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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mike Rowe Is Right: There’s “No Such Thing” as a Non-Essential Worker


Few people in history have seen more jobs up close than Mike Rowe, the longtime host of the Discovery Channel’s hit TV show Dirty Jobs.

Now the blue-collar icon has a message for those who say “non-essential” employees have no business working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent TV appearance with Dana Perino on “The Daily Briefing,” Rowe made it clear he’s not a fan of the terms “essential” and “non-essential” worker. The problem with such a view, Rowe said, is that such terms have little actual meaning and the economy makes no such distinction.

“There’s something tricky with the language going on here, because with regard to an economy, I don’t think there is any such thing as a nonessential worker,” Rowe said. “This is basically a quilt...and if you start pulling on jobs and tugging on careers over here and over there, the whole thing will bunch up in a weird way.”

Rowe’s message is precisely what FEE president and economist Zilvinas Silenas was getting at in a recent article published at Townhall.

“Allowing politicians to decide which businesses and products are ‘essential’ is an invitation for disaster,” Silenas observed. “If we continue to deny these businesses the ability to do the one essential thing they are best at—providing goods and services to millions of everyday Americans—we risk more than unemployment or recession of stock price plunge. We deprive ourselves of the best resource—our people—during the time of need.”

The truth is, all workers are essential.

Unfortunately, all too often what is deemed “essential” is simply what’s convenient to state leaders making the decisions. Few would suggest that liquor store owners are inherently more essential than pizza parlor owners—except perhaps state revenue collectors. No doubt this is the same reason Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer concluded that lottery tickets are essential, but gardening seeds are not.

Liquor stores and lottery tickets aren’t especially “essential” to Americans, just state budgets. But as one Washington State sheriff noted in April, this seems to be the criteria state leaders often use to determine what is “essential” and “non-essential”: whether it helps the government’s bottom line.

When the state picks winners and losers it’s not only unfair, however. It's also destructive.

As the great economist Leonard Read so artfully showed in the classic work "I, Pencil," the economy is vast and interconnected. Individuals can’t make anything themselves, not even a simple pencil. Entrepreneurs and corporations rely on millions of others to provide the goods and services they require. No single central planner could possibly know all the materials that go into the countless life-sustaining products that propel our economy—and continue to propel us through the current pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce politely pointed this out in March when they warned that many of the “non-life-sustaining businesses” closed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders were in fact crucial to the supply chain of other businesses.

Nearly two months later, the consequences of shutting down “non-essential” businesses is even more apparent. The US supply chain is creaking, putting many sectors, small businesses, and American families at risk.

Economist Antony Davies and political scientist James Harrigan recently explained why these food disruptions are happening.

“We cannot declare one business ‘unnecessary’ without, by extension, declaring unnecessary every other business that relies on it, and every business that relies on those businesses,” Davies and Harrigan write. “Food is necessary, and because of that delivery trucks are necessary, and because of that engine fuses and wiper blades are necessary, and because of that plastic packaging in which fuses and blades are sold is necessary, and on and on.”

Harrigan and Davies make a similar point as Rowe using a different metaphor.

“Our economy is not a series of individual supply chains. It is a single, unified supply web. Cut the web in any place and the whole structure weakens,” they write.

Quilt or unified supply web, the point is the same.

If state leaders wish to persist in these harmful lockdowns, they should consider using classifications that are at least more intellectually honest, such as “preferred” workers and “non-preferred” workers.

Because Mike Rowe is correct: all workers are essential.


Jon Miltimore

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Bylines: The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times. 


This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.


Friday, May 22, 2020

dragb013 - Dragon Ball Z

Video Games (October 1982)



Video Games (October 1982)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Vintage Photos - Oestreicher (701-704)


See the previous post in this series here.

I had the opportunity to pick up a huge batch of slides a while back. These are pictures span from as early as the late 1940s to as late as the early 1990s (maybe earlier and/or later but these are what I have sampled so far). These came to me second (third?) hand but the original source was a combination of estate sales and Goodwill. There are several thousand...maybe as many as 10,000. I will be scanning some from time to time and posting them here for posterity.

Apparently, getting your pictures processed as slides used to be a fairly common thing but it was a phenomenon I missed out on. However, my Grandfather had a few dozen slides (circa late 1950s) that I acquired after he died. That along with having some negatives I wanted to scan is what prompted me to buy a somewhat decent flatbed scanner that could handle slides and negatives, an Epson V600. It can scan up to four slides at a time with various post-processing options and does a decent enough job.

This set continues a rather large batch of slides that originally came from an estate sale and appear to have belonged to a locally well known photographer (or perhaps a close family member) from the Spokane Washington area and later Northern Idaho named Leo Oestreicher. He was known for his portrait and landscape photography and especially for post cards. His career started in the 1930s and he died in 1990. These slides contain a lot of landscape and portrait photos but also a lot of photos from day to day life and various vacations around the world. Here's an article on him from 1997 which is the only info I have found on him: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/04/photos-of-a-lifetime-museum-acquisition-of-leo/

Many of these slides had the date they were processed (presumably) stamped or printed on them. I've found that in cases where I could verify the date, either because a more specific date was hand written or there was something to specifically date the photo in the photo itself, that this date has typically been the same month the photos were taken. In other words, I expect that in MOST cases these photos were taken relatively near the processing date. No doubt there are some exceptions.

Click on one of the images or the link below to also see versions processed with color restoration and Digital ICE which is a hardware based dust and scratch remover, a feature of the Epson V600 scanner I am using. There are also versions processed with the simpler dust removal option along with color restoration.

The first photo in this set was processed in September 1961 and features some flowers. The second photo was taken at the beach and is undated but was almost certainly taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The third photo was processed the same time as the first and features a and a woman standing by a flag pole. The final photo was taken Christmas morning 1958.




Processed September 1961




Processed September 1961


Jay Wouters - Christmas '58



The entire collection that has been scanned and uploaded so far can be found here.