When Is A Picture Not A Window?

(image courtesy of Mark Young of the Brandenton Herald.)

Millie Francis is an 85 year old woman who is devoutly Roman Catholic. Francis lives in the Bradenton Tropical Palms trailer park in Bradenton, Florida.

Francis had a problem. According to her, Francis was dealing with a nosy neighbor who was continually peeking into her front window as well as flashlights from security guards shining in the window at night.

Francis sought and gained the permission of the trailer park management to change out the window in order for her to not be bothered by the neighbor and guards.

One those facts both Francis and the management of the trailer park agree.

After receiving what she calls “enlightenment” prior to mass, Francis commissioned artist Ingrid Brandt to paint the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – one of Mary’s many Catholic titles and the patroness of Mexico – on a piece of plywood. Francis put the plywood up in place of the aforementioned window.

The management of the trailer park balked and balked big time.

[Property manager for Vanguard Property Management out of Tampa, Janet] Nowakowski first said Francis didn’t get permission through the park’s architectural review committee, but she did get permission to remove the window. Nowakowski then said Francis was approved but was given until Oct. 31 to complete the window replacement. Nowakowski said the project wasn’t completed on time and therefore, according to park rules, Francis must resubmit her project to the committee for approval or remove the painting.

Francis said the window replacement was done on time, but the painting was only recently completed. So for her, it’s not about the window removal, it’s about her decision to paint the Virgin Mary and believes she’s being discriminated against.


We Wish…..

(image courtesy AF Branco at ComicallyIncorrect.)

Pelosi says Trump is not welcome to give State of the Union Adress at the House of Representatives due to security concerns caused by the shutdown, Trump responds by canceling her overseas trip for the same reason.

Via the satire site Duffleblog comes this gem:

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — Service members currently deployed to Afghanistan were devastated when they learned that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her entourage of congressmen had cancelled their planned visit this past weekend, sources confirmed today.

President Donald Trump halted the congressional delegation’s trip seemingly in response to Pelosi suggesting the president cancel or delay his State of the Union address, citing security concerns. The bus filled with congressman was stopped at the way to Joint Base Andrews where military aircraft were prepared to carry the representatives to Afghanistan.

“It’s terrible,” Staff Sgt. Paul Morin said. “They were going to cancel the vehicle inspection so we could all go shake her hand for six seconds, but then we had to clean all the vehicles three times.”

“It’s a shame,” Sgt. 1st Class Mark Klages said. “Morale has gotten get pretty low around here with the holidays being over, the awful weather, the ANA’s incompetence and our confusing strategy, but it would have helped a lot to be talked at by an old lady from San Francisco.”

Some service members seemed confused as to who the current House speaker actually is.

Florida And Assignment Of Benefits (AOB) Reform.

We’re not sure we could write much of this better than others have, so we will be quoting other articles more than we normally do.

First, the issue of “assignment of benefits” or “AOB.”

In Florida, it is far from uncommon for residents to need repairs to their homes. Whether it be a tropical storm, a hurricane or any other common cause of damage to Florida homes, our residents rely on their insurance to come through for them. Unfortunately, the ways in which repairs are carried out are proving to be one of the leading causes of rising insurance costs in the state.

Insurance prices and homeowner costs have reached new heights since 2010, largely due to unreasonable and unfair Assignment of Benefits (AOB) claims. AOB claims allow the insured to permit outside parties, such as contractors, to request payment from their insurance companies on their behalf, essentially taking multiple steps out of an already complicated process. AOB’s original goal was to streamline the claims process for homeowners and create a better overall customer experience. However, scam contractors are now working alongside rapacious trial attorneys to exploit this once customer-focused system to defraud insurance companies in pursuit of their own gain.

A study from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) shows the average AOB claim is $17,000, which is 50 percent more than non-AOB claims. Additionally, the total number of AOB lawsuits increased from 408 in 2000 to over 28,000 in 2016.

About That Government Shutdown. (Part Two.)

An interesting take on the government shutdown.

There are lessons to be learned from the shutdown.

Government stopped collecting trash and cleaning up public parks in DC, so volunteers stepped in to pick up trash. Without so much government, Stossel says, private citizens will often step in to do things government workers used to do.

Stossel says the shutdown highlights where some government waste can be trimmed.

Farmers don’t get their “support” checks during the shutdown. But Stossel asks–why should they get checks at all? While the big subsidies go to grain and corn farmers, most fruit and vegetable farmers get no subsidies. They survive without them. Other farmers could, too.

FDA inspection of food has stopped during the shutdown. Paul Krugman asks smugly, “does contaminated food smell like freedom?”

But Stossel notes that the main reason food is safe isn’t government. It’s competition. Companies worry about their reputation. Just ask Chipotle, Stossel says. Their stock fell by more than half after food poisoning incidents at their stores; since then they have instituted far more food inspection than government requires.

Most food producers already do that. Beef carcasses undergo hot steam rinses, and microbiological testing goes well beyond what government requires. Market competition protects us better than rule-bound government bureaucrats.

Stossel says most of government could be done away with or privatized.

Man Sues Burger King For Whoppers. (Or Equivalent.)

There are all sorts of abuse in lawsuits these days. There are people who are looking for huge paydays over what are essentially minor issues. The legal system is clogged with such claims which makes getting justice a timely proposition.

Yet there are some lawsuits that we think are humorous as well as pretty creative. This is one of those cases.

Curtis Brooner, is a 50 year old man who likes to eat in a Portland, Oregon Burger King.

…. Brooner said, he frequented Burger King nearly every day because he enjoys the food and it’s just one freeway stop from his work in Troutdale.

Last month after finishing his mean, Brooner used the men’s restroom. However, when he tried to exit the restroom, he found that he could not exit due to a faulty lock or door handle.

Employees slipped a fly swatter under the door and suggested he use it to pry open the lock, the lawsuit says. Brooner allegedly cut his hand attempting that. The lawsuit says he could hear employees on the other side of the door laughing at him.

“The cleanliness of the place was less than desirable,” Brooner tells WW. “Highway bums use it as a changing room. It’s not a pleasant smelling place. Being locked in there for over an hour, you smell like that when you get out.”

Brooner says being trapped triggered his post-traumatic stress disorder, and he sat in the Burger King for another hour, too shaken to drive.

You might be thinking that Brooner is suing over emotional distress, confinement or a myriad of other things.

That’s not the issue.

When States Don’t Abide By Court Decisions.

Carl Malamud is the president and founder of Public.Resource.Org which is a group dedicated to “making government information more accessible.”

The site has lots of resources on where to find state laws, government agency rules, contacts for members of government, etc. It is a great resource and is run as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

As part of the group’s efforts to make information accessible to the public, Malamud posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), which are the laws of the State of Georgia. Malamud would do what the average citizen could not (due to costs): he purchased a copy of the OCGA, scanned it and posted it on Public Resource’s site.

In 2013 the State of Georgia notified Public Resource to take down the OCGA files claiming that the OCGA was copyrighted. Public Resource refused, claiming there was no copyright and even if it did, the issue of “fair use” applied. When Malmud refused to remove the files, Georgia sued.

There were several issues. First, copyrights are there to protect the authors of works. In general, as the laws of a state are the works of the people and elected legislators, the law itself cannot be copyrighted. (Just as a seal or logo of a town cannot be copyrighted.)

Masterpiece Cakeshop Back In The News.

You may remember the case Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission which was decided by the US Supreme Court last year.

The case was about Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado and it’s owner, Jack Phillips. In 2012, a gay couple came into the shop and wanted a specialized cake made for their wedding. Parker, who is a Christian, declined to design and make the cake on religious grounds, mainly that he did not want to be creating something that would be used to promote an idea that was against his religious beliefs.

The two men filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission saying Parker had violated their civil rights. The Commission ruled against Phillips and demanded that he and his staff undergo training on the issue and for the next two years write reports that would be reviewed by the Commission on the cakes he sold.

Phillips appealed the decision and the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court which ruled against the Commission but did not endorse Parker’s assertion that he had the right to deny the artistic creation of a cake if it endorsed a message that was against his religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court noted that at the time, Colorado did not recognize gay marriages.

The second thing the Court noted was that someone named “William Jack” had gone to three different bakeries and asked the bakeries to make a cake with a message that demeaned gay marriages. In each case, the Commission upheld the rights of the bakers not to make the cakes which contained messages with which they disagreed.

The Court also took note of the animus of the members of the Commission towards religion itself. From the Supreme Court opinion:

About That Government Shutdown Thing…..

Tone deaf. Just tone deaf.

(h/t to Common Cents and to the Pirates Cove for linking Common Cents)

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