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EL34x4's Journal
EL34x4's Journal
September 4, 2017

To understand rising inequality, consider the janitors at Kodak and Apple, then and now


"ROCHESTER — Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end."

Evans, a janitor at Kodak was a Kodak employee and received all the benefits accorded to Kodak employees. Ramos, a janitor at Apple is not an Apple employee and receives no Apple benefits. Evans was able to move up though Kodak, eventually becoming chief technology officer of the whole company. Ramos can only hope to achieve the position of Team Leader, supervising other janitors for $0.50/hr more.
July 25, 2017

Richard Dawkins event cancelled over his 'abusive speech against Islam' (Berkeley, CA)

From the article:


Richard Dawkins has denied using “abusive speech against Islam” after a California radio station cancelled a book event with the scientist, citing his comments on Islam, which it said had “offended and hurt … so many people”.

Dawkins, whose bestselling study of evolution, The Selfish Gene, was named the most influential science book of all time by the Royal Society last week, was lined up to speak about his memoir A Brief Candle in the Dark at an event hosted by Berkeley’s KPFA Radio in August.


Dawkins said that he had “never used abusive speech against Islam”, adding that while he has called Islamism “vile”, Islamism is not the same as Islam.

“I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief. Far from attacking Muslims, I understand – as perhaps you do not – that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women,” wrote the author in his response. “I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?”

He called on the radio station to find examples of abuse, and said that when it “fail[ed] to discover any”, he would expect a public apology.

Dawkins has been a staunch critic of all religion but is being censored here only for his criticism of Islam? This is what is appears.
June 14, 2017

America's new tobacco crisis: The rich stopped smoking, the poor did not.


"MARTINSVILLE, VA. — After decades of lawsuits, public campaigns and painful struggles, Americans have finally done what once seemed impossible: Most of the country has quit smoking, saving millions of lives and leading to massive reductions in cancer.

That is, unless those Americans are poor, uneducated or live in a rural area.

Hidden among the steady declines in recent years is the stark reality that cigarettes are becoming a habit of the poor. The national smoking rate has fallen to historic lows, with just 15?percent of adults still smoking. But the socioeconomic gap has never been bigger.

Among the nation’s less-educated people — those with a high-school-equivalency diploma — the smoking rate remains more than 40?percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, rural residents are diagnosed with lung cancer at rates 18 to 20 percent above those of city dwellers. By nearly every statistical measure, researchers say, America’s lower class now smokes more and dies more from cigarettes than other Americans."


Cigarette smoking (and associated tobacco taxes) is in America today, a habit shouldered almost exclusively by the poor.
April 24, 2017

BART takeover robbery: 40 to 60 teens swarm train, rob weekend riders

Source: SF Gate

A recent string of robberies on BART trains took a frightening turn when dozens of juveniles swarmed an Oakland station over the weekend and commandeered a train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries, witnesses told the transit agency.

The incident — the first of its kind in recent memory — occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Coliseum Station.

According to a police officials, witnesses said 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

The juveniles “committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones,” said a police summary prepared after the incident. “At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/BART-takeover-robbery-50-to-60-teens-swarm-11094745.php%20-?cmpid=nl_top

BART officials are withholding all video footage of the event because the perpetrators appear to be minors.
April 16, 2017

Manhunt in Cleveland After Killing Broadcast on Facebook Live

Source: NBC

Cleveland police were searching Sunday for a man who they said killed a person live on Facebook and bragged about having committed many other homicides.

The suspect, identified as Steve Stephens, is considered armed and dangerous, police said after the homicide in northeast Cleveland near the Lake Erie shore. The FBI was providing assistance, a spokeswoman told NBC News.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/manhunt-cleveland-after-killing-broadcast-facebook-live-n747166

The Facebook video that was pulled is posted over at heavy.com. I won't provide a link. I'm sure people can find it if they want. Caution, it is very graphic, pretty much exactly how you'd expect the video of a 93-year old man getting shot point blank in the head would look.

This guy is claiming to have killed others. The police are on the lookout.
February 5, 2017

Anarchists who helped kill Occupy worry anti-Trump activists


As Kathy Lipscomb watched TV newscasts of “black bloc” anarchists smashing windows at a UC Berkeley protest, the former organizer of Occupy demonstrations was obsessed by two thoughts.

The first, she said, was: “Oh no, not again.” The second: “We can’t let them help ruin things this time.”

Those sentiments echoed across the Bay Area as leaders of the current wave of protests against President Trump took heed of Wednesday’s campus violence, Trump’s subsequent threat to cut funding to UC Berkeley, and what all that portends for their movement.

Their biggest fear is a repeat of what happened to Occupy earlier this decade, when black bloc violence chased away nonviolent, mainstream protesters — and helped lead to Occupy’s collapse about five years ago.

I think the rioting helped Milo Yiannopolous. His sales have soared on Amazon and he's becoming increasingly well-known. The fact that he has benefited so much from the actions of the balaclava-wearing rioters makes me wonder who was behind it.
November 29, 2016

Wisconsin Elections Commission Receives 3.5 million Payment from Stein


"Date: November 29, 2016
MADISON, WI – Here are the latest developments:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a bank wire transfer of $3,499,689 from the Jill Stein presidential campaign to prepay the estimated cost of conducting a statewide recount.
With payment received, the Commission is issuing an order for the recount to begin on Thursday. The complete schedule is here: http://elections.wi.gov/node/4445
The campaign of Roque De La Fuente withdrew its recount petition today, and will not be participating financially in the cost of the recount.
Yesterday, the Commission released an estimate of nearly $3.5 million to the campaigns of Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independent candidate Rocky Roque De La Fuente. Unfortunately, there was an error in adding up figures from the 72 Wisconsin county clerks of their estimated recount costs, and the actual total is $3,898,340.
At this time, the Commission will not be requiring the Stein campaign to pay the additional amount. When counties report their actual costs, the Commission will either bill the Stein campaign for any costs over the $3.5 million or refund the campaign any unused funds.
The Commission’s role in a recount is to order the recount, to provide legal guidance to the counties during the recount, and to certify the results. If the candidates disagree with the results of the recount, the law gives them the right to appeal in circuit court within five business days after the recount is completed. The circuit court is where issues are resolved that may be discovered during the recount but are not resolved to the satisfaction of the candidates.

Wisconsin’s Recount Manual and comprehensive information about past recounts, including the last statewide recount in the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, are available here: http://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/recount."

She waiting until almost literally, the very last minute, before sending that wire transfer. I was half expecting her to not pay it. I guess she didn't really have much of a choice.
October 31, 2016

White House has 'no recommendations' for FBI director on Clinton-related email investigation

Source: CNBC

President Obama does not believe FBI Director James Comey is secretly trying to influence the election outcome, the White House said Monday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the the Administration will neither defend nor criticize Comey's decision to inform Congress about the new Hillary Clinton-related emails.

Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/31/white-house-will-not-defend-criticize-fbis-decision-to-tell-congress-about-clinton-email-decision.html

August 27, 2016

FBI agent: Missing teen Brittanee Drexel was kidnapped, shot and dumped in alligator pit

Source: Post and Courier (South Carolina)

A teenage girl who disappeared from Myrtle Beach seven years ago was abducted, gang-raped, shot to death and thrown into an alligator-infested swamp in the dense forests near McClellanville, according to the FBI.

FBI agent Gerrick Munoz this week gave the first detailed account of what investigators think happened to 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel after she disappeared in 2009. His account, contained in a federal court transcript obtained by The Post and Courier, is based on a statement from a prison inmate who claims he was present when she was killed.

Read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/20160826/160829517/fbi-agent-missing-teen-brittanee-drexel-was-kidnapped-shot-and-dumped-in-alligator-pit

I remember when she first disappeared. This was a pretty big case that got a fair amount of publicity. Pretty white girl against her parents wishes travels out of state for spring break and is never seen again.

I don't know if I'm buying this conclusion. I'm always suspicious of jailhouse snitches who all too often will say anything when freedom is dangled in front of them. Pending further evidence, I still think she crossed paths with a serial killer. Hoping authorities can finally close this case.

June 3, 2016

Man who identified as a woman was allowed in our all-women's shelter.

Man who identified as a woman was allowed in our all-women's shelter. It was the wrong call (OPINION), May 24, 2016, Malta Davis, Guest Columnist, Oregon Live

In June 2014, I was admitted to a women's homeless shelter in Northeast Portland. This was my second attempt to lift myself out of homelessness through the assistance of Transition Projects, which runs the shelter.

Like most of the residents, I was there because I had run out of options. None of us was thrilled about living with as many as 60 other women. Our only task was to make the most of it so we could transition into something better.

A few weeks into my stay, I returned to find a number of women in distress. Reportedly, one woman had even fled the shelter in terror.

What was wrong? What was the uproar about? An answer soon followed: The shelter had admitted a man who "self-identified" as a woman. No doubt this was not a first for the shelter; it was, however, a first for those of us who were relative newcomers.


With the discussion focused on public restrooms and locker rooms, I ran across this and wondered, what about women's homeless shelters?

I didn't see this posted.

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