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Why can't Apple make iPads in America?

There are a lot of fairly inane leaps of logic here that assume in order to manufacture Apple products in America you'd need to replicate the Chinese process exactly. But--and this should be obvious--America isn't China. Americans don't want to work 38 hours in a row for a dollar an hour. They don't want to live in gender-segregated dorms. And they shouldn't have to. Apple is one of the wealthiest, most profitable corporations on the planet. If they wanted to create factories in America and train a workforce, they could. Instead of one enormous factory town like China has, Apple could have multiple regional factories. They could pay living wages. They don't because they *choose* not to. They'd rather exploit Chinese workers than create jobs in America. Why Apple's products are 'Designed in California' but 'Assembled in China' | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog
The New York Times asked that question, and after an extremely well-researched report involving interviews with both former and current executives at Apple, the answer the Times found is both simple and chilling: iPhones aren't made in America because they just can't be. The infrastructure and labor force doesn't exist at the levels necessary to support Apple's operations -- it's not even close. The Chinese factory where most iPhones reach final assembly employs 230,000 workers. I just asked Siri how many cities in the US have a population higher than that, and the answer was a mere 83 cities -- and that's total population, not workforce. With an average labor force of around 65 percent of the population, only 50 US cities are large enough to provide that kind of labor pool... and even in the biggest US city of them all, New York, 230,000 people still amounts to almost three percent of the city's entire population. Can you imagine three out of every hundred New Yorkers on an assembly line, cranking out iPhones every day? Over the past couple of years, we have heard a great deal concerning working conditions at factories owned by Foxconn. The Chinese manufacturing company is responsible for assembling consumer electronics for most of the major vendors out there, including Apple. Around a fourth of those 230,000 people live in company-owned dorms or barracks right on factory property; that's almost 60,000 people living and working at the factory. Many of the people at "Foxconn City" work six days a week, twelve hours a day, and they earn less than US$17 per day. It may sound inhumane by American standards, but these jobs are in high demand in China -- so much so that Jennifer Rigoni, former worldwide supply demand manager for Apple, told the New York Times that Foxconn "could hire 3,000 people overnight."

Israel finally realizes it treats women like dirt

I remember a story from last year where a female journalist in Israel was covering a story and dozens of orthodox Israelis surrounded her and starting spitting giant wet goobers all over her, because she had some calf and forearm exposed. Israel Faces Crisis Over Role of Ultra-Orthodox in Society - NYTimes.com
At a time when there is no progress on the Palestinian dispute, Israelis are turning inward and discovering that an issue they had neglected — the place of the ultra-Orthodox Jews — has erupted into a crisis. And it is centered on women. “Just as secular nationalism and socialism posed challenges to the religious establishment a century ago, today the issue is feminism,” said Moshe Halbertal, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University. “This is an immense ideological and moral challenge that touches at the core of life, and just as it is affecting the Islamic world, it is the main issue that the rabbis are losing sleep over.” The list of controversies grows weekly: Organizers of a conference last week on women’s health and Jewish law barred women from speaking from the podium, leading at least eight speakers to cancel; ultra-Orthodox men spit on an 8-year-old girl whom they deemed immodestly dressed; the chief rabbi of the air force resigned his post because the army declined to excuse ultra-Orthodox soldiers from attending events where female singers perform; protesters depicted the Jerusalem police commander as Hitler on posters because he instructed public bus lines with mixed-sex seating to drive through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods; vandals blacked out women’s faces on Jerusalem billboards. Public discourse in Israel is suddenly dominated by a new, high-toned Hebrew phrase, “hadarat nashim,” or the exclusion of women. The term is everywhere in recent weeks, rather like the way the phrase “male chauvinism” emerged decades ago in the United States. All of this seems anomalous to most people in a country where five young women just graduated from the air force’s prestigious pilots course and a woman presides over the Supreme Court. . . .

January 22, 2012

Oh Senator Representative Lamar Smith; what SOPA-style security-destroying hijinks are you getting up to *now*?

Senator Lamar Smith, lead sponsor of SOPA (a bill that...