Foley Room

by Henry Farrell on March 7, 2007

Julian Sanchez “is right”: That is all.

International women’s day in Iran

by Ingrid Robeyns on March 7, 2007

Tomorrow is international women’s day, and in the past days the Iranian regime has, once again, shown its oppressive face towards grassroots women’s organisations who were peacefully demonstrating for their rights. On Sunday at least 31 women were “illegally”: arrested during a peaceful gathering in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. They were demonstrating in solidarity with women’s rights activists who had organised a peaceful demonstration on June 12, 2006, which was “brutally ended by the police”:, and who had to appear before court last Sunday. They were also protesting the increasing oppression and criminalisation of the non-violent Iranian women’s movement, who has launched the “one million signatures campaign”: to educate citizens about gender-discriminatory laws, and who are collecting signatures to demand an end to such discriminatory legislation. “The correspondent for a Dutch newspaper”: was also arrested, but quickly released. Yesterday some women were “released”:, but there are also “reports”: that others were beaten and are in a bad condition. The 24 remaining women have started “a hunger strike”: to protest their illegal confinement.
[click to continue…]

Independence of irrelevant alternatives

by Chris Bertram on March 7, 2007

So I’m contemplating buying a digital SLR, and, after much huffing, puffing and reading of reviews I’m hesitating between a Nikon D40 and Canon EOS 400D (or Digital Rebel XTi as they call it in the US). The Nikon has a six megapixel sensor and the Canon has ten, and the Canon has some patented dust-removal system. But the Canon costs £100 more. I figure the extra isn’t worth it, and, ten days ago, I buy the Nikon. A couple of days ago Nikon announce a new camera, the D40x. Same as the D40 (more or less) but with a 10MP sensor and an expected price-tag that matches or exceeds the Canon. The comment boards go nuts with discontented D40 buyers, and I think — for a moment — “I should have bought the Canon.” Reminds me of the Sidney Morgenbesser joke:

bq. After finishing dinner, Sidney Morgenbesser decides to order dessert. The waitress tells him he has two choices: apple pie and blueberry pie. Sidney orders the apple pie. After a few minutes the waitress returns and says that they also have cherry pie at which point Morgenbesser says “In that case I’ll have the blueberry pie.”

Papers for sale

by Ingrid Robeyns on March 7, 2007

Ever heard of “AllAcademic Inc.”: This company describes itself as “an application service provider specializing in online solutions for abstract submissions, session submissions and conference management for annual meetings, conventions, and other types of events”. They are selling a range of papers that have been presented at previous APSA conferences (and annual meetings by many other academic associations). For example, there are papers for sale written by Jonathan Quong on “luck multiculturalism”:, David Wasserman on “disabilities and the capability approach”:, Simon Caney on “the global basic structure”:, Richard Arneson on “sufficientarian conceptions of justice”:, John Christman on “cultural recognition”:, and two papers by Henry, “one”: on E-commerce, and “one”: on regulatory trajectories in the information age. There are also two by myself, “one”: on the gendered division of labour, and “one”: on Rawls and Sen. Most papers were presented a couple of years ago. They are for sale for USD 7 per piece. So, should we be happy with this commercial service?
[click to continue…]


by Henry Farrell on March 7, 2007

I’ve a new “bloggingheads”: with Will Wilkinson up. The first topic (and unsurprisingly the one we disagree about most vigorously) is unions and card check (Will is skeptical that employers either have asymmetrical bargaining power vis-a-vis workers, or are likely to abuse their position). I’d wanted to refer in our debate to a story that provides strongly suggestive evidence regarding the real reason why employers and their political allies are opposed to card check but couldn’t find it on the interwebs in time; Kris Raab (who, unlike me, has access to the _Daily Labor Report_ ) was able to find it for me later.

A legislative proposal that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers through a union authorization card process would allow them to bypass a formal election process and could prevent employers from making a case for why workers should not join a union, former Labor Department [deputy secretary] Steven Law told a wholesalers and distributors industry group Feb. 1. … Speaking at an executive summit of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) in Washington, Law advised the group’s members to focus their lobbying efforts against the labor-friendly Republicans who co-sponsored previous versions of the legislation. … Law told the NAW meeting that unions view the card-check process as key to building their membership. He said the bill would make it more economical for unions to organize smaller companies. “This is a holy grail solution to build themselves up and become a fighting force once more.” … At least one person in the audience did not seem have a problem with the legislation and complained during a question-and-answer period that Law’s comments portrayed union organizing as “heinous.” Law replied, “If you think that unionizing is a great thing, then this (legislation) is a great thing.” He later told BNA that his comments were not meant to portray unions as good or bad, but to emphasize that the card-check legislation could bypass the secret ballot process [HF-you can almost hear the reporter’s incredulity leaking through]. Also during the question-and-answer period, another audience member spoke out against EFCA, voicing disapproval of the legislation, and saying the bill is “very, very dangerous.” According to that audience member, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sought to organize 30 of his company’s drivers in 2003, but obtained only 11 signed union authorization cards. Unless an employer learns of the organizing drive, “You have no chance to retaliate–I shouldn’t say retaliate,” he said to peals of nervous laughter from the audience. Rather, he corrected himself, “You have no chance to say [as an employer] what’s going on.”

Opposition to card check is all about stopping unionization, and providing opportunities for employers to retaliate against pro-union employees. Not that this is exactly news to anyone who follows this stuff (the National Association of Manufacturers have never been the most credible-sounding converts to the cause of democracy in the workplace), but it’s unusual to see it stated as bluntly as it’s stated here.