Our Common Good

CNN Confronts Walmart Spokesperson Over Retailer’s Low Wages, Poor Working Conditions

During an appearance on CNN Tuesday morning, Vice President of Communications David Tovar sought to brush aside the fact that Walmart is paying its associates salaries that are just slightly above the poverty line, even as the company reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income, earning $3.63 billion. He insisted that the company has “got great associates” who are “going to do a great job for us this holiday season.”

But when host Carol Costello pressed Tovar on the growing wealth gap in America and Walmart’s role in insuring a robust middle class, he dodged the question, but not before suggesting that the store offers associates a discount to buy Walmart products (and invest their pay checks back into the company):

COSTELLO: The wage gap in this country continues to grow ever wider. you know, we hear from economists all the time, we need a strong middle class to make our overall economy stronger. Is it Walmart’s responsibility to make sure that its employees can support a strong middle-class lifestyle?

TOVAR: We’re working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates. […]

COSTELLO: But if a lot of them are making $15,000 a year, you can’t live a strong middle-class lifestyle on that. You just can’t. […]

TOVAR: Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour far a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable and we also pay quaterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do…. And we know that they appreciate that, they also get a 10 percent discount card. So you have to factor in all of those things when you’re looking for how we’re helping associates.

Walmart CEO Michael Drake has a total compensation of $18.1 million, and is the second highest paid executive in the Fortune 500. According to CNN Money, it would take more than 700 employees’ salaries to match his total compensation package.

Making Change at Walmart, the group leading Black Friday’s protest, is asking for a minimum wage of $13 an hour, more full time positions and affordable health care. Currently, the typical employee is paid $22,100 a year, slightly below the federal poverty line for a family of four (which is at $23,050 in 2012). Walmart earned $15 billion last year.

(via ThinkProgress)

AFA’s BRYAN FISCHER: Homosexual behavior, it is immoral, it is unnatural, and it is unhealthy.  That is a simple, straight-forward statement of fact. But for the gay Gestapo, they’re gonna call that an insult…. Now, Carol Costello, she showed you what this looks like.  I mean Carol Costello, when I was on with her on CNN, she showed you what the gay Gestapo looks like in action, cuz she cut my water off just as soon as I started to talk about the health risks of homosexual behavior.

CNN’S CAROL COSTELLO: Well, Mr. Fischer, if that’s the definition of the “gay Gestapo,” then I am a proud, card-carrying member.

(via CNN anchor: “I am a proud, card-carrying member” of the gay gestapo)

justinspoliticalcorner:

(via On CNN’s The Situation Room, Pelosi Attacks Republicans For Withholding Embassy Security Funding)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday shot back at Republicans criticizing the Obama administration after the fallout of the Libya Consulate attacks, pointing out that they withheld hundreds of millions of dollars the State Department had asked for last year for embassy security and construction.

House Republicans wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggesting that the Obama administration was negligent in providing security for the consulate in Benghazi where four U.S. diplomats were killed in an attack on Sept. 11 and asked Clinton for more information. Noting that the investigation into what happened is still ongoing, Pelosi, in an interview with CNN, asked, “how can you ask the secretary to come before the information is known?”

The Minority Leader then pointed out that it was Republicans who may have some responsibility in the matter, as they turned down the administration’s request for nearly $300 million for embassy security:

PELOSI: It’s also important to note that the Republican appropriation in Congress gave the administration $300 million less than it asked for for the State Department, including funding for security.

BLITZER: Are you suggesting that there was a financial aspect to what happened in Benghazi, Libya. That the U.S. was not enough money to protect American diplomats?

PELOSI: No what I’m saying is Congress has the right of oversight but it also has the power of the purse. … We also have to look to ourselves for that funding question. $300 million less than what the administration asked for.

CNN’s Don Lemon examines the difference between bad timing and an outright lie in the latest “No Talking Points.”

(via The political battle over Libya)

At the Washington Post, Bey recounts her conversation with the victim of the attack, who, like most Americans who heard about it, says, “I know racism when I see it and when it’s being thrown at me.”

"I was just about to put on my headset when someone started throwing peanuts at me,"  she told me. "I didn’t understand what was going on." She recovered enough to ask one man, "Are you out of your damned mind?" A pair of older white men walked to the railing preventing people from falling down into the camera pit. One hurled more peanuts at her and taunted, "Here! Want some more peanuts?"

Then they actually started hitting her with them. “This is what we feed to the animals at the zoo!” he continued. While his partner laughed, the thrower leaned over the railing as if he WAS at the zoo and snorted, “Here’s some more peanuts.”

My friend continued, “It was like they were heckling me.” It became clear to her these people were enjoying her torment. Two African-American cameramen and a female Caucasian reporter came over to investigate the fracas, but none had clearly heard what the men said. CNN security arrived by coincidence and set off after them.

At this point, I expected my friend to tell me how the RNC apologized profusely, how they genuinely seemed to feel bad and how they themselves became outraged by the whole thing. She didn’t. Rather, she told me that RNC security investigated by asking of the assailants, “Were they black or were they white?”

"Are you kidding me, Jamila?" She asked. "I’m from the Deep South! I know racism when I see it and when it’s being thrown at me. No black person would have done that!"

And a bit more about the shout down of the delegate from Puerto Rico from the Washington Post article:

A female member of the media was verbally attacked and assaulted with projectiles on the floor of the Republican Party’s National Convention on the same day as the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, had to try to restore order when a delegate from Puerto Rico began to speak in favor of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. With so few non-white faces, it’s no surprise that the GOP would showcase what little diversity it has.

What to do, then, when one of your star ethnic minorities takes the stage only to be drowned out by racist chants? Now, some have contended these “USA!” chants were in fact Ron Paul protesters causing a disturbance. However, there’s much video of that incident and Chairman Priebus himself asked of the crowd to please give respect so that the “lady from Puerto Rico” could give her report.

Host of “Capitol Correspondent,” and my colleague at the Voice of Russia radio, Carmen Russell-Sluchansky was actually on the RNC floor at the time.  He explained that while there may have been some Paul-supporting dissidents, he’d just come away from interviewing those in attendance to support Paul and most of them were not in their chairs at the time of this event.  He said, “It was pretty clear that it wasn’t just Ron Paul people.  There may have been [supporters] but it was clearly not just one bloc.”

At a time when the GOP has been charged with discounting the voices, bodies and the safety of women, it is unacceptable that, when there’s such behavior on the floor of its national convention, the response from leaders of the party is less than a full repudiation.

CNN confirms:

In a written statement, CNN addressed the matter but divulged few details: “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

lafaux:

questionall:

(via CNN Hosts Confront Director Of Anti-Obama Film About Falsehoods In Movie | Video | Media Matters for America)

Oh!  This was GOOD!  I love it when people say that President Obama did not fulfill any of his promises.  He pretty much tried to do what he promised he would do during his campaign.  He could not do it alone, and everybody knows about the obstructionist Congress that voted for one abortion bill after another while ignoring any votes for jobs.


The chairman of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s national steering committee on Tuesday angrily shouted for a CNN anchor to “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead” after she tried to fact check Republican claims about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to overhaul Medicare.
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien pointed out to Romney surrogate John Sununu that the candidate’s plan would turn Medicare into a voucher system much like the budget proposal offered by his vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan.
[…]
“I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again,” O’Brien observed. “These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. [Obama’s plan] cuts a reduction in the expect rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved.”
“Soledad, stop this!” Sununu shouted. “All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there.”
“I’m telling you what Factcheck.com tells you, I’m telling you what the CBO tells you, I’m telling you what CNN’s independent analysis says,” the CNN host explained.
“Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this!” the frustrated surrogate shot back.
“You know, let me tell you something,” O’Brien said. “There is independent analysis that details what this is about. … And name calling to me and somehow by you repeating a number of $716 billion, that you can make that stick when [you say] that figure is being ‘stolen’ from Medicare, that’s not true. You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.”

(via Romney surrogate to CNN host: ‘Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead’ | The Raw Story)
I blogged about this earlier, but good journalism deserves all the light we can shine on it.

The chairman of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s national steering committee on Tuesday angrily shouted for a CNN anchor to “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead” after she tried to fact check Republican claims about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to overhaul Medicare.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien pointed out to Romney surrogate John Sununu that the candidate’s plan would turn Medicare into a voucher system much like the budget proposal offered by his vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan.

[…]

“I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again,” O’Brien observed. “These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. [Obama’s plan] cuts a reduction in the expect rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved.”

“Soledad, stop this!” Sununu shouted. “All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there.”

“I’m telling you what Factcheck.com tells you, I’m telling you what the CBO tells you, I’m telling you what CNN’s independent analysis says,” the CNN host explained.

“Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this!” the frustrated surrogate shot back.

“You know, let me tell you something,” O’Brien said. “There is independent analysis that details what this is about. … And name calling to me and somehow by you repeating a number of $716 billion, that you can make that stick when [you say] that figure is being ‘stolen’ from Medicare, that’s not true. You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.”

(via Romney surrogate to CNN host: ‘Put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead’ | The Raw Story)

I blogged about this earlier, but good journalism deserves all the light we can shine on it.

justinspoliticalcorner:

ABC again invited CNN contributor and conservative pundit Dana Loesch to be part of its This Week roundtable, even though she has promoted a conspiracy theory that her CNN co-workers described as “McCarthy-like.”

On her radio show earlier this week, Loesch promoted the fringe idea that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin “is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood.” The comment was the subject of a letter circulated by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacking Abedin.

Similarly, Loesch attacked a caller to her show this week who said she opposed Chick-Fil-A management’s stance against gay marriage, telling her that “I know you hate Christ.” Loesch claimed that as a supporter of marriage equality, the woman could not be a Christian. Polls over the last decades have shown declining opposition to same-sex marriage among evangelicals, and among Americans in general.

From the 07.29.2012 edition of ABC’s This Week:

But Loesch nevertheless repeated the claim on This Week, saying, “obviously the CEO is a Christian, people are shocked that he’s for traditional marriage? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Let me acknowledge upfront what I have said several times on CNN: I have a past relationship with the top partners at Bain that is both personal and financial. I have worked with them in support of nonprofit organizations such as City Year. I have given a couple of paid speeches for Bain dinners, as I have for many other groups. I was on the board of a for-profit child care company, Bright Horizons, that was purchased by Bain Capital. It was a transaction with financial benefits for all board members and shareholders, including me.


So, yes, I have a bias.

David Gergen, senior political analyst at CNN who, for some reason that only CNN management understands, is still covering Mitt Romney and anything related to Bain Capital, despite a clear conflict of interest.

CNN was once a respected news organization, kids. Seriously. Ask your parents when they had actual journalists doing actual journalism, and someone like David Gergen wouldn’t be allowed to write a story that says “Facts don’t support Obama’s charges against Romney”, when the facts clearly do exact opposite of what Gergen claims.

(via wilwheaton)

BLITZER: I agree that the differences on substantive policy issues are what the two of you should be debating about. He’s used some nasty words. But you’ve also suggested among other things that Walsh is an extremist loud mouth for the Tea Party.

Back in April, you said there’s not a crack pot Tea Party idea that he hasn’t embraced. Is that appropriate to use that kind of language against the sitting United States congressman?

What does the fact the he’s a “sitting congressmen” have to do with what he said? Or that Joe Walsh is a first-rate jackass?

DUCKWORTH: I think it’s appropriate against a gentleman who says that he wants to be the poster child for the Tea Party. He actually gave that quote to “Time” magazine.

He’s told the people in the district you’re not going to get squat from me, his words. And that he is going to Washington to shout from the mountain tops and he’s not going to compromise.

He’s not going to work with anyone. He is there it to be a poster child for the Tea Party. Well, if he’s proud of that, then he needs to embrace that because the people in the district are sick and tired of what’s going on in Washington.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Cover-Up of the Day: A new CNN report showing alleged secret emails between Penn State officials suggests major new revelations regarding how they responded to allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse.
During Friday night’s episode of Anderson 360, CNN’s Susan Candiotti claimed the network received four email exchanges between Penn State President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.
The alleged emails discuss the 2001 shower incident in which former assistant coach Mike McQueary claimed to have seen Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in a campus locker room.
CNN states the first email was made on February 26, 2001, 16 days after McQueary reported to Joe Paterno about the locker room incident.
CNN reports that in the email,  Schultz messaged Curley about a plan to speak with Sandusky and contact his 2nd Mile Organization as well as the Department of Welfare, an agency which investigates suspected abuse.
CNN states Curley allegedly sent an email to Penn State President Spanier the next night claiming he wanted to talk things over with Sandusky and work with him before contacting child welfare. The CNN report also states Curley wrote the following exchange, indicating he spoke with Coach Joe Paterno about the incident:
After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person…tell him about the information we received…tell him we are aware of the first situation.
CNN reports “the first situation” was another shower incident between Sandusky and a boy back in 1998, which Sandusky was not charged for at the time.
CNN states Curley wrote in the email that he planned to tell Sandusky there was “a problem” and offer “professional help.” Curley also allegedly wrote he planned to “work with” Sandusky if he was cooperative and inform the Second Mile and child welfare if he was not.
CNN then states President Spanier responded two hours later, writing the following:
I am supportive. The only downside for us is if the message isn’t “heard” and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road.
CNN then says Schultz sent an alleged email to President Spanier and Curley the next day, stating they would inform Second Mile with or without Sandusky’s cooperation. He also allegedly stated however they would “play it by ear to decide about the other organization.”
Prosecutors say Penn State never reported the incident to any outside agencies however. Sandusky went on to sexually abuse at least four other boys after the 2001 shower incident.
CNN has not revealed how they obtained the alleged emails.
Both Curley and Schultz were indicted by the grand jury for perjury and failing to report possible abuse. They were both suspended from their positions following the indictment.
CNN reports President Spanier’s lawyers did not return their calls for comment on the alleged emails. Lawyers for Curley and Schultz sent the following statement to CNN however:
As Governor Tom Corbett stated, if we were going to do this case, we had to have the best possible case to go against somebody like Mr. Sandusky who was…loved by everybody…carried out of the football stadium on the shoulders of his football team…For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and ‘humane’ thing to do was, like Governor Corbett, to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague, but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions.
A spokesman for Joe Paterno’s family also responded to the report, according to CNN, claiming that neither he nor the family have seen any emails. He also stated Paterno never communicated by email and told CNN “everyone wants the truth and Joe always told the truth.”
[NBC Philadelphia/CNN]

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Cover-Up of the Day: A new CNN report showing alleged secret emails between Penn State officials suggests major new revelations regarding how they responded to allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse.

During Friday night’s episode of Anderson 360, CNN’s Susan Candiotti claimed the network received four email exchanges between Penn State President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.

The alleged emails discuss the 2001 shower incident in which former assistant coach Mike McQueary claimed to have seen Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in a campus locker room.

CNN states the first email was made on February 26, 2001, 16 days after McQueary reported to Joe Paterno about the locker room incident.

CNN reports that in the email, Schultz messaged Curley about a plan to speak with Sandusky and contact his 2nd Mile Organization as well as the Department of Welfare, an agency which investigates suspected abuse.

CNN states Curley allegedly sent an email to Penn State President Spanier the next night claiming he wanted to talk things over with Sandusky and work with him before contacting child welfare. The CNN report also states Curley wrote the following exchange, indicating he spoke with Coach Joe Paterno about the incident:

After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person…tell him about the information we received…tell him we are aware of the first situation.

CNN reports “the first situation” was another shower incident between Sandusky and a boy back in 1998, which Sandusky was not charged for at the time.

CNN states Curley wrote in the email that he planned to tell Sandusky there was “a problem” and offer “professional help.” Curley also allegedly wrote he planned to “work with” Sandusky if he was cooperative and inform the Second Mile and child welfare if he was not.

CNN then states President Spanier responded two hours later, writing the following:

I am supportive. The only downside for us is if the message isn’t “heard” and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road.

CNN then says Schultz sent an alleged email to President Spanier and Curley the next day, stating they would inform Second Mile with or without Sandusky’s cooperation. He also allegedly stated however they would “play it by ear to decide about the other organization.”

Prosecutors say Penn State never reported the incident to any outside agencies however. Sandusky went on to sexually abuse at least four other boys after the 2001 shower incident.

CNN has not revealed how they obtained the alleged emails.

Both Curley and Schultz were indicted by the grand jury for perjury and failing to report possible abuse. They were both suspended from their positions following the indictment.

CNN reports President Spanier’s lawyers did not return their calls for comment on the alleged emails. Lawyers for Curley and Schultz sent the following statement to CNN however:

As Governor Tom Corbett stated, if we were going to do this case, we had to have the best possible case to go against somebody like Mr. Sandusky who was…loved by everybody…carried out of the football stadium on the shoulders of his football team…For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and ‘humane’ thing to do was, like Governor Corbett, to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague, but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions.

A spokesman for Joe Paterno’s family also responded to the report, according to CNN, claiming that neither he nor the family have seen any emails. He also stated Paterno never communicated by email and told CNN “everyone wants the truth and Joe always told the truth.”

[NBC Philadelphia/CNN]

Geez, CNN!

Geez, CNN!

Ha!