They say the Devil is in the details, but he’s often in the details that get left out.
An article by one “news” organization that specializes in leaving out details is making the rounds on facebook today… It’s none other than World Net Daily, an information outlet that I’ve had fun debunking in the past for their complete lack of integrity. They STILL promote the notion that Obama is not a US citizen, but a Kenyan plant.
Here’s the “news” item, as they present it.
Federal Court: Non-Muslim Cops Can Be Ordered To Attend Mosque
By Bob Unruh, WND
A panel of federal judges in Denver, in an opinion written by Judge Harris Hartz, found that it is perfectly appropriate for a police chief to order subordinates to attend an Islamic mosque where Muslims “discussed Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and why and how Muslims pray” in addition to encouraging officers “to buy” Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale.
The ruling came on Thursday from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by Capt. Paul Fields, who had been ordered by Tulsa police officials to either go to a special event at the local mosque himself, or order others to do that.
Fields refused based on religious freedom objections and was punished for that.
The judges on the 10th Circuit panel said that was perfectly appropriate.
The very first thing I noticed was… Where the hell is the story???? WND is a propaganda outlet, plain and simple. Lying by omission is a common trait shared by such sites. So I thought I’d flesh this out and see where it goes.
Here is the case made by Capt. Fields lawyers at the “American Freedom Law Center”, a very Conservative organization that represents Conservative causes and clients (I don’t have a problem with that BTW – if you have a case, it doesn’t matter if your Conservative or Liberal). There is more detail here thankfully. Here are portions of their stated case:
Throughout his entire career, Captain Fields has been a model for other police officers and an exemplary employee of the police department. Captain Fields is a Christian. He is not a Muslim, nor does he adhere to the Islamic faith. He objects to the City of Tulsa, its police department, and its officials promoting, endorsing, or otherwise providing favored treatment to Islam and compelling officers of the police department to attend Islamic events, including the “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day,” which was sponsored by the Islamic Society of Tulsa….
On January 25, 2011, Deputy Chief of Police Webster, who is a defendant in this lawsuit, announced in a staff meeting that the Islamic Society was hosting a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” that was scheduled for Friday, March 4, 2011. Friday is the “holy day” or “Sabbath” for Islam.
On Wednesday, February 16, 2011, an email approved by City police officials was sent to all police department personnel, stating, “Please see attached flier and rsvp if attending to ensure there is plenty of great food and tour guides.” Attached to the email was a flyer from the Islamic Society.
The event at the Islamic Society was not a collaborative event between the City Police Department and the Islamic Society, but simply an open invitation to “All Tulsa Law Enforcement” that was planned solely by the Islamic Society.
And then the lawyers get into the meat of the case they are pursuing:
There was no agenda on the invitation flyer—nor was one created by City police offficials—for the invited officers to discuss crime or crime related issues of any kind. Consequently, the Islamic event was not a function of what is known as “Community Policing,” nor did this event involve a “call for service.” In sum, it was a private event hosted by an Islamic religious organization.
A lot of the back and forth is covered in the case laid out by the AFLC, but here is the main sticking point:
On February 18, 2011, Webster sent a three-page interoffice correspondence to Captain Fields by email that affirmed the order and requested Captain Fields to reconsider his position. Captain Fields again refused based on his religious beliefs, convictions, and conscience.
As a result of Captain Fields’s refusal to compromise his religious beliefs and convictions and violate his conscience, Webster ordered Captain Fields to appear in Jordan’s conference room on Monday, February 21, 2011.
During this meeting with Jordan and Webster, Captain Fields again explained that he believed the order was unlawful and that he could not, in good conscience, obey the order nor force the officers under his charge to obey it…..
For at least the previous 16 years, it was the policy of the City Police Department that a police officer’s attendance at any event involving religion or a place of religious worship that was not a call for service nor organized by the department as a function of Community Policing for the purpose of discussing crime or crime related issues was strictly voluntary. Consequently, under the policies and practices existing at the time of the event held by the Islamic Society, attendance at the event should have been strictly voluntary.
On June 9, 2011, the City punished Captain Fields for exercising his constitutional rights by suspending him without pay for 80 hours/10 days, subjecting him to further scrutiny and the possibility of “more severe disciplinary action, including dismissal,” prohibiting him from being “considered for future promotions for a period of . . . at least one (1) year,” and making his temporary transfer to the Mingo Valley Division permanent. As further punishment, the City assigned Captain Fields to the “graveyard” shift.
Because the Islamic organization is Sharia, Mr. Fields, a Christian, felt he should not have to follow the orders of his superior officers to attend this event.
Captain Fields correctly believes that City police officials do not have a right to order police officers to attend an Islamic event against the officers’ personal religious beliefs and convictions.
Captain Fields also responded to the order by email. In his email response, Captain Fields stated that he believed that the order directing officers to attend the Islamic event was “an unlawful order, as it is in direct conflict with my personal religious convictions, as well as to be conscience shocking.”
So the case goes to trial. Here is the results of the first trial:
Here are portions of the transcripts from the first trial. In he undisputed facts section, where both sides agree that the events here are not in dispute:
Captain Fields is an Tulsa Police Department officer. (Doc. #42 ¶1). Fields’s chain of
command consisted of Major Julie Harris, Deputy Chief of Police Alvin Webster, and Chief of Police Charles Jordan. (Id.¶¶8-10). TPD has a policy of engaging in community policing. (Doc. #45 ¶30). Building trust in the community is part of TPD’s mission. (Id.¶39). TPD accepted requests for attendance at 327 religious venues or from religious organizations between 2004 and 2011. (Id.¶47).
The Islamic Society of Tulsa hosted a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” on Friday,
March 4, 2011. (Doc. #42 ¶11). The Islamic Society had received threats in 2010, and TPD
provided protection. (Doc. #45 ¶¶11-12). To show their thanks, the Islamic Society invited
TPD, the Sheriff’s Office, the district attorney’s office, and the FBI to their Appreciation Day.(
Id.¶16). After discussing the event with Webster, the Islamic Society ensured the invitation made clear that officers need not tour the Mosque or discuss Islam to attend.
On January 25,2011, Webster announced the Appreciation Day event at a staff meeting. (Doc. #45 ¶21; Doc. #42 ¶11). On February 16, 2011, Webster emailed the event invitation to – “All TPD Users” and asked officers to notify him if they would be attending. (Doc. #45 ¶¶2 1 -22; Doc. #42 ¶22). That day, Webster also sent an email to the three patrol division majors, requesting:
“I have advised Ms. Siddiqui to expect small group visits at 1100, 1330, and 1630. Please arrange for 2 officers and a supervisor or commander from each of your shops to attend at each of those times. They can expect to be at the facility for approximately 30 minutes but stay longer if they wish. Each Patrol Division will provide a total of 6 officers and 3 supervisors for the day’s event….”
The next day, Major Harris emailed Fields, stating “we are directed by DCOP Webster to have representatives from each shift – 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to attend” and pasting the above statement from Webster.
I’m a little confused in reference to DCOP Webster’s directive to send 2 officers and at least 1 supervisor or shift commander from 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, shifts to the Islamic Society of Tulsa Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Initially, this was to be on a voluntary basis, however now it is a directive. What has changed? I have no problem with officers attending on a voluntary basis; however, I take exception to requiring officers to attend this event. Past invitations to religious/non-religious institutions for similar purposes have always been voluntary. I believe this directive to be an unlawful order, as it is in direct conflict with my personal religious convictions, as well as to be conscience shocking.
This event is not a police “call to service”, which I would readily respond to, as required by my Oath of Office. Instead, it is an invitation to, tour a Mosque, meet Muslim Leadership, watch a congregational prayer service, and receive “presentations on beliefs, human rights, and women.” It is my opinion and that of my legal counsel, that forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is a violation of my Civil Rights.
Please consider this email my official notification to the Tulsa Police Department and the City of Tulsa that I intend not to follow this directive, nor require any of my subordinates to do so if they share similar religious convictions.
We have seen over and over again that “personal convictions” does not nullify law, nor does it preclude chain-of-command orders. And, the case isn’t just about his religious beliefs, as the WND portrays it, it’s about an officer who not only refuses a direct order, but encourages his subordinates to join him in a mini-mutiny as well.
The case continues:
The next day, Webster sent Fields a three page, single spaced interoffice correspondence, clarifying that “voluntary participation is desirable and should an adequate number of personnel volunteer, assignment would not be necessary… Should voluntary response not be up to the task, assignment would be the next alternative.” (Doc. #45-22 at 1). Webster noted that “I and other personnel have either been detailed or strongly encouraged to attend community outreach events at the Jewish Community Center, churches in North Tulsa to reach out to African American residents, and churches in East Tulsa to reach out to Hispanic residents.” (Id.at 1-2). And Webster explained that “[t]here is no distinction between performing our lawful duties in a reactive manner (call response) and doing so in a proactive manner (community outreach).” (Id.at 2). Webster also agreed that “[w]ere Police Department personnel expected to participate in religious services, I would agree with you… Personnel would not be required [to] participate in religious services on duty that they would not choose to participate in off duty.” (Id.). Given the Department’s clarification that “you are not required to participate or assist in any religious observance, make any expression of belief, or adopt any belief system,” Webster encouraged Fields to reconsider his refusal to participate or identify others to participate. (Id.at 3). After conferring with his counsel, Fields responded that “there is no need to reconsider my decision.”
After Fields again refuses to either go to the event or assign others to do so, that is when the hammer comes down.
Captain Luther Breashears conducted the internal investigation. (Doc. #45 ¶68). Fields then received a pre-Action hearing. (Doc. #45 ¶77). After the hearing, Deputy Chief Larsen recommended a four week unpaid suspension. (Doc. #45 ¶78). Jordan imposed one week unpaid suspensions each for violating the duty to be obedient (Rule 6) and for conduct unbecoming an officer (Rule 8). (Doc. #45 ¶79)
So, Fields was reprimanded for refusing a direct order, an order which gave him the opportunity so send another in his place, thus providing a work-around nullifying the interference and conflict between the order to attend a Mosque and Fields personal Christian beliefs. But, in the court document, a document quotes Fields saying:
“forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is
a violation of my Civil Rights.”
Again, the problem is… He didn’t even have to go. He had the choice of ordering another to go in his place:
The court finds the email [from CO Webster to Fields and other officers] unambiguously directed Fields to find volunteers or assign individuals to attend the Appreciation Day. Fields could have included himself among those volunteers or assigned individuals, but he was not required to attend.
The court ads:
In addition, even had Fields been required to attend the Appreciation Day, he was neither required to attend the afternoon prayer service nor was he required to listen to presentations on Islam.
And here is the May 22 appellate court ruling, backing the previous courts decision.
First, the Attendance Order did not burden Fields’s religious rights because it did not require him to violate his personal religious beliefs by attending the event; he could have obeyed the order by ordering others to attend, and he has not contended on appeal that he had informed his supervisors that doing so would have violated his religious beliefs. Second, the order did not violate the Establishment Clause because no informed, reasonable observer would have perceived the [*2] order or the event as a government endorsement of Islam. Third, the order did not burden Fields’s right of association because it did not interfere with his right to decide what organizations to join as a member. Fourth, Fields’s equal-protection claim duplicates his free-exercise claim and fails for the same reason. And fifth, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Fields’s motion to amend the complaint to add ORFA and free-speech retaliation claims because the amendment would have been futile. He has provided no reason why his ORFA claim could succeed when his religion claims under the First Amendment do not. And his retaliation claim would fail because the interests of the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) as an employer outweighed Fields’s free-speech interests in filing his suit.
Here are some details added in this confirming ruling:
For more than 23 years TPD had engaged in community policing, in which it participated in events to build trust with the local community. As part of that mission, TPD accepted requests to attend about 3,500 community events between 2004 and 2011. Some 327 of those events were at religious venues or institutions affiliated with religious faiths, and between 2009 and 2011 there were an additional 25 meetings attended by community-education officers at religious venues or sponsored by religious organizations.
In 2010 the FBI notified the Islamic Society of a threat against it. Over the following months TPD worked to protect the mosque and the school next door. When the threat was over, the Islamic Society decided to hold an event to thank TPD for its help. During the planning stages, Webster advised Sheryl Siddiqui, a representative of the Islamic Society, that TPD officers might not be interested in or willing to tour the mosque or discuss Islam and that the invitation should make discussion of any topic discretionary.
This was an event to thank the Tulsa Police for helping to protect the Mosque. AND, there was already the understanding that some officers were not going to be interested in discussing religion, and thus that topic should be “discretionary”. So both parties were cognizant of this potential conflict and appear to have agreed to be accommodating.
Webster announced the event and requested RSVPs at a staff meeting in late January 2011. On February 16, Webster approved distribution within TPD of an e-mail from the Islamic Society that contained a flyer for the event and again requested RSVPs. The flyer invited all Tulsa law enforcement to a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” to be held on Friday, March 4. Aplt. App., Vol. I at 193. It read:
Casual Come & Go Atmosphere
Come enjoy a Buffet of American & Ethnic Foods:
Brownies & baklava
Baked chicken & Chicken Tikka Masala
Mosque Tours: 15 minutes or an hour— it’s up to you!
Meet Local Muslims & Leadership
Watch the 2-2:45pm weekly congregational prayer service
Presentations upon request: beliefs, human rights, women
All questions welcome!
So, what happens next:
When there were no volunteers by late afternoon on February 17, Major Harris forwarded an e-mail from Webster ordering each shift to send two officers and a supervisor or commander to the event.
As noted earlier, there have been over 3,500 community events, and a number of those involved the TPD and various religious organizations. Webster, Fields commander, says:
The Islamic Society was going to considerable pains to prepare a meal and tours for the event; that it would be unnecessary to order officers to attend if there were an adequate number of volunteers; that there would be an issue of disparate treatment and possible legal repercussions if TPD failed to attend; and that community policing events such as this one were as much a part of TPD’s mission as direct calls for service. He wrote that officers were “not required to participate in any religious ceremony, make any profession of faith, or express opinions on or sympathy with any religious belief system. They are simply expected to meet with members of the public who have expressed a desire to meet with them at a place of lawful assembly.” Id. at 209. He repeated that Fields himself was not required to “participate or assist [*4] in any religious observance, make any expression of belief, or adopt any belief system.” Id.
Here is the biggie:
And he urged Fields to reconsider and reminded him of the consequences of refusing to obey a lawful order, emphasizing that “refusal on the part of a leader, including extending that refusal to subordinate personnel, is particularly serious and injurious to good discipline.”
THAT is why he got disciplined! And the appellate court notes:
The Attendance Order created no improper burden. Webster ordered Fields to “arrange for 2 officers and a supervisor or commander” from his shift to attend the Islamic Society event. Aplt. App., Vol. I at 194. Fields responded that the order “requir[ed] officers to attend this event,” and, “forc[ed him] to enter a Mosque.” Id. at 195 (bold omitted). But his view of the order was wrong, not even a reasonable construction of the order. As the district court pointed out, the order did not require him to attend because he could assign others to do so.
he has not claimed on appeal that he ever told his superiors that ordering others to attend (possibly in violation of their beliefs) would violate his religious beliefs.
That’s HUGE in this case. I wonder if that could have made a difference. I suspect not.
Although he made clear that he thought that ordering others to attend would be unconstitutional, that is a legal objection, not a religious one. The Attendance Order did not burden Fields’s free exercise of religion….
Because the Attendance Order did not violate Fields’s right to the free exercise of religion, TPD could lawfully punish him for violating it. An invalid religious objection to an order that does not burden your free exercise of religion does not immunize you from punishment for violation of the order.
Now… Back to the alarming WND story:
A panel of federal judges in Denver, in an opinion written by Judge Harris Hartz, found that it is perfectly appropriate for a police chief to order subordinates to attend an Islamic mosque where Muslims “discussed Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and why and how Muslims pray” in addition to encouraging officers “to buy” Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale.
Notice in the whole story… Even the initial defense of Fields provided by his own counsel, there is no mention at all of anyone “encouraging officers “to buy” Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale.”
So, there you go. WND, in case it hadn’t been obvious before, is not a “news” source at all. They are a propaganda outlet that misinforms, spreads non-truths, and sometimes makes stuff up just to get buzz.
Yeah… I’m paraphrasing DEVO… Badly.
CNN President Jeff Zucker is crowing about how his network “won’t be shamed” into covering the latest hearings on Benghazi.
On his networks around-the-clock ridiculous coverage of flight 239:
“If I take a step back from our coverage of the Malaysian plane’s disappearance, I’m incredibly comfortable with it. I believed early on, right from the start, that it was an enormously important story: an American-made Boeing jet liner, with Rolls Royce engines with 239 people, disappears into thin air,” he said. “That’s why we devoted the resources that we did to it.”
Um… It didn’t “disappear into thin air”. It crashed. We just don’t know where.
And about why they can’t get traction on climate change:
“Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about,” he said, “but we haven’t figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.”
I have an idea… Why don’t you go back to reporting news! I mean, NPR, despite not having fancy-schmancy holographic projections of the inside of planes and what-not, manages to pull in 12 to 14 million listeners.
Because they actually do a pretty good job at covering the news in a in-depth fashion. Even many of my Conservative friends, who view NPR as having a liberal bias, listen. I too think the latest Benghazi hearings are nothing but political grandstanding, are nothing more than a joke, to put it bluntly. But it can’t be any more of a joke than the way you covered flight 239.
Let’s look as the ramifications of NOT covering the Benghazi hearings at all. First, you automatically completely alienate about 30% of the American audience who happen to be Conservative. I’m not saying that you should pander to them like FOX does, but you shouldn’t make moves that alienate and throw away any potential to have a few of their eyes watching your channel. If ratings are something that is important, and if I correctly remember some of the things I learned while acquiring my BA in Telecom / Mass Media, doing so is just dumb. What are you going to do as a network if some interesting revelation DOES come out of those hearings? And even if nothing did, we, as Americans at least, deserve to know what our government is doing, even if YOU Mr. President, don’t like it. It’s not “breaking news”… But it IS news. If you actually would have covered the other seven dead-end investigations that found nothing, isn’t that information the average voter can use when deciding who to vote for in the future?
And at least, with Benghazi, you would not be the butt of the joke because of your lame coverage…. That is, if you didn’t cover it in a lame fashion, which, judging from this interview, I’m not sure your news network is capable of doing under your leadership.
It’s got stiff competition, not only from the latest Captain America film, but the previous Spidey worked so well.. And this one just doesn’t keep up. To many things feel forced and too much is just the same ol’ same ol’.
It’s like hearing about this new ice cream flavor, but when you finally get to taste it, it tastes kind of bland and uninspiring, if ice cream can be inspiring.
— SPOILER ALERT —
The movie opens with some Spidey action, and from the get-go, you are realizing there are twenty different ways where Spidey can end this quickly… It just isn’t that difficult. There is a literal whole in the plot that he could jump through and clobber the bad guys, but he doesn’t, and the sequence goes on and on and on, because… Well… I guess it needs to.
When the action sequence finally ends, Qwen and Peter get to be cute together, and there is almost some “there” there, something to say hey, this movie is going to be something a little different… But no. Pete and Gwen continue to do the whole “I love you but you’re in danger so we have to break up” thing, which seemed resolved at the end of the first film.
Electro is one of the main villains, and the set-up is so lame and contrived. In the previous Spider Man series, the villain in the second movie, Doc Oc, was a stand out because there was still some humanity behind him and he had dept. Electro, and the human that precedes the villain are less than one dimensional. The creation of the current villain (electrical pun intended) is the result of an a silly accident, made really silly when you consider the flack that Oscorp got for the whole Lizard fiasco, which in this movie you are reminded over and over again nearly destroyed the company. when the villains powers emerge, you almost… Almost… Have something interesting with some potential (another electrical theory pun… I’m soooo clever). You almost have some sympathy for him because at first he has no idea what’s happened to him. Then, like the flip of a switch, he just becomes evil.
Harry Osborn makes his first appearance for this rebooted Spiderman. For a character that should be important in Peter Parker life, he’s just kind of thrown in and some back story dialog is supposed to make the connection of these two friends work. It doesn’t. Both the story arch concerning Harry O, and the casting of the actor are botched, as neither connects at all. Dane DeHaan may be a good actor, but he just doesn’t work here… And he has the same problem that Electro does, where he’s good, and then, all of a sudden, he’s bad, and that’s long before he transforms into yet another super power villain. But you don’t care because DeHaan, unlike James Franco’s Harry Osborn in the previous Spiderman series, never connects enough to make you care about him.
And then there is Gwen Stacy. What worked so well in the first movie is TOTALLY botched here. In the first movie, Qwen shows that shes no shrieking violet, and her smarts really do come in handy during the battles with Dr. Connors / Mr Lizard. She doesn’t have to give some grand lecture to be involved. In this movie, that is turned completely on its head. At one point, Gwen is literally arm-waiving, stating that she alone is vital to help save the city because Electro has just shut down a very complicated Oscorp designed super-duper-glowey modern energy facility that feeds electricity to the whole city, and since she works at Oscorp, she of course knows that tech intimately even though she was much more involved in the genetics and applied sciences department in the first movie, and despite the super-powers of her on-again /off-again boyfriend, she is the ONLY ONE smart enough with enough knowledge about this very high-tech glowey power plant to be able to fix what Electro has broken and shut down. Then, when she is in position, she…..
Wait for it…..
Presses a RESET BUTTON!!!!!!!!!!
All that drama and speechifying for THAT?
Where is the science and complex stuff that only she was qualified to deal with????
And worse! The Reset button? For some absolutely strange reason that I can’t comprehend, It’s got a cover on it…. That is secured with a pad lock! Yes. The reset button is under lock and key.
Why do you have a reset button under lock and key? That’s just silly!
And, after all the damage done to the power plant in the ensuing battle between Spiderman and Electro, and there is a LOT of it, the power plant fires right back up as if there is no damage at all.
After Electro is discharged… Or overcharged in this case… OK…. That’s the stock solution in EVERY case when dealing with an electric baddie.. The Green Goblin make his one appearance. Their battle takes place in a clock tower, and every ridiculous thing that you’ve ever seen happen between a superhero and his villain when they fight in a clock tower happens here. You can set your watch to it. The web slinging rescue of Gwen, done in slow-mo (which happens WAY TOO MUCH in this film, along with the parent film company’s product placement) is just… Bad. Why is it that the multitude of huge falling gears within a disintegrating clock tower miraculously somehow never hit anyone inside the tower?
A few sad things happen in this movie that are meant to tear at our heartstrings. But because of the lame script, you really don’t care much. “Capitan America, Winter Soldier” work so well because we the audience connected with the characters, even a few of the bad ones – also something that the “Marvel, Agents of SHIELD” TV show is doing quite well. All the web-slinging in the world can’t save this clunker of a superhero film.
Murphy, the $500 1987 Subaru Turbo Wagon, FINALLY got the intercooler treatment!
Interesting the difference in the acceleration. Coan’t say that I notice much difference at lower RPMS. In fact, I think I have a wee bit more turbolag. Bit once I hit 3000 RPM, which was approaching the upper useful acceleration range, now it feels like things are just getting warmed up… It starts really kicking in! It’s GREAT!
Last night, I played my very first official solo gig!
It was at Tokyo Gardens, the place where my very first band played. I had planned for quite a while, in honor of my first experience there, to lose my artistic virginity at that venue. It was only right and proper to play my first solo outing there.
I played for over an hour. Earlier in the evening, when I was planning the set list, I was surprised with the realization that I actually have almost two hours worth of material, and there is more in the works. How did that happen? I opened with a couple of originals on the 12 string, then went on to play covers and originals on the Taylor 614-CE. I really liked the way my mash-up of Crowded House’s “Pineapple Head” and Toad The Wet Sprocket’s “Walk On The Ocean” turned out. Also, my original song “Something Special” a song that is still evolving, is turning into just that… Something special.
Of course, as is my clumsy self, I did fumble bits of chords and a lyric or two here and there…. I love it when I’m supposed to sing “September, I remember…” but I somehow forget which month I’m supposed to sing, and start saying “June”. But, over all I’m quite pleased with the way things went. It was a great night.
My band Laurel Canyon, performing this Neil Young classic.
Jorge Apsay, the guy in the shades, does an incredible Neil Young style vocal. He’s our secret weapon! Oh, and apparently I didn’t get the memo that I was supposed to wear black!
(with Jorge Apsay, Me , and Jim Rust)
If her story pans out, and I don’t have any reason to think it won’t, it needs to be investigated. To have that many agencies dump on her all at once… It certainly looks as if someone was sharing info between agencies.
I’m in a discussion on this very topic on facebook. I’m going google this right now to see what I can find. This is the phrase I used to research this topic – “does minimum wage increase unemployment”. Each of the articles I link to should have links to statistical analysis to bolster their case, in which case the hyperlink to the article will be labeled in capital letters. If the link is in non-caps, then the piece is considered opinion, which does not have the same weight.
On the “Yes” side:
EMPLOYMENT POLICY INSTITUTE: The date is not listed, but most of the data cited is from 2008 or before. This is the strongest article on the “Yes” side I’ve come across so far. They do provide several links to back there assertion. However, almost all of the links are from their own publishing arm, and most of those are critiques of papers that lead to different conclusions and the don’t provide links to those actual studies they are critiquing.
Plus, the topic of the article is specifically teen unemployment. Here are their solutions to increasing teen employment:
- Index the minimum wage to go down if economy or prices shrink
- Expand training wage laws. A training wage is lower than the minimum wage and allows an employer to pay an employee less than the minimum wage during a training period in which an employee learns job-related skills. Currently, 20 states do not have a training wage.
- Suspend minimum wage requirements in times of economic distress.
I’m fairly sure this isn’t going to do anything to increase the circulation of money in the general economy. It might be good for the employers, on paper anyway, but it doesn’t put more money in the hands of the employee, who are the ones who spend money and buy the stuff that puts money into the hands or the employer and keeps them in business.
U. S. News: Feb, 2013 – Opinion. No links.
Fox Business. Feb, 2013. Opinion. No links. Not only does it not link to any statistical data, but it shows a scary looking graph at the conclusion of the article that seems to suggest the extreme unemployment that occurred at the onset of the Great Recession was “caused” because the federal minimum wage was raised from $5.15 to $7.25 during the period right when the great recession hit.
While the point is valid that the mandated minimum wage increase certainly didn’t help at a time when the economy was sliding into the worst recession of 70 years,
On the “No” side:
BUSINESS INSIDER, Feb, 2011.
BUSINESS FOR A FAIR MINIMUM WAGE, Date is not clear, but there are several links to studies, and the most recent is Feb 2013
And then there is this WASHINGTON POST article, which is all over the place! I like that. It’s probably the most honest of all the links I posted, because it’s not trying to take a position, but simply laying out the information, and also linking to studies and info that supports each side.
Here is, to me te most important piece of information:
Because the minimum wage isn’t indexed for inflation, it’s hard to do year-to-year comparisons using the statutory, nominal dollar amounts. But if you adjust for inflation, you see that the minimum was around $10 an hour in current dollars in the late 1960s, and even in the 1980s was above where it is today, as this chart Sarah posted last night drives home.
This is maybe the meat of the whole argument. If the minimum wage does not carry the same economic weight that it did even in the 1970’s or the Reagan years, and we have more and more families.
Note: The move to increase the minimum wage is picking up steam. Even Kentucky is getting in on the act. It will be interesting to see where this all goes.
PS. Here is another pro-raise-the-minimum-wage entry, this one from The Daily Beast from December of last year. The chart in this one goes back even farther than the Post, all the way back to the beginning of the minimum wage:
While rejecting every study with more conservative conclusions might be a reach, Obama isn’t the only one who thinks raising the wage is worth a negligible effect on the job market. The tide seems to be turning toward the left. Currently, 19 states and D.C. have set the minimum wage higher than the federal rate. New Jersey’s recent vote for a wage hike will go into effect next year and make it the 20th.
A look at unemployment numbers in these states also suggests that those with higher minimum wages aren’t suffering disproportionately from low job numbers. The correlation between states’ minimum wage and unemployment is a low .3, meaning a high minimum wage doesn’t really affect the unemployment rate. Only eleven states with minimum wages over the federal rate had higher unemployment in October (the most recent data available) than the record low national average of 7.0.
I want to stress. There are studies that do show a negative employment. This one by Texas A&M Alum John Meers and Jeremy West is but one example. But it has flaws.
The Meer / West study has a couple of flaws.
One, it doesn’t follow a specific time period after minimum wage increases to see the result of the wage increase over, say, a one year time period. They purposely exclude it. It covers the period of 1979 to 2010 as a whole, which blurs all sorts of employment trends together, thus you get no clear signal of the immediate effect of minimum wage hikes on the job market. The better way to study this is to look at employment a year before the wage hike, and then, say, two years after. This type of study is better done in a micro-economic framework to show specific cause and effect. This study blurs everything together and points to minimum wage as a causal factor, when it is more of a correlation within the frame work of this study.
They also don’t look at a specific segment of employment, naming, the specific segment we are discussing, the lower pay segment. That is where you’ll have the greatest effect.
Further, almost all of their entire data set, from 1979 to 2010 takes place during the 30 year period where supply-side policies are in place. This entire business mindset gives employers incentives to cut into employee work hours to maximize profits. To be sure, there are times when businesses must fire and reduce staff for the business to stay open. But the supply side mentally encourages it. It would be informative to show the same study expanded or split into two segments, one showing employment dynamics and minimum wage increases before 1981, and after.
There will be more to add. But there is so much stuff to do right now… Opportunity cost you know! If I keep writing this post – which I could do all day… I LOVE economics!… I could go write and work on my music, which is really more important!
A commenter at IGF posted this:
One of my great frustrations in the debate regarding economics is the complete avoidance of some basic understanding of what it is. Economic activity is simply money changing hands. When money doesn’t change hands, the economy falters. When it does, it flourishes. It is hard to avoid value judgments about how it changes hands. (taxes, government spending) There is nothing wrong with money pooling into fewer hands at the top provided those hands invest it, create jobs, and increase economic activity. But that isn’t happening. And if those further down the scale have fewer discretionary dollars, the economy slows.
This is a basic reality. Now, is it preferable for individuals to keep more of what they earn to spend how they choose? Absolutely. But then we have a problem if they choose not to spend it. And I see no reason why they would choose to invest to make products no one can buy.
So cutting taxes sounds wonderful, but only on the proviso that the money continues to circulate. And it usually does that in high confidence times. This is why tort reform, slashing taxes, and cutting public payrolls sound great but have dire consequences unless the other half the equation holds.
Henry Ford famously doubled his workers salaries voluntarily “so they could afford the product they made” and it changed the economy locally. Things boomed without a government lifting a finger. Starving workers is great initially to the bottom line, but when people have fewer dollars to spend, just like the 2008 crisis, economic activity slows to a trickle and may even shut down entirely.
So all the talk about a business-friendly environment is great. But if there is no worker-friendly environment as well, no one will be able to buy the fabulous stuff they are making. Business people aren’t stupid, they don’t make stuff that people can’t or won’t buy.
And so here we are. Again.
In the current government / business paradigm we’re living under, the sacred tenant of policy is to make the investment community the top dog. As Larry Kudlow likes to say “Profits are King”.
Problem is, profit are going toward building more paper profits because it’s a much cheaper way to make profit than to actually spend the money on business and infrastructure.
Prime examples – The industrial spill in West Virginia and the recent rail car derailment in North Dakota. Now, had the companies invested in upgrading to safer technologies in each cases, they would have not only created more jobs, but also probably averted the disasters, or at least lessened the scope of them.
Why are both using older than dirt technologies? Because, even though both companies are very profitable, improving each would eat into profits, making the stocks a little less attractive and cut into profits.
Also, do you know why the Target credit card heist was so huge? Because the banks here in the US, who are certainly not hurting for profits, won’t spend the capital to move to newer, much more secure, credit card technologies that every other first world country now uses. Why… Because doing that, even though it would also create new jobs, would eat into their profits.
And the general public? Well, the boom years of the 80’s, 90’s and naughts were not a product of higher and better pay… Those booms were purchased on credit… Credit cards and home equity loans that is. The Great Recession took that away. The economy is recovering slowly because banks are not issuing credit quite as crazily as they did ten years ago. Of course, that also means that if something else happens that tanks this current anemic economic recovery, because the majority of the employed are barely scraping by, and there is much less credit leeway being offered, there is much less wiggle room for anyone to survive financially. Basically, we are running on an economic model that is poised to collapse rivaling the Great Depression.
Something has to change. And though many Dems don’t really have much to offer as far as economic structural vision goes, the path the Republicans want to not just continue on, but follow right off the proverbial cliff, is a road to disaster.
As some of you know, I’m not the best, most accurate speller in the world. So today, I noticed that I got a comment on a two year old post saying this:
“certainly like your website but you have to check the
spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to inform the truth nevertheless
I’ll certainly come again again.
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The post was from June, 2011, and there were no errors that I could find. And if there were, I’m sure my dedicated self appointed spell-checker Jeff Alberts would have surely let me know! I double checked though just to make sure.
I might just approve this spam cause it made me smile….