America has a Labor Day to commemorate labor. At this point in our history there is at least some irony in the idea since on some level every other day of the year is a celebration corporatism. We have the daily reports on the stock market, but only sporadic reports on how workers are doing. We get the latest supposed achievements of Bill Gates or the president of Exxon, but not Jane Doe down the street and how many copies of Windows she boxed today or how many brake jobs John Doe did. At the end of the day there are no corporate wunderkinds without labor. Should we give conservatives a big pat of the back for the tremendous success they’ve had in creating a national narrative that declares that we are a wealthy nation not because of labor, but because of corporate paper pushers. This is not to say that industrious flaks with an original idea shouldn’t get where due, its just that the vast majority of the movers and shakers in American business actually float along on the backs of those that had actual ideas and the labor that makes those ideas into real products and services. For all of our egalitarian ideals about government, except for a couple decades around the turn of the century we’ve never really tried in an meaningful way to apply those ideals to the structure of business. The unions and wages/benefits angle of unions scare the hell out of corporate America, but what scares them equally as much is the idea of breaking down the royal like hierarchy of the current business model with the CEO as the modern king. CEOs like kings don’t let go of their power or sense of entitlement easily and they have the money and power to continue to push the idea that without them we’d all be nothing where in truth the opposite is true, without labor there would be no modern kings of commerce. A selection of Labor Writing at Daily Kos . Maybe because of how they make the personal speak to the universal I especially liked this one by mole333, Today in Labor History: They Died For Us; Let’s Not Forget Them
On This Day in 1911, 146 people died in the very building I work in. The result of their deaths was the rapid growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and the real beginning of the fight against sweatshops. It also was the beginning of fire regulations in American cities.
According to this story the very skewed top down management of the economy espoused by Republicans isn’t working out too well for those that do actual work, Why Poverty Doesn’t Rate
The Census Bureau last week released its latest estimate of the U.S. poverty rate — the country’s most important official statistic on domestic want and deprivation. The figure was sobering, signaling short-run stagnation and deterioration over the past generation. The 2005 poverty rate of 12.6 percent barely budged from the previous year’s number, and was substantially higher than the 11.1 percent level registered back in 1973, the lowest on record. No less disturbing, the official measure indicates that a greater portion of families and children live in poverty in America today than three decades ago.
Just using that percentage is a little misleading as the total U.S. population has increased in the last thirty years.
Someone beat me to my intro to a post by Glenn Greenwald on the fringe reactionary Mark Steyn, Meet Mark Steyn, the most toxic right-wing pundit you’ve never heard of.
Consider a Steyn column that appeared on May 16 in the Chicago Sun-Times, a Hollinger paper that is the only American outlet for his regular political column. The Abu Ghraib prison-torture scandal was still fresh and shocking. Insurgents were battling with US troops. And a hapless 26-year-old American, Nicholas Berg, was beheaded by terrorists, who videotaped their gruesome crime. Steyn knew just how to rally the spirits of his fellow warmongers: by demonizing anyone who dared to criticize the war. He did that in two ways.
First, Steyn made a hideously unfair comparison, linking those who were demanding Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation to Berg’s executioners. Wrote Steyn: “We have the ersatz warriors, the ham actors of Washington — Senators Kennedy, Levin, Leahy, Harkin and others too fond of seeing their names in print to mention — ‘calling for Rumsfeld’s head’ at a time when America’s enemies have already got Nick Berg’s, and they’re swinging it around on camera for the snuff video they’ll be distributing as a recruiting tool.”
Steyn isn’t simply a conservative with which one can disagree, in a reasonable world he’d be classified for what he is, a near psychopathic personality. Glenn notes in Will the real cowards please stand up?
Steyn builds his “argument” by glorifying several extremely courageous individuals — fictional characters in a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — who were “Anglo-American-French tourists taken hostage by the Mahdists, the jihadi of the day.” Steyn says they were “in the same predicament as Centanni and Wiig: The kidnappers are offering them a choice between Islam or death.” But unlike the Fox journalist cowards in Gaza, Steyn lauds these fictional individuals as brave men and women of character
Conservatives and their reality problems. Mark can’t tell the difference between real people that were trying to survive under the threat of death and characters from a story. Some other bloggers that have some thoughts on Steyn and the Greenwald post, alternative hippopotamus, Gay Species – Less Education at More Cost , Cows and Graveyards, Balderdash.
He pictured the rooms where these people lived—where the patterns of the blistered wall-papers were heavy reiterated sunflowers on green and yellow backgrounds, where there were tin bathtubs and gloomy hallways and verdureless, unnamable spaces in back of the buildings; where even love dressed as seduction—a sordid murder around the corner, illicit motherhood in the flat above. And always there was the economical stuffiness of indoor winter, and the long summers, nightmares of perspiration between sticky enveloping walls … dirty restaurants where careless, tired people helped themselves to sugar with their own used coffee-spoons, leaving hard brown deposits in the bowl.
from This Side of Paradise CHAPTER 5 The Egotist Becomes a Personage by F. Scott Fitzgerald