Our Enemy the State: Link Roundup

"Obama's Economics Team Is Taking on One of America's Most Underrated Economic Problems": Occupational licensing rules, which require government approval (typically by a state government) before a person can practice a given profession, are one of the most under-discussed aspects of the American labor market. A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers argues that the way licensing is applied in practice often leads to higher prices, reduced opportunity, and more … [Read more...]

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From A. Bates, “Party Line”

(yes, I am reading a Point Horror '80s paperback about a 976 teen talk line. My summer is going great) Robbie started over to the Chevy and Mark, relieved, climbed into the Jeep. He'd been hoping for a four-wheel drive for his mother to get to work in the winter, but hadn't figured he had much chance of finding one in their price range. But if there was any hope of getting either of these cars, he wanted the Jeep.It smelled musty inside, reeking of old oil, mouse droppings and dust. The … [Read more...]

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“We Find Corpses: 5 Weird Truths of Cleaning Port-a-Johns”: Cracked, Again

Sorry to do this twice, but their personal-experience articles are such a mixed bag that I feel obligated to note when they find a real, uh, hidden gem: If you were an alien sent to Earth to study humans, what one profession would give you the best insight into how people work? Beat cop? Trash collector? Phone sex operator? Well, we've got a candidate here you would have never picked: The guy who cleans your port-a-potties.We talked to a guy who, every day, is elbow-deep -- sometimes quite … [Read more...]

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Job-Seeking in Community, Not Alone: A BenOp Mitzvah

This strikes me as a great idea:...Next up on my end: I’ve been using the two questions “What do I do alone that I could do with others?” and “What do I do privately that I could do in public?” as prompts for BenOp-ish ideas, and, thus, I’m opening my living room sometime soon for a little salon for people between jobs to work on applications, get feedback on resumes, practice interviews, etc. Job applications always make me miserable, especially because the slew of rejections (or rather “So … [Read more...]

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Time Considered As a Helix of Grimy Fingernail Clippings: Samuel R. Delany’s Weirdly Prescient “Driftglass”

I just finished reading a collection of Samuel R. Delany's short stories and novellas from the mid- to late-'60s, Driftglass (link is to the copy I bought at BookMarx, with the ultra-cheesy fishman cover), and man, I always forget just how good his best work is. Here's a rundown of what's in this collection."The Star-Pit": The first story is by far the best--worth the price of admission for this alone. It's startlingly contemporary. It's a story about working-class men and their longing for … [Read more...]

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“Marilynne Robinson Returns to Gilead”: I review “Lila”

at AmCon--I think this piece turned out well: Ten years ago Marilynne Robinson began telling us the story of Gilead, Iowa, a tiny town surrounded by fields and farms. A droplet of water in which the whole world is reflected.She began with Gilead, a novel in the form of a long letter written from the dying John Ames to his young son. Ames situates the town in its historical context, showing how this apparently all-white enclave nonetheless falls under the shadow of racism, from the Civil War … [Read more...]

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Marriage as Work vs Marriage as the Cross

From the department of Those Who Can't Do and/or Fools Rush In, so as always, this post is worth at most what you paid for it:Conservatives often argue that Americans have a Disneyfied, "soulmate" view of marriage, which makes us unprepared for the fact that marriage--like all vocations--can be terribly hard. I don't think that's quite right. We do have a cultural vocabulary for talking about the "hard parts" of marriage. The problem is that we have only one vocabulary, only one metaphor; … [Read more...]

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