G.M. pledge to get leaner includes 30% off the top

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Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

General Motors, which emerged from bankruptcy on Friday, now must tackle its next thorny problem — its own management team.

The company’s chief executive, Fritz Henderson, plans to ask more than 400 of the 1,300 executives in the United States to resign or retire.

“It’s a very painful process,” Mr. Henderson said in an interview on Friday, just hours after G.M. emerged from its 40-day tour through Chapter 11. “We don’t have a lot of bad executives. We just have too many of them.”

The cuts pale in comparison to the tens of thousands of factory workers and salaried employees who have been eliminated during G.M.’s long decline.

But even as G.M. racked up huge losses in recent years, the company hardly touched its bloated management ranks, where even the most obscure vice presidents were given their own public relations person…

G.M. has traditionally been more insular than its crosstown rivals Ford and Chrysler, and rarely fired senior executives, even if their business units performed poorly.

Instead, executives would be moved to a different job, often overseas.

But now that G.M. is a government-owned entity that has received $50 billion in federal loans, the company cannot afford “business as usual,” Mr. Henderson said.

RTFA. Ain’t a bad start. Hope they pick and choose well – who they keep, who they nudge out the door.

GM isn’t building anything I’d want to own – yet – but, I’d like to be able to give them the chance.

Lawsuit filed in Saudi court against ‘genie’

A family in Saudi Arabia is taking a “genie” to court, accusing it of theft and harassment.

They accuse the spirit of threatening them, throwing stones and stealing mobile phones, Al Watan newspaper said.

The family have lived in the same house near the city of Medina for 15 years but say they only recently became aware of the spirit. They have now moved out.

A local court is investigating. In Islamic theology, genies are spirits that can harass or possess humans.

“We began to hear strange sounds,” the head of the family, who come from Mahd Al Dahab, told the Saudi daily. He did not want to be named.

“At first we did not take it seriously, but then stranger things started to happen and the children got particularly scared when the genie started throwing stones.”

He added: “A woman spoke to me first, and then a man. They said we should get out of the house.”

A local court says it is trying to verify the truthfulness of the claims “despite the difficulty” of doing so.

Yeah, it’s a quiet weekend in Santa Fe County. Gardening, strolling the fenceline with the dogs, very little football on the telly [U.S. v Haiti, tonight] – may as well blog a little bit about sillyass Stone Age superstitions.

Matches up well with some other reports of silliness.

Operation FALCON nets 35,190 fugitives in annual thug sweep

More than 35,000 fugitives across the United States were arrested in June as part of an annual sweep that teams the U.S. Marshals Service with local law enforcement in a summer push to clean up the streets.

Among the 35,190 fugitives apprehended during Operation FALCON (Federal and Local Cops Operating Nationally) were 2,356 fugitive sex offenders, the service said.

“This might be considered the cream of the crop for the most violent felons that are out there. For example, we arrested 433 murder suspects,” said U.S. Marshals director John F. Clark at a Chicago news conference…

One operation involved a Cleveland, Ohio, Police SWAT team and the U.S. Marshals, who were following a lead on Jeremiah Jackson, 29, who was wanted for murder, accused of shooting a woman in the back during a robbery.

On June 9, the team surrounded a house where an intelligence surveillance team said Jackson might be. Jackson was reported to be armed and dangerous. But Deputy U.S. Marshal Brian Koerbel said once Jackson saw the team, it had its man.

“When he saw he really had nowhere to go, he gave himself up,” said Koerbel. “He made the statement, ‘I’m the guy you’re looking for and I’ll come right down.’ ”

I happened to catch local coverage of the operation here in New Mexico – and went looking for national numbers.

Some of this stuff is so obvious you have to wonder about the people normally leading investigations. Like, the number one tactic utilized by the marshals was door-knocking in the neighborhood to ask if anyone knew where such-and-such a fugitive may have moved on to?

That was one of the positives in the Albuquerque area. The marshals said they received more cooperation than ever before – because people were getting fed up with gangsters being left alone to run the streets.

Gay couple arrested for a public kiss – UPDATED


The reach of God extends everywhere

A gay couple says they were detained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints security guards after one man kissed another on the cheek Thursday on Main Street Plaza.

“They targeted us,” said Matt Aune, 28. “We weren’t doing anything inappropriate or illegal, or anything most people would consider inappropriate for any other couple.”

Aune and his partner, Derek Jones, 25, were cited by Salt Lake City police for trespassing on the plaza, located at 50 East North Temple, according to Sgt. Robin Snyder.

In a written statement, church spokeswoman Kim Farah denied the two were singled out for being gay. “Two individuals came on church property and were politely asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior — just as any other couple would have been,” she said. She declined to comment on what is considered inappropriate behavior, and on the rules governing the plaza.

Though Salt Lake City sold the property to the church in the late 1990s, it remains a popular pedestrian thoroughfare, and a site where couples often pose affectionately for photos.

Snyder refused to name the reason security guards gave for alerting police, saying it is “irrelevant.”

I keep forgetting Utah is a theocracy. I guess we all need reminding from time to time that parts of America have their own version of Sharia law.

Here’s the tale of woe from one of the targets of state religion.

UPDATE: Kiss-ins have become a regular occurrence. Prompting – one would hope – some reflection on civil rights among the chosen few.

New York Attorney General suing social-networking site for spam

The state of New York plans to sue the social-networking site Tagged.com for allegedly using deceptive e-mails in order to gain new users, said the Office of the Attorney General.

From April through June, Tagged sent 60 million e-mails to people saying that members of the site had tagged them in photos but the photos did not exist. The e-mails that people received appeared to come from their friends but did not, which constitutes spam. The recipients were forced to become members of Tagged if they wanted to access the purported photos, the office alleges.

Tagged, which has been around for five years, would then illegally get access to those new users’ e-mail address books and send out more messages without those users’ knowledge. Tagged will be sued for deceptive e-mail marketing practices and invasion of privacy.

“Simply put, it was too easy for people to quickly go through the registration process and unintentionally invited all their contacts,” Tagged CEO Greg Tseng wrote on his blog. Tagged halted the new registration scheme on June 7. It also e-mailed new members telling them how to quit Tagged.

The Attorney General’s office said it would seek to stop Tagged from engaging in fraudulent practices and pursue fining the company.

Go get ’em, Andrew!

SCLC homophobia more important than civil rights

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the 50-year-old civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, is seeking to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter in response to his support of same-sex marriage in California.

The effort by the Atlanta-based organization is meeting stiff resistance in Los Angeles from both the board of the local chapter, whose chairman is secretary of the state’s Democratic Party, and the City Council president.

During the battle last fall over Proposition 8, an amendment to the State Constitution that banned same-sex marriage, the chapter’s president, the Rev. Eric P. Lee, was more than a tangential figure for the opposition. He was front and center at an opposition group’s large rally at City Hall and marched in the blazing sun for 15 miles in Fresno. Many other local African-American pastors prepared mailings featuring church leaders in support of the proposition and linking their views to Barack Obama, then the Democratic nominee for president…

While the Mormon Church raised a great deal of the money in support of the proposition, the role of African-American churches, and their voting parishioners, was not insignificant. The Edison/Mitofsky exit poll in California found that 70 percent of black voters backed the ban, which passed with 52 percent of the vote.

Mr. Lee said that his opposition to Proposition 8 had “created tension in my life I had never experienced with black clergy.”

“But it was clear to me,” he added, “that any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have, that is a clear violation of civil rights and I have to speak up on that.”

The SCLC then blathered their way through some bureaucratic maneuvering – and attempted to remove Lee.

Because chapters of the leadership conference operate autonomously and presidents are picked by local boards, it is not clear that the national organization has the authority to remove Mr. Lee from his post, which he has held for two years.

“It’s been our position that the local board hired him,” said Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, chairman of the local board and secretary of the California Democratic Party. “And, in fact, we are also the ones that approved his stance on the position of marriage equality. We have asked the national board if we have violated any procedures, and we have not gotten an answer.”

I’ve been in civil rights battles with SCLC ministers alongside folks in the front lines. I will never question their courage or dedication – to civil rights as it affected them directly.

Unfortunately, devotion to arcane religious precepts apparently trumps civil rights in their own minds. Too bad. Not unexpected; but, still, it tarnishes an otherwise progressive history.

The bigots who used to try to kill and injure them – will now line up to shake their hands.

They’re still not invited into the parlor, you understand.

Demand leads Sharp to increase LCD panel production

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The economy might still be in a fragile condition but it seems consumers can’t get enough of flat-panel televisions. Sharp plans to increase production of LCD panels by tens of thousands of screens per month after seeing increased demand from TV makers.

Sharp will raise production at its Kameyama No. 2 factory in western Japan from 90,000 glass substrates per month to 100,000 substrates after August. Each substrate measures 2.16 meters by 2.46 meters and can be used to produce up to eight 40-inch class or six 50-inch class LCD panels. While the number of substrates will rise by 10,000 per month, the number of additional screens produced will be several times that.

The company is one of the world’s largest makers of LCD panels. It began full-scale manufacturing at the Kameyama plant in April this year and at the time said it would bring forward the start of production at its new factory in Sakai, also in western Japan, to October. Demand has continued to rise since then leading Sharp to expand the Kameyama production.

Sharp’s new $4.1 billion Sakai plant is more advanced than the Kameyama factory and will handle even larger sheets of glass. The factory will work on substrates of 2.88 meters by 3.13 meters on which large LCD panels can be made even more efficiently.

Sharp is manufacturing not only for their own needs; but, meeting requirements from other producers of TV sets and computers around the world. It’s what happens when you’re the biggest producer in the world of something as basic as LCD glass systems.

The article is good for a chuckle after you finish slogging through a week of articles by Republican politicians and analysts whining about President Obama’s economic leadership not producing any results.

Poor silly-ass conservative gits. Someone please explain what a leading indicator is to them!