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Author Topic: THE IDES OF MARCH  (Read 24319 times)

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Panni

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Re:THE IDES OF MARCH
« Reply #150 on: March 23, 2004, 11:05:04 PM »

Could we at some time do a topic du jour of favorite classic film lines?
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Panni

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Re:THE IDES OF MARCH
« Reply #151 on: March 23, 2004, 11:07:08 PM »

[move=left,scroll,6,transparent,100%]PAGE SIX DANCE[/move]

 :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*
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S. Woody White

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Re:THE IDES OF MARCH
« Reply #152 on: March 23, 2004, 11:24:08 PM »

DR Robin: I was shocked  (as in :o) to read your post about the Bush Administration's attempts to reinstate discrimination in the workplace against gay men and lesbians.  Since you weren't able to post the article in question (working from another source), I decided to track down the Federal Times Online piece myself.

On the one hand, I have to consider the following quote from the article:

(Scott) Bloch, who began a five-year term as special counsel in January, said he does not believe the list of prohibited personnel actions outlined in the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act covers discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It is a marked departure from how the previous special counsel, Elaine Kaplan, enforced the law and appears to contradict the Office of Personnel Management’s guidance to agencies and employees regarding workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. OPM has held since 1980 that discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered as a prohibited personnel practice under the 1978 reform act and can be appealed to OSC. The act covers all conduct “which does not adversely affect” performance, although it doesn’t specifically list sexual orientation.


Technically, Bloch is correct.  In 1978, references to sexual orientation would not have been written into such things as the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act.  This doesn't make his opinion any the less odious; it just lines it up with the "Hate the sin and not the sinner" attitude some churches have taken and spins it into reverse.

But, consider this as well:

Bloch said a senior OSC staff member first raised the issue shortly after Bloch took office in January by questioning a slide show presentation, used in training sessions with employees at federal agencies, that referred to OSC’s enforcement of sexual orientation discrimination. A couple of weeks later, Bloch said he decided to remove references to sexual orientation from the slide show and all other OSC materials posted online after reviewing the law and discovering that sexual orientation isn’t mentioned.

From my reading of the article, it is not the Bush administration that is removing the references (as the posting from the In These Times missive you received suggests), but only those references within the Office of Special Council, directly under Bloch's management, that have been removed.  Indeed, the Federal Times article includes the following:

Bloch’s predecessor, Washington attorney Kaplan, called his reading of the law “dead wrong.”

“The legal position that he is taking, that there is some distinction between discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on conduct, is absurd,” Kaplan said. “It is a distinction that has not been made by OPM, the Justice Department or anybody else in the executive branch.”


Thus, this is the action of one man, imposing his viewpoint on those working for him but as yet without support from other offices.

Finally, it's worth reading the final paragraph:

Bloch earned his law degree from the University of Kansas and was a partner in a Kansas law firm, where he specialized in civil rights law, employment law and legal ethics, according to the White House. Before he was nominated as special counsel, Bloch was deputy director of the Justice Department’s Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

Hmmmm.  While some of us aren't in Kansas any more, it appears somebody got left behind.

 :-\
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There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do.

S. Woody White

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Re:THE IDES OF MARCH
« Reply #153 on: March 23, 2004, 11:45:10 PM »

A quick follow-up.  Der Brucer had earlier located an article in the Washington Post dealing with the Bloch incident, but hadn't had a chance to post it.  (Hmm, a Post post.)  An excerpt:

The senators, in a letter to Bloch, said the removal of the reference "appears inconsistent" with assurances that Bloch, as a presidential nominee, gave the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

"During the confirmation process, you assured us that you were committed to protecting federal employees against unlawful discrimination related to their sexual orientation," the senators wrote. "We are concerned that the recent changes to OSC publications might give federal employees the opposite impression and we ask that you reaffirm your previously stated commitment and advise us of steps you will take to inform federal employees of their rights and remedies under the law."

The letter, dated Feb. 19, was organized by Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), members of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and also signed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the committee chairman, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), the panel's ranking Democrat. The committee oversees Bloch's office.


Interesting, that Sen. Collins (R-Maine) also signed the letter, making it a bi-partisan rebuke.  It's a story worth following for further developments.  (In other words, if we find a post-Post post.)
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There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do.
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