Saturday, May 30, 2015

Negligence Takes the Lives of Two K-9 Cops

It's not unusual for dogs to die when left in automobiles during hot weather. It's a little more unusual when the dogs are police K-9s. A Hialeah policeman left his two dogs in a locked SUV for over 5 hours and both animals expired. While the officer in question has been suspended without pay, no decision has as yet been made on what charges, if any, he will face for the dogs' deaths. This story Another take on the incident can be found here. An ordinary citizen is in big trouble if he harms or kills a police K-9. We'll see what happens to Officer Enriquez. Additionally, the dogs, being incapable of real thought or understanding, didn't volunteer to be Hialeah cops. There's a moral question here if humans have the right to expose dumb animals to the dangers of law enforcement.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blue Collar vs White Collar Conditions

Nineteenth-century German intellectual fraud Karl Marx stipulated that there was an inherent conflict in the capitalist system between workers and their  bourgeoisie overlords. That's not now and never has been the case. The actual conflict is between the blue collar workers that deal with reality and their white collar counterparts that deal with abstractions, generally in a bureaucratic model. The owners of capital are bemused bystanders.

An example of the dichotomy between these two groups is plainly visible in the construction industry. The men and women that build the structures in which white collar workers later spend their time endure conditions that their bureaucrat brothers would refuse. It's not the work itself that's the issue, however. It's the workplace environment when no work is taking place.
During the construction of a new hospital workers assemble in this room each morning. It is the assigned space for breaks and lunches. Light is provided by half a dozen 60 watt bulbs hanging far above the floor, which is cleaned perhaps weekly. If food were being sold in this room, state health authorities would close the facility for sanitary reasons.

This is the dining facility at an existing hospital nearby. It caters to employees, patients and visitors.

The construction workers' lounge. Construction management uses well-lighted trailers.

The lounge at the nearby hospital.

Typical toilet facilities provided for construction workers. If this is sufficient for them, why is it necessary to provide more sophisticated and sanitary ones for the later occupants?

Why is one toilet reserved for women? And why is it secured with a combination lock? Do the workers in the plant that builds the porta-potties also perform their body functions in them or do they have real toilets? If for some reason one's toilet no longer functioned could they put a porta-potty next to the driveway and use it on a permanent basis?
The men's room at the nearby hospital. Women have a similar facility adjoining. It isn't locked.

Construction workers expect and accept dangerous, difficult and dirty working conditions. That's always been the nature of the business.  At the same time, why should they accept unsanitary rest  rooms and filthy, uncomfortable, poorly lighted break rooms? It could be said that these conditions are temporary. While everything is pretty much temporary in the big scheme of things, for construction workers this is a permanent feature of daily existence. When this project is completed, the next one will have portable toilets and filthy break rooms as well.

There's been an international conversation over income inequality. When will there be one about addressing the disparities in conditions between white collar employees and the people that build their facilities?

In Singapore, future residents of an up-scale housing project have discovered the conditions under which the workers that are building their homes exist and are at least recognizing the situation as we see here. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Virginia Camel Is Center of Law Enforcement Action

A camel owned by a Chesterfield County man has been confiscated by police and incarcerated at an animal shelter because it appears to be under-nourished, according to this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As usual, the beast in question is referred to by his "name", in this case, Jacob. Like dogs and cats, camels evidently receive only first names, but no surnames. Anyway, despite what the article describes as camels being relatively common animals, people were so curious to see it that it had to be hidden from view by the hanging of tarps over the fence of the camel jail.