My 2¢: Convicts Voting?

Townhall’s have to be the toughest forum to do on a campaign. The questions are hard to predict. Bernie Sanders, whom I once liked a lot, was asked about allowing prisoners — even the Boston Bomber — voting while in prison. Bernie was fine with that. He asserted that every citizen should vote, even those serving time.

Imagine a small town with a penitentiary, inmates may outnumber citizens of voting age. If convicts can vote for local elections, then mayoral and congressional candidates would have to please the prisoners to get into office. Should prisoners elect our judges and States’ Attorney Generals?

Kamala Harris first said this was a conversation worth having. She’s since pulled away from this position.

AOC’s campaign director agrees with Bernie because he thinks people most impacted by the criminal justice system should be able to vote. Hmm. They can vote, if they’re old enough, before they’re convicted they can vote and impact the government.

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At the Hospital

I just heard this from a friend at my book club. I was stunned.

He went to a local hospital for a blood test. Before the test, he had to sign a form. Rather than sign on the electronic device with a stylus, he asked to sign a paper version. When he read the form, he noticed that it said that by signing the form he gave up his right to sue the hospital, healthcare personnel or to join a class action suit.

He crossed out that wording, even though he doubted he’d sue. The woman at the desk said he couldn’t do that. After he disputed her, she told him that if he amended the form, the hospital would not submit his claim to his insurance company. He’d have to pay for the test himself.

He asked to see a manager. When he did the manager admitted that the hospital couldn’t refuse to submit a claim for the blood test to insurance, but that he just instructed his staff to tell people that. Thus the manager was telling his staff to lie to patients to compel people to give up their rights.

If you encounter such a requirement, know that you’re probably being hoodwinked.

My friend is planning to contact the nearest city newspaper. I hope people learn that they’re being lied to. Another woman at the book club shared that she went to a new doctor and was given a similar form and was told that if she didn’t sign a paper waiving her legal right to sue, the doctor wouldn’t see her.

I understand that doctors worry about law suits, baseless and not, but that’s been the case for decades and they do have insurance for malpractice. Yes, that can be expensive depending on the doctor’s speciality and other factors, but it’s part of doing business.

I just spoke with my brother, who’s a lawyer about this. He says these “I won’t sue” clauses aren’t enforceable. You can sue. Still this practice is deceptive.

I’d refuse to waive any rights.

Job Hunting

I shake my head whenever I think about this. I never thought this new job offer would become so confusing and annoying.  I haven’t even been up to writing about it, though I’ve mentioned it ad nauseum to my friends. Now I’ve been approved to keep my current job so all’s well. It didn’t look good 10 days ago though.  Here’s a run down.

As I said when I got the offer, I asked about housing and was told it was available for all teachers recruited from abroad. That’s why I accepted the job.

Then the new teachers got an email about 60 days of temporary housing. What? That’s not what I wanted, considering Macau’s the 5th most expensive city in Asia. I wrote to the director explaining how important housing was to me.

A week later all the new teachers got a long email and one of the items was housing. We were told that all new hires would get housing and that anyone who wanted housing had to apply for it. Is this too good to be true all of a sudden? We’ve gone from 60 days of temporary housing and the possibility of campus housing in January to immediate campus housing.  That’s good.

Well, by Monday, the relief had worn off and I was back to doubting. According to a PowerPoint on how to apply for housing, everyone must apply for housing. Housing would be allocated according to job title, family size, and a few other criteria. Distinguished Professors get 75 points, Professors, 60, Associate Professors 50,  Assistant Professors 40 and lowly Senior Lecturers and Secretaries 20.

Twenty?! Talk about insulting.  Now I would get 10 points for getting recruited from overseas, but I am single so unless I get a live in maid, which would net me 10 more points, I don’t qualify for the additional points for a spouse or children. Since I’m new I can’t claim credit for years of service.

The contract arrived on Monday. After marveling at the Portuguese, I got an English translation. The contract states that it supersedes all other communication between the employer and employee. Seems the email promising housing would count for nothing. Also, once you sign the contract, you have to give three months notice before quitting. So if someone signs it today and finds out July 15th, she doesn’t have housing, she either works for at least a semester or pays three months wages to the school. I’m not sure how they’d collect, but that’s what is stated.

Another interesting document came with the contract. It was a booklet explaining what income and assets teachers, as government employees have to declare. Macau wants to end corruption, which is admirable. They require people working in Macau to declare property, income, investments, jewelry, boats, and airplanes owned – whether they’re in Macau or elsewhere. Employees must declare such assets with a value over 500 points. I couldn’t figure out what a point is worth, but it was interesting that they insist on this. How would they check the veracity of foreign employees’ declarations?

Not my problem as I’ll be back in Jinan, but it’s interesting.

That 20-point scheme for English teachers is just galling. I bet it indicates how we’re treated across the board.