Going searching for that perfect holiday gift? Make sure it’s union made in America. Check out this Made in America, union-made gift guide. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411. Gifts include those made by members of UNITE HERE, Boilermakers (IBB), Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW), Teamsters (IBT), UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW (RWDSU/UFCW) and United Farm Workers (UFW).
i don’t think anyone really understands how much compliments actually mean to me like i usually brush them off with a joke and a quick “thank you” but really i remember compliments for forever so if you’ve ever complimented me or done something nice for me thank you so much wow
He’s not setting out to make money with xkit, and wants to keep it free and without adds. Sending a couple bucks his way (if you can) will help him cover the cost of the servers that keep xkit running. Even if you can’t donate, please pass it on so others know about this opportunity!
The Justice Department has just obtained documents showing that JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street’s biggest bank, has been hiring the children of China’s ruling elite in order to secure “existing and potential business opportunities” from Chinese government-run companies. “You all know I have always been a big believer of the Sons and Daughters program,” says one JP Morgan executive in an email, because “it almost has a linear relationship” to winning assignments to advise Chinese companies. The documents even include spreadsheets that list the bank’s “track record” for converting hires into business deals.
It’s a serious offense. But let’s get real. How different is bribing China’s “princelings,” as they’re called there, from Wall Street’s ongoing program of hiring departing U.S. Treasury officials, presumably in order to grease the wheels of official Washington? Timothy Geithner, Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, is now president of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus; Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag is now a top executive at Citigroup.
Or, for that matter, how different is what JP Morgan did in China from Wall Street’s habit of hiring the children of powerful American politicians? (I don’t mean to suggest Chelsea Clinton got her hedge-fund job at Avenue Capital LLC, where she worked from 2006 to 2009, on the basis of anything other than her financial talents.)
And how much worse is JP Morgan’s putative offense in China than the torrent of money JP Morgan and every other major Wall Street bank is pouring into the campaign coffers of American politicians — making the Street one of the major backers of Democrats as well as Republicans?
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, under which JP Morgan could be indicted for the favors it has bestowed in China, is quite strict. It prohibits American companies from paying money or offering anything of value to foreign officials for the purpose of “securing any improper advantage.” Hiring one of their children can certainly qualify as a gift, even without any direct benefit to the official.
JP Morgan couldn’t even defend itself by arguing it didn’t make any particular deal or get any specific advantage as a result of the hires. Under the Act, the gift doesn’t have to be linked to any particular benefit to the American firm as long as it’s intended to generate an advantage its competitors don’t enjoy.
Compared to this, corruption of American officials is a breeze. Consider, for example, Countrywide Financial’s generous “Friends of Angelo” lending program, named after its chief executive, Angelo R. Mozilo, that gave discounted mortgages to influential members of Congress and their staffs before the housing bubble burst. No criminal or civil charges have ever been filed related to these loans.
Even before the Supreme Court’s shameful 2010 “Citizens United” decision — equating corporations with human beings under the First Amendment, and thereby shielding much corporate political spending – Republican appointees to the Court had done everything they could to blunt anti-bribery laws in the United States. In 1999, in “United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers,” Justice Scalia, writing for the Court, interpreted an anti-bribery law so loosely as to allow corporations to give gifts to public officials unless the gifts are linked to specific policies.
We don’t even require that American corporations disclose to their own shareholders the largesse they bestow on our politicians. Last year around this time, when the Securities and Exchange Commission released its 2013 to-do list, it signaled it might formally propose a rule to require corporations to disclose their political spending. The idea had attracted more than 600,000 mostly favorable comments from the public, a record response for the agency.
But the idea mysteriously slipped off the 2014 agenda released last week, without explanation. Could it have anything to do with the fact that, soon after becoming SEC chair last April, Mary Jo White was pressed by Republican lawmakers to abandon the idea, which was fiercely opposed by business groups.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is important, and JP Morgan should be nailed for bribing Chinese officials. But, if you’ll pardon me for asking, why isn’t there a Domestic Corrupt Practices Act?
Never before has so much U.S. corporate and Wall-Street money poured into our nation’s capital, as well as into our state capitals. Never before have so many Washington officials taken jobs in corporations, lobbying firms, trade associations, and on the Street immediately after leaving office. Our democracy is drowning in big money.
Corruption is corruption, and bribery is bribery, in whatever country or language it’s transacted in.
For years, she was known to the public as the Bloomingdale Library rape victim.
Then, in 2011, her family asked she be called the Bloomingdale Library rape survivor.
Now, she wants people to just call her Queena.
On the night of April 24, 2008, when Queena went to the Bloomingdale Library to return books, she was raped, beaten and left to die. She was 18, about to graduate high school and getting ready to attend the University of Florida on a full scholarship. Her attacker, Kendrick Morris, now 21, was convicted in May 2011 and is serving a 65-year state prison sentence.
Since then, her family and the community have held fundraisers and 5K races to raise money for her treatment, never revealing her name or showing her face.
On Saturday, the family will launch a new website, JoinQueena.com. The site documents Queena’s life and recovery. It features updates on her progress from her doctors, therapists and her family, photos and a link to donate through PayPal.
The family wanted a way for the public to help Queena, now turning 23, without having to write a check or go to a bank, her mother Vanna, 50, said.
But they wanted a better name for the website than “Bloomingdale Survivor.” Friends offered suggestions like “My Angel” or “Living Angel.” Queena would make a face, with her mouth in the shape of an O, to indicate no, she didn’t like those.
Her sister, Anna, 26, asked her: Did she just want Queena.com? Her face lit up with a smile, Vanna said. They asked her over and over, are you sure you want to use your real name?
She was sure. She wants to be an inspiration, her sister said, not a victim. They decided on JoinQueena.com.
At the request of the family, and because of the nature of the crime, last names are being withheld by the Tampa Bay Times.
The attack left Queena unable to walk, talk, see or eat on her own. She lives at home southeast of Tampa with her mother, who cares for her full time. But she has made some progress, Anna said.
Queena eats pureed foods, can form some syllables and can stand for periods of time with little assistance, Anna said. She has taken a few steps with the help of therapists and is tracking objects with her eyes better.
Her therapies include speech, physical and occupational, aquatic, yoga, neuro-stimulating treatments, acupuncture, massage and music.
Medicaid covers $1,500 per year for speech and physical therapy. But it costs the family about $70,000 a year for all of Queena’s therapies and medical supplies.
Queena has different therapy sessions each week in St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Valrico and Sun City Center. Her mother drives her, and the cost for gas adds up.
The family relies on donations to a fund for Queena through the Bank of Tampa and SunTrust. In the first three years after the attack, donations poured in. People still donate, but every year donations are fewer and fewer, Vanna said. She’s concerned about the fund running dry.
She’s worried about bankruptcy. She’s worried they’ll have to cut back therapies, that she won’t be able to take Queena out as much. When they go out, people talk to Queena and she listens to everyone around her. It’s good for her, Vanna says, because it stimulates her brain.
"I get afraid," she said.
In addition to the website launch, Queena will attend a 23rd birthday celebration her family is holding for her at 1 p.m. Saturday at Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City, with a prayer vigil at 2 p.m.
"Every time her birthday rolls around, we are all reminded of how precious life is," Anna said. "To see the community come together every year, it is very heartwarming and gives the family that extra comfort and motivation to keep pushing forward."
On Wednesday, Queena lay in a hospital bed in her blue room at home, where her physical therapist comes for the day’s session. Her therapy dog, Charlie, a little white Shih Tzu adopted from county Animal Services last year, waits for her in another room. Medical supplies share the shelves with stuffed animals and Gators memorabilia. The therapist works with Queena while her home health aide looks on. He works on her leg muscles while she’s lying down. He props small inflatable balls under her legs and has her push against his hands with her foot.
They slowly help her up so her arms are resting on balls on either side of her. The therapist tells her to look straight ahead. When she’s sitting up, he’ll let go of her for seconds at a time to work on sitting up on her own. He’ll ask if she’s doing okay. She makes a noise to tell him she’s all right.
Paula McDonald of Wimauma helped put together the website. She got to know Queena’s family when her daughter, Kendall, was a senior at East Bay High School last year. Kendall and other students at East Bay, which Queena had attended, helped organize a 5K fundraiser, and McDonald offered to help the family any way she could.
McDonald works in design and communications, and in November got in touch with Full Media, an Internet marketing company in Georgia she had worked with before, to get some tips on how to set up Queena’s website. The company ended up offering to create the site for the family.
"They really stepped up to the plate," McDonald said. "They were really interested in Queena’s story and helping with the website."
McDonald admires the family’s sense of strength and forgiveness, she said.
"For me as a parent, it hits close to home," she said. "Parents of teenage daughters, especially, you never hope to find yourself in that situation."
As kids, Queena and Anna were inseparable, Anna said. Their mother worked a lot, and Anna babysat her sister.
"We played together, slept in bunk beds, took the bus together, went to sleepovers together, crossed the street together," she said. "We were opposites, but we rarely fought."
Her sister was “Miss Bossy,” Anna said. “She cracked me up all the time, and still does. She has a cute, klutzy personality and it’s hard not to laugh at her nonsense.”
Like the time, just after getting her driver’s license, Queena drove her sister to the mall for the first time. She pulled into a parking spot, got out, shut the door, then realized the keys were still in the car. And the car was still running.
"She is the best, most supportive and fun sister I could have ever asked for," Anna said.
Anna has lived with Queena and their mother for the past five years to help with Queena’s care. She’s moving soon, to a house about 15 minutes away. Queena has already staked claim on her bedroom for when she visits.
Queena’s journey has put life into perspective, Anna said.
"It’s almost impossible to have a bad day when I think of everything that she has gone through and the resilience that she shows," Anna said. "Life is about family and community and doing the best you can to positively influence those around you."
I wish more people would reblog instead of just liking this post since her family is struggling financially. They’re constantly having to host fundraisers to pay for her medical bills.
Just to remind everyone of how gruesome this case was, in addition to being sexually assaulted, the perpetrator "[Kendrick] Morris beat [Queena] so badly, he broke her nose and fractured her skull. She can no longer see, walk or talk."
The biggest downside of the ACA is the reliance on the private insurance industry. It does not have to be this way, however. There is yet another provision in the Affordable Care Act that can open the door for states to institute their own single-payer healthcare system. Other states have a public option, especially for those below a certain income level, but no state had instituted a true single-payer system. All of this has changed thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
Vermont—Home of Ben and Jerry’s, Maple Syrup, Bernie Sanders and the first state to pass marriage equality. Now, Vermont will be known for something that will impact every resident in the state.
The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.
The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out.
The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.
This system will provide an instant boost the state economy. On the one side, you have workers that no longer have to worry about paying medical costs or a monthly premium and are able to use that money for other things. On the other side, you have the burden of paying insurance taken off of the employers side, who will be able to use the saved money to provide a better wage and/or reinvest in their company through updated infrastructure and added jobs. It is a win-win solution