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Category Archives: Abolition Of Work

Abolishing provincial championships only way to cure fixture … – Irish Independent

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm

It’s quite probable that never in the history of sport anywhere in the world have such relatively minor proposals for competition structure change received so much attention.

Replacing the All-Ireland football quarter-finals with a round-robin series, bringing forward the final to August and playing extra-time in all Championship games that finish level except provincial and All-Ireland deciders isn’t exactly revolutionary stuff, yet it has dominated GAA discussion for weeks.

Today, the pros and cons will be batted around Croke Park for quite some time, gathering heat and emotion as they go, before being voted on by Congress. Whatever the outcome, it’s hard to believe it will have much overall impact.

If the round-robin plan is accepted against wishes of the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) and the Club Players’ Association (CPA), accusations will fly in all directions.

The popular line will be how the ‘suits’ ignored the wishes of the players, even if at this stage neither the inter-county nor club population have any plans of their own on the table. And if the motion is defeated, it will be another serious setback for Central Council, the body responsible for running the GAA on a day-to-day basis.

Rejected

Last year, Central Council was forced to withdraw a motion on Championship reform on the night before Congress after being told that players in Division 4 counties would boycott a suggested ‘secondary’ championship.

So if Central Council were to have another proposal rejected this year, it would raise the logical question: how and why is the second highest authority after Congress so out of touch with the membership?

Not that sensitivities should matter on any side of the argument. Besides, it’s all largely irrelevant what happens today.

Replace the quarter-finals with a round-robin? Big deal. Anyway, it only applies to eight counties in any year.

Bring forward the All-Ireland finals? Okay, so the GAA takes a promotional hit in September but it can easily survive that.

Play extra-time in most Championship games in order to avoid the disruption caused to fixtures schedules by replays? It will cost provincial councils revenue over a period of time but since replays cannot be factored into their budgets anyway, it’s not a big issue.

The reality is that while these three motions are being debated, every delegate knows that it’s all peripheral to the real problem, one caused by the provincial championships.

Congress can add or subtract to fixtures as they wish, squeeze the Championship programme until it’s squealing for mercy and tweak the system every year, but it still won’t make any difference to the underlying problem.

For as long as the provincial championships remain as the foundation for the All-Ireland Championship, there were always be uncertainty over fixtures and unfairness in the format.

And in ten – and probably 20 – years’ time Congress will still be trying to correct a flawed system,

You might think all of that would be a sufficiently good reason for the GAA to address the fundamental question: why aren’t we dealing with the root cause of the problem rather than skirting around the edges?

Just as it’s pointless polishing out the scratch marks on an old car if the engine is blown, it’s futile trying to balance the All-Ireland Championship in everyone’s interest without removing the provincials.

This weekend 16 games will be played in the Allianz League, featuring action between counties whose performances decide they level at which they operate. It will continue until April when placings for next year will be decided by the tables.

It’s orderly and logical, with all counties playing on the same weekend at a level appropriate to their current talents.

It’s the secondary competition, yet when the main event comes along in summer, order and logic is dispensed with in favour a system based on geography. Even then, it’s lopsided, with different numbers in each province.

If that were changed, many of the difficulties that led to the launch of the CPA could be sorted out quite easily. Instead of being dictated to by uneven provincial structures, a whole range of Championship options would become available.

Most of all, the programme could be laid out clearly and concisely, with the only possible variations arising for counties who progressed to the latter stages of the All-Ireland race. It’s so obvious that it defies logic why there hasn’t been any meaningful debate on starting with a blank page and devising a number of possible formats.

Instead, every review of the Championship works off the premise that the provincial championships are sacrosanct, even if that’s patently not the case any more in Leinster hurling, which hosts outsiders.

Removing the provincials as the starting point for the All-Ireland Championships should not mean the abolition of provincial councils. That fear underpins the thinking in many counties – hence the reluctance to concede anything.

There will always be a need for regional structures to administer the huge amount of work that goes on away from Croke Park, but why should that have anything to do with Championship formats?

Funding

Obviously, if provincial championships, complete with the various councils retaining their own income, were abolished as part of the All-Ireland Championship, the entire GAA funding model would have to change.

Would that be such a bad thing? Surely not. In fact, it would lead to a fairer distribution of finance, carefully calibrated to suit particular requirements.

What’s urgently needed now is really radical thinking across all spheres of GAA activity, not the tinkering that will go on today.

Club players are on the verge of mutiny, a situation brought about not by too much inter-county activity but by shambolic competition structures. Inter-county players, through the GPA, oppose much but propose little about how the championships should be run.

Granted, their plan for a continuation of the provincial championships, followed by a full-blown Champions League-style All-Ireland series, was rejected by Central Council in late 2015 but surely that should not be the end of their deliberations.

All sides have a responsibility to continue offering possible solutions to a problem where contagion has spread to club activity.

The trouble is that while everyone wants to tidy the room, they ignore the large provincial elephant that’s causing the mess in the first place. It’s time he was whooshed out the door.

Irish Independent

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Jim Goetsch: Abolition of abortions means changing the way we think – The Union of Grass Valley

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:19 pm

In his Feb. 4 column, Darrell Berkheimer used an interesting argument to support the need for abortion namely that making abortions an exception rather than a rule would lead to increase costs to care for the mothers and the children who resulted from the births. He suggested that the public was not ready to pay the extra costs that would result.

I wonder if Mr. Berkheimer, had he lived in the early 1800s, would have justified slavery on the basis that it would cost the slave masters too much to give up slaves, the public would be forced to support the now-freed slaves, and the cost of paying decent wages to the laborers would increase the cost of clothing to the consumers. Those arguments were no doubt made at that time, and those reasons are as false in supporting slavery as the reasons Mr. Berkheimer used to support the abortion mind-set that has pervaded our culture since Roe v. Wade?

Now in the early 21st century, most of us in the United States consider that slavery was, and still is, an evil. Many of us believe that the killing of live fetuses for convenience is just as much an evil as slavery. Women, who have been nurturing life for thousands of years, have justified this evil by calling it “a woman’s right to choose.” A woman certainly has a right to choose, but shouldn’t that be done prior to engaging in sexual intercourse? And what about the female fetus, is she granted the same right to choose? I will admit that there are exceptional circumstances where abortion might be considered, but I believe we need to change the mind-set that abortions should be the rule, not the exception.

Along with most Christians, I believe that life begins at conception. I hear explanations by abortion supporters that life only starts when the fetus is viable. Is the fetus viable (able to live without its mother) within the first two years? I don’t think so. Should we then be able to kill babies as well? Didn’t we just put Dr. Kermit Gosnell in prison in 2013 as a serial baby killer for executing babies immediately after birth? Why is that wrong if we allow fetuses to be killed just a few months earlier?

A second step is to change the publics mind-set to recognize that abortion is actually murder, and is unacceptable to educated, reasonable people.

What is the solution? Just as the abolition of slavery required a major change to our thought processes and our economic structures, the abolition of abortions as generally accepted procedures requires the same changes. We need to continue to educate boys and girls concerning the dangers of unprotected sex, one of which is an unwanted baby.

A second step is to change the public’s mind-set to recognize that “abortion” is actually “murder,” and is unacceptable to educated, reasonable people. As long as we split hairs about when a fetus is viable in order to condone the killing of living human beings, aren’t we acting in the same way that slave owners did when they claimed that slaves were not really human beings?

A third step is to make adoptions more accessible to more people who actually want to have children. We place high costs and a lot of hoops to jump through as part of our adoption process. We certainly need to screen parents before putting other’s unwanted babies in their hands, but we have made it exceedingly difficult in the U.S. for would-be parents to become real parents.

A fourth step is to shift the funding of abortions to the funding of adoptions and to the care of unwanted children who may not be adopted. I don’t want my taxes to fund abortions, but I am willing that those taxes be used to facilitate the care of unwanted children and mothers who need a helping hand.

As an aside: why am I against the support of Planned Parenthood? While it claims that only 3 percent of its “procedures” include abortions, that amounts to one-third to one-half of all the abortions performed in the United States. Planned Parenthood counts “services,” not the time spent in providing those services. Since many of their “services” involve handing out condoms and referring women for mammograms, I believe the manpower spent handling abortions is far higher than 3 percent of the total work effort.

It’s time for all of us to recognize an evil in our world and eliminate it in the 21st century, as the abolitionists did for slavery in the 19th century!

Jim Goetsch lives in Lake of the Pines.

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Molly J. McGrath: Fight ID laws one voter at a time – Madison.com

Posted: at 6:19 pm

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in Downtown Madison. She approached the table marked Voter ID Assistance and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didnt have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsins strict new laws. It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasnt sure how to obtain one.

Proponents of voter ID laws dont want to acknowledge that Cinderrias case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era.

These ID laws dont touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income voters also are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African-American, Latino, Asian-American and multiracial American turnout.)

States that have implemented voter ID laws have shown little to no interest in helping their citizens comply. And the advocacy organizations that oppose these laws have few resources for direct voter assistance. Instead, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have focused on challenging voter ID mandates in court. Thats essential, but its not enough. As court battles proceed, we must acknowledge our collective obligation to voters like Cinderria by investing in on-the-ground, in-person support.

Before the 2016 election, a group of us in Madison recognized the problem and got to work, partnering with local organizations such as the League of Women Voters and NAACP. As one coalition, we collaborated with social service agencies, churches, food pantries, employers, schools and election administrators.

Outreach continued through the November election and is ongoing for spring elections. But tons of work is left to do in Madison, to say nothing of the state or nation as a whole.

The right to vote is not denied only in large volume. Our democracy deteriorates every single time an older voter cant find transportation to a distant DMV, and every single time a working mother cant afford the fees associated with redundant paperwork to prove her citizenship.

Having worked one-on-one with would-be voters, a nefarious truth about these laws has become clear to me. Not only do the requirements hamper individuals in the short term, they also can send a long-term signal to historically disenfranchised communities that theyre not invited into their countrys democratic process a feeling all too familiar to those who were born before the abolition of Jim Crow.

We cannot return to the era of literacy tests and poll taxes. Its crucial all voters are offered help because they must not lose the belief their vote is precious and their participation essential to our democracy. These voters are our neighbors, our co-workers and, at the most basic level, our fellow citizens. Their rights are as valuable as those of any big-spending campaign donor.

Despite repeated assurances from voter ID proponents that these laws arent discriminatory and are easy to comply with, lived experience proves the opposite.

Cinderria was finally able to obtain an ID, but only weeks after we first met. I traveled with her to the DMV to make sure nothing went wrong.

Claudelle, a voter in his 60s whose mother mistakenly spelled his name Clardelle on his birth certificate, was refused an ID with his correct name twice.

On a trip to the DMV with a 34-year-old named Zack, we were given inaccurate information on how to receive a free ID to vote. A recording of that interaction prompted a federal judge to order retraining of DMV workers across Wisconsin.

The voters affected by these laws who, again, are more likely to be low-income, transient and elderly often are unreachable through social media campaigns or other online communication. That makes in-person outreach indispensable.

A young Madison woman named Treasure, for instance, was unable to obtain an ID until neighborhood canvassers knocked on her door and gave her accurate information and assistance.

Such work is not an admission that voter ID laws arent worth fighting. They are. It represents, rather, a commitment to fight suppression at every level. We have no choice but to organize, lace up our shoes and meet would-be voters where they live and work.

McGrath, of Madison, is an attorney, voting rights advocate and organizer: @votermolly and votermolly.com.

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Frederick Douglass Park: We’re Fixing Our Typo! – Nashville Scene

Posted: at 6:19 pm

The mayor made it official this week. “Fred Douglas Park” will be renamed.

Nearly 80 years ago, the City of Nashville opened a new park in East Nashville. For many years, this park has gone by the name of Fred Douglas Park. Many have wondered who the park was named after, and whether or not it was actually named after abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.

Thanks to the work of local historians, journalists, and curious Nashvillians, evidence has come to light, including an old Tennessean article, indicating that the park was indeed originally named after Frederick Douglass.

We dont know exactly why or how the name evolved into Fred Douglas Park. It may have been a clerical error, or a more sinister effort by segregationists who wanted to take away a park named after a civil rights hero who fought for the abolition of slavery.

This is really great news.

We have many annoying typos around town that weve codified into things Dickenson Meetinghouse Pike is now Dickerson Pike and the road that leads to the spot where the Clee brothers used to run the ferry, literally, Cleess Ferry Road, at some point became Cleeces Ferry Road because we dont like apostrophes or logic. Give us another hundred years and that road will probably be Cleecesesecessesses Ferry Road. And back in the day people were looser with the spelling of their names, hence why we have Eatons Creek Road and the old Heaton Station, even though theyre named for the same dude, who did, indeed, seem to have an H when he felt like it and not when he didnt.

But the Heaton/Eaton issue does preserve the history of the name. Ive seen plenty of old documents where hes referred to either way. Someone looking into the issue will be led to interesting knowledge about Nashville. The Cleess/Cleeces situation is annoying, but if you say the name of the road out loud, you can hear what happened there. And there are so few Clees in Nashville history that its hard to get led very far astray.

I cant speak to the Dickenson/Dickerson situation, but the Dickensons are an old (or a couple of old) Nashville family/families who inherited Travellers Rest, supposedly evicted the dead Polks from Polk Place, got shot by Andrew Jackson, were well-known horse breeders, birthed lawyers and judges, served in the Hayes Administration, and take up a lot of prime real estate at Mt. Olivet. Itd be nice to have the name right, but in the scheme of things, the Dickensons place in Nashville history is secured. They dont need a road to tell people they existed.

Having the name of Fred Douglas Park wrong, though, does distort Nashville history and it promotes a lie over the truth. Fred Douglas Park is just a park named for a guy no one knows. Frederick Douglass Park a black park in a black part of town tells us a lot about Nashville, even if weve spent eighty years pretending we dont know it. It tells us clearly something that is true in Nashvilles history, but is obscured at the same time Nashvilles black communities faced incredibly persecution and constant devaluation by Nashvilles white power structure, Nashvilles black communities have been seen as valuable to the city and worth, to some small extent, keeping happy.

The tension the city has been in for its whole history is that we need and benefit from the contributions of black Nashvillians we as a city have flourished when black Nashvillians have been able to flourish and yet our systemic racism makes us resentful of that fact and compelled to end or downplay that flourishing.

It is weird, with as racist as Nashville was, that we would name a park for Frederick Douglass. It is more surprising that we would do this than it is that some goober would fuck up the name.

But it tells you that even in the 1930s, some portion of white Nashville had made a calculation that it was worth it to the whole city to let black Nashvillians have a park that honored a man many white Nashvillians didnt care for. Obviously, that calculation didnt weigh so heavily in favor of black Nashvillians that we, say, didnt misspell his name for eighty years.

But if we want a clearer picture of the fits and starts Nashville has made to fully recognize black Nashvillians as Nashvillians, period, there can be no more accurate illustration of that fact than that we named a park for Frederick Douglass as is evidenced by that Tennessean story at the time then spent all this time pretending that we didnt and now, even though we all know the truth. it still takes Metro Parks, the city council, and pressure from the mayor to fix a typo.

Dont get me wrong. Im very glad were doing this.

I just hope we take a minute to dwell on the fact that this was a relatively minor thing and its taken this much effort to get it corrected. How much more effort, then, will be needed to fix the major things?

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New York dockers’ union calls for abolition of crime-busting Waterfront Commission – The Loadstar

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Vice president of the International Longshoremens Association (ILA) Kenneth Riley has called for the abolition of the Waterfront Commission of New York.

He claims it has overstepped its remit to investigate waterfront crime and is now seeking to regulate and reduce dockworker numbers.

Mr Riley told The Loadstara planned protest in Washington DC originally intended for27 February but delayed for a week or so was not something the ILA wanted but was forced to do to address untenable conditions.

He said: The Waterfront Commission was set up to rid the New York waterfront of crime. But now it is overstepping its mandate and is seeking to regulate the docks and cull the workforce.

In one incident, Mr Riley said, commission staff had refused a work permit for a US military veteran due to potential links to crime.

This is not acceptable, he said. That young man subsequently went on to work for the New Jersey Highway Department as a highway patrolman youre telling me that he can work for a body protecting people but cannot work on the docks?

The US Maritime Alliance (USMX) said the threat of a coastwide work stoppage was disturbing, and added that the ILA-USMX Master Contract forbade any unilateral work stoppage by the dockworkers union.

If the ILA engages in any unilateral walkout, USMX will enforce the contractual rights of its members to the fullest, said the USMX, urging the ILA to remain in compliance with the contract.

Mr Riley said the protest had been postponed to educate rank and file members, as well as industry stakeholders, on the problems faced by dockworkers, but said a new date would be announced within the week and the protest would proceed if the commission remained in place.

We will bus our members up to Washington to protest while Congress is in session, so those in government that want to help can come and show their support for our cause, he said.

Everyone agrees that in New York, more than 700 waterfront workers and 120 clerical staff are needed for the safe and effective running of the port.

The ILA and USMX held informal contract discussions last week to discuss the current master contract, which is due to expire in September 2018, and both sides described the discussions as productive and fruitful.

The meeting followed a two-day workshop when leaders from ILA locals at Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports examined both the contract and their respective local bargaining agreements.

The ILA and USMX are confident that holding informal contract discussions 19 months prior to expirationdemonstrates the commitment each side has to maintaining stability and growth at all ports covered by the agreement, the statement added.

However, Mr Riley, who also presides over the ILA Local 1422 Charleston South Carolina, said the problems faced by workers in New York would spread out across other US east and Gulf coast ports.

What happens in New York sets a precedent for the rest of the community, which is why we are building solidarity and promising this protest, he added.

Asked by The Loadstar if ILA president Harold Daggett had given his support to the planned protest, Mr Riley said that they had not consulted the national branch of the ILA, noting that this was a rank and file decision.

His comments came during a visit to European ports, including Algeciras, to build solidarity with Spanish longshore workers protesting against the Spanish governments decision to alter legislation, which could threaten 6,500 jobs.

He was accompanied by ILA executive vice president Dennis Daggett, who told Spanish dockworkers to not take even one step back.

The ILA is with you all the way, he added.

The Waterfront Commission was set up in 1953 to investigated reputed mob ties to the port of New York and New Jersey. In 2008, charges dating back more than three decades, including racketeering, conspiracy and extortion, were brought against leaders of the Gambino crime family, their associates and union officials.

The following year, New York state inspector general Joseph Fisch issued a report after a two-year investigation of the Waterfront Commission, which detailed extensive illegal, corrupt and unethical behaviour among staff.

The reports release resulted in many commission executives losing their jobs, including New Jersey commissioner Michael Madonna.

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Oped: Fight ID laws one voter at a time – York Dispatch

Posted: at 1:09 pm

Molly J. McGrath, Tribune News Service 11:00 a.m. ET Feb. 23, 2017

In this Nov. 4, 2016, photo, voters wait in line to cast ballots at an early polling site in San Antonio. Your parents were right: Math really does matter. After all of the tumult and tedium of a long, ugly presidential campaign, Election Day is all about which candidate can win enough states to get to 270 electoral votes.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)(Photo: Eric Gay / AP)

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in downtown Madison, Wis. She approached the table marked “Voter ID Assistance” and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didn’t have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsin’s strict new laws. It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasn’t sure how to obtain one.

Proponents of voter ID laws don’t want to acknowledge that Cinderria’s case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era. These ID laws don’t touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income voters also are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African-American, Latino, Asian-American and multiracial American turnout.)

States that have implemented voter ID laws have shown little to no interest in helping their citizens comply. And the advocacy organizations that oppose these laws have few resources for direct voter assistance. Instead, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have focused on challenging voter ID mandates in court. That’s essential, but it’s not enough. As court battles proceed, we must acknowledge our collective obligation to voters like Cinderria by investing in on-the-ground, in-person support.

Before the 2016 election, a group of us in Madison recognized the problem and got to work, partnering with local organizations like the League of Women Voters and NAACP. As one coalition, we collaborated with social service agencies, churches, food pantries, employers, schools and election administrators. Outreach continued through the November election and is ongoing for spring elections. But there’s tons of work left to do in Madison, to say nothing of the state or nation as a whole.

The right to vote is not denied only in large volume. Our democracy deteriorates every single time an older voter can’t find transportation to a distant DMV, and every single time a working mother can’t afford the fees associated with redundant paperwork to prove her citizenship.

Having worked one-on-one with would-be voters, a nefarious truth about these laws has become clear to me. Not only do the requirements hamper individuals in the short term, they also can send a long-term signal to historically disenfranchised communities that they’re not “invited” into their country’s democratic process a feeling all too familiar to those who were born before the abolition of Jim Crow.

We cannot return to the era of literacy tests and poll taxes. It’s crucial that all voters are offered help because they must not lose the belief that their vote is precious and their participation essential to our democracy. These voters are our neighbors, our co-workers and, at the most basic level, our fellow citizens. Their rights are as valuable as those of any big-spending campaign donor.

Despite repeated assurances from voter ID proponents that these laws aren’t discriminatory and are easy to comply with, lived experience proves the opposite.

Cinderria was finally able to obtain an ID, but only weeks after we first met; I traveled with her to the DMV to make sure nothing went wrong. Claudelle, a voter in his 60s whose mother mistakenly spelled his name “Clardelle” on his birth certificate, was refused an ID with his correct name twice. On a trip to the DMV with a 34-year-old named Zack, we were given inaccurate information on how to receive a free ID to vote. A recording of that interaction prompted a federal judge to order retraining of DMV workers across Wisconsin.

The voters affected by these laws who, again, are more likely to be low-income, transient and elderly often are unreachable through social media campaigns or other online communication. That makes in-person outreach indispensable. A young Madison woman named Treasure, for instance, was unable to obtain an ID until neighborhood canvassers knocked on her door and gave her accurate information and assistance.

Such work is not an admission that voter ID laws aren’t worth fighting; they are. It represents, rather, a commitment to fight suppression at every level. We have no choice but to organize, lace up our shoes and meet would-be voters where they live and work.

Molly J. McGrath is an attorney, voting rights advocate and organizer. She can be found @votermolly or votermolly.com.

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Age Action calls on TDs to back Bill abolishing mandatory retirement … – BreakingNews.ie

Posted: at 1:09 pm

There are more 65-year-olds on Jobseeker’s Benefit than at any other age, according to a leading charity.

Age Action says many people in forced retirement have no choice but to go on the dole for 12 months while waiting to receive their state pension at 66.

The group which represents older people, is calling on TDs to back a Bill which would abolish mandatory retirement clauses in a debate today.

Justin Moran from Age Action says many older people would rather continue working.

Mr Moran said: “What we have is a system where an employer can choose an age at which an employee can be forced to stop working, that’s generally chosen as 65.

“It’s a source of real fear to many of them, especially to people in their early 60s who are realising their retirement might not be as financially secure as expected.

“And particularly in the last couple of years with the abolition of the transition pension.”

Mandatory retirement is being described as “age discrimination” by Age Action.

Mr Moran said: “This is about giving employees – who want to work, who can work and want to continue contributing, paying taxes and helping to grow the economy – it’s about giving them the opportunity to keep working, if that’s something that they want to do.”

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Opinion: Let’s take discourse about HB2 beyond just money – The Daily Tar Heel

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:06 am

Editorial Board | Published 4 hours ago

It buys our food, it pays for our (parents) Netflix and its often on our minds. And after listening to Gov. Roy Coopers recent press conference in which he announced a compromise to repeal House Bill 2, you would think money is all we care about, too. Cooper repeatedly emphasized the economic costs of HB2 to North Carolinas economy, and barely addressed the laws most troubling effects: its abolition of local nondiscrimination measures and segregation of public bathrooms by birth gender.

This three-step common-sense compromise that we propose today will work. It will bring back the NCAA, it will bring back the ACC, the NBA and it will bring back jobs. It will address the concerns of those who worry about bathroom safety, security, and privacy … Cooper said. And this proposal will begin to repair the damage to North Carolinas reputation.

The Governor must assess our moral fiber as pretty flimsy, if he believes the most appealing case to repeal HB2 hinges on lost sports tournaments and a damaged state reputation. His rhetoric says more about his opinion of the Republican-controlled state legislatures interests, since they are the ones who will have to approve any repeal plan.

Compromise is a necessary part of politics, and we are glad to see Cooper reaching for common ground with Republicans in order to repeal HB2. Moving forward, though, we would like to see all our state politicians showing at least as much interest in the good treatment of our fellow North Carolinians as they do in our gross state product.

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Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground – Los Angeles Times

Posted: at 4:06 am

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in downtown Madison, Wis. She approached the table marked Voter ID Assistance and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didnt have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsins strict new laws.It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasnt sure how to obtain one.

Proponents of voter ID laws dont want to acknowledge that Cinderrias case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era. These ID laws dont touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income votersalso are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African American, Latino, Asian American and multiracial American turnout.)

States that have implemented voter ID laws have shown little to no interest in helping their citizens comply. And the advocacy organizations that oppose these laws have few resources for direct voter assistance. Instead, groups like the American Civil Liberties Unionhave focused on challenging voter ID mandates in court. Thats essential, but its not enough. As court battles proceed, we must acknowledge our collective obligation to voters like Cinderria by investing in on-the-ground, in-person support.

Before the 2016 election, a group of us in Madison recognized the problem and got to work, partnering with local organizations like the League of Women Voters and NAACP. As one coalition, we collaborated with social service agencies, churches, food pantries, employers, schools and election administrators. Outreach continued through the November electionand is ongoing for spring elections. But theres tons of work left to do in Madison, to say nothing of the state or nation as a whole.

The right to vote is not denied only in large volume. Our democracy deteriorates every single time an older voter cant find transportation to a distant DMV, and every single time a working mother cant afford the fees associated with redundant paperwork to prove her citizenship.

Having worked one-on-one with would-be voters, a nefarious truth about these laws has become clear to me. Not only do the requirements hamper individuals in the short term, they also can send a long-term signal to historically disenfranchised communities that theyre not invited into their countrys democratic process a feeling all too familiar to those who were born before the abolition of Jim Crow.

We cannot return to the era of literacy tests and poll taxes. Its crucial that all voters are offered helpbecause they must not lose the belief that their vote is precious and their participation essential to our democracy. These voters are our neighbors, our co-workers and, at the most basic level, our fellow citizens. Their rights are as valuable as those of any big-spending campaign donor.

Despite repeated assurances from voter ID proponents that these laws arent discriminatory and are easy to comply with, lived experience proves the opposite.

Cinderria was finally able to obtain an ID, but only weeks after we first met; I traveled with her to the DMV to make sure nothing went wrong. Claudelle, a voter in his 60s whose mother mistakenly spelled his name Clardelle on his birth certificate, was refused an ID with his correct name twice.On a trip to the DMV with a 34-year-old named Zack, we were given inaccurate information on how to receive a free ID to vote. A recording of that interactionprompted a federal judge to order retraining of DMV workers across Wisconsin.

The voters affected by these laws who, again, are more likely to be low-income, transient and elderly often are unreachable through social media campaigns or other online communication. That makes in-person outreach indispensable. A young Madison woman named Treasure, for instance, was unable to obtain an ID until neighborhood canvassers knocked on her door and gave her accurate information and assistance.

Such work is not an admission that voter ID laws arent worth fighting; they are. It represents, rather, a commitment to fight suppression at every level. We have no choice but to organize, lace up our shoes and meet would-be voters where they live and work.

Molly J. McGrath is an attorney, voting rights advocate and organizer.She can be found @votermolly or votermolly.com

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Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground – Los Angeles Times

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Westminster warned against benefits ‘claw back’ once ‘bedroom tax’ abolished in Scotland – Scottish Housing News

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Scottish ministers are to seek assurances from the UK government that it will not reduce the benefits of claimants in Scotland when the Scottish Government abolishes the bedroom tax.

Communities, social security and equalities secretary, Angela Constance, made the call for clarity ahead of a meeting with the Department of Work and Pensions in London today.

Ms Constance will stress the abolition of the bedroom tax cannot be counted as benefit income when it comes to the UK governments benefit cap as it will penalise people by having other UK benefit payments clawed back.

The principle of no claw back for Scottish Government benefits was agreed in the Smith Commission and the financial agreement covering the Scotland Act 2016, and ministers are concerned that when the bedroom tax is abolished in Scotland, the UK government will treat this as additional income for a household and impose the cap.

The Scottish Government will provide 47 million next year to mitigate the bedroom tax imposed by the UK government, ensuring no one needs to lose out because of it, and will seek to abolish it as soon as practically possible.

Ms Constance said: The bedroom tax is an abhorrent charge which makes the lives of those already struggling to make ends meet even harder theres no place for that in a modern Scotland. I make no secret of the fact we want to abolish it but what we also dont want to see is anyones benefits being reduced again because by abolishing bedroom tax they end up over threshold for the UK benefit cap.

It is not acceptable for the Scottish Government to give with one hand only for the UK Government to take away with the other when these powers were transferred to Scotland there was a commitment there would be no claw back of benefits as a result of payment or eligibility decisions made by the Scottish Government. We need cast iron commitments from the UK Government that they will abide by those principles and that people wont be penalised further.

This issue has been raised with UK ministers on a number of occasions and I look forward to discussing this further at Mondays meeting.

More than 70,000 households in Scotland benefit because the Scottish Government mitigates the bedroom tax. It is estimated that the new lower UK benefit cap affects 5000 households in Scotland, and more are likely to reach the cap when the bedroom tax is abolished.

Social security minister Jeane Freeman and employability minister Jamie Hepburn will also attend the meeting in London.

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Westminster warned against benefits ‘claw back’ once ‘bedroom tax’ abolished in Scotland – Scottish Housing News

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