All posts for the month November, 2014
Doesn’t matter how good Black Friday’s sales may be, holiday shopping will be a nightmare for more and more American families. No matter how hard they work, they are not making enough to pay the rent, buy food and meet other monthly bills—much less buy holiday gifts.
This is not just their problem. It is yours and mine. Underneath the political frustration and confusion reflected in this past election, there is a seething anger at the unfairness the economy. According to the NBC exit polls, 63 percent of voters believe that the economy favors the rich. Yet, many do not connect the dots between their financial problems and public policies that can help resolve them.
Economic Policy Intitute
Nov 25, 2014 |CAP Action War Room
The Disturbing Facts Surrounding The Case And Where We Go From Here
By now the world knows about the grand jury decision announced last night to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, on August 9. What you may not know, however, is the context surrounding the case: how remarkably rare it is for a grand jury not to indict, but how remarkably common it is for tragedies like this one to occur; a prosecutor asked to step down before presenting the case, and then slammed by experts afterward for how he handled it. These circumstances have amounted to a situation that has left many people, paradoxically, shocked yet unsurprised at how it unfolded, and searching for accountability and answers about how to prevent more tragedies like this in the future.
A decision by the grand jury not to indict is very rare. According to statistics from the Justice Department, grand juries declined to return and indictment in just 11 of 162,000 federal cases prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. While Wilson’s case was heard in state court, not federal, legal experts agree that it is extremely rare for prosecutors at any level to fail to win an indictment.
The prosecutor’s tactics made a charge much less likely. According to legal experts, county prosecutor Robert McCollough approached the case in a way that could have made an indictment less likely. He decided to let the grand jury hear “every scrap of evidence,” as he put it. Typically, prosecutors present to the grand jury only the evidence necessary to establish probable cause – a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence but only if a reasonable jury could find the defendant guilty. Watch this video to learn more.
The prosecutor faced widespread criticism leading up to the decision, and after it. As the case began, civil rights groups called for McCollough to step down, citing his previous support for police officers in another police misconduct case, and a family history that includes many family members on the police force including his father, who was killed by a black man with a gun. After the decision last night, many decried McCoullough’s choice to make the announcement late at night, his long-winded explanation pointing fingers at the media, and his defiant tone that reinforced prior frustration with how he handled the case.
In the wake of the decision, community activists are taking the long view. ThinkProgress reporter Carimah Townes reports from Ferguson: “The death of Michael Brown was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, adding to a longer list of grievances in the community, such as income inequality and the need for a $15 minimum wage. And activist groups, professional associations, and individuals in and around the city are already looking — and planning — beyond the verdict, in the hopes of seeking justice for individuals who die at the hands of police.”
Lives cut short by police violence happen all too often. A 22-year-old carrying a sword his mother said was a toy. A 12-year-old gunned down by police while carrying a toy gun at a playground. Another 22-year-old who had just picked up a BB gun stocked on the shelf of a WalMart. A young man walking down a darkened stairwell in an apartment complex after he and his girlfriend got tired of waiting for the elevator. These are just a few of the numerous examples of lives cut short by police since Michael Brown was killed in August.
BOTTOM LINE: The context surrounding the decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown only increases the immensely troubling and tragic nature of the incident. While we respect the work and the decision of the grand jury, days like yesterday are a clear reminder about how much work we still have left to do to ensure that treatment by the criminal justice system is not determined by one’s race, and that the opportunity to prosper is not based on one’s ZIP code.
Let’s stand together to strengthen accountability mechanisms, and urge critical reforms that end racial profiling, police brutality, and militarized policing.
General managers play an important role within an organization. Whereas a manager is typically responsible for one department, the general manager typically leads the strategic planning and direction of a company. It’s a critical role and one that requires a person with exceptional qualities. Here are ten of the qualities that all successful general managers share:
1. Optimism: A positive attitude is infectious in the same way that negativity can be contagious. Approaching each day, each employee, each challenge, and each project with optimism communicates a sense of confidence and dependability. Genuine optimism boosts morale and naturally leads to happier employees, increased productivity, lower turnover rates, a better product, and more satisfied customers.
2. Creativity: It is the indefinable quality of successful managers and the spark that ignites their employees to do great things. Approaching business challenges in new and creative ways can lead to unimagined results that propel the company forward.
3. Conflict-resolution skills: As important as it is for managers to be seen as part of the team, employees also look to them to resolve disputes quickly and fairly. An effective general manager can spot conflicts before they get out of hand and have the ability to resolve unforeseen conflicts as they arise.
4. Curiosity: Having a natural curiosity is another important quality of successful general managers. In addition to acquiring as much knowledge as possible about their industry and products/services, they ask their employees a lot of questions to see what makes them tick and how they can be better managers.
5. Action-oriented: Successful general managers think and react quickly to situations in the workplace. Being flexible and inclusive in decision-making demonstrates a respect for all opinions and decisive action inspires employees to get behind the desired goal.
6. Ability to remain calm: General managers face many different challenges and decisions on a daily basis. One of the fastest ways to lose the confidence and respect of employees is to have a quick temper and to make rash decisions without having all of the facts. Subordinates need to believe their leader has a plan–even in the direst of circumstances.
7. Ability to coach: The most successful general managers are also good coaches. They recognize and reinforce the talents of employees and, at the same time, observe areas of improvement which can be addressed in both informal and formal coaching sessions.
8. Listening skills: The importance of truly listening to employees is often overlooked. Being a good listener means taking the time to give employees their full attention, communicating their understanding of the situation and/or their needs, offering a possible solution, and encouraging continuous feedback.
9. Communication skills: Successful general managers have to wear many hats and effectively communicate with people in all areas of the organization, from their direct subordinates and bosses to front-line employees and clients.
10. Sense of humor: You can’t underestimate the importance of levity in the workplace. A good boss who is able to joke around with employees and generally create a fun atmosphere will help reduce stress, improve morale, and boost productivity.
By Raphael Jones
By: Network and Finance | Date: 2014/11/09 | Categories: Business
President Obama’s Immigration Action Is A Necessary First Step To Fix A Broken System. The main components include:
A new deferred action program for 4.1 million immigrants who have been in the country for at least 5 years and have citizen or permanent resident children;
An expansion of the DACA program to remove the age cap and move up the year of arrival for eligibility, which will cover 300,000 more Dreamers; and
Changes to our enforcement priorities to focus on terrorists, national security threats, and other serious offenders first and foremost.
Despite conservative objections, President Obama’s action isn’t about politics — it’s about policy, prosperity, people, and public safety. Here are the key points to keep in mind about why this immigration action is important for the country.
1. President Obama is taking a smart first step to do what is within his power and legal authority to fix the problems. Taking executive action on immigration has a long and bipartisan history: All 11 presidents since Eisenhower — including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — have deferred the deportations of immigrants at least 39 times over the past 60 years. In 1990, George H.W. Bush acted to protect 1.5 million of the 3.5 million total undocumented immigrants in the United States — around the same percentage as Obama will be protecting with his new order.
2. This executive action will strengthen our national security and public safety by allowing law enforcement to focus on felons, not families. Having over 4 million immigrants come forward, register with the government, and pass background checks means that we know more about who is here to contribute and who is here to do us harm. Using our tax dollars wisely — to go after serious offenders, terrorists, and national security threats — is just smart thinking. What’s more, law-abiding families who’ve built their lives here in America shouldn’t have to be worried about being torn apart by deportation.
3. This executive action is a win-win for all American workers and taxpayers. Bringing 5 million people onto the books means that they and their employers have to pay taxes, which benefits all Americans. CAP has estimated that in the first year of the program alone, these 5 million immigrants will contribute $3 billion in payroll tax revenue alone, and $22.6 billion over 5 years. Moreover, bringing people out of the shadows eliminates the exploitation of undocumented immigrants as cheap labor by employers, which in turn helps drive all wages up.
4. This is an important first step, but we still need comprehensive legislation from Congress. While we should celebrate these changes, we need legislation to make a permanent change to our immigration system. Yet even though the Senate passed a strong and bipartisan bill, with the toughest border security provisions ever, House Republicans are watching it wither and die. It’s up to them — instead of threatening to shut down the government or impeach the president — to act on passing bipartisan reform.
BOTTOM LINE: President Obama’s immigration order, in line with previous presidential action on the issue, is an important but modest first step toward fixing our broken immigration system. The directives he is poised to make will focus law enforcement resources on felons, not families, and will help grow the economy by bringing millions of workers out of the shadows. While Republicans will inevitably complain, it was on them to pass comprehensive legislation through Congress–and it is still on them to follow through.