Friday, March 4, 2016

Last Call For The Cookie Crumbles

Pretty sure we've reached peak Glibertarian Nonsense with the Federalist's Daniel Payne on selling Girl Scout cookies.

It’s that time of year again when the Girl Scouts are going door-to-door and setting up shop outside of supermarkets to sell you those colorful little boxes of reconstituted butter and sugar. It’s Girl Scout cookie season, I mean, which—according to the Girl Scouts of America—is the time of year when the young women of the Girl Scouts learn “goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.” 
The Girl Scout cookie program, in other words, teaches young girls how to be entrepreneurs; it teaches them how to work. It is, after a fashion, child labor. The great scandal is not that the Girl Scouts are promoting child labor, it’s that there isn’t more child labor in the United States today.

This is amazingly stupid, even for this crew.

When one says the words “child labor,” of course, one immediately thinks of the crushing 14-hour textile-style jobs, pictures of which one usually sees in middle school history textbooks. Surely young children are better off when they are not required to labor under such working conditions. 
Yet the federal government—never to be outdone at overreach—has gone several steps further further and proscribed virtually every meaningful kind of occupation for children younger than 14: “any manufacturing occupation,” “most processing occupations,” “all work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes,” “outside window washing,” and apparently hundreds of other types of jobs (such as “occupations in connection with…communications and public utilities”).

Remember, this is a group of people that wants safety and wellness regulations eliminated for adults, because it "infantilizes" them.  SO what about the kids?  Eh, free market'll take care of em.

As farmer Joel Salatin points out, labor laws prevent children from using even so simple a tool as a cordless drill in the course of employment, to say nothing of the entire occupations from which children are barred by the Department of Labor. The end result of these laws is ultimately not child protection but prohibiting children from using their innate potential to earn their own money.
All of this is somewhat moot, of course, given the fact that our outdated Prussian-style compulsory education system locks up most children for eight hours each day so they might be subject to a pedagogical model that is extraordinarily efficient at wasting a lot of time. The average homeschooler can often finish his school day at a much faster rate than the average public schooler. There is a strong case to be made for abolishing compulsory education, as well—that more American children might be freed from a system that’s not working for them in favor of something that might.

Yes, because children are really just tiny labor sources.  The real solution to America's stagnant wages? Labor and education policies from 1905.  Look, if you're seriously arguing that we need to get rid of education and child labor laws, you just might be a colossal asshole who shouldn't be writing for a living.

Yeesh.On the other hand, this article certainly seems like it was written by a sixteen-year-old.  Maybe he has a point.

Redefining Stupid In Bevinstan

Whenever I attempt the notion of defending the Bluegrass State and its people against accusations of rampant stupidity, I find that Republicans here invariably do something so moronic that I have to give up for weeks, if not months at a time.

The U.S. Supreme Court ended the debate on whether same-sex couples can marry, but one Kentucky lawmaker has a new plan to circumvent this decision. State Rep. Joseph M. Fischer (R) is happy to let same-sex couples marry, but only different-sex couples will be able to enter “matrimony.”

Fischer has introduced HB 572, the “Matrimonial Freedom Act” — an epic 454-page bill that creates the new status of “matrimony.” Declaring that the Supreme Court has established an “absolute Tyranny over these States,” the bill asserts, “we have full power to define marriage and to establish a new institution of matrimony in this Commonwealth,” adding, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

“Matrimony” is a simple concept. Any couple can marry, and any individual who is married is considered to be part of a “matrimony” if “the married couple is composed of two individuals of the opposite sex.” Conversely, the bill outlines that “if the married couple is composed of two individuals of the same sex,” it is not considered a “matrimony”:

As used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, “matrimony” refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one male human being (“husband”) and one female human being (“wife”) united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.

The bill is over 450 pages long because, once it defines “matrimony,” it proceeds to add the term throughout all of Kentucky law. For the statutes that define the basic parameters of marriage, duplicate language is added defining “matrimony” by the exact same parameters. But anywhere that the law outlines a privilege, benefit, or responsibility previously made available to marriage, the word “marriage” is replaced by the word “matrimony.”

Which means the bill literally redefines every single instance of marriage in Kentucky to "matrimony" and defines that as one man and one woman, thus exempting the state from the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, as well as any and all federal regulations pertaining to marriage, and letting the state define it for all citizens in the Commonwealth.

A more useless and complete waste of time has yet to be invented, I would think.  And yes, he's from right up the road in Ft. Thomas. Embarrassing, stupid, and puerile, good job, Rep. Fischer, of making the state a laughing stock yet again.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Another murder of a young black man by a white cop, this time in Montgomery, Alabama, has led to the officer involved being charged with murder, something that simply would not have happened even a few years ago.

Officer Aaron C. Smith, 23, was arrested Wednesday, and his bond was set at $150,000, Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

"SBI and I agreed at the beginning of this investigation that this case would be treated as any other case," Bailey said. "We agreed that if there were probable cause that a crime had been committed then an arrest would be made. After meeting extensively with SBI agents, we have concluded that probable cause exists to make an arrest in this case."

He said the arrest isn't an indictment, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Smith, a Montgomery police officer since 2012, was released on bond shortly after being booked into the Montgomery County Detention Facility on Wednesday afternoon.

Gunn was fatally shot on Feb. 25 at around 3:20 a.m. in the 3200 block of McElvey Street in the west Montgomery neighborhood of Mobile Heights.

Last week, Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley said the incident began after an officer stopped to talk to a "suspicious" person, later identified as Gunn, and an altercation ensued. It was initially reported Gunn was armed with a painting pole or stick.

It's unclear now why Gunn was deemed suspicious, or if he was really armed with a stick.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said today that termination proceedings have begun against Smith.

For an Alabama prosecutor to move this quickly to arrest a police officer on charges of murder means there has to be pretty hefty evidence against Smith for Gunn's shooting.  The state police were called in to investigate and they could have easily covered for Smith and the case would have just been one more dead black man on the streets.

But it's not.  And the difference seems to be the body camera.

Strange said he had asked the State Bureau of Investigation to expedite the investigation into the shooting.

"We cooperated fully (with the SBI investigation)," Strange said during today's press conference. "We will continue to cooperate fully as it moves forward."

He said Montgomery police didn't investigate the shooting. The scene was isolated, and the investigation immediately handed over to the State Bureau of Investigation.

No details of the case, including what may or may not be on the officer's body camera were released to Strange, Finley or Montgomery Department of Public Safety Director Chris Murphy, Strange said.

"This is a time of grief for the Gunn family as they prepare to lay a loved one to rest," Strange added later. "It is also a challenging time for MPD ...."

Strange said hopes to speak with Gunn's mother and to offer his condolences.

Gunn was supposedly armed with a stick or painting pole when he was killed.  I'm betting that the body camera shows pretty clearly that Gunn wasn't armed and wasn't threatening Office Smith at all.  There's no way a white police officer in Alabama is charged with murder of a black life after just one week since the shooting without overwhelming evidence, and that evidence almost certainly has to be the body camera footage.

I'll be keeping an eye on this case.  Black lives matter, folks.


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