RIP Philo

Why I oppose unions

http://www.drunkard.com/issues/08_02/08_02_fighting_madd.htm

It happens every time - organize a bunch of people, give them a cause, let them raise money, and they will still be around fifty years from now extorting their members and castigating the "enemy" for more and more and more. Unions, like Congress, start with good enough intentions, but once most of their work is done, they have to look busy to justify their pay.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 13th, 2007 8:00pm
The you appose all groups period. I'd vote for that.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 13th, 2007 8:00pm
How is this related to Union, more than say an corporation like MS?
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 13th, 2007 8:07pm
Unions are good. They dispense legal advice and they fight the employer when he tries to use market forces against you.
Permalink Colm 
March 13th, 2007 8:16pm
Wow, only 500 people a year are actually killed by drunk drivers. And how much is spent each year by the legal system having road blocks, arresting people, putting them in prison, losses from them not paying tax while in prison, etc? $500 million? More? What if that $500 million was spent on AIDS research instead? Could we save more people for the same investment?
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 13th, 2007 8:18pm
>Wow, only 500 people a year are actually killed by drunk drivers.

Only one 9/11 every six years then.
Permalink Colm 
March 13th, 2007 8:19pm
its time for a war on drinking.  what if one of those drunken drivers accidentally drove over a nuclear weapon?

BAN CARS!
Permalink Send private email zestyZuchini 
March 13th, 2007 8:26pm
>Wow, only 500 people a year are actually ....

As Stephen Jones would say, it's a very well done satire. The real data is more like 9/11 every two months.  PLUS any one of those people could run over a nuclear weapon.
Permalink zed 
March 13th, 2007 8:41pm
The 500 seems a bit low. Alcohol is involved in a ridiculous high percentage of accidents (40+%), so given that there are 50,000 auto accident deaths per year in the US...

Of course they could be weaseling with the "innocent" people killed. Not quite sure what that means.
Permalink DF 
March 13th, 2007 8:44pm
"Alcohol is involved in 40% of accidents"

Are you quoting from the article or from something else you read? If you hadn't read it, the article makes some damn good points that that number is completely falsified.
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 13th, 2007 8:48pm
Well, actually the article makes the point that while that statement is actually true, it does not mean what many people think it means.

Another way to look at it is that lunchboxes are "involved" in a startling number of traffic fatalities. However, they very, very rarely CAUSE them.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 13th, 2007 9:33pm
MADD isn't a union, it is a non profit organization.
Permalink hello. 
March 13th, 2007 9:58pm
and thus have to file 990 .....

http://www.madd.org/docs/FY06%20FORM%20990.pdf

The CEO makes 220k.

They spend 500k on lobbying and get 10MM from the government in grants.
Permalink zed 
March 13th, 2007 10:11pm
I'm not sure what the article is arguing against. The organizational inefficiencies of MADD, or the work MADD purports to do?

If compared to other first world countries' drunk driving laws, MADD has been totally ineffective. The drunk driving laws are much more severe in other countries, especially ones known for heavy drinking: Australia, Canada, the Scandinavian nations, etc.
Permalink hello. 
March 13th, 2007 10:15pm
The point of the article is twofold -
1) MADD has outlived the cause it was founded for, but has become an exercise in self-perpetuation (gathering money and pursuing activities for no other reason than keepign the leadership employed)
2) Because of the direction that (1) has caused, MADD has incidentally become a haven for erstwhile prohibitionists.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 13th, 2007 10:32pm
"MADD has incidentally become a haven for erstwhile prohibitionists."


this isn't _that_ surprising.once you start looking seriously at the damage alcohol actually does to society as a whole it can get pretty freaky.  most people Ive known who have ended up on the victim support stuff have become, while maybe not prohibitionist, at least fairly alcohol negative in general.
Permalink Send private email worldsSmallestViolin 
March 13th, 2007 10:57pm
Why should it self-immolate if people continue to support it? It's possibly a _little_ more focussed than say, a motoring lobby such as the RAC or the AA, and the benefits may be spent differently but hey, it's working the system.

It's not a qango like the Prickly Pear Commission (that honourably wound itself up once the cactoblastis beetle did the job) supported by compulsory levies and taxpayers' money.

Mind you, similarities between DUI/MADD and MAD/MilCorp  Inc. (apart from taxpayer contributions) stand out like dogs' balls.
Permalink trollop 
March 13th, 2007 11:00pm
Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself.

Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent.

[In this MADD example, it would be the volunteers who want to get drunk drivers off the roads vs. those who want to keep MADD involved in various affairs, to run the organization...]

The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view408.html#Iron
Permalink Send private email Ward 
March 13th, 2007 11:52pm
>> Alcohol is involved in a ridiculous high percentage of accidents (40+%)

What "ridiculuous high percentage"? Jeez! Add the numbers yourself. A staggering 60% of all accidents are caused by people who don't drink and drive. That is SIXTY PERCENT! TWENTY MORE THAN FORTY! There has to be some law against not drinking and driving.
Permalink Send private email (100 + 85)/2 
March 14th, 2007 5:06am
Where I was born, the unions were full of people who gave their lives to save lives, 100 years ago.

20 years ago they nearly put my father (a self employed man with no employees) out of business because he wouldn't join the "closed shop". He was a tough fucker, wouldn't take it, and worked his nuts off fro the next ten to survive, rather than give in to that.

That's why I have no love for them.

Unfortunately, there IS still a case for their existence. All kinds of exploitation still goes on. But the fuckers are mostly too full of their own dogma, when it comes down to the line they won't do anything that jeopardises their own position.

Meanwhile, the common man is the loser.

I'm happy though that they existsed. But I think their time is all but over.
Permalink $-- 
March 14th, 2007 5:16am
The ideal thing to do would be to identify a solution to the problem that collective bargaining groups almost always become oppressive leviathans in their own right. (and agreed - that doesn't mean the problem they were formed to address has gone away; they're just not so focused on fixing it any more)
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 14th, 2007 8:55am
the problem they were formed to address has not gone away, but it is orders of magnitude less. When unions were formed, death or severe injury due to terrible conditions in mines was very common. Miners had been known to emerge in peoples houses - there was very little control over the industry.

It's still a tough living, but nothing like it was then.
Permalink $-- 
March 14th, 2007 9:07am
[nod] But I'm cynical enough to believe that sans unions, mining companies would have no problem going right back to doing things that way. Even some of the things that cause work stoppages today can be pretty outrageous.

OTOH, going on strike to negotiate pay or benefits that grossly exceed the average workers' situation is pretty abusive.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 14th, 2007 9:11am
yeah, I'd agree with all that.

From what I understand, unions have a lot less power in the US than in Europe, though.
Permalink $-- 
March 14th, 2007 9:26am
Teacher unions are obviously necessary when parents decide they have the power to bully a teacher into giving their kid a different grade ...

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=entertainment&id=5116818
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 9:33am
>Well, actually the article makes the point that while that statement is actually true, it does not mean what many people think it means

Right, the people involved might not be legally intoxicated, but they had consumed some alcohol, even a small amount.

Which is, I think, the point. Do you think that at this moment 40% of the drivers on the road consumed alcohol recently? I highly doubt that number is more than 1%.

Alcohol affects your motor controls much earlier than what legally the "limit" to drive -- but they couldn't put the limit at 0.0 as some people just -have- to have one for the road -- and one of the points of anti-drunk driving efforts is to stop people from drinking and driving *at all*, whether legally allowed or not.

And for the record I think the legal limit to drive should be 0.0, or the closest biologically normal amount.
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 9:47am
Technology (JIT manufacturing and well, IT) decimated labor unions. I'm guessing technology (mandatory breathalyzer tests in order to turn on ignition, or self-steering vehicles) might disempower groups like MADD, as well.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 9:55am
That article is completely full of shit. At the most cursory glance is their complete bullshitting of what "alcohol related" means -- by NHTSA rules it specifically means "measurable blood alcohol in one or more of the participants".

This conspiracy nonsense goes on to claim that if one of the passengers in the car, or a pedestrian that was hit, had any alcohol (say from some mouthwash in the morning), it would be listed as alcohol-related.

BULLLLLLLSHIT.


Martha Accountant is on her way to work and has a fender bender. What's the likelihood that the police are going to take her blood alcohol? ZERO.

Use your brains, geez. They don't even bother measuring BAC unless there is a indication that it could have been a contributor. This pro-alcoholic screed was instantly cast as just complete nonsense.

Is this like gun ownership rights now? "We have a right to drive drunk"?
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 9:59am
Oh, and I'm not defending MADD. Ultimately it is a make-work group for a number of people (the Canadian chapter recently had a big publicity snafu because of a study that found how remarkably little of the contributions go towards actual programs). This alcoholic-union screed is using MADD as an easy to hit stooge, though they try to pretend that the crazy NHTSA is in cahoots with them.
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 10:03am
(oh, and I should say that alcohol especially impacts your decision making, which is far worse than motor control impediments. Such as "oh I can beat this light" or "I don't have to slow down for this turn" or "boy, that chick looks HOT")
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 10:17am
"That is SIXTY PERCENT! TWENTY MORE THAN FORTY! There has to be some law against not drinking and driving."

Haha.

DD laws are pretty much bullshit, so is MADD.

I am all for the death penalty for someone that gets wasted and runs over a newborn and its mother. Until you've actually done something wrong, you haven't done anything wrong.

The rest is ounce of prevention pound of cure bullshit from the puritans.
Permalink JoC 
March 14th, 2007 10:57am
"[nod] But I'm cynical enough to believe that sans unions, mining companies would have no problem going right back to doing things that way. Even some of the things that cause work stoppages today can be pretty outrageous. "

If I recall correctly, mining deaths were at a ten year high last year.  Many of the deaths were found to be caused by violations of existing regulations.  Naturally, the Bush administration hasn't helped the situation with the "appointment of former mining industry executives to federal mine safety agencies and the slashing of the budget and staff for safety inspection."
Permalink JOSer 
March 14th, 2007 11:50am
yeah JoC. I guess if you would walk down the street letting waving a samurai sword around your head, you only ought to be stopped if you actually hurt someone.
Permalink $-- 
March 14th, 2007 11:58am
"by NHTSA rules it specifically means "measurable blood alcohol in one or more of the participants"."

Yep.

If you've had a beer and are driving home, and you're hit and killed by a truck that ran a red light (because the driver was overtired or just driving like an idiot), you are an "alcohol-related fatality"

If you are stumbling across a crosswalk and hit by a guy driving while getting a blowob, you are an "alcohol-related fatality"

If you are totally sober and hit by a guy who had an open beer can on the floor in the back seat (from a drinking binge last month), you are an "alcohol-related fatality". (The guy will most likely be cited under the open container law, which he did technically violate, and that will flag the "alcohol related")

But here's the big one:
Four people in a car, one or more have been drinking, but the driver is a designated (sober) driver. They hit or are hit by an SUV (driven by a sober soccer mom) and one or more people are killed - the rest are seriously injured and end up at the hospital.

All will have blood drawn.
BAC tests will be run on everyone involved.

There *will* be an accident investigation and most likely a lawsuit, so this stuff just gets done as a matter of course. (For one thing, when five victims of a vehicle accident show up, nobody knows who was driving)

Any blood sample comes up positive, it's an "alcohol-related crash"

And I'll wager that last scenario describes the vast majority of accidents that result in a fatality.
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 14th, 2007 12:03pm
>All will have blood drawn.
>BAC tests will be run on everyone involved.

You're the lawyer, but my retort is no they won't. I've never heard of BAC being drawn from passengers unless they died, and their death was obviously caused by their own personal intoxication. In that case the -only- person they would draw blood from is the two drivers, in most states actually only drawing from the one deemed at fault.

It's all a red herring to try to weave some absurd numbers to cover for the fact that an extraordinary number of fatal accidents involve people who have been drinking. Now maybe it's just a reality that 40% of the people on the road at any time just drank a beer, but that seems highly dubious.

Not to mention that the "mouthwash" thing made me laugh. Yes, a number of fatal accident drivers just used mouthwash right before the accident.
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 12:53pm
"that an extraordinary number of fatal accidents involve people who have been drinking"

Heh. You're still doing it.

How many fatal accidents are CAUSED by people who have been drinking?
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 14th, 2007 2:15pm
Won't there be some kind of stats from the government on how many were convicted of drunk driving?
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 14th, 2007 2:21pm
That would give a lower bound.
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 14th, 2007 2:21pm
>> According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality. The term "alcohol-related" does not indicate that a crash or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol."

>> There were 16,694 alcohol-related fatalities in 2004 [in US] – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.

http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html

I guess a case can be made that the intoxicated status of pedestrians and/or pedlacyclists (?) was irrelevant to their injuries --- Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy .. "I'm walking here!!!!!". Just not a strong case.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 2:58pm
That's very informative. Thanks.
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 14th, 2007 3:32pm
"Do you think that at this moment 40% of the drivers on the road consumed alcohol recently? I highly doubt that number is more than 1%."

Good god, please read up on some basic math.

First, the article notes that the states add 9% to the figures for no reason in particular. So this seems to indicate you have a pre-fudging number of 31%.

Second, are accidents involving just one person? Most accidents that get reported involve at least two vehicles. Some involve pedestrians. Many involve passengers. Is the average 3 people per accident? 4? So for the at fault person, how many of them are intoxicated? The number is very small, far less than 40%, less than 1% in fact.

Drunk pedestrian? Alcohol involved.
Passenger had a roach clip? That counts as alcohol involved too.
Not-at-fault car on the way home from the store and there is an unopened bottle of cooking sherry in the locked trunk? That gets reported as alcohol involved as well.
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 14th, 2007 5:19pm
>First, the article notes that the states add 9% to the figures for no reason in particular

And I have no reason to question their unqualified assertion. I mean, given how they completely fabricated nonsense (which you repeat later), why would I?

>The number is very small, far less than 40%, less than 1% in fact.

How did you manage to get to 1%? 40% of -fatal- accidents are alcohol related. Even if I accept the bullshit, completely bogus "if anyone was standing nearby had used mouthwash it's alcohol related!" nonsense, you'd need 40 people involved per accident to get to "less than 1%".

>That gets reported as alcohol involved as well.

NO IT DOESN'T. Seriously. Maybe you get your facts from some pro-alcoholic site, but by actual reality that is irrelevant.
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 5:30pm
Anyway, do we need to bring up the thing with cell phones again? I think maybe we should. Several studies show that using cell phones makes you more dangerous than if you are so drunk you can't walk. And it doesn't matter in the least that you use a 'hands-free headset'.

Are MADD members really interested in reducing deaths due to car accidents?

Let's see how many MADD members use cell phones in the car. I want to see that number. I want to see how many accidents per year are CAUSED by MADD members using cell phones. How many deaths. How many children die each year because of them? And then let's compare that number to deaths due to drink driving. I don't have to tell you which number is bigger - you already know that.
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 14th, 2007 5:31pm
"40% of -fatal- accidents are alcohol related."

Forbes, this is bullshit. We've already debunked it. Why do you keep repeating it?
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 14th, 2007 5:32pm
No, you haven't debunked it. You've repeated some proven bullshit and then repeated it again, as if it'll be true through repeated assertion.

The NHTSA has guidelines on when an accident is deemed alcohol related (which strawberry helpfully posted above), and it -doesn't- include sherry in the trunk. The article that was linked is a bullshit, pro-alcoholic bit of propaganda that appeals to the "IT'S MY [belch...stumble] RIGHT!" crowd. To me it is infuriatingly offensive, given the number of families that have been eviscerated by drunk drivers.

Damn that MADD and NHTSA for their evil schemes!

Seriously: Ask a cop, particularly a veteran, if drunk driving is a problem. You might get a little different perspective than this bullshit.
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 5:34pm
>I want to see how many accidents per year are CAUSED by MADD members using cell phones.

MADD is focused on drunk driving. That's their mandate. Idiotic distractions about how they have no right to argue against driving unless they cover any possible risk is one of the cheapest, most vile, undermining techniques out there.

So WHAT THE FUCK does cell phone use have to do with drunk drivers? How about this - don't drink and drive...AND don't use distracting devices while driving. That sound good?
Permalink DF 
March 14th, 2007 5:36pm
"40% of -fatal- accidents are alcohol related."

[shrug] I don't care. Some percentage of accidents are also daytime-related, red car-related, and infant-related. I am honestly interested in causation more than correlation.

How many accidents are caused by alcohol-impaired driving? Isn't that a valid question to ask?
Permalink Send private email Philo 
March 14th, 2007 6:17pm
Philo, the reason you oppose unions is because the republican'ts and their idiological twin party the so-called "libertarians" both tell you to oppose unions.
Permalink Peter 
March 14th, 2007 6:49pm
>> and also, about 30% of all  fatally injured drivers have a BAC of .10+ (2001, US)

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/AlcoholHighway/2__overview.htm

One reason 30% is lower than the 40% above is that not all intoxicated drivers *die* in their fatality-causing crashes. Some kill others (like pedestrians, passengers, etc) but live themselves.

Unless one believes that 30% (or even 27%) of drivers at any given moment have BAC above 0.1 (quite high) ..  one should accept that alcohol is an over-representative correlation for car-crash fatality. It's a significant factor -- whether that fits one philosophical definition of cause (how many sigmas of correlation are needed?) is up to the reader to decide.

As a counterpoint, if 30% of fatalities have empty coffee cups in their backseats yet a survey of regular drivers determines that 30% of non-accident drivers also suffer from empty-coffee-cup-in-backseat syndrome, then what is one to conclude about an inference?

http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/queryReport.cfm?stateid=0&year=2005
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 7:15pm
"WHAT THE FUCK does cell phone use have to do with drunk drivers?"

What it has to do is that far more people die each year in accidents involving cell phones than die in accidents involving alcohol.
Permalink Practical Economist 
March 15th, 2007 9:03am
>What it has to do is that far more people die each year in accidents involving cell phones than die in accidents involving alcohol.

Even though this is completely irrelevant to the topic of drunk driving (or is it the "why feed the homeless here when there are starving in Africa" or vice versa argument?), do you have even a single shred of stats to back that up?

I have no doubt that cell phones cause accidents, as do in car GPS units, kids in the back seat, radios, fumbled coffees, etc. However simple reason and common sense tells me that the majority of cell phone accidents will be of the fender bender/sideswipe variety. I highly doubt many include asshats driving the wrong way on the highway at 100mph, or taking a turn so fast they drive through someone's house.
Permalink DF 
March 15th, 2007 9:58am
"I guess if you would walk down the street letting waving a samurai sword around your head, you only ought to be stopped if you actually hurt someone."

That sound 100% reasonable to me.

It may be a little ridiculous, but if someone finds the appeal greater than the embarassment...
Permalink JoC 
March 15th, 2007 10:51am
I am actually against checkpoint type sobriety checks -- their "hit" rate is far too low to justify the intrusion. I would have no complaint about checkpoints right at the exit of a bar parking lot, for instance.

I do think police need to be far more vigilant and observant of suspicious behavior -- driving on a weekend night, I see far too many cars that display what appears to be intoxicated driving habits (erratic speeds being one of the most obvious  -- speed up speed up speed up I'm going too slow...OMG I'm going to get pulled over brake hard..brake hard...speed up speed up speed.. The sort of retarded judgment that a "I'm not too drunk to drive" idiot demonstrates).
Permalink DF 
March 15th, 2007 11:14am

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