Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Labor Day #127
This Labor Day finds about 9.7 percent of Americans jobless and some are not financially able to fully celebrate this special holiday weekend beginning on Friday, September 4. Since I live where the beautiful beaches are blessed with white-sugar sand and the Gulf water is blue like the sky above, I have no need to travel on the dangerous highway or go any where by plane to celebrate.

This is a great Labor Day backyard cookout recipe if you plan to stay at home.

Barbecue Ribs
3 slabs bone-in pork loin ribs (about 8 pounds)
Garlic salt
Meat tenderizer

Remove ribs from packaging and rinse well with cold water; place on paper towels. Sprinkle liberally with garlic salt and meat tenderizer. Wrap in foil and place in refrigerator until ready to cook. Preheat a smoker to 225 degrees; add soaked wood chips. Remove ribs from foil and place in smoker. Cook for 2 hours, replenishing wood chips as necessary, cook an additional hour. After three hours, remove ribs, place on aluminum foil, and liberally apply barbecue sauce. Wrap in two layers of aluminum foil and seal edges. Cook an additional hour. Carefully remove from smoker, place on platter, and cut ribs apart to serve.

My best words of caution. "Don't drive if you are drunk." Live to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 and Thanksgiving Day on November 26.

“Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be a life altering mistake," said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos. "It’s a decision a sober person would never put in the hands of someone who has been drinking - yet that is exactly what you do if you fail to plan ahead. Think twice, and designate a sober driver."

In 2008, the most recent year for which Florida data is available, there were more than 22,200 alcohol related crashes with more than 1,100 alcohol related fatalities and more than 15,700 alcohol related injuries across the state. Miami-Dade County lead the state with 1,898 alcohol related crashes and 85 alcohol related fatalities.

Labor Day History
As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced.

With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an unpaid day-off to honor the workers of America, as well as vocalize issues they had with employers. As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later.

On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. They sought support from their union led by Eugene V. Debs and on June 26 the American Railroad Union called a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Within days, 50,000 rail workers complied and railroad traffic out of Chicago came to a halt. On July 4, President Grover Cleveland dispatched troops to Chicago. Much rioting and bloodshed ensued, but the government's actions broke the strike and the boycott soon collapsed. Debs and three other union officials were jailed for disobeying the injunction. The strike brought worker's rights to the public eye and Congress declared, in 1894, that the first Monday in September would be the holiday for workers, known as Labor Day.

The founder of Labor Day remains unclear, but some credit either Peter McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, for proposing the holiday.

Although Labor Day is meant as a celebration of the labor movement and its achievements, it has come to be celebrated as the last, long summer weekend before Autumn.