The Rules of Pacers Digest

Hello everyone,

Whether your are a long standing forum member or whether you have just registered today, it's a good idea to read and review the rules below so that you have a very good idea of what to expect when you come to Pacers Digest.

A quick note to new members: Your posts will not immediately show up when you make them. An administrator has to approve at least your first post before the forum software will later upgrade your account to the status of a fully-registered member. This usually happens within a couple of hours or so after your post(s) is/are approved, so you may need to be a little patient at first.

Why do we do this? So that it's more difficult for spammers (be they human or robot) to post, and so users who are banned cannot immediately re-register and start dousing people with verbal flames.

Below are the rules of Pacers Digest. After you have read them, you will have a very good sense of where we are coming from, what we expect, what we don't want to see, and how we react to things.

Rule #1

Pacers Digest is intended to be a place to discuss basketball without having to deal with the kinds of behaviors or attitudes that distract people from sticking with the discussion of the topics at hand. These unwanted distractions can come in many forms, and admittedly it can sometimes be tricky to pin down each and every kind that can rear its ugly head, but we feel that the following examples and explanations cover at least a good portion of that ground and should at least give people a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we actively discourage:

"Anyone who __________ is a liar / a fool / an idiot / a blind homer / has their head buried in the sand / a blind hater / doesn't know basketball / doesn't watch the games"

"People with intelligence will agree with me when I say that __________"

"Only stupid people think / believe / do ___________"

"I can't wait to hear something from PosterX when he/she sees that **insert a given incident or current event that will have probably upset or disappointed PosterX here**"

"He/she is just delusional"

"This thread is stupid / worthless / embarrassing"

"I'm going to take a moment to point and / laugh at PosterX / GroupOfPeopleY who thought / believed *insert though/belief here*"

"Remember when PosterX said OldCommentY that no longer looks good? "

In general, if a comment goes from purely on topic to something 'ad hominem' (personal jabs, personal shots, attacks, flames, however you want to call it, towards a person, or a group of people, or a given city/state/country of people), those are most likely going to be found intolerable.

We also dissuade passive aggressive behavior. This can be various things, but common examples include statements that are basically meant to imply someone is either stupid or otherwise incapable of holding a rational conversation. This can include (but is not limited to) laughing at someone's conclusions rather than offering an honest rebuttal, asking people what game they were watching, or another common problem is Poster X will say "that player isn't that bad" and then Poster Y will say something akin to "LOL you think that player is good". We're not going to tolerate those kinds of comments out of respect for the community at large and for the sake of trying to just have an honest conversation.

Now, does the above cover absolutely every single kind of distraction that is unwanted? Probably not, but you should by now have a good idea of the general types of things we will be discouraging. The above examples are meant to give you a good feel for / idea of what we're looking for. If something new or different than the above happens to come along and results in the same problem (that being, any other attitude or behavior that ultimately distracts from actually just discussing the topic at hand, or that is otherwise disrespectful to other posters), we can and we will take action to curb this as well, so please don't take this to mean that if you managed to technically avoid saying something exactly like one of the above examples that you are then somehow off the hook.

That all having been said, our goal is to do so in a generally kind and respectful way, and that doesn't mean the moment we see something we don't like that somebody is going to be suspended or banned, either. It just means that at the very least we will probably say something about it, quite possibly snipping out the distracting parts of the post in question while leaving alone the parts that are actually just discussing the topics, and in the event of a repeating or excessive problem, then we will start issuing infractions to try to further discourage further repeat problems, and if it just never seems to improve, then finally suspensions or bans will come into play. We would prefer it never went that far, and most of the time for most of our posters, it won't ever have to.

A slip up every once and a while is pretty normal, but, again, when it becomes repetitive or excessive, something will be done. Something occasional is probably going to be let go (within reason), but when it starts to become habitual or otherwise a pattern, odds are very good that we will step in.

There's always a small minority that like to push people's buttons and/or test their own boundaries with regards to the administrators, and in the case of someone acting like that, please be aware that this is not a court of law, but a private website run by people who are simply trying to do the right thing as they see it. If we feel that you are a special case that needs to be dealt with in an exceptional way because your behavior isn't explicitly mirroring one of our above examples of what we generally discourage, we can and we will take atypical action to prevent this from continuing if you are not cooperative with us.

Also please be aware that you will not be given a pass simply by claiming that you were 'only joking,' because quite honestly, when someone really is just joking, for one thing most people tend to pick up on the joke, including the person or group that is the target of the joke, and for another thing, in the event where an honest joke gets taken seriously and it upsets or angers someone, the person who is truly 'only joking' will quite commonly go out of his / her way to apologize and will try to mend fences. People who are dishonest about their statements being 'jokes' do not do so, and in turn that becomes a clear sign of what is really going on. It's nothing new.

In any case, quite frankly, the overall quality and health of the entire forum's community is more important than any one troublesome user will ever be, regardless of exactly how a problem is exhibiting itself, and if it comes down to us having to make a choice between you versus the greater health and happiness of the entire community, the community of this forum will win every time.

Lastly, there are also some posters, who are generally great contributors and do not otherwise cause any problems, who sometimes feel it's their place to provoke or to otherwise 'mess with' that small minority of people described in the last paragraph, and while we possibly might understand why you might feel you WANT to do something like that, the truth is we can't actually tolerate that kind of behavior from you any more than we can tolerate the behavior from them. So if we feel that you are trying to provoke those other posters into doing or saying something that will get themselves into trouble, then we will start to view you as a problem as well, because of the same reason as before: The overall health of the forum comes first, and trying to stir the pot with someone like that doesn't help, it just makes it worse. Some will simply disagree with this philosophy, but if so, then so be it because ultimately we have to do what we think is best so long as it's up to us.

If you see a problem that we haven't addressed, the best and most appropriate course for a forum member to take here is to look over to the left of the post in question. See underneath that poster's name, avatar, and other info, down where there's a little triangle with an exclamation point (!) in it? Click that. That allows you to report the post to the admins so we can definitely notice it and give it a look to see what we feel we should do about it. Beyond that, obviously it's human nature sometimes to want to speak up to the poster in question who has bothered you, but we would ask that you try to refrain from doing so because quite often what happens is two or more posters all start going back and forth about the original offending post, and suddenly the entire thread is off topic or otherwise derailed. So while the urge to police it yourself is understandable, it's best to just report it to us and let us handle it. Thank you!

All of the above is going to be subject to a case by case basis, but generally and broadly speaking, this should give everyone a pretty good idea of how things will typically / most often be handled.

Rule #2

If the actions of an administrator inspire you to make a comment, criticism, or express a concern about it, there is a wrong place and a couple of right places to do so.

The wrong place is to do so in the original thread in which the administrator took action. For example, if a post gets an infraction, or a post gets deleted, or a comment within a larger post gets clipped out, in a thread discussing Paul George, the wrong thing to do is to distract from the discussion of Paul George by adding your off topic thoughts on what the administrator did.

The right places to do so are:

A) Start a thread about the specific incident you want to talk about on the Feedback board. This way you are able to express yourself in an area that doesn't throw another thread off topic, and this way others can add their two cents as well if they wish, and additionally if there's something that needs to be said by the administrators, that is where they will respond to it.

B) Send a private message to the administrators, and they can respond to you that way.

If this is done the wrong way, those comments will be deleted, and if it's a repeating problem then it may also receive an infraction as well.

Rule #3

If a poster is bothering you, and an administrator has not or will not deal with that poster to the extent that you would prefer, you have a powerful tool at your disposal, one that has recently been upgraded and is now better than ever: The ability to ignore a user.

When you ignore a user, you will unfortunately still see some hints of their existence (nothing we can do about that), however, it does the following key things:

A) Any post they make will be completely invisible as you scroll through a thread.

B) The new addition to this feature: If someone QUOTES a user you are ignoring, you do not have to read who it was, or what that poster said, unless you go out of your way to click on a link to find out who it is and what they said.

To utilize this feature, from any page on Pacers Digest, scroll to the top of the page, look to the top right where it says 'Settings' and click that. From the settings page, look to the left side of the page where it says 'My Settings', and look down from there until you see 'Edit Ignore List' and click that. From here, it will say 'Add a Member to Your List...' Beneath that, click in the text box to the right of 'User Name', type in or copy & paste the username of the poster you are ignoring, and once their name is in the box, look over to the far right and click the 'Okay' button. All done!

Rule #4

Regarding infractions, currently they carry a value of one point each, and that point will expire in 31 days. If at any point a poster is carrying three points at the same time, that poster will be suspended until the oldest of the three points expires.

Rule #5

When you share or paste content or articles from another website, you must include the URL/link back to where you found it, who wrote it, and what website it's from. Said content will be removed if this doesn't happen.

An example:

If I copy and paste an article from the Indianapolis Star website, I would post something like this:
Title of the Article
Author's Name
Indianapolis Star

Rule #6

We cannot tolerate illegal videos on Pacers Digest. This means do not share any links to them, do not mention any websites that host them or link to them, do not describe how to find them in any way, and do not ask about them. Posts doing anything of the sort will be removed, the offenders will be contacted privately, and if the problem becomes habitual, you will be suspended, and if it still persists, you will probably be banned.

The legal means of watching or listening to NBA games are NBA League Pass Broadband (for US, or for International; both cost money) and NBA Audio League Pass (which is free). Look for them on

Rule #7

Provocative statements in a signature, or as an avatar, or as the 'tagline' beneath a poster's username (where it says 'Member' or 'Administrator' by default, if it is not altered) are an unwanted distraction that will more than likely be removed on sight. There can be shades of gray to this, but in general this could be something political or religious that is likely going to provoke or upset people, or otherwise something that is mean-spirited at the expense of a poster, a group of people, or a population.

It may or may not go without saying, but this goes for threads and posts as well, particularly when it's not made on the off-topic board (Market Square).

We do make exceptions if we feel the content is both innocuous and unlikely to cause social problems on the forum (such as wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter), and we also also make exceptions if such topics come up with regards to a sports figure (such as the Lance Stephenson situation bringing up discussions of domestic abuse and the law, or when Jason Collins came out as gay and how that lead to some discussion about gay rights).

However, once the discussion seems to be more/mostly about the political issues instead of the sports figure or his specific situation, the thread is usually closed.

Rule #8

We prefer self-restraint and/or modesty when making jokes or off topic comments in a sports discussion thread. They can be fun, but sometimes they derail or distract from a topic, and we don't want to see that happen. If we feel it is a problem, we will either delete or move those posts from the thread.

Rule #9

Generally speaking, we try to be a "PG-13" rated board, and we don't want to see sexual content or similarly suggestive content. Vulgarity is a more muddled issue, though again we prefer things to lean more towards "PG-13" than "R". If we feel things have gone too far, we will step in.

Rule #10

We like small signatures, not big signatures. The bigger the signature, the more likely it is an annoying or distracting signature.

Rule #11

Do not advertise anything without talking about it with the administrators first. This includes advertising with your signature, with your avatar, through private messaging, and/or by making a thread or post.
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George Floyd Protests and Riots

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  • I'm disappointed that V hasn't brought Rep. Thomas Massie to our attention yet.

    Nuntius was right for a while. I was wrong for a while. But ultimately I was right and Frank Vogel has been let go.


    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden


    • Don't forget mouthwash!
      I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees.

      -Emiliano Zapata


      • This is so beautiful, glad the senate approved 780 billions for more wars though.

        @WhatTheFFacts: Studies show that sarcasm enhances the ability of the human mind to solve complex problems!


        • Kind of a heart breaking story about how small businesses are really struggling with workers. I bolded some troubling quotes below....

          However many stories of just stubborn business owners who aren't bold enough to change and adapt. The guy who owns a LaQuinta Inn, tried to get back his cleaning staff. One agreed to come back to an $8/hr job only if could live at the hotel...sounds like a good deal if i am the hotel owner, he isn't booking up all his rooms. Let the guy live there for a while until business picks up, you help an employee out in a tough situation and you get somebody who can clean rooms at almost any hour of the day. That is a creative solution that he shot down.

          Then you had the folks who owned the County Cafe, paying a 70 year old woman $8.75/ hour to cook their famous food and only gave her .25 cent raise!. Their son had a great idea to use tik-tok to gain younger customers and it worked, and they changed their menu to accommodate the younger crowds. However they still tried to staff it and run it like a traditional restaurant. They should have made the entire operation take out only and or self service fast casual. Or even have set days open for dine in that required a prefix menu. So many of these restaurants try and reopen and be just like they were before. Yet Chipotle makes record profits from being delightfully simple.

          The harsh reality for alot of these small business owners is that the Pandemic just expedited what was eventually going to happen to their businesses anyway. If you are only paying $8-$11 hour and relying on people who have been working for you forever to just not realize how badly they are being paid, you didn't have a very good business model to being with. Also if you are paying bottom of the barrell wages, you are only getting bottom of the barrell employees.

          There was one business owner below who lamented that he couldn't pay $14-$15 an hour because he wasn't a franchise....really?!? Pretty sure the franchise owner has the same type of labor costs and overhead costs as your bar and grill...

          Of course all this made possible by Trump and our stupid congress. "Yes lets leave every service sector employee with out a job and have them collect benefits instead" What could go wrong.

          HINESVILLE, Ga. - Maggie Towne quit her job as a hotel front-desk manager because the pandemic taught her she could squeeze by without her paycheck. Now home with her kids, Towne says her life is much improved, but at the La Quinta hotel she left, an exodus of housekeepers and front-desk workers forced owner Hasit Patel to close the swimming pool and fitness center and sharply reduce room cleaning.

          Fannie Lou Brewton left her job as a cook because she didn't want to be around so many people anymore. She realized, she said, that "I did enough." She's delighted that the coronavirus pandemic drove her into retirement, but at Izola's Country Cafe, where the staff has plummeted from 42 to 12 workers, the owners had to eliminate breakfast, slash their hours and shut entirely on Sundays.

          Subscribe to The Post Most newsletter for the most important and interesting stories from The Washington Post.

          Liberty County, a 45-minute drive southwest of Savannah, is Quit Town USA - one of many places across the country where the pandemic slammed the brakes on propulsive job growth and startling numbers of people have quit their jobs this year, including more than 12 million Americans this fall alone. The result, according to business owners and county officials, is a place where people are thinking about work in new, sometimes revelatory, ways - but also feeling the pain of reduced services, pinched bottom lines and a diminished sense of community.

          Workers who have stepped away from full-time jobs say the pandemic helped them discover they can survive on occasional gig work and government benefits. And many Liberty County residents left minimum-wage positions at restaurants, hotels and retail outlets to take jobs at the county's burgeoning warehouses and distribution centers. The upside: as much as double the pay and more flexibility in work hours. The downside: severe strains at the mom-and-pop businesses they quit - and damaged or severed long-standing social bonds.

          From the reduced hours at JJ's Bar and Grill, where Hinesville residents gather to drink, dance and dine on Puerto Rican specialties, to the county's search for firefighters and the struggle to find school bus drivers, life in a country that is reevaluating its relationship with employment can be at once better and worse, more flexible and less connected.

          In Liberty County, Justin Frasier feels the winds of change everywhere he goes: He owns Just Kutz, the barber shop where half the cutters were let go when everything got locked down, and most didn't come back when the business reopened. Frasier also owns a CBD shop - same story. And he works at a paper mill, where he says his shifts have grown longer as the company strains to find enough workers to get the job done.

          Frasier, a very busy man, is also a Liberty County commissioner, giving him a bird's-eye view of an economy in which workers suddenly control the steering wheel: At his shops and in the county's fire, public works and other departments, "the difficulty is finding people who want to work," he said. "It's a new frontier. People have learned that it's cheaper for them to stay home - working costs them more for child care and for commuting and for health insurance."

          Part of the new frontier, he said, has been the loss of some of the moments that bring people together, as local businesses close, trim services or get by with a skeletal staff.

          At Just Kutz, barber Jamoll Boutwell missed the banter and brotherhood when he stayed home for months after the lockdown. The pandemic showed him, he said, that life is "every man for himself." Boutwell, 49, set up a chair in his yard at home and told his customers to come on by. "I couldn't afford to care about the coronavirus because I had to eat," he said. "I had to do what I had to do."

          Frasier couldn't blame Boutwell and his other employees for leaving. His seven barbers have dwindled to three. One is out on his own, making house calls. One got work as a truck driver, for more money. Others stayed home for a while, then found other work.

          Frasier pays $11 an hour, plus commissions, at his hair and cannabidiol shops. The few applicants he gets these days "want $30 an hour, which is just impossible," he said. The result is a community gathering spot that, for now, because of social distancing and unfilled jobs, often feels empty.

          After Just Kutz reopened, Boutwell kept his outdoor home barber chair going, hoping to gain safety from the virus. But after a few months without a steady paycheck and repeated entreaties from Frasier, Boutwell came back.

          "I missed the camaraderie," he said. "I realized I'm a barber shop barber. I didn't want to sit out in my yard, getting ate up by mosquitoes."

          Extraordinary levels of job-quitting are taking place even in places that had been steadily adding positions. Liberty County - home to 65,000 people, still mostly rural but increasingly turning into a suburb of Savannah - added them at a faster pace than the rest of the country, with employment in warehouses doubling in the past five years, creating a jobs-rich boomtown, according to a Washington Post analysis of Labor Department data.

          A Target distribution center, the county's largest private employer, more than doubled its staffing in the years leading up to the pandemic, and the county's primary manufacturers, including a French chemical company and a paper mill, were growing steadily, said Ronald Tolley, chief executive of the Liberty County Development Authority.

          Then, the coronavirus. Schools went all-virtual for almost a year. Child care became scarce, with impossible waiting lists.

          Then, as the economy began to bounce back, competition for workers soared and the county became an epicenter of the "Great Resignation." Over the past few months, Georgians quit their jobs at the third-highest rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

          The warehouses that turned open fields into beehives of loading and shipping could afford to raise wages and keep the flow of new workers strong. Rick Haslett, the operations manager at a new Home Meridian furnishings warehouse, said he received 100 applications for the 50 jobs he had to fill this fall. He had to promise 50-cent hourly raises every six months to draw enough interest, but his $15 hourly wage for laborers was a big boost for people coming from smaller, minimum-wage businesses across the county.

          But at those smaller operations, the combination of the lockdown and the federal benefits that got many people through the past two years has meant a workforce that isn't keen to work.

          "The extra unemployment benefits worked extremely well and actually amounted to more income than some workers were accustomed to," Tolley said, "so they were in less of a hurry to get back to work."

          - - -

          Just as his La Quinta hotel in Hinesville was filling up again with guests, Hasit Patel grew massively frustrated as his workers disappeared.

          One housekeeper moved back home to Puerto Rico to live with her parents. One took a job at a fast-food place that paid more. One had to be let go after she refused to wear a mask while cleaning, Patel said.

          As the crisis mentality eased, the guests came back, many of them connected to the city's top employer, Fort Stewart, the Army's biggest installation east of the Mississippi. But most of Patel's cleaning staff did not return. Nor did many of his front-desk workers.

          All across the country, with so many workers quitting, there was a crimping of commerce, an unsettling setback for many business owners. But for Patel, the struggle to find labor felt like a blow to his whole notion of what made America great. An immigrant from India, he believed that the health of the U.S. economy was protected by a constant refreshing of the workforce, an injection of striving immigrants willing to take on some of the unpleasant jobs that many Americans are loath to do - like cleaning hotel rooms.

          "I can't compete with the warehouses for wages," Patel said. "The government should let us get people from India, even just for six months. The government has to realize there are certain job categories that American people don't want to do anymore."

          But as many of his existing workers left the hotel, the pandemic had halted the flow of new immigrant workers to replace them. Patel could only try to recruit his former staffers to return.

          Monique Rolle, 40, came back to clean rooms, but only two days a week - she didn't want to expose herself to guests' germs full time. Then she found a full-time gig at the county's biggest warehouse operation, a Target distribution center that pays her $15 an hour to move packages from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. - a hefty raise over her $10 wage at the hotel.

          "It was nothing personal," Rolle said. For a little while, she worked at La Quinta a couple of mornings a week and Target at night, "but then I got my bills under control and I could let one go. Target was paying more, so I dropped the hotel."

          Rolle, who lives with her 25-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son, felt safer at the warehouse, where she wears a mask and gloves, than at the hotel, sharing airspace with guests who might be unmasked and unvaccinated.

          Patel said his hotel is still suffering from the cumulative effect of all the staffers who have left. Strapped for help, the owner shut down La Quinta's pool and fitness center, eliminated breakfast for a time, and cleaned rooms only between guests. Patel now has to work occasional shifts on the front desk himself.

          It remains a struggle to hire, he said, even after he raised wages from $8.50 to nearly $11 an hour and offered more flexible schedules. One housekeeper who didn't return told Patel he would clean rooms again but only if he could live in the hotel. "I can't become a shelter," the owner said.

          Another former housekeeper said she would come back but only if she could have weekends off; the best Patel could offer was one weekend a month off. That wasn't enough.

          Patel keeps calling his former workers, hoping to lure them back. He wonders how their new lives are adding up: "How are they eating? They couldn't have saved that much."

          Maggie Towne certainly didn't. She had worked her way up from bartender to front-desk manager and Patel said she had a "bright future in the industry." When La Quinta reopened, Towne, 40, came back - but only for one day.

          Staying home, she realized, was worth the big financial hit. "I walked away because my kids were more important, and because of covid," she said.

          A single mother to a teenager and two college students, Towne decided during the shutdown that she could get by, barely, even though her various benefit checks added up to a 70% pay cut.

          She subsists now on $200 a month in food stamps, living in a place paid for by her husband's disability payments (the couple are separated) and studying criminal justice through an online college paid for by his military benefits (he served for 15 years in the Army). Stimulus checks - part of a federal government response to the pandemic that also included enhanced unemployment benefits and a child tax credit - kept the bill collectors at bay for a while, but now the power and phone bills are piling up again.

          "There are days I just don't know how I'm going to make it to the next day," Towne said. "It was so much easier when I was working."

          But after two bouts with covid-19, "I just stay away from the world," she said. "I only leave my house to go to the grocery. I don't invite anyone to my house."

          Towne considers herself a social person, but after her father died early in the pandemic and "nobody could even walk into the hospital to see him," she decided not to take chances. And she won't get the coronavirus vaccine because "there's not enough research," so to protect herself, she steers clear of most other people.

          "Honestly," she said, "I don't think I'll go back out."

          - - -

          When last year's lockdown forced Izola's Country Cafe to close its doors for six weeks, Glenn and Lori Poole, the owners of the Hinesville eatery, helped their workers sign up for unemployment benefits and handed out shares of the $165,000 in Paycheck Protection Program money the diner received from the federal government.

          But when Izola's reopened and its signature mac and cheese and cornbread dressing again lured travelers to make a half-hour detour off Interstate 95, the Pooles tried to bring their workers back, to no avail. So many quit permanently that the eatery had to eliminate breakfast, slash its hours and close entirely on Sundays.

          "Some just up and leave in the middle of a shift, and you call them at home and they say, 'Oh, I was tired, so I left,' and some of them never come back," Glenn Poole said. "That is new, that attitude that they don't need the job."

          The new struggle to staff the eatery came at the worst possible time for Izola's. The restaurant had just gone viral - in a good way - thanks to the urging of the Pooles' teenage son, who told his parents that the way to get more young diners was to go on TikTok. More than a million viewers later, Izola's videos showing off each day's lunch dishes was bringing in swarms of new customers.

          The Pooles took advantage of their new popularity: They decorated the place, lining some walls with a dazzling display of vintage neckties. They piped in New Orleans jazz. They shifted the diner's identity from Izola's Country Cafe to Izola's Eclectic Cafe.

          But serving the surge of customers was turning into a problem. Some longtime employees moved out of the area, some went back to school - especially high school kids whose parents didn't want them working amid an unending stream of strangers - and some received more pay at one of the warehouses or even at McDonald's, which was offering bonuses and $10 an hour.

          The Pooles couldn't find a way to get much above minimum wage, maybe $8 an hour, Glenn said: "We're a mom and pop and if you don't have it to give, you can't give."

          To lure back workers, the Pooles offered to help with food or power bills, closed the self-serve buffet to minimize contact with customers and encouraged workers to get vaccinated and wear masks. But they couldn't risk imposing a mask mandate on customers, Glenn said: "This is the South. People have guns."

          In a rickety trailer in a mobile park less than a mile from Izola's, Fannie Lou Brewton looks back on more than a decade of cooking for the Pooles, all the way back through a life of work that started when she was nine, when her family sharecropped on a farm in Metter, Ga., picking corn, beans, watermelon and tobacco.

          The Pooles gave Brewton a raise last year, from $8.75 to $9 an hour, but it really wasn't the money. The pandemic taught her, rather, that after more than six decades of working, it was time to take a seat.

          "I am done," said Brewton, who is 71. "Done, done. I quit because I knew they didn't have enough people with masks on. I'd wear mine every day, but others didn't."

          Beyond the "Enter At Your Own Risk" sign outside, it's dark and quiet inside the trailer. Most days now, she doesn't see anyone but a couple of her children, maybe a grandchild or two.

          Brewton lives on her daughter's disability check and her own $810 monthly Social Security payment. Put together, they cover the $577 rent on the trailer with enough left over to buy basic groceries and fry up a pork chop now and then.

          She doesn't miss cooking - her greens, cabbage and okra and tomato dishes were highlights of Izola's menu - though she did let herself be talked into baking eight sweet potato pies for her family's Thanksgiving.

          These days, because of the virus, she mostly stays home. "I look at TV, play some games - poker, solitaire - on the tablet," she said. "I ain't going to leave here til God comes and gets me."

          - - -

          The Help Wanted signs Donald Lovette sees all over Liberty County mean much more to the county's top elected official than just some reduced hours and services at retail establishments and government agencies.

          As the county struggles to find firefighters, 911 operators and maintenance workers, and Lovette hears from business owners scrambling to fill good-paying positions such as truck drivers and office workers, he worries that Liberty - where per capita income is $22,636, only two-thirds of the national average - will have to make difficult trade-offs. The county is considering raising its property tax rate to offer workers competitive salaries, a change that could have a big effect on home sales and business recruiting.

          Any return to life as it was, said Lovette, chairman of the County Commission, will require redefining the relationship between workers and the government benefits they expect. "It's not that people are lazy," he said, "it's that some of them are better off financially by not paying for child care, staying home for a while, using their benefits to pay down some debt. It's simple economics."

          He knows - as county business owners know - that money alone will not solve this problem.

          Michelle Harris, a teacher at Fort Stewart who also runs a trucking company with her husband, Jeffrey, manages their three trucks while Jeffrey is out on the road, long-hauling dog food or flat-screen TVs or hardwood flooring - trips he would far prefer not to make because of blood clots in his legs.

          Jeffrey has to go, his wife said, because their usual drivers decided to stay home, getting by on government payments.

          "It's not a question of pay," Michelle said. Drivers make good money - about $1,300 a week, plus bonuses for certain big loads. "It's that some people's attitude toward work has changed. If you're a couple with five kids and you're getting $250 credits on each of them, plus the food stamps, you can keep one of you at home and take care of your kids."

          For the Harrises' business, MJ Express, no drivers means no income - idled trucks cost money. "Gotta keep on moving," Michelle said. One of Harris's trucks is in for repairs delayed because the shop can't find enough mechanics to work. The third truck sits waiting for a driver.

          - - -

          Jos? Espada figures this can't last much longer.

          Before the coronavirus, Espada's nightspot, JJ's Bar and Grill, was finally at the point where he was, as he put it, "seeing money rather than just paying bills." Tucked inside an Econolodge on Hinesville's main suburban shopping drag, JJ's had become a community of regulars, drawn by the pool tables and the karaoke, the dance floor and the down-home Puerto Rican cooking.

          But the pandemic whacked his sales by 75% for the first few months, forcing him to slash his staff from 25 people to just six to handle takeout and delivery orders.

          Slowly, after he was allowed to reopen at 35% capacity and then at full strength, business built back.

          But as customers came back, many of his employees were gone forever. Espada raised wages by a couple of bucks, up to $10 or $11 an hour, "but I'm not a franchise - I can't afford $14 or $15," he said.

          When the bar shut down, Denise Bunch, a cook at JJ's for nearly three years, went on unemployment. The national moratorium on evictions gave her the fortitude to stay home for several months, even as she fell behind on her rent. At first, she enjoyed the calm and security of being home by herself, well protected from customers carrying the virus.

          But as the pandemic wore on, she missed work, missed people. "You can only Zoom for so long before you're looking around saying, 'I need to do something outside this house,' " she said.

          Yet when Espada called, trying to lure her back full time, Bunch resisted. A former prekindergarten teacher, Bunch, 47, decided she'd like to go back to school, get an associate's degree and return to the classroom.

          "You start thinking about what really doesn't matter and seeing how you can better yourself," she said.

          Espada has built back up to 16 staffers - not enough, he says. He needs bartenders, servers, kitchen help, at least five people.

          "A lot of them got to spend more time with family while we were closed and that changed the dynamic," Espada said. "Now everybody wants to switch from working nights to just days, and I can't accommodate that. This is a nighttime business."

          He remains confident that workers will come back. "It's always been the nature of Americans to work," Espada said, "to find a way to make some money and better yourself."

          Bunch finally agreed to return - but only part time, she said. When Bunch needed more money, she picked up more hours - as the laundress at the Econolodge, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, then home for a nap, then over to JJ's for a 6 p.m.-to-midnight shift.

          "I learned that I loved working," she said, "but I want to do it like I want it, part here, part there, and next, I'll do something for me. That's a change. Permanent change."
          Last edited by graphic-er; 12-13-2021, 03:52 PM.
          You can't get champagne from a garden hose.




            • So true..


              • As I watch the reports of the texts of Fox News Opinion hosts asking/begging/pleading with Trump to stop the insurrection, and then go on the air and take an entirely different spin, I wondered what CNN/MSNBC et al would do if this had happened under a democrat administration?

                The knee jerk response would be to say they'd still report on it, but minimize the screen time. Less focus, but not try and spin it into being 'nothing' or 'plants' or a 'false flag operation'.

                But then it hit me... I'm overthinking it. This wouldn't happen under a normal president, let alone a democrat. Not pre-Trump. Trump changed the political landscape in ways unimaginable and aided by the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and OAN... and a right wing blogosphere. Maybe one day it would happen under a democrat now that the genie is out of the bottle, but right now, this is a Trump led party's issue. Or type of issue.
                Nuntius was right for a while. I was wrong for a while. But ultimately I was right and Frank Vogel has been let go.


                "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

                -John Wooden


                • Comment

                  • ^it's a stupid take...this isn't russia where biden can just kidnap manchin's daughter or whatever...


                    • Originally posted by dal9 View Post
                      ^it's a stupid take...this isn't russia where biden can just kidnap manchin's daughter or whatever...
                      Sure but just acknowledge that Manchin is the real President.
                      You can't get champagne from a garden hose.