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Freedom and Capitalism

For Americans, it seems that freedom and capitalism have, at some point in our history, become interchangeable concepts. There is no freedom without the ability to own and control capital, and capital that cannot be used as its owner wishes cannot be considered freedom. But is this really right? You’ve probably guessed already that the answer is “no.” But it’s why that matters. How did we come to link these ideas together, and what purpose does it serve?

Americans' Mixed Feelings on Unions

Labor unions in the United States are both more and less popular than people tend to believe. Confusing? It sure is. I spend a lot of time thinking about labor in the United States, and around the world. What will the future look like? Will there be more worker organization, or less? And how do Americans feel about unions, anyway? I wanted to see what data existed, and sure enough, Gallup has some long-term polling on American attitudes toward labor unions.

Relations and Tone and Stuff

Some minor changes, and thoughts on tone. The latest feature added to this site is the “related posts” section at the end of each post. This automatically comes up with links to other posts on this site based on titles, contents, and categories. Having looked at the results of several posts, I’d say it works pretty well, probably better than if I picked them myself. I took a shot at using an automatic tag generation system, which did not produce agreeable results at all.

Link Roundup: May 14, 2016

It’s Saturday, so I have some things for you to click on. Social Justice * [Billy Corgan upset that "the wrong racial epithet" could destroy his career]( -- I think the solution to this one is staring you in the face: _don't use racial epithets._ It's not even hard. * [This sexist dress code poster compares girls to meat]( -- Student makes a poster that suggests letting girls dress however they want distracts boys and sends boys down a path to career destruction.

The Minimum Wage Fight

The fight for a $15 minimum wage in the US seemed to spring up almost out of nowhere. How did this become a hot political issue so suddenly? In fact, efforts to have the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour started back in 2012. It was one of the demands of fast food workers in New York City who were on strike. The striking workers didn’t get what they demanded–at least not at the time–but workers in New York City will have a $15 minimum wage as soon as 2019, thanks to state legislation passed last month.

Gender: Beyond Binary

Transgender people have been in the spotlight quite a bit lately, and not always for positive reasons. Whatever one thinks of recent developments, it is evident that the landscape of gender is changing. We don’t know what it will look like in the future, but a peek at what’s happening in the present might help. When most people think of transgender, they might think of someone like Caitlyn Jenner: born with a male body, grew up and identified as a man for most of her life, and eventually transitioned to living as a woman full-time.

The Miracle of Air Travel

Airplanes and flying almost never make the news unless there’s a crash. So join me, if you will, on an appreciation tour of the magnificent machine that is the modern air travel system. Growing up with a father and other family members in the Air Force, I’ve been around planes all my life, and I’ve always had a particular fascination with them. I’ve been a faithful devotee of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series since 4.

Can Donald Trump Win?

The short answer is “yes,” but the more qualified answer is “probably not.” Read on for why! The hot news right now is about the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which shows a tight race between Trump and Hillary Clinton in key swing states. But the poll slants things in favor of white and Republican voters. This is bad news for Trump in a critical way: if the best he can do with polls slanted in his favor is a statistical tie, then he’s got an uphill battle on his hands.

The American Anxieties

Is it class? Is it race? Is it something else? What’s at the root of Americans’ identities and political divisions? This line of thinking spun out from a discussion of Us Against Them, which I have yet to read (though it sounds fascinating), as well as conversations with others on similar topics. Matthew Yglesias offers a good overview, from back in 2012: The No. 1 book about American politics that I wish more people would read is Donald Kinder and Cindy Cam, [_US Versus Them: The Ethnocentric Foundations of American Public Opinion_](http://www.

Will There be Changes?

Yup, it’s time to talk about myself and the blog again. It was announced this past week that the company I work for has been sold to another. The particulars aren’t important–these things tend to unfold similarly from company to company. When two organizations merge, there’s an adjustment period as management is rearranged, priorities are reevaluated, and a future course for the combined organization is plotted. Almost inevitably, personnel redundancies will be found, and positions eliminated.