Author Archives: DCG

Court Rules Pro-Life Views Are “Patently Offensive,” Bans Choose Life License Plates in New York

license plate

Life News: A federal appeals court has issued a ruling banning Choose Life license plates in New York state and claimed in its decision that pro-life views are “patently offensive.” The court issued ruling in The Children First Foundation v. Fiala,  which rejects a pro-adoption group’s application to sponsor a “Choose Life” specialty plate with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.

The appeals court ruling overturned a lower court decision upholding the right of drivers in New York to purchase the pro-life plates.

As the Daily Caller reports:

A new decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds that New York’s state government has the right to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that such a statement is “patently offensive.”

The dispute stems from a now-suspended program offered by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which allowed private organizations to create custom license plates. If drivers purchased the plates, the purchasing price was split between the DMV and the non-profit.

The Children First Foundation (CFF), an organization promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, submitted a design for a “Choose Life” license plate, which featured a drawing of two children’s faces in front of a yellow sun.

The proposed plate was rejected, with the DMV citing a policy that allows it to ban “patently offensive” plates in order to prevent incidents of road rageThe “patently offensive” category in U.S. speech is typically related to public obscenity laws, and allows for limitations on things like the public display of pornography or other materials that blatantly violate community standards.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, a Clinton appointee, agreed with New York’s position in her majority opinion. She took this view even though she also ruled that license plates are private speech subject to First Amendment protections. Despite these protections, however, she said that so many New Yorkers could find a plate advocating an anti-abortion position “patently offensive” that the DMV was justified in suppressing the speech.

In a strong dissent, Judge Debra Ann Livingston said the court was essentially granting the New York DMV the right to suppress any viewpoints it did not like.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco decried the decision.

“Pro-adoption organizations should have the same speech rights as any other organization. While the district court affirmed this basic freedom, the circuit court denied free speech in favor of government censorship. The state doesn’t have the authority to target The Children First Foundation specialty plates for censorship based on its life-affirming viewpoint. The state has wrongly gotten away with speech discrimination against our client for more than 10 years. We will review our legal options.

The battle to allow motorists to purchase Choose Life license plates has been going on in the Empire State for years.

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of The Children First Foundation in 2004 against state officials who denied its attempt to allow motorists to purchase Choose Life license plates. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles rejected CFF’s design in August 2002 — considering it “too political and controversial” to approve. The organization redesigned the plate, adding the group’s web site to it to better explain its purpose, and the DMV rejected it again.

The state dismissed the attempt to create the plate and said it was rejected in order “to avoid any appearance of governmental support for either side in the divisive national abortion debate.”

Saying its free speech rights were denied, Children First filed suit with assistance from Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and, in January 2005, a federal judge ruled it had sufficiently argued its First Amendment rights would be violated.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s second attempt to ban the plates and allowed the lawsuit to move forward. The DMV eventually suspended review of specialty plates — a move that Elizabeth Rex, president of the Children First Foundation, says was done specifically to block the Choose Life plate.

Guess which license plates the New York DMV does sell that could be labeled “patently offensive”?

National Police Defense Foundation

license plate2

Copshot

license plate3

War on Terror Veteran

license plate4

Guess the state is ok with the appearance of governmental support for these divisive national debates.

DCG

Womyn dress as tampons to protest the ‘Tampon Tax’

tampon idiots3'

Daily Mail: Giant dancing tampons and a mobile billboard addressed to Prime Minister Tony Abbott could be seen outside the Parliament today, in a woman’s campaign to abolish GST for sanitary products.

Vimalarajah

Vimalarajah

University student Subeta Vimalarajah, who has gathered more than 98,000 signatures for her Stop Taxing My Period petition, exposed the billboard and assembled a group of women dressed as giant tampons on the lawns of the Parliament House this morning.

The campaign follows Joe Hockey’s appearance on ABC’s Q&A on Monday, where he agreed that the tax should be scrapped, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott indicated that this is a matter for the state treasurer to figure out.

‘Mr. Abbott has backed away from addressing this inequality at every opportunity, diverting responsibility to anyone but himself,’ Ms Vimalarajah said in a press release.

‘Sanitary items are an essential health item, used at least once a month by at least half the population. It’s time our Minister for Women recognised that periods aren’t paychecks, they’re a pain.’

tampon idiots

Ms. Vimalarajah, got the opportunity to ask Mr Hockey a direct line of questioning regarding the tax on the ABC TV program Q&A on Monday night. ‘Mr. Hockey, do you think that sanitary products are an essential health good for half the population?’ she asked.

After the audience laughed and applauded Ms. Vimalarajah’s for being so straightforward, Mr. Hockey simply replied with: ‘I think so.’

When probed further by host Tony Jones if the GST should be removed from such products, Mr. Hockey added: ‘It probably should, yes, the answer’s yes.’ After the segment, Treasurer Joe Hockey promised to broach the topic of tampon tax with his state counterparts.

‘I’ll give you this undertaking, I’ll raise it with the states in the next meeting of the treasurers in July, I think,’ he said. Ms. Vimalarajah beamed as she replied: ‘Thank you so much, that would be great.’

After the billboard launch, a community picnic was put together to celebrate – with ‘period friendly’ snacks like chocolate, biscuits and sweets.

Read the rest here.

Boo hoo…life isn’t fair, get over it. Lots of “essential health items” are taxed. Why should you get a special break? Besides, I thought liberals loved paying their taxes to support the poor and needy. Oh wait, guess when it comes to their wallets they want an exemption.

special snowflake

And if you want to be taken seriously as a womyn, recognize that your periods aren’t an inequality. It’s a God-given bodily function that is your personal responsibility.

If Ms. Vimalarajah truly cared about taxes on sanitary items that affect the WHOLE population, she’d be demanding a recall of the toilet paper tax (which is a rate of 10%).

DCG

Attention ladies: Seattle’s Up-and-Coming Hot Male Musicians!

From an article (click on the link to see the full article and hot males) in The Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle. And home to the “columnist” Dan Savage. If this wasn’t written by two hipster Seattle womyn, I’m sure it’d be labeled as sexist.

“Not Only Are These Six Up-and-Coming Male Seattle Musicians Hot, They Also Know How to Play Their Instruments!”

Joe Axler

axler

Who does your hair, and what are your ultimate hair tips and secrets? My hair is very expensive to maintain. That’s all I’m going to say.

How do you feel that creating music affects your life at home and romantic relationships? I’ve had the same girlfriend for a long time; she’s a real trouper, but I know that she is affected by the amount of time I am on tour. She knows that me being a male in the highly female-dominated metal scene means that I’m a commodity and constantly objectified.

Daniel Enders

enders

Being a male drummer must wreak havoc on your hair. What’s your postshow hair-care ritual? My split ends and hair knots have been nearly unmanageable lately, so I’ve been experimenting with new techniques to conquer this, like switching from shampoo to straight coconut oil. I also recommend putting your hair in braids before you go to sleep and letting your hair dry naturally after a shower if you’re having trouble keeping your curls from going into the frizzy territory.

Kenneth Piekarski

piekarski

Sure, his glorious blond-streaked curls and big blue eyes peeking out from underneath chic statement glasses make him an 11 on the 1-to-10 babe-o-meter, but don’t write him off as just a pretty face! Kenneth Piekarski is the man behind avant-pop solo project Slashed Tires—an unconventional Seattle noise outfit that continues to wow the world, in part because this indie siren actually writes all the songs himself.  Women may listen to Slashed Tires for the clever, intricate noise music, but men tend to love him for his independent spirit of male empowerment.

Frankie Crescioni

cresioni

It’s rare to see men in the world of electronic music—do you feel like you have to work harder to be respected in your field? Well, considering that most electronic music is made by multinational brands or by artists pretending to be multinational brands, I’d say it’s harder to get respected. And by respected, I mean paid. But there are some good folks in the city who look past my masculinity and just listen.

Barret Anspach

anspach

Barret Anspach is so good-looking, he could have forgone school altogether to focus on modeling, but he got into the Juilliard School and is now a real-deal composer who not only writes his own arrangements but can actually play the viola!

As a male composer, have you felt like you had to work harder to be respected? I think society is at a point now where men are slowly becoming more accepted—even praised—for their musical talents and not just for their good looks or baking abilities.

Pajama Boy approved.

pajama boy

DCG

L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

do as i say

LA Times: Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

Hypocrite Hicks

Hypocrite Hicks

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Coalition representatives said the proposed exemption would ensure the city complies with federal laws which they say give collective bargaining agreements precedence over local ordinances. They also contend that it would keep L.A.’s ordinance consistent with previous city wage laws.

Some business leaders criticized the proposal, however, calling it ironic in light of union leaders’ past opposition to special considerations for some employers. “I’d refer everyone back to the statements of labor leaders over the past seven months that no one deserves a sub-minimum wage,” said Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the minimum wage increase passed by the City Council.

Gonzalez said the change sought by labor officials could pressure companies into letting employees unionize as a way to seek relief from the mandated wage hike. “Once again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover for city government acting as a tool of organized labor,” he said.

The City Council voted last week to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 over the next five years. Since then, City Atty. Mike Feuer has prepared an ordinance that would put the increases into effect. The council’s Economic Development Committee is scheduled to review the language on Friday.

Last fall, the council approved an ordinance increasing the minimum wage at large hotels to $15.37 per hour. That law says that provisions of the hotel wage hike may be waived in workplaces that have collective bargaining agreements.

DCG

‘Staggering’ overtime pay found in L.A. Department of Transportation unit

mafia

LA Times: Workers in a division of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation collected unusually high amounts of overtime pay, costing the city $3.3 million in a single year and raising concerns some of the extra pay may have been claimed improperly, according to a new audit.

Galperin

Galperin

City Controller Ron Galperin released a report Tuesday showing workers in the department’s traffic paint and sign division billed an average of $48,100 in overtime in fiscal year 2013-14. That compared with $8,377 in other city departments, not including the police and fire departments, or other parts of the transportation department.

Four supervisors in the traffic paint and sign division received at least $70,000 in overtime during the year examined, and one traffic marking and sign superintendent effectively tripled his salary by claiming $155,319 in overtime, on top of his $78,000 annual salary, according to the audit.

“That’s staggering,” Galperin said in an interview.  The controller added that the high amount of overtime combined with a lack of proper controls within the department raised questions about whether employees were truly working during all the extra hours.

“One might reasonably conclude that at least some of the employees in the Traffic Paint and Sign section were committing payroll fraud,” the audit said. But at this time, the report said, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support a referral to criminal investigators or prosecutors.

Although overtime is often appropriate, Galperin said, department officials were unable to show that the overtime had been preapproved or detail the work done during the extra hours. “There is no evidence to show that the work was not done,” he said, “but then again, there is no evidence to show what was done.”

Reynolds

Reynolds

Appearing at a Tuesday morning news conference with Galperin, Seleta Reynolds, the new general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said she has accepted the controller’s findings and promised to reform her agency’s overtime policies. She said one supervisor has been removed and another assigned to a different city department. Reynolds declined to elaborate, stating that personnel matters are confidential under state law. Both workers, however, remain city employees, she added.

Reynolds outlined a plan that includes updating and clarifying procedures, better monitoring of overtime and seeking more staff and resources for the paint and sign division, including the hiring of private contractors.

During the period covered by the audit, Reynolds said some of the overtime in question could have resulted from increasing workloads. While Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in office, more than 100 miles of bike lanes and thousands of miles of resurfaced city streets needed to be striped. “With three crews and two trucks it was hard to keep up,” said Reynolds, adding that the City Council has approved at least 20 new employees for the paint and sign unit.

The audit noted that staffing levels in the division have decreased 20% since 2010 and new projects may have required more hours of work. But Galperin said he doesn’t think that justified a 263% increase in overtime in the division in the same period. 

The audit found that 30 of the division’s 67 employees claimed more than 1,000 hours of overtime in 2013-14, with seven of those claiming more than 2,000 in a year. Galperin said 2,000 hours of overtime in a year would equate to 38 hours of overtime every week.

imagesGC1PO394The audit also found overtime dropped an average of 44% among the largest recipients of the extra pay in the traffic paint and sign division after the audit began. Galperin said that suggested some employees may have been improperly collecting overtime and curtailed claims when auditors began scrutinizing the records. “It certainly raises a lot of very serious questions,” he said.

Among other things, the audit found the department’s overtime policies are outdated and inconsistent, relying on paper forms and unclear guidelines on who is authorized to preapprove overtime, the audit found. Galperin’s recommendations include updating department record-keeping procedures and creating an annual overtime usage plan. “This report puts everyone on notice,” Galperin said. “We are doing data-mining of payroll records of other city departments to identity problems.”

DCG

Much bias in this headline? Bill Clinton company shows “complexity” of family finances

Clinton Cash

Yahoo: The newly released financial files on Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s growing fortune omit a company with no apparent employees or assets that the former president has legally used to provide consulting and other services, but which demonstrates the complexity of the family’s finances.

Because the company, WJC, LLC, has no financial assets, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was not obligated to report its existence in her recent financial disclosure report, officials with Bill Clinton’s private office and the Clinton campaign said. They were responding to questions by The Associated Press, which reviewed corporate documents.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide private details of the former president’s finances on the record, said the entity was a “pass-through” company designed to channel payments to the former president.

Under federal ethics disclosure rules, declared candidates do not have to report assets worth less than $1,000. But the company’s existence demonstrates the complexity of tracking the Clintons’ finances as Hillary Clinton ramps up her presidential bid.

While Bill Clinton’s lucrative speeches have provided the bulk of the couple’s income, earning as much as $50 million during his wife’s four-year term as secretary of state in the Obama administration, the former president has also sought to branch out into other business activities in recent years. Little is known about the exact nature and financial worth of Bill Clinton’s non-speech business interests.

The identities of several U.S and foreign-based companies and foundations that Bill Clinton worked for have been disclosed in Hillary Clinton’s recent financial report as well as in earlier reports during her stint as secretary of state.

Under federal disclosure rules for spouses’ earned income, Hillary Clinton was only obligated to identify the source of her spouse’s income and confirm that he received more than $1,000. As a result, the precise amounts of Bill Clinton’s earned income from consulting have not been disclosed, and it’s not known how much was routed through WJC, LLC.

WJC, LLC was set up in Delaware in 2008 and again in 2013 and in New York in 2009, according to documents obtained by The AP. The company did not appear among holdings in the Clintons’ financial disclosure released last week or in previous Hillary Clinton disclosure reports between 2008 and 2013, when she resigned as secretary of state. Bill Clinton signed a document as its “authorizing person” in a corporate filing in Delaware in 2013.

A limited liability company is a commonly used business structure that provides tax advantages and limited legal protection for the assets of company owners and partners.

The purpose of Bill Clinton’s U.S.-based company was not disclosed in any of the corporate filings in Delaware and New York, but State Department files recently reviewed by the AP show that WJC, LLC surfaced in emails from Bill Clinton’s aides to the department’s ethics officials.

In February 2009, Clinton’s counselor, Douglas Band, asked State Department ethics officials to clear Bill Clinton’s consulting work for three companies owned by influential Democratic party donors. Memos sent by Band proposed that Bill Clinton would provide “consulting services regarding geopolitical, economic and social trends affecting the entity and philanthropic opportunities” through the WJC, LLC entity.

State Department officials approved Bill Clinton’s consulting work for longtime friend Steve Bing’s Shangri-La Industries and another with Wasserman Investments, GP, a firm run by entertainment executive and Democratic party donor Casey Wasserman. The ethics officials turned down Bill Clinton’s proposed work with a firm run by entertainment magnate and Democratic donor Haim Saban because of Saban’s active role in Mideast political affairs.

WJC, LLC was also cited by Band in a June 2011 memo sent to State Department ethics officials asking for clearance to allow Bill Clinton to advise Band’s international consulting company, Teneo Strategy LLC. Band’s request said Teneo would use “consulting services provided by President Clinton through WJC, LLC.” State Department officials approved the three-year contract between the two companies. None of the proposals detailed how much Bill Clinton would be paid.

While Hillary Clinton’s 2011 federal disclosure report did not mention WJC, LLC, it reported that Bill Clinton received “non-employee compensation over $1,000 from Teneo,” but did not disclose a more precise amount. Federal disclosure rules require the spouses of filers to disclose the identity of any income sources over $1,000, but they do not have to provide exact figures.

Pass-through, or shell, companies became an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign when Republican candidate Mitt Romney disclosed a private equity entity worth $1.9 million despite failing to report the company on his previous federal disclosure. Romney aides said the company previously held no assets but then received the $1.9 million “true up” payment — a catch-up payment to make up for private equity fees from defunct investment advisory businesses that had not been previously paid.

DCG

PETA demands Britain’s oldest pub change its name from Ye Olde Fighting Cocks to Ye Olde Clever Cocks to ‘celebrate intelligent chickens’

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Daily Mail: Activists have called on an eighth century pub to change its name from ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ to ‘Ye Olde Clever Cocks’ to reflect today’s compassion for animals. Animal rights group Peta wants the St Albans pub to adopt a new name to ‘celebrate chickens as the intelligent, sensitive animals they are’.

The pub, which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the UK’s oldest, has had its current name since 1872 due to its history of cock fighting, a sport which was banned outright in England and Wales in 1835.

In an open letter penned to chief executive of Mitchells and Butlers, and pub landlord Christo Tofalli, special projects manager of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Dawn Carr urges the pub to end their association with the banned sport.

She said: ‘The name Ye Olde Fighting Cocks calls to mind the violence and gore of cockfighting, a hideous blood sport so cruel that it has been outlawed in the UK. A change of name to Ye Olde Clever Cocks would help highlight the fact that chickens are intelligent, sensitive and super-social animals. (It) would encourage people to rethink the way that we treat chickens and grant these birds the respect and kindness that they deserve.’

She added: ‘We understand that the pub has long been called Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and that there may be some resistance to making a name change, but just as many pubs with names tied to slavery changed their names to match modern sensibilities, so it’s high time for The Cocks to change.’

Indeed, when cock fighting was banned as a sport, the pub changed its name to the ‘Fisherman’ in 1848. However it resorted to its original name and has been officially known as ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ since 1872.

Landlord Mr. Tofalli, who has been at the pub for more than three years, said he had a responsibility for preserving the history and the heritage of the ‘oldest pub in the country’ where Oliver Cromwell reputedly spent a night during the English Civil War.

Speaking to MailOnline, he said: ‘While Britain’s oldest pub is on my watch it’ll be my job to protect the history of the place. We’re going to keep it as a pub, not turn it into a bistro or curry house or anything like that, and make it the best we can. Our plan is to basically do what’s good for us and our customers. Anything outside that remit, essentially, they’re not in our agenda and never will be. We celebrate the fact that chicken fighting is over. We have to remind PETA that none of that goes on – we are an animal friendly pub, we’re on a park and dogs are sometimes more welcome than humans. We’re not changing it for PETA or for anyone else.’

Elsewhere, local punters took to social media to express their outrage at the suggestion. Regular pub-goer Robert Oakhill, 71, said: ‘The thing that appalls me is the total lack of appreciation of history. The current name informs us about the past. It enables us to contemplate the great advances that have been made. The new name is, to use the most appropriate critical term, “bonkers.'”

Alasdair Melville, 31, used to work at the pub having attended St Albans Boys School. He added: ‘Rather than worrying about the name of a pub, I think PETA should worry about looking after chickens at chicken farms for example. There is a better way to make a point.’

Maybe PETA should worry about their own compassion for animals instead of a pub’s name. From Huffington Post (4/4/15):

“PETA’s kill statistics for 2014 are now available. They’re even uglier than last year’s. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is once again poisoning over 88% of the dogs and cats entrusted to their care. Perhaps as high as 98%, if you factor in the dishonesty of their reporting, as pointed out by Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center.

Hypocrites.

DCG