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Monthly Archives: March 2012

READ FULL ARTICLE AT WSJ.COM

“The first outside audit of Apple’s supply chain found excessive working hours and health and safety issues at its largest manufacturer, piling more pressure on the technology giant to end workers’ rights violations in China.

The investigation of manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, which is known as Foxconn, was conducted by the Fair Labor Association, a group Apple joined in January. It was based, in part, on surveys of 35,500 workers building products like iPods and iPhones at three Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu.”

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Justices in the Supreme Court’s conservative majority said Wednesday it would be difficult to figure out which parts of the Obama health-care law should survive if one part of it is judged unconstitutional.

In an afternoon session Wednesday, the justices also were unexpectedly receptive to the challengers’ argument that the law’s expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor unconstitutionally coerces states to spend more on the program.

With six hours of argument complete, it was clear that the justices gave the government a hard time on multiple fronts, leaving the fate of President Barack Obama’s legislation unclear. The court’s decision is expected by the end of June.

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Check out Matt Taibbi on Current TV’s The Young Turks last night. The topic: Matt’s recent Rolling Stone article about too-crooked-to-fail Bank of America. “It’s no different than here on the streets of New York where you see people selling fake Prada bags or phony blue jeans. What they were doing is selling phony mortgages… It was a giant fraud scheme. The fraud on Wall Street — they think it’s some kind of abstraction, it’s bankers ripping off other bankers, it’s some kind of insider-trading scheme where it’s a victimless crime. That’s not true — it’s bankers ripping off old people and retirees.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/taibbi-talks-bank-of-america-on-current-tv-20120323#ixzz1qF6hxObw

FULL ARTICLE HERE

“There is no technical substitute for common sense. And clever men can always use words to overpower men not as clever to show anything they want. Cleverness should serve principle, not vice versa…

Demonstrations are taking place nationwide to drive home to the American people, and hopefully to the nine Supreme Court justices, that Obamacare, passed in 2010 through procedural gymnastics, and without a single Republican vote, blatantly violates our core principles of human liberty.

One wave of protest in which I am taking part, giving a keynote address in Washington, DC, focuses on the violation of religious liberty by application of the employer mandate to provide “free” contraceptives, sterilization and abortion pills as part of health insurance.

Specifically, how can anyone who cares about fidelity to the principles of our Declaration of Independence fathom an America in which government forces religious institutions to violate their religious convictions or pay a fine?

An America in which Catholic organizations, or any religious organizations, are forced to finance the very behavior that their religion prohibits is a different America than originally founded and that the Constitution was written to preserve and secure.

No clear, honest reasoning can conclude that among the rights with which we are endowed by our Creator is a right to use government to force third parties to pay for the contraceptives of others. Particularly if this violates the religious convictions of that third party.” – Star Parker

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“I got an opportunity to watch the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman,’ and it confirmed much of  what I have been saying. Teachers are a national treasure. Teachers’ unions are the new empire of evil. Whoa! That’s harsh. Yes, but not nearly as harsh as flushing thousands of uneducated children into the streets to fend for themselves, when we should be educating them for our future.

The reason I chose the word ‘evil’ is the patent dishonesty the teachers’ unions use to advance their agenda. The steelworkers’ union doesn’t talk about looking out for the steel; they say they are looking out for their members. The United Auto Workers union doesn’t talk about looking out for the cars, they say they are looking out for their members. The Teamsters union doesn’t talk about looking out for the trucks they drive; they say they are looking out for their members. But listen to any pitch from the National Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers and they are always ‘fighting for the children.’ What utter twaddle. If that is true they should all be horsewhipped for the awful job they are doing. Who are they fighting with? The parents? The taxpayers?  It is a bald faced lie. They are fighting for the teachers and the children be damned.” – Bill O’Connell.

Liliana Z. commented:  When I taught in a rough school, I was really glad to have a teacher’s union. I don’t agree with them all the time, but teachers definitely need representation when dealing with hostile parents, students, or administrators. It happens, trust me. It’s not as simple as great teachers= great students. There are many variables. How do you measure who is a great teacher and who isn’t? Student test scores? Not valid for many reasons. In my own experience, I went from being a “great” teacher (I taught kids who were at grade level and could actually read) to being a “terrible” teacher my second year (I taught remedial kids with all kinds of behavioral and learning issues). Trust me, teachers want to teach. Our greatest obstacles are lack of support from home and the attitudes of the students themselves, many of whom are thwarted by unimaginable obstacles. I taught a 13-year-old mother, a girl who lived in a homeless shelter, a kid who lived in a garage with his whole family, and countless wannabe or actual gang members. Don’t tell me that’s all the fault of teachers or unions.

Here’s the other side. It contains more facts than I can offer from my own experiences – http://fairtest.org/real-facts-about-waiting-superman

This is just sad.  I can’t believe that Google is stooping to these lows.  I have deleted all copies of Chrome from my machines and will probably start to phase out my gmail address.  If Google is spying on people through third party browsers, just imagine what they are doing with their own software.

“Regulators in the U.S. and European Union are investigating Google for  bypassing the privacy settings of millions of users of Apple’s Safari Web browser. Google stopped the practice last month after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.

The investigations—which span U.S. federal and state agencies, as well as a pan-European effort led by France—could embroil Google in years of legal battles and result in hefty fines for privacy violations. The Journal in February reported that Google was using special computer code to install tiny tracking files, or ‘cookies,’ on some people’s computers, iPhones and iPads, even if the devices were set to block this kind of tracking.” – WSJ

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“I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for…

I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.”

Greg Smith (former executive director at Goldman Sachs)

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