The DOL Newsletter – July 19, 2012: Great News re Workers Rights Enforcement at Federal Level


English: Hilda Solis speaks as the newly annou...
English: Hilda Solis speaks as the newly announced U.S. Secretary of Labor as President-elect Barack Obama looks on (at far left is announced U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk) Licensing: Category:Images of Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Given the national media’s obsession with celebrities and sound bites a lot of important information gets missed. Namely the wonderful work Hilda Solis and others at Federal Department of Labor are doing for workers.


Its not just enforcement to recover wages or ensure safety, but also job development and worker training.


Construction workers at a considerable height ...



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Workers' Memorial Day poster Pray for the dead...
Workers’ Memorial Day poster Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living. – Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


NYT: Senate Democrats (To Call Tax Bluff?)


Tax the Rich.  End the War.  Live Love.
Tax the Rich. End the War. Live Love. (Photo credit: Lisa Norwood)


US Federal Income Tax Rate for Top Income Brac...
US Federal Income Tax Rate for Top Income Bracket 1929 – 2011 (Photo credit: Cory M. Grenier) Democrats plan to let all tax cuts expire and force Republicans to vote up or down on middle class tax cuts. Scary yet article details support coming from liberal think tanks.It reminds me of Clinton’s welfare reform and deficit cutting.


Seemingly outrageous yet beneficial in the long run. (Yes, I know folks can fight over competing data but at least most everyone had opportunity to move forward in Clinton years. More importantly people believed it.)




NYT: Who’s on America’s Side? — Dowd Nails It

Hollywood On Trial
Hollywood On Trial (Photo credit: wgbhmorningstories) NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd describes how the Republican efforts to smear Obama as UnAmerican are failing. Worse, many Americansseem to finally realize it’s the Republicans protecting corporate interests at all costs that threatens the Republic. Of course it’s not all, which presents the danger.

Read her piece along with NYT article on Chinese‘s elites flailing attempts to introduce reform at the elites lack any real connection to the people so discussions rendered moot. However, many recognize the dangers arising from this lack of contact as shown by both the original Chinese Revolution and (certainly) the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

red-color news soldier
red-color news soldier (Photo credit: the|G|™)
Albert Einstein The important thing is not to ...
Albert Einstein The important thing is not to stop questioning (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

The challenge lies in convincing folks it’s not only their right but their duty to dissent on issues of principle.

Nifty Nearby Nuggets

I work within shouting distance of San Francisco City Hall, which exists in a neighborhood most of us know as the ‘Loin (Tenderloin). The Tenderloin boasts both some of the oldest and newest building buildings in the City, a diverse and densely packed populace, and the real and imagined seats of federal, state, and local power.   Having attended Hastings and worked down there for years,

I have seen it swing from the most vibrant to the most desolate of places (sometimes in a single day as folks scurry home).

Tonight I can’t possibly do it justice so I will let some random photos speak to it. Know however you should come on down. You will find the best food (at the best prices), a dizzying amount of art (in museums and fairs), and street theater (both in and outside of City Hall).

Enjoy but remember I’m still learning both the software and photography.


Time as True Currency

Clock in Kings Cross railway station
Clock in Kings Cross railway station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a love hate relationship with time. I can waste it, lose myself in it, and fear it. Rarely, however, do I revel in it. In my younger days, I impatiently speeded time up so I could obtain things (a car to drive, a college acceptance to take me out of an oppressive small town, or a degree to let me graduate). As I grew older I desperately expanded my time so I could acquire more things (recognition at work, political victories, or trivia masquerading as knowledge).

Trivial things
Trivial things (Photo credit: mariag.)

Too soon I regretted lost time as I either failed to obtain, or (more often) failed to keep, those things I sought (loved ones passed, relationships failed, and ambitions crumbled).

Document Time Passing (p. 166-167) - Result
Document Time Passing (p. 166-167) – Result (Photo credit: atibens)

Far more eloquent voices than mine have addressed these problems. Time quotes. Perhaps my favorite comes from Shakespeare when he speaks to the seven stages of man, with its wondrous opening “All the worlds a stage, And all the man and women merely players: They have their exits and entrances. These observers, whether cynical or optimistic, all boil life down to one premise, life is too damn short so try to [fill in blank — enjoy it, fulfill a spiritual quest, or be a millionaire before thirty].

Given all the philosophers have analyzed time how come so few “get it?” Einstein wisely noted “the only reason time exists is so everything doesn’t happen at once.” Einstein Quotes – Quotes by Albert Einstein. Unfortunately as a “proverbial person of the earth”  (aka not the brainiest of souls) I find even brilliantly insightful abstractions hard to grasp.  Mostly I can’t apply abstractions for I find reacting easier than planning. When this proclivity leads me to help someone it’s great. When it drags me to a temper tantrum it’s awful. But nothing is black and white.

The first set of Strachan and Co currency toke...
The first set of Strachan and Co currency tokens–recognised as South Africa’s first indigenous currency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ultimately – or at least for tonight – I see time as the currency making the world go round. Before we learn better we need youth’s impatience to motivate us. Currently I see the acquisition stage, outside of people to love (both platonic and romantic), as highly overrated. (Odd since given my numerous collections friends and relatives keep threatening to put me on A&E Hoarders)In contrast I view the regret stage as vital to learning life’s lessons. (Yes, you can spend – and god knows I have spent –  too much time wallowing the sea of regret.) But the pain, much like grabbing a mule’s attention for training purposes, drives the lesson home.

Mule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking to my personal experience I can affirm forgiveness relieves the pain.  William Blake wisely wrote “it is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”  However, far better to surrender pride than lose all contact with someone whom you once loved. Maybe it won’t work out but then you have stopped renting them space in your head (uncollected rent I might add). Again time helps – when you have it to give – because it dulls the painful edges. Still, as noted above, we never own time so careful with gambling on it.

Learn To Forgive
Learn To Forgive (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Much later I will post on the hardest thing of all, forgiving myself. However, in the interim it’s back to pictures and design.

A Few of Her Favorite Things

A remote control for the Sky+ satellite TV ser...
A remote control for the Sky+ satellite TV service in the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our guardian (slave) has been out of commission so we jumped on the blog tonight to post a quirky and weird selection. We had to grab her camera phone to do it. A little harder to work than the TV remote but thankfully we figured it out.

Oh, who are we? Tonight you can call us the bear chorus. We will introduce ourselves more fully in another posting. Truthfully we merit our own blog but we CSheila hasn’t finished negotiating with our agents. Hey, we saw what happened with Ted. It could be big time for us.

Here she tries to get artistic as she walks along the Embarcadero or sits by the water. We’ll take her word for it since fur and water don’t mix so well. Not to mention it would screw up our outfits. (One of our biggest demands in the negotiations is fresh clothes, except for Telly (he’s not giving up the hat and coat for anything.)







She loves grabbing stuff in the neighborhood including free stuff (shudder) she later “fixes up.” Sigh, given the amount of design shows we watch with her you think the stuff would look better. But deep down she’s a hippie. Anyway we still love her even if she can’t channel a gay man or a straight woman. See below for some quick hits (both found, given, or bought).








Other times she snaps the stuff you just get to see when you wander through SF. Mind you we also hit the streets but prefer clubbing.

Sometimes she just grabs nature shots from parks or neighborhood. Warning she tried the artsy thing again. We want to encourage her to get out so haven’t sat down to give her tips. It makes her happy when she goes out. More importantly it frees up the remote for us.

Finally she likes to hit museums and snap some pictures. You will see some stuff here from current DeYoung show by Gaultier. We still have not forgiven her after we found she look at some rent boy bear costing $175!!!! Of course she didn’t buy it. She wants similar action one of us will volunteer to put the ring through our nose. Most like Broom Hildie (the crazy – and proud of it — Viking Kitty).







Other shots are from SFMOMA. She keeps trying to capture building shots — this time through glass. Worse she foolishly indulges her hot chocolate fetish. Sigh; we let it go since she always had one with her mom.

Our favorite shots, however, remain the ones she just finds walking in the neighborhood like the benches and gardens.


Who Do You Plan Your City’s Future Around?

Found a provocative article today on an attempt in San Francisco to introduce  new smaller housing limits. Essentially it will allow developers to build living spaces no bigger than 150 feet. SF Public Press printed it at  Fortunately, unlike the Comicle, SF Public Press presented an in-depth article on the pro’s and con’s.

Graduate School Blues
Graduate School Blues (Photo credit: ChiILLeica)

Essentially the ideal candidate is twenty-something techie who works all the time and merely needs a place to sleep until the IPO hits. Why most of us know the IPO fantasy is simply a fantasy, it’s not the only industry catering to disposable employees. In the legal industry, I knew any number of young college graduates in the 1990s who slaved for two to three years to earn overtime money for graduate school. Sadly when they graduated law school they found the money was much better but the hours were worse sans the overtime. The same went for future MBAs. Then with the tech boom they migrated to Silicon Valley.

These small spaces with their cute IKEA furniture would stack on top of each of other in high rises. In theory the increased housing stock would drive down rents because of course these highly educated and well paid employees would flock to live near each other. It would be a step up from the tech hostels profiled last week in the New York Times ( This is of course assumes these middle and upper class youth would surrender shared space allowing for all their tech toys, parties every twenty-something enjoys, and the amenities associated with living in San Francisco.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum on the Lower E...
Lower East Side Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Opponents fear overcrowding as people flock (read share) the smaller housing to save on rent. In other words the more likely tenant candidates would be low income workers and their families. I recall visiting the exhibits associated with the New York Tenement Museum ( These large buildings stacked tenants like cordwood, had shared sewage (big ditch), and housed any number of work sites (piece labor). Obviously it’s a leap to say these would automatically turn into these types of establishments. On the other hand, look at the McMansions in the burbs now overrun with tweaking squatters after the foreclosure crisis forced out the original owners (

Mcmansion north
Mcmansion north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly this small (should be bigger than 150 feet) house would benefit many in the community. We need alternatives to homelessness. Similarly we don’t need to litter our suburbs with opulent, albeit shoddily constructed, monuments to consumer excess. Many of us headed toward retirement might choose a smaller living space, if only for the opportunity to stay in San Francisco. As the opponents astutely pointed not enough time was given the underlying decisions associated with this change.

However, the real problem is marketing fantasies keeps driving our  housing policies. During the boom period many bought the hype they needed and deserved an overly large home in the burbs. With many others the gentrification costs drove them to the outlying areas. Now it seems San Francisco wants to market its future around tech companies who (like many other start-ups) specialize in burning through employees for short periods of time. We need to ensure everyone has a seat at the table to discuss the future.

This does not mean we drive out the tech or bio companies. We need them. But we also needs the service employees, teachers, cops, and fireman. Perhaps most of we need to remember all of us will age.

Folks inching toward or past the half-century mark have lived through any number of recessions starting with Reagan and moving forward. Those slightly older can name more.  We need to remember things move in cycles. Thus the one thing we can’t do is tear up our social safety nets which carry us through the inevitable down cycles. Nor can we forget the ultimate survivors in nature are species welcoming diversification.