January 30, 2008

Working Toward an Ideal

Justin Katz

We thank everybody who's contributed to our fundraising efforts thus far, but we're still a ways off even from covering expenses. If you've yet to do so, please take a moment to consider what might be an appropriate contribution, for you, and make it.

Rhode Island is going to need alternative sources of information in the years to come. We're obviously not the only voices out there in the wilderness. We might not even be the best, and we're certainly a long, long ways from the ideal, but we're working on it.

We'll keep pushing Anchor Rising forward to the best of our abilities regardless, but there will increasingly be a direct correlation between how much help we receive and how much more we can do.

Donations of $60 or more will inspire a gift of this year's AR apparel choice, a navy blue sport shirt with red collar trim and the Anchor Rising logo on the left of the chest:

Here's a picture of the Anchor Rising logo as it was embroidered on the hats that we ordered last year, and as it will be embroidered on this year's shirts:

Donations of any size can be made via PayPal by clicking the "Donate" button. Checks or money orders — made out to me (for the time being) — can be sent to:

Justin Katz
Anchor Rising
P.O. Box 751
Portsmouth, RI 02871

Again, shirts are a limited-time offer for donations made before Monday, February 11. Be sure to provide an address and your shirt size.

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 made a small donation not because I believe in or agree with everything that is written here; I don't. Rather, I enjoy the opportunity to state my views to people who care enough to make the effort to research today's topics and make well thought out commentary. It is a lot of work running a good website or blog, and very time consuming

Too often I'll be reading Ed Achorn, or listening to Steve Laffey or Joe Trillo, and start to think they might be on the right track. Unfortunately their relentless attacks on public sector unions force me to stop reading or turn the channel. They can preach to the chior all they want, the people who need to listen, those in the unions, stopped listening years ago.

A (mostly) rational discussion, heated at times but ultimately respectful appears a much more productive way to go.

Therefore, I support Anchor Rising.

Posted by: michael at January 30, 2008 3:05 PM

The word rational can't be used when discussing people who retire at 41 with lifetime COLA's and free gold-plated benefits. The lights are going out-the party is about over.

Posted by: Mike at January 30, 2008 7:38 PM


We greatly appreciate your willingness to participate here, especially since, as you said on pg. 92 of your book

I have a weird knack for talking sense into crazy people.
Lord knows, that's a skill desperately needed in the comments section of a political blog, this one included!

Posted by: Andrew at January 30, 2008 9:08 PM


The lightbulb will have finally gone on for you when you realize it's the public sector union leadership that's in constant attack mode. Professional organizations don't employ scum like Guy Dufault and Pat Crowley if they're all about integrity and fact based discussion. Smear campaigns? Yes! Integrity? No! Funny how people hear what they want to hear isn't it Michael?
Do appreciate your admitting that unions stop listening long ago. Agreed! That's why it's so laughable when union lackey's in the media implore Gov. Carcieri to 'work' with unions. Why would he waste his time? Unions are not interested in solutions. Unions are interested in keeping what they already have and finding new ways to extract even more from the taxpayer through political extortion.
It's the Rhode Island way and it's one of the biggest forces pushing this state over the cliff.

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2008 7:00 AM

You don't think straight Tim. Don't you know if the governor would just "Talk To The Unions" Dorothy would click her slippers and we would all be back in Kansas? LOL.

Posted by: mike at January 31, 2008 9:08 AM

As anyone who reads my prior postings knows, I'm no fan of the unions.

An argument can be made for them in the private sector, though the real world "benefits" they bring to the workforce are grossly exaggerated. But there (at least in theory) one does have "arms length" bargaining between two parties looking out for their own interests; and the threat of going "out of business" to mitigate the more outrageous demands that a union might impose (again in theory, e.g., the unions at Eastern Airlines drove it out of business, and so ultimately the members lost their jobs).

My real beef is with the public sector unions - particularly the teachers unions because of the immense harm they are inflicting upon entire generations of children.

Even FDR didn't support public sector unionization, for the fear was that public sector unions would impact the political process through campaign donations, candidates, etc. - and end up "sitting on both sides of the negotiating table" - all to the harm of the public at large. Experience has shown this fear to be well founded.

Ironically, the public sector unions are doing what their mission is supposed to be - maximizing the wealth of their members. The problem is that we don't have that "arm's length" bargaining or mitigating effect of a threat of going out of business, or the mitigating effect of having to produce a quality product or service for which people will voluntarily pay in the marketplace.

Because of the unique nature of the public sector, public sector unions need to be seen for what they really are: not representatives of workers, but political special interests.

For instance, just as we would rightly recoil from Enron bankrolling a General Assembly member, whose real "job" is to "represent" Enron in the General Assembly, so too it should be with the public sector unions.

As for Michael, while I disagree with his stance on the public sector unions, he's invariably polite and articulate ... and I respect that.

Posted by: Tom W at January 31, 2008 10:28 AM

I grew up in a union household. My father belonged to the IBEW until he was promoted and took a job in management, taking with him the morality and ethics of his union membership. I remember my uncle, Bill proudly wearing his Teamsters cap. Uncle Ron was a Warwick cop. Brian was President of his union at Rhode Island College. We would spend summer days at their homes, surrounded by family, the American Flag always flying, either on a flagpole or attached to the house, the red white and blue flew proudly.

Modest homes meticulously kept, hard work and an ability to enjoy the fruits of their labor and share them with friends and family was all they wanted. Uncle Bill was a WWII vet, my father a Navy Signal Man during the Korean War. Brian served in the Air Force during the Viet Nam War. They lived, and live good, honest lives, are fiercely proud of their country, and fought for the freedoms we now enjoy. Union members. Not everybody in my family but those I remember most.

My brother, Bob just returned from Iraq. 500 days. Another Union man. Myself, a firefighter in Providence. Union. We are living in the shadow of our uncles and father, and it is my belief we have made them proud.

Some of our union leaders have let us down, just as some of our elected officials have let us down. Politics is a cutthroat business, and, like it or not, everything is political. Those that have risen to the top of our ranks thrive in that arena, most of us would rather do our jobs, do them well and live our lives. We need people in positions of power for us to do that.

Relentless media attacks have insulated the union ranks. An us against them attitude prevails. Gone are the days when a union worked with management in a respectful, productive atmosphere. Maybe that never existed, I don’t know. “Gold Plated Benefits, Feeding at the Public Trough, Picking Our Pockets, “ and on and on. “Socialists, communists, serving the weak, protecting the incompetent…,” enough already.

Maybe you grew up in a different world. Judging from some commentary here you don’t have a clue about mine.

Posted by: michael at January 31, 2008 2:36 PM
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