Seattle Passes New Worker’s Rights Law

The Seattle city council and mayor have once again passed worker’s rights laws designed to give hourly employees more dependability when it comes to their schedules. The council hopes this move will benefit those workers making them feel more empowered. You may remember that last year, Seattle became the second city in the United States to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Under the new law, according to the AP,workers who are employed by food industry and retail establishments that have 500 employees globally and to full-service restaurants with 500 employees and 40 establishments. Under the new law, employees would have to be given their schedules a minimum of 14 days in advance, be given more than 10 hours off between shifts and be paid extra if they come in at short notice. Additionally, companies cannot hire new employees until all their current employees have a full schedule. Additionally, employees who show up for work and are not needed or employees who are called and told not to come to work will have to be compensated. Employees would also receive an estimate of their total hours needed from their employer.

Starting in July, Walmart already had taken steps to allow employees more control over their schedules. These employees can enter a computer system and tell Walmart when they want to work and for how long.

A person has to wonder about this new law. Many franchisers are actually small businessmen who own very few establishments so this law would not apply to them. Additionally, it does not cover other industries that may require employees to work long hours such as those in health care. Many business owners say this new law will force them to leave Seattle. While one has to applaud the city council for trying to look out for employees, driving these employers out of Seattle does not seem like a good business principle. For the most part, these are jobs taken by the city’s youngest workers or its poorest so residents need to prepare for an impact in the social service sector as these people may no longer be able to find jobs.




How to Get an MBA – Family Style

What parent isn’t happy to help their son or daughter through an M.B.A. degree, and proud when they gradate. Judy O’Connor, a retired schoolteacher is one such mom. Her son, Marty, was transformed from college athlete to quadriplegic when he fell down some stairs in 2012 while working at a Southern California packaging plant. So when she wheeled him onto the stage on Saturday, May 20, 2017, to receive his degree from the Dean of Chapman University, she had more reason than normal to be proud of her offspring.


What happened on that stage was completely unexpected; the dean refused to let her fade into the background to let her have her son have his moment. No, she, too, was to receive a degree, an honorary M.B.A. “I was totally blown away,” Ms. O’Connor said later. So was the crowd, as they rose to their feet.


Marty and his mother had earned their respective degrees side by side. She accompanied him to every one of his classes at the private school in Orange, California. She took notes for him, typed them up and created study guides. “We had a lot of late-night hours together,” she said.


Ms. O’Connor had no idea the honorary degree was in the pipeline. Marty had met with university president Daniele Struppa in February. He had no problem persuading her to consider awarding an honorary degree to his mother. She had nothing but admiration for the dedicated parent and had no trouble bringing the dean and provost on board with the plan, along with the faculty senate.


Despite the fact that his mother helped him with his cell phone, he managed to keep it a secret right up until the moment her degree was announced. When a spokeswoman for the university asked his permission to publicize his story, he agreed, but sternly swore her to secrecy as far as his mother was concerned.


Five years ago, when it sank in that he was not going to recover physically, Marty was determined to find an intellectual challenge. His mother was equally determined to help him meet that challenge. The perseverance of the pair of them was rewarded.


Activists, Menstrual Equity, are Pushing for a Disclose in the Ingredients that go into Tampon Manufacturing

Most day-to-day products such as frozen dinners, processed milk, and candy bars are required to display a list of ingredients used to manufacture or process them. However, this is not the same case with menstrual pads and tampons. Rather, most tampon makers provide an optional ingredient list claiming that their products “are likely” to have polyester, cotton, or rayon, or a combination of all. On the other hand, a good number of sanitary pads manufacturers list no ingredients on their packages. However, firms may provide such info on their websites highlighting that the pads are made of polyolefin and an absorbent wood cellulose.


Currently, a group of health activists that is dedicated to “menstrual equity” has emerged. The group is calling for an imposition of new rules that will force firms to disclose all materials and chemicals that are used in the manufacture of feminine care products. Laura Strausfeld, a co-founder of a law and policy program on menstrual equity issues known as Period Equity, termed the new rules as “the additional tampon tax.” The above was when she was referring to the lack of transparency, which prevents women from gaining information about an intimate product that can potentially have health consequences.


Some years ago, the menstruation subject was rarely discussed; girls referred to their periods using code language, and tampons were kept out of sight. However, in the recent past, activists are trying to make monthly period a normal subject. They have pushed for tax-free sanitary products, and are calling for feminine products to be distributed for free to homeless shelters and schools.


Representative Carolyn Maloney has tabled a bill that requires the National Health Institute to conduct research and determine if the chemicals used in the production of feminine products are a health threat. The bill, which Ms. Maloney has introduced for the tenth time, has never gone past the committee due to divisive political climate and complicated legislative agenda.


The proponents are, however, convinced that the rallies and proposed legislation will help leverage public support. This will in turn pressure tampon and pad manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients; consequently ensuring that the products pose no threat to a woman’s life.


Seattle is Nation’s Fastest Growing Big City

Continuing a recent trend, Seattle has claimed the title of the nation’s fastest growing big-city based on newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, according to The Seattle Times. Seattle grew by over 21,000 individuals in the previous year, or approximately 3.1%, and is now home to over 700,000 residents. (Over the previous year, Seattle had ranked as the fourth fastest growing city; it only passed 600,000 residents in 2009.) For long-time residents, the draw of the Pacific Northwest’s unofficial capital is undeniable: a mild (if rainy) climate, a laid-back lifestyle, a booming high-tech economy, and abundant natural beauty in the form of easily accessible mountains, beaches, and both fresh water and open ocean. The artistic community that has long thrived in the area has attracted national and international acclaim, further solidifying Seattle’s image of cool.


Of course, such rapid rate growth also creates inherent challenges. By adding the average of 57 new residents daily, the difficulty of managing Seattle’s infrastructure and development has become more acute. Part of the issue is physical: the natural beauty that Seattlites and visitors alike have long celebrated makes for an especially challenging management issue due to the physical limitations imposed by Puget Sound and the surrounding area. But also at risk is the long-standing cultural and social fabric that has, ironically, served as an attraction to so many newcomers. Also concerning is the cost of living increases, particularly housing, in the tight Seattle property market.


But unquestionably, Seattle’s long-standing status as a proudly counterculture icon is creating considerable buzz and attention for many positive reasons. Close links with the many multinational companies that call the area home – including Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon – and a vibrant regional economy have served as powerful job generators, and newcomers have been able to somewhat offset the high cost of housing with high paying positions at some of those and other more Pacific Northwest-oriented companies. A robust research and development sector across numerous industries has also contributed to this growth with knowledge economy-based jobs. Like the city’s iconic Space Needle seems to indicate, for Seattle’s population, the sky is the limit.


California’s UC Davis Ranked In Forbes List For Best Value Colleges

In Forbes most recent list of American colleges that provide the best value for the money, The University of California at Davis earned a coveted position. The liberal arts college earned the ninth position on the Forbes list and was praised for its reasonable tuition prices, profitable courses, post graduate debt to income ratio, and graduate success rates. The University of California at Davis has long been heralded as an alternative to more expensive California Universities like the University of California at Berkley or the University of California at Los Angeles. UC Davis was chosen by Forbes as a college that allows a majority of students to complete degree programs in an adequate amount of time and that fosters successful habits and skills into the lives of these students.


As the seventh University of California campus, UC Davis has sometimes been regarded as college of lesser quality than the Berkley, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. Forbes’ study of American colleges revealed that UC Davis may not share the reputation of other colleges, but does produce successful graduates at the same rate or higher than the other Universities in its system. Forbes also listed UC Davis as superior or equal to colleges like Brigham Young and UC Irvine. This has been a major revelation to incoming freshmen in California. Many incoming freshmen who may not have been successful in their application for admission to the University of California at Berkley can take solace in the fact that UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UCLA are all viable options on the west coast and all offer the opportunity to receive a profitable education.


Finally, Forbes recommended the universities listed on the top 10 best value colleges to California residents seeking undergraduate degrees. The purpose of the publication of this list is to help California natives and those seeking admission to west coast universities to see the value in schools that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Representatives from Forbes wished to help students to choose college facilities that will serve them well in their future pursuits.


Preparing For “The Big One” In California Is Keeping Scientists Busy

Earthquakes, and the fear of them, are just part of normal life on the west coast. There has always been a theory that a big earthquake would hit and wipe out parts of the entire state of California. New information released from scientists, shows that these theories of “the big one” might have some basis. Rather than worrying about the impending doom, officials want to create a warning system to protect residents and the architecture of the city.


The fear with earthquakes is everything is unknown. Residents have no clue when an earthquake will happen, nor do they have any foreknowledge about its intensity. This can lead to great anxiety. Some go as far as strapping down their furniture and retrofitting their home or apartment. But, there may be a way to prevent the event from being unknown, and it could give some relief to those who are anxious.


In 1975, Chinese officials were able to evacuate an area before the big earthquake known as Haicheng. This quake had a magnitude of 7.3 on the rector scale. The 24-hour period before the large quake produced more than 500 fore-shocks. They used the basic premise that one earthquake is likely to create another. All of these smaller events laid the groundwork for one massive occurrence. They knew that the political and economic system of China was in danger, so even if a costly evacuation was on a hunch, it was worth the risk.


The Chinese didn’t have any fancy machines or other methods that aren’t available in California. They used Mother Nature’s patterns to predict a major event. Thankfully, they were correct in their instincts and saved lives. The likelihood of a big earthquake in California continues to increase. Scientists predict that this western state will have a major event within the next 30 years.


The probability that this event will likely occur in the southern half of the state is around 46 percent. Additionally, they estimate that it will be a 7.5 or greater on the Rector Scale. Time will tell if their hunches are true, but in the meantime, learning new and better ways to predict these quakes is imperative. Anything that can help ease the worries of residents is much appreciated.


Socialism is Causing Failure in California Economy

A recent article published by Forbes described the weakened economic status that the west coast is experiencing due to the progressive government that has continuously implemented socialist policies. California is arguably the most liberal state in the United States with the majority of the state’s legislators being leftist liberals who’s views lie far to the left of most other democrats in the country. For decades, California’s social policies have set precedents for the rest of the nation. California state officials often liken themselves to heroes of history and see their liberal policies as a means to move the nation forward into a prosperous land for all people. In reality, however, these socialist policies do little more than advance the power of the federal government over the citizens who constitutionally should have power over it.


California’s socialists policies have advanced through a series of strategic manipulative efforts on behalf of the state’s government. Socialism, wherever it is proposed, is always wrapped in a convenient package and said to be the solution to injustice and poverty. To quote the former British Primer Minister, Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” These words have proved to be prophetic to the California state government and most other state entities who imitate their liberal policies.


The state of California current spends over a billion dollars on social programs and referendums and is showing no signs of being satisfied with this inordinate amount. Year after year, the California state government petitions to increase taxation on business production. While progressives continually state that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to support social programs and that businesses should contribute to these programs, increased taxation measures have caused economic instability that the government must repeatedly account for. Even the most basic economists understand that the stringent regulation of business and of business owners create an incentive for these owners to move businesses out of the United States to countries that provide economic freedom. This negative consequence hurts the economy at large by directly contributing to job loss and poverty. In essence, the California government is supporting poverty by placing heavy regulations on businesses that provide economic stability and then demanding that tax payers foot the bill for social programs that do nothing to solve the problem.


Microplastics Are Clogging the Ocean’s Currents

It is already well-known that billions of pounds of plastic debris are already floating around in the ocean, but recent research has discovered a new threat that plastic imposes on the ocean. According to an ongoing series on plastic in the Huffington Post ( ), these new threats are known as microplastics and they are clogging the ocean’s currents.


What Are Microplastics?


As the ocean fills with waste from grocery bags, drinking straws, and other forms of disposable items, these thin plastics break down into tiny particles and float for thousands of miles in the gyres, the natural ocean currents. If a person stood at the bottom of the ocean beneath these gyres, the ocean would look hazy, comparable to the smog levels in cities like Los Angeles. The main problem with the microplastic debris in the gyres is that these ocean currents exist well away from civilizations and continue to grow in density and waste.


One of the worst locations for microplastic clogging is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located off the west coast of the United States and just north of Hawaii. Reports have described this floating pile of debris to be as big as the state of Texas. While rumors have spread that this pile of trash is dense enough to walk on and large enough to see from space, researchers at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have debunk these claims.


While these microplastic bits can’t be seen, they can be measured. Currently, researchers have concluded that there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. Once salt and UV rays break this trash down to bits less than 5 millimeters long, these microplastics can add up to a number that rivals the amount of stars in the galaxy.


These pieces have not only found their way onto every beach of the world but have also become a source of food for marine life as the plastic continues to retain the scent of food and this causes the animals eat these small particles, to fill with plastic, and die of malnutrition.

Why Westerners Love California

In a recent article published by Huffington Post, author Jessica Anderson lists several reasons that Westerners enjoy living in California. With 34 million residents and thousands of Americans moving into the state on a daily basis, California is the largest and one of the most populous states in the United States. New comers visit and move to the state for a plethora of reasons, including career advancement, real estate acquisition, and tourism. Anderson states that Westerners enjoy visiting and relocating to California primary because of the outdoor scenery,warm environment, quiet lifestyles, organic materials, and festive restaurants. Ultimately, Anderson expresses the view that the serenity and freedom involved in daily life on the west coast is vastly superior to her east cost counterparts.


One of the key benefits of living in or visiting the West Coast is the experience of ideal weather conditions. California has extremely pleasant year-round temperatures, making the state ideal for both tourism and the production of many crops. California’s mild climate has historically made it a beacon for growth and prosperity and has contributed largely to the burgeoning job market. The weather is also beneficial because of the enormous amount of beaches that exist in the state. As a coastal state that is completely bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west side, a large portion of California’s revenue comes from beach tourism. The mild and sunny climate of the West drastically impacts the coastal state’s ability to draw Americans from all walks of life.


Anderson also draws a parallel between Westerners love for California and the state’s residents easy, breezy lifestyle. As one of the largest importers and developers of organic produce in the United States, California has developed a reputation for an unconventional, bohemian-styled lifestyle. Although this lifestyle is not viewed by most Americans as substantial or productive, it is an undeniable draw for a people who naturally exist in a state of perpetual labor in an increasingly stressful world. The fact that California has always been a beacon of light to citizens from all over the United States of America can hardly be refuted. According to Jessica Anderson, there is no place on earth that offers the scenery, peace, or tranquility as does the west coast of the United States.


The Case of Carol Grant and Honoring the Deceased’s Last Wishes

Carol Grant, a resident of Billings, Montana, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2017. Her physicians predicted that she would not likely be alive by her daughter, Kelsey’s, graduation which was scheduled for May 20, 2017. Seeing Kelsey graduate as valedictorian at Terry High School has been Grant’s last expressed wish.


As a result, with the help of two other residents, Mary Elizabeth Grue and Michelle Wolf, an early ceremony was held at the Prairie Community Hospital on April 26, 2017. Local businesses got together to donate the flowers, a cake, and banners. The school officials also agreed to the decision and participated as well. Carol Grant reported on May 1st, 2017 that she was overjoyed. Kelsey plans to attend Montana State University Billings to study to be a pediatrician.


Out of all of the things that can be done to help a person, honoring the deceased’s last wishes is probably among the most important. There is some debate about that. Some carry the attitude of what the deceased “doesn’t know won’t hurt him or her”. And yet to so many, it feels so wrong. Whether you believe in the afterlife or not, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that failing to honor the deceased’s last wishes harms the living relatives on so many levels.


In this context, the phrase, “last wishes” doesn’t necessarily limit itself to what the deceased wants done with their body or what is written in any Wills that they may have left. Last wishes, like Carol Grant’s, can refer to something that an individual with a terminal illness wants to do with all their being before they actually pass on. To honor it not only makes everyone feel better, it also creates the feeling of giving the person with the terminal illness “permission” to pass on. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that people have survived incredible things, such as the Holocaust, one illicit drug binge after another, or being stabbed. In those situations, it is as if something bigger than the individual’s body or finite will wants to continue on.


In cases like Carol Grant’s, it is also as if honoring their last wishes is giving that bigger something “permission” to move on to end the suffering.