Work issues

From Today’s New York Times:

E.E.O.C. Sues Kaplan Over Hiring

The print story in the newspaper had a different headline.  It read:  “Hiring Suit Takes on Bias Based on Credit”.

Add this to the story regarding employers not wanting to hire people who are actually unemployed and you have the makings of an under-class of people whose lumpen prole status could rapidly become stigmatizing enough for the dwindling middle class to see elimination of this class as a way of getting more of the 40% of the pie that doesn’t go to the ultra rich.

Credit checks of people enduring long term unemployment while in the midst of a depression.  Are these fucks insane?  There is this level of class rage in this country that is so near the surface that stories of people walking into the employer’s offices and killing people don’t surprise or puzzle me.  The opposite puzzles me, “Why so few?”

It is as if the corporations are looking to rub salt in the wounds they inflicted, or pour gasoline on a smoldering fire.

From The New York Times:
Published: December 21, 2010

Sending a sharp warning to employers nationwide, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Kaplan Higher Education Corporation on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating against black job applicants through the way it uses credit histories in its hiring process.

The lawsuit, an unusual intervention by the federal government on the issue, comes amid rising concerns that employers are denying jobs to applicants with damaged credit histories, even in cases where creditworthiness does not appear to be directly relevant to the job.

Several states, including Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Illinois, have banned or severely limited the use of credit reports in hiring, partly out of worry that the practice could prevent unemployed, financially pressed Americans from getting back into the work force. Other states and Congress have considered similar laws.

Private and government surveys have suggested that about half of all employers use credit histories in at least some hiring decisions.

Justine Lisser, an E.E.O.C. spokeswoman, said that credit histories were often inaccurate and might not be a good indicator of a person’s qualifications for a particular job. (No shit! Sherlock.)  “Credit histories were not compiled to show responsibility,” she said. “They were compiled to show whether or not someone was paying the bills, which is not always the same thing.”

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On a more optimistic note…

The New York Times:

U.S. Proposes Posted Notice of the Right to Unionize

Published: December 21, 2010

The National Labor Relations Board said on Tuesday that it would require companies to post notices on their bulletin boards — and perhaps send out e-mail— to inform employees of their right to unionize under federal law.

A day earlier, the labor board’s acting general counsel said that he would push for stronger action to create a fair atmosphere for unionization drives, perhaps by letting unions post materials on a company’s bulletin board if a company was found to have committed serious violations during such a drive.

These moves, part of a series of recent pro-union actions by the labor board under President Obama, upset companies and business groups.

“These actions are consistent with a general ramp-up of enforcement against employers we are seeing across the board,” said Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

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Why should any one possibly think the Chamber of Commerce could have a valid opinion on this?  Asking one of their representatives is like asking a Confederate slave owner if black people are oppressed by slavery.

The Chamber of Commerce is an anti-labor ultra right wing organization that represents the the interests of the corporations which exploit the workers.  It is their job.  Ask union representatives if this is necessary, they represent workers.

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56 percent of bankers say bonuses ‘not enough’

Break out the world’s tiniest violin and play a sad song for the MOTU Greed Pigs

Here’s a suggestion no bonuses for any one making more than five times the lowest paid employee and distribution of the bonuses to those below middle management who do the real work.

From Raw Story:

By Daniel Tencer
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 — 8:44 pm

Men 24 times more likely than women to feel bonuses ‘unfair’

Wall Street’s five biggest banks had a banner year in 2010, racking up their second-highest revenues on record, and to celebrate they put aside some $90 billion for year-end bonuses. But an informal poll suggests that more than half of the people receiving those bonuses feel they aren’t getting enough.

Vanity Fair‘s Foster Kamer went to Wall Street and carried out an informal poll asking bank employees how they felt about their bonuses. He found that, of the 98 people surveyed, 56 percent said their bonuses were “not enough.”

Sixty-one percent of those polled said they received a bonus this year, while 39 percent said they didn’t. Even if all the respondents who didn’t get a bonus were among those who wanted more, that still leaves about one-third of those with bonuses wanting more.

“Of the 61 percent who said they received a bonus, 85 percent were men — and just 15 percent were women. And we really tried to talk to women,” Kamer writes.

But since only 17 of the 98 people surveyed were women, that statistic indicates a general lack of women on Wall Street more than it suggests discrimination in bonus payments. Kamer notes that men were “6.75 percent more likely” to get a bonus than female employees.

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Keep rubbing our noses in the shit you created and we might forget you are the Masters of the Universe

Police State: “Lefty” San Francisco Can Arrest People for Sitting on a Sidewalk

I went to San Francisco in 1967 because it had the Haight Ashbury and because earlier in the year I had met a sister in Greenwich Village. She was just coming out and I was just figuring out how to.

She told me there was a great deal more freedom in San Francisco than in NYC.  Which was true because SF didn’t have the Mafia controlling the bars.

But San Francisco was a Police State in comparison to Berkeley.

Petty harassment and warrantless arrests were the rule.  As an androgynous hippie kid I was arrested on petty charges we called, “Mopery with intent to gawk.”

There was a reason we called the police, pigs.  The abuse of authority aimed at the defenseless.

From Alternet:

Propelled by wealthy donors and business interests, a new sit-lie ordinance in San Francisco gives police the power to fine and arrest people for resting on the sidewalk.

By Tana Ganeva
December 20, 2010

When Jon Paul, a 69-year-old who’s been homeless for 39 years, pulls off his cowboy hat and bows his head, I think he’s being chivalrous. Instead he knocks on his forehead to show me his steel plate. He got it in Vietnam about 39 years ago. He says that when he came back from that war he had to live on the street because he “couldn’t stand to be inside anymore.”

In addition to the metal in his forehead, Paul’s stint in Vietnam earned him a whopping $400 a month, or just enough to pay for about two weeks in a SRO (single residence occupancy). So partly through choice (“I like being out here because I can help people”) and partly through necessity, he sleeps on the street in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Starting last Friday, Paul and the rest of the city’s homeless (numbering between 7,000 and 10,000) won’t legally be allowed to do that anymore, a development that leaves him shaking his head in bewilderment, saying “fuck that.” On November 2, as the GOP swept into a majority in the House on Tea Party juice, voters in freewheeling San Francisco — one of the liberal utopias bookending dreaded “flyover country” — passed Proposition L, a sit-lie ordinance that outlaws sleeping (or resting or sitting) on a public sidewalk between 7am and 11pm.

Police are supposed to give a warning, but after that they can issue a citation that carries a $50-$100 dollar fine. A repeat offense within 24 hours earns the unrepentant sitter a $300-$500 ticket, and/or up to 10 days in jail. If caught sitting or reclining again within 120 days of the original conviction, the individual can be fined $400-$500 dollars and end up in jail for 30 days.

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Antigay Group Hate Group, Liberty Counsel: DADT Will Be Back

The Southern Poverty Law Center is right.  Not only are all the right wing organizations opposing LGBT/TQ equality hate groups but basically the entire conservative movement in the US is a hate group.

Some one claiming they support Republicans be cause they are “fiscally conservative is either a moron or a liar since the Rebublicans are the most fiscally irresponsable greed pigs to have ever breathed.  They borrow and spend then stick working people with the bills.

Saying you support the Republicans because they are fiscally conservative is like saying you believe the Civil War was about “States Rights”.

From The Advocate:

By Neal Broverman

The head of the fiercely antigay group Liberty Counsel is steaming mad about the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and says he will push the next Congress to bring the ban on openly gay soldiers back to life.

The lobbying group, with offices in Florida, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., sent out an action alert Monday. After thanking its members for sending 6.1 million “message units” to politicians demanding that DADT stand, Liberty chairman Mathew Staver (pictured) writes, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have totally disgraced their respective offices throughout the 111th Congress, and their handling of this vital issue is just the most recent example of their betrayal of the public trust.

“Reflecting on this battle, I can assure you there will be many more opportunities to confront pro-homosexual activists in the legal and legislative arenas. I feel certain these radical groups have already picked their next target in their ongoing efforts to force their perverse will on America. The war is far from over. Here’s our message to our armed forces: ‘Take heart, because the American people will not allow this travesty to stand.'”

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Pope Ratzi Says Sex Scandal Has Hit Unimaginable Dimension

From The New York Times:

Published: December 20, 2010

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that the continuing sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church had reached a “degree we could not have imagined” this year, and that the church must reflect on its failures, help the victims and prevent abusers from becoming priests.

“We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred,” the pope said in a pointed Christmas message to the Vatican hierarchy. “We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen.”

In recent months, investigations in Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have found that clerics had sexually abused children in the past and that the church hierarchy had often covered up the abuse.

Victims have accused the Vatican of not acting decisively and swiftly enough to discipline errant priests and of using complex bureaucracy and uneven application of church law to protect priests over children.

This month, the Vatican published a letter from 1988 that it said showed that Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office in charge of handling abuse, had sought ways for swifter punishment for errant priests. At the time, he was unsuccessful.

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I just love how the reporter is an apologist for Ratzi.

Pity SPLC missed Bill Donohue’s Catholic League when they were putting together their list of faith based hate groups.

Dan Choi: I Am Somebody! Autumn Sandeen: I Am Still Not Recognized As Somebody.

Cross posted from Pam’s House Blend:

With permission:

by: Autumn Sandeen

Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 15:45:00 PM EST

I have heard many senators and congresspeople use variants of Admiral Mullen’s pro-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)  repeal phrase of relating to how DADT “[f]orces young men and women to lie…to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.” For example, from the floor of the Senate yesterday (December 18, 2010):

Senator Carl Levin: …A policy, which in Admiral Mullen’s words — memorable words — quote “Forces young men and women to lie to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Young transgender servicemembers, transsexual servicemembers, and servicemembers who identify as both transgender and transsexual still will have to lie to defend their fellow citizens.

Dan Choi tweeted the following yesterday:

Twitter Image of Dan Choi's Tweet: Today we stand taller declaring: 'I am somebody.'I learned the equality chant from Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL where that “I am somebody” line of Dan Choi’s tweet. Here is the equality chant:

I am somebody!
I deserve full equality!
Right here!
Right now!
I am somebody!

Indeed, Dan Choi had much reason to state “I am somebody” yesterday…much reason to celebrate. He even received a tweet from Senator Harry Reid, about an hour prior to the final vote:

Twitter Image of Sen. Harry Reid's Tweet: One hour away from fulfilling my promise to you to kill #DADTMy friend, Dan Choi, is closer to being a somebody who likely will be able to resume his military career as an out, gay, U.S. Army Officer. I’m very, very happy to have participated in direct action on the White House Fence with Lt. Choi in standing up for liberty, equality, and justice. I’m incredibly happy he may be able to serve his country in military uniform again.

That said, if anyone noticed back in April and November, I never led the “I am somebody” chant from the White House fence. Repeal of DADT was not going to result in my peer transgender community members and me being closer to being somebodies, able too to serve our country in uniform without having to lie about who we are.

Many of us transgender veterans had made a conscious decision to not tie the future transgender people’s open military service to the lesbian, gay, and bisexual people’s open service. Allowing transgender people to serve in the military openly will require much more accommodation than allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to serve in the military openly requires. We also know America isn’t Great Brittan, Canada, or Australia — the more conservative American people aren’t as ready and prepared for the open service of trans servicemembers as they are prepared for the open service of lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers — and even most of those countries didn’t tie the service of LGB servicemembers to T servicemembers.

So, many of us T veterans took the position of supporting our LGB servicemembers and veterans, and waiting.

So while passage of even this watered down version of DADT repeal is a big win for LGBT community, it’s not a direct win for the T subcommunity. Passage of a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act  (ENDA) — one that includes employment protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression was a higher priority for most in the T-subcommunity, but for some reason the Democratic 111th Congress seemed only to be able to pass one piece of LGBT legislation a year, and even the repeal of DADT seemed incredibly iffy right until the end.

In other words, for me, passage of DADT repeal doesn’t leave me able to shout “I am somebody!” with the same sense of community achievement that Dan Choi had the pleasure to shout “I am somebody!” yesterday. I’m glad he could, I’m a little meloncholy I couldn’t.

Frankly, I am still not any more of a somebody in the legal sense than I was the day before yesterday. Clearly, my transgender peers and my personal freedom, equality, and justice weren’t improved with repeal of DADT. Many of we trans people are very, very happy for our LGBT community’s win, but it does come with a sense of melancholy, in that the passage of DADT repeal doesn’t improve life for transgender Americans.

Freedom, equality, and justice isn’t about me or you, or your subcommunity of the LGBT community or mine, or about any other demographic group we may belong to. Freedom, equality, and justice is about us. If an issue is an issue for even one subcommunity of the LGBT community, it’s my issue. I fought for repeal of DADT because our fight is about us, and not about me.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a bit meloncholy because yesterday’s DADT win wasn’t about me or my subcommunity of the LGBT community.

For the next two years, we won’t see movement on repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), nor will we see movement on ENDA because of the incoming Republican Congress and their “culture war.”

DADT was prioritized over ENDA in this congress in all likelihood in large part because there was a clearer way forward, and our DADT repeal “lunch counters” were easier to identify, and the discrimination easier to articulate in simple terms, so the targets were easier to identify and target.

Thumbnail Link to GetEQUAL e-blast: We're one step closer!But if…but if…But if we see return of Democratic Party control of the House and Senate in 2012, will we see a higher priority put on repeal of DOMA, or a higher priority placed on the promise of ENDA? I can tell you what most in the transgender subcommunity of the LGBT community would prefer to see happen first, and that would passage of ENDA.

As the GetEQUAL e-blast pointed out regarding the passage of this DADT repeal bill (emphasis added):

Make no mistake — DADT is not yet repealed. There is still work to do. There is still a long process ahead, but we vow to keep the pressure up until the policy is fully and completely repealed. There are still people — especially our transgender sisters and brothers — who are unjustly left behind by this legislation.

I fought to see DADT legislatively repealed, and I took to the White House Fence twice over DADT; I went to jail twice over DADT. The legislative win on DADT yesterday is a win for LGBT community that I’m incredibly glad to have played a small part in, but my joy is somewhat tinged with melancholy. [T]ransgender sisters and brothers…are unjustly left behind…

Autumn Sandeen :: Dan Choi: I Am Somebody! Autumn Sandeen: I Am Still Not Recognized As Somebody.

White House Drafts Executive Order for Indefinite Detention

From Pro Pubica:

by Dafna Linzer
ProPublica, Dec. 21, 2010, 6:11 p.m.

8:15 p.m: This story has been updated with the White House’s response.

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change.

But the order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or trial.

Nearly two years after Obama’s pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo, more inmates there are formally facing the prospect of lifelong detention and fewer are facing charges than the day Obama was elected.

That is in part because Congress has made it difficult to move detainees to the United States for trial. But it also stems from the president’s embrace of indefinite detention and his assertion that the congressional authorization for military force, passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks, allows for such detention.

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In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks

From The New York Times:

Published: December 21, 2010

TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.

When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words “Together Forever,” that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert.

The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.

“Every day, smaller wrongs happen to people trying to save their homes: being charged the wrong amount of money, being wrongly denied a loan modification, being asked to hand over documents four or five times,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

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