Fall TV 2018: Every Broadcast Show Canceled, Renewed and Ordered So Far

It’s that time of year again! As the broadcast networks prepare for their annual upfront presentations to advertisers, they’ve begun to winnow down which current shows will return next season and which will come to an end. Below is every scripted show that ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and The CW have renewed or canceled so far, along with those still awaiting their fates.

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Yes, Video Games Are Art

Are video games art? Were they not, it would be necessary to pretend they are. Roger Ebert claimed that video games could not be art, in part because of their inextricable relationship with commercialism and in part because they did not present a single experience curated by the artist. That would seem to render buildings not-art, since they can be explored in many different ways, and it might even turn obvious art into not-art, since nobody looks at a canvas or a statue in exactly the same way or sees the same thing.

Video games deserve to be considered art on the merits, but understanding them as such is also socially useful. Since the toxic GamerGate episode in 2014, video games are the latest seemingly neutral and non-political sphere of life to be tribalized. If you are a female video game developer, you can expect to be endlessly harassed by pathetic basement dwellers. If you are a video game player, you can now play games where the characters are trans.

Back in college, I attended an event about video games and social justice put on by the gaming club. The professor who gave the talk explained that video games were too apathetic and needed to be instruments of activism. She suggested that Farmville and other silly, innocent time-wasters were actually guilty of perpetuating social injustice. Farmville, for instance, portrayed farmers as happy white avatars rather than as the overworked, undocumented, brown laborers that they likely are.

That video games have historically had so little to do with politics is actually a point in favor of their qualifying as art, and a reason they should remain so. Like painting before postmodernism and Catholic churches before Vatican II, they can bring us out of the everyday world of drudgery and injustice and into a different one. (This is the same reason why those 70s church hymns about famine and water shortages are so uninspiring—they merely reproduce the fallen world.)

Of course, not all games are art, just as not all movies are art. But the best games do rise to that level. I happen to be a partisan for “retro games”—generally understood as the eight- and 16-bit titles from the mid-80s to the mid-90s that appeared in video arcades, on the first two Nintendo home consoles, on the Sega Genesis, and on the various other home consoles and portable systems of the era. Most were two-dimensional and scrolled left or right (Mario and Sonic), and some scrolled in four directions with an overhead view (Zelda). The best games from this era were a perfection of the particular art form of the two-dimensional video game. Given limited technology, small budgets, and a relentlessly competitive commercial environment, game developers still managed to produce playing experiences that are remembered and even reworked or duplicated in homage today. (Indeed, brand-new releases for long-obsolete game consoles have become something of a bloated collectors’ market.)

These games may not be “fine art” in the manner of Michelangelo or Da Vinci, though there is no obvious reason why they cannot be. They are most certainly works of cultural art, akin to the best art deco skyscrapers, neon signs, and midcentury appliances and toys that served a commercial purpose but also rose above it. These things might be figments of consumerism, but no one can claim they were not produced with great attention to detail and genuine artistry.

This can easily slip into self-indulgent nostalgia a la Ready Player One, and it can also be re-commercialized as reproduction artifacts tacked to chain restaurant walls or new “collectors’” releases for old game consoles.  

So how about some actual games?

My favorite is Donkey Kong Country 2, a 1995 release for the Super Nintendo and the middle entry in a three-game series. These were ordinary side-scrolling 2D games, but the characters and backgrounds were rendered in a claymation-evoking pseudo-3D. This made the series a commercial blockbuster, as it breathed new life into the aging Super Nintendo platform. But the games, especially DKC2, were more than vehicles to showcase flashy graphics technology.

DKC2 is a pirate-themed game, in which anthropomorphic monkeys—but not the titular Donkey Kong himself, who is imprisoned and awaiting your rescue—venture through flooded shipwrecks, spooky bayous, lava-spewing caverns, and the inside of a honeybee hive.

Two levels—and their soundtracks, which are the real stand-out in the game—are particularly good examples of video games as art. The first is a stage that takes place in a partially sunken ship’s hull. As you explore the level, which begins on dry ground, the water rises, blocking off certain areas and turning it from an ordinary running exercise to a swimming one. As a kid, this was a genuinely frightening level to play. Now I think it is a great one.

The other one takes place in a massive bramble bush, with a background of clouds drifting through a blue sky. The soundtrack, titled “Stickerbrush Symphony,” is widely considered among the best pieces of music ever composed for a video game.

Read the comments on these YouTube videos and other similar ones. Multiple people are brought back to their childhoods, remembering when they received the game as a Christmas gift long ago, or when they played it with a friend or relative who has since passed away. There is no politics here, and there is very little cheap nostalgia or sentimentality either. There is art.

The music, in fact, is often the single element that elevates a game from mere entertainment to art. Video game music is an entire genre unto itself. Listen to the soundtrack for Thunder Force III, a graphically spectacular 1990 game for the Sega Genesis console. The music, using a primitive synthesizer chip, contains layers and layers of sound—a “wall of sound”—that evoke the feeling of outer-space action and adventure that are portrayed in the game.  

Or listen to the soundtrack for DonPachi, a Japanese arcade shoot-em-up game from 1994 with a military theme. You’d have to listen to Gustav Holst’s “Mars” to find more bracingly warlike music. Is the masterful evocation of an abstraction like “war” through music not art? It is a shame that these musical composers are not recognized in the world of music. They certainly belong there. And I haven’t even touched on the haunting, moody, orchestral role-playing games from the “retro” era.

Video games can be mindless, consumeristic time sinks. But they can also be a pleasant distraction from politics and public affairs, as well as a window into thoughtfully and artfully rendered alternate worlds. That can be taken to an extreme, and it all too often has been. But in a culture where absolutely everything is becoming tribal and political, it’s something we may need more than ever.

Addison Del Mastro is assistant editor for The American Conservative. He tweets at @ad_mastro.

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Pentagon taps Central Command deputy to lead Pacific Air Forces

U.S. Central Command’s deputy commander has been nominated to head the Hawaii-based Pacific Air Forces, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr., if confirmed, will be promoted to general and also become executive director of Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

He would replace Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who is awaiting final confirmation by the full Senate to take the helm of U.S. Northern Command.

Brown would command roughly 46,000 military and civilian personnel based primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Guam and South Korea. About 1,700 airmen are deployed at any given time in the region. About 320 fighter and attack aircraft are assigned to Pacific Air Forces, with another 100 aircraft rotating on deployments to Guam.

Brown was commissioned in 1984 and obtained a master’s in aeronautical science in 1994 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

He has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and two fighter wings, including the 8th Fighter Wing, dubbed the “Wolf Pack,” at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.

Prior to his current assignment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Brown headed U.S. Air Forces Central Command from June 2015 to July 2016. In that role, he led the aerial campaign against the Islamic State, which held territories in Iraq and Syria.

He has more than 2,900 flight hours, including 120 combat hours, in everything from F-16 fighters and B-1B bombers to C-130J cargo planes, the Air Force said.

Among his decorations are the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit with three bronze oak leaf clusters.

———

© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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12-Year-Old Boy Who Stabbed 9-Year-Old To Death Finally Receives His Sentencing

More than two years ago, a twelve year old Michigan boy stabbed a nine year old to death. Now, a jury has found him guilty of murder, making him the youngest convicted murderer in the history of the Great Lakes State. It all began with a murder suicide scheme hatched in the mind of a child. On August 4, 2014, then twelve year old Jamarion Lawhorn stepped onto a Kentwood, Michigan playground and stabbed nine year old Connor Verkerke to death.

Lawhorn’s plan was as convoluted as any adult who has ever sought “suicide by cop.” he imagined that once he took another boy’s life, he would be convicted and executed, thus ending a life fraught with emotional suffering.

At least, that is what his defense attorney alleges.

After deliberating for just four hours, the jury made up of seven men and five women returned a verdict of guilty.

During three days of trial, they heard testimony from Connor’s younger brother who witnessed the attack and helped carry him home. He recounted how Connor told him he loved him and that the attack was not his fault.

The jury also heard from Connor’s mother and father, who watched their son die on their front porch awaiting an ambulance.

Prosecutors also played the 911 recording in which the twelve year old assailant demanded that the police arrest him and give him the electric chair.

Jurors also heard the opinions of two certified forensic psychiatrists who differed as to whether or not he understood what he did was wrong and was in control of his actions.

Lawhorn’s defense attorney , Charles Boekeloo argued that the boy had been the subject of ongoing and regular abuse by his parents right up to the day of the attack. He said that Lawhorn had been failed by every adult in his life, including his parents, Child Protective Services, and his school. Boekeloo went on to point out that Jamarion Lawhorn was also under the influence of stolen medications at the time of the attack.

During the closing statements, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Bramble reminded the jury that in his statement to police, Lawhorn admitted to planning the attack for a year and that he even removed his shirt before stabbing Verkerke to avoid getting blood on it.

Bramble said “He set out to kill someone and he did it. Take the emotion out of it.”

As he closed his defense, Boekeloo argued that the standards being used by the prosecution could hold even a three year old responsible for a capital crime.

As tragic as this case is, it does demonstrate the difficulty our legal system has when dealing with young offenders. Until the mid 1990’s most states could only prosecute minors as juveniles, with different standards and punitive options than adults. During the Clinton Administration many states sought to “get tough” on crime and created new laws that allowed children as young as ten years old to be tried as adults.

How do you feel about treating children as adults in the criminal justice system? Did you follow the Lawhorn case? Please share your thoughts with us here.

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Walker Percy & In-Breakings Of Grace

We are a couple of weeks away from this year’s Walker Percy Weekend — please buy your tickets if you haven’t yet! — and we have a great line-up of speakers and topics. Alas, it is my sad duty to inform you that for the first time in five years, my dear friend Ralph Wood of Baylor won’t be joining us. He couldn’t fit it into his travel schedule. But he will be there in spirit, and in more than spirit: one of his prize students, Jessica Hooten Wilson, will be there to promote her wonderful new book about Percy’s novels, and to teach a class on her favorite Percy novel, The Last Gentleman.

No Ralph Wood in St. Francisville this year, but here’s good news: there’s a Ralph Wood essay about Percy and Love In The Ruins in the new issue of TAC — and it’s available online, right here. Excerpt:

Percy’s philosophically astute psychiatrist identifies this far deeper trouble in a single lapidary claim: “Descartes ripped body loose from mind and turned the very soul into a ghost that haunts its own house.” Dr. More traces our illness to René Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher whose notorious motto was “Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am.” Descartes’ animating idea marked a fundamental “turn to the subject,” a relocation of ultimate authority in subjective human consciousness rather than any transcendent reality.

It is safe to say that, prior to Descartes, human reason seated itself either in the natural order or else in divine revelation. In the medieval tradition, reason brought these two thought-originating sources into harmony. Thus were mind, soul, and body regarded as having an inseparable relation: they were wondrously intertwined. So also, in this bi-millennial way of construing the world, was the created order seen as having multiple causes—first and final, no less than efficient and material causes. This meant that creation was not a thing that stood over against us, but as the realm in which we participate—living and moving and having our being there, as both ancient Stoics and St. Paul insisted. The physical creation was understood as God’s great book of metaphors and analogies for grasping his will for the world.

After Descartes, by contrast, the sensible realm becomes a purposeless thing, a domain of physical causes awaiting our own mastery and manipulation. Nature no longer encompasses humanity as its crowning participant. The soul drops out altogether and is replaced by disembodied mind. Shorn of its spiritual qualities, the mind becomes a calculating faculty for bare, abstract thinking. To yank the mind free from the body is also to untether it from history, tradition, and locality. After Descartes, the mind allegedly stands outside these given things so as to operate equally well at anytime and anywhere. Insofar as belief in God is kept at all, it is an entailment of the human. Atheism was sure to follow. Marx made truth itself a human production, whether social or economic. Nietzsche went further, insisted that nothing whatever can stand over against the human will to power, not even socially constructed truth. Hence the cry of Zarathustra: “If there were gods, how could I endure not to be a god!”

More:

As Wordsworth said of Milton, so might we plead: “Percy, wert thou living at this hour!” Though it’s 28 years past his death and 47 since publication of Love in the Ruins, he might call Christians to a similar kind of hope. Though he would be witty rather than solemn, I believe he would summon his fellow believers, not to a culture war against the twin evils of the left and the right, but rather to a drastic renewal of our badly fractured churches. Father Rinaldo Smith’s tiny flock might find its successors in small gatherings of Christians from across the denominations in order that the Gospel might survive amidst the Dark Ages that have already begun. Aboard the church’s rickety ark riding out the storm, these remnant Christians would create communities of refuge for those who desire “a better country” (Heb. 11:14) than our bestial and angelic Cities of the Plain.

For nearly a half century, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been making a similar summons. He has confessed that we Christians are likely to remain a permanent minority from here on in—barring, of course, a miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a phoenix-like rebirth from our moral and spiritual ashes. We Christians will never be in charge of things again, the future pope acknowledged. We seem to be back where we began—as a minority faith in an overwhelmingly pagan world. Hence these startling words from a 1969 radio address entitled “What Will the Church Be Like in 2000?”:

She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, she will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members…. The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. But when the trial [of] this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church.

Yet it’s not as if two millennia of Christian existence have made no difference. In a 1997 interview with Peter Seewald, a German atheist reporter, Cardinal Ratzinger declared that we have been given two unparalleled gifts wherewith to build such enclaves of radical Christian excellence: (1) the inexhaustible fund of Christian thought and art, and (2) the unsurpassable witness of our saints and martyrs. On a sure prophetic and sacramental foundation, such mustard seed churches will “live in an intensive struggle against evil.” They will seek to keep “what is essential to man from being destroyed.” They will bring “good into the world,” prophesied the future pope, and thus “let God in.”

This, of course, is what The Benedict Option is based on. I’m not going to spoil the rest of the long essay by telling you what Ralph has to say about all this — and what Percy does — but I hope you will check it out.

These passages from Ralph’s essay really hit home with me this week. I am re-writing the proposal for my next book. In fact, just thinking about Ralph, and Walker Percy, prompted me to pour myself a finger or two of this incredible Reservoir bourbon my Virginia friends gave me recently (see photo). It’s the best sipping whiskey I’ve tasted in ages.

I submitted a proposal for the next book, and had it returned by my editor with the comment that it reads, as is, like the takeaway is, “We should all spend more time thinking about Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.” I missed the mark, then. I wouldn’t read a book as dull and worthy-sounding as that one. I’ve got to find the edge.

A friend suggested that I ought to consider the paradox I inhabit: I spend my days howling like Jeremiah on this blog about how the sky is falling, but in person, I am cheerful and amiable. How do I keep up hope despite it all? Part of it is my disposition, I think; nobody who likes to eat and to drink and to tell funny stories as much as I do can ever be permanently gloomy. But there is philosophical and theological seriousness there too. It has to do with the culture of the Christian church, and with the kind of people (at their best) that Christianity produces.

It has something to do as well with the profound sense of meaning, meaning embedded in the material world, that comes from my Christian faith. That is to say, from a sacramental view of life. And it has to do with the fact that like Percy, I’m a natural ironist who is inclined to see the absurdity in life, and to cherish it.

How to talk about this in a way that doesn’t sound insufferably abstract or worthwhile-Canadian-initiative-ish?

And there’s this, which another friend pointed out to me. My wife once said that I’m a “weirdo magnet,” meaning that I have this uncanny ability to draw unusual people and unusual events to me. She’s right about that. I bat far above average in having encounters with the numinous, and with people who also have had them. I think that being open to them certainly helps — that, and the fact that I don’t mind talking about these mysteries openly. You’d be surprised by what people will tell you has happened to them once they know that you won’t automatically call them crazy for saying so. My friend, a solid, Ivy-educated professional who has had run-ins with the numinous himself, says that I should write about people like me: those “who had their faith in secularism destroyed by the collapse of the immanent frame and a kind of supernatural invasion.”

I think he’s onto something there too. But how to tie it all together? How to tie it all together into a book that actual people will read, and argue about?

Maybe I’ll get an idea or two at Walker Percy Weekend. Say, if you’re coming, I hope you’ll show up at the off-the-menu conversation I’ll be hosting on the back porch at the Magnolia Cafe with Fare Forward‘s Charlie Clark, about his essay “The Walker Percy Option.” TAC is sponsoring the event, and will provide frosty longnecks for ticket holders, though you don’t have to be a ticket-holder to come to the talk (only to get free beer). “If the Benedict Option imagines a faithful remnant waiting out the flood, the Walker Percy Option imagines an unfaithful one, nonetheless borne up by grace,” writes Charlie. More:

Like all Christians, Percy believed that man’s immortal soul had been jeopardized by his fall from grace, that his original connection to the divine had been severed by sin. But he saw the problem of modernity through a narrower lens. Influenced by existentialism, he saw that man had fallen not only from grace, but (more recently) from himself as well. Moderns were uncomfortable in their own skin, alienated from their daily lives, restless, angry—and this in spite of unprecedented wealth and leisure. Like the secular existentialists of his age, Percy became convinced that something about modernity hampered human flourishing. It blocked not just the special grace by which the monks attended to the counsels of perfection, it interfered with the common, everyday grace that makes an ordinary life feel worth living.

Percy’s anti-modernism is not reactionary. He does not propose to re-erect a premodern social imaginary “amid the high tide of liquid modernity,” as Dreher says. When his characters imagine a coming calamity that will usher in a new order, it is a sign of madness, not wisdom. Rather, Percy’s vision is forward-looking, synthetic—even syncretistic. It tolerates a high degree of imperfection, the rough edges that are the mark of all real and natural things. He envisioned a new humanism, one that combined an affirmation of animal life with an openness to higher perfections, and which could rescue believer and unbeliever alike from the common disaster of estrangement from their selves. This vision, Percy’s Bad Catholic Existentialism, may not promise eternal salvation, but it does create occasions for further in-breakings of grace. The cure for our modern ills can be found through cathedral doors—and not just behind monastery walls.

Creating occasions for further in-breakings of grace. Hmmm … I like the way this is going.

I hope we see you at the Mag on Friday afternoon, June 1, to talk about all this — and that we see you for the rest of the weekend as well. Again, buy tickets here.

The Magnolia Cafe, St. Francisville, La.

 

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AFP Urges Congress to Reform America’s Farm Policy through Amendments to 2018 Farm Bill

Arlington, VA – Americans for Prosperity today released a letter calling on House lawmakers to rein in excessive spending and corporate welfare in H.R. 2, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill, by amending farm and nutrition titles that perpetuate the harmful status quo of government overreach and irresponsible spending. In the letter to House members, AFP outlines 13 amendments to H.R. 2 that would help modernize the agricultural safety net, minimize taxpayer risk and reduce wasteful spending.

Read the full letter here

Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner issued the following statement:

“The Farm Bill, as it currently stands, lacks meaningful reforms to protect taxpayers and limit government overreach. Congress has a real opportunity to rein in excessive spending, modernize safety net programs, and eliminate corporate welfare titles within the Farm Bill that put big agribusiness ahead of ordinary Americans.  The amendments listed in our letter would go a long way to limiting those giveaways and protecting taxpayers from an overgrown bill and a rotten process.”

Last week,  Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Congress detailing  the organizations’ opposition to H.R. 2, which was passed out of committee and is awaiting a vote from the full chamber.

Overall, this farm bill would continue a troubling pattern of irresponsible spending under this Congress that began earlier this year with the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.

Americans for Prosperity is prepared to work with lawmakers who ensure that reforms are included in both portions of the bill that will limit corporate welfare, preserve resources for those whom the need is greatest and protect American taxpayers.

For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to [email protected].

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

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Wisconsin Felon Admits To Enlisting Girlfriend To Make Straw Buys

While anti-gunners are convinced we have way too many guns on our streets, the truth of the matter is that the system for keeping new guns out of the hands of bad guys works about as well as it possibly can. We know it does because so few guns are actually obtained new from gun stores.

However, a handful are. Occasionally, you can chalk it up to a crooked dealer, but not always. In fact, that’s actually fairly rare.

Instead, the crooks simply go around the system, usually with a straw buyer, like this Wisconsin felon did.

A felon from Wisconsin has admitted in court that he told his girlfriend to buy five guns that were turned over to an ex-convict in Minneapolis.

Michael P. Coupe, 27, of Hayward, pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in St. Paul to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Coupe is in federal custody in the Anoka County jail awaiting sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Coupe directed co-defendant Jamie Fleming, 31, of Hayward, to buy four pistols and a rifle last year and falsely state on the federal forms that she was buying them for herself.

That’s how it’s done, time and time again.

Meanwhile, the only people really slowed down by increasing regulations are the law-abiding citizen who wants to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights.

Anti-gunners want to know why so many of us get bent out of shape when they propose new regulations? This is why. We know that it won’t actually stop the criminals. They’ll simply get someone else to jump through the hoops or they’ll buy a stolen weapon off the streets. They’re not going to be stopped or even slowed down in their quest to obtain a firearm.

But we are. We’re slowed down. We’re burdened with the baggage and treated like criminals because we want guns. Frankly, I think many would be OK with it if they thought it would keep guns out of the wrong hands. Unfortunately for everyone, it won’t. It’ll just be another burden that will dissuade potential gun owners.

And yes, there are law-abiding citizens who are intimidated by the paperwork and that’s why they don’t have a gun even though they might feel the need for one. I’ve known a few.

But the criminals? Well, they’ll just keep on doing what they’re doing, which is finding a way to get those guns regardless of what the law says.

The anti-gunners will continue to be oblivious to the reality of the world and keep pushing for more regulations, then get all offended when we don’t bow to their demands. They’ll pretend we want to arm criminals, all while ignoring everything we say and every article we show illustrating how these new rules won’t impact the criminals one bit.

Life will continue on.

Unfortunately for the anti-gunners, though, most people aren’t that zealous in their hatred of private firearm ownership. They can look at the reality and think, “Hmmm…maybe the problem isn’t too few gun laws after all.”

At least, let’s hope so.

The post Wisconsin Felon Admits To Enlisting Girlfriend To Make Straw Buys appeared first on Bearing Arms.

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NY Governor moves to protect unions from SCOTUS decision

We’re still awaiting the outcome of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees at the Supreme Court, but many observers seem to feel that the court is set to hand down a serious blow to labor unions. If they’re right, the days of unions (with the full endorsement of the government) being able to forcibly extract money from the pockets of non-members and use for political speech with which they disagree may be over. Apparently seeing the writing on the wall, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing through legislation which would further empower public sector unions to strongarm workers, preventing them from being exempt from such payments and likely endangering their jobs. (Free Beacon)

New York Democrats passed a bill to shore up public-sector dues collections, limit employees’ ability to cut off the unions representing their workplaces, and “deter the federal government’s attempts to dismantle unions.”

“Too often, and at the hands of this federal administration, we are seeing the labor movement going backwards … our efforts to protect working men and women are moving labor forward, making the workplace fairer and more just than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not let this federal administration silence New York’s working class, we will support every voice in every community and in every industry, and we will do everything in our power to protect the right to achieve the American Dream.”

This legislation doesn’t exactly go overboard in terms of what is specifically being mandated, but it’s clearly designed to make life easier for the unions and harder for workers who don’t wish to join or pay dues. For example, it takes the names of public sector workers and automatically reenrolls them in the union every year whether they signed up or not. Presumably, at least in some cases, the worker can drop out again but it’s a nuisance at best and a way to restart dues collection. The law would also further loosen restrictions on union officials approaching workers at the workplace to attempt some strongarm tactics to influence them.

But as other New Yorkers are already observing, there’s probably both more and less to this story than meets the eye. There’s less in terms of substance, but more by way of the political backstory. Cuomo is in a primary battle with actress Cynthia Nixon and he seems to be taking it far more seriously than the polls would dictate. Still, every time Nixon stakes out a position from the progressive front, Cuomo seems to try to break out a bigger hammer and move to her left.

We saw that when she spoke out in favor of illegal aliens and Cuomo threatened to sue ICE for doing their job. The unions have traditionally supported Cuomo with a lot of cash, but they were also tied in heavily with the New York chapter of the Working Families Party. This year the WFP endorsed Nixon and Cuomo reported flew off the handle. Now he’s probably tossing a bone to the unions to make sure those relationships are mended.

But even if you ignore all of the inside baseball, political wrangling, what Cuomo is attempting to do here is both offensive to workers and free speech advocates while being relatively pointless in the long run. If SCOTUS rules against the unions in Janus they should be able to press to get out of paying this extortion money to the unions. All he can really do is slow down the rate of change with stubborn legal challenges.

The post NY Governor moves to protect unions from SCOTUS decision appeared first on Hot Air.

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