All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.
1. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple received a $378 million pay package this year, consisting of a $900,000 in base salary and $376.2 million in stock options. The people employed by Chinese manufacturer, Foxconn, who make Apple gadgets for the hipster masses? Yeah, not doing so well.
At the same time that the company is handing such a huge package to its chief executive, though, the workers in China who make Apple’s most well-known products continue to toil in tough conditions. Last year, a report from Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), a Hong Kong-based advocacy and research group found that the Chinese workers at the Taiwanese-based company FoxConn — who assemble the iPad, as well as other high tech gadgets for Apple, HP, Microsoft and others — were forced to work loads of overtime, stand on their feet 14 hours a day, and live packed together in squalid dormitories.
So many FoxConn workers committed suicide that the company instituted a no-suicide pact for workers to sign and installed nets on factory roofs to prevent workers from jumping. In fact, reports surfaced today of a group of FoxConn workers threatening to commit suicide after the company reneged on payments it had promised them.
In a surprising move that will alienate nearly 95% of their iPhone loving, Instagram photo-shooting, totebag using, over-sized glasses wearing audience; NPR took on the subject of horrific working conditions in Apple manufacturing plants on the latest episode of “This American Life”.
I think you’ll be shocked by what you learn. Even Siri is ashamed of Apple’s labor practices.
To the question (see video “Hey Siri”) “Siri, where were you made?”, Siri answers: “Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.” The question was however not “where were you designed; the question was “where were you made”, but of course Siri is designed not to tell the truth: “In China by sleep-deprived workers toiling for next to nothing.”
2. Conservative activists scramble to stop Mitt Romney.
A near-panic has taken hold among some core conservative activists, who are now scrambling to devise a strategy to deny Mitt Romney the Republican presidential nomination.
Many of these activists see South Carolina’s primary on Jan. 21 as their last best hope of stopping Romney by consolidating in a united front against him. But many acknowledge that they have yet to figure out which of the remaining conservative rivals to rally behind and which should get out.
The Romney conundrum will be on the agenda Friday when about 150 evangelical leaders huddle at a Texas ranch to debate their next move.
The very idea that they are calling emergency meetings to figure out how this weird mormon shapeshifter slipped through the cracks is hysterical to me. Everyone hates Mitt.
3. Speaking of Romney and the “bitter politics of envy” and class warfare waged by liberals like me, here’s an update on why the #Occupy movement started and why it’s changing our national political discussion.
In 2009, 1,470 households reported income of more than $1 million but paid no federal income tax on it, through their use of various tax loopholes and shelters. Tax rates for millionaires have fallen by 25 percent since the mid-’90s, while one quarter of millionaires currently pay lower tax rates than the average middle-class household.
The tax code benefits the 1% at the expense of the rest of us. Those tax advantages correlate nicely with this data.
4. Three minutes and thirty five seconds of total awesome. Watch 30 badass Japanese giant hornets obliterate a hive of 30,000 European honey bees in three hours.
As their species have only recently intermingled, the European honey bees have not yet evolved and developed a defense strategy against the Japanese giant hornets. However, Japanese honey bees have had the time to develop a defense.
The Japanese honey bee, on the other hand, has a defense against attacks of this manner. When a hornet approaches the hive to release pheromones, the bee workers emerge from their hive in an angry cloud-formation with some 500 individuals. As they form a tight ball around the hornet, the ball increases in heat to 47 °C (117 °F) from their vibrating wings, forming a convection oven as the heat released by the bees’ bodies is spread over the hornets. Because bees can survive higher temperatures (48 to 50 °C (118 to 122 °F)) than the hornet (44 to 46 °C (111 to 115 °F)), the latter dies.
Nature and evolution are cool.
5. How broken is the U.S. Senate? Very.
Only 57 percent of President Obama’s civilian nominees have been confirmed by the Democratically-controlled Senate, as opposed to the 75 percent success rate of George W. Bush’s last two years, with the Democratic Senate.
It makes it easier to run against “ineffective” government when the Republican Party does everything possible to make it as ineffective as possible.
Fact Of The Day: 2,053 nuclear weapons were detonated between 1945 and 1998.
Quote Of The Day: “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” – Christopher Hitchens
Bible Verse Of The Day: “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.” – Leviticus 26:29
Song Of The Day: “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case” – Spoon
Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV
Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]gmail.com