Change is Good

Here are a couple of reasons I think so: Hilda Solis and Kathleen Sebelius — not to mention Justice Sotomayor, of course.

Hilda Solis

First, there’s Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
If you have never experienced “wage theft,” you’re very fortunate, is about all I can say. It’s pervasive, and it’s one
of those unspoken perqs the corporate citizens in charge of our late lamented Republic enjoy. Here’s a taste of what
Secretary Solis is doing for the working folks in America:

Wage theft is a concept that has been promoted in recent years by grassroots labor activists including Kim Bobo, founder and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice and author of Wage Theft in America. “Wage theft is widespread and pervasive across all types of companies,” Bobo wrote recently. It ranges from mom-and-pop car wash and restaurant owners stealing tips from workers and withholding employees’ checks after promised paydays to corporate sub-contractors or Wal-Mart stores requiring off-the-books overtime or failing to pay the minimum wage. All this, Interfaith Worker Justice argues, constitutes a “crime wave that no one talks about.” It represents theft from workers totaling at least $19 billion a year, according to the Economic Policy Foundation.

Under the Bush administration’s Department of Labor, the crisis of wage theft was summarily ignored. In March 2009, the Government Accountability Office issued a report saying that the department’s Wage and Hour Division had for years “left thousands of actual victims of wage theft who sought federal government assistance with nowhere to turn.” Secretary Solis made reversing this trend a defining initiative of her department. Even before the report had been released, she had commenced the hiring of 150 new field investigators to enforce wage and child labor laws, as well as 100 more to police government contractors working on stimulus programs.

(NB: kudos to Mark Engler, and any writer who’ll use commenced correctly in a sentence.)

As if undoing the Bush regime’s policy of ignoring worker complaints wasn’t enough, she’s also pro-ENDA and she’s sided with OSHA against big oil:

Finally, in October 2009, Solis worked with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to fine the oil giant BP $87 million for hundreds of “willful and egregious” violations of safety standards at its refinery in Texas City, Texas, and for failing to remediate workplace hazards in the wake of a 2005 explosion.

Then there’s Kathleen Sebelius, who’s doing yeoman work on health care right now. It’s not the first time she’s stood up to the insurance companies on behalf of Americans who need health care.

Secretary Sebelius


I do think the women in the Cabinet right now are, not unlike the First Lady, showing us all what good can come when smart, strong folks get to work.

Y’all know how I feel about Justice Sotomayor.

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2 responses to “Change is Good

  1. grahamfirchlis

    Spot on, well said. While the Obama administration is not by any means perfect, they are doing a lot of good that never gets discussed. The MSM of course won’t mention it, takes away from the drumbeat of conflict and condemnation they want to promote, and most Lefty blogs are so dedicated to critique that, like a one-trick pony, it is all they can do; praise is given grudgingly, in passing if at all.

    Sane, sensible, rational, truthful; I am so pleased to share this space with you.

  2. The Other Sarah

    I need to remind myself, from time to time, that
    despite the brouhaha and the headline, despite the Massa frenzy (albeit making Glenn Beck apologize to the nation for wasting an hour of everyone’s time was, as the commercial says, priceless), there’s good stuff happening too.

    It helps me not despair that Gitmo’s still open and health insurance is still such a mess, that we’re still losing GIs in two wars on the far side of the world (for what, exactly? That doesn’t seem so clear anymore, does it?) and that Bush,
    Cheney, Rove and the whole lot of them are running around making money off books and lectures … instead of rotting away in jail where they belong…

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