December 7, 2007

Here's a Question

Justin Katz

Will Ricci makes an interesting comment to my post on Mr. Crowley's self expression:

... I think it's a golden opportunity for those of us who are actually concerned about our state's below average educational quality to show what the other side (those who don't care if kids fail, as long as their check clears) really thinks about taxpayers and the children they use as pawns. He can be our new poster boy / duck!

Those few prime billboards on I-95 outside Providence run just under $10,000 for a month. Bus stops and other billboards are much less. How much would Anchor Rising readers be willing to throw in to make sure that Mr. Crowley's message to Tivertonians is conveyed to all Rhode Islanders?

And perhaps more importantly: Any of our lawyer readers have a notion of whose permission we would need to use the photo for such a purpose?

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I'll gladly contribute $100. As for the photograph, it's owned by the photographer. Let the lawyers argue the rest.

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 8:17 PM

I'll contribute what I can!
Greg's right. The photo belongs to the photographer. It's news worthy and depicts Crowley's public feelings through his gesture and he evidently is in view of the public with witnesses. Not really much different than shooting a naked Brittney Spears which did not need her permission. As celebraties, of which Crowley I am sure thinks he is one, are news worthy subjects and can not expect privacy, especially in view of the public.

Posted by: Jake4ri at December 7, 2007 9:00 PM

I'm in for $100.

Looking forward to getting some legal input on the promulgation of this picture. Technically, Crowley is not a public person in the way that an elected official or, say, Paris Hilton is. Therefore, it is possible that his permission would also be required.

Though after hearing about some of his exploits, it certainly would be interesting if the matter went to trial.

"You attended the debate wearing the face of ... who, Mr. Crowley? And is it true that this was not a singular instance? Did you not expect, Mr. Crowley, that a certain notoriety would accrue to such behavior?"

Posted by: Monique at December 7, 2007 9:34 PM

Put me down for a c-note.

Then we can get a picture of love'em & leave'em Jerzyk and the kids in the barrio he doesn't have.

Posted by: mikey at December 7, 2007 9:47 PM

Of course, if we don't want to offend public sensibilities, we can always cover his finger with a symbol or something ... maybe a duckie? I wonder if that billboard which Sue Stenhouse used to use with "Our Most Recent Product" on it is available. What's Rhode Island's main product? Craptacular public education! Maybe a cheaper alternative in the interim might be setting up a website, ala or Hal Mayer used to make those great. However, he now happily lives in Idaho. Patsy strikes me as a person with a short fuse, so it just might be enough to get under his skin.

The thing that always seems to get lost in these arguments are that teachers in Rhode Island are already well paid. They make far in excess of the median income for the state, get public pensions, 3 months vacation, and 6 hour workdays, and what do we have to show for it? Instead of always talking about levels of pay increases, we should be talking about reducing the number of teachers, making sure that they are proficient in the subjects they teach, and switching to merit based pay -- like every other job on earth. If any private sector business dumped as much good money after bad as we do in our edukayshunel system as we do here, they wouldn't be in business for very long.

The only reason why this scam has been able to go on for as long as it has is that the public sector unions feed off of the public treasury, which they seem to perceive as infinite; not from privately derived funds. It's not infinite, we-re massively in debt, and it's about time they learn that lesson. I would very much be in favor of Tom Wigand's idea re outlawing public sector unions in Rhode Island. Of course, that would require replacing (or indicting and convicting) many of the members of the General Assembly who are on the take from them.

PS I'm not anti-union, just anti public sector union. In the private sector, if a union demands too much, the business goes broke, so there is a mechanism to balance both corporate and union interests.

Posted by: Will at December 7, 2007 9:51 PM

Here we go... Public sector unions consist of people. Tax paying, hard working people with friends and loved ones who are not public sector union members. Our special interests are ourselves, just as it should be. Anybody with a healthy self-image and a desire to better themselves and their family shares the same philosophy.

Our very livlihood depends on the health and solvency of our employer, the municipality we work for. I'm not "picking the pockets" of my children who work in the private sector, nor am I "feeding from the trough" provided by my neighbors. I'm not "stealing" from my parents, who paid taxes all their lives. I'm trading my sweat and knowledge for compensation, just like everybody else.

Take a look around you. Society is crumbling. The education system is being fed children whose thirst for knowledge no longer exists. Blaming our educational systems failure soley on the teachers is giving the other half of the equation an unfair break. I guess it's never the fault of the people who refuse to learn, or refuse to make education a priority in their household.

The way the system works, without a union, or some sort of orginization, public sector jobs would be filled with minimum wage earners with no benefits at all. Imagine the chaos that would ensue. Quality people are needed to run the government services we pay for. Getting rid of the government is not the answer. I don't have the answer, just an opinion now and then.

For now, I'll pay 9 1/2 percent of my pay to fund my retirement, a municipal pension, just as public employees pay their social security. I chose a proffession that allows me to collect half of my pay after 20 years of service. I won't apologize for it, nor will I give it up. You will have to pry it away from me with your self-rightous cry of unfairness.

I suppose I could spend time preaching to the chior on any number of more liberal blogs, but what good would that do? It would be akin to piling on somebody's moment of stupidity that just happened to be photographed.

Posted by: michael at December 7, 2007 10:49 PM

Sure, unions consist of people -- and they derive their pay and benefits from a much larger group of people who don't receive those same benefits. I believe that is inherently disordered. There's nothing wrong with healthy self-image, but I have a problem when the servant gets better treatment than the master. Who's working for who? Virtually no one in the private sector gets a defined benefit pension anymore, because the market simply no longer supports it. Public sector employees receive money from the public treasury and they pay a portion of that back in taxes. Therefore, in purely economic terms, they are a net drain.

While I admire the work of people such as corrections officers, police, firemen, and EMS workers (great job on the book, by the way), that doesn't grant them a carte blanche to exact tribute from the public at a time when they can't afford it. In a truly free market, people are paid exactly what their employment is worth. I want people to be paid fairly. I certainly don't mind that people in potentially dangerous professions, such as I mentioned above, get paid better than say, a teacher, since their pay is commensurate with the risks involved. Risk inherently would demand more money, because it's a risk. People with greater skills would receive greater pay.

I understand that in the private sector, corporate interests can occasionally overreach, and so can unions which may represent some or all of their employees. However, there is a huge difference between the public and private sectors. In the private sector, if unions demand too much, companies fail. If companies are too cheap, they won't retain employees. When given a choice, people are free to choose. I have no problem at all with private sector unions, so long as no one is forced to be a member to retain employment. I certainly do not want people to be paid more than they are worth. Markets serve to regulate all of that. The big problem is that the free market at present has no place or function in public sector unions, because they are in effect monopolies. As such, they are grossly inefficient socialist constructs, which reward sloth and discourage achievement, and are quite prone to corruption.

The main reason why I oppose the existence is mainly because they are ripe for corruption. The legislature gave them a right to organize. However, as a result, they are hostage to the unions, because their continued employment in the legislature in contingent on their financial support. The public sector unions in effect own individual members of the General Assembly, which do their bidding. While they have a symbiotic relationship with each other, so far as the general public is concerned, they are parasites feeding off the public (I'm really holding back, honest!)

Ronald Reagan had an excellent quote, which I think sums up my beliefs on the subject well:

"I believe in collective bargaining in the private sector. I do not believe in it for the public sector because I do not believe that public employees can be allowed to strike. Public employees are striking against the people, and the people are the highest source of power, other than the Lord Himself, that the government has." April 12, 1973.

Posted by: Will at December 8, 2007 1:10 AM

These union hacks have been brainwashed. Notice how they all say the same thing, with the same perverted logic. It is central planning and central thinking. Just like socialists.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at December 8, 2007 8:15 AM


Let me respond to two aspects of your comment…

1. Justin was very clear that he was aware of the "moment of stupidity" for at least several days before he posted it. He only decided to post after the local union president (Mullen, not Crowley) made a statement saying that what goes on on public property between a public official and the head of a public employees union has no business being reported to the public. Apparently, those of us not in a union or on the school committee or in the administration are to be kept in the dark about what's going on, until everything has been decided.

Contrast that response to the response to the controversy that your own local was recently involved in. After Local 799 caused a bit of a stir with a protest plan that some considered inflammatory, the union stepped back just a bit from its original plan, then stood out in front of the public to take on all comers and clarify the issues. That's not the way of the union in Tiverton, which seems to be saying that criticism of its actions, no matter how counterproductive, is out-of-bounds, and is more interested in isolating and beating down the public officials who make the decisions, rather than in explaining its case to the public and making progress towards an accommodation that works for everyone.

That is a legitimate source of public frustration.

2. What you say about parental involvement is why many of us hardline soft, cuddly conservatives advocate for changes in the structure of education that would allow parents and students greater control of their education. We believe the government should be reducing rather than erecting barriers that help citizens make the best choices for their families. As Julia Steiny wrote in the Projo a few weeks back, government policy should focus on giving parents of less means the same options that parents of more means have had forever, choosing their school, rather than on forcing students to go to a school designated by their address, whether it is run well or not

But such reforms -- open-district choice, charter schools, tuition tax-credits and vouchers -- are universally opposed by America's teachers unions, even though there is nothing inherently anti-union about any of those proposals, just like there is nothing inherently anti-union about maintaining a system of mixed public and private universities. But the unions have a system that they believe serves their narrow interests in the short-term, and are unwilling to consider any changes to it.

That, again, is a legitimate source of frustration amongst the public.

Posted by: Andrew at December 8, 2007 12:29 PM

"There's nothing wrong with healthy self-image, but I have a problem when the servant gets better treatment than the master."

And therein lies the problem. You think you're better than the people who've dedicated their lives to your safety and well-being. Your elitism is dripping all over my screen.

Posted by: EMT at December 8, 2007 8:12 PM


Posted by: Monique at December 9, 2007 7:33 AM

Crowley is a poster child - it all begins with the diploma mill colleges of education - and he's an "activist" of their ilk. He probably started out as one of those clowns that we all used to see when we were in college, parading around in a black beret, Che t-shirt and pining for the 1960's so he too could finally have his right of passage for radical macho in large "demonstrations" and "marches."

"Most of the critics of the academy are conservatives or libertarians, but even the left-of-center E.D. Hirsch argues in 'The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them' that academics in schools of education have harmed young people by promoting progressive dogma rather than examining what works in real classrooms."

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at December 9, 2007 11:55 AM
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