News and Views

On April 22 new regulations for housing contractors go into effect, and they’re going to put a lot of small contractors out of business without netting any significant gains in safety.  Nasty stuff. Formerly there was an opt out option for homeowners who didn’t have anybody in the home who was at risk- that’s being removed because it’s ‘ripe for abuse,’ meaning you just can’t trust those home-owners.  But the probability is those untrustworthy homeowners will just opt to do any work themselves or hire black market contractors. 

This is interesting advice, but I disagree:

Sandy, Jim and Karen work at a downtown community centre where they help low-income residents apply for rental housing. Sandy has a bad feeling about Jim: She notices that when black clients come in, he tends to drift to the back of the office. Sandy suspects racism (she and Jim are both white). On the other hand, she also notices that Jim seems to get along well with Karen, who is black. As the weeks go by, Sandy becomes more uncomfortable with the situation. But she feels uncertain about how to handle it. Test question: What should Sandy do?
If you answered that Sandy’s first move should be to talk to Karen, and ask how Jim’s behaviour made her feel, you are apparently a better anti-racist than me.
That, for what it’s worth, was the preferred solution offered by my instructor at “Thinking About Whiteness and Doing Anti-Racism,” a four-part evening workshop for community activists, presented earlier this year at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.  

  She argues that the accountability and testing provisions in legislation like No Child Left Behind and similar reforms have actually corrupted the testing process, taken time away from subjects other than math and reading, and failed even to boost success in math and reading.

Last night we had friends over, one of whom is, I think, even more opposed to the Health Care Bill than I am, and I told him there was a newly discovered unintended consequence of the Health Care Bill would make him  laugh-

Turns out that fantastically long, mind-bogglingly complex bills which no one has actually read may create unintended consequences. Remember how they forgot to require insurers to cover kids with preexisting conditions? Oh, and they forgot initially to let young adults be covered by their parents’ insurance until Reid fixed it in reconciliation. Now this. Who knew that when Pelosi said they’d have to pass the bill so that people could find out what’s in it, “people” meant Congress?

I’d call it comedy gold if not for the obvious point raised by the Times: “If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?”

He said that he really didn’t think I was going to be able to make him laugh, but that was pretty funny.  Of course, he pointed out, this will be ‘fixed’ within hours- probably by the time you’re reading this.  Tom Maguire has more.  Yeah, I’m not laughing anymore.  Still kind of smirking, though, because, you know, that’s some serious snark worthy funny.

Then there’s this one unintended consequence which I knew about, but apparently some didn’t:

thanks to page 1239 of the health care bill that President Obama recently signed into law. It requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim it’s an undue hardship.

And here lies the difference between principled conservativism and nanny government advocates.  I LIKE breastfeeding.  I am a huge breastfeeding proponent.  I nursed all my babies, my last one until he was two years old.  I nursed in public.  I comfort nursed.  I prefer demand feeding over scheduling.
I enjoy comfortable nursing spaces.  I like it when a business offers them to customers or employees.  But this should be voluntary, not coerced by law.  This is none of Congress’ business.
And one wonders, what if a business has 55 people and none of them are nursing mothers?  What if all the women who work there are menopausal and childless?  Do they still have to supply a safe breastfeeding space?

Hypocrisy watch:

Despite Hersh’s unreliability, his suggestion Cheney was assassinating people at will was dutifully parroted by the activist Left and receptive members of the media.
This week President Obama publicly ordered the assassination of a U.S. citizen, Muslim Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Unlike Hersh’s scurrilous charge, this presidential directive is a matter of record — not a wild rumor.
Make no mistake: al-Awlaki is a bad guy. He’s been definitively linked to the 9/11 hijackers, and more recently the recent Fort Hood massacre, not to mention the failed underwear bombing plot this past Christmas.
But he’s also a U.S. citizen, and thus entitled to basic constitutional protections. So where are the denunciations of Obama’s extraordinary decision from those who spent eight years decrying Bush and Cheney’s wartime expansion of executive power?

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