Tag Archives: Amazon

Jeff Bezos gave just 0.0906 percent of his money to charity

Shocker, not.

From NY Post: For the world’s richest man, charity begins — and stays — at home.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has given only a tiny fraction of his $160 billion fortune to philanthropic causes, falling far behind fellow billionaires such as Bill and Melinda Gates and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, public records show.

Although Bezos, 55, and his estranged wife MacKenzie recently pledged $2 billion to a new charitable initiative, their previous giving amounts to a total of just over $145 million or .0906 percent — far less than one percent — of their net worth. Out of $100,000, that would be like spending $90.06 on charity.

“The record of both Amazon and Jeff Bezos reveals that they are takers, not givers,” said Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Long Island City, where Amazon plans to set up a corporate headquarters. “When they make promises of how generous they will be, I look at what they have done in the past to know what the truth really is.”

Over nearly two decades, Jeff Bezos has given paltry donations to the Bezos Family Foundation, a charity that was started by his parents in Washington state in Sept. 2000, state incorporation filings show.

Between 2000 and 2017, Bezos contributed just under $6 million to the group that Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos kickstarted with $20,000. Ma and Pa Bezos, who were early investors in their son’s fledgling company in 1995, are worth as much as $30 billion today.

In 2004, Bezos, who had already amassed a net worth of just over $2 billion, joined the board of his parents’ non-profit, along with his wife and siblings Mark and Lisa and their respective partners, according to tax filings for the group reviewed by The Post.

But it was the parents who continued to finance the non-profit, mainly through donations of Amazon stock. In 2017, Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos contributed $30,266,250 in stock to their charity, public documents show. (The foundation makes donations to educational initiatives in the US and around the world.)

It wasn’t until 2011 that Jeff Bezos, whose wealth had shot up to more than $18 billion, finally gave his first contribution to the Bezos Family Foundation: $940,538 in Amazon stock through Zefram LLC, a company that he controls, federal filings show.

As his wealth climbed, Bezos continued to keep a tight rein on his cash, at least when it came to his family charity. In 2015, the year his wealth took a nearly $30 billion leap and his net worth shot up to $58.4 billion, the family foundation received a total of $5,002,590 in Amazon stock from Jeff and MacKenzie, public records show.

The $5,943,128 the tech titan donated to his parents’ charity over the last 17 years averages less than $350,000 annually.

Bezos has long been known for his stingy ways with employees at Amazon. According to Brad Stone’s 2013 book “The Everything Store,” meals in the company cafeterias are not subsidized for workers and new employees receive a backpack with orientation materials and various pieces of equipment, including a power adaptor, that they are asked to return upon resignation.

But in the last year Bezos seems to have opened his philanthropic spigot slightly. He took to Twitter to ask his 700,000 followers for suggestions on the direction his philanthropy should take, and he recently doled out $33 million to finance scholarships for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children and $10 million to With Honor, a political action committee that helps veterans enter politics.

After announcing the creation of the Bezos Day One Fund, an initiative to battle homelessness and support early childhood education with the creation of Montessori schools in needy neighborhoods in September, Bezos earmarked $97.5 million to homeless charities across the country.

Still, the grand total of Bezos’s giving — $146,443,128 — is well below other major wealthy philanthropists, who signed on to billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s 2006 challenge to give half their fortune to philanthropy.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Another 2020 contender: Bill de Blasio says “There’s plenty of money in NYC, it’s just in the wrong hands”

The mantra of every elite socialist and ill-informed, government-educated proggie.

From NY Post: Burnishing his progressive credentials, Mayor Bill de Blasio portrayed himself as a protector of the working class on Thursday — while proposing a redistribution of wealth — in his sixth State of the City address.

“Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands,” said de Blasio, who owns two homes and collects $258,750 a year as mayor.

“You haven’t been paid what you deserve for all the hard work. You haven’t been given the time you deserve. You’re not living the life you deserve. And here is the cold, hard truth: It’s no accident. It’s an agenda,” he continued, blaming Republican presidential administrations from Reagan to Trump.

The mayor proposed initiatives to level the playing field between the haves and have-nots — such as seizing buildings from bad landlords, expanding the Department of Consumer Affairs to include “worker protection” and offering medical care to 300,000 illegal aliens.

But critics pointed out the mayor’s corporate handouts.

“I thought there was something a little contradictory when he talks about having a city with a whole lot of money where workers don’t get their fair share and how we’re going to start to be more fair and more equitable,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said.

“The irony there is that you’re giving $3 billion away to Amazon [in city and state subsidies],” Diaz continued, adding that he supports the online retail giant’s plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, but not the financial incentives offered to it.

Hizzoner also promised to confiscate land from scofflaw landlords and turn the seized properties over to nonprofits under a newly created Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.

“When the city’s worst landlords cheat their tenants, we will take their buildings away from them,” he said in the 67-minute speech at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side.

“If fines and penalties don’t cut it, we will seize buildings and put them into the hands of a nonprofit that will treat tenants with the respect they deserve.”

The details were not announced, but the plan is modeled on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Third Party Transfer program, which forecloses on properties that have fallen into serious disrepair or are behind on taxes.

It was one of many mayoral ideas that recycled existing programs or proposals de Blasio couldn’t push through during his first five years at City Hall.

The Department of Consumer Affairs will be renamed the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to help freelancers and contract workers get paid quicker while enforcing paid-sick-leave laws and worker vacation requirements. Such activities already largely fall under its purview.

He also re-upped a 2016 proposal to create a public retirement system for the 2 million New Yorkers who do not have employer-sponsored savings programs. The plan stalled three years ago due to federal rule changes, but the city is taking another stab at it now that Oregon got one up and running and Seattle is moving in that direction, city officials said.

The city’s version would require employers to either offer retirement to all employees or auto-enroll them in a city-run retirement system.

De Blasio also pledged to expand pre-K for 3-year-olds to 20,000 by 2019 instead of 19,000 by 2021, while also extending a program that gives free vision checks and glasses to 5- and 6-year-old schoolchildren.

The city expects about 33,000 kids to get the glasses, supplied free by the eyeglass-making company Warby Parker.
The mayor, whose own eye has shifted outside New York as he seeks to raise his national profile, plugged his previously announced plan to expand the city’s MetroPlus public health care system as proof that New York is a progressive bastion battling a regressive national current.

“This country has spent decades taking from working people and giving to the 1 percent. This city has spent the last five years doing it the other way around,” he said.

He also took shots at Albany over the state of the city’s subways, although his gripes may have fallen on dead ears.
“I am not listening to it right now,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told WNYC on Thursday. “I’m in Albany.”

DCG

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A better communicator: Amazon’s Alexa tells user, “kill your foster parents”

From Yahoo: Millions of users of Amazon’s Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant that can tell them the weather, order takeout and handle other basic tasks in response to a voice command.

So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: “Kill your foster parents.”

Alexa has also chatted with users about sex acts. She gave a discourse on dog defecation. And this summer, a hack Amazon traced back to China may have exposed some customers’ data, according to five people familiar with the events.

Alexa is not having a breakdown.

The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator. New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the internet. However, ensuring she does not offend users has been a challenge for the world’s largest online retailer.

At stake is a fast-growing market for gadgets with virtual assistants. An estimated two-thirds of U.S. smart-speaker customers, about 43 million people, use Amazon’s Echo devices, according to research firm eMarketer. It is a lead the company wants to maintain over the Google Home from Alphabet Inc and the HomePod from Apple Inc.

Over time, Amazon wants to get better at handling complex customer needs through Alexa, be they home security, shopping or companionship.

“Many of our AI dreams are inspired by science fiction,” said Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s vice president and head scientist of Alexa Artificial Intelligence (AI), during a talk last month in Las Vegas.

To make that happen, the company in 2016 launched the annual Alexa Prize, enlisting computer science students to improve the assistant’s conversation skills. Teams vie for the $500,000 first prize by creating talking computer systems known as chatbots that allow Alexa to attempt more sophisticated discussions with people.

Amazon customers can participate by saying “let’s chat” to their devices. Alexa then tells users that one of the bots will take over, unshackling the voice aide’s normal constraints. From August to November alone, three bots that made it to this year’s finals had 1.7 million conversations, Amazon said.

Read the whole story here.

See also:

While the owner is away the parrot will play (and order items from Amazon Alexa)
Police think Alexa may have witnessed a double slaying, want Amazon to turn her over
Amazon launches program to get Alexa in hotel rooms

DCG

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While the owner is away the parrot will play (and order items from Amazon Alexa)

Rocco and his owner/Photo from Facebook

Just another hazard of having that device in your home.

From Fox 5 NY: A parrot has fallen in love with his owner’s Amazon Alexa — but keeps using it to order shopping.

So far Rocco the African Grey, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, U.K., has demanded treats such as strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream.

He has also ordered a kite, light bulbs and even a kettle.

Rocco likes to dance too and tells the voice-activated device to play favorite tunes. Sometimes they are slow numbers, but he generally prefers rock.

See also:

DCG

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Police think Alexa may have witnessed a double slaying, want Amazon to turn her over

Can the recordings on Alexa be trusted? Who was actually there? Was if the recording was from a movie/TV show/other audio recording? Was the crime a set-up?

Seems to me that without visual evidence, you can pre-determine a desired outcome based upon your position (as can happen in many trials with circumstantial evidence).

The data may be used to exonerate someone yet it may also be used against you.

Another reason I will never have an Alex in my home.

From SF Gate: Alexa might have been listening, as she almost always is, when Christine Sullivan was stabbed to death in the kitchen of the Farmington, New Hampshire, home where Sullivan lived with her boyfriend on the night of Jan. 27, 2017.

But does Alexa remember any of it?

That’s the question state prosecutors are hoping will produce key evidence in the murder case against Timothy Verrill, who is accused of killing Sullivan and her friend, Jenna Pelligrini, over suspicions they were informing police about an alleged drug operation. Prosecutors say Alexa, the artificial woman who personifies the Amazon Echo smart device, was sitting on the kitchen counter the entire time.

Now, a judge has ordered Amazon to turn over any recordings the Echo device may have made from Jan. 27, the day the women were killed, until Jan. 29, when police discovered them tucked beneath a tarp under the back porch.

“The court finds there is probable cause to believe the server(s) and/or records maintained for or by Amazon.com contain recordings made by the Echo smart speaker from the period of Jan. 27 to Jan. 29, 2017 … and that such information contains evidence of crimes committed against Ms. Sullivan, including the attack and possible removal of the body from the kitchen.”

Verrill has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Verrill’s case marks at least the second time Amazon has become entangled in a high-stakes murder case in which its device, a task manager activated on voice command, morphs into a de facto witness for the prosecution.

In a statement to The Washington Post, an Amazon spokesperson indicated Amazon wouldn’t be turning over the data so easily, appearing to prioritize consumer privacy as it has done in the past.

“Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us,” the spokesperson said. “Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”

There’s no guarantee that Alexa will turn into a star witness. For the Echo smart device to be activated, typically it has to be prompted by the words “Alexa,” “Computer,” or “Echo” – the “wake words” that cause the device to begin recording.

But if Alexa really were listening, evidence collected so far indicates she would have heard a horrific attack.

Investigators laid out the mostly circumstantial evidence against suspect Timothy Verrill during an evidentiary bail hearing last summer.

On Jan. 29, Sullivan’s boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, the owner of the house where the women were killed, told police he arrived home from a trip to Florida to find that it had been turned into a crime scene, New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Brian Strong testified during an evidentiary bail hearing last summer. Sullivan was nowhere to be found, and so he called 911.

When police arrived, they found blood splattered on the kitchen walls and on the refrigerator, Strong said. It was soaked into the mattress in the upstairs bedroom, where police believe Pellegrini was stabbed 43 times.

Verill had previously lived at the house with Sullivan and Smoronk and had been friends with all of them. Strong revealed under questioning from Verrill’s defense attorney that the home where the killings took place was also at the center of an alleged drug trafficking empire, Foster’s Daily Democrat reported. Verrill’s attorney, Melissa Davis, suggested that this left open additional avenues for investigation into other suspects, maintaining Verrill’s innocence, Foster’s reported.

But prosecutors contended that Verrill’s behavior on the night of the murder and in the days following made him the prime suspect.

On the night of the murder, Smoronk, the suspected drug trafficker, received a phone call from Verill in the early morning hours of Jan. 27: Verrill, Smoronk told police, was concerned Jenna Pellegrini was an informant, Foster’s reported.

In a matter of hours, home surveillance captured Verrill arriving at the home where in a flannel shirt and a ball cap, Strong testified during the bail hearing. Within 20 minutes, he was captured attempting to obscure the lens of three of the surveillance cameras before ultimately shutting the system down.

And over the next several days prosecutors say he made a series of suspicious trips around town, according to footage by WMUR-TV. He bought cleanup products from a Walmart. He went to go see a priest, and he had “not one, but two breakdowns that take him to the hospital,” the prosecutor said.

Verrill was arrested the day after he traveled to Massachusetts for a drug-treatment program Feb. 5, the Rochester Voice reported.

When executing a search warrant, Strong said he found the women’s bodies beneath the tarp and found the knives buried a foot beneath the ground, wrapped in a flannel shirt. The police found a shovel speckled with blood, believed to be Sullivan’s, resting on top of the porch.

And in the kitchen, of course, they found Alexa, and took the device into custody.

The case recalls a 2015 Arkansas murder investigation in which a woman was found dead in a backyard hot tub the morning after the man who lived there, Nate Bates, invited friends over to watch a football game. Bates was soon charged in her death and pleaded not guilty.

Just as in the New Hampshire case, police found Alexa sitting on Bates’s kitchen counter, suspecting she might know something.

Amazon initially resisted law enforcement’s efforts to obtain the potential relevant recordings, as The Post reported in December 2016. In a 91-page brief, Amazon moved to quash the search warrant on First Amendment grounds. It advanced the same argument put forth by Apple in 2015, when the company refused the federal government’s request to unlock the iPhone of the accused San Bernardino shooter for customer privacy reasons.

“Amazon does not seek to obstruct any lawful investigation, but rather seeks to protect the privacy rights of its customers when the government is seeking their data from Amazon, especially when that data may include expressive content protected by the First Amendment,” Amazon wrote in its brief.

Amazon ultimately relented after Bates gave permission for his Amazon Echo to be searched – but it didn’t turn into the linchpin prosecutors hoped for: They dropped the charges against Bates in November 2017 after finding that the evidence, including the Echo recordings, supported more than one “reasonable explanation” for the victim’s death.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Amazon launches program to get Alexa in hotel rooms

amazon alexa

Alexa: Always on and always recording…


That device is ALWAYS listening and recording you. Stay clear unless you don’t mind having your conversations recorded.
From Yahoo: Alexa has a new job: hotel concierge. Amazon has launched a version of Alexa for hotels that lets guests order room service through the voice assistant, ask for more towels or get restaurant recommendations without having to pick up the phone and call the front desk.
Marriott has signed up for the service, and will place Amazon Echo smart speakers in 10 hotels this summer, including its Westin and St Regis brands.
It is another way for Amazon to sell its voice assistant and devices to businesses and get Alexa in front of more customers.
Amazon already sells a version of Alexa for workplaces, and has struck deals to place Alexa in cars and fridges.
Alexa has become an important part of Amazon’s business because it keeps users attached to Amazon services, such as music streaming.
Amazon said data from hotel guests will be deleted daily, and Marriott said those who do not want an Echo device in their room can ask to have it removed.
Hotels will be able to customize the responses Alexa gives their guests, such as nearby restaurant recommendations or pool hours.
Other tasks Alexa for Hospitality can do include checking guests out of their room, turning on the lights or playing music to help them fall asleep.
Later this year, Amazon will allow hotel guests to link their Amazon account to Alexa so they can listen to their music playlists or audio books during their stay. Shopping will not be allowed through the hotel version of Alexa, Amazon said.
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DCG

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Seattle Council votes to repeal new business head tax just weeks after they approved it

re elections meme
Did you know seven of the nine Seattle City Council members’ terms expire next year?
In early May the Seattle City Council approved a new business head tax to combat the homelessness crisis. From my post:
“The tax is an amount businesses pay per employee ($275 per year), with a sunset clause of 2023. The head tax was approved by a unanimous vote.
The main target of this new business tax was Amazon, which was not pleased with the tax. “Amazon had strong words for the Seattle City Council as it questions its future in the city. “We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement.”
Immediately after the tax passed, a group calling themselves “No Tax on Jobs” gathered enough signatures to put the matter on the November ballot and let the voters decide. They needed 17,000 signatures by June 14 and surpassed that amount.
On Monday, Council President Bruce Harrell announced that he had called a special meeting for the council to discuss repealing the head tax. (Harrell’s term expires next year.) They already had a draft bill prepared for the repeal.
Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a statement regarding the consideration of the repeal. Excerpts from her statement:
Over the last few weeks, these conversations and much public dialogue has continued.  It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis. These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region. 
We heard you. This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”
Less than a month later the council has voted to repeal the head tax.
The council yesterday repealed the head tax by a vote of 7 to 2. More details from MyNorthwest.com:
“Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold said the opposition to the tax was just too great. The opposition, she said, has “unlimited resources.
Teresa Mosqueda, one of two council members to vote against a repeal, said she is concerned that a repeal will result in months of inaction and more regressive taxes. The process to implement a head tax took months, she pointed out. And, if the city wants to continue getting people off the streets, it will need additional funding. She called on businesses who opposed the head tax to come to the table with progressive ideas.
Numerous people in support of the head tax expressed similar concerns as (socialist) Councilmember Sawant, who accused her peers of making a last-minute decision and “caving” to Amazon. “Backroom betrayal” and “caving” were thrown around frequently.
“Jeff Bezos is our enemy, he is our enemy,” Sawant said before the council voted.”
Read the whole story here.
I can’t believe the Seattle citizens are putting up with this clown council with a socialist member who is calling the owner of one of their largest employers an “enemy” in a public forum.
Yet I gather from the comments on this article and also at the Seattle Times that some proggies in Seattle are finally waking up to the madness they elected as the majority have had it with the council members. Next year’s re-election cycle is bound to be a hoot.
DCG
PS: Jason Rantz from KTTH Radio tweeted from the repeal meeting (see his Twitter timeline here). A bunch of socialists/proggies were there to support the crazy council member Kshama Sawant. A few of Jason’s tweets:

  • “Lunatic just claimed the Council is pushing “the Trump agenda.”
  • “Priest is mad that Christians don’t ideologically agree with him and now claims you can’t call yourself a Christian if you support capitalism. This guy is a lunatic.”
  • Sawant activists in the crowd shouting down speakers whom they disagree with. But remember: they’re fighting fascism or something.”
  • “We’re done with Trump tactics,” said one lunatic at the meeting.”
  • Crazy women being removed by security now but because she’s a Progressive activist, the crowd doesn’t mind and she’s getting a pass from the crowd.”
  • “Socialists think the couple hundred of them that worked to pass the Seattle head tax is more important than the 45k who signed on to repeal the . They don’t know how numbers works: it’s why they’re Socialists.”
  • “Sawant said she’s now talking as an economist and some in the crowd just laughed at her. Loudly. That annoyed her.”
  • “CM Sawant – “I’m speaking as an economist….” People in chambers break out in laughter….”

Sounds like the meeting was a whole lotta crazy!!

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10% of Amazon workers in Ohio are on food stamps

On January 9, 2018, CNBC reports that Jeff Bezos (né Jorgensen) — founder/chairman/CEO of Amazon and the owner of Washington Post — surpassed Microsoft mogul Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man, with $105.1 billion in wealth.
Gates, once the world’s richest man, is now worth “only” $93.3 billion.
17 days later, propelled by the launch of Amazon Go, Bezos’ net worth increased another $2.8 billion to a total of $107.9 billion. (CNBC)

So it’s a downright disgrace that 10% of Amazon’s workers in Ohio are on food stamps (SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) — the working poor in America. Amazon is one of the largest employers in Ohio, with more than 6,000 workers and thousands more to be added soon at three new big warehouses.
But Amazon is also one of the largest employers in Ohio of workers who need food assistance to get by.
A study by the think tank Policy Matters Ohio found that according to the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, as of last August, as many as 10% or 1,430 Amazon employees or family members in Ohio were getting food stamps. That places Amazon 19th among all Ohio employers in the number of employees receiving SNAP. Just months before, Amazon didn’t even rank in the top 50.
The Amazon employees on food stamps include both full- and part-time workers, but it is likely mostly part-time workers require food assistance. Amazon operates data centers, wind farms, and Whole Foods outlets in Ohio, but the largest number of employees are at two big warehouses near Columbus.
While more than one in every ten Amazon employee in Ohio are on food stamps,  Amazon gets millions of dollars in state and local subsidies at its warehouses, including (Bloomberg Businessweek):

  • $17 million in tax incentives from the state of Ohio,and over $1.5 million in cash from JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development agency, as part of a two-warehouse deal — all funded with income from the state’s liquor monopoly.
  • At least $123 million in tax breaks and $2.9 million in cash grants in four deals with JobsOhio since 2014.
  • A 15-year exemption on state and local property and sales taxes, and $1.4 million in cash, in a 2014 deal with JobsOhio for Amazon spending $1.1 billion to build three data centers and a promise of 120 jobs.
  • No property taxes to Licking County for 15 years, a deal that Amazon negotiated in 2015 with local officials and JobsOhio.

At the same time, Amazon‘s new facilities in Ohio, totaling almost a million square feet, make use of public services like the fire department and emergency responders. At least once a day, a medical unit from West Licking Fire Station 3 makes a run to the Amazon warehouse 3.1 miles away, in the township of Etna, about 20 miles east of Columbus. Steve Little, the fire district administrator, said the calls for routine medical issues that occur in grueling warehouse jobs come at all hours, including shortness of breath, chest pains, and myriad minor injuries. During the busy holiday season, the warehouse sometimes issues multiple emergency calls a day. Little said, “We have to protect, but we get no extra money. We have no voice in these deals, and we get no cash. Our residents are being forced to pay instead.” In November 2017, voters in Little’s district were asked to approve a five-year, $6.5 million property tax levy to keep the fire department operating.
The deals Ohio made with Amazon create surprisingly few jobs. Ohio’s Republican state auditor David Yost says: “$123 million is a lot of money, and you ought to get a lot for that. It’s really hard to know how much the state of Ohio paid per [Amazon] job.”
Ohio’s job-growth rate has trailed the U.S. average for 57 consecutive months; in August it was an anemic 1.1%, compared with the 1.5% national rate. In 2013, Yost threatened to compel JobsOhio to be more transparent by showing him more numbers. So Governor John Kasich pushed a bill through the state legislature stripping public officials of the right to audit JobsOhio’s books. A private auditor now conducts an annual review, which is partly redacted before publication.
I thank God John Kasich didn’t win the GOP primaries and wasn’t elected POTUS.
See also:

~Eowyn

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Under Amazon ownership, Whole Foods new inventory regime is making workers cry

jeff bezos
From Daily Mail: Whole Foods has implemented a strict new inventory management system that includes bi-weekly walk-throughs and random quizzing of employees, and has left many workers feeling stressed out and punished.
The new system is called order-to-shelf (OTS) and has a strict set of procedures for purchasing, displaying and storing products on store shelves and in back rooms that is supposed to make stores more efficient and cut down on waste.
And to make sure stores are following the new procedures – stores are required to use ‘scorecards’ to evaluate each employees performance, according to Business Insider.
Though the system is meant to improve efficiency and stream-line storage, employees described it as onerous, stress inducing and punitive.  ‘The stress has created such a tense working environment’ a supervisor in a West Coast store explained.  ‘Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal.’   
Business Insider spoke with 27 current and former employees – some of whom had been with the company for up to 20 years.
Many workers are worried the new system will cause them to lose their jobs, and said they spend more time doing OTS-related paperwork than helping customers navigate the stores. 
Executives think the new system cuts cost across stores, reduce employee theft, clears out storage and gives workers more time to engage with customers. And the employees who spoke to Business Insiderwill agree that the former system was ineffective and needed to change – but say the company’s ‘fix’ went too far.
‘The OTS program is leaving to sackings up and down the chain in our region,’ an employee in Georgia said. ‘We’ve lost team leaders, store team leaders, executive coordinators and even a regional vice president. Many of them have left because they consider OTS to be absurd. As an example, store team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS.’
The new system requires managers to walk through store aisles and storage rooms with checklists, or scorecards, to make sure everything is where it belongs.  And if anything is in the wrong place, missing, or there is excess stock in storage, departments will lose points. One employee said that if an item is ‘even an inch outside of its designated spot,’ points will be deducted.
These walks, which happen frequently throughout the day, also include quizzes. Employees will be asked to recite things such as sales goals, top-selling items and last week’s sales on the spot. A failing score is anything below 89.9 percent, and if an employee fails they can be fired on the spot.
Company documents reviewed by Business Insider show that these quizzes, or ‘walks,’ happen twice a week. Corporate employees also visit the branches and conduct the tests monthly.
The walks have left employees stressed and fearful. ‘The fear of chastisement, punishment and retribution is very real and pervasive,’ a worker said. Another worker said the walks have caused them to have work-related nightmares.  
Workers across the country think the new OTS system is failing, and many departed employees have said they think that is because of a lack of training. ‘The problem lies in the lack of training, and the fact that every single member of management from store level to corporate is over tasked and overburdened,’ a former employee said.
DCG

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Sexgate fallout: Jeffrey Tambor leaves "Transparent" after sexual harassment allegations

jeffrey tambor

Innocent man Jeffrey, as Maura, quitting his role to due a “politicized” atmosphere


If the claims are untrue, then why is he quitting his award-winning gig? Innocent people with the monetary resources would fight an ugly lie.
Won’t affect me at all though; I have no use for this Amazon show.
From TMZ: Jeffrey Tambor is quitting the show “Transparent” — which he starred in as the lead role for years (as a transgender character) — after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.
Tambor released a statement to Deadline Sunday saying playing the transgender character, Maura Pfefferman, had been an honor … but that the show clearly isn’t what he signed up for four years ago.
He added … “I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue. Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent.
As we reported … Tambor faced at least 2 allegations of sexual harassment that we know of. He was recently accused by a transgender co-star of making lewd, sexually suggestive remarks … and even allegedly pressing up against her in a suggestive manner. 
Tambor denied those allegations, as well as the ones made against him by a former assistant on the show. Still, Amazon launched an investigation into the matter … even though they were considering writing him out the show before all this.
Looks like he beat ’em to it.
DCG

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