The Darker Side of the News

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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elasto
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:15 am UTC

An Albany-area Walmart employee fired from his job for redeeming $2 worth of cans he collected while gathering shopping carts in the store’s parking lot has drawn widespread sympathy and support on social media.

Thomas Smith, 52, told the Albany Times Union that he was fired in early November for redeeming a total of $5.10 worth of cans and bottles on two occasions, and said he was unaware that doing so violated store policy.

Support for Smith grew after a story on his termination from the Albany Times Union. A GoFundMe drive for Smith set up by Dounya Hamdan, of Chicago, has nearly reached the $5,000 goal as of Friday afternoon.

On the day he was fired, Smith, a formerly homeless ex-convict who has a learning disability, had stayed three hours past the normal end of his shift, having agreed to work extra time on a day when the East Greenbush, New York, store was short-staffed.

A Walmart spokesperson said the store did not take issue with the $3.10 worth of empty beer cans he took after a man discarded them in the parking lot, but with the $2 he redeemed from cans and bottles left in a shopping cart just inside the store’s entryway.

Smith said he was fired after signing a statement and undergoing an interrogation by three security managers in the store’s security office. He said that he did not have his glasses at the time and could not read the statement, but signed it to avoid any parole violation.

“I didn’t know you couldn’t take empties left behind. They were garbage,” Smith told the Albany Times Union. “I didn’t even get a chance to explain myself. They told me to turn in my badge.”

The $2 worth of bottles and cans were Walmart property, the spokesperson said. Smith was guilty of “gross misconduct” by redeeming them.

Smith, who is black, has since contacted prisoner advocate Alice Green at the Center for Law and Justice in Albany, who took up his cause, citing issues of race as reasons for Smith’s termination.


Dunno if it was because he was black specifically, but my gut instinct says that a pretty blonde teenage girl wouldn't have had quite the same treatment...

link

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CorruptUser
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Nov 21, 2015 3:27 am UTC

There's probably more to the story than is being reported. Never let facts disrupt a good story. I'm from Albany; anyone willing to work normal hours is more or less guaranteed a shit job in spite of massive unemployment (everyone refuses to do more than 20, because welfare and unemployment), so they wouldn't fire the guy for a couple bucks.

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Diadem
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Diadem » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:34 pm UTC

No sane employer is going to fire an employee over something so minor. The replacement cost are way higher than $2. And there is always the risk that the replacement won't be a good employee, which will be even more expensive.

Of course not all employers are sane. And Walmart is a huge organization, where I can easily see bureaucracy outweighing common sense. Or, as suggested in article above, racism.

The other possibility is that the guy wasn't a good employee, and they were already looking for an excuse to get rid of him. There's entirely possible. However they chose a pretty shitty excuse.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Coyne » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:No sane employer is going to fire an employee over something so minor. The replacement cost are way higher than $2. And there is always the risk that the replacement won't be a good employee, which will be even more expensive.


Actually, a sane employer will, if they were looking for an excuse. Happens quite a lot with "undesirable" employees.
In all fairness...

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:19 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:
Diadem wrote:No sane employer is going to fire an employee over something so minor. The replacement cost are way higher than $2. And there is always the risk that the replacement won't be a good employee, which will be even more expensive.


Actually, a sane employer will, if they were looking for an excuse. Happens quite a lot with "undesirable" employees.


Yeah, when I was working in a grocery store as a union employee, they put cameras up and when there was an employee they wanted to get rid of (usually for incompetence) it made it a lot easier if they had proof of them stealing, which was usually minor (i.e. sampling food).
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Diadem
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Diadem » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:42 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
Diadem wrote:No sane employer is going to fire an employee over something so minor. The replacement cost are way higher than $2. And there is always the risk that the replacement won't be a good employee, which will be even more expensive.


Actually, a sane employer will, if they were looking for an excuse. Happens quite a lot with "undesirable" employees.

My post was only 3 lines. Were you really not able to read all of it before responding?
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Coyne » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:48 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Coyne wrote:
Diadem wrote:No sane employer is going to fire an employee over something so minor. The replacement cost are way higher than $2. And there is always the risk that the replacement won't be a good employee, which will be even more expensive.


Actually, a sane employer will, if they were looking for an excuse. Happens quite a lot with "undesirable" employees.

My post was only 3 lines. Were you really not able to read all of it before responding?


Per my understanding of what you said: No sane employer fires an employee for something this minor because, employee replacement cost.

But employers that would have to be considered sane "wrongfully" terminate employees all the time: because they're the wrong race, the wrong gender, the wrong age, etc. Since it is considered gauche (that is: "a lawsuit magnet") to do this there must be another excuse. An excuse that is legitimate, no matter how small, but an excuse that will create a doubt in a jury's mind.

I used to live in Lincoln, Nebraska, home of University of Nebraska, which is home for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. An employee there, a Virginia someone (can't find it online--too long ago--this was the '80s) caused a scandal by blowing her little whistle on the fact that football team members seemed to take an inordinate number of elective courses like basket weaving or pottery, as opposed to the normally required core curriculum courses like English and math. The university terminated her summarily, the day after this hit the news.

She filed suit, claiming wrongful termination because she was a whistle blower (state university; state employee; state has or had whistle blower protections). The university countered that she had been fired for just cause because, over her 17 years of employment, she had been reprimanded three times for taking calls during work and a couple of other things just as minor. The jury decided that was reason to doubt that she was terminated for whistle blowing and voted against her.

But here's the thing: if she was a crappy employee, then she'd been a crappy employee for 17 years. The university never saw a need to do anything about it until she made a stink. There wasn't anything recent, either; the charges the university dredged up were all at least three years old; some more than a decade old. But they didn't terminate her because of whistle blowing, no sirree--firing her for that would be wrongful.

As a result, I am always astounded at the stupidity of companies that lose wrongful termination suits. How dumb do you have to be to not contrive an excuse like, "Took two paperclips home," to justify terminating an employee you don't want? And doing that kind of thing is not insane...it's just evil.
In all fairness...

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CorruptUser
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:03 pm UTC

"Attention. All employees will be given new booklets instructing them how to do their job. These instructions will make it impossible to do your job, so if you follow the booklets or you will be terminated for failing to do your job. Don't annoy anyone above you, or we will terminate you for not complying with the booklets. Have a nice day."

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby icanus » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:30 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:"Attention. All employees will be given new booklets instructing them how to do their job. These instructions will make it impossible to do your job, so if you follow the booklets or you will be terminated for failing to do your job. Don't annoy anyone above you, or we will terminate you for not complying with the booklets. Have a nice day."

So you've worked in Education too?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:31 am UTC

No, bureaucracies. We do NOT get the benefits that we were promised from the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other act that is supposed to promote equality in the workplace. We get all the discrimination and bullshit as before, but with extra red tape. So what's the point? Is the "point" extra jobs for HR people? Because I have news for you; the economy does not improve from people having jobs, it improves from people producing. If your job doesn't produce, you could be taken behind a barn and beaten to death and the money you would've received used to purchase exactly what you would've and the economy wouldn't notice. It might actually improve, instead, because dead people tend to commit fewer crimes.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:10 am UTC

Quite a few benefits derived from the ADA. It's just easier to bitch than to think. If you inhabit a wheelchair, are deaf or blind the world is a much easier place to navigate. Of the five parts, Title II,III and IV have nothing to do with employment at all.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:23 am UTC

I actually receive a fair amount of work from making buildings ADA compliant.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:30 pm UTC

Alright then, redacted.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:37 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:There's probably more to the story than is being reported. Never let facts disrupt a good story. I'm from Albany; anyone willing to work normal hours is more or less guaranteed a shit job in spite of massive unemployment (everyone refuses to do more than 20, because welfare and unemployment), so they wouldn't fire the guy for a couple bucks.


I agree it is unlikely that the reported reason is the real reason.

It's only really a question of what the real reason was...and really, we're unlikely to know for sure.

CorruptUser wrote:No, bureaucracies. We do NOT get the benefits that we were promised from the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other act that is supposed to promote equality in the workplace. We get all the discrimination and bullshit as before, but with extra red tape. So what's the point? Is the "point" extra jobs for HR people? Because I have news for you; the economy does not improve from people having jobs, it improves from people producing. If your job doesn't produce, you could be taken behind a barn and beaten to death and the money you would've received used to purchase exactly what you would've and the economy wouldn't notice. It might actually improve, instead, because dead people tend to commit fewer crimes.


Jobs is a decent enough metric for measuring the economy, in that jobs usually do produce. But, often it's easier to fiddle with the measurement than improve the underlying situation. This is true for other measurements as well, including GDP, and thus a lot of "economics" discussion is derailed by people trying to tout a "fix", when they've merely taken the easy way out.

That said, ADA is not entirely this. Some things are reasonable. For instance, specific widths on ways to get through areas, particularly to bathrooms and what not. Sure, there's no ACTUAL enforcement. I know places that blatantly, flagrantly violate this, and always have, and nothing is done...but having the standards out there provides a nice universal guideline. Thus, wheelchairs are made to work within those dimensions, and walkways are made to accomodate those wheelchairs. Standards are good. So yeah, as an enforcement mechanism, some of this stuff doesn't really work, but you can approach it from other ways as well.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Mambrino » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:19 am UTC

Torn whether this belongs to the Other News thread or here. After all, freedom of speech is quite serious matter and especially so for the person on trial here:

Turkish court 'orders Gollum study' in Erdogan case
BBC wrote:A Turkish court has asked experts to assess the character Gollum from The Lord of the Rings in the case of a man on trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish media report.

Bilgin Ciftci is accused of insulting the president for sharing images comparing Mr Erdogan and Gollum.

The experts will reportedly decide whether or not this was an insult.

It is not known precisely what criteria the experts will use to arrive at their decision.

The character of Gollum appears in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien and the film versions directed by Peter Jackson.

He was first introduced in the Hobbit as "a small, slimy creature". In the Lord of the Rings his longing for the ring distorted his body and mind.

The experts will be a group composed of two academics, two behavioural scientists or psychologists and an expert on cinema and television productions, the Today's Zaman newspaper reports.

The judge took the decision after admitting he had not seen the whole of the Lord of the Rings series in which Gollum features.

The images shared by Mr Ciftci showed Mr Erdogan and Gollum in similar poses eating, expressing surprise and amazement.

The case has now been adjourned until February.

Spoiler:
I quite hope the panel will come to conclusion the Gollum as the troubled true hero of the trilogy, who after a serious and dangerous fight of wills ultimately bests evil Sauron's will in epic confrontation on Mt. Doom and destroys the ring, saving the free peoples' of Middle-Earth. Thus, certainly worth of comparison to Dear Leader.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Vahir » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:11 pm UTC

Remember, kids, Turkey is a democracy!

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:45 pm UTC

LA is gonna start sending latters to people who pick up hookers in hopes that family members will open the mail, and they'll be shamed into not.

Wait, did I say people who pick up hookers? My bad. I meant people who drive in areas judged as bad areas. If your license place is scanned on the wrong side of town, it's just assumed that of COURSE you're there for the hookers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/12/01/the-age-of-pre-crime-has-arrived/

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby speising » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:49 pm UTC

That's not so bad, at least they can come up with some excuse for having been there.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:55 pm UTC

speising wrote:That's not so bad, at least they can come up with some excuse for having been there.


Not so bad for the guilty, perhaps, but who hasn't taken a turn into the 'wrong' part of town?

And I'm sure there won't be ANY potential downsides to labeling swathes of town as hookervilles that no right-thinking person would go to.

I wonder how much it'd cost to hire a few prostitutes to hang out around where the local politicians live....

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:24 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:LA is gonna start sending latters to people who pick up hookers in hopes that family members will open the mail, and they'll be shamed into not.

Wait, did I say people who pick up hookers? My bad. I meant people who drive in areas judged as bad areas. If your license place is scanned on the wrong side of town, it's just assumed that of COURSE you're there for the hookers.
Many years ago a friend who was into real estate had me meet him at a location to look at a piece of section 8 (government subsidized rental) property. I don't remember the details but either I was early or he was late or I misunderstood something, but when I arrived, he wasn't there. The area was seedy, and I was driving around slowly looking for him or his car and trying to find an address. Several times people from the street came up to me but I didn't really get much help out of them. I finally drove away after half an hour or an hour of this.

I don't remember what came of it, but upon later reflection, I was in a known (but not to me) drug marketplace, and the people who came up to me were looking to do deals, and expected I was the one with either the goods or the money.

If this had been in place at that time, I would probably not be here.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:53 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
speising wrote:That's not so bad, at least they can come up with some excuse for having been there.


Not so bad for the guilty, perhaps, but who hasn't taken a turn into the 'wrong' part of town?

And I'm sure there won't be ANY potential downsides to labeling swathes of town as hookervilles that no right-thinking person would go to.

I wonder how much it'd cost to hire a few prostitutes to hang out around where the local politicians live....

Pfft, politicians use escorts.
Ucim, you'd get a mildly embarrassing letter saying you were probably looking for hooker's. It's stupid but it's not gonna put you in jail.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:13 am UTC

Another terrific reason not to be in L.A., as if we needed another.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:19 am UTC

sardia wrote:Ucim, you'd get a mildly embarrassing letter saying you were probably looking for hooker's. It's stupid but it's not gonna put you in jail.
... saying I was probably looking for hooker's what?

In any case, I might not be the one to open that letter. That could easily have consequences. And the letter is undoubtedly on file, where (given that amount of time) it would turn up in the various background checks I've had to undergo (and pay for).

No, not a "mildly embarrassing letter". Inability to secure certain positions I had or now have (which include dealing with children), without ever knowing why. Or maybe knowing why, and not being able to prove my innocence. Remember, I'm assuming the program is in place; that's a big bureaucracy.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:37 am UTC

We had that, it was called being a Muslim on the no fly list. It was maddening and Kafkaesque, but you said it like you were gonna be disappeared. The no fly list would really make you not be here, since you d be stuck in security forever.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:58 am UTC

ucim wrote:
sardia wrote:Ucim, you'd get a mildly embarrassing letter saying you were probably looking for hooker's. It's stupid but it's not gonna put you in jail.
... saying I was probably looking for hooker's what?

In any case, I might not be the one to open that letter. That could easily have consequences. And the letter is undoubtedly on file, where (given that amount of time) it would turn up in the various background checks I've had to undergo (and pay for).

No, not a "mildly embarrassing letter". Inability to secure certain positions I had or now have (which include dealing with children), without ever knowing why. Or maybe knowing why, and not being able to prove my innocence. Remember, I'm assuming the program is in place; that's a big bureaucracy.


Note that this is a combination of issues. One is local bureaucracy... but there are often ways to wipe your name off of local reports (depending on the crime or whatever got you listed). The problem is that private-sector databases have no reason (heck, they're financially incentivized for the contrary) to heed those erasure policies.

Its one of the cases where "Right to be Forgotten" begins to make sense to me. But I can't think of a practical way of implementing it.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:23 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:... but there are often ways to wipe your name off of local reports (depending on the crime or whatever got you listed).
I find the wording very telling.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:31 am UTC

ucim wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:... but there are often ways to wipe your name off of local reports (depending on the crime or whatever got you listed).
I find the wording very telling.

Jose


Hmm, perhaps I said it wrongly then.

The case that I'm familiar with is a Drunken Driver case from a fellow coworker when he was younger (maybe before 18), and that case has stuck with him ever since (including this year when he was hired and became my coworker). He was complaining about it in particular because it was brought up in his job interview.

I'm also familiar with cases akin to "peeing on the wall -> public nudity charge -> sex offense" which gets people onto the sex offender list for the rest of their life.

In the case of my coworker, I remember he technically got the charge sealed and/or expunged... at least officially. So any state or local search on his case would not show his drunk driving case. However, private firms still tracked the case and it still haunts him to this day, including all of his job interviews while he was searching for his job.

So generally speaking, a crime was committed. Perhaps it was a bullshit crime that demonstrates a problem with laws in the area, but a crime nonetheless. And even in cases where society has deemed that "forgiveness should exist" (ie: an expunged record in the case of a minor committing a crime), this does NOT in practice happen in today's society, due to the permanent online records of private-industry background checks... which often do not expunge or seal records (as the local or state government would)

If your case wasn't a "crime", then I will apologize, because that is the kind of case I'm familiar with.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:48 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Hmm, perhaps I said it wrongly then.
Well, what you said perfectly illustrates my point.

KnightExemplar wrote:So generally speaking, a crime was committed.
No, in the specific case you remember and are comparing this to, a crime was committed.

In the case I described, and in the case being discussed, no crime was committed at all.

KnightExemplar wrote:If your case wasn't a "crime", then I will apologize, because that is the kind of case I'm familiar with.
Exactly. This is what people will assume. "If you didn't do wrong, you wouldn't be in trouble." To quote the Post: "We’re now to the point where we’re passing laws aimed at potential johns suspected of soliciting prostitutes, simply because they were seen in an area where prostitutes are known to work, all because it’s possible that the theoretical prostitutes those suspected johns might have been soliciting are potentially underage or might have been forced in to sex work involuntarily.".

And even here, in a forum full of very intelligent and thoughtful people (of which you are one), the assumption is already made even when I told you all the facts showing my innocence, that some sort of crime (even if it was a "bullshit crime") must have been committed.

KnightExemplar wrote:If your case wasn't a "crime", then I will apologize, because that is the kind of case I'm familiar with.
No apology necessary; you made my point. But I'm glad you were not in charge of my past future.

Jose
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:17 am UTC

Well, you clearly have a bone to pick with someone. I dislike being a punching bag in this manner, but if it made you feel better, then I guess I can't be too sad that I obliged.

Good luck, and I hope whatever happened wasn't a big deal. If you want me to keep guessing, I do recall some cases where someone had a crime charged against them, but it was cleared up in court later. Despite never being proven guilty (and indeed, after settling the case), the person became guilty by the "court of public opinion" due to the nature of the private records system in this country.

In any case, if you're just gonna remain defensive about it, there's nothing for me to learn here. If you want to degrade me on this public forum, at very least I request that you share your story, and why whatever I said earlier offended you so much.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:04 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I dislike being a punching bag in this manner...
That wasn't my intent. I had just shared a story (in which I was innocently in a bad neighborhood), in a very similar manner to the news article in question. In my case there were no repercussions, because nobody made any leap of criminality at the time, but had the thing the lawmakers are considering actually been in place at that time, I would have been unfairly marked. It's an illustration (though not offered as proof) that the lawmakers are wrongheaded about this. I've no bone to pick with anyone; I'm just pointing out how asinine the proposed action would be.

Your comment "So generally speaking, a crime was committed" just happened to illustrate the downside of such a governmental policy.

Interestingly, you continue by saying in your next post (referring to a different case) "Despite never being proven guilty..." rather than "Despite being found innocent...". It's the presumption of guilt that the public (and law enforcement) has that I take issue with.

It's not intended personally. It's not directed at you. It's directed at the insidious erosion of the presumption of innocence that is the foundation of our legal system.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:41 am UTC

ucim wrote:Interestingly, you continue by saying in your next post (referring to a different case) "Despite never being proven guilty..." rather than "Despite being found innocent...". It's the presumption of guilt that the public (and law enforcement) has that I take issue with.


FYI: this other case... the person was never found innocent either. The case was settled before it entered court. So... I was being precise with my language on purpose. The best I could technically give is "never found guilty".

I do see the general frustration at this kind of scenario however. As noted before, the "Right to be Forgotten" should exist in today's world. I've never found a credible way of implementing it however. All the proposals violate another core principle of American culture (typically: the first amendment)
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:19 pm UTC

The fast food group’s Luxembourg company, McDonald’s Europe Franchising Sarl, has paid no corporate tax in the grand duchy since 2009, the commission said. This was despite receiving hundreds of millions of euros in royalty payments from across Europe and Russia for the right to use the brand and associated service. For 2013 alone its profits were more than €250m (£176m).

Under the terms of its Luxembourg tax ruling, McDonald’s Europe Franchising has not been required to pay tax locally because the grand duchy regards almost all of its profits to have been generated through the Luxembourg company’s US branch.

However, US tax rules offer a different view. Under American rules, the Luxembourg company’s profits should be taxed in Luxembourg, where the company is registered, not at its US branch office. As a result, the profits of McDonald’s Europe Franchising go untaxed by both Luxembourg and the US.


Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition commissioner, stated: “A tax ruling that agrees to McDonald’s paying no tax on their European royalties either in Luxembourg or in the US has to be looked at very carefully under EU state aid rules. The purpose of double taxation treaties between countries is to avoid double taxation – not to justify double non-taxation.”

Untaxed, or “stateless”, profits are considered the holy grail for international tax planners who specialise in creating complex cross-border corporate structures for multinationals. The structures are designed to exploit differences between different countries’ tax codes such that earnings can escape without being taxed.

Can't say I blame McD for exploiting this loophole. The blame has to lay with the governments not feeling it's a priority to tax rich corporations but to instead go after the low hanging fruit of charging released felons for 'room and board' etc.

Thankfully, the EU, being sort of 'stateless' itself, has somewhat more freedom to try to go after the tax dodgers on EU citizens' behalf...

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:59 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
sardia wrote:Ucim, you'd get a mildly embarrassing letter saying you were probably looking for hooker's. It's stupid but it's not gonna put you in jail.
... saying I was probably looking for hooker's what?

In any case, I might not be the one to open that letter. That could easily have consequences. And the letter is undoubtedly on file, where (given that amount of time) it would turn up in the various background checks I've had to undergo (and pay for).


Well, other people opening the letter is, in this case, the intent.

And it being from the police, has a certain degree of authority to it. Could affect jobs. Could affect relationships.

sardia wrote:We had that, it was called being a Muslim on the no fly list. It was maddening and Kafkaesque, but you said it like you were gonna be disappeared. The no fly list would really make you not be here, since you d be stuck in security forever.


And Obama's lobbying to extend the rights denied people on the no fly list, so yeah, that situation isn't getting any better.

I'd like at least a token effort at due process, and actually proving people guilty rather than "aw, fuck it".

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby PeteP » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:03 pm UTC

In a world filled with reasonable people the letters probably wouldn't lead to many problems. But in a world filled with reasonable people they probably wouldn't exist anyway…

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby jewish_scientist » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:32 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:In a world filled with reasonable people the letters probably wouldn't lead to many problems. But in a world filled with reasonable people they probably wouldn't exist anyway…



Imagine a sex addict who has been clean for 20 years. His son borrows his car. The son is running late so he takes a short cut through a 'bad neighborhood'. The police scanner copy the car's license plate. A letter from the police office is sent to the sex addict's house saying that he is suspected of hiring prostitutes. His wife opens that letter. BOOM! His marriage is over!

It is reasonable to let your son borrow your car. It is reasonable to take a short cut if you are late. It is reasonable to divorce your husband when you learn he has relapsed in his addiction (may not be the best thing to do, but it is an understandable reaction). No one (other than the police) did anything unreasonable, but this man's life has been destroyed.


Just wondering, but if it is well known that a particular area is known for prostitution and driving through the area is enough to engage with one of the prostitutes, why are the police not arresting people there. If I wanted to explain what a sting operation was to someone, this is the example that I would probably use. Entrapment is a problem, but there are ways to preform sting operations that are not entrapment.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby PeteP » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:02 pm UTC

It is not reasonable to assume him just taking the route means he hired a prostitute at least if it isn't out of his way. A reasonable person* would know that and at most consider it weak supporting evidence and if it is still enough to worry them would probably check for other evidence before acting. So no I don't agree with your judgement. (You might be able to find a story where I do agree but that would be a bit pointless so lets not do that.)

*Reasonable person= A person the authority about reasonableness, PeteP, would consider reasonable. That is the only reasonable definition.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:37 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:It is not reasonable to assume him just taking the route means he hired a prostitute at least if it isn't out of his way.


Indeed, so the police are being unreasonable.

You're expecting folks to somehow know the police are unreasonable and compensate for that. That seems...a wee bit unfair.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Dauric » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:42 pm UTC

The problem is "Reasonable" people are exceptionally rare.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby natraj » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:51 pm UTC

"hooker" and "prostitute" are both slurs; is it okay if we do not use that language to talk about sex workers? (i realize that the media uses that language to talk about sex workers, but the media is not a great source for anything about sex workers as they also pretty consistently degrade and dehumanize us in so very many ways.)
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:12 pm UTC

natraj wrote:"hooker" and "prostitute" are both slurs; is it okay if we do not use that language to talk about sex workers? (i realize that the media uses that language to talk about sex workers, but the media is not a great source for anything about sex workers as they also pretty consistently degrade and dehumanize us in so very many ways.)


I have no particular preference as to terminology(nor do I have anything against them in particular, regardless of term used). However, I note that in particular "prostitute" is the term routinely used in law, and the discussion, including by advocacy groups and lawmakers, are utterly stuffed with it as a result.

There's a whole bucketload of issues and steriotypes surrounding this, granted. Might be related to why people are so willing to casually use it as a means of shame, of course. I don't think anyone here is out to criticize the sex workers themselves in connection to this, but it's clear that a certain degree of stigma is pretty closely associated here regardless of what term you use. You can't really get away from acknowledging that stigma, because it's so tied up with the issue itself. So, I think most of us are cheerfully using these terms sarcastically to deride the moralizing sorts who are exploiting the shit out of that stigma.


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