Cracked Magazine used to be a so-so ripoff of the considerably better Mad Magazine. Instead of Alfred E. Newmann, they used a dopey janitor guy as their mascot, and they aped Mad's look and feel as much as possible. It was always a poor also-ran, and fell into obscurity in the late '90's.
However, a few years ago, Cracked was reborn as a pretty good pop culture website. Much of the humor is still pretty juvenile, but overall they've done a good job, and a lot of their "Top (x)" lists are pretty interesting (and better sourced than most "real" journalism, I might add).
With that in mind, Cracked.com's latest list, The 6 Worst Jobs Ever (Were done by children) provides a half-dozen excellent examples of what the U.S. might look like if today's GOBPBaggers were to have the control over things that they seek.
#5: Coal Carriers
Coal remains one of the most vital sources of energy the world over, but mining the stuff continues to be an ugly, incredibly dangerous business. So picture how rough it was prior to the 20th century when coal provided virtually the only power source, and the height of safety technology involved ropes, carts and yelling, "Run!" when stuff blew up.
You couldn't imagine worse working conditions. Explosions, shaft cave-ins, asphyxiation, black lung; it was all in a day's work for Ye Old coal miners. To put it in perspective, we have more than once left work early because we felt "itchy."
Of course, the only way to ensure any measure of safety and success back then was to rely on the most experienced and well-trained coal miners. Or children. Yeah, screw it, children will do.
From ages as young as four, children were employed in the art of hurrying: pulling giant sled loads of coal through tiny shafts. Children made perfect carriers because their short stature allowed them to crawl around two foot tunnels in the bowels of the Earth for 12 hours a shift. You might wonder why midgets were not employed. Because midgets are people too, jerk.
Oh, and did we mention the children were often forced to do the work naked? Perhaps clothes were forbidden because loose articles might catch on shaft walls. Or perhaps the idea of a fully-clothed child crawling on their belly in an ink black hole deep underground came off as too dignified.
The fact is, there was no physical need for mine shafts to be constructed that small, and therefore no need to employ children. Building shafts over 24-inches wide just cost more. It's simple Supply and Demand: people kept supplying disposable children, and mining companies kept demanding those kids to shimmy their little asses down the scary, dark hell mouth.
You get the idea.
Read the whole thing. These lists actually read pretty quick and provide a nice perspective (and occasionally a bit of actual insight) on things.
Oh, yeah, and when you're done, please give Lance Enderle a hand over in MI-08. He's running the most grass-rootsiest of grassroots campaigns, a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress. Lance is a progressive Democrat who's trying to save MI-08 the awkwardness of running the only candidate who's on the primary ballot: A guy who dropped out of the race last month!