Miracle at OSHA

When we started Effect Measure almost four and half years ago, there were few public health oriented blogs. One notable exception -- and an exceptional exception it was -- was blogger Jordan Barab's Confined Space. It wasn't just a health and safety blog. It was the health and safety blog. It was almost the only way most health and safety professionals could keep track of what was happening in their field politically. When we started this blog Jordan had been blogging daily for about 18 months, and we met for coffee. Neither of us expected my blog would outlast his, but a couple of years ago he left his post at the Chemical Safety Board to work on the staff of the Education and Labor Committee in the House. Confined Space was put on the shelf -- sort of -- it continues on an occasional basis with that name under the wing of The Pump Handle blog. Jordan wasn't just any old blogger, either. As a blogger myself I now appreciate much more fully the skill and dedication it took to put out such a high quality product every day, day after day. He was an amazing writer and reporter and he did it all at the end of a long workday, on his own. And as a defender of workers and their health and safety he was in the very top rank.

Well, he's no longer a blogger and no longer a Congressional staffer. We just learned via The Pump Handle that blogger extraordinaire Jordan Barab has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and until a permanent OSHA Director is named he will be Acting Assistant Secretary (i.e., OSHA Director):

The Pump Handle has obtained an email sent to OSHA staff announcing that Jordan Barab will be Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Acting Assistant Secretary. Blog readers may be familiar with Jordan because his Confined Space blog was for several years the number-one online source of news and opinion about worker health and safety.

Of course, Jordan also lots of work experience not directly related to his blogging: He spent 16 years running AFSCME’s health and safety program; served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for OSHA; was a recommendations specialist for the Chemical Safety Board; and then became a senior policy advisor to the House of Representatives’ Education and Labor Committee. (Liz Borkowski, The Pump Handle)

If you go back through the archives of Confined Space you'll find post after post taking the Bush administration OSHA to task for falling down on the job of protecting workers' health. Now the hand that typed those posts will be running the agency.

The bottom line here is that workers who would have died under the old regime will now live. Mirabile dictu!

More like this

Oh what a difference an election makes.

Off topic to the max but Oh Freaking Bull Shit caia:


On March 26, in a town hall meeting-style format, President Obama ginned up a laugh that is still ringing, a week-and-a-half later. Obamaâs attempt to address the fact that cannabis legalization questions keep pushing their way to the top of his online political issues polling lists, that marijuana legalization had even popped up in the area of economic development. He looked aside at the crowd, âI donât know what this says about the on-line audienceâ¦â Wink, winkâ¦and the people around the President cracked up. âThe answer is no, I donât think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,â Obama chuckled along with them.

Humor is based on tension;

a joke releases it. Obamaâs pot ha-ha has released a powder keg of tension. The national commentary on the topic of marijuana driven from his laugh has been far reaching: Time Magazine, The Week, Town Hall, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Salon, Boston Herald, etcâ¦

Mr. President, do know what all your âcannabis friendlyâ Internet polls really say about âthe online audienceâ? What? You donât recognize us, âthe online audienceâ? Weâre the very people that helped get you elected, helped raise all those millions on the Internetâpeople like my wife and I, both 60-years old, parents and grandparents, business owners, taxpayers, involved in our community, we are the people who want you to end marijuana prohibition, the worst American public policy since slavery.

The question to you, Mr. President, is this: After the 20-million marijuana arrests since 1965, whatâs so damn funny??

A most gracious and humble Thank You revere.

Two things: one, hows does Obama's views on legalizing marijuana make the difference in his appointments "bullshit"? I've disagreed with many things Obama's done, and I even think marijuana should be decriminalized, but there are multiple and significant areas where he's done exactly the opposite of what Bush would and did. This is one of them. So his election DOES make a difference.

And two, anybody who really thinks that marijuana prohibition is the worst public policy since slavery evidently doesn't a damn about the rights and struggles of women, Native Americans, GLBT people, or Japanese Americans, to name a few.

To coin a phrase: bullshit.

revere's response to me probably should have been taken another way by myself. My first sentence "Off topic to the max ... " That's probably what revere meant with "couldn't agree more".
As a regular here I'm guilty of changing the subject to suit what's on my mind, sorry revere, and I'll end with a reply to caia.

caia: You should click on the link I provided. Obummer laughed at the number one question at his "town hall" meeting. And I don't think marijuana should be decriminalized, it should be legalized !

The article that I copied and pasted was written By George Rohrbacher, NORML Board of Directors.

Comment #6 is enlightening and comment #11 too,
however comment #21 John Said:

I donât know if comparing marijuana prohibition to slavery is in our best interest.

Slavery was a system in which we treated human beings like commodities and deprived them of all rights. Prohibition is a disaster indeed, but is not even on the same level as slavery. Prohibition has many indirect consequences that are comparable to slavery (such as illegal immigrant smuggling and forcing them to operate grow houses in exchange for their debt to the cartels) but there are no direct consequences (Slavery directly made someone the masters, not as an unintended consequence) that are on par. In addition, including only marijuana prohibition weakens the argument even further as many of the drug laws that have the biggest impact on the racism of the drug war have to do with other substances; such as crack-powder sentencing disparities.

Furthermore, even if you could convince those of us in the drug policy realm it is as bad, I donât believe these statements should be made in public. The vast majority of the public would find that distasteful and would backlash against us.

I think sticking with itâs the worst policy since alcohol prohibition gets the message across just as clearly. Especially since itâs quite unanimous (except for the few fundamentalists) that alcohol prohibition didnât work.

We donât want to look like foolish stoners, we want to be taken seriously. And making unnecessary and offensive arguments is only perpetuating stereotype. We have plenty of positive arguments to use, we donât have to victimize ourselves.

To bring the subject back around - great news about Jordan Barab!!! Hopefully he can bring about some much needed, LONG OVERDUE, change to the agency.