Thursday, May 30, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #110 - Part 1

Good news: BSA, Joe Arpaio, A&F, Pope Francis, strikes

As ever, I like to start with good news where I can. This week I've got a few things which I'm going to run through rather quickly.

1. The Boy Scouts of America has voted to allow gay Scouts. The organization has chosen to eliminate sexual orientation as a criterion for youth membership.

It's only a partial victory, since under the new ruling, gay Scout leaders are still banned, leading to the obvious question of at just what age, in the collective minds of the group's leaders, do gays turn from innocent youths into dangerous sexual predators. But for the moment, take what we got.

2. On a different sort of good news, the self-aggrandizing, power-hungry, self-promoting Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio has been found by US District Court Judge Murray Snow to have violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers in his supposed "crackdown on illegal immigration." Snow ordered him to stop using race or ancestry as a factor in law enforcement decisions. It's about time someone started seeing Arpaio for the bigot he is.

3. It appears that Abercrombie and Fitch may be seeing some real pushback as a result of renewed attention to statements made back in 2006 by CEO Mike Jeffries. In that interview, Jeffries said that "In every school there are the cool kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. A lot of people," he said, "don’t belong in our clothes."

This came up again when Robin Lewis, co-author of the recent book "The New Rules of Retail," said in a recent interview that Jeffries doesn't want larger people even to be shopping in his store.

Jeffries' sneering dismissal of the worth of, let's just say, an extremely large number of people did not go over well. In response, Jeffries issued this laughable excuse for an apology: "I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense."

You know those non-apology apologies, the ones where someone says "I'm sorry if anyone was offended," supposedly "apologizing" without actually admitting you did anything wrong? This one does not even rise to that level. It's pathetic.

The good news is that it's possible there has been some impact: The company's US sales fell 17 percent in the first quarter of the year and future profit forecasts have been cut. How much of that is due to anger over Jeffries' culturally-bigoted stupidity can't be told, but still there is likely some.

By the way, that is Mike Jeffries in the photo and in case you're wondering, yes, he dyes his hair blond. Why this guy is so convinced he understands "cool" escapes me.

4. Pope Francis has declared that everyone was redeemed through the death of Jesus, including atheists. All, he said, of all faiths and of no faith can do good and have the duty to do good. Why is this good news? Because it's a heck of a lot more open-minded than his predecessor was.

5. Finally, it's appearing more and more that at least some American workers have finally just had enough. The latest one-day strike by low-wage workers, which took place on May 21, wasn't by employees of Walmart or McDonald's. It was by people who work for companies who are contracted by the federal government to provide staff at landmark Washington, DC, buildings such as Union Station and the Smithsonian. They are among the nearly two million people working for federal contractors around the country at near poverty-level wages while their CEO's can legally be reimbursed by taxpayers for total compensation of over $760,000 per year.

Strikers are calling on President Hopey-Changey to lift their wages, which he could do with an executive order - but hasn't.


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