Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 9, 2006

Worker complain they are unpaid; State orders them fired

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:50 pm

Yes, you heard right. Some employees complained they hadn’t been paid for a couple of months, so they State of California ordered their employer not to have employees anymore:

MARCH 9–Citing Michael Jackson’s failure to cover his employees with required insurance, California state labor officials today effectively closed the singer’s Neverland Ranch and fined him $69,000, The Smoking Gun has learned. Investigators with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement arrived at the sprawling Los Olivos estate this morning and served the below work stoppage order on a security guard. Additionally, in a March 7 letter, the state apprised Jackson that more than 30 workers have filed unpaid wage claims against him and that he owes those employees more than $300,000, as well as penalties in excess of $100,000. The state’s demand letter contends that Jackson has been welshing on his employees since last December. Today’s state “stop order” bars Jackson from “using any employee labor” until he secures required workers’ compensation insurance and warns that if Jackson fails to abide by the enforced work stoppage he could be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. In addition to being fined $1000 apiece for 69 workers, Jackson is also liable for up to 10 days pay for those employees who now are no longer allowed to report to Neverland for work.

Oh yes, and since the employer is out of money to pay the workers, the state assesses a fine, to make him less able to pay them. I’d have to ask a bankruptcy lawyer, but I’ll bet the state’s fine takes precedence over the worker’s pay if this ends up in court.

Now I’m not saying those workers should keep working for free — but shouldn’t they be able to figure that out for themselves, without the state ordering them to be fired?

Water on a Moon of Saturn?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:09 pm

Matt Drudge is reporting that NASA is about to announce that the Cassini spacecraft has found evidence of (probably) liquid water on a moon of Saturn:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon.

“We realize that this is a radical conclusion – that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. “However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms.”

High-resolution Cassini images show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting huge quantities of particles at high speed. Scientists examined several models to explain the process. They ruled out the idea the particles are produced or blown off the moon’s surface by vapor created when warm water ice converts to a gas. Instead, scientists have found evidence for a much more exciting possibility. The jets might be erupting from near-surface pockets of liquid water above 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), like cold versions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone.

“We previously knew of at most three places where active volcanism exists: Jupiter’s moon Io, Earth, and possibly Neptune’s moon Triton. Cassini changed all that, making Enceladus the latest member of this very exclusive club, and one of the most exciting places in the solar system,” said John Spencer, Cassini scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder.

“Other moons in the solar system have liquid-water oceans covered by kilometers of icy crust,” said Andrew Ingersoll, imaging team member and atmospheric scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. “What’s different here is that pockets of liquid water may be no more than tens of meters below the surface.”

Drudge says this is set for release at about 2:00 pm eastern time — about two hours from now.

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