Monday, December 9, 2013

Behind Joe Biden’s ‘War on Women’

Women in Japan are used to being underutilized, condescended to and exploited. Must they play a role in Newt Gingrich’s cheap Washington partisanship, too?
The U.S. news media are gleefully running a video from Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo that supposedly depicts the U.S. vice president as an out-of-touch sexist. On Dec. 3, Biden and Caroline Kennedy, the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan, visited DeNA Co., a Japanese Internet company founded by a woman that does a better job than most of taking the female workforce seriously. There, Biden approached five women and asked: “Do your husbands like you working full time?”
How Risperdal Whistle-Blowers Made Millions From J&J
Judy Doetterl was a sales representative forJohnson & Johnson (JNJ) in 2004 when federal agents placed a hidden recording device on her and sent her to tape marketing presentations at a national company sales meeting.
U.S. prosecutors wanted to prove claims by Doetterl and others that J&J boosted salesby urging doctors to prescribe its antipsychotic drug Risperdal far beyond its approved use. Doetterl, then earning $150,000 a year, said she fretted for the two days she wore a wire at the meeting in a Dallas hotel.

The Biggest Career Crashes Of 2013

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time and, unfortunately, one bad blunder can gravely impact your career and reputation.
That's especially true for public figures. The consequences of slip ups or scandals among politicians, athletes, movie stars or corporate executives, for example, are usually even more severe. And while some manage to bounce right back and make a full recovery, others may struggle for days, weeks, months or years to reclaim the public's trust and admiration, and reestablish credibility.
With help from my Forbes colleagues, I've compiled a list of the biggest career crashes of 2013. (Note: We're not saying their careers are over; we're saying they took a big hit this year.)
Here are the top 10:

Cash crunch? Consider early retirement plan withdrawals

In this still-languishing economy, you may need to take an early withdrawal—before age 59 1/2—from your employer’s qualified retirement plan. Needless to say, there are tax implications, including the possibility of getting socked with a 10% early withdrawal penalty tax.
Oddly enough, there’s no penalty exception specifically for early retirement plan withdrawals that are taken due to financial hardship. So-called hardship withdrawals are sometimes the only way to get money out of a plan without permanently leaving your job. However, one of the penalty exceptions explained here may apply to a hardship withdrawal. If so, the 10% penalty tax is avoided. Here’s the scoop on the penalty exceptions.

Husband's secret debt destroying marriage

Dear To Her Credit,
I discovered recently that my husband is back to his old tactics. He's acquired debt using credit cards that he is unable to make the minimum payments on. He sneaked around and got them without me knowing. I finally found the statements, and now I'm upset over the balance, complete with late fees and balance transfers.
We went through this before several years ago. That time, my husband used my cards without me knowing it and hid the statements by having them come to a different mail box number. Before all this happened, my credit had been excellent, and I didn't owe anyone. We went to credit counseling and we've been making payments of over $900 a month for the past five years. He filed for bankruptcy at the time.
I have been watching the money carefully and my credit is making a comeback. Now I discover this! I am concerned that his bad credit will affect my credit. My name is not on the cards that he has, and we live in Hawaii.
We have our own business, and I have everything in my name since he has no credit, bank account or savings whatsoever.
The debt my husband has acquired is from sheer carelessness and always having to get what he wants --and ending up with nothing to show for it. I do not trust him at all with money, or with much of anything. He has no discipline with money. I think the D word is what you might tell me to do.   -- Kathleen


Queenbee said...

I just got done speaking with a representative who still cannot see my eligibility. However, Obamacare at the lowest price is is 500+ per month. That prices me completely out of Obamacare. What a joke.

gaw said...

Sorry to hear that Queen.

Obamacare is one of the worst POS ever imposed by Congress, and you can thank the Democrats.

Easy win for Republicans in the next elections: "Vote R and we'll scrap it!"

Not that will solve anything, as most private health care plans will be long gone by then. But it will make a nice election sound bite.

gaw said...

"It will be a long night in Kiev, where as warned previously, once things start rolling downhill, they will deteriorate rapidly. Via Bloomberg:


It is getting ugly there.

Mammoth said...

Just checking in, nothing to really report on though. The in-laws are here for their annual 10-week visit.

I am cringing at the increased grocery & heating bills during this period. Cut the kid's day-care from 5 days per week down to 2 days and will have the in-laws babysit.

This may cause financial hardship tot eh day-care personnel, but it is up to them to figure out how to reduce their expenses, just as I am trying to reduce mine.

And hopefully the in-laws - who are in their 70's - will remain healthy and not need to visit the doctor during their stay. One heart attack will bankrupt us.

Something the folks in Canada probably do not need to worry about.

gaw said...

Can't they buy travel insurance at home before they come over?

Last time I traveled to the USA it was $12/CDN per day for pretty wide coverage. I think it is about $16 now, but that was before the Obummercare idiocy.

gaw said...

"Ukraine’s opposition rejected President Viktor Yanukovych’s efforts to defuse a political crisis after anti-government activists thwarted an attempt by riot police to clear them off the streets of Kiev.

Opposition leaders yesterday called the president’s offer of a round-table meeting “a farce,” saying Yanukovych must bow to their demands before negotiations can begin. Protesters, who retook Independence Square as police withdrew following a night-time operation to dismantle tents and barricades, must give their approval, the leaders said.

The attempt to push activists out of the city center re-energized a protest movement stretching into its third week. Yanukovych triggered the biggest demonstrations since the 2004 Orange Revolution when he chose closer Russian ties over a European Union integration pact last month."

"“This marks a significant victory for the opposition and a similarly important defeat for the security services and for Yanukovych,” he said yesterday by e-mail. “If he wants to stay in power, he will now have to concede some ground. However, he still seems fearful that by showing any such weakness he risks the total collapse of his regime.”(Tim Ash, a London-based emerging-markets economist at Standard Bank Group)

gaw said...

"The use of riot police against peaceful protesters was “undemocratic and excessive,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said."


What a POS that guy is (and I voted for him - once, never again!)

He had no problem using riot police against unarmed protesters in Toronto at the G20 Summit. Hypocritical liar.

An event which cost the city and building owners over $100 Million, which the Federal Government refused to pay. Asshole.

gaw said...

"So how did China’s state-run media decide to respond to this environmental and public health disaster? With ridiculous propaganda about the “unexpected benefits” of smog of course. You have to see this to believe it.

From The Guardian:

China’s noxious air pollution has made people smarter, funnier and impervious to missile attacks, the country’s official media reported this week, as a toxic cloud covering half of the country began to lift.
On Monday the website of the state broadcaster CCTV published a list of five “unexpected benefits” brought by the smog.
It said the haze had unified Chinese people, as they found solidarity in their complaints; equalised them, as both rich and poor people were vulnerable to its effects; enlightened them, as they realised the cost of rapid growth; and “made Chinese people more humorous”, as smog-related jokes proliferated on the internet.
It had also helped to educate people, it said. “Our knowledge of meteorology, geography, physics, chemistry and history has progressed.”"

"This year China has registered its highest pollution levels in 52 years, according to state media. More than 100 Chinese cities spanning half the country spent early December enveloped by smog. Both articles attracted such vitriol online that the media outlets quickly took them down. By Tuesday afternoon “benefits of smog” was a trending topic on China’s most popular microblog, Sina Weibo, racking up 240,000 posts."

Mammoth said...

Now here is a cheerful article!
How long does a typical worker have to work, to earn what her employer's CEO makes in a single hour.

McDonalds: 6 months, 4 weeks
Starbucks: 6 months, 2 weeks
Wal-Mart: 4 months, 3 weeks

This makes Wal-Mart look good, doesn't it?


Queenbee said...

I am having computer issues that will not be fixed unless I buy a new one or pay a high maintenance cost.

gaw said...

What exactly is the problem, Queen?

I am in the business, I can probably do something for you. But I will need a lot more information.

gaw said...

You can send me an e-mail, to the majfiasco box.

Mammoth - that does put it in stark terms, doesn't it?

Considering most of the CEOs "work" is done by his staff and senior managers. All he does is ask for reports on issues, then ask working groups to come up with ideas, etc.

Sure, the buck stops at his or her desk, but even if they get fired they get a multi-million golden handshake.

"Strategic direction" sounds nice, but most of them get it all wrong anyway. Look at most large corporates, very few have what I would call "great management". They are mostly run by the accountants anyway, and any idea has to be approved by the Board, who are all afraid to do anything that might upset shareholders. Bold new ideas usually get shelved.

Mammoth said...

GAW, CEO's live in a whole different world than we do. Once I bumped into the CEO where I work. What I like about this guy is he does not put on airs and is not above chit-chatting with the lower ranks.

But what I don't like is his complete disconnection from reality. "Are you strategizing?" he asked me, as he punched his fist into the other hand in an expression of...well, I really don't know what.

"Yes sir, I am," I mumbled, while thinking to myself, "Actually, I am just trying to keep teh buildings from falling down and the roofs from caving in."

Which aptly describes the condition of the old Mill where I work.

Queenbee said...

I dusted off a very old laptop, but the processor is not doing too bad and I am getting 40mp download so I can live with that. I guess the insides got all gummed up with cat hair and the fan shut down. I am not using Geek Squad as their basic labor is 179+parts. I might try it myself, but it's not something I feel comfortable doing. There is a local laptop repair that I can take it to and get it back a lot faster and cheaper.

gaw said...

So your other PC had problems?

The laptop fan is an easy fix. You can take the back off, it's probably 4 screws. Then, while holding the vacuum cleaner nozzle close to the exposed system board of the laptop (but not touching it), brush it with a clean paint brush or artists brush. Gently go all over it, get all the cat hair and dust out that you can.

Then examine the fan. These fans are dirt common, you can easily buy a new one for a few dollars at any electronics supply or computer parts store. Or you can order one from the laptop maker, but that will cost you a lot more. Google is your friend, or Fry's if there is one nearby. Avoid GeekSquad at all costs.

Changing the fan to new one is usually very easy, a couple screws and you are done.

gaw said...

Longer term, you need to make a backup of the hard drive in the laptop, as it is probably old, and could die at any time.

I use 'Acronis True Image', a program you can buy at Staples, or download online. It backs up the entire hard drive to a file called a "drive image", which you can restore to a new hard drive, or the old one, if you have problems. Takes about 20-40 minutes, and is very reliable.

If you get a virus, install some program that messes up Windows, accidentally delete critical files, the hard drive crashes or dies.... etc etc... you just restore the drive image to the old or a new hard drive, and you are back online, no more headaches.

Make a few drive image files when you first get it, then make a new one once a month, or more often if you have critical files. You can do "incremental backups" in between, which covers only the new and changed files.

You can store the files on another PC's hard drive, USB key, or split them into 4.3 GB chunks and burn to blank DVDs, or online at Google (free) or other online services.

Or you can use an online backup service, but they need a fast connection and high data limit on your internet service, as a lot of data is transferred back and forth. A good one is "Carbonite", you can read more about it and other choices at:

gaw said...

Crashplan, described at the link above, also looks like a good one.

"CrashPlan is completely free if you're just doing local backups, but even online backups are affordable, with CrashPlan+ accounts starting at $2/mo (per computer) for 10GB of online backup storage, and going up to $4/mo (per computer) for unlimited online backup storage..."

You can also buy an external hard drive (you should do that anyway), and store your backups at home.

I recommend a "Western Digital Red" hard drive, I bought a 3 TB for $100 on sale. I put it in an "external hard drive enclosure" (by Vantec, $20 on sale), and it is good to go. Connects with a USB cable to your PCs or devices. 3000 GB allows for many backup drive image files.

gaw said...

The "Red" hard drive is a higher quality unit, it is designed to run 24/7 for 5 years, for enterprise storage needs, which is way higher quality than the average consumer hard drive.

Hard drives that you find in lower end PCs and laptops etc are garbage, we get MANY brand new ones at my work that did not work from new, or died within days or weeks from new.

Regardless of brand, they are cheaply made crap, and you cannot depend on them to store your files these days. Even the 'solid state drives' (SSDs) which have no moving parts, are not really very reliable at the lower end price points.

Treat your hard drive like a floppy disk, expect it to stop working at any moment. But as long as you backed up recently with a drive image, you are OK.

Mammoth said...

Thx for the tips GAW, Everybody who has a computer should listen to your advice.

Queenbee said...

Thanks gaw I will be sure to back things up next time. I feel kind of naive not having a backup plan, but nothing that was lost that is not irretrievable. As a matter of fact nothing I really needed was lost unless the CPU is fried.