September 23, 2014

California destroys business over volunteers [Darleen Click]

All Your Labors Belong Us:

Westover Winery of the Castro Valley in California is closing its doors.

The winery has been cited by the California Department of Industrial Relations for using volunteer labor to help in the production and sale of the wines the vineyard produces.

A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.

As Westover Winery makes roughly $11,000 a year in profit, the fine is over a decade worth of profits. No business can take that much of a loss and survive.

Over half of the workers at the winery were volunteering their time, many of whom were taking wine making courses or wanting to learn more about wine making. Some wanted to learn about the business of running a vineyard. We would bet that some would have found the idea of helping to make the wine one would drink would have a charming and romantic element to it.

People volunteer their time and labor in a myriad of ways, even for “for-profit” businesses. Indeed, helping friends or family launch a business is a time-honored tradition. At this winery, it afforded people who wanted to learn a place for hands-on experience.

Peter Melton, a spokesman for the state of California said:

“These are not idle things. People should be paid for their labor. The workers’ compensation violations are very serious. What happens if someone has a catastrophic injury at the winery?” he asked.

What does Habitat for Humanity do if one of their volunteer contractors falls off a ladder or has a close encounter with a power tool?

Geez, I guess Peter Melton has never heard of insurance.

Via Walter Olson where, in the comments, Westover Winery’s William Smyth writes

I am the owner of the winery. I have cancer and have had five surgeries in five years. I left a corporate job to deal with my cancer in 2010. My life expectancy is probably another six years. The only reason I kept the winery going was for the fun and passion of those who wanted to volunteer and their friendship. I am closing the winery to spend time with both of my parents who are in the last years of their life and they are very ill at this point. I also want to deal with my cancer. The fines were probably more than what the entire winery was worth. The fines made my final decisions easy. We are talking about a business that is only open 10 hours per week total. We did not need any of the volunteers.
My wife and I could handle it alone. This was not about money, it was about passion. By the way, one of my volunteers made everything worth it, she later became my wife.

Meanwhile, government departments all over California have unpaid volunteers, from file clerks to attorneys.

Wonder why Peter is not worried about them?

Posted by Darleen @ 11:55am
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September 22, 2014

Toxic Obama [Darleen Click]

And you know the ad is over the target because of the flack it is receiving.

Someone please tell Joan Walsh to put some ice on that?

Posted by Darleen @ 2:01pm
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September 22, 2014

Don’t lock your car and perpetuate the theft culture, we need to tell people to stop stealing cars [Darleen Click]

Why not? That’s what the Social Justice Vagina Warriors would have us do about rape

A tudent event at Arizona State University suggested that intoxicated men just grab tacos with friends in order to prevent rape.

The event, sponsored by the student group I Always Get Consent, made the claim that teaching women self-defense techniques perpetuates “rape culture” and advised men to tell their drunken buddies at the bar that a woman is ugly to prevent him from going home with her and raping her.

“How many of you guys have been at a party or been with friends, and might be under the influence and someone suggests food?” said Kat Hofland, who headlined the event. “If you are drunk and someone says, let’s go get tacos, everyone is up and moving to get the food, right?”

Alternatively, Hofland, an ASU student, said that people could try to persuade intoxicated male friends that the girl he is talking to is “ugly” and “not worth sleeping with.” [...]

Hofland blamed the popular song, “ Blurred Lines” and rape jokes for perpetuating rape culture in everyday events and details. She also claimed that teaching women self-defense techniques such as fashioning a weapon out of keys by sticking them between knuckles, possessing pepper spray, fighting back against an attacker, and consistently being aware of one’s surroundings contributed to rape culture.

“We should be telling people not to rape people,” she said. “All these things we tell women to do…they don’t bring down the number of rapes that happen. They don’t.”


Posted by Darleen @ 1:51pm
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September 21, 2014

Wendy Davis: one too many muscle relaxants? [Darleen Click]

You know, I always thought Abortion Barbi looked familiar —

h/t Wayne Dupree

Posted by Darleen @ 1:09pm
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September 20, 2014

Your weekend reading recommendation: Robert Stacy McCain on “Sex Trouble” [Darleen Click]

“Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”

~George S. Patton Jr.

Stacy has taken Patton’s quote to heart and has been doing the seemingly impossible task of slogging through all manner of texts of the Womyn’s Studies set. He has been posting some eye-opening (and nausea-inducing) analysis of Feminism from their own words and works.

Collection (so far) is here.

I’m looking forward to seeing it in book form.

Posted by Darleen @ 9:26pm
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September 20, 2014

Reclaiming history: Hoover and the Great Depression [Darleen Click]

Posted by Darleen @ 1:00pm
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September 20, 2014

Christina Hoff Summers: Are video games sexist? [Darleen Click]

Speaking truth to Female Supremacists

Posted by Darleen @ 10:26am
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September 19, 2014

Ezekiel Emanuel “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money lived long enough.” [Darleen Click]

If it’s not Obama wanting to set the parameters of your earnings –

It’s Dr. Death Panels wanting to set the parameters of your life

By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don’t want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life. After I die, my survivors can have their own memorial service if they want—that is not my business.


Am I being flip? I don’t think so …

Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. People who want to die in one of these ways tend to suffer not from unremitting pain but from depression, hopelessness, and fear of losing their dignity and control. The people they leave behind inevitably feel they have somehow failed. The answer to these symptoms is not ending a life but getting help. I have long argued that we should focus on giving all terminally ill people a good, compassionate death—not euthanasia or assisted suicide for a tiny minority.

Now, if that seems contradictory, it is not. It is part and parcel of Emanuel’s support of State-run medical care using a rationing system based on “Complete Lives System” (see page 6 at PDF)

[note: I recall writing an analysis of Emanuel's Lancet article sometime in 2010, but those posts were never recovered]

Emanuel’s current “Death begins at 76″ soliloquy is more of the same that only the subset of the population who are healthy, productive and between ages of 15-55, deserve actual medical care, the rest will have to muddle through with some palliative care.

His bigotry against the elderly is pretty stark. First off, is his idea that old farts just are of little use to society

Even if we aren’t demented, our mental functioning deteriorates as we grow older. Age-associated declines in mental-processing speed, working and long-term memory, and problem-solving are well established. Conversely, distractibility increases. We cannot focus and stay with a project as well as we could when we were young. As we move slower with age, we also think slower.

It is not just mental slowing. We literally lose our creativity. [...]

[T]he fact is that by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us. Einstein famously said, “A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.” He was extreme in his assessment. And wrong. Dean Keith Simonton, at the University of California at Davis, a luminary among researchers on age and creativity, synthesized numerous studies to demonstrate a typical age-creativity curve: creativity rises rapidly as a career commences, peaks about 20 years into the career, at about age 40 or 45, and then enters a slow, age-related decline. There are some, but not huge, variations among disciplines. Currently, the average age at which Nobel Prize–winning physicists make their discovery—not get the prize—is 48. Theoretical chemists and physicists make their major contribution slightly earlier than empirical researchers do. Similarly, poets tend to peak earlier than novelists do. Simonton’s own study of classical composers shows that the typical composer writes his first major work at age 26, peaks at about age 40 with both his best work and maximum output, and then declines, writing his last significant musical composition at 52.

Are you now to argue that even if at 76 you’ve suddenly lost your ability to meaningfully contribute to The Hive, you are still a valued member of your own family?

Perish the thought:

Living parents also occupy the role of head of the family. They make it hard for grown children to become the patriarch or matriarch. When parents routinely live to 95, children must caretake into their own retirement. That doesn’t leave them much time on their own—and it is all old age. When parents live to 75, children have had the joys of a rich relationship with their parents, but also have enough time for their own lives, out of their parents’ shadows.

It is your duty to die at 75 — Do it for your children.

I’d advise Emanuel’s parents to hire a food taster if they holiday at Ezekiel’s home.

Posted by Darleen @ 2:24pm
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September 19, 2014

Scotland stays [bh]

Last night I commented on the Scottish vote to stay in the United Kingdom by stressing the welfare state aspect with the following:

[The Scots] find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. With the English they can’t vote in a complete worker’s paradise. Without the English they’d actually have to find the funds for it.

A vote no shouldn’t necessarily be read as a conservative vote. A great percentage of those no votes are also voting for the greatest possible welfare state that they consider to be possible.

I’m sure everyone has read similar thoughts elsewhere as well. Geoff recommends a good post by Richard Fernandez and some of resulting comments.

Our ol’ pal Silver Whistle offered his thoughts:

bh, it is the exact inverse.

I offer this as an illustration, not dispositive proof:

Bringing my eldest and his room mate back from college in Perth last week, there was not one single ‘Yes’ poster from my west coast village to Perth. This is a very conservative with a small ‘c’ country, especially in the sticks where there isn’t a plurality of the population dependent on welfare. The main support for ‘Yes’ was in Glasgow and Dundee. It is no secret that the ‘Yes’ campaign was an attempt to thrust socialism on Scotland which couldn’t be delivered from Westminster. Nationwide, every election around 400,000 vote Conservative in Scotland. These votes may be lost in a constituency first past the post election, but in a national referendum, vital.

Then Silver Whistle was nice enough to extend his remarks:

The other morning, while we were listening to referendum coverage on BBC Radio5Live at breakfast my youngest said “As far as I can tell, all the ‘Yes’ arguments are based on childish appeals to emotion.”

A bit harsh, perhaps, but here in Scotland, my sense of the depth of the country’s attachment to the Union has never wavered. My youngest is in high school, and for the first time, 16 year olds were allowed to vote in the referendum. Alex Salmond was probably allowing himself a wee smirk over his porridge when he unleashed the votes of high school children. Recent polls have suggested that Salmond miscalculated badly, with 57% of under 18s voting to stay with the Union.

This vote did not follow strict party lines, with a large number of officially anti-independence Labour voters voting ‘Yes’. Scotland provides a crucial number of Labour MPs to Westminster, so the UK Labour party was desperate not to lose these seats. Numbers of Scottish National Party voters voted ‘No’, as many of them are disgruntled Labour voters first and not nationalist at all. And, as I mentioned in my comment here, Scotland is a very conservative with a small ‘c’ country, with deep ties to the Union that may be from the military, shared experience of the last war, and other cultural ties with the wider UK. Incomers make up about 16% of the population so it would be interesting to see the breakdown on their vote, but it is clear that native Scots themselves are overwhelmingly responsible for saying ‘No’.

Nice bit of context all around there and perhaps a helpful caution against throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

What say all of you? Or, open thread, take your pick.

Posted by bh @ 1:52pm
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September 17, 2014

First World Vagina Warrior problems [Darleen Click]


Posted by Darleen @ 11:34pm
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