The Future: Some Assembly Required

We come back to how things are changing, how the future is changing, how work is changing.  Part of this is stupid government tricks, of course.  Yes, 30 hours work week has long been a socialist dream.  Besides drinking their own ink – i.e. believing their own propaganda – the rats in their heads about wealth tend to spread to everything else.  Since wealth is finite, then work is finite.  (Well, think about it.)  At least work on decently planned and properly efficient and NEEDED goods.  (Why would you want luxury goods?  Do you want to be better than other people?  You want to have a lollipop?  Did you bring enough to share with the entire country? I don’t think you’re properly committed to socialism, tovarish.)

Since work is finite, the only way to deal with unemployment is to put things in the law that make it impossible to work more than 30 hours.  In places like France they simply pass legislation making it impossible to work more than thirty hours – which is another reason it’s an American socialist dream.  You see, they’ve gone to France on vacation, and they’ve seen people lounging about with time to enjoy life.  What they don’t see is the outdated appliances, the outdated houses and the narrow lives of common people, because they also normally stay in the best hotels and hang out in the rich areas – but Americans are so… ungovernable, that if if you just did that to them, they would work seventy hours, just to spite you.  So instead you hide the 30 hour a week poison pill in the Health Care legislation.  Employers who would be bankrupted by it, are then forced to dial back everyone’s hours to 30 a week (at least on paper.  Look, I worked exempt positions before. Your hours are not what you put on the time sheet.  Your hours are what it takes to get the job done.)  In the bureaucrat’s mind (not in the real world) this means that the employer will have to hire a new employee for every three on the payroll.  More jobs created.  Everyone is up.  Up everyone’s chocolate ration to two grams a week.

As I mentioned in Drinking Their Own Ink (I really need to tag these d*mn posts.) what actually happens is that everyone lies about it.  People report thirty hours and go on working the normal forty or fifty or sixty.  (Remember the reason the employer is cutting down people’s hours on paper is that he’s already so close to the bone he can’t afford the mandated boondoogle of minimum insurance which includes hypnotherapy and weight loss or whatever they consider minimum.  Perhaps little Asian girls who run on your back for back pain.  Who knows?  It’s a government scam plan.  You will pay for treatment for Brucitis Of The Cleaning Lady Knee even if you’ve never been in the same zip code as a cleaning lady.)

So, everything changes on paper, but not in reality.  Except that analysts, bureaucrats and those of us who work with words, look at the figures on paper, confuse it with reality and announce that due to efficiencies and robotics and stuff we no longer need to work as long.  Then the big government types start talking about this vast underclass who will never find jobs again, and which includes everyone but the top two percent or whatever, and who will need structures to support them the rest of their useless lives.  How can you be against that?  Do you want the useless to starve?

(Rolls eyes.  Rolls eyes so hard that she should use a cup to contain them.)

I confess I would be far more impressed with this if I weren’t following the politics and the laws and seeing the pressures bringing it about, which have nothing to do with technology.  I also confess that I MIGHT still fall for it if I didn’t happen to have a good enough memory to remember Carter’s administration.  (Yes, I was in my cradle.  Shuddup.)

The exact same things were said then, and the science fiction magazines were full of stories about how most people would be unemployed forever, because… because… because… CHEESE!  Okay, they didn’t say cheese.  That would have made way more sense. They said that back then – seventies, remember – our tech was just too darn efficient, and so all these low-level employees weren’t needed and therefore we were headed to a world where the majority would be unemployed like forevah.  The kindly state had to take care of them or they would die – die I tell you, die!

Then came Reagan and near-full-employment and they forgot they’d ever said all that stuff and slinked off without even the decency of a “Never mind.”

Now it’s back.

Ignore them.  Ignoring people who think that a vast majority of people “NEEDS” to be taken care of by an incompetent, massive, bungling bureaucracy is always a good idea.  Look, these jokers aren’t even good at taking care of the few desperately needy people.  You think they can take care of a majority of people in a way that doesn’t lead to massive atrocities?  PFUI.  Most people – even the truly needy – dependent on the government have to exert themselves NOT to be destroyed by clerical error.

No, robotics didn’t become that all-better in the last four years.  Would that they had.

To some extent automated factories were already much, much better.  Eric Flint last week was talking about the hell of assembly line work, but the truth is that the only places that remains are places where it has to by union rule.  Back in 88 I knew someone who ran a plastics factory.  It was just him (and I don’t think he’d ever finished high school) and a bunch of automated machinery.  He poured the mixture in and he pushed buttons and voila, plastic spoons and forks and stuff just came flying out the other end.

This was sort of held back or perhaps dialed back by the commerce with China, where it’s cheaper to have five year olds carve the plastic forks from a plastic block (I’m joking, I’m joking.)  But the tech is there and has always been.

The robots, they shall always be with us.

So… what about work?  How will we deal with the vast army of unemployed people roaming the country side going “braiiiins.”

We won’t because as with zombies, they won’t exist.  At least they won’t exist if our government stops making it a crime to start/run/make a profit at a business.  And even if they continue their war on what you DID build, they still won’t exist.  They’ll just be unemployed on paper, collecting welfare, but inexplicably very busy and perhaps driving Mercedes.  (See Portugal and Greece for what people do when making a living becomes illegal.  And that’s Portugal and Greece, not the US. If you ask in Portugal and Greece, I bet you that they’d say their reason for living is their – hyper extended – family.  In the US people are likely as not to mention work.  Even those who mention family tend to mean their nuclear family, and then after that work.)

What this law has the potential of doing is making us all contractors.  Which means what is happening to writers is heading everyone else’s way fast.

Yesterday some of you in comments got rather lost in the weeds of “specialization versus generalist.”  But, truly, that’s not what’s at stake.

Look, I’m a contractor anyway, so it’s a little different, but being a writer working for a house (or many houses) is sort of a limbo thing, since not only do you license your copyright to them, but they expect you to do all sorts of other things which makes you sort of a contractployee.  What I mean is, the way things used to be, with the few gatekeepers and a lot of writers trying to sell, they could require you do all sorts of things beyond writing the book.  I’m always highly amused by the people who say they’re now going traditional because “that way all I have to do is write.”  Sure it is, if you want the book to tank so badly it leaves a dent.

Among the things I routinely did for my publishing houses were: paying someone to edit, so that if they missed something I’d catch it; paying someone to go over their edits to make sure nothing got changed in a weird way (and with Berkley this was a constant battle); working at publicity, including making publicity materials; paying someone (agent.  Yeah, that worked) to verify the contracts and make sure that everything was right, and to negotiate for me for less than appalling covers (that worked too!)

So, I was already running a little empire of sub contractors.  All that is happening now is that I’m adding another layer.  I might, for instance have to pay someone to put the books in paper, since I can’t seem to figure it out (though I might experiment with my How To Write Interesting Books and maybe I can.)

As an indie publisher it’s the same thing, only I’m doing it on my own and adding artists.  That’s it.  But I also get a much bigger cut of the money, so it works out better.

The only other thing is that you have to look for work, and see the opportunities for work.  And that’s the BIG, major difference.  Look, not all work will ever be automated because work like wealth is infinite.  If everyone automated everything we all do tomorrow, people would come up with new things they need.

Let’s not even go to buggy whips and candle makers.  What about the typing pool?  Every company used to have it, even in the eighties when I started working.  Where has it gone?  Are all those typists roaming the streets flexing their fingers in despondency?

No.  Some are now computer design specialists.  Some are serving coffee at Starbucks.  Some are doing other things that, like those two, were not major employment categories in the eighties.

Open your eyes.  Then (to quote Pratchett) open your eyes again.  See what you’ve been ignoring.  Don’t count on anyone to look after you.  You do not belong to the Government, no matter what the government thinks.  And if you did, yeah, they’d have to feed you but only to their standards, not yours.  And they could choose to stop at any time.

I’m giving you the same guidance I give my kids, who, though they’re both in STEM degrees, cannot – of course – be sure of being able to do anything with them, because – beyond stupid government tricks – the tech is changing so fast:

Look for things people might pay you for.  Then do them.  Get good at doing them.  In the future there might be no jobs, no “employment” as we have grown to think of it.  But there will be work.  And people will still pay for work that benefits them or makes their life easier.  Now, you might end up working four contract jobs in ten hour increments and taking the income from those multiple streams to make a full living.  I’m here to tell you it’s doable. (At least if you add the Jim Baen dictum “Don’t work for buttheads”.)

The future is wide open.  You just have to make it yourself.


Sorry to be so late on this.  I woke up to find out the marking wars were all over our living room and front hall.  Normally I’d have ignored it – I don’t work on that floor – and cleaned in the afternoon, but the fug was that thick that I ended up cleaning the living room and waxing.

Part of this, I think, is that I’ve been away so much over the last week, they haven’t got their due petting.

Some days, I swear, living with this particular set of bewhiskered miscreants is like living with fuzzy Hells Angels.  (No Hells Angels harmed in this metaphor.  These are imaginary Hells Angels that exist only in my head, which is good because I REALLY would hate for them to pee all over my living room floor.)

Also — I’ve put content up in the subscriber space.  And sorry to be late on all of these.  The good news is that things are getting done, which means there’s fewer of them to do, so it must calm down at some point — right?

FURTHER NOTE: I’ll put up the promo post of ya’ll probably tonight.  (And miss my free short story, but c’est la vie.)  It’s that copious spare time thing.

277 thoughts on “The Future: Some Assembly Required

  1. Yep – the enterprising and yet unemployed set up some kind of little micro-business, like writing freelance, providing website content for pay, ghost-writing or even transcribing 19th century hand-written documents. My daughter (the 2-hitch Marine) gave up on the higher-ed bubble, and now works several jobs as an independent contractor. She and her best friend from high school (a very gifted artist) have also set up their own little business. If it works out for them, it might provide a living for them and the friends family, but I don’t think they’ll ever go outside the family circle for workers. The future of work looks uncommonly like the 19th century family enterprise.

    1. She and her best friend from high school (a very gifted artist) have also set up their own little business.

      Ooh, that makes me think of another option– Deviant Art type “find someone to do work for you.” Angies list, however it’s spelled.

  2. The only other thing is that you have to look for work, and see the opportunities for work.

    That’s a big demand to fill.

    Once someone fills it– and they will, because a LOT of folks are simply not suited to being contractors– there will be a new business model.

    If it’s formally a business or not will depend on how dumb the pols are, I suspect.

    1. If it’s formally a business or not will depend on how dumb the pols are, I suspect.
      One of my friends has a comment he uses when discussing how dumb pols are: take your worst possible guess, and then double it.
      One thing to remember about politicians: they’re mostly failed lawyers. Ya gotta be really dumb to fail as a lawyer.

  3. “(Rolls eyes. Rolls eyes so hard that she should use a cup to contain them.)”

    There are folks who sell dice towers if you prefer those to cups. Gravity assist for the rolling and no undue influences on the randomization. 8)

  4. Not to name any names, but I have it on good authority that the French lie about hours worked just as much as anyone else. In fact, they can get really screwed by this. If you’re a French employee of a multinational, and your American and Japanese coworkers are working 60 hour weeks, then you won’t be seen as a team player and an asset if you don’t find some way to do the same; but the company cannot easily compensate you for this work.

  5. I’m so glad that when my youngest son got out of the Air Force he chose a trade school rather than an academic one. He finished in 18 months, and is working for a world-wide corporation doing what he really enjoys.And making much more money than he would have in other occupations for his age group. Could he have done better with an academic degree – say in Aeronautical Engineering? Maybe. But he’d still be in school, and there would be no job guarantees when he finished. As it is, he can literally get a job anywhere in the world.

    The point being that sometimes specializing can pay off, if it’s a wide open field. (He’s an A&P Mechanic). Had he went for a degree instead of a license, he’d have a general understanding of more of the aeronautical field, but not enough about any aspect to really know it.

    And I was wrong when I pushed the degree idea at him. Thankfully, he had a much better focus on where employment demands were going to be. He saw the changes coming – I saw the history. As you find on a financial prospectus: Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

    Maybe I should ask his advice re: employment!

  6. I have this argument often with a blogging friend who’s convinced that we’re moving toward a world in which a large swath of the population will have no function and will need to be fed to survive. I don’t see it. Unless you’re in a coma, what are the odds there is literally nothing you can do that someone else will trade you something good for? One problem is that he doesn’t think it’s really “work” unless it commands some mythical required hourly wage that he considers “minimum.”

    He also gets confused by the fact that most enterprises require at least one participant who brings some kind of managerial or technical skill to the table. “See?” he says. “This special technocratic character, which only a few people possess, is the only important factor in the employment market.” No, it may be indispensable, but it’s not the only quality needed, by a long shot. One guy with management or tech skills can get something going that requires lots of non-manager, non-tech types to carry out. Or one guy with management or tech skills can create so much excess wealth that suddenly there will be a lot of people willing to hire others to take care of parts of their lives they’d otherwise have handled for themselves, like cutting the lawn and making dinner.

    1. In racing shells the most important member of the crew is the coxswain, who ensures everybody is working as a team, steers the craft and executes the racing strategy.

    2. I read yesterday that the kid who developedTumblr doesn’t do the coding anymore, because the people he hired does it better. He mainly acts as cheerleader for everyones efforts now. And Yahoo just paid him 1.1 Billion for the company – and kept him on to run it!

      1. I saw a headline indicating he was home-schooled. So much for needing an education developed and administered by highly trained professionals to get anywhere in this world.

      2. “I read yesterday that the kid who developedTumblr doesn’t do the coding anymore, because the people he hired does it better.”

        There are stories of nightmares in the code for the game Minecraft, but the founder gave the developers he hired bonuses totalling $3 million a few years ago.

        You don’t have to be the best, just good enough…

      3. I also saw a tweet that went something like: First Flickr, now Tumblr. Yahoo: Buy an “e”!


    3. So… you friend thinks that because leadership is important, there’s no need for followers?

      Well, it’s a very modern blindness, at least…..

    4. The youth unemployment in many developed nations (youth here being defined as 15-25 or so) is said to about 50 to 75%.

      And yes certainly the numbers are fudged downwards and of course the system D economy is pretty big, that’s still a sign that labor is not really in demand.

      Its no hugely better for adults and the number of people that are paid well enough to be middle class (that is house, care very 5 years, vacation, 3 kids, savings on ONE wage) is down by a huge number about half in the US since 1973

      Its not all over regulation or the welfare state either. Its also lack of demand for labor

      Also we cannot have a wealthy economy where most people are shoe shine boys and fry cooks. Those service jobs are typically at best working class save for a few owners

      1. Its not all over regulation or the welfare state either. Its also lack of demand for labor

        Regulation has caused much reduction in the demand for labor, as companies are forced to find ways to get fewer people to produce more in order to stay in business. The other side of that is that the availability of skilled candidates for many jobs has plummeted. The department I work for has had a job open for several weeks, and we have yet to interview anyone really qualified, as well as receiving significant numbers of resumes from people with no skills in the relevant areas, but appear to be just shotgunning, that is, sending out copious amounts of resumes without consideration of the fit of the job description.

        1. Certainly in part true however the nature of the beast is that most businesses will be looking to be more efficient at all times. I doubt any companies frankly miss having a larger payroll and while they resent the legislative hassles are probably quite glad of getting more for less. On a business basis this is a good thing, for workers and the broader economy ? Not as much.

          Also though its not politic to say, the demographic shift in parts of the US have made an employer (speaking from experience here) life hell.

          We call it the diversity tax here in California and it manifests in legal troubles, work place friction and poorly trained workers. Changing that culture would help enormously but I am not sure that’s possible. It certainly isn’t a government job any which way.

          1. They might be glad for a while, until burnout and worker resentment start skyrocketing. The level of increased productivity we’re seeing now is unsustainable, and I believe I’m seeing the signs that it’s going to blow up in people’s faces soon.

            1. Yep. Everyone I know who is still employed is doing three jobs, but the employers are also holding on by fingernails. If you get the feeling there’s an Earth Shattering Kaboom on the horizon, you’re correct.

          2. THAT is regulation, not demographic shift. Large portions of the demographic shift are because products of mixed marriages are considered “minority” till the nth generation.

          3. I doubt any companies frankly miss having a larger payroll and while they resent the legislative hassles are probably quite glad of getting more for less.

            You don’t get more for less.

            You deal with more hassles rather than hiring someone to do stuff, like you previously would have.

            That means you buy stuff prepared, even though it would cost less if you could hire someone to do it in-house at a rate they’d accept but the government will not. You find work-arounds to do stuff with generic items, because that’s what you can get, rather than custom building for yourself. You offer a more limited range of products, because switching between production groups takes too much manpower. You angst for ages over each hiring choice, because you can’t just hire a bunch of unskilled folks for low-level jobs, then promote them up, paying for schools for those who are worth it– you have to try to find someone from the blue.

            You contract with a cleaning service instead of having a janitor/handyman– you get less service, but you don’t have to pay. You do a LOT of sacrificing convenience for “at least I don’t have to hire another employee.”

          4. “the diversity tax ”

            How true. Diversity taxes. In more diverse societies, there is less trust, even among members of the same group.

          1. A surprising number of kids these days lack the single most important skill needed for most jobs: the ability to show up when scheduled and perform duties as assigned.

        2. You expect them to risk losing their unemployment by getting hired?!?!

          (Yes, some are folks who want a job, any job, and recognize that job descriptions often have little to do with the job; that said, some are NOT, and the opening was just too good to pass.)

          1. Also, to remain eligible for unemployment, you have to submit x number of applications. When you get to a highly specialized job you were laid off from, there might NOT BE that many ads that week…

      2. OMFG. The wage thing has been debunked, as well as the number of people “paid well enough” — and the only places youth unemployment is that high are socialist paradises.

        SHOESHINE BOYS? How about barristas? It’s where most kids start. And you’re darn tooting that’s healthy.

  7. I agree. I’m lucky to have a fairly stable full time job with an established company (IBM), but even there you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to do more and solve additional problems. Nobody has time to fully manage you – to be a productive employee, you need to manage yourself.

      1. I don’t think indispensable is achievable in an organization the size of IBM. Especially not to people who can’t hold tight to skills and information because their jobs are to spread those skills and information.

        Note required by IBM: While I am an IBM employee, this is my personal opinion and does not represent the views of the IBM corporation.

        Note not required by IBM: Corporate personhood exists, but it isn’t quite artificial intelligence. I don’t think corporations have their own opinions, beyond “earning good”, and “expense bad”.

        1. You’re likely right. My brother worked for IBM for (I think) 25 years, then he was given a four year leave of absence prior to early retirement at 50.

          Not like he was a drain on the company, either. Seven of his customers offered him jobs, including 3 who had to create jobs just to be able to hire him.

      2. Being the indespensible employee only makes sure that you will never be promoted out of the position. It does not mean that management won’t lay you off or close your position and expect you to keep doing the work when you wind up in another position (that probably pays less).
        Yes, I’m bitter. Can you tell?

  8. Re unintended consequences of the 30-hour rule: I work part-time for a public high school. Yes, I home schooled mine, except for the youngest who would NOT cooperate … but I digress. I’m not an ideologue in THAT particular area. The school district has just recently limited all hourly workers to 27.5 hours per week. For people whose jobs can’t be conformed to that limitation, they have arranged for a temp agency to hire these same people and pay them for the overage, while the school pays the temp agency for services provided. These people will receive two separate paychecks for the exact same work. So … there is developing an entirely new level of labor brokerage services that will be customized around these Obaminationcare restrictions. Which makes me think of the entire industry called “Tax Preparation Services.” IMNSHO, no one with a high school education should need to hire out their tax preparation. If you even accept the validity of a tax on productive work/wages, it should be able to be mailed in on a post card. But because of the way it is … has accreted and secreted through the decades, we have an entire white-collar industry that employs who knows how many people from CPA’s on down to the seasonal people working for Jackson Hewitt. That labor, put to something that actually produces a GOOD, would be astonishingly wondrous. Sigh ….

    1. I served a stint as an accountant for a manufacturer whose production line was entirely staffed through temp providers. It allowed the company to avoid all sorts of benefit regimes and made eventual relocation of the plant (after acquiring a competitor with a larger facility) much much easier.

      One way or another employers will evade these regulatory burdens because that is the only way to stay in business when your product is not a mandatory purchase.

      1. My just-quit job was for a contractor company providing customer service for various corporations, for all of which it would claim resolutely to be part of that corporation in every customer situation. It turned out that warranties for the company we were contracting with were provided by a different contractor company. Indeed, you had to go fairly far to reach someone who actually worked for the company.

        My paycheck came from still another company, which partnered with my ex-employer to provide payroll services (including having this other payroll company’s name on the check).

        So yeah… already happening, not always a good thing. Feels like Shadowrun with more shell companies.

  9. Once again, it helps to live in a state which does not actively OPPOSE your starting and operating a business. Try to chose to live in a place which doesn’t require a “business license” and which doesn’t prohibit home based businesses, and which has easy and simple incorporation processes.

    This is one of the reasons I continue to live in Kansas. People keep asking us for copies of our business license, and we have to keep explaining that no such thing exists. 🙂 We generally give them our state sales tax registration form. (which doesn’t even require a paper signature, just fill in the web form.)

    1. You don’t need a business license?! I didn’t even know that was a possibility. Sigh. People’s Republic of Pennsylvania requires that and every other license you ever heard of.

      1. I’ve never even heard of a business license. I’ve heard of licenses for specific businesses, like medicine or food-handling or liquor stores. There are states that require a license for any business at all? Why do people put up with it?

        1. Here in Utah, the business license is a local rather than state thing. I’m not happy with paying for it, but the state fees for business filings (LLC in our case) are low enough that it’s not much of a burden overall.

        2. In western states, “business licenses” are more often city or county tax revenue devices. Sometimes, a modicum of regulatory purpose.

        3. You want to go to jail? Yes, NV has a business license for the State and one for each county. *sigh If you are a writer and sell your work, you must have a business license. On the other hand there are no State income taxes here.

          1. ” If you are a writer and sell your work, you must have a business license.”


            1. YEP– any writer, artist, or psychic who doesn’t have a business license in this State is in non-compliance with the law– (and yes, they lump us all together lol)

              1. The only time I had my fate told — friend, popular fair, 14. ‘Nough said? — they told me I would marry a man named Paulo and have six children. I wonder how the poor man is faring 😉

              2. Well, I knew some city in Illinois required a license for “necromancy”, but a license to be an AUTHOR?!

                1. Oh Lord, YES!! Think of the risks posed by unlicensed authors! Unlimited magazines, fully automatic puns, all available without the supplier having undergone a background check???

                  It’s for the children.

                    1. Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and that kinda’ lame one you always saw in the doctors’ offices. Those are for the children.

          2. I don’t mean I wonder why people comply with the law, I mean why don’t they vote the rascals out, and change the law?

            1. Sorry Texan99– the problem is that we have been over run by Easterners and Californians who couldn’t make it in their own States because of taxes. Now they want the many benefits that bankrupted their own States– and are remaking us into what they left. It is happening all over the Western States. In our case there are so many of them who have moved to Las Vegas that they are the tail that is wagging the entire State.

              1. I’ve always noticed that the roads just happen to suddenly be in vastly better repair right when one drives across from high tax CA into low tax NV. Obviously this is something that Cannot Be Tolerated, thus the effect you note.

                Those CA expat hordes are riddled with hippie agent provocateurs in thrall to Jerry Brown, and they are doing everything they can to make CA not look so bad in comparison.

      2. In Kansas, there is no such thing as a business license, it does not cost ANYTHING to file for a state sales-tax ID, you can set up a corporation (S or C) or an LLC on line in 10 minutes for less than $50, there is no requirement to register a DBA with anyone except the bank that you’re going to be making deposits to,

        There are regulated businesses which do require registration and/or licensing at the state level… some of which are silly, and some not so much, but it isn’t a big list: Cosmetology, Lodging, Pesticide Dealer, Seed Business,Restaurant, Pesticide Product, Mortuary.

        That’s it. Now, some other businesses require licenses for PEOPLE, and some businesses have local licensing requirements (Bars, liquor stores) but that’s the state list.

            1. You get between Lawrence and Kansas City, you start getting some pretty good-sized hills. (Probably nothing to compare with Colorado, though.

              On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “same here. But they’re so… flat.” >

              1. Some lunatic actually attacked pancakes with a micrometer to find out how much surface variation they had. And then he compared the surface variation to surface area for pancakes and Kansas and concluded:

                Kansas is not as flat as a pancake. Hills included, it’s flatter.

                1. I could have told that without the micrometer, but of course, it takes measurements to prove it conclusively.

                  (singing) “… now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall…”

                  1. Plus the yearly tornadoes– anyone remember “The Wizard of Oz?” I had a sister who lived in Kansas for a few years. She didn’t sleep much during the summer with the radio on– a few times she had to grab her sleeping children, drag them to the neighbors cellar, and stumble down the wooden stairs.

  10. Our hostess mentioned that people will still work their normal hours, but will only report 30. I doubt this. The reason that I doubt it is that it opens the employer up to a massive liability if years later even one of these people decides to sue for the benifits that they “should” have had. Microsoft found this out the hard way a while ago with contractors. This is the same reason that working through your lunch is a firing offense in many companies.

    What will probably happen is that people that were working 40 hours will hold two 20-30 hour part time jobs that may give them the same take-home, but will up their expenses and the hassle factor a fair bit. The only upside to this is that it will encourage ordinary people to work off-the-books and will help starve the beast. A major downside is that it will probably trash institutional memory. No longer will there be relativly low-level employees that know the entire business and can deal with day-to-day crises. They will not have had the hours at the job to develop that knowledge.

    1. I don’t know Scott. I know in the last “real job” I had I was paid for 40 hours and worked sixty minimum. They just gave me enough work for that and refused to approve overtime. Voila.

      1. When I was a xerox copy machine repair tech, I had the same problem. Only allowed forty hours and given more than sixty hours of work minimum. I had to ask for overtime and then I would get a bad review because I wasn’t fast enough.

          1. I felt at one point it was a way to get rid of experienced techs who could command a better salary and get folks who had never used a screwdriver before so they could pay minimum wage. *sigh– Yes, I saw that happen. Plus a secretary was paid more than I was with my experience and training. (that was in the States– when I was working abroad, I could command a better salary.)

      2. Were you exempt? If so, they were safe at the time as that was standard. They will not be safe under Obamacare as that triggers on hours worked, not on salary per year. If you work, not are paid, but work over 30 hours, you count as a full time employee and help trigger the insurance entitlement.

          1. The acceptable exempt positions under FLSA is: Executive, Administrative (Executive assistant) and Professional(Teacher/Doctor/Attorney); the salary has to equal or be better than $455 per week. There are also exemptions for computer professionals. Some states have tighter requirements.
            Being Salaried Exempt means that because of the nature of your work your position is exempt from the need to be paid at least minimum wage for each hour worked and overtime for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. However there are duties tests to determine if the position does meet the requirement to be paid as a salaried exempt employee: you actually have to manage work, assist in running the business or need a degree to perform your work. Merely deeming the receptionist and the busboy, for example, as management positions won’t cut it. If you get a salary and you are not exempt the employer has to make sure that the salary covers all hours worked and pay half again each hour as much as an overtime benefit for all overtime hours worked. This can be a fun computational exercise.
            For a FASCINATING review of this you can run over to USDOL’s website or look up the elements in the ever riveting Code of Federal Regulations, volume 29

              1. It’s like playing soduko and watching a train wreck while peeling a bandaid off. You can’t look away.
                If you want fun you need to look at the definitions of agriculture and its various related industries.

                  1. Bwahahaha! Once a farm, always a farm. I’m down to 1.5 acres and two geriatric horses and I still have to fill in the Agricultural Census forms. Mind you, with all those zeros, the math is quick and simple. 😉

    2. Slightly different issues scott, between Fair Labor Standards Act issues with overtime for hourly employees, and the issue of whether or not the IRS or state recognizes a “independent contractor” versus employee for withholding or unemployment compensation or workers compensation benefit purposes.

      1. Not really. What I am talking about here is not overtime, it is triggers for Obamacare benifits. That fits much better with employee vs contractor rather than overtime for hourly employees.

          1. This would be salary for you Sarah (a form of Full-time–)
            I was hourly, but they didn’t want to pay anything after 40 hours. 😉

            1. yes, but I was supposed to get paid for overtime. And, btw, there are part timers on salary. I just say your job description will now say part-time, 29 hours, but you work as long as you have to to get the job done…

              1. I suspect you are right– and then they will have these numbers saying that part-time people do as much work as a full time person–

                1. The possible unpaid wage liabilities are terrible if you let employees work unlogged hours. It doesn’t seem like much for an hour or three a day or a week, but if you are hitting overtime hours the employee can come back for unpaid overtime wages, in my state, for two years and regular wages for six. On top of that there are possible penalties, and greater penalties if the employee can show that the wages paid for the hours worked were below the minimum wage rate and court costs.
                  Employers often think their employees are happy and will honor an unstated agreement, but some figure they are accepting a lower pay to guarantee that they will keep a job, and if the job goes away or they are caught stealing and fired, they come back for another bite – and that is just dealing with unpaid wage liabilities. UI and Workers’ Comp and Revenue are all going to want their second bite too if they find out.
                  It may be that employers and employees do accept this sort of agreement and everyone is happy with it, but in reflection of the IRS scandal, if the gov knows everyone is skirting the law, and develops a case of the grouchies about the owner’s private political activities, then they know they can swoop in and effectively put a company out of business at will

                  1. This unpaid OT / are you really exempt / are you really a contractor thing was the topic of a particular labor law case here in CA that sent massive shockwaves through silicon valley – friends of mine in HR at the time, and all the execs in any development organization, all were suddenly walking around pale and shaking, and all employees had to attend previously unscheduled full day training, with managers getting an extra dose – basically a California tech company had classified some of their programmers as exempt (i.e. salaried, no 40hr workweek, no paid breaks, no OT) but had been tracking and logging their comings and goings, making them fill out time cards, closely monitoring their time at work and requiring them to work far more than 40 hours per week (have to push to ship the product, don’cha’know). Eventually they pissed one those employees (who had been toiling under this system for many years) off enough that the employee filed a complaint with the state labor board. The labor board found that the company had been misclassifying the employee as a transparent ruse to avoid OT, and awarded all the employees of that fine establishment many years worth of back overtime plus penalties, costing the company muy mucho dinero indeed. Gazillions. Really quite vast fistfuls of dollars.

                    As a pointy haired manager at the time I was instructed in specific detail to NOT EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES notice (and ESPECIALLY NOT EVER write down or keep any records of) when my salaried reports wandered in in the morning, left for lunch and returned therefrom, went to pick up kids, went to the dentist, wandered off to a bar for a bit, or left for the day – the only degree of managerial note I could take was “showed up today” or “never saw’em, and they weren’t working from home either.” All my my management efforts had to center on work assigned and performed to deadlines, never “Were they sitting in their cube?” (Which was fine with me – I never wanted to be a timeclock when I grew up).

                    All as the result of that one labor board ruling scaring the crap out of the execs.

                    1. The ‘tech company’ was EA and the management oversight started after the wives of several EA employees started blogging about it, do a search for ‘EA Widows’.
                      Same thing happened in he VFX and animation industries too.

                  1. It would be nice if it did happen like Bob is saying, but from my experience– (I have been working outside the family businesses after the age of 16) if you take a complaint up, unless it has something to do with sexual harassment, you get told to live with it.

                    1. I only dealt with the compliance part of it. I rarely saw the part where both sides agreed to say the right things and go on doing what they wanted to do. I never saw the part where someone was unhappy but figured there was no real benefit in suing for back wages.

                    2. In my case, impossible to prove. I declared 40h. It’s all I was allowed to declare. When work went over 60h, I quit. (Well, we were moving, too, but…)

                    3. Happens more than you think– in my case when I saw the writing on the wall I would start looking for another job and then split.

                    4. Are you talking about the company telling you that, or the legal system? Because I’ve seen several lawsuits of that nature in the news around here. People tend to get very grouchy about finding out that they have been shortchanged.

                    5. I haven’t worked for a decade now so maybe things are getting different. –first time was in the 80s when I was young and dumb– I trusted the owner and then he told me that I should be happy with the job because I was a young female girl. I couldn’t get anyone (from a legal standpoint) to get interested so I quit and got another job. It was the impetus that got me into the Navy–

                      Another time more recently, the company decided that we wouldn’t be paid for the time we counted out the cash drawer. Since it was about a 1/2 hour (more or less) no one was really interested– instead of dealing with it, I quit and got a better job. I found with the next job that when the company realized that I wouldn’t work past five p.m. (I still worked lunches), they did put pressure. My hubby and I ended up working for a company that repaired computers for the military in Germany.

                      I found that if the money lost was small, it wasn’t considered a problem– I, of course, considered it a problem. The military at least let me know what I was going into– the only other company that paid me for my time was Lockheed Martin. Everyone else was trying to get my time w/o paying me including my first typesetting job. I think my first job they finally paid me when I told them that I was going to a lawyer– that was an entire year without pay– the fed me lunch. (which was taken out of my pay). So no free lunches.

                      Company, legal, and better business– all the same– unless you are willing to pay an attorney and it is a lot of money and you have the right connections, no one is interested. I end up fighting my own battles.

                    6. The states (except maybe Mississippi) all seem to have some sort of labor board or department of labor that handles this sort of claim. Each state has its own way of handling these sorts of claims, from providing arbitration in some states to making you fill out ooodles of forms and trying to get you to through small claims anyways in others. Since all the states have some sort of minimum employment standard, they have to some way to enforce them. even if it is to set up a way for you to proceed through small claims.
                      Again, there are attorneys out there that will process your claim on a commission basis, but only if they think they can win, since they like to get paid.

      2. Add to the fun is that USDOL uses the “Economic Realities” test, and some states use the “Right to Control” test. And even more fun is that different regulatory agencies within the state (workers’ comp, state OSHA, UI) can use either of those tests or some of their own device.

    3. I have an interesting take on this. My industry is doing the opposite. We always worked 60-80 hours a week (supervisory so not limited or overtimed) and took call besides. Now, the new people (and I who am going Galt) won’t work more than the 40 hours required. That means that all the meetings for the hospital compliance crap and required educational meetings, and call all have to be paid, or compensated somehow. Our physician shortage is about to escalate dramatically…..

  11. I was visiting an Amish-type farm many years ago. The church had changed their rules to allow electric appliances whereas before it had been a non-electric community. I was marveling at the juxtaposition of the plain lifestyle side by side the shiny new appliances that had just been installed, and the guy I was with turns to the housewife and asks, “what do you do with all of the spare time you have now?”

    At that moment, I became enlightened.

    1. The Amish have always allowed new technologies in as long as they aren’t disruptive. They can hire cars, for instance, and have community phones out in phone boots. The first doesn’t enable you to just ditch everything on the spur of the moment, and the second is inconvenient for standing about yakking, so they’re allowable.

      1. The Amish (and other Anabaptist groups like them) are not a monolithic people-group, but are rather a loose collection of more-or-less independent church-communities. Each community changes over time in response to the rulings of the local bishop and ministers, but also to what might be termed the “general practice of the brotherhood.” (“It is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”) Communities will often be “in fellowship” with other communities that have made similar decisions. Ones that are more strict with regards to technology are viewed as being “too conservative”, and are perhaps viewed as being a little too Pharisaical or else as being not biblical enough on some points. Ones that are less strict with regards to technology are viewed as being “too liberal”, and are perhaps viewed as selling out their heritage in order to fit in more with “English” style evangelicals that are completely and irredeemably “worldly.” Sometimes bishops get restless and dissatisfied with the usual range of compromises on the spectrum and pick up, get far away from the more populous “plain church” type regions, and try to start something new or different.

        I say all of this to make the point that the reasoning behind the technological restrictions that the Amish have made are diverse. But one thing is sure… the reason that they *say* they’ve done something, the thinking that *actually* drives them, and the reason that some random college professor would *impute* to them are all extremely different things.

        Or put another way… the question of whether or not Sarah Yoder has a washing machine in her basement is ultimately a question of whose feet she’s going to be washing at communion services twice a year or so. It’s also a question of who her children are most likely to marry… and whether or not the churches of her grandchildren will be at all recognizable to her. The issues are not technological. They’re social… and generational. But you maybe already knew that.

        At any rate… this has NOTHING to do with the point I was trying to make. But your attempt to clear up some common misconceptions had some misconceptions in it.

        1. A good friend of mine is from a mixed marriage – Dunkard to Valley Mennonite. His Mennonite Brethren relatives give his parents suspicious looks at family gatherings. 🙂 And here I thought the Reformed (Calvinist) were the most subdivided denomination.

          The book “Rosanna of the Amish” has a fascinating, and painful, chapter about a congregation dividing over modernization, in this case the use of machine-made straw hats and shiny finishes on some buggies.

          1. Apparently, my hubby is from a lost branch of a Mennonite family– This lovely older woman used to write to him about his relatives (she was Mennonite) and had kept track of all the brothers and sisters and children who had fallen away just in case they wanted to come back some day. 😉 His great-grandfather had left the Mennonite faith. lol

  12. The Human Wave isn’t the first attempt to bring back more optimistic Campbellian sf. I remember seeing a magazine in Borders in the late Nineties that proclaimed that it would publish old-fashioned adventure sf. I saw maybe two issues, and then it folded. This has actually been a recurring pattern.

    In fact, the current awful “radical hard sf” was largely a product of the left-wing control of the publishing industry: they saw the increasing desire of readers for hard sf, and carefully chose writers who were not a threat to their worldview. Writers like Iain Banks and–sorry, but I have to say it–David Brin would introduce lots of cool gadgets and use them to prove that we’d have a bright future that was EVEN MORE TOR-ISH THAN THE PRESENT!!! Hey, it’s okay to have a little science, as long as it’s government-approved science.

    The fundamental difference between Human Wave and previous somewhat Campbellian efforts, such as the briefly successful DAW and Del Rey lines back in the Seventies and Eighties, is that this time we have technology on our side. Del Rey published a lot of good stuff, but in the end it was just part of Ballantine. People who wanted to go outside the box–and into the optimistic sf box–still had to play by the rules. (I think that the main difference between Baen and other publishers is that Jim made a conscious effort NOT to play the relevancy game. With him dead, I expect that Baen over time will become like other publishers). Nowadays, however, with independent publishing and e-publishing, you really can write whatever you want. And this leads to a resurgence in books that are actually readable.

    1. Incidentally, I believe that the New Wave, which was ultimately responsible for the current (but happily receding) sad state of sf, was also a product of changes in publishing. In that particular case, it was not changes in publishing technology, but rather the fact that the BOOK publishers–as opposed to the pulp magazines–started seeing sf as something that could actually sell. Where the Golden Age was almost entirely a magazine phenomenon, the New Wave didn’t really take off until the book publishers started publishing anthologies like DANGEROUS VISIONS–in other words, the NW was driven primarily by book publishers.

      Which, incidentally, is why the Robespierre phase of the NW didn’t last for long. It was pretty much a top-down phenomenon; it was popular with some writers, but not with sf readers at the time. Still,as with the French Revolution, the worst offenders may have been gone, but the centralized power structure continued. As I noted in the previous post, there were semi-Campbellian outlets, but by the Nineties the publishing oligopoly was in charge everywhere except for Baen.

    2. I just ended my association with a magazine that was trying to publish more optimistic SF/F – we just never really found an audience to connect to and our numbers stunk. (Also, none of us really knew what we were doing, but we did put out some nice-looking e-magazines.)

      1. The thing is, we don’t NEED optimistic magazines any more. You can make your own book or e-book.

        1. True. We were looking at it as a way to hopefully give new writers a bit more exposure. Main problem being (with the benefit of hindsight) that we didn’t have much in the way of exposure to offer.
          And because it was short stories, we were able to pull different authors in and run some interesting things.

          1. “We were looking at it as a way to hopefully give new writers a bit more exposure.”

            That’s what Instapundit is for. 🙂

            (I’ll forgive him for Scalzi).

        2. I think it was the magazine format, yes. Even anthos don’t sell as well as they used to. People can sell their own collections and most readers seem to prefer them.

  13. Hey, guys – I’m building the book recommendation list over at goodreads (search for Hoyt’s Huns to find the group). There’s a lot of Heinlein in there, and while I have read a chunk of Heinlein, I certainly haven’t read everything in that post. My main concern is, I know that Trav was asking for recommendations and he seemed a bit young – had a very small brother, IIRC, and, well… while I read Number of the Beast as a teenager and enjoyed it, there were a lot of places where I was turning red and getting somewhat educated.

    (Insert commentary re: sheltered upbringings in SE Idaho here.)

    Anywhoo… two questions for those still interested / reading (you poor souls).

    1. Do we even want to worry about content on any of these recommendations? Because that immediately devolves into “whose standards?”

    2. If that is a concern, because I haven’t read, say, Friday or Stranger in a Strange Land, is there someone who might be willing to do a quick spit-take on it, maybe flag some books 14+, some 17+, or whatever?

    Meanwhile, I’ll keep adding books to the shelf as I get an opportunity.

      1. It might be possible, and if possible it might be a good idea, to break the list into three parts: All Ages, YA and May Not Be Appropriate (alternate for that last: May Contain Potentially Objectionable Material.)

        Pretty much any Heinlein published before Moon (possible exception is Stranger, and even that has little in the way of graphic depiction) fits into the YA category, almost everything after that might shock somebody.

        It struck me we left off H. Beam Piper’s books. While Little Fuzzy is his best known series it can be a little cute (it is just waiting some enterprising Japanimation studio’s touch) but the majority of his work holds up well and is resolutely Human Wave. Lone Star Planet and the Lord Kalvan stories are good examples of his work.

        Did any of us think to suggest the Hoka! stories by Poul Anderson & Gordon Dickson?

        1. N.B., per Wiki:

          Lone Star Planet (1958, originally A Planet for Texans) with John J. McGuire ISBN 0-441-24892-6. The work is a clear and obvious tribute to H.L. Mencken’s classic essay “The Malevolent Jobholder” (from The American Mercury, June 1924), in which Mencken proposed

          “…that it shall be no longer malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay, or even lynch a [government] jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder’s deserts. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined.”

          In 1999, the novel won the Prometheus Award, Hall of Fame Award for Best Classic Libertarian SF Novel. This tongue-in-cheek tale features a planet of Texans whose dinosaur-sized cattle have to be herded with tanks, and whose system of government derives its character from Mencken’s essay. The protagonist is an insubordinate junior diplomat who is appointed as ambassador to this cantankerously independent planet in the hope that he will be assassinated (as the previous ambassador had been), thereby justifying the forcible invasion and conquest of the Texans. The crux of the story is the trial of the previous ambassador’s assassins—actually paid killers hired by an alien empire also planning invasion—under a legal system that considers the killing of a practicing politician to be justifiable homicide.

        2. Samples: ALL AGES
          John Christopher’s Tripods Trilogy, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Piper’s Little Fuzzy, Burroughs’ Barsoomian books, Heinlein’s juveniles. Most “Golden Age” SF.

          There may not be a distinction worth making between All Ages and YA, certainly not in the SF market. These are, after all, ODD readers. The Daughtorial Unit was reading Stanislaw Lem while in grade school.

          Late Heinlein, certainly. I cannot recall, off hand, any other SF I would otherwise recommend except for graphic sexual or violence. Do Doc Smith’s repeated instances of genocide require warning, or just the purpleness of the prose?

          1. David Weber’s Wargod series; rape, human (well, person) sacrifice, some graphic but not lovingly-detailed violence.

            (Hey, it’s scifi; multiverse, and hints that it’s set after the end of a technologically advanced world, plus the dwarves go all steampunk at times.)

        3. I know I’d still like some kind of a notion of what I’m in for– if there’s some graphic violence, graphic sexual stuff (and what sort of pairings), how serious/dire it is, if it’s got a lot of Show Your Work, religious themes…. (Example: A Wizard in Rhyme is a light, idealistic magical series with Catholic themes and mild Show Your Work; Embers is a principled but cynical magical fanfic with high levels of Show Your Work set in the Avatar universe and growing out of “but that doesn’t make sense….” with heavy Asian mythology themes; Sleeping Beauty in the 500 kingdoms series by Mercedies Lackey is a light fantasy with fairy tale themes and Norse mythology, not very respectful of the source material but no really big errors from an ignorant standpoint.)

          Don’t know if that’s possible with Good Reads, though.

    1. Anything up to and including STARSHIP TROOPERS: appropriate for children.

      STRANGER through THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS (except PODKAYNE OF MARS,which is appropriate for children): not sexually explicit, but open enough about sex that parental guidance might be advisable. (FARNHAM’S FREEHOLD is borderline; it has one love scene and a lot of relatively tame sexual discussions. It’s acceptable if Judy Blume is acceptable).

      I WILL FEAR NO EVIL through THE CAT THAT WALKS THROUGH WALLS: parental guidance definitely adviseable, except EXPANDED UNIVERSE, which is acceptable for children but adult enough in themes and attitude that they might not care for it.

      TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET:definitely not appropriate for children.

      1. That’s the main disconnect, I think. I read a fair amount of early Heinlein, then picked up “Number of the Beast”, which blew my ears back a bit. Then I skipped to “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls,” and I had no idea what the heck was happening for most of it.

          1. I seldom read anything twice. Oddly enough, re-reading “Blowups Happen,” I finally understood why he didn’t include it in some versions of THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON and THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW. It’s a great story by itself, but it doesn’t make sense in the context of Future History. If you already have widespread and effective solar power, why would you build power plants that could destroy whole continents?

            Okay, that was a bit of a tangent…

      2. Um, Farnham’s Freehold has cannibalism in it. I think that may be more disturbing than sex. Was for me when I read it.

    2. I will allow I am a very poor judge of what constitutes content considered shocking. Back when I was young enough to be shocked by literature, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking — now I hardly notice anything but the most graphic descriptions, and even there it is mostly because I do a page count to see how long until the story recommences.

      I don’t recall anything in Number that was as racy as the story of Lot’s daughters, and most of what was provocative in Heinlein were his challenges to established mores more than actual descriptions.

        1. There was seldom anything graphic in Heinlein. The controversy was almost always about the themes he addressed, not about how explicit he was.

          1. I mostly remember rolling my eyes a lot because of things reading like, well, a dirty old man’s day dream. (I may have been a geek in high school, but I wasn’t utterly blind; the only detail I can remember is thinking something like “Oh, yes, sure sex will have nobody being possessive, with the personalities you’ve given ’em. Sure. Whatever. Story, please?)

            Compared to… well… everything else I read, besides Terry Pratchett and Wizard in Rhyme, the ‘yeah, whatever’ moments were nothing compared to everything else.

            I have read some folks complaining basically that it did seem valid to them, until they were old enough to have screwed up trying to follow it. Seems to be a guy thing.

      1. That’s as may be, and I see that a lot of other people have chimed in on this, but there was at least one scene in Number of the Beast that I found shocking and uncomfortable.

        As for why this is a big deal, there are reasons why it’s a big deal to me. YMMV, of course.

        #1. Because I take the law of chastity seriously. I try my best to keep my mind out of the gutter, and there’s entertainment out there that makes this harder. I try to avoid that, which is not easy, stuff sneaks up on me, and then my thoughts are off to the races. Now, this is my own issue, and other people won’t have a problem with / won’t perceive a problem with that, and that’s fine for them. I’m not going to try to ban books or put a damper on other people’s enjoyment. For me, personally, I am trying to walk as straight a line as possible on that issue, and things that knock me off that line don’t necessarily have to be explicit. So, I like to be aware, just for my own sake. And maybe someone else would like that heads up also.

        #2. A recommendation implies approval of content. There are plenty of things I’ve seen or read that I thought were great, but that I can’t recommend because of content. I want to be able to read things with my daughter, but I don’t want her thinking that I approve of things like casual romantic liaisons. Yes, it’s a chance for conversation. Yes, she’s going to read about sex in other books. Yes, she’s going to (and already is) hearing and talking about it with friends. And she discusses things with me and with her mother (more with her mother, thank goodness). But I have zero desire to pass her something that she’s going to read and think “Well, Dad gave this to me, so I guess he thinks X is all right, and I guess that means X is all right” for various values of X.

        Yes, she should be (and does) think about and will come to conclusions on her own, but you can’t tell me that kids don’t pay attention to what their parents say and do. Or watch. Or read. The axe-kick she delivered to my legs when she was three and wandered in while I was watching a Jet Li movie is a gentle reminder that kids pay attention, so I need to pay attention also.

        1. I don’t disagree with you, and do not mean to represent my being inured to such scenes as a positive. “O tempora o mores” and all that.

    3. *Is amused because I grew up in/currently live in SE Idaho.*
      I may finally have an explanation for why some of the Heinlein books were checked out when I wanted them as a teen (90s).
      Parents being what they are, I’d suggest saying the whole list is parental discretion advised. I wouldn’t let my ten-year-old (son) read Stranger, but I’d be okay with Moon, on the other hand I know plenty of moms who wouldn’t be comfortable with Moon for that age, or for any age. That’s my rule about the library: my kids can check out from anywhere but they have to run it by me. (I’ve vetoed one book.)

    4. How do i join the group? (I use Goodreads mostly to be informed of new books just published by authors I like)

  14. And none of these kids will know sex exists until you folks have that shocking talk with them at 18. Or you might leave it to their drill instructor.

    1. Er. That was not my problem, but when putting a list out there, you HAVE to warn people because some parents are… what’s the appropriate term? Idiots. Actually no one had a talk with me and I WAS sheltered, but I figured it out by age eight, just from things mom wouldn’t talk about and which I couldn’t mention in public. I don’t think we ever had “a talk” with the kids, but they’ve been free-grazing our bookshelves since… three or so. And they can ask questions — and did.
      HOWEVER I knew a family who wouldn’t even MENTION murder around their kids, nor any form of violence. They were homeschooled. I wonder how they fared at college…

        1. However I’ll note that when a VERY religiously er… restricted friend of Robert’s was bragging he never read anything but the Bible, because all other books were evil, I pointed out yep the Bible had all the sex and violence you could want. He assured me there was neither in the Bible. I think he might have been reading SOME OTHER Bible. (And before I’m suspected of shocking the young, this kid was 19 and his smugness reminded me of some Muslims who say there should be no other books than the Koran. Also, I was in a bad mood.)

          1. I assume he focused on the New Testament, and skipped Joshua (a.k.a. The Joy of Genocide) and Judges.

            1. The N.T. had whassername and her dance of the seven veils, working her booty to get ahead.

              IIRC, there was plenty of prostitutin’, too.

              1. One wonders what on earth the woman “caught in sin” and dragged to Jesus was DOING, if not sleeping around? I can see someone missing the implication that former lovers were the ones dragging her there, but….

                1. She was probably eating BLTs or maybe cheeseburgers. Maybe mixing fabrics improperly. Y’all haz dirty mindz.

                    1. Yes it can. My kid changes his clothes constantly (the younger one) but keeps them piled on the armchair. Then reuses them (yes, he IS a teen male. Yes, I yell about this.) they still get dirty. OFTEN.

                    1. makes note on side of notebook: when Robert goes to ye old Roman convention and meets SPQR aka Vamp Julius, make sure to tell him this, considering Robert’s varieties of sartorial splendor, aka “my eyes, my eyes.”

                    2. Wait – now I’m going to go ask Larry – do they sparkle before you set them on fire, or after?

                    3. well, when you douse them with gasoline, they kind of glisten…

                      I’ve spent many a fine summer evening, reading Baen books by the mellow light of a burning vampire.

                    4. I’m pretty sure that sparkling after you set them on fire is acceptable.

                    5. So if you see them sparkling, that just means they might go out and you should add more accelerant?

                      Got it.

              2. Actually the dance that Salome does is completely unnamed in the the Bible. The Seven Veils bit is a later elaboration.

                On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 9:03 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > ** > RES commented: “The N.T. had whassername and her dance of the seven > veils, working her booty to get ahead. IIRC, there was plenty of > prostitutin’, too.” >

            2. Not to mention Genesis 38. Prostitution is the LEAST of what was going on in that chapter. Oh, and just in case anyone was tempted to skip over that chapter, it’s explicitly referenced in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1: “… and Judah [was] the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar …”

              No graphic, illicit sex in the Bible? Puh…LEAZE. And there’s a whole BOOK devoted to VERY graphic, but completely licit, sex. Many have tried to interpret the sexual aspects of Song of Solomon away because they felt uncomfortable with the idea, but that’s their failing.

              1. Then there’s the *other* Tamar. Rape, incest, murder, the story has everything. Including an ineffectual clueless father, and an annoying busybody.

                On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 12:47 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > ** > Robin Munn commented: “Not to mention Genesis 38. Prostitution is the > LEAST of what was going on in that chapter. Oh, and just in case anyone was > tempted to skip over that chapter, it’s explicitly referenced in Jesus’ > genealogy in Matthew 1: “… and Judah [was] the father of P” >

                1. Then there’s the *other* Tamar. Rape, incest, murder, the story has everything. Including an ineffectual clueless father, and an annoying busybody.

                  … Wow. I never realized she shared a name with the Tamar from Genesis 38. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to name a daughter Tamar either.

          2. Hollywood, especially C. B. DeMille loved adapting Bible stories for the silver screen. After all, it was necessary to show all that sex and sinnin’ in Sodom & Gomorrah, amongst the Philistines and Pharoah’s court so’s we could appreciate the terr’ble things we was saved from.

      1. I actually don’t know when I figured it out, but it certainly wasn’t by age eight. It was probably before Biology class at 15, but certainly after 12. Then again, I was a late developer for pretty much everything.

      2. Forget the parents. If a kid wants to read something, short of erasing the book from existence, they will usually find a way to sneak it past their parents. But some people, younger or not, like to avoid books with too much sexual content or violence. It’s only fair to give them some warning. Then they can make a fully informed decision and go read it anyway (or not) if they so choose.

      3. There’s also those of us who really prefer to know these things because we may want to skip the books ourselves.

        1. Much so; part of why the “adult content” in YA fiction pisses me off is that I don’t want to read about it. You don’t need sex to have a decent story.

    2. The issue isn’t knowing about sex. It is not learning the wrong things (which is easy to do when you have zero experience). The later Heinlein makes sleeping around seem like the best way to handle sex, rather than monogamy. I disagree.

      Our kids will be exposed to the idea of sleeping around, but I don’t want that to happen too early.

      1. Oh. Um… would you believe neither of my kids GOT that there was any sex in the books until they were about sixteen? STRAIGHT over their heads…

          1. And she read the full version, not the original version which didn’t have the “Good Wives” section?

            IIRC, didn’t Beth’s death scene say something like “They gave thanks through their tears that Beth was now well”? (I’ll have to dig that book up.) I suppose one could miss it if they were a literalist. And didn’t notice that Beth never appears in person again.

            On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 8:33 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

            > ** > Mary commented: “One of my sisters read Little Women and managed to > miss that Beth dies.” >

            1. yes, there’s a fair amount of euphemism, but I’m not sure which version. To be sure, the copy we owned had both halves.

        1. I was like that. WHOOSH! Right over my head. Heck, I was missing the sexual undertones in face to face situations well into my twenties.

            1. And of Odd males as well; I was pretty clueless about sexual undertones, non-verbal signals, and all that when I was younger. (Still am relatively clueless, but I think I’m getting a bit better at picking up on non-verbals.) For example, there was a nice, attractive girl in my physics class when I was sixteen who really wanted me to ask her to the prom, but I had no clue. Even when my (male) cousin, who was in the same class, came up to me and said “So, who are you planning to ask to the prom? You know, there’s Nicole in physics class, she’s really nice.” I hadn’t been planning on going to the prom, and I told him so, and that was all I thought of it. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that Nicole had probably asked him to ask me about that, and he had understood why — but I hadn’t. I only hope I didn’t hurt her feelings too much; I actually would have wanted to invite her to the prom if I’d been planning on going.

              At least now, I can sometimes pick up on indicators of interest women send me. Sometimes it’s not until after the fact, but that’s usually a few hours later (“wait a minute, she was totally trying to hit on me!”) rather than literally years later as in Nicole’s case.

                1. Your husband doesn’t need to know if a woman is trying to hit on him. He is a husband, so it is irrelevant. No need to worry about developing skills you’re not going to use.

                  1. True– I just like to keep him safe and when a woman pursues a man that aggressively, he needs to know not to go into the closet looking for a pencil when SHE is around. 😉 I don’t mistrust him at all– He does the same for me.

                  2. Sometimes you need to tell them, though, because women scorned tend to be NASTY. It’s best to give them hints early on, so they don’t think they were led on just because a guy is friendly or (in Dan’s case) PATERNAL.

                  1. Just cause YOU don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. 😉 I know one lady who divorced her husband and was calling mine more often (she was involved in Amateur radio). I told him to be very very careful with her because she had admitted to me that she was looking for another man.

                  2. My wife calls any woman I mention more than three times my girlfriend…

                    1. Civilization is not there just to keep masculine power under control, but also feminine power. If you haven’t seen a woman using men to get what she wants (up to murder), then you haven’t been looking. This current feminism trend imho has unleashed many of the bad qualities that women have– Plus, women can tell when other women are on the hunt (yep they do hunt men). 😉 They like to use visual, and aural clues that incapacitate their prey. Mostly visual because men have a lot of visual triggers.

                    2. Your welcome– this one is just my check-up (my rheumatologist needs to see me twice a year to make sure I am okay). Have fun with the topic. 😉

        1. Hmmm, completely off-topic, but depending on what kind of engineering Marshall is interested in, I found interesting news today that is sorta related to the “Some Assembly Required” sub-title.

          Heathkit might be coming back.

          Survey here for Heathkit fans – warning its long, detailed and kinda exciting in a geeky way. It gave me a tingle, since I’ve been thinking about wasting money on eBay buying old Heathkit radios to go with the boatanchor tube 10 meter transceiver that is half-repaired on my desk.

      2. One notices that his plural marriages are stable — not usual unless the older members have clout that can enforce compliance — and that chlidren tend to be background material that just exists and never intrudes.

        1. Yes. I’d rather my kids learn about relationship from Dave Freer or Sarah Hoyt’s books. Some Tom Kratman characters are also good role models, at an older age.

    3. Forget the sex, Stranger has cannibalism and it’s not a bad thing as presented in the book. I’d have kids in tears.

  15. I keep hearing these tales of people working 60-hour weeks, and a couple of words keep springing to mind.

    One is “slave”.

    The other is… six letters long, starts with “n”, and is generally not accepted for public use….

    1. Odd, the words that come to my mind are “agriculture,” “rancher,” “business owner” and “military.”

      (Hey, I had some assignments that were only sixty hours! Alright, it was only one. But it existed!)

      1. China Lake: 12 hour days, 5 days a week, plus a “duty day” every four or 8 days– if on the 4 day schedule, fewer watches but you’re still on call for the whole 24 and in your office until 8pm; if 8 days, you WOULD have at least one 4 hour watch, probably 6 or 8.

        Still less work than either the ranch or ship.

        1. There is a long shaggy dog story about the farmer who is visited by the Dept. of Labor investigator who wants to talk to the lowest paid worker on the ranch. The farmer says there’s a half-wit who works 70 hour weeks, get paid transportation, room and board and about $6.00 per hour, and on Christmas gets a bottle of brandy from the family. The investigator says, sure, he’d like to talk with him and the farmer says, “present.”

        1. Hey, I KNEW China Lake (VX31, that is— VX9 had folks dealing drugs just so they could get kicked out) was a cake assignment!

          1. Never at China lake– the most work I ever did was in Panama, Panama at the cryptologic site on the other side. I managed the mat team, covered 8 hour watches when someone was sick (someone was always sick), had four-four hour watches a month, and sometimes ended up working weekends when the Chief wanted to go fishing. I finally told them that I needed time off. One of the Chiefs told me I wouldn’t make it on the ship– except I noticed that he had three day weekends and refused calls at night when there was trouble. One of the reasons I got out– I was planning on retiring before that tour.

            1. I mean I was going to go all the way– 20 years. For two years I would receive a call about some kid or other who was too drunk to get home. I might as well have been the E-7. I was the E-5.

            2. The Essex did the same thing to me; several XOs in a row that thought “do not sleep with those under your command” had exceptions for the MARRIED FEMALE PROTESTANT CHAPLAIN and that “the beatings will increase until morale improves” was a plan….

              Highest rate of folks leaving the service of any command in the Navy.

              1. Oh yes– “the beatings will increase until moral improves” style of leadership– I know it very well on the end of the beatings *sigh

                1. “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
                  Yep, had a couple of assignents like that. One of them was at an AFRTS outlet where we did a ‘phrase a day’ language course to be broadcast for the enlightenment of the assigned personnel. One of the guys did a parody of it. thusly: (Short standard musical bridge and intro – “This is your phrase of the day: ARRRRRRGH! I am not happy. ARRRRGH! I am not happy.” (Standard outro and musical bridge.)
                  The more our regional HQ ragged on us for bad morale, the worse morale got. Funny how that worked out.

        2. For folks thinking “SEA STORIES” or similar things: several of my geek-buddies worked 18 hour days, every day we were at sea; it’s actually part of why I’m slightly against women in the service. All of the guys were in vital day-to-day roles, and all of them were making up for females that did not do their jobs.

          Made me sick, and I’m sure Cyn encountered the same. Guys that didn’t do their job at least ran the risk of being kicked out, small though it was.

          1. I’m not against women in ANY service, but they should get treated exactly as men in the same service do, no exceptions no slack, no quotas.
            (Mind you, I think this is a bit of a waste. Our strengths aren’t theirs and vice versa. To waste women in male roles is dumb for the society. But I believe in INDIVIDUAL pursuit of happiness. IF turning themselves into virtual men makes women happy, let them. I haven’t ONCE whined that I must compete with men whose wives run the entire house and do everything but dress them in the morning so all they have to do it write. [I have laughed at my male friends’ suggestions I do the same because they have no CLUE.] I shut up. I take my lumps. Any woman who is willing to do so should be allowed. And prissy misses shouldn’t be allowed anywhere.]

              1. Precisely. I’m saying women have rights, but to go in they must serve the function of the armed forces. If that constitutes happiness to them, great. So while women should not be barred from competing, they should compete on exactly the same terms. For front line work that might come incredibly close to a sex change operation.

                1. When I was in the Navy, I really enjoyed the job very much. It was interesting and challenging mentally and physically. What I hated was the political BS.

            1. The really funny thing for me reading this comment this morning is that one the radio on my way to work, they were talking about a woman who quit her job, because, “she was too pretty for the job”. No, she didn’t say it was beneath her, she said that the women in the office were all jealous of her, and the men were always hitting on her, and she couldn’t get anything done.

              1. THAT is a thing. And this is why I said some women must be allowed to compete in male environments. I don’t do well in any honest work. Offices are full of humans! BUT I do better in offices with men than offices with women. No, I’m not too pretty — especially now — but having been raised mostly by males, I seem to miss female social cues. I’m fine one on one, but in a group, I tend to be the outsider and sometimes the “scary outsider”

                1. With few exceptions, I’ve observed that, especially in office environments, women don’t work well together, particularly in cases where one has a subordinate and one a superior role. When both are managed by someone else, sometimes it works, especially if it’s in an environment like a factory, but still, the backstabbing and infighting tends to happen more than with men.

                  Not that it doesn’t happen with men, just not as common.

                2. Problems occur when they insist on changing “male environments” to accommodate female modes of working, ending up with an environment that suits neither.

                  As I expect this is somewhat addressed in Wednesday’s “Big Boys” post (which I will probably lack leisure to read before supper) I will not develop the point further.

              1. You’d think they’d find the non-working women in bootcamp. I am of the opinion that there is a quota so some women slip through that shouldn’t.

                1. I think there’s not a quota currently– there’s just folks recognizing that their career is over if someone decides “too many” women are failing bootcamp.

                  Don’t need explicit orders when you’re conditioned to do it anyways.

          2. We had some good workers in the Mat shop– but once again we had our share of women who either couldn’t or wouldn’t pull their weight. I found one girl standing on the side, blinking her eyes, and getting young men–who had other jobs– carrying her equipment to the work bench. I stopped that– also I wrote her up for long fingernails. The reason she didn’t do it herself? She didn’t want to break a fingernail. I was pretty mad–

      2. Yes, but that is different. For one, you know what you’re signing up for. And in agriculture there’s correspondent down time, at least in the agriculture I know. And while I work ten hour days seven days a week (okay, mostly twelve or fourteen) I work from home and I set the hours. If I’m not functioning I take a nap at noon (rarely. I hate sleeping during the day.) Totally different ball of wax with driving home at two am, getting up again at six am and going back for weeks on end. Dan’s dept. FINALLY got that code written after three days of this was junk and needed more rewrite than if it were unwritten.

        1. I don’t like fraud or cheating–especially in service of stupidity like that– simply defending 60 hour weeks from being bad in and of themselves.

          My folks don’t get downtime much, but they get enjoyment from some of the work.

    2. In Dan’s early days at MCI, when they were doing the same thing as the previous company, and no, we’re not talking sixty hours, we’re talking between seventy and eighty, depending — and they balked at giving him Christmas off. Meanwhile I was home with no car and with a toddler. Fortunately we were in a walking neighborhood, but not within walking distance of a grocery store or the essentials — so, one night at two in the morning I called him at work and said “I don’t remember signing any paperwork, and I’m fairly sure slaves need to be bought.”
      His boss overheard that message. That was the start of the turnaround in that practice.

  16. Regarding zombies, John Ringo’s latest, bless his evil black hearted soul, makes a reasonably strong case for an eventual zombie apocalypse being highly likely if not inevitable. Scary thing is that all it requires is a few modest leaps in bio tech, not all that much hand wavium at all. But then that’s John for you.
    I still say that his ‘The Last Centurion’ is the best post pandemic, global cooling, prog/lib political takeover to date. Reminiscent of Heinlein’s TMIAHM or Frank’s ‘Alas Babylon.’

    1. I wrote a story that it was a zombie virus used to get workers that only needed a chair (chained too) and a brain a day and the ability to answer and talk on the phone. (i.e. a program)

    2. Mira Grant’s trilogy (kind of post-zombie-apocalypse and very well done, says the person who dislikes horror and never reads zombie novels) bases the zombie’s on a plague created by people accidentally while trying to cure disease. Seems very plausible.

      1. Sounds like the basis for a zombie story I had thought of: A genetically engineered bacteria being tested rats combines with the one that causes rats to have an overeating disorder, causing the infected ones to obsessively seek out protein and fat (used by the alzheimer’s treatment to repair the nerve cells), leading to eating everything that moves.

  17. Overall, great post! That said; some thoughts;

    • It has been my observation and experience that drawing a stipend from the State tends to be about a half-time job. I’ve never had ‘welfare’, but I’ve drawn unemployment, and they really want you to ‘participate’ in ‘voluntary’ this and that. It adds up fairly quickly, and tends to such the core of of your week awfully fast. I see no reason to think that most other kinds of government hand-out are different, with the exception of Social-Security/Disability (which my Lady has), and even there you get short periods of time when you are expected to drop everything and play bureaucrat bingo. My point being that this will have an effect on the development of the underground economy you envision. What effect? I don’t know. It will be interesting to watch.

    • The Socialist Planners are no different from any other would-be Ruling Class. They have ALL had elaborate plans for the economy and the “lower classes” that ignored the facts on the ground and would not work. Nor do I say this to excuse them; I am damning them as I damn the Aristocrats, the Theocrats, and all the other “We are designated you superiors by Divine Providence” parasites. But they aren’t unique; they are just the same old song in a different cracked key (and doesn’t it infuriate them when you say so!).

    • One of the effects that Socialist Planning seems to have on a society is to instill a healthy contempt for The Law in the common people. This is something I despair of getting my anti-immigration friends to understand. The Hispanics break The Law to come here not because they are what my friends believe Criminals to be, but because they are accustomed to living in a society that doesn’t WORK if you leave The Law unbroken.

    *And, lastly, a sour comfort; If there ever is a Communist/Socialist Revolution here in the United States the liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive twits that made it possible will be among the very first to be liquidated, because the Stalins and Lenins of the Revolution will know a bunch of whinnying troublemakers when they see them.


    1. Depends on the state, and even there it changes. Unemployment sent me to a program the first time, not the second.

      1. A decent point, but I suspect that the trend will be for the bureaucrats to increasingly call upon the ‘idle’ to jump through hoops.

        1. There wasn’t much the only time Dan was officially unemployed — as opposed to the times he was unemployed but not “qualifying” but a friend of mine had to attend a class in job skills — that had nothing to do with her job. The only way that the state understand QA is apparently in a factory context.

    2. something I despair of getting my anti-immigration friends to understand

      One minor quibble: leave us please be careful to distinguish between those who are “anti-immigration” and those who are anti illegal immigration, whose objection to the current regime is that it undermines support for legal immigration and tars legal immigrants with the illegal immigrant onus.

        1. You’ve heard it from me. Usually followed by “this is how Rome fell.” I.e. with a slow trickle over the border.
          But you can add to it “And we’ve created an attractive nuisance. Our minimum wage laws prevent people who are here legally from taking a lot of the jobs they would otherwise take, and make the business owners hire illegals in self defense. We don’t have an illegal immigration problem. We have a labor regulation problem.”

          1. Rome fell by allowing the “immigrants” to undermine its key indicia of civic virtue – serving in the Roman legion. By changing the legion to a mercenary army of “barbarians”, Rome was weakened at its core (continuing the political weakness that created the Imperium when the legion was made essentially a professional army instead of a militia)

            By destroying the employment of the lower economic classes with illegal immigration, the parallel is there without much squinting.

        2. If someone is in this country illegally, how are they not criminals? Are there no laws providing directions for those who desire to enter this country and participate in our economy and culture?

          The USA has a long history of welcoming immigrants — our beloved hostess is but one of many examples, as are my revered grandparents. To be in favor of controlled immigration is neither to endorse criminalizing those who respect our immigration laws nor to legitimize those who treat those laws with disrespect.

          There is yet a difference between a customer and a shoplifter, or have I missed your point?

          1. Technically, people in this country illegally are criminals. What they aren’t is “Criminals” in the dramatic sense of people who make a career of stealing from and hurting others. Now, there are career criminals in the illegal population. But treating all the illegals like criminals will simply make these swine harder to find, as the illegal population clams up and circles the wagons. And working with the illegal population (which we would have to) to identify the real criminals necessitates dealing with their mindset, which was formed in a country (*cough* Mexico *cough*) where the law isn’t worth following.

            If, IF, the immigration laws were worth enforcing, I would be in favor of doing so. They aren’t, in large part because Congress has (for decades) voted for draconian laws (to please on batch of voters) while declining to vote the funds to actually enforce them (to please another batch). So the laws have no relation to conditions on the ground. And, to make things worse the political forces who claim to be ‘on the side’ of the illegals don’t seem to be actually interested in changing the laws. They LIKE the idea of a large population they can push around by selectively enforcing the law. That is, in point of fact, how they would like all law to work.

            What would I suggest? Well, if we actually enforced the law, which would create one hell of a hullabaloo, we would quickly learn what the laws should be. Rather like the way that reformers in the South discovered after the repeal of Prohibition, that the way to get local Prohibitions repealed was to enforce the law until the voters got annoyed enough to vote for change.

            So, I’m in favor of enforcing the laws, but not because the illegals are ‘Criminals’. I’m in favor of enforcing the laws because Congress is a bunch of criminals, and doing so would turn up the heat under their fat rumps.

            1. Technically, people in this country illegally are criminals. What they aren’t is “Criminals” in the dramatic sense of people who make a career of stealing from and hurting others.

              Only if you define the further crimes they commit, and the harm that is done, away.
              That’s the usual route– ignore the massive amounts of fraud, the damage done to those businesses that do not commit fraud with the illegals, increased danger for folks driving, benefits fraud, drain on schools and healthcare, etc.

              They break the immigration law, in order to break employment laws, and break even more laws to keep going. That is being a career criminal, just not in the “dramatic” way that, say, the Barefoot Bandit did.

              Amazing what you can prove when you just define it away.

            2. “Technically, people in this country illegally are criminals. What they aren’t is “Criminals” in the dramatic sense of people who make a career of stealing from and hurting others. Now, there are career criminals in the illegal population. But treating all the illegals like criminals will simply make these swine harder to find, as the illegal population clams up and circles the wagons.

              Sadly, this is nonsense. The illegal immigrant community lives in the shadows, often preferring to do so, and often lives lives of at least continual petty crime such as driving without insurance, identity theft, tax fraud and more.

              1. The thing is, those are pretty much the kind of “crimes” that they would have to commit to lead reasonable lives under any Mexican government you might care to mention. And the fact remains that they fill a niche. Maybe, in their absence, we would find it was a niche that didn’t need to be filled, but I strongly suspect that isn’t the case. Certainly their existence allows the “planners” (rot their petty souls) to push for minimum wage laws that, absent the cheap illegal labor, would cause one hell of a lot of trouble.

                As I say, I’m for enforcing the immigration laws as they stand. But I’m for it because I think that’s the only way to cause a real change in them. The constant bitching about illegal Hispanics sounds an awful lot like the bitching about the Irish in Civil War era and after. It makes me doubt that it has a a lot of basis in reality.

                1. I’m for it because we need to enforce them. Look, you don’t GET it. I do. I come from a country where people went illegally to France, etc. And a culture not so different from Mexico.
                  90% of the immigrants from Mexico aren’t what you think of as immigrants. They’re “migrant workers” — they don’t and never will think of the US as home (though their kids can be convinced to think of the US territory as stolen.)
                  That’s what Portuguese workers were in France. They take and they send home. And in the meantime they bring the culture here. It’s NOT a good culture. I came a long way to leave it behind. I don’t want it following me.
                  Yes, we should reform immigration. Importing a boat load of illiterates, about 50% of whom are on some form of welfare here is neither healthy nor sustainable. There are people all over the world who would give their right hand to BE American. Start with the best qualified of those.

                  1. We had a system that apparently worked reasonably well:

                    The Bracero Program (named for the Spanish term bracero, meaning “manual laborer” [lit. “one who works using his arms”]) was a series of laws and diplomatic agreements, initiated by an August 1942 exchange of diplomatic notes between the United States and Mexico, for the importation of temporary contract laborers from Mexico to the United States.
                    The end of the Bracero program in 1964 was followed by the rise to prominence of the United Farm Workers and the subsequent transformation of American migrant labor under the leadership of César Chávez. Dolores Huerta was also a leader and early organizer of the United Farm Workers.

                    Leftists complained about the program’s exploitation of foreign labor (but then, they complain about exploitation of non-foreign labor.)

                    1. Leftists complained about the program’s exploitation of foreign labor …

                      So instead of a program where the foreign labor was here legally, and would be unafraid to go to the police if, say, their employer refused to pay them the wages they’d earned… we now have a system where the foreign labor is here in violation of our laws, and is therefore afraid to go to the police, and is therefore MORE vulnerable to exploitation than before.

                      WELL DONE, leftists. WELL done.

                2. The constant bitching about illegal Hispanics sounds an awful lot like the bitching about the Irish in Civil War era and after. It makes me doubt that it has a a lot of basis in reality.

                  Pretty clear you don’t have to deal with the problems first hand. Should know better than to let vague similarity make you conclude things are the same– especially when that similarity is played up by one side of the “discussion.”

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