WE CONTINUE OUR BLACK WOMEN IN HIP HOP HISTORY SEGMENTS WITH A REGULAR WINE CELLAR EPISODE.
Economy Jan 28, 2020 6:13 PM EST
BOSTON (AP) — Chipotle was hit with a $1.37 million fine over more than 13,000 child labor violations at its Massachusetts restaurants, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.
Attorney General Maura Healey ordered the largest child labor penalty ever issued by the state against the Mexican restaurant chain after finding an estimated 13,253 child labor violations in its more than 50 locations.
“Chipotle is a major national restaurant chain that employs thousands of young people across the country and it has a duty to ensure minors are safe working in its restaurants,” Healey said in a statement. “We hope these citations send a message to other fast food chains and restaurants that they cannot violate our child labor laws and put young people at risk.”
The fine detailed that Chipotle had employees under the age of 18 working past midnight and for more than 48 hours a week. Teenagers told investigators their hours of work were so long that it was preventing them from keeping up with their schoolwork. The company also regularly hired minors without work permits.
The settlement total is closer to $2 million, including penalties for earned sick time violations in which managers granted employees paid time off only for certain illnesses. The violations also include failure to keep accurate records and pay timely wages. Lastly, the company was ordered a voluntary $500,000 payout to a state youth worker fund dedicated to education, enforcement and training.
Chuck Africa Goes Home (1:37) Mumia Abu-Jamal
Donald Trump uses a metal detector on the beach
Where can Trump find a Good Farm Policy?
Donald Trump’s idea of a good farm program seems to be “Hee Haw.” On a recent trip to Wisconsin, he drew guffaws from the state’s hard-hit dairy farmers by proclaiming that – thanks to his policies – the farm economy was looking good. “We’re over the hump,” he gloated.
Perhaps The Donald thought that farmers are rubes, unable to do simple math. But those dairy farmers were painfully aware that it costs them $1.90 to produce a gallon of milk, but the processing giants that control the milk market are paying them only $1.35 a gallon. That 55-cent-a-gallon loss quickly adds up to a huge loss of income, and a devastating loss of farm families – Wisconsin lost 638 dairy farms last year and another 551 so far this year.
Far from “over the hump,” farm prices have been further depressed by Trump’s tariff clash with China – US dairy sales to China fell by 54 percent in just the first half of this year. Meanwhile, monopoly power is crushing prices – an $8 billion behemoth named Dean Foods now controls 90 percent of Wisconsin’s milk market, empowering it to commit daylight robbery, blatantly stealing farmers’ product… and farms.
Yet, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue – the one national official who’s supposed to stand up for farmers – nonchalantly kissed them off, smugly declaring it natural that the big devour the small. So, he professes, there’s nothing he can do for family operators except tell them to “go out” of agriculture.
“The devastation of farm country is biting us all on the butt,” Hightower Lowdown, May 2019.
“Wisconsin Governor Rips Sonny Perdue For Warning Small Dairy Farms Won’t Make It,” The Huffington Post, October 4, 2019.
Posted Feb 10, 2020
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder addresses media on the Flint Water Advisory Task Force final report findings on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at Mott Community College. The team, appointed by Gov. Snyder, reviewed actions regarding water use and testing, and offered recommendations to protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents in the future. Conor Ralph | MLive.comConor Ralph | MLive.com
By Winter Keefer | email@example.com
FLINT, MI — A water consultant hired during the Flint water crisis is seeking to depose former Gov. Rick Snyder and other ex-state officials as part of an ongoing federal lawsuit.
Whether Snyder and others will be questioned under oath still depends on what a judge decides about a protective order requested by the state Attorney General’s Office, however.
Veolia North America is one of many defendants named in a massive federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Flint residents and businesses in connection with the water crisis. Snyder and other former state officials are also defendants in the case.
In late 2019 and earlier this year, Veolia sent deposition notices to Snyder, former Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Chief Medical Executive Eden Well and former Treasurer Andy Dillon, according to court records.
In a motion filed Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, the state AG’s office requested defendants Snyder, Lyon, Wells and Dillon be granted immunity via a protective order.
In rebuttal to this request, Veolia claims state defendants “are not entitled to immunity from being deposed.”
Though Snyder testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the Flint water crisis, he has never been deposed in any of the civil lawsuits.
During a telephonic hearing Wednesday, Feb. 5, U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy said a decision would be postponed until after oral arguments, currently scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.
After the arguments, Levy said the importance of the state officials’ deposition will be clearer.
The motion by the state requested the court enter a protective order prohibiting state defendant depositions “until the threshold question of their qualified immunity is fully resolved, at which time the court would consider the scope of the discovery that will be allowed State Defendants, and at whose expense.”
“Qualified immunity” states elected officials cannot be held civilly liable for actions they take in the normal course of their job.
“Should this protective order be granted, the public officials responsible for the Flint water crisis would not only be free from any charges, but also able to hide behind their so-called immunity to remain completely silent about their wrongful behavior at the time of the crisis,” a statement sent by Veolia to MLive-The Flint Journal reads. “The mere fact that they ask for a protective order is another example of their cowardice.”
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said it doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.
Veolia, one of the world’s largest utilities companies and a city contractor at the time of the water crisis, said in the statement that state’s testimony is crucial to a fair trial.
“It’s a disturbing pattern that should raise real concerns among all people who think the truth should not be covered up,” the statement reads. “We welcome a full airing of the facts because the truth will shine a bright light on the failure at many levels of government for what happened in Flint. We know there are some who think they can avoid blaming their friends and allies, and also extract a big payday, if they find a corporate villain to blame. It won’t work because the truth — the facts — will not support it.”
Levy said she’s “not unsympathetic” to the request that the state defendants “not be subjected to depositions in this case until the issue of qualified immunity has been resolved by the 6th Circuit and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.”
However, she said deposing state officials is still relevant to the case.
“We know that the case is proceeding, we know we have trial dates for bellwether plaintiffs and those trials simply cannot take place without these individuals as witnesses because … they’re either going to be parties or non-parties — one or another,” Levy said.
Flint residents Luke Waid and Michelle Rodriguez claim in the lawsuit that they were harmed as a consequence of lead and other toxic substances in the city’s water supply.
Waid and Rodriguez are seeking to recover monetary damages for gross negligence of the defendants, including various employees of the state and city of Flint.
ed Cruz Fantasizes About His Podcast Getting Banned By Bernie Sanders
That’s one way to get America laughing at you again, Ted Cruz.
By Frances Langum
7 hours ago by Frances Langum
Ted Cruz, US Senator from Texas, has a podcast?
(Link goes to Ted Cruz’s podcast.)
Bless his heart he’s already got 13 episodes up. (It’s gonna take you a while to catch up with those of us who have 500 weekly episodes in the can, Ted.)
And after 13 episodes Ted Cruz knows that his podcast is UNDER THREAT by a Bernie Sanders presidency!
The future of the US wireless industry in limbo as T-Mobile and Sprint begin battle to win merger approval
PUBLISHED SUN, DEC 8 20198:52 AM ESTUPDATED MON, DEC 9 20198:15 AM EST
T-Mobile and Sprint are set to begin arguing their case to merge against state attorney generals in Manhattan on Monday.
The No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless providers plan to argue there’s more competition than just four carriers in today’s market and the importance of accelerating 5G technology by merging assets.
If a deal is blocked, other companies are likely to make attempts at merging with or acquiring T-Mobile, Sprint, or both, sources say.
GP: T-Mobile Sprint merger Congressional hearing 180627
T-Mobile CEO John Legere (L) and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure (R) arrive to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights hearing on the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 27, 2018.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The future of the U.S. wireless industry is at stake as T-Mobile and Sprint prepare to argue why their $26.5 billion merger should be approved over the arguments of state attorneys general.
The federal trial begins Monday in Manhattan. U.S. Judge Victor Marrero will decide if T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger violates anti-competitive law as a group of states, including New York and California, argue the deal will limit competition and ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers.
The states plan to argue the wireless industry is already too consolidated to further squeeze four main competitors — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — down to three. While both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission have already allowed Sprint and T-Mobile to merge, the states will argue those regulatory bodies erred in their decision to OK the deal.
The DOJ and FCC approved the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. carriers to come together only after reaching a side deal with Dish Network, the satellite TV provider that wants to develop its own new national wireless platform. Dish agreed to buy Sprint’s Boost prepaid business, cell towers and billions of dollars of wireless spectrum to jumpstart a nationwide 5G network that must reach 70% of the U.S. population by 2023.
The states plan to argue that deal won’t be enough to make Dish a compelling fourth player in the nationwide wireless market. The Department of Justice blocked AT&T’s attempt at consolidating the wireless market from four players to three when it tried to acquire T-Mobile in 2011.
Lawyers for T-Mobile and Sprint will argue several important things have changed that make a deal today more competitive and beneficial for consumers than eight years ago.
First, cable companies, such as Comcast and Charter, now offer their own wireless subscription plans, creating more competition and negating the argument that there are only four wireless players in the U.S. Comcast’s Xfinity mobile has more than 1 million customers as the cable company looks to bundle wireless and home broadband service together on one bill for consumers.
Still, cable companies can only offer wireless service because of an agreement the cable companies struck with Verizon in 2011. That agreement allowed cable operators to use Verizon’s wireless network while branding the product as one of their own services, such as Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile. Comcast, Charter and Cox, the third-largest U.S. cable company, share revenue with Verizon from customers that sign up for cable wireless. Because Verizon provides the underlying backbone, state attorneys general may argue that cable companies don’t count as true competitors.
Second, wireless companies are transitioning from 4G LTE to 5G, which should ultimately lead to significantly higher speeds for consumers. T-Mobile and Sprint will argue that if allowed to merge, the companies can offer a 100 megabit per second (Mbps) network that can even substitute as a home broadband product. This could lead to billions of dollars in savings for U.S. consumers who could theoretically cancel their home broadband service in lieu of a wireless replacement. T-Mobile has promised a combined Sprint-T-Mobile 5G network will offer average speeds with lowband and midband wireless spectrum of more than 100 Mbps to 66% of American households by 2021 and 90% of Americans by 2024.
“While we see the odds as close, our current view [is] that the states are more likely than not to win, particularly due to weaknesses we see in the companies’ market definition, reliance on economic arguments with little support in antitrust precedent, a reliance on behavioral remedies to justify the fix, and a reliance on public interest considerations, such as social or industrial policy, that generally are considered irrelevant to competition analysis,” New Street Research analyst Blair Levin wrote in a note to clients. “Having said that, we could see the Judge accepting a number of arguments from the companies and ultimately ruling their way, including by fashioning his own remedies.”
M&A frenzy if deal denied
If the states win their case and a deal is blocked, many different combinations of cable and wireless players could emerge, according to people familiar with the matter. Altice USA, the fourth largest U.S. cable company, could be interested in merging with either T-Mobile or Sprint, two of the people said. Dish has held talks to acquire Sprint and merge with T-Mobile in the past, and either option could present itself again as a backup plan.
German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom is the majority owner of T-Mobile and Japanese wireless and technology company SoftBank owns more than 80% of Sprint. While it’s also possible that T-Mobile and Sprint could simply continue to operate independently if a deal is blocked, both companies have publicly argued they aren’t at viable scale to compete with AT&T and Verizon as the largest carriers improve their network capability to ready for 5G.
Deutsche Telekom is expected to renegotiate its exchange ratio with SoftBank on a deal if a merger closes, according to people familiar with the matter. Sprint is trading at more than a 40% discount to its agreed-upon exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share.
Brian Williams Suggests Democrats Learn To ‘Speak American’
Your librul media at work…
5 days ago by Frances Langum
Before turning his full attention to promoting Bloody Bill Kristol’s super-awesome podcast, MSNBC’s Brian Williams huddled up with retired, Blue Dog Conserva-Dem Joe Donnelly (because who better!) to complain that Democrats need to learn to Speak American.
JOE DONNELLY: When we’re in Michigan we need to talk about jobs and we need to talk about the future. When we’re in places like Florida, we need to talk about climate change, about the environment. These are the things that Donald Trump can’t touch us on, is the opportunity to make sure that tariffs go away, so we don’t have our farmers in a place where bankruptcies are going up 20%, that we don’t have the debt exploding. We talk about these meat and potato things, about the fact that if you have cancer, we were the party that brought you the opportunity to have health care. And Donald Trump is trying to take it away.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Hillary Clinton goes into coal country, says we’re going to close your mine but don’t worry, we’re going to get you green jobs, which of course never materialized. Donald Trump, make of this what you will, runs on a pro-coal platform, carries Joe Manchin’s state of West Virginia by 42 points. Are you teaching democrats how to speak American?
DONNELLY: I hope that’s what we’re trying to do, is to tell them look, you cannot talk about changing your lives without providing hope and a plan and aspiration and a chance for success. That coal miner at the end of the day has children at the table who are counting on him or her to come through for them. And so as you say, and it’s a great way to put it, Brian, we need to talk American to all the Americans, not just those on either coast.
WILLIAMS: Former Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, thank you, Senator, for joining us tonight and taking our questions.
You know what, Brian? We Democrats speak American just fine. In fact, if you’d like to drop around Springfield sometime, I’d be more than happy to deconstruct your failings as a journalist in some genuine, Midwest, heartland idiomatic American right to your face. Sure, I’m definitely gonna use some words you’ve never heard from the sycophants on your cable news panels (unless you eavesdrop on them in the Green Room) but I promise you the gist of them will be perfectly clear.
And speaking of speaking American, when Hillary Clinton went to coal country she absolutely spoke to the people there as Americans. As Adult American, with families and deep roots in their communities who are facing the implacable reality of being at the bitter end of a dying industry. And in genuine, Midwest heartland American she offered them a vision of a different future. A better future.
When Trump went to coal country he brayed at them like idiot children, promising everyone a pony, and a cookie, and great health care that would cover everyone for a fraction of what it costs now, and to turn back the clock to 1950 when Coal and Jim Crow were King. So maybe the problem is that, in the specific example you’re using, the voters in question have let Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity take a daily dump in their skulls for so long that they are no longer competent to make adult decisions.
Oh and by the way, if you trouble yourself to listen to any Democratic candidate’s stump speeches, or any of their town halls, all of them are talking pretty plainly and clearly and American-ly about jobs and college and health care and clean water and air and a better future for our kids. But of course, acknowledging that would blow all the fuses on the “Snooty coastal elites don’t know how to talk to Real Murricans!” line of ersatz homespun horseshit you pass off as journalism, so as we say here in the middle of Middle America, how about just taking a flying fk at the moon instead?