- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Worker's paradise?

"Karl Marx spent all those years dreaming about the worker's paradise. Yet he never got to sit in the conference room at Berbee Information Networks Corp. and listen to Jim Berbee rattle off all the luscious perks he offers his employees… .
"Marx would have looked at all the cushy benefits and figured that the dictatorship of the proletariat had finally come to pass. But there's a simpler explanation. Full employment. Berbee is located in Madison, Wis., which has a microscopic 1.2 percent unemployment rate, second lowest in the country ….
"No-skill, entry-level jobs carry wages of $8 or $9 an hour, blowing away the federal minimum wage of $5.15… . Wisconsin Dells, a nearby resort area, has been forced to fly in summer help from Lithuania, Zimbabwe, Russia and New Zealand… .
"In contrast to greater Madison's relentless optimism, the mood in the employment office is sober, if not gloomy… . The saddest cases, the counselors tell me, involve extraordinarily well-educated people men and women with Ph.D.'s and law degrees who have propelled themselves into an elite stratum where job competition is still fierce. Job experts are urging employers to begin looking for workers among formerly marginalized groups, like criminals and liberal arts majors, but apparently it hasn't helped these folks."
David Brooks, writing on "0 Percent Unemployment," in Sunday's New York Times Magazine

Game-show covenant?

"Since the family is the basic unit of culture, American culture may have hit a new low with Fox's two-hour special, 'Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?' …
"One would think women would be offended at all this seeing a woman reduced to a sex object, put in the humiliating position of trying to entice a man; being manipulated to give herself in marriage to a man she had not even met. One would think men would be a offended by a woman marrying exclusively for money. It is hard to know who should be more humiliated, who is more cynical. And yet, polls of viewers showed both women and men to be envious of the couple.
"The show taught these viewers an inadvertent lesson on why marriage has to involve something more… . Obviously, money alone is no formula for marital bliss, and it helps to know whom you are marrying… .
"What is needed … is for couples to enter into marriage, not as a game, but as a holy covenant, a God-given vocation that He promises to bless."
Gene Edward Veith, writing on "The Marriage Game," in the March 4 issue of World

New trend?

"In the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg [March 1], Joseph Kroll, a middle-aged maintenance man, was busily going about his repair duties in the apartment building where he worked. Joseph Healey, an elderly former Catholic priest, was enjoying a bite to eat at a nearby Burger King restaurant. Emil Sanitelevici, a physics student at the University of Pittsburgh, and two other men were eating at a nearby McDonald's restaurant.
"Then, in a moment of rage, Ronald Taylor gunned down Healey, Kroll and Sanitelevici and seriously wounded the other two men… . Taylor is black; the three men killed and the two men wounded were white.
"But unlike after other hate crimes, no black leader or organization immediately rushed forth to vigorously denounce the shootings ….
"But the Taylor shooting is deeply troubling for another reason. While it is a grotesque and extreme example of racial violence, it is hardly an aberration. More whites than ever are the targets of racially motivated attacks by blacks."
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, writing on "Why are black leaders silent on black hate crimes?" a Monday posting in the on-line magazine Salon at www.salon.com

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