A shorter workweek may increase worker productivity—but that’s not why we need one

by Robert Raymond Studies show that a shorter workweek is healthier for people and the planet—but much of the conversation is focused on its impact on worker productivity or efficiency. This is a big mistake. With the average worker in the United States clocking 47 hours a week, Americans are among the most overworked populations in the world—in fact, they work more hours per year than workers in almost any other industrialized country. Advocates of a shorter work week had a brief moment of excitement in California last April when state Democrats proposed a bill that would have required private-sector employers with more than 500 …

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Why I Like to Watch Bike Racing

by W.D. Ehrhart For the past week and a half, I’ve been watching La Vuelta a Espana, the Tour of Spain bicycle race. I’ve watched Le Tour de France every July for the past twenty-five years, and since the coronavirus showed up, I’ve taken to watching la Vuelta as well. I enjoy watching sports in general because you never know how it’s going to end until it ends. And I especially like watching bike racing because it is so international with riders from all over Europe, the Americas, New Zealand, and even the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. And though there are teams sponsored …

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Trumpster Nation

by W.D. Ehrhart Recently, I had occasion to drive the length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike all the way to the Ohio border. Western Pennsylvania is beautiful and mountainous. It is also, for the most part, solid Trump Country. Indeed, aside from Philadelphia and its suburban counties, and less dependably Pittsburgh, the entire state is as red as a male cardinal. I did not see a single billboard supporting Democrat John Fetterman’s bid to win a U.S. Senate seat. And the only billboard mentioning current Democratic state attorney general Josh Shapiro’s run for the governorship was sponsored by his Republican opponent and Trump-endorsed Doug Mastriano, that …

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The New Normal

by W.D. Ehrhart My wife and I recently spent four days in the Adirondack Mountains with old friends of ours. It is a six-hour car trip from our home in Pennsylvania, but thanks to Anne’s company, the time passed enjoyably. And it was a great pleasure to spend time with our hosts, the wildlife conservationists Amy Vedder and Bill Weber, whom I’ve known since our college days over half a century ago. We hiked in woods up and down hills and around lakes, visited the Adirondack Experience Museum, and reminisced for hours while watching chipmunks, hummingbirds, blue birds, and wild turkeys, and enjoying the view …

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Let’s Talk About Original Intent

by W. D. Ehrhart In a withering, indeed breathtaking, succession of recent decisions rendered by a U.S. Supreme Court now dominated by justices vetted by the Federalist Society and nominated by presidents who did not win the popular national vote, most of the past 120 years of legal progress and precedent have been obliterated. The rationale for this assault on common sense and common decency is a doctrine called “Original Intent,” which states that only those guarantees intended by the framers of the Constitution in 1787 and set forth in the document ratified two years later are valid. This is also sometimes defined as “strict …

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How Vietnam got under America’s callused cowboy skin

by Jean Stimmell Because America chose to wage a war in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from his country and ended up a renowned spiritual teacher and peacemaker, instrumental in mellowing our macho culture. It was even more of a turnaround for Ocean Vuong, the acclaimed writer and poet: He tells us he literally wouldn’t exist without the Vietnam War. That’s because his grandfather, an American soldier fighting in Vietnam, met his grandmother, “a girl from the rice paddies,” ⁠1 and married her. And then, there’s me: a hapless 19-year-old who stumbled into Vietnam after dropping out of college. I enlisted before the big …

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