Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
Four new man-made gases are helping deplete the ozone layer, researchers from the University of East Anglia, in England, claim in a new study — the details of which were recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
“Our research has shown four gases that were not around in the atmosphere at all until the 1960s which suggests they are man-made,” lead researcher Dr. Johannes said in a news release.
The four gasses are chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases, which were invented in 1920s for use in refrigeration and aerosol sprays. These types of gases have been banned globally since 2010, and regulated since the 1980s, but loopholes still exist.
“CFCs are the main cause of the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica,” the researchers write.
Scientists say they’re unsure of where these new gases are coming from. “Possible sources include feedstock chemicals for insecticide production and solvents for cleaning electronic components,” the study’s authors surmise.
The study claims the new chemicals break down very slowly, so even if emissions are curbed, these gases are likely to stick around in Earth’s atmosphere — eating at the ozone — for several decades.
The ozone layer sits in the lower portion of the stratosphere, some 12 to 19 miles above Earth’s surface, and blocks roughly 97 percent of all the sun’s ultra violent rays — rays that could otherwise prove biologically harmful for animal and plant life.
Not so’s you’d notice if you’re making money from their production or use. Of course.
When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.
In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 — the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years…
“It’s hard to see that the state of Washington has paid a heavy penalty for having a higher minimum wage than the rest of the country,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at Brookings Institution who formerly was at the U.S. Labor Department.
Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps, as Obama proposes, would reduce employment nationally by about 500,000 workers, or about 0.3 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Feb. 18. At the same time, the increase would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and add $31 billion to the earnings of low-wage Americans, the report found…
The federal minimum-wage legislation is opposed by business groups such as the National Retail Federation, along with many Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio…
Gridlock in Congress may mean the debate is waged more immediately by states and cities instead of at the federal level…As of January, 21 states and the District of Columbia had a higher minimum wage than the federal floor. Cities including San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico, require even higher hourly earnings than the proposed federal level…
Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat elected in November…promotes raising the city’s minimum to $15. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranks 14th in a list compiled by Bloomberg of 50 cities where it’s hard for fast-food workers to gain upward mobility, based on median pay compared with rent, tuition and health-care costs. Advocates such as Murray say a higher minimum would help change that.
“We can’t rebuild this economy if it’s just people who buy 94-foot yachts and play in the derivatives,” Murray said. “You build an economy when a middle class is buying microwaves or flat-screen TVs or the next set of clothes for their kids.”
RTFA for more detail including, of course, conservative arguments against ever raising the minimum wage or even having one. You probably know those by heart by now.
We get to listen to the business and conservative side of every argument a hundred times over for any presentation of progressive programs. How ideology works in practice has never had much bearing on what America’s 1% considers fair access.
Yes, MI is an ingredient listed in these
“In the last two or three years, we’ve suddenly seen a big increase in people with this type of allergy,” said Dr. Matthew Zirwas, director of the contact dermatitis center at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “For some patients, their rash has been unexplained and going on for years.”
Zirwas says the chemical preservative is MI (methylisothiazolinone) and it has been around for years. MI is found in many water-based products like liquid soaps, hair products, sunscreen, cosmetics, laundry products and cleaners as well as pre-moistened personal hygiene products and baby wipes.
“Concentrations of the preservative have increased dramatically in some products in the last few years, as manufacturers stopped using other preservatives like paraben and formaldehyde,” Zirwas said.
The irritated skin can be red, raised, itchy and even blistery, appearing much like a reaction to poison ivy. The three most common areas affected by the allergic reaction include the face, from using soaps and shampoos, the fingers and hands, from handling the wipes, and the buttocks and genitals from using moistened flushable wipes.
“If someone suspects an allergy to moistened wipes, they need to stop using them for at least one month. A week or two isn’t enough time,” Zirwas said.
Zirwas is nationally-known as a kind of ‘dermatologist detective.’ He has spent nearly 10 years sleuthing out the causes of mysterious rashes that others can’t solve. Over the years, he has identified allergies to shoe glue, hot tub chemicals, nickel in food, even a chemical in escalator hand rails. Patients have traveled from as far as Alaska to have him diagnose their skin allergies.
Zirwas says it isn’t clear how many Americans might react to MI, but he says manufacturers are aware of the growing allergy problem and are working on alternatives.
The question easily comes to mind – what level of testing did manufacturers of products like moistened bum-wipes utilize if doctors are discovering allergic reactions are becoming common? Did anyone at the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the FDA happen to ask this question?
North Carolina regulators have cited five more Duke Energy power plants for lacking required storm water permits after a massive spill at one of the company’s coal ash dumps coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.
The state department of environment and natural resources announced Monday that Charlotte-based Duke had been issued formal notices of violation for not having the needed permits, which are required to legally discharge rainwater draining from its plants into public waterways.
Two other violations were issued Friday against the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, site of the 2 February spill. The company could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the violations.
State regulators indicated they had been aware since at least 2011 that some Duke facilities lacked the required storm water permits, yet took no enforcement action until after last month’s disaster…
The violations were issued three days after the Associated Press filed a public records request for a copy of Duke’s storm water permit for the Dan River plant. The agency responded that no such permit existed.
The operative word – once again – is collusion.
The five new violations are against Belews Creek Steam Station in Rockingham County, Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County, Lee Steam Electric Plant in Wayne County, Roxboro Steam Electric Power Plant in Person County and Sutton Steam Electric Plant in New Hanover County.
State regulators also expressed concern Friday about potentially contaminated water trickling from a stormwater pipe at the Cliffside plant. That pipe drains an emergency storm water basin built on top of an old coal ash dump, but is only supposed to drain water in severe storms.
State officials said the corrugated metal pipe is heavily corroded and taking in groundwater, which is draining out at a rate of more than 1,100 gallons a day into rocks a few feet from the Broad River.
Duke Energy and the cluster of North Carolina politicians living in their pants pockets must still be hoping the principled portion of the press, local and otherwise, is going away. Doesn’t read like that is likely. These creeps in good old boy politics and business have been caught at their game. It’s a good story and it ain’t disappearing.
In 2012, New York charities raised nearly $249 million, but telemarketers kept about 62 percent of the donations, the state attorney general says…
Often telemarketers target seniors or the disabled because they are home, answer the phone and are usually socially isolated and eager to speak with people because they are lonely. However, many are on fixed incomes and these donations are a real sacrifice that eats into funds needed for healthcare, food, prescriptions and heat.
Charities in New York City received the highest rate of return, with telemarketing campaigns taking in $42 million and returning $22 million, or 53.9 percent, while Long Island organizations fared the worst, pulling in a gross of $8 million and a net of $2 million or 25 percent…
Some of the non-profit groups with the worst percentage of money to the charity and fundraising expenses are law enforcement and veterans groups — two areas that seniors are apt to donate.
For example, the Department of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States collected 15 percent from the fundraising money, the Police Conference of New York also gained 15 percent and the state Association of Chiefs of Police received 20 percent.
For those considered a donation via a telemarketer, Schneiderman advises asking the caller making the solicitation to describe the programs conducted by the charity, how much of a donation will be used for those programs, how much the telemarketer is being paid and how much if any of a donation the charity is guaranteed to receive.
Checking up on folks asking for charitable donations should be number one. Cynicism aside, charities are a great source of marks for any hustler. The NY AG’s report [.pdf] is available over here – and it’s useful whether or not you live in the Empire State.
“What do you mean…sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?”
Boeing has unveiled a smartphone that appears to come straight from a James Bond spy movie…In addition to encrypting calls, any attempt to open the casing of the Boeing Black Smartphone deletes all data and renders the device inoperable.
The secure phone marks an extension of the communications arm of the Chicago-based aerospace and defense contractor, which is best known for jetliners and fighter planes…
Boeing’s tamper-proof phone is aimed at government agencies and contractors who need to keep communication and data secure, according to Boeing and filings with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission…
Due to the phone’s security features, Boeing is releasing few details about the wireless network operators or manufacturer it is working with, and has not provided a price or date by which the phone might be widely available, but said it has begun offering the phone to potential customers.
Boeing’s website says the phone can be configured to connect with biometric sensors or satellites. Other attachments can extend battery life or use solar power…
“We saw a need for our customers in a certain market space” that Boeing could meet with its technology expertise, she said.
That’s a polite way of saying – “we already deal with the creepiest paranoids in the United States government. This is one more way we can rake in more taxpayer dollars.”
Walt Disney World has jumped on the bandwagon of businesses pulling their funding from Boy Scouts of America, as the organization still refuses to end its ban on openly LGBT adults.
Charitable contributions will no longer be made to BSA or local troops as part of Walt Disney World’s “Ears For You” grant program…
Scouts for Equality co-founder and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls praised Walt Disney World’s decision.
“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive. Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”
As the straight son of a lesbian couple, Wahls has been working to reverse the BSA’s policies of discrimination and exclusion. Since its inception in 2012, Scouts for Equality has succeeded in influencing seven major corporations – including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World — to end their sponsorship.
Bravo! I give Disney credit for joining a Free America. And kudos to Zach Wahls for his courage confronting an outdated administration. Scouting can do some real good – when ethics come up to constitutional standards.
The hijacking of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 airliner on 17 February has seen the Swiss Air Force subject to widespread ridicule as it was unable to respond due to the incident occurring ‘outside of office hours’, international media has reported.
With Swiss Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Northrop F-5 Tiger II fighters being unavailable due to the timing of the incident at 4am on Monday morning, Italian Eurofighter Typhoon and French Mirage 2000 jets, which had earlier intercepted the airliner as it passed through their respective airspaces were forced to remain on station as the Ethopian Airlines co-pilot diverted his aircraft to Geneva Airport.
“Switzerland [could not] intervene because its air bases are closed at night and on the weekend … It’s a question of budget and staffing,” Swiss Air Force spokesperson Laurent Savary was quoted as telling the AFP…
…The hijacking brings into focus the lack of resources available to the country’s air force at a time when it is looking to procure 22 new Gripen E fighters from Saab.
A national referendum into that procurement is due to go ahead on 18 May, and the air force’s embarrassment at its seeming inability to carry out its core mission to safeguard the national airspace could hardly have come at a worse time. With the government looking to convince the Swiss people of the need to spend US$3.5 billion on new fighter aircraft, many in Switzerland and beyond will be questioning whether that money might be better spent in properly funding the assets it already has.
Or they could spend the money developing a few more resorts to provide income and employment for the few not already making a living off 19th Century idiots who attach more importance to war and belligerence than peacefully going their own way.
Look at the circular reasoning in this event: The co-pilot wanted asylum. He waited till the pilot was off taking a pee and locked him out. Because the whole world has to change procedures because of 9-11 in the US, the air marshall on board [remember 9-11] and the pilot couldn’t break in through the new specially reinforced cockpit door [remember 9-11]. Why were fighter jets from France and Italy scrambled to follow the hijacked plane in to the Swiss border – remember 9-11 and be ready to shoot down the airliner if it looks ready to crash into something.
Multiply that by the thousands of commercial aircraft in the air at any minute around the world.
The Swiss don’t belong to NATO, don’t belong to the military forces of the EU and haven’t invaded another European country since Hector was a pup…BTW. They’re not worried about being invaded except during normal working hours.
Credit card company Capital One’s new terms of service allow the company to contact cardholders in any way possible, including a visit to the person’s residence.
According to their new agreement, Capital One can “contact you in any manner we choose.” This includes calls, texts, mail, emails, and even a personal visit at work or home if the cardholder is behind on payments.
The new terms received a lot of response on social media causing the credit card giant to issue a press release on its website, “Capital One does not visit our cardholders, nor do we send debt collectors to their homes or work,” says the statement.
And, uh, then, they offer the first exception of what may be more to come. In the case of secured collateral, jet skis, bass boat, motorcycle, whatever – “we may go to a customer’s home after appropriate notification if it becomes necessary to repossess the sports vehicle.”