Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Mashup (3/7/11) (updates)

  • To begin, let me point out that I am completely aware of the situation with Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged “Wikileaker” to Julian Assange. And for what it’s worth, I find Manning’s treatment to be utterly unconscionable (profmarcus has more here, including Glenn Greenwald’s typically thorough and eviscerating commentary on the subject…fdl brings us the latest here).

    Hold Manning in custody under humane conditions (you know, stuff that civilized nations are supposed to do), make the case, and then try him. If he is found guilty, punish him as appropriate for the crime. But is he is found innocent, he should be released.

    If this were happening under Bushco, we would be screaming to anyone with ears to hear (and some who don’t, as it goes). The fact that this is happening under “hopey, changey” Number 44 doesn’t make it any less repellent (more so, probably, given the fact that Obama is a legal scholar who should know better).

  • Update: More here (and it doesn't get one bit better - worse, in fact)...

  • Next, I happened to pass by a TV earlier today with the channel on CNBC, and I saw an instant poll question which, I believe, asked the following (couldn’t confirm this at their web site): Should companies tell job applicants that they do not hire them if they’re unemployed if that’s their policy, or words to that effect (again, I couldn’t confirm the exact wording…it appeared for about three seconds before they went to a commercial).

    Apparently, this practice has been going on for some time, if this USA Today story from last month is any indication…

    (William Spriggs, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor) said the chances of an employer considering an ethnic minority are decreased by one-third if jobless applicants are excluded. The pool of disabled applicants would be reduced nearly 50%, he said.

    The (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), which enforces job discrimination laws, has not issued any guidance on the issue. But some on the five-member agency suggested that could be coming.

    "I hope this gives our people in the field information to start thinking about a possible problem out there," said Stuart Ishimaru, one of three Democrats on the commission. "For employers it raises serious question of liability if, in fact, there is a disparate impact."

    In one prominent report last year, an advertisement from Sony Ericsson, a global phone manufacturer that was recruiting workers for a new Georgia facility, was restricted to those currently employed. The company later removed the restriction after media publicity.

    Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said anecdotal evidence from job postings, conversations with job seekers and her interviews with officials at job placement firms suggests there may be a growing trend of excluding unemployed applicants, regardless of their qualifications.
    And according to individuals who testified before the U.S. EEOC at about the same time as the USA Today story (here)…

    Several examples of discriminatory help-wanted ads were offered: a Texas electronics company said online that it would "not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason"; an ad for a restaurant manager position in New Jersey said applicants must be employed; a phone manufacturer's job announcement said "No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All," according to Helen Norton, associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.
    Also, as noted in this story from last June…

    Some job postings include restrictions such as "unemployed candidates will not be considered" or "must be currently employed." Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though.

    That's what happened with numerous listings for grocery store managers throughout the Southeast posted by a South Carolina recruiter, Latro Consulting.

    After CNNMoney called seeking comments on the listings last week, the restriction against unemployed candidates being considered came down. Latro Consulting refused to comment when contacted.
    Of course they refused, because they know how despicable this practice is (and I’m a little embarrassed that I’m a bit “late to the party” on this topic).

    If anyone knows of other examples of the jobless being denied consideration from employment from companies or individuals engaged in this heartless (to say nothing of stupid) practice, please let me know so I can do whatever I can legally do to utterly shame them.

  • Update 3/20/11: More on this here (h/t Atrios)...

    Update 4/1/11: And of course, leave it to Smerky here to define the problem and provide some weak tea and sympathy, as it were, but then say that government should do absolutely nothing in response.

    Here's a thought: have a state or U.S. representative say, "Do you know what we're going to do in response to employers discriminating against the unemployed like this? We're going to maintain a registry of employers and headhunters/recruiters who do this sort of thing, and we're going to post it online so job applicants in our state can read about these people and be forewarned, that's what we're going to do."

    This country is in a huge mess on so many issues in large part because way too many people have been listening to people like Smerky telling us for the last 30 years or so that government is absolutely useless. It's long past time to ignore these idiots because they were every bit as wrong then as they are now.

  • Further (and in another example of highly questionable news judgment), the Bucks County Courier Times gave this story the banner front page treatment today…

    Republican Congressmen Mike Fitzpatrick and Charlie Dent are questioning the worthiness of a conservative group's scorecard that ranks the "Congressional appetite to cut spending."

    The data released last week by Heritage Action, a sister organization to Heritage Foundation, rated votes on 21 of more than 100 amendments that followed House Bill 1, which included $61 billion in cuts.
    Yep, as far as the Courier Times is concerned, the most important story of the day is the response of Republican congressional representatives to a right-wing think tank’s criticism of their spending votes in Congress.

    And news organizations wonder why both younger actual voters and prospective ones don’t read newspapers.

    The story lists some of the headline-grabbing defunding votes, including $447 million in Amtrak funding (sponsored by Pete Sessions - wonder if they talked about this during their “TV swearing-in”?) – the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities provides more here on the typically ridiculous effort of the Repugs to plunge this country back into economic chaos.

    And as you might expect, congressional Dems Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah rated a zero from Heritage for wisely voting No to all of the cuts. But take a guess as to who got the highest rating of 90 from all of our area congressional reps?

    Why, it would be this guy (continue to take a bow, all of you PA-16 numbskulls who insist on sending this meat sack back to Washington every two years to vote No and return absolutely nothing to your district).

  • In addition, the New York Times ran a profile over the weekend of David Koch and his contribution to cancer research (here); he gave a speech opening the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he gave $100 million to help build.

    (The story tells us that Koch suffers from prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed in 1992 and was “originally told he would not live long. Since then, he said, he has treated it with radiation, surgery, hormones and, for the last year, an experimental drug called Abiraterone that he said worked like a miracle.” So basically, Koch was able to take advantage of the highest level of medical treatment that he could afford given his power and influence, though, by supporting Republicans and the teahadists to whom the health care law is a socialist plot, he would readily deny that to everyone in the country with lesser means, which is about 98 percent of us. Also, I find it hard to imagine Koch feeling any notion of philanthropy if there wasn’t at least a little bit of self-interest involved.)

    Koch also called the prank call against Hosni Mubarak Walker where someone impersonated him “identity theft” (too funny).


    In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Koch warned that government spending cuts could impede cancer research. And he urged donors to fill the gap.
    Gee, now who do you think is yelling the loudest for those nasty “government spending cuts”? As I noted above, that would be the Repugs and the “teahadists” supported by Koch money.

    God, this man is truly scum. And get a load of this…

    His gift here means that one of the biggest donors to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, home to some of the top climate scientists in the nation, is an owner of a company that Greenpeace called “a kingpin of climate change denial.”

    Koch Industries — which owns oil refineries, pipelines and consumer brands like Dixie cups and Lycra — responded that “it is Greenpeace that is the denier here — denier of any rational and honest dialogue on the underlying scientific debate regarding climate change.”
    As noted here, Koch Industries, perhaps more than any other corporation, is funding the climate change denial industry. If they withdrew their largess, we could address this problem for real (assuming it isn’t too late by now).

    But I suppose, as far as Koch is concerned, by the time this planet is utterly wrecked as a result of the climate crisis (with Biblical casualty figures and the accompanying refugee crisis), he’ll be dead of prostate cancer anyway.

    Despite what he would readily wish for us, my faith does not permit me to wish it for him as well (though I wish it would).

  • Finally, I would like to dispel one piece of wingnut fiction that I see repeated over and over (including here)…

    Suffice it to say that a lack of collective bargaining power has not much impaired the access of federal workers to the grievance process.
    As noted here, President Kennedy granted collective bargaining rights to federal workers (in 1962, though the Times article doesn’t note the year).

    Just add this to the pile of Fix Noise falsehoods on the whole issue of workers’ rights particularly as regards Wisconsin, as noted here.
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