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In the street

Big Star:

The ghost of Tom Joad

Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello:

Smoke gets in your eyes

Fred Astaire:

My one and only love

Frank Sinatra:

What do you think about marriage?

I thought when Obama was elected president, we’d never have to look at Cheney’s face again. I was wrong on that, too.

So Taylor Marsh made me go look at a Greenwald post about Cheney and his book over on Salon, and because my brain was trying to escape I saw a thing in the sidebar titled, “Is Marriage for White People?” and so I went there. It’s about a book talking about the declining marriage rate for black women by Ralph Richard Banks, a law professor at Stanford. Which makes him a sociologist, I guess.

Banks, a professor of law at Stanford University, uses detailed interviews and extensive statistical research to argue that this gender and racial imbalance has dire implications for both child-rearing and the long-term happiness of African-American women.

I get suspicious when I see men earnestly trying to tell women why they’re unhappy. So I look around. I find this old NYT article.

For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results.

Why? Again from NYT:

Several factors are driving the statistical shift. At one end of the age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried partners more often and for longer periods. At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.

OMG NO!!!! Women are enjoying themselves. Later:

Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women.

So, there is quite a culture spread.

Banks says:

To the people who say black women are leading the charge in being unmarried and we should applaud them rather than subject them to scrutiny, I would say they’re really missing the experience that a lot of black women are having. A less charitable take is that it’s doing a disservice to black women to manipulate their experience for the ideological ends of feminism.

To be honest, I would be happy in a good marriage, and I want that. But notice I said good; an awful lot of marriages aren’t good. So maybe instead of saying “black women want to get married,” we should talk about why there’s trouble in marriage these days. Oh, look – Banks says:

Lots of professional black women are married to working class men. I describe those situations as mixed marriages because, although the couple shares a race, they have very different educational and social experiences. They’re also probably more likely to have problems as a result. This is a place where the ideology of believing it’s OK for woman to be the economically dominant partner has completely blinded them to the actual experiences of large number of black women for whom it is not a great thing to be with a guy who can’t relate to your professional experiences.

Oh, wait. Look at this. Banks:

The idea is that if black women can improve their market power by expanding their options in an integrated market, then black men would treat them better. This would be a good thing and it would lead to better relationships among African-Americans.

Black women need to sell themselves better, so they can get a better price – er, husband – er, community. Pressure, much?

Does this not happen to people of other colors, or to white people? Back to the Times.

Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women.

And:

Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.

Banks:

On the crisis of masculinity, part of my point is that there is continuity between the experiences of African-Americans and others. If you have white men who are unemployed and their wives are professionals and the husband is dependent on the wife, men are uncomfortable with that.

So, it really has more to do with expectations of gender roles/ income, and it’s hitting the black community harder than any other community. So, maybe it really is a “time to reshape your world-view” thing.

I know I should have looked around more, gotten more facts and figures. I should read the book, rather than go all smash on a review. Maybe. Maybe it’s time to figure out that single can be happy for women. Or that things have just changed. That maybe marriage shouldn’t be a monolith. That men and women need to realign their expectations of each other.

Or maybe Salon should quit letting men talk about what women need to be happy.

Job-killing regulation

This is kind of an insane conversation to have. Businesses are essentially arguing that it’s okay to kill people if they can also hire people. That’s really what this “job-killing regulation” debate is all about. Let’s be clear: One side is arguing that job creation is such an absolute good, businesses should be allowed to kill people. The other side is saying, “Please don’t let them kill us.” Which side has the stronger moral position?

“My view is that the Republican claim that ‘job-killing regulation’ is a redundancy is as ridiculous as the left-wing view that ‘job-killing regulation’ is an oxymoron,” said Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “Both are silly political claims that have no place in a serious discussion.”

Notice the sleight of hand there? Leftists are arguing for the very existence of our planet, not that regulations don’t ever cost jobs. The “silly political claim” is that it’s now perfectly okay to value money over human life. Remember, this is not simply a bottom line-oriented private business cheerleading this principle — it’s the U.S. government, who’s supposed to be protecting the rights of its citizens. And it’s not just silly, but plain immoral to imply that letting businesses pollute our air and water is the best way to create jobs.

If all we really care about is job creation, why not legalize drugs? Nope, we can’t have that discussion because it’s not really about jobs. It’s about Republican bullies mowing down a compliant president.

I suppose the next move will be to abolish OSHA regulations. The Republicans are lining up citizen protections and knocking them down, one after the other. And a Democratic administration is helping them do it:

Do environmental regulations kill jobs?

Republicans and business groups say yes, arguing that environmental protection is simply too expensive for a battered economy. They were quick to claim victory Friday after the Obama administration abandoned stricter ozone pollution standards.

Many economists agree that regulation comes with undeniable costs that can affect workers. Factories may close because of the high cost of cleanup, or owners may relocate to countries with weaker regulations.

But many experts say that the effects should be assessed through a nuanced tally of costs and benefits that takes into account both economic and societal factors. Some argue that the costs can be offset as companies develop cheaper ways to clean up pollutants, and others say that regulation is often blamed for job losses that occur for different reasons, like a stagnant economy. As companies develop new technologies to cope with regulatory requirements, some new jobs are created.

[…] The question of just how much environmental regulation hurts jobs is a particularly delicate one as leaders in Washington debate the best ways to address the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate. As President Obama prepares for an important speech on Thursday focusing on job creation, Republicans are pushing for a rollback in environmental regulations that they say saddle companies with onerous costs that curtail jobs without leading to significant improvement in environmental or public health.

Part of the problem in evaluating the costs of regulation is that there have been few systematic studies of such costs after regulations are imposed.

“Regulations are put on the books and largely stay there unexamined,” said Michael Greenstone, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This is part of the reason that these debates about regulations have a Groundhog’s Day quality to them.”

Mr. Greenstone has conducted one of the few studies that actually measure job losses related to environmental rules. In researching the amendments to the Clean Air Act that affected polluting plants from 1972 and 1987, he found that those companies lost almost 600,000 jobs compared with what would have happened without the regulations.

But Mr. Greenstone has also conducted research showing that clean air regulations have reduced infant mortality and increased housing prices, and indeed many economists argue that job losses should not be considered in isolation. They say the costs of regulations are dwarfed by the gains in lengthened lives, reduced hospitalizations and other health benefits, and by economic gains like the improvement to the real estate market.

You go to my head

Diana Krall:

Taking a change on love

Anita O’Day:

You and Me

Alice Cooper with maybe a less obvious Labor Day song.

Just like this train

Joni Mitchell:

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