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Seceding Is Hard To Do: Crockpot 08.10.12

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Remember back in 2009 when Texas Gov. Rick Perry almost-but-not-quite said his state should secede from the union? The small media blitz that followed dramatically illustrated that even in the 21st century, the South retains a good deal of its separateness, and its bad rap among Northerners. After all, America’s most populous region was the last holdout for slavery and segregation. And among many Northern liberals, the South’s recent recasting as the low-wage, anti-union Sunbelt hasn’t helped its standing. The solution? Let them go, says writer Chuck Thompson, who’s written a tongue-in-cheek book arguing for southern secession. The upshot, says Thompson in an interview with AlterNet, would be a mutual breakup, hopefully without all the fuss of a civil war. Oh, and they can take Utah.

And speaking of culture wars, what kind of sandwich defines you as a voter? In the wake of the Chick-fil-A firestorm, it may come as no shock that restaurant preferences can say quite a lot about a person’s politics. That’s the idea behind a graphic posted on Sociological Images by Gwen Sharp that charts customers at a handful of restaurants against their voting behavior and political outlook. As with almost everything else in 21st century, there’s a pretty clear partisan divide here. But what’s really interesting, says Sharp, is what the results say about the class dimensions of voter turnout: patrons at sit-down restaurants, whether liberal or conservative, were in general much more likely to vote than fast food customers. It also points out an irony of the Chick-fil-A controversy: while Chick-fil-A customers are in general very conservative, they’re not among those most likely to vote. Whether the restaurant’s recent politicization changes this, is hard to say.    


“Quick, Henry, the Flit!” Long before Horton the Elephant and Yertle the Turtle, Theodore Seuss Geisel made a name for himself in advertising and political cartoons, says Josh Jones at Open Culture. One of his most famous ads for Standard Oil’s Flit insect repellant went about as viral as anything could in the 1930s, and Geisel was soon called on to devote his artistic skill to the Allied war effort. Following the war, and after recasting himself as Dr. Seuss, Geisel devoted himself to somewhat more high minded themes and ideas. But these early works still retain a kind of surreal Seuss magic, especially when you consider the context. Here’s a link to some more.


Turns out dirty elections go back a long way. In 1758, while running for the Virginia House of Burgesses, George Washington buttered his voters up with free beer on election day. That’s the first milestone on Mother Jones’ new dark money timeline, beginning with the American colonies. But of course, it only gets worse from there.


With or without a heat wave, most Americans are probably not taking to the beach this summer. That Americans have less vacation days than workers in most other rich countries is no surprise, but it turns out most of us don’t even use the time we get. A recent survey by Right Management found that American workers leave an average of 11 vacation days unused each year, out of fear of being fired, says Kathy M. Newman in Working Class Perspectives. The survey also found that two thirds of American workers avoid taking lunch breaks and many avoid taking sick days.

And many companies are starting to take notice. But rather than provide better working conditions, firms like McDonald’s and Applebee’s are tapping into worker fatigue in advertisements, Newman says. In one recent ad for VisitLasVegas.com, a Norma Rae-looking scene unfolds in which a woman in an office attempts to organize her fellow office workers to, well, visit Las Vegas. Whether the woman is later fired for taking her vacation time is hard to say.

Image by eyeliam, licensed under Creative Commons.