Archive for November, 2008

More layoff announced just before Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

Accent Marketing to lay off 164

Cirrus to lay off 500

Public doesn’t support auto industry bailout

November 27, 2008

So says this survey which doesn’t appear very scientific.    I don’t support a “bailout” but I’m willing to support a negotiated settlement that includes responsibilities and benefits on both sides.  

Article

Terminix sued for different kind of pest

November 26, 2008

A woman is suing the company for sending out an inspector who was more interested in giving himself good service than her.  When the woman complained, she was told by the branch manager that all employees pass stringent background checks and that they wouldn’t hire someone of questionable character.  She then claims to have found out that the branch manager himself was a felon.   Seems like this one of those her word against his sorts of things.  I’d be interested in whether the plaintiff had filed other lawsuits.

Complaint  courtesy of Courthousenews

Comcast sued for unlawful activities

November 26, 2008

The lawsuit filed in Eastern District of California claims that Comcast mandates that subscribers rent a box from them to view the Comcast cable offerings even though if there was competition, subscribers could rent or purchase such a box at a lower cost from someone else.

Complaintcourtesy Courthousenews

171 banks on “Problem List”

November 26, 2008

“The government identifies problem banks as institutions on the brink of failure, facing severe financing difficulties and management issues. ”

Article

Layoffs Watch for Nov 25-6

November 26, 2008

Here the layoff headlines from the bizjournal.com for today and yesterday:

Ennis Paint to lay off 30 workers

Bluegreen to cut 182 more workers

DHL to lay off 72 in St. Louis

Phoenix looking at 1,000 layoffs, mayor presses for federal public works infusion

Report: Google to cut number of contract workers

Dell Computer Litigation: IP issues

November 26, 2008

A review of Dell’s legal proceedings in its most recent 10-Q, shows that IP issues loom large.  There is also shareholder derivative suits but without reviewing the underlying litigation, I can’t determine the business relevance.  However, there are two other suits they mention that do raise questions about their business.

One involves a copyright issue in Germany that Dell is contesting where the government wants to impose a levy on equipment that facilitates making private copyrights of materials.  Could this be an issue for Dell elsewhere?  What about the EU?  Asia? 

The second involves a patent dispute with Lucent Technologies and while in the 10-Q, Dell paints a rosy picture of the likely outcome, they had set aside $55 million for indemity purposes growing out of this dispute which also involves Microsoft.  The issue this raises for me is one of innovation.  Is Dell on the front lines of new technology or more interest in “borrowing” that which has already been developed?

Dell’s latest 10-Q

Credit card crisis next?

November 26, 2008

Powerful anonymous email that Joe Nocera posted on his New York Times blog.  Joe says its from an anonymous banker who sees the credit card debt as the next meltdown.  That’s not news but the powerful part of the email is this section:

“I received a catalog today from Casual Living and in big bold print on the front page, it said “BUY NOW, PAY NOTHING”. Then in significantly smaller print underneath, it said, (until April). That mantra has been sung throughout the credit markets over the last 10 years. The banks waive a carrot in front of the consumer and reel them in and encourage them to go deeper and deeper into debt. They do this by prescreening customers through credit reporting agencies, mailing offers to apply, and to transfer balances at teaser rates or zero percent financing. They base it on credit score and not on capacity to repay. A good credit score does not equate to the ability to repay debt.”

Isn’t the world upside down when the banks, who knowingly entice consumers any which way they can to borrow money, are bailed out but these consumers only recourse is through punitive bankruptcy procedures?

Lawsuit claims Hitachi America manager embezzled $8 million

November 26, 2008

We aren’t talking about a few hundred thousand but $8 million dollars.  Dennis Dowd, employed by Hitachi from 1979 until earlier this year is charged by the US Attorneys office in the Southern District of New York with setting up an authorized Hitachi health plan account where he diverted the money and used it to buy a house in Florida, a Lexus and to pay for one million dollars for consumer goods purchased with a credit card.

So what does this say about Hitachi America?  Lax auditors?  Loose corporate controls?  Is he the only one? 

Article

Toys not safe enough

November 26, 2008

Last year hazardous toys sent 80,000 children under five to the emergency room.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has stronger protections in place BUT many of them do not take place until 2009 and a key provision has been suspended indefinitely.  And the biggest shopping season for children’s toys is still to come in 2008

Trouble in Toyland