Monday, June 28, 2010

Staples to Pay $38 Million to Settle Asst. Manager OT Case

Staples to Pay $38 Million to Settle Asst. Manager OT Case
Wage Law
November 20, 2007

A wage & hour class action lawsuit brought against Staples Inc. on behalf of approximately 1,700 current and former assistant store managers in California has been settled for $38 million. The settlement is still subject to court approval. A trial had been scheduled to start earlier this month. The suit alleged that the stores misclassified assistant managers as exempt under overtime pay regulations. According to a 2003 SEC filing, the lawsuit alleged damages of up to $150 million. The company denied the claims and admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. A spokesperson for the office products firm said that "Staples believes that its store labor model, which is based on a commitment to fair and respectful treatment of its associates, is fully compliant with applicable California law.''

Sales Manager salaries
at Staples
District Sales Manager salaries
at Staples
Regional sales manager salaries
at Staples
Sales/Operations Manager salaries
at Staples
Operations and Sales Manager salaries
at Staples
$47k - $59k
Assistant Store Manager/Sales Manager salaries
at Staples
$35k - $49k
Senior Manager, Inside Sales salaries
at Staples
$75k - $86k
SBA Inside Sales Account Manager salaries
at Staples
$57k - $65k
at Staples
$42k - $48k
Sales Manager/Assistant Store Manager salaries
at Staples
$34k - $55k

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement

The Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement
Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss
June 9, 2010

In April the student senate at the University of California, Berkeley, twice held all-night sessions to debate a proposal urging the school to divest from two US military companies "materially and militarily profiting" from the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Hundreds of people packed the hall, and statements in support of the measure were read aloud from leaders, including Noam Chomsky, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein and Alice Walker. In the end the divestment measure failed (the senate majority of 13 to 5 was not enough to overturn the student government president's veto), but the outcome was surely less significant than the furor over the issue. Following related battles last year at Hampshire College and the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berkeley measure was yet another signal that the divestment initiative, part of a broader movement popularly known as BDS, for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, has become a key battleground in the grassroots struggle over the future of Israel/Palestine.

"We're at a super-exciting moment, truly a turning point," says Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, an activist organization that supports selective divestment from companies profiting from the occupation. "For the first time we're seeing a serious debate of divestment at a major public university." BDS supporters say the movement has the potential to transform international opinion in much the way that the divestment movement in the 1980s isolated the South African apartheid regime. Or as Tutu wrote to the Berkeley students:

The same issue of equality is what motivates the divestment movement of today, which tries to end Israel's 43 year long occupation and the unequal treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them. The abuses they face are real, and no person should be offended by principled, morally consistent, nonviolent acts to oppose them. It is no more wrong to call out Israel in particular for its abuses than it was to call out the Apartheid regime in particular for its abuses.

Opponents of BDS see just that threat—that Israel will be isolated. They say that BDS unfairly singles out Israel for conduct that other states are also guilty of and that it seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state in the eyes of the world, thereby threatening Israel's existence. Some argue that grassroots actions put the emphasis on the wrong target. As Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center said on Democracy Now! in March, "It's the United States government you've got to look to, not private industry or private commerce. So that's one really big difference simply at strategic and tactical levels."

When did the BDS movement begin, why is it growing and what does it want?

The campaign traces its origins to a July 2004 advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (the World Court), which found Israel's separation wall in the West Bank to be "contrary to international law." The ICJ also recommended that the parts of the wall built inside the occupied territories be dismantled and that Palestinians affected by the wall be compensated. When a year passed with no sign that the opinion would be enforced, a wide-ranging coalition of more than 170 organizations representing Palestinian civil society issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel "until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights." Compliance meant three things: ending the occupation, recognizing equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194 of 1948...

The Jewish push for peace is surging through the grassroots, but leaders and policy-makers are still turning a deaf ear.
Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss

Israel vs. Human Rights (Regions and Countries)

American Jews Rethink Israel

The Jewish push for peace is surging through the grassroots, but leaders and policy-makers are still turning a deaf ear.
Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss

Yes, It Was Murder: 'Bloody Sunday' Report Released at Last

Bloody Sunday's Architects
Peter Pringle
June 24, 2010

The British excel at political theater, but the carefully staged publication of the long-awaited Saville report on Bloody Sunday produced an effect no government choreographer could possibly have predicted. A large crowd, several hundred strong, of Northern Ireland's nationalists had gathered by a TV screen in front of Derry's Victorian Guildhall awaiting—anxiously, fearfully—an announcement to accompany the publication by the new Tory prime minister, David Cameron. Four words caused the crowd to raise a prolonged cheer: "I am deeply sorry," Cameron told the House of Commons.

Yes, It Was Murder: 'Bloody Sunday' Report Released at Last

'Bloody Sunday' Apologies, What About Monday?

After thirty-eight years, the British government had finally, officially, apologized for the shooting by paratroopers of twenty-seven unarmed Catholics, thirteen of whom died, as they marched protesting internment-without-trial through Derry's Bogside on January 30, 1972...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kyrgyz claim that Uzbeks destroyed their own homes

How do you tell when someone is lying? It's not always this easy.

After 4 days, violence subsides in Kyrgyzstan, but ethnic resentments linger
Washington Post
By Philip P. Pan
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

JALAL-ABAD, KYRGYZSTAN -- The main road through this rustic town on the edge of the rich fields of the Fergana Valley offers a telling view of the destruction that has unfolded in southern Kyrgyzstan in recent days.

On one side of the street, the University of People's Friendship is a charred ruin, a symbol of ethnic harmony no more. Across the road, a community TV station has been left a blackened shell. Then come the torched cafes and shops, followed by seven blocks of burned-out Uzbek homes, a miserable procession interrupted only by the trees that residents cut down in a desperate bid to slow rampaging Kyrgyz mobs.

After more than four days of ethnic clashes that have left hundreds dead, the violence appeared to subside Tuesday in Jalal-Abad. In an interview, Kyrgyzstan's defense minister said the government had largely restored order here and in the nearby city of Osh...

"Batyrov said that Osh and Jalal-Abad would be theirs and that his policy was to make them Uzbek towns," Aibek said. Asked to explain the attacks on Uzbek neighborhoods, he replied, "People did this only after what the Uzbeks did to us in Osh." He then repeated widely circulating rumors that Uzbek gangs had raped Kyrgyz women there.

A soft-spoken man in the crowd volunteered that he agreed, arguing that the Uzbeks had destroyed their own homes. But as he spoke, a young Uzbek woman standing behind him grimaced and shook her head. Finally, she interrupted. "That's not the truth!" she objected. "That's not what happened!" ...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Father of New Jersey terror suspect Carlos Almonte says he's not supporting his son

My guess is that this father, who says he doesn't want to talk to his jailed son, also wasn't much interested in talking to his son when the boy was growing up.

Father of New Jersey terror suspect Carlos Almonte says he's not supporting his son
BY Barry Paddock, Robert Gearty, Henrick Karoliszyn and Helen Kennedy
June 7th 2010

The father of one of the two accused Jersey jihadists says he is so disgusted with his son that he didn't attend his court appearance Monday.

"I'm not supporting anybody that does something wrong," Pedro Almonte said of his 24-year-old son, Carlos, in an interview with the Daily News.

The Dominican immigrant from Elmwood Park, N.J., said he doesn't know what to make of Carlos, who converted to militant Islam and changed his name to Omar after high school when he fell in with Mohamed Alessa, 20.

"I don't want to talk to anybody - even him," the father said...

Elections for judges: Judges must hold themselves apart from "the people" if they are to have any credibility and impartiality when ruling on cas

It's bad enough that most politicians owe their elections to contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals and organizations. Judges shouldn't be in the same boat. They should be a separate branch of government that upholds the law without political influence. Democracy in the courtroom exists in the jury system; the judge should be beholden only to the law, not to popular opinion at the time.

The Case Against Judicial Elections: Keep Politics Out of the Law

Andrew Cohen
AOL News
June 6, 2010

The single greatest threat to the "rule of law" in America is not President Barack Obama's health care reform or President George W. Bush's terror law tactics. It isn't a bunch of al-Qaeda thugs posing as terrorists. It isn't punitive damage verdicts in civil cases or, far less seriously, "judicial activism" of the sort loosely talked about all the time by the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The biggest single threat to fair and neutral justice is the trend toward partisan judicial elections at the state and local level. Through this practice, tiny pockets of zealous partisans mobilize to vote into office judges who, in the manner of an elected politician, are then presumed to owe something to their constituents. Or, in the alternative, special-interest groups rise up to vote off the bench judges who have not ruled the way those constituents wanted them to. These elections mark a terribly destructive seepage of politics into law.

In California, for example, a coalition of religious conservatives called Better Courts Now is trying to remove four San Diego-based state court judges. The group's philosophy on judging is as simple as it is misguided. "As a branch of government, judges don't get to hold themselves apart from the people -- they are servants of the people." I am quite certain that every single member of the United States Supreme Court today would disagree entirely with that sentence. Judges must, in many significant ways, hold themselves apart from "the people" if they are to have any credibility and impartiality when ruling on cases...

Of course, judges, like all of us, must balance competing principles when making a decision.

Justice Souter’s Class
New York Times
June 3, 2010

..But for those who care about the Supreme Court, Justice Souter served up some rich fare: his own vision of the craft of constitutional interpretation and a defense of the need for judges to go beyond the plain text — what he called the “fair-reading model” — and make choices among the competing values embedded in the Constitution. Doing this was neither judicial activism nor “making up the law,” he said; rather, it was the unavoidable “stuff of judging,” and to suppose otherwise was to “egregiously” miss the point of what constitutional law is about...

Friday, June 04, 2010

BP investors want dividends rather than paying to clean up oil spill

BP puts containment cap on gushing Gulf well pipe
Anna Driver
Jun 4, 2010

BP began capturing some oil spewing from a 46-day gusher on Friday after installing a containment cap atop a ruptured Gulf of Mexico well as President Barack Obama was set to make his third trip to the area since the disaster.

BP Plc executives sought to reassure jittery investors with a conference call but put off a decision on whether to suspend paying its next quarterly dividend as some U.S. politicians had demanded.

BP shares had been up 4 percent but the gains were pared back in Friday's session after company CEO Tony Hayward issued the statement.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the containment cap placed atop the gusher a mile deep beneath the Gulf's surface was now collecting about 1,000 barrels a day.

The collection rate is a small portion of 19,000 barrels per day that the U.S. government has estimated could be gushing from the well.

The captured amount should increase as BP closes vents to trap more oil, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told reporters in a conference call.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Battle Over Who Speaks for Latinos in Vista Schools

A Battle Over Who Speaks for Latinos in Vista Schools
May 31, 2010
Voice of San Diego

Before Eduardo Preciado took over, it was a placid committee where parents gave their input on programs for English learners in Vista schools.

Now the group is embroiled in Vista's struggle to find a voice for a Latino community that has grown in numbers but not in political posts over the last decade.

Preciado has changed the committee on English learners into a platform for a small but passionate group of Latino parents who say it's their only place to speak out on all kinds of issues. Though Latino children are now much more common than white students in Vista schools, the school board is largely white and other Latino groups are scarce. One fan calls his group "the voice of the Latino people."

But not everyone wants him to be that voice. His group has split Latino parents -- and some want the outspoken and impassioned Preciado out. Some take issue with his injection of politics into the committee. Others call him too aggressive and confrontational.

There is fierce disagreement over whether the English learners committee should even play the role Preciado has pushed it to. Such committees are supposed to advise their districts on programs for English learners. Preciado has pushed the group to voice its opinions and seek change on much broader, more controversial debates.

He rails against the teachers union and the school board. He argues that the school district has failed Latino kids, pointing to the sobering dropout rates for Latino teens and decrying cuts to busing and programs...