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Sat, 30 Sep 2023
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Outrageous! Intern can't bring sexual harassment suit because she's not a paid 'employee'

Federal Court in NY rules that an intern doesn't deserve human rights protection against employee because she's unpaid.

As if being an unpaid intern wasn't rough enough, it gets worse....

Last week, New York federal district court judge Kevin Castle ruled that a former unpaid intern could not bring a sexual harassment suit under New York City Human Rights Law because the absence of remuneration disqualified her from "employee status" under the law, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

In order to bring a claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employee status is deemed an "essential condition to the existence of an employer-employee relationship" and to date, interns are not considered 'employees'.

In the case at hand, Lihuan Wang, a former intern at Phoenix Satellite Television US, Inc. filed a suit against the company after what she described as repetitive sexual advances and physical touching by her supervisor and bureau chief.

Dollar Gold

Obamacare's winners and losers in Bay Area

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

"Welcome to the club," said Robert Laszewksi, a prominent health care consultant and president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates in Virginia.

For years, the nation has been embroiled in the political rhetoric of "Obamacare," but this past week the reality of the new law sank in as millions of Americans had their first good look at how the 3 1/2-year-old legislation will affect their pocketbooks.

Bizarro Earth

Obamacare supporter: 'Of course I want people to have health care, I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally'

© AFP/Getty Images
A woman looks at the HealthCare. gov insurance exchange internet site October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly called, passed in March 2010, went into effect Tuesday at 8am EST.
Supporters of President Barack Obama and his health care law were shocked to learn that their health care plans are being replaced with more expensive ones to comply with all the requirements of Obamacare.

Cindy Vinson, of San Jose, Calif., will reportedly pay $1,800 more each year for an individual policy. Additionally, Tom Waschura, of Portola Valley, Calif., will pay nearly $10,000 more for insurance to cover his family of four.

Both of the California residents "vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama," according to the San Jose Mercury News. They also both anticipated their rates would go up, just not so drastically.

"Of course, I want people to have health care, I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally," Vinson said.


Utah couple married 63 years dies nine hours apart

© KSL-TV video screenshot
Jerry and Edith Dunn were married for 63 years and died only nine hours apart from each other last week.
A Utah couple married for 63 years couldn't bear to be apart from each other, according to their children.

So, after Jerry Dunn of Spanish Fork died last week, it was only hours later that his wife, Edith, followed him, KSL-TV reported.

"Mom and dad were just always together," son Donald Dunn told KSL. "He worried about her, she worried about him."

Their devotion to each other was strong enough that Jerry Dunn would get up at 5 a.m. three days a week to take Edith for dialysis treatment. The wife and mother also had dementia and diabetes.

"He had promised her he would take care of her and that he would never put her in a care facility," Deanna Golden said of her father.

Arrow Down

Mysterious duck decapitations force Irish locals to remove wildfowl

© Irish Times
The ducks had be introduced to brighten up Edenderry Harbour.
Locals have been forced to remove ducks from a harbour in Co Offaly following a mysterious spate of duck decapitations in recent days.

Members of Edenderry's tidy towns committee were horrified to discover the heads of mallard and donated farmyard ducks at the harbour this week.

Independent Cllr Noel Cribbin said the ducks had be introduced to brighten up the area and provide a focal point for young and old to congregate.

According to Cllr Cribbin, who first introduced the ducks with the help of Frank Carroll, 22 of the 40 ducks are gone and a number of heads have been found around the harbour in recent days.

"Since the ducks were introduced to the harbour some years ago they have brought nothing only happiness and contentment from the dozens of kids, parents and grandparents who have come to feed them over the years," Cllr Cribbin remarked.

He is convinced the birds were decapitated with a sharp implement as there was no sign of any animal marks on the heads and the remainder of the ducks were missing. Cllr Cribbin said the animals are very tame, "the farmyard duck cant fly, so he is a sitting duck- literally," he remarked.


Spaniards are less productive, constantly tired because Spain is in the wrong time zone

spain time zone
© U.S. Navy
Spain (in red) runs on Central European time, even though it sits pretty firmly in Western European time (blue).
Everyone in Spain feels jetlagged all the time, even if they haven't been traveling. That is, at least, the finding of a new Spanish parliamentary report on the country's labor conditions, which concludes that Spain is needlessly crippled by its timezone, which keeps it one hour out of step with the countries around it. After 70 years in its current time zone, the report says, Spain should shift an hour back.

Spain sits in the middle of the Western European time zone, to which Portugal, Morocco and the U.K. also belong. But because of a weird twist of history, it actually observes Central European time, running an hour ahead of daylight. That might sound like no big deal to Americans, who switch their clocks twice a year anyway -- but there's a growing body of evidence that it's really hurting the Spanish, contributing to everything from low worker productivity to a persistent gender gap.


Western U.S. best for business, Tax Foundation says

State business tax climate index
© taxfoundation.org/maps
For the third year in a row, Wyoming has fostered the nation's best business climate, thanks to low rates on corporate and personal income taxes made possible by a booming oil industry, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation.

In fact, six of the top 10 states with the best business climate are western states, bolstered at least in part by new revenues from energy production that allows them to reduce other types of taxes. In many cases, the top-ranked states omit at least one major stream of revenue altogether, such as an income tax or a sales tax.

"If you can go without one of the major tax categories, not only do you have one less tool to distort the economy, but you're also getting rid of a ton of overhead costs," said Scott Drenkard, a Tax Foundation economist who co-authored the study. "You're also able to get rid of the dead weight cost on the private side, where people are trying to comply with those taxes."

Green Light

Truckers pull back from threat to create unbearable gridlock

© Dayna Smith for the Washington Post
I have no truck with this!
Hey, where's my promised gridlock?

I did not think I would be saying this either, but that was before the Trucker Protest reared its head in the news cycle.

For a while, it seemed as though the Most Exciting Possible News Story was coming on Friday, when, according to disgruntled trucker Earl Conlon, thousands of similarly disgruntled truckers were going to descend on Washington and halt traffic on the Inner Loop of the Beltway, possibly with an eye to making a citizens' arrest of Congress. They had had enough, and they were not going to take it anymore. They were going to turn the highway into a parking lot if their demands were not met.

Since then, Conlon, an author and father of three has pulled back from his statements. Thousands of truckers might still come to DC to circle the Beltway in an ominous and disapproving manner. But Conlon might not be among them. And, although he maintains that a citizens' arrest is still constitutional, it is not exactly in the cards for the weekend's festivities.


Vatican recalls Pope Francis medals after Jesus' name misspelled

© CBSNews/Catholic News Service
Photo of Vatican medal with "Lesus" instead of "Jesus."

Apparently the Vatican wasn't using spell check.

The Holy See has recalled thousands of commemorative papal medals after the word "Jesus" was misspelled as "Lesus."

According to the Vatican Information Service, more than 6,000 medals were produced by the Italian State Mint to commemorate the beginning of Francis' papacy.

The medal features a portrait of Francis on one side and on the other, a Latin phrase that the future pontiff says inspired him as a teenager to pursue the priesthood: "Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum et quia miserando antque eligendo vidit, ait illi sequere me." (Translation: "Jesus, therefore, saw the publican, and because he saw by having mercy and by choosing, He said to him, 'Follow me'").

However, the letter "J" in Jesus was mistakenly replaced with the letter "L."


Supreme court justice Scalia and Satan: Why do people believe in the Devil?

© Gerville Hall/Getty Images
In a recent interview in New York magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged his belief in Satan.

Scalia said that "I even believe in the Devil.....Of course! Yeah, he's a real person. Hey, c'mon, that's standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.... In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He's making pigs run off cliffs, he's possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn't happen very much anymore.... What he's doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He's much more successful that way."

Dualistic theology - the idea that the world is divided into two parts, good and evil, and that humans are affected by a constant struggle between the two for domination - is common to many religions, and especially prominent in Roman Catholicism.

Though the Catholic Church has gradually moved away from more traditional and literal interpretations of Hell and Satan, Scalia is not alone; according to a 2007 Baylor Religion Survey, over half of Americans (54 percent) "absolutely believe in Satan."