Recently the Frying Pan ran an interview with DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL players’ association, in which he responded to people who thought the 2011 players dispute with owners was a “fight between millionaires and billionaires.”
Smith pointed out that a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on professional sports, and lockouts hurt them even more than they hurt players. But there’s a bigger question raised by this issue – and one that highlights a conflict deep at the heart of American cultural beliefs. Who has a moral right (not the legal right or the logistical need, but the moral right) to the proceeds of an enterprise — the people who do the work or the people who front the money? We say we value hard work, but do we really value it more than the right of people who already have money to make even more?
I’ve been asked this question various times during my employment with the Hyatt Andaz hotel over the past few years. The last manager who asked me this had deep bags under her eyes. She’d been working eight days in a row and was then on her 12th hour that day. She told me she needed a cigarette, — which was odd, considering she didn’t smoke.
I laughed. I told her I’d be a terrible candidate for management because I enjoy my family time. I like seeing my wife. I enjoy eight-hour workdays. I enjoy the fact that I occasionally get to do menial household tasks like laundry and dishes. I love the fact that once I’m off the clock, I’m truly off the clock.
She blinked twice, yawned and told me I’d be a terrible manager.
I have always gotten along with my supervisors,
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark recently sent out a call for bloggers to express their hopes for 2012. On December 26 Newmark announced on his own blog that the Frying Pan News’ Jim Lair Beard was included in a group of 16 writers whose ideas were especially noteworthy. (16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012.)
Jim’s post, Change Will Not Be Downloaded, spoke of the need for progressives to physically get out into the streets and to knock on doors to advance change in the coming year. He’s in good company on Newmark’s list – his 15 colleagues include MoveOn co-founder Joan Blades, Surfrider Foundation CEO Jim Moriarity and David B. Crowley, President and Founder of SCI Social Capital Inc.
You can read Jim’s latest post, Homicide and Hospitality, in today’s Frying Pan. A restaurant server at the Andaz Hyatt hotel in West Hollywood,
I’m from the Midwest. More specifically, I’m from the mitten state (and I don’t mean Wisconsin!). I grew up in a pretty stereotypical hard-working, blue-collar community. Many of my family members and friends’ parents worked for the Big Three. We had a pretty good life. Everyone went on vacations, we all had multiple cars per family, we had someone to mow the lawns in the summer and shovel the driveways in the winter. Life was good for Michiganders who were working for General Motors or one of their many suppliers. What could go wrong, right?
Then it all unraveled. I’ve watched Michigan, and especially the town I grew up in, go from middle class to low income in less than 10 years. I’ve seen the ranks of the homeless population grow to include large numbers of women and children.
(Editor’s Note: This reposted feature originally appeared on the Huffington Post in slightly longer form.)
Through a story of personal tragedy and the virtues of small-town life, voluntarism, and compassion, the New York Times’ David Brooks has written a column that unwittingly exposes our nation’s outrageous cruelty and callousness.
In his December 30 column, “Going Home Again,” Brooks tells the story of Ruthie Leming, a school teacher and mother of three daughters in St. Francisville, Louisiana (population 1,765), who last year, at age 40, was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer. Brooks understandably laments the tragedy and applauds Ruthie’s community, which rallied around her and her family as her health deteriorated.
“There were cookouts to raise money for her medical care,” Brooks reports. On April 10 last year — officially “Ruthie Leming Day” — “more than half the town went to a fund-raising concert”