Four day work weeks a good idea - but don’t expect everybody to stay home on Friday out of respect for the environment | Street Jazz

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four day work weeks a good idea - but don’t expect everybody to stay home on Friday out of respect for the environment

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 10:08 AM

A little over 20 years ago, our plant manager at Mexican Original told us that night shift would soon be shifting over to four 10hour nights. Though some thought it was a terrible idea, most of us loved it. Hey, even if we worked overtime on Friday, we still had a weekend.

Of course, years later in the warehouse I was on a three-day, 15 hour shift - is that even legal?

I have been doing a lot of reading about city governments moving to 4 day/10 hour shifts, and it’s a great idea. As long as you get your 40 hours.

Some cities are are working 4-say/8 hour shifts, which probably sounds good to some dweeb in City Hall, who probably had a press conference and announced the savings to the environment - after all, these newly impoverished workers wouldn’t be driving so much during the week.

Thank God they won’t be using utilities, either, and that their families are voluntarily fasting one or two days a week!

If Fayetteville goes the 4-day route, I hope they remember that people really can’t make it on less than 40 hours a week.

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Sure, that makes sense

Of course, there are some iffy theories about the whole “let’s just give everybody Friday off” routine. The first is that people won’t be driving much on their days off. Well, not by choice, anyway.  Given gas prices, that theory is probably pretty valid.

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But this one doesn’t even hold a thimbleful of water

I’ve been coming across this idea more and more. It goes along the lines that if people are working different hours at work (because suddenly they are working longer hours) it will reduce road congestion at peak times, and thus improving mileage.

I dunno.

If suddenly scads of folks in the area are working longer hours, and are on the roads at the same time, would that not mean that new “peak hours” are being created?

But what do I know?

I still think that families whose breadwinner’s hours are reduced to 32 hours a week are going to expect to eat supper on Friday nights . . .

****

Quote of the Day

Anything you think can be held against you. - Phillip K. Dick, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale."

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John Brown - the things I never knew

It's hard to get a good grasp on the enigmatic John Brown, the abolitionist who led the infamous raid on Harper's Ferry, in the hopes of igniting a slave rebellion across the southern states. Most of what people know seems to come from "Santa Fe Trail" - an entertaining though grotesquely
inaccurate movie chronicling the early years of West Point graduates who later fought against each other in the Civil War.

If you ask someone with strong Southern roots, they may simply tell you, "John Brown was crazy." But other than that nugget of priceless information, they may be as clueless as anyone else about a man who embodies the troubled complexities of his age.

In "John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights," David S. Reynolds makes the claim that while the Civil War was inevitable, Brown's actions helped bring it about that much sooner.

Of course, many southerners will calmly tell you that the Civil War was about "state's rights," usually without making reference to the fact that chief among these "rights" was the right to enslave men, women and children in conditions that were often nothing short of barbaric.

To understand Brown, one must understand the world in which he lived. The South was a conservative culture which saw itself as coming from aristocratic roots, and with an economic system blessed by God. Indeed, the Episcopal church - which today is one of the most progressive churches - was one of the staunchest defenders of slavery.

Reynolds has written a biography that deals not only with Brown but with the culture of both the North and the South. The puritanical nature of John Brown's world view led him naturally to see the opposite of the teachings of Southern churches. He saw slavery for what it was, a cancer on humanity.

Brown began his violent career in Kansas, where he earned the moniker, "Pottawatommie Brown," following his actions against slave-holders who had been murdering and maiming those opposed to slavery. Realizing that pacifism was a lousy defense against folks who would cut your head off and laugh, Brown was essentially making the statement: "I've got your ‘‘Kum Ba Ya' right here, fellas."

Boy, were they in for a surprise.

John Brown proved that he could be just as cruel and ruthless as those who delighted in killing abolitionists. But his adventures in Kansas were not enough for him. Inspired by such slave rebellion leaders as Nat Turner, Brown hoped that an attack on Harper's Ferry would inspire local slaves to revolt against their owners. Such a revolt, he felt, could not help but have a ripple effect across the South, and slavery would come to a very bloody end.

To say that he miscalculated would be an understatement. John Brown was captured and hanged, along with several of his cohorts.

Brown's actions threw the South into what can only be described as a paranoid frenzy. Not only was he attacked by newspapers and politicians, but fearing slave revolts, Southerners indulged in a wave of killings that claimed the lives of slaves and Northerners alike.

And by claiming that Brown's moves were the acts of a crazy man, the South did not have to reflect on his motivations, or the larger issues that were at stake.

John Brown is a problematic figure, especially in the 21st Century. Who among us has not considered at some point that only violent action will solve the problems of society? The rational among us realize that violence is rarely, if ever, the answer. And in an age when abortion providers are murdered, and killers like Paul Hill, John Burt and others openly invoke the name of John Brown in their defense, it's hard to look well on Brown's actions.

Reynolds helps the reader to understand a time when the country was divided even more than it is today, and how the actions of one man were felt and debated throughout the whole nation.

rsdrake@nwark.com

 

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