Something to keep in mind as election day fast approaches.
Along with their recent paychecks, employees received a pamphlet from their employer on company letter head that stated "as the election season is here, we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future." While pointing out that the vote is the employee's "personal decision," the pamphlet explicitly states, "if the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected we will not."
In explicitly endorsing gubernatorial candidate John Kasich (R), Senate candidate Rob Portman (R), and House candidate Jim Renacci (R), the pamphlet — which was directly inside the envelope with the paycheck — appears to directly violate Ohio Revised Code regarding elections.
As an independent business owner, my employees are a top priority for me. I work hard to create a positive restaurant environment for everyone. I greatly value my employees and the contributions they make to my business, each and every day. Without a doubt it's my employees' right and his or her choice, if they decide to vote, and if so, for whom. I strive to comply with all laws, including state and federal election laws. Distributing this communication was an error of judgment on my part. Please know, it was never my intention to offend anyone. For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize.
Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.
The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.
The suit that Justice Wooten allowed to proceed claims that in April 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, who were both 4, were racing their bicycles, under the supervision of their mothers, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, on the sidewalk of a building on East 52nd Street. At some point in the race, they struck an 87-year-old woman named Claire Menagh, who was walking in front of the building and, according to the complaint, was "seriously and severely injured," suffering a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later of unrelated causes.
Her estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming they had acted negligently during the accident. In a response, Juliet's lawyer, James P. Tyrie, argued that the girl was not "engaged in an adult activity" at the time of the accident — "She was riding her bicycle with training wheels under the supervision of her mother" — and was too young to be held liable for negligence.
In legal papers, Mr. Tyrie added, "Courts have held that an infant under the age of 4 is conclusively presumed to be incapable of negligence." (Rachel and Jacob Kohn did not seek to dismiss the case against them.)
But Justice Wooten declined to stretch that rule to children over 4. On Oct. 1, he rejected a motion to dismiss the case because of Juliet's age, noting that she was three months shy of turning 5 when Ms. Menagh was struck, and thus old enough to be sued.
Mr. Tyrie had also argued that Juliet should not be held liable because her mother was present; Justice Wooten disagreed.
"A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street," the judge wrote. He added that any "reasonably prudent child," who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there. The crucial factor is whether the parent encourages the risky behavior; if so, the child should not be held accountable.
I also suspect that the whole inquiry into how reasonably prudent four-year-olds behave is unlikely to yield any meaningful result. Most four-year-olds are prudent sometimes and imprudent at other times, and I quite doubt that one can identify even in one's head what sort of care a reasonably prudent four-year-old would likely take. Naturally, this is a matter of degree, and at some age the question becomes more meaningful, even given that fourteen-year-olds and for that matter twenty-four-year-olds will often act rashly.
But I'm inclined to say that the wiser move for a state legal system would be to set the absolute bar to liability for the child (setting aside the possibility of the parent's being liable for negligent supervision) at a considerably higher age — maybe seven, or maybe even older. Otherwise, the result is more litigation with no real likelihood that we'll have any sensible jury decisions in such litigation.
In what can only be seen now as a last minute high-stakes gamble, Meg Whitman has now... suddenly... after not calling for it before... called for her former housekeeper to be deported. Note that even The Politico reporter seems a bit aghast at the transparent political motive of this days-before-the-election gambit:
California GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman says her former housekeeper should be deported.
Whitman — down 10 percentage points in the latest Field Poll after spending over $140 million of her own money on the campaign — said Nicky Diaz should be forced to leave the country for lying about her illegal status.
The following passage also gives you a perfect example of crocodile tears — or, perhaps more accurately, crock tears:
"It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents, and she lied about her immigration status," Whitman told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday night.
"And it breaks my heart," she added. "Gloria Allred pulled off a political stunt. And you know what? On November 3rd, no one's going to care about Nicky Diaz. But the law is the law, and we live in the rule of law. It's important."
Whitman has previously declined to say whether she thinks Diaz should remain in the country after Diaz publicly accused the former eBay CEO earlier this month of knowingly employing her despite her illegal status.
But now — just coincidentally, mind you... the timing of the election a few days has nothing to do with it... the fact that she was booed at a forum when she refused to go along with Jerry Brown in agreeing to Matt Lauer's call for the two rivals to pull negative ads had nothing to do with it... the fact that the big buck ads she spent have not really advanced her cause and her numbers have been going down have nothing to do with it — she has called for her housekeeper to be kicked out of the country.
It'll be interesting to see if this will improve her polls. But even the most conservative voters in California may be turned off by a move as seemingly transparently, cravenly political as this one.
But, aside from finishing what one started, aside from the fact that Florida Democrats actually believe Kendrick Meek is the best choice for them, and aside from the fact that he has been telling people for years at this point that they should vote for him for actual reasons that have to do with policies he believes in, Meek's decision to stay in this race will help Democrats across the state of Florida, even if he doesn't win the Senate seat.
Florida is home to some significant, competitive races this year. The tight governor's race pits Democratic state CFO Alex Sink against millionaire Tea Party health care businessman Rick Scott, and the Cook Political Report rates five House races as competitive, including the re-election bids of Democratic Reps. Alan Grayson and Ron Klein. Four of those races are tilting the GOP's way, and Democrats can use all the help they can get.
Meek is now running a big, statewide campaign, with advertising and a get-out-the-vote operation that will turn out his supporters, many of whom will vote for the Democratic ticket, even if they've come to the polling place to support him.
The congressman's constituency through four terms in the House -- a constituency that was represented by his mother, Congresswoman Carrie Meek, immediately before Kendrick -- happen to reside in Miami's largest black community in a district that incorporates the northern part of the city.
If Meek dropped out, potentially thousands of black voters in Miami would have less of a reason to vote on Tuesday -- and that's on top of all the Meek supporters across the state of Florida -- which would almost certainly hurt Sink's campaign, in addition to the Democrat engaged in tough House races across the state.
It's a politics of resentment, anger and revenge... We're seeing a politics of vengeance now from the right. When Rush Limbaugh said he wanted Barack Obama to fail, he was not just spitting out a provocative line, he was actually handing out a kind of marching orders to the right, which they now seem to be following.
Florida Democrat Alex Sink leads Republican Rick Scott in the race for governor of the fourth- most-populous U.S. state for the first time in a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters.
Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, was supported by 45 percent of respondents to 41 percent for Scott, a former health-care executive, in the survey taken Oct. 18-24, the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said today. The poll of 784 people has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the Constitution.
Needless to say, while the Constitution doesn't contain the exact words "separation of church and state," legal scholars and the courts agree it does prohibit the establishment or endorsement of religion, and that the involvement Buck wants is dangerous. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in a concurring opinion in 1984, the government is prohibited from "making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community." In 1801, Thomas Jefferson wrote that "religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God," and argued the Constitution required "building a wall of separation between Church & State."
Also, Buck's charge about Obama and the White House Christmas tree doesn't rise above the level of a crude viral e-mail hoax: or in the words of FactCheck.org, "hooey."
Of course, if this sounds familiar, it's because we've seen and heard quite a few attacks these First Amendment principles lately. Delaware's Christine O'Donnell recently humiliated herself during a debate by rejecting the separation of church state as a constitutional principle, and Nevada's Sharron Angle recently made very similar remarks. Last week, Rush Limbaugh denounced the very idea of church-state separation, and in April, former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) rejected any notion that "God should be separated from the state."
I just wrote up a lengthy item on the history here a few days ago, so I won't re-hash it again. Needless to say, the separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of the American system of government, and the foundation for the greatest experiment in religious liberty the world has ever known.
But putting aside the fact that these unhinged Republicans simply have no idea what they're talking about, I have a related concern: what is it, exactly, they'd replace church-state separation with?
What we're seeing is, to a certain extent, the rise of the Taliban wing of the Republican Party -- the Taliban rails against secularism, and insists that the law must mirror and be based on their interpretation of a religious text. Buck, O'Donnell, Angle, Limbaugh, and Palin have all argued something eerily similar. Thomas Jefferson said the First Amendment built "a wall of separation between church and state," and these Republicans are anxious to tear it down.
Let's say, for the sake of conversation, they succeed. What then? Once the foundation for religious liberty in America is gone, what does Ken Buck suggest we replace it with? There are some countries that endorse Buck's worldview and intermix God and government -- Iran and Afghanistan under Taliban rule come to mind -- but they're generally not countries the United States tries to emulate.
So what do Buck and his ilk have in store for us? A European-style official church? A theocracy along the lines of Saudi Arabia? Are conservatives who want the government to shrink also telling us they want the state to play a larger role in promoting and "helping" religious institutions?
When the right denounces American the principles that have made us great, they stop being merely wrong, and start becoming even more dangerous.
There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.
Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:
1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.
3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.
4) The stimulus didn't work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.
6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.
7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.
8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.
This stuff really matters.
If the public votes in a new Congress because a majority of voters think this one tripled the deficit, and as a result the new people follow the policies that actually tripled the deficit, the country could go broke.
If the public votes in a new Congress that rejects the idea of helping to create demand in the economy because they think it didn't work, then the new Congress could do things that cause a depression.
If the public votes in a new Congress because they think the health care reform will increase the deficit when it is actually projected to reduce the deficit, then the new Congress could repeal health care reform and thereby make the deficit worse. And on it goes.
Here's Sharron Angle's latest ad attacking Harry Reid over illegal immigration. It's a doozy -- it sounds the alarm about "waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border joining violent gangs." And it features the now-familiar imagery of young swarthy men looking generally menacing.
But please note in particular the momentary glimpse we're given at the three second mark of the United States Border Inspection Station at El Paso, Texas:
Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear.