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Comment from thebrackpipe:  Are you kidding me?  Marissa Mayer built a nursery in her office so she could bring her new son to work but she denied the entire rest of the company the ability to work from home!!!  This woman is out of control!

Article below from the Daily Mail:

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer built a nursery in her office so she could bring her baby to work, which has angered some stay-at-home employees following her demand that all remote workers report back to the office.

The former Google Inc. executive took the demanding top job at Yahoo! when she was five months pregnant and stirred up controversy when she took only two weeks of maternity leave after giving birth last fall. 

But at her own expense, Mayer built a nursery adjacent to her office to be closer to her son.

‘I wonder what would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set em up in the cube next door?’ the husband of one remote-working Yahoo employee asked in an interview with AllThingsD‘s Kara Swisher.

Many employees are upset because they don’t have the money or clout to build their own nurseries at work.  And many assume Mayer has a whole team of people, from nannies to cooks and cleaners, helping her raise her son – after all, she does have a $5 million penthouse atop the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco in addition to her $5.2 million 5-bedroom home in Palo Alto. 

But Mayer has demanded that all remote employees report to office facilities by June 1.

‘Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,’ read the memo to employees announcing the change. ‘We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.’

The move will only impact a small percentage of the company’s workforce, primarily customer service representatives or staffers who work in cities where Yahoo does not have an office.

The order is described as harsh since it requires employees to ‘either comply without exception or presumably quit.’

‘Many such staffers who wrote me today are angry, because they felt they were initially hired with the assumption that they could work more flexibly.  Not so, as it turns out,’ Swisher wrote in a blog posting about the change expected to impact several hundred workers.

Yahoo! declined to comment for this story, saying it won’t discuss personnel matters.

One Yahoo! employee said she worries that Mayer’s actions could set a damaging standard for working mothers across all industries.

‘When a working mother is standing behind this, you know we are a long way from a culture that will honor the thankless sacrifices that women too often make,’ a Yahoo! staffer told Swisher.

Some former Yahoo! employees agree with Mayer’s new policy, however, arguing that some stay-at-home workers were trying to ‘milk’ the system.

‘I agree with what she did,’ a former online editor at Yahoo! told Huffington Post on the condition of anonymity.  ‘Many workers were milking the company… There was a ton of flexibility, and I remember several times going to ask my manager a question — and he was nowhere to be found.’

Another former Yahoo! employee recalled a similar situation at the Internet company in an interview with Business Insider.

‘For what it’s worth, I support the “no working from home” rule,’ a former online engineer told the news site.  ‘There’s a ton of abuse of that at Yahoo…  people slacking off like crazy, not being available, spending a lot of time on non-Yahoo projects.’

The company headquarters is located in Sunnyvale, California, near San Jose.  The public corporation employs 11,500 people in more than 20 countries across the globe.

The 37-year-old Silicon Valley whiz kid was appointed the head of Yahoo in July 2012.

She was brought to the internet giant to re-energize the tech company founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1995.

Though Yahoo!, which stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle, is one of the most visited websites on the Internet, it had started to lose its way as a company before she was brought on the team.

The upbeat blonde was seen as a breath of fresh air and morale booster.

She instituted free lunches at the company headquarters and started giving out smartphones to employees.

‘I want Yahoo to be the absolute best place to work, to have a fantastic culture.  We’re working really hard right now to remind people about all the opportunities that are there,’ she said shortly after she was hired at a Fortune magazine event in November.

With all the hype over her hiring, it came as a bit of a shock when she revealed that she was pregnant the day she was appointed head of Yahoo.

Much in the vein of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Mayer has unabashedly said that her job is not her number one priority in life.

She boldly revealed that her most significant concerns were ‘God, family, and Yahoo! – in that order.’

Given that she has stated she personally prioritizes her faith and family before her job, some see it as hypocritical that she has pulled the plug on flexible working arrangements which provides work-life balance for many.

Tech companies are noted for offering creative work arrangements and were pioneers in offering the option for staff to check in remotely.

Richard Branson, head of Virgin Group, said the move by Yahoo! undermined the trust that staff would get their work done wherever, without supervision, as working is no longer 9-5.

‘This seems a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever,’ Branson wrote in a blog on the Virgin website.

‘If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.’

Britain’s BT Group, one of the first UK companies to adopt teleworking, said about 69,000 of its 89,000 staff were equipped to work flexibly of which about 9,400 are home workers.

The company said this led to benefits like accommodation savings, increased productivity and reduced sick absence, adding 99 per cent of women returned to BT after maternity leave.

‘Our flexible working policies can also achieve a better balance between work and family commitments, which can be especially important for those with young families or caring responsibilities,’ a BT spokesman said.

Now some wonder if Yahoo! has learned a lesson and that the work from home option was too good to be true.

It remains to be seen if other tech firms will similarly yank the flexible work arrangement, which may leave many employees in the lurch who have grown accustomed to that lifestyle.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284828/Yahoo-boss-Marissa-Mayer-angers-employees-building-nursery-baby-office.html#ixzz2N42gNbwW
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Comment from thebrackpipe:  Taking a two week maternity leave?  Seriously?  Hey Marissa, that’s a great example for a CEO to set – sacrifice everything or be fired.  Well, it’s really too bad for Macallister (Marissa’s baby), as he will certainly end up in counseling for most of his adult life.

Article below by Lisa Belkin of the Huffington Post:

What others see as the future of the workplace, and what parents see as a most important tool for juggling home and work, Marissa Mayer apparently sees as disposable.

The CEO of Yahoo!, who made news when she took the position last summer while five months pregnant, announced through the company’s human resources arm yesterday that employees will no longer be permitted to work remotely.

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” says the memo from HR director Jackie Reses, and reprinted by Kara Swisher on allthingsd.com last night.  “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

No. It doesn’t.

It did 40 years ago, when work and home were separate realms and workers had the luxury of taking care of one at a time.  More accurately, men had the ability to take care of work because they knew that women had it covered at home.

It did 20 years ago, when the tools of work were all in the office — all the files and paperwork; the office phone, with the office number, and the cord that didn’t reach beyond the cubicle wall.

It did before there were studies showing that flexibility improves worker productivity, and morale andhealth.

I had hope for Marissa Mayer.  I’d thought that while she was breaking some barriers — becoming the youngest woman CEO ever lead a Fortune 500 company, and certainly the first to do it while pregnant — she might take on the challenge of breaking a number of others.   That she’d use her platform and her power to make Yahoo! an example of a modern family-friendly workplace.  That she would embrace the thinking that new tools and technology deserve an equally new approach to where and how employees are allowed to work.

Instead she began by announcing that she would take just a two week maternity leave, which might have been all she needed, but which sent the message that this kind of macho-never-slowed-down-by-the-pesky-realities-of-life-outside-the-office was expected of everyone.

And now there’s this.  Rather than championing a blending of life and work , she is calling for an enforced and antiquated division.  She is telling workers — many of whom were hired with the assurance that they could work remotely — that they’d best get their bottoms into their office chairs, or else.

Yes, there are some jobs that can not be done remotely.  But a case by case approach, identifying not only which positions CAN be flexible, but also having managers work with employees on a clear plan of what’s expected from those positions, makes far more sense than a blanket ban.  Instead, Yahoo! is cracking down not only on those who work from home full-time, or those who need flexibility because they are parents; everyone is being warned that their lives don’t matter.

“For the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy,” Reses writes, “please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. “I’d argue that it’s Mayer and Yahoo! who need to use their best judgment, and, in the spirit of collaboration should come to exactly the opposite conclusion.  Putting employees back into a box is not good for Yahoo!.  It is not good for workers.  And it is very bad business.

Comment from thebrackpipe.com:  Joe Biden is a true American idiot.  

Article below by Karen Workman of Digital First Media:

Vice President Joe Biden is leading White House’s task force to reduce gun violence, so it’s not surprising that video of him advising people to “buy a shotgun” is drawing a lot of attention.

Biden, in a live town hall with Parents Magazine on Tuesday, ends one of his answers with the simple advice: “Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.”

Biden was responding to a question from a reader named Kate about whether law abiding citizens would be a greater target for criminals if certain weapons and high capacity magazines are banned.

“Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells, a 12- gauge shotgun,” Biden responds.

He also talks about how he’s advised his wife to “fire two blasts” with the shotgun on their home’s balcony if she ever suspects trouble.

“You don’t need an AR-15,” Biden says. “It’s harder to aim. It’s harder to use. And, in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself.”

Biden was being interviewed by Michael Kress, the executive editor of Parents.com

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The town hall was hosted on the magazine’s Facebook page and the full replay is available from the White House.

Comment from the brackpipe.com:  “The rigging [of the LIBOR rate] continued even after traders learned that Libor submissions were being probed.”  And RBS gets to keep its banking license?  

From the Globe and Mail:

Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland will pay U.S. and British authorities $615-million (U.S.) and plead guilty to wire fraud in Japan to settle allegations it manipulated global benchmark interest rates.

“The RBS board acknowledges that there were serious shortcomings in our systems and controls and also in the integrity of a small group of our employees,” chairman Philip Hampton said on Wednesday.

“This is a sad day for RBS, but also an important one in continuing to put right the mistakes of the past.”

More than a dozen traders at RBS offices in London, Singapore and Tokyo manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor), which is used to price trillions of dollars worth of loans, from at least 2006 until 2010.

The rigging continued even after traders learned that Libor submissions were being probed.

In a bid to avoid a political firestorm, the part state-owned bank will cut into its staff bonuses to pay the fines, the second-largest so far in an international investigation that has already implicated Switzerland’s UBS and Britain’s Barclays.

Some £87.5-million ($137.1-million U.S.) will be paid to Britain’s Financial Services Authority, $150-million to the U.S. Department of Justice and $325-million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Like UBS, RBS did not have to admit criminal liability in the United States, meaning it can retain its banking licence there and avoid a fire sale of its U.S. business Citizens.

The bank said John Hourican, head of RBS’s investment bank, had agreed to leave following the misconduct of staff in that business. Hourican had no involvement in or knowledge of the misconduct, RBS said.

Critics say the scandal over manipulation of Libor shows banks’ riskier activities should be separated from basic lending functions.

UBS agreed in December to pay fines of $1.5-billion to regulators in the United States, Britain and Switzerland over Libor rigging. Its unit in Japan, where much of the wrongdoing occurred, pleaded guilty to criminal fraud. U.S. prosecutors also filed criminal conspiracy charges against two former UBS traders allegedly at the heart of the scheme.

Barclays got a non-prosecution agreement and paid $453-million in penalties. Barclays’ three most senior executives, including then chief executive Bob Diamond, were also forced to leave the bank in the wake of the Libor debacle.

Comment from thebrackpipe.com:  So, Mr. Blankfein wrote in a November op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that tax increases are a necessary part of U.S. fiscal reform.  He wrote, “I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate, but only if they are joined by serious cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements.”  I think what he meant to write was, “Tax increases are necessary but there is no way that I’m giving up MY cash.”

Article below by Liz Moyer, Steven Russolillo and Patrick McGee of the Wall Street Journal:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. handed insiders including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and his top lieutenants a total of $65 million in restricted stock just hours before this year’s higher tax rates took effect.

The New York securities firm gave 10 of its directors and executives early vesting on 508,104 shares previously awarded as part of prior years’ compensation, according to a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday.

Almost half the shares were withheld to satisfy the insiders’ tax obligations, according to the filings.

Such vesting of previously granted restricted shares typically takes place in January, when Goldman also pays out bonuses for the prior year.

The early awards weren’t limited to the top officers, a Goldman spokesman said. He declined to say how many people at Goldman received the early vesting or to elaborate on the timing of the move.

Goldman’s decision is the latest illustration of the lengths large U.S. companies have gone to shield their stakeholders from the higher taxes that loomed throughout the so-called fiscal cliff standoff at the end of 2012. Congress on early Tuesday morning passed legislation that includes the largest tax increases in the past two decades.

Goldman’s move could shield its executives from increased tax rates, which will rise as high as 39.6% in 2013 from 35% last year.

Mr. Blankfein wrote in a November op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that tax increases are a necessary part of U.S. fiscal reform.

“I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate, but only if they are joined by serious cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements,” he wrote.

Goldman isn’t the only U.S. company taking action in response to the higher taxes. Corporations announced more special dividends last month than in any other December since at least 1955.

Borrowing by blue-chip U.S. companies more than tripled from a year earlier in the final two months of 2012 to finance these payouts.

Warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale Corp., casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS +0.06% and department store chain Dillard’s Inc. are among the large U.S. companies announcing accelerated or special dividends in late 2012.

The tax on dividends, about 15% in 2012 thanks to cuts that took place under President George W. Bush, will rise to as high as 20% in 2013.

At Goldman, Mr. Blankfein, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn and Chief Financial Officer David Viniar each received total vesting of 66,065 shares worth $8.4 million.

Mr. Blankfein received 2011 compensation valued at $16.2 million and Messrs. Cohn and Viniar each received $15.8 million, according to regulatory filings.

John Weinberg and Michael Evans, vice chairmen, each also received a total of 66,065 shares, according to Goldman’s disclosures this week.

Others whose restricted shares were vested on Monday included John Rogers, an executive vice president and chief of staff; Edith Cooper, executive vice president and global head of human capital management; Alan Cohen, executive vice president and global head of compliance; Gregory Palm, executive vice president and general counsel; and Sarah Smith, principal accounting officer.

Two other members of Goldman’s executive committee, Michael Sherwood and Mark Schwartz, didn’t have any shares vest on Dec. 31. Mr. Sherwo

The vesting comes at the end of a year in which Goldman shares rallied more than 40% amid reduced investor fear over the European debt crisis and a general improvement in the company’s business.

Some 483 companies announced special dividends in December, compared with 142 in the same month a year ago, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

All told, 1,056 special dividends were announced in 2012, Mr. Silverblatt said. That is up from 460 a year earlier and the most since 1973, according to Mr. Silverblatt. In the last two months of 2012, blue-chip U.S. nonfinancial companies sold $178 billion of bonds. That compares with $60.6 billion a year earlier, according to data tracker Dealogic.

Mr. Blankfein and other corporate chiefs had pushed Washington lawmakers to find a solution that would prevent a consumer spending slowdown that threatened to send the economy back into recession.

In a series of postings Wednesday on Twitter, Mr. Blankfein praised Congress’s action. “This agreement is a step forward to injecting growth and investor confidence into the U.S. economy.”

Article by Victor David Hansen, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute

“Limousine liberal” is an old American term used against those who inherited lots of money and then became “traitors to their class” by embracing populist politics.

The Roosevelts and Kennedys enjoyed the high life quite apart from the multitude that they championed. And they were exempt, by virtue of their inherited riches and armies of accountants and attorneys, from the higher taxes they advocated for others. Few worried about how their original fortunes were made long ago, or that as lifelong government officials they had their needs met by the state. Most were relieved instead that as very rich people they wanted less rich people to pay their fair share to help the poor.

But the new liberal aristocracy is far less discreet than the old. Most are self-made multimillionaires who acquired their money through government service, finance, law, investment, or marriage. If the old-money liberals lived it up tastefully within their walled family compounds, the new liberal aristocrats are unashamed about living openly in a manner quite at odds with their professed populist ideology.

Take former vice president Al Gore. He has made a fortune of nearly a billion dollars warning against global warming — supposedly shrinking glaciers, declining polar-bear populations, and the like — while simultaneously offering timely remedies from his own green corporations, all reminiscent of the methodology of Roman millionaire Marcus Licinius Crassus, who profited from fires and putting them out. Now Nobel laureate Gore has sold his interest in a failing cable-television station for about $100 million — and to the anti-American Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the fossil-fuel-rich royal family of Qatar. Gore rushed to close the deal before the first of the year to avoid the very capital-gains tax hikes that he has advocated for others less well off. That’s a liberal trifecta: enhancing a fossil-fuel consortium, attempting to beat tax hikes, and empowering an anti-American and anti-Semitic media conglomerate run by an authoritarian despot — all from a former vice president of the United States who crusades for ending our reliance on fossil fuels and for raising taxes on the wealthy.

Class warrior Barack Obama spent his winter break in a ritzy rental on a Hawaiian beach. It cost the taxpayers $7 (or is it $20?) million to jet him and his entourage 6,000 miles for their tropical vacation. But whether the first family escapes to Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard or Costa del Sol, the image of a 1 percent lifestyle seems a bit at odds with the president’s professed disdain for “millionaires and billionaires,” “fat cats,” and “corporate-jet owners” who supposedly can afford such tony retreats only because they have done something suspect. The media used to ridicule grandees like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush for wearing cowboy hats and wasting precious presidential time chopping wood or chain-sawing dry underbrush on their respective overgrown ranches. But for liberal class warriors, golfing and body surfing in the tropical Pacific while staying at a zillionaire’s estate become needed downtime to prepare for the looming battle against 1 percenters. One wonders about the conversation between the Obamas and their landlord. “We will stay here, but only on the condition that you remember that you didn’t build it”?

Multibillionaire Warren Buffett is a tireless advocate of hiking inheritance taxes on small businesses and farms. But he has pledged much of his wealth to the Gates Foundation, a ploy that will cost the federal Treasury billions of dollars in lost revenue. Meanwhile, if inheritance taxes go up, millions of terrified Americans will double up on their life-insurance policies — an industry central to the multibillion-dollar Buffett empire. It never seems to occur to the liberal-minded Buffett that there is something tawdry about advocating a policy that he not only seeks mostly to avoid, but will even profit from.

So tax avoidance is another characteristic of the new aristocracy — ask Jeffrey Immelt, the General Electric CEO and Obama point man on jobs and growth, who endorses the Obama agenda even as he managed to skip taxes altogether on his company’s 2010 profits. What should Immelt say? “Taxes are for the little people whom we try to help”?

Senator John Kerry, who will soon become secretary of state, is a tireless advocate of higher taxes while enjoying his multimillionaire wife’s multiple estates. In 2010, Massachusetts resident Kerry docked his new $7 million yacht in nearby Rhode Island in order to avoid paying about $500,000 in taxes to his home state. Should not Kerry have welcomed the chance to chip in half a million to an insolvent treasury, given his advocacy for higher taxes? Could Kerry not have purchased a smaller yacht for $4 million in order to budget for the necessary taxes? Gore, Obama, and Kerry, after all, tirelessly boast that the taxes they advocate would fall mostly on people like themselves — omitting the fact that, as we see from Kerry’s boat deal, Gore’s TV deal, and Obama’s adjacent-lot deal with Tony Rezko, politicians not only mostly live on the public dole without the expenses that the rest of us incur, but also have miraculous ways of avoiding the sort of taxes they harangue others about.

During the 2008 financial meltdown, Goldman Sachs was a recipient of federal cash bailouts. Recently its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, wrote an op-ed in which he said, “I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate.” Why, then, would Goldman Sachs rush to pay out $65 million in restricted stock bonuses to its own corporate elite in time to beat the new higher tax rates that began on January 1, 2013? Isn’t that inappropriate? What would have happened had Blankfein timed his op-ed for publication in early 2013 rather than November 2012, and also added “– and that’s why I am not rushing Goldman Sachs stock payouts just to lessen the tax burden on our wealthiest at a time of national insolvency.”

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, who nominally oversees the IRS, did not just not pay his own taxes while advocating higher taxes on others, but found incredible ways not to pay what was due — avoiding payroll taxes, improperly deducting his children’s camp costs, and taking improper charitable deductions, improper retirement-plan withdrawals, improper small-business deductions, and so on. The question in Geithner’s case was not whether he had avoided taxes, but whether there was any category of taxes that he had not avoided. Perhaps the creativity by which Geithner avoided his own taxes was seen as an asset in finding new ways to catch other tax-avoiders.

What explains the hypocrisy of the new liberal aristocracy?

The medieval concept of offsetting your sins through public penance is back in play: The more loudly you talk about helping the proverbial people, the more you are allowed to live quite apart from them without guilt. Do not expect a garbage collector, in the fashion of the anti–Mitt Romney ad, to make a video complaining that the Obamas never ventured outside their coastal compound to compliment him on his work or just to chitchat. Al Gore’s lamentations for the polar bear allows him to try to finagle a $9 million tax savings. The money for Media Matters apparently offsets the fact that the speculations of a conniving George Soros once almost bankrupted the British small depositor and earned him an insider-trading conviction in France. Each speech blasting the uncaring Bush tax cuts translates into a hundred thousand less in taxes to be paid on your yacht.

To be cool is now not just to be rich, but to appear caring. Hollywood still seeks hundreds of millions in tax breaks unavailable to small businesses without shame because it is so manifestly compassionate. Occupy Wall Street does not camp out in Beverly Hills or Malibu, although the likes of Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio make more per year than do most Wall Street fat cats. The public wonders why Hollywood is so liberal — is it the Bohemian culture surrounding the arts? The natural creative temperament of actors? The Lotus-land surf and sun of the southern-California beach milieu? Perhaps. But penance plays a role as well. For the overpaid and pampered Hollywood movie star, calling for raising taxes, banning guns, ending global warming, and legalizing gay marriage means never having to feel too bad about living on the beach and making, under our capitalist system, more money in a month than do many Americans in a lifetime.

The growing size and clout of government, and its intrusion into globalized finance, also play a role. Former Obama OMB director and liberal Peter Orszag went on to a multimillion-dollar gig at Citigroup. He now writes warnings about the uncontrollable debt that he helped accumulate; would that he would sermonize about the incestuous revolving door that Obama pledged to end. Did he learn anything from Franklin Raines, James Johnson, and Jamie Gorelick, who occupied top spots at Fannie Mae in the Carter and Clinton administrations and who all walked away with millions while the federal mortgage-insurance corporation went insolvent? The problem is not just that none of the three did anything to ensure Fannie Mae’s viability, or at least to justify the millions that they took out, but also that none of them had a reputable record of banking expertise to justify their being hired in the first place. In short, there is just too much big money — and temptation — for even the most liberal class warrior not to cash in on his ample government contacts and influence.

All these paradoxes pose existential questions: Are the elite architects of high taxes and big government the self-interested and conniving who found the path to the good life through cynically embracing such ideas (ask Franklin Raines or Al Gore), or were they so rich to begin with as to be unaffected by the ramifications of their ideology — or both?