Thursday, April 26, 2012

Activists Pressure Walmart to Drop Support of ALEC


The boycott ALEC movement has turned its sights on Walmart, finding new allies among the retailer’s longtime opponents.

Civil rights activists including the Rev. Jesse Jackson are demanding that Walmart cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative nonprofit that’s come under fire for promoting Stand Your Ground laws such as the one at the center of the Trayvon Martin case.

They are working with Making Change at Walmart, a coalition of activists that launched a petition drive Wednesday demanding the nation’s largest retailer drop its financial support of ALEC.

Education Slowdown Threatens U.S.

Throughout American history, almost every generation has had substantially more education than that of its parents.

That is no longer true.

When baby boomers born in 1955 reached age 30, they had about two years more schooling than their parents, according to Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, who have calculated the average years of schooling for native-born Americans back to 1876.

In contrast, when Americans born in 1980 turned 30 in 2010, they averaged about eight months more schooling than their parents.

Five Pennsylvania Legislators Leave ALEC

A grassroots campaign by Keystone Progress to encourage Pennsylvania legislators to publicly reject membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is already yielding dividends. Zaid Jilani reports 28 lawmakers nationwide have quit ALEC this month.Five former members of the shadowy right-wing front group behind state laws restricting access to the ballot and “stand your ground” gun laws have already said they have left ALEC. One of those, State Sen. John Pippy (R), is the former ALEC Pennsylvania state chair. Nationally, thirteen companies have announced they have severed ties with the “stealth business lobbyist” organization.
Five Pennsylvania Legislators Leave ALEC

Home Foreclosures Up, Ownership/Prices Down

Too bad for home owners. They aren't wealthy enough. Only large corporations get bailed out. Remember they are people too:

Home prices have been bogged down by a series of problems, from restrictive lending policies by banks to the weak housing market. But foreclosures are the biggest drag in many parts of the country. The real estate marketing firm RealtyTrac says number of homes in foreclosure rose during the first three months of this year in more than half of the largest metropolitan areas.

“First-quarter metro foreclosure trends were a mixed bag,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While the majority of metro areas continued to show foreclosure activity down from a year ago, more than half reported increasing foreclosure activity from the previous quarter – an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets.”

Home ownership is down. According to a new Gallup poll, 62% of Americans say they own a home, compared to 68 percent last year.  Some 53 percent of Americans believe their house is worth more today than when they bought it, down significantly from 80 percent in 2008 and 92 percent in 2006.
Full article

Rupert Murdoch: I'm Shocked by the Scandal

Of course the head of News Corp knew nothing about the criminal activities going on his company, involving his own son:

News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch said Thursday that he panicked when he closed the News of the World tabloid last year, one of a series of revealing exchanges made at an inquiry into British media ethics.

The 81-year-old media magnate acknowledged that the scandal which erupted at the Sunday tabloid last July was a "serious blot" on his reputation, but claimed his company was drawing a line under the sordid episode.

"I've spent hundreds of millions of dollars" cleaning up News Corp. subsidiary News International, Murdoch told the inquiry. "We are now a new company altogether."
Full article

Venture Capitalist Forced To Defend Only Making 31,200% Return

The Wall St. culture has not changed one bit. And once again that greed will bring down the financial markets, thus the economy. But the next time there will be no "recovery" for a long time:

I saw something recently that blew my mind and I need to share with you. A venture capitalist having to defend making a 31,200% return — in two years.

Seriously, read this post from Ben Horowitz , Netscape founder Marc Andreeseen’s investing partner.  They were seed investors in Instagram, recently sold for $1 billion to Facebook FB 0.00% .

I’ll let @bhorowitz explain why he’s feels the need to defend hitting a grand-slam (emphasis mine)...
Full article

Family Misses Flight After TSA Comes to Gate to Rescreen Girl With Palsy

This is outrageous. The maddening part is that is constantly happening. Screening of people with disabilities and children is pure stupidity. It demonstrates how terribly broken and dysfunctional the government has become:

“They make our lives completely difficult,” her father, Dr. Joshua Frank, who is a pediatrician, told The Daily. “She’s not a threat to national security.”

The Daily explains the series of events:

    With her crutches and orthotics, Dina cannot walk through metal detectors and instead is patted down by security agents. The girl, who is also developmentally disabled, is often frightened by the procedure, her father said.

    Marcy Frank usually asks the agents to introduce themselves to her daughter, but those on duty on Monday were exceptionally aggressive, Joshua Frank said, and he began to videotape them with his iPhone.

    “And the woman started screaming at me and cursing me and threatening me,” he said.

Eventually, a supervisor decided it was sufficient to inspect Dina’s crutches and allowed the family to leave for the gate.

They were there for an hour before the agents reappeared with a manager to tell them that proper protocol had not been followed, and that Dina had to be screened after all, the Franks said. After initially offering to pat her down at the gate, they insisted she return to the security area, Joshua Frank said.

“So then I got aggravated,” he said.

With Dina now in her wheelchair, Frank raced her across the JetBlue terminal, but by then, the family had missed its plane. The Franks caught a subsequent flight.
Full article