Automation Isn't What's Wiping Out Our Jobs ; 18 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Prohibition ; and More Picks 1/23

Inside Hundreds of Surveillance Experiments Along the US-Mexico Border (Chris)

The author writes, “Dozens of defense contractors are testing out new surveillance technologies along the US-Mexico border. By examining thousands of broadcast licenses filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the scale of this activity comes into view. … Borders are often spaces of exception that exist not only as liminal areas between countries, but also as liminal places in the law. They therefore warrant special attention and accountability.”

Automation Isn’t Wiping Out Our Jobs. It’s That Our Engine of Growth Is Winding Down. (Chris)

The author writes, “In sluggish economies periodically racked by economic crisis and austerity, it is easier to blame the resulting social deterioration on robots, or on vulnerable sections of the workforce such as immigrants, women, and racial or religious minorities, than to face its true causes. Given the winding down of the industrial-growth engine — which has accompanied the spread of productive capacities around the world — restoring previously prevailing rates of economic growth will prove difficult if not impossible. Unless we find some way to share the work that remains, beggar-thy-neighbor politics really will tear our societies apart.”

Missouri Unions Add 47,000 Members, Putting Total at a 15-Year High (Reader Jim)

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Nationally, union membership fell by 170,000 last year and is now 10.3% of all workers, down from 10.5% in 2018. Last year was the first time since 2003 that Missouri had a higher unionization rate than the U.S. as a whole.”

Ethics Committee Warns Sitting Federal Judges Not to Affiliate With the Federalist Society (DonkeyHotey)

From the Raw Story: “The Federalist Society has long been known as a ‘pipeline’ for Republican judicial nominees to be groomed and considered for the federal bench, including many of President Donald Trump’s appointees. Moreover, many sitting federal judges maintain close ties with the group — last year alone, 23 judges, all appointed by Republicans, spoke at the annual Federalist Society convention. Officially, the organization has long maintained that it is not an advocacy group … However, a recent report revealed that the Federalist Society has secretly been engaging in political activism for years, with its president, Eugene Meyer, assuring donors in private that the group would teach federal judges to advance conservative goals.”

18 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Prohibition (Mili)

The author writes, “A century ago, the government effectively banned booze. The details are much weirder than what you remember from history class.”