Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Corporate Greed is Making Us Sick

The failure of our corporate and political leaders to make sure every worker gets good health care is causing some unpleasant consequences - not just for them but for all of us. Consequences like stomach flu.

Ill workers often spread illness. This is because millions of employees who deal directly with the public,  as well as with co-workers, are not covered by paid sick leave policies. so, when they come down with something like stomach flu, they still tend to drag themselves to work rather than going to bed until they recover, because staying home means a loss of pay...or even loss of their jobs.

Low wage workers, such as those in the restaurant industry, are particularly vulnerable and, since they handle food particularly threatening. Nearly 80% of America's food service workers receive no paid sick leave, and researchers have found that about half of them go to work ill, because they fear losing their jobs if they don't. As a result, a study by the Centers for Disease Control finds that ill workers are causing as much as 80% of America's stomach flu outbreaks, which is one reason that CDC officials have declared our country's lack of paid sick leave to be a major public health threat.

You'd think the industry itself would be horrified enough by this endangerment of its workforce and customers that it would either take the obvious curative step of providing the leave or of pushing , in the name of public safety, for a public sick-leave program. But, such huge and profitable chains as McDonald's. Red Lobster, and Taco Bell not only fail to provide such sensible care for their employees, but have lobbied furiously against city and state efforts to require paid sick days.

All the top corporate executives, who never touch the food their chains serve, get paid sick leave. For them to deny it to workers is idiotic, shortsighted, and even more sickening than stomach flu.

This article was written by Jim Hightower with a bit of paraphrasing by myself.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Literature is Terrific Fun! "Outcasts of Poker Flat" Plot Summary.

"The Outcasts of Poker Flats"  A Bret Harte short story.

"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is set near a California mining community during November of 1850. Checking out the effectiveness of vigilante justice, the "good moral" residents of Poker Flat hope to improve the town by expelling a group of undesirables. Among these objectionable characters are professional gambler John Oakhurst; a prostitute known as Duchess; her madam, Mother Shipton; and Uncle Billy, the town drunkard and a suspected thief. The four are escorted to the edge of Poker Flat and "forbidden to return at the peril of their lives." With no other choice, the group heads toward the next settlement, Sandy Bar, However the trip requires them to pass over a difficult mountain trail in the Sierras. Less than half way to their destination , the group becomes exhausted and decides to camp for the night.  The story continues on with the challenges they face while on the trail in a heavy snowfall with very few provisions. In my opinion some of the undesirables exhibited more character traits than the "good citizens of Poker Flats" that placed them in peril on that November day.

My goal in this post is to encourage you to purchase and read this Bret Harte short story on a cold November evening and turn off your TV for an hour of really fun entertainment. Literature is terrific fun! It encourages you to think. It helps you dream. It is full of heroes and villains, suspense and humor, adventure and wonder, and new ideas. It introduces you to writers who reach out across time to say: " Do you want to hear a story I wrote?"