Good on them!
As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise, companies are reopening their offices. USA Today reported that 72 percent of workplaces will welcome back employees over the next five months, and 50 percent of companies will reopen between August and October. Hooray! Tim Cook at Apple announced last week that he expects employees back in the office three days a week starting in September. They can choose to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Apple will also generously permit employees to work remotely for up to two weeks a year "to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own," according to an email from Cook. Remote work requests are subject to manager approval, so good luck with that.
Apple employees weren't thrilled with the news, and some staff members advocated in an internal message for "a flexible approach where those who want to work remote can do so."
"We would like to take the opportunity to communicate a growing concern among our colleagues," the letter says. "That Apple's remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple."
That seems reasonable, however “Internet entrepreneur" Jason Calacanis mocked Apple employees' concerns. He tweeted: “175K+ a year & they won't come in 3 days a week to a $4b building with free food." Yes, Apple's corporate headquarters cost an estimated $5 billion, which is probably not as relevant to the staff as it is to the global corporation that doesn't want its four-story, 2,800,000 square foot building (called the “spaceship") to sit empty. This is a concern for a lot of businesses stuck with expensive leases, but there's a nationwide housing shortage. Some of the individual offices are larger than a studio apartment.
It's also not surprising that employees with six-figure salaries wouldn't consider free food a major incentive. They can buy their own kettle corn and fruit smoothies. If Apple has a surplus of free meals, the company could help out with Silicon Valley's increased demand for food assistance during the pandemic.
NBC News Senior Business Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle was also fed up with the ingrates at Apple.
Ruhle tweeted on Saturday:
“If you don't want to go back to your super rad job at Apple, no need to revolt ... just quit. Someone else will gladly take your job."
Politely requesting better working conditions isn't a “revolt." The job at Apple could be “super rad" or even “totally tubular," but the flexibility of remote work is priceless, especially if you're a working parent. Schools haven't fully reopened, so all these announcements from corporations have big “cart before the horse" energy.
The New York Times ran article last month titled “Will Schools Open In The Fall?" Parents are still clinging to vague questions about in-person schooling instead of more helpful declarative statements.
Many schools and day care centers have not returned to normal operations. They are open for only a few hours a day, a few days a week or on alternating weeks, making it difficult for parents to return to a full-time job. And parenting responsibilities still fall disproportionately on women.
This situation is unlikely to change over the final month or two of the current school year. But it raises a major question about the start of the next school year, in August and September: Will schools fully reopen — every day, Monday through Friday, and every week?
The Times notes that if whatever currently passes for schooling continues into the fall, it will exact a heavy cost on working mothers, because everything fucking does.
Ruhle, a true woman of the people, doesn't understand or respect the many legitimate reasons people might want to continue working remotely. Many employees at Silicon Valley companies moved in search of larger, more affordable homes during the pandemic. It was a major lifestyle change, which was mutually beneficial because companies could safely continue operations.
Some businesses have tried to hide behind BS stats claiming remote work resulted in a drop in productivity. That's hardly a fair comparison when working parents were also part-time schoolteachers.
Ruhle's position isn't smart business, either. Apple offered lots of perks, sure, but if the flexibility of remote work is the most appealing benefit for top talent, employees will look elsewhere.
Apple's announcement amounts to an easing of restrictions compared to its previous company culture, which famously discouraged employees from working from home prior to the pandemic. Yet it's still more conservative compared to other tech giants. Both Twitter and Facebook have told employees they can work from home forever, even after the pandemic ends. Sure, the Apple Park campus is beautiful and offers every material comfort, but so did The Village on The Prisoner.
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Georgia's state Board of Education this week became the latest government entity to take a firm stance against teaching about racism in schools, or at least against teaching anything that makes white Republicans uncomfortable. The Georgia Board of Ed adopted a resolution insisting that the USA and Georgia are definitely not racist places, while calling for limits on how public schools should be allowed to discuss and teach about racism.
The resolution itself — authored by National Review writer and professional culture warrior Stanley Kurtz, author of many serious works of scholarship like Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism — calls for supposedly colorblind educational practices that will not "indoctrinate students in social, or political, ideology or theory" or "promote one race or sex above another," and how could anyone possibly object to that? Like, unless you apply those concepts very selectively and in bad faith, or are actively letting Stanley Kurtz decide what is "isms," but only a cynic would suggest rightwing officials could be capable of such a thing.
Among other things (we have the full list below), the resolution says no element of public education should do terrible things like tell innocent schoolchildren that
any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex;
with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality
That could definitely create some puzzles for school districts! How would you teach about the writing of the Constitution, including the Three-Fifths Compromise, while insisting with a straight face that slavery is a "deviation from" the authentic founding principles of the USA? "Yes, the Founders wrote slavery into the Constitution, but that was a betrayal of the founding principles they were at that very moment formulating." Or maybe you'd just say it was secretly designed to end slavery?
As George Chidi notes at The Intercept, this has nothing to do with the actual academic field that goes by "critical race theory." Rather, it's a denial of the very "idea that students should be taught that racism is a real, current problem created by longstanding structural inequality." There are no structures or systems in America, after all, just a glorious tradition of freedom, unless you want the freedom to talk about institutional racism as a real thing that harms actual people. Then you'd better watch your mouth.
All this fits very strangely with — and is the radical rightwing outgrowth of — last year's panic over calls to bring down monuments to the Confederacy. We were told removing those post-Reconstruction celebrations of the Lost Cause would amount to "erasing history," although historians were quick to point out that the statues of dead Confederates had far more to do with reinforcing white supremacy and Jim Crow than with any real educational purpose.
And now look who wants to wipe out the teaching of history. It's the very worst "revisionism" to take down statues celebrating enslavers, but we also can't have all these terrible teachers pointing out that those very statues were dedicated with speeches praising the noble cause of white supremacy, either. After all, that might give white students the impression that they should "feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress" over that legacy of white supremacy.
Or perhaps a teacher might be allowed to mention those openly racist dedication speeches, as long as the teacher emphasized that the Jim Crow era was a temporary, century-long deviation from the nation's founding principles, just as the 250 years of legal slavery prior to the Civil War had also been a great big deviation from the nation's basic goodness, too.
Are we supposed to talk about history, or not?
At the core of the Georgia resolution is this list of Thou Shalt Nots, which appears not only in the NAS document (twice, weirdly) but has also made its way into several states' laws aimed at making critical race theory go away. Oklahoma, we're looking at you, and at Texas, too.
Get ready, sucker's LONG. The Georgia Board of Ed
Believes that no teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state education agency, school district, or school administration shall approve for use, make use of, or carry out, standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices that serve to inculcate in students the following concepts:
(a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;
(b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
(c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual's race;
(d) members of one race cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race;
(e) an individual's moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;
(f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
(g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex;
(h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a members of a particular race to oppress members of another race;
(i) that the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; or
(j) that, with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality
That next-to last one is clearly aimed at prohibiting the use of the 1619 Project in classes, of course.
Also, how's this for a kick in the pants? As we note, this list of supposed educational goals crops up, with variations, in state laws aimed at "protecting" education all over Red State America. But weirdly, the first eight items in the list are virtually identical to the list of "divisive concepts" banned in Donald Trump's September 2020 executive order aimed at prohibiting "racial bias" training for government employees and contractors.
So what the hell is up there? Did Stanley Kurtz write the Trump executive order, or crib from the EO for his NAS document? Did the two lists share some common genesis that we haven't seen? We are confused, we'll confess — though not to the point of psychological distress. Maybe we should go find a statue to look at, so we'll understand what history is about.
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Happy Pride, everyone!
Let's check in on the One America News Network, and see how they're celebrating.
Fair warning: It's fuckin' weird.
Transcript via Media Matters:
KARA McKINNEY (HOST): Remember how back in the day about 10 or so years ago when the gay marriage debate was really taking off and we had the Supreme Court case and everything going on at the time it was, well, what goes on in people's bedroom isn't anyone else's business and now of course they brought the bedroom to the streets and now we have to visualize everything, see it all, hear all the gross itty-bitty degenerate details of other people's lives, and then we're being forced to encourage it and to promote it. And since you're a pastor and given your background with that with spiritual matters, what do you make of America — we're supposed to be founded on Judeo-Christian principles — dedicating an entire month to pride, one of the seven deadly sins; what do you make of that?
They brought the bedroom to the streets and showed everybody their gross itty-bitties! And Kara McKinney is forced BY LAW to visualize it.
Now, if you aren't watching the video, you are probably imagining that the person speaking is some kind of cartoonish combination of Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" and the reanimated rotting corpse of stupid dead Phyllis Schlafly. But no, it appears to be a younger person named Kara McKinney. We don't know what happened to her to make her this way, cringing about the "grossy itty-bitty degenerate details" of everybody else's naughty nookies. But here she is.
Apparently she thinks the "pride" in the seven deadly sins refers to "gay pride." So she's not the brightest star on OAN.
Speaking of bright stars, McKinney's guest was Jesse Lee Peterson, a 72-year-old Black pastor and professional wingnut who last appeared on Wonkette when he was ASTOUNDED to learn that men go down on ladies' crotch bits WITH THEIR MOUTHS. He said "men should not be doing that because it's like eating out of a trash can."
He said, "You have the dirt coming out, blood, other people's sex stuff, disease, and y'all eat it out?" He was also horrified to learn that womenfolk also do those things to men with their own mouths. "I asked the women if there were many women who knew about this and I was stunned at the answer. I thought it was like a slut thing! I didn't know normal women do that to men." His friends reassured him that all women are sluts.
Peterson did not know all these things were so popular! He said later in the segment in question that women are not supposed to be having orgasms. "Any woman that's climaxing is becoming a man, because it's not normal for a woman to do that." Got that? Orgasms? Not normal. Dirt coming out of the vaginas? That's just how it works!
SO ANYWAY, he was the guest on the One America News Network, to talk about the gay pride month! Don't you want to know what this man, who thinks it's filthy and disgusting for a man and a woman to mouth each other's genitals, even if they are in a Christian marriage, thinks about gay pride month?
We'll skip all his spiritual garbage shit and get to the good part:
JESSE LEE PETERSON (GUEST): We should have never fallen for this idea that oh, we just want to come out of the closet. Just let us out of the closet. And then they said, oh, we want to go to church. But we don't want to be talked about at church. So a lot of preachers stopped mentioning that homosexuality is wrong, that something has gone wrong and they must repent and return to God. Now they've taken over the churches. There are a lot of preachers afraid to speak out against so-called Pride Month.
The gays have taken over the churches. Had you heard? We hadn't heard. Ha ha! First we personally stole the rainbow from God's cold dead hands and made it our symbol AND THEN!
PETERSON: You know, I started the white history month in July. White — this is our fourth year coming up where we're celebrating white history.
Whoa, that was not the direction we were expecting this discussion about the gays and the BLTs and their sexings to go. This Black pastor started white history month. Wow.
PETERSON: And what I've noticed that in America, a country that was founded by white people and created by white people, one of the greatest country on this side of heaven. And so white people — invited all these other — allowed all this other stuff to happen but you can celebrate everything but white history. We must remember white history.
Pretty sure we've had that covered on this side of the Atlantic since at least ... 1619? Yeah, let's go with 1619.
PETERSON: Because if it wasn't for that, there would be no America. And so they got Black history, women history, Mexican history, so-called gay pride. What's happy about being perverted? There's nothing good about that, living in sin, right? And, but we celebrate — I don't — but they celebrate that. But when it comes to white history they're afraid to even mention white history.
Terrified. The average child in America is probably not even aware white people were allowed to exist before Donald Trump became president.
Peterson finished with some more make America great words about showing appreciation to white people, and some kinda boring shit about praying for the fallen gays, and then it was McKinney's turn again, to just make it REAL weird.
McKINNEY: You're exactly right because all of us are fallen in sin. We all have our sins and our flaws and our vices, but we don't make that the center of our personality. And we don't identify it. You know, if someone's a liar they shouldn't go around and say having a lying flag and you know and say I'm a liar, and that's who I am, and that's everything you need to know about me. No, because as Christians and a Christian nation we find our identity in Jesus Christ and then from there everything flows from that.
Reminder: OANN calls itself a "news" network. There are people out there who watch this and think it is the "news."
McKINNEY: It's interesting that they do the pride flags and you see it everywhere, you see the parades, it's on all the logos, it's really shoved in your face, especially during this month.
Just SHOVED in your face, the gross itty-bitty degenerate bedroom things.
McKINNEY: And it's because we're being told that this is a marginalized community. People in the LGBT community, they feel so scared; they're not allowed to speak. And yet it's funny, you know, we see it in June a lot but we see it in the other 11 months all the time.
Kind of like white history month?
McKINNEY: When can we stop saying that this is a marginalized group and say that they're the ones who wield all the power in this country because everything I say now will get me canceled on every other channel.
In summary and in conclusion, gays rule the world, white history has been banned, and this bugfuck weirdo from OAN Kara McKinney is hereby CANCELED.
Oh yeah and happy pride! Go do some fucking with an abundance of consent!
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Who knew that Mixed Martial Arts might not prepare a bro for local office?
After just six months in office, Tito Ortiz, a former UFC fighter inducted into that sport's hall of fame, resigned Tuesday night as mayor pro tem (essentially a vice mayor) of Huntington Beach, California. After being elected on an anti-mask platform, calling the COVID-19 crisis a "plandemic" at his swearing-in, spreading Donald Trump's big election lie, and then crying a whole bunch about being victimized by cruel partisans, Ortiz will now serve as a warning to children that being on TV in a made-up sport (calm down, all sports are made up) doesn't mean you're fit to hold a position of public trust.
We had never heard of Mr. Ortiz prior to being assigned this story, and we'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Our Editrix for the chance to learn about a lunkhead whose idiotic behavior deserves to be made fun of and quickly forgotten, at least until he ends up hijacking an ice cream truck and crashing it through the doors of a federal building, leaving several bureaucrats overcome by sprinkles.
In his resignation speech at last night's City Council meeting, Ortiz insisted that he had been the victim of "character assassination" by the media, which very unfairly reported things he'd said and done. He said that the last straw was that his children were being "attacked," by which he presumably meant accurate reporting on his sons being sent home from school for not wearing masks, and bringing a bogus document claiming they were exempt from mask requirements based on "religious freedom." (We'll just note that the Orange County Register, at least, didn't include the boys' names, ages, or the name of the middle school they attend, only the district.)
Here's Ortiz in his operatic debut as Pagliacci:
TITO RESIGNED 🎉🎉 https://t.co/Zcnz9fuMm3— 👽🦋🌎🌹🌈 (@👽🦋🌎🌹🌈)1622599868.0
"To put it simply," Ortiz said, "this job isn't working for me." It's unclear whether the lone person applauding as he stood to leave was a fan, or just glad to see him go.
From the start, Ortiz made a nuisance of himself by constantly making an issue of his refusal to wear a mask, as well as his stance opposing vaccinations. Just days after the election, well before his December swearing-in, Ortiz
tried to attend a [City Council] strategic planning meeting at the local library, but was barred from the building by the mayor because he refused to wear a mask. Ortiz's anti-mask stance was part of his campaign platform, so he called into the meeting from his car instead of going home and getting a mask.
Eventually, the City Council voted to continue holding meetings remotely because Ortiz continued to refuse to wear a mask for in-person meetings.
In a January incident, Ortiz got into a tiff with a local burger joint, TK Burgers, after he was refused service for not wearing a mask.
I hope Tito continues to post these reaction videos whenever he gets denied service or kicked out for not wearing a… https://t.co/tsMTleko0D— Borrachinha Depot (@Borrachinha Depot)1610925575.0
So they won't let me order unless I have a mask to come in. First time all year I've actually been forced to wear a mask. But I'm not wearing a mask. TK Burger, you lose my business, you lose HB's business.
His pissy reaction, oddly, did not win Ortiz scads of adoring followers or inspire a boycott, but instead resulted in a surge of mask-wearing customers at TK Burgers. Ortiz eventually apologized on Facebook for his "bad decision," saying he understood how difficult things have been for small businesses, and that he "would never want to ruin that business," at least after trying to ruin that business and beclowning himself.
Oh, but that was just small (fried) potatoes compared to Ortiz's next imbroglio, in which the OC Register discovered he had inexplicably filed for unemployment compensation in February, although the story broke in late April.
Naming the city as his employer, he gave his first day of work as Dec. 7, 2020 – when he was sworn in after comfortably winning his seat in the November election. He stated that his last day of work was Feb. 9, 2021, although he still serves on the council.
On the portion of the unemployment application that asks for a "reason for separation," Ortiz listed, "Still working part-time or on-call – related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)."
NBC Los Angeles confirmed with Mayor Kim Carr that Ortiz had not been laid off:
He's been receiving the same amount of wages and hour. It's my understanding that city council members are not eligible for unemployment, particularly when they are receiving their full salary.
Oh yes, and then there's this tidbit from the OC Register story: Ortiz owns
two Huntington Beach businesses – Punishment Athletics clothing store and Punishment Training Center gym. He has a house in Huntington Harbour worth about $4 million.
Guess some people really are tempted into a life of idleness by those great big $300-per-week emergency unemployment benefits, then.
In its story on Ortiz's resignation, the Register dutifully notes that Ortiz has "denied that his unemployment claim was improper, saying the allegations were politically motivated."
At last night's City Council meeting — the first in months at which masks were no longer required — Ortiz complained that "From day one, when I was sworn in, and I was met with hostility and judgement," and that he'd been "the sole focus of character assassination each and every week with multiple news stories and leaked personal information, all of which were to slander and defame my name."
And then he went on to whine about the "attacks" on his family, and his fears for their safety, although he didn't actually provide any examples of their being endangered by anything other than his insistence that the virus is fake news. That threat, too many people have learned, is all too real.
In conclusion, as with that Florida gentleman named Pork Chop, we're glad to have learned this guy existed, and equally happy to be far, far away from him, the end.
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