Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger, R.I.P.

I hope this had nothing to do with it. But I'm afraid it probably did.
From IMDB:
The Joker's character is based on his first two appearances in the comic books, as well as his portrayal in the graphic novel "The Killing Joke." To prepare for the role, Heath Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month researching the character and developing his performance, which he claims is based upon Sid Vicious and the character of Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971). Ledger found the role extremely difficult, and suffered insomnia as a result.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Something's Phony Here

Kay returned to California to start Golden State Fence in 1984 with five employees and was on a roll by the early 1990s. Almost from the start, he relied on illegal immigrants. Nearly all his workers took advantage of the 1986 amnesty but he soon struggled to fill jobs. He shunned applicants who came in off the street, instead relying on Mexican
employees to recruit family and friends.
"They were more trustworthy and more apt to stay long term," Kay told The Associated Press at his office in Riverside, a sparsely furnished room with a white linoleum floor and an empty desktop.
...Installing fences is punishing labor, especially in Southern California's desert heat and rocky soil. Kay requires job applicants to raise 60 pounds over their heads and move wheelbarrows of dirt. About 75
percent of his workers are Hispanic. But Kay compensated his employees well. New hires start at $35,000 a year and jump to about $60,000 after three years. Full-time workers get health and life insurance, sick leave and at least two weeks vacation.
...As they pored over files, investigators discovered a
government audit in 1999 that found 15 employees were illegal immigrants, including three they had just arrested. ....Kay says he ignored the warnings not to rehire the men: "They had been working for me a long time." ...Kay and his son-in-law pleaded guilty to knowingly hiring at least 10 illegal immigrants over a 12-month period. "They give you some ground, you give them some ground,"
Kay says. "That's the best I could get."
...When Kay arrived at his sentencing in March, U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz said his initial
instinct was to send him to prison. But Moskowitz noted Kay's strong work ethic and support from employees who overflowed the courtroom
into the hallway. The judge said he couldn't ignore that Kay and McLaughlin treated employees like
family. After a federal raid forced them to fire about 200 illegal immigrants, they paid each two weeks' severance, though they were not legally obligated.
..."Are these the poster children for being the first ones to get jail time?" Moskowitz asked. "I think the answer is no."

YES. YES. YES.

Put this in any other context. An employer offers between $35,000 - $60,000 a year, plus full benefits, for entry-level manual labor. He is particularly impressed with Smurfs as employees because they have wonderful qualities. Three out of four of his workers are Smurfs. Most of his workers are friends and relatives of Smurfs who referred them in. He treats his Smurfs "just like family". Non-smurfs brought in to work "just don't work out".

Isn't that boss a prime target for an employment discrimination lawsuit? Who's kidding who? Every non-Smurf who keeps his job is blocking a $35,000 job from a Smurf brother or cousin or classmate. Funny how they "just don't work out", ain't it?

And the fact that these are not Smurfs, but actually people who have no legal right to work here, and he knows it, is just insult to injury.

This is also why I would like Congress to fight hard for mandatory sentencing laws. I did not vote for Judge Moskowitz. Nobody voted for Judge Moskowitz. His arbitrary sense of which guilty people really deserve the statutory penalty, has no remedy.