Sunday, March 27, 2011

The haves vs the have nots

Hoping President Obama & the Democrats can find it within themselves to come out more forcefully in favor of the middle class, the working class, & the Unions. The haves have been redistributing income upward for the last 30 years. It's time to fight back. I know which side I'm on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire 100 year anniversary

Today is the 100th anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. In a time when there were no unions or worker's rights. This seems particularly relevant today in light of all the Republican Governors' attempts at union busting and knocking down any hopes of a sustainable middle class in this country. It's class war, people, and the rich are winning right now.

Read more about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire here

This is a fantastic Robert Pinsky poem about The Great Fire from the perspective of a middle class man inspecting his own shirt.


by Robert Pinsky 

The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians

Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band

Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze

At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes—

The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out

Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.

A third before he dropped her put her arms   
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once

He stepped to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers—

Like Hart Crane’s Bedlamite, “shrill shirt ballooning.”
Wonderful how the pattern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked

Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord.   Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans

Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,

Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
To wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,

The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:

George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit

And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
Both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,

The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.


I went to New York last week and it threw this blog out of whack. Such a fantastic city. This coming week my daughters are home on Spring break. Which surely means more neglect for this. Yu(c)k is the softer version of the band Yuck. Like them both. The Young kids keeps on rockin'. As a father of two girls I enjoyed this one the most from Yu(c)k's EP.