WHEN TO WEAR A “STUPID” SIGN by Milt Hankins

WHEN TO WEAR A “STUPID” SIGN by Milt Hankins

Sometime ago I ran across the following quotation from Andy Rooney:  “I wish there was something we could all take to cure us of stupidity.” Actually, Rooney had a lot to say about stupidity.

 

For example, he said, “Stupid people should have to wear signs that just say, ‘I’m Stupid.’ That way you wouldn’t rely on them, would you? You wouldn’t ask them anything. It would be like, ‘Excuse me…oops…never mind, didn’t see your sign.'”

I knew I would have occasion to use Mr. Rooney’s words. He has been dead since November 4, 2011, so I’m sure he won’t mind. He passed away less than five weeks after his last 60 Minutes appearance.

ANDY ROONEY

Rooney will be remembered among the greats of irony, satire and humor like Will Rogers, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker and David Rakoff.

Stupidity. A fascinating word. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, it means “not intelligent or clever, slow at learning or understanding things.” You cannot imagine how many times I have been called “stupid,” or one of its synonyms…but not for any of its approved dictionary definitions. They come mostly from folks who do not agree with or like my opinion-editorial pieces in our local newspaper.

I once wrote: “The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written with muskets in mind.” The Second Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. My statement was absolutely correct, but someone stupidly responded, “Be wary of those who try to distort history in their arguments to take away constitutional rights our forefathers died to give us.”

Stupid! I neither tried to “distort history,” nor “take away constitutional rights our forefathers died to give us.” If the forefather died by gunfire, the gun was a cannon or a musket, “a large caliber gun with a long barrel formerly used by infantry, now replaced by a [single shot] rifle….” It was certainly NOT an automatic or semi-automatic after the fashion of today’s AR-15, AK-47 or Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump Shotgun!

Stupid! A musket was not the sort of weapon that one could walk into a church and, in a matter of minutes, wipe out most of a congregation. It definitely was not a revolver of the type used to murder eight folks engaged in a Charleston, South Carolina prayer meeting.

Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He did NOT use a musket! He definitely did not use any gun our forefathers had in mind. “A large quantity of unused ammunition as recovered inside the school along with three semi-automatic firearms found with Lanza: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun, and a 9mm SIG Saner P226 handgun. Outside the school, an Izhmash Saiga-12 shotgun was found in the car Lanza had driven.”

In my opinion, it is sheer stupidity to interpret the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution to include and approve of the kinds of weapons that are being used in the twenty-first century to, on a fairly regular basis, slaughter innocent American citizens.

If you think it is fine to own and use these kinds of weapons for nefarious purposes, please do all of us a favor and wear a sign with STUPID printed on it in bold caps so we intelligent and understanding folks can avoid you like the plague!

 

[Milt Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a  View. He is a regular contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch op-ed section and lives with his wife Deborah in Ashland, Kentucky.]

 

TRUMP SETTLED IN LAWSUIT OVER UNDERPAID UNDERDOCUMENTED WORKERS FOR OVER $1 MILLION, RECORD SHOW by Gabe Ortiz

TRUMP SETTLED IN LAWSUIT OVER UNDERPAID UNDERDOCUMENTED WORKERS FOR OVER $1 MILLION, RECORD SHOW by Gabe Ortiz


Donald Trump outsourced his presidential campaign and took the White House in part by slandering Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” but like all the wretched fat cat hypocrites before him, he has benefitted from immigrant labor, specifically undocumented immigrants. In 1998, Trump finally settled an ongoing class-action lawsuit against him after he was sued for underpaying–or not paying at all–the crew of 200 undocumented Polish workers who were tasked with clearing the way for what would become the site of his crown jewel, Trump Tower, back in 1980. Nicknamed the “Polish Brigade,” these workers toiled in dangerous conditions, “without gloves, hard hats or masks,” for as little as $4 an hour throughout 12-hour days:

“Their treatment led to years of litigation over Mr. Trump’s labor practices, and in 1998, despite frequent claims that he never settles lawsuits, Mr. Trump quietly reached an agreement to end a class-action suit over the Bonwit Teller demolition in which he was a defendant.

For almost 20 years the terms of that settlement have remained a secret. But last week, the settlement documents were unsealed by Loretta A. Preska, a United States District Court judge for the Southern District, in response to a 2016 motion filed by Tim Inc. and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Judge Preska found that the public’s right to know of court proceedings in a class-action case was strengthened by the involvement of the “now-president of the United States.”

 

And a president who consistently maligns immigrants as takers, when in fact it was the alleged billionaire who underpaid blue-collar workers and then spent 15 years fighting them over it. In fact, Trump lied on the stand about having knowledge of their status, saying that “I really still don’t know that there were illegal aliens.” But one labor consultant testified that Trump called him for advice after the contractor he hired stopped paying the workers, with Trump saying “he had some illegal Polish employees,” while the foreman testified Trump frequently visited the site and comment “those Polish guys are good, hard workers.” And though Trump my have changed political parties like an orange chameleon whenever it suits him, the documents show he’s been anti-immigrant through and through:

Mr. Trump did, according to [attorney] Mr. [John] Szabo, have his lawyer call Mr. Szabo with a threat to call immigration and Naturalization Service to have the men deported.

Trump eventually settled for $1.375 million (it’s unclear how much of the money, if any, went to the workers), but continues to exploit both undocumented and documents immigrant labor for his own personal and political gain. The Washington Post revealed in 2015 that undocumented immigrant laborers were helping finish up his $200 million hotel in Washington, D.C. According to the Guardian last year, immigrant workers at his Las Vegas hotel have been overworked and underpaid. In 2016, the hotel was forced to settle for more than $11,000 following charges that higher ups retaliated against hotel employees for union organizing. And at his Mar-a-Lago resort (not the “Winter White House”), the New York Times reported last year that Trump has “pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers…since 2010.” Buy American and Hire American, indeed.

GINA STANLEY SUMMARIZES CORPORATE TAX RATES, LABOR STATS AND AMERICAN PRODUCTIVITY

GINA STANLEY SUMMARIZES CORPORATE TAX RATES, LABOR STATS AND AMERICAN PRODUCTIVITY

Just  watched that liar Mitch McConnell tell John Dickerson on Face the Nation that America is not competitive in the global economy because of corporate tax rates. What a load of scat that was!

As a nation, we have lost millions of manufacturing jobs since Nixon visited China. The blue collar Trump loyalists look at factory jobs when measuring the success of an economy, it seems. We are not competitive because of the cost of labor. Labor as a percentage of the cost of goods sold in the US is an economic statistic that excludes executive compensation, salaries, commissions and bonuses. In 2016, manufacturing accounted for about 12% of our gross domestic product. Union membership has declined each year since the election of Ronald Reagan and wages have been flat for more than thirty years.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 8.8% of the workforce belongs to a union and less than 10% of all workers are represented by a union. Americans work an average of between 40 and 41 hours a week. Average hourly wages were around $21.00 per hour in October of 2017. Union workers are paid an average of $30 a week more than non-union workers. In the manufacturing sector, production line employees are paid an average of about $34,000 a year in the US. Wages are a substantial portion of the cost of goods sold by US firms.

The manufacturing sector has laid off or permanently furloughed nearly 8 million workers since 1980, mostly during the Bush and Reagan years. It is forecast that another 750,000 jobs will be lost by 2026. Meanwhile the American worker has become more productive. So, fewer workers are employed in manufacturing, they are more productive but have not been rewarded with an increase in real wages. They constantly fear losing the jobs that they have. 

PRODUCTION OF AMERICAN WORKERS

[Gina Stanley is an attorney who lives in Huntington, West Virginia. We are publishing her thoughts on the current economic situation with her permission. Ms Stanley’s expertise and opinion will be a more regular feature of Columnist with a View.]

LET’S MAKE SEXUAL HARASSMENT A THING OF THE PAST by Milt Hankins

LET’S MAKE SEXUAL HARASSMENT A THING OF THE PAST by Milt Hankins

Husbands, ask your wives if they have ever been sexually harassed in the workplace. You may be both surprised and angered. I asked my wife, and here’s the story.

According to my wife, many years ago when she was a young teacher in a Pulaski County, Virginia school system, it appeared that the administration wanted “to get rid of her.” They ran into a problem doing so because they had absolutely no documentation that she had done anything worthy of dismissal. She was called into her principal’s office, apparently for an interview. While she was there, the principal put his feet up on his desk, and as she relayed it, in full view “started pulling at a string in his crotch.”

My wife said she thought it was strange behavior, but she didn’t recognize it as a sexual overture. In her words, “I was clueless!”

I couldn’t imagine a man doing that in the presence of a young lady without it being a power play, sexual harassment and/or intimidation. The fact that my wife was clueless is immaterial to the principal’s behavior. She thought he was simply being “rude.”

This raises a question in my mind about the number of young women who are subjected to inappropriate behavior while not having a clue about what is going on.

I recall taking a job with a church (incidentally, also in Virginia) where rumors had circulated that the church secretary I inherited had an “untoward” relationship with the former pastor. Of course, some wag told me about this pronto lest I fall into her clutches. I laughed about it; but, shortly after moving into the study, I called the secretary in and had a frank discussion with her on the subject. The story, of course, was totally false; but I made it clear that as long as we worked together, there would never be any hint of unsavory intimacy between us. Both of us were embarrassed that this “clearing of the air between us” was made necessary by a disgusting rumor!

As it turned out, she was the most proficient and efficient–no, outstanding–secretary with whom I ever worked. When I left that church, on my last day following about five years of service there, she came into my study, locked the door and gave me a wonderful, loving, warm hug. I asked her why she locked the door. She said, “Well, I didn’t want anyone to walk in and get the wrong impression!”

That secretary, her family and I maintain a long-distance friendship until this day. She has since retired from her job after at least thirty years of faithful service to that congregation.

This essay, full of personal information, is written to point out that women (and perhaps men, for all I know) in all professions are subject to harassment. It is important that we not let the subject slide. In the past few weeks, we have seen important, well-known men in the entertainment industry and government accused by numerous women of gross, indecent behavior.

Finally, and worst of all, we have a president in the White House who has been accused by several women of disgusting, perverted behavior. We have heard from his foul mouth the words of a harasser in the Access Hollywood tape. Let’s take these stories at face value; let’s make this type of disrespect in the workplace a thing of the past!

[Milt Hankins is a theologian, former pastor, author, columnist, and the publisher/editor of Columnist with a  View (www.columnistwithaview.com). You may contact him at the following e-mail address:  amsmilt@windstream. net. You can also send manuscripts or write to him at P.O. Box 913, Ashland, Kentucky 41101.]