Norma Kamali, Famed Farrah Fawcett Fashion Designer, Sued By Former Apprentice

the revolt against ” you must work for free in order to get jobs” is in full effect


A lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York’s southern district claims that the famed fashion designer Norma Kamali violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York State labor laws by requiring her apprentice Erica van Rabenswaay to work full time without compensation.


Kamali, a onetime designer for Farrah Fawcett who created the famous red swimsuit worn by the feather-haired beauty in an iconic 1976 poster, “insisted” that van Rabenswaay forgo compensation for three months, according to the lawsuit. After that period, she began compensating van Rabenswaay, only to terminate her employment less than a month later and seek out another apprentice to perform the same tasks, the lawsuit states.

Kamali didn’t return a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed by Maurice Pianko, a New York attorney who specializes in labor disputes, and Jesse Strauss of Strauss Law PLLC, a class action and commercial litigation firm. Pianko is the founder of Intern Justice, a service that files lawsuits on behalf of unpaid interns who believe they are due compensation. While unpaid internships are technically legal, the FLSA states that employers may derive “no immediate advantage” from tasks performed by interns.

The lawsuit against Kamali — which names Kamali as well as her companies Norma Kamali Design Corp., Norma Kamali Inc. and Norma Kamali Wellness LLC — claims that Kamali was the primary beneficiary of van Rabenswaay’s apprenticeship. The suit also claims that van Rabenswaay performed the same tasks as paid employees but was compensated with only a MetroCard to get her to and from work.

“Unpaid internships are exploitive, unethical and illegal,” Pianko said in a statement. “Young people think they are getting a toehold in their chosen profession. In fact, many employers are just looking for free labor. Our wage and hour laws are designed to require a fair wage for a fair day’s work, and that applies to all employees, including interns.”

Church, state and tax receipts

By: John Longhurst


A couple of weeks ago, before the offering was taken at my church, the worship leader invited the congregation to give to help “further the Kingdom of God.”

It’s a sentiment repeated in churches across Canada every week, and other places of worship, too. And every week, people give. But should they get a tax receipt for it?

That’s a question being raised by the Canadian Secular Alliance, a national organization dedicated to promoting church-state separation and the neutrality of government in matters of religion.

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, charities can issue a tax receipt to donors if they are involved in alleviating poverty, promoting education, advancing religion or providing other benefits for the community. Of those four categories, the Alliance wonders why — in our increasingly secular society — religion is still listed as a charitable purpose.

In a 2012 submission to the standing committee on finance, the Alliance called on the government to remove advancing religion as an eligible charitable activity. “We recognize many religious charities perform activities of public benefit like poverty alleviation,” said Alliance president Greg Oliver in a statement on the organization’s website.

“Any organization performing genuine charitable acts should be granted tax incentives for those — but only those — activities.”

Following its submission, the Alliance received a letter from the minister of finance. In it, he stated the Canadian government’s position is that “providing charitable status for the advancement of religion is based on the presumption that religion provides people with a moral and ethical framework for living and plays an important role in building social cohesion.”

Phew! People of faith can breathe easier, knowing they will continue to receive a deduction for donations to religious groups. Or can they?

This issue isn’t going away. As Canada grows more secular, more people will wonder why some should get tax receipts for giving to pay for a pastor’s salary, repairs to the church roof, educating about religion or, especially, for efforts by one group to convert people to their faith.

Then there’s the matter of property taxes; some groups, like the Victoria, B.C. Secular Humanist Association, wonder why places of worship should be exempt.

Only those groups that can “justify these exemptions through their local charitable work,” should benefit from the property tax exemption, the Association states on its website.

Places of worship that only offer “weekly assembly to their memberships” should not be exempt, it states.

For John Pellowe, CEO of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, an umbrella group representing 3,200 faith-based charities, religious groups need to take these challenges seriously.

For decades, it was “assumed that religious groups provide a public benefit,” he says. But that assumption is increasingly being challenged by those who argue “religion has no place in a secular society.”

Today, he says, religious groups need to make a persuasive case for why society benefits from their existence. “They can no longer take it for granted.”

One thing religious groups can point to, Pellowe says, is how religious people serve all of society through their giving.

Pellowe points to a report about giving from Statistics Canada showing people who are more religiously active give more than those who aren’t to all charities — not just to religious groups — and that the just over 16 per cent who attend worship services gave 41 per cent of the total donated to charity in 2010.

Advancing religion produces “engaged and unselfish citizens,” he says, adding that by granting religious groups the ability to give tax receipts, the government “isn’t supporting religion, but the good that religion does.”

In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the key concept of public benefit when it came to charitable activity would be subject to society’s “current social, moral and economic context.” As that context changes, religious groups need to pay attention; as Don Hutchinson of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada noted in a column in Faith Today earlier this year, “the matter of public benefit is now assessed more outside the walls of the church than within. To demonstrate religious bodies provide public benefit will require more than worship services and Sunday schools.”

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2013

Invitations To Join KKK Delivered To Some Colorado Springs-Area Residents


Several Colorado Springs-area residents received an alarming piece of mail on Sunday — invitations to join the Ku Klux Klan.

The Gazette reported that fliers in plastic zipper bags targeting minority racial groups were reported to have been found taped to numerous mail boxes in El Paso County’s Security-Widefield neighborhood. A phone number was also included which when dialed connected to a recorded message advocating for white supremacist views.

According to 7News, one resident said she was concerned what else might be in the bags and contacted the FBI asking that the bags be tested for ricin.

The U.S. Postal Inspector is investigating the mail saying it is a violation of federal law. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will assit in the investigation.

Back in 2012, without releasing any official numbers, the KKK said their membership was “booming” in Colorado, with 12 active white supremacist groups active in the state at the time, according to a report by the Durango Herald.

Herald staff writer Chase Olivarius-McAllister reported that Cole Thornton, Imperial Grand Wizard of Colorado’s United Northern and Southern Knights Ku Klux Klan group, claims that membership has grown steadily in the past few years.

“I’m really pleased with the kind of people we’re getting in – college-educated, professionals, teachers – even a couple congressmen. People would be amazed to know who I’ve talked with at midnight in isolated areas – it’s almost comical,” Thornton said to the Durango Herald.

Also in 2012, the number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high, fanned by President Barack Obama’s reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a recent report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Patriot groups have been classified by the law center as hate organizations because their anti-government sentiment is almost always paired with racism, ranging from fear of everyday crime to a looming race war, said Mark Potok, the law center’s chief hate group and hate crime investigator.

The law center found 1,360 patriot groups in 2012 -– an 813 percent rise since 2008, the year before Obama took office. Of those groups, 321 constitute militias. The law center also found a near-record 1,007 hate groups with animus directed at minorities, gay men, lesbians, and transgender individuals in 2012. That’s a slight decline from the 1,018 groups counted in 2011.

U.K: The Muslim hate preacher and the T-shirt salesman: a bizarre study in double standards

Compare and contrast. A few days ago, one of Britain’s best-loved hate preachers, Anjem Choudary, a man so widely admired that we pay him £25,0000 a year in benefits so he can live in this country, was filmed saying murdered Woolwich soldier Lee Rigby will “burn in hellfire” as a non-Muslim.

Choudary then added, in typically disarming manner, that Adebolajo and Adebowale, the two men charged with Drummer Rigby’s murder, were doing “what they believed to be Islamically correct”, while noting that Michael Adobelajo was “a very nice man”.

Quite properly, the police refused to step in. After all, we have the right to free speech in this country, and Choudary said nothing illegal.

Quizzed on the matter, assistant police commissioner Cressida Dick told MPs: “In the case of somebody like Mr Choudary we are constantly assessing whether any of his proclamations are breaking the criminal law.” Cressida Dick further explained to MPs that the complexity of legislation surrounding the incitement of religious and racial hatred made it difficult to build a case against Choudary.

Now let’s cross the country to Newport, south Wales.

At roughly the same time that Choudary was making his statement, T-shirt seller Matthew Taylor was printing, and displaying, a T-shirt inscribed with the words: “Obey our laws, respect our beliefs, or get out of our country”. As Taylor told reporters, the brutal killing of Drummer Rigby had spurred him into making the shirt, because the shocking attack had “left him upset”. Taylor added: “If you don’t like the way a country is run, and don’t like our beliefs, then go somewhere else, don’t go killing people.”

Understandably, police took a much dimmer view of Taylor’s inflammatory request that, if you are living in Britain, “don’t go killing people”. Following a complaint from the public about the T-shirt, Taylor was cautioned by the cops and threatened with arrest unless he removed the offensive garment with its rabble-rousing slogan. A spokesman for Gwent police confirmed the incident, and said: “We had a call from a member of the public. We visited the shop and asked him to remove the T shirt, as it could be seen to be inciting racial hatred.”

So there you have it, that’s the law on incitement to racial hatred in a nutshell; it’s very easy to understand. Just remember that if you are in London, and you are a known Islamist living on benefits, you cannot be arrested for inciting racial hatred when you say the poor, murdered Woolwich soldier will burn in hell. However, if you are in Wales, and you are a hard-working T-shirt seller, you can be arrested for inciting racial hatred – if you ask people to obey our laws, and stop killing soldiers in Woolwich.

I hope I have cleared up any confusion.


Reacting to reports that the Obama Department of Justice may prosecute those who write and post articles offensive to Muslims, Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has vowed, “We will fight you on this every step of the way. We will drag your dhimmi asses all the way to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it.”