I know a number of people here in Vancouver working in restaurants and bars, and the prevalence of unlawful behaviour is just astounding. Of course, I don’t mean the staff stealing from employers, but employers just stealing wholesale from the staff.
While BC has some fairly mediocre labour laws, it has labour laws that employers are obligated to abide by. Unfortunately, as the laws are civil in nature (rather than criminal), the enforcement of these laws falls on the shoulders of the employees: if the staff don’t report the breach to the Employment Standards Branch, then the company happily trundles on, stealing from the employees.
This isn’t theft, you say? Since the staff have implicitly agreed to this state of affairs, it’s no-one else’s business to intervene? I’m sure that it’s possible that you could be more wrong about this, but it’s not obvious how. Allow me to explain.
There was an article written recently in The Telegraph, a British paper, discussing a statement by Lady Hale, the UK Supreme Court Deputy President, that there should be some sort of “conscience clause” put into law to protect religious folk who wish to exercise their beliefs, and not be at risk of losing their jobs over it. On the face of it, this seems like an entirely reasonable suggestion.
But, with a bit more analysis, it’s complete tripe.
When I first came to Vancouver from Ireland, I found out about the student loan program that was available in Canada and discovered that I could actually afford to go to University. I’d just missed the enrollment deadline for the University of British Columbia, but a helpful advisor there suggested a number of avenues I could take. One of which was Langara College.
My two-ish years there were well-spent, studying a variety of topics, learning how much I sucked at mathematics, how much I hated chemistry, and how interesting I found philosophy. Twas a good period, and I believe that the academic faculty there, in most all disciplines, are great teachers.
But then there’s the “Health and Human Services” bullshit that it peddles…
Generally speaking, I stay away from the main Skeptic topics. Mostly because they are so obviously wrong, and also because the topic is well-addressed by people who don’t have an additional interest in economics and social reform (the main topics I address on this blog).
But scammer-extraordinaire Matthew Currie has decided to loudly object to the James Randi Foundation (of which I am not a huge fan, for unrelated reasons) calling Astrology nonsense. And his open letter is just chock full of bullshit, it’s painful to read.
In this port, I will be responding to two of his articles: Eight Things Skeptics of Astrology Don’t Get and http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/ohmystars/2013/12/dear-skeptic-part-two-please-curb-your-dogma.html. This post has more expletives than usual.
There’s no limit to the number of ‘self-help’ gurus out there, who lay claim to all sorts of nonsense. At best, these people are deeply misguided about what it is they are doing. At worst, they are intentionally running scams and swindling people out of money.
I want to focus on a particular example: Psychology of Vision, aka Chuck and Lency Spezzano. And I’d like to make it clear that there’s no way for me to tell, with confidence, which end of the above spectrum they lie on.