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October 07, 2010

Anti-immigrant firebrand Lou Dobbs caught employing undocumented immigrants

He often railed against employers who hired undocumented workers with extreme invective, and OF COURSE he has had a staff of undocumented workers for quite some time. This is an addendum to the "If you are rabidly anti-gay you are totally closeted" rule. It says, "If you are rabidly against hiring undocumented workers, you totally have a staff of undocumented workers." These rules apply to people on tv or who have a megachurch. Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite | The Investigative Fund
In Lou Dobbs's heyday at CNN, when he commanded more than 800,000 viewers and a reported $6 million a year for "his fearless reporting and commentary," in the words of former CNN president Jonathan Klein, the host became notorious for his angry rants against "illegal aliens." But Dobbs reserved a special venom for the employers who hire them, railing against "the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting US law" and even proposing, on one April 2006 show, that "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens" should face felony charges. Since he left CNN last November, after Latino groups mounted a protest campaign against his inflammatory rhetoric, Dobbs has continued to advocate an enforcement-first approach to immigration, emphasizing, as he did in a March 2010 interview on Univision, that "the illegal employer is the central issue in this entire mess!" His scheduled October 9 address at the Virginia Tea Party Convention will mark his second major Tea Party address of the year, reviving questions about whether the former CNN host is gearing up for an electoral campaign. He recently told Fox's Sean Hannity that he has not ruled out a possible Senate or even presidential run in 2012. But with his relentless diatribes against "illegals" and their employers, Dobbs is casting stones from a house — make that an estate — of glass. Based on a yearlong investigation, including interviews with five immigrants who worked without papers on his properties, The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper. . . .

October 06, 2010

Some states now charging the poor for public defenders

Reports: Some states charge poor for public defenders - USATODAY.com
States increasingly are imposing fees on poor criminal defendants who use public defenders even when they can't pay, causing some to go without attorneys, according to two reviews of the nation's largest state criminal justice systems. A report out Monday by New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice found that 13 of the 15 states with the largest prison populations imposed some charge, including application fees, for access to counsel. "In practice, these fees often discourage individuals from exercising their constitutional right to an attorney, leading to wrongful convictions, over-incarceration and significant burdens on the operation of courts," the Brennan report concludes. In Michigan, the report says, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found the "threat" of having to pay the full cost of assigned counsel caused misdemeanor defendants to waive their right to attorneys 95% of the time. Three states studied — Florida, North Carolina and Virginia — have no provisions for the courts to waive some of the fees if defendants can't pay. In Virginia, defendants may be charged up to $1,235 per count for some felonies, the report says.

October 05, 2010

40% of Groupon Merchants say Never Again

Forty Percent of Groupon Merchants Say Never Again
Last month, we reported on a story of a Portland Cafe owner who claims she lost thousands of dollars doing business with popular deal site Groupon. Some people sided with her, others said she mishandled the situation and Groupon said her story wasn’t typical. But is it? The folks at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University wanted to find out, so they did a small study to see if merchants were generally happy with their Groupon experience. The study, which was reported on by The Wall Street Journal and other sources polled 150 merchants who had placed deals with Groupon. 66% of the respondents said that they did make a profit on the deal but 40% said they wouldn’t do it again. Groupon’s CEO says that number is a tad high. In a recent blog post, CEO Mason said that 97% merchants are interested in being featured again. Sound like folks are just telling him what he wants to hear or he’s really not in touch with reality, let alone his client base. What the study found was that it was employee satisfaction, not customer satisfaction that shifted the tide from success to “never again.” Poor tips, too many customers, angry customers (due to lack of product or wait time) are all potential side effects of a Groupon deal. The author of the study, Utpal Dholakia said it was almost a given: “Because the Groupon customer base is made up of deal-seekers and bargain shoppers, they might not tip as well as an average customer or be willing to purchase beyond the deal.”