On February 24, 1908, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Muller v. Oregon. This landmark decision upheld the idea that, at least for women, laws restricting the hours of work were constitutional. This would be a major victory in the long fight to bring working hours down to eight hours nationally, a dream that had already extended for more than two decades and would not be realized for another thirty years. It also created gender inequities in labor law with implications that continue today.
In 1903, Oregon had passed a law limiting the hours of women to ten hours a day and sixty hours a week. Curt Muller, a laundry business owner in Portland, sued the state. Muller believed, for good reason given the predominant legal climate of the time, that he signed legal contracts with individual workers when he hired them and that those workers freely agreed to the terms of hours and wages when they took the job. Yet, these ideas were increasingly challenged during the Progressive Era, as activists sought to create a more fair America that protected basic rights of workers to a decent life. This was especially true for women workers, who many Progressives saw as both uniquely exploited and mothers responsible for raising the next generation of Americans. Progressives argued that whatever the merits of the freedom of contract interpretation of labor legislation, the state had a unique interest in excepting women from that principle. Progressives were especially prominent in states like Oregon, as well as Wisconsin and Washington, which would see the first workers’ compensation legislation a few years later. The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the the state’s law and Muller then appealed to the Supreme Court.
Whose side are you on?
Following a sweeping win at the ballot box in November, recreational marijuana officially became legal in Alaska on Tuesday, making it the third state in the country—behind Washington and Colorado—to allow adults over 21 to smoke, possess, grow, and transport pot.
Alaska voters passed their legalization bill 53-47 percent in the midterm elections. In addition to making private use legal for adults, the legislation will create a marketplace to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana, though that portion is not expected to be put in place until 2016 at the earliest.
Oregon and Washington, D.C. also voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November. Oregon will make the law official in July, while D.C. faces ongoing obstruction from Congress.
Beginning Tuesday, Alaska now has nine months to create regulations for the sale and distribution of marijuana. Commercial farming will also be under consideration next year. For now, buying or bartering for marijuana remains illegal.
“First Colorado and Washington, now Alaska and Oregon—and all with levels of support higher than the winning candidates for governor and U.S. Senate achieved in those states,”said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Legalizing marijuana just makes sense now to voters across the political spectrum and—as we’ll likely see in 2016—across the country.”
Some complex legal matters remain. The Alaska Dispatch News this month unveiled a new column, Highly Informed, to help residents cull important information about the law, from basic awareness to rules for renters who want to grow their own plants.
As the ADN details, the state’s new state pot law stipulates:
- You can’t drive while stoned. You can’t sell pot. You can’t consume marijuana in public.
- Drive high and you could get a DUI. Sell marijuana and you could get arrested. Smoke in public—or flaunt an edible, vape pen, etc. to the point where you grab the attention of police—and you could get ticketed for a fine up to $100.
- Landlords can write marijuana prohibitions into a lease, as private property owners can prohibit or regulate marijuana on their property, but they may have difficulty enforcing them.
- Companies that prohibit marijuana use can (and will likely) continue that practice. Nothing in the law prohibits workplace drug testing.
While future legislation and pending regulation remain under review, organizers called on legalization supporters to celebrate cautiously. “[D]on’t do anything to give your neighbors reason to feel uneasy about this new law,” wrote bill co-sponsor Dr. Tim Hinterberger and Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation spokesperson Bruce Schulte in an op-ed for the ADN last week. “We’re in the midst of an enormous social and legal shift. Please do your part to make it as successful as possible by consuming responsibly.”
Overall, as ADN noted, Tuesday, February 24, 2015 will go down as “a historic day in the Last Frontier.”
By way of the Rude One: Australia is in the midst of another heat wave season. Some areas got some relief this week, but that’s only because they were hit by a pair of tropical cyclones. Of course, they didn’t hit where the massive bushfires are, but that’s because Nature is a tricky bitch. The smoke from those fires in Western Australia has almost reached Antarctica.
An independent, crowd-funded group, the Climate Council, released a report this month detailing how fucked beyond fucked Australia is by global warming. Some of its findings, reached by synthesizing existing information, include:
“The number of heatwave days has increased over much of Australia, particularly the eastern half.”
“Heatwaves are occurring more frequently in terms of the number of heatwave events per summer.”
“The duration of the longest yearly heatwave is increasing.”
“The first heatwave in the season is occurring earlier over almost all of Australia.”
“The hottest day in a heatwave – its peak – is becoming even hotter over almost all of Australia below the tropics.”
Even more particularly: In Sydney, heatwaves now start 19 days earlier than they did in 1950. In Adelaide, heatwaves are 4.3C degrees hotter, and there’s double the number of heat wave days. “Heat wave” here means it reaches 40C, easily. Oh, that’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Often it’s 116 or pushing 120.
Yes, it’s cold out east… it’s winter. Not abnormally so. The cold, the snow, is not abnormal weather for the northeastern states, they’ve been getting cold and snow for at least as long as we have been around. The weather is extremely normal – extremely cold, extremely snowy – normal in the extreme. What is abnormal is they haven’t seen this kind of weather since the seventies.
If you don’t think the climate is changing, if you actively deny and obstruct progress, you are a clear and present danger to my grandchildrens’ future.
Think afrensis, and fear me.
Obama will veto Keystone XL Pipeline bill today without fanfare.
As it stands, you are nothing but brown shirts. If you really want to protect this country, ship the Republican NAZIs doing this to you, to the country, to gitmo.
Forty-five years ago I swore an oath to defend this land against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
We will take, and you will give. You must die, so that we may live.
Noted Climate Change Denialist Secretly Took Oil Co. Payouts
By Nadia Prupis | (Commondreams.org)
A prominent climate change denier and researcher quietly took more than $1.2 million in payouts from the energy industry, including the Koch brothers and other oil lobbyists, for the past 14 years, newly released documents have shown.
Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, accumulated a total of $1.25 million from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, Southern Company, and a Koch brothers foundation, according to documents obtained by Greenpeace through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings.
For years, Soon’s work has been a go-to source for politicians angling to block climate change legislation, such as Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who has called climate change a hoax. Soon has also testified before the U.S. Congress and appeared on numerous conservative news shows to claim that greenhouse gases are not harmful and that recent global warming trends are not caused by human activity, but by variations in the sun’s energy.
Our grandchildren are going to wonder why we didn’t execute dog-shit like this.