Today on DaTechGuy on DaRadio we have two very different discussions to chew on.

In our first hour we talk to Dr. Paul Byrne a giant in the care of premature children.  He will be giving his thought on end of life issues including “Brain Death” vs true death and discover that a lot of what you believe isn’t what you think it is.

In the second hour we turn to the Hostess Strike.  I’ve hit the bakers union a bit on the blog and the show and though it would be good to get a 2nd perspective so Mike Hummell of the Bakers Union will be joining us.  Was the Bakers union unreasonable?  Were they “Going Galt?” both or neither, we’ll find out in the 2nd hour.

It all starts at 10 AM on WCRN AM 830 and we’d love to have you join the conversation 508-438-0965 or 888-9-FEDORA.

And if you are somehow out of our 50,000 watt signal’s range you can join us online in several ways:

You can listen live using the three different links for the WCRN live stream

If you are using Windows media player click here
If you are using Winamp clip here
If you are using real player click here

If you are using something else, then go to Tune-inhere

So no matter how you slice it DaTechGuy on DaRadio is only a click away.

and don’t forget if you missed last week’s show with Right Wing Granny you can listen to it here.

If your offer’s good it will stand up under fire

Jean Lafette The Buccaneer 1958

A Democratic thief is as bad as a Republican thief

Grover Cleveland

It’s very unusual that I linked from the Daily Kos and it’s 1000’s times odder to get a positive shoutout from them but that took place earlier today:

I was fascinated by his unique view so I responded and have been shown nothing but respect from the man. I sent him a letter and he published it as a comment and as a guest post. I will be on his radio show, airing from Worcester, MA on Saturday at 11am Eastern time to discuss the Hostess strike.

The Author Mike Hummell is a member of the Bakers Union, the post he is talking about is here which said in part:

I spoke to a driver from a rival company that has all the work he can get with Hostess gone, and he said if it was him, he wouldn’t have taken the deal, not with big bonuses going to execs. He said with the cuts they would basically be working for nothing.

I disagreed with the premise under the 92% of something is worth more than 100% of nothing but it occurred to me: Could these bakers have decided they were “Going Galt”?

After all is one perceives they are not getting the reward for had and increased labor it makes no difference if it is government or management that is taking the surplus, the net effect is the same.

Of course in theory if it is management one can find another employer but to the baker with a more specialized profession they might not see it that way.

So in that sense the bakers are no different that any other professional who has decided they just aren’t working anymore for less.

I thought it was an interesting argument so we exchanged e-mails and I arranged for him to be on my show DaTechGuy on DaRadio tomorrow in the 2nd hour (WCRN AM 830 10 – noon) to talk about the strike from the Bakers Union’s point of view.

Today we tweeted back and forth to confirm the show and the details and he began tweeting about his upcoming appearance:


To answer his question, yes 888-9-fedora toll-free from anywhere to call in.

You might wonder why I have a screen shot of his tweets rather than the tweets themselves. Well there is an explanation and it’s not pretty:

I have just been suspended from Twitter for the 7th time in less than 60 days. I have the emails to prove it. There is an amazing correlation between my postings on the Hostess Bankery and the timing of these suspensions. Earlier today I published about Hostess again. Within an hour of tweeting the news my account was suspended.

I have never posted a comment I wouldn’t show my kids. If my account was up I could prove that too. This is not about me being some kind of troll. I do not use any features more than an average twitter user. I will eventually receive an auto generated response that says I should stop auto replying to people. The irony is an especially aggravating part of this.

I’m not an expert on Mike’s tweets but other than some I disagree with (OK most) I’ve seen nothing that look like grounds for suspension and if he tells he there are no ground for this I take him at his word:

I am not accusing twitter of doing anything vindictive to me. I am saying that they have a suspension policy that can be exploited to shut people up and it MUST be fixed. Someone is benefiting from this and it ain’t me.

I’ve had several friends end up in the so-called Twitter Gulag including people I know personally like Chris Loesch.  On Twitchy they are talking about tactics to fight the use of the Twitter Gulag:

The buzz continues to build for the Twitter Gulag Defense Network, a grassroots project launched last weekend by Twitter user Todd Kincannon. Using the hashtag #TGDN, the project connects conservative activists and helps Twitter users combat the abusive flag-spam tactics used by some leftists to silence conservative voices.

#TGDN has been trending off and on since Saturday, Jan. 5, and more than 4,000 happy warriors have joined the network. This morning, Kincannon reached out to #TGDN members with his suggestions for staying out of the dreaded Twitter Gulag. His ideas include methods to thwart flag-spam trolls and tips to avoid triggering Twitter’s automatic suspension algorithms.

I’ve dealt with more than my share of folks on twitter who would rather throw an insult than make an argument and I don’t hold them in high regard. If your point of view is valid it should be worth defending and able to accept a challenge. As for trying to silence people on twitter let me say underhanded tactics used to silence conservative speech I agree with are just as despicable if they are used to silence liberal speech I disagree with.

If anyone on the right is responsible for this, let me say I’m ashamed of you, you should know better. If you are someone on the left outraged by this I would ask you to show that same outrage the next time someone tries to silence Ann Coulter or my friend Pam Geller.

Either way Mike Hummell is going to be on this Sicilian’s radio show tomorrow, he’s going to make his points concerning the Hostess Strike, I and my co-host will make mine, our callers will make theirs and I’ll trust my listeners to make up their minds. Twitter Gulag or no Twitter Gulag I’ve agreed to have him on and that’s the way it’s going to be.  Period!

Last week was the first time in 111 shows that I had a guest host instead of appearing on my show.

The Right Wing Granny did a great job and brought in a plethora of additional guests for a lively show.

I of course missed it because of the funeral but if you like me couldn’t hear it live you can now catch it here.

And make sure you tune in this week When my first Hour Guest will be Dr. Paul Byrne, past president of the Catholic Medical Association on end of life issues the first hour and Mike Hummell talking the Hostess strike from Bakers Union side, were they going Galt?

It all starts at 10 AM EST this Saturday on DaTechGuy on DaRadio

Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don’t waste my time, Show me!
Don’t talk of June, Don’t talk of fall!
Don’t talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn’t one I haven’t heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I’ll scream!

My Fair Lady 1964 Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Yesterday I wrote about the Bakers union and the idea they might be going Galt. I’ve been thinking about this and I have one question for the union and those who think they have given back too much.

I totally understand the idea of: “Why should I take that pay cut? It’s not fair.” I remember the first job I interviewed after the company I worked for folded had a 25% pay cut. By the time I switched over to what I do now the best I saw out there was a 40% pay cut from the last time I had any sense of job security, coincidentally the last full month before the election of Barack Obama.

It seems to me that if the Bakers and the Teamsters believe they are worth more than Hostess was paying them and such a business can be sustained at the wages they were making as long as the execs aren’t making 6 or 7 figure payouts there is a simple way of proving it.

I would imagine a large scale baker has an intimate knowledge of the making of pastries. And a union is simply a big company with the workers as the product. There are plenty of execs in the Union who are experienced in the management skills necessary to run a company. So here is how they can demonstrate it to the world:

1. Become a bidder for the Hostess/Drakes brands:

Presumably the Teamsters and their associated unions that had millions of dollars to spend on political campaigns should be able to make a credible bid for a bankrupt company. If the company is purchased then they can run the company the way they wish, pay the wages they want and charge the prices to support it. They can show Hostess how it’s done with the Hostess & Drakes brands to do it with.

2. Create their own confectionery/bakery company.

I assume Union bakers who have been baking tasty cakes and good bread can come up with their own version of tasty cakes and good bread that people will want to eat.  They are bakers after all this is what they do.   All they have to do is buy the equipment (now being sold at a discount) grab the staff that is now looking for work and sign up the customers now short of bread and cakes and violá.  

Both of these plans give, as Marx would put it, control of the means of production. If they are right, if management has been taking them for a ride all this time then by becoming management they can demonstrate to the entire world how to do it right.

Of course, it’s my experience that the easiest business to run is a business owned by someone else. If the union thinks they can run a snack cake business better they the management they rejected this is the perfect time to do it. If they do, not only will I and a good chunk of America have the pleasure of enjoying tasty cakes and bread (I LIKE tasty cakes and bread) they will find themselves employed and successful which will be much more satisfying and important than any mea culpas they will earn from us folks on the right.

Of course if they can’t, or don’t choose to and somebody else buys the brand names, and equipment and hires non-union workers and pay what they want to pay to make the company show a profit without them, it will simply prove our point.

I suspect this is the only time in creation that the Bakers Union has been compared to Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Their actions will determine if their words about loving those Union Jobs are as empty as his were about Eliza.

Russ DeKuyper: You know how much I got to make to keep $300 cash in our tax bracket? I got to make $800– maybe a thousand dollars that’s why I want that check. Now, you give me that thousand dollars!

All in the Family Edith gets a Mink 1972

O’Reilly: your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage.

The Magnificent Seven 1960

We’re not going to take it Anymore

Twisted Sister 1984

I’ve been pretty hard on the Bakers Union concerning the Hostess strike but I’ve noticed one consistency in people who have worked either as drivers for Hostess or other places.

All seem to agree that the Bakers had a point, I spoke to a driver from a rival company that has all the work he can get with Hostess gone, and he said if it was him, he wouldn’t have taken the deal, not with big bonuses going to execs. He said with the cuts they would basically be working for nothing.

I disagreed with the premise under the 92% of something is worth more than 100% of nothing but it occurred to me: Could these bakers have decided they were “Going Galt”?

After all is one perceives they are not getting the reward for had and increased labor it makes no difference if it is government or management that is taking the surplus, the net effect is the same.

Of course in theory if it is management one can find another employer but to the baker with a more specialized profession they might not see it that way.

So in that sense the bakers are no different that any other professional who has decided they just aren’t working anymore for less.

That is as it may be, but if it is true I believe there are three factors that I believe they are forgetting.

1. There are 18,000 people not in the union that might have disagreed that are now unemployed a month before Christmas. In fairness to the union they are not their responsibility, in the words of a man named Vanderbilt: “The public be damned I work for my shareholders.”

2. If the bakers made the deal there is nothing to stop any of them from looking/applying for a different job while still working. Anyone can tell you it’s a lot easier to find a job if you have one then if you don’t.

3. I suspect that unlike the higher end folks choosing “Going Galt” over government the bakers are unlikely to find quicker employment or have the kind of money to be able to “Go Galt” comfortably.

One might argue that the principle is not the same, I would argue if you still have a mortgage to pay and a family to support the fact the principle is the same is irrelevant to the bottom line of paying your bills.

You could say: “That’s not fair.” This is true but irrelevant, life isn’t fair and if people choose not to take the necessary steps to pay their mortgages or rent the judge in the eviction/foreclosure court is not going to find: “life’s not fair” a winning argument.

Now maybe these guys will manage to find other work, maybe they will go into business for themselves, maybe when Hostess is sold off, some will be rehired (likely with less pay and extras.) but I’m betting a lot of them are going to be a lot worse off and their wives and families will pay for it…

…along with 18,000+ others.

AP reports the following:

The bankruptcy judge hearing the case says that the parties haven’t gone through the critical step of mediation and asked the lawyer for the bakery’s union to ask his client, who wasn’t present, if he would agree to participate

And there are interested parties

Bimbo has already sniffed around the bankruptcy proceedings that have haunted Hostess for a decade, in a bid to further expand its North American portfolio and pad its $4 billion net worth. Bimbo reportedly put in a low-ball bid of $580 million a few years ago, Forbes reports, and may be rewarded for that move since the Hostess kit-and-kaboodle may fetch more like $135 million today.

But the big question is whether the same problems that haunted Hostess – high sugar prices tied to US trade tariffs, changing consumer tastes, and union pushback against labor concessions – will squeeze whatever profit is left in the brands.

Especially if a Mexican buyer is involved, production may go the way of the Brach’s and Fannie May candy concerns: south of the border. With US sugar tariffs set artificially high to protect Florida sugar-growing concerns, a non-unionized shop with access to lower-priced sugar in Mexico could be the Twinkie lifeline, economists suggest.

but it’s not just a question of losing the tariffs it’s losing the unions:

First, this development has no small amount of irony.  The labor movement has attacked Republicans for many long years for off-shoring jobs in the name of free trade. Thanks to the bakers’ union, we may end up with almost 19,000 jobs heading south of the border, in the factories of Grupo Bimbo.  The protectionist sugar tariffs that both parties have extended and championed may end up having their own ironic role in these job losses, too.

Will Twinkies survive?  If we are to believe the unions then no, because it’s all about demonstrating power at least that’s what they said.

Anyway I’ve broken open a box of devil dogs but we’ll ration the Funny bones etc for now until we know for sure.

If it works out there are going to be a lot of people who spent a fortune of Twinkies to put on eBay or people who have boxes on eBay who are going to feel like fools.

Update: No answer at the local Hostess thrift shop, might be too late for them.

Update 2: Both side now have agreed to mediation, no word if that means the thrift store re-opens but got some bargains Saturday.

Hostess, its lenders and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), agreed to go into mediation at the urging of Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the Southern District of New York, who urged mediation rather than a more expensive, public hearing regarding the company’s liquidation.

“My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter,” Drain said.

Does the thrift shop return?

Update 3: The key words from the Hostess web site


Yesterday I headed off for Twinkie Quest to see if I could find the Twinkies

Yesterday I went to the Hostess Thrift shop in search of Twinkies unfortunately the shelves were already bare by the time I arrived:

And the bread shelves are were bare too:

Next stop was Shaw’s in Leominster

There was a a box of Chocolate Twinkies but those are not the traditional ones we are looking for, additionally it was ironic that there were not only Drakes Cakes but some were on sale, after all Drakes are made by Hostess and they will suffer the same fate as the Twinkie.

The next stop was Market Basket in Fitchburg:

While I was there people came looking for Twinkies and went away disappointed. However there was one place where Twinkies were to be found.

There was a variety store near my house and while there was not a Box of Twinkies available, single packages were there for the taking. So when I got home there sweets were ready for the table:

The next morning when the word got out to those not on the net the lines at the Thrift store were incredible:

And the parking lot remained full.

But in the end the quest for the Twinkie was to be unfulfilled. How unfulfilled? When I got to the studio and set up a display of the soon to be gone items including a single Twinkie from a box my wife scrounged.

People were actually looking into the window and staring.

The Bakers union can be proud, they gave the American people a lesson that 4 years under Obama failed to do. They taught the public about supply and demand.