Archive | May, 2012

Things I Did and Didn’t Know About Marilyn Monroe and Leon Trotsky

28 May

I’ve long known Marilyn Monroe converted to Judaism when she married Arthur Miller. What nice Jewish boy doesn’t?  What I didn’t know:

  1. She was married in New Haven, at Congregation Mishkan Israel.
  2. She was “a serious convert.”
  3. She “continued to identify as Jewish after her divorce from Arthur Miller.”

I’ve also long known that Trotsky was extraordinarily prescient. What I didn’t know was that in 1938 Trotsky wrote:

It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews.

Law and Order Among the 1%

27 May

As New York City and other municipalities continue to crack down on Occupy Wall Street protests in the name of the rule of law, it’s important to remember how Michael Bloomberg, scion of the law and order crowd, deals with rules and laws he doesn’t like. This, in his own words, is how Bloomberg made his millions:

Among old McDonald’s hamburger wrappings and mouse droppings, we dragged wires from our computers to the keyboards and screens we were putting in place, stuffed the cables through holes we drilled in other people’s furniture—all without permission, violating every fire law, building code, and union regulation on the books. It’s amazing we didn’t burn some office or electrocute ourselves.

In the 4th Year of the Obama Administration, the Health and Safety of American Workers Remains “Open”

5 May

In October 2009, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report about the parlous state of government monitoring and investigations of occupational health and safety practices in the workplace. Among the report’s findings:

Stakeholders most often cited workers’ fear of job loss and other disciplinary actions as disincentives that can affect workers’ decisions to report injuries and illnesses. Occupational health practitioners concurred: 67 percent reported observing worker fear of disciplinary action for reporting an injury or illness, and 46 percent said that this fear of disciplinary action has at least a minor impact on the accuracy of employers’ injury and illness records. (p. 22)

Got that? 2/3 of the people involved in making sure that workplaces are safe claim that they’ve witnessed workers reluctant to report their injuries and illnesses for fear of retaliation.

The report made a series of recommendations to deal with this and other problems related to gathering data on workplace health and safety practices.

What has the Obama administration done with those recommendations? According to the GAO’s website, the status of each of those recommendations is “open.”  That is, nearly three years after the fact, OSHA has not yet implemented the report’s recommendations. To be fair, it has not yet not implemented those recommendations either. It just seems to be, well, doing stuff like this:

OSHA reported that during the one-year suspension of the record keeping audit program, it will officially revise its audit procedures to address this issue. OSHA Directive CPL 02-00-138, “Audit and Verification Program of Occupational Injury and Illness Records,” establishes the program and the procedures used to conduct data verification audits. OSHA will develop and implement a revised Directive during FY10 that will require worker interviews beginning with the audit cycle for the CY09 injury and illness data. The agency suspended the record keeping audits program for FY10 (auditing of CY08 data) to initiate a National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Record keeping that will identify and correct record keeping inaccuracies among employers included in the OSHA Data Initiative. OSHA noted that NEP, which was implemented in October 2009, involves extensive interviews of employees and company officials.

In other words, in the fourth year of the Obama Administration, the health and safety of American workers remains “open.”

h/t Mike Elk and Ken Libby

Update (1 pm)

Three days ago, the indispensable Mike Elk reported that the Obama administration had dropped a proposed rule that would have banned children as young as 12 from taking on very dangerous farm jobs. Democratic Senator Al Franken helped pressure the administration to drop the rule.

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