No-Neck JoeEvery so often, in the midst of a great controversy, a very special column must be written. This column must be so earnest and serious and high-minded that it literally says nothing substantial about the issue at hand. It is a sacred piece of journalistic opinion that absolves the best people of the burden of thinking about the contentious issue at hand or its serious real world consequences for thousands of people. Truly, this is punditry’s highest calling — as the intellectual lubricant for the gears of our dysfunctional status quo.

The vital task of writing this column about Michigan’s Right to Work law fell to Detroit Free Press business editor and feckless, brown-nosing hack Tom Walsh. Wonketteers will instantly recognize Walsh’s style as that of a second-rate Richard Cohen, if that second-rate Richard Cohen was stuck at a local Gannett daily.

The governor’s signature Tuesday on a package of right-to-work bills passed by the Legislature the same day will not trigger a stampede of companies rushing into Michigan to invest and create jobs, as proponents claim.

Nor, however, is right-to-work some heinous abrogation of human rights that will be a death knell for labor unions, as opponents wail.

So why all the fuss?

Yes, why all the fuss? Other than how Right to Work — introduced, endorsed by the governor, and passed into law within a week during a lame duck session — radically alters worker/employer relations in the state that invented the modern American labor movement, no reason. None at all.

Now that both sides have been held equally at fault, let’s move on to the all-important false equivalency…

Democrats shriek that Republicans are opportunists and bullies for ramming right-to-work through in the lame duck session with little debate. If that sounds familiar, Republicans did the same sort of whining in 2010 in Washington, D.C., when Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — without bipartisan support.

Except, Tom Walsh, Obamacare care was passed after nearly a year of legislative consideration and a few months before a Congressional election. Right to Work, which both Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s phallically named Dick Studley said they opposed until they flip-flopped a week ago, lingered in the legislature for maybe five, six days (during a lame duck session) before it became the law.

Despite Walsh’s attempt to remain above it all, he manages to slip in a passive aggressive Right to Work endorsement.

Instead, we’re huffing and puffing about inconclusive data on whether right-to-work even matters, economically, and about whether workers should be compelled to pay dues to organizations that have spotty records of late in securing or protecting jobs and better wages.

This isn’t surprising considering, as the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Free Press reporter M.L. Elrick aptly points out, Tom Walsh is exactly the kind of intellectually dishonest nitwit who reaps the benefits of working in a union shop while refusing to pay union dues. And speaking of once-proud institutions struggling to remain relevant, if you want to know why newspapers are dying, maybe it’s because papers like the Free Press let Pulitzer winners walk out the door but continue to pay Tom Walsh to scratch out trite bullshit.

Let’s see, we’ve got the classic “both sides are wrong” non-opinion, a false equivalency, and support for a policy while feigning neutrality. This is hack pundit gold. All we need now is a red herring distraction to complete the horseshit grand slam…wait for it…

Where Michigan’s income data do correlate with the state’s ranking — on a different yardstick — is educational attainment. Michigan ranks 36th nationally in educational attainment, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more, and 36th in personal income.

Which brings us back to my original point: Right-to-work is the wrong issue to be frothing about.

Yeah, that’s the stuff.

Shame on labor for protesting something that directly affects labor when they should be “frothing” about our education system. As everyone knows, education is something autoworkers and nurses have direct control over but a state legislature, which has cut higher education spending over the last decade while simultaneously lowering business taxes, can’t do a thing about.

Journalism! [Detroit Free Press]

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  • Limeylizzie

    That man is so ugly that I believe my vagina just slammed shut.

    • EatsBabyDingos

      Mine, too. And I'm a man. Viewing the picture was a matter-antimatter combustion, and I am now in the 11th dimension. I am now sadly a weakly interacting massive particle. But it could be worse. I could be him.

      • RadioBitchFace

        The sound of your mangina clamming shut is too great to bear. ; (

    • coolhandnuke

      You stirred a vision of the "Get Smart" opening with doors slamming to a hideous man walking through.

    • TootsStansbury

      If he had a beard he'd look just like that botched Jesus painting restoration.

      • GeneralLerong


    • BaldarTFlagass

      I heard it all the way down here in San Antonio!!!

      • Limeylizzie

        A giant clanging, but strangely moist, noise, was it?

        • BaldarTFlagass

          It was the British accent that gave it away.

          • Limeylizzie

            Funnily enough, I am English, but my vagina is from Chicago.

          • BornInATrailer

            The Windy Slitty?

  • red_kira

    Heinous Abrogation? Isn't that one of the goblins in the new Peter Jackson flick?

  • CrunchyKnee

    A face for the newspaper racket.

  • Boojum

    Teachers do not work, so they are not labor. QED

  • cousinitt

    "Instead, we’re huffing…" says Walsh.

    • Beowoof

      I do believe he was fluffing his Koch masters.

  • so earnest and serious and high-minded that it literally says nothing substantial about the issue at hand.

    Did you know that today is 12-12-12? Amazing! This is the only chance I'll ever have to share this incredibly dull fact!

    • Dr_Zoidberg

      You don't say!

    • Lascauxcaveman

      I celebrated by riding 12 miles out on my lunchtime bike ride today. And then, 12 miles back. Can you guess what time I started this ride? (That last part was just a happy coincidence.)

    • Beowoof

      George Takei's take that is was national sound check day, 121212 made a dull fact fun.

  • United Brotherhood of Bloviators

  • I think the term is Scab.

  • Baconzgood


    "Dick Study"

    • ButthurtWingers2012

      What is a term for what happens when one reads Tom Ward? Wacka, Wacka!

  • Close_Read

    Today's weather report for Michigan: Hot air bloviating over Detroit.

    • ButthurtWingers2012

      No shit…so Faux and Frenz is chillin' in the motor city? Or do you mean Limpballs left his Dominican child rape compound in Florida? Or maybe the skies are clear with an 80% chance of Hannity? Yes, here is this guy translated to wingnut-speak: Stop bitching about labor lawes, labor groupz! Everyone knowz da chamber o' commerce is the bestest at figurin' laws what workz for workerz! Y'all shuld be bitchin' 'bout edumacation, I meanz…I hurd theyse still larnin' evo-ma-lutionz if ya'll can believe it! Why is it that whenever Republicans start talking about fixing education my brain in response immediately attempts suicide?

  • rickmaci

    Let's see. I forgot, which one is he?

    "Definition of SCAB
    1: scabies of domestic animals
    2: a crust of hardened blood and serum over a wound
    3a : a contemptible person b (1) : a worker who refuses to join a labor union (2) : a union member who refuses to strike or returns to work before a strike has ended (3) : a worker who accepts employment or replaces a union worker during a strike (4) : one who works for less than union wages or on nonunion terms
    4: any of various bacterial or fungus diseases of plants characterized by crustaceous spots; also : one of the spots."

    • HistoriCat

      All of them Katie.

  • OkieDokieDog

    Maybe Tom Walsh's next writing job will be the pet ads.

    ps Tom, it's Shih Tzu not Shitzu

    • ButthurtWingers2012

      He could be trying a serious pitch to be the next moustache of concern….or maybe Dickie Cohen has gotten so old and bizare (see his bitching about Craig, Daniel not sexing him in the James Bond film) that WaPo is looking for someone else to ply this sort of dumb, lazy, fog hazed kind of pro-GOP bullshit now that Dickie boy has lost what little mind he had to begin with? Where do they find these assholes and what sort of qualifications does it take to write this shit? Let's see, anatomy of an op-ed: state the issue, then toss in a "pox on both your houses!", next false equivolency between GOP great white shark level sociopathy versus usually weak Democratic resistance, stir…toss in a line or two to let the right wingers know they really are right, and print! I mean, I know opinion columnist-hacks like this guy are not supposed to be political science professors but they could at least change up the formula sometimes, couldn't they? Well shit…this kind of non-stop bullshit formula won David Gregory a job hosting "Meet the Press"….now I haz a sad…

  • The Free Press is full of self-righteous, out-of-touch fuckwads like this guy. Case #1 is Scab Mitch Albom who crossed the picket line during the brutal 1990s contract negotiations to attain his lofty perch where he continues to write shallow sentimental drivel and still not know shit about sports.

    Fuck this guy. Fuck Albom. Fuck the Free Press. Fuck Snyder. Fuck DeVos. Fuck Amway. Fuck eveyone. I'm leaving.

    (you guys are alright though)

    • Close_Read

      Part of me thinks Detroit has the press it deserves, but really there are Walshes and Alboms in the Gannet and Scripps and Tribune newsrooms all over Merica.

      Wait up, I'm leaving with you.

    • calliecallie

      I am totally thinking about leaving too. I checked out real estate in Portlandia today. I AM SO ANGRY….

    • FNMA

      Mitch Albom is the worst. A fucking hack. An asshole. A dick. And a horrible writer. Christ knows who he blew to get his gig. Satan, maybe.

  • SpiderCrab

    There is something about the name Walsh…

  • Also, the Michigan laws were written by right wing ideologues at ALEC and Obamacare was compromise legislation that angered many liberals and was written by Mitt Romney.

    • calliecallie

      ALEC…those bastards….I AM SO ANGRY…

  • SorosBot

    Here I thought the second-rate Richard Cohen was Richard Cohen.

    • Lascauxcaveman

      It's Richard Cohens all the way down.

      • RadioBitchFace


    • Dimitrios_M

      Tom Walsh undoubtedly is a second-rate Richard Cohen, but let's not let that obfuscate the fact that Richard Cohen is a third-rate hack all by his lonesome.

    • I thought Richard Cohen only made it up to third-rate Richard Cohen.

  • sullivanst

    a second-rate Richard Cohen

    In other words, a better version of Richard Cohen?

  • Botlrokit

    I think newspapers are dying because they don't print the F word often enough. Besides, I get all my local news from Wonkette.

    • Dimitrios_M

      You can't truly plumb the pith of most banksters, CEOs and politicians without employing the F word.

      • HistoriCat

        Fraud? Felony?

  • What's perfect about passing right-to-work laws over the holidays is that Ebenezer Scrooge would have totally approved.

  • Hijinks and data-do!

  • SorosBot

    "we’re huffing and puffing about inconclusive data on whether right-to-work even matters, economically, "

    Dude, the data shows that workers in "right-to-work" (and how I hate that stupid euphemism) states make substantially less than those in states with strong unions. It's pretty damn conclusive.

    • Fukui-sanYesOta

      No, no. "Economically", not anything to do with actual individuals having better lives.

  • bikerlaureate

    I actually feel better about the impending demise of a newspaper.


  • Schmannnity

    Kevin Nealon is letting himself go after Weeds.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Correlation: when two measurements of different things happen to randomly be the same number.

  • In today's world of unprecedented mobility and instant communication, investment and jobs go to places with the top talent, the best educated and most skilled workers.

    Not that higher base pay would allow Michiganders to buy more expensive houses, the property taxes on which fund education, which would mean that the state would turn out better-educated kids, while the stability and benefits that come from union labor might make finding a job in-state a more attractive option when said kids graduate. Not at all, Mr. Walsh. So workers should just shut up while their rights, their future and their childrens' future are sacrified to the altar of the Chamber of Commerce.

  • qwerty42

    …Except, Tom Walsh, Obamacare care was passed after nearly a year of legislative consideration and a few months before a Congressional election. …
    Oh Jeff, you're just a big meanie. Tom Walsh is confused! He thinks these are the same, and he is clumsily telling you that he really just doesn't understand what is going on. And you're picking on him! He'll need an extra gin and tonic just to get over how mean people were to him today if he even remembers they were.

  • He's got a perfect Tiger Uppercutable face.

  • LesBontemps

    In naming him, Richard Studley's parents must have envisioned a career for him in the porn industry. How disappointed they must be that he is working for scum like the Chamber of Commerce.

    • PopeEdgardo

      "Every whore finds his vocation." – Ernest Hemingway

  • Slim_Pickins

    Its back to "The deal or the door" labor relations. What could go wrong?

  • Lascauxcaveman

    Oh, Mr. Jeff Watrick, you need to please send this to the Freep as a letter to the editor, and see if they have the balls to print it. Rewrite just it enough to meet their standard for politeness, or whatever, but DO IT.

  • pdiddycornchips

    "Democrats shriek that Republicans are opportunists and bullies for ramming right-to-work through in the lame duck session with little debate. If that sounds familiar, Republicans did the same sort of whining in 2010 in Washington, D.C., when Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act "

    So Democrats want to make health care affordable for everyone and Republicans want to enable Corporate overlords to cut pay and benefits for rank and file workers and enrich themselves. Let's just declare a pox on both their houses and move on.

  • "Both sides blah blah blah" /davidbrooks

    Seriously, why haven't these loads been replaced by KBBL's DJ 3000?

    • #tcot

      Izzat any relation to the Wonkbot TSA-1138?

      • Does the Wonkbot spend all its time robo-dialing seniors? That would explain a lot of voter attitudes.

  • decentcitizen

    There is no rule that says you cannot be upset about a lame duck legislative session that diluted your right to fair pay, and the state of education, dude. Only dimwits that can't hold more than one thought in their heads at a single time would think so.

    • glamourdammerung

      Teabaggers have made it quite clear that "freedom of speech" does not apply when making fun of their stupidity. After all, it hurts their fragile widdle feelings.

  • RadioBitchFace

    What the feck?

  • memzilla

    How do Koch-tit-suckling apologists like Tom Walsh do it? How do they sit down at their keyboards and write this stuff?

    [I'm ruling out the possibility that they actually believe what they write, because they don't believe in anything but writing whatever it is that will get them paid, Q.E.D.]

    So, how exactly do they do it? Is it a secret formula? Is it a selective choosing of the facts? Is it the selective ignoring of the truth? Is it a filter, like a Fresnel lens, that alters whatever passes through it? Is it always discarding information from certain sources, and always including information from other sources?

    Is it midnight dictation, a call from a mysterious Mr. X on the secret HypeLine, who tells them what to write, or does he just hit the broad strokes and let the hack writer flesh out the word count?

    I know that using false equivalency and misdirection and red herrings and straw men are the standard tools; what I'm trying to is figure out the system in which the tools are used.

    • poorgradstudent

      I don't know myself. Personally I'm convinced that Megan McArdle is on the verge of ending up like NOMAD from "Star Trek."

    • glasspusher

      Fresnel Lens is a good analogy. Thin, and often makes things seem bigger than they are.

  • OT: The Wonkette panties scare the shit outta me.

    • commiegirl99

      Guess you're not man enough to wear them then!

      • glasspusher

        I'll try. That mouth looks like it's in the right place…

    • BaldarTFlagass

      They do look a little bitey.

  • hagajim

    pay Tom Walsh any asshole to scratch out trite bullshit


  • Guppy

    The definition of "lame duck session" is another one of those things covered in my high school civics class. He may simply be demonstrating his point about Michigan's educational standards.

  • So, if Right to Work is such a good idea, why can it only be passed in a hurry without debate? Why does it have to be passed in such a way that it cannot be referred to the people?

    If it is such a good idea, why does it not apply to police or fire? Are they just natural Communist? Or is there a greater chance that the government will treat its employees worse than the private sector?

    • glasspusher

      If you're so smart, why all the questions? Know your place, serf!

  • christianmuslin

    Appears the teachings of Jesus and how we treat others is forbidden in this family's Section. 8 lease contract. Otherwise I feel certain all the conservative Christians in the four.corners area would send four representatives to.this family's apartment. They would take the family to Target and buy everyone at least two pair of winter boots/shoes and heavy coats and gloves. .

  • AncienReggie

    Jeff Wattrick is my hero.

    Sure, I want the underpants ad back on my screen, but I gotta say it: The new heavily restaffed Wonkette is drawing in some outstanding reporter people.

    There. Now, can I see those panties again?

  • glamourdammerung

    How dare you all slander this champion of personal responsibility!

    (for others, of course)

  • Fukui-sanYesOta

    I'm really liking this Jeff Wattrick fellow. Top stuff, sir. Top stuff.

  • PopeEdgardo

    David Broder must be so proud right now.

  • TootsStansbury

    i live in the great state of VA and routinely tell people "it's a right to work state which means, you have no rights."

  • Negropolis

    Tom Walsh is why I sparringly read the Freep, anymore, and why it's gone from being a solidly liberal paper, to a wish-washy centrist paper.

  • BZ1

    No, right-to-work doesn't matter but union busting does.

  • glasspusher

    Only scab I ever liked was Kevin Millar.

  • Negropolis

    Hey, Jeff, the Freep is trash, but it's not some random Gannett local daily. The Freep is the largest (by circulation) city paper owned by Gannett. I guess you could call it their flagship…which is very, very sad. The Freep used to be something. It's sad that the conservative Detroit News is a better paper with a higher vocabulary. I think that I read that the Freep is written at sixth grade level.

    And speaking of once-proud institutions struggling to remain relevant, if you want to know why newspapers are dying, maybe it’s because papers like the Free Press let Pulitzer winners walk out the door but continue to pay Tom Walsh to scratch out trite bullshit.

    Amen. That said, the Freep has dome some hellish takedowns of Snyder in the last week or two. Kind of amazing to see that they still have it in them. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm confused as to what to believe about the institutions in this state. Obviously this is still a very blue state, but we certainly don't act like it at the state government level.

  • calliecallie

    I AM SO ANGRY….breathe…all of this…JESUS…tomorrow morning, by coincidence, I have to speak in front of general staff about what we might expect on the MI state legislative agenda in the coming year. I am going to be like that guy in Network who got yanked off stage (but I think got a posthumous Oscar) because I AM MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY MORE is not really something I can say to the general staff. But what's actually going to happen on the MI state legislative agenda in the coming year? NOT SHIT. Nothing I do, have done, can do, for the next two years will even begin to compensate for what happened yesterday. Fuck, fuck fuck, fuck, fuck. How do I do this? I really want to be the guy that gets pulled off stage for telling people how it really is. But we have the bureau Christmas potluck literally right after. Fucking Michigan. I am going to get out. Soon. How soon? Very soon…Mixing many movie metaphors…JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, I AM SO ANGRY….

  • ttommyunger

    So, there's a fuckwad hack writing shit for a sold-out rag. Stop the presses! No, really; stop the presses.

  • glasspusher

    Hi Editrix!I'm sure a savvy girl like you would understand how a nice pair of panties can make a guy feel sexy.It's the first cold week of the season up here in SF, in the 30s (F) this morning. Heading up to Yosemite this weekend in celebration of my 30th anniversary of turning 18. There may be snow on the roof…Hope you're well down south.

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