An anonymous (for reasons that will be obvious pretty soon) commenter left a gem on my Disaster Recovery Test Faking blog post that is way too valuable to be left hidden and unannotated.
Here’s what he did:
Once I was tasked to do a DR test before handing over the solution to the customer. To simulate the loss of a data center I suggested to physically shutdown all core switches in the active data center.
A bipartisan pair of senators has introduced legislation to drastically limit the use of noncompete agreements across the US economy.
"Noncompete agreements stifle wage growth, career advancement, innovation, and business creation," argued Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) in a Thursday press release. He said that the legislation, co-sponsored with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), would "empower our workers and entrepreneurs so they can freely apply their talents where their skills are in greatest demand."
Noncompete agreements ban workers from performing similar work at competing firms for a limited period—often one or two years. These agreements have become widely used in recent decades—and not just for employees with sensitive business intelligence or client relationships.
"We heard from people working at pizza parlors, yogurt shops, hairdressers, and people making sandwiches," Massachusetts state Rep. Lori Ehrlich told us in an interview last year.
Ehrlich was the author of 2018 Massachusetts legislation limiting the enforcement of noncompete agreements. Several other states—including Oregon, Illinois, and Maryland—have passed bills on the subject.
These state reforms focused on reining in the worst abuses of noncompete agreements. Some prohibit the use of noncompete clauses with low-wage workers. Others require employers to give employees notice of the requirement at the time they make a job offer.
The Young and Murphy bill goes much further, completely banning noncompete agreements outside of a few narrow circumstances—like someone selling their own business.
California suggests a near-total ban could work well
If debates in Massachusetts and elsewhere are any indication, we can expect business interests to lobby hard against such a sweeping proposal. Some business groups argue that noncompete agreements give companies incentives to invest in worker training—without having to worry that workers will take their new skills to another employer.
But supporters of broader reforms have a powerful counterexample: California. For decades, the Golden State has had the nation's strictest laws against noncompetes, effectively banning the practice. Despite that—or maybe because of it—the state has become a powerful center for high-tech innovation.
In an influential 1994 book, political scientist AnnaLee Saxenian argued that a key factor in Silicon Valley's economic success over the previous decades was the fact that employees could hop from job to job, taking their valuable skills with them. That freewheeling culture helped good ideas developed at one company to quickly spread elsewhere, ultimately benefitting the entire regional economy.
The lack of noncompetes is a boon to entrepreneurship in California. Many Silicon Valley technology companies were started by engineers who had great ideas but couldn't get their big-company employers to take them seriously. California law ensures that workers in this situation have the option to quit and pursue their idea independently.
At least one leading presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), is interested in this issue. Last year, Warren co-sponsored a noncompete reform bill with Murphy and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). So expect this issue to get attention in the next few years if Warren captures the Democratic nomination and the presidency.
In Birth Strike, Jenny Brown argues for an analysis of the politics of reproductive rights that is rooted not in religious or moral concerns, but in economics—specifically, the economic power of women’s unpaid labor.
The standard explanation for anti-abortion politics in the United States is that politicians are appealing to conservative “values voters.” It’s easier to argue that when abortion is at issue, but as birth control has come under increasing fire, the explanation that politicians are buckling to grassroots pressure has become less reliable. The U.S. may be a religious country, but 99 percent of sexually active U.S. women have used birth control. According to surveys, even among men and women who oppose abortion, 80 percent support access to contraception. Far from pandering to a religious base, in attacking birth control, politicians are taking a stand that is wildly unpopular.
Planned Parenthood, long under attack for providing abortions, calls this “the glaring contradiction at the heart of the anti-choice movement…. The same forces who oppose abortion also vigorously oppose expanding access to the information and services that prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.”
But it’s only a contradiction if the goal is to reduce abortions. If the goal is to increase childbearing, both abortion and contraception would be targets, along with accurate sex education.
And why would the goal be to increase childbearing? Brown continues:
A higher birth rate does serve an economic goal: An ever-expanding workforce raised with a minimum of public spending and a maximum of women’s unpaid work. Why would employer’s pay for parental leave if they can push us into maternity leave for free? Why would corporations pay taxes for a national childcare system if families can be induced to take that burden upon themselves? But women are refusing—by some measures our birth rate is the lowest it has ever been—so they can only achieve that goal if they further deprive us of reproductive control.
This is one of those analyses that seems so obvious as soon as you see it, and leaves you agog that you couldn’t see it before. Brown provides gobs of data to back up her case here (including many a conservative politician and thinker saying the quiet part loud), but it didn’t take much to convince me. I’ve long been certain that restrictions on reproductive rights were not really about faith, but about controlling women—but I never took the next step and asked why women needed to be controlled. Brown does, and the answer is clear: to wrest as much economic value from them as possible.
Most politicians portray themselves as “pro-family,” but none do it more vigorously than conservative Republicans. This might seem ironic, as it is the most loudly pro-family who try to block increases to the minimum wage, cut Head Start childcare and school lunch programs, slash welfare payments for parents and health care for children, oppose any kind of family leave (even unpaid), and generally make life less livable for children and families.
But it is not just hypocrisy, and it is worth decoding. What “pro-family” really means is families instead of government. Cut government, and put the work on families. And by “families,” they mean women, and women’s unpaid labor.
It’s hard for me not to see my own choices in Brown’s critique. I do not have children; I never wanted to be a mother. As a close friend oft reminds me, at 40 years old, I am among the first generation of women for whom access to contraception and abortion has been a given my whole life. This was not an ecomonic choice by any means. But I also grew up keenly aware of how hard it is to balance motherhood and work, and I entered the workforce at a time when paid maternity leave was even less generous than it is today. Brown argues that women have been participating in an uncoordinated work slowdown for years now, simply by electing to have fewer children, and that it’s past time to organize into a proper strike. I’ve thought about it, and I can seem to muster only one response to that calling: I’ll see you on the picket line.