Monday, February 28, 2011

Collective Bargaining and Kansachusetts

Collective Bargaining is Good.

Now, does anyone see a similarity between the strategy of the Governor of Wisconsin and the strategy of Moammar Gadhafi? I am not talking about individuals. I am talking about strategies.

The Teachers' Union will make concessions. The Government will relent on bargaining. The only problem is that the government has to create a problem. I am guessing that the bigger problem the government creates, the bigger the solution it appears to implement.

What started out as a dispute between teachers in Wisconsin has grown to a national labour movement. Enough said?

To Understand the issues, let's look at a similar problem in my home state of Kansachusetts. There, Governor Odious Bilgewater stated the case very simply.

Lesterville is poor. Morgan's Farm is affluent. If there is collective bargaining, Morgan's Farm taxpayers can handle the bill. Lesterville taxpayers can't.

Now let's deal with that in a logical fashion.

If we get rid of collective bargaining, Lesterville will have little money. The really good teachers will all go to Morgan's Farm. In Lesterville, the poor children will continue to suffer.

When handing out state aid, Governor Bilgewater always gave more money to Morgan's Farm Schools. This has been ruled unfair by the courts. Governor Bilgewater could index state aid by income level and per student expenditures. No. That would be too simple. Too effective. It would make too much sense.

Governor Bilgewater wants to get rid of LIFO. Last Hired First Fired. He said, "The problem in our schools comes from too many bad teachers."


It was only a few weeks ago that parents were saying that the reason their children aren't getting an education is due to the lack of experienced teachers. In response to that, governor Bilgewater wants to get rid of experienced teachers.

Who will determine whether one of the new teachers is better than one of the experienced teachers?

The experienced teachers went to school back in the day when students learned to read. Then came the decline in education and reading skills. Do you really want to get rid of experienced teachers?

Well, what if you have a bad teacher. As the system is now, it is virtually impossible to fire one bad teacher. So what does governor Bilgewater suggest? Get rid of more experienced teachers. (I guess that way the one bad teacher won't feel bad by being singled out.)

Governor Bilgewater really kicked the hornets nest, didn't he?

However, as Governor Bilgewater said, "You can have action without planning; but planning without action is a waste of time. And time is what we don't have. Therefore, this is not a time to come up with a plan. This is a time for action." Kansachusetts: The State We All Live In The Honorable Odious Bilgewater--Governor.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Will the FB Revolution Spread to China? Part 2--Credentialism

Will the Facebook Revolution Spread to China? Part 2--Credentialism

Today, everyone has credentials. Things are not visibly better, but the experts have credentials to explain the problems they were not able to foresee, to prevent, or to fix.

Much of that comes from what is easily discernible: much of what they write is descriptive and not prescriptive. Why do they write it? As Samuel Johnson once said, "None but a blockhead writes except for money."

Now, why talk about credentials? It is a follow up to my monograph entitled "Distortions of graphic proportions." The posting includes a bar graph that purports to show how images are used to distort the facts. This monograph will explain how the exclusion of some facts is used to distort others.

Case in point.

The pundits (experts) have said that what happened in Egypt could happen in China. They said that the Chinese government is worried. Other experts pointed out that the difference in the per capita income between China and Egypt made a Facebook revolution unlikely. Then came the unpleasant situation in Bahrain.

Now the experts are saying that the high per capita income in Bahrain repudiates those who said a Facebook revolution in China is unlikely. Their reasoning? The per capita income in Bahrain. And that is where the substance of their reasoned argument ends.

First of all, consensus among the pundits is that in Bahrain you have a majority group living in a nation governed by a minority group. To put that in U.S. terms: Imagine a nation where 8 million Methodists are governed by 2 Million Lutherans.

This situation does not exist in China. The Chinese people are Chinese. Full stop.

Second, you have the type of money as well as the amount of money to consider. Here is a metaphor.

Pretend I own a 10-unit apartment building in a modest community. I rent each out for $500 a month. I live in one of the units. I make $4,500 a month. Pretend you are an architect. You get hired by a development company to gentrify my community. My property goes up in value. I now rent out my apartments for $1,500 a month. In addition, I moved into one of the fancy new apartment buildings. I now receive $15,000 a month in income. I pay $3,000 a month rent
in an upscale building and receive $12,000 a month in income.

You, however, as an architect earn about $80,000 a year. You are not satisfied with your earnings. You decide to renegotiate your contract. While that is happening, you are not working. While you are not working, 100 bricklayers are not working. If they don't work, they don't eat.

The owner of the building has two choices. Fire you and put 100 bricklayers back to work, or negotiate with you while 100 bricklayers have nothing to do and nothing to eat. Guess what? You lose your job.

You make an income by doing what you do. I make an income by what I own. I make an increased income by what you do. If you stop doing your job, my income stagnates but the bricklayers' income ceases.

Now, let's go to China. China's wealth arises from the efforts of the Chinese people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income than the Egyptian people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income by the way the Chinese people earn their income.

Back to my apartment building. If we assume that I have a history of being my own superintendent; mowing the lawn, fixing leaky faucets, vacuuming the carpets, polishing the floor in the lobby, I can cut my operating expenses and increase my earnings. However, when the value of my building goes up, I can hire a superintendent to do the work for me. I can still make an increased income. You, as an architect, must continue to be an architect to continue earning a living.

Will the Facebook revolution extend to China? Probably not. The question of per capita income is only a part of the consideration. The source of the income is also a consideration. The demographics are a third consideration.




Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

Non-verbal Cues in the Virtual World

Non-verbal cues are often subjective.

"Perceptual information signs accompanying the words used in speech. "

Perceived is the perception of the receiver, not the transmitter. This is subjective. Thus, open to interpretation.

If everything is done (for the purpose of this discussion) on a computer, there would be no non-verbal cues to take into account. Thus, the only inferences one could make would be on the manner in which information is presented.

Now, case in point. Assumptions:

"For example, someone who asks a lot of questions may be [may be] extremely skilled and decisive. In fact they could be [could be] someone who is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on."

This person, by way of metaphor, sent you a non-verbal clue by asking a lot of questions. That non-verbal clue you've taken into account is that "the person is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on" [quotes mine for distinction] Again, for the purposes of this discussion, the non-verbal clue I perceived is that this person lacks confidence, based on his real or imaginary lack of subject matter knowledge.

To distinguish this, we may have to rely on other members of the group. If you and I are on the same team, you tell the leader that "Bill is analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on." I tell the team leader that Bill is an impediment. He prevents the group from moving on.

The leader now must assess whether Bill is qualified or not. Bill sent each of us non-verbal clues. Each of us came to a different conclusion. The team leader now must look for non-verbal clues. Is Cathy a sensitive and supportive team member who likes Bill's quest for answers? Is Cathy insecure and relies on Bill to provide a subterfuge? Also: Is Slim a goal oriented individual who finds Bill an impediment to productivity? Is Slim a rash and impulsive individual who may have a negative impact on the other members of the group by being brusque?

Well, Susan ( another member of the team) sees Slim as too theory X and feels intimidated. While Lorraine is fed up with Bill and is glad that Slim finally spoke up and put Bill in his place.

This is what really goes on in a group. And it doesn't matter whether we are co-located or virtual.

From the Quotations of Slim Fairview: "Did you ever notice, when people say, "you don't understand," what they really mean is, "you don't agree with me."

Sincerest regards,



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview