The chaos was down to a crash at the airline's mainframe, which is in the care of IBM. The outage downed the airline's check-in desks, online bookings and call centres on Sunday, Aussie paper The Age reports. An airline spokesman told the paper that it appeared a power failure caused the initial outage, but things were compounded by a delay getting a backup generator up and and running.
CEO Rob Fyfe placed the blame squarely on IBM in an email, which inevitably hit the media almost immediately. "In my 30-year working career, I am struggling to recall a time where I have seen a supplier so slow to react to a catastrophic system failure such as this and so unwilling to accept responsibility and apologise to its client and its client's customers," he thundered.
"We were left high and dry and this is simply unacceptable. My expectations of IBM were far higher than the amateur results that were delivered yesterday, and I have been left with no option but to ask the IT team to review the full range of options available to us to ensure we have an IT supplier whom we have confidence in and one who understands and is fully committed to our business and the needs of our customers."
The Kiwis were throwing hand grenades at IBM on Sunday after its outsourced-to-Big Blue systems crashed. More than 10,000 passengers were affected by the collapse of the airline’s check-in, reservations and call center systems. How fast did IBM get the airline back in the air? By 1:30 p.m. – four hours later, according to New Zealand media reports. ...
Wonder if the folks down under believe today that outsourcing to save money and reduce headcount was such a wise investment after all. Perhaps. But you can bet that the bottom line for IBM is reviewing its own internal contingency plans and backups – like that generator. Interesting, isn’t it, that this outage comes just a few days after news broke that IBM’s mainframe business is under investigation for non-competitive tactics?
One of the complaints in the case, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, centers on Chiesi's desire to keep her friend, Moffat, at IBM to aid the insider trading scheme. Chiesi and Rajaratnam were heard discussing Moffat on a government wiretap of a Sept. 26, 2008, phone conversation. “Put him in some company where we can trade well,” Rajaratnam was quoted in the court papers as saying. The complaint said Chiesi replied: “I know, I know. I'm thinking that, too. Or just keep him at IBM, you know, because this guy is giving me more information. ... I'd like to keep him at IBM right now because that's a very powerful place for him. For us, too.” ...
Moffat is high up in the mid-Hudson IBM food chain, with some of the top managers there reporting to him. Employees in IBM's Systems and Technology Group make up the largest bloc of the company's more than 9,000 workers in the mid-Hudson. “I have talked to a few IBMers today, and there seems to be a lot of cheering in the halls of IBM over his arrest,” said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the employee-backed Alliance@IBM. “Employees are fed up with the executives of the company who seem to not care about the plight of the working people.” ...
Some of that ill will is because some of the most severe cuts in the mid-Hudson have been under Moffat's watch. “I believe it is indicative of the corporate culture inside IBM now,” Conrad said. “It is all about greed. Slash jobs and payroll while the executives continue to get rich on bonuses, compensation and stock options.”
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The charges, stemming from wiretaps, included accusations that Moffat passed on to hedge fund New Castle Group insider information on Advanced Micro Devices Inc, obtained through IBM's business negotiations with the company. He is also accused of passing on information on IBM itself ahead of the company's quarterly results, as well as those of Sun Microsystems while IBM was looking at its books for a possible acquisition. The FBI said Moffat was one of the IBM executives conducting due diligence on Sun. ...
Coincidentally, IBM sells software to aid companies' compliance policies and prevent insider fraud as part of its portfolio of technology services, software and servers.
Advocates said the state needs a new welfare system, not just a return to the government-run system that was in place before Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a 10-year contract with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc. and their partners in 2006. ...
One key proposed change is closer contact between welfare recipients and caseworkers. One of the chief criticisms of privatization, which has been rolled out to about one-third of the state's welfare recipients, is that it replaced personal human contact with call center workers who weren't adequately trained in welfare regulations.
Outsourcing is clearly not only a good business, but good for business, as Big Blue has been shifting big chunks of its support and supply chain operations overseas for the past several years. ...
IBM's Global Services behemoth had a 6.7 per cent decline in sales in the third quarter, to $13.8bn. The company broke the business into two pieces just to keep Global Services from looking lopsided compared with the other IBM business groups, and in Q3, Global Technology Services (which includes outsourcing, business technology optimization, and maintenance services) accounted for $9.4bn in sales, down 4.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, Global Business Services (which includes the nearly indefinable gobbledygook of business transformation services that IBM got through its acquisition of the consulting biz of PricewaterhouseCoopers plus systems integration and application outsourcing) accounted for $4.3bn in sales, down 11.5 per cent.
PBC rating system is bogus, it's all about your manager's opinion of the job you're doing. Working from home is great, but the number of hours offsets that. I'm seriously considering bailing for a local job with fewer hours. There are no education or training opportunities here (and even if there were, there's no time to do them, because we are so short staffed that there aren't enough people to do the work even when everyone is here, let alone when someone is taking vacation, training, etc) and IBM has lost all of their respect for the individual.
There was a time when we had the opportunity to do the right thing, but that has passed and now the only thing that matters are quarterly earnings. Customer sat is in the tank and employee morale is at an all time low. Advice: don't join IBM if you have another viable alternative, and if you are an IBM employee in the US, like me, your days are numbered.
Started out on the “bench” because there are not enough projects (yet they are still hiring people) and even though this situation isn’t my fault I will still get penalized during my performance review at the end of the year. I have had to struggle and compete for “few opportunities” (of which many I am not qualified for because I am a new college hire) through nonsense and time wasting interviews and BS. It is a complete nightmare begging to get a freaking project especially doing something that I have little interest for or don’t care about at all! I wish I would’ve found this board before I accepted my offer with this giant wasteland.
The complaint details how each of the five companies aided the apartheid regime. In addition to the automobile companies, Defendant IBM actively implemented apartheid by knowingly producing race-based identity documents that stripped plaintiffs of their nationality and citizenships and restricted their travel.
Things like extrajudicial killings, rape, abduction of people, torture. Marjorie Jobson heads the Khulumani Support Group for survivors of apartheid violence, which supports the litigation. She says these firms knowingly sold South Africa's government the tools to carry out these atrocities. For example, she says IBM designed computer technology to track and restrict the movement of millions of black South Africans, including people like Masemola. JOBSON: The actual hardware, the maintenance contracts and all the software to run this system were all developed by IBM.
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IBM spokesman John Buscemi said the company believed it was making progress under the corrective action plan submitted July 1. The recession and high unemployment led to more demands on the welfare system, making the changes more difficult, he said. "IBM rejects the state's claims and believes the state's actions are unjustified," Buscemi said. Asked whether the company was considering suing the state, he said: "IBM will take action as appropriate to protect its rights under its contract with FSSA."
Sam’s compensation includes a $1.8 million salary; $5.5 million performance-based bonus; stock options and awards worth an estimated $12.22 million at the time they were granted; and $1.44 million in perks and other compensation (personal use of a company aircraft). ...
What’s interesting is that the company saw bigger gains in 2008 than 2007: IBM reported revenue of $103.6 billion in 2008, up 5% from 2007’s $98.8 billion. Income for the year ended Dec. 31 came in at $12.3 billion compared with $10.4 billion in 2007, a jump of 18%.
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The story of the business community's campaign against the tax changes and the Obama administration's eventual retreat offers a window into the often uneasy relations between the White House and the corporate world. It suggests that an administration that was critical of business at the height of the financial crisis is becoming more accommodating. The White House, through a series of presidential lunches and other outreach, is trying to soothe tensions with multinational companies. ...
Critics long have complained that the provision encourages companies to avoid U.S. taxes by expanding production on foreign soil. On the campaign trail last year, President Barack Obama promised repeatedly to "end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas." ...
Companies ranging from Microsoft Corp. to General Electric Co. to International Business Machines Corp. put the topic at the top of their Washington agendas. Many CEOs and business lobbyists say the proposal -- and the rhetoric used to push it -- betrayed a tone-deafness on business issues among the president and his advisers. White House officials say the issue has often dominated discussions during meetings with CEOs. ...
When Mr. Obama addressed a gathering of CEOs at a Washington hotel on March 12, IBM Chief Executive Samuel Palmisano asked the president about the deferral issue. The provision, Mr. Palmisano said, "has been very, very important" in helping U.S. companies compete abroad. "So what we really are asking for," he said, "is just an open dialogue."
It is easy to blame the financial crisis, Wall Street's breathtaking bonuses or the culture of excess that glittered until we found ourselves on the precipice of a second Great Depression. In truth, we've been dismantling the economic foundation of the middle class for more than three decades.
How many of you, having previously held a presumptively secure job with a solid company, are now working as a "contractor" or "consultant"? The trend toward taking employees off the payroll only to hire them again as contractors -- without health benefits, pensions, sick days, vacations -- began in the 1970s with janitors, construction workers and truckers. Now highly skilled technology workers who helped transform the global economy are among the downsized, the outsourced, the contracted-out.
When IBM was an icon of American enterprise, I could not imagine that I would one day follow veteran IBM workers through the halls of Congress as they buttonholed lawmakers. They'd been stripped of their promised pensions and told to make due with a less generous "cash balance" plan that effectively reduced benefits for the most experienced and loyal workers. ...
But now they are just cogs in a new economy in which business seems to have unilaterally rewritten the rules of the workplace. Example: Hundreds of companies stopped making contributions to employee 401(k) retirement plans in the wake of the financial crisis. There is no way to force a resumption of funding when the economy rebounds. The government has abetted all this with decades of hands-off regulation. Example: At current staffing and budget levels, it would take the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 133 years to inspect each workplace under its jurisdiction one time, according to a recent study by the National Employment Law Project.
Soon the political discussion will shift from the need to keep propping up the economy to the need to reduce the deficit and debt. Then we are certain to hear that Social Security and other "entitlements" are the problem and must be curtailed. In fact, Social Security has sufficient funds to pay full benefits through 2037 -- a cushion no other government program can claim. Medicare, while under financial strain, has done better at containing costs per beneficiary than private health insurers, according to government studies.
The myths that led us to this pass did not materialize by chance. They were conjured up by conservatives intent on dismantling the New Deal society that reigned through the 1960s -- a society that produced the world's most robust middle class. They are fed by lawmakers in both parties who depend on campaign contributions from powerful interests.
Fight the myths. Break the back of the corrupt campaign finance and lobbying systems. These are hard political tasks. But being pushed further down is harder, still. Because no one knows where the new bottom lies.
This is my final column. Thanks to my loyal readers and dedicated regional editors who have kept a place in their papers and in their minds for the kind of journalism I have worked to provide.
When the changes are implemented it's a done deal unless something breaks. (And it hasn't yet). Of course, all the peons at the bottom just keep working harder and harder to get things done, so we're actually shooting ourselves in the foot by doing this. We think we'll be rewarded with better raises, more job security, maybe a promotion. This is not the case. It actually proves to the execs that they made a wise business decision. It also encourages them to make similar decisions.
I think things will be changing in the future, although I'm not sure when that point will be reached. Right now, there are still lots of ibmers who have a sense of pride in their work, and go the extra mile. Eventually if we don't unionize, those workers will be forced out. They will be replaced by workers who only do 'a, b and c' and couldn't care less if 'd and e' get done. That's when the sh*t will hit the fan. It's happening in the BRIC countries already. That's why they're finding those workers are only good at cookie cutter type work. They don't think outside the box, nor are they interested in it. -miss understanding-
Word of the $238,000 Caribbean retreat broke last winter, compounded by news of other perks: $15 million in executive bonuses over five years, $400,000 for charter flights and $35,000 for a vice president's retirement party. And when the ensuing uproar cost Michael Unhjem his job as chief executive, his landing was softened by a $2.5 million severance payment. The golden parachute had been added to his contract after his 2006 drunken-driving arrest, a state audit pointed out.
In an era in which stories of corporate excess have become common, the drama of North Dakota's dominant insurer resonated deeply here, largely because the state's nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield is essentially a cooperative, owned by policyholders. It is an arrangement close to the model promoted by powerful lawmakers as an alternative to the "public option" that would put the federal government in the insurance business. The legislation that the Senate Finance Committee will probably approve Tuesday calls for the creation of health insurance cooperatives in all 50 states and the District.
A liberal group here argues that the North Dakota scandal illustrates the danger of assuming that the cooperative model would assure virtuous behavior, especially in an industry awash in money. "Call it cooperative, call it mutual, call it private insurance," said Don Morrison, executive director of NDpeople.org. "If what we want is to have quality health care at a price people can afford, it's not coming from the culture of private insurance. If this is a model, let's get real."
Lobbying by doctors, hospitals and other health care providers, meanwhile, dimmed the prospects of various proposals to cut into their incomes, including allowing government negotiation of Medicare drug prices and creating a government insurer with the muscle to lower fee payments. “The lobbyists are winning,” said Representative Jim Cooper, a conservative Tennessee Democrat who teaches health policy. ...
But along the way, the White House and the Senate Finance Committee have cut deals for political support with lobbyists that may circumscribe the cost cuts, potentially including the recommendations of the commission. For example, the White House and the panel’s chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, reached an agreement with the drug industry for its companies to contribute a total of $80 billion — but no more — over 10 years in reductions to their government payments. Many Democrats would like to see the government negotiate far lower prices for the Medicare drugs it buys. But drug industry lobbyists say — and the debate on the finance bill appears to confirm — that Mr. Baucus’s agreement to limit the industry’s costs excludes such price negotiations. Now the drug lobbyists are pushing to be sure the Medicare commission could not force negotiations either. The relevant text of the bill is still being written.
"CIGNA killed my daughter," Nataline's mother Hilda told security. "I want an apology." Sarkisyan was not able to speak to Hanway; a communications specialist talked to her instead. After their conversation, employees heckled the group from a balcony; one man gave them the finger. CIGNA called the police and had the family and their friends escorted from the building.
Scott Mulhauser, a spokesman for Democrats on the Finance Committee, said: “This report is untrue, disingenuous and bought and paid for by the same health insurance companies that have been gouging consumers for too long. Now that health care reform grows ever closer, these health insurers are breaking out the same tired playbook of deception. It’s a health insurance company hatchet job.”
Most analysts already agree that the industry’s report was so deliberately skewed to produce frightening results that it deserves little credence. The analysis was commissioned by the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans and prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a big accounting firm. It looked only at four components of the Finance Committee’s bill that have the potential to drive up premiums while ignoring other components that would likely drive down the cost of insurance for huge numbers of people.
For 2009, it turns out, is not 1993. Once again, Republicans have tried to kill reform with smears and scare stories. But all they seem to have killed with their cries of “socialism” and warnings about “death panels” is their own credibility. Some form of health-care reform is highly likely to pass. So it’s a different game than it was 16 years ago. And it’s a game that the insurance industry apparently doesn’t know how to play. ...
There’s also another point, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stressed. Part of the opposition to a strong individual mandate comes from the sense that Americans will be forced to buy policies from a greedy insurance industry. Giving people, literally, another option — the right to buy into a public plan instead — would defuse that opposition. Even with stronger exchanges and a public option, health reform would probably increase, not reduce, insurance industry profits. But the insurers wanted it all. The good news is that by overreaching, they may have ensured that they won’t get it.
Please sit back and think about it. Why would anyone not want vast improvements in our U.S. health care system unless they already had theirs and were being given funds and other perks to throw out scare tactics, delays, negativism, etc? The citizens of other countries look at this debacle in absolute amazement. We should, too.
BTW if we put all the medical insurance companies out of business there would need to be another bailout to deal with the millions of employees put out of work. If the government really wants to get in the health care business, why not just open clinics and compete at the base level. That would take the pressure off the ERs and provide medical care cheaper than the "market" ... if the government could actually be cheaper at anything.
If you think that 1300 private insurance companies, trying to scam old people and cover half their issues, like the prescription drug plan, without controlling costs is absurd. You overlook this is NO LONGER theory; the rest of the world does it better cheaper, period. That is fact and and can't be spun.
After the last decade, where the stock market is lower and less people are employed than the beginning of the decade, I wonder why anyone could think that private does much of anything right.
While there are more medicines on the market today than in 1992, researchers estimate that around 20 percent of the $180 billion increase has absolutely nothing to do with the number of medications available, or increases in the cost of that medication. ...
Until the 1980s, the kind of people who sold stuff like packaged goods were completely different from the kind of people who sold stuff like prescription drugs. In those days, drugs ads were for doctors, not the public. They were designed by people who worked at these small, technically minded medical advertising companies and targeted this small, technically minded audience.
"Nobody had ever thought that these drugs should be or could be advertised to the patients. It was just outside of people's brains," Davis says. "They thought that only doctors could understand the products. They're technical products. They're scientific products." ...
It used to work like this: Doctors decided what to prescribe. Drug companies — through medical advertisers — tried to influence doctors. Patients did what they were told. The only problem, says Davis, was that the system wasn't working out for the drug companies. For them, the system was much too slow.
Because doctors exclusively held the keys to the kingdom, drug companies spent enormous amounts of time and money trying to get their attention. To give you a sense, the average doctor got around 3,000 pieces of mail a year from the drug industry, and to break through this noise often took years. And so Davis, who had previously only sold packaged goods, approached William Castagnoli, the then-president of a large medical advertising company. The two came up with a solution: They would advertise directly to the patient. They'd get the patient to go in and ask the doctor for the drug. "Pull the drug through the system," Davis says with a certain amount of glee. ...
Today, drug companies spend $4 billion a year on ads to consumers. In 1997, the FDA rules governing pharmaceutical advertising changed, and now companies can name both the drug and what it's for, while only naming the most significant potential side effects. Then, the number of ads really exploded. The Nielsen Co. estimates that there's an average of 80 drug ads every hour of every day on American television. And those ads clearly produce results: ...
Whether the increase in the number of prescription drugs taken is good or bad for patient health is an open question. There's evidence on both sides. What's not up for debate is this: By taking their case to patients instead of doctors, drug companies increased the amount of money we spend on medicine in America.
The patients come in quoting commercials they've seen on TV, requesting pills or diagnostic tests, describing new treatments for diseases they're convinced they have. "Five or six times a day, people come in saying, 'I looked this up on the Internet.' Or, 'I saw this and I wonder if I could have this?' " Moore says. Sometimes her patients are right; more often they're wrong, she says. But Moore isn't judgmental about their self-diagnoses. She views it as a natural response to the ocean of health information that surrounds every modern person, and relates it to her own experience in medical school. ...
Finally, in the 1990s, attempts to save money on health care encouraged Americans to get treatment through health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The idea was that primary care physicians would be put in charge of patients and given a fixed amount of money for all care. This would give the doctor an incentive to improve the overall health of the patient, because the healthier the patient, the more money the doctor could keep. The system, however, led to more denials of tests, medications and operations, which, says Zebley, was shocking to patients.
"They became angry and started researching why they should get things," he says. "Because oftentimes, physicians — hate to say it — but the physicians were looking out for their bottom line, and if they withheld services they could make more money." And so, says Zebley, patients started going online. "It was very rudimentary then, but people also looked things up in the library and photocopied things from the library. [Then they'd come in and] say, 'I think I have this, I think I need this.' "
Some of us perch on one or the other almost every day, observing the tangled mess that is our current system and mentally designing a dozen better alternatives. But for those who wind up in bed or a chair only when tragedy strikes, T. R. Reid’s new book provides an excellent substitute perspective.
Mr. Reid, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, knows from personal experience that there are indeed a dozen better alternatives. International postings from London to Japan familiarized him with many of the world’s health care systems. Then a chronic shoulder problem offered the opportunity for an unusually well-controlled experiment: Mr. Reid decided to present his stiff shoulder for treatment around the world.
Seniors in this Sun Belt retirement haven and across the country revel in the free perks that private insurance companies bundle with legally mandated benefits to entice people 65 and older to forgo traditional Medicare and sign up for private Medicare Advantage policies. The trouble is, the extra benefits are not exactly free; they are subsidized by the government. And some of the plans pass their costs on to seniors, who pay higher co-pays and additional fees to get care.
"It's a wasteful, inefficient program and always has been," Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) said at a recent hearing. At its core, Rockefeller added, Medicare Advantage is "stuffing money into the pockets of private insurers, and it doesn't provide any better benefits to anybody." ...
Medicare Advantage was established in the 1970s (under a different name) when private insurers convinced Congress that they could deliver care at lower costs than Medicare. The program blossomed in the late 1990s when Congress bolstered it with millions in additional federal subsidies to for-profit HMOs. It has proven popular among younger, active seniors who had managed-care plans as workers, and about a quarter of Medicare's 45 million beneficiaries are enrolled.
Many private plans require no additional monthly premiums, yet the government pays an average of $849.90 in monthly subsidies to insurance companies for a person on Medicare Advantage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That is about 14 percent more than the government spends on people with standard Medicare, according to the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
"The promise of Medicare Advantage and Medicare HMOs was to save the government money, to save consumers money, all the while providing additional benefits and coordinating care," said Joseph Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. "That promise has been unfulfilled overall because the plans are overpaid by the federal government at this point."
The shirt decision is absolutely clear: We can try it on, see how it looks, know exactly what it costs, and even bring it back tomorrow if we don't like it. The car is sort of like the shirt: Some can even be returned within 30 days, but we don't know how well it was constructed or how long it will last. When we are getting the oil changed in our automobile, we look for the lowest price, or we take it to the dealer or a nationally recognized chain, or we go where our brother-in-law takes his car. Sound familiar? We do the same with medical care, although it often seems like we have even less information than we do for our other day-to-day decisions. In fact, we may not. Do the repair shops post their results for "fixing unknown engine knocks"? Do the car insurers tell you "the percent of claims paid in three days"? The point is we make decisions every day without complete information and on "faith" that the result will turn out well. ...
Having a high deductible means that patients must make even more decisions about how to spend their out-of-pocket dollars. Most studies have shown that when patients pay for their own care, they skimp on both necessary and unnecessary health care. In these kinds of cases, physicians can guide patients toward receiving appropriate care, but studies suggest that even with physician advice patients will forgo appropriate visits, tests and important preventive care if it is perceived as unaffordable. This is particularly troublesome for those who are low-income or chronically ill, but it affects others as well. ...
To get back to our car analogy, the Web site CarCare.org advocates a "consumer-directed" approach to caring for your car. The site advises that "taking an active role in maintaining your vehicle is the best way to avoid costly repairs down the road." Sound familiar to the advice to get a flu shot or a mammogram, or to visit the dentist? Similarly, many patients will not heed advice about "preventive maintenance" when it comes to their bodies, despite available information. Whether as a result of federal policy or private insurance actions, medical decision-making will continue to be shifted toward an "informed" consumer-patient through mandates and higher out of pocket spending. We must be prepared for the response of the patient who has little interest, motivation, or financial resources to direct his or her health care when needed, and, instead, says to the doctor (as a car owner might say to the mechanic for transmission trouble), "Fix it. Don't tell me how, just fix it."
Drug companies don't have to reduce their prescription drug prices after the industry lent its support and more than $100 million in advertising dollars to President Obama's efforts. Doctors, hospitals and insurers have no limits on their price gouging. Fairer insurance rules - like elimination of prices linked to medical condition and limits on out of pocket costs to individuals - will help, but not if Americans have to buy an insurance policy they cannot afford in the first place. ...
A recently dismissed California case involving the death of a teenager after a denial of liver transplant by Cigna has highlighted the need for greater legal protections for consumers. Seventeen year old Nataline Sarkisyan died after the denial of the transplant but a loophole in the law prevents her family from taking the insurer to court over the death since the insurance was provided through a private employer. Nataline's family was only allowed to refile a lawsuit for emotional distress because an insurance executive made an obscene gesture to the family at a rally outside of CIGNA's headquarters.
132 million Americans have no remedy if an insurer's denial kills their loved one when the coverage is provided through private insurance. This is due to an errant Supreme Court ruling on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA. The lack of accountability allows HMOs and insurance companies to deny access to care without fear of reprisal. "I want to get rid of this ERISA law," Hilda Sarkisyan, Natline's mom, told the Los Angeles Times, "and replace it with Nataline's law." If you can sue an insurance executive if he flips you the bird, you should be able to sue a health insurer if the company kills a loved one. Obama should call explicitly for this change.
The table below details the political contribution patterns of lobbyists who represent health-related organizations that have themselves donated to a federal politician and that have hired at least 10 lobbyists who've made political contributions to the same politician. Within these criteria, the "# of Members" column details the number of congressmen to whom an individual lobbyist has contributed, while "# of Clients" shows how many of the lobbyists' clients have also donated to the same congressional representatives. The column "Total from Lobbyist" indicates the amount of money a lobbyist has donated to congressmen. The column "Total from Clients," meanwhile, indicates how much money the various clients of that lobbyist have collectively donated to congressmen. Data included in this table reflects contribution and lobbying activity between 2007 through the second quarter of 2009.
By the numbers, Alex is in the 99th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. Insurers don't take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are otherwise. "I could understand if we could control what he's eating. But he's 4 months old. He's breast-feeding. We can't put him on the Atkins diet or on a treadmill," joked his frustrated father, Bernie Lange, a part-time news anchor at KKCO-TV in Grand Junction. "There is just something absurd about denying an infant." ...
The Langes, both slender, don't know where Alex's propensity for pounds came from. Their other child is thin. No one in their families has a weight problem. The Langes are counting on the fact that Alex will start shedding pounds when he starts crawling. He is already a kinetic bundle of arm- and leg-waving energy in a baby suit sized for a 9-month-old. They joked that when he is ready for solid food, they will start him on Slim-Fast.
But let's concede that influence peddling can be hard work. Such tasks as glad-handing and passing out campaign contributions – that'll tucker you out.
That's why the Ritz-Carlton is so crucial to the system. This swank hotel is a Washington oasis for frazzled lobbyists and executives. For one thing, no tacky tourists are there to bother the swells, for room rates at the Ritz start at $599 a night and run up to $5,800. Then there're the little touches.
For example, where else do guests get a "Bath Menu" in their room? "Choose from an assortment of butler-drawn baths to ease your concerns," says the menu. "A personal attendant will be pleased to draw the bath of your choice." The menu offers The Inaugural Bath, with mineral salts "from the depths of the bright blue sea;" The Capitol Bath, with lavender, sea salts, and a libation of your choice; and The Cherry Blossom Bath – actually, rose petals are substituted for cherry, but you do get a glass of champagne and strawberries.
Each bath adds 50 bucks to the bill of the soaking influence peddler. But hey, as the Bath Menu explains, a little rub-a-dub-dub is not an expense, it's "a reward at the end of a successful business day." They soak us, then they take a soak, writing the whole thing off as the cost of doing business!
Take Max Baucus. Please! He's the lightweight Montana Democrat to whom President Obama entrusted the heavy job of shepherding health care reform through the upper chamber. It was like asking Tweety Bird to lift a bowling ball.
Baucus, backed by unanimous and enthusiastic support from every Republican on his committee, has merrily jettisoned reform after reform that the industry opposed. For example, an amendment to require drug-price discounts for low-income seniors with multiple chronic illnesses: Killed. The provision to include a not-for-profit, public insurance option to increase competition, provide consumer choice, and keep insurance corporations honest: Gone.
Why? Baucus said his goal was to produce a bill that could win the industry's support and get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.
That's it? That's his goal? If the meek ever inherit the earth, Baucus will be a land baron! Why isn't it his goal to produce the best health care there is for all of the American people? Why has he let Republicans (who were voted out of office last year in part because of their failure to deal with people's health care needs) control the terms of the debate and the content of the Democrat's bill? Why doesn't he take a couple of testosterone shots and reach out to the 65% of Americans (including 47% of Republicans and 63% of doctors)who support the public insurance option. Why doesn't he rally them to kick the selfish health insurance lobbyists right in the butt and do what needs to be done for America.
"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.
The rebound also reflects growing confidence by some Wall Street firms that they can again pay top dollar for top talent, especially once they have repaid the taxpayer-funded capital infusions they received at the height of the crisis. So far, regulators and lawmakers have focused on making sure pay practices discourage excessive risk-taking, leaving to companies the question of how much is too much.
Remember that AIG's sale of unregulated "credit default swaps" helped trigger the financial collapse that led to the recession. "Credit default swaps" were essentially insurance policies that, if the underlying financial instrument fell below a certain price, AIG would insure the loss. Only problem was, that since the "credit default" business was completely unregulated, AIG had no capital requirements to guarantee that they could pay off. To prevent what they thought might be a world-wide systemic meltdown, the Government was ultimately forced to invest $180 billion of taxpayer money, and now owns 80% of the company. But earlier this year AIG actually paid $168 million in bonuses to executives and traders in the company's Financial Products Division that had run the "credit default swap" program, causing universal outrage. ...
But AIG is only the tip of the iceberg. According to the Washington Post, J.P. Morgan Chase has set aside $2.78 billion in compensation for its investment bankers for the third quarter - a 28% increase over the same period last year. J.P. Morgan Chase is able to pay those kinds of bonuses because the financial bailout by the taxpayers has put it - and the other big Wall Street Banks -- in a position where they will generate very strong profits in the third quarter. J.P. Morgan Chase itself will generate profits of $3.59 billion - the strongest results in two years. ...
Just as surely as America had to change the policies that had made it vulnerable to terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, we have to change the policies that made us vulnerable to the attack of the Wall Street speculators that culminated in the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008.
Titans like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are making fortunes in hot areas like trading stocks and bonds, rather than in the ho-hum business of lending people money. They also are profiting by taking risks that weaker rivals are unable or unwilling to shoulder — a benefit of less competition after the failure of some investment firms last year. ...
A year after the crisis struck, many of the industry’s behemoths — those institutions deemed too big to fail — are, in fact, getting bigger, not smaller. For many of them, it is business as usual. Over the last decade the financial sector was the fastest-growing part of the economy, with two-thirds of growth in gross domestic product attributable to incomes of workers in finance.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Sample posts follow:
We all have to play nice-nice with our GR (global resource) peers. and when your GR team lead sends notes to IBM US mgmt that they need MORE WORK from their US counterparts, IBM mgmt. rolls over and gives them more work. Reminds me of an old CCR song: Fortunate Son.
And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more. What a sad, pathetic, f'ng company.
What's more pathetic is how India is not held accountable since they are Sam's chosen ones and how anyone who reports problems with India are considered anti-team, racist and uncooperative.
The sacred cows over in India aren't cattle, they're the "office boys" pretending to be IT professionals working for IBM. What a sad, pathetic f'ng company indeed.
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