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October Most Ridiculous Lawsuit: Nail salon $2 male descrimination

October 31, 2010 --

October Most Ridiculous Lawsuit Poll – The ‘Price of Beauty’ Edition
By Tim Gilmore
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Neanderthal Man gave way to Cro-Magnon Man, who gave way to Modern Man, who gave way to The Metrosexual Man – the species of man that routinely gets his hair styled, spends more time shopping than ever before, and is no stranger to the G-T-L. But nobody ever said such progress would be easy – indeed, it can often be traumatic. Case in point, a Maryland lawyer is taking a nail salon to court, calling their policy of charging males $2 more than they charge females discriminatory. He was too distressed by this to even enjoy his evening, so now he wants $200,000 for such an outrage.

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Oregon Jobless: 14% for Hispanics, African Americans

October 30, 2010 --

Labor Force Participation by Group Unemployment Rates Increased Among All Groups
By Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s unemployment rate jumped from 6.4 percent in 2008 to 11.5 percent in 2009 as the effects of the recession spread throughout the state. Unemployed Oregonians in all race and ethnicity groups struggled to find employment, but the labor market problems faced by blacks and Hispanics were especially difficult last year. The unemployment rate was 15.2 percent for blacks or African Americans and 14.0 percent for Hispanics or Latinos in 2009. These figures were considerably higher than the 11.1 percent unemployment rate for whites and the 6.0 percent unemployment rate for Asians.

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Bend Couple Charged with $4.4 Million Investment Scheme

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Bend Couple Charged with $4.4 Million Investment Scheme
Federal Bureau of Investigations _ Portland

EUGENE, OR—A federal grand jury sitting in Eugene, Oregon today returned an indictment against Tamara Sawyer, 47, and Kevin Sawyer, 58, of Bend, Oregon, on a variety of charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, defendants Tamara Sawyer, a licensed real estate broker, and her husband, Kevin Sawyer, used three of their companies, Starboard LLC, Starboard Indiana LLC, and Synergyz LLC, to solicit individuals to invest more than $7 million in real estate. Reportedly, defendants enticed investors by falsely promising high rates of return, typically 12 percent, and secured the investments with promissory notes. As stated in the indictment, defendants, rather than investing the money as promised, used it to fund their other companies and ventures and to pay personal expenses, including cars, credit cards, and the construction of their vacation home in Mexico. Additionally, as contained in the indictment, defendants, as the scheme progressed and investors began to demand a return on their investment, used new investor money to pay older investors. According to the indictment, defendants caused investors to lose more than $4.4 million.

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Photo ID requirement to buy a cell phone?

October 29, 2010 --

Prepaid Registration: Will U.S. Consumers Be Required to Show Photo ID When Buying a Cell Phone?
By Bob Stankey, Danielle Frappier, and Bradley W. Guyton
Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP

The use of a prepaid mobile telephone by the Times Square bomber has again raised the question of whether the identity of prepaid phone buyers should be verified and kept on file. Currently, there is no requirement in the United States, either at the federal or state level, to register end users of prepaid mobile wireless devices or subscriber identification module (SIM) cards.

Recently, however, Senators Charles Schumer and John Cornyn introduced a bill that would require retailers of prepaid mobile wireless communications devices or SIM cards to verify consumers’ identities and forward certain identification information to the underlying wireless carrier. The bill comes as foreign governments are considering the introduction of similar requirements.

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Debate over public pay should include efficiency wage

October 28, 2010 --

A Note on Public Sector Worker Pay
By Patrick Emerson
Oregon Economics Blog
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I have no beef with Ted Sickinger’s nice piece on compensation for public and private workers. He does as good a job as one could ask for in trying to make sense of the issue, and I especially like how the article emphasizes the entire compensation package, not just salary. For me, the generous benefits helped to make up for the fact that the pay I accepted was far below competing offers from places in California, Ohio and North Carolina. [But they suck and Oregon is sweet!] I also really like the fact that he brought up education and job skills as they are very important considerations in any discussion of pay.

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Wall Street Journal pits Oregon vs. Washington

October 27, 2010 --

Last Saturday the Wall Street Journal printed this editorial over the State of Washington’s initiative I-1082.  The editorial is below.

Oregon Vs. Washington
By Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

In the battle to promote growth and job creation, Washington state is especially important this election year. While the Bill Gates family and government unions work together to impose a state income tax, the business community is bidding to bust the state monopoly over workers’ compensation insurance.

The fight is over ballot initiative I-1082, which would allow private insurers to compete in the market for insurance providing medical benefits and wage replacement to workers injured on the job. Many large Washington companies self insure, but others are required to buy this insurance from the state Department of Labor and Industries. Washington is one of four states that retains a monopoly, with predictable results.

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Newspaper circulation drops again: Compare rankings

October 25, 2010 --

By Oregon Tax News,

Newspaper circulations are continuing to decline but at lower rate according to numbers released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Oregon newspaper fell 4.05% when the average was 4.99%. This is positive news since in previous cycles The Oregonian has led national average circulation declines.

The only top 25 newspapers to gain circulation was the Wall Street Journal at 1.82% and the Dallas Morning News at .25% growth. The Oregonian circulation change fared 8th best when compared to the other 25 newspapers. All the numbers show a gradual decline in the rate of subscription drops which indicate that most newspapers seem to be settling into longer term levels. Sunday circulation declined an average of -4.45% drop and The Oregonian fared better than this average with a -3.50% decline.

How they rank

1. WALL STREET JOURNAL, + 1.82%
2. DALLAS MORNING NEWS, + 0.25%
3. ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, -0.19%

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What A Trade War Means for Business and the Economy?

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Trade War: What Does It Mean for Business and the Economy?
By Bill Conerly,
Conerly Consulting
, Businomics

“Trade wars” proclaimed recent headlines. Here’s a guide for what business leaders should know about the controversy. There are two battle tactics to understand: exchange rate devaluation, and tariff/quota policy.

The U.S. dollar exchange rate has been falling, while other countries also want their own currencies to fall. However, it’s clearly impossible for every country’s exchange rate to fall. When one exchange rate falls, the trade partner’s exchange rate rises. The easiest way to understand the dollar’s exchange rates with many different countries is to average them, using weights based on how much trade we do with each country.

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Warning Against New Money Market Fund law

October 24, 2010 --

U.S. Chamber Warns Against Moves That Would Harm Money Market Funds
— Removing Stable Pricing Would Harm Businesses, Investors, and Recovery
BY US Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed concern over the report issued by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG)  regarding the regulation of money market mutual funds.

“Forcing money market funds to float their Net Asset Value will not make them safer and will directly harm American businesses that rely on money funds to finance short-term needs such as payroll and inventory,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. “We support appropriate steps to preserve and strengthen this vital source of business financing, but floating the Net Asset Value is one proposal that should be rejected outright.”

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Who is hiring right now?

October 23, 2010 --

Survey Reveals Top Areas for Seasonal Jobs
By Career Builders,

CHICAGO, October 20, 2010 – Seasonal jobs may be the foot in the door job seekers are looking for in a competitive job market, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. Two-in-five employers (40 percent) who are hiring seasonal workers in the fourth quarter this year said they will likely transition some into full-time, permanent employees, up from 31 percent in 2009. The top five areas employers are recruiting holiday help for include retail (33 percent), customer service (31 percent), administrative/clerical support (17 percent) shipping and delivery (12 percent) and hospitality (10 percent). The survey was conducted among more than 2,400 employers between August 17 and September 2, 2010.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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