The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, Calif., gave Lehman $2 million in October 2008 to cancel a swap contract used to manage fluctuating interest rates. Lehman says that was much less than the contract was worth. It wants $12.1 million more and has assessed at least an additional $4.7 million in interest, the research center said in its most recent financial statement. The amount Lehman is seeking is more than half of what Buck spent last year researching Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other diseases. “Lehman is sort of a zombie-like bankruptcy entity: Instead of looking for brains, it’s looking for cash,” says Chip Bowles, a bankruptcy lawyer with Bingham Greenebaum Doll in Louisville who is not involved in any of the cases.
Improve Working Conditions in Bangladesh? Walmart Says 'No' -
In the wake of the worst garment factory tragedy in world history, which left over 1,200 dead in Bangladesh last month, a number of Western brands have signed an agreement to improve working conditions in their subcontracted factories there. Walmart was missing from the list of signatories.
The legally binding agreement, signed by retailers including H&M, Primark, C&A, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Zara, Tesco and others, “aims to compel retailers to pay for rigorous and independent public inspections and blacklist any factories unwilling to comply,” the Guardian reports.
The agreement covers “independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory repairs and renovations and a vital role for workers and their unions,” The Ethical Trading Initiative, which crafted the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh along with trade unions IndustriALL and UNI Global, writes.
“At the heart of the agreement is the commitment to Bangladesh’s Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety, and for companies to share in the responsibilities for providing a safe environment for workers.”
Instead, however, Walmart refused to sign, saying that it has created its own agreement (of which it is the only party). The agreement claims that Walmart will conduct its own inspections of the 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh within six months.
As the Guardian reports, “the Walmart deal is not legally binding, does not require the company to offer financial support for fire and safety regulations or blacklist factories unwilling to comply.”
Sam Maher from Labor Behind the Label, said: “Walmart’s so-called new program is simply more of the same ineffective auditing that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza disaster, or the deaths of 112 workers at Tazreen, who were producing Walmart goods.”
In contrast, “The changes demanded by the IndustriALL accord include ensuring that factories are provided with the incentives and investment needed to actually make factories safe and are essential for any real change to occur,” Maher added. “What Walmart [is] demanding is business as usual: a business that has cost lives of over 1,300 workers in the last six months alone.”
This, of course, is not the first time Walmart has refused to improve the well being of workers in factories.
In 2011, several major western retailers, lead by Walmart, rejected a proposal made by a group of Bangladeshi and international unions that proposed a way to make Bangladesh’s garment factories safer through establishing an independent inspectorate to oversee all factories in Bangladesh “with powers to shut down unsafe facilities as part of a legally binding contract signed by suppliers, customers and unions.”
At the time, Walmart’s representative said it was “not financially feasible … to make such investments.”
The inspections would have been funded by contributions from the companies of merely $500,000 per year, compared to the $20 billion western brands such as Walmart, the Gap and H&M make from the garment industry in Bangladesh per year and the annual $1 trillion such retailers make per year in the global garment industry.
Several other retailers have declined to sign this week’s agreement, including River Island, Matalan and Peacocks.
In the 101 top-grossing family films…from 1990 to 2004, of the over 4,000 characters in these films, 75% overall were male, 83% of characters in crowds were male, 83% of narrators were male, and 72% of speaking were male. When the American Psychological Association commented on this research, they said, ‘This gross under-representation of women or girls in films with family-friendly content reflects a missed opportunity to present a broad spectrum of girls and women in roles that are non-sexualised.’ —
Natasha Walter, Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism, pages 69-70, 2010. (via bitemebeautiful)
Bringing this back as people have started reblogging this again and EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THIS.
Americans Who Battle Cancer Are Twice As Likely To Go Bankrupt, Even If They Have Health Insurance -
Cancer patients are much more likely to go bankrupt than Americans who aren’t faced with a cancer diagnosis, a new study finds. Even the Americans who have access to health insurance aren’t necessarily safe from bankruptcy, since the high cost of treating cancer can still put an untenable strain their finances. A team of researchers […]
Above: Stan Veuger, hip hop expert
The American Enterprise Institute’s Stan Veuger pens the worst listicle evaaarrr: “The 21 Greatest Conservative Rap Songs of All Time.”
Israel has highest poverty rate in the developed world, OECD report shows - National -
Israel is the most impoverished of the 34 member countries, with a poverty rate of 20.9%, according to a report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The 40-hour workweek, as we know it, came from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. To ensure that workers can spend more time away from work, the FLSA discourages employers from demanding overtime by making overtime more expensive. By contrast, H.R. 1406 would encourage employers to demand longer hours because overtime is made less expensive. That’s because employers would be able to pay workers nothing at all for overtime work at the time the work is performed and could schedule comp time off at no extra cost to them (for example, during less busy periods when co-workers can pick up the slack). — ‘Working Families Flexibility Act’ Doesn’t Give Flexibility or Support to Working Families (via robot-heart-politics)
Woman Arrested for Making Late Payments on a Washer and Dryer | Techyville -
It’s now getting to the point that debtors prisons are growing. People are being put in jail for not being able to make payments on time or owing too much money. Two Atlanta women have a story that is a cautionary tale and nightmare for anyone who has ever borrowed anything on credit. It might also make you think twice about going to Aarons for anything.
A woman who doesn’t want to be identified, says that when she couldn’t make payments on a washer and dryer that she’d bought from Aarons, they had her arrested.
“They should think of the consequences it’s going to have on your life on your family,” the Loganville woman said, asking not to be identified.
The woman says that she knows she fell behind and accepts the responsibility. But one thing she says she didn’t deserve was to be taken to jail over something like a late payment. When she offered to give the appliances back, the company refused to take them. That’s when she was hauled off the jail.
Shantel Jackson has filed a civil suit against Aarons for false imprisonment.
“It was traumatizing. I cried a lot. I spent most of my time crying,” Jackson said.
Jackson says that she was attacked by Aaron’s after she stopped making her payments on a television that was broken. She says that the company refused to replace the TV, but demanded high payments anyway. Aaron’s makes its money by charging high rates of interest on consumers who can’t afford credit. Many of these consumers are African American. The woman also called the company to tell them that the TV was stolen during a burglary.
“They told me I was lying. They know the TV was in my home,” Jackson said. Jackson’s attorney Cary Wiggins, said it’s a civil matter not criminal.
“You do not have them arrested. There is no debtor’s prison in this country. Hasn’t been that way since the 19th century,” Wiggins told Artz.
Aaron’s released a statement on the matter, “Aaron’s, Inc. cares about our customers and for 58 years has been building solid relationships with our customers and communities. Our culture is to work with each and every one of our customers to ensure that every effort is made to bring them to full lease-ownership of our products. We cannot comment on specific customer situations, but we do work diligently with all of our customers and undergo exceptional efforts, fostering communication with them to understand individual situations.”
While the fascination with Dickinson’s biography and the complexity of her words have long kept her readers, critics, and poetic inheritors engaged in unraveling her, Dickinson criticism has recently shown a marked interest in combining these two challenges—the biographical and the textual—in order to study Dickinson’s material trace: a real woman whose life took place on paper.
Read Gillian Osborne’s look at recent criticism of Emily Dickinson (Boston Review, May/June 2013)