|By: David Seaton Thursday December 12, 2013 3:34 am|
|By: WI Budget Project Thursday December 12, 2013 10:17 am|
For more information, go to www.wisconsinbudgetproject.org.
Employers in Madison may no longer discriminate against unemployed workers when making hiring decisions, thanks to a new policy passed by the city council.
Job seekers who have been out a job for weeks or months face a difficult situation: They want a job, but companies often won’t hire people who have been unemployed for an extended period. In other words, the unemployed can’t get a job because…they don’t have a job. Individuals caught in this jobless Catch-22 face a difficult climb back to employment.
New research sheds a light on just how severe the discrimination against the unemployed is in the job market. This Wonkblog article in the Washington Post describes how a researcher sent out thousands of fictional resumes for job openings and measured the responses. “What he found is that employers would rather call back someone with no relevant experience who’s only been out of work for a few months than someone with more relevant experience who’s been out of work for longer than six months.”
The issue of discrimination against the unemployed is especially pertinent right now due to the large numbers of people who have been searching for a job for a long time. Currently, more than a third of jobless workers have been unemployed at least six months — the highest rate of long-term unemployment in nearly three decades.
If the course record of other states proves to be a model, enforcement of Madison’s new policy may be difficult. In New Jersey, which has had a similar law on the books since 2011, only one company has been cited for discriminating against the unemployed.
Despite the challenges, Madison’s new policy is a good start to overcoming the discrimination faced by the long-term unemployed and giving them a fighting chance to get back in the job market.
|By: JP Sottile Tuesday May 26, 2009 8:01 am|
In the interconnected, instantaneous and byte-sized world of internet journalism, both cyber-space and real-time often bend and warp into a self-referential wormhole.
And one of those fascinating wormholes just opened on Twitter as super neo-journalist Glenn Greenwald and 9/11 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds exchanged a series of increasingly vitriolic and accusatory tweets over Edmonds’ latest blog on Boiling Frogs Post: BFP Breaking News–Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Document.
In it, Edmonds claims that Greenwald’s soon-to-be financial partner and backer—PayPal billionaire Pierre Omidyar—was, in effect, a knowing partner with NSA spying and financial data-mining efforts:
The 50,000-pages of documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation of PayPal Corporation’s partnership and cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), according to three NSA veterans.
However, Edmonds also writes:
To date, no information has been released as to the extent of the working relationship and cooperation between the two entities – NSA and PayPal Corporation.
Edmonds implies that this is not a matter of there being no info regarding PayPal’s cooperation with the NSA, but more a notable, perhaps self-serving omission:
What’s more, the billionaire owner of PayPal Corporation has entered into a $250 Million business partnership with two journalists-Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, a journalist duo who possess the entire cache of evidence provided by Edward Snowden. Despite earlier pledges by the journalists in question, only one percent (1%) of Snowden’s documents has been released.
Of course, this didn’t sit well with Greenwald and he unleashed his displeasure in a series of tweets during a sometimes painful to read “cyber-sation” with Edmonds:
@sibeledmonds You're actually too stupid and/or crazy to even know your own accusations. That's actually sad. I'm sorry I bothered with you.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 12, 2013
Greenwald’s point is that she cannot know what is in the massive trove of Snowden documents and, therefore, is making unsubstantiated claims regarding a possible conflict of interest in his partnering with Omidyar:
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 12, 2013
Edmonds’s story does quote other notable NSA whistleblowers—William Binney and Russell Tice—on the topic of PayPal which, it should be noted, infamously cut off use of its service to fund Wikileaks after its groundbreaking efforts to shed light on government secrecy.
Although Binney does not respond to what is specifically in the Snowden docs—which makes Greenwald’s point—he does state that financial institutions have long cooperated with the NSA and expresses some concerns about Omidyar:
|By: Ruth Calvo Tuesday November 22, 2011 9:00 am|
In tribute to Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner, the Over Easy community gathers to discuss news of the day of a morning.
Take a moment this a.m. to thank Jane and fellow pups for FDL’s early and vigorous push to legalize marijuana, now bearing fruit in such rational behavior as Uruguay’s taking the industry under its wing, reducing threats to public well-being, and retaining profits for the public there. There was some opposition from traditional drug war adherents.
The world’s most far-reaching cannabis law has been passed by the Uruguayan parliament, opening the way for the state to regulate the production, distribution, sale and consumption of the planet’s favourite illegal drug.
The law, effective from next year, will: allow registered users to buy up to 40g of marijuana a month from a chemist’s; registered growers to keep up to six plants; and cannabis clubs to have up to 45 members and cultivate as many as 99 plants.
A government-run cannabis institute will set the price – initially likely to be close to the current black market rate of $1 a gramme – and monitor the impact of the programme, which aims to bring the industry under state control and push illegal traffickers out of business.
Seeing rational behavior by other governments may someday influence voters in the U.S. to step into a path that serves us rather than those industries that abuse us.
Severe weather predominated in the U.S., and in Middle Eastern areas where Syrian refugees have been seeking improved conditions. Tents were not able to hold back the cold, while aid is hampered in general by the inability to function in the snow and bitter cold.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has worked around the clock, partnering in recent days with the Lebanese army, to distribute winter supplies including thermal blankets and money for heaters.
But despite the efforts, UNHCR spokeswomen Lisa Abou Khaled said there were concerns for thousands of people living in more than 200 informal camps in central and north Lebanon.
Present actions by Congress to wipe out gains made in U.S. negotiations with Iran, to manage its development of nuclear powers, discourage negotiators from early hopes. Challenges to the ability of the executive branch to carry on U.S. affairs impaired the country further, though late Wednesday congressmen began making gestures to balance appearances of destructive upheaval to the constitutional functions of the WH and State Department.
Congressional action toward new sanctions against Iran now would make the U.S. appear bellicose and uninterested in a policy change on Iran’s nuclear program. If this perception were to take hold, the international sanctions regime could easily collapse.
To be effective, Congress should make any new sanctions laws prospective, meaning that they would only go into force if Iran fails to reach a final deal with U.S. and its allies on its nuclear program in the next six months. Better yet, Congress should simply keep its proposed tougher sanctions locked up in committee while still boasting about how tough and draconian the new laws are likely to be. In the meantime, if the interim deal collapses, harsh sanctions legislation such asH.R. 850, which passed the House on July 31, 2013, and the proposed Senate version being considered by the Senate Banking Committee could quickly become law. If elements of the House version became law, the current Presidential waivers that allow Iran to sell one billion barrels of crude a day would be eliminated.
|By: Kit OConnell Wednesday December 11, 2013 8:55 pm|
Tonight’s musical selection is “The Robots” by Kraftwerk, in a 1977 video.
Is it culturally significant that we now have robots (or human-like software programs) that deny they are robots? From io9, based on a story in Time:
This is how it starts, people. First we get our chatbots to sound and act realistic — and then we get them to convince everyone they’re actually human. Listen to this crazy conversation between Time‘s Michael Scherer and a telemarketing robot who refuses to admit her true artificial nature.
Recently, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer received a phone call from an apparently bright and engaging woman asking him if he wanted a deal on his health insurance. But he soon got the feeling something wasn’t quite right.
After asking the telemarketer point blank if she was a real person or a computer-operated robot, she chuckled charmingly and insisted she was real. Looking to press the issue, Scherer asked her a series of questions, which she promptly failed. Such as, ‘What vegetable is found in tomato soup?’ To which she responded by saying she didn’t understand the question. When asked what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained of a bad connection (ah, the oldest trick in the book).
You can even listen to recordings of the telemarketer robot in action. I especially like how “Samantha” sounds a little disappointed when you tell her it’s time to hang up.
Bonus: NPR Science Friday on “Building Social Robots.”
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|By: spocko Friday October 29, 2010 5:59 pm|
Here’s a short animated video explaining why the Trans-Pacific Partnership sucks. Starring my imitation of Ross Perot!
Remember, Ross knew all about the “Giant sucking sound from the South” that became NAFTA.
I pulled concepts from both the left and the right to inform this video. My number one concern on TPP is Food Safety, which nobody is talking about yet.
Unsafe food from some Pacific Rim countries will literally kill people in the US. They will not have to follow US food safety regulations, just the food safety regulations of the shipping country. And if we don’t like it, they can sue us for refusing to accept their food under the TPP guidelines!
I hope you enjoy this educational video, please share it.
For more information see: Urgent Fast Track Trade Deal Alert – Campaign for America’s Future by Dave Johnson and
Defend the Constitution, say ‘no’ to fast-track authority for Obama
by Cathie Adams, state leader of the Texas Eagle Forum and Jo Ann Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America — We the People.
For more info on TPP see these stories.
1″TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, Nov. 13, 2013.
2″Five key questions – and answers – about the leaked TPP text,” the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Nov. 15, 2013.
|By: Synoia Saturday January 8, 2011 10:21 am|
Microsoft. Google. Facebook. These firms, among others, have featured prominently in the news over the past few weeks and months. Recently, reports indicated that they have come together to demand changes to US surveillance policy, because it’s bad for business. A while earlier, reports had arisen indicating that some major US companies had worked with the US government against the best interests of their customers. Their cooperation with government spying activity evidently seemed fine to them as long as it was done in secret, but now that their bad behavior has been made public, it seems that they are concerned that their customers might not want to buy tainted goods.
The NSA and other US Government Agencies have induced US vendors to cooperate with their surveillance of every atom’s vibration on our planet. With one notable exception, Joe Nacchio and Quest, who told the government to “come back with a warrant” – in our option both a perfectly legal and morally a correct response.
Joe Nacchio went to jail for “insider trading,” a crime which probably could be proven for every other CEO of publicly traded companies. Enron and Tyco come to mind.
All other companies either cooperated (with ‘noble intentions,’ of course) or were persuaded by the example the US Government set with Joe Nacchio that “cooperation” was preferable to fighting the “requests”.
AT&T for certain, and most probably all the other Telecom carriers help the NSA to tap into their fiber optic networks, for a fee, and we understand provide the Government many years of call detail records – the so called “ metadata” for phone calls. The phone companies had been collecting this data for years to use in their own market research, generally to measure individual customer profitability, which made the data the property of the Telecom Carrier. While the government pretends that this metadata doesn’t really tell them much, let me ask you a simple question: “IF the government does not get useful information from the metadata, WHY DO THEY WANT TO COLLECT IT?” For phone calls, the metadata includes who you were talking to, how long the conversation was, the originating phone number, and the destination phone number, plus the date and time. For email, it includes your email address, the email address(es) of all the other parties, the Subject Line, your IP address, and the date it was sent. As you can see, there is a LOT of information there, which, when cross-referenced with other information in their database, can give the government a good idea of what you were discussing.
The problems that US tech corporations are having, especially those who caved in when asked to put back doors in their products, or to find other ways to help the US government collect data on their customers, is that people found out about it, and NOW THEIR CUSTOMERS DON’T TRUST THEM anymore. Trying to get the government to rein in the NSA now is like closing the barn door after the horse is gone. It’s never too late to do the right thing, but customer trust is fragile. Once people learn that you’ve been engaged in conspiracies against their best interests, WHY would companies making loud public statements that imply that “it’s not our fault. Blame the government” ever convince customers who have been damaged that they should start trusting these sinners again? To be clear, YES, those companies SHOULD work to get the government to behave itself. All the same, it’s NOT going to change the viewpoint of customers who may have been damaged by the companies’ willingness to conspire in secret with the government, to the potential harm of those customers.
What SHOULD the companies have done? These companies could have protested and filed appeals to protect their customers’ information. If the companies had truly been concerned about the Government’s behavior, they could have picked up the phone and asked either their lobbyists or their Congressman or Senator to exert pressure on the government. Or, they could have take action through the US Chamber of Commerce or their trade association, to act in unison to protect them from this behavior by the Government. Apparently they did not, because we know of no appeals from the FISA court to appear on the Supreme Court’s docket.
Of course, it takes backbone to stand up to a government which is willing to use or abuse anything to get its way. Joe Nacchio’s treatment by the Government was clearly designed to send a message to others, as a form of intimidation. Sometimes, leadership requires backbone, and a sense of ethics. As the Nuremburg trials showed, “We were just following orders,” is NOT an excuse. So, it’s clear that the corporate leaders failed to lead; instead, they meekly followed the governments’s dictums. If they had failed to comply, it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that the government might have refused to renew contracts, or might have engaged in some other sort of financial response. To have acted effectively against government threats, either stated or implied, the tech companies needed to come together and provide a united response. Only a unified response by the tech corporations could have protected them and their CEO’s en masse.
Legalities set aside, with the Companies providing information, either through CALEA-engineered “wire taps” (back doors into products) or taps on live networks, information, not demanded legally by warrants or illegal demanded by extortion information, the Companies now lie in the bed they have made for themselves, by their lack of coordinated resistance. It’s hard to be sympathetic to their cries, “We’re innocent! It was the government’s fault,” when they seem to have been willing enough to go along with it as long as their customers didn’t know about it.
The have lost the trust of their customers, and the Governments of the countries where they do business. They have demonstrated they are not to be trusted, and thus cannot be considered to be long-term suppliers to those countries or to their customers in those countries.
The End of Tech
|By: Dennis Trainor Jr Wednesday December 11, 2013 1:03 pm|
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Only hours before Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced that they reached a two year budget agreement (The BiPartisan Budget Act of 2013), representatives from a broad coalition demanding a budget that would cut military expenditures in order to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs called on Congressional leaders to craft a budget for people, peace and the planet.
Now, because this broad coalition included over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups it is almost universally ignored within the walls of Congress. That is one reason why part of that call came in the form of an unscheduled visit to the office of Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.
David Swanson, writing at War is a Crime points out, the Murray Ryan Budget deal, which sets aside more than 50% of the 2014 budget for the military budget is an unbelievable outrage to churn out on International Human Rights Day while numerous members of Congress were off in South Africa claiming to support the use of nonviolence to effect change in the world. At a press conference before the office visits, speakers representing a Budget for People, Peace and the planet spoke to the media.
Speakers at the news conference included the following: Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet; Cheri Honkala, Liz Ortiz, and Glen Davis of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign; David Swanson, Roots Action; Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network of New York State; Dr. David Schwartzman, Professor Emeritus Howard University and community activist.