But now comes this newspaper story in which Amazon warehouse workers in Allentown, Penn., say they've been subjected to sweatshop conditions. Temperatures have soared above 100 in that warehouse, and they've had to haul out dehydrated workers on stretchers.
Workers said they were forced to endure brutal heat inside the sprawling warehouse and were pushed to work at a pace many could not sustain. Employees were frequently reprimanded regarding their productivity and threatened with termination, workers said. The consequences of not meeting work expectations were regularly on display, as employees lost their jobs and got escorted out of the warehouse. Such sights encouraged some workers to conceal pain and push through injury lest they get fired as well, workers said.
This news is forcing us to rethink our position on this sales tax deal. How much will it cost Tennessee to make Amazon leave?
Update: At his little media availability a few minutes ago, we asked Gov. Haslam about these Pennsylvania reports. He came out strongly against sweatshops (“Sure, no question” employers shouldn't treat their workers like dirt, he said.) But he admitted he hadn't heard about any of this and didn't know what we were talking about.
I've seen a lot of snarky comments about putting a ballpark on the north end of the east bank of the Cumberland River, but I think this is a great idea. Yes, it's an underdeveloped flood plain. That's exactly why finding a way to utilize it in a non-butt-ugly way is so crucial.
The more we can develop the downtown area, on both sides of the river, the better. An East Side ballpark could share parking with LP Field if necessary. It's on public transportation routes. It's easy to reach by interstate and by surface roads. And it could be designed with the potential to flood in mind.
Finding ways to develop the river that allow for it to be a beautiful, vibrant part of the city and that addresses realistically the possibility of flooding is important. We could continue to treat one of our greatest natural assets like an embarrassing open sewer, or we can take a page from Chattanooga's book and make the river an integral part of the city. That's going to require development that acknowledges that rivers flood.
So we as a city have to ask ourselves: Do we just make all our flood plains parks, or do we find some ways of allowing for easy-to-clean development? As much as I love our parks, I throw my lot in with the latter option — like a ballfield.
For one last night — tonight — The Belcourt screens one of the most controversial movies ever made, Sam Peckinpah's 1971 Straw Dogs (the subject of the Rod Lurie remake currently in theaters). Below, a Scene write-up:
Depicting mankind at the end of its tether, the most disturbing of Sam Peckinpah's films has Dustin Hoffman as David, a meek American mathematician who returns to the hometown of his British wife Amy (Susan George). David is introduced carrying a massive iron-jawed bear trap, and Amy arrives onscreen as a pair of erect nipples: The movie isn't two minutes old, and already Peckinpah has prepared us for the worst. It comes when the sinister villagers, who resent David and covet Amy, begin a campaign of terror that escalates from macho taunts to rape and then a full-on siege of their isolated farmhouse. How far will they push the egghead before he fights?
nD Festival Opening Night Party
Where: Elan Hair and Skin, 3756 Hillsboro Road
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28
The opening night, which is $10 for Belcourt members, $15 for nonmembers and free for nD Festival “patron pass” holders, is just the beginning of the four-day, city-spanning fête that runs through Oct. 2. Individual tickets and festival passes are available at ndfestival.com or belcourt.org.
Wait, really? Sweatshops? It's true. Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Young Americans for Liberty at Vanderbilt University — an officially recognized student organization that was started by a Vanderbilt freshman in 2010 — is hosting the lecture "No Sweat: How Sweatshops Improve Lives and Economic Growth."
From the press release:
This presentation will explain how sweatshops provide a superior opportunity for the workers who work in them compared to other alternatives available to those workers and the role sweatshops play in the process of economic development that ultimately leads to the disappearance of sweatshops.
Beavers and Kirkpatrick also expressed displeasure with this City Paper article (who wrote that?) for straying from the senator’s script for the hearings. In that script, Beavers plays the role of earnest, good-government reformer, and all judges are evil liberal activists, and she never would even think about throwing a media event to try to embarrass them.
“The City Paper has a strange way of going in and trying to twist things many times. People who read that paper, it’s a waste of time,” Beavers told Kirkpatrick.
If she could pass one piece of legislation to help the economy and create jobs, what would it be? That was the question the Knoxville News-Sentinel asked each candidate. DeFreese knocked it out of the park:
"Because the federal government manages the macro-economy and that impacts all states, if I could introduce one piece of legislation that would be ensured passage, I would suggest a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama. If we could join with other states and pursue that, that is what I would like to do."
Last Saturday I attended an art show that took place at photographer Josh Anderson’s house in East Nashville. The featured artists were locals Garland Gallaspy and Rebecca Gillespie. Born one day apart, the two Polaroid enthusiasts were exhibited in a way where the photos seemed to morph into one another. Gillespie has a great eye, but I went to the show to see Gallaspy’s work — I've encountered it previously, but this was the first time I'd seen a formal exhibition of his pictures. The show worked like a pausing point for his pathological Polaroid documentation and celebrated a new photo book that he's publishing.
The first time I came across one of Garland’s Polaroids was last summer in a swimming pool in Gallatin. Plenty of fruity gin drinks were imbibed, and pool basketball had given way to lazy sunbathing. At one moment, I emerged from my slow underwater exploration to find an abandoned volleyball bobbing in the pool with a just-shot Polaroid resting on top of it. I swam over in time to watch the image develop in the sun. The snapshot was of a Nashville ballerina as she flipped off the diving board. In this shot, the summer was perfectly frozen through the lens of a local character who always reminded me of pulp noir writer Charles Willeford. Garland was nowhere near the Polaroid when I found it, and I later learned that it was his tendency to snap shots and move on from the image, always confident it would make its way back to him.
In a shocker, Alexander praised Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan and tipped his hat to Democrats in Congress.
While all the sponsors of this legislation are Republican senators, many of the ideas were either first advanced or have been worked on in concert with Mr. Obama; his excellent education secretary, Arne Duncan; and Democratic colleagues in both the House and the Senate.
We want to continue to work with our colleagues across the aisle and in the House. Our purpose in offering our ideas is to spur progress so we can enact a bill by the end of the year.
Where: Regal Green Hills
When: Reception 6 p.m. in downstairs lobby, film at 7:20 p.m.
In attendance: Former Lipscomb outfielder Casey Bond, who plays side-arm pitcher Chad Bradford in the film
I will admit: My expectations for the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' baseball book that's really an economics book Moneyball were about as low as the chances that Steve Bartman will get his own luxury suite at Wrigley Field. OK, maybe not that low. As low as a ball that's too low for Vladimir Guerrero to swing at, maybe. As low as Chad Bradford's release point. Not particularly high, you might say. "It will fail to capture the elegance and complexity of Lewis' book!" I thought to myself. "It's going to be a ragtag-team-of-lovable-misfits-against-The-System narrative that simplifies sabermetrics for the sake of drama." And I was right on both counts. (I love it when I'm right!) But I was also wrong. I thought Moneyball was going to be bad — and the first trailer I saw did nothing to disabuse me of that notion — but it isn't. I say as much in my review in this week's Scene.
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