Friday, September 30, 2016
NLRB Ordered to Pay Up for ‘Bad Faith Litigation’. A small step in the fight against overreaching Federal agency.
A federal judge on Friday ordered the nation’s top labor arbiter to pay a company’s legal fees after the agency engaged in “administrative hubris” and “bad faith litigation.”
Washington, D.C., Appeals Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown said that the National Labor Relations Board wrongfully ruled that Heartland Health Care Center violated its collective bargaining agreement by reducing employee hours. Judge Brown ruled that the agency, which oversees labor disputes and union elections, took actions beyond the scope of federal law. She ordered the agency to pay the company nearly $18,000 in legal fees, which were incurred by “bad faith litigation” on the agency’s part.
“The Board’s conduct before our Court makes out a clear case of bad faith litigation. …The Board’s obstinacy forced Heartland to waste time and resources fighting for a freedom the Board knew our precedent would provide,” the ruling said. “It is clear enough that the Board’s conduct was intended to send a chilling message to Heartland, as well as others caught in the Board’s crosshairs”
Brown, who was appointed to the Court of Appeals by George W. Bush after a lengthy filibuster from Senate Democrats, said that judges have allowed executive agencies to expand beyond the scope of congressional intent. She called on her fellow judges to rein in executive overreach in labor matters and other regulatory affairs.
“Let the word go forth: for however much the judiciary has emboldened the administrative state, we ‘say what the law is,’” she wrote. “Administrative hubris does not get the last word under our Constitution. And citizens can count on it.”
Judge Patricia Millett, who was appointed to the court after Senate Democrats invoked the nuclear option to overcome Republican filibusters, dissented from Brown’s majority, just weeks after criticizing the board for overlooking sexist and racist insults during union strikes. She said that she was not persuaded that the board’s actions met the “extraordinary standards” for determining “bad faith litigation.”
“This case, by its terms, does not implicate at all the majority opinion’s concerns about a Board refusal to acquiesce in the face of uniformly adverse circuit precedent,” Millett said.
The agency, which requested $275 million for the 2017 fiscal year, can afford to settle the legal fees, according to Brown. She said that forcing the board to pay attorney fees would send a message beyond the relatively meager pay out.
“We recognize the Board’s unimpeded access to the public [funds] means these modest fees can be dismissed as chump change. But money does not explain the Board’s bad faith; ‘the pleasure of being above the rest’ does,” she said.
The NLRB did not return request for comment.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG: California Lets Felons In Jail Vote. Will they restore a felon's right to own a gun?
SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Forget about the fact that the great majority of felons vote Democrat; California Governor Jerry Brown had no political motivations at all when he signed AB 2466 on Wednesday allowing thousands of felons in California to vote.
Starting January 2017, convicted felons still in jail will be able to cast their vote.
Brown eschewed comment when he signed the bill from Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who had argued that the bill would reduce the likelihood of convicts committing new crimes. She had boasted, “Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism.”
Triumphant on Wednesday, Weber gloated, "I wrote AB 2466 because I want to send a message to the nation that California will not stand for discrimination in voting.”
Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, echoed, “California is stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process. Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color.”
Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) slammed the bill stating, “It is very disappointing that felons still serving their sentences behind bars will now be able to vote since Governor Brown failed to veto this really bad bill.
The California State Sheriffs’ Assn. and the California Police Chiefs Assn. oppose the bill. As Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., said, “We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can’t vote and you can’t possess firearms.”
The racist war on whites. Only minorities are allowed pride. Cultural appropriation? Can we ask non whites to give up products created by whites?
Polson School District has condemned the actions of some high school students who included racially charged messages on outfits worn as part of a school spirit day Thursday.
Photos of the outfits were widely shared on social media and have spurred a protest that was expected to take place at Polson High School’s football stadium Friday during homecoming festivities.
According to a press release from the district, each class was assigned a color for the day. The seniors were instructed to wear black, the juniors to wear white, the sophomores to wear blue and the freshmen to wear green.
Photos circulating across social media showed that at least two students included racial references on their garb. One student was pictured wearing a white T-shirt boasting the words “white pride” and “Trump 2016.” The student had braided her hair, which some in the native community have interpreted to be insensitive “cultural appropriation” of Native American heritage. Another student was wearing a white shirt with a Confederate flag with the word “redneck.” Another student wore a shirt with the phrase “white power” written on the back.
“Yesterday, a few students used this Homecoming practice to wear offensive and inappropriate clothing to school,” Superintendent Rex Weltz said in a press release. “When staff members were made aware of the offensive and inappropriate clothing, they immediately took steps to remedy the situation. Before the staff members were made aware of the offensive and inappropriate clothing and could take action, however, students chose on their own to post pictures to their personal social media and those pictures have circulated far past Polson. The Polson High School staff did not condone this conduct and addressed the incident with the students.”
The response has not succeeded in easing outrage, however. Caitlin Borgmann, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, said the school district is pushing the blame on the students, rather than acknowledging its own responsibility for the situation.
“Specifically, to choose the colors white and black seems like there was not much thought about what could happen,” she said. “It shows that the school has not adequately educated its students.”
Meg Singer, the indigenous justice outreach coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, said that she has fielded multiple calls from parents of Native American students.
“They are mostly disappointed that the school did not take measures to stop this,” Singer said. “They should have a demonstration. That’s their right and a way to let the school know this is important.”
Singer said the civil liberties union will draft a strategic plan over the weekend detailing ways the community can move past the incident, and the organization plans to have a presence in Polson next week.
Polson High School Principal Scott Wilson declined to comment for this story and directed all questions to the Polson School District. The district declined to comment beyond the press release.
Weltz said in the release that “Polson School District does not and will not tolerate harassment or discrimination in any form toward any person. As a District, we are disappointed in the actions of those few students and will take appropriate action based on our policies and procedures, which may include discipline for the individual students.”
Weltz said the district does “applaud the students who stood up against this conduct and will continue to educate all of our students about our policies and practices forbidding discrimination in any form.”
Dustin Monroe is chief executive officer of Native Generation Change, a Missoula-based group that works on Indian reservations across Montana to tackle issues that challenge the native community. Members of the youth-led organization contacted Monroe Thursday night, upset about the incident that had occurred at the school.
“For me what was disturbing was the braids and the white power,” Monroe said.
Monroe said that seven or eight of the group’s members who attend the high school wanted to respond in a way that did not incite more hate, but instead took an educational approach to start a productive discussion.
“They want to be able to get their message out that this is not acceptable in their school and they want to have a voice against it,” Monroe said.
The students started circulating a message on Facebook, asking people to partake in a peaceful protest Friday at the Polson football stadium. People were urged to bring drums and signs with anti-racist messages.
“It’s spreading like wildfire,” Monroe said.
Both native and non-native students were planning on attending.
“They don’t want to be labeled as going to a racist high school,” Monroe said.
In addition, Monroe said he was at the University of Montana campus on Friday and had spoken to both native and non-native people who intended to drive from Missoula to Polson for the protest.
“That’s where change starts,” Monroe said. “It’s not just a native problem or a non-native problem.”
Monroe said the rally was not meant to cast blame on the students who took part in the incident, but instead was to call attention to the issue of racism.
“It’s a peaceful rally,” Monroe said. “We’re not coming out and pointing fingers at people. We are coming out against the systemic problem of racism.”
Village of the damned: Rescue ‘fortress’ in Tanzania protects albinos from human hunters who want to sell their body parts to witch doctors
- Albinos are thought to have 'magical' powers that witch doctors use in potions they claim cure illnesses
- They are sometimes killed at birth, ritually sacrificed, and raped because it is believed they can cure AIDS
- Centre offers protection to albinos, as well as health care for people whose skin is vulnerable to sun's rays
- When they are low on water, black women go to the village so the albinos are not attacked or kidnapped
This is the one safe haven for albinos in constant danger from vicious human hunters who want to 'butcher' them and sell their body parts to witch doctors.
Persecution of albinos is rooted in the belief that the body parts can transmit magical powers, however, they are also ostracised by those who believe that they are cursed and bring bad luck.
In some places, they are killed at birth, ritually sacrificed, or raped because it is believed that having sex with an albino can cure AIDS.
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This is the one safe haven for albinos in constant danger from vicious human poachers who want to sell their body parts to witch doctors. At the centre, a hundred albinos live alongside people with a range of physical and mental impairments
Epafroida lives at the refuge centre and dreams of opening her own textile business in a nearby market. It should have plenty of business given that albinos always need clothes to protect themselves form the sun's rays
An albino person's skin has little or no melanin, which is an effective blocker of solar radiation, and this makes them extremely vulnerable to the sun. These children were sunglasses and hats to protect themselves
The Tanzanian government set up special protective centres for people with albinism after many had to flee their homes from traffickers. Non-albinos also live there, many of whom fled villages with albino family members
Dermatologist Luis Rios measures a tumour on Dada Molel to monitor her response to treatment at the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi, one of few places offering help for these people
The Tanzanian Albinism Society has an estimated 8,000 registered people with albinism, but they estimate that Tanzania has a much larger population of albino people who are either unaware of the charity's work or choose to stay in hiding
Hadija braids Zawia's hair in a shady spot where Zawia faces less risk of sun damage in the centre which offers a safe haven for many who would be in danger elsewhere in the country
Baswira Ntotye shelters inside the huts of Kabanga to get away from the sun in the special centre, where some facilities are basic but they can at least live in safety
Many choose to flee their villages, among them albinos and sometimes whole families trying to escape the stigma and persecution they face from having a 'white' child.
Photojournalist Ana Palacios, 43, visited the Kabanga Refuge Centre in Tanzania three times between 2012 and 2016 to find out more about the plight of albino people.
The Tanzanian Albinism Society has an estimated 8,000 registered men, women and children with albinism, but they estimate that Tanzania has a much larger population of albino people who are either unaware of the charity's work or choose to stay in hiding.Ana said: 'The Tanzanian government has found it necessary to set up special centres to protect people with albinism, who have fled their villages for fear of being butchered by traffickers who sell their limbs and organs to witch doctors to prepare their prized good luck potions.
'They are victims maimed by witchdoctors to make potions, raped because they are considered able to cure AIDS and alienated by the society, because they are considered magical.'
On her first visit in 2012, Ana stayed at the Kabanga refuge with Spanish NGO AIPC Pandora, who are providing invaluable support to the albino community.
Grace Manyika, who has a job at the camp, checks the jars before sending the product to the distribution centres in Moshi
Bath times start at sunset in Kabanga and it is the safest time of the day for the children to expose their skin to the sun
Sang'uti Olekuney demonstrates how to apply Kilisun, a Tanzanian-made sunscreen designed for people with albinism
Aisha Adam is one of the few children who lives at the centre with her family - her mother and three brothers
Many of the women have fled with small babies because they are at risk of being killed by villagers and having a 'white' baby places stigma on the entire family
Some 200 people work the land, tend their gardens, make their own clothes, run community kitchens, canteens and classrooms, but this lively, happy village masks the centre's true purpose - to be a protective fortress.
The photographer said: 'Genetic chance has made them exceptional beings and has brought them together here in order to survive.
'Many of them have had to flee from their homes for fear of being butchered simply for having albinism; others ended up here after being abandoned by their families, who were ashamed of them.
'A "white" child is a stigma for the family. They are cared for less, given less to eat and educated less. In some tribes albino children may be killed at birth, abandoned or offered for ritual sacrifice.
'It is hard for them to find a partner, since their condition as 'damned' beings scares others. Their own neighbours say that people with albinism do not die, they fade away, or that to touch one is to risk becoming white or falling ill.'
Zawia, who speaks Swahili, English and sign langauge, aspires to be a teacher at the centre that has offered her refuge
The women who flee to the centre with their albino children also act as guardians for the others who have been abandoned
Daudi Mavura, director of the Regional Dermatology Training Centre and Rodgers Nonde, a second year house office, apply cryotherapy to precancerous lesions on an 18-year-old patient
Even though significant progress is being made in the protection of people with albinism, Ana believes that education is the only way to prevent the malicious prejudice they face.
She added: 'There is also an urgent need for forceful action by the justice system to end the impunity of the hunters.'
Ana hopes her images will open people's eyes to the extreme persecution albino people have to deal with.
She believes that attitudes will only start to transform when awareness campaigns are spread among those without albinism.
But being maimed and ostracised is a distant thought, compared to the threat from the sun they face every day.
Children at the centre finish school at five in the afternoon and return to the complex where they can feel safer playing outside than in the places they are from
The centre suffers from a shortage of water and when rainwater supplies run out they have to fetch it from the hospital well
A young boy with albinism plays with a hoop and stick in a place where children must make the most of the toys available
Eleven-year-old Kelen loves to dance in the half-built rooms of the centre, which always needs more space to accommodate more albinos, who are constantly arriving
An albino woman keeps her head covered to protect her delicate skin as she waits to see a doctor at the Regional Dermatology Training Centre
Ana continued: 'It is a genetic disease characterised by the lack or a serious shortage of melanin on the skin, hair, eyes and hair.
'The real danger for this community is based on their skin protection that brings a high probability of cancer.'
Those with albinism are very susceptible to UV rays and without adequate protection from the sun they are highly likely to develop skin cancer.
Ana visited the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi to find out more about the lifesaving work being performed by a team of Spanish dermatologists, plastic surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nurses, led by Dr Pedro Jaén.
A young girl with albinism inspects her artwork at the centre, which tries to offer schooling and opportunities for those that seek refuge there
A child kneels down to get a pot of water. When water runs low the black women take turns visiting the hospital wells so the albino women do not risk being taunted or kidnapped
Mafalda Soto, the founder of Kilisun, during a special consultation with school student Salim Rashid with different prototypes of sunscreen formulas
Zawia Kasim, 12, keeps well covered to protect her vulnerable skin from sunlight, although it is one of the few places were she will be able to get medical help for any damage suffered
The team first visited Moshi in 2008 and has returned every year to treat and operate on albinos with skin cancer - so far they have treated almost 1,000 patients.
They also run theoretical and practical workshops in dermatologic oncology and dermatopathology, in an effort to give the few dermatologists in East Africa more comprehensive training.
Ana's stunning images shine a light on the happy lives albino people are capable of living, away from persecution, but she hopes her images will encourage others to speak up and take action.
She said: 'I hope that now some people know a little more about their situation they will decide to help this community somehow.'