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Sunday Poll: Should The U.S. Government Release a Redacted Name from 9/11 Report?

September 8, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should The U.S. Government Release a Redacted Name from 9/11 Report?
Please vote below

Wednesday is the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

From July:

The House on Friday approved legislation to replenish a depleted federal fund to compensate emergency workers and others who became ill as a result of their work in the ruins of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, extending it for the lifetime of those who were at Sept. 11’s ground zero.

The bill, passed by a lopsided bipartisan 402-12 vote, would authorize $10.2 billion for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It comes in the face of a large uptick in medical claims from people who worked on “the pile,” as the steaming heap of steel rubble was often called by those who labored there in the months after the attack in 2001. Many of them have since become gravely sick with cancer and other ailments. (New York Times)

It later passed the Senate 97-2. Not everything is covered, this month a new study was published:

The study points out that the cardiovascular care is not currently covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, meaning 9/11 firefighters receive no compensation for cardiovascular diseases from the fund.

The cardiovascular risks that appear to be linked to Ground Zero exposure include heart attack, stroke, unstable angina, coronary artery surgery and angioplasty. (NBC News)

Less discussed is an ongoing victims lawsuit:

The Justice Department is wrestling with whether to disclose a name sought by the plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit that seeks to link the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

Attorney General William Barr faced a Friday deadline for deciding whether to release the name or to invoke a rarely used state secrets privilege and refuse to divulge the information. But Justice Department officials decided they needed more time, submitting a request to a federal court in New York for an extension until next Thursday. A judge granted the request.  (NBC News)

Today’s poll is about the question of releasing a previously redacted name.

Today’s poll will close at 8am tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Using St. Louis’ Recycling Dumpsters

September 6, 2019 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Using St. Louis’ Recycling Dumpsters

I lived in a condo in Downtown West for over 11 years, our condo association had private trash & recycling.  It was very convenient.

Two recycling dumpsters sit side by side on what is apparently considered a sidewalk. Most people going to/from ZOOM Gas walk in O’Fallon Street.

When we moved to the Columbus Square neighborhood in late December 2018 we had to begin using city recycling dumpsters. As our apartment complex isn’t served by city alleys, we must take our recycling to a designated spot.

For us, that spot is on O’Fallon Street just west of 10th Street. My first thought was how inconvenient it was going to be. Turns out I was wrong…assuming you have a car.

We knew our apartment doesn’t have room for the big paper leaf bags we’d used to collect recycling in our loft, so we anticipated using some of our reusable shopping bags.

We used yard/leaf bags for recycling at our loft. This was taken out back about once a month.
Our primary recycling bag is one we got free at the opening of the Gtreenleaf grocery store. Click image for the city’s recycling website.

The drop off location is actually quite convenient. My husband often takes 1-2 shopping bags of recycling on his way to work. On the weekends we’ll both stop by. I’ve even dropped off the recycling by myself.

If you live in the city, you likely have recycling dumpsters in your alley. I have no experience with alley recycling. My guess is non-recyclable items end up in them. Some neighborhoods with alleys also have recycling locations like we do, presumably to save money by not having trucks drive down every alley.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever

September 4, 2019 Economy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever
One of the many cute dogs in Monday’s Labor Day Parade

The few at the top have been using the masses to pass laws designed to diminish unions — increasing their profits. As income inequality gets worse, labor unions are needed more than ever.

Collective bargaining is an important force in reducing inequality and ensuring that low- and middle-wage workers are given a fair return on their work. As productivity has risen over the last several decades, wages have remained flat for the majority of working people, while skyrocketing for those at the top. Union decline can explain one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the rise in wage inequality among women from 1973 to 2007. Among men, the erosion of collective bargaining has been the largest single factor driving a wedge between the middle class and the top 1 percent.

Working people in unions use their power in numbers to secure a fairer share of the income they create. On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector. But importantly, collective bargaining also raise wages for nonunion workers—as an economic sector becomes more unionized, nonunion employers pay more to retain qualified workers, and norms of higher pay and better conditions become standard. If union density had remained at its 1979 level, weekly wages of nonunion men in the private sector would be 5 percent higher today. (Economic Policy Institute)

Given the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll it’s clear a majority of participants agree.with me.

Q: Agree or disagree: Labor unions are no longer necessary because laws protect worker’s health & safety.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.27%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Strongly disagree: 29 [65.91%]
  • Unsure/No Answer:  0 [0%]

As usual, about 20% take the conservative viewpoint.

— Steve Patterson

 

Thank Labor Unions If You’re Off Work With Pay Today

September 2, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Thank Labor Unions If You’re Off Work With Pay Today

Today’s parade begins at 9am from 15th & Olive. It’ll head east to Tucker (12th), south to Market, then west to 15th.

Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

Parade participants begin assembling at 7am, for more information see the St. Louis Labor Council parade page.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Are Labor Unions Still Necessary In 2019?

September 1, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Are Labor Unions Still Necessary In 2019?
Please vote below

Tomorrow is Labor Day, so today’s poll will be about labor unions.

Bumper stickers aren’t known for being the most trustworthy sources of historical fact, but the one that proclaims that weekends are “brought to you by the labor movement” gets it exactly right. If anything, it doesn’t go far enough.

Indeed, employers and elected leaders did not implement the five-day workweek out of the goodness of their hearts. Rather, workers and their unions agitated lobbied, organized, struck and voted for decades to achieve these gains. As Frederick Douglass, the legendary African American activist, once declared: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” (Time)

Union membership isn’t what it had been.

The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions— was 10.5 percent in 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.7 million in 2018, was little changed from 2017. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

So here’s today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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