Biden Declares War On Uber

No headlines say this. A few lines in some of the financial papers hint at it, explaining why every rideshare and gig delivery company just took a massive stock hit. Frankly, when it comes to hard news, it’s tough to go wrong with the financials.

On Wednesday the 5th, President Biden’s Department of Labor issued a reversal for the Trump-era “final rule” that defined most gig workers as non-employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In an interview, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh explained that this was designed to make gig workers eligible for the benefits everyone else gets. In reality, what it’ll do is force the contracting companies to limit worker hours, particularly during slow periods, so they aren’t suddenly required to pay overtime for someone who’s just sitting around doing nothing. For customers, it’s going to be just that much harder to get a ride at odd hours or to get food delivered.

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Wanna Be

(The following is one of our occasional ventures into short fiction. We hope you enjoy it.)

The killer backed out of the room into the empty hallway and knelt at the keyhole; peering inside, he examined the end of the old-fashioned key. From the pocket of his windbreaker he took a small pair of what looked like bent needlenose pliers padded with thin strips of cloth. These he inserted. Gripping the key, he turned until he heard the lock click. The pliers went back into the pocket, and were replaced by a flash and small magnifier.

He peered through the lens, tsking at a couple of small scratches he’d left with the tool. From a different pocket he removed a bottle labeled (but not containing) Wite-Out. Using the brush, he carefully and methodically applied a thin coat of translucent lacquer onto the end of the key, dulling the scratches. It would dry long before the body was ever discovered.

Besides, by then they’d be looking for a vampire, not him, he thought, and chuckled to himself.

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Losing Heart

Your elderly parents trust Tucker Carlson and refuse to wear a mask no matter how much you beg them. Uncle Gene is getting secret messages from Q about the Conspiracy and is convinced that Trump won the election and that mass arrests of Congress are coming soon. Your college friends have moved to Portland to join the Resistance, and your ex just dropped out of Harvard Law to become a cop. Meanwhile, the president you worked hard to help elect has backtracked on his campaign promises so far that not only is he not legalizing marijuana and mass-pardoning prisoners, instead he’s banning menthol cigarettes.

It’s easy to lose hope in times like these.

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Running Dry

(Written in a Down East accent)

Now, I don’t often choose to explain to folks in detail exactly what my politics are. For one thing, if I’m going to write honestly about the issues and try to tell you the facts of the matter, my politics don’t make any difference; truth is truth, and politics (as we all know) is something else entirely — and I’m here to tell the truth. If it disagrees with my position, it might just be I’ll end up changing my position, which is the way it ought to be.

The other thing is, if you’ve read much of what I write, the way I feel on the issues ought to be pretty apparent by now, so if you don’t get it you’re obviously not reading, and why should I give a hoot what you think of me anyhow?

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Strange State

It’s highly unusual for a new president to address Congress within his first year, much less his first hundred days. With a near-deserted hall (thanks to COVID) in a fortified building surrounded by heavily armed riot police and not a few National Guardsmen, tonight’s address made history in several ways.

What wasn’t unusual was the content. Although it was delivered in an almost informal, folksy style, we heard exactly what we expected to. The tone was optimistic, and the message was clear: Biden laid out his agenda for the coming months, and he expects to make it happen. How, exactly, is another question entirely.

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Well, At Least He’s Not Trump

President Obama had his detractors — some focusing on policy, others for far less admirable reasons — but he did have two qualities that I’m missing dearly right now: First, he was incredibly charismatic, capable of inspiring people; second, he was not merely capable of complete sentences but remarkably well-spoken.

I miss that. I miss it a lot.

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The Not Fake News Update, 22 April 2021

Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, but if you have any clue who he is, you know that already. Several other things have happened lately that you might not have noticed, however; the American press is pretty skilled at ignoring the rest of the world. Come right down to it, it’s pretty good at ignoring the obvious stuff that happens here. Keep reading and we’ll tell you more.

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Dissecting Biden’s Gun Order(s)

Republicans will automatically object; Democrats will automatically cheer. It’s shirts v. skins out there, and that’s just how the game is played.

For the rest of us, however, it’s useful to have the details and judge based on them, rather than on what team scored the point.

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The Not Fake News Update, 28 March 2021

If you’ve been paying attention to recent events, you’ll be aware that an ultra-massive container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal the other day and is playing havoc with global shipping. If not, you’ll be interested to learn of it. Either way, here are a few other things that have happened recently that you might have missed.

Note: There’s not much good news, and the humor is ultra-cynical. If you’re having a bad day, you might give this Update a miss.

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The Price Of Freedom (Part 2)

In the last article, the statement was made that “it’s because of the First Amendment that the Second can be discussed”. The price of freedom is freedom; the ability to discuss a topic makes it inevitable that such topic will be brought up. As such, it well behooves us to be prepared for that conversation when it comes, whether on a personal or a national level.

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