Archive for business

Ikea likes "happier co-workers, customers," boosts average minimum wage to $10.76

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ikea

"I am Laffy and I am an Ikea -oholic."

"Hi Laffy!"

Recently, Mr. Laffy and I spent 2 afternoons assembling four Ikea cabinets. They turned out beautiful, and are functional and less expensive than buying them from some fancy schmancy furniture store. We've shopped at Ikea for decades, buying everything from kitchen supplies to indoor and outdoor furniture to unique decor items. They have really cool stuff. We have, however, avoided their meatballs, but that's another story for another time.

Now we have even more reason to support Ikea. They're into making their employees and customers "happier," as well as creating a positive "shopping experience." How? By raising their minimum hourly wage to $10.76, which is 66 cents more than President Obama was shooting for. Works for us.

As we speak, the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour and hasn't changed since 2009. Personally, I'd like to see wages kicked up to at least $15 an hour, but what do I know? I'm just a dumb lefty socialist Marxist commie who wants to see our country fail and our first black president become the Dictator O' the Whole Wide World.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Ikea US will boost the average minimum hourly wage across its 38 retail locations to $10.76 beginning Jan. 1, 2015. That's a 17% bump from its current $9.17-an-hour starting wage, and $3.51 above the federal minimum.

"The happier the co-worker, the happier the customer and the better the overall shopping experience," said Ikea's acting U.S. president, Rob Olson. "We wanted to be less concerned about the competition and more concerned about offering our co-workers a better everyday life." [...]

[H]igher wages would also likely spur more spending by workers, potentially giving businesses more revenues to pay their staffs.

What? Someone who disagrees with the GOP, yet is busting his rumpa to comply with the the United States Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? What does he think he is... a patriot?

Here's what the National Retail Federation said about the proposal: It's "an anti-job tax." That is SO Republican Tightwad Corporatists ago, NRF. Grow up.

In fact, take a gander at the Gap stores, naysayers. They're raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015, which would affect 65,000 of its 90,000 employees in the U.S.

scream fear

Gaaaaaa! Hide the kids! Better yet, hide your wallets! Prices will SKYROCKET! Jobs will be slashed!! We're all gonna DIE!!

Since the announcement, the San Francisco company said, job applications for positions at its namesake brand and its lower-priced Old Navy label saw a double-digit increase from the same period a year earlier. Interest from job seekers also swelled at Gap's Banana Republic and Athleta stores.

So how is Ikea's top guy responding to all the panic? Well, for one, he says Ikea will keep on keeping on with even lower prices to attract even more shoppers. Because, see, shoppers really really like cheaper stuff. File that under "Duh."

Plus, says he, paying his employees more will lead to more and better job applicants, less employee turnover, and better customer service. Why? Because workers will stay put at their Ikea jobs longer and feel even more loyalty.

Finally, he said, "Even though the margins might be lower, the bottom line ends up doing better."

And that, GOP, is the Swedish American way! Here's too many more slutspurts, Mr. Olson. *clink!*

the american way

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Tesla channels Youngman: Take my patents, please!

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henny youngman take my patents please tesla

Tesla is doing something extremely cool. Tesla is that brand of extremely cool autos that run on extremely cool, clean electricity and figured out how to go miles (literally) beyond other electric automakers when it comes to how far they travel on a single charge-- double or triple the driving range of other electric cars, to be exact. Their groundbreaking ways continue.

For example, Tesla sells their cars directly to consumers out of their own showrooms. They've gotten some blowback for that (hence the image at the bottom of this post).

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Tesla is offering something else extremely cool, something very surprising:

The Tesla Model S just became the world's first open-source car.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., said Thursday that he was opening up the electric car company's patents to all comers. "Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor," Musk said, "but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."

And if that's not impressive enough, Musk wants to encourage the use of electric cars for all the right reasons:

Opening up Tesla's technology could increase sales of electric cars and move the world away from oil-burning vehicles that contribute to global warming.

Plus, his strategy won't hurt business in the least. But it will help our environment and kick car manufacturers in their polluting trunks to keep up with the times.

"We think the market is plenty big enough for everyone," Musk said. "If we can do things that don't hurt us and help the U.S. industry, we should do that."

He's channeling Henny Youngman in the best way ever.

Take my patents, please!

Then again, he can afford it:

"Even if other competitors copy Tesla's design, Tesla still gets to sell them batteries, and that's pretty awesome. Tesla's decision isn't entirely altruistic," said Jacob Sherkow, patent law expert at the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.

"I don't think people quite appreciate the gravity of what is going on," Musk said. "We need to do something. We would be shortsighted at Tesla if we kept these things close to our vest."

Tesla benefits, other car makers benefit, we benefit, the environment benefits, and everyone works together as one, big happy, healthy family. That, by the way, is The American Way.

the american way

chris christie tesla free market

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Republicans Spank Boehner And This Time He Really Does Cry

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Boehner crying

The tail didn't wag the dog yesterday, it took a bite out of its ass, and good. The Republican Conservative movement bared their teeth and took a chunk out of the backside of the head canine. In plain speak, John Boehner got what's left of his ample ass shredded, then handed to him.

We all remember this:

Well, after yesterday's meeting with the Republican Caucus, the pit bull, who masquerades  as Speaker of the House by day and lifts his hind leg and pees on social issues by night, did his little poop on command in front of the cameras yesterday to tell America a new story.

THE HILL:

“You all know me. You tease the ones you love, all right? But some people misunderstood what I had to say, and I wanted to make sure members understood that the biggest impediment we have to moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.” 

Oh, you big kidder, John Boehner. We should have known you were just pulling our leg. Your own people should have known better, too. You love to joke and cajole behind closed doors. We get it.

Well, ask Mitt Romney how easy it is to live down hidden video. America is going to hear your two-faced agenda over and over again and question what your own party thinks of the Conservative movement. If their own leader thinks they're babies, what's America's voting public to think of them?

A majority of the public wants immigration reform, and they now have heard the House Top Dog say it's not going to happen. And your deflection on why you won't let it happen is that it's Obama's fault. He can't be trusted. Is this country going to believe a crybaby like yourself or the man who's proven he is trying to get things done despite your lies and obstruction?

This isn't going to fly outside those who hated Obama before he even started to serve. But they may hate you and the Republican party even more when they find out you've led the charge to defeat immigration reform, promoted the government shutdown, and halted any movement on minimum wage, fought to keep women from self-determination over their own bodies, all while bringing to the floor 50+ 'go nowhere' votes on stopping health care reform.

You may think Democrats have a lot to answer for in November. But right now, you're own party doesn't trust you. And that stink is going to wash over many of your Republican cronies. You're not a leader. You're a stinker. And that stench starts at the head.

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Gays And The NFL - Tax Exempt Status At Stake

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football NFL

When the crazies get going, the going gets crazy. Yesterday there was an article circulating about Jack Burkman, a lobbyist trying to propose a bill that would ban gay players from the NFL.

What's crazy about that? Well everything from the fact that lobbyists can't propose bills, senators and congressmen must introduce them. But putting that behind, the fact that discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by law, this would stand in the way of such a bill. But some bills do pass that are found unconstitutional, then they're struck down.

Think of all that cost. And also think of this: The NFL exists as it does with a congressional granted tax exempt status. The multi-billion dollar industry saves millions because of that designation. You think they want to risk their non-profit status? According to CBS MoneyWatch:

This decision has saved the NFL uncounted millions in tax obligations, which means that ordinary people must pay higher taxes, public spending must decline, or the national debt must increase to make up for the shortfall. Nonprofit status applies to the NFL’s headquarters, which administers the league and its all-important television contracts.

The NFL is already under attack. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has already introduced a bill to strip tax-exempt status from sports leagues. How many co-signers do you think would jump on that bandwagon if Congress were to even entertain a bill banning homosexuals from participating in the league?

Two days ago Jason Collins, an openly gay man, joined the NBA Brooklyn Nets. He played in his first game. And guess what? The league didn't collapse. When number 42, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLB, the league didn't collapse. And when and if Michael Sam is drafted by the NFL, the league isn't going to sputter or disintegrate.

Life goes on. Bigotry must fall.

So before ending this post, it might be interesting to know a final fact or two about Jim Burkman, the lobbyist. Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- A Republican lobbyist, [Jack Burkman], hawking a bill that would bar gays from playing in the National Football League has a younger brother who is gay [Jim Burkman].

“I think the idea that he is pushing legislation that is just hurtful and ridiculous is just plain stupid,” said Jim Burkman. “He is not a legislator and he can’t really push legislation. I don’t think there are any cosponsors for a bill. It is just an attention grab and a media grab to pander to those folks who pay him to lobby on their behalf.

Well, now it's time for the NFL to speak up -- and they should because they have a lot to lose -- millions -- if their tax exempt status should be removed. And if they don't come out as accepting of gays, you can count on their exempt status going the way of the "leather helmet" or "Statue of Liberty" play.

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F-Word Beer: Cure For The New Years Hangover

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Exit 6 Pub

C'mon, if you didn't have one too many on New Years Eve, chances are you had a bit to imbibe yesterday on New Years Day with the Rose Parade. Maybe you wanted to sober up with a stop at Starbucks and grab a fresh Frappacino. But, maybe in your slightly inebriated state you missed your destination by a block and instead stopped at  Exit 6 Pub and Brewery, in Cottleville, Missouri. Luckily for you, when you muttered the word Frappacino, the attendant poured you a fresh one from the tap. Yikes, it was beer and not coffee. You looked around and realized you were in an unfamiliar small independent bar and not the standard, uniform confines of the huge Starbucks chain. Gone was the Starbucks green circle with the queen mermaid in it (or whoever she is). No one asked if you wanted a Vente or Grande. They just brought you a glass -- not a paper cup. Damn, you were taken. You were fooled. It's as if you had just crossed over the line and found yourself in a modern day episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE.

Starbucks frappacino

Well, as silly as this sounds, check out the attached video. It seems everyone's favorite coffee shop, the Mega huge Starbucks, took umbridge and issued a cease and desist letter to the owners of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery. This single location bar's response to the demand letter is nothing short of hysterical -- snarkiness to the "nth" degree. The entire correspondence can be found here, courtesy of HuffPo. The back and forth between both Starbucks' lawyers and Exit 6 Pub's proprietor is priceless.

From now on, Frappacino Beer at Exit 6 Pub will be henceforth be known as 'F-word beer' to avoid any confusion. And so there's no hard feelings and in a show of good faith, Exit 6 Pub returned the entire $6 profit made from the mistake. Now if that teaser has you wanting to know more, check out the hysterical news coverage of this brew-haha (intentionally misspelled)  below:

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Bet you didn't hear about this good US economic recovery news in the "liberal media"

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good news bad news paper game

Day in and day out we watch, listen, or read about the latest news stories, and they usually boil down to a few basic themes: criticism of the Obama administration; competing political commentary by the same old competing political talking heads; inordinate amounts of speculation; redundant beating of that poor dead horse, the (apparently) One and Only Very Important Headline of the Day; and trivial fluff.

I have the Tee Vee Machine running all day, so I manage to (over)expose myself to frustrating daytime cable coverage, and not once has there been a mention of today's Los Angeles Times above-the-fold, front page story, "Solid Growth for U.S. Likely in 2014."

That's right, there is such a thing as "economic recovery," yet economic news gets an overwhelming amount of negative attention and analysis, but nary a whisper about the recovery and growth that's being revealed in the Times:

The overall economic outlook for the U.S. has improved sharply in recent weeks amid a string of surprisingly robust economic data: Businesses have stepped up hiring, new factory orders from abroad are at a two-year high and consumers have been flocking to car lots and restaurants.

State and local governments that not long ago were in massive retrenchment are spending more too.

"We could see the unemployment rate down to 6% this time next year," said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. That would be a full percentage point below the current rate and, in some analysts' views, close to full employment.

"Close to full employment." "Close to full employment." I'msorrywhat?

Anyone hear about this anywhere, any time, from anyone today? I sure didn't.

Ahem:

An acceleration to 3% would probably push up U.S. job growth to 250,000 a month on average, from a monthly average of 190,000 over the last 12 months, Kleinhenz said.

At that pace, the nation would recover all the jobs lost in the recession by the end of 2014. And it would push down the jobless rate closer to the 5.5% to 6% range that some now see as the potential long-term unemployment rate.

Maybe our so-called "liberal media" doesn't want to rock the "we're all sunk" (no pun) boat. After all, the more they can stir up even more speculation, anger, confusion, uncertainty, conflict, and controversy, the more opinionated commentators snap at each other, the more drama and rubbernecking they can generate, the stronger their readership, listenership, and viewership become.

And we all know by now that a big dose of what we can all agree is good news just doesn't bring in ratings.

bias liberal media my ass smaller

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You're Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

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the poor

What's pleasantly surprising is that despite Republican efforts to stall any safe jobs bill, the economy has picked up. Unemployment dropped in the latest report to 7%, the lowest number in five years.

That's forty-five straight months of improved job numbers. Now that's a great streak, but when you start in such a deep hole, it's more of a continued improvement, but not a clean bill of health.  A healthy overall unemployment number should be somewhere in the two or three percent range. Despite GOP obstruction, the President's plans, along with those of the Fed, are yielding small and steady results. And that could end up being bad news.

Job growth is bad news? Leave it to the GOP to turn improvements into detriments for hundreds of thousands. The Republicans are moving to punish those who weren't lucky enough to grab onto a job and make them suffer even more. The GOP doesn't want to renew the extended unemployment coverage for millions after their state support runs out. And of course, timing is everything. As much as it's a time of "cheer," it's also the time of great despair and the highest numbers of suicide. Being destitute, devoid of hope is a major cause. This is not the time to cut aid to the poor. Food stamps and unemployment need to be continued.

If the GOP really cares -- not that anyone believes that -- but if there's a chance there's a compassionate soul trapped in the body of a Republican, think about working on a reasonable jobs bill. Think about helping with passing a version of the Senate immigration bill. Stop your war on women and healthcare for the poor. And please don't penalize the unemployed who are just trying to find one of the few jobs out there that you haven't found ways to defund or restrict with blockage in the House and Senate.

Being a Scrooge is not only a stigma you'll be able to easily shun, but a compassionate one that you need to shed.

You can't have it both ways. You can't fight job creation on every level, then because the President's plans seem to be working, albeit slowly, slap down the job hunters who haven't been as fortunate.

Find a jobs bill and then, when enough people are working, you might consider cutting back jobless benefits. But now's not the time. Remove people from unemployment with jobs. That's the healthy way. Then the reason to trim extended funding will follow. We're not there yet.

Republicans, if you're not prepared to confess to the world that the President and his party has ushered through some steady economic growth, don't take it out on the less fortunate by further victimizing the jobless, the hungry and those in need. Increasing jobs, decreases unemployment. Don't cut essential programs. It's that simple.

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