Trafficking workers’ bodies for profit

May 27, 2008

If a guy beats someone to death, it’s murder, right?  And so the nation’s labor laws hold an employer liable for the death of a worker when unsafe working conditions caused the death.

But what if the worker doesn’t die?  What if the worker only loses his arms, or legs, or arms and legs?

No death, no crime, U.S. law says. 

What if the employer poisons the worker with cyanide that eats away the worker’s brain

No death, no crime, U.S. law says.

My colleagues and I were shocked to learn that an employer who breaks the nation’s worker-safety laws can be charged with a crime only if a worker dies. Even then, the crime is a lowly Class B misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in prison. (About 6,000 workers are killed on the job each year, many in cases where the deaths could have been prevented if their employers followed the law.) Employers who maim their workers face, at worst, a maximum civil penalty of $70,000 for each violation.

Read a plea to change the law, in the New York Times, from David H. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan.


Good though: Folksinger, Storyteller, Railroad Tramp Utah Phillips Dead at 73

May 27, 2008

Utah Phillips died Friday. He was 73. He died at his home in Nevada City, California.

Wonderful tribute at Fifteen Iguana.

Utah Phillips publicity shot

Utah Phillips

Phillips’s website lists planned tributes, memorials and the funeral in Nevada City, California. KVMR Radio’s site has an obit and links to other tributes.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ghost of Joe McCarthy: LGF/Malkin assault on Rachael Ray

May 26, 2008

WARNING: Satirical material ahead.

At long last, Sen. McCarthy Little Green Footballs, have you no decency?

One wonders just how much mob activity these guys can provoke before somebody — perhaps someone at LGF, and Michelle Malkin’s blog — wakes up and stands up to stop the madness.

Rachael Ray wore a black and white patterned scarf at a shoot for a Dunkin’ Donuts ad. As a Blood to a blue bandana or a Crip to a red one, LGF pulled out their rhetorical guns and started firing. ‘Aren’t those the colors of Yassir Arafat’s group, Al Fatah?’ LGF wonders.

You couldn’t make up this kind of craziness if it didn’t exist. Well, almost couldn’t make it up.

I expect that, next, Little Green Footballs will hear that some radio stations are suppressing the news about the invasion of Martians.

Next week: Little Green cake pans filmed flying across LGF’s yard, and LGF leads a new dig at the old quarry in Piltdown. How long before Nebraska Man shows up in the credits to Michelle Malkin’s blog, and they start rooting for the Cardiff Giant during the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown? Is it true that Michelle Malkin has an interview with Judge Crater set up for later this week?

Barnum’s ghost is tired.

What Michelle Malkin and LGF claimed to see:

British woman wearing Palestinian kaffiyah

What everyone else saw:

Rachael Ray advertises for Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the ad rather than risk offending anyone. The scarf had a paisley design, a company spokesman told LGF — and no one disputes that.

Does anyone else see the irony of Little Green Footballs complaining about this and inciting a mob? What will they do when they realize that green was Mohammed’s favorite color, and is almost an official color of Islam?

And when the truth comes out, will it be that LGF was mainstreaming terrorism to sell Little Green Footballs — like mob action against a donut shop — occasionally outing one of their friends or some innocent person to avoid suspicion themselves?

Santayana was right. What do you know about Herb Philbrick’s dip into communism double agentry, in I Led Three Lives? What do you remember about Robespierre and the Summer of Terror? What do you remember about Stalin’s installation of terror in the Soviet Union?

Why aren’t Malkin and LGF going after Rev. Moon, or some real threat to something — whooping cough, measles, something really dangerous?

Whose side is Little Green Footballs on, anyway?

Islamic religious flag of Turkey

Tip of the old scrub brush to Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Other Resources:

Update: Greater, sadder irony: Rachael Ray’s site today featured a nice tribute to our troops, with recipes.


Barnum’s Law and toxic feet

May 26, 2008

Much as we’d like to deny it, the evidence to verify Barnum’s Law just keeps piling up.

Here’s a blogger astounded by the black stuff on the pad on her feet, convinced that it’s toxic stuff magically drained out of her body, through her feet.

Who is going to tell her the facts?

Uh, you haven’t been suckered by that scam, have you?

Update: The blogger in question seems to have gotten the message:  The post has been yanked.  Smart people change things when their errors are pointed out.


Texans want McLeroy gone, too

May 26, 2008

Texans who ought to know want Education Commissar Don McLeroy out, too — P. Z. Myers (“Fire Don McLeroy”) is not the only one.

In a letter reported in only one newspaper I’ve found, The Houston Chronicle, State Board of Education member Mary Helen Baranga of Corpus Christi asked Gov. Rick Perry to fire McLeroy.

Don McLeroy “has created havoc” as chairman of the State Board of Education and should be replaced, the senior member of the board said in a letter to Gov. Rick Perry.

“It is such a shame that after all these years of trying to improve public education in Texas, we are taking steps backwards because of Don McElroy,” Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi said in her letter to Perry, misspelling McLeroy’s name.

Berlanga, who has been on the 15-member board since 1984, said McLeroy’s leadership has been a disaster and asked Perry to replace him with “a moderate conservative who can work with all members of the State Board of Education and the citizens of this state.”

Gov. Perry said the SBOE should deal with the issues.

Has Perry forgotten what office he holds?   Nuts.


Memorial Day, 2008 – fly your flag in honor of our nation’s dead

May 26, 2008

(Much of this is reprise from Memorial Day 2007)

You may fly your flag the entire weekend.  Please fly your flag today.

Memorial Day, traditionally observed on May 30, now observed the last Monday in May, is a day to honor fallen veterans of wars. Traditionally, family members visit the cemetery where loved ones are interred and leave flowers on the grave.

On Memorial Day itself, flags on poles or masts should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon. At noon, flags should be raised to full-staff position.

When posting a flag at half-staff, the flag should be raised to the full-staff position first, with vigor, then slowly lowered to half-staff; when retiring a flag posted at half-staff, it should be raised to the full staff position first, with vigor, and then be slowly lowered. Some people attach black streamers to stationary flags, though this is not officially recognized by the U.S. Flag Code.

Got another week of school? Here’s a quiz about the history of Memorial Day that might make a warm-up, provided by Carolyn Abell writing in the Tifton (Georgia) Gazette:

1. Memorial Day was first officially proclaimed by a general officer. His name was: A. Robert E. Lee; B. John A. Logan; C. Douglas MacArthur D. George Washington.

2. The first state to officially recognize Memorial Day was A. Virginia; B. Rhode Island; C. New York; D. Georgia.

3. The use of poppies to commemorate Memorial Day started in A. 1870 B. 1915 C. 1948; D. 1967.

4. The original date of Memorial Day was A. May 30; B. July 4; C. May 28; D. Nov 11.

5. Which U.S. Senator has tried repeatedly to pass legislation that would restore the traditional day of Memorial Day observance? A. John McCain B. Ted Kennedy C. Saxby Chambliss D. Daniel Inouye.

The answers, again provided by the Tifton Gazette:

OK, now for the answers. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30, 1968 as Memorial Day in his General Order Number 11, issued on May 5, 1868. The purpose was to honor the dead from both sides in the War Between the States. Subsequently flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30 of that year.

New York was the first state to officially recognize the Memorial Day, in 1873. Southern states, though paying tribute to their dead on separate dates, refused to use May 30 as the official date until after World War I, when the holiday was broadened to honor those who died in any war.

In 1915 a woman named Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” (by Canadian Colonel John McRae) began wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor our nation’s war dead. The tradition grew and even spread to other countries. In 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell the poppies made by disabled veterans as a national effort to raise funds in support of programs for veterans and their dependents. In 1948 the US Post Office issued a red 3-cent stamp honoring Michael for her role in founding the national poppy movement.

As stated above, May 30 was the original Memorial Day. In 1971, with the passage of the national Holiday Act, Congress changed it so that Memorial Day would be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Some citizens feel that turning it into a “three-day weekend” has devalued the importance and significance of this special holiday. In fact, every time a new Congress has convened since 1989, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has introduced a bill to the Senate calling for the restoration of May 30th as the day to celebrate Memorial Day.

In his 1999 introductory remarks to the bill, Senator Inouye declared:

“Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize the flag to fly at half mast on that day.

In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation.” (from the 1999 U.S. Congressional Record).

Flat at half-staff, U.S.Capitol in background - from Flag Bay

Other sources:

Image of flag and U.S. Capitol from Flags Bay.


Technorati Monster: Dead?

May 25, 2008

Is anyone else having trouble with Technorati?  What has been flawless performance up to now, especially for a free indexing service, has failed to update anything about the Bathtub for more than three days.  The statistics listed suggest problems dating back two weeks.

Anybody know what’s going on?


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