Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Closing the Door on Today

"In Boston, Stanley’s opening new doors" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  July 24, 2017

In a freshly painted office in the South Boston Seaport, an engineering team from Stanley Black & Decker Inc. is dreaming of a world in which you’ll never again have to sully your hands on an unsanitary public bathroom door.

Best known for its consumer toolmaking business, the Connecticut company has its security arm working here to build an affordable device that’s capable of making almost any door open automatically when it senses motion.

The project is a key early effort for Stanley Security’s new innovation center at the Innovation & Design Building on Drydock Avenue. The company officially opened the center on Monday, part of a global effort to ferret out transformative technologies before competitors can.

“There’s a lot of companies, a lot of industries, that have been disrupted,” said Spencer Maid, a vice president at Stanley Security who is overseeing the center.

“We don’t want our legacy of 175 years of bringing innovative products and solutions . . . to dissipate.”

The Seaport site is the 11th such property that the company has opened, but the center amounts to Stanley Black & Decker’s first physical location in Boston.

The company’s health care unit is in Waltham, and it has been increasing its visibility on the local startup scene. A member of its venture arm is stationed here, and the company has been partnering with the accelerator MassChallenge, which gives it access to the region’s crop of young companies.

Though the automatic door might not be the most exciting product that consumers use, it’s a key part of Stanley Security’s business, whose offerings include surveillance camera systems and health care safety equipment.

Though there are other companies making door-opening equipment, the team at the Stanley center says they’re bulky — perhaps running the entire length of a door — and can cost upward of $2,500.

On Monday, Stanley designers were displaying a compact device about the height and width of a shoebox.

They said it was developed in the space of a few months.

The target cost? $200.


"Disney’s 38,000 Florida union workers seek wage-hike talks" by Christopher Palmeri Bloomberg News  July 25, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney Co.’s 38,000 union workers in Florida are seeking to reopen wage talks so resort employees can negotiate pay raises from the current contract minimum of $10 an hour.

Negotiations are scheduled to begin Aug. 28, Ed Chambers, president of the workers’ Service Trades Council Union, said in a statement. A committee of employees must give its final blessing at a meeting on Wednesday.

A wage hike would raise costs for Disney at a time when the company’s largest business, television, is coping with a loss of viewers to online video options. Analysts expect the bulk of the company’s profit growth to come from its parks division. Disney is also in the midst of a building boom. Attractions under construction include two, $1 billion “Star Wars” lands in Florida and California. On July 15, the company unveiled plans for a dozen other projects such as a new cruise ship and a “Star Wars” hotel in Orlando. 

I'm starting to lose my enthusiasm for the new $tuff.

The world’s largest theme-park operator signed a 5½-year contract in 2014 that allowed workers to reopen wage talks this year. The two sides have until October to reach an agreement on pay or the entire contract could be reopened, including pension and health care benefits, Chambers said in a statement.

“Our bargaining team is solid and experienced,” Chambers said. “I expect to get far more than the old 25- to 35-cent raises from the past.”

The Burbank, Calif.-based company signed the current contract, which raised pay to $10 an hour from about $8, at a time when President Barack Obama was pushing for a national minimum wage hike.

“We plan to put forth an overall employment package that is fair and equitable for the cast and the company,” Jacquee Wahler, a spokeswoman for Disney, said in an e-mail.

The Walt Disney World resort is the largest theme-park complex in the world, with four parks and 27 hotels on 25,000 acres. Disney is metropolitan Orlando’s largest employer with some 74,000 workers, or almost 40 percent of the company’s total. The company recently added 1,500 jobs to staff the new “Avatar” attraction at its Animal Kingdom park.

They missed the message of that film -- or got the wrong one.

Employees negotiate through the Service Trades Council Union, a consortium representing everyone from hotel housekeepers to employees who walk the parks in character costumes.

The workers’ wage demands haven’t been made public. The majority of Disney’s union employees make less than $15 an hour, Chambers said in the statement. Most have worked for the company for more than 10 years.

Elizabeth Hill, a 23-year-old ride operator at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, said she has worked for the company for four years and makes $10 an hour. Much of her income goes to paying tolls to and from work on her 45-minute commute, she said. Hill’s uncertain she could find another job right now because she’s pregnant and doesn’t believe other employers would hire her in that condition.

“I work hard to be where I’m at,” she said. “I live paycheck to paycheck.”


"It’s not just banks anymore. Democrats want to break up all kinds of big business" by Max Ehrenfreund Washington Post  July 25, 2017

WASHINGTON — Democrats have a new message for American workers: Giant corporations are holding back the economy by cutting back on investment and hiring, and the party is going to put a stop to it.

The pitch for stricter enforcement of antitrust laws — preventing firms from getting too big, and penalizing or dissolving those that are using their size to shut out rivals — is full of lines that will come naturally to Democratic candidates. Free competition is a basic principle of American capitalism that could appeal to small business and independent voters, while a forceful attack on corporations, a familiar villain, might animate the party’s base.

And the message is part of a broader economic agenda Democrats announced Monday as they lay out a platform for next year’s midterm elections.

But although US corporations are undoubtedly getting bigger and more powerful, there is no consensus among economists about how this trend is affecting ordinary households, and no clear answer to whether breaking them up would relieve the economic frustration that contributed to President Trump’s victory in November.

For about a century, federal regulators have worked to prevent large firms from gaining too much power. When only a few firms control one industry, they can behave like monopolies, which cut down production to drive up prices. Not only do consumers pay more, but as the pace slows down in offices and factories, workers have more trouble finding jobs.

This strategy does not succeed when firms have more competition, because rivals will simply offer more of the same product at a reduced price.

Recently, though, more corporations have been consolidating their control over more sectors of the economy, and critics have argued that regulators have been looking the other way. Under the Democratic proposal, regulators would enforce broader and stricter standards for companies seeking mergers that could reduce competition in their industry.

Always has.

For the biggest deals, the merging corporations’ lawyers would have to persuade a judge that merging would be beneficial. Democrats also propose establishing a new federal watchdog to report on large firms that are using their size to keep competitors out of the market.

Those reports would be referred to regulators at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. The white paper identifies beer, food, cable, airlines, and eyeglasses as products that might have become more expensive for ordinary consumers because the industries are controlled by a few big firms.

Economists have assembled compelling evidence that mergers in particular industries have caused prices to rise. In 2008, for example, the companies that brew Miller Lite and Coors Lite in the United States merged, and prices promptly soared from around $9.75 to around $10.40 for a 12-pack, economists found. Meanwhile, other popular beers, such as Corona Extra and Heineken, became cheaper.

Other studies have reached similar conclusions in such sectors as gasoline, dishwashers, and more. Reviewing the evidence overall, John Kwoka, an economist at Northeastern University, has argued that regulators have been too lenient, failing to protect consumers from exploitation by major firms.

Based on these case-by-case studies of particular firms, industries and products, it is difficult to say whether a lack of competition is a serious issue for the economy overall, and there is not much research yet on how corporate consolidation has affected consumers and workers in general.

That way the $tatu$ quo looting of the $y$tem can continue.


And how are the Democrats going to combat the fa$ci$m of corporate governance that fills their campaign coffers?

"Democrats embrace a populist pitch in rebranding move" Associated Press   July 25, 2017

BERRYVILLE, Va. — Promising a better deal for American workers, Democratic Party leaders rolled out a new agenda with a populist pitch on Monday as they seek to bounce back from their losses in November and look ahead to the 2018 midterms.

They left the Beltway for small-town Berryville in an attempt to appeal to the working-class voters that President Trump appealed to during the 2016 campaign and Democrats hope to win back.

‘‘Too many Americans don’t know what we stand for,’’ Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. ‘‘Not after today.’’

The Democrats’ new platform has three overarching goals: raising wages, lowering costs for families, and giving working Americans better skills for the 21st century economy.

You guys had eight long years; what the hell are you talking about?

‘‘People need to know not only what we’re fighting against, they need to know what we’re fighting for,’’ Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said.

See: Better Than What? Democrats Offer “Better Deal” Nothing Burger Plan Topped with Platitudes and Weak Sauce

Attempting to bridge all parts of the party, Democrats invited centrist Senator Mark Warren of Virginia and liberal Senator Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The event took place in the district of one of the GOP House members they hope to defeat next year, Barbara Comstock.....

Oh, so this was ALL POLITICAL THEATER and nothing more!



"US Representative Michael E. Capuano, once seen as a close ally of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, now compares to her former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. He won the World Series with the team in 2004 and 2007, but he wasn’t brought back by the Sox (whose principal owner is Globe owner John Henry) after a catastrophic collapse in the summer and fall of 2011. Pivoting back to Pelosi, the congressman said he is cognizant of the dozens of seats Democrats have lost since 2010, when the GOP took back control of the House. He could go on..... " 

I'm going to cut him off there.

What are they going to do for money?

Federal judge allows Trump panel’s voter data request

And there is a deadline

Hey, look, now they can customize the GMO food to your specific tastes!

So how did it turn out

I sure hope you won't need hospitalization.

"At least 9 migrants die of overheating in truck in San Antonio" by David Montgomery and Manny Fernandez New York Times  July 23, 2017

SAN ANTONIO — The discovery Sunday came 14 years after one of the worst episodes of mass migrant death in Texas. In May 2003, 19 unauthorized immigrants suffocated and died in the trailer of a milk truck that was found abandoned near Victoria.

Dozens of immigrants, crammed inside the trailer, struggled to survive temperatures as high as 173 degrees as the truck traveled along South Texas highways.

Those inside clawed at the truck’s insulation and broke out a taillight in an attempt to get air and alert motorists.

Experts were at odds over whether President Trump’s crackdown on immigration had increased the likelihood of such cases, but Rodríguez said the 2003 episode illustrated the persistence of the problem.

“We don’t have any good way of measuring if it’s increasing because of Trump, but we know it’s a constant,” he said. “Smuggling is a billion-dollar industry when you look at the whole border.”

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an expert in border issues and a fellow at the Wilson Center, a Washington research institute, said these types of smuggling services were in greater demand because of the difficulty of crossing the border by other means. “Events like this are an unintended consequence of enhanced border enforcement and security measures,” she said.

Did they blame W. Bush back in 2003?

Often on the border in South Texas, migrants cross into the country in small groups on foot but do not travel north immediately. Instead, smugglers organize them into larger groups in stash houses, often in cramped and violent conditions.

Smugglers then transport migrants from the stash houses in large groups in tractor-trailers, or disperse them in smaller vehicles, taking them to cities such as Houston.....


Hey, that's not the usual way home. You should have turned right

Oh, the bridge was out.

RelatedTruck driver charged in deaths of 10 migrants in Texas

The migrants should have called Uber, and he better get himself a good lawyer

Maybe the climate change argument can get him off the hook.

I'm lost, and it's really starting to eat at me.

New York Times asks Fox News for apology after ‘inaccurate segment’

The hilarious irony of that after they lied us into Iraq and issued a half-hearted non-apology years later.

Really is nothing more to say so it's time to walk out on this show..... 

“People have asked me if I’m going to retire, and the r-word I’m using is ‘rest.’ ” 

It's $tupid to $tay open for open's sake.

"AbbVie ordered to pay $150 million damages in ‘Low T’ trial" by Jef Feeley Bloomberg News  July 24, 2017

WILMINGTON, Del. — AbbVie Inc. was ordered to pay $150 million to an Oregon man who accused the drugmaker of hiding the heart-attack risks of its AndroGel testosterone booster, a loss for the company in the first case to be weighed by jurors over what was once one of its top-selling products.

AbbVie misled Jesse Mitchell and his doctor about AndroGel’s propensity for causing blood clots, which can lead to fatal heart attacks, a federal court jury in Chicago concluded Monday. Mitchell, a 54-year-old laundry manager, suffered a heart attack in 2012 after taking AndroGel for four years.

The panel awarded Mitchell nothing on his claim for compensatory damages tied to the heart attack and $150 million in punitive damages over its finding AbbVie officials made misrepresentations about the product’s safety profile. The punishment award may be challenged by the company because the Supreme Court has said such awards should be based on actual damages.

“I think it’s a strong message they sent in terms of AbbVie’s conduct,” Troy Rafferty, Mitchell’s lawyer, said after the jury handed down its verdict....

It will soon be forgotten.


I knew something was up when their commercial advertisements disappeared from the airwaves.

And here we are stuck with a limp pud.

Look, up in the sky..... !


Driver of truck with immigrants who died had license issues

The only story still open, and you can see jwho is driving the agenda.