Friday, February 26, 2010

Does this make sense?

Anthem Blue Shield has been in the news a lot lately. Almost none of it good because they have decided that they need to raise their rates on their individual insurance policies. The rates, by the way for individuals, are going up about 39% according to the reports I've been reading.

Today, it was confirmed that for small businesses, the rates are going up at an even higher rate. In some cases, a whopping 76%.

Anthem Blue Shield's press flack tried to justify the rate hikes in a statement where he said,
"We lose membership because fewer people can afford to get it,... It does not help us. We only do it to be able to collect enough money to pay out."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes I swear people are just begging to get sued

Now, let me preface this by stating I think the hijab is a bad thing. I view it as a symbol of oppression towards women and alot of what I don't like about fundamentalist (Muslim or otherwise). I don't like it when its worn by Muslim women, or when its cousin is worn by orthodox Jewish women.

That being said, I have to ask whether Hollister Co. just wanted to get sued. Apparently they hired a religious Muslim woman to work at one of their stores in the Hillsdale Shopping Mall, not too far from San Francisco. According to her, she went to the interview wearing the hijab, as she always does, and even asked them if it was a problem. When she was hired, she was told that it was not a problem as long as the colors were acceptable.

Well, apparently someone did not get the memo. And she was fired earlier this week.

What's even more astonishing to me is the report that a Human Resources person was involved in the phone conference that lead to her firing. Did anyone bother to take a look at a some little documents, like the Constitution of the United States (that would be the First Amendment)? Or perhaps Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Perhaps they couldn't be bothered to look at the EEOC website where it talks about how employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate their employees religious beliefs.

People, this is not rocket science. Hell, this is common sense stuff, or should be. They fired her for wearing religiously required piece of clothing. The equivalent would be firing a Jew for wearing yarmulke, a Moromon for wearing Mormon underwear, or a Sikh for wearing the turban.

Now, before someone asks, reasonable accommodations doe snot mean that an employee gets to do whatever they want. In this case, it would have meant letting her wear the hijab since it would not be a great imposition on the company do so. Conversely it does not mean that she would be allowed to use the company time or location for the purpose of proselytizing.

Now CAIR is going to get up in arms and have their soapbox issue to say how evil we all are. Hell people, think before you fire something for something like this.

Does He Not Get It?

Does President Obama not get that sometimes you have to back up your allies? I mean, its not enough that he sold the Poles and the Ukranians down the river to the Russians after they stood in the door for us on missile defense. Its not enough that he tacitly supported a would-be dictator in Honduras.

Apparently he wants to cut the British loose as well. Remember the British? The ones who have backed us pretty consistently for more than a century. The ones who went to bat for us over terrorism, Iraq, and Afghanistan? The only member of the EU worth a damn when it comes to taking effective action and honoring their commitments?

I guess its too much of a bother for the Obama Administration to take the time to back up British claims of sovereignty to the Falkland Islands. Or the fact that the people there want to be British subjects and not Argentinian citizens. Apparently, its too damn hard for the Obama Administration to do that.

For those who do not remember, the Falklands are a group of islands in the South Atlantic. They have been claimed at various times by a number of nations, including Great Britain, Spain, Argentina, and France. Since 1833, the islands have been a British possession and its inhabitants have been British subjects. In 1982, with their country going down the drain, the military junta which controlled Argentina invaded the islands. The United Kingdom decided that it was going to do something to protect its people and reconquered the islands.

Back in 1982, we backed the Brits. We provided them with intelligence, upgraded weapons, and political support. Apparently the Brits can no longer count on us for anything.

Yes the start of this dispute is about oil. The real question is whether we support our friends. This should be an easy one. Argentina lost those islands nearly two centuries ago. The population of the islands are British, and want to remain British. But apparently, that's not enough to support those who have helped us.

We need friends like the Brits. We do not need friends like Chavez. When is this administration going to wake up to this fact?

I swear, there are times I think this Administration wants me to vote for their opponent in 2012.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I feel the madness rising ... DWTS Rumors

There is a rumor that Pamela Anderson is on Dancing With The Stars this season, and that she is being paired up with Maksim. The rumor, of course, comes from Maksim who I was pretty sure was going to take a season off this time around.

A few other announcements that have come out over the past couple of days:

  • Jonothan Roberts will not be back to compete this season. He says he may be on some of the performance shows.
  • Lacey Schwimmer will not be back. Aww shucks and darn. (Mrs. Angrybell will do a little happy dance to celebrate this I think).
  • It looks like Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough, Edyta Sliwinska, Mark Ballas, and Chelsie Hightower will be back.
  • Tony Dovolani and Anna Trebuskya look like they are on board for this season, but they aren't saying directly that they are yet.
  • Louis Van Amstel said he was going to be back, then reversed it with a cryptic message. So he might be in, and he might not be. I guess it all depends on the height of the celebrity that they find for the show.
  • Samantha Harris is no more, alas alack. It looks like Melissa Ryecroft will be taking her place. I'm not sure I can handle that much perky. I hope Tom Bergeron can.
  • There will be at least, if the reports are correct, one new professional: Damian Whitehood. He has been on Broadway, but that's all I know of him so far.
The interesting rumor is that Cheryl Burke has been trying to get Olympic champion Evan Lysacek to come on the show as a contestant. Which does Lysacek want more, a shiny mirror-ball trophy or a medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in Torino?

Another rumored contestant for this season is Greg Louganis.

According to reports, there will only be 12 couples this season. This is probably a good thing, since the cast size was getting out of control. The question is, who will be the final professional that they bring in.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I was wrong... this redefines Chutzpah

Who the frak did we elect to the office of President of the United States? I thought that we elected someone who professed to be someone who understood our constitutional rights. Who wanted to end the abuses of the Bush Administration. Who wanted to change how this government acted towards the people it represents.

All those who voted for President Obama forgot to look at a couple of positions he took, some as late as 2008. One of those was to oppose warrantless wiretaps. He took that position in February, however by the summer of 2008, he voted to approve those wiretaps. Now to a degree, I support warrantless wiretaps (for instance I do not think you need to obtain a warrant for a wiretap that is overseas just because it hits an American number. ) But by and large, allowing limitless, warrantless wiretaps in the name of national security is wrong and violates the Constitution of the United States.

Apparently, the Fourth Amendment is some pesky thing that needs to be shredded a little bit more. At least that is what the Administration's latest proposals must be interpreted as.

President Obama's administration, which apparently cannot get a law passed, has now set its sights on something that not even the Bush Administration would have dared do: they want the ability to warrantlessly track people by their cellphones. It is, apparently, the position of Obama Administration that there is no reasonable expectioatn of privacy in one's cellphone.

Huh? Just because it is not attached to the wall, suddenly we have lost the expecation of privacy in our phones?

In case anyone is wondering hwo they will do this, just watch an episode of NCIS. While Mrs. Angrybell loves this show (and I enjoy it), there is almost a nightly example of a Fourth Amendment violation. Basically, your cellphone works by transmitting to a tower which relays it on to its eventualy destination. In many cases, your call is being uploaded through multiple towers, allowing for triangulation. That's the basics.

After 9/11, it was made mandatory that cell phone sold in the US be equipped with GPS chips. The reason for this is in an emergency, rescue crews could use the GPS to narrow down the location of people trapped in rubble who were able to use their phones.

Well, now the conspiracy theorists who warned against this are being proven correct. The Obama administration, seizing on a some district court opinions (including one by Judge William Pauley, a Clinton appointee), want to ensure that you have no privacy right in your cell phone's location. Not that you have much of a choice. According to Judge Pauley's decision (which is not available without a subscription that I can find), it is argued that a person could turn off their cell phone and thereby keep their location a mystery. However, once you turn on the phone, you lose your privacy.

Isn't that nice of the courts. You can have a cellphone but if you turn it on, you forfeit your right to privacy.

We elected this government? What were we thinking?

For a man who claimed he was going to change things in Washington to propose, or allow this to be proposed, is astonishing. To say he is someone who respects civil rights after promoting this policy takes real Chutzpah.

Is it wrong to wish that he would have an affair with an intern so that we can impeach him? Oh wait, then we would have Biden as President and Pelosi and Vice-President.

November 2012 seems so far away.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wow, Chutzpah Redefined

The definition for Chutzpah has often been given as the man who kills his parents and throws himself on the mery of the court, asking for leniency because he is an orphan.

Yeah, that one got beat today it looks like. Phillip Craig Garrido is the man who is accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard, when she was 11 years old. He is alleged (and this one of those times I hate to use the word "alleged") to have held her captive for more than 18 years. While he and his wife held her, he managed to father two children with Ms. Dugard. (Although to be more precise, he allegedly raped her, as the older of the two is 15, which would make Ms. Dugard a minor at the time and unable to consent to sex, and another who is 11.)

So after, allegedly, kidnapping and raping her over 18 years, he was finally brought to justice when the police finally caught on to the fact he was keeping her and her children in a tent in the backyard that the neighbors had been reporting for years (yes oversimplification, but here is the wiki article), he is now jail awaiting trial.

It was reported today that his attorney filed a brief to allow Mr. Garrido more access to his wife (that would be the woman he legally married and, allegedly, participated in his kidnapping of Ms. Dugard and her captivity). The reason? There are family decisions which need to be made regarding their children.

This includes those children he fathered by raping his captive. That takes chutzpah to make that argument.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Well, it made me laugh

So yesterday I was in trial. The case ended in a settlement. But the part that made me laugh was when we, meaning my clients, myself, and my co-counsel, were walking to lunch.

There we were, walking down the hallway at the court house. Co-Counsel and I were loaded down like pack-mules with all our trial gear (we didn't have a courtroom at that point). When I saw another lawyer standing down the hallway whom I had not seen in a long time. It took me a minute to realize who it was, but then I realized it was a lawyer I used to work with back at my old firm of Working For Better Money.

I saw him. He saw me. And turned his back at me refusing to look at me until I had gotten on the elevator.

As soon as we were passed, I couldn't stop chuckling to myself. Co-Counsel asked me what was so funny. So I told her

Angrybell: "You see that guy who keeps turning his back to us in the black suit?"

C0-Counsel: "Yeah."

AB: "That's Mrs. Angrybell's ex-fiance."

C0-Counsel: "Oooooh scandal!"

So of course, once I got off the elevator I had to whip out my cellphone and call Mrs. Angrybell. I told her what happened. Her responses made me laugh.

Mrs. Angrybell: "Did he say anything to you?"

Angrybell: "No, just turned his back to me."

Mrs. Angrybell: "Well why didn't you go over and offer to show him pictures of Angrybabybelle?"

So since I didn't share with him, I figure I'll share with you all.

Isn't she cute?