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Jan 23
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Work Is Pretty Scarce Around Here

Just before and right after President Obama’s State of the Union address, an editor telephones complete strangers around the country, to find out what’s really going on.

Bill’s Man’s Shop, a western-wear supply store in San Angelo, Texas, just celebrated its 35th year in business. On the side of the store’s squat, orange-brick building, a large and colorful mural depicts the past century of the region’s history: A shepherd with a cracked face stands determinedly with his crook, white men on horses wrangle crowds of dazed cattle, black oil plumes from the base of a tall wooden derrick.

“Our boot wall takes up a lot of the store,” says the 20-year-old saleswoman who answers the phone, speaking with a sassy West Texan wobble in her voice. Her name, after I ask for it again, is still Treasure Ensminger. “We’ve got crocodile boots, ostrich boots, calfskin boots, bullhide boots, snakeskin boots, elephant skin boots…”

“Elephant skin?” I say. “I’d thought elephants were endangered.”

“They’re really nice boots,” she tells me.

Treasure just started her shift about an hour ago. In addition to her job at the Man’s Shop, she’s also... Continue Reading

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Today’s Headlines

Jan 23
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