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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 23,865

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J.C. Penney Sees Risks in Morale, Efficiency as Employees Leave

By Sapna Maheshwari - Dec 5, 2012 12:01 AM ET

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), the department-store company undergoing a turnaround led by Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson, said its operating efficiency may be hurt after it fired employees while others left voluntarily.

The company listed new “risk factors” surrounding its workforce reductions, as well as concern that customers may not accept new marketing and merchandising strategies, in its third- quarter regulatory filing yesterday. J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, said the departures of officers and line managers with “specific knowledge” about the company and its industry may be “difficult to replace,” according to the filing.

“We now operate with significantly fewer individuals who have assumed additional duties and responsibilities and we could have additional workforce reductions in the future,” J.C. Penney said in the filing. Combined with the company’s newly decentralized management structure, the changes “may negatively impact communication, morale, management cohesiveness and effective decision-making, which could have an adverse impact on our operating efficiency.”

J.C. Penney’s revenue has declined by more than 20 percent for three straight quarters as Johnson, who joined as CEO about a year ago from Apple Inc. (AAPL), loses customers in a bid to implement an everyday low-pricing plan and turn the chain into a collection of branded shops. The company said that its new strategies rely on customers’ acceptance, and that any changes may be “substantial” and “result in significant additional costs” while potentially disrupting the business, according to the filing.



Opting Out of Coverage Seen Creating Employee Backlash

By Alex Nussbaum & Alex Wayne - Dec 5, 2012 12:01 AM ET

Maggie Wilderotter, chief executive officer at cable, Internet and phone provider Frontier Communications Corp. (FTR) says it’s her “fiduciary responsibility” to study ending medical benefits long provided by her company.

“Frontier, like a lot of companies, is likely to at least consider dropping health-care benefits” in 2014, she said.

As President Barack Obama presses ahead with plans to broaden insurance coverage, many U.S. executives say his health- care law has them rethinking their options. Starting in 2014, the law’s $2,000 fine for not offering coverage appears to be far less than what most businesses pay for benefits.

In the end, though, companies will probably find compelling reasons to continue providing health coverage. Among them: Employers value coverage as a tool for recruiting and keeping workers healthy and also fear a backlash, especially among higher earners who might have to pay far more for their insurance than they do now, said Tracy Watts, a partner at Washington-based benefits consultant Mercer Inc. Employees might spend as much as $2,000 a month more in the law’s new online exchanges, she said.



Israel’s List of Friends Keeps Getting Shorter

When I made an appointment to see Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week, I hoped we would spend most of our time discussing her new effort to better integrate her country into Asia.

Gillard’s pivot toward Asia, much like U.S. President Barack Obama’s, reflects the self-evident truth that China and its neighbors are her country’s biggest markets and the source of many of its new immigrants. Now the pivot has been paralyzed midrotation by events from that most unpromising corner of the world, the Middle East.

I saw Gillard in Canberra after one of her rougher weeks as prime minister. She was already being shellacked by the opposition, and by much of the news media, for her alleged involvement in a union scandal, the details of which are so convoluted that it is impossible for an outsider such as myself to discern exactly what she is accused of doing. (Suffice it to say the scandal has a Whitewater quality to it, just as Gillard has a certain pugnacious Hillary Clinton quality about her.)

The larger problem Gillard faced last week had to do with the vote at the United Nations to grant the nonstate of Palestine enhanced status. Gillard, who leads the pro-Israel wing of the Labor Party, was unable to rally her Cabinet to vote against the General Assembly resolution. The U.S. and Israel were counting on her to place Australia in the “No” column, but she got comprehensively rolled by a bloc of Cabinet members led by the foreign minister, Bob Carr, who had the backing of the esteemed former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke.



'This Time, Israel Has Defied the Whole World'

One might think that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Wednesday visit to Berlin could provide for some fireworks. He has come under significant criticism from the European Union for Israel's announcement last Friday that it would build 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Britain and France denied reports on Monday that they were considering recalling their ambassadors from Israel, though both nations, in addition to Sweden, did vent their anger by summoning the Israeli ambassadors to voice their concerns.

Furthermore, despite Merkel's own warning on the settlement construction plan -- her spokesman said on Monday that the chancellor was "extremely concerned" -- it seems more likely that the experienced stateswoman would chide Netanyahu in private rather than openly.

Still, anger is widespread in Europe at the Israeli plan, announced shortly after the United Nations voted last week to grant the Palestinians "non-member observer status," essentially recognizing a state of Palestine. In addition to the settlement program, Israel also announced it would withhold more than $100 million in tax revenue due the Palestinians this month in response.

Further Steps?

"We deplore the recent Israeli decision to build 3,000 new housing units," the British Foreign Office said on Monday.

The Palestinians, too, are seeking to use their newfound status to exert pressure on Israel to halt the settlement expansion plan. Having been granted UN observer status, the Palestinians now have access to the International Criminal Court -- and on Tuesday they threatened to pursue war crimes charges against Israel should the construction go ahead.



Israel Rejects UN Call For Nuclear Transparency

Source: RT

Israel has rebuffed a UN call to adhere to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open itself to international inspectors, calling the suggestion a "meaningless mechanical vote" of a body that “lost all its credibility regarding Israel.”

In a 174-6 vote, the United Nations General Assembly demanded in a non-binding call that Tel Aviv join the NPT “without further delay," in an effort to create a legally binding nuclear-free Middle East.

Washington, Israel's strongest ally, surprised no one by voting against the resolution – but did approve two paragraphs that were voted on separately, which called for universal adherence to the NPT and for all non-signatory governments to join.

The UN body "has lost all its credibility regarding Israel with these types of routine votes that are ensured passage by an automatic majority and which single out Israel," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted by Jerusalem Post as saying.

Read more: http://rt.com/news/israel-rejects-un-nuclear-transparency-298/

CHICAGO: North Side Family Says Prized Puppy Was Unjustly Shot By Cop

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FIRST ON FOX: A North Side family is furious over what they claim was an unjustified police shooting of their 7-month-old miniature bull terrier, Colonel Phillips, known to the neighborhood as "The Colonel."

Residents are also upset, not just because police shot a puppy they all knew, but also because the shooting occurred not far from a preschool, on a street where pedestrians including children could have been hurt.

But on Saturday afternoon, the Colonel became a target himself. He was shot by a Chicago Police officer in front of his owner's gated, North Side home. Police were writing a parking ticket for a van belonging to Al Phillips, so Phillips came out to move the vehicle.

"My little bull terrier followed me out," Phillips explains. "Then, all I hear is boom! Boom! Two shots. You shot the dog!"

Read more: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/20251373/chicago-cop-shoots-puppy-with-world-champion-lineage-exclusive#ixzz2E7tiw8kw

Washington Floats Chemical Weapons Charge As Pretext Tor Syria Buildup

The Obama administration and the corporate media have cited unspecified “intelligence” about the movement of chemical weapons to issue new threats of direct intervention in Syria, where Washington and its allies have been backing so-called “rebels” in a bid to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both made public statements Monday alleging a danger of Syria using chemical weapons and threatening US retaliation.

Citing unnamed senior officials who claim to have seen unspecified intelligence on Syrian chemical weapons, the New York Times, CNN and other media have joined forces with the Obama administration in promoting the chemical weapons justification for another US war of aggression.

What becomes clear in examining these reports, as well as the statements from the administration, is that the alleged threat from Syrian “weapons of mass destruction” is entirely concocted. Not a single piece of hard evidence is cited by any government official or any media source.



I just watched a segment on NBC's 'Shelton's Not So Family Christmas' that glorified shooting

Rudolph and most all of the characters in Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer story...point blank!

Seriously? This is what prime-time network TV has become?

I hope no young children watched this tripe!

Department of Transportation: Marijuana Use Still ‘Unacceptable’

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Monday it will continue to treat marijuana use as a violation of its internal drug policies even in states where the drug was legal.

“It remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana,” stated Jim Swart, director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance. “We want to assure the traveling public that our transportation system is the safest it can possibly be.”

Voters in Washington state and Colorado approved ballot measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana last month. The new initiatives are set to clash with federal law, which still considers the production, possession and sale of marijuana to be a crime.

Swart said the policy also applied to medical marijuana.

DOT employees such as pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers and others will still face suspension for testing positive for marijuana, even if they have obtained a physician’s recommendation to use the drug.



OK. I just paid $3.95 a gallon for #2 heating oil to heat this house for the winter. That is .51

more than the current pump price for unl/regular gasoline that has some .60 built into its price for road/use taxes. Heating oil does not have those taxes.

What the hell is going on here? Never have we paid more for a gallon of 'heating oil' than we have for gasoline.

Unfortunately, we live in an area that does not have access to natural gas so oil, propane or freeze are our only options.

Is that price the same up in the northeast region of the country where oil use is more prevalent?

I'm thinking of selling this place just to move to an area with nat. gas access.

This is insane and I just had to 'rant' as this price totally blindsided me. Last year we paid $3.19.
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