¶ Matins: The sickest thing about the United States today is undoubtedly the fact that prisons are a growth industry. The processing, so to speak, of prisoners newly minted by the nation’s preposterously discriminatory penal codes, can’t be outsourced to China, so failing rural towns try to rally by competing for prison contracts. Central Falls, Rhode Island, a town that combines plenty of illegal immigrants with plenty of cells in which to incarcerate them, lives in the shadow of what sounds, from Nina Bernstein’s story, like a Stalinist terror.
¶ Sext: In this morning’s Times, Susan Dominus writes up Chelsea Technologies, hitherto “a small operation that specializes in providing information technology services to hedge funds and small investment funds around the city.” And, now, to their former employees who have “wrapped things up” and are “looking for alternatives.” Which is French for: they’re out of work and need high-quality Internet access at home. There is a slightly snarky smile behind the placid surface of Ms Dominus’s report, but you won’t hear any chuckling from me — oh, no!
§ Matins. There are lots of things that the incoming administration ought to prioritize, but the cheapest by far would be the decriminalization of non-violent crimes. (I’m considering embezzlement and other thefts of property as violent crimes for the purposes of this discussion.) Drugs and illegal immigration — what an improvement American life would experience if neither were associated with jail time.
People who believe that drug users and aliens deserve imprisonment ought to be shamed into (a) changing their minds or (b) emigrating to Australia.
§ Sext. Although I have not lost millions of anyone else’s dollars, I, too, place professional demands on my home office. I’d be lost without the help of a technology ace who is also amazingly gifted at dealing with me (see Kathleen’s crack about psychiatric nursing in a recent comment). Ms Dominus nails his job description:
To the average white-collar worker, the tech guy occupies a slot somewhere between the plumber and the in-house counsel — he is there to serve, but holds a worker’s professional well-being in his highly skilled hands. He sometimes has access to highly confidential documents and must be discreet. He must inspire confidence. He must speak the local dialect. He must respond with speed.
I must confess that the reference to plumbing makes me uncomfortable. But when you need a plumber, you really need a plumber!
The Darmstadt houses are so radically unlike standard American home-building that it is hard to know at which socio-economic level would best be introduced. A massive federal program for subsidized housing throughout the nation would probably domesticate the technology the most quickly, especially if it started slow and allowed for competing designs.