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  • Peterr commented on the blog post DOJ and Treasury Schooled by College Athletes

    2014-08-09 11:44:44View | Delete

    At this point, the practical upshot is that both of these are being appealed — the NU case to the NLRB national board, and the O’Bannon case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    If the NU case is upheld, it immediately applies only to NU, as they are the ones who requested to form a union. The logic of the ruling in that case, however, would extend to other schools, but not all of them. IIRC, some would be covered by state labor laws that preclude public employee unions, so students at Good Old State University would not be allowed to unionize — but students at a private school in the same state might be able to. Lots of ins and outs to this one.

    If the O’Bannon case is upheld, the judge has already said in her ruling that it would not apply to athletes who were recruited prior to July 1, 2016 (much of the logic being argued in court had to do with recruiting, and so to tie the implementation of her ruling to the “next” full recruiting class makes sense). She also noted at the very end that there are lots of other issues that were beyond the case here, which may be addressed in other forums. Perhaps tied to wynota skunk’s comments, earlier this week the NCAA altered its rules for the Big Five conferences, in part anticipating a ruling like this.

    The bottom line in both these cases, though, is that the NCAA cannot continue to act as an unregulatable tyrant over the athletes at its member schools. Both Ohr and Wilkens were on the same page: athletes have rights, and the NCAA cannot simply impose their will on the athletes and wish those rights away.

    There’s plenty to be sorted out about how those rights can and should be exercised, but that’s a different question entirely.

  • Oh, there were plenty of angles being worked on this one. The big hog farms saw what happened with the puppy mill initiative that was passed by the voters and later gutted by the legislature, and said “let’s just cut this off at the pass and put a ‘get-out-of-court free’ provision in the constitution.”

  • Oh, this makes a ugly followup to the ugly news from here in Missouri last night.

    Better take a few deep breaths before you click that link, Jane.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story

    2014-08-04 18:07:13View | Delete

    What, specifically, did you see from prosecutors and judges that led you to the conclusion that rehabilitation is irrelevant?

    I see the irrelevance in the political system, where legislators will vote to spend millions upon millions to build fences and walls and hire guards with guns, but pennies to fund education efforts, drug rehab counselors, and other non-vengeance-related items and people.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story

    2014-08-04 17:45:04View | Delete

    The word “rehabilitation” gets used in our prison system, but the word “vengeance” seems more appropriate. We have built a system that prizes meting out punishment even as it gives lip service to changing people’s lives. Parole is held out as a possibility, not so much to encourage inmates to change their lives in anticipation of life back on the outside as to encourage inmates to behave while they’re still incarcerated.

    The whole “trying underage teenagers as adults” idea makes a mockery of other aspects of the law — underage teens can’t sign contracts, underage teens can’t consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, etc. The only place underage teens are treated as mature people with the capability of giving meaningful consent in the legal system is when they are tried for adult crimes.

    Nadine, in making this film, what surprised you the most?

  • I don’t find it surreal at all. It’s part and parcel of life for people who are used to living in a bubble and controlling everything that affects them.

    See “Yertle the Turtle.”

    What I find fascinating in the tidbit of the story you shared there is that the reaction was simply “OK, we’re done now.” It displays great insecurity. It’s an admission that he doesn’t think he can say things clearly enough that they won’t be misunderstood, or that he’ll let something slip that he doesn’t want to get out, and so the way to deal with this is to either get you to sign that form or show you the door.

    How long had you spent with him on the tour of his place, listening to all he had to say about his artwork and such, before the interview ended? In refusing to sign, did you explain to him that you would be including this little request of his in the book? For someone who claims to be a “practiced combatant in the field of public relations” this is a pretty ham-handed attempt to control someone.

  • Or that furthering free market purity will help their corporate profits. My take is that this is a both/and for them, rather than an either/or.

    (When you’re the 800 pound gorilla in the room, you can take on just about anyone, as long as their are no pesky laws or rules that restrain you.)

  • He wanted you to sign a contract like that as the price for conducting interviews with him? Sounds like Connor got it right in the introductory post above when he wrote “And even among Libertarians, of which the Kochs are comparable (but not synonymous, as Schulman shows), Charles Koch’s legacy of using his money to micromanage has burned many bridges.”

    How did that conversation go? “Daniel, you seem like a nice fellow, but I have a reputation to protect. How about you sign this nice little form, and let me make sure that you got everything right before it goes to print?”

  • Yeah, that’s them.

    Daniel, I know there are other big business folks who look at the Kochs and say “Gosh, if I had a couple more zeroes to the bottom line of my personal wealth, I’d love to have the influence that they do.” In Missouri, for instance, there’s Rex Sinquefield, who pushes relentlessly for lower taxes regardless of the cost. Are people like this simply admirers, or do the Kochs actively reach out to like-minded folks to coordinate their political work?

  • Oh, I’m sure there’s more than one reason they’re running them now.

    In Kansas, right before Sam Brownback became governor, there was a big fight over licensing a new coal powerplant. A deal was struck, and now the energy folks are trying to overturn the deal to go back to their earlier “to hell with environmental concerns” attitude, but no luck so far.

    I have yet to read the book — it’s sitting by my bed! — but do you get into the Kochs and state politics at all?

  • I live in KC, and noticed that Koch Industries started running some television ads to bolster their corporate image. They weren’t selling anything, but rather they were the kind of benign ads that try to polish the perception of the company: “We’re ordinary folks, doing ordinary stuff — we’re Koch Industries”.

    I can’t help but wonder about the timing, given the publication of this book.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post Chickens Coming Home to Roost in Kansas

    2014-07-26 10:20:46View | Delete

    Koch Industries has been running some feel-good ads for the last month or so, trying to paint themselves as ordinary folks doing good honest work.

    I’d say they’re feeling the pinch of the antipathy the Koch Brothers have been generating.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 18:15:46View | Delete

    Who were some of the weirdest (in a good way) characters you met while working on the film?

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 18:06:04View | Delete

    Love the title!

    Are there any good beer blogs/websites you came across, that you’d recommend to someone looking for more info on craft beer?

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 18:00:14View | Delete

    Roger, are they any clips that it broke your heart to edit out of the final film? You know, the little bits that made you say “Damn, this is great, but it doesn’t fit the flow of the film” or “. . . it would take too much time to set this clip up properly”.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 17:43:45View | Delete

    Craft brewers run up against the same obstacle that many small wineries do: state laws that privilege alcohol distributors over direct-to-consumer selling.

    Roger, do you know if craft beer brewers have teamed up with wine organizations like “Free the Grapes” to take on these laws?

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 17:30:48View | Delete

    They wouldn’t have sold out to a bunch of Belgians, either.


    What surprised you most in making the film?

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 17:26:23View | Delete


    That’s proof that the Busch family no longer controls A-B, then. InBev may have let you make YOUR film, but the old Busch clan (like Gussie) never would have let that happen.

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 17:24:44View | Delete

    I’ve got his Beer Companion on my shelf of cookbooks, and it remains a gem (though obviously parts are overtaken by new beers that have come out and old breweries that have closed).

  • Peterr commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

    2014-07-07 17:23:07View | Delete

    Roger, how did you come to choose beer as the topic for this film?

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