...Open your eyes, man<

Lindsay but who has been doing this--which are the sins of gung ho managers and which are the sins of Walmart official management policy--that's what I'd like examples of. Have laws been broken--should people be jailed, are CEO's entitled to dispute things in court. IMO more documentation is needed if you're saying treachery or illegality is being engaged in. I'm not so sure Walmart is wrong to say that it's manual is a guide and may not actually be the law--I agree 33 states seem to differ with that but maybe Walmart in courts can turn that around. My guidebook at Essex County gave general policies of the agency I worked for but I realized that if push came to shove I might have to get a lawyer--as a matter of fact there were many times when workers being disciplined did get lawyers many times through the union. Regards, Len

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 12:44 AM
>But if you think that this sort of pervasive labor practice just happens to occur in store after store after store in a chain without it being the result of intent, you have a lot to learn about corporate management.<

Judy, well Walmart has a tremendous number of stores and employs a tremendous number of people--it's even close to being the largest employer in Mexico if it isn't already. You say store after store after store. What are the numbers--what percentage of stores have these abuses? I'm really not trying to put you on the spot but I do think it's important to know the numbers here--I'd try to find them myself if I knew where to look. Regards, Len

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 12:48 AM
>you have a lot to learn <

Judy, btw as an aside I have a lot to learn about using this forum--I nearly missed your message to me--I guess you have to scroll up and down the complete thread to find out who has responded to you. When the thread gets long the diagram of the thread becomes larger than the computer screen--a little hard for me to get used to. Regards, Len [g]

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 01:11 AM
>pervasive labor practice just happens to occur in store after store after store<

Judy, I don't know about labor practices but fwiw I did find this:

"By its own count, Wal-Mart was sued 4,851 times last year — or nearly once every two hours, every day of the year. Juries decide a case in which Wal-Mart is a defendant about six times every business day, usually in favor of the Bentonville, Ark., retail giant. Wal-Mart lawyers list about 9,400 open cases.

No one keeps a comprehensive list of all the nation's litigation, but legal analysts believe that Wal-Mart is sued more often than any American entity except the U.S. government, which the Justice Department estimates was sued more than 7,500 times last year. Dozens of lawyers across the United States now specialize in suing Wal-Mart; many share documents and other information via the Internet.

See http://walmartlawsuit.info/news.html#2

And I found this very interesting material--I know that many times America is called an overly litigious society.

"Wal-Mart, which promotes itself as a down-home friendly business, is helping change the nature of corporate litigation by aggressively fighting many cases even when it would be cheaper for the company to settle, analysts say.

The policy runs counter to the strategy of "settle quickly and cut your losses" that companies have used for generations. But it is paying dividends for Wal-Mart, which in the past five years has seen the pace of its lawsuits stabilize as potential plaintiffs and their lawyers opt not to sue after weighing the costs of fighting the retailer.

Insurance companies, drug makers and other frequently sued businesses have kept an eye on the retailer's legal tactics, and have adopted some of them." Regards, Len

Wayne Scott
January 2nd, 2006, 11:54 AM
I'm probably preaching to the majority of the choir around here (a choir with which I disagree about nearly everything else) in concluding that Judge Jones' decision in the Dover "intelligent design" case was right.

What troubles me, though, is the number of Americans who disagree. It was either Charles Krauthammer or Lance Morrow--Google is unhelpful--who coined the phrase, "a whiff of the Taliban" in reference to American Protestant fundamentalists. That was at least 10 years ago. Things have gotten worse since.

My own sense is that the NEA, with its abhorrence of any kind of intellectual effort, either in teacher training or in the demands made on students in the schools, is sending American elementary and secondary education into the toilet. American universities, with affirmative-action preferences and "diversity" mantras are continuing that kind of idiocy on the college level.

Without any training in substantive intellectual analysis, American schoolchildren are suckers for our own Taliban.

And we have nobody to blame for this but ourselves.
The eternal chasm that separates believers from non-believers will not be bridged. Like you, I am a traditionalist who occasionally agrees with the Loony Left that infests this place, and is stunned to find himself agreeing.
This decision is, IMAO, a shining beacon of good sense, and I'm pleased to know that there are a few sane people out there.
Sane means they agree with me, of course.

Curm

Wayne Scott
January 2nd, 2006, 12:27 PM
Judy, you pretty much know my views about religion and that I profess to have none. I have recently been reading a little book, "The Jefferson Bible, the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth." I heard of the book, and as one who almost worships Jefferson, I bought it and have been delving into it.
I'm not at all sure that in a pure sense this nation was founded as a secular nation. In one sense, it was, but in another, most of the founders, including Jefferson, were believers. Jefferson did not decry the importance and Jesus nor did he refuse to accept the the divinity of the God of the Hebrews.
I totally reject "intelligent design" as being in no way intelligent and indeed a wolf ready to attack us.

Wayne

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:34 PM
In a pure sense, you're probably right. Most of the Founders were Deists -- believers in some God -- and many (most, I'm sure) were Christians of one stripe or another. I guess what I want to say is the Founders would be appalled, right down to their toenails, by the notion that we were founded as a Christian nation, with all the accoutrements of that notion as the fundamentalists would suggest.

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:36 PM
Anyone who's ever had a lousy teacher should know that there are some who really can't teach, and anyone who's ever had a lousy teacher who really knew the subject should admit that knowing the material and being able to teach it ain't the same. But some are so determined to make a point that they argue Black or White, refusing to admit the existence of Grey.

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:37 PM
Len, WalMart gives bonuses and promotions to store managers who control labor costs. Do the math!

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:39 PM
Yeah, I probably should do a bit more thread management (of which I'm doing none at the moment).

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:41 PM
Most lawsuits should never be brought, regardless of who the defendant is. People get their feelings hurt and decide they should sue. Or they get fired for very good cause and decide it's really discrimination.

Then again giving people a way to get their grievances heard sure beats shootouts in the streets.

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 12:42 PM
Hey every so often even a right-winger can be right. A stopped clock is right twice a day!

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 01:31 PM
>Do the math<

Judy, well I'll bide my time and see how it plays out--I know that Target is really trying to move in on Walmart and Costco still beats out Sam's on total sales between them. The court decisions will be interesting and probably go on for along time. Regards, Len

lensue
January 2nd, 2006, 01:34 PM
>thread management <

Judy, while it's kind of cumbersome with the threads I wonder if I'm in the right mode--I'm afraid to play around with things but I notice there are 3 choices for display mode--linear, hybrid and threaded mode. I wonder what mode I'm in and which would be the best--any suggestions? Regards, Len

Dan in Saint Louis
January 2nd, 2006, 03:28 PM
>thread management <
Personally, I have given up on using threaded mode. The discussions are rarely linear, 'tis true, but skipping back and forth among strands from the thread is just too much busy-work.

I'm going to come out in favor of linear mode with context-setting (but severely edited!) quotebacks.

Lindsey
January 2nd, 2006, 10:17 PM
Lindsay but who has been doing this--which are the sins of gung ho managers and which are the sins of Walmart official management policy--that's what I'd like examples of.
Can you cite any examples of when managers have been disciplined by the company for engaging in the practices described?

The most recent successful lawsuit against Wal-Mart was in California for denying workers lunch breaks in violation of state law. I do believe the court seemed convinced that it was a company policy, not the action of a few rogue managers.

Read the many links that have been supplied here, Len.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
January 2nd, 2006, 10:24 PM
Anyone who's ever had a lousy teacher should know that there are some who really can't teach, and anyone who's ever had a lousy teacher who really knew the subject should admit that knowing the material and being able to teach it ain't the same.
And in junior high and high school, I had some teachers who were obviously not brilliant scholars of the field they were teaching, but they were nevertheless effective as teachers because they had been trained in how to present the material and structure the lessons so that the average student, at least, would find it comprehensible.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 10:26 PM
Same here. I had a lot more of those, fortunately, than of those who knew the subject but couldn't teach, but I sure had enough of that kind too.

Judy G. Russell
January 2nd, 2006, 10:28 PM
It's a personal choice. I personally prefer the hybrid mode, but there are good arguments to be made for any of the three options. So try 'em all, one after the other, and see which works best for you.

Lindsey
January 2nd, 2006, 10:29 PM
Judy, while it's kind of cumbersome with the threads I wonder if I'm in the right mode--I'm afraid to play around with things but I notice there are 3 choices for display mode--linear, hybrid and threaded mode. I wonder what mode I'm in and which would be the best--any suggestions? Regards, Len
Click on the arrow beside "Display mode" and the mode you are currently using will be in boldface.

I use "linear mode," and when I open a thread, I click on the "View first unread" link that is at the top left of the first message in the thread, and that takes me to the first unread message in the thread. From there, I can just move sequentially through to the end of the thread. If I want to know what a particular message is in response to, I can click on the "go to parent msg" link at the top right of each message. I have found this to be the easiest way of managing thread reading for me.

--Lindsey

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 11:59 AM
>I'm going to come out in favor of linear mode <

Dan, I'm in that mode now--what a change--I think I'll try it for awhile. Regards, Len

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 12:05 PM
>Can you cite any examples of when managers have been disciplined by the company for engaging in the practices described?<

Lindsey, that would be interesting to know--have no idea where I could get material on that. You would think that as these lawsuits procede Walmart top management would make sure that their managers follow proper due process and regulations. Regards, Len

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 12:09 PM
>I personally prefer the hybrid mode<

Judy, now I'm in the hybrid this seems to be pretty good. Thanks. Regards, Len

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 12:14 PM
>Click on the arrow beside "Display mode" and the mode you are currently using will be in boldface.<

Lindsey, thanks, I'm having difficulty seeing the differences between threaded and hybrid. I tried the linear and it looked good but then I realized I sort of missed seeing the threads which apparently you can do with the other 2 choices. The problem with the threads is that they tewnd to become so large it's hard to see the whole thread laid out in front of you without scrolling. I'll have to play around with them all a little more. Regards, Len

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 12:25 PM
>It's a personal choice<

Judy, you know the more I fiddle around with these options the more I realize how valuable the thread diagram is for me. I know it's not a choice but if there was an option where when you clicked on a thread you could see the entire thread taking up the entire screen I think that would be very helpful. I seem to recall that when I first joined Compuserve forums which must be a good 7 years now the classic compuserve forum screen had something like that. The problem for me with these screens is that the diagram is so small you have to scroll to get to the newer areas--the longer the thread goes on the bulkier diagram use seems to get. Regards, Len

Dan in Saint Louis
January 3rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
the longer the thread goes on the bulkier diagram use seems to get.
Len, is it also true that if one clicks the "Post Reply" button instead of the "Quote" button, the reply appears to be attached to the root level?

lensue
January 3rd, 2006, 10:28 PM
>Len, is it also true that if one clicks the "Post Reply" button instead of the "Quote" button, the reply appears to be attached to the root level?<

Dan, thanks, I hit "Post Reply" but it didn't seem to help--well I'm sure I'll get used to it after a while. Regards, Len

Dan in Saint Louis
January 3rd, 2006, 10:45 PM
>I hit "Post Reply" but it didn't seem to help
My point was that if the reply appwears to be attached to the root level, a thread tree doesn't help much anyway.

Lindsey
January 3rd, 2006, 11:20 PM
You would think that as these lawsuits procede Walmart top management would make sure that their managers follow proper due process and regulations.
Yeah, you would think that, wouldn't you? Unless, of course, Wal-Mart just considered the litigation another cost of doing business, or unless they figured they had the bucks to bury the opposing legal teams more times than not...

By the way, PBS's Frontline had a documentary on Wal-Mart this evening on my local PBS station, one put together by Hedrick Smith. Actually, this one has aired before--I remember seeing it some time ago. But you can see it online here (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/) if you missed it.

--Lindsey

lensue
January 4th, 2006, 06:37 AM
>PBS's Frontline had a documentary on Wal-Mart <

Lindsay, thanks, I saw that show and enjoyed and learned alot from it. I've been amazed by how WalMart has transformed China! Regards, Len

lensue
January 4th, 2006, 06:39 AM
>My point was that if the reply appwears to be attached to the root level<

Dan, could you explain what the root level is? Regards, Len

Dan in Saint Louis
January 4th, 2006, 09:44 AM
>Dan, could you explain what the root level is?
That is a shorthand way of referring to the posted message that originated the thread. Think of it as the "root" of a tree before the main trunk begins to branch out; also the "root" directory of a digital storage device.

Although I have not experimented to test my assumptiopn, my best guess is that since "Post Reply" has no way to know which message you mean (on my screen it is outside the message block), the default attachment would be to the originating message. This, if true, would make a thread tree confusing at best.

On the other hand, "Quote" is INSIDE the block for an individual message, so it would be clear to the program who the "parent" message is.

lensue
January 4th, 2006, 11:43 AM
>That is a shorthand way of referring to the posted message that originated the thread<

Dan, thanks for the explanation. Regards, Len

Lindsey
January 4th, 2006, 11:30 PM
Lindsay, thanks, I saw that show and enjoyed and learned alot from it. I've been amazed by how WalMart has transformed China! Regards, Len
You watched that program, and what you took from it was that Wal-Mart had transformed China?

I think I have no more to say.

--Lindsey

lensue
January 5th, 2006, 07:41 AM
>You watched that program, and what you took from it was that Wal-Mart had transformed China?<

Lindsey I think there's been a misunderstanding--I saw the show a long time ago and when you go that website you pointed to you see that there's alot of material on China--for example:

"So How Did the U.S. Trade Opening with China Work Out?

For many, America's trade with China has not lived up to the enthusiastic advance billing from the Clinton administration, its Republican supporters on Capitol Hill and Corporate America.

Expanded trade with China has, in fact, been a blessing for large U.S. multinationals like Boeing, Caterpillar, and Cargill, which had trumpeted the prospect of a massive Chinese market for American products and services. China is the world's fastest growing market for commercial aviation, and needs billions of dollars worth of airplanes from Boeing. Its growing infrastructure has been a boon for companies like Caterpillar, which produces tractors and other heavy equipment. And it is importing billions of dollars worth of farm products, a boon to companies like Cargill. Last year, China bought $2.9 billion worth of soybeans -- the top U.S. export crop to China. China also has proven to be a growing market for U.S.-made fertilizer and chemicals.

But China has been a tougher market to crack for smaller and mid-sized American companies, like those selling bicycles, vacuum cleaners, and lawn mowers, who face stiff price competition from Chinese manufacturers of these products. And they also face discriminatory rules, burdensome red tape, language difficulties, and a population that earns only a fraction of what U.S. consumers make, and therefore lacks the purchasing power to buy consumer goods made in America."

However my statement goes beyond the show now when I say this to you:

"I've been amazed by how WalMart has transformed China! "

I'm not making a value judgement here on Walmart but was simply trying to point out that companies like Walmart have made China build this gigantic industrial city--one of the largest in the world--and it is incredible to see pictures of it. But I think you read too much into my reply. IOW while I got much more out of the show then the part on China I was just expressing my amazement at that giant city China has created out there for better or for worse. Regards, Len

ndebord
January 5th, 2006, 03:23 PM
Len,

<<Expanded trade with China has, in fact, been a blessing for large U.S. multinationals like Boeing, Caterpillar, and Cargill, which had trumpeted the prospect of a massive Chinese market for American products and services. China is the world's fastest growing market for commercial aviation, and needs billions of dollars worth of airplanes from Boeing. Its growing infrastructure has been a boon for companies like Caterpillar, which produces tractors and other heavy equipment.>>

Good for today, but bad for tomorrow. Look at IBM Thinkpad, now Chinese. With access to iron ore and coal, China will, sooner or later, develop its own Caterpillar and Boeing and eat our lunch in large industry too (imo).

N

lensue
January 5th, 2006, 06:00 PM
>Good for today, but bad for tomorrow<

Nick, could very well be but the only point I was trying to make as aside with Lindsey was that I was amazed by how gigantic the size of that Chines industrial area was. It certainly isn't the only thing I came away with while watching this great show. There are just so many pros and cons with Walmart I haven't decided my final position on them--I admit that just yesterday I needed and used their convenience to my advantage when I needed something in a hurry and cheap! Also they're my place for digital camera photos--they are doing a great job at a great price. Regards, Len

Lindsey
January 5th, 2006, 06:35 PM
However my statement goes beyond the show now when I say this to you:

"I've been amazed by how WalMart has transformed China! "

I'm not making a value judgement here on Walmart but was simply trying to point out that companies like Walmart have made China build this gigantic industrial city--one of the largest in the world--and it is incredible to see pictures of it.
I don't know that it is Wal-Mart itself that has changed China so much as it is increased globalization, which China is taking full advantage of. And expanded trade with China has changed the US at least as much as it has changed China. Wal-Mart pushes its suppliers to relocate factories to China in order to take advantage of the cheaper labor market, where the manufacturing wage is 20-25 cents an hour. Even Mexican workers can't compete with that. What happens to workers in the US when all the manufacturing jobs have moved to China?

Your quotation left out the very important second half of the section you mentioned:

Yvonne Smith, the communications director at the Port of Long Beach, literally sees the imbalance in U.S.-China trade. She reports that through Long Beach alone, the U.S. is importing $36 billion in goods yearly from China and exporting just $3 billion. By her account, the mix of products is very unfavorable to the U.S.

"We export cotton, we import clothing," Smith reports. "We export hides, we bring in shoes. We export scrap metal. We bring back machinery. We're exporting waste paper, we bring back cardboard boxes with products inside them."
You see the pattern? We export raw goods, we import manufactured products. That's the model that Britain imposed on us when we were her colonies, and eventually people here decided that was not a very good deal.

Overall, the U.S. trade deficit with China reached a record $124 billion dollars in 2003 and the figure is headed even higher this year. Today, U.S. imports from China outpace U.S. exports to China by more than five to one, and the deficit shows no signs of abating.

These deficits are much larger than the trade deficits that the United States experienced in the 1980s and 1990s with Asian trading partners such as Japan. Put in historical perspective, America's current trade deficit with China is roughly double what it was at its height with Japan in the mid-1980s, when trade frictions between the U.S. and Japan led Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) to famously declare on the floor of the U.S. Senate: "We're in a trade war, and we're losing it."

--Lindsey

rlohmann
January 5th, 2006, 07:35 PM
I'm pondering that, but I doubt that you'd get much mileage out of it if you tried to peddle it to people who do their shopping there.

lensue
January 5th, 2006, 08:11 PM
>Your quotation left out the very important second half of the section you mentioned<

Lindsey, left out from what--I wasn't making a case for or against Walmart--all I'm saying is that this new area of China which they had footage of amazed me! Just for that footage alone the show was well worth watching! Regards, Len

rlohmann
January 5th, 2006, 08:31 PM
Consider him a partisan hack if you want <shrug> -- you're entitled to your opinion, however slanted it may be.To dispose of some minor issues, the fact that a movie producer has won some awards has no bearing on the factual accuracy of his work. Are you suggesting that his awards are compelling evidence of his veracity?

The fact that lawsuits have been filed is, in and of itself, meaningless. Legal actions, even class actions, must be successful in large numbers, and must have been upheld on appeal, before they count for anything. (And if you believe that Wal-Mart as an entity or its managers as its agents are uniquely malign in their treatment of employees, go to www.mspb.gov/ (http://www.mspb.gov/) to see how your own sovereign government does in that regard.)

What this dispute is really about, I think, is a degree of confusion about microeconomics.

In the American free-market system, competition, restrained to some degree by government, is permitted to operate with a minimum of government interference. That competition can be vigorous. In a retail environment, less capable vendors can suffer. Overall, however, the society gains. (If you doubt this, go to any website that compares the prices of consumer goods over the decades in this country as a proportion of average earned income. http://http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/steccpi.html is a good place to start.)

(There was once an attempt in countries far across the sea to get rid of the heartless, money-grubbing bosses and put the employees in charge, but that didn't work too well.)

A free market in a democratic society eventually regulates itself. If Wal-Mart's practices become too repugnant, people will stop shopping there and the company will fail. Workers will quit en masse.

So far, neither of these scenarios has come close to happening, a fact that enrages certain factions in our society.

(Of course, if it does fail, I assume that you and others who share your views are prepared to find other employment for the displaced workers, or pay unemployment benefits. :) )

Lindsey
January 5th, 2006, 11:12 PM
A free market in a democratic society eventually regulates itself.
No, I'm sorry, I don't buy that. Like it or not, capitalism needs government regulation to save it from its own excesses. "Self-regulation" results in abominations like Enron.

If Wal-Mart's practices become too repugnant, people will stop shopping there and the company will fail.
And yet in your message to Judy, you seem to be arguing exactly the opposite: that people don't really care what Wal-Mart's business practices are so long as they result in (a perception of) lower prices.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
January 6th, 2006, 12:14 AM
Of course not. They've been sold the bill of goods that this is a throwaway society. And frankly that may not be good for any of us.

rlohmann
January 6th, 2006, 07:09 PM
Are you suggesting that Wal-Mart sells nothing but junk?

rlohmann
January 6th, 2006, 07:49 PM
No, I'm sorry, I don't buy that. Like it or not, capitalism needs government regulation to save it from its own excesses. "Self-regulation" results in abominations like Enron.I didn't say it didn't need any regulation. (Please read what I wrote.) What I object to is the demonization of a business in aid of hidden agendas and political theater. Here in the "Peoples' Republic of Maryland," this has taken the form of a bill, introduced by the Democrats, to impose government regulation on Wal-Mart--and only Wal-Mart--in the form of special health-insurance payments. No other entity in Maryland will be covered by the provisions of that bill. Governor Ehrlich had vetoed it. The General Assembly next week will attempt to override the veto.

And yet in your message to Judy, you seem to be arguing exactly the opposite: that people don't really care what Wal-Mart's business practices are so long as they result in (a perception of) lower prices. It's not the opposite at all. I would not buy toothpaste from the Osama B. Laden Drugstore and Bomb Factory if it were the cheapest toothpaste in town because the firm's business practices are repugnant to me.

The fact that people are not refusing to patronize Wal-Mart compels the conclusion that much of the outrage displayed in the media comes not from lower-income people who are oppressed by Wal-Mart's capitalistic savagery, but rather by a combination of union functionaries, their political allies, and a large contingent of woolly-headed liberals who want the free market to be "nicer" than it is.

It won't work. Economics has its own laws, laws that don't respond to a "feelgood" approach to private enterprise.

Wal-Mart had planned to build a large warehouse in Somerset County, the poorest county in Maryland. It would have provided in excess of 500 jobs to a region that needs them.

Wal-Mart management has now put the warehouse on "hold" pending the outcome of the override vote.

Do you think it will get built if the veto is overridden?

If the override succeeds, and if the 500 jobs go away, will there will be widespread cheering at AFL-CIO Headquarters? Will Barbara Boxer celebrate?

Will you?

Judy G. Russell
January 6th, 2006, 08:24 PM
I wouldn't say nothing but junk, no. But a great deal of what it sells would not be considered buy-and-keep by any stretch of the imagination.

lensue
January 6th, 2006, 10:35 PM
>But a great deal of what it sells would not be considered buy-and-keep by any stretch of the imagination.<

Judy, otoh a lot is keepable and useful and at a great price. Sue and I were looking for a large coffee maker--something that could make as much as 40 cups of coffee at a time--we checked a number of stores including a Target and couldn't find what we wanted--finally thought of the local Walmart and sure enough there it was--we've put it to a lot of use. And there have been other times when after starting elsewhere it turned out Walmart had just what we needed! Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
January 6th, 2006, 11:13 PM
And would you not have bought such a device -- unavailable elsewhere -- if WalMart charged enough to pay its workers decent wages?

lensue
January 6th, 2006, 11:24 PM
>And would you not have bought such a device -- unavailable elsewhere -- if WalMart charged enough to pay its workers decent wages?<

Judy, I have no idea--I paid about $30 for this item and that purchase has more than paid for itself. I have to admit I would have paid considerably more for that item because we waited until the last minute to buy one of these large coffee makers and we really needed something quick for the people coming to our house and who we knew would need a large amount of coffee.[g] I have no idea what the Walmart charge for that item would be if workers were paid the kind of money you feel they should be making. Regards, Len

Judy G. Russell
January 7th, 2006, 01:19 PM
I think that's a "yes" -- you would have paid more, because the item was worth it to you.

lensue
January 7th, 2006, 01:24 PM
>you would have paid more, because the item was worth it to you<

Judy, yeah, I think you're right--we were getting desperate! Regards, Len

ndebord
January 7th, 2006, 02:42 PM
>But a great deal of what it sells would not be considered buy-and-keep by any stretch of the imagination.<

Judy, otoh a lot is keepable and useful and at a great price. Sue and I were looking for a large coffee maker--something that could make as much as 40 cups of coffee at a time--we checked a number of stores including a Target and couldn't find what we wanted--finally thought of the local Walmart and sure enough there it was--we've put it to a lot of use. And there have been other times when after starting elsewhere it turned out Walmart had just what we needed! Regards, Len

Len,

Wal-Mart does have stuff that you can't find elsewhere and I've noticed an increase in quality, probably due to the competition provided by Target.

My bottom line with Walmart is simple. I'll shop everywhere else unless I absolutely can't find it anywhere but Walmart. I don't like their corporate culture and as they said on that PBS special, other corporations are emulating Walmart's practices. Not a good thing, as Martha says.

Jeff
January 7th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Are you suggesting that Wal-Mart sells nothing but junk?

Have you ever spent any time walking around in one?

- Jeff

ndebord
January 8th, 2006, 01:36 AM
Have you ever spent any time walking around in one?

- Jeff

Jeff,

C'mon. Sure Wal-Mart sells junk, but increasingly it is trying to match Target. That means more upscale stuff. Will I shop there? Only as a "court" of last resort.

rlohmann
January 8th, 2006, 08:27 AM
I have never alleged that some training in the techniques of teaching isn't necessary; I had enough teachers who had no idea of how to get a subject across, or how to control a class.

What I object to is the stranglehold on licensing--now apparently eroding, thank heavens--by John Dewey's followers, to whom "professional education" was a value far and away more significant than knowledge of a subject. (If you've ever had any contact with that group, you'll recall its strange practice of using the word "professional" in roughly every second sentence.)

The "Stars & Stripes," the US military newspaper published in Germany and Japan, has a lively letters-to-the editor feature. Nearly every contribution from an employee of DoDDS, the DoD overseas school system, contains at least one error in English grammar or usage. Each of those letters also, it seems, uses the word "professional" at least twice.

I won't even go into "Ebonics," a creation of an unholy alliance of black radicals and NEA "professionals."

Judy G. Russell
January 8th, 2006, 02:57 PM
You're not going to get any argument from me about the general state of excellence among teachers. At any level.

earler
January 8th, 2006, 04:29 PM
If there were a "general state of excellence among teachers" american students wouldn't be performing so poorly. That there are excellent teachers in the states I won't deny. However, many are not. One problem is there is no requalifcation of teachers required. Alas, this is true in other countries, too. But, other countries are saddled with teachers' colleges either, so the general level of teachers, say in france, germany or japan is certainly far higher than in the states.

-er

Judy G. Russell
January 8th, 2006, 06:17 PM
I think you misunderstood my comment, Earle. I was agreeing with Ralph.

Lindsey
January 9th, 2006, 01:09 AM
My bottom line with Walmart is simple. I'll shop everywhere else unless I absolutely can't find it anywhere but Walmart.
I take it a step further even than that. If only Wal-Mart carries it, then I do without. I will not set foot in that store. There's nothing they could possibly have that would be worth it to me.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
January 9th, 2006, 01:13 AM
You're not going to get any argument from me about the general state of excellence among teachers. At any level.
I think taxpayers and educational administrators have to shoulder a good deal of blame for that, though. Good teachers are worked into the ground and paid peanuts, so too many of the best teachers tend not to stay long. They move on to better working conditions and better salaries.

--Lindsey

ndebord
January 9th, 2006, 02:17 AM
I take it a step further even than that. If only Wal-Mart carries it, then I do without. I will not set foot in that store. There's nothing they could possibly have that would be worth it to me.

--Lindsey

Lindsey,

Ah well, I'm agin 'em, but not to the extent that I will cut off my nose to spite my face. I've shopped at Wal-Mart maybe 5 times in the last 10 years, so I don't think they're making a living off of my business.

earler
January 9th, 2006, 09:59 AM
Yes, it seems I did. However, your sentence, by itself seemed to say the contrary.

-er

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 02:33 PM
I can't disagree there either. The idea of paying schoolteachers less than sanitation workers is appalling.

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 02:34 PM
I understand that's the way you, individually, read it.

Lindsey
January 9th, 2006, 06:31 PM
I can't disagree there either. The idea of paying schoolteachers less than sanitation workers is appalling.
I have a number of friends who are -- or at this point were -- school teachers. I know how the system burns them out, and the latest standardized testing fad has only made it worse.

--Lindsey

rlohmann
January 9th, 2006, 06:32 PM
Excellent teachers are born; not made.

Good teachers can be generated with a few courses on class control basic techniques of instruction.

Nothing but buffoons will result from countless semesters of "professional education" courses.

rlohmann
January 9th, 2006, 06:34 PM
Well, because you agree with me so infrequently, it's perhaps understandable that Earle was caught off guard. :)

rlohmann
January 9th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Of course, the real problem with "intelligent design" is one of logic.

If the major premise is that there is an intelligent designer and the minor premise that the intelligent designer designed everything, the inescapable conclusion is that the intelligent designer created the brown rat, the anopheles mosquito, the AIDS virus, and the men who created Auschwitz.

I'm not a big fan of "intelligent design."

rlohmann
January 9th, 2006, 06:45 PM
I know how the system burns them out, and the latest standardized testing fad has only made it worse.Is it a "fad" to test schoolchildren in English or arithmetic to determine whether they've learned any?

rlohmann
January 9th, 2006, 07:26 PM
Yes.

When we came back from Germany, we needed a number of 110-volt appliances and went to the Wal-Mart in West Ocean City to look for some. We bought a Black & Decker coffeemaker and an Osterizer toaster.

Are these junk?

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 10:40 PM
<snicker>

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 10:41 PM
My sister darned near didn't make it past her first year and she loves teaching.

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 10:42 PM
If the purpose is to determine whether they've learned any, and to offer remediation when they haven't, then no. But the way a lot of standardized testing is done today -- to determine which schools get goodies and which ones get punished (often for things beyond the ability of the schools themselves to address), yeah, that's a fad.

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 10:44 PM
I don't think anybody but the Ed.D. types will disagree with you. (Even Earle should be able to understand that sentence.)

Judy G. Russell
January 9th, 2006, 10:45 PM
I have some real issues with the whole idea that a system that includes cancer, child abuse, murder for thrills, etc., is part of "intelligent" design...

Lindsey
January 9th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Is it a "fad" to test schoolchildren in English or arithmetic to determine whether they've learned any?
No, it's a fad to pretend that you can design a single test that will magically tell you which schools are doing a good job of educating and which are not.

Do read this interview (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/schools/interviews/popham.html) with James Popham of UCLA.

--Lindsey