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For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Why Unemployment Has Hit Black Households the Hardest

Emily Badger The Atlantic Cities
The average black household that experienced unemployment had zero cash to fall back on. The history of our latest economic recession is full of stories of families who had to cash out their retirement accounts or savings for a child's education to make regular payments on rent and bills. But what about families that didn't even have those options?

New Science Shows How Maggots Heal Wounds

Carrie Arnold Scientific American
From ancient times until the advent of antibiotics, physicians used maggots to help clean injuries and prevent infection. Because the maggots feed solely on dead flesh, doctors did not have to worry about bugs feasting on healthy tissue. The arrival of antibiotics relegated medical maggots to an ancient artifact. Widespread antibiotic resistance, however, rekindled interest in the use of medical maggots, and in 2004 the FDA approved them as a valid “medical device."

What Immigration Reform Could Mean for American Workers, and Why the AFL-CIO Is Embracing It

Robert Reich Robert Reich's Blog
Employers hope the guest-worker program will prevent low-wage Americans from getting a raise. With any increase in demand, employers can claim a "labor shortage" allowing in more guest workers, driving wages down. Because some 11 million undocumented workers are here, doing much of this work, the only way these undocumented workers can become organized -- and not undercut attempts to unionize legal workers -- is if the undocumented workers also become legal.

State Supreme Court Limits Union Rights In Texas

Chuck Lindell Austin American-Statesman
Unionized government workers in Texas — including firefighters, police and teachers — don’t have the right to be accompanied by a union representative while being questioned during internal investigations, a divided Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. Such representation is a basic right for unionized private sector and federal government employees.

Labor Party Time? Not Yet.

Mark Dudzic and Katherine Isaac Labor Party
The US working class has not succeeded in developing a class-based political party to contend for political power, making working people particularly vulnerable. Wealth and power are concentrated increasingly in the hands of a globalized elite. It's hard to identify a period of US history where the need for a labor-based political party was greater than now. Yet the short-term prospects of an independent, pro-worker political movement emerging are virtually nonexistent.

How the Chess Set Got Its Look and Feel

Jimmy Stamp Smithsonian Magazine
Conceived of as a field of battle, the symbolic meaning of the game changed as it gained popularity. The original chessmen, known as counselor, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots, became the queen, pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. By the 19th century, chess clubs and competitions began to appear all around the world, it became necessary to use a standardized set that would enable players from different cultures to compete without getting confused.