(I really looked forward to Saturday mornings in those days…)
1 There has to be a special Ethics Alarms category for this…But what? Lizzie Dunn sprayed herself in the face with sulphuric acid, stumbled into a deli on Staten Island, and told horrified customers as her face was melting that a middle-aged black woman had attacked her when Dunn refused her demand cigarettes and money at a bus stop. Local news outlets spread the frightening tale of the acid-spraying stranger before police questioned Dunn and she recanted.Apparently she has a history of hurting herself. I’d include the photo of what her face looks like now, but that’s no way to start a long weekend.
2. From the “This is getting ridiculous” Dept. Stan Lee, ta Marvel Comics icon and the creator of many comic book heroes,is 95 years old but still pretty spry s he enjoys late life celebrity. The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes invited hm to be its ceremonial pregame puck dropper for yesterday’s game, but cancelled its invitation after some of the nurses who had cared for Lee at his home accused him of sexual harassment. Lee not only denies the allegation from the company that employed the nurses that he has “spoken inappropriately” to some of them and had tried to “grope them,” he claims to be the victim of a shakedown. His lawyers have threatened to sue the company for defamation, and Lee’s current nurse providers say he is a “perfect gentleman.”
This is #MeToo bullying. As usual, we have no way to know who is telling the truth, but the Coyotes are cowardly and unfair to embarrass Lee publicly by behaving as if he is guilty when investigations so far have proven no wrongdoing. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, and the prospect of eldercare nurses being primed to cry sexual misconduct when some geezer engages in dubious but harmless behavior that he was raised to think was a privilege of old age is frankly frightening. Lee is wealthy, famous, and at his age poses no physical threat to any caretaker nor creates a hostile work environment in a profession that routinely faces far worse daily indignities than a pat on the rear or a racy wisecrack. He would be easy prey for #MeToo extortion: all that would be needed is a group of nurses to agree to accuse him and split the pay-off. Meanwhile, the Coyotes would hardly be regarded as enablers of sexual violence if they let the guy drop a puck.
3. My empathy stops here. One of the latest fads capturing teenagers on social media is the “Tide Pods Challenge,” which requires intrepid kids to ingest those little laundry detergent capsules and post videos of themselves doing so online. The resulting fun videos often show the expected side effects of swallowing household cleaners: choking, gagging and vomiting. Some of the mor…sorry, teenagers video themselves”cooking” the packs by pan frying them before downing the yummy treats. There’s also a “Hypothetical edible Tide pods recipe” using a baking sheet, Sprite and parchment paper.
Just wait: someone will sue Tide for not having sufficient “Don’t eat soap” warnings on the box or the pods themselves.
American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that there were more than 10,500 reported incidents of children 5 years old and younger eating the brightly colored pods in 2017. That’s careless parenting. Teenagers who harm themselves eating laundry detergent on a dare, however, glean the same amount of sympathy from me that my father used to express when he read about an adult perishing in a game of Russian Roulette: zilch.
4. But it’s the progressive thought that counts. The national restaurant chain Red Robin announced that it has been forced to eliminate busboys at all of its 570 restaurants to offset the labor increases resulting from the increased salary costs created by minimum wage increases that went into effect on January 1 in 18 states and 19 localities across the country. Not only will these entry-level jobs vanish, the remaining employees will have their traditional tasks added to their own.
This result isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a surprise. While Bernie blathered on about living wages, the immutable fact remains that some jobs just aren’t worth paying much for. Raise the mandatory hourly rate above a certain level, and the low-paid borderline employee doesn’t benefit, he loses his job. It has always been thus. Never mind: grandstanding politicians don’t care; they just want to play to their economics-challenged, safely middle-class base.
Last June, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law caused a 9 % reduction in hours worked. For the average Seattle worker, that was a loss of about $125 per month. A University of Washington study estimated that about 5,000 ow-wage jobs would still be available in Seattle were it not for the popular minimum wage hike.
As I noted in 2016, Commentary mused on the strange trend of liberal legislators pushing extreme minimum wage increases on their cities and states despite the certainty of job losses:
“Why shouldn’t we in fact accept job loss?” asks New School economics and urban policy professor David Howell, who’s about to publish a white paper on the subject. “What’s so bad about getting rid of crappy jobs, forcing employers to upgrade, and having a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed by that?”
Said Governor Jerry Brown on April 4, 2016 as he signed into law a phased state-wide increase in the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour,
“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense. But morally, socially, and politically they make every sense because it binds the community together to make sure parents can take care of their kids.”
A recent study indicated that in California, a 10% increase in the minimum wage causes a 5% reduction in employment in industries with a high percentage of lower-paid employees, like the restaurant business. It is estimated that California will lose approximately 400,000 jobs by 2022 resulting from the $15 minimum wage.
Yes, but it will bind the community together!