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Warning Signs: FedEx To Slash Thousands of Jobs Citing “Weak Global Economic Conditions

October 16 2012

by: Mac Slavo


One key measure of global economic health is how much freight – raw materials and manufactured goods – is being shipped around the world and in the United States. In July of this year the Balctic Dry Index, a measure of the price to pay for the movement of raw materials by sea, hit a record breaking low and signaled a steep decline in global manufacturing and consumption.

This was a key indicator for where the economy was headed on a global scale.

Just a few months later we’ve received confirmation of this trend from FedEx, one of the largest shipping companies in the world.

Yes, Americans are still shopping, but they aren’t shopping at the same pace they were five years ago. Their jobs have been eliminated, wages reduced and credit has been restricted. FedEx’s latest earnings report is proof positive of this:

Earnings for the first quarter were below our expectations as weak global economic conditions dampened revenue growth, drove a shift by our customers to our deferred services and outpaced our near-term ability to reduce FedEx Express operating costs to match demand levels.

Source: FedEx

 Demand for FedEx services is down overall for a variety of reasons, including less retail consumption in an already struggling economy and a customer shift to cheaper shipping methods.

(Full Story...)



Decline and Collapse

100 Million Could Die As a Result of Climate Change by 2030

October 8 2012

by: Igor Volsky

The human toll of climate change is already staggering, but it will get much worse.


100 million people  could die as a result of climate change by 2030,  a new report from DARA, a nonprofit institute based in Spain, concludes. Climate change already contributes to “400,000 deaths on average each year,” mainly due to “hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries,” while “an estimated 4.5 million deaths each year [are] linked to air pollution, hazardous occupations and cancer.”


These numbers will increase substantially by the end of the next decade, with “developing countries and above all the world’s poorest groups” seeing the greatest impacts. As the graphic below demonstrates, the low-emission country group “experiences approximately 40 percent of all its economic losses, and over 80 percent of all climate change-related mortality”:

Climate-fueled extreme weather is already taking an economic toll on the United States. 220 people have died so far this year from weather-related events, and the expected cost ranges  upward of $55 billion.


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Death by Technology

Inside Story US 2012 - Ignoring America's poor

October 8 2012

by: Aljazeera

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Decline and Collapse

Walmart Strike: Dozens Of LA Workers Walk Off The Job In First-Ever Strike Against Retailer

October 8 2012

by: Kathleen Miles


For the first time in Walmart's 50-year history, workers at multiple stores have gone on strike, even though their jobs are not protected by a labor union.

More than 70 Los Angeles Walmart workers from nine stores walked off the job Thursday, workers and labor organizers told The Huffington Post.

About 250 workers and supporters protested outside the Pico Rivera Walmart store, carrying signs that read, "On Strike for the Freedom to Speak Out" and "Walmart Strike Against Retaliation." The workers said their complaints about working conditions and low pay have been met with threats, suspensions and terminations.

The strikers said they plan to return to work Friday. Some of the workers will speak at LA City Hall Friday to relay Walmart's response to the strike. The strike was coordinated by OUR Walmart, a labor group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that defends Walmart workers' rights.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman told HuffPost that the protest was insignificant and claimed that less than five workers walked off the job. "This rally is just the latest publicity stunt by the UFCW to seek media attention in order to further their political agenda and financial objectives," he said. "Our stores in the community are staffed up and open for business as usual today. This event is not a factor," he added.

(Full Story...)




Decline and Collapse

Americans Continue to Struggle Post-Recession

October 2 2012



This week, we reported on the Pew Research Center’s findings that the 2000s were a lost decade for the middle class, as a result of declining household income and shrinking net worth over that 10-year period. Now, Pew reports that in the two years since the end of the Great Recession, Americans continue to shed resources.

 In fact, the decline of household median income in the last two years matched the drop that occurred during the recession itself, Pew reports. In 2009, when the recession ended, median household income was $52,195, and in 2011 (the most recent year available), it was $50,054, a decline of 4.1 percent. Back in 2007, before the recession, median household income was $54,489. That leads Pew to conclude that “recovery from the Great Recession is bypassing the nation’s households.”

 Those households are already in a weakened state. As Pew reported earlier, median net worth of middle-income families fell to $93,150 in 2010, compared to a peak of $152,950 several years earlier. And net worth is an important measure of financial security, since it offers households much-needed cash if they find themselves facing unplanned expenses or job losses. At the same time, median household income for middle-income families fell to $69,487 in 2010 compared to $72,956 at the beginning of the decade.

(Full Story...)



Death by Technology

Great Recession still slamming the middle class

October 2 2012

by: John W. Schoen



The poor stayed poor and the rich got richer, but the middle slipped a few more rungs down the economic ladder.

More than five years after the Great Recession began, the lingering impact of the worst downturn in a half-century continues to deplete the standard of living of middle-class American households.

Median household income, after adjusting for inflation, fell 1.5 percent last year to $50,054, according to the Census Bureau's annual report on income and poverty issued released Wednesday. The poverty rate, at 15 percent, remained stuck at the highest level since 1993.

For Ray Bober, 45, of Pittsburgh, whose unemployment benefits ran out this year after a family printing business failed several years ago, the dismal economy takes a toll every time he sends out another resume that goes nowhere.

“You have to learn to roll with the punches and laugh a little; it’s very depressing,” he said. “It takes a toll, especially this long. You want to reach out and shake your fist in the air and blame someone, but you can’t. The way it is, is the way it is. There’s nothing you can do about it but stay in the fight."

For millions of middle-class American households, the fight began well before the Great Recession destroyed more than 8 million jobs, or even before the financial collapse in 2008 that gave birth to the downturn. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has been dropping for 13 years.

The drop in income has been magnified by the persistent high unemployment, currently above 8 percent, which peaked at a monthly pace of more than 800,000 jobs shed in November 2008. On top of job growth that's been weaker than any recovery in a half-century, wages haven't budged since the recession ended.

Last year's drop in the median family household income has left income for those in the median 8.1 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the recession began, and 8.9 percent lower than the median peak in 1999.

(Full Story...)


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Decline and Collapse | The Economy

Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Scanning Systems

September 28 2012


by: Lila Shapiro


Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanning  systems are one of the newest technologies in the hands of law enforcement. The system consists of several cameras mounted on a police cruiser, hooked up to a computer inside the vehicle. The image on license plates are scanned and matched with an on-board, real-time database. This database can be set with flags for vehicles that have been identified as

  • Stolen Vehicles
  • Wanted for an Amber Alerts
  • Expired Registration
  • Expired Insurance
  • Wanted as “Persons of Interest” for any investigation

Anytime of of these alerts is triggered, the officer in the vehicle is immediately alerted to your presence, and for what reason your car has been flagged.

The system can also be matched with the owner of the vehicle via a DMV database. So if you are the owner of a car, and have a

you can find yourself stopped by the police in a heartbeat, just for driving down the street, and not committing any traffic violation.

How Many License Tags Can They Scan?

A license plate scanner can capture thousands of tags per hour. A police car parked on the side of the highway can scan virtually every car license plate in sight. They can successfully identify a vehicle going in the other direction down the highway at 70 mph.

Every time an image is captured, it is saved with the time, date, and location by GPS coordinates. So the police now have a record of where your vehicle was spotted at the time of the scan.

Can The System Make Mistakes?

Definitely, no system is flawless. Sometimes the optical character recognition will guess wrong. If it can’t decide which letter is on a plate, it will search the database for hits on both options. So it is entirely possible to be pulled over mistakenly based on a hit from the license plate scanner.

(Full Story...)



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