July 20, 2009

This one's for Frances

El Cabrero has spent a good chunk of time working on public policy issues that affect working and low income people. I guess it's only natural when that people who do certain kinds of things are interested in others who did similar things.

As far as effective advocacy goes, my vote for Most Valuable Player of All Time goes hands down to Frances Perkins, who has been described as a major architect of the New Deal and the social conscience of Franklin Roosevelt.

As I've mentioned previously, I recommend Kirstin Downey's biography, The Woman Behind the New Deal. While I was aware of her work in FDR's administration, until I read the book, I had no idea what an amazing track record of effective work she had done on issues of workers rights, safety, and women's and children's issues before she held any major public posts.

She kicked butt.

(Did I mention she was an Episcopalian? Go team!)

According to Downey, when FDR asked her to join his administration as Secretary of Labor, she told him she wouldn't accept it unless he was committed to work to enact a major--and almost unthinkable--list of social reforms. These "a forty-hour work week, a minimum wage, banning child labor, direct federal aid for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized public employment service, and health insurance."

The amazing thing is that all but one of those things came to pass (though most of the public employment programs were phased out as the Depression lifted).

There's just one major item on the list that hasn't happened yet. I'm of course referring to health insurance, the major fight that's going on now.

Frances, this one's for you!

ON THAT NOTE, despite the recession, several states are expanding health care for children.

ASTROTURF. Ken Ward's Coal Tattoo unveils what and who is behind the WV anti-climate change protests.

THANKS FOR STATING THE OBVIOUS. REALLY! No irony intended. Some research indicates what a lot of people already suspected, i.e. that the juvenile and criminal justice systems often make bad situations worse.

IF I READ MY CALENDAR ARIGHT, this is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Here's some stuff from Wired Science about that. Which reminds me of one of my favorite songs.

LOW WAGE WORKERS GET A BOOST. This item from McClatchy discusses the increase in the minimum wage that was just enacted.


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