Ho hum

Nothing’s ever going to be done about hazardous working conditions as long as Walmart and other American companies continue to places pennies of profit above human lives:

A fire in an 11-story garment factory in Bangladesh killed eight people, including a ruling party politician and a top official in the country’s powerful clothing manufacturers’ trade group, as the death toll from the collapse of another garment factory building passed 900 on Thursday.

The fire Wednesday night engulfed the lower floors of the Tung Hai Sweater Ltd. factory — which had closed for the day — said Mamun Mahmud, deputy director of the fire service. The blaze, fed by huge piles of acrylic products used to make sweaters, produced immense amounts of smoke, he said.

The victims died of suffocation as they ran down the stairs, Mahmud said.

`’Apparently they tried to flee the building through the stairwell in fear that the fire had engulfed the whole building,” he said.

Had they stayed on the upper floors they would likely have survived the slow spreading fire, he said.
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Our broken university financial aid system

They don’t even pretend anymore. Our institutions have happily acquiesced to the idea that the plums in life should only be plucked by the children of the elite:

Felix Salmon draws our attention today to a new study by Stephen Burd of the New America Foundation about Pell Grants and low-income college students. The news is grim. More and more universities, he says, have joined the “high tuition, high aid” brigade:

In theory, the structure should work well. Rather than charge every student the same amount, have a high rack rate, paid by the richest students, and then use the proceeds to put in place a generous scholarship system which will help support the poorest students.

In practice, however, that doesn’t happen. The scholarships go towards “merit aid”, which is often, dismayingly enough, a polite way of saying that the college is helping to pay for wealthy kids to attend, even if they’re not particularly smart. Some 20% of students with GPAs below 2.0, for instance, receive merit aid. And at the same time, the “need aid” is carefully calibrated so that poor kids won’t take the colleges up on their offers.

Apparently this called “gapping,” or “admit-deny,” which is the practice of offering a “a financial-aid package that is so rotten that you hope they get the message, ‘Don’t come,’” Mark Heffron, a senior vice-president at the enrollment management firm Noel-Levitz, told The Atlantic Monthly back in 2005. ‘They don’t always get the message.’”

Priorities

Of course, our “leaders” will ignore anything that doesn’t validate what they’ve already decided to do!

A new poll reveals that Democratic and Republican voters similarly believe Congress should prioritize jobs creation and growing the economy instead of focusing on guns and immigration. The voters surveyed placed reducing gun violence and immigration at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address.

The Gallup poll, released Wednesday, shows 86% of voters believe Congress should make its top focus jobs creation, with 86% saying Congress should prioritize work on improving the economy.

Only 55% of the voters surveyed believed reducing gun violence should be a top priority, with 50% saying Congress should focus on immigration reform.

Democrats and Republicans assigned similar priority ratings to various issues, including jobs creation, economy growth, addressing problems with Social Security and Medicare, and reforming the tax code, according to Gallup. Ninety percent of Democratic voters and 84% of Republican voters said creating more jobs should be Congress’ top priority.

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