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Lawrence Goodwyn, RIP

[ 4 ] September 30, 2013 |

The great U.S. historian Lawrence Goodwyn has passed. The author of the single best book even written on the Populists, Democratic Promise, The Populist Movement in America (as well as the shorter version, The Populist Moment), Goodwyn made the concerns of these impoverished 19th century farmers central to the response and resistance to the rise of rapacious Gilded Age capitalism. He also helped shift the conversation about the Populists away from the condescension of Richard Hofstadter. Instead of a bunch of intolerant yokels, Goodwyn shows the Populists as the continuance of a working-class rural democratic culture challenging the overwhelming control and oppression of an intolerant and thieving time.

I’ve never read Goodwyn book on Poland’s Solidarity movement, but I respect someone who seeks to take their insights about democratic uprisings and compare them to movements abroad.

RIP.

Resisting Unpaid Internships

[ 28 ] September 30, 2013 |

It’s good to see Europeans following their American comrades and resisting unpaid internships. I thought this quote was a pretty good example of why internships need to be governed by conventional labor law.

Saxon Baird, 29, a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, says he has already completed six internships. “Only one internship really paid an amount that I could scrape by on,” Mr. Baird said: “In places like Vogue, I was getting paid $12 a day and working 25 to 30 hours a week. So, while that was technically a paid internship, it might as well not have been.”

He said that his internship at Vogue included some perks — like invites to celebrity parties and a few bylines — but he spent a large amount of time running errands, and acting as a substitute for a salaried employee.

But you know, a poor start up like Vogue magazine, how could they afford to pay minimum wage?

The Greatest Nation in Human History, Part 5002

[ 15 ] September 28, 2013 |

Only the greatest nation in human history could have a plutocracy of unbelievable wealth and endemic poverty that forces children to go hungry and reinforces gender and racial inequality.

Friday Night

[ 57 ] September 27, 2013 |

These drawings of all your varieties of 18th century drunk British women pretty much describes the average Friday night of your typical LGM reader writer. I relate most to the woman in glasses drunkenly smashing her face on a tree.

Obviously you need to click on the image to read it at all.

Union-Made Cars

[ 35 ] September 27, 2013 |

Buying a new car in 2014? Check out the United Auto Workers list of union-made vehicles before you buy (PDF, see here if you don’t to link straight to it. This list will grow after the UAW-Volkswagen partnership in Chattanooga goes through.

Extinction

[ 9 ] September 27, 2013 |

Once again, humans are a disaster for almost every other species on the planet.

Clueless

[ 35 ] September 26, 2013 |

Not only does Megan McArdle not understand how agricultural subsidies work, she creates a myth about giving money to people for working being better than giving money to people for just living that she would never apply to people who were not consistent Republican voters. I’m sure once this inconsistency is pointed out to her, she will be happy to support massive government projects that guarantees work to all unemployed Americans.

Demands

[ 197 ] September 26, 2013 |

If these crazy demands in exchange for raising the debt ceiling briefly are indicative, among the Republican demands we can probably expect in the near future in exchange for not destroying the world are the abolition of the Democratic Party, the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the outlawing of labor unions.

Environmental Linkage

[ 13 ] September 26, 2013 |

1. More on climate change destroying the ocean ecosystem and the rise of jellyfish as our new overlords.

2. Support for fracking declines in the United States. This is useful given our embrace of the technology without anything close to the proper research as to how it will affect water supplies, not to mention create earthquakes. But where there’s profit to be found, you can forget about caution.

3. The Louisiana sinkhole caused by mining corporations using the state as a dumping zone has gotten worse and has no signs of stopping.

The Greatest Nation in History

[ 44 ] September 26, 2013 |

Only the greatest nation in the world could have an infrastructure system this modern and reliable.

Luciano Vincenzoni, RIP

[ 13 ] September 25, 2013 |

Anyone who can write awesome scenes like this needs to be remembered upon his death.

Plutocracy Now, Plutocracy Tomorrow, Plutocracy Forever

[ 130 ] September 25, 2013 |

Alf Landon’s speech opposing Social Security in 1936 could have been made by Paul Ryan today.

These are a few reasons why I called this law unjust and stupidly drafted. There is a further important point in connection with the compulsory saving provided by the plan of the present administration. According to this plan, our workers are forced to save for a lifetime. What happens to their savings? The administration’s theory is that they go into a reserve fund, that they will be invested at interest, and that in due time this interest will help pay the pensions. The people who drew this law understand nothing of government finance…

…Let me explain it in another way—in the simple terms of the family budget. The father of the family is a kindly man, so kindly that he borrows all he can to add to the family’s pleasure. At the same time he impresses upon his sons and daughters the necessity of saving for their old age.

Every month they bring 6 per cent of their wages to him so that he may act as trustee and invest their savings for their old age. The father decides that the best investment is his own I O U. So every month he puts aside in a box his I O U carefully executed, and, moreover, bearing interest at 3 per cent.

And every month he spends the money that his children bring him, partly in meeting his regular expenses, and the rest in various experiments that fascinate him.

Years pass, the children grow old, the day comes when they have to open their father’s box. What do they find? Roll after roll of neatly executed I O U’s.

I am not exaggerating the folly of this legislation. The saving it forces on our workers is a cruel hoax.