Unemplyoment bill in SC

I can’t say I entirely disagree with efforts in South Carolina to reform how unemployment benefits are paid out. Basically, they want to get people back to work doing something. Some of it makes sense:

A Senate panel advanced bills Tuesday that would require people laid off in South Carolina to pass a drug test to receive unemployment benefits, then volunteer 16 hours weekly with a charity or public agency to keep receiving a check…

Another policy change would require people drawing unemployment benefits to accept job offers that pay incrementally less than their previous wages.

The change means those drawing unemployment benefits must accept job offers that pay 90 percent of their previous wage after four weeks. The percentage would drop every four weeks. After 16 unemployment payments, they’d have to accept 70 percent of their previous income. Once federal extensions kick in at 20 weeks, they’d have to accept minimum wage labor.

I can agree with the volunteer work to an extent. Currently there are companies which state that people out of work for certain periods of time need not apply. There have been movements to make it illegal to do that (which I support), but I don’t know of any state that has actually passed any legislation. Having people volunteer in certain areas would counter some of the concerns of the douchebag companies out there. (I don’t know the ins-and-outs of the bill, but it would make sense to include internships as well.)

Of course, this doesn’t come without its problems. A person on unemployment in South Carolina gets about $235 a week. As a single individual with roommates, I could get by on that if need be, but anyone with kids is necessarily going to struggle. I can’t imagine it would be easy to pay for daycare or a babysitter for 16 hours a week while already on such a tight budget. For some people the SC bill is only going to make life more difficult, thus forcing them onto welfare for longer. That would be counter-productive for everybody.

On drug tests, I think that’s just a stupid idea. Relatively few people on welfare spend their money on illegal drugs, so the whole idea isn’t practical. And for those who do imbibe such substances, the testing costs are astronomical compared to the savings for the states.

On forcing people to accept job offers that suck, there are two obvious problems. First, fuck you to anyone who forces a person to work at a particular place or for a particular wage. Given how fond Republicans are of pretending that taxes are somehow akin to enslavement, I would think they might be more sensitive to forcing people into certain actions regarding their economic well-being. Second, any company that sees a large gap in a person’s work history is liable to intentionally offer that person the lowest wage they know they can get away with. All this does is create cheap labor for businesses by unfair means. If the state wishes to encourage people to get off welfare, they should use the carrot, not the stick.

So, some of these ideas aren’t entirely terrible. I think it’s likely the volunteer idea is motivated by the Republican perception that poor people are inherently lazy and bad, but it does have some merit to it. Indeed, the drug testing idea has a similar motivation, though it has no merit. The forced-work/slavery idea is a terrible one, but it has seemingly decent enough motivations. But then, this is South Carolina. I really don’t expect them to fix any of their problems in a way which resembles anything rational. (Sorry, native South Carolinian Stephen Colbert.)

You aren’t helping women, Gov. Haley

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina recently went on a European spending spree at the expense of taxpayers. Reporter Renee Dudley covered the story:

Gov. Nikki Haley’s weeklong trip to Europe in June in search of “jobs, jobs, jobs” cost South Carolinians more than $127,000. But the governor and her entourage of more than two dozen returned without any finished deals to bring new employers to the Palmetto State.

Haley, who captured the governor’s office preaching fiscal restraint, spent the cash so she, her husband and the rest of the state’s contingent could stay in five-star hotels; sip cocktails at the Paris Ritz; dine on what an invitation touted as “delicious French cuisine” at a swanky rooftop restaurant; and rub elbows with the U.S. Ambassador to France at his official residence near the French presidential palace.

The South Carolina group also threw a soiree at the Hotel de Talleyrand, a historic Parisian townhouse where they feted foreign employers in hopes they’d set up shop in South Carolina. The Department of Commerce billed the $25,000 event as a “networking opportunity for members of the South Carolina delegation.”

“It was a great party,” Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in an interview last week.

In this investigative piece, Dudley raises a number of concerns that ought to interest South Carolina. She uses several sources and attempted to contact the governor’s office for comment. It was a professionally done story. Unfortunately, since it strikes at the heart of the governor’s claims to fiscal conservatism, Haley had this to say:

And all I will tell you is: God bless that little girl at The Post and Courier. I mean her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end I’m going to have jobs to show for it,” Haley said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.

First, something which is going to fly under the radar and be ignored for the bigger and more obvious story: Even if Dudley’s job is to create conflict – and it isn’t – then she did so. She showed that the interests of Haley do not jive with the interests of South Carolina taxpayers. So when Haley implies that at the end of the day she’s going to have something to show for her efforts and Dudley isn’t, she’s wrong. But of course, the bigger story here is the “little girl” comment. It’s a stupid and demeaning statement. Naturally a number of people want Haley to apologize. And she did. Sort of:

The story painted a grossly inaccurate picture and was unprofessionally done, but my ‘little girl’ comment was inappropriate and I regret that,” Haley said. “Everyone can have a bad day. I’ll forgive her bad story, if she’ll forgive my poor choice of words.

What a dick.

As I said earlier, Dudley’s piece meets journalistic standards. Haley’s people had an opportunity to rebuke the story. They failed. The only unprofessional thing here is Haley’s childish back-handed apology.

I know it’s a popular thing for people to assume only white men can be sexist and/or racist, but that clearly is not the case. (See this video from Texas for a bit of black-to-white racism.) Haley has given ample evidence against that. (And, hey, who wants to bet PZ isn’t going to latch onto this story?) She ought to join everyone else at the adult table, apologize, and then stop using ad hom fallacies as a response to legitimate concerns.

Stubborn bigotry

The Supreme Court got rid of all bans on interracial marriage in 1967. Unfortunately, it took two states over 30 years each to formally get rid of the statutes they still had on the books. Both states – South Carolina and Alabama – had to go through the process of a vote because of how their constitutions work. In 1998, 38% of South Carolina voters said they did not want to remove the ban. In 2000, 41% of Alabama voters said the same thing. Those numbers were shockingly disgusting. People like to hold on to their bigotry, quite apparently.

Now the same thing is going on in Kansas:

Members of Kansas’ gay community aren’t happy as lawmakers in Topeka, KS, have decided to leave on the books laws banning homosexuality.

Laws banning gay sex have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the law remains in place in Kansas.

An effort to repeal the law was killed this week, leaving gay and lesbian Kansans outraged…

The House Judiciary Committee was considering a bill to clean up Kansas’ criminal code when a pair of lawmakers, Jan Paul from Hutchinson and Lance Kinzer from Olathe, removed an amendment from the bill that would have repealed the law banning homosexual acts.

Got that? People were considering cleaning up Kansas’ ugly past, but Jan Paul and Lance Kinzer said they prefer to keep things dirty, filthy, and ugly.

“I think their motivation is pretty clear,” said Thomas Witt, chair of Kansas Equality Commission. “They don’t like gay people and they’re going to make sure in the eyes of the law we’re still considered criminals.”

All about Maloney and Moritz

The tremendous outpouring of support has been a tad overwhelming to say the least. I literally spent 4 straight hours reading posts after work yesterday, took a shower, then spent another several hours reading more. It seems like today there’s an even larger supply of material to read.

Given just how much is out there, I am going to do my best to list out all the links here. It isn’t possible for me to find them all, so any additions are welcome in the comment section. I’ll do my best to update this post accordingly.

PZ Myers:

Christopher Maloney is a quack.

Christopher Maloney: Still a quack

Do not harass the quacks!

Andreas Moritz is a cancer quack

Why quacks ought to lie low

Orac:

Andreas Moritz and trying to shut down valid scientific criticism: A sine qua non of a quack

RichardDawkins.net:

Andreas Moritz is a cancer quack

Steven Novella:

Naturopaths Can Silence Critics Too

I Speak of Dreams:

Repeating PZ Myers: Christopher Maloney Is A Quack (and cowardly, and WordPress is craven) But Andreas Moritz is Worse: A Dangerous Cancer Quack

Twitter:

Search for Christopher Maloney

Search for Andreas Moritz

Search for Michael Hawkins

Search for More legal threats from quacks. PZ Myers on Andreas Moritz. RT to help Michael Hawkins

(Might I recommend using “naturopathy” as a tag?)

Random Thoughts:

Andreas Moritz is a Quack

Not a Potted Plant:

Christopher Maloney is a Cowardly Quack (UPDATED)

Newsvine:

iarnuocon: Christopher Maloney is a quack

A Hot Cup of Joe:

Christopher Maloney is a Quack

Jthewonderllama’s Totally Amazing Blog:

Christopher Maloney is a quack.

All Rocks go to Heaven:

Dear WordPress: You Suck

horsegoeswest:

When you got nothing, sue

Evening Person:

Blogger’s site taken down by quacks

The Digital Cuttlefish:

He’s a Maine-i-quack!

Vermont rated healthiest state; Maine 9th

Vermont tops states in health, Louisiana ranks last.

It was the second straight year that Vermont topped the rankings. It was followed by Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Idaho and Maine.

Louisiana fell from 49th to 50th, replacing Mississippi. Rounding out the bottom 10 were South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada and Georgia.

California, the most populous state, ranked 24th and New York 25th.

Vermont, with the second smallest population of any state, had the third-highest public health spending and an obesity rate of 22 percent, four points below the national average.

It also had low child poverty and violent crime, a large number of doctors per capita and good high school graduation rates.

Hawaii had similarly low obesity, the highest public health spending, little air pollution, low rates of uninsured people, a low rate of preventable hospitalizations and low rates of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Mississippi led the nation in obesity at 33 percent of the population, while Colorado was lowest at 19 percent.

22% is the obesity rate in the healthiest state. That’s absolutely absurd. But let’s keep outspending every nation combined on our military. Health certainly isn’t relevant or important to life.

By the way, is it any surprise the South makes up the whole of the bottom 10?