“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sarah Palin Signs In.



Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left

by Sarah Palin on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 2:57pm
We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.

We will look back on this week and realize that something changed. I have given numerous interviews wherein I espoused the benefits of thorough vetting during aggressive contested primary elections, but this week’s tactics aren’t what I meant. Those who claim allegiance to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment should stop and think about where we are today. Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the fathers of the modern conservative movement, would be ashamed of us in this primary. Let me make clear that I have no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign. As I said at the first Tea Party convention two years ago, I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate. They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale. It was unprecedented in GOP primaries. I’ve seen it before – heck, I lived it before – but not in a GOP primary race.

I am sadly too familiar with these tactics because they were used against the GOP ticket in 2008. The left seeks to single someone out and destroy his or her record and reputation and family using the media as a channel to dump handpicked and half-baked campaign opposition research on the public. The difference in 2008 was that I was largely unknown to the American public, so they had no way of differentiating between the lies and the truth. All of it came at them at once as “facts” about me. But Newt Gingrich is known to us – both the good and the bad.

We know that Newt fought in the trenches during the Reagan Revolution. As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, Newt was among a handful of Republican Congressman who would regularly take to the House floor to defend Reagan at a time when conservatives didn’t have Fox News or talk radio or conservative blogs to give any balance to the liberal mainstream media. Newt actually came at Reagan’s administration “from the right” to remind Americans that freer markets and tougher national defense would win our future. But this week a few handpicked and selectively edited comments which Newt made during his 40-year career were used to claim that Newt was somehow anti-Reagan and isn’t conservative enough to go against the accepted moderate in the primary race. (I know, it makes no sense, and the GOP establishment hopes you won’t stop and think about this nonsense. Mark Levin and others have shown the ridiculousness of this.) To add insult to injury, this “anti-Reagan” claim was made by a candidate who admitted to not even supporting or voting for Reagan. He actually was against the Reagan movement, donated to liberal candidates, and said he didn’t want to go back to the Reagan days. You can’t change history. We know that Newt Gingrich brought the Reagan Revolution into the 1990s. We know it because none other than Nancy Reagan herself announced this when she presented Newt with an award, telling us, “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century.  Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.” As Rush and others pointed out, if Nancy Reagan had ever thought that Newt was in any way an opponent of her beloved husband, she would never have even appeared on a stage with him, let alone presented him with an award and said such kind things about him. Nor would Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan, have chosen to endorse Newt in this primary race. There are no two greater keepers of the Reagan legacy than Nancy and Michael Reagan. What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stalin-esque rewriting of history. It was Alinsky tactics at their worst.

But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.

I spoke up before the South Carolina primary to urge voters there to keep this primary going because I have great concern about the GOP establishment trying to anoint a candidate without the blessing of the grassroots and all the needed energy and resources we as commonsense constitutional conservatives could bring to the general election in order to defeat President Obama. Now, I respect Governor Romney and his success. But there are serious concerns about his record and whether as a politician he consistently applied conservative principles and how this impacts the agenda moving forward. The questions need answers now. That is why this primary should not be rushed to an end. We need to vet this. Pundits in the Beltway are gleefully proclaiming that this primary race is over after Florida, despite 46 states still not having chimed in. Well, perhaps it’s possible that it will come to a speedy end in just four days; but with these questions left unanswered, it will not have come to a satisfactory conclusion. Without this necessary vetting process, the unanswered question of Governor Romney’s conservative bona fides and the unanswered and false attacks on Newt Gingrich will hang in the air to demoralize many in the electorate. The Tea Party grassroots will certainly feel disenfranchised and disenchanted with the perceived orchestrated outcome from self-proclaimed movers and shakers trying to sew this all up. And, trust me, during the general election, Governor Romney’s statements and record in the private sector will be relentlessly parsed over by the opposition in excruciating detail to frighten off swing voters. This is why we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney’s chief rival.

As I said in my speech in Iowa last September, the challenge of this election is not simply to replace President Obama. The real challenge is who and what we will replace him with. It’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country. We truly need sudden and relentless reform in Washington to defend our republic, though it’s becoming clearer that the old guard wants anything but that. That is why we should all be concerned by the tactics employed by the establishment this week. We will not save our country by becoming like the left. And I question whether the GOP establishment would ever employ the same harsh tactics they used on Newt against Obama. I didn’t see it in 2008. Many of these same characters sat on their thumbs in ‘08 and let Obama escape unvetted. Oddly, they’re now using every available microscope and endoscope – along with rewriting history – in attempts to character assassinate anyone challenging their chosen one in their own party’s primary. So, one must ask, who are they really running against?

- Sarah Palin

The oil Embargo of Iran

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of Skepticism



Here is a discussion and response to Obama’s 2011 State of the Union:

Monday, January 23, 2012

How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.

But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.

Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.

The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

Apple has become one of the best-known, most admired and most imitated companies on earth, in part through an unrelenting mastery of global operations. Last year, it earned over $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or Google.

However, what has vexed Mr. Obama as well as economists and policy makers is that Apple — and many of its high-technology peers — are not nearly as avid in creating American jobs as other famous companies were in their heydays.

Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas, a small fraction of the over 400,000 American workers at General Motors in the 1950s, or the hundreds of thousands at General Electric in the 1980s. Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”


Similar stories could be told about almost any electronics company — and outsourcing has also become common in hundreds of industries, including accounting, legal services, banking, auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

But while Apple is far from alone, it offers a window into why the success of some prominent companies has not translated into large numbers of domestic jobs. What’s more, the company’s decisions pose broader questions about what corporate America owes Americans as the global and national economies are increasingly intertwined.

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”

Companies and other economists say that notion is naïve. Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.

To thrive, companies argue they need to move work where it can generate enough profits to keep paying for innovation. Doing otherwise risks losing even more American jobs over time, as evidenced by the legions of once-proud domestic manufacturers — including G.M. and others — that have shrunk as nimble competitors have emerged.

Apple was provided with extensive summaries of The New York Times’s reporting for this article, but the company, which has a reputation for secrecy, declined to comment.

This article is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former Apple employees and contractors — many of whom requested anonymity to protect their jobs — as well as economists, manufacturing experts, international trade specialists, technology analysts, academic researchers, employees at Apple’s suppliers, competitors and corporate partners, and government officials.

Privately, Apple executives say the world is now such a changed place that it is a mistake to measure a company’s contribution simply by tallying its employees — though they note that Apple employs more workers in the United States than ever before.

They say Apple’s success has benefited the economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. And, ultimately, they say curing unemployment is not their job.

“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”

‘I Want a Glass Screen’

In 2007, a little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores, Mr. Jobs beckoned a handful of lieutenants into an office. For weeks, he had been carrying a prototype of the device in his pocket.

Mr. Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.

People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”

After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.

For over two years, the company had been working on a project — code-named Purple 2 — that presented the same questions at every turn: how do you completely reimagine the cellphone? And how do you design it at the highest quality — with an unscratchable screen, for instance — while also ensuring that millions can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively enough to earn a significant profit?

The answers, almost every time, were found outside the United States. Though components differ between versions, all iPhones contain hundreds of parts, an estimated 90 percent of which are manufactured abroad. Advanced semiconductors have come from Germany and Taiwan, memory from Korea and Japan, display panels and circuitry from Korea and Taiwan, chipsets from Europe and rare metals from Africa and Asia. And all of it is put together in China.

In its early days, Apple usually didn’t look beyond its own backyard for manufacturing solutions. A few years after Apple began building the Macintosh in 1983, for instance, Mr. Jobs bragged that it was “a machine that is made in America.” In 1990, while Mr. Jobs was running NeXT, which was eventually bought by Apple, the executive told a reporter that “I’m as proud of the factory as I am of the computer.” As late as 2002, top Apple executives occasionally drove two hours northeast of their headquarters to visit the company’s iMac plant in Elk Grove, Calif.

But by 2004, Apple had largely turned to foreign manufacturing. Guiding that decision was Apple’s operations expert, Timothy D. Cook, who replaced Mr. Jobs as chief executive last August, six weeks before Mr. Jobs’s death. Most other American electronics companies had already gone abroad, and Apple, which at the time was struggling, felt it had to grasp every advantage.

In part, Asia was attractive because the semiskilled workers there were cheaper. But that wasn’t driving Apple. For technology companies, the cost of labor is minimal compared with the expense of buying parts and managing supply chains that bring together components and services from hundreds of companies.

For Mr. Cook, the focus on Asia “came down to two things,” said one former high-ranking Apple executive. Factories in Asia “can scale up and down faster” and “Asian supply chains have surpassed what’s in the U.S.” The result is that “we can’t compete at this point,” the executive said.

The impact of such advantages became obvious as soon as Mr. Jobs demanded glass screens in 2007.

For years, cellphone makers had avoided using glass because it required precision in cutting and grinding that was extremely difficult to achieve. Apple had already selected an American company, Corning Inc., to manufacture large panes of strengthened glass. But figuring out how to cut those panes into millions of iPhone screens required finding an empty cutting plant, hundreds of pieces of glass to use in experiments and an army of midlevel engineers. It would cost a fortune simply to prepare.

Then a bid for the work arrived from a Chinese factory.

When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.

The Chinese plant got the job.

“The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

In Foxconn City

An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.

The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant.


Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.

Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility’s central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.

Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

In mid-2007, after a month of experimentation, Apple’s engineers finally perfected a method for cutting strengthened glass so it could be used in the iPhone’s screen. The first truckloads of cut glass arrived at Foxconn City in the dead of night, according to the former Apple executive. That’s when managers woke thousands of workers, who crawled into their uniforms — white and black shirts for men, red for women — and quickly lined up to assemble, by hand, the phones. Within three months, Apple had sold one million iPhones. Since then, Foxconn has assembled over 200 million more.

Foxconn, in statements, declined to speak about specific clients.

“Any worker recruited by our firm is covered by a clear contract outlining terms and conditions and by Chinese government law that protects their rights,” the company wrote. Foxconn “takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our more than one million employees a safe and positive environment.”

The company disputed some details of the former Apple executive’s account, and wrote that a midnight shift, such as the one described, was impossible “because we have strict regulations regarding the working hours of our employees based on their designated shifts, and every employee has computerized timecards that would bar them from working at any facility at a time outside of their approved shift.” The company said that all shifts began at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., and that employees receive at least 12 hours’ notice of any schedule changes.

Foxconn employees, in interviews, have challenged those assertions.

Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

In China, it took 15 days
.

Companies like Apple “say the challenge in setting up U.S. plants is finding a technical work force,” said Martin Schmidt, associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In particular, companies say they need engineers with more than high school, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Americans at that skill level are hard to find, executives contend. “They’re good jobs, but the country doesn’t have enough to feed the demand,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Some aspects of the iPhone are uniquely American. The device’s software, for instance, and its innovative marketing campaigns were largely created in the United States. Apple recently built a $500 million data center in North Carolina. Crucial semiconductors inside the iPhone 4 and 4S are manufactured in an Austin, Tex., factory by Samsung, of South Korea.

But even those facilities are not enormous sources of jobs. Apple’s North Carolina center, for instance, has only 100 full-time employees. The Samsung plant has an estimated 2,400 workers.

“If you scale up from selling one million phones to 30 million phones, you don’t really need more programmers,” said Jean-Louis Gassée, who oversaw product development and marketing for Apple until he left in 1990. “All these new companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter — benefit from this. They grow, but they don’t really need to hire much.”

It is hard to estimate how much more it would cost to build iPhones in the United States. However, various academics and manufacturing analysts estimate that because labor is such a small part of technology manufacturing, paying American wages would add up to $65 to each iPhone’s expense. Since Apple’s profits are often hundreds of dollars per phone, building domestically, in theory, would still give the company a healthy reward.

But such calculations are, in many respects, meaningless because building the iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies. Apple executives believe there simply aren’t enough American workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility. Other companies that work with Apple, like Corning, also say they must go abroad.

Manufacturing glass for the iPhone revived a Corning factory in Kentucky, and today, much of the glass in iPhones is still made there. After the iPhone became a success, Corning received a flood of orders from other companies hoping to imitate Apple’s designs. Its strengthened glass sales have grown to more than $700 million a year, and it has hired or continued employing about 1,000 Americans to support the emerging market.

But as that market has expanded, the bulk of Corning’s strengthened glass manufacturing has occurred at plants in Japan and Taiwan.

“Our customers are in Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China,” said James B. Flaws, Corning’s vice chairman and chief financial officer. “We could make the glass here, and then ship it by boat, but that takes 35 days. Or, we could ship it by air, but that’s 10 times as expensive. So we build our glass factories next door to assembly factories, and those are overseas.”

Corning was founded in America 161 years ago and its headquarters are still in upstate New York. Theoretically, the company could manufacture all its glass domestically. But it would “require a total overhaul in how the industry is structured,” Mr. Flaws said. “The consumer electronics business has become an Asian business. As an American, I worry about that, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Asia has become what the U.S. was for the last 40 years.”

Middle-Class Jobs Fade

The first time Eric Saragoza stepped into Apple’s manufacturing plant in Elk Grove, Calif., he felt as if he were entering an engineering wonderland.

It was 1995, and the facility near Sacramento employed more than 1,500 workers. It was a kaleidoscope of robotic arms, conveyor belts ferrying circuit boards and, eventually, candy-colored iMacs in various stages of assembly. Mr. Saragoza, an engineer, quickly moved up the plant’s ranks and joined an elite diagnostic team. His salary climbed to $50,000. He and his wife had three children. They bought a home with a pool.

“It felt like, finally, school was paying off,” he said. “I knew the world needed people who can build things.”

At the same time, however, the electronics industry was changing, and Apple — with products that were declining in popularity — was struggling to remake itself. One focus was improving manufacturing. A few years after Mr. Saragoza started his job, his bosses explained how the California plant stacked up against overseas factories: the cost, excluding the materials, of building a $1,500 computer in Elk Grove was $22 a machine. In Singapore, it was $6. In Taiwan, $4.85. Wages weren’t the major reason for the disparities. Rather it was costs like inventory and how long it took workers to finish a task.

“We were told we would have to do 12-hour days, and come in on Saturdays,” Mr. Saragoza said. “I had a family. I wanted to see my kids play soccer.”

Modernization has always caused some kinds of jobs to change or disappear. As the American economy transitioned from agriculture to manufacturing and then to other industries, farmers became steelworkers, and then salesmen and middle managers. These shifts have carried many economic benefits, and in general, with each progression, even unskilled workers received better wages and greater chances at upward mobility.

But in the last two decades, something more fundamental has changed, economists say. Midwage jobs started disappearing. Particularly among Americans without college degrees, today’s new jobs are disproportionately in service occupations — at restaurants or call centers, or as hospital attendants or temporary workers — that offer fewer opportunities for reaching the middle class.

Even Mr. Saragoza, with his college degree, was vulnerable to these trends. First, some of Elk Grove’s routine tasks were sent overseas. Mr. Saragoza didn’t mind. Then the robotics that made Apple a futuristic playground allowed executives to replace workers with machines. Some diagnostic engineering went to Singapore. Middle managers who oversaw the plant’s inventory were laid off because, suddenly, a few people with Internet connections were all that were needed.

Mr. Saragoza was too expensive for an unskilled position. He was also insufficiently credentialed for upper management. He was called into a small office in 2002 after a night shift, laid off and then escorted from the plant. He taught high school for a while, and then tried a return to technology. But Apple, which had helped anoint the region as “Silicon Valley North,” had by then converted much of the Elk Grove plant into an AppleCare call center, where new employees often earn $12 an hour.

There were employment prospects in Silicon Valley, but none of them panned out. “What they really want are 30-year-olds without children,” said Mr. Saragoza, who today is 48, and whose family now includes five of his own.

After a few months of looking for work, he started feeling desperate. Even teaching jobs had dried up. So he took a position with an electronics temp agency that had been hired by Apple to check returned iPhones and iPads before they were sent back to customers. Every day, Mr. Saragoza would drive to the building where he had once worked as an engineer, and for $10 an hour with no benefits, wipe thousands of glass screens and test audio ports by plugging in headphones.

Paydays for Apple

As Apple’s overseas operations and sales have expanded, its top employees have thrived. Last fiscal year, Apple’s revenue topped $108 billion, a sum larger than the combined state budgets of Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Since 2005, when the company’s stock split, share prices have risen from about $45 to more than $427.

Some of that wealth has gone to shareholders. Apple is among the most widely held stocks, and the rising share price has benefited millions of individual investors, 401(k)’s and pension plans. The bounty has also enriched Apple workers. Last fiscal year, in addition to their salaries, Apple’s employees and directors received stock worth $2 billion and exercised or vested stock and options worth an added $1.4 billion.

The biggest rewards, however, have often gone to Apple’s top employees. Mr. Cook, Apple’s chief, last year received stock grants — which vest over a 10-year period — that, at today’s share price, would be worth $427 million, and his salary was raised to $1.4 million. In 2010, Mr. Cook’s compensation package was valued at $59 million, according to Apple’s security filings.

A person close to Apple argued that the compensation received by Apple’s employees was fair, in part because the company had brought so much value to the nation and world. As the company has grown, it has expanded its domestic work force, including manufacturing jobs. Last year, Apple’s American work force grew by 8,000 people.

While other companies have sent call centers abroad, Apple has kept its centers in the United States. One source estimated that sales of Apple’s products have caused other companies to hire tens of thousands of Americans. FedEx and United Parcel Service, for instance, both say they have created American jobs because of the volume of Apple’s shipments, though neither would provide specific figures without permission from Apple, which the company declined to provide.

“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

What’s more, Apple sources say the company has created plenty of good American jobs inside its retail stores and among entrepreneurs selling iPhone and iPad applications.

After two months of testing iPads, Mr. Saragoza quit. The pay was so low that he was better off, he figured, spending those hours applying for other jobs. On a recent October evening, while Mr. Saragoza sat at his MacBook and submitted another round of résumés online, halfway around the world a woman arrived at her office. The worker, Lina Lin, is a project manager in Shenzhen, China, at PCH International, which contracts with Apple and other electronics companies to coordinate production of accessories, like the cases that protect the iPad’s glass screens. She is not an Apple employee. But Mrs. Lin is integral to Apple’s ability to deliver its products.

Mrs. Lin earns a bit less than what Mr. Saragoza was paid by Apple. She speaks fluent English, learned from watching television and in a Chinese university. She and her husband put a quarter of their salaries in the bank every month. They live in a 1,080-square-foot apartment, which they share with their in-laws and son.

“There are lots of jobs,” Mrs. Lin said. “Especially in Shenzhen.”

Innovation’s Losers

Toward the end of Mr. Obama’s dinner last year with Mr. Jobs and other Silicon Valley executives, as everyone stood to leave, a crowd of photo seekers formed around the president. A slightly smaller scrum gathered around Mr. Jobs. Rumors had spread that his illness had worsened, and some hoped for a photograph with him, perhaps for the last time.

Eventually, the orbits of the men overlapped. “I’m not worried about the country’s long-term future,” Mr. Jobs told Mr. Obama, according to one observer. “This country is insanely great. What I’m worried about is that we don’t talk enough about solutions.”

At dinner, for instance, the executives had suggested that the government should reform visa programs to help companies hire foreign engineers. Some had urged the president to give companies a “tax holiday” so they could bring back overseas profits which, they argued, would be used to create work. Mr. Jobs even suggested it might be possible, someday, to locate some of Apple’s skilled manufacturing in the United States if the government helped train more American engineers.

Economists debate the usefulness of those and other efforts, and note that a struggling economy is sometimes transformed by unexpected developments. The last time analysts wrung their hands about prolonged American unemployment, for instance, in the early 1980s, the Internet hardly existed. Few at the time would have guessed that a degree in graphic design was rapidly becoming a smart bet, while studying telephone repair a dead end.

What remains unknown, however, is whether the United States will be able to leverage tomorrow’s innovations into millions of jobs.

In the last decade, technological leaps in solar and wind energy, semiconductor fabrication and display technologies have created thousands of jobs. But while many of those industries started in America, much of the employment has occurred abroad. Companies have closed major facilities in the United States to reopen in China. By way of explanation, executives say they are competing with Apple for shareholders. If they cannot rival Apple’s growth and profit margins, they won’t survive.

“New middle-class jobs will eventually emerge,” said Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist. “But will someone in his 40s have the skills for them? Or will he be bypassed for a new graduate and never find his way back into the middle class?”

The pace of innovation, say executives from a variety of industries, has been quickened by businessmen like Mr. Jobs. G.M. went as long as half a decade between major automobile redesigns. Apple, by comparison, has released five iPhones in four years, doubling the devices’ speed and memory while dropping the price that some consumers pay.

Before Mr. Obama and Mr. Jobs said goodbye, the Apple executive pulled an iPhone from his pocket to show off a new application — a driving game — with incredibly detailed graphics. The device reflected the soft glow of the room’s lights. The other executives, whose combined worth exceeded $69 billion, jostled for position to glance over his shoulder. The game, everyone agreed, was wonderful.

There wasn’t even a tiny scratch on the screen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thank You ABC & CNN


Gingrich holds clear lead in new South Carolina poll

By
Stephanie Condon
Topics
Campaign 2012
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may have pulled too far ahead in South Carolina for Mitt Romney to catch up, according to a poll of likely Republican voters in the Palmetto state released Friday.
The former speaker has the lead with 32 percent in a newClemson University poll, conducted January 18-19. Romney comes in second with 26 percent, while Rep. Ron Paul places third at 11 percent and former Sen. Rick Santorum places fourth with 9 percent. Twenty percent of voters remain undecided. The poll has a 4.73 percent margin of error.
In a separate poll released Thursday by American Research Group (ARG), Gingrich and Romney were essentially tied, 33 percent to 32 percent for the former Massachusetts governor.
The six-point difference between Gingrich and Romney in the Clemson poll may be too large for the former Massachusetts governor to make up before Saturday's primary -- even following the charge from Gingrich's former wife Marianne that Gingrich had asked her for an "open marriage." Gingrich has denied that charge.
"We expect a reaction by the electorate to the personal revelations about Gingrich to be registered on Saturday, however, we do not think it will be substantial enough to erase the lead Gingrich has over Romney," Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard said in a statement.
After naming their preferred candidates, voters were asked what they liked most about that candidate. The two most popular answers were "he has honesty and integrity" and "his overall political ideology" -- suggesting that electability may not be voters' highest priority.
After Romney virtually tied for first in the Iowa caucuses and won the New Hampshire primaries, he appeared to be on his way to securing the nomination. Now, however, Gingrich is closing in both in South Carolina and nationally.

The Real Abraham Lincoln in his own words - Ron Paul on Lincoln




Friday, January 20, 2012

The Revenge of the Hackers - Raging at the Machine





…and talking about striking back at the media. This will go down in the history of all time great political responses.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Romney’s 15% Mishap



Romney has admitted that his effective personal tax rates have been around 15%. Romney is worth about $250 million.  He described one of his sources of income, speaking fees, as insignificant. (It turns out to be around $350,000.) I do not think people care that Romney is rich. I do think they care that an incredibly wealthy man pays taxes at a rate that is half of what they pay. I also believe that the mantra that taxes on the rich are "too high", while we have $ trillion deficits, is going to be a hard sell for the Republicans.

This is not an argument about logic or what is the right amount of taxation and spending. Politics is about emotions and appearance. Obama will have a field day with this one. If the Republicans think it will be easy to defeat Obama with Romney as their guidon bearer, they may be in for a disappointment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Portrait of a Coward





Costa Concordia: coastguard 'ordered captain to return to the ship'

Italian newspaper reports claim Captain Francesco Schettino climbed over rocks and caught a taxi away from the scene

The captain of the Costa Concordia was ordered by the coastguard to return to the stricken ship after claiming that the evacuation was almost complete when it had scarcely begun, according to transcripts of radio calls and telephone conversations published on Tuesday.
The transcripts indicate that Captain Francesco Schettino said he was going to return to the vessel. But two Italian newspapers, which published the transcripts, said that he instead walked from the rocks where the liner had come to rest to the port of Giglio and there caught a taxi to take him away from the scene of the disaster.
A witness who boarded the cruise ship Costa Concordia after it grounded has added damning claims about the behaviour of the captain of the vessel. Mario Pellegrini, the deputy mayor of Giglio, said he boarded the stranded vessel at about 11pm.
"I then remained on board until 5am helping passengers leave. Although I asked for the officers I couldn't find one – and I never once saw the captain," he told The Guardian.
A regional parliamentarian who visited Schettino in the jail where he is being held quoted him as saying: "The voice of my conscience cries out the loudest of all."
One of the newspapers, Corriere della Sera, said the crew began preparing the lifeboats 13 minutes before the order was given to abandon ship. It described the action, by some of Schettino's officers, as "a kind of mutiny".
On Monday, the chief executive of the cruise company operating the vessel praised the crew at a press conference in which he placed the blame firmly on the captain. But Pellegrini said: "The crew, many of whom did not speak English, were not professional." He said the only officer he found on board who was helping passengers escape was a ship's doctor.
After hitting a rock off the coast of Giglio last Friday night, the Costa Concordia continued past the port as Schettino turned it around and brought it to rest on a headland known as Punta Gabbianara. According to the transcripts, there, at 21.49, he was radioed by the harbourmaster's office in Livorno, which is a regional headquarters of the coastguard.
"Everything OK?" he was asked.
"Affirmative," came the reply. The coastguard was told the liner had suffered a "small technical failure".
Five minutes later, the coastguard radioed the bridge again. The second newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano, which did not provide a source for its information, said that in the meantime the harbourmaster's office had been told by the semi-militarised Carabinieri police of a call from a passenger aboard the Costa Concordia talking about a shipwreck.
This time, the coastguard asked not only if the vessel was in trouble, but also what was its position.
"We've only got a technical problem and we're not able to [give the position]," came the reply. "But as soon as it's resolved, we'll communicate [it] to you."
Thereafter, all radio calls to the stricken liner went unanswered. But at 00.32 the coastguard managed to contact Schettino by telephone.
By then, the evacuation had been under way for only about 40 minutes. The captain was asked how many people were still aboard.
"Two, three hundred," he replied.
Ten minutes later, the coastguard rang him again. By then, said Il Fatto quoting a local fire brigade commander, Schettino had left his ship and was on the rocks at Punta Gabbianara.
He was again asked how many people were still aboard.
"I've called the ship owners, and they tell me that about 40 people are missing," he replied.
"So few? How is that possible?" asked the coastguard, before adding: "But you're on board?"
"No. I'm not on board because the bows of the ship are coming up. We've abandoned her."
"What do you mean? You've abandoned ship?"
"No. No way have I abandoned ship. I'm here," Schettino replied.
The final, and most dramatic call, took place at 1.46am when, after confirming that he was speaking to the captain, a coastguard officer told him: "Right. You are now going back on board. You are going to go back up the rope ladder, return to the bridge and co-ordinate operations."
There followed a long silence, Il Fatto reported.
"You must tell me how many people there are," the coastguard officer continued. "How many passengers, women and children – and co-ordinate the rescue."
Schettino protested that he was on hand.
"Captain," said the coastguard officer, cutting across him. "This is an order. Now I am in command. You have declared the abandoning of a ship and are going to co-ordinate the rescue from the bridge. There are already dead bodies."
"How many?" asked Schettino.
"You're the one who should be telling me that," came the reply. "What do you want to do? Go home? Now, go back up and tell me what can be done: how many people there are and what they need."
"Alright," said Schettino. "I'm going."