The minors.

I was down at Wayne today when my colleague and GPT partner Ben Burns wandered in. I asked him whether his Little League coaching career had intersected with Prince Fielder’s time in the locals. It had.

Fielder — although I guess you’d call a 12-year-old kid by his first name, wouldn’t you — was a head taller and two kids wider than every other player there, and could hit anything, Ben said. He knocked everything over the fence, to the point that one day Ben called for an intentional walk, generally frowned upon in Little League, but hell, it’s not every day you face a future MLB star.

Fun fact: When Prince was 12, he was messing around in Tiger Stadium with his dad and hit one into the stands. Fair.

So, bloggage?

We had a good Bridge yesterday. Ron’s piece on the loss of skilled public employees in Michigan was great — you never think of stuff like that until you read something like this:

Michele Glinn loved her job, and she was good at it. As the only Ph.D toxicologist working in the Michigan State Police toxicology unit, she analyzed blood samples for alcohol and other drugs — and crisscrossed the state testifying in court.

Frustrated by unpaid furlough days, a shrinking staff and a negative public perception of state employees, Glinn sat down at her computer one day last fall and sent her resume to an employment search firm. “I got a call from the headhunter the same day,” Glinn recalled. “Two days later, I had a phone interview; a week later, I was in St. Louis being offered a job on the spot.”

Her U-Haul crossed the state border in November, leaving Michigan with no one who can provide expert testimony for the prosecution in alcohol and drug cases. “The state has no one to answer scientific questions,” Glinn said. “That’s a public safety issue.”

I had a piece on the guy who does the Pure Michigan parodies.

I was thinking the other day about maybe getting an iPhone 4S — the talking one. But maybe? No:

But not in every way. Siri’s dirty little secret is that she’s a bandwidth guzzler, the digital equivalent of a 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H1.

To make your wish her command, Siri floods your cell network with a stream of data; her responses require a similarly large flow in return. A study published this month by Arieso, an Atlanta firm that specializes in mobile networks, found that the Siri-equipped iPhone 4S uses twice as much data as does the plain old iPhone 4 and nearly three times as much as does the iPhone 3G. The new phone requires far more data than most other advanced smartphones, which are pretty data-intensive themselves, The Post has reported.

I refuse to be a data hog just to have Siri type my text messages.

I thought the weekend would never come, but it’s here, it’s here! Enjoy yours. I’m hoping to get to the market — it’s been a while. Maybe a picture? Here’s hoping.

Posted at 12:55 am in Detroit life, Media, Same ol' same ol' |
 

73 responses to “The minors.”

  1. Sherri said on January 27, 2012 at 1:52 am

    I did get a iPhone 4s, but I hate talking computers, so I disabled Siri. Easy to do in the setup.

  2. beb said on January 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

    A friend of mine transferred from the Detroit Water Department lab to the police lab, back when they had one. When I saw him some years later he mentioned how he was just sort of thrown into it. No training, no SOP (standard operating procedures), nothing. So I was not surprised when the Detroit police lab was closed. Or rather, I was surprised that they had never done any of the basic requirements of Good laboratory Practices. Which brings us around of Dr. Michele Glinn. The state only had one person court-qualified to testify on these analyses? You need at least two. And you should always be training people to be ready to take over.

    Ah, but Public servants got no respect.

  3. JWfromNJ said on January 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I am still living contentedly with my Blackberry as I prefer the physical keyboard and can type very fast on it. I use an app called Vingo that allows me to make calls, send texts and emails, and do web searches with voice commands. It’s not really my thing but it is useful if I am in the car and need to do something -and it’s free. Plus my service with unlimited data and 1500 min talk is $35 through Virgin Mobile. They have announced they will be throttling very heavy users (not me) but they also give periodic bonuses. This month I have a $15 promo code so I’ll only pay $20 plus its a no-contract deal. They also have several Android phones and that service is $5 less w/o blackberry messenger (able to use secure servers).

  4. jcburns said on January 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Siri, remind me to show Nancy articles that say the data disparity might just be bad reporting (notice your Washington Post link is an ‘opinion’ piece.)

  5. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

    In Florida, those who work for WIC have not had a raise in six years, have watched their co-workers be laid off, and are serving 30% more clients in the last three years. No wonder it’s harder and harder to keep good public servants.

    The Pure Michigan parodies are hilarious. I hope this guy has a real job where he can use those skills.

    And, off-topic, if anyone’s looking for a great book to read this weekend, I recommend Roger Ebert’s memoir. He’s lived a fascinating life, and his brilliance shines through, and helps explain why I didn’t get The Tree of Life while he put it on his Top Ten list.

    Especially for journos, his recollections of life as a newspaperman remind us of the glory days of idealism in the newsroom.

  6. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

    If you click through one of the links in the Bridge article on public employee brain-drain, you find that the absence of a state toxicologist presented problems in the prosecution of…a Republican state rep arrested for DUI.

    Republicans demonize state employees, the skilled ones leave, and it becomes easier for a Republican drunk to avoid punishment. Who says the system doesn’t work?

  7. Deborah said on January 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Julie, I’ve been reading Ebert’s memoir too. I love all the journo stuff. It’s funny, touching and just a good read. IMHO.

  8. Suzanne said on January 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I know a young woman who works for DCS in Indiana. She says they are so severely understaffed they can only do the bare minimum. But in a sense, it is brilliant politics. Cut the public workforce so much, they can’t do their job, and then you can go on the stump and say, “See? These public employees are terrible at their jobs. We need to do something.”

    On another sad note, I hear that Hull House in Chicago is closing.

  9. Deborah said on January 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Yes, it’s true about Hull House. A couple of years ago we were purposing for an opportunity to design a museum there. My company spent hours and hours on the proposal, then at the last minute The Hull House folks pulled the plug on the project, we never found out why. The museum was to be part of the University of Illinois, Chicago at the time.

  10. brian stouder said on January 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Hull House closure: good riddance!! We don’t need no stinkin’ Hull House, and the inherently evil concept of community organizing (ie – community) that it encapsulates, right?

    If Jane Addams had been alive in the 1970’s, why then, Obama would have admired her (more than he already does) and Newtie the pseudo-historian would vilify her – even moreso than Saul Alinsky – as a community organizer, and that would be that.

    Hell, Jane was a traitor to her class (like FDR), too!

  11. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Jane Addams was always a hero for those of us who grew up in the Chicago area. I even remember a musical about her penned by a couple of profs at the local college, NIU. Over three hours and deadly dull, but we sat through it with pride. It’s very sad to hear it’s closing.

    Suzanne, I think you’re on to something there. And, it looks like we will be a Right to Work state within a week. I expect the public unions will be emasculated.

  12. Sue said on January 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

    brian, plus I heard **whisper** that she was romantically involved with people who were not men. And they let her around children like that, do you believe it? Of course, they were dirty poor children but still…
    Seriously, this saddens me. One of the reasons given for the closing was that HH was too reliant on government for its funding. So, where were the movers and shakers in Chi that could have coughed up the money to keep HH going and revamped its funding base? If it’s like any large and well-known nonprofit, it had wealthy fundraisers right on its board.
    This is Hull House, for crying out loud. Letting it die is an embarrassment to Chicago.

  13. coozledad said on January 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Subpeona for Reintz Rheingold Hermann Von Pubis?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/26/1058864/–UPDATED:-Scott-Walker-Staffers-Arrested-Reince-Priebus-Now-Involved?via=siderec

  14. Maggie Jochild said on January 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    A high percentage of the women who were involved in the settlement and “charitable works” movements in the U.S. from the 1880s on chose other women as their partners in life. It was a means to independence, leadership, a career, especially for owning class women but not just them, and it led to genuine class mixing. So yes, Jane Addams, Clara Barton, most of the early women physicians, many of the cohorts of Eleanor Roosevelt (including her beloved Lorena Hickock) sought out the “love surpassing the love of men”.

  15. alex said on January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Well, well, well, whaddaya know. Stutz the Putz is getting a credible challenger after all. One with a dead-on message too — a former Republican who says he didn’t leave the party, the party left him.

    In other news, Our Man Mitch who gave the SOTU rebuttal gets caught with his pants on fire, although he deserves to be called on not just one but all of the right-wing canards that comprised his speech on Tuesday.

  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    The museum for Hull-House will stay open, while the Hull House community outreach program will close, did close this week, with almost no notice to employees or clients in case management. It’s a very, very sad story, and budget cuts from the state play a huge part of it, while management issues were crucial. I’m not sure how much more I can say, but as a Chicagoland boy, Jane Addams was an inspiration from early on. There’s more than irony at work in the idea that the museum will continue, but the services will end.

    In cheerier news, we’re going to have the GOP primary decided by a 25 mile bike race! I’d give a healthy donation to a SuperPAC organized to implement that idea, if there was one. Except of course it means Ron Paul, but I could handle that in return for watching Newt try to pedal for about four hundred yards before collapsing. He said maliciously.

    Santorum would get off his bike about mile 12, complaining that his cycle was somehoe handicapped in contrast to those of his competitors, and I suspect Mitt Rmney would doggedly push all the way to the finish line, crossing about an hour after Ron Paul, since he did the whole race in a linen suit, loosened (slightly) tie, and cordovan wingtips. The sun is going to be unforgiving to that outfit choice, let alone his feet constantly slipping off the pedals. But he won’t complain, and keep saying “I’m fine, really.”

    Be careful, though; George W. could jump back into the running if the decider is a 25 mile bike ride across Texas.

  17. moe99 said on January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I think the worst news flowing from Apple is their conscious use of slave workers in China.

  18. Sue said on January 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    MMJeff: I like your use of the word ‘doggedly’, can you find a way to work in a reference to Mitt carrying a dog on his back?

  19. Suzanne said on January 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/conservatives-criticize-drudge-for-anti-gingrich-assault/

    Always fun to watch partisan animals eat their own.

  20. jcburns said on January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Moe, it might be worth your time to read Tim Cook’s response to the Times article, as well as this article that examines the question in more shades of grey. I think Apple (and other manufacturers) are culpable and complicit because of some of their choices, but to say they simply and consciously chose between two paths—nonslave workers and slave workers—and took the latter course…well, the facts seem to me to be way more complex and nuance-filled.

  21. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Hah! Those a-holes LUUURVED them some Drudge Report when it was kicking Clinton and Obama in their respective groins. How does it feel when the shoe is in the other crotch?

  22. Scout said on January 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I think Bitter Scribe @21 walks away with a win today.

  23. caliban said on January 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Brilliant interview: S. Colbert’s conversation with Maurice Szendak. Two funny fellows.

    Speaker Oompa Loompa brags about GOPer gerrymandering. Shameless.

    The idea of hardcore ideological wingnuts that have always insisted that Drudge was a beacon of rectitude suddenly finding him malicious and mendacious is so damn funny, I can’t refrain from laughing. No shit Sherlock. He’s a sleazebag POS wannabe reporter who should have that fedora stuffed up his anal cavity.

    And Jeff, W would be ass over handlebars soon after the start of that bike race. He’s got a history of bad bike riding.

    And speaking of Macs, anybody have an opinion on MacKeeper software?

  24. jcburns said on January 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Caliban: Mackeeper is bad stuff. Installs into your machine and won’t get out and is, yes, basically a Mac virus. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

  25. moe99 said on January 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    JC, you’re right. I was in a hurry this morning so shortened my post. At the expense of clarity.

  26. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Caliban: Ordinarily, I don’t like “both sides do it” stuff, but on the topic of gerrymandering, I can’t help passing along this article about a Chicago architecture student who built a jigsaw puzzle out of the newly remapped Chicago city wards. Kid sounds like a delightful smartass.

    There’s a polling place conveniently located a short distance from my home. I know it’s there because every Election Day, I drive past it on the way to my polling place, three miles down the road. Thank you, gerrymandering.

    JCBurns, thanks for the advice on MacKeeper. Scout, thanks for the compliment.

  27. caliban said on January 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Of course, Scribe, both sides will gerrymander to protect seats they hold, but I have never heard of Democrats in State House power drawing redistricting lines simply to dilute the voting effectiveness and representation of black, brown, and poor voters. That unAmerican behavior is a GOPer specialty. It really should draw time in Club Fed. The jigsaw is pretty cool. There is really no valid comparison between the two parties on redistricting. I really just thought that Boner’s brazenness was particularly nauseating. What a jerk.

  28. brian stouder said on January 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    So, one of my consistently favorite trade journals is Chem Info, and they had this article on a term that the petro-chemical industry doesn’t like – and which I learned from Caliban – and which the industry itself invented(!): fracking.

    http://www.chem.info/News/2012/01/Material-Handling-No-Energy-Industry-Backing-for-the-Word-Fracking/

    An excerpt:

    To the surviving humans of the sci-fi TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” it has nothing to do with oil and gas. It is used as a substitute for the very down-to-Earth curse word. Michael Weiss, a professor of linguistics at Cornell University, says the word originated as simple industry jargon, but has taken on a negative meaning over time — much like the word “silly” once meant “holy.” But “frack” also happens to sound like “smack” and “whack,” with more violent connotations. “When you hear the word ‘fracking,’ what lights up your brain is the profanity,” says Deborah Mitchell, who teaches marketing at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Business. “Negative things come to mind.” Obama did not use the word in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, when he said his administration will help ensure natural gas will be developed safely, suggesting it would support 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

    Bonus! Near the end of the article, the AP stylebook is invoked:

    The word does not appear in The Associated Press Stylebook, a guide for news organizations. David Minthorn, deputy standards editor at the AP, says there are tentative plans to include an entry in the 2012 edition. He said the current standard is to avoid using the word except in direct quotes, and to instead use “hydraulic fracturing.”

    So the two things that stick with me are, first – I didn’t know that “silly” once meant “holy”; and I would have lost the bet, if you bet me that the AP had someone with the job-title “deputy standards editor”. Isn’t EVERY editor responsible for standards, of all sorts?

  29. caliban said on January 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Wouldn’t fraccing (one of the suggested spellings) be pronounced frack-sing, a la flaccid?

    The obvious problem with fracking is monumental amounts of waste fracking liquid bearing toluene, xylene and naphthalene, all potent carcinogens, among God knows how many other chemicals (http://marcellusdrilling.com/2010/06/list-of-78-chemicals-used-in-hydraulic-fracturing-fluid-in-pennsylvania/) that must be disposed of. The industry answer is to pump the waste liquid into the shale formations that held the natgas before it was released, which sounds elegant, but wasn’t the gas released by fracking those geological formations? Water is more abundant than fossil fuels, but it is just as much a limited resource. Foul one region of Midwestern aquifer, bye bye breadbasket, and aquifers connect to each other. Trust Halliburton oil field services to seal the waste away. They did a bang-up job in the Gulf, eh?

    Mountaintopping throughout Appalachia is already threatening aquifers on the entire eastern seaboard by filling hollers and the cricks that run through them. And fossil fuel energy companies want to operate unfettered by sensible regulations. Frack that shit, they’ve proven themselves over and over to be entirely untrustworthy. Just ask the bereaved families of miners that used to work for Don Blankenship and Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch.

  30. alex said on January 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    There is no comparison between Chicago Dems’aldermanic gerrymandering and statehouse Republicans trying to dilute concentrations of Democrats in their districts. The city is home to such an inconsequential number of Republican voters that there are no Republicans competing for aldermanic seats in the first place and no GOP voting blocs to break up.

    I used to live on Lake Shore Drive in the Lakeview neighborhood but aldermanically I was living on a small island that belonged to Helen Shiller, the Empress of downscale Uptown, which was a fair distance to the north. Evidently, some sort of balance is achieved in the poorer neighborhoods when they get to claim some wealthier ones, or vice versa, even if they’re separated by miles geographically. At least that was the case there. I’m sure there are strange stories behind the boundaries of all of Chicago’s aldermanic districts and precincts.

    I don’t doubt that Chicago gerrymandering also involves some horse trading. Aldercreatures can swap various ethnicities, races, religions and classes to build the coalition that best keeps them in office in perpetuity. Used to be easy when they were all ghettoized. These days, it really does look like a jigsaw puzzle.

  31. Deborah said on January 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Alex, my address is Lake Shore Drive but my US Congressperson is Danny Davis comprised mostly in the South, there is a long finger that snakes north up the lake shore to capture us. Aldermanically I don’t remember the name of the guy who represents me, but it’s mostly a streeterville-ish area if I remember correctly. I’ll have to look that up.

  32. alex said on January 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I had Jan Schakowsky as my Rep. She’s Cook County North Shore. I don’t remember whether I was on her mainland or out on a causeway.

    I actually got to meet her one day at a street fair and she was absolutely adorable. Very present, unrehearsed, authentic. I liked her very much.

    Right now my state rep is Stutz the Putz with a high school education. And my state senator is this dick who is actively trying to put creationism into the classroom. He chairs the state legislature’s education committee. You might call it a fox in the henhouse scenario except that foxes are known for their intelligence.

  33. moe99 said on January 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Ok, JC I read Tim Cook, and I call bullshit on him:

    http://blog.sfgate.com/bottomline/2012/01/27/apples-ceo-outraged-at-reports-of-worker-mistreatment/

    “Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly,” he says.

    “Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are. For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am.”

  34. cosmo panzini said on January 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Well. The shit is now hitting the fan and Apple Corp is exposed as just another heartless, exploitative corporate monster. And you know what really frosts my pickle? Just like Joe Pa died and got a pass on his heinous enabling of some alleged man-boy frolic in Penn State’s showers,(yep, she said “a pass” just a few days ago), so will Steve Jobs get a pass on the fact that he looked the other way re worker mistreatment at Apple’s Chinese factories. Do I have it right? Well maybe. Because, let’s see, turns out there are some shades of gray in the Apple hoo-hah that weren’t present in the PSU case? Gee, I don’t know. Then again—aw hell, I’m going to have a cocktail and let you all work it out. Do get back to me though and let me know the correct take here. So’s I can get my mind right,you know.

  35. Deborah said on January 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Cosmo, sorry but I don’t get your point??

  36. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Cosmo’s point is that he has appointed himself the resident defender of Joe Paterno on this board. Sorry, pal, but your beloved coach will always be remembered for muffing the Sandusky abuse scandal, and there is nothing you can do about it.

  37. cosmo panzini said on January 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    The point is that, if Joe Pa (according to Miss Nancy) is to be remembered as enabling a child molester, then Steve Jobs should be thought of as an unscrupulous exploiter of Chinese workers. No ifs or howevers.

  38. alex said on January 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    The Chinese would probably sell their children to Jerry Sandusky were such an arrangement possible. Which is to say that your point is completely beside the point.

  39. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Oh, give it up, Cosmo. You can drag Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bob Knight, Woody Hayes, the Devil, or anyone or anything else into your stupid argument and it won’t change what Paterno did and didn’t do and how he will be remembered.

  40. caliban said on January 28, 2012 at 12:42 am

    So Cosmo, how does Apple’s deal with the devil have anything whatever to do with Paterno not making sure his buddy Sandusky was prevented from harming any more children? Joe P’s good buddy Ronald Raygun directly abetted Salvadoran deathsquads and the murder of Archbishop Medeiros. His even better buddy Milhous extended the Vietnam War into Cambodian to the hideous detriment of American soldiers and Southeast Asians. Paterno defended both. Does he get credit/blame for all of those acts? He certainly shared that boarding the helicopter in disgrace motif with Nixon. In fact, Paterno and Sandusky were GOPer lifers, so maybe the Republicunts can bear the blame for Sandusky.

  41. Sherri said on January 28, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Fine, I’m happy to consider Steve Jobs an unscrupulous exploiter of Chinese workers. He’s not the only one; Apple’s not the only company that uses Foxconn.

    Doesn’t change how I feel about Paterno.

    BTW, This American Life did an episode on Foxconn a couple of weeks ago: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/454/mr-daisey-and-the-apple-factory

  42. caliban said on January 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Hell, the Bush family were bankers for Hitler. So was the Koch Bros. daddy. How far you want to extend this Cosmo? And if Applle has contributed to seriously bad behavior by Chinese capitalists, I;d say that is more about capitalism and the malevolent hand than anything else.

  43. Dexter said on January 28, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I just can’t get that image out of my head. Hard working Chinese Apple employees just getting to bed in their factory-attached dorm rooms and they are rousted, given a cuppa tea and a piece of bread and mandated to get to work right now and change those view screens.
    No amount of dedication, no amount of self-talk can convince a human mind and body to perform well under these circumstances.
    At least stressed resident doctors have sleep rooms they can utilize when they are about to collapse.
    I am factory veteran and the only way I could afford my seaside vacations and a new air conditioner and a new TV and car once in a while was to accept middle of the night calls, throw my clothes and work boots on and grab my empty thermos, jump in my car, stop at the all-niter and hope they had a fresh pot brewing so I could fill the thermos, then drive like a madman to clock in and get on that overtime payroll.
    Unscheduled overtime to cover for absentees might occur three days out of five, and all during the weekends, and overtime pay could easily double one’s yearly income, so it was important.
    One aspect: if I was just too tired I could say no with no penalty whatsoever. I doubt these Chinese workers had any say-so at all. A job’s a wonderful thing to have, but ….

  44. Deborah said on January 28, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I did a lot of all nighters after working a full day when there was a crazy deadline. One time I went to work Friday morning and didn’t go home until Sunday noon, and that was after a full week. And I remember a week that I worked over 100 hours. All nighters happened around once a month, it was not that unusual. I didn’t get paid overtime because I was titled and got a straight salary. I could take comp time if there wasn’t another crazy deadline coming up. Everyone did this from time to time, we didn’t think much about it. All nighters happen way less where I work now and I don’t do them at all anymore. I’m way too old for that, it would take me a week to recover. My limit is midnight and that happens rarely. I think this is fairly normal in the design profession. Peter?

  45. Kim said on January 28, 2012 at 8:53 am

    While Hull House closes, Sonja Sohn tries her damnedest to get something going on the corner. The Wire fans, read this.

  46. jcburns said on January 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I’m not stepping into the role of chief Apple apologist (really), but folks, read some of this stuff critically. For example, take a moment to consider this contrary view to the Siri is a bandwidth hog thing. And Moe, what are you calling bullshit on..that Cook is outraged, and he says he knows other Apple employees are outraged at the “Apple doesn’t care” conclusions? He’s saying they care, they’re trying. Is that what you’re rejecting? Based on…?

  47. Sue said on January 28, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Nancy, the notsopuremichigan website has a new video that is rude, rude I tell you, to Wisconsin and Ohio.
    Well. I never.

  48. beb said on January 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Americablog had this tasty quote from Paul Krugman’s article on the NYT (Jan 26,’12)
    A big report in The Times last Sunday laid out the facts. Although Apple is now America’s biggest U.S. corporation as measured by market value, it employs only 43,000 people in the United States, a tenth as many as General Motors employed when it was the largest American firm.

    Apple does, however, indirectly employ around 700,000 people in its various suppliers. Unfortunately, almost none of those people are in America.

    If we had 700,000 new jobs in the US unemployment would be a lot less than it is now.

    To me the issue is that Apple pursued an off-shore policy with no regard to what happens to their nation’s industry. Just as Wal-Mart’s pursuit of lower costs lead to it advising one supplier after another to move overseas. It’s almost treasonous.

  49. brian stouder said on January 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Well, JC, I heartily agree with Moe’s call of “Bullshit!” on the dissembling Apple response to their lowest-cost, fastest-response-to-whatever-we-want (what used to be called slave labor) labor model.

    This passage from Moe’s link struck me as a representative turd blossom

    The report also recalls a scenario in which a factory had to call the parents of a young worker to inform them of their son’s admission to the hospital. Horrid points of excessive overtime are included, in addition to a gruesome quote from a former Foxconn executive: “Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost.” On top of all of that, the report shares word from former Apple executives, such as this quote: “We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on.”

    So, to be clear, Cosmo has about 1/2 a point, if the aim was to assert that Joe Paterno was a terrible person, but not more terrible than Steve Jobs.

    Steve Jobs was a superb capitalist, and will be remembered forever; not unlike Andrew Carnegie – an interesting mix of human brilliance and inhuman beastliness and selfishness.

  50. alex said on January 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Headline:

    Udris out; Notable for growth

  51. Sherri said on January 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I like this part of Tim Cook’s statement:

    As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values.

    Yes, criticizing Apple is contrary to Apple’s values…

  52. brian stouder said on January 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Anyone who has not read the NYT Apple article really should do so.

    It is not too much to say that, if we were having a genuinely important national debate right now, instead of the parody-presidential race that we actually have, then whenever reference is made to the “job-killing EPA” or “job killing guhmint regulation”, the answer back would involve people-killing non-regulation – which hides in plain sight, nowadays.

    Banners on the walls warned the 120,000 employees: “Work hard on the job today or work hard to find a job tomorrow.” Apple’s supplier code of conduct dictates that, except in unusual circumstances, employees are not supposed to work more than 60 hours a week. But at Foxconn, some worked more, according to interviews, workers’ pay stubs and surveys by outside groups. Mr. Lai was soon spending 12 hours a day, six days a week inside the factory, according to his paychecks. Employees who arrived late were sometimes required to write confession letters and copy quotations. There were “continuous shifts,” when workers were told to work two stretches in a row, according to interviews. Mr. Lai’s college degree enabled him to earn a salary of around $22 a day, including overtime — more than many others.

    and

    On the afternoon of the blast at the iPad plant, Lai Xiaodong telephoned his girlfriend, as he did every day. They had hoped to see each other that evening, but Mr. Lai’s manager said he had to work overtime, he told her. He had been promoted quickly at Foxconn, and after just a few months was in charge of a team that maintained the machines that polished iPad cases. The sanding area was loud and hazy with aluminum dust. Workers wore masks and earplugs, but no matter how many times they showered, they were recognizable by the slight aluminum sparkle in their hair and at the corners of their eyes.

    That guy lived two days, after the blast.

    And although Apple and their supplier Foxconn says vast improvements were made, another aluminum-dust blast, at another plant supplying Apple, caused several more deaths, a few months later. (Because, you know, dealing with dust is such a technically demanding challenge….right?)

    I suppose these clouds of glittery aluminum dust provide JC’s metaphorical “shades of grey”. The metaphor I cannot help but subscribe to is the (apparently) irresistible temptation that Apple’s glittery gadgets offer everyone.

    And Steve Jobs (et al) could mercilessly cut-cut-cut costs and be KING of the world, or else actually insist on humane (let alone safe) production in their supplier network, and consequently higher costs, and then watch some other heartless bastard, at some other gadget company, get to be king of the world.

    All things condidered, Jobs (et al) apparently decided that, indeed, it is good to be king (whatever the human costs might be).

  53. Julie Robinson said on January 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    We all want low, low prices all the time. When it comes to complicity, we all carry the blame.

  54. moe99 said on January 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/welfare-drug-testing-bill_n_1237333.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

    Indiana legislative hijinks!

  55. beb said on January 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Julie Robinson, I beg to differ. Sam’s Club and Costco are similar companies but Costco accepts a lower profit margin than Sam’s Club so Costco is able to pay their employee’s a higher wage. Costco still makes a profit, it’s stockholders are happy, and it’s workers are happy. Companies can make a profit and pay decent wages if they are willing to accept a little less profit. Apple and Wal-Mart won’t.

  56. caliban said on January 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Now that it’s manifest that Ron Paul is the racisst scumbag hi newsletters show him to be, his
    randomites are all over the net, claiming he isn’t a racist and antisemite. What’s truly funny is the insistence on fiat-money. Geeze Ron, who said god was worth a shit? Back when we were Romans, salt was worth more than gold. What a freaking nitwit.

  57. caliban said on January 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Beb, you mean acompany might actually distribute wealth to it’s employees? Holy crap, they might actually buy the company’s goods. How it is supposed to work.

  58. moe99 said on January 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Gentlemen, I hope you are thinking about new additions to your fall 2012 wardrobe:

    http://www.bkrw.com/thom-browne-catwalk-fw-2012/

  59. Kim said on January 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Moe, those spike trousers would be a bitch to sit down in – any woman who has bought a dress or skirt with the exposed zipper from collar to hem in the back knows this firsthand.

    Nothing reads sexy better than the Herman Munster, though.

  60. Julie Robinson said on January 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Beb, I’ve heard that about Costco too and it’s great. But are all their products made in factories that offer similar good working conditions? Maybe the Apple story can open a discussion about other companies too; I suspect it would be an eye opener.

  61. coozledad said on January 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Moe: It’s like F.W. Murnau contracted to do the costumes for an episode of The Little Rascals, wherein the he-man women haters club has become a militia.

  62. coozledad said on January 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Wow. The Republican version of Serrano’s Piss-Christ:
    http://www.5min.com/Video/Sarah-Palin-Theyre-Trying-To-Crucify-Newt-Gingrich-517256863
    Do you think there’ll be Tiffany’s Easter eggs?

  63. caliban said on January 29, 2012 at 7:07 am

    eBut Cooz, Murnau or some Fronch guy did make an Our Gang movie, called Zero de Conduite (You must have seen this):

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7559210598531959197

    that Lindsay Anderson surely watched before he made the masterpiece If…

    And it has always seemed hilarious to me that people rise as one indignant elitist mob to defend Serrano and Mapplethorpe when what those fellers clearly intended was to get their work banned in Boston, or wherever prudes run things, like the USA.

  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Moe, I continue to be amazed by the number of people even on a much more progressive perspective than mine, who argue with me that drug testing public aid recipients makes sense. We’ve had this flare up (and is still not fully resolved) this legislative session; the state Senator who put forward the bill happened to come to the earthworks here for a private tour, so I had two hours with him and our state archaeologist. A couple of times I asked, noting my weekday employment with the Common Pleas Court system in our county, if he really thought this was practical or helpful, and his surprised response was that it wasn’t something he had really thought about before, but it was a response to so many constituents calling for it. I actually ended up believing him (I’d figured it was a pure pander, not an electoral one), and he asked me “I thought most juvenile court & adult probation staff were for this?”

    My response was that we know drug use is the one independently confirmable way to see if someone is following their diversion (juvenile) or probation plan, and that most of our clients actually show up at hearings, if they think they’re going to lockup immediately upon conclusion, with drugs in their system, so we have to medically prepare for dealing with that. In other words, yes, we see lots of people using who shouldn’t be — but we’re also the first to say that while we wouldn’t want to lose this tool, it’s huge expense to manage about a twentieth of our case load. That’s for people who have made a legal mistake, and 19 out of 20 get it and don’t reoffend. Most of us don’t believe that the number is higher, and in fact is considerably lower for aid recipients. So the question is: how much are we going to spend to sanction 3-5% of that population, and what will the collateral costs be?

    So no, I’m not for it. I do think regular pot smoking by juveniles is a sign of deeper problems, not that pot is so evil, but again, it’s as good an independent indicator as we can get. Even there, it’s not a perfect screening tool. But if we were to entirely legalize pot, I think the consequences, justice-system-wise, might be surprising.

  65. caliban said on January 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Jeff, the drug-testing idea is a lot like putting armbands on Jews. And marijuana should be legalized. And people in jail for pot should be released. It’s the sad state of our country that arresting people for weed enriches aholes that are friends of politicians because they run privatized jails. Three-strikes puts junkies in jail until they die. Does that make any sense at all?

    Anyway, so far as pot is concerned, Robert Parrish smoked pot frequently. If it deterred from his game or made him a lesser contributor to society, nobody noticed. And he still punched out that revolting creep Lamebeer, the dirtiest player in the history of professional sports.

  66. brian stouder said on January 29, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Caliban, the armband metaphor is interesting.

    Maybe they can combine drug-testing with eligibility for voter registration, eh?

    (Except that it’s unclear whether this would eliminate more “urban” lower class “food-stamp president” voters; or disqualify more meth-making manufactured-housing toothless Newtie voters)

  67. caliban said on January 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Well, Brian, the voter registration crap is so obviously aimed at Democratic voters, and so obviously bogus, it’s kinda hard to dispute. I;m not making any claim, but the intention is fucking obvious and these bastards intend ti supress voting,

  68. beb said on January 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Moe #58: When I see fashion designs like those my first thought is “are they serious?” I can’t imagine anyone wearing clothes even remotely based on those designs. Walking around in public in your pajamas would be less embarrassing.

    Julie @60: I have no idea whether the suppliers to Costco treat their workers any better or worse than Costco’s. It would be nice if they did. Apple with its market domination of iTunes, iPads and iPhone, can exert pressure on suppliers to treat their workers better and still maintain a profit margin. Costco is in a more competitive environment. That they treat their workers better is, perhaps. the best we can hope for.

    Jeff @64: I always am fascinated by your accounts in the trenches. The blogger atrios has often mentioned that the costs of welfare fraud detection is often higher than the amount saved, suggesting that it’s cheaper to ignore a little fraud.

  69. brian stouder said on January 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

    beb & Moe – If I was in a store and someone walked in dressed like that, I’d think we were about to witness an armed robbery

  70. brian stouder said on January 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    And let me just say – despite being fashion-illiterate – watching the SAG rewards, it seemed to me that Maryl Streep was wearing a hefty garbage bag and a biker belt.

    Just sayin’…

  71. Linda said on January 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Re: drug testing welfare recipients. Is this because they are too immoral to receive our aid? If so, let’s go the whole hog: we’ll make every business person with an SBA backed loan, or researchers using federal money, or farmers receiving federal subsidies deposit their wee-wee in a cup. We need to stop thinking of the poor as our personal pets, and behaving with petty vindictive bullshit like this. In fact, since legislators work for us, the sponsors of that bill can just make themselves comfy over a little plastic cup.

  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

    It is cheaper to ignore a little fraud. It is cheaper to overlook a low level probation violation and not send to lock up. It is simpler to allow some reasonable excused absence when it doesn’t affect classroom achievement.

    Literal enforcement of every law, board policy, and school guideline would result in even lower graduation rates and huge increases in incarceration. The problematic flipside is that this means we rely on all of us on the blunt end of these policies to use judgment, a gift God has not chosen to share equally as with eyeballs or anuses. Some officials just judgment like a scalpel in the hands of a gifted surgeon, and some use it like a blackjack in the hands of a corrupt Chicago cop, whacking people they don’t like, whacking innocent people for the ones they do.

    If the answer is to order everyone to a strict, absolute compliance policy and all consequences to be applied without exception (think “zero tolerance”), it’s gonna cost you. Plus it will be stupid in many small but significant ways, too. I’m just telling you about the application, not about to reveal the answer. I don’t know.

    I do know I’m getting a crown installed at 8 am, then meeting a nearly 18 year old who has used up every last chance we have, who could graduate this May and yet is more committed to displaying his defiance and contempt for authority in every way he can short of getting the police called, more than he seems to want to diploma that’s within his reach. The frustrated Dean of Students wants me to either get the student to not disrupt classrooms anymore, or give him grounds to expel (a joint was found in his vehicle, QED), and my toolbox for a 17.85 year old student has partial roll of duck tape, a long-handled wrench, and can of WD40 in it, no more. Will my half numb mouth and throbbing jaw allow me to use proper judgment in talking to Mr. Mouthy at 9:30 am? Holy Mary, Mother of God, have mercy on us sinners, now and in the hour of our potentially life-changing errors out of frustration and irritation. Amen.

  73. coozledad said on January 30, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Linda: I wonder what kind of embalming fluid you’d find in this liar’s tinkle?
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/brewer_has_history_of_getting_facts_wrong.php?ref=fpb

    You’ve also got to be a little curious about shouty oblate turd humidor Chris Christie. There’s no way he’s running on lead-free.