Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Last Call

Podcast Vs. The Stupid episode 18 is up:  Binders Full Of Women.  Bon and I dive into the second Presidential debate in detail for the hour, and discuss how Mitt blew it again.

Listen to internet radio with Zandar Versus The Stupid on Blog Talk Radio

As always, you can right-click and download here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.


The Apple/Foxconn story just keeps getting more odious ahead of next week's expected announcement of the iPad Mini in San Jose, and there's a whole new raft of questions the tech giant will have to face now that Foxconn has actually managed to break Chinese labor laws with underage workers.

Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has acknowledged hiring teenagers as young as 14 in a Chinese factory, in breach of national law, in a case that raises further questions over its student intern program.

Labor rights activists in China have accused Foxconn and other big employers in China of using student interns as a cheap source of labor for production lines where it is more difficult to attract young adult workers to lower paid jobs.

Foxconn, the trading name of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, said it had found some interns at a plant in Yantai, in northeastern Shandong province, were under the legal working age of 16. It did not say how many were underage.

"Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This is not only a violation of China's labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions."

Sure it is.  And Foxconn gets busted again for awful labor practices.  One has to wonder how long Apple can keep the shine on its stock while opposition to Foxconn mounts.  At some point Apple's going to have to answer, and I don't think the company's going to be able to pretend they don't have a sweatshop issue for much longer.

We'll see.

There's A Flag On The Play

How far have the New Orleans Saints fallen since their historic Super Bowl win 3 years ago?  Ask fan David Mancina, who is suing the Saints organization for five million bucks.

In a class action lawsuit filed this week, first spotted by The Times-Picayune, Mancina calls for other Saints fans to join in free of charge to pursue a claim against the National Football League and league commissioner Roger Goodell for their roles in the suspension of several top players and members of the team’s management staff, including the head coach and general manager.

The NFL said earlier this year that the Saints had a “bounty” program that paid financial rewards to players who injured certain opponents. Defensive players were given $1,000 bonuses delivering a hit to an opponent that got him carted off the field and $1,500 if the injury was game-ending.

Four players were suspended along with members of management, and though Goodell reduced two of the players’ sentences, he said last week that he supports the league’s decision.

“Our investigation disclosed nearly two dozen players who either contributed to, or received money from, the pool operated by the Saints’ defense,” he told reporters on Tuesday, October 9. “The four disciplined players either were involved in specific bounties on an opposing player, contributed substantially to the bounty program, engaged in payments that violated League rules or were untruthful when the program was initially investigated.”

That didn’t quite wash for Mancina, a season ticket holder. He told ABC News affiliate WGNO in New Orleans on Tuesday that the league has a responsibility to inform people like him that it may suspend players and coaches at will.

“The NFL was not up front when I bought my tickets,” he said. “It’d be like buying tickets to go see ‘The Rolling Stones’ in February for a performance in the fall, and Mic Jagger’s not there.”

That seems like the suit will get dismissed out of hand, but something tells me it won't be the last time we'll see fans sue organizations like this, especially if behavior is bad enough to warrant suspensions like the Saints were slapped with after Bountygate in the off-season.

Who knows?  This guy's suit might actually go somewhere.

School Sweeps Sexual Assault Allegations Under The Rug

Laclede Co., Mo. -- Laclede County R-I School Board members met Monday night to talk about allegations of extreme bullying on a school bus full of Conway Junior High School boys.  A sixth grader told his parents group of boys forced him to take part in sexual acts on a bus during a field trip in May of last year.

"He got up and said, 'Mom, I gotta' tell you something.  It's really, really bad.' And he started telling me what happened," said the mother of the sixth grader allegedly bullied.

The child's mother said what she heard next was a disturbing account of three junior high school boys ganging up on her sixth grade son, exposing themselves, and performing sexual acts.

"It was so hard for him to tell, because he knew this group of boys was going to give him a terrible time at school for telling, and they have," she said,

The child's parents said it all happened in the back of a school bus headed to Branson for an end-of-the-year field trip.  They said the superintendent told them any disciplinary actions would happen the following school year.

"I would never, ever believe that a school administrator would hear something like this and not do anything," the child's mother said.
The actions qualify as both assault and sexual misconduct.  This was forced on a little boy, by his peers, and the school did nothing.  There was no follow-up.  In fact, the boy has had death threats made against him.  In his experience of the world, the bullies have the upper hand.  This isn't name calling or standard bullying behavior.  This is sexual assault.

The school replied with a thoughtless canned response saying they are dealing with it according to policy and student safety is a priority.  Apparently not, on both counts.  Unless it's policy to leave a defenseless kid without a safe haven and dismiss him when he shared very embarrassing things.

They should be ashamed.

Springfield, MO Local Pride

The longtime executive producer for Meet the Press, a NASA project manager and a Tuskegee Airman all got their starts in Springfield Public Schools.
The three, who soared to the top of their chosen career fields, will be inducted as the 2012 class of the Springfield Public Schools Hall of Fame.
The ceremony honoring Betty Cole Dukert, Charles Armstrong and Stewart Fulbright will be 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the White River Convention Center.
I won't be able to attend, but I am proud of our little area.  For such a small and isolated place, we have hatched more than our share of celebrities and recorded some key moments in history.  These are all role models that show we can be intelligent and hardworking people.  We can be driven and we can be surprising.  We are more than just Brad Pitt.

Red State, Blue State, Green State Debate

It wouldn't be a Presidential campaign season it seems without the most important duty of a third party candidate: getting arrested while trying to get into the televised debate.

In an act of civil disobedience to protest their exclusion from the presidential debates, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested outside the site of the second debate on Tuesday.

Stein and Honkala attempted to enter the debate hall at Hofstra University, but were refused entry by police because they lacked credentials.

Stein said the presidential debate was a “mockery of democracy” because it only included Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Stein will appear on about 85 percent of state ballots this year. Another presidential candidate, Libertarian Gary Johnson, will also be on the ballot in at least 47 states. But neither third-party candidate will be included in the presidential debates.

After failing to outmaneuver a number of police officers who had created a blockade, Stein and Honkala sat down in the middle of the street. They were informed by an officer that if they did not move, then they would be arrested for blocking traffic.

Honkala responded that she didn’t want to block traffic, she just wanted to get into the debate. Stein and Honkala were then arrested without incident.

Well, that's certainly useful.

Look, I'm very sympathetic to the aims of the Green party, especially on global warming.  But pouting about not getting invited to the debate is just going through the motions, and it doesn't solve anything other than where Jill Stein spent Tuesday night.  What we need is a Congress willing to write legislation.  Green party needs to be focusing on Congress, not the White House.

That's just my take.

Debate Deblogging

As I said last night, President Obama got a pretty solid win last night, and the partisan Republican crowd scoring the debate at CNN agreed.

Forty-six percent of voters who watched Tuesday night's presidential debate said that the president won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Tuesday night's faceoff here at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. Thirty-nine percent questioned said Republican nominee Mitt Romney did the better job.

Obama's seven-point advantage came among a debate audience that was somewhat more Republican than the country as a whole and is within the survey's sampling error.

Pundit reaction below the jump.


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