Closing Thought–24Nov21

It appears the workers have found a new clout basically because of the pandemic…..companies are starting to run scared…..workers are getting in control of their destinies…..I appears…..

The pendulum has swung toward the labor force, and US workers are taking advantage of it. With their pick of employment opportunities these days, more Americans than ever—4.4 million—left their jobs in September, CNN reports. That could become the norm. “Labor now has the initiative, and the era of paying individuals less than a livable wage has ended,” said one economist. “This strongly suggests that rising wages are going to be part and parcel of the economic landscape going forward.”

Those workers had 10.4 million vacant jobs to choose from in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Employers in health care and state and local government especially are dealing with more openings. There were slightly more vacant jobs overall in August, but that total was affected by the steady decline in hiring for leisure and hospitality jobs. While there were 7.4 million unemployed workers last month, per the Wall Street Journal, the site Indeed.com figured the number of US openings at 11.2 million. Workers also set a record in September with a quit rate of 3%, which refers to how many workers left their jobs as a share of overall employment.

The shift can be attributed to several factors, per the Washington Post. Some employers improved pay and benefits to attract hires. Coronavirus infections caused by the delta variant increased, making child care and school attendance less certain, and some workers were less eager to stay in jobs that require dealing with the public—including health care and education. Retirements were up. “Workers are fed up with working conditions and feel unsafe and quitting even though they might not immediately jump into a new job,” said an economist for Glassdoor.

This could be monumental for any labor movements….the workers are asserting themselves as they should have been doing for decades.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving….please be careful and be safe……

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Labor Day–2021

First before I start my rant let me wish everyone a very happy holiday known as Labor Day

Labor Day blessings and greetings

The ‘unofficial’ end of Summer.

Now my rant about Labor in this country.

Next I want to say to all the Repub in power…STOP using jobs as a crutch to pass crap that benefits no one but the wealthy…..stop using the workers as a slogan and a tagline for your next election.

My state of Mississippi is a right to work state….a cutsey title for a policy that does nothing to benefit the worker….but what is a right to work state (hint it is not what the title implies)…..

To help fill in any gaps in what the reader may have on the subject…..https://lobotero.com/2008/08/27/employment-at-will-vs-right-to-work/  and https://lobotero.com/2012/01/13/right-to-work-redux/

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The Repubs in every state and at the federal level as well have done a marvelous job in the depression of the worker.  They have worked to lessen the influence of labor by selling a crappy myth of how bad labor is and does nothing for the worker….they defunded OHSA the group that use to protect the worker from injury or exploitation…all in all the GOP is NOT worker friendly…regardless what they say just watch what they do.

As an example I will point to my state of Mississippi and my personal story…..

I worked for the state as a worker in the state housing authority…well after 9 years of employment Katrina hit and hit us hard….about 30% of our units were made unusable…..we went to work trying to save as many as possible to make units available to people…..Katrina hit on 30 August 2005 and as I was working I fell on 26 December 2005 and broke my let in three places…..this injury kept me in surgeries and doctors until May of 2006.

On15 May 2005 I was told that I needed another surgery I immediately inform my employer….my surgery was scheduled for 10 June and on 06 June I got a termination letter because they said I was not back to work in 100 days.

There was NOTHING I could do but grin and bear….a right to work state…..

About a year before Katrina myself and two other employees tried to unionize….that is a story for another post……we worked for months to get the word out and we finally had interest generated as an IWW organizer we had a union that would support our efforts….but before we could launch our attempt we were sold out by one of the organizers….and word came down that anyone trying to join a union would be terminated immediately…interest waned and the attempt failed.

Labor in my state and this country needs to wake up and see the depressing effect that Repubs have on wages and opportunities….until then they will remain the lowest paid portion of our society.

Sorry to be a downer here but eyes need opening to the opportunities that are possible with a strong labor movement.

While you are enjoying your day off with family and food as Summer draws to an end…..think about what is possible and work for a better country.

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Enjoy your day.

“lego ergo scribo”

That ‘White Privilege/Supremacy’ Thing

The debate over CRT has brought the whole idea of ‘white supremacy’ to the forefront of the national dialog….some of the findings may surprise my reader…..

America’s battle over “critical race theory” reminds us of an ugly truth about the enduring white supremacy that’s long defined this country. In a potent racist backlash moment against the rising Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, many states have moved in Orwellian “Big Brother” style to entirely ban discussions of structural and institutional racism from K through 12 and college classrooms. And much of the public is on board with this agenda, as July polling from Ipsos reveals that 36 percent of Americans support “a ban on CRT in public schools.” This includes 23 percent of Democrats, 34 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Republicans. The opposition is based on toxic ignorance. In the case of the one group in which a majority supports the CRT ban – Republicans – only an average of 30% of respondents can provide correct answers across 7 factual questions that Ipsos asked about CRT. This is hardly surprising – when has bigotry ever been about being factually informed about the people you dehumanize

America’s culture of white supremacy is longstanding, and not confined to the Republican-right. Recent polling reveals that large numbers of Americans can be classified as white nationalists, including members of both parties. An October 2019 Associated Press poll found that 22 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans agreed that “a culture established by the country’s early European immigrants” is “important” “to the United States identity as a nation.” Such sentiment draws on classic white nationalist sentiments that identify white “European immigrants” as central to the national “culture” and “identity” and what it means to be American.

Similar to AP’s 2019 poll, a University of Virginia poll from 2018 revealed that 35 percent of Americans, including 26 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of independents, and 51 percent of Republicans, agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage.” The poll revealed much about American denialism, as only 8 percent of respondents were willing to admit in the survey that they support “white nationalism,” despite the alternatively worded question above serving as a functional equivalent for white nationalism, and demonstrating that 35 percent of respondents agreed that “America” as a nation should define “its” identity via “White European heritage.” Put another way, the discrepancy here suggests that while only 8 percent of Americans admit they are white nationalists, another 27 percent “fit the bill,” but are unwilling to openly identify as so for fear of the stigma that comes along with it.

Rise of the Right: White Supremacy and the Myth of the “White Working-Class”

Republican politics has jumped on the victim hood of white people since Trump made it fashionable…..

Republican politics have become so animated by white victimhood in the Trump era that any honest accounting of racial injustice in U.S. history is almost certain to draw conservative ire. Indeed, I found that the share of Republicans who think there’s too much Black history taught in schools increased by 30 percentage points from 2000 to 2018. But when you combine the rise of white identity politics in the GOP with its mischaracterization of critical race theory as tantamount to anti-white indoctrination, it’s even easier to see how a relatively obscure framework emerged as a leading issue in Republican Party politics. Moreover, the war on critical race theory suggests that the white grievance politics Trump helped activate isn’t going anywhere; rather, it’s a key part of the GOP strategy moving forward.

How The Rise Of White Identity Politics Explains The Fight Over Critical Race Theory

Like the article stated it is not just the GOP that is concerned over the loss of any power by whites…..but it seems to be more rabid within those that identify themselves as Repubs….even to the point of armed resistance…..

Nearly half of Republican voters believe there will come a time when the so-called “American patriots” will “have take the law into their own hands,” the findings of a new survey reveal.

The survey highlighted the following:

“Support for fundamental principles such as free and fair elections, free speech, and peaceful protest are nearly unanimous among both Democrats and Republicans. Their views on other democratic values, however, differ dramatically. Over half of Republicans (55%) supported the possible use of force to preserve the “traditional American way of life,” compared to 15% of Democrats. When asked if a time will come when “patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands,” 47% of Republicans agreed, as opposed to just 9% of Democrats.”

https://www.alternet.org/2021/07/gop-patriotism-survey/

That survey tells me that the GOP members are running scared for some reason….most of which is made up to energize an ignorant base.

This is disturbing….and I fear for this country as it has been in the past….the future without change of thought is heading for a fall…..and that fall has come from internal strife….we can blame NO ONE but ourselves.

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“lego ergo scribo”

That New Jobs Report

The figures are out.

Looks like all predictions were a bit off this time around.

The new unemployment report for April is out, and the takeaway number didn’t come close to meeting expectations. Details:

  • The number: Employers added 266,000 jobs in the month, even though analysts had expected roughly 1 million, reports CNBC. The outlet characterizes the figure as a “huge letdown.” What’s more, the March increase of 916,000 was revised downward to 770,000.
  • The rate: The unemployment rate rose from 6% to 6.1%. Though a disappointment, that’s down from a record-high 14.8% last April, notes the Wall Street Journal.
  • 2 reasons: The AP sees the disappointing hiring figure as a sign that employers are struggling to find people to fill openings. Supply-chain problems also may be limiting what businesses can do, per the Journal.
  • Bright spot: The leisure and hospitality industry saw the biggest gain with 331,000 new hires, though that still leaves the industry 2.9 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. Those gains were offset by losses in other sectors, including manufacturing, retail, and temping in general.
  • A blip? At MarketWatch, Jeffry Bartash suggests that the April figures will likely end up being a “temporary blip” in the recovery. “Falling coronavirus cases and massive federal stimulus have turbocharged the economy and job openings have surged,” he writes. The US remains poised “for a summer of strong growth.”

These figures are not good….but why is this?

Maybe it is because the unemployment benefits are too generous?  (This is a GOP talking point)……

The new monthly jobs report came in way below expectations on Friday, with employers hiring 266,000 people in April instead of the 1 million or so expected by analysts. The report has reignited a familiar political debate amid the pandemic, with those on the right arguing that President Biden’s relief package is so generous that it encourages people to stay home instead of getting a job. Defenders of the aid, however, say it’s not that simple. Coverage:

  • Chamber’s view: The US Chamber of Commerce on Friday came out firing after the unemployment report, reports CNBC. “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” it says. The chamber urged lawmakers to end “the weekly $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit,” asserting that 25% of those receiving it are making more money than they did when working.
  • Not so fast: The argument that extra benefits encourages people to stay home has been circulating for a while, and last month in the Los Angeles Times, business columnist Michael Hiltzik argued that it doesn’t hold water. “Economists have consistently debunked the idea that unemployment insurance benefits suppress job searching,” he writes. Those who say otherwise are citing anecdotes, not data, he adds.
  • Other factors: Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal dug into the issue of employers struggling to find workers, and the story cited a number of factors based on surveys. For one thing, people are afraid of getting COVID, especially in high-traffic places such as bars and restaurants; others cite child-care issues, because businesses are opening faster than schools.
  • One example: But the story notes that the extra unemployment benefits appear to be playing a role as well. The story quotes a concert promoter who wants to return to work in his own field and is avoiding taking other jobs because his $750 in weekly benefits makes that possible. “I really enjoyed what I did,” he says. “If the government is going to pay you to stay home, you’re going to do that unless that job you really want comes along.”
  • Biden vs. McCarthy: Expect the issue to intensify. Biden himself defended his rescue package on Friday in the wake of the jobs report, notes the Hill. “Help is here and more help is on the way and more help is needed,” he said. In contrast is this tweet from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Today’s jobs report is a disappointment—just like President Biden’s plan to burden families with more taxes & more debt,” he wrote. “While Dems trap people in a cycle of fear & pay them NOT to work, it’s clear the best thing to do is end the crisis-era policies & get Americans back to work.”
  • Eye on the states: States may make their own moves. Montana, for example, plans to start offering bonuses to people who return to work, reports KRTV. It also plans to opt out early of the federal program that provides extra benefits—by the end of next month instead of September.

The arguments against the benefits are just outright BS…..has anyone tried living on $300 a week?

Personally I would listen to nothing the Chamber has to say….why?

They support all the voter suppression initiatives….for me that makes them the enemy…..and no one that I would consider reliable source.

So far most of the ‘owners’ of business that have a personnel problem and those that notoriously pay lower wages.

Think about this…the jobs that no one wants are the lower paid jobs…..why return to work for $200 a week when you can stay home and make $300?

I think this is a prime example that the minimum wage needs raising and quickly.

People would return to work if they were paid a living wage.

So stop bitching and do something about it!

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May Day 2021

AS the weekend begins IST would like to look at the day workers get international recognition for the contributions to society.

Commemoration of the May Day

It is 01 May and the International Workers Day……and May Day has a long history and not all of it deals with the workers…..

The Celts of the British Isles believed May 1 to be the most important day of the year, when the festival of Beltane was held.

This May Day festival was thought to divide the year in half, between the light and the dark. Symbolic fire was one of the main rituals of the festival, helping to celebrate the return of life and fertility to the world.

When the Romans took over the British Isles, they brought with them their five-day celebration known as Floralia, devoted to the worship of the goddess of flowers, Flora. Taking place between April 20 and May 2, the rituals of this celebration were eventually combined with Beltane.

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-may-day

But these days the mention of May Day conjures up  visions of the workers and unions and dare I say….socialism.

For me it conjures up memories of the historical event that has become known as the Haymarket Riot….

The Haymarket Riot (also known as the “Haymarket Incident” and “Haymarket Affair”) occurred on May 4, 1886, when a labor protest rally near Chicago’s Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police. At least eight people died as a result of the violence that day. Despite a lack of evidence against them, eight radical labor activists were convicted in connection with the bombing. The Haymarket Riot was viewed as a setback for the organized labor movement in America, which was fighting for rights like the eight-hour workday. At the same time, many in the labor movement viewed the convicted men as martyrs.

https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/haymarket-riot

This event is the beginning of the use of “Anarchy” as something derogatory and synonymous with chaos. (A post to follow soon…..watch for it)….

As typical the powers decided that labor was to blame and since those days they try to dismantle the labor movement….and have been successful to a point….

May Day in the 'city of joy', Kolkata

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A Jobs Guarantee Resolution

Jobs and income stability should be priority one.

With the backing of civil rights organizations, labor unions, and economic experts, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on Thursday morning unveiled a jobs guarantee resolution demanding that “meaningful, dignified work” at a livable wage be made an enforceable legal right in the United States.

Presenting her resolution as an effort to build on the work of generations of civil rights leaders who have connected the cause of racial justice with the fight for full employment, Pressley said in a statement Thursday that “it’s long past time to pursue bold, intentional policies that affirm equity and recognize the dignity and humanity of all people”—an objective that requires sweeping legislative action, not mere tinkering by the Federal Reserve.

According to a summary (pdf) released by Pressley’s office, the resolution calls for a permanent jobs program that would be administered by the Department of Labor in partnership with the Treasury Secretary.

“The Secretary of Labor would direct Treasury funds to local Employment Offices to manage job guarantee projects and match job seekers to projects, as well as cover any related capital and administrative costs,” the summary states.

Jobs created under the new federal program, according to Pressley’s office, would be geared toward:

  • Ensuring the delivery of high-quality, professional care to children, seniors, and others in need of long-term support in family based, informal, and formal settings;
  • Augmenting the staffing of public education and early childhood learning, including Head Start and preschool;
  • Strengthening public afterschool programs, libraries, and recreational programs to provide lifelong learning and enrichment for people of all ages;
  • Implementing community infrastructure and improvement projects that revitalize neighborhoods and increase accessibility…;
  • Expanding emergency preparedness, and relief and recovery from natural and community disasters, including public health, natural disasters, and environmental emergencies;
  • Producing works of public art and documentation of American history akin to the WPA’s Federal Arts Project;
  • Implementing environmental conservation, remediation, and sustainability initiatives and increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and our housing stock to address climate change;
  • Rehabilitating and retrofitting our existing affordable housing stock to ensure safe, affordable, accessible, quality homes, and supporting the development of new affordable housing and social housing to address the nation’s housing crisis; and
  • Other projects that address public needs and can be implemented quickly.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/18/demanding-dignified-work-and-living-wage-legal-rights-ayanna-pressley-unveils-jobs

This is a good plan….it needs to be more than a resolution….this should be immediate policy.

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Good News For Some Americans

The pandemic has caused many pains but the most painful is the loss of income…..

The legacy of 2020 will endure in America’s collective memory for many reasons: a deadly pandemic, a vicious presidential election.

It also brought the most severe recession in almost a century, which hurtled millions into poverty and joblessness and created burgeoning inequality.

That financial pain has been concentrated among certain groups, like racial minorities, women, low earners, those without college degrees and workers in the service economy, like restaurant and retail jobs that require face-to-face contact. (These categories often overlap.)

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/01/the-covid-recession-brought-extreme-inequality-in-2020.html

But there is some good news…..at least for some……

A New Year starts and I wish the good news was that the pandemic was slowly winding down but since that is not the case…..irregardless there is some good news for some of our fellow citizens…..wage increases…..

2020 was a devastating year for underpaid frontline workers.

But even in the face of public health and economic crises triggered by Covid-19, the Fight for $15 movement persisted, and now 24 states and 50 municipalities throughout the U.S. are set to raise minimum wages in 2021.

On New Year’s Day, 20 states and 32 cities will increase their minimum wage, with the wage floor in 27 of those jurisdictions reaching or exceeding $15 per hour. The January 1 raises will be followed by another round of wage floor hikes later in 2021, when four additional states and 18 localities will increase their minimum wage, 13 of them to at least $15 per hour.

That’s according to a new report, Raises From Coast to Coast in 2021 (pdf), released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), which monitors worker remuneration and advocates for higher minimum wages nationwide.

“Despite the pandemic, the Fight for $15 movement continues to gain strength, with more cities and states than ever before raising their wage floors, including dozens of local jurisdictions raising wages to $15 or more,” said Yannet Lathrop, senior researcher and policy analyst with NELP and author of the report.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/31/raises-coast-coast-2021-new-year-higher-minimum-wages-24-states-and-50

Too bad it is not ALL American wage earners…hopefully that will be future benefit…..

I hope this helps some of you to make a better life for your family….as they say…”every little bit helps”….

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“lego ergo scribo”

The Clayton Anti-Trust Act 1914

Speaking of economic news……

Hold your breath it is time for the Old Professor’s history lesson…..first Mata Hari was executed in Paris on this date in 1917….and in 1966 the Black Panther Party is established……and in 1969 over 2 million people protested for the end of the Vietnam War…..

On this day. 15 October, in 1914 the US Congress passes the Clayton Anti-Trust Act…..

On this date, the 63rd Congress (1913-1915) passed the Clayton Antitrust Act (P.L. 63–212) in a bid to curb the power of trusts and monopolies and maintain market competition. By the turn of the 20th century, large corporations had cornered whole segments of America’s economy using predatory pricing, exclusive dealings, and anti-competitive mergers to drive local businesses to ruin. In Congress, Members decried the evils of monopolies, including Representative Robert Crosser of Ohio who warned that a “failure to check the growth of monopolies…will result in industrial slavery.” Representative Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky dubbed the trusts “offensive organizations.” Most agreed that government regulation of the trusts was too lenient and rallied around the Clayton Antitrust Bill when Representative Henry Clayton of Alabama introduced it in 1914. Representative John J. Casey of Pennsylvania remarked, “I realize and appreciate the importance of this bill, because I believe it is one of the most important that has or will come before this House for consideration.” The Act supplemented and strengthened the Sherman Act of 1890, an existing antitrust bill that had failed to effectively regulate the massive corporations. The newly created Federal Trade Commission enforced the Clayton Antitrust Act and prevented unfair methods of competition. Aside from banning the practices of price discrimination and anti-competitive mergers, the new law also declared strikes, boycotts, and labor unions legal under federal law. The bill passed the House with an overwhelming majority on June 5, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law on October 15, 1914. 

This was suppose to cease the idea and exploitation of being a wage slave…….and how has that worked out?

This law has very little teeth anymore…..we have monopolies everywhere in our business societies….the US has a long history of trying to make the society more equitable……https://www.thoughtco.com/the-clayton-antitrust-act-4136271

How has all this legislation done at help this society become a more equitable society?

I do not see it….how about you?

(Watch this blog for more thoughts on monopolies….posts coming soon)

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Closing Thought–01Oct20

More bad news for the workers thanx to the Trump admin during the pandemic.

All those economic stim packages that were aimed at helping workers to live until the virus can be conquered…..most of the money….all the money….has made it into the hands of corporations….and to add one more failed program to save the workers from unemployment.

A new analysis out Wednesday reveals that the Federal Reserve bond purchasing program meant to prevent workers from losing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic instead bolstered companies who laid off more than one million workers while paying massive dividends to shareholders—a finding escalating concerns that the central bank’s behavior is “contributing to an economic recovery that benefits wealthy executives and investors but leaves behind American workers.”

The report put forth by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis —titled “Prioritizing Wall Street” (pdf)—examines individual corporate bonds purchased through the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), a lending system supported by funds from the CARES Act but which lacks taxpayer and worker protections included in other programs backed by the legislation passed earlier this year. 

For corporations hoping to become eligible to issue bonds purchased by the Fed, the SMCCF “imposes no conditions requiring companies to save jobs or limit payments to executives or shareholders,” the report notes. 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/23/fed-program-meant-help-workers-amid-pandemic-prioritized-wall-street-investors

“The primary beneficiaries of the program have been corporate executives and investors, not workers.”

This is no different than the rest of the stim plans……make the CEOs richer and the screw the people that make these corporations possible.

Not to worry though the whole BS about the shareholders saving the working people is a LIE….please let me repeat that for the mentally slow….IT IS A LIE!

When the Business Roundtable issued a statement on corporate purpose and promised to “deliver value to all of… our stakeholders” in 2019, some applauded the attention paid to social and environmental concerns by 181 CEOs as a significant improvement from neoliberal economist Milton Friedman’s 1970 dictate that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” which marked the beginning of an era of shareholder primacy. 

But a study (pdf) published Tuesday by the Test of Corporate Purpose (TCP) initiative showed that amid 2020’s disastrous public health, economic, social, and environmental challenges—the coronavirus pandemic, massive unemployment and worsening inequality, persistent police violence and racial injustice, and intensified climate crisis—”stakeholder capitalism” has failed to follow through on its promises to do more to benefit workers and communities, continuing to “put profits ahead of people” instead. 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/22/study-shows-stakeholder-capitalism-failing-live-promises-corporations-continue

“The study enhances doubts that corporations can be depended upon to moderate their quest for profits to pursue solutions to challenges like climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequality.”

The more you learn the more you see what a biased system we live in….the workers mean NOTHING.

If you cannot see the inequality you are either ignorant or a Trump supporter….wait…that is basically the same thing.

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Labor Day–2020

Closing Thought–07Sep20

Labour Day 2020: History, Importance and Significance of May Day

As usual the Old Professor has a history lesson and a touch of sociology for you on this day that celebrates work…..

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. employment is dire. Economists estimate that 1 in 5 workers have lost their jobs. As a result, many people are finding it difficult to keep a roof overhead and put food on the table. Yet there can be more to work, and Labor Day provides an opportunity to see how through the writings of a woman who thought especially deeply about it, Simone Weil.

Weil looked at work as more than an exchange of money for labor. She argued that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of labor itself. From her perspective, money does not solve the core problems of joblessness. Instead, work provides vital opportunities to live more fully by helping others.

https://theconversation.com/labor-day-celebrates-earning-a-living-but-remember-what-work-really-means-145360

Because it is a lazy day does not mean that something cannot be learned…..

Today will be a short day for me and I need to step away from the keyboard for awhile…..and what better day then Labor Day….

I hope all my regulars have a great day.

I will be grilling and drinking beer……a person has got to have some fun once in awhile…..

So until tomorrow…..I will return to my regularly scheduled posting….but until then…TTFN!

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