Temp workers rights took a step forward last week with the passage of House Bill 4304 "The Temporary Workers' Right to Know Act" - sponsored by Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry (D - Dorchester) and Sen. Jack Hart (D - Boston) - into law by the Massachusetts legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick. Advocates from the Mass. Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Community Labor United, Boston Workers Alliance and a host of other organizations did a great job of bursting through the longstanding State House log jam on bills that would benefit temp workers.
There aren't many moments in politics where a fast phone call can really make a difference, but this is one of them. Advocates from the Mass. Alliance Against Predatory Lending - a coalition of labor, community, homeowner and religious organizations - have fought for a state bill to "Prevent Unlawful and Unneccesary Foreclosures" (MA House 4096/Senate 2298) that would at last provide victims of toxic home loans in Massachusetts a modicum of protection against banks trying to seize their homes.
In an early May editorial, I mentioned that I'd be away for about three months over the course of this year while finishing my MFA in Visual Arts at an art school somewhere in the Boston area. Given that Open Media Boston is still a small operation with just your faithful Editor/Publisher as its sole paid staff, we tend to slow down a lot when I'm otherwise indisposed. And I've been quite busy for the last six weeks.
Like many other progressives, I watched the weekend of No NATO protests in Chicago with great concern. Not because - like the more ill-informed and/or right-wing media commentators - I was scared of "terrorists" or "The Black Bloc" (as the more ill-informed, right-wing and/or just plain lazy members of the fourth estate have been typing it recently ... as if the black bloc tactic were an actual organization). Rather because I believe in democracy. And therefore I believe in the fundamental democratic right to dissent.
Greetings all. Regular viewers of Open Media Boston will likely have noted that I have periodically mentioned being an MFA student at a local university for almost a year and a half. Well, now that I'm angling towards my thesis semester, my editorials will be a bit more sporadic when I'm busy with schoolwork - as is the case this month. So much as I love holding forth on issues of the day, I've got a big project I'm working on and a thesis to write over the rest of the year.
Earlier this week, the Boston Bruins hockey team was knocked out of the NHL playoffs when Washington Capitals Winger Joel Ward scored a game-winning goal in overtime. And true, the Bruins were the defending champions. But, as the saying goes: too bad so sad. That would have been that. Were it not for the fact that Ward was black, and all but a small percentage of other NHL players and Bruins fans (and hockey fans in general) are white.
For the next two days, the Boston area is experiencing extremely high pollen levels - 11.8 on a 12 point scale. And the pollen levels will continue above 10 points all week until it finally rains next weekend. This is highly unusual. Even for a city like Boston that often has fairly high pollen levels between spring and fall. Climate experts say it’s the result of the second warmest winter on record hereabouts - and the warmest March on record. Plants are growing earlier than normal and pollinating earlier than normal.
Whatever you think about the Trayvon Martin case, it's clear that a major travesty of justice occurred in Sanford, FL a few weeks back. So it's no surprise that a large spontaneous nationwide movement arose to see Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, brought to trial, and ideally to usher in a top-to-bottom housecleaning in the Sanford Police Department - and possibly in the Sanford city government itself for good measure.
And it's great to see such a movement grow so quickly. It gives me hope.
OK, I'm finally starting to feel better after over a week of a nasty cold. Which means it's time for our slightly delayed fourth anniversary editorial. But I suppose the whole "Jason has a cold" business illustrates where this publication is at after four years of continuous publication. There's still only one paid staff person. Me. And, don't get me wrong, that's a significant achievement (which I have to remind myself every time we get a grant or a donation).
Alas, your faithful Editor/Publisher is home sick with that cold that's been going around; so I'll be giving my regular editorial a miss this week. Stay tuned for my next installment (and a couple of short news pieces I was working on) in a few days - once I'm on the mend. But in the meantime, please enjoy the other articles we have up this week. [And I mean really. Doesn't it just figure that I've got to get a stupid cold during Open Media Boston's fourth anniversary week? Grumble grumble. Stupid imperfect existence. And still waiting for that "cold cure", MIT!