Late Night Open Thread, Is it spring yet?

Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, note the ladders that only go up to the sixth floor.

Good evening everyone, I thought I would post a few new links to catch up on the nights news.  At the end of the post check out the link to an episode of American Experience about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  Perfect timing for this episode in that this year is the 100 year anniversary of the fire, which occurred on March 25th, 1911….perfect timing in that there is a union fight going on right now in  Wisconsin. We will get to this later.

First off, it looks like a poll was done and what do you know…the voters in Wisconsin would have voted for the Democrat if they could have a do over. Can I mention that saying about hindsight being 20/20?

Public Policy Polling: Do over?

We’ll have our full poll on the Wisconsin conflict out tomorrow but here’s the most interesting finding: if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.

The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.

It’s actually Republicans, more so than Democrats or independents, whose shifting away from Walker would allow Barrett to win a rematch if there was one today. Only 3% of the Republicans we surveyed said they voted for Barrett last fall but now 10% say they would if they could do it over again. That’s an instance of Republican union voters who might have voted for the GOP based on social issues or something else last fall trending back toward Democrats because they’re putting pocketbook concerns back at the forefront and see their party as at odds with them on those because of what’s happened in the last month.

This next link is also about the above poll, however it is going to Keith Olbermann’s new website, FOK News: February 28, 2011 | FOK News Channel Just thought I would send you over to check it out, I had completely forgotten that he was launching it.

Okay the next few links are to recent articles about Unions that you might have missed.

Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Unions – NYTimes.com

The Fight for Unions in Wisconsin : The New Yorker

Sandy Banks: Cutbacks send the wrong message on unions – latimes.com

Earlier today Dakinikat wrote a post on the Republican war on nearly everybody. If you did not see it, please check it out. There is a new report out that discusses the problems with the GOP plans for spending cuts.  Seems to me that a loss of jobs in not the direction we should be going in….I do not know how accurate this Moody’s report is, I will leave that up to Dak to explain. It just seems the GOP is out to get everyone who isn’t filthy rich or a crazy religious nut case. Why are they going after women, unions, and the working class?  Anyway, here is an article from the Washington Post,  GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says.

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The report, by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.

So, on to the American Experience that aired tonight. It was damn good. To see actual photos and hear accounts of the fire and stories from the families read out loud really makes a statement. Chilling is all I can say about this episode. Here is a review of it from the New York Times. Triangle Fire Remembered on PBS and HBO – NYTimes.com

As demonstrations in support of Wisconsin’s public-employee unions proliferate, PBS can pat itself on the back for scheduling the documentary “Triangle Fire” on Monday night — more than three weeks before the 100th anniversary of the New York garment-factory blaze it details, which figures so strongly in the imagination of the American labor movement.

[…]
…it’s the images of corpses stacked on the Greenwich Village sidewalks where they fell, as a crowd of thousands helplessly watched, that get to you, as dreadful now as they were a century ago, when they inspired a wave of workplace reform in New York State.

I think that is exactly what made this documentary an emotionally charged examination of what led up to the fire, and the heart-wrenching details from actual interviews with survivors and the families of those who lost their lives.

“Triangle Fire,” a presentation of “American Experience” on PBS, takes a more straightforward, strictly chronological approach and spends much more time on the progress of the labor movement in organizing garment workers, a tumultuous process that actually took place several years before the fire. This allows for the inclusion of piquant facts like the hiring of prostitutes to assault female pickets.

Here is the link to the website for American Experience on PBS. There is a wealth of information on the site, photos and even lesson plans. Please take a look and remember what Labor Unions did for workers, and how we are now going backwards when it comes to worker’s rights.  WGBH American Experience . Triangle Fire . Introduction | PBS

So what are you finding tonight? Go ahead and post some links.


5 Comments on “Late Night Open Thread, Is it spring yet?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Hi Minkoff Minx,

    I went to bed before you posted this–it must have been late! Thank you for these updates and the word about the American Experience show. I hope I’ll get a second chance to watch it. If not, maybe I can see it on-line.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    It’s not quite spring yet, but we’re getting there!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I see that Olbermann is defending a guy who was arrested for violence against his wife–says it’s because the guy is black. We’ll see, I guess…

  4. dakinikat says:

    Hey Minx, I didn’t see this because i was watching Triangle Fire on PBS. It’s part of the American Experience series and it really hits home about the purpose and usefulness of unions. It spent some time on the strikes in the shirtwaist factories and how the Triangle factory was one of the ones that didn’t allow its workers to unionize even though they won some wage and hour concessions.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/triangle/

    • The Frances Perkins article/videos I linked to on Saturday also had some information on the Triangle Fire and the effect the incident had on her.