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Can you sue a website that misrepresents you?

the economistMar, 10/11/2015 - 19:33

MOST employers turn to the web to help get the skinny on their job applicants. But what happens when the information they find is inaccurate? Looking himself up on Spokeo, a “people search engine,” Thomas Robins was surprised to read that he was a well-off man in his fifties with a wife, children and a graduate degree. In fact, Mr Robins is in his thirties, childless, unmarried, unlettered and unemployed.

Alarmed by these discrepancies, Mr Robins sued Spokeo for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law passed by Congress in 1970 to protect consumers from the dissemination of false information about them. The FCRA makes companies liable for “actual damages” resulting from their “willful violation” of the law. By skewing his personal details on their website, Mr Robins claimed, Spokeo had given potential employers the wrong idea about his identity, bringing him “anxiety, stress, concern, and/or...Continue reading

A man’s jail term turns on a comma

the economistVie, 06/11/2015 - 19:10

WE HAVE been suspicious for some time of laws imposing mandatory minimum sentences. Extending prison time for criminals who abuse children may be more justifiable than mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offences, but it seems that lawmakers were not particularly careful when, in the 1990s, they sat down to compose these tougher laws. A case in point: 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)(2), a provision of the federal criminal code prescribing a 10-20 year prison sentence for anyone violating a child-pornography law who has also been convicted previously under state laws “relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward”.  

Avondale Lockhart was caught buying child pornography in 2010 and pleaded guilty to the charges. But when his prison sentence was extended...Continue reading

The Guardian

Tom PetersJue, 05/11/2015 - 16:54

Today Tom's close to home, speaking to The Guardian Life Insurance Company in Boston. As always, we offer the slides from his presentation here: The Guardian Life Insurance Company, Boston Guardian Life Insurance, Boston, Long Version Enjoy!

The post The Guardian appeared first on Tom Peters.

An old court case exposes the racist tricks used to ensure all-white juries

the economistMar, 03/11/2015 - 18:23

TIMOTHY TYRONE FOSTER, a black man, sits on Georgia’s death row for killing an elderly white woman in 1986. When jurors were being vetted to hear Mr Foster’s case, prosecutors struck all five African Americans from the jury pool. Four of those strikes came via “peremptory challenges”, tools by which lawyers can nix potential jurors without having to cite a reason. In his closing argument, the prosecutor told the all-white jury that sentencing Mr Foster to die would “deter other people out there in the projects”—public housing blocks populated mainly by African-Americans.

Overt racism in jury selection has been illegal in America since the Strauder v West Virginia ruling in 1880. But lawyers continue to strike blacks from juries at suspiciously high rates, as an amicus brief in Foster v Chatman—a Continue reading

Six Sustaining—and Very Dangerous—Myths

Tom PetersLun, 02/11/2015 - 16:00

A 65-slide PowerPoint is attached. It is derived from six fairly recent—and thoroughly researched—books on six key management/organization effectiveness areas where myth typically triumphs over reality. The myths: 1. Star CEOs drive big enterprise performance differences. 2. CEOs must maximize shareholder value. 3. Stars are stars and maintain their stellar performance in new settings. 4. […]

The post Six Sustaining—and Very Dangerous—Myths appeared first on Tom Peters.

How the law needles the poor

the economistLun, 02/11/2015 - 02:17

THE MOST revolting scene in Monty's Python's "The Meaning of Life" depicts a man succumbing to a putatively voluntary liver donation. Arriving at his front door, the authorities point to the liver donor’s card in his wallet. “Need we say more?”, they ask, before separating the man from the “glandular organ in [his] abdomen” over his screams and protestations. Nothing quite this grotesque or absurd is going on at a courthouse in Alabama, but coerced bodily invasions do not seem to be out of the question for Judge Marvin Wiggins. In fact, they are this jurist’s favoured means of getting indigent defendants to pay their dues to society.  

According to recent reports, Judge Wiggins has turned to blood donation as an alternative for people who are behind on their court debts. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” he told dozens of people in his...Continue reading

The latest battleground in transgender rights: the school changing room

the economistVie, 30/10/2015 - 12:39

A DISAGREEMENT about the treatment of transgender students is pitting the largest high-school district in Illinois against federal authorities. The bone of contention is the access to changing rooms for a transgender high-school student in one of the five high schools and two alternative schools of Township High School District 211 in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago. The student, who was born male but identifies as female, lived for several years as a girl and plays on the girls' sports team, demands that she is given full access to the girls' locker room.

Daniel Cates, the superintendent of district 211, denies her full access to that and instead offers her a separate room or the male locker room to change in. He argues that he has to balance the privacy rights of 12,500 students and the rights of a group with particular needs. In his view, the privacy of that vast majority of students is infringed if transgender students are allowed to change in the same locker room as the students of the gender they identify with.

The controversy began in 2014 when the student’s family, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed a complaint with the...Continue reading

Jeb Bush flops, Marco Rubio soars

the economistJue, 29/10/2015 - 07:41

THE third televised Republican primary debate, held in Boulder, Colorado, on October 28th, was supposed to be about the economy. Yet it featured hardly any discussion of America’s big economic problems, its shortages of skills, poor education standards or rotten infrastructure; nor, for that matter, of its economic strengths. It was a ragged, ill-focused affair, in which the ten participants traded mostly incredible tax-cutting pledges, bickered with one another, and griped about the moderators, who were representing the organiser, CNBC, and excruciatingly disorganised. Messy stuff, from which most of the candidates emerged more or less where they had started out—with a few important exceptions.

Two match-ups had dominated the run-up to the debate.  First, that between the two front-runners, Donald Trump, a real estate tycoon and braggart, and Ben Carson, a soft-spoken neurosurgeon who holds some eye-wateringly right-wing views (he recently suggested the Holocaust would not have happened had Nazi Germany had looser gun laws). This duel probably ended in a draw. Mr Trump provided a couple of the debate’s more comical moments: including a flamboyant dismissal of John...Continue reading

Will Carly Fiorina shine again?

the economistMié, 28/10/2015 - 16:08

ON OCTOBER 28th, the ten leading Republican presidential candidates will gather for their third primary debate in Boulder, Colorado. While current front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson will probably garner much of the attention, it is Carly Fiorina, one of the best debaters of the candidates, who has the most to gain.

Ms Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has polled in the single digits for most of the campaign. But after strong performances in each of the last two debates, her popularity spiked. Data from Google Trends show that during the weeks of the first and second debate, search interest in Ms. Fiorina increased 20- and 50-fold, respectively (see chart).

Ms Fiorina’s debating skills have also attracted the attention of Republican donors. In the two weeks following the first Republican debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Ms Fiorina saw her itemised campaign contributions—those over $200—grow from $1.2 million to $2.2 million, a 72%...Continue reading

Is Ben Carson overtaking Donald Trump?

the economistMar, 27/10/2015 - 20:39

WHEN THE Republican Party’s presidential candidates assemble for their third debate on October 28th in Boulder, Colorado, Donald Trump will again be standing, braced for a fight, centre-stage. But the poll ratings that determine the candidates’ lecturn order no longer look quite as rosy as they did for the billionaire reality-television star.

On October 27th, the day before the debate, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, overtook Mr Trump in a national poll, albeit by a squeak. In a survey by CBS/New York Times of Republican primary voters, Mr Carson was on 26% of the vote and Mr Trump on 22%. The two are way ahead of their closest rivals. Marco Rubio, a Florida senator, was on 8%; Jeb Bush, a former two-term governor of Florida, was on 7% (as was Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett Packard). The others—Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich—each won 4%.

The poll reinforces the extent to which most Republicans want a candidate with no political experience. A recent study by Pew of Republicans who will probably vote in the primaries found that 65% want a candidate who offers “new ideas and a different approach”; the figure was...Continue reading

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