Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced her first piece of legislation. It’s called the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, and would reduce the rate students pay on federally-subsidized student loans for one year, from 3.4% to 0.75%.
Without congressional action, on July 1 the rate is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.
Warren brings up an interesting point – her bill simply asks students to pay the same rates that big banks pay for borrowing.
She’s literally just asking if college grads can get the same deal as bank CEOs. The exact same interest rate. Not even a bailout or anything fancy (pipe dreams!) - just the same interest rate.
please let this pass
La Cosecha / The Harvest (2011)
“Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. The Harvest / La Cosecha profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields to follow the harvest and provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 – 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.”
just goes to show you that not consuming animals does not mean you are supporting a system that is cruelty free
Bangladeshi garment factory collapses, killing 96, and the media once again reports half of the story
April 24, 2013
Ninety-six people died (and over a thousand were injured) making our clothes in Bangladesh today when the factory in which they were working collapsed. The tragedy is the latest in a troubling series of Bangladeshi factory fires, including a January fire that killed several teenagers, a November fire that killed 112, and a December 2010 fire that injured over 100 and killed 27 in a factory supplying Gap clothes.
The factory owners apparently detected a dangerous crack in the building yesterday, but ignored the warning and allowed workers to enter the building for work today.
One fireman told Reuters about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors slammed down onto those below.
The world’s biggest garment producers and retailers, including Wal-Mart, Sears, and Disney, have succeeded in limiting their legal liability as well as public scorn by constructing elaborate supply chains that make the Western corporations appear only distantly connected to these third-world tragedies. Businesses in the building that collapsed today had names like Phantom Apparels Ltd., New Wave Style Ltd., New Wave Bottoms Ltd. and New Wave Brothers Ltd., (Ltd. meaning limited liability), but sell to major retailers including Benetton, The Children’s Place and Dress Barn, according to CBS.
The reality is that virtually all of the clothes we buy in America and Europe come from countries like Bangladesh (which is now the second largest exporter of garments due to its extremely low wages and dangerous working conditions). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between five and fifteen million 10- to 14- year-old children work in garment factories in Bangladesh. Seventy-five to ninety percent of garment workers are women.
There is no paid leave for holidays, and salary is deducted if the child is absent, or for unproductive periods when the electricity in the factory temporarily goes out. Girls under 15 years of age are preferred in these factories, as they work for less, are more likely to be unmarried with no children or domestic responsibilities, and cause no labor problems.
Media coverage of workplace disasters abroad rarely make connections to these aspects of the average worker’s experience, nor do they interrogate connections to American and European companies that ultimately enjoy the profit margin on the goods produced. When those companies are mentioned, they typically decline to comment, as Wal-Mart did today, or deny that they have any official contracts with the local businesses, which is made easier by generally shoddy paperwork and little international enforcement of labor and trade regulations.
Every few months we see news of Bangladeshi factory fires and deaths. What are those in power doing to prevent the next catastrophe? And how often do we base our own consumption choices on the working conditions of people who actually sewed the clothes, cleaned the smartphone screens, picked the tomatoes, mined the minerals? As Americans, must we continue to live in perpetual guilt about the consequences of our daily behavior?
(Photo from Reuters)
“What are those in power doing to prevent the next catastrophe?”. Money, money, money, is so funny (bloody) in a (white) man’s world.
Rest in peace.
A building housing several factories making clothing for European and American consumers collapsed into a deadly heap on Wednesday, killing at least 108 workers and injuring at least 1,000 people. The catastrophe comes only five months after a horrific fire at a similar facility prompted leading multinational brands to pledge to work to improve safety in the country’s booming but poorly regulated garment industry. (Photo: AM Ahad / AP via The New York Times; caption via The Times)
I don’t think any good can be accomplished by me taking a strident outraged tone here, so I’m trying to keep it even-keeled, but here’s what’s up: 108 people are dead because people were cutting corners to save money. Terrorism is awful, lots of things are awful. One thing that’s awful and which costs lives, real lives, innocent lives, all the time, is when profit motive is placed ahead of the safety of the workers who have made the companies profitable. “Four Building Codes Violated To Save Money, Scores Dead; Need For Cheap Labor Cited” doesn’t have the headline glamor that bombs and guns bring to the table, and I’m not saying that stories of sudden nightmare violence shouldn’t be covered; the news only responds to the demands of its viewers. It’s on us as viewers and readers to say that when something like the collapse of Rana Plaza occurs, this, too, is an act of cruel and unimaginable violence, and its causes and culprits should be as vigorously pursued and investigated as the lone-wolf supervillains who command our attention from time to time.
ATTLEBORO — As many as 25 students at Coelho Middle School were denied meals or told to throw their lunches away Tuesday because they could not pay or their pre-paid accounts did not contain enough money, school officials said today.
Parents said some of the children cried after they were not allowed to eat or had to toss out their lunches.
School officials said an on-site employee from Whitson’s, the school system’s school lunch provider, apparently gave the order not to extend meals to students who could not pay or whose credit was already overextended. SOURCE
Imagine, for a second, the mindset required to force hungry children to throw food in the garbage? It’s not like the food was given to a child that could pay, it was just wasted. It’s the ultimate in conservative thought: I will gain nothing from this but the satisfaction of knowing you did not get a free meal.
This is why privatizing government functions is a bad idea is almost every circumstance but particularly in those that provide a direct service. Once a profit motive is introduced, it ceases to be about fulfilling a public need, now it becomes about making a profit by any means necessary. The idea of providing children a nutritious meal so they can grow and learn and contribute to society becomes a narrow and selfish pursuit of the bottom line. If children are left to go hungry, well, that’s capitalism for you!
It’s not as if they couldn’t feed them, the district has a policy where a student that can’t pay for the regular meal will be provided with a cheese sandwich and milk. It’s not the most appealing of meals but it will certainly keep a child fed. But instead, this privately run company decided that over twenty kids simply shouldn’t eat if it was going to cost the company money:
Parents said they were told by their children that some pupils in the cafeteria line had already picked up their lunch and were told at the checkout they had to throw it away.
Victoria Greaves, 11, a fifth grader at Coelho, said a cashier told her to throw away her lunch because there was not enough money in her account. She said she threw her meal away and got nothing to eat.
We’re left to wonder what the cashier planned on doing if the child refused to comply. Would they physically take the food away? Was the couple of dollars really that important?
The larger question that isn’t being asked yet is how did we come to a point where anyone can even think that depriving children of food is a moral thing to do? In the richest nation on Earth, are we so blinded by greed and the pursuit of the Holy Dollar that we don’t even consider that going out of our way to let a child go hungry to be the act of a sociopath? Would we rather throw food in the garbage than let someone eat it for free? Who thinks that way?
House Republicans recently proposed cuts to nutrition assistance that will kick 280,000 low-income children off automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Those same kids and 1.5 million other people will also lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamp benefits) that help them afford food at home.
Ah. Well, that explains that, doesn’t it?
We’re left to wonder what the cashier planned on doing if the child refused to comply.
Probably depends. Are there cops in this school?
Cambodian garment workers end hunger strike after winning money owed to them from Walmart and H&M suppliers. Photos by Heather Stilwell.
Congrats to my friends who worked on this campaign, and the Cambodian workers who fight to win.
[Image description: Images of a protest gathering at the 2013 Oscar awards. Almost 500 visual effects artists gathered to draw attention to the issues facing their industry. They protested with signs calling for due credit for their contributions to famous films that were VFX-heavy such as Titanic, The Avengers, and Avatar. More images can be found in this flickr set.]
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi won Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects (VFX) during last night’s Oscars ceremony, but that last prize leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many who worked on the film. You might assume those who work on a film that wins an Oscar would be excited about it taking home the gold, but that’s not the case for over 400 current and ex-employees of visual effects company Rhythm & Hues, which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and fired over 250 employees last week. Deadline reports that many of those workers gathered and staged a large protest near the 85th Academy Awards ceremony last night.
I’m amazed this isn’t getting more attention on tumblr, considering how many people here enjoy the work these people do. All those gifs, all the screencaps, they don’t just magically happen.
From the petition:
The United States is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave. Forcing families to choose between going without a salary and having a baby is unethical. Forcing mothers to give up caring for their newborns because they are going broke is not acceptable.
Yeah guys some of you might remember that infographic that went around tumblr a while ago that listed countries according to their paid maternity leave, well here’s your chance to help remove that big ‘0 weeks paid maternity leave’ from the United States.
This petition’s goal is 100,000 you can do that tumblr!
All my American followers had best sign this. It takes literally one click - maybe three if you have to make an account first. This shit’s important.
I’ve seen different figures, but if minimum wage had kept up it sure as hell would more than $7.25 per hour.