WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Open Friday / Weekend Forum

So, which stories / topics / issues grab your attention this weekend?

Legislation designed to protect transgender people against discrimination in employment, housing, insurance, and public accomodations narrowly clears the state Senate, now headed to the Delaware House of Representatives. As has happened elsewhere, opponents argue such a provision for transgender persons would allow sexual offenders to enter an opposite-sex restroom because of their "gender identity". Proponents say that's hogwash.

More evidence that the now-resigned head of the City of Wilmington's Public Works Department ascended to the position without the proper backtground check. In addition to claiming almost $8,000 in bogus sickness benefits, Alfonso A. Ballard was registered as a sex offender in Delaware.

You don't have to go to China to find shoddy industrial practices or weak governmental oversight: It appears substandard demolition work at 22nd & Market Streets in Philadelphia was allowed to continue, despite persistent complaints to authorities more than three weeks before the collapse of that building that killed six people and injured 14 others.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea will give our region its heaviest rains since October 29th, when Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey.

Reaction has been mixed - not neatly along right/left lines - to revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has been stockpiling phone records of virtually every telephone call placed in the United States over seven years. The Obama Administration and a bipartisan group of members of Congress declared the domestic surveillance operation both legal and necessary. They insisted the program has succeeded in thwarting terrorist plots.

But Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, pushed for the Obama Administration to conduct a classified hearing for the entire Senate.

The story in the UK's GUARDIAN newspaper & website which prompted this latest blow-up wasn't the first on this general subject. For example, in 2008, The WALL STREET JOURNAL ran a story about the NSA monitoring massive quantities of domestic communications and records. The GUARDIAN obtained a secret order signed by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Further reporting from The WASHINGTON POST: "The National Security Agency and the F.B.I. are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets..."

Does the Obama Administration's surveillance program recall the abuse of government surveillance powers during the Kennedy, Johnson, & Nixon administrations that prompted the formation of the Church commission?

Former New York Congressman - and now mayoral candidate - Anthony Weiner gets into trouble with a fat cop gaffe.
Campaigning in Brooklyn, Weiner talked about putting cops on foot patrols and on bikes. Then: "I think a few of them could use a few hours on a bike, if you know what I'm saying..." Weiner later tried to backtrack: He just wanted officers "to go out and walk and to bike, and just be a presence in the community..."

An incident earlier in the day underscored the somewhat unique issues faced by politicians in the Big Apple. A rabbi asked Weiner about the Hasidic practice of sucking circumcision blood from the penises of infants. Hasidic Jews want the city to rescind a law that forces parents to sign waivers before such procedures. Weiner danced around the issue. Doubtless fodder for late night / weekend comedians.

The Dallas Police Department announced the firing of a Dallas 9-1-1 emergency operator, April Sims, after she posted racially incendiary messages on her Facebook pages.
Grounds: She had violated the department's social media policy, even though the posts were only visible to the young woman's Facebook friends (but someone transmitted the material to Dallas TV station WFAA). Sims' time on the job as a 9-1-1 operator appears to have fueled her racial tirades. And given an opportunity to take back her rants - or to say that someone had hacked her account - Sims remained unbending: "I stand by every word I said. And do not apologize..."

More than 30 activists - wearing XL and XXL white t-shirts - targeted Abercrombie & Fitch's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, demonstrating against the Abercrombie C.E.O. Mike Jeffries' remarks about his brand being proudly "exclusionary". His original comments: "In every school, there are cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong (in our clothes), and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.'

Abercrombie & Fitch last month issued an apology for the C.E.O's remarks after a petition against the company reached 68-thousand signatures.

Loudell comment: A&F has long skated the line on discrimination issues. It calls its sales clerks "models" so it can discriminate against job applicants lacking the physical attributes sought by the company. This company is the poster-child for selling sex to prepubescents. An odor wafts out of A&F at Christiana Mall.

A&F contributes to they very shallow, surface popular culture which arguably leads to teen-aged bullying and teen-aged suicides. It'll never happen, but I would love to see CEO Mike Jeffries sentenced to having to spend time visiting the parents of kids who've committed suicide, or having to undergo hours with nerds and dweebs -- who don't give a damn about A&F's clothes.

Something for the history books: The British government has expressed "sincere regret" for the torture and abuse of Kenyans during the Mau Mau rebellion during the 1950's and agreed to pay $30 million in compensation to the surviving victims. According to Harvard professor Caroline Elkins, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya", it's the first time a British government has conceded guilt over colonial abuses, not only in Kenya, but anywhere in the former British empire. Among those detained and tortured during that sordid era: A grandfather to President Obama, according to the president's step-grandmother, Sarah Onyango Obama.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox - a longtime proponent of legalizing marijuana, much to the irritation of the U.S. Government - says if marijuana were ever legalized, he would like to grow the weed. Fox argues legalization and regulation of marijuana production would eliminate the hefty profits for violent drug traffickers.

Over the years, Vladimir Putin has so labored to keep his personal life out of the public eye, that the Russian media have yet to show a single photograph of Putin's two adult daughters. But, in an apparently staged appearance on TV after a ballet performance, Putin and his wife, Lyudmila Putina, announced they were ending their 29-year marriage. It appears the relationship had been on the rocks for years, with Lyudmila complaining about Vladimir Putin's absences, inattention, and tardiness... even when they were dating. Rumors had abounded over the years, including an alleged long-running affair with former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Posted at 9:25am on June 7, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 10:00am
The Obama family has come a long way in two generations: From being tortured to torturing.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 11:48am

I for one do not understand why they are now 'punishing' Alfonso Ballard for offenses that he committed in the past.

If Ballard already served his time in jail, which he did, for submitting false statements, then he has already paid his debt to society. They should not and cannot hold this crime against him for the rest of his life.

Finally, committing these offenses doesn't mean Ballard would not make a good Public Works commissioner. There is no connection between past offenses and his current ability to perform the job.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 11:58am

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 12:19pm

I think Putin's family troubles started with Sarah Palin.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 1:57pm
Oh, great! Now, we are going to have to scroll past a bunch of over-sized pictures to read comments. That is, assuming people will still bother to take the trouble to write comments instead of cutting and pasting pictures. Pictures: The way to be snarky without being original.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 2:15pm
1984 has arrived...in 2013.


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 2:17pm
...I thought a picture was supposed to say a thousand words ;)

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:03pm
I know mine did... lol.

To Earl. it is appropriate and expedient for you to post that picture. I assume it is due to the NSA release....?

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:03pm
Earl: What does the picture you posted say?

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:20pm
INGSOC...English Socialism...it's from 1984 by Orwell.


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:21pm
kavips: yep.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:37pm
It would be wise to remember that the laws allowing for this huge collection of data on personal lives by America's government are not because of Obama. Yes, he is just as guilty by complicity for not saying NO, and I think I can guess his reason for not taking that problem on. But not for me to eschew his role or guilt, it is far more critical to our nation's ideals to understand that this practice was begun in the Bush years; 2002 it was approved and 2005 construction began with the first tap, and was approved by both bi-partisan intelligence committees, and was approved on the floor of the Senate and the floor of the House. And attempts to repeal it were thwarted by both parties. Like the Sith Lord declaring himself emperor in Star Wars, the proper approval was given by us through our governing bodies.

So to blame Obama as the picture tries to... is deadly for the Republicans. It will come out that it was on their watch this occurred. Allan says some reports came out on this in 2008. I reported on it (I didn't look it up) but it was probably 2008 as well but maybe 2007. We knew this was happening. I don't know how he feels but this is really old news and I rolled my eyes when I heard it was announced on "The View" for heavens sake yesterday. I at least mention it once a month and everyone I know or have dealings with, has accepted it as fact... What I find funny and it proves another thing I have said since that time frame, the top four U.S. news media outlets are dead when it comes to finding and reporting news. Brain dead is the more appropriate term.

I disagree with the commenter on another thread who was saying cutting and splicing on-air interviews would be a good idea. For the record, I listen to WDEL primarily because the interviews are live, and I get real info, not filtered info... I don't want someone cutting and splicing so the real news is not reported... I prefer the live format and think that is truly a diamond we have here in the Diamond State... Because it proves again for one, that not all America is brain-dead. Sometimes the live calls are a bust, the person sticks to his talking points to hone his message, and that tells bundles too. If it is a candidate, I know not to vote for him/her.

But instead of pointing blame at Obama, and not diminishing his complacency, (it was wrong) the real problem is how we let this happen. How did we get to the point, where I can go through Earl Gray's emails in 2005? Or BillS's telephone calls in 2008 (yes they are still on tape), or my records of yesterday morning? We did it by violating the Constitution... We replaced: In God We Trust, ... with two words..."Trust Us."

Now I've evolved over the years and have seen that bill's beneficial uses. I am not as shocked as some of you are. It is a very valuable tool when used properly; one that can protect our freedom. It is if it gets used wrong... that we get upset...

The answer to this quandary - and it bears repeating - is to erase the immunity companies have, and the government has, for the misuse of this information. Most or all of us are careful in our actions not to get sued. We self-police ourselves to ensure it does not happen. The same thing will happen to these entities. If the possibility exists that Verizon will loses $11 million for letting BillS know what Earl Gray was up to in 2005, there is a very good possibility that the information will not be transferred. If it is, and Earl Gray is damaged, well, $11 million buys a lot of happiness for life on the Grand Cayman Islands...

So it is really our fault.. Or in my and Allan's case... your fault, because we told you and you wouldn't listen...

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 4:21pm
I thought both posters were good. I got a chuckle out of the Obama "big brother" one though as it is appropriate at this moment.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 6:44pm
I would like to discuss the effects of Tropical Storm Andrea. You know the old phrase 'everyone complains about the weather but no one wants to do anything about it.' Well I thought I'd turn to you guys for help. How can we stop this rain? :-)

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 7:53pm
The line is " "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." - Often mis-attributed to Mark Twain.

Robert Heinlein said, "Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get."

If you don't like rain, move to Tucson. But don't expect to see many trees, shrubs or flowers. And notice how people have pebbles (like the bottom of a fish tank) instead of grass for their "lawns." Stop the rain and look forward to water rationing and high water bills.

The rain will stop on its own, and then the sun comes out. Be patient and enjoy the rainbow. Stay dry and rent "Singing In The Rain."

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 9:00pm
kavips: i was against these programs when Bush did it and "O" has put these programs on steroids...he demonized Bush for spying on American citizens and he promised to end them all when elected. With the incredible powers given through these programs will we inherit a king? a permanent president? Caesar?

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 1:44am
bmak: Actually, in my line of business, rain is a good thing. Last weekend it was so hot and business was so dead that I spent more on fuel that I made. Tonight on the other hand was a boon for the pizza business. Rain and snow are always motivate people to order for delivery.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 1:47am
Now that we've opened up our bathrooms to transvestites, we can't be too far off from legalizing sex with children and animals.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 7:15am
Kavips: I'm guessing you're throwing that $11 million out there as an arbitrary figure, but to Verizon that compares to 25 cents change in the average person's pocket.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 8:25am
The APM Marketplace program, Freakonomics Radio, points out that Christians are lousy tippers. Is anyone surprised. Wait staff get less than minimum wage, work hard, suffer abuse and get stiffed by practitioners of a religion that is supposedly about love, compassion and helping people.

More proof that churches are populated by self-righteous hypocrites, just the kind of people Jesus repeatedly denounced.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 8:26am
Ever wonder why some people drink so much soda?

Are you a sugar addict? Scientists say high fructose corn syrup is as addictive as cocaine - but you may not even know you're eating it

* A new study by Canadian researchers has found that high-fructose corn syrup can cause reactions similar to those to cocaine
* The study measured rats' reactions to higher and higher levels of high-fructose corn syrup
* The study suggests that high-fructose corn syrup could explain the current obesity epidemic

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 21:23 EST, 7 June 2013 | UPDATED: 21:24 EST, 7 June 2013

Canadian researchers have found that high-fructose corn syrup can cause behavioral reactions in rats 'similar to those produced by drugs of abuse, such as cocaine'.

Professor Francesco Leri of the University of Guelph, who carried out the research, said it suggested there was an addictive quality to foods that contain high levels of high-fructose corn syrup which could explain, at least partly, the current global obesity epidemic.

During the experiment, rats were fed foods containing varying levels of high-fructose corn syrup. They were then given access to a lever which controlled how much syrup they received. The more concentrated the syrup, the harder the rats worked to obtain it.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337798/Are-sugar-addict-Scientists-say-high-fructose-corn-syrup-addictive-cocaine.html#ixzz2VcwAP0bp

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 8, 2013 9:02am
Mrpizza: My guess is we're not too far away from just going to unisex restrooms. Why should men have a separate room when it seems more women need to use the facilities [especially when they go in a herd to "powder their noses"]. With unisex restrooms, woman can pick and choose which facility to utilize [obviously the one with the shortest line], after all its their body. How dare men think they should have their own men's clubs [whoops I mean rest rooms].

So yes apparently Bush Jr. started the construction on the "Spy on Americans" building in Utah. Maybe Mormon's hadn't read "1984", and as they may or may not watch movies they'd may not have seen the 1956 or 1984 movie versions, so maybe they didn't know what was going to be going on inside that building. Of course, maybe as they live a very clean cut, quiet lifestyle that makes "the Cleaver Family" of Leave it to Beaver seem like radicals they figured they had nothing to fear from "Big Brother".

In 2010 on WBUR-Boston's local talk show "On Point" they did a segment on this building then that was due to open up for business. So this hasn't been a secret, but they did raise concerns then, on that show, of what all those folks would actually be doing [it would appear they were right to ask those questions].

Of course when Bush Jr started this in 2007, the so called mission was to ONLY listen in to foreign calls coming in to the US from those questionable nations [better known as "Sandland"]. Somewhere from when the first shovel full of dirt being dug in 2007 to the day in 2010 when people starting to work there that mission changed to listen in to all calls of Americans and even their emails, online chatter, and if I understood correctly even Facebook [I truly pity the spook who's job is to read all the blather on FB, mostly women saying girl stuff, not at all interesting, but if you need help falling to sleep, almost better than watching the Discover Channel]. However, I know some very conservative folks who also post on FB and make no secret of their total dislike [OK their hatred] of Obama, so maybe the CIA is watching those folks closer [going through their trash looking for conspiracy notes, etc] you never know.

Of course the sitting Prez [that is Obama] did make a statement yesterday that those folks didn't spy on Americans. That kind of has the same ring to it as when Clinton said, I did not have sex with that woman. I think an investigation of an independent prosecutor [think Ken Starr] to get to the bottom of this quickly needs to happen.

The questionable stuff that's alleged to have happened since 2009, especially when Obama took over like the targeting of those conservative TEA/Patriot groups by the IRS, and now spying on all Americans. That's too many "coincidents". Let's get some solid answers fast and IF true then yes maybe its time for some sort of Impeachment process to begin. IF not true then that will remove this dark cloud that's hanging over the Prez. In either case, America needs to know the truth.

As Jay Leno quipped the other night, when we were kids we were afraid of being spied on by "Big Brother", today we're afraid that we're now being spied on by "The Brother".

Let's find out the truth and IF true take some action to end what's going on and impeach the Prez for allowing it to happen.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 8, 2013 9:25am
Billsmith: Apparently I'm just not the "normal" Christian according to APM. I usually tip 20% as I recall the normal tip is to be 15%.

Did they say what denominations were the poor tippers, or did they just lump all Christians into one group. I know from talking to some waitress friends they've said in conversations in the past that black church groups are the loudest, most demanding, and YES they make a big mess and either don't tip at all or leave like 5-25 cents for a tip. Of course that's just anecdotal so could be biased, definitely not scientific. These were white waitresses so it would be interesting to see if black waitresses told the same story, or if white church groups are the loudest, most demanding, leaving a big mess and tipping 5-25 cents, etc.

However, you peaked my interest, so I Googled this and found lots of anecdotal stories, and then found this one article that offers some interesting insight. Here is an excerpt followed by the link to read the entire article. You are correct Billsmith, apparently many Christians are lousy tippers. Here's that excerpt:

"We know, from study after study, that religious folks out-give the general population time and time again. We know that Christians are among the most benevolent and philanthropic demographic groups. Something is at stake here more than mere stinginess.
Perhaps there are some simple explanations. Times are tough. Eating out is expensive. But if diners can't afford all of the expected expenses of eating out, they should go to an establishment they can afford, or not go out at all. Or perhaps in some cases, it's ignorance. Maybe some folks don't know that the minimum wage for servers is lower than for everyone else, or that the percentage for tips increases like everything else, or that the government collects income tax on tips, whether those tips are received or not. Tips aren't donations. Tips are payment for services rendered.
But my hunch is that what's really at the root of the bad-Christian-customer problem is bad theology.
It goes back, I suspect, to the unfortunate sway Gnosticism has had on Christianity since its early years. Gnosticism is a dualistic worldview that separates the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, elevating the spiritual and denouncing matter as evil. Under this view, giving one's money to support a Christian mission is seen as good, but spending money on earthly pleasures—like eating out—while not necessarily bad, isn't quite as good.
This Gnostic influence on the church can be seen in much more insidious ways than in poor restaurant behavior (for example, in thinking of the role of pastor as a "higher calling" than that of, say, an accountant), but spotting and correcting such heresies often begins with the small things.
I don't think that Paul had servers in mind when he exhorted believers, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God," but the principle certainly does apply. Those who are to represent Christ in all they do should remember that includes paying the check—in total—at the end of the meal."


Sat, Jun 8, 2013 10:44am
MikeFromDelaware: Interesting article. The podcast said Blacks are also (as a group) lousy tippers.
The website had a link to the study on Christian tipping.

Freakonmics Radio is one of my favorite podcast subscriptions. You might find it interesting, as well.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:01pm
Billsmith: interesting PDF file. Interesting the conclusion they made helps clarify the issue:

"While the lower tips of Christians as compared with non-affiliates and Jews might appear to support servers’ claims that Christians are poor tippers, a more careful analysis undermines that conclusion.

First, 70 percent of the sample is Christian as compared to 12 percent non-affiliated, 8 percent Jewish, and 10 percent members of other religions. Thus, considering the population of tippers as a whole, it makes more sense to describe non-affiliates and Jews as unusually good tippers than to describe Christians as unusually bad tippers.

Second, Christians leave an average tip of 17.3 percent when the service is good and this is well within the 15 to 20 percent restaurant tipping norm, so on average Christians are not bad tippers.

Third, if you define poor tippers as those leaving less than a 15 percent tip for good service then only 13 percent of Christians are poor tippers. Granted this percentage is higher than the 7 percent of non-affiliates and 2 percent of Jews that would be classified as poor tippers under the same criteria, but it seems unreasonable to label an entire group based on the behavior of only 13 percent of its members."

My guess is, many folks are Christians who are good tippers as their conclusion seems to imply, but those Christians probably aren't toting a Bible with them into the restaurant [I leave mine in the car]. I don't make a public display of thanking the Lord for the food [I do it silently, I don't even bow my head - no one knows I've prayed as that is between me and the Lord]. I don't use "church language" like Hallelujah brother isn't the food in here just fine or Praise the Lord they serve Pancakes here, etc.

Most Christians don't go around doing that stuff. So more often than not [other than THOSE "obnoxious Christians" who embarrass the rest of us who call Jesus Lord and Savior by this loud showy display] waitresses may get some really good tips by Christians, but don't know they are Christians, because they aren't being showy about their faith. They're just living their faith and that includes paying their total restaurant bill. As the Christianity Today article said, if you can afford to pay the tip then don't eat in a restaurant, because that is part of your bill. Essentially those Christians, who are stiffing the wait staff, are stealing and THAT is a sin.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:04pm
Typo alert should read: As the Christianity Today article said, if you can't afford to pay the tip then don't eat in a restaurant, because that is part of your bill. Essentially those Christians, who are stiffing the wait staff, are stealing and THAT is a sin.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:10pm
Billsmith: I read their book Freakonomics. I didn't realize they had a radio show and a website with podcasts [naturally none of the NPR stations around here carry their show]. But that's OK, I'll check out the podcasts. Thanks for the link, it's now in my favorites.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:41pm
billsmith and MFD: As a pizza driver who works for tips, I can testify first hand that tipping has more to do with socio-economic class than with religious or political background. Generally, I get the worst tips from poor black neighborhoods, and on occasions when I delivered a $100 order to a black church, I'd be lucky to get a dollar. On the other hand, most white churches would give me $10 or $15 on the same order. That's largely because many black Christians, while they got their soul saved from hell, don't fare well with being transformed by the renewing of their minds. Also, many not taught etiquette for whatever the reason.

Now in the middle-class and upper end neighborhoods, the tips are great 99% of the time without regard to black, white, Muslim, Christian, etc.

There are exceptions in all these cases. I do get a small percentage of blacks in the lower class parts of town who tip extremely well, and I've had the occasional cheapskate who obviously makes a 6-figure income but is too rude to care about guy below him.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:43pm
Kavips: I think Sarah Palin's family troubles started with Obama.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 2:49pm
billsmith: Personally, I've taken major steps to limiting my consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. I believe it's made a major contribution to the type-2 diabetes epidemic. Soda was much better when they actually put sugar in it, but now they've found they can produce everything cheaper using corn syrup, and of course the corn growers just love it like they love ethanol.

Problem is, the cheaper-produced foods will ultimately result in much higher health care costs. If you can afford organic, it's the best way to go.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 4:08pm
Going back to unisex bathrooms. That will never happen until men learn not to pee on the seat.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 4:10pm
I always noticed there were nights when Mr. Pizza wouldn't post and nights when he wouldn't stop. I never knew it was because of rain. I'm going to be praying for rain now.

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 4:16pm
As for tippers, Blacks, and Christians are the worst tippers. About equal. Blacks are preferred because they don't leave tracts in place of tips...

Drinkers are the best tippers.. The more booze, the better the tip. And smokers are the very best. Even if they have to go outside to do their business.

Go figure.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 8:12am
Just for fun, here's a link to a letter that Obama probably should but never will write to Bush:


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 8:13am
Kavips: You don't really wish that. You wouldn't have anybody to pick on without me.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 9, 2013 8:51am
Kavips: Those statistics came from that study, golly when I give you actual stats, not anecdotal you just ignore and refuse to acknowledge your view may not totally correct. Here is the key part: "Christians leave an average tip of 17.3 percent when the service is good and this is well within the 15 to 20 percent restaurant tipping norm, so on average Christians are not bad tippers." Face it the assumption that Christians are bad tippers doesn't hold water, yes SOME Christians are bad tippers, just as SOME Jews or Atheists are bad tippers, but NOT the majority of any of these groups INCLUDING Christians are bad tippers.

Kavips: From what my wife tells me, the men's room might be less of a mess than the women's restroom. She says some women won't sit on the seat and straddle it and urinate. Apparently, some women can be worse pigs or slobs than men. Who'd would have thunk. Of course that's only my wife's experience thus anecdotal, if you want to know more yourself, I guess now in Delaware you could poss as a cross dresser/transgendered person and go check it out for yourself, since you are of the mind set that IF you don't see it yourself the rest of us must be making it up. So let us know what you found out.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 9:44am
Men's rooms are just functional. Women's rooms have sofas, flowers, potpourri, pictures... It's like a living room with plumbing. That seems like sexual discrimination - separate but nowhere near equal. Too bad ERA didn't pass so men could have equal rights. I wonder if better restrooms is one reason transsexuals switch.

There's a bar in Greenwich Village, McSorely's Ale House, that goes back to the mid-19th century. Like most saloons of the era, it was men only and stayed that way until forced to admit women in 1970. They had only one restroom for all customers, and they never installed a second one. Seems to work OK. They have their own ale on tap and make a great cheese platter with crackers and raw onions. Supposedly NY police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt was a customer.

Another Andy Rooney moment: If we have unisex bathrooms, will women still insist on going in groups of two (or more)? Will they stay as long? Unisex bathrooms are starting to sound like a good idea.

Maybe some people will object to unisex bathrooms. Maybe they will stay home, watch TV and order pizza. You sure you want to oppose this, Pizza?

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 10:02am
MikeFromDelaware: I don't think Freakonomics has an actual radio show. They do regular segments on Marketplace, which is carried locally, plus the podcast, which is expanded version of the Marketplace segments and some original shows.

Other podcasts to which I currently subscribe and recommend:

APM Marketplace Tech Report
APM News From Lake Wobegon
BBC Newspod
BBC Witness
CBC At It Happens
CBC News - World at Six
CBC News - World Report
Fresh Air from WHYY
Here's the Thing (interviews w/ Alec Baldwin)
NPR Planet Money
NPR Radio Lab
On the Media from WNYC
PRI Takeaway Story of the Day
Slate Presents Lexicon Valley
The Osgood File
Under the Influence from the CBC

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 10:43am
billsmith; I must agree with everything you said in response to my post.

mrpizza; There is no doubt that rain is an effective economic stimulus.

I couldn\'t imagine living in a place where the weather never changes. I enjoy the different seasons.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 11:06am
Notice how people who live where the weather never changes often brag about being able to drive from the beach to a ski slope.
Also notice where the weather doesn't change, they have earthquakes, floods, wildfires or mudslides for variety.
We do all right with weather. Tornadoes are not really a problem. We seldom get the full force of hurricanes. Creeks flood but the people who live there really should know better - it's always the same places and the same people who show up for the obligatory flood stories on TV. Smokey bear doesn't do much business in this region. Most of the danger and excitement is man made.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 11:13am
Sorry Mike. I didn't read that survey, and thought it was obvious that I was just mouthing the popular wait staff's opinion.

I think the difference between the two, is that like you, there are many Christian who are not identifiable as Christian. Whereas they would be included in the pool of the survey you quote, they would not be identifiable by the observations of those waiting upon them.

I can tell you, how these observations came about. They are based on the clientèle that shows up around 12:10 Sunday afternoon, and runs until close to 2:30. They are usually dressed well under giant hats or are suits over top starched shirts with ties. 50% tip with tracs or leave nothing at all.

I would agree with that study you quoted, because I think that most of America considers themselves Christian (most meaning over 50%) as do I, and I usually leave double and sometimes triple the average amount.

So the dichotomy between our two statements, actually makes a lot of sense when one appreciates the differences in the methods used to make the deductions..

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 11:21am
Unisex bathroom where tried, are not much of an issue to the local population, as BillS's anecdote describes. In cultures that have unisex bathrooms, the standards of protocol, such as requiring all to be fully clothed outside the stall, are a natural tendency and are rarely violated.

Further, it would be worth remembering that unisex bathrooms exist in almost every single household in the civilized world. We get along there, (except for teenage girls who take more than their fair share of time).

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 9, 2013 1:34pm
Billsmith: I agree with you comments above about the differences between men's and ladie's rooms. Liked your story about McSorely's Ale House. Probably a place like Cheers where most of the folks are regulars and know each other, and are comfortable with each other, and in a way sort of are a "family". A great Andy Rooney moment.

I've listened to the news from Lake Wobegon via A Prairie Home Companion and have caught the Market Place broadcasts on our local NPR affiliate, both good programs.

If the interview sounds interesting to me I listen to Fresh Air also, and have caught the Osgood File, via CBS Radio/WDEL some mornings.

I'll have to try to catch some of those other podcasts. Thanks for the names.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 9, 2013 1:53pm
Kavips: I agree with your latest two posts and your final sentence in the first that said:

"So the dichotomy between our two statements, actually makes a lot of sense when one appreciates the differences in the methods used to make the deductions."

The uni-sex public bathroom issue [that aren't single person at a time, but multiple people at a time] will be more with the ladies as they will be uncomfortable with men who want to be women, but still look like men, hanging around in the ladies room. Generally public bathrooms have no windows so they are a private world unto themselves. A not busy woman's room could be a potentially dangerous place for a woman alone to venture into, especially now with men being ALLOWED to be there [where as previously if a man was in the woman's room the women wouldn't go in or would scream, etc,]. So in one sense the Delaware Senate [the House votes this week] has put one groups rights ahead of another groups rights of privacy.

The other parts of the bill should be passed, not discriminating in jobs, etc, but this public restroom thing has some serious flaws and should be voted on separately and not be passed for the reason I just stated, in my opinion.

If this passes and some woman gets raped in a woman's restroom in Delaware, would she be able to sue the State for providing the opportunity for perverts and rapists to hang in the Woman's room, etc. Seems like a law suit in the making. The big question now is where do these transgendered folks go now? Probably in the restroom that fits their appearance. So a guy who wishes he were a woman, but looks like a guy probably is using the men's room and no one notices. A woman who wishes she were a guy, but looks like a woman probably is using the women's room and no one notices. Those who've had the sex change who actually look like who they wish they were probably are now using that restroom, as they look the part and have literally changed their body to that sex. Why mess with that? This other is not the right way to approach this, in my opinion.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 2:09pm
I have to admit, this has always struck me as peculiar:
A business establishment has two rest rooms, one marked men and one marked women. Each is obviously intended to be used by one person at a time. So, why the heck does it matter who is using which?

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 2:17pm
What's especially interesting about the Freakonimics story on tipping is the conclusion, tipping should be illegal. Wait staff should get a salary which does not depend on "free will offerings." Employers should not be able to pay sub-standard wages using as an excuse that wait staff will get tips (which, often, they do not). Restaurant operators seem especially cheap: They are the ones complaining the most about health care reform requirements and the ones first to cut hours so they don't have to provide health care coverage to workers.
Freakonomics made the point that minority workers consistently receive less in tips, so tipping is inherently discriminatory and therefore illegal.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 2:20pm
I'm going to make a prediction. If this transgender restroom thing gets through, women are going to do whatever is necessary to avoid public restrooms. On the other hand, I expect that men's restrooms will be mostly unaffected by it, as women whether normal, transgender, lesbian, or otherwise are generally not given to predatory behavior.

This will be a problem mostly for normal women as they will be the main targets of the predators, whatever form they may come in.

I would also strongly advise everyone to accompany your child into the restroom even if your child is of the opposite sex because even without this transgender nonsense the potential of a predator lying in wait is very high anymore.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 4:50pm
Pizza: You seem to think transgendered individuals are pretty common. They are not. Very few establishments, even in New York and LA, will ever see one.
The most commonly quoted estimate is one in 37,000 male to female and one in 100,000 for female to male.
Curiously, women complain about discrimination and workplace inequities and dozens of other things. Still men are more likely to want to become women than they other way around.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Jun 9, 2013 5:32pm
Billsmith: I agree that the restaurant's workers shouldn't have to work for a "freewill offering" and the restaurant employers should be required by law to pay at a living wage. The bottom entry level being the minimum wage, the more experience the better salaries as they are the wait staff folks are requesting, because they are good at their jobs. That is the cost of doing business, paying your employees salaries.

The down side to this will be the price of eating out will go up tremendously and the restaurants will see a serious down turn in business until folks get used to those higher prices. Let's face it, no matter what the workers do, be they union or non-union, the management/company, will get THEIR money. So the prices will definitely go up a lot, BUT it is what should be done.

Probably what will happen BEFORE such a law was passed would be that the restaurants would simply start tacking on the 18% tip to your bill, so then you'll get no choice as to what to pay, be the service good or lousy. They already do that for larger parties.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 6:46pm
MikeFromDelaware: Those of us who tip have been paying "full price" to dine out all along. So, we won't experience "price increases" as a practical matter. Servers will be more fairly compensated and won't have to subsidize deadbeats who don't tip or grossly under tip. That may improve morale for most servers (all except large breasted blondes) and improve the dining experience.
Restaurant owners have been able to get away with under-paying wait staff, which gave them no incentive to make the operation more efficient. Maybe with no tipping they will look for ways to run things more quickly and more smoothly.

Not mentioned in the piece is the fact that wait staff have to share tips - in effect, tip - bussers and kitchen workers to get good service from them, in order to give good service to customers. The whole system is corrupt like those third world countries where everyone takes bribes to do their jobs.

For me: I used to enjoy cafeterias. We haven't seen them around here in years but they still have them in places like Indiana and around Texas. Maybe in a no-tipping, full salary world, cafeterias would make a comeback, along with parfait glasses filled with Jello squares (and whipped cream on top).

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 7:04pm
billsmith: You could be right, but if transgendered people aren't that common, then why is there such a push to give them special rights? Obviously, at least in my mind, there's a further agenda, perhaps along the lines of what I mentioned earlier about children and animals.

The fact that it's mostly men that want to become women than the other way around is exactly why this will be a problem for normal women more than anyone else. Of course, since my wife is a normal woman, that is an issue I care about.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 7:13pm
MFD & billsmith: I should remind both of you that busboys and waitresses are generally entry-level jobs, meaning they're doing it to work their way through school or doing it as secondary employment. If the tipping mechanism is removed, not only does that result in higher consumer prices, but also in fewer of those jobs. Also, from my experience with working at the post office, I've seen plenty of the deadbeats who get paid the same as the people who actually work and you can't fire them, at least not easily, because the union culture is so deeply entrenched into the workplace.

As a pizza driver, I also know what it's like to work for tips. Yes, there are famine periods when you don't make as much because all you get for customers are the bums that don't tip, but then there are feast periods when we have $100 nights, so over time it balances out.

The lower per-hour wage + tip system has worked for centuries, and it helps create incentive for those who are motivated to make more. If you work hard in the food industry, you can give yourself a pay raise as opposed to demanding it from your employer. If you actually earn your keep, you'll generally feel better about yourself.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 8:23pm
MrPizza: I guess you didn't listen to the Freakonomics podcast, or read any of the studies to which they provided links. Please do and then get back to us.
Worked for centuries? For whom? Not the people doing the actual work. And bringing pizza to someone's door is not the same as waiting tables in a restaurant.
And if you listen to the podcast, you will learn that it's mostly NOT an entry-level job. Even if it were, people are entitled to fair treatment and workplace protections.
It's amazing how right-wingers are so deferential to authority that they will argue constantly against their own self-interest (encouraged by right-wing talk radio).

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 8:29pm
While we are still thinking about the government collecting your phone records - and who knows what else that can be messaged into "big data - let's not forget the Patriot Act made this all possible (and apparently legal). Let's also not forget the role played by right-wing talk show hosts like John Watson, who vigorously endorsed the Patriot Act and aggressively shut down callers who tried to warn that what has happened would happen. Watson apparently - and stupidly - believed that if he didn't know about it, it didn't happen and if it didn't fit what he wanted to believe, it couldn't happen. So, now the government is monitoring your communications, thanks to people like Watson and the entire Delaware congressional delegation that voted for the Patriot Act. Of course, the Patriot Act was not a stretch for Biden, a lackey of the banking industry; they're used to collecting data on all of us.

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 10:42pm
billsmith: I'm not into "Freakonomics". I'm into reality.

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 5:51am
How typical, Pizza: Personal anecdote filtered through personal bias trumps actual, valid research. Feelings trump facts. Bible myths trump science. Feelings trump facts. All this from the people who think they are qualified to judge the educational system. Clavin, Newman and Pizza. No wonder so much mail doesn't reach you.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 8:19am
Mrpizza said, "Also, from my experience with working at the post office, I've seen plenty of the deadbeats who get paid the same as the people who actually work and you can't fire them, at least not easily, because the union culture is so deeply entrenched into the workplace."

Those deadbeats you've seen at your other job [USPS] are protected by their union so yes you can have dead beats, usually high seniority folks or other politically correct protected groups, who don't give a rip and are loafers or deadbeats. Unless they steal stuff or break some law, they've got a job for life.

It is the Achilles Heel to unionized labor. Once you get seniority you're set, sort of like teachers with getting tenure, yea their unionized too.

On the other hand, I'll bet at your second place of employment[which ever pizza palace you're employed] there is not a union, and I'll also bet the workers there work hard, because your pizza boss will fire you or any of your fellow pizza employees in a heart beat if he/she doesn't like your work performance. The slackers there probably don't last long before they're shown the door.

So I believe on that you and I are in agreement on that part of the discussion. The problem today is many folks have an entitlement attitude thus believing they deserved to be served by people like you and the wait staff at your pizza place. Their attitude is how dare those uneducated, lower class folks, think I'm going to pay them for waiting on me. They should feel honored that I graced their presence and should just serve me, because I'm special. That's why I also parked in the Handicap Parking space or the Fire Lane, even though I jog everyday with Biff and Buffy, because my time is too valuable to walk across the parking lot.

Then there's the other attitude, usually from women: I do this work at home for free, I'm not paying her to do it.

Funny that survey didn't ask if men are better tippers than women [at least I didn't notice it in the report]. Women of course are a protected PC minority group and thus that sort of survey today probably wouldn't be done, but Christians are not a protected group, as neither are white European men, so these two groups are fair game in the who's the bad people on the planet contest. The worse probably is a White European Male, who's a Christian. That's anecdotal, but based on what I've seen during the past 30-40 years I believe to be correct, sorry I digress.

My point was to stop that abuse of the wait staff, I agree with Billsmith that the restaurant owners should be paying the salaries with no tips. Then it will be his/her problem if the wait staff doesn't do their jobs well, because folks will simply down the street to another restaurant, and the wait staff will then be guaranteed their salary rather than depending on some entitled folks to be generous and leave them a monetary tip, be they Christians, Atheists, men, women, or whatever.

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 8:52am
Unions or not, there will be deadbeats. There are some people who would rather game the system than support it.

Most obviously, there are those who can play the gender card, the race card, the ethnicity card, the sexual orientation card or some other card.

Then there are the beneficiaries of nepotism, the bosses' relatives or in-laws. This become especially galling when the boss puts her idiot kid in charge (isn't that right, Allan Loudell?).

Then there slim blondes with large breasts, who not only are reported to get the best tips, but who - even without unions or equal opportunity laws - get things handed to them and get away with all sorts of stuff.

Deadbeats come in many varieties. You can't blame unions. Union rules, designed to protect legitimate workers, are just one more thing for them to take advantage of when it suits them.

What causes people to become deadbeats? Laziness is the easiest explanation but it goes beyond that. Deadbeats often seem to take a juvenile pleasure in getting away with something. And a passive-aggressive delight in putting one over on superiors or co-workers.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 10, 2013 9:57am
Billsmith: Amen. Good points.

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 8:26am
Obama celebrates 50th anniversary of the 1963 Equal Pay Act while his White House pays women employees LESS than men

An analysis of the White House's 2012 salary report to Congress reveals that the median male salary was $10,000 more than the same number for females

Girls of any age to be allowed to buy Plan B contraception after U-turn by Obama administration

The federal government said Monday that they are planning to submit a plan that will allow for women of all ages to access emergency contraception without a prescription


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 3:28am
MikeFromDelaware: You're probably going to hate this. Newspaper article points out that working in fast food restaurants is no longer entry-level, it's many workers permanent (and only) employment. And those workers are starting to think about organizing.
Are fast-food workers the new coal miners?


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 7:06am
Even so, we still have an affirmative action president, and even right-wing talk stations still hire unqualified people (whom they can't fire) to meet quotas.

Support for affirmative action at historic low, with 45% of Americans saying programs discriminate against whites

Split: In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 45 per cent of respondents said they support affirmative action and 45 per cent said they felt it caused discrimination against whites

Support for the controversial programs is waning, with less than half of Americans saying they believe affirmative action is still necessary to counteract racial discrimination in a new poll.


Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 8:26am
Billsmith: I have no problem with women being paid the same salary for the same job level as men. What I don't agree with is, the attitude that their career path should be the same as a man's. That generally is determined by their performance in a given job. Some men move up faster than other men, so with women that would also happen and not always be discriminatory.

An example: Fred Flintstone and Betty Rubble are hired the same day as Customer Service Reps in the XYZ Co's telephone-call center. Both meet the qualifications for this job, so both should start out with the same salary.

Two years from now, Betty is pregnant with Barney's son who will be named Bam Bam [I'm shocked that I even remember all this; haven't watched the Flintstones since I was 12]. So Betty takes the now customary Pregnancy leave of 6 weeks [paid], so far no problem, pay should stay the same, but at the end of the 6 weeks Mrs. Rubble decides she wants to take the next 5 years off to raise little Bam Bam and doesn't return to work until Bam Bam starts Kindergarten at age 5. Betty returns to work at the same salary as when she left or possibly as they've had wage increases during her 5-year absence, her salary would be at that level, no problem, that's reasonable.

During that five year time though Fred Flintstone, worked hard for the XYZ company, was a team player, didn't upset Mr. Slate, etc.., etc., and had received a promotion to a higher level within that same job title. So now Fred is making more money that Betty. THAT's not discrimination or not paying a women less than a man, because she's a woman, but because her time in the career, etc., etc., is now shorter than Fred's by 5 years, by her choice.

You get the idea. Then also comes the issue of bonuses. Lord only knows the criteria a company/employer uses in deciding who gets the biggest bonus or pay raise, etc. So let's say Betty only took the normal maternity leave of 6 weeks, and came back to work, but when the company needed someone to travel to various parts of the country or world to whatever reason, Betty always said no; she's got a child at home, whereas Fred always said yes and granted, missed seeng Pebble's ballet recital due to traveling, plus other Fatherly moments that Wilma wished he'd made, whereas Betty made all of Bam Bam's Little League games. So Fred got bigger bonuses, not because he was a man, but because he was always there for his corporate masters. Fred got a promotion for the same reason. So again, too often the "women's groups" want to say women aren't being paid the same as men; in some cases it can be due to discrimination, but in other cases it just may be that the Evil White European Neanderthal Male [in keeping with the Flintstone analogy] actually had earned it whereas the woman didn't.

Hope my Flintstone analogy made sense; it's early and I'm typing quickly and don't have time to review or spend more time.

Actually, I've said for years that the unions should be organizing the retail workers and the wait staffs at restaurants, but yes, fast-food folks too. All of those folks are badly abused by their employers, plus the folks they serve. That would be a great thing for the unions to do.

I'm with the group that believes Affirmative Action's time has past and it's now time to get rid of it.

Interesting posts Billsmith, thanks !

Wed, Jun 12, 2013 8:46am
MikeFromDelaware: I guess Fred has to work harder. Apparently, Wilma is a stay at home mom with Pebbles.

Apparently, women tend to make different career choices, as well, favoring jobs that provide more personal satisfaction but may pay less.

But it seems the PC cops always want to blame overt discrimination, as you suggest. They seem to think White guys get together in secret meetings to figure out ways to oppress _____________ (insert the name of your favorite victim/entitlement group here).

Ever notice on NPR the guys have great voices? Some of the women do too, but a lot of them have these breathy, nasal, mush-mouthed, teeny-bopper girl voices? But I bet they demand equal pay anyway.

Also notice that when women enter a workplace they expect the workplace to adapt to them - not the other way around. They insist on equal treatment but don't hesitate to use their "wiles" to get what they want. And it's not just pregnancy that can cause women to check out for a while; it can be any number of things falling under the category of "having it all."

Today we can't have Chet and David reading news. We have to have Ken and Barbie.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 10:22am
Billsmith: On WDEL, they have two female reporters [that I hear often on WDEL], Amy Cherry and Melany Armstrong. Both are good reporters, Melanie has a great female "radio voice" [for my ear], and Amy's voice is a "nasily voice" [for my ear]. On the other hand, there are some guy reporters at WDEL [Jim Hillagan - I believe is his name] who's "radio voice" isn't very good either, so it just may be that having a "radio voice" is no longer one of the requirements needed to have a career in broadcasting. It is what it is.

Part of this may go beyond the EOE stuff, but also marketing. Females are the desired demo, far over men generally, and as newscasts now are seen as a way for a radio/TV station or network to make money [or more donations in NPR's case] adding female voices and "chickifying" the news is a way to bring more female demos for those advertisers and that as much as EOE probably has something to do with what we've both heard and seen in news reporting.

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 6:23am
Gross and disgusting: First Taco Bell. Now Wendy's.


How to get fired from a fast-food joint: Wendy's employee pictured eating ice cream direct from the Frosty machine

An image has emerged showing a Wendy's server filling his mouth with ice cream directly from the nozzle of a Frosty machine. The photo is just the latest in a series of unpleasant images to go viral showing fast-food employees doing things that their employers wouldn't approve of. Last week, Taco Bell fired an employee after a photo went viral showing him licking taco shells.


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