July 10, 2013

Dept. of Labor Contest: Develop an App to Harass and Embarrass Employers

A friend of mine and I separately received an email from the Department of Labor yesterday which made both of us to ask the same question: Why would anyone want to start up or expand a business and hire employees in the current hostile atmosphere?

DOL’s release, positioned as part of its celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, announces a contest which it calls the “DOL Fair Labor Data Challenge.” It is asking developers to “create an innovative tool that lets an informed consumer find out if a business is obeying the law when it comes to paying workers properly.” To those uninitiated in the ways of the government bureaucracy, this exercise might not seem particularly troubling. Those who believe that are wrong. Meanwhile, I can assure you that there are many in the press who know exactly what’s going on here and believe it’s a good idea — but won’t report it, because they’d rather the public not know about it.

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AP Starts the 2016 Character Assassination of Rick Perry, Part 2: ‘A Political Punchline on Par With Dan Quayle’

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press produced a series of reports following Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement that he would not seek another term which “can only be explained if their purpose is to poison his possible 2016 presidential aspirations.”

The first example was a list of “five things to know” about Perry compiled by the AP’s “wiseguy” Will Weissert which, except for an item about his early upbringing, were trivial. (Here are three substitutes from, of all things, an AP photo caption: “staunch Christian conservative, proven job-creator and fierce defender of states’ rights.”) Weissert was also the author of the second example, this time contending that Perry is an object of ridicule outside of the Lone Star State (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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AP Starts the 2016 Character Assassination of Rick Perry, Part 1: ‘Five Things to Know’ We Mostly Don’t Care About

A series of reports at the Associated Press following Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement that he would not seek another term can only be explained if their purpose is poison his possible 2016 presidential aspirations. In doing so, the AP is from all appearances firing the opening shots in a campaign to duplicate the establishment press’s tragically successful efforts to marginalize Perry and other conservative GOP candidates in 2011 and 2012, as Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell and Tim Graham have shown in their new book, Collusion. (Related NewsBusters posts are here and here.)

One such AP report by “wise guy” Will Weissert simply lists “5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY.” Should we know about the Lone Star State’s explosive job growth and impressive economic growth on his watch, or how he helped to consolidate Republican power in a state which had a Democratic governor as recently as 1994 and for over a century after Reconstruction? Of course not (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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Impending regulations cause an Akron fixture to stop growing and selling food

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:15 am

This column went up earlier this morning with minor edits at Watchdog.org.

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The owner of Akron’s only working farm who will no longer sell his output to the public is blaming out-of-control government regulation.

Don Bessemer of Bessemer Farms, an outfit with roots going back to before the turn of the century — the 20th century, that is – told Lisa Abraham at the Akron Beacon Journal that he, in her words, “has stopped growing vegetables for local tables” and laid off all of his workers because of “frustration with pending federal food safety regulations that likely will require farmers to very specifically track their produce and how it is handled from seed to sale.”

In other words, the feds, in this case the Food and Drug Administration, are inexorably moving towards forcing  farmers to employ the batch processing and reporting methodologies it currently requires of pharmaceutical manufacturers.

This means, in Bessemer’s own words, that “we’re being put out of business by the government,” even though “we haven’t poisoned anybody with an ear of corn for 117 years.”

Though it certainly doesn’t qualify as a multibillion-dollar agribusiness, Bessemer’s operation is far from tiny. In an item about Ohio’s drought conditions last year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the farm “plants 160 acres of produce just within the Akron city limits, but the farm itself extends into Medina and Summit counties.”
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Latest PJ Media Column (‘Sorry, Agendized Academics: The Recession Began in June 2008′) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:10 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (071013)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Maggie Thurber’s column at Ohio Watchdog yesterday on, among other things, the Ohio Legislature’s naming of a state poet had a nicely pointed wrap (links are in original):

(The moves don’t very much impress) their constituents who see unemployment in some counties above 10 percent, the state losing more people than it gains, ranking only 24th in terms of being business friendlyranking 39th in terms of business tax climatedropping from 13th to 25th in our highway system ranking, and a median income that hit a 27-year lowin 2010.

Indeed.

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Must-read, pathetically headlined item at McClatchy (Matt Drudge’s headline — “OBAMA ORDERS FED WORKERS: SPY ON EACH OTHER”):

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

Are there any penalties for falsely snitching on your co-workers to hold their careers back or to drive them out of government on political or ideological grounds?

Low points Drudge has noted:
- Watch lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors…
- Odd working hours, unexplained travel…
- Monitor co-workers stress, divorce, financial problems…
- Track online activities…
- Those failing to report face penalties, criminal charges…

If a Republican or conservative president initiated a police-state program like this, the “Joe McCarthy” analogies would be non-stop (although, to be clear, Joe McCarthy was right).

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Here’s another item which would be a press obsession, in this case if anyone other than Barack Obama was president:

The nation’s top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.

Read the whole painful thing.

All of this means that the full story of the bin Laden raid and assassination. As AP noted:

The refusal to make available authoritative or contemporaneous records about the bin Laden mission means that the only official accounts of the mission come from U.S. officials who have described details of the raid in speeches, interviews and television appearances. In the days after bin Laden’s death, the White House provided conflicting versions of events, falsely saying bin Laden was armed and even firing at the SEALs, misidentifying which of bin Laden’s sons was killed and incorrectly saying bin Laden’s wife died in the shootout. Obama’s press secretary attributed the errors to the “fog of combat.”

It would be tempting to give AP props here, but for the report’s second paragraph:

The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the Freedom of Information Act.

Seriously, we’re supposed to believe this hide-the-data exercise happened without the White House’s knowledge? Horse manure.

The only thing transparent about this administration is its obsession with preventing it.

Positivity: New generation of filmmakers to ‘Impact Culture for Christ’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From San Diego, California:

Jul 9, 2013 / 04:08 am (CNA).- A group of filmmakers of the John Paul II generation, looking to spread the Gospel of Christ, is working to produce a new high-quality short film, called “Bandit,” in San Diego, Calif.

The short silent film aims to explore the innocence of childhood through humor, as a masked and mischievous little girl sets out on a quest to cheer up a friend.

Students at John Paul the Great Catholic University plan to use the project to further launch themselves into the world of Hollywood film production.

“It’s really going to capitalize on a sense of childhood innocence and beauty, and look at laughter as medicine for sadness, all within a Charlie Chaplain-style film,” Maria Mitchell, a graduate student in film production at the university, told CNA on July 1.

The project is part of the greater mission of the university, known as “JP Catholic,” which is to “Impact Culture for Christ.”

“Oftentimes Christian media can be very cheesy and preachy and it’s just not as well done,” explained Mitchell, one of the three producers of “Bandit.”

“But we need to be better; we need to be funnier; we need to be smarter. We need to be more powerful.”

JP Catholic students seek to make movies with the universal properties of truth, goodness and beauty, which are accessible to everyone and can “give you something to chew on,” Mitchell noted.

“’Bandit’ is an example of that: it’s meant to be really charming and comical and beautiful.”

“We’re not trying to be in your face with it, and we’re not going to be explicitly talking about the faith, but we’ll be presenting beauty, and man craves beauty.”

The short film – and the mission of JP Catholic as a whole – is based on Blessed John Paul II’s call to use media and communications to further the New Evangelization and spread the Gospel of Christ.

“He said that the question is not whether modern man can accept the Gospel, but how can we use the communications media to communicate (the Gospel) effectively to him? So that’s what we’re trying to do,” Mitchell reflected. …

Go here for the rest of the story.