Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fat chance of worker stopping pay bias now

Updated May 30
Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling in a job-discrimination case makes me wonder if the justices -- or the Congress that made the law being interpreted -- actually live in the real world. The ruling seems to mean that a worker who believes she was underpaid -- that is, paid less than peers in the same job -- loses the right to sue for redress if the discriminatory decision was made more than six months earlier.

Since most employers go out of their way to make sure their staffs don't know what coworkers are paid, that raises the bar pretty high for anyone to find out what they need to know to file a discrimination claim. I suppose now we'll have a lot of claims filed on thin evidence, and after some are thrown out of court we'll hear a round of laments about fee-hungry lawyers and reckless plaintiffs. That will be cited as grounds to repeal the anti-discrimination law itself. The law marches on toward a dog-eat-dog world.

The reporting that inspired this comment is from the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

This news, tucked away on page 3C of my hometown newspaper, is No. 1 in today's most-viewed list at the Washington Post. And here's the court's full opinion, in pdf format.

Who killed the honeybees?

There's a fascinating discussion of the progressive collapse of honeybee populations across the country. A sample:
we are facing a series of problems like this, problems that are environmental in nature, and this has been a real eye-opener for me as to how poorly prepared this country and countries around the world are in taking note of how climate change or global change will impact our ecosystems. Humanity is affecting our ecosystems, and it's very complex to determine whether this is due to environmental change or some disease. You can see now that it is very difficult to pull these things apart.
You can read it all on Salon. (Registration may be required)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Book-lover resorts to the torch

A bookstore owner in Kansas City burns his overstock because he can't even give it away. Makes me terribly sad. Reflect on how we share ideas as you read it here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Budget schizophrenia in Florida

Key members of the Florida Legislature, while beating up on local governments for their property taxes, just couldn't resist elbowing closer to the feeding trough to grab an unprecedented total in local spending projects. Here's comment from the St. Petersburg Times, and a slightly more neutral piece from the Gannett newspapers of Florida.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tainted Chinese imports common

If the deaths of people's animal companions from tainted pet food scared you, I think you'll want to see what the Washington Post reported today. Here's a little bit:
For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught -- many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.
You can read the whole alarming thing here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Keep those Humvees rolling

Updated May 21
While farsighted leaders around the world try to lessen dependence on oil, the Miami-Dade County Commission plays to short-range political convenience by considering a summertime holiday from the motor fuel tax. This is the brainstorm of Commissioner Joe Martinez, taking a hint from that well-known bastion of conservation, Texas. Read it in the Miami Herald.

The background, of course, is that gasoline prices nudged upward again last week. There's a good look at the impact of the prices in the St. Petersburg Times.

And here's the text of the proposed county ordinance, which is being scheduled for a public hearing July 17.

Monday, May 07, 2007

'Poppy quarter' behind spy coin alert

There's a good laugh here, at the expense of our obsession with national security. The AP report is at Yahoo! News