Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taking it to the belly of the beast: Occupy the Boardroom

This project--Occupy the Boardroom--is the newborn brainchild of friends, and it is brilliant, having truly taken off, and just in the past week. Even Jamie Dimon has received (and opened) his messages. Limitless greed and malfeasance on the part of Wall Street and the banks have devastated the lives of American families everywhere.

Yes, those are some "1-percenters" in the pic; they're yukking it up while actually drinking Champagne on a balcony over the Wall St. protests.

(I love a glass of good Champers as much as anyone, but I'll never be that, er, classy.)

Here, read just one true story. Then go read the rest and get truly pissed-off. You might even be moved to share your own tale with one of the many "pen pals" OTBR has listed. Or else just share the post itself. Courage!

Tax Breaks Aren't For Offshoring Jobs
From July 1, 2008 until May 18, 2010, I worked for JPMorgan Chase. I was hired through a temp service to do internal IT support over the phone. When hired I was told that if I kept my statistics (first call resolution, and call times) down that I would eventually be hired as an actual employee of Chase. Despite my statistics consistently being in the top 10 of all of the employees in my department, not just the other temps, after two years I was not only not hired, but I was laid off. However during that two years other temps with stats much worse than mine were hired. My reason for not being hired was never explained to me. It could have been the fact that I am in a wheelchair and Chase didn’t want a disabled woman bringing up their insurance rates, or perhaps it is because I am a lesbian and other than myself there was one other homosexual in the department who was actually an employee, but was also laid off at the same time as me.

The whole come work for us and we will eventually give you a great job with awesome benefits was just a scheme. In 2008 Chase received a State tax credit from Ohio and in return they were to create 1200 new jobs within the state. So what did they do? They hired a bunch of temporary employees, got their tax credit, and kept the temporary employees on staff long enough to not only not lose their tax credit, but to also set up their call center in the Philippines. Then two years later they laid off hundreds of people causing the state to lose more jobs than they had gained during that two year period. Other internal IT departments were outsourced to Mexico and the credit card fraud department was exported to India. Though you surely know all of this.

So through a loophole in the system your company caused more people in our state to be unemployed and still took taxpayer money to stuff your own pockets with under the guise of being a company creating more jobs.

-Name Withheld

Friday, October 21, 2011

An exemplar extraordinaire--please join me in saying Brava! Bravissima! for Lisa Simeone

Greetings from the warm wilds of Florida's Gulf coast, where exhausted mothers can stop talking (or writing) for weeks before someone notices, and of course all hell (and other great stories) will break loose in the meantime, and someone will eventually go, Er, anyone heard from D in a while?

I know, I know. I am a horrible blogger sometimes--my only excuse is that blogging must necessarily come after all the other concerns, and once those are addressed, I am often too wiped-out to scribble out as much as a grocery list (not that I do those, actually--I'm an incorrigible fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants person). So, personal matters, health matters, and a dire lack of energy on my part have occupied my life and consciousness even as real live human beings have occupied our imagination and city squares, demanding that our leaders pay attention to the vast majority of us--and our serious problems, which include (but are not limited to) the ongoing unemployment disaster, the foreclosure crisis, and the dramatically escalating costs of healthcare in the face of an insurance system that simply does not work.

I have of course been keeping up with the efforts of numerous friends who've participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement (and its many offshoots) and the October2011/Stop the Machine protests, particularly the work of friend and former Cogitamus co-blogger Lisa Simeone.

It will come as no surprise that I support Lisa's work and that I admire her. Tremendously. She has done what so few of us are able or willing to do: put her money where her mouth is, so to speak. Like me, Lisa was appalled at the Wikileaks revelations (re: Afghanistan brutalities) and disgusted at the unconstitutional treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier responsible for sending the government-embarrassing data to Wikileaks and who remains in prison, without formal charges, to this day.

Unlike me, all safe and comfy in my Florida home with my family and computer, Lisa marched at the White House and got arrested for her efforts.

She participated in the DC protests, keeping us up to date on the demonstrations and police activities alike.

Then, a horrible e-mail: Soundprint had fired her.

Simeone said she was fired Wednesday night by Moira Rankin, executive producer of “Soundprint,” a weekly documentary program that Simeone hosts. The program, independently produced, airs on NPR stations around the country.

“It was bewildering,” Simeone said. “She started by quoting all these reports from the Daily Caller, and I didn’t know even what that was. She said, ‘Are you involved with this organization [October 2011]? I said, ‘Yes, I was one of about 50 people who helped put this together.’ She said, ‘That’s a problem because I’m getting all these calls. I think you violated the NPR code of ethics.’”

“I said, ‘Can you explain how?’” Simeone went on. “Scott Simon writes Op-Eds. Cokie Roberts [is paid] tens of thousand of dollars in fees talking to business groups. Mara Liaason* goes on Fox TV to express her opinions. They all report on the issues — which I don’t do. I finally said, ‘Are you firing me?’ She said yes.”

But Lisa--a freelance radio host and writer, it should be noted, not an employee of NPR--was not buying it.

“I’ve never hid my views and my opinions have never leeched into what I do on NPR. People can listen to all my shows. When I was talking about ‘Tosca,’ I could have talked about the relevance today of Cavaradossi, the tenor who is a political prisoner and who is tortured. I didn’t mention it. It’s a show about opera, for God’s sake.”

There were talks. I wish I had been a fly on the wall. All I know is this: Lisa will continue hosting NPR's World of Opera.

And I hope to hell that a big cable channel will see her and hear her and offer her a plum position reporting on the arts, compensation to include unlimited use of the company's private jets.

Because Lisa--multilingual world traveler and connoisseur of beauty Lisa--has completely stopped flying in protest of the TSA's unconstitutional searches and seizures.

(Lisa, let me know if this comes to pass--I'll go with you to Paris or Palermo. Have vintage suits and old-school round hatboxes and hard-sided suitcases; will travel.)

And thanks also to Sir Charles for writing about this at the Cogblog.

Finally, an early Christmas present for Tucker Carlson:

* Edited to properly report Liaason's name, which Salon had misspelled. -- DNT