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Chelsea Welch, the US waitress who was fired after she posted a picture of a tip receipt on Reddit, wrote for us:
I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.
This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was left for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night.
Someone had scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”
I assumed the customer’s signature was illegible, but I quickly started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer. I refused to confirm any of them, and all were incorrect.
I worked with the Reddit moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch-hunt or hurting anyone.
Now I’ve been fired.
The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded everyone be fired — me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems I was fired not because Applebee’s was represented poorly, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person.
In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.
After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.
I have worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people. And I am expected to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, I can be fired for “embarrassing” someone, who directly insults his or her server on religious grounds.
In this economy, $3.50 an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.
I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve to be paid for that.
I am trying to stand up for all of us who work for just a few dollars an hour at places like Applebee’s. Whether a chain steakhouse or a black-tie establishment, tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid.
I posted a picture to make people laugh, but now I want to make a serious point: Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip.
I can’t understand why I was fired over this. I was well liked and respected at Applebee’s. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management soon. When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all.
I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook – I checked. But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.
I am equally baffled about how a religious tithe is in any way related to paying for services at a restaurant. I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity. However, it’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy that a tip is added automatically for parties over eight like the one this customer was part of. I cannot control that kind of tip; it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into. I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the “Big Man” used as reasoning.
Obviously the person who wrote this note wanted it seen by someone. It’s strange that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is ashamed.
I have no agenda here. I seek no revenge against the note writer. I have no interest in exposing their identity, and, at this point, I’m not even sure I want my job back. I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home unemployed.
I’ve been waiting tables to save up some money so I could finally go to college, so I could get an education that would qualify me for a job that doesn’t force me to sell my personality for pocket change.
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:20 PM (194 replies)
Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996
What a horrific story. The Irish Prime Minister gave a partial apology today for the government’s role in a 74-year scandal in which, a new official government report says, over 10,000 women were forced to work without pay at commercial laundries called Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church for “crimes” as small as not paying a train ticket.
The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996.
The women were locked in and not permitted to leave. And if they tried to get away, the cops would catch them and bring them back. They were quite literally Catholic slave labor working for the government and even Guinness, which would pay the laundries for the women’s slave labor.
Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23. The youngest entrant was 9 years old.
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:12 PM (33 replies)
Nobody has a better plan than this. Not House Republicans, not Senate Democrats, & not the president
On Tuesday, House Progressives offered the first and only deficit reduction plan to come out of Congress so far in 2013 that would create jobs and avoid the budget sequester. It would:
---Maintain the $1.7 trillion in spending cuts created by the 2011 Budget Control Act's spending caps;
---Maintain the more than $700 billion in revenues generated by the tax cliff deal at the end of the last Congress;
---Replace the nearly $1 trillion sequester with new revenue generated by closing loopholes and deductions; and
---Cut defense spending by nearly $300 billion, which would then be spent on creating jobs by investing in our infrastructure.
Nobody has a better plan than this. Not House Republicans, not Senate Democrats, and not the president. It's sensible, responsible, and with $1.7 trillion in spending cuts and $1.7 trillion in new revenues, it's the definition of balanced. It would be good for Americans of all income levels. It would give businesses a boost and give the people who work at them more economic security. It's eminently reasonable, but this is Congress and Washington, DC we're talking about. So it's not going to happen, at least not in 2013. But that doesn't change the fact that these ideas represent the best way forward.
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:06 PM (1 replies)
Among the items in Impromptus today is one about our national pastime: racial or ethnic toting up. There’s nothing Americans like more than racial-ethnic toting up. The old South Africans have nothing on us.
Congress-watchers are having trouble figuring out how many Hispanics there are in the House. Because the question of who is a Hispanic can be so tricky. Heaven forbid they should be just people, or Americans, or men and women. No, everyone must wear a racial or ethnic label. That’s the American way, apparently.
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:01 PM (0 replies)
PERKINS: We’re talking about comparing immutable characteristics with characteristics that are not immutable. First, the Boy Scouts have had a long history of struggling with an issue of protecting the boys. Last fall they were forced by the court to release about 15,000 pages that identified 1,900 predators within the Boy Scouts.
O’BRIEN: Are you saying that someone who is gay is a pedophile, Sir?
PERKINS: No, I never said that. You said that. I didn’t.
O’BRIEN: I’m asking the question. You are saying that you would be worried about –
PERKINS: They are trying to create an environment that is protective of children. This doesn’t make it more protective. There is a disproportionate number of male on boy — when we get on pedophilia, male on boy is a higher incident rate of that. We never said all homosexuals are pedophiles. that’s not what we’re saying.
VIDEO & MORE:
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:10 AM (3 replies)
Judge Rakoff Delivers Big Blow to Bank of America and JP Morgan in Flagstar Ruling
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Wow, one of my big assumptions about mortgage putback cases has been turned on its ear, much to the detriment of Bank of America and JP Morgan. If you thought there were pitched legal battles on this front, a key ruling by Judge Jed Rakoff means you ain’t seen nothing yet.
If you are late to this brawl, putback cases are also called representation and warranty cases, or rep and warranty. They occur when investors and bond guarantors who relied on the promises made by the originators and sponsors about the quality of the loans argue that the sellers broke those promises (“representations and warranties”). Their remedy is typically that they put dodgy loans back to the sponsor, and they either replace with a loan that was up to snuff or cash…
… On an admittedly small case, in dollar amount, Rakoff awarded bond insurer Assured $90.1 million of the $116 million it sought in damages against Flagstar over two home equity line of credit securitizations. That’s nearly 78%. Trust me, no big bank is reserving anything within hailing distance of those sort of numbers for bond insurer putback cases...
...And this ruling is even worse for the big banks…
As reader MBS Guy summed up:
Judge Rakoff came out with his long awaited opinion in the Assured Guaranty vs. Flagstar Bank case. This was a straight rep and warranty case – no fraud allegations. In short, Assured, the bond insurer on two Flagstar deals, got nearly everything they wanted, including legal fees. Assured was demanding $116 million for claims paid, Rakoff awarded them $90 million, plus legal fees. That is a remarkably high success rate – way higher, I suspect, than most people had been expecting from the bond insurer cases.
Rakoff allowed statistically sampling and believed that the insurer didn’t need to prove causation. He didn’t even believe the insurer needed to collect only on defaulted loans (he obligated Flagstar to also buy back loans which were breaches, but on which Assured hadn’t paid claims yet).
I think this will probably have implications for the litigation reserves that banks are holding on other bond insurer cases (especially BofA) and for the big BofA and Rescap rep and warranty proposed settlements. The banks have been fighting hard on the insurer cases and refusing to settle – I think that’s about to change. I wouldn’t want to be a holder of BofA stock right now. This is the first rep and warrant case to go to trial and it was a big, big win for the plaintiffs.
Posted by kpete | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:58 AM (0 replies)
Source: Public Policy Polling
Americans consider NRA endorsement to be a negative
Raleigh, N.C. – Much has been made in recent weeks about the NRA's political strength,
but PPP's newest national poll finds more voters consider their endorsement to be a
negative than a positive. 39% say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who
had the NRA's support to just 26% who say they'd be more likely to, with 32% saying it
wouldn't influence them one way or the other. Among independents 41% consider an
NRA endorsement to be a turn off to 27% who say it's a plus.
In general 53% of voters say they support stricter gun laws in the country to 39% who are
opposed to them. Those numbers are basically identical to a 53/40 spread a month ago,
suggesting that the desire for stronger legislation has not died down as Newtown
gradually fades from voters' minds. On the specific issue of an assault weapons ban 51%
of voters are supportive to 42% who are opposed. It has support from a solid majority of
Democrats, as well as 26% of Republicans.
“Politicians really don’t have to be scared of the NRA,” said Dean Debnam, President of
Public Policy Polling. “Voters consider its support to be a negative thing.”
Read more: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_205.pdf
Posted by kpete | Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:31 PM (15 replies)
Source: AL Monitor
Obama to visit Israel in spring
Posted on February 5, 2013 by Laura Rozen
President Obama is planning to visit Israel this spring, the White House confirmed to Al Monitor Tuesday.
“When the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu on January 28, they discussed a visit by the President to Israel in the spring,” NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said by email Tuesday, in response to a query.
“The start of the President’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” Vietor said. “Additional details about the trip – including the dates of travel – will be released at a later time.”
Obama will also travel to the West Bank and Jordan.
Read more: http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/02/4347/obama-to-visit-israel-in-spring/#ixzz2K3OmQ8Ux to source
according to Israel's Channel 10, Washington received assurances from the Israeli government that Obama would be able to engage in "large-scale efforts" related to the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians during his visit.
Posted by kpete | Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:19 PM (4 replies)
POTUS Doesn't Have Power To Stop Us From Killing Each Other -But He Has FULL Power To Do It Himself?
So this is where we stand in 2013, in the second month of the second term of this administration -- the president does not have the power to convince us fully to stop killing each other, but he has the full power to do it himself. The presidential power to persuade in domestic affairs has melted before a superheated extremist Republican Congress, but the presidential power to act, unilaterally, overseas is more robust than it ever has been. This cannot be said to be truly tyrannical; hell, Caesar was able to give Rome an infrastructure while he was off slaughtering the Gauls. Our presidency now encourages the person in the office to be an inefficient authoritarian. Our presidents have terrible trouble making domestic policy, but no trouble at all making war. They can't rebuild our highways, but they can wreck the goat paths in west Asia.
Much of the talk on the drone story centers around whether or not the revelations will hurt the cause of John Brennan, whom the president wants to head up the CIA. Brennan's a holdover from the previous administration, and he's been hip-deep both in the drone war, and the legal arguments justifying it, throughout the current one. That seems to matter very little to me. The Congress is not ready yet to deny appointment to anyone who has made too much war on the president's behalf. (Congressional reaction to the drone war in general largely has been limited to loud complaining about the administration's lack of transparency, and the corresponding lack of congressional oversight. The administration is still stonewalling congressional demands to see the actual legal memos that the administration has used to justify the killing of Anwar al-Alwaki. In other words, it's pitched as a run-of-the-mill Beltway turf war.) What matters more to me is that we seem to be slow-playing ourselves into a situation in which the presidency becomes an institution primarily concerned with foreign affairs and, specifically, with where we make war, and against whom, and why, and all of those according to reasons that the presidency can decline to share with the rest of us. This puts more distance between the president -- any president -- and the people who put him in office. It hamstrings the president's power to do anything about the issues most immediate to the people in this country, but it unleashes him to do anything he wants anywhere else in the world. It is a deformative reinvention of the office, and it will come to no good end.
Read more: The Pulpit's Bully - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/About_The_Presidency#ixzz2K2qlOoUC
Posted by kpete | Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:03 PM (7 replies)