The Triangle fire
On March 25, 1911, 146 young women — mostly immigrants — died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City. Frances Perkins, a young social worker, witnessed the women falling to their deaths from windows and collapsed fire escapes. The women were locked inside the factory.
Just 22 years later, Frances Perkins became the first female to serve as a cabinet secretary under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As the Secretary of Labor, she drafted to completion the Social Security Act, unemployment insurance, minimum wage and the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively. From 1933 to 1936, economic acts of the New Deal were based on relief, recovery and reform.
As the 100th anniversary of the fire recently passed, the New Deal was and is being attacked by some politicians, businesses and media. Let this anniversary remind us of workers’ rights.
I wish that I could concur with the comments by Fabrizio Griguoli (“Democracy will win,” March 27) regarding the future of America. He states that future generations will become more educated and better informed. The reality is that with America’s lack of focus on education, we are becoming less educated and willing to follow the best negative TV ads.
The Electoral College will not be eliminated without a constitutional amendment, which is highly unlikely.
Democracy is fading in America, and being replaced with an Aristocracy, where the wealthy few will provide the cash for elections in return for favorable treatment by those elected. We are seeing that now as Wall Street and the largest banks, who were the creators of mass destruction known as easy credit and subprime loans, are rewarded by our elected officials with bailouts and continued lack of regulatory oversight.
If Democracy is to have a chance, we will need a constitutional amendment clearly stating that corporations and labor unions are not citizens, and that they may not corrupt the democratic process with outrageous campaign contributions.
I am the realist.
Wise public policy is central to a society. It should be based on such principles as the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time.
The policy to allow nuclear power is, by these principles, the greatest evil in history. Nuclear power creates many toxic products, including plutonium 239, the deadliest substance known. One ounce, evenly distributed, could kill every human being. It has a half life of 24,000 years and takes at least ten half lives to become somewhat safe. That’s 240,000 years. How can such a substance be kept out of the environment and away from terrorists for 240,000 years?
If ancient Egypt had nuclear power when the pyramids were built, we would still be guarding their waste and have 235,000 years to go. No atrocity, genocide, or war has ever threatened every future generation with annihilation. Public policy that permits nuclear power generation is simply madness.
Love the new look
Officer Chris Fisher of the California Highway Patrol: We, the ladies of the gym, love your new look. We watch you every morning between 6 and 7 a.m., reporting on weather and traffic on KSBY. You surprised us this morning with a new CHP shirt.
Your friendly, easygoing manner is so refreshing. Keep up the good work. You make our day.
Victims of shift
“Kill the beast” were the words uttered in California more than a generation ago. They refer to the policy of cutting taxes, always a popular measure, to ultimately achieve the goal of destroying “the beast” or government.
Were those words spoken a century ago, the speaker would have been labeled a left-wing anarchist.
The mainstream right has come so far to the extreme right, it now resembles the radical left of 100 years ago. The first victims of that shift were the mentally ill once provided for in government-run facilities closed by the right.
A large number of those victims are now familiar to us when we see them on the streets. They are called “the homeless.”
The so-called “compromise” working its way through the California legislative process will now add the ill and aged to the list of victims of the right.
God help America.
Richard R. Fisher
I wonder if anyone else finds it ironic that the submerged sewer line under Lake Nacimiento broke less than one week after Tribune columnist Wayne Shaw reported that Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal told him: “I caught a lot of crappie on Friday ...”