Labor Day links and open thread

Hope the Bleeding Heartland community has been enjoying the long holiday weekend. The weather couldn’t be more perfect across Iowa. This is an open thread, but I’ve posted a few links that to get the conversation going after the jump.

Peter Rothberg listed his top ten Labor Day songs here. Top ten lists are always good for starting arguments. I would have included “Spring Hill Mining Disaster” (U2 version) and “Allentown” by Billy Joel.

A depressing link to go with Friday’s horrible jobs report: The Decline of Manufacturing in America: A Case Study by Yves Smith at the Naked Capitalism blog.

Two of the best-known casualties in this summer’s round of layoffs at the Des Moines Register recently returned to central Iowa newsprint. Philip Brasher, who had been the Register’s food and agriculture policy correspondent in Washington, was hired by parent company Gannett to cover the same beat for its Washington bureau. Brasher’s by-line reappeared in the Register in late August. Prominent sustainable food advocates had sounded the alarm about Brasher’s dismissal.

The Register’s former sports columnist, Sean Keeler, will write a column on college football this fall for the Des Moines alternative weekly Cityview. His preview on Hawkeye and Cyclone football is the cover story in this week’s edition.

What’s on your mind, Bleeding Heartland readers?

  • Labor Day songs

    Most of Rothberg’s list are too on-the-nose for me. Ditto for your two suggestions. Even Springsteen’s “Youngstown,” while a good song, is laying it on too thick for a Labor Day. Better to listen to that on, say, a Memorial Day, as it talks about the workers who forged the steel that won the nation’s wars.

    For my Labor Day soundtrack, I would choose songs that describe the working-class experience — that get at the humanity of individual workers, warts and all.

    So: just about anything ELSE by Springsteen, particularly “The River,” “Downbound Train,” “Darlington Highway,” or “Glory Days.”

    Wilco and Billy Bragg released a couple of great albums in the 1990s, called Mermaid Avenue Vols. 1 and 2, where they wrote music for Woody Guthrie lyrics that had never been turned into songs by him (or at least never recorded). Some of my favorites from those albums are “California Stars,” “Joe Dimaggio Done It Again,” and “She Came Along to Me.” That last one is a bit declamatory, but in a good way!

    • Embarrassing

      I meant “Darlington County.” Although “Workin’ on the Highway” is a good Bruce song too.

    • I had that first Mermaid Avenue album

      I don’t think I ever knew about the second one.

      Jonatha Brooke also recorded an album of music she wrote for Woody Guthrie lyrics, called “The Works.” It’s not her best album in my opinion (that would be the out of print 10-cent Wings, with Plumb and Steady Pull also contenders), but there are some good tracks on “The Works.”

  • Two I would have included...

    Union Maid and Preacher and the Slave…

    But maybe that’s because I got to sing them ’round the campfire with the old Wobblie Utah Phillips one time.

    Unfortunately the rank and file in the mainstream unions today forget our roots.  They still buy into that whole patriotic anti-communist BS from the fifties.  I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance at any point.  I’m a citizen, why do I need to affirm that fact?

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