Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saipan sucks, apparently

One U.S. territory that sounds like it's definitely not ready to become a U.S. state is the Northern Marianas. The anonymous author of Saipan Sucks says the islands are a hotbed of institutionalized nepotism, corruption, theft, and sweatshop owners who get to slap a "Made in USA" label on clothing made without the legal protections guaranteed to American workers. Tom DeLay and some of his buddies apparently thought this system was great, even though employers keep workers in a situation akin to indentured servitude and even force them to have abortions.

In the previous Congress, a number of Democratic representatives (including Hilda Solis, my local congresswoman) introduced the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act to stop these abuses, but unfortunately that bill was never voted on. Let's hope they introduce it again now that Democrats have a majority. Here are the transcripts from a Congressional hearing earlier this year on the subject.

On the good side, the President signed a bill into law this May that will, among other things, steadily increase the minimum wage in the Northern Marianas until it reaches that of the rest of the country. The article misidentifies the bill, though; it was really H.R. 2206 (See Title VIII, Section 8103).

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