August 3, 2006

Ozaukee, the new noun.

I'm coining it to signify perverse but exactly proportionate retribution. Here's the original example. Now, you propose some other ozaukee.


Icepick said...

From the article: [The Ozaukee (oh-ZAH'-kee) County B]oard cut funding by eight-thosuand-427 dollars, which is the amount Barrett will be paid this fall at U-W Madison.


The Ozaukee County Board is hoping all 71 other counties follow suit and cut funding to the extension to protest Barrett's hiring. [re-ordered by me]

But this wouldn't be exactly proportionate if all 71 counties followed suit, it would be 71 times too much. Shouldn't they be cutting funding by the fraction that they would be responsible for? And should that responsibility be determined on the number of counties only (meaning every county has a 1/71th share), or by population size? Perhaps a bi-cameral solution is in order. Besides, what if enough people sign-up for the course that it pays for itself?

Gerry said...

Hm. How about "If Denny Hastert continues to fight for the privilege of having Congressional offices outside the reach of court-authorized searches, I will reduce my support of GOP candidates by exactly one vote per contest."

Is that the right sort of idea?

Too Many Jims said...

Perverse indeed. They are protesting a decision they do not have (sufficient) control over by visiting something negative on their own constituents. Is the UW Madison or the UW system going to be punished because of the county's action? Not likely, more likely fees will be increased in the county for extentsion services or services will be decreased in the county (I readily acknowledge that I have little comprehension about how the UW Extension program operates).

So here are two proposals for "ozaukee":

1) UW Madison is appalled by the Ward Churchill fiasco at University of Colorado so UW Madison decides to cut funding for one professor in its department of "ethnic studies".

2) The Wisconsin legislature is appalled about the Massachusetts supreme court ruling regarding gay marriage in Massachusetts, so the legislature cuts funding of the Wisconsin supreme court by the percentage 1/nth (where N equals the number of cases the Massachusetts supreme court held during that term).

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Don't you think anything that's symbolism over substance would count as an ozaukee?

KCFleming said...

Cool word.

Death by $8,427 cuts.

Yendi said...

Gerry, the problem with your suggestion is that it makes sense and punishes those who actually do something stupid, instead of innocents who are probably just as frustrated as anyone else. Oh, and it's not disproportionate. It'd never fly as an Ozaukee

Gerry said...


Methinks that you have the idea behind Ozaukee exactly backwards.


Unknown said...

A war ozaukee:

In a post-meaning world, the stronger of the opponents must use a suitable, proportional handicap, as determined by the UN. For instance, for every Hezbollah/Lebanese person Israel kills, they perhaps would be required to then shoot one of their own.

cboygan said...

The relationship between that branch of the University of Wisconsin that hired Barrett and the extension system is roughly that of siblings sharing the same last name but raised by different foster parents. Ozaukee County is like the foster parent of the good sibling who provides 4-H and homemaking and ag services to the citizens of Ozaukee County. The Board of Regents/Legislature is like the foster parent of the bad sibling who made the wrong hiring decision with Barrett. Ozaukee County becomes a bad foster parent when it punishes its ward for the misdeeds of the sibling. Not an exact analogy, but pretty close.

KCFleming said...

Ozaukee: Isn't that what Solomon advised when he suggested the two women fighting over the baby simply slice it in two, and keep half?

Barry said...

I don't have an ozaukee example, but I AM an Ozaukee resident... and now I get to research how my rep on the board voted and see if I have to make an angry phone call.

Tibore said...

U: Ozaukee?

Me: Gesundheit.

That's the way that conversation would go in my presence. :)

Frank from Delavan said...

The article said in part,
"The board cut funding by eight-thosuand-427 dollars"

I'd suggest spending that money on remedial spelling classes for the writers for WBAY-TV.

In another post, Ann wonders why she isn't watching TV more. Is this why?

Of course, being a Bear fan, I could take a cheap shot about what it takes to write about the Packers, but I'll take a pass.

JohnF said...

Ah, a slow day in Althouseville!

Don't we already have a phrase for ozaukee in "cutting off your nose to spite your face"?

Daryl Herbert said...

I'm coining it to signify perverse but exactly proportionate retribution.

1 - it must be an act of retribution. That means it must occur after some other act and be in response to that other act.

2 - it must be directly proportional to that other act.

3 - it must be, nonetheless, "perverse." In Ann's example, I suppose it is perverse because it harms the locals more than the central university. So it can be perverse because it doesn't hit the intended target.

I wonder if there are other ways to achieve a "perverse" result that is nonetheless targeted at a single act and directly proportional. I think patca's example shows another way to achieve this: murdering civilians is perverse, even if it is targeted at civilians of the government responsible for the offending acts.

But proportional to what? Not to the damage done by Barrett (how would one measure that?) or to the benefits derived to the University from hiring Barrett (again, how would one measure that?). No, it is in proportion to the amount the University paid to bring Barrett on.

Presumably, if the University felt it was worth it to pay $8k to have Barrett, they might believe it is worth paying $16k to keep him. So while this act might dissuade the University, even if they bore the full costs of the retribution (which they obviously will not--the locals will), it could only serve to discourage them, it would not negate what they've done.

Proportionality matters not a whit when you're missing more important elements of retribution (such as, actually hitting your target!). Proportionality is merely a fig leaf to cover up the inadequacies of the retributive act. I would look for that to find other examples of Ozaukees... first find a perverse response, then look for some attempt to claim proportionality.

In re: gerry's example, it may be "perverse" to punish local Republicans because of some faraway Republican pol (certainly, your local Republican activists will tell you that!), but there is no attempt at proportionality in denying a single vote.

If you were to actually mount a campaign to unseat your local Republican House member in order to avenge Hastert's keeping his seat, that would basically be proportional (except of course that Hastert occupies a leadership position).

In re: Jim's examples: 1 - yes, I think this would be an Ozaukee. It would require you to treat ethnic studies profs as part of one big, nebulous, allied group with the same agenda, but... being a right-winger, I'm on board with that.

2 - This would work, except that the strike hits its intended target.

in re: Ruth Anne Adams: does their response put symbolism over substance? They have carefully measured out the exact amount of substance their response is to have. There are many responses in which symbolism is placed over substance (such as: retribution without substance, i.e. empty statements), and these would not be Ozaukees.

in re: Yendi and Gerry's response thereto: the response is not proportionate (1 citizen vote for local candidates is not equivalent to 1 vote in the House!). It only punishes "innocents" if you believe local Republicans are "innocent" of the House Speaker's actions--I'm not sure I believe that. Trent Lott lost a leadership position in the Senate because of his comments, due to nation-wide outrage. He kept his seat, because that's for Republicans from his state to decide.

In re: patca: requiring Israel to excecute retribution against itself does not match the model of a third party issuing retribution.

In re: pogo: Solomon was not attempting any sort of retribution, he wanted to resolve a dispute. And he didn't actually go through with it!

Unknown said...

You're right, Daryl. I would then change my proposal to this: every time Israel plunges ahead with a metric such as number of opponents killed, the UN will fine them an amount equal to the costs associated with killing those persons, to be determined by the Human Rights Committee of the UN.

Seven Machos said...

PatCA --

(1) The UN has no ability to fine anyone.

(2) The county's idea is a great one.

Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

Me: "Ouzaukee?"
Girlfriend:"That's disgusting, will it hurt?".
Me: "Of course not"

(I don't actually have a girlfriend, that was a fictional reenactment of how the word is used in parts of Kazakhstan).

Unknown said...

I know, SevenMachos, I'm just being facetious.

John said...

As another Ozaukee Co resident, I happened to be privey to the draft of this resolution. The idea of splitting the county's share was discussed by the members who proposed the resolution, but a $117 cut would never make the news - let alone an Althouse post!

The county support for the UW-Extension office in Ozaukee is $294,000. This reduction will not have an adverse impact on that office.

In addition to the 72-county-split discussion related to the size of the cut, the impact of the decision by the UW administration was also mentioned. Even if the other 71 counties joined in, the dollar amount may pale in comparison to the lost contributions made by alums.