(Reuters) – In an effort to boost sales of its low-priced supercomputers, Fujitsu Ltd will allow software developers to run their programs on its hardware free of charge so that they can examine performance, the Nikkei business daily reported.
Don’t vote for anyone running for congress this year unless they have signed The Pledge below. We don’t have to wait until Congress changes the laws regarding special interests, lobbying or money in politics or the courts rule that corporations aren’t the same as people, they never will. We can act now. And we don’t need a constitutional amendment or constitutional convention to make it happen.
If we can make candidates sign The Pledge, Congress will begin to act in the interests of the people instead of solely for monied special interests, banks and corporations. Surprisingly, the economy will begin to improve immediately as we start to address the real problems facing Americans rather than just those affecting Wall Street banks. It will also lead to better legislation across the board including health care, the environment and immigration reform once we return the power of our government back to its people and restore our one person, one vote democracy.
The Pledge works equally well for Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates as this issue crosses all party boundaries. What is wrong with America cannot be measured on a conservative versus liberal spectrum, but must be seen as a political and corporate elite versus the people fight. All true Americans, regardless of party, know which side of that fight they want to be on.
I pledge the title to my home and primary residence (or 1/3 of my assets, whichever is greater) to be held in escrow with the instructions it (they) be sold and the net proceeds distributed equally to my constituents if I ever break any of the promises above.
All Future Democrat, Republican and Independent Candidates for Congress
John R. Talbott is the bestselling author of eight books on economics and politics that have accurately detailed and predicted the causes and devastating effects of this entire financial crisis including, in 2003, The Coming Crash in the Housing Market and in January 2006, Sell Now! The End of the Housing Bubble. He is currently working on a new book that will be published in September 2010 entitled, The $200 Trillion Crisis. It will be published electronically and will be available for pre-order on Kindle and iPad starting in August 2010.
Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with five job seekers for every job opening, with the average spell of unemployment now at 35 weeks. Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?
The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.
“Up before dawn, working until sunset picking plums and filling the bins. We work each day until Apa says it’s time to quit.” (excerpt from Out of the Fields My Journey from Farmworker Boy to Pediatrician, Ramon Resa MD 2010).
The life of a farmworker is hard and the hours are long. Because of the nature of job, each day is subject to the unpredictability of the weather. Sometimes work is abundant, and other times the workers suffer the consequences of chance and have to manage without work for weeks or even months at a time. Therefore, when work is available it is not unusual to work twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week.
I, myself, worked in the fields through high school and even during breaks from college and medical school. I remember sleeping in the back of a pickup truck, covered in blankets to protect myself from the pre-dawn cold. Then, I worked through the hundred-degree weather until sunset. It’s back-breaking work.
Yet for some reason, farmworkers have never been treated like other employees in California. The law demands overtime pay for work after eight hours. As an employer now, I am very aware of this law. Growing up a farmworker I never thought much of working for more than half the day. In fact, we were glad for the work when we could get it. I remember too many Christmases where the crop had frozen, and we survived only through the generosity of charities and ingenuity.
Now, decades after overtime laws came into existence, someone wants to change the way farm workers are treated. Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, is proposing a law that would give farmworkers the same overtime benefits as other hourly employees. “I think it is wrong that we have laws that discriminate against the people who pick and pull crops in the fields by treating them differently in terms of pay.” Florez said in an article by Paul Rodriquez of the Fresno Bee (“A Push to Even the Labor Fields“).
One would think that farmworkers would be thrilled to have a Senator fighting for their rights, but this is not necessarily the case. Some are not too sure of the bill, which has passed the Senate and now heads to the Assembly Committee on labor and Employment for a hearing.
“Right now, what we want is to work,” said Jose Hinojosa of Los Banos (Fresno Bee). The prolonged drought that has affected California for the last several years has taken a toll on farmworkers, and they have been working less because of it. Now they are hungry to put in long hours and make money while they can. Jose thinks, as do other farmworkers, that the growers will cut back on their work if they are forced to pay overtime.
From the farmers point of view they feel the new law would put California at a disadvantage in an agriculture marketplace because other farmers from other states don’t have to pay overtime. California is the only state in the nation that does provide for overtime after ten hours a day or 60 hours a week.
The biggest concern from the worker is the possibility that the farmers may reduce workers’ hours to avoid paying overtime. Because so many farmworkers are unemployed, there is no shortage of workers and all the farmer has to do is spread the work among more workers. Since most are unskilled at other jobs, this is the only work they can get, and farm work is one of the lowest paying jobs in the nation. Farmworkers have to depend on working long hours to make ends meet.
In the past, it wasn’t unusual to have the whole family working ten to twelve hours a day. As I am well familiar, no one was left behind, from the youngest to the oldest. You did whatever you were capable of. With the passing of child labor laws, however, children were no longer allowed to work in the fields, forcing parents to work longer hours on their own.
Workers would love to see overtime pay. But at the same time, they fear the reduction in their hours, leaving them worse than they were before. Farmworkers have always been leery of any changes in the fields. In the past, whenever the state tried to improve working conditions, the farmers ended up turning to more modern techniques to harvest their crops. (After the grape harvest, we would pick cotton, but with the arrival of the cotton picker, we lost that harvest, and the money we usually made in the fall).
Having been a farm worker and knowing how difficult the job is, I am in favor of the passage of this bill. It is only fair that all workers be treated equally. I pay my employees overtime, why shouldn’t farmers do the same, not only in California but in every state? After all, this is about being fair to all parties, and California farmers should not be burdened with extra cost.
Read more: Farm Workers, Law, Farming, Poverty, California, Economics, Economy, Wages, Agriculture, Los Banos, Pediatrics, Government, Minimum Wage, Farmers, Ramon Resa MD, Economic Recovery, Senator-Dean-Florez, Farmworkers, Overtime, Living News
Tired of waiting for spending to rebound on its own, retailers are taking matters into their own hands. Stores like Sam’s Club, Target, Toys “R” Us, Staples and Office Depot are offering unconventional promotions meant not only to attract visitors to stores, but also to get them feeling profligate.