Magazine | June 6, 2011, Issue

Letters

Scott Walker’s Miscalculation

I blinked and almost missed this comment by Josh Barro (“It’s Not Just Wisconsin,” March 21): “Under Walker’s proposed ‘budget repair’ bill, most state and local employees in Wisconsin won’t be allowed to bargain collectively for health or retirement benefits. . . . Police and firefighters would retain more expansive collective-bargaining rights.” So, which groups are losing their expansive bargaining rights, and why is Walker allowing police and firefighters to retain theirs?

Jonathan Massey

Chandler, Ariz.

Josh Barro Replies: The greatly reduced package of collective-bargaining rights will apply to all other public employees in the Badger State. Nationally, among public-employee groups, police and firefighters have often been the most successful at extracting unreasonable and unaffordable benefits packages through collective bargaining. This is due to their positive public image and the fact that, unlike the teachers’ unions, they are often cozy with elected officials from both political parties.

You’d have to ask Walker why he left Wisconsin’s police and firefighter unions intact. The consensus seems to be that it was a political calculation designed to avoid a confrontation; that said, it’s hard to imagine that the political firestorm Walker experienced could have been any larger had he gone all the way. Other governors, including John Kasich in Ohio and Chris Christie in New Jersey, have recently enacted labor reforms that affected public-safety workers. In light of their success, Walker’s exclusion of police and firefighters seems to have been a miscalculation.

Porkulus Pioneer

Kevin A. Hassett’s article “Political Stimulus” (May 16, 2011) makes a strong argument that President Obama’s phony stimulus plan amounts to a lot of pork, and reminds us that the first tea-party protest (Seattle, Feb. 16, 2009) was called the “Porkulus Protest.” But twice in the article, the name of tea-party pioneer (and my good friend) Keli Carender is spelled incorrectly, and I just have to ask for a correction.

Steve Beren

Seattle, Wash.

The Editor’s Reply: Be it so.

Double Your Commentary

I was quite excited to see the announcement on your cover that Steyn had returned. I checked to be sure he had retaken his spot at the back. My next thought was disappointment that Lileks had been displaced. Huzzah for the survival of “Athwart”! I tend to ration certain portions of the content so as not to consume everything on the day of the magazine’s arrival. Mr. Lileks’s column is part of that hoard.

Tim Townsend

Sterling Heights, Mich.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Better Off Dead

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Politics & Policy

Shoot First, Ask Never

Osama bin Laden’s killing demonstrated in spectacular fashion American military and intelligence skills — and Pres. Barack Obama, who staked his presidency on the operation, was triumphant. Bin Laden’s death ...
Politics & Policy

Incurable

If President Obama had failed to get his massive health-care overhaul through Congress, Mitt Romney would today be a strong frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Some conservatives and libertarians ...
Politics & Policy

A Voice for Choice

Three Philadelphia businessmen captured the attention of Pennsylvania’s political class last year when they pumped more than $5 million into the campaign of state senator Anthony H. Williams, a black ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Too Big to Win

Why can’t America win wars? It’s been two-thirds of a century since we saw (as President Obama vividly put it) “Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur.” ...
Politics & Policy

A Thousand Years Away

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Politics & Policy

Mortal Ally

Most Americans do not understand why Pakistan behaves the way it does, but they do understand that it has come to seem more enemy than ally. This shift in American ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

A Fine Madness

Before I went to see The Beaver, Jodie Foster’s tragicomic fable about a suicidal man who finds temporary salvation by communicating with the world through a Cockney-accented hand puppet, I ...

Sections

Happy Warrior

Criminal Comedy

I read The Joke, Milan Kundera’s first novel, when I was a schoolboy. Bit above my level, but, even as a teenager, I liked the premise. Ludvik is a young man ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Scott Walker’s Miscalculation I blinked and almost missed this comment by Josh Barro (“It’s Not Just Wisconsin,” March 21): “Under Walker’s proposed ‘budget repair’ bill, most state and local employees in ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ A $250,000 debt at Tiffany’s? Newt is obviously desperate to close his gender gap. ‐ Newt Gingrich praised Paul Ryan’s budget, then issued a statement quibbling with part of its ...
The Bent Pin

Royal Flushes

Yes, I watched the Royal Wedding and I have the gut reactions to prove it.              First, I don’t like Prince William. I’ve never had any particular thoughts about him ...
The Long View

Memorandum

TO: Production/Story Team for “SEAL Team Six” FROM: Vice President of Feature Film Development IN RE: Story/script notes for the second draft of “SEAL Team Six” Gang: First, let me tell you how much ...
Athwart

A Club for All and None

When you learn that mothers have been banned from joining a parenting organization specifically convened for fathers, you know there are two possible reactions: 1. So? It’s a free society. We ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

CURSES after Mellin de Saint-Gelais May the Lord make you a pauper, A homeless old man without An ear of corn in the barn, not A bottle of wine in the cellar. Until then, I pray ...

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More