Tag Archives: law

Conspiracy Theory

Just listen to this crazy idea for a second– there’s a nice and funny Colbert Report interview for you at the end:

Many believe World War II not only helped, but was one of the biggest factors in the US pulling itself out of the Great Depressionsome do not— and I’m sure it’s been joked many times over that another war– in addition to the one we just finished fighting like, 5 minutes ago (did you know military operations had websites?), and the one we’re still fighting in Afghanistan— would help us out of this Great Recession. Well, the thought of someone in government or similar sphere of power seriously considering that idea is a morbid thought, but perhaps this is an even more twisted one: although domestic growth created to support wartime efforts could help us get out of our current, particularly deep economic rut, the thought of waging war for economic benefit– essentially letting the blood of American soldiers be payment for a way out of our current economic state, one created by Wall Street’s high risk, shady deals with subprime mortgages and derivative markets— is too “distasteful”. So, instead, those in power look at alternatives and given the somewhat misguided, but constant ranting about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its regulations are “job killers”, a conspiracy is born to systematically lower EPA regulations to allow corporations to redirect resources they would normally have spent ensuring they were abiding by various environmental laws and regulations, knowing that it may cause adverse health effects on millions of communities around the country. They decide that considering it takes much longer for you to die from cancer than a soldier to die from a bullet or a bomb, and it is much harder to prove that the chemical waste improperly dumped near your home’s water source is the direct reason why you get a particular type of cancer at a particular point in your life– especially if litigation gets tied up in the court system and you die before its conclusion, should you decide to sue your health insurance company and/or the owner of the factory or plant that caused the pollution in the first place– that slow, causally ambigous death of a few million is not only a more preferable and conveniently politically advantageous, but morally justifiable route for economic growth compared to more American soldiers dying in another war (or ideally, just working harder to come up with better economic policies). Besides, the increased health problems may boost the healthcare industry and once we’re out of the rut, the EPA can create even more jobs by raising– or in some cases, re-raising– regulations, therefore creating a need for corporations to go back out and hire workers and obtain other resources to abide by them.

And then the next time there’s an economic slump, all over again… until they find “the next thing”…

I’m not saying this is what could happen under a President and/or Congress that rails just a little too much against the EPA or that anybody is even seriously considering it, or if anybody seriously believes anybody is seriously considering it, but if I thought of it, someone else must have…

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2012 – Job-Killing EPA – Carol Browner
www.colbertnation.com
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Intentional Americans

U.S. Flag There are many wonderful things I could say about the HBO documentary “Citizen USA: A 50-State Road Trip“, but here is a quote from newly naturalized citizen and intentional American Zeenath Larsen that captures not just one of the primary reasons people to come to the US (legally and illegally), but a valuable message for US-born American citizens (especially those who think immigrants come to the US just to steal jobs, collect welfare, and commit crimes), the politicians who are looking to influence, lead, and win over the support of the people, and any American who has ever taken America for granted (me included):

“The bottom line is that your country and you have to be on the same page where values are considered, principles are considered, what you believe in. And if that is not the case, then it’s… you may be born somewhere and brought up somewhere, but then you don’t feel that same type of loyalty. Because loyalty comes through ideas, not through the earth, not through mud and trees and hills. That’s the same everywhere in the world. Is there any country in the world that has it enshrined in the constitution that you have a right to be happy?”

And to underline the point even more, note that Larsen is originally from Pakistan. Food for thought– check out the trailer for “Citizen USA” below:

Sexual Harassment and You

California now requires sexual harassment training for all supervisors– among other provisions, this means two hours at least every two years. I just finished my two hours and many of the topics covered were issues I covered during the hiring practices portion of my Masters program. However, aside from topics like supervisor duties and liabilities, protected characteristics and what constitutes illegal discrimination, preventing a hostile work environment and how to handle complaints, the training covers some very interesting case studies. As we jokingly said, if it was sexual harassment training, it would be sexual harassment.

I don’t think I’m breaking any rules by sharing some of these case study examples since they are real world examples of sexual harassment litigation, so here’s a little sampling so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

One word: priapism. If you don’t know what this word means, you should learn, especially if you’re a guy, and then check out the 2006 case Arrieta-Colon v. Wal-Mart. Props to Arrieta-Colon in winning the case, but talk about awkward.

That may be sexual harassment, but more importantly, it’s sexual assault. There were one or two examples where one co-worker (usually male) continually made unwanted romantic/sexual advances towards a co-worker (usually female)– advances that weren’t just repeated requests for a date or inappropriate comments, but extended to groping, touching, and more. (Specifically, check out the 2006 case Howard v. Winter as one example.) While admittedly there are serious sexual harassment issues, what about the sexual assault? This type of behavior is illegal not only in terms of creating a hostile work environment, but also because it’s a crime. I don’t know about you, but sexual assault trumps sexual harassment.

Spanking. And lots of it. WTF? There were multiple examples of spanking somehow being introduced into the workplace as a sometimes valid, sometimes invalid form of punishment. Check out the 2002 case Yerry v. Pizza Hut of Southeast Kansas. If someone seriously suggested to me to physically hit or be hit, much less spank or be spanked, as a way to punish someone in the workplace, I think my head would explode. And yet, somehow people involved in such cases went along with this treatment. It’s amazing what people don’t understand about their rights, will put up with to keep their jobs or do to avoid confrontation.

And with that, a little video to lighten the mood:

Lame cop-outs

The Daily Show - Gay Watch - 04.26.2006 (Screenshot)

I wasn’t going to comment on this, but this Daily Show clip is just too funny to pass up: Quicktime, Windows Media.

When I first heard about this, I was really surprised– I thought Microsoft’s change in stance on HB 1515 was very strange. Say what you will about Microsoft as a technology source or even as a corporate power, but from what I’ve heard, they have had a pretty good track record on supporting charitable causes. They have a sizable matching program for their employees’ charitable donations and everyone has heard of Bill Gates’s personal philanthropic efforts. Moreover, in terms of queer rights, Microsoft has a sizeable queer community (GLEAM, Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft. And as Steve Ballmer says in his email to Microsoft employees, they were one of the first companies to provide domestic partner benefits and to include sexual orientation in anti-discrimination policies.

However, the peculiar thing is that Ballmer (and Gates, by extension) says that they are wondering if a corporation should become involved in broader social issues, that if they take an active stance for or against legislation, what kind of message does it send to employees and shareholders who might hold an opposing view?

Well, with the increasing corporatization of America, I would think that its obvious that corporations have an enormous influence on social and political issues and if they want to continue to exert that influence in some areas, shouldn’t they also feel some moral responsibility to, put bluntly, not be a bunch of wusses when it comes to broader social issues? Perhaps the case would be different if Microsoft did not have a history of becoming involved in social and political issues, but to back down when things get a little interesting seems cowardly. By instituting domestic partner benefits and including sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination efforts, Microsoft’s internal policy was already making a broader social statement and while Ballmer says he does not want to promote a law that goes against the personal beliefs of many of its employees is really a lame-ass copout. By supporting HB1515, Microsoft wouldn’t be saying that gay marriage should be legalized or that employees have to embrace homosexuality. What they would be saying is that no matter how you feel about homosexuality personally, a lifestyle choice that is in no way illegal, you should not disciminate against homosexuals in the workplace. You may not like black people, Asian people, white people, Jewish people, Muslim people, red fish, blue fish, but it’s illegal to discriminate against them in the workplace. Obviously, Microsoft agrees with this idea since they have an internal policy against discinination based on sexual orientation and have recognized domestic partners in providing benefits. If they think it’s good enough for Microsoft, why isn’t it good enough for the workplace in general?