Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Taking Care of a Friend’s Dog For The Weekend? Better Have a License, NYC Says

Even something as simple as having a friend watch your dog for the weekend isn't immune from the scourge of government permission slips in New York City, it seems. The city's Health Department is threatening users of a popular pet-sitting app with fines of $1,000 for taking care of animals without a license.

Thousands of users of Rover, a mobile app that connects pet-owners with individuals willing to feed, walk, and otherwise take care of their animals across New York City are potentially violating a little-known Health Department rule, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

Though no one has been fined so far, two residents have been hit with violations in November and December for caring for pets without a permit, the paper reports.

The Health Department has also sent a letter to Rover warning about the legal violations. A department spokesman says the permits are needed to protect "public health," according to the Daily News.

"The laws are antiquated," Chad Bacon, who uses Rover to make extra cash by dog-sitting, told the paper. "If you're qualified and able to provide a service, I don't think you should be penalized."

That's a sentiment that could be applied to pretty much any profession where licenses are required, but it's particularly true here.

In-home pet-care is without a doubt the most humane, cost-effective, healthiest option for many pet dogs and cats, Michael Moyer, a Pennsylvania-based veterinarian, tells Reason via email.

"Whether it is the pet's own home or pet sitter's home, there are fewer opportunities for problems than a typical commercial boarding kennel," wrote Moyer. "Any reasonable pet owner could likely judge the appropriateness/safety of the pet-sitter's accommodations with a visual assessment at the time of the pet drop off."

UPDATE: The New York City Health Department, in a statement provided to Reason, says it does not intend to enforce these regulations against individual families, but does require permits for commerical boarding operations: "In order to protect animals from neglect, the Health Department requires animal boarding and kennel facilities to obtain permits and comply with regulations. Commercial boarding of animals in homes is illegal. These regulations do not apply to the average New Yorker who may pet sit for friends, family, and neighbors."

Like other battles between politically connected industries and the sharing economy, upstarts that seek to disrupt them—think hotels versus Airbnb, or taxis versus Uber—the ban on dog-sitting without a license seems to be driven by kennels who don't want competition from apps like Rover.

Kennels have enjoyed a long near-monopoly in the pet care market. Until apps like Rover, you didn't have much of a choice except to pay whatever the nearest kennel charged. In New York, especially, they aren't cheap or convienent—as the New York Daily News points out. Many New Yorkers have to drive their dogs to Connecticut to find a kennel.

Rover has completely changed the landscape. The app has 9,000 sitters in New York City alone and reports having 95,000 pet owners in the city registered to use the service.

Thankfully, City Councilman Corey Johnson tells the Daily News that he plans to introduce legislation legalizing pet-sitting. The Health Department's police, he says, are "crazy," "antiquated," and "not practical."

It's a shame the city government hasn't taken that same approach to roomsharing—using Airbnb is technically illegal in New York, even though many people have ignored the ban—but at least Johnson is nudging the city in the direction of more freedom.

The sharing economy is here to stay, regardless of what rules and regulations special interests fearful of new competition press local governments to impose. Policymakers should use a light touch in regulating mutually-beneficial agreements that let people crash on a couch, hop a ride, or leave their pooch in someone else's care.


Henrico McDonald's takes 'appropriate action' after employee refused to serve uniformed police officer

A black employee? According to a Facebook post by Naff’s wife, they were told the employee had been fired.

An on-duty officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says he was denied service at a McDonald’s restaurant in Henrico County because of his profession, prompting the owner to take what was described as “appropriate action” to resolve the situation.

Scott Naff, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, was apparently not given his food after he paid for it because the employee in the drive-thru allegedly refused to serve police. The event was first broadcast online late Thursday through the officer’s wife, whose Facebook post had received more than 2,000 comments and 3,500 shares by Monday.

The officer said Tuesday that he was not able to talk about the incident, but his wife spoke on his behalf.

Cathy Naff, the officer’s wife, said the post was initially meant to be shared among a group of supportive friends, and she had no idea it would garner such attention.

Freda Thornton, the franchise owner, said in a statement Tuesday that her restaurants are dedicated to serving all customers, “including all authority figures who protect our wildlife and natural resources.”

“We regret this situation as it goes against our standards of providing a welcoming experience to everyone, and we have taken the appropriate action to resolve this situation,” Thornton said in the statement.

A spokeswoman declined to specify what actions were taken or provide further comment.

Cathy Naff said in her original Facebook post that her husband was on break about 7 p.m. Thursday when he pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru at 8210 Brook Road. After ordering his food, Cathy Naff said, the employee told him, “I ain’t serving no police,” and closed the service window.

Her husband was served several minutes later by another employee, Cathy Naff said, but she said she was “shocked” to learn of the encounter. The couple notified the McDonald’s corporate office and the franchise owner of what transpired, she said.

When asked whether McDonald’s actions were satisfactory, Cathy Naff said there is no satisfaction in seeing someone lose a job. She added that the issue could likely be prevented from recurring through adequate customer training practices.

“This situation is about how a law enforcement officer was treated by an employee of a local establishment who should have been trained by their employer and properly supervised on how to treat their customers,” she said. “My husband is one of the great guys and would have never treated this young man disrespectfully.”


The Key Facts About Slavery That the Left Conveniently Ignores

Walter E. Williams
Too many people believe that slavery is a "peculiar institution." That's what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, "Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South." But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade. As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, "The Globalist," "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom."

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation's founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. My question to these grossly uninformed critics is whether they would have found it more preferable for slaves to be counted as whole persons? Slaves counted as whole persons would have given slave-holding southern states much more political power. Or, would the critics of the founders prefer that the northern delegates not compromise and not allow slaves to be counted at all? If they did, it is likely that the Constitution would have not been ratified. Thus, the question that emerges is whether blacks would be better off with northern states having gone their way and southern states having gone theirs, resulting in no U.S. Constitution and no Union? Unlike today's pseudointellectuals, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was "a downright disability laid upon the slave-holding states" that deprived them of "two-fifths of their natural basis of representation."

Douglass' vision was shared by Patrick Henry and others. Henry said, expressing the reality of the three-fifths compromise, "As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition." With this union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade by 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid "the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country." Many of the founders abhorred slavery. Their statements can be read on my website, walterewilliams.com.

The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain's military sea power that put an end to the slave trade. And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.


Well-Known Evangelical Author Evolves – Then Backtracks – on Same-Sex 'Marriage'

By John Stonestreet

Last week, the well-known evangelical author Eugene Peterson appeared to embrace so-called same-sex "marriage," and then, he backtracked. There's a lot to talk about.

Last week Eugene Peterson, the author of "The Message" as well as several other pastoral books, said in an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service that he didn't consider homosexuality wrong and would, if asked, officiate a same-sex "marriage." "I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian," Peterson said, "and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do."

The reaction was swift and immediate. After all, Peterson is no minor figure. His work has influenced the faith of millions, and predictably, liberal circles hailed him as the most prominent evangelical figure yet to "evolve" on same-sex relationships.

But then on Thursday, Peterson released a statement retracting his earlier comments, saying, "To clarify, I affirm the biblical view of marriage: one man to one woman. I affirm a biblical view of everything."

I'm glad for this retraction, though his statements are still puzzling. Even more, they're revealing.

First, they reveal the crisis of authority among evangelicals. So much of this conversation, and many others within the evangelical church, is driven by celebrities instead of doctrine. That's not helpful at all.

Second, they reveal the need for clarity on another oft-repeated point: that there's a massive shift among Christians on this issue. As my "BreakPoint This Week" co-host Ed Stetzer wrote last year in "Christianity Today," rumors of the evangelical church caving to gay theology are greatly exaggerated. While some high-profile figures have "evolved," most denominations and groups have staked out clear positions on the orthodox, biblical view of sexuality and marriage.

Third, Peterson's original statement appealed, not to biblical teaching or theological argument, but to people and experiences. He echoed others like David Gushee, Senator Rob Portman, and Reverend Stan Mitchell, all of whom say relationships with gay friends or family changed their views.

Now, it would be one thing if people pointed to a new understanding of the Greek or Hebrew language, or the discovery of a some hidden, robust theological tradition. But it's never that sort of thick argument cited by those who evolve—no, it's always based on subjective experience.

As Tim Keller wrote, if you change your mind about homosexuality because you meet a friendly and intelligent gay person, your views probably weren't based on a biblical theology of marriage to begin with. Feelings are no substitute for an informed Christian worldview.

As Samuel James pointed out at First Things, every single one of our Christian convictions—whether on sexuality, being kind to our enemies, abortion, God, hate, lust, or the meaning of life—will eventually collide with real life after the fall. "There is no safe corner of the Christian story that is completely intuitive or unfailingly neighborly," he writes. Every claim of the Gospel can and will place us in conflict with unbelievers, especially in this cultural moment. The attempt to avoid all offense only leaves us in doctrinal no-man's land.

And finally, this isn't, as some have claimed, a side issue or something Christians can just "agree to disagree" on. From God creating us male and female and ordering marriage toward procreation, to Jesus' reaffirmation of natural marriage in Matthew 19, to Paul's clear language in his epistles, to the marriage supper of the Lamb, not to mention the way the Old Testament dealt with sexuality and sexual sin, the Bible consistently and unambiguously teaches one view of human sexuality. Marriage is so thoroughly woven into the story of redemption, any attempt to alter it distorts the Gospel.

Please join me in praying that Peterson would continue to reaffirm the biblical teaching for the right reasons, and let's continue to pray for and call for renewed determination in the Church to stand on the solid rock of God's word.



UK: Europcar again

This is a notorious firm.  There have been bitter complaints about them in Australia and the USA too.  I always advise people to steer clear of them

One of the world's biggest car hire firms, Europcar, paid staff for cheating customers over "damaged" cars, a whistleblower has claimed.

Europcar agents inspecting hire cars for damage are rewarded with £4 for each car they flag up as damaged, regardless of whether a repair is actually warranted, a manager at the firm told the Daily Telegraph.

The alleged conflict of interest comes amid a large volume of customers reporting they have been charged huge fees for "barely there" or non-existent damages after renting a car.

As this newspaper disclosed last week, Europcar is accused of systematically overbilling well over half a million customers for at least £30m in repairs over many years.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


No comments: