Friday, September 02, 2011
California Assembly passes ridiculous babysitting bill
The nanny state impulse runs strong in the Golden State, where the State Assembly has passed a bill that would virtually regulate babysitting out of business. After 2 hours of babysitting, a mandatory 15 minute break must be given, meaning that a stand-by babysitter must be present. Then there are the paperwork requirements, and the severe penalties that kick in for any parents who fail to dot the i's and cross the t's. State Senator Doug LaMalfa writes:
The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature - and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor's desk.
Under AB 889, household "employers" (aka "parents") who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers' compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.
Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys' fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers - from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)
Unfortunately, the unreasonable costs and risks contained in this bill will discourage folks from hiring housekeepers, nannies and babysitters and increase the use of institutionalized care rather than allowing children, the sick or elderly to be cared for in their homes. I can't help but wonder if that is the goal of AB 889 - a terrible bill that needs to be stopped.
Bad Reporting, Bias, Or Both At the Charlotte Observer
The Charlotte Observer’s coverage of the August 27th gay pride event, Pride Charlotte, held this year in the heart of Charlotte’s business district, was marked by significant omissions and misrepresentations, along with some (surely unintended) irony.
First, the irony. There were two articles related to Pride Charlotte, the primary article noting that, “Saturday's event was the first to be held in such a prominent area, a move organizers said was made to promote acceptance.” This push to promote acceptance was confirmed by Pride Charlotte spokesman Matt Comer: “We are just as valid a community group as any other.” Ironically, these two comments immediately followed these lines: “At the Wells Fargo Plaza, drag queens lip-synced to pop music for a cheering crowd. One in a hot pink wig and matching knee-high boots danced to Katy Perry's ‘California Girls.’” Say what?
How many other community groups feature prominent performances by drag queens at their events? Can you imagine crowds at an Hispanic Pride event, or Black Pride event, or Asian Pride event – just to name a few – being entertained by men wearing dresses (or less), with hot pink wigs and matching knee-high boots? And this is part of the LGBT strategy “to promote acceptance”? And how telling that, unmentioned by the Observer, there was a large truck stationed next to the festival offering “Free HIV Testing.” Yes, just another, typical, community event.
But the Observer’s reporting not only highlighted the irony of the day. It also presented a very misleading picture. The main article noted that, “several people holding Bibles and wearing shirts that said ‘Repent or Perish’ stood at intersections and shouted scripture to those passing by. A few festivalgoers stopped to argue with them, but most walked by as the preachers' shouts were drowned out by music.” This was true, but there was another side to the story, left out entirely by the Observer.
There were other Christians at Pride Charlotte too, and they were really quite hard to miss. I’m speaking of the participants of the God Has a Better Way outreach rally which drew together more than 400 evangelical Christians from numerous local churches, all wearing red-shirts emblazoned with the “God Has a Better Way” message.
So significant was their presence in the early afternoon that one gay attendee was overheard commenting to a friend, “There are more straights here than gays!” In fact, at one point it appeared that there were more people of color wearing the red tee-shirts than there were gay, black attendees. Isn’t this worth reporting? It certainly gives a very different impression of what actually happened at the event.
The God Has a Better Way participants walked through the festival, handing out multiplied hundreds of free bottles of water (labeled, “Jesus Loves You”) along with several thousand gospel tracts and invitations to an evening concert. And prior to receiving their red tee-shirts, each signed this pledge: “1) I will speak the truth in love. 2) I will seek to befriend those who oppose me. 3) I will seek to overcome bad attitudes with good attitudes. 4) I will seek to be a living example of Jesus. 5) I will not compromise biblical standards or convictions. 6) I will not violate the law.” (Full disclosure: This is part of a pledge I authored in 2006, and the event organizers, of whom I was one, gladly adopted it this year.) All this, however, was completely overlooked by the Observer, despite the fact that they were sent a press release about our planned activity before the event, a press release that was picked up and posted online by some national news outlets.
But the coverage gets worse. A second Pride Charlotte article reported the arrest of a local Christian leader for violation of the city’s sound ordinance (the article informs us that the violation occurred when he raised his voice while preaching on the wrath of God). And the article stated that there were “dozens of protesters like [him.]. Many wore red shirts that said ‘Repent or Perish.’” This is patently false.
There were hundreds of red-shirted Christians, not dozens, and their message was “God Has a Better Way” rather than “Repent or Perish.” (The issue is not whether Christians should preach “repent or perish.” The issue is accurate reporting.) How could this be missed? So, one article simply ignores the presence of hundreds of Christians who engaged in random acts of kindness, while the other article drastically reduces their numbers and completely changes their message. Is this meant to be serious reporting from a serious newspaper?
To be sure, the Observer did mention one Christian group in a positive light, noting that, “Several churches came to hand out information about their places of worship. ‘We’re open and receptive,’ John Houghton said of his church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte” – in apparent contrast with the other, bigoted Christians.
The lessons, then, are clear: Preach hellfire and brimstone at a gay pride event and the Observer will surely notice you. Affirm homosexuality in Jesus’ name and the Observer will surely laud you. Break with the stereotype, by the hundreds, and the Observer will surely ignore or misrepresent you. Perform as a drag queen and the Observer will surely celebrate you.
But we shouldn’t be too surprised. In 2007, at the annual Carolina’s fund-raising dinner for the Human Rights Campaign (more aptly called the Homosexual Rights Campaign), the Observer boasted that it had featured 187 gay-themed stories the previous year. They can now add these two recent stories to their list. They have certainly done themselves “proud.”
Anti-religious diatribes come in different forms
by Jeff Jacoby
IN 2007, a prominent Florida televangelist named Bill Keller condemned Mitt Romney's religion in a "daily devotional" to his 2.4 million e-mail subscribers.
"If you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!" Keller raged. "There is no excuse, no justification for supporting and voting for a man who will be used by Satan to lead the souls of millions into the eternal flames of hell!".
That was ugly, offensive, and intolerant. So was another diatribe about religion, published by a different Bill Keller last week.
"I honestly don't care if Mitt Romney wears Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans," the executive editor of The New York Times wrote in a smug essay for the Sunday magazine, "or if he believes that the stories of ancient American prophets were engraved on gold tablets and buried in upstate New York, or that Mormonism's founding prophet practiced polygamy. . . . Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders."
Keller the televangelist abominates Mormonism on explicitly theological grounds. His language in 2007 was far harsher than most of us would ever think of using when discussing the religion of other Americans.
Yet demeaning someone else's faith can take forms other than calling it satanic. Keller the Times editor argues that presidential hopefuls should be asked "tougher questions about faith," since their religious views may be relevant to how they would perform in office. Yet from his mocking opening line -- "If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him?" -- to his sniggering reference to "Mormon undergarments," Keller suggests that he is less interested in seriously understanding how religion influences the candidates' political views than in caricaturing and sneering at the faith of the conservatives in the 2012 field.
It is time to stop being so "squeamish" about "aggressively" digging into politicians' religious convictions, Keller writes. He advises journalists to "get over" any "scruples" they may have "about the privacy of faith in public life." Republican public life, that is -- specifically the "large number" of GOP candidates who belong to churches that many Americans find "mysterious or suspect."
It isn't only Romney's Mormonism that makes Keller twitchy. He frets that Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are "affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity" and that Rick Santorum "comes out of the most conservative wing of Catholicism." He has "concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction." Above all, he wants to know "if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon . . . or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country."
Liberal elites like Keller are haunted by the specter of right-wing theocracy. When they see Christian conservatives on the campaign trail, they envision inquisitions and witch hunts and the suppression of liberty. They dread the prospect of a president respecting any "authority higher than the Constitution," and regard ardent religious faith as the equivalent of belief in space aliens. "I do care," says Keller, "if religious doctrine becomes an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises."
Of course religion can be abused and religious belief turned to evil purposes. Yet far from threatening "the rights and protections" of America's people, religious faith has been among their greatest safeguard. Far from disavowing any book or authority "higher than the Constitution," our presidents place their hand on a Bible and swear to uphold that Constitution -- "so help me God." We have had our religious villains. But vastly more influential have been the American champions of liberty and equality -- from Adams to Lincoln to King -- who appealed to God and the Judeo-Christian moral tradition for the rightness of their cause.
For good reason, the Constitution bans any religious test to hold public office in the United States. No one need be Christian to run for president. But neither should being Christian -- even an enthusiastic Christian -- be treated as a kind of presidential disqualification. "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity," George Washington avowed in his Farewell Address, "religion and morality are indispensable supports." The sweep of American history bears out the wisdom in his words.
Obama admin ignores real dangers to focus on politically correct scenarios
Despite causing controversy last month with a video that portrayed white middle class Americans as the most likely terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security has released yet another PSA that depicts an attempt to bomb a subway station not by Al-Qaeda Muslims, but well-dressed white people.
A new Public Service Announcement entitled ‘The Drop Off – If You See Something, Say Something’ was unveiled by none other than Big Sis herself, Janet Napolitano, on the Homeland Security website today.
The PSA, which will be played on television and radio stations, shows a well dressed attractive white woman exiting a taxi before walking into a subway station. The taxi driver – a white man – then makes a phone call and sets a timer on a device in the trunk of the car. The woman then leaves her bag in the station.
“If you see something, say something – report suspicious activity to local authorities,” states the voiceover as the clip ends with other commuters reporting the incident to a black security guard and a black police officer.
In her accompanying statement to the video, DHS chief Napolitano also hints that gun stores could be a prime breeding ground for terrorists, making reference to a recent case where, “the owner of a gun store near Ft. Hood called authorities when an individual in his store was behaving in a suspicious manner.”
As we highlighted last month, a longer PSA recently produced by the DHS overwhelmingly went to significant lengths to portray white Americans as the most likely terrorists, despite the fact that the 126 people who were indicted on terrorist-related charges in the United States over the last two years were all Muslim.
Bizarrely, the majority of the people shown reporting suspicious activity to authorities were portrayed as non-whites.
The story, first featured on Infowars.com, went viral and prompted a furious response from many, appearing on the Drudge Report, Fox News, Breitbart.tv, the Daily Mail as well as featuring highly amongst the most read articles on the entire Internet during that 24 hour period. The Fox Nation version of the story received well over 2000 comments.
Despite the DHS’ claims to the contrary, many saw the ad as being deliberately racially motivated. Some concluded that this was merely a nod to political correctness while others viewed it as part of a pattern of demonizing white middle class Americans – many of whom are furious with the federal government for all manner of different reasons - as the DHS increasingly targets its anti-terror apparatus against politically motivated citizens.
Of the numerous different scenarios shown in the video, no less than 12 of them depict white people as terrorists whereas only three are non-whites. In addition, of the people depicted as patriotic Americans for reporting the terrorists, only one of them is white, while seven are non-white.
As Pajamas Media highlighted, “The DHS video goes out of its way to avoid showing any terrorist who fits the profile of the actual terrorists who have been waging war on us for more than a decade: Young men primarily from the Middle East. Instead, it tends to show them as middle aged white men. And it doesn’t really show them doing much of what actual terrorists do. It’s as if DHS is trying to make a completely useless anti-terrorism video.”
Shop owners say pissweak British police abandoned them during London riots
Afraid that it might be politically incorrect to actually stop the "late-night shoppers"
Shop owners who protected their businesses from looters during the deadly riots that rocked Britain this month are complaining that police guarded posh stores in central London and left them to fend for themselves.
Turkish shopkeepers and families in the north London borough of Hackney armed themselves with sticks and chased looters away from their properties.
In the Southall neighborhood in west London, members of the Sikh community protected their temple with swords and hockey sticks.
One cafe owner in the Hackney area said he got no help from police.
“The police shut the police station before we closed,” said Hussein Eroglu. “I asked police what we could do and they said they couldn’t say anything. I asked them what if anything happens. They said it’s your choice, you can protect your business.”
A man tells British police about rioters trying to vandalize a shop this month in London’s Hackney area. Youths set fire to stores and vehicles in several neighborhoods in the city — which will host the 2012 Summer Olympics — and often were able to flee before police arrived. (Associated Press)
He noted that business owners pay special taxes to fund government services such as the police. “We are paying business rates, but they didn’t protect our business,” he said.
Another Hackney cafe manager, Bektas Murat, said some business owners closed early and waited at a nearby traffic intersection to protect their neighborhood from roaming rioters.
“There were a lot of people scared about their shops,” he said. “People believed the police didn’t try to stop the rioters because they were always late, [coming] after the rioters attacked the shops. People tried to stop them themselves.”
One member of Parliament from London is calling for an inquiry into the police response to four days of rioting, looting and burning in the British capital that began Aug. 6. The mayhem soon spread to other English cities.
“Some of my constituents lost their homes and have raised concerns about why they didn’t see a quicker [police] response,” said David Lammy, who represents the north London borough of Tottenham, where the initial riots broke out.
“Many independent shop owners had their shops damaged seriously. First people burned a car and then another car and then it was a bus.” Mr. Lammy said London's Metropolitan Police made “serious mistakes.”
The riots broke out after the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old resident of the borough, Mark Duggan, who was suspected of having links to criminal gangs, according to local news reports.
He was shot by an officer with the police’s special firearms command unit, known as CO19, which provides support to Britain’s mostly unarmed police force.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.