By Anonymous (not verified) on January 16, 2013

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’s decision not to serve in the second Obama cabinet as labor secretary is a huge loss.

It’s a loss not just for the labor movement and working people.

It’s also a loss for Latinos and for progressives.

And it’s a loss for the entire United States.

Solis was the first Latina to head a cabinet-level agency.

She was one of five female cabinet secretaries, and one of two Latinos, in the Obama administration. If Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also leaves, this means there would be no Latino representation in the cabinet. It would make all that hype we saw last year about the importance of the Latino vote seem like a hazy fantasy.

Despite having strong backing from unions, which heavily supported President Obama in both his campaigns, Solis may have been too progressive for his administration.

For example, when Solis wanted to set safety regulations to protect minors under age 16 who are working on farms -- and these are overwhelmingly Latino immigrants or the children of immigrants -- the administration balked.

Solis may be returning to California, where she was raised as the daughter of Nicaraguan and Mexican immigrants. She served in the U.S. Congress for eight years representing the Los Angeles area.

Rumor has it she may run for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

That would be a win for Los Angeles.

But her departure from the cabinet spells trouble for workers.

We need a labor secretary who is not afraid to stand up against Democrats bending to corporate interests or Republicans displaying their hatred of unions.

We had one with Hilda Solis.

She leaves some big tacones (high heels) to fill.

Maegan Ortiz is a freelance writer, poet and performance artist. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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