Don’t Cook Your Dog

On 04/13/2014, in animals, AZ, education, Law, peeves, Phoenix, by Vox AZ

I had plans today to run by the library and pick up a couple of things I had on hold. I got sidetracked and was just lollygagging in general most of the morning, so went much later than I intended. Thankfully. Because I saved a dog from being cooked.

Temperature Chart Dogs in CarsAs I was leaving, I glanced in the car next to me and saw a dog pop up. In the car, alone, in the middle of an unshaded parking lot, at the hottest part of the day. He was climbing on & over the seats, then trying to get under the dash, or under the steering wheel. Just looking for anywhere to get out of the heat in general. Had I not been right there, at just that time, and looked over during one of the moments he showed his fuzzy face, he might have gone unnoticed.

I ran back in the library to tell them about it, thinking they could at least find the owner. I told the guy at the counter and he said, “Our parking lot?” I told him, yes, it was their lot across the roadway. He then says, “Oh, that’s the mall parking lot, not ours” OK. A) I don’t think the dog cares who the f***’s parking lot he is cooking in B) There is nothing else there. It may be the mall’s lot, but there is no mall nearby.

I go back out and call the police, mainly hoping to have permission to smash the window and get him out (I may or may not have considered bringing him home where someone would actually care for him) The dispatcher tells me he has never heard of a Buick Verano (really, that matters – and I am looking RIGHT AT THE LABEL)

The library security guard comes over and says, “well, the window is cracked a little” Sure, that quarter-inch is bound to make him feel better WHILE HE IS COOKING. When the police drive up, she gets very upset with me because “this is a mall matter” Really – THE MALL ISN’T DOING ANYTHING. After the officer starts looking for the dog, I don’t think he believed me since the dog was hiding – oh, there he is – the library chick says, “I guess I can do a call out to see if they are in the library” Gee, why didn’t I think of that *grumblegrumble*

Police officer starts trying to push the windows down, and asking how long it has been there. I don’t know, but I do know I have been out there for less than 10 minutes, not locked in my car, able to get a slight breeze, and I am sweating. Dog is panting furiously and drooling at this point. (According to this article, the interior of the car was likely at least 120° at that point)

Another officer pulls up. They start discussing breaking in to the car and whether animal control is coming. I am about to say, “Can we get the dog out first and worry about the other logistics later?” when library lady comes out with the car’s owner. He is huge. Like Quinton Aaron huge. I am glad the police were there when he came out, because I had plans to yell at him and that wasn’t happening (’cause HUGE)

First officer says, “You can’t do that” Guy says. “What?”, Officer, “Leave your dog in the car” Guy, “I know my dog is in the car, he’s my dog, I can do what I want” and starts moving in on the cop.

Cop says, “Step back”, guy gets lippy. Cop says, “You don’t need to get in my face” ….

I’ve seen enough episodes of cops to know I do NOT want to be around there anymore. I am now reasonably certain the dog will be freed – and I am not sticking around in close proximity to pissed of giants & cops with Tasers. So I left.

I now wonder if I should just have moved away & waited in case they wanted a statement, though the situation was pretty clear.

Once again, I will remind you all. YOUR DOG DOESN’T NEED TO GO WITH YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO. He would rather be home without you than cooking in a parking lot – without you. Leave them home.

I can’t imagine any set of errands that would require you to have your dog along, especially on a Sunday (not like you had to take him for a veterinary appointment) But of all the stops you can maybe, possibly weasel out an excuse for as necessary & quick, the library doesn’t even register.

You would think here in Phoenix, it would be painfully obvious how hot your car gets in the summer – we’ve all suffered burned legs from hot seats, and driving with oven mitts really does seem reasonable sometimes. Apparently, though, there are moronic holdouts as the number of cooked pets – and CHILDREN – every year illustrates. So this is a reminder. Don’t leave living things in your car!



 

SB1062 – Vetoed

On 02/27/2014, in AZ, Law, politics, by Vox AZ

Another Facebook post & comment on SB1062 that I will post here because my FB settings won’t display it to everyone – and I figured I should have an “apres veto” post. Y’all have read my ramblings thus far, let’s finish the subject off ;-)

Comment left on my page:

This isn’t an I told you so post. I read the law and as far as I could tell, no matter how you sliced it up it still was a discriminatory law. If there was any yahoo business owner that didn’t like gays or blacks or hispanics, it would have given them some protection to actively discriminate based off of race or creed. I give a little credit to Gov. Skeletor for vetoing this garbage bill. There are far more pressing matters facing our state. Obama is probably outraged that she vetoed this and is keeping the focus on immigration. Good political strategy on her part.

My comment back:

Apparently you didn’t read the bill (or amendment, rather) because it said no such thing. In fact, businesses here could already choose not to do business with anyone they wanted – and they still can.

This may have been an unnecessary law, written in response to problems in other states which we have not faced (in the states where lawsuits were successful, gender & sexual orientation are recognized as protected classes), but it did nothing to encourage or institutionalize discrimination here. You can’t sue now any more than you could have if the bill had been signed. Only the government can bring such an action. (Well, I think you can try some sort of civil action, but will lose)

In fact, the bill would have made it more difficult to claim a religious defense by adding a religiousness “test” to prove not only that your beliefs are sincerely held, but that serving a customer – or whatever action you are choosing not to do – would “substantially burden” your faith.

So, the bill did nothing but get us some bad press. I am not willing, however, to make decisions on Arizona legislation based on whether the Huffington Post & MSNBC understand it and/or think it is OK.

I really didn’t care which way this one went, veto/don’t veto/whatever, but I did care about the vicious mischaracterization of both the bill and our state. It deserved to be evaluated for what it was – not what George Takei thought about it.

So, yeah, I got vocal about it – but people had their minds made up. Like you.

I don’t like being lectured, I don’t like being called names, and I really hate being bullied, especially by people out of state who have no freakin’ idea WTH they are talking about.

The NFL wants to take the Super Bowl away because that organization filled with thugs & felons can’t grasp the very FIRST amendment in our Bill of Rights? Good riddance! Apple and Marriott want to lecture us about how we ‘should’ do business? STFU

Deal with the issues plaguing your own states and we’ll deal with ours


A rather Left leaning law professor on SB1062:

“But the main thing people miss is there’s no right of action against a bigot in the first place,” Bender said. “The bigot doesn’t need this.”

Governor Brewer’s letter in reference to the veto can be found here


UPDATE: From The Anchoress, re: the divisiveness of this debate

I feel like I’m watching my gay friends get mauled and then watching my Catholic friends get mauled, both by people who have lost the ability to do anything but feel and seethe.



 

More on Religious Freedom & SB1062

On 02/23/2014, in AZ, Law, politics, USA, by Vox AZ

Got this question on FB, and there isn’t enough room for a full answer there – so I’m putting it here.

Question:

Help me understand something, as I have not read it all the way thru, just as I doubt anyone has (I love your rule btw). Why does a bill need to be written on this hot subject of who you can & cannot serve in a business? It is already a known fact that a businessperson has the right to sell to whomever he chooses and that buyers have that same freedom.
Is it me or is everyone having the usual reaction? Reaction 1: govt thinks they need to solve things they don’t need to solve. Reaction 2: people get outraged at a free individual that makes an unpopular decision, so they want to write a law that removes the freedom of the other rather than exercising their freedom to never buy anything from the person they don’t like

Answer (such as it is):

OK, I’ll do my best with this.

Yes, we all recognize that “We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To Anyone” is a major part of our business conscientiousness. However, it is not entirely true – or enforceable. Due to the shameful history, and Americans’ desire to atone, we have created protected classes. Therefore, a business owner cannot refuse service to a person of color, for instance, as that would violate their “civil rights”

There was a time when that protection would have been necessary, as entire towns were discriminating – though, tellingly, it was the government who made those discriminatory Jim Crow laws. If a person or persons were to be unable to purchase groceries anywhere in town because they were black, that would be an issue. Now, thankfully, even if you were to encounter a raging racist operating a business, odds are there are several nearby that would be glad to have your money. The issue *should* be self-policing, and business *should* be able to choose who they do business with – which would leave consumers free to choose who NOT to do business with. A business that was so short-sighted as to not take everyone’s money would likely not survive in an open, free society.

First Amendment, Religious FreedomIn at least three cases I can think of off the top of my head, entities that chose not to do particular business (i.e. they did regular business, but declined wedding business) with same-sex couples based on personally held religious beliefs were taken to court for violating the homosexuals’ civil rights as a protected class. (CO, OR, NM) In every case, the court decided the First Amendment protection did not extend their personally held beliefs to their business entity. As I said earlier, those “are examples of businesses that provide neither essential nor exclusive service, so the couples could have easily gone elsewhere.”

SCOTUS determined decades ago that courts should not burden a person’s free exercise of religion, instead applying strict scrutiny to determining if there is a compelling government interest. However, a later decision from the same court held that the strict scrutiny did not necessarily extend to state & local cases. In at least one of the cases mentioned above, the court determined a religious freedom defense could not be used because the government was not a party to the original complaint – and so would use the power of the government to quash their First Amendment religious freedom rights.

This bill, far from “institutionalizing bigotry”, states that those protections afforded at a federal level, also apply at a state level. A claim of religious freedom can be made in a court proceeding whether or not the government is an original party to the claim, and whether or not the business itself is a religious institution (churches etc should already be exempted, though as we have seen from cases like federal government vs The Little Sisters of the Poor, that is far from guaranteed)

So, you are correct in stating this is a law that should not be needed. Unfortunately, an ill wind blows and religious freedoms are suffering. I am not in favor of the constant need to make more & more laws, but in some instances it becomes necessary. This one *changes* little, but reinforces much. It is a backstop to the freedom you state already exists, and in fact only *really* legally changes the definition of a religious freedom defense, requiring a person to “prove that their religious belief is sincerely held” (So, a complainant could ask, for instance, if you are a Catholic, “Would you do this business with a divorcee getting remarried?”)

Whether I would personally agree with a business’s decision or not, protecting my Liberty demands that I protect theirs. A free society means we will sometimes be subject to opinions & actions that we find uncomfortable, or even reprehensible. I personally hate the Westboro Baptist Church and would not shed a tear if all the adults were wiped out in some fortuitous tragic accident (like a semi jumping the curb and taking them down like dominoes, not that I’ve ever played that scenario out in my head. Repeatedly.) However, they have a Constitutionally protected right to be morons.

The problem, at this point, is messaging. The chicken littles have gotten out early with their “ZOMG! Arizona hates GAYS! There will be a witch hunt! Blood will run in the streets!” (much the way the Left reacts to any law the don’t like, and they are always proven wrong) Enough people in the middle, and/or who generally don’t bother to actually search out the facts, see the outragey graphics & the outragey Facebook groups and spread the false information – and the rest of us are left shouting into the wind “THAT ISN’T EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT IT SAYS”



 

Conversations on SB1062

On 02/22/2014, in AZ, Law, politics, by Vox AZ

desde ArizonaFinally got sick of all the hysteria over SB1062 (known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) and posted a bit of a rant over on Facebook – which got a few comments going. I wanted to make a lot of the same points over here, but I am too lazy to retype everything. Besides, I wanted to include the discussion, such as it is (it does go a bit off the rails or off topic at points)

I anonymized the comments, so you won’t know who they are. Since I know who they are, I can tell you that no one in this thread is “anti-gay”. It is a shame I have to point that out, but these days any disagreement is seen as “H8″
(BTW: The “D” below is not my D. My D stayed above of the fray)

My original rant:

To all of you “OMG! Arizona is treating teh gays like Jews during the Holocaust! OMG NAZIS, BADGES, CONCENTRATION CAMPS!!!!!!” people:

Read the damn bill FFS

Starbucks ain’t gonna suddenly stop selling you coffee cause they think you might kiss boys. (That isn’t what the bill is about, and it isn’t what the bill says)

BUT – If a business *were* to refuse you service – for any reason – WHY would you want to force them to TAKE YOUR MONEY? Go across the street & give your money to someone who deserves it.

(BTW: The law is meant to provide the protection that SCOTUS gave at a Federal level, but has not reached the individual state level, yet)

And…the comments:

P: But then you could say that about blacks and businesses who want to deny them service!!!
G: And we could put them out of business too.
VoxAZ: A) Again, not what the bill is about

B) Business owners should have the right to refuse anyone, actually – even if it is stupid. That is a move that is self-policing in a free society. If someone doesn’t want gun owners in their restaurant, that is their right – and it is my decision whether to give them my business or take it elsewhere

C) This isn’t about an entire city refusing service like the Jim Crow South, where a person of color *couldn’t* just go across the street. This is about individual people not being forced to violate their religious beliefs.

P: I was being sarcastic
VoxAZ: Ah, can never be sure online – and I got into a bit of an outragey froth at all the outrage from folks who believe whatever they see in an outragey Facebook graphic
R: I get WHAT and WHY but don’t you think it’s a step BACK?
G: We really need a <sarcastic> font.
R: IF a restaurant didn’t want to serve me because I’m gay, they dont deserve my money… but it’s still RIDICULOUS and bigoted.. imo
VoxAZ: Two cases that come to mind that illustrate the mindset that may have led to this bill being drafted; the CO bakery that was forced to make a wedding cake for a SS wedding, NM photographers who can’t refuse to do SS weddings.

Both are examples of businesses that provide neither essential nor exclusive service, so the couples could have easily gone elsewhere. Both were taken to court by people who wanted to force them to TAKE MONEY. Do *not* understand why you would choose to give cash to people who don’t want it

R: OR the stupid one… Hi, I’m going to sue eharmony for not allowing gays…why the EFF do you want to sign up for a dating sight that doesn’t have GAYS ON IT!
R: But my absolute serious question is, how are they going to know if people are gay or not?
G: SS marriage was not legal in CO or NM at the time of the rulings, which makes it hard for me to comprehend how the baker or photographer violated anyone’s rights. Looking at it at it from another angle, would you be okay patronizing an establishment that provides funding for neo-Nazi’s, as long as they served anyone who walks through the door?
VoxAZ: They won’t know, R. If you go around telling people about your sex life (no matter which way you swing), they may refuse you service just for being obnoxious LOL
R: Exactly. Unless you’re at Romans and it’s okay.
G: I’m not gay, but I can be obnoxious. I refuse to comment on whether I’ve been denied service for being obnoxious.
VoxAZ: Seriously, either of those cases I referenced should have ended up with someone tweeting “Hey, Joe’s Bakery won’t make a cake for our wedding” – and someone smart tweeting, “We here at Jane’s Bakery love making cakes for SS weddings! Come in and see us” They would get the business of not only that couple, but likely all their friends. Joe’s biz loses, Jane’s biz wins – couple still gets a cake and has no reason to ever think about Joe & his beliefs ever again.
R: For the record, Starbucks loves boy kissers. Lol
VoxAZ: BTW: I had an acquaintance who got very upset that eHarmony wouldn’t let him sign up before his divorce was final (how they knew, I don’t know) Dude had issues.
R: Yeah I’m not setting up a eHarmony. Or match for that matter. I’m not looking for shit.
A: Are you saying this law is not discriminatory?
D: No. She is saying that the law will not force homosexuals into concentration camps or force them to wear pink triangles.
A: There is a big difference between “choosing” to carry a gun and being “gay” someone doesn’t choose to be gay. In addition a gun can kill people, last time I checked being gay never killed anyone…
D: Are you saying that gays cannot commit murder? I would also argue that there were gays whose sexually reckless lifestyle lead to their deaths like Freddy Mercury, for one.
VoxAZ: The bill which “Modifies the definition of exercise of religion and allows a person to assert a free exercise claim or defense in a judicial proceeding regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding” is not discriminatory (although the part where someone has to prove “that the person’s religious belief is sincerely held” seems a bit troubling.)

Here is the bill

Here is the fact sheet which is easier to read (though few people seem to bother)

My point about gun ownership was merely to show the business owners’ choice. It could easily have said they can refuse service to left-handers, and left-handers can choose to take their business elsewhere.

Gun ownership is guaranteed by the BoR, as is the free exercise of religion. Telling a person they have to ignore their religious beliefs because the gov’t disagrees (whether the gov’t is right or wrong) is antithetical to the Liberty our nation was founded on.

If this bill said, “all businesses must have a separate but equal area for homosexuals” it would be discriminatory. If it said people could use their religious beliefs to round up gays and put them in stocks in the center of town, it would be scary.

It says, “if I don’t want to make you a cake for your wedding, and you decide to sue me, I can use my religious beliefs as a defense in court” (and apparently puts the burden of proof on the baker)

D: Wait? Gun ownership is a right? There are sure a lot of people who wish it were otherwise.
A: D- I never said anything like that, that’s just stupid to say such a thing. What I am saying is it will not kill someone by serving or sitting next to them. However carrying a gun for protection can and has resulted in deaths.
R: I believe the point is, someone doesn’t want to serve you why do you want to be there in the first place.
A: I don’t have a problem with guns at all. However, I do have a problem with ignorant comments about people who are gay.
R: I don’t know, my gay child doesn’t think I’m ignorant.
C: I’ve been watching this discussion from afar and I think it has totally gone off the rails. Personally, if I knew a business refused service to ANYONE, I would find another service provider. Gay, straight, right handed, left handed, gun owner or not … it doesn’t matter. I prefer to patronize accepting businesses where I live. If you don’t agree with something, take positive action to effect change; don’t just carp about it on FB.
A: That comment wasn’t directed at you R it was directed at D.
R: I don’t know, no offense to anybody but D is a smart cookie.
A: He’s a smart cookie?! You must be seeing something that I am not. Reread his comments responding about a gay being in a place. I personally go out a lot and I have yet to commit murder and I have been gay for 16 years…
D: What ignorant comment did I make? That Freddy Mercury died of AIDS? That gays are just as capable of committing murder as straight people? That the Arizona law does not require badges or concentration camps for gays? (Which it does not). Which?
A: That wasn’t the point and you and I both know it.
C: Internet fights never changed anyone’s mind, people!
R: I read his concentration, camp comment. And made total sense.
He’s totally right about Freddie Mercury. And also many other straight people from that time. He died from AIDS for being reckless. You can actually be charged with murder if you knowingly infect someone with AIDS. If you shoot someone in self-defense you will not be charged with murder.

Again it’s not about gun-control. The establishment owner has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason that this is his right as an American. Is it back asswards? Yeah. I don’t agree with discriminating against gay people. But I do agree with a business owner being able to serve who he effing wants to

A: R, are you and D a couple or relative or something? Being serious not sarcastic.
R: No. I’m pretty good friends of his wife.
A: Makes sense…I guess my thing is that if they are going to single out gays in particular, shouldn’t it be that way for anyway who sins shit nobody will be able to go anywhere… Cheaters won’t be welcome, gays, liars what’s next?!
R: Come to think of it. Don’t think I’ve ever said two words to D. Hi D!!!

There

R: Personally I’d rather eat dinner with the gay guy than a cheater or a liar. One of the reasons I’m getting divorced.
A: Lmao!
R: Like I said it’s freaking ass backwards. But in every state especially in the South you’re going to find discrimination even against black people still. That’s just the way it is you can’t change people’s minds.
Every business owner has his right to refuse service anybody no matter how ignorant the reason.
Every person has a right to refuse to frequent their establishment.
I don’t visit the country bar down the street because it’s a bunch of freaking hookers in there.
I’m just saying. Ignorant but it’s legal.
A: Well then if that’s true why can the state tell business owners they can’t let smoke in their business?
R: Because secondhand smoke apparently kills people.
R: I mean after the heart attack they have from their 10 pound steak and loaded baked potato, the secondhand smoke will kill them
A: If it’s there business shouldn’t they be able to do what they want in there? And before you ask, I don’t smoke… Well so do gays according to D.
R: Okay nevermind. Not at all what D said so I give up. White flag. Going to go eat some freaking fattening food and smoke pot. Of which I do neither by the way
A: That was a joke just so you know. Not a funny one, but a joke nonetheless. Have a good night.

Thankfully, the discussion so far seems to have ended with a truce.


UPDATE: A good comment from another FB thread

This bill reinforces the 1st Amendment. If you get into a cab with a Muslim driver and ask him to take you to the bar he can refuse as it is against his religion. If you turn around and then ask him to drop you off a block away he can still refuse as he already knows your intent. This bill will protect him. If you are a Jew and get into his cab wearing a Star of David and ask him to take you home, he can’t refuse.

I think he should still be able to refuse – though, in the cab example, there may be other factors. Is he working for a company that has no issue with transporting Jews, does the business owner’s interest & policy trump the driver’s Muslim beliefs? Is the potential passenger in a dangerous area? Is he unlikely to find another cab in a reasonable amount of time?

I believe they have allowed Muslim cabbies at the airport to pick & choose passengers, but there are so many taxis lined up, there is no issue with finding transportation quickly from another driver. If you called for a cab, waited, then found out he wouldn’t take you so you had to call & wait again…that might be an issue – unless, like one of the articles I linked suggested, the company had clear policy stating that they didn’t drive Jews or that you had to specifically request a non-Muslim driver….? #RunOnSentencePalooza

 

Map It

On 02/15/2014, in AZ, USA, by Vox AZ

I was trying to find another version of this map of the USA, composed of state flags, via Google image search.

In the results was this version of a map of the USA, composed of university mascots. Pretty cool but…sorry Lumberjacks, apparently Arizona only has two universities the artist felt worth mentioning ;-)