August 7, 2009 archive

Farmworkers Sue California Over Heat-Related Death and Illness

650,000 farm workers face a daily risk of death and illness from toiling in stifling summer heat. Six died last year and fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications since July 2004.

The United Farmworkers Unions and ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the state and its Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) for failing to live up to their constitutional and statutory duties to protect the safety of farm workers.  See NY Times: Farm Workers’ Union Sues California Agency Over Rules on Heat Safety

“If hundreds of thousands of white-collar employees had to work under dangerous and life-threatening conditions, the state would almost certainly take immediate action to protect their health and safety,” said David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “Low-income farm workers, who are overwhelmingly Latino, deserve no less.”

The people who feed us should not fear death when they go to work

UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez

More, after the fold.

(Also on dkos:… )

Docudharma Times Friday August 7

A $191 Million Question

How a relationship between an Army official and a private contractor led to allegations of collusion and impropriety

By Robert O’Harrow Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 7, 2009

He called her Princess. She called him Bubba. They got together whenever they could, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, traveling to business conferences, taking long walks. They exchanged e-mails night and day.

“You been sleepin??” George Raymond wrote to Catherine Campbell in September 2005.

“I slept some,” she wrote back. “Just got out of the shower.”

“Oh boy,” he wrote.

Theirs was a cozy relationship, and they worked in a world where such cozy relationships are officially frowned upon.

Secret deal to keep Karzai in power

Afghan President’s alliance with rival designed to prevent civil war after election

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul

Friday, 7 August 2009

With less than two weeks to go until national elections, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, is trying to cut a secret deal with one of his rivals to knock out his leading contender and ensure a decisive victory to avoid the chaos that a tight result might unleash.

Afghanistan’s second democratic polls threaten to split the country along sectarian lines. That would risk undermining US and British-led peace efforts which are already under pressure from a resurgent Taliban.

Mr Karzai and his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, hail from different ethnic groups and different regions.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems

Dividing Wall

Slip Sliding Away


come and go

when you worry

about slipping

off your high perch

at the top of the cliff

you euphemistically

call a slope

that separates

you from us

I guess you worry

about ending up

where we are now

having to worry

about what we do

about having to climb


to have a chance

to survive

to gain a handhold

on a place

in your society

hoping you don’t

stomp on our fingers

The slippery slope

is too often

a melting cliff

of ice

maybe carved

out of your hearts

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–July 17, 2009

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Are we surprised by Xe?

Brought to us by Republic Broadcasting Network:

The latest charges, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, bring to more than 60 the number of Iraqis allegedly killed or wounded since 2005 by armed Blackwater contractors guarding U.S. diplomatic personnel in Iraq.

The Moyock, N.C.-based security company, since renamed Xe, earned more than $1 billion under that contract before the State Department, under pressure from the Iraqi government, let it lapse in May.

One of the new plaintiffs is the estate of Akram Khalid Sa’ed Jasim, 9, who died when Blackwater shooters allegedly opened fire on a minivan returning from the Baghdad airport on July 1, 2007. The boy was traveling with his extended family, who had gone to the airport to apply for passports.

The Blackwater guards also shot the boy’s mother in the back as she bent over trying to shield her 3-month-old daughter, who nevertheless was shot in the face, according to the lawsuit. The boy’s father, uncle and cousin also were wounded.

The racketeering count added to the suit this week accuses Prince’s companies of engaging in murder, weapons smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion, kidnapping, child prostitution, illegal drug use and destruction of evidence.

The companies are accused of carrying out three or more kidnappings using three airplanes, identified in the suit by their tail numbers. Susan Burke, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said Wednesday that the kidnappings appear to have been so-called “extraordinary renditions” in which suspects are taken to other countries for interrogation.

The child prostitution charge involves young Iraqi girls allegedly being brought to the Blackwater compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, identified in the lawsuit as the “Blackwater Man Camp,” to provide oral sex to contractors for $1.

So, we are surprised why?

Overnight Caption Contest

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