When Disabilities Compete

April 18, 2012

Gentlemen, start your engines.  The city of Indianapolis is facing a lawsuit arising from competing disability claims.  In one corner, a person using a service dog to help them with their disability (while the typical scenario is the seeing-eye dog, apparently this is a paprika-sniffing dog).  In the other, a person with a dog allergy.  Paprika

The Americans with Disabilities Act (along, likely, with the Indiana state law equivalent), in a nutshell, requires employers to not discriminate against employees in the terms and conditions of their employment on the basis of a disability, so long as the employee can perform the essention functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodation.  Here is where it gets sticky.  Let’s first assume both employees in question are disabled within the meaning of the statute, which they likely are as they suffer from physical impairments (exposure to specific allergens) that substantially limit a major life activity (e.g. anaphylaxis preventing breathing in severe reactions).  Using a service dog or preventing dogs in the workplace are both likely reasonable accommodations.  Problem is, these are mutually exclusive accommodations.

Of course, there is an escape clause:  employers are not required to make an accommodation, even if reasonable, if it otherwise would impose an undue hardship.  Here, if the dog-allergy employee (DAE) is valuable, the employer could state that it would be an undue hardship to permit dogs as it would cause the loss of services of the DAE.  It is an affirmative defense that the employer would have to prove, though it may be conflated with the reasonableness of the paprika-allergy employee’s (PAE’s) request.  Also, employers are not required to provide the most reasonable accommodations, or the best reasonable accommodations, but rather one of the list of possible reasonable accommodations.

In the choice between DAE and PAE, the employer is free to choose DAE.  However, the inquiry does not end there.  The city apparently offered her only her job w/o dog or unpaid leave, neither of which are reasonable.  What about a transfer of position or location that could accommodate both?  Cities are usually sufficiently spread out to permit such an accommodation, so long as there is no conflict with civil service laws or collective bargaining agreements.  So, PAE may yet have a case; in the meantime, she should be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Also, who knew?  Paprika is everywhere!


Feminist War of 2012

March 16, 2012

By Tatiana von Tauber

I’m embarrassed to be an American woman with witness to the current state of the Union.

Being a woman is without a doubt the most difficult process of becoming I’ve ever undertaken especially since I began my role as a mother 14 years ago. Nothing prepares you for the experience of motherhood better than truth and so I feel the same about the future of young girls in America.  There are many I know who were totally lost in the wake of the conservative pool of stupidity in the days of GWBush and his side’s abstinence education policies in American schools.  There is an entire generation of kids who are completely misinformed about birth control and sex because of religion.

More and more I feel battered by having the feeling women were given erotic beauty for reproductive purposes – that selfish gene – and then, as though being whores weren’t enough, women were thrown into the immature flatlands of male needs where they were then expected to create synthesis. However, a bit of a power struggle later, women became those to not only seduce, but birth, nurture and support an entire family, if not society yet be given “jump for the carrot” freedom on body parts – by the very men they birthed!  How did America come to be like this? If American politics continue to enter the domain of a female’s sex life,  America has little to offer women of the next generation.

I’m drained from realizing Congress is really a bunch of men who can’t get their heads out of the female genitalia.  If they don’t pay to get in one they pay for others to stay out of one!  For the men who are playing around with this issue, women are only a piece of ass and little more, except maybe for their little girls who are a piece of ass for the boy next door. For women who support recent attacks on female rights in the name of being faithful to a God, I have no words, only disgust.

Reproductive rights, the womb, women’s health – all of it has to do with the absolute power this birth right gives to women; and patriarchy has never been stronger in modern America! As an American I am so appalled at this downfall of this great nation – that the womb and its ownership, the vagina and a woman’s health are on the table of political discussion rather than the real issues that need immediate attention, it all makes me want to throw up on Congress.

The bottom line to all this rhetoric is this: women have the power to veto men through sex and men don’t like that. Thank you Dr. Leonard Shlain for helping me understand this through your wonderful work, Sex, Time and Power (may you rest in peace) but how about a little help down here with the rest of the blind folks, eh?

The last time I checked, my kidney belonged to me and nobody could force me to do anything specific with it.  The main reason the womb is different is because it controls males’ sex lives.  The fact that women are under attack, in America, in 2012 stuns me.

Here’s my contribution to the debate: “Feminist War of 2012”.  I designed this back in 2007 or so and struggled with a proper title.  The Image just found its perfect match and almost sadly, its perfect time.

"Feminist War of 2012", ltd. ed. Giclee, 13"x19" by Tatiana von Tauber

Bonus material to chew on: 

Speaking of controlling women, this is an example of how women get screwed by men and the baby fantasy and how media uses them to make money to help glorify the chaos and continue the cycle.  See Kate Gosselin, mother of 8 now.

Great post and kick ass quote: The Body Politic, “This campaign needs more women and less gynecology” – Virginia Heffernan


Muslim judge in Pennsylvania limits 1st Amendment

February 24, 2012

From Charles Platt

A judge in Pennsylvania who just happens to be of muslim faith informed a plaintiff that the 1st Amendment doesn’t necessarily give you the right to “p people off.” The plaintiff had worn a “Zombie Mohammed” costume in a public parade in Mechanicsburg, thus enraging a muslim observer who ran forward and tried to choke the man until police intervened. Charges of harassment, filed against the muslim for trying to choke the demonstrator, were dismissed by the muslim judge. Details here.


First Amendment trumps Equal Opportunity Employment

January 11, 2012

Today, the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC  issued a unanimous ruling on the First Amendment.  While this blog regularly celebrates the Freedom of Speech clause, the decision focuses primarily on the Free Exercise Clause and, to a lesser extent, the Establishment Clause.

In a nutshell:

  1. Church had 2 types of teacher–lay and ministerial.
  2. Ministerial teacher develops disability and takes leave of absense; replaced by lay teacher.
  3. Church rules normally prioritize ministerial teachers, but when this teacher tries to get her job back, she is denied.
  4. She becomes insubordinate and complains of an ADA violation.
  5. She is terminated.
  6. Teacher sues the church for retaliation against her for making an ADA claim.
  7. Supreme Court says church wins.

Assuming there was blatant retaliation, the church still wins.  Why?  Because if the government were to tell a church they couldn’t fire a particular minister, that would prevent a church from freely deciding who gets to spread the gospel and who doesn’t.  To its extreme, though excepted specifically in Title VII, if the government had the power to dictate who a church could fire, it could prevent the Pope from defrocking an American Bishop who pronounces the Shahada and converts to Islam.  Basically, the 1st Amendment lets a religion freely decide who gets to be a minister, even if the reasons for hiring or firing are otherwise abhorrent to society.  If you don’t like it, you are free to change religions.  Or declare the person who did the firing a heretic and stone them.  Either way.


Your morning after screw

December 9, 2011

By Tatiana von Tauber

And if Obama had two boys?

I’m deeply disappointed by the recent decision to eliminate easier access to the so called morning after pill by girls 17 and under. I fully get where Obama gets his mindset from. I’m a parent of 2 girls, one 13 and very pretty.

Obama’s decision to side with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who overruled scientists at the Food and Drug Administration was a poor one. While he’s coming from a good place, may be a good father and honorable in doing what he thinks most parents would want, he just missed to boat of doing what’s actually in the best interest of young girls rather than what’s in the best interest of a parents’ wish for young girls.  As far as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, may you have bad traffic and no easy access parking the entire holiday season!  And I mean that.

Nothing, and I mean, nothing is more important to me as a female than ensuring other females have rightful ownership of their reproductive system no matter what their age.  Without our womb, society can’t get very far. It’s the most powerful tool women have and thus, the rest is repeat history. 

State of the female union

The majority of young girls – exampled as 11 and 12 year olds for the poor reasoning labeled “common sense”  which aided the elimination of this pill over the counter,  aren’t that young often enough to discredit the good of the pill to older girls. It blatantly discriminates.  

While it would statistically occur perhaps, the numbers would be small to have  little girls, basically,  just head over to the supermarket by the condoms isle and buy a $50 pill.  This is so ludicrous that you have to be an idiot to side with it if not for political reasons. AND, if young girls did do that, then bravo for them taking pro-active measure to fix their screw up. 

Who to trust when adults don’t give you all the facts?

I have never seen an influx of pro-lifers opting to fund, house or care for the millions of unplanned children of the world.  embryos are great in utero.  They’re fresh potential to mold.  Religion needs followers and governments need taxes.  Someone has to produce human beings at all costs.

“The FDA did not have the data to support a decision of this magnitude,” said Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa. “The secretary pointed out obvious deficiencies in the research and acted in the interest of young girls.”

Really?  Of this magnitude?  This pill has been used for decades in Europe and the issue of great magnitude is the subtle and sly attempt to strip females of what has always been rightfully theirs. 

How to Fix this?

Here’s a suggestion then which truly does act in the interest of young girls:

How about yearly comprehensive sex education for boys and girls in the pubic school system mandated by federal and secular standards, not state.  In GA my daughter met several young girls who actually believed they could get pregnant from kissing!  This is sick in a country which claims such global superpower. 

What about introducing reasonably easy access to free or reduced priced condoms or birth control to under aged girls  instead of empty promises of abstinence whilst a nice hard cock stands to seduce.  Perhaps if we reframe the way we view sex and morality the morning after pill can be marketed as an “Oops! Did you miss your birth control pill last night? We understand the heavy responsibilities a vagina and womb bring, so we’re here to help. Plan B.  Here for you when Plan A bombs.” However, because it’s also used and known as an abortion pill, everything changes. 

If God was so intelligent, why didn’t he make it so menses began at 18?  If God can allow pre-teen girls to get a period, the intent is quite frankly, for them to reproduce.  The morality stick should be poking God himself, not our young females. It’s sickening that taxpayers fund government salaries and research to pay for morality treatments as we hush science, logic and individual freedom.


The Aroma of Tacoma Smells Like a Can of STFU.

October 24, 2011

Back in 2009, Washington State Governor Christine Gregiore signed SB 5688, the so-called “Everything But Marriage” act. Source. Shortly thereafter, a group of concerned citizens calling themselves Protect Marriage Washington got enough signatures to place a referendum challenging the bill. Protecting marriage from what, exactly, remains a mystery but Imma call them “The Protectors” anyway. No word on if they have capes with an Xed-out picture of two guys holding hands. Anyway, shortly after Washington Secretary of State Gary Reed determined the signatures were valid, he received a public records request under Wash. Rev. Code §42.56.001 for the names and addresses of the 137,000 signatory Protectors. The Protectors didn’t like that one bit and asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent Secretary Reed from complying with the request. They are trying to say that disclosing their names and addresses violates the First Amendment because referendum petitions are political speech and the resulting harassment they would (allegedly) receive would stifle that speech. This case wound its way all the way to the Supreme Court. Here’s the Opinion: Doe v. Reed.

Boiled down, the Protector’s main gripe is that the government’s interest in preventing voter fraud and the integrity of the electoral process pales in comparison to the stifling of their first amendment rights because the public records request was made to harass them for their political views. The Big Dogs didn’t buy it. Justice Stevens’ concurrence sounded a little like “Why the hell are we even here?” so that was a treat.  But the Nine did recognize that disclosure requirements could stifle speech in some cases and even allowed for an exemption if there is a “reasonable probability that the disclosure would result in threats or harassment.” They didn’t address whether the request was unconstitutional as applied to this particular petition, so the parties got sent packing back to the District Court in Tacoma to figure it out. Both promptly filed motions for summary judgment. Source.

The Protectors tried to convince the Court that they should be afforded the disclosure exemption because their paltry 137,000 signers are a minority party akin to the NAACP in 1958 or the 60 member Socialist Party in 1976.  Really Protectors? Really? Anyway, Judge Settle disagrees. And even if the Protectors could be granted minority status, they still would have had to produce…uhm….oh yeah. Evidence. But, awshucks, they couldn’t come up with anything to show that they had experienced harassment, threats, or reprisals due to their involvement with the referendum. Oh-did I mention several of the Protectors posted YouTube videos, had television and radio interviews, stood on street corners with signs, testified before the Washington State Legislature, collected signatures in front of Wal Mart and Target, put signs in their front yards, had bumper stickers on their cars, and published articles about their anti-gay position? Yeah, they did that. But we need to protect their anonymity because they might be harassed because of this stupid petition.

Look, part of being a junk yard dog for the First Amendment means that sometimes I have to defend speech I find repulsive. For what it’s worth, I think the Protect Marriage folks are bunch of hate-spewing morons. They seek to stifle the speech of those opposing a view they willingly cram down our throats and then hide behind the very Amendment they kick in the nuts when it comes to other people’s naughty bits. BUT- If they could have come up with evidence showing a probability that they were being harassed, threatened, and harangued to the point they were fearful of expressing their view, I would argue in favor of exempting them from disclosure.  But the Protector’s evidence of harassment consists of testimony that shows a pastor got a call from a *gasp* transgender woman. The horror! Another Protector got flipped off one day *shudder*! One guy even got called a homophobic bigot. The shame! No one was fearful to testify in the case. No one is being clubbed. No one is being swept down the street by fire hoses. The worst they could show is that sometimes the Protectors are called “assholes” and told that their platform “is a bunch of shit”. Well, if the shoe fits, Cinderella…


For the Record … Anti-Mormonism is not “bigotry” (neither is any other anti-religious sentiment)

October 10, 2011

James Fallows over at the Atlantic says, “Just for the Record: Anti-Mormonism Is Bigotry Too.”

No. No it is not.

Fallows sums his position up:

To be against Mitt Romney (or Jon Huntsman or Harry Reid or Orrin Hatch) because of his religion is just plain bigotry. Exactly as it would have been to oppose Barack Obama because of his race or Joe Lieberman because of his faith or Hillary Clinton or Michele Bachmann because of their gender or Mario Rubio or Nikki Haley because of their ethnicity. (source)

If a candidate believes in trickle-down economics, and you are against him for his beliefs, that isn’t bigotry. That’s looking at his views, realizing that they are incompatible with logic, and dismissing him because he’s an idiot.

If you are against someone for being Hispanic or Black, that’s bigotry. The color of someone’s skin doesn’t necessarily say anything about their beliefs or how they will behave.

But being against someone for what they believe, that’s not bigotry. That’s being a rational person. And there is no way I want someone leading my country if they believe that some snake oil salesman found magic gold tablets, that only he could see, and read some magic words from it, and discovered that people should wear magic underwear. I am perfectly comfortable with someone who believes that having dinner at my house, or even teaching my kids, and marrying my sister, but I don’t trust them with the nuclear launch codes.

That’s not bigotry. A Mormon can change his views, if he wants to.

Marco Rubio can’t wake up tomorrow and say “y’know, I’m sick of being Cuban. I think I’ll be Irish now.” Hating on him for being Cuban — that’s bigotry.

Don’t mistake this for a post singling out the Mormons. Their beliefs are no different than those of any other cult. If you believe in a magic space zombie Jew, you’re not rational enough to be president either. At least not in my eyes. Islam? It doesn’t have any edge over Mormonism or Christianity.

The analysis gets a little tricky with Jews (sigh, doesn’t it always). You have to figure out if you’re dealing with a secular Jew or a religious one. Sammy Davis Jr. would have been unqualified to be President in my eyes, not because he was black, but because he believed that there is a magic space man who, after creating heaven and earth, decided that he didn’t want people to eat bacon, but he did want people to cut the tips off of little boys’ penises. Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and Golda Meir were qualified to run things. Joe Lieberman? Fuck no.

If you believe in some magic voodoo shit, good for you. If it works for you, believe it. I don’t care if you believe in a magic pink monkey that flies out of the ass of whales with a blue bucket on its head singing show tunes.

If you believe in such things, you still might be the coolest guy in the world. I would fight with everything I have to protect your right to believe in those things — no matter how I feel about them. I might even want to be best friends with you. I have friends who believe in some of the goofiest shit ever, from Orthodox Jews to Christians to Muslims, and I even think I have a Scientologist in there somewhere. Being religious is no disqualification from being on my good side.

But there’s no damn way I’d vote to let them run the country — not until they wake up from their self-imposed delusion.

If you disagree, you’re in good company. My view is totally screwed. I doubt we’ll ever have an openly-Atheist president. Not until there is a revolution.

As an Atheist, I don’t call that “anti-Atheist bigotry.” If you wouldn’t let me run things because I don’t believe in goblins, it doesn’t make you a bigot. It just makes you disagree with something that I have chosen to believe (or not believe, as it were).

That’s not bigotry.