On June 15, 1990, the LAPD violently smashed up a peaceful march by SEIU janitors in Los Angeles who were trying to grow their membership via new contracts with outsource cleaning service companies. Bill and Rachel discuss.
Description: Kelley, Rachel, and Bill discuss California’s Prop 22 ballot law against independent contractors and New Mexico’s positive reform for public-sector employee unions. Part II coming to the bonus feed.
Description: In 1934, longshoremen along the entire US West coast emerged as a powerful force in organized labor, staging a general strike in San Francisco and unionizing every port on the coast. Kelley, Rachel, and Bill discuss.
Instead of an opt-in provision at the DMV, eligible Californians will now have to opt out of being registered to vote if they wish to remain unregistered, thanks to a law Gov. Jerry Brown signed today, which is set to take effect ahead of the 2016 presidential primary. It was enacted in response to extremely low 2014 turnout in the state — well below 50%.
“The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens,” [Secretary of State Alex] Padilla said Saturday. “Citizens should not be required to opt in to their fundamental right to vote. We do not have to opt in to other rights, such as free speech or due process.”
In general, this seems to me like a good idea. I do wonder how well it will work in practice if a lot of people move around (even just to a neighboring precinct) without updating their license and voter registration.
I also wonder how many people who weren’t registered before will now take the opportunity to turn out, but perhaps the campaigns will be able to target Never-Voteds more effectively by mail, phone, and canvassing now that there will be a database identifying them.
This legislation could also prove important for unexpected reasons given an upcoming Supreme Court case concerning redistricting by number of residents versus by number of voters (or other alternative metrics).
California will also be increasing options for early voting ballot dropoffs and vote-by-mail, also in an effort to increase turnout.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Saudi landowners were given free rein to pump the aquifers so that they could transform the desert into irrigated fields. Saudi Arabia soon became one of the world’s premier wheat exporters.
By the 1990s, farmers were pumping an average of 5 trillion gallons a year. At that rate, it would take just 25 years to completely drain Lake Erie.
Now the water is nearly gone. Most of that underground water came from ancient aquifers that are deeply buried and don’t naturally refill for tens of thousands of years.
Definitely read the rest, especially if you aren’t familiar with how broken U.S. water resource policies are.
As the measles outbreak in California continues to spread — the number of reported cases reached 73 on Monday — it’s becoming increasingly clear that the state should end its so-called “personal belief” exemption for childhood vaccines. Currently, California is one of about twenty states in the nation in which parents can use the personal belief waiver. Most states only permit medical or religious exemptions for childhood vaccines.
For the measles vaccine to be effective for everyone, about 92 percent of the population needs to be have been fully vaccinated. But because of the personal belief waiver and the anti-vaccination movement, many communities in California fall well short of the 92 percent threshold. As a result, the measles, once thought to have been eradicated, has come roaring back to life.
But the anti-vax crowd shouldn’t have the right to endanger the health of the rest of us. The movement, which fears a link between childhood vaccines and autism, gained traction during the Aughts, following the revelation that the federal government had ordered the removal of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal from vaccines. Thimerosal had been used widely since the 1930s, and a study in the late 1990s claimed to have uncovered a link between the preservative and the rise of autism nationwide. That study has since been widely discredited. Moreover, thimerosal is no longer used in vaccines for children six and under (except for some flu vaccines).
As such, there is no longer a basis for the personal belief exemption in California. New York City doesn’t have it, and only 0.2 percent of public school students there have been exempted from vaccines, according to the Los Angeles Times. In California, wealthy parents who send their kids to private schools appear to be especially prone to using the exemption. For example, according to the LA Times, at the Berkeley Rose private school, the parents of 87 percent of kindergarteners in 2013 used it.
That’s not only dangerous, it’s disturbingly anti-science. Measles is a serious disease with serious consequences. And vaccines work — if they’re widely used. California, in other words, should stop pandering to the anti-vax crowd.
EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT exempted from vaccines. In one school.
Apparently our ancestors crossed the harsh Great American Desert in search of a better life so their descendents a century and a half later could go to a children’s amusement park in Orange County and still contract the same damn diseases because somebody’s parents in the year Two Thousand Fifteen of Our Lord have the same understanding of infection transmission as any given covered wagon driver.