Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can your job fire you for what you do off the clock?

You would think the answer that question would be a resounding no, as long as what you are doing is not illegal. If you are smoking pot, selling drugs or filming child porn...well you have more issues than just getting fired buddy.

But I wouldn't be writing this blog if the answer was as simple as 'no' would I? No I would not, because if the answer to your question is shouldn't even bother writing the article in the first place.

(The picture: I think that rule should apply to all of journalism, as well as science journalism, but that's just my opinion.)

My question is asked because of this article "Parents: English Teacher Writes Racy Novels"

I'll let you read the story for yourself, but as a quick summary.

An English teacher (Mrs. Judy Buranich) at a school in central Pennsylvania is a published author. She writes erotic romance novels, in her free time. She publishes under a pen name and doesn't bring the books up in class or discuss them with her students. A parent (Wendy Apple) has a son in Mrs. Buranich's 10th grade English class and when she discovered the teacher's second job she brought attention to it through the media. Claiming she was concerned for the student's in Mrs. Buranich's classes. 

Here are some comments from Apple, another parent and two former students. (One of whom is also clearly related to Wendy Apple, in interest of full disclosure). 

"Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he's sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side," Apple said. She added she found all of the information on the internet. Apple said Buranich writes under the pen name Judy Mays.

Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. "She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author," Stepp said.

"I was shocked. If you are a teacher you shouldn't be doing that," said former student Shanette Apple.

"I was sort of shocked.Sitting in her class I had no idea. She is a good teacher but I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes," said former student Drew Hollenbach.

Personally, I can't understand why any of these people feel they have the right to tell Mrs. Buranich what she can or cannot do when she is "off the clock" so to speak. It is not the student's or parent's business to tell a teacher what they can and cannot write, as long as the books and subject matter (if it is adult) are not brought up in class. This reminds me of another blog I wrote this year, I believe it was in February. Oh yes, a teacher by the name of Natalie Munroe was suspended from her job because of things she wrote on her personal blog.

It seems the world has gone mad and I think I possibly slept through the announcement that my personal life is now something my employer has the right to police. I've said some pretty nasty things about my job and my customers on this blog. If my manager found this blog do you think I would need to start looking for a new place to work? I'm also gay, does that mean if my manager is homophobic, she could fire me for being gay? Well...I do live and work in a state where you can be fired at any time, without any reason being given, so...yes, technically I guess she could fire me. For either the blog or being gay, if she wanted to.

As for Mrs. Buranich...I'm not too worried. The article and "news" piece that WNEP (the news outlet for their area) did was a horrible little smear campaign that people have not been appreciative of. (Really, go read the comments. Almost every single one of them says to leave Mrs. Buranich alone. )
A facebook support page was made yesterday for her and at the time I am writing this (10:10, Arizona time) she has over 5,000 supporters on that page. 

What can I say. People who read are fans of free speech and we tend to stick together.  

Edit: Also at the time of writing, WNEP has put a follow up story on their website. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Woman beaten at McDonalds. Heinous yes, hate crime, no.

A link to a Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and an interview with the victim.

Listen to what the victim says. She never once says she was being attacked for being transgendered. She says that the girls were "just looking to pick a fight that night." I never heard any transgendered slurs being used in the actual video of the attack. It's not a hate crime.

As Greg Gutfeld wanted to know, I also ask "Why isn't the crime bad enough on it's own?" This woman is a human being, her attackers need to be held accountable for her assault, but not as a hate crime. Unless you know something I don't?

If I was mugged on my way home from work, I wouldn't claim it was a hate crime. Though, being a lesbian in this day and age, I could probably get away with calling it that. It's a mugging, it's a crime of opportunity.

To simply claim that any attack on a minority is a hate crime is to completely invalidate the very real issue of hate crimes. They do exist and they are a problem. If I was attacked for being a lesbian or a woman, then I would call it a hate crime. Why? Because, not only have I been attacked, but every other person in my minority feels a little less safe because of the attack. Hate crimes are more than just assault or vandalism, they are terrorism.

A 14 year old at McDonald's who is spoiling for a fight is not a hate crime. Even if the victim happens to be transgendered.

Was the crime heinous? Yes, but it would be just as heinous if it had happened to anyone else. People need to be held accountable. The girls who attacked the victim and the employees who did nothing to stop it, in fact aided the attackers in leaving the establishment, both groups need to be held accountable.

But for the sake of real hate crimes and for the sake of other victims of abuse and violence, don't try to turn this in to something it's not.

In the interest of fairness I'm going to post a bit of article from Autostraddle. In which, the victim, is changing her story from the interview I link to above.

On Sunday, in an interview in the Baltimore Sun, Polis said the attack was “definitely a hate crime” and talked a little about her experience:
“They started ripping my hair, throwing me on the floor, kicking me on my face. When I tried to use the phone, the girl ripped the phone out of my hand [...] when I sat there to collect my stuff back, the one girl kicked me in my back, stepped on my arm. I had so many bruises. [...] I don’t remember having a seizure. I do remember going into one, that’s why I tried to sit there and be calm. Every time I tried to walk away, they followed me. [...] Anyone in my predicament should not be afraid to walk the streets. They should not have to go into a restaurant and get gawked at and made fun of. They shouldn’t be afraid to leave the house. It’s just wrong.”

 The police report also tells a different story. I'm left wondering who is telling the truth now and whether the victim is changing her story for some particular reason. 

"According to the police report, the incident began when the two attackers were upset when Polis tried to use the women’s bathroom in the McDonald’s."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who is John Galt?

I hadn't planned on doing a post on Atlas Shrugged until I finished the book and the movie came out on DVD. (In sincerely feel I will need to watch it at least 3 more times before I do a review of both the book and movie.) However, I've been reading some reviews of the movie and of Rand's philosophy and I feel the need to make my opinion known, especially since the reviews from liberals have left me feeling that they either A.) never actually read the book or B.) Read it through a lens that was so skewed by liberalism that they missed the point entirely.

Here's a line from one such review.
Her [Rand] view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between "moochers" and "producers," with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The "moochers" were more or less everyone else, leading TNR's Jonathan Chait to describe Rand's thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism.
I've read this same sort of statement in at least a dozen reviews and every time I find myself banging my head into a table repeatedly. I've only seen the movie twice and I'm only about 450 pages into the book, but that's enough to let me know that these moronic reviewers really have missed the point entirely. It's the comment about the "moochers" (which is not the word Rand uses, it's "looters" in both the movie and the book) that upsets me the most. Rand never portrayed all the people, other than the "titans of industry", as looters. She only called people looters if they expected the rich to bankroll their way through life.

I'm not a titan of industry or fabulously wealthy, but under Rands philosophy I am, by no means, a looter. I've never asked the government for a handout to make my life easier. I have worked and worked hard and I get a paycheck for that work. A looter wouldn't want to work for a paycheck, they just want the rich to float them along while they produce nothing of value. Looters are the Lillian Rearden's and Wesley Mouch's of the world.

Let me see if I can break this down more simply for you. Into a story that we all recognize with ease. A story that has been made into countless movies, books, plays and musicals about men in tights, over the years.

The story of Robin Hood.

You may be thinking "How can she break the story of Atlas Shrugged down to fit any aspect of the Robin Hood story?" You would be right to wonder. From the outside it looks like the liberal fairy tale. Stealing from the rich to give to "those less fortunate". It seems to be a liberal fairy tale, unfortunately for liberals it's a conservative story under all the trimmings.

Here's why.

Forget historical context. I don't care about King John or Richard the Lionheart and who was a better king. Let's talk producers, looters, taxes and John Galt.

Who are the producers in this time period? Why, they are not rich CEOs and "titans of industry" that liberals seem to hate so much. They are farmers, hunters, blacksmiths, cobblers and seamstresses. They produce the goods that feed and clothe the peoples of Great Britain...or at least Nottingham and the surrounding area.

The story. They are being taxed and controlled to a degree that is making them destitute and unable to provide for their families. In walks John Hood. A rich man, who has lost his riches (stolen from him by the looter that goes by the name of Sheriff of Nottingham) and he decides it's time to take back what was stolen from the producers.

He begins to lead a group of former producers who were driven out by the law of the land because they were trying to provide for their family. He doesn't tell the producers to stop producing, because they would starve and freeze if they did, but he does begin to steal back the tax money from the Sheriff.

And watch how it destroys the political system of Nottingham and, if it had continued, it would have done the same to the rest of Great Britain. The entire economic system of Nottingham was based upon placing ridiculously high taxes on the producers so that people like the Sheriff and the church could have their comforts, while doing nothing to earn them.

Who is John Galt? Robin Hood is John Galt. And which of us wasn't taught that Robin Hood was a hero when we were children? I know I was taught to see Robin Hood as a hero.

Why should John Galt be any different?