Tag Archives: politics

Police dog released on mother with baby stroller at Anaheim

Anaheim, California: the place where a police attack dog was released on a mother and her baby stroller (see 1:25 for the scene followed by a short comment from the mother).

So this happened, and I am beyond appalled. The families were reportedly having a community picnic to discuss a future rally in support of  Manuel Diaz who was shot by police. According to Sgt. Bob Dunn, the department’s spokesman, the crowd advanced on officers and threw bottles as the officers investigated the scene of a second shooting that killed Joel Acevedo. The police officers then fired bean bags and pepper balls at the crowd.  According to Anaheim Sgt. Bob Dunn, Diaz  was  “one of three men who ran away from officers who approached them in an alley,” which lead to the fatal shooting.

Oh, and that police dog? Dunn said the dog somehow got out of a patrol car and was “deployed accidentally.”

Of course, the situation must  be looked at from all sides. According to a few sources, police say Diaz was a known gang member. This would give reason for him to run from the police perhaps in fear of being caught for being involved in gang-related crimes. I still cannot understand how this would justify the murder of Diaz. According to the news report, Diaz was approached in an alley and shot while he ran away, but a video of the incident shows that Diaz’s head was covered in blood, raising doubts about whether the police’s actions were justified.

Though if you’re looking for justification, you might find a few questionable theories if you read the comments on the Yahoo news article, where “illegal immigrant” is used in many of them. What basis is there to support this claim that Diaz was an illegal immigrant? Ah, yes, we have this undoubtedly valid piece of evidence : his Latino name. (/sarcasm)

I may not live in the USA, but where I am from we call this discrimination. I am very well aware many view illegal immigration as a prime issue in the US and there are valid reasons for which I will not argue with, but to instantly assume that Manuel Diaz was an illegal immigrant is absolutely ignorant and unforgivable.  No matter the situation of Manuel’s criminal history or legal status in the US, police opened fire on children and “accidentally” unleashed a police dog. You cannot argue against these facts. It is absolutely absurd for a police officer to wield a weapon he/she cannot control, what makes it any different if that ‘tool’ was a dog?

All in all, I’m really not sure what to think of this whole situation. I still cannot wipe the grime off the idea that a child was shot because police knowingly fired into that crowd.

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Oh, you got sick during your vacation leave? Have another.

by Willem van de Kerkhof

The Court of Justice of the European Union made a decision this week that if you get sick during your guaranteed, annual, four to six weeks of paid vacation leave, you should get to have another. After all,

…the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to
sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.

I thought this was a great ruling on the side of the European Union, particularly during a time when Europe is ” mired in recession, governments struggling to reduce budget deficits and officials trying to combat high unemployment.” In light of the economy, I’m sure this was a difficult decision to make. People are still people, and they deserve to live their lives well without working themselves to the bone. After reading about this ruling in the NY Times, I decided to research other countries’ vacation policies.

In doing so, I have learned that Canadian workers are entitled to two weeks of vacation leave per year, paid a minimum of 4% their regular wage.

In China, the number of days granted for paid leave increases with the time length of consecutive employment (this is not uncommon among countries). That is to say if you have worked under an employer for one to ten years, you are entitled 5 days of vacation leave with full pay; 10 to 20 grants you ten days; 20 and above grants you 15 days.

On the other hand,  Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of the USA “does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays (federal or otherwise).” Although there is no legislated minimum, it has been estimated that average employers grant their employees 15 days of vacation. The USA is the only advanced country without a national vacation policy.

This information really made me think about the extent to which full-time employees (in the most generic sense) spend working. I can’t help but be reminded of the feelings I had when I wrote my previous blog post: What can I do with my life such that I will feel satisfied spending 8 hours a day doing my work? Will I really be able to find a career for which I will happily wake up at 7am every weekday? I’m not sure about my future, but for now I will concentrate on gaining experience and information about careers I can potentially pursue as I finish up my undergraduate degree.

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“Don’t Say Gay”—Tennessee Law Prohibiting Talk of Homosexuality in Schools

UPDATE: The bill has been passed by the Tennessee Senate as of May 20, 2011 despite being delayed a number of times, and being quite heavily protested.

The bill prohibiting teachers from discussing homosexuality with students before grade nine is close to being passed. If the bill gets passed, it will be illegal for teachers to discuss homosexual matters with students in kindergarten up to grade eight. The bill is claimed to hold only the child’s safety in interest, by keeping the school curriculum “age appropriate.”

According to Time.com,

The bill supporters, including sponsor Sen. Stacey Campfield, a Republican from Knoxville who unsuccessfully pushed the same bill in the House for six years before being elected to the Senate, say the bill is “neutral” and simply leaves it up to families to decide when it is an appropriate time to talk to their kids about sexuality.

But in only restricting speech about homosexuality, not heterosexuality, the measure seems to have a more one-sided agenda than the sponsor purports. That point has led gay-rights activists to call the bill a form of discrimination, especially as it bars teachers from talking about gay issues or sexuality even with students who identify as gay or have gay parents.

People who are in favour of the bill feel that it will protect children from being exposed to sexual matters that are too complicated or mature for them to understand at such an age.

I hope this bill doesn’t get passed. I feel it’s unreasonable to enforce such a law that would serve no better purpose than to alienate children who are gay. What is a child to think if they try to ask a teacher about something they’ve seen or heard about gays, only to be told they can’t ask those kind of questions? Teachers would be implying that such a topic is taboo, which implies such a topic is inappropriate and bad. This only serves to teach the child that they are different if they are gay or have gay parents, and that different is wrong.

The reality is that sexual conversation between teacher and student isn’t likely to happen in general (of course this depends on what you define as ‘sexual conversation’). I think that making the matter illegal is a bit far.

It doesn’t make me feel any better that the Republican senator sponsoring this bill, Stacey Campfield, has previously proposed other controversial bills such as issuing death certificates for aborted fetuses and allowing guns on college campuses for self-defense against possible school shootings.


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Law enforced to lift outdoor-clotheslines ban…. wait, what?

Passing laws to prevent the banning of outdoor-clotheslines is nothing new in the nations that are Canada and America. I recently came across an article that discussed the controversy surrounding outdoor-clotheslines, and I have to say I’m shocked at how stupid it all is. The article discussed how in 2008, the Ontario premier enforced a law to lift  outdoor-clotheslines bans. (Forgive me for being a few years late on this, but I just saw this and had to write about it)

According to the video featured in the article,   bans are often enforced because some home buyers feel more comfortable buying homes in a neighbourhood where they don’t have to look at drying underwear. For the record, my family has been hanging out our laundry in the backyard for a longtime, and I can safely say that I’ve seen my neighbours’ laundry hang in their backyards as well. Not because we’re poor or rude, but because when the weather’s hot and the sun can dry clothes almost as well as any dryer machine, why not? (It should be noted, as it is on Wikipedia, that this view on clothes lines only applies to a small percentage of people, and does not represent universal views on clothes lines) It actually wasn’t the government who had banned it in the first place, but it was the building developers. They wanted to appeal to people who don’t want to look at their neighbours’ underwear hanging in their backyards. I personally think that this was a bit extreme in the first place. Continue reading

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