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What every American should know… May 4, 2007

Posted by Janine in Cases, civil society, Class announcements, Government, Military, Public Interest.

Here is a link for a documentary on the 9/11 incident. 


Now it is about an hour and a half, so watch it when you have some time.  This does not really apply to organizational theory or practice, but I think that this is a video that we as Americans should watch and know.

 Now, after having watched it, you are entitled to make your own judgments and form your own beliefs and opinions, but please if you have time, watch it and let us all know what you think.  I know I am very curious to hear what you all have to say!


U.S., EU Link on Trade, Split on Climate May 3, 2007

Posted by silviamocanu07 in civil society, Government, Public Interest.

The article that I found on BusinessWeek relates to different kinds of organizations, namely state and supre-state: the U.S. and the E.U. Policy coordination between the two economic spaces has long been under negotiation(Link: http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/may2007/gb20070502_918558.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe+index+page_top+stories) . However, some the ideas that are most valued in Europe, do not seem to make the priority list in the U.S., namely taking steps toward the looming issue of climate change.

Despite the fact that both entities are able to agree on the regulatory framework regarding intellectual property and financial services, an agreement is still pending with issues relating to the environment. The U.S. has a long-standing history of not being proactive with regard to environmental issues, as was clearly demonstrated through the fact that the U.S. did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

“Mr Barroso said “We agree there is a threat, there is a very serious and global threat. We agree that there is a need to reduce emissions. We agree that we should work together.” But both sides remain split along familiar lines on how quickly developing nations should react, with the EU arguing richer nations need to take the lead before asking poorer states to move and the US refusing to budge until emerging economies like China and India come on board.”

There is a clear bridge between the two approaches to the climate change problem, with the U.S. trying to evade its responsibility, as having the world’s highest emissions levels. Do you agree with the U.S. approach that they will not take action until other significant Asian economies are on board? Do you think that this is merely an excuse to avoid tackling the problem?

College Loan Programs Fleecing You (students) and Me (taxpayer) April 14, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Business-Society Issues, Education, Government.

Lenders Sought Edge Against U.S. in Student Loans – New York Times
President Bush’s budget reports that in 2006 for every $100 lent by private lenders, the cost to the government of subsidies, defaults and other items was $13.81, while the same amount lent through the direct loan program cost the government $3.85. The battle for dominance in the loan market has escalated as tuitions have soared and students have borrowed more

Lovely. The formula: corruption + free market ideology=fleecing of public.

Its in full swing. I want to find out if Bucknell participates in the direct loan program which allows the Federal Government to make direct loans to students. The article reports that some schools withdrew under pressure from private banks looking to force more loans their way.

US Federal Budget April 12, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Business-Society Issues, Government.

Tax Season gto me thinking about the US federal budget.

Here is a helpful pie chart.

PIe chart of federal budget from CBP

Is this what you expected? How many politicians put this front and center and explain what they would keep and what they would change?

Forces of change for strip clubs April 10, 2007

Posted by Lady in Business-Society Issues, Consumers, Employees, Government, Organizational Environment.

I read an article from The Enquirer entitled, “New rules for strip clubs?: Tough new laws could go on Ohio’s ballot.” Basically the article discusses how a group called Citizens for Community Values is putting pressure on Ohio state legislators to pass a Community Defense act which would put restrictions on how strip clubs run their organization. Nude dancing would be banned after midnight and before 6 a.m. In addition, customers would not be allowed to get within six feet of a dancer. Violation of these laws would lead to $1,000 fine and jail time.  

Supporters of the enactment of this law are seeking legislator’s approval because it makes the petition process go a lot faster. However, some people, such as strip club owners, are not in favor of this legislation. So I’d like to post my blog on how strip clubs function as organizations and how forces of change might affect their business. So I was able to point out social forces such as demands from some citizens to tighten their rules in the strip clubs. These citizens feel as though strip clubs have negative effects on the community, such as promoting prostitution and lowering property values.


Another social concern that I thought of was the fact that many of the dancers who work in the strip clubs end up living a corrupted life. In a sense, strip clubs ruin some girls’ lives by promoting promiscuous behaviors. Might some political forces of change also be involved with this situation since legislation is involved? Brian Rothenberg, executive director of a liberal activist group called ProgressOhio, said it is possible that the decision on the legislation could get pushed to 2008 “to drive up turnout for the presidential election.”

What do you guys think of this issue? Should this legislation be passed? Do these strip clubs have a moral obligation to consider to effects that they have on the community including the dancers who work in the strip clubs? Or should the government stay out of this issue because the strip clubs are just providing a service which is highly demanded and helps to also create jobs for these dancers? Do you think that strip clubs will be able to resistance these forces of change?

Allstate March 28, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in advertising, Auto's, Government.

While flipping through Business Week for an article to grab my attention I became frustrated and tired.  Closing the magazine and tossing it next to me I noticed the words on the back.  “The #1 killer of teenagers doesn’t have a trigger.  It has a steering wheel.”   A personified car and several paragraphs of information followed.  Who was responsible for this information? The back cover was actually an advertisement for Allstate.

With their motto “It’s time to make the world a better place to drive,” the company forcefully focuses on informing drivers about vehicle safety and how to avoid dangerous situations. 

Their newest campaign is directed towards teenagers, as their lives are greatly impacted by motor safety, even if they think they are invincible.  The advertisement states, “[motor vehicle crashes] take nearly 6,000 [teenage] lives and injure another 300,000 every year.”  Their new safe-driving program, “Keep the Drive” empowers teens with information and the ability to influence others by making smart decisions.  Allstate hopes that teens will recognize and enforce “smart driving is the key to keeping their licenses, their cars, their friends and their futures.”

This advertisement, filled with information triggered more thoughts about motor safety.  Why was this company spending so much time, energy and money to look after the well being of so many people? Is it their job to do so?  After all, they are not the ones even making the cars. I was curious to see what role the government plays in creating and maintaining safety regulations. 

On the U.S. Department of Transportation website I learned that since 1967, standards have been established for all manufacturers of motor vehicle and equipment items.  Constant changes and amendments are made to the regulations.  The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations are minimum requirements written  “that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of crashes occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and is also protected against unreasonable risk of death or injury in the event crashes do occur.”

The standards fall under three categories, Crash Avoidance, Crash Worthiness and Post Crash Standards.  Of the short overview I read, the standards at least seem to be adequate, but with such high numbers of motor vehicle deaths, are they doing enough?  Should there be stricter regulations, say on the placement of bumpers, since a bumper on an SUV is certainly not going to help the safety of persons in a sports coup if they collide. Heck, seat belts and air bags certainly weren’t originally in cars, but many lives have been saved because of new regulations.   

 What is your feeling about car safety?  Should it be left up to the government, manufactures, and insurance companies or are the present standards and regulations good enough?

Its necessary to eliminate the middle man. March 20, 2007

Posted by Abby in Government, Public Interest, social entrepreneur.

In many cooperations these days, to save money, they choose to outsource. I found an example where outsourcing, in fact, harms the goal.

The US Embassy in an African country had a project. Every year, the US Ambassador is given a certain amount of money to put forward to a cause of his choice. I’m not sure of the specifics, but let’s say the amount was $15,000. At a meeting, the people who usually handles this says that they would like to contact some people they’d worked with before who specialize in ‘grading’ a charity and calculating its needs. To have this meeting with these people, they would have to fly them to the country, have them stay in a hotel, and hold the discussion over a day or twowith lunch and dinner. This could come to maybe $8,000 if not more.

One officer, however, decided that it wasn’t necessary to use this company at such a cost. Why not instead, look himself. So there was a school in great need in the area. This officer researched, and found that several schools in the United States were upgrading their computers, and throwing away perfectly good ones. He asked for them – practically free! Then he talked to the US Postal Service about how they might transport them to Africa – for a charity. If the school waited for a month, they said, it could be transported for free out of good will, as there was another shipment that would be travelling at the same time and had room for the computers. The schools needed internet, with little negotiation, the local phone company was willing to give the school a low monthly rate for access.

After computers, and internet – it still left most of the money. The school itself was run by nuns, so the Embassy asked who were the most needy children – these were quite obvious in the bunch. The Embassy paid for each child’s school tuition for the year, then purchased uniforms for each of them. They also gave the school enough money to provide a small meal for these children when they arrived at in the morning. Many children have to walk several miles, and because their families are so poor, they can’t afford to have breakfast, and their only meal everyday may be the lunch provided at school. This lack of food affects their concentration and motivation.

After all this – they were also able to build a small building to expand the school. How far money can really go if a single person puts in some effort – and it was by no means alone, the school was able to provide a lot of extra information too, as to where the money should go. Its amazing to think how closed minded some can be…

You have no Rights- Off Duty, On Notice March 20, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Business-Society Issues, Government, Workplaces.
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I can remember when I first realzed that the employment contract supercedes many of the rights we are taught to cherish as Americans. Do you remember the bill of rights that barely squeaked into the constitution?

American Prospect Online – Off Duty, On Notice
They’ll be bowling alone at Guardsmark tonight. The National Labor Relations Board NLRB doesn’t want the employees chatting it up off the job.

On June 7 the three Republican appointees on the five-member board that regulates employer-employee relations in the United States handed down a remarkable ruling that expands the rights of employers to muck around in their workers lives when they’re off the job. They upheld the legality of a regulation for uniformed employees at Guardsmark, a security guard company, that reads, “[Y]ou must NOT . . . fraternize on duty or off duty, date or become overly friendly with the clients employees or with co-employees.”

The issue came up because a union member (SEIU) asked the NLRB to look into this. What exactly does fraternize or “overly friendly” mean? If anyone would know, is it not Bucknell students, especially those who are part of fraternities? Is hanging out fraternizing? Being at the same social event even if you don’t talk to the other person?

The NLRB claims that it is clear that the policy is only meant to forbid dating among employees, a provision especially important for a security company. Critics disagree pointing out that now that it is precedent, the wording is broad enough to greatly expand the power of employers to control the choices of employees who are not on duty.

Is this a necessary precaution for companies? Or, is it Big Brother, but not of the government, but of your boss?

Overturn the Ban on Internet Gambling? March 5, 2007

Posted by Elaine in Business-Society Issues, Government, Internet.

The legality concerning internet gambling is very unclear up to this day. Although there is no specific law that prohibits online gambling, the government has made attempts to prevent it from happening. I remember last year in August when my friend (who was pretty much addicted to online poker) found out that legislation forced U.S. banks and credit card companies to block electronic transactions to internet gambling businesses. It was a successful attempt by Congress to cut this habit out of people’s lives. My friend was devastated and has not gambled online since.

Does banning online gambling really help the already addicted gamblers? Online players have only shifted to smaller, privately owned sites. They have to find alternative ways to transfer their money. Some may even be motivated to get involved with underground, illegal organizations just to fuel their addiction. Alfonse D’Amato, the former Republican senator from New York, is against this “rubbish” ban is trying to overturn this ban. He states,

“When you have regulation, where you have openness, you can ensure you have a game that won’t be unfairly cut or disadvantaged or manipulated.”

He also points out that the government can tax the winnings of players since it is such a big industry. Sure there are people who abuse online gambling and have made it an addiction, but is it fair to punish everyone else? There are people who are financially unable or physically unable to make it to a casino. Should we take this pastime away from them? Should the money the government spends on enforcing this ban be used in better alternative ways (i.e. battle against money laundering, trafficking in drugs/terrorism)? Should the online gambling companies be punished, especially since this is a billion dollar industry?