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Will Amazon ‘feel the Bern?’

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Looks like its Bernie being Bernie… and Senator Bernie Sanders suggested that we start charging Amazon and other big companies a special tax. The special tax would be the result of large corporations underpaying employees which ultimately requires said employees to rely on government assistance. Bernie wants companies like Amazon to start paying a “living wage,” which by his estimate is about $15 per hour.


Come on, Jeff… you make so much money and pay your employees so little – what gives? While this man rolls around in his billions, Amazon employees rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. Thus, Sanders plan is to levy a massive tax on companies that equals the value of the government benefits these employees are receiving.


But Amazon says “not so fast”… because the information that Sanders is posting is misleading at best. The underpaid workers in question either worked at Amazon for a short-period or chose to work part-time. The full-time, hourly pay for a fulfillment center employee is actually over $15 per hour – including cash, stock, and incentive bonuses. And Bezos invites you to compare his company’s compensation with any other large retailer. Walmart, on the other hand, had no comment…


Tariffs on alcohol? This trade war has gone too far…

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Jack Daniels is raising prices… but don’t worry, because they will be doing so in the European Union, which is far away from most of us. But for the rest of you – I am sorry because American bourbon is under attack by China, the EU, and Mexico. So is this a coordinated effort to ruin the lives of Jack Daniels lovers? No. The higher prices are retaliation for steel and aluminum tariffs set in place by Donald Trump.


Prices are up in some places… but Jack Daniels would like to avoid hiking prices everywhere if they can. The stiff competition in the liquor market and an optimistic view of the trade-war should keep costs at bay for a while. However, these taxes will undoubtedly put a dent in company profits because 25% of sales are made in the EU.


When will the madness end… well, there is a preliminary trade deal in place between the United States and Mexico, so that’s good news. However, China isn’t blinking and plans to put tariffs on up to 25% of American products. The most affected product will be automobiles – which is not nearly as important as alcohol, according to, erm….research.

Mid caps

Better pizza. Better controversies. Papa John’s.

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Kicking him while he’s down… is what former CEO John Schnatter is accusing the pizza chain of doing. And who knows better than Papa John himself? Possibly no one, but Schnatter still finds himself on the outside looking in and believes he is being used as a scapegoat for the company’s problems. And if you’re one of the few that don’t know why Schnatter is out, it is because he blurted out the n-word last month during a conference call.


It’s your fault, Steve… for the current rough patch the company has hit, according to Schnatter. Schnatter believes the new CEO, Steve Ritchie, is doing a poor job and uses tactics that are vindictive and controlling. But in the same breathe Schnatter said he believes “Steve’ll make a great executive somewhere else.” You know – the type of place where being vindictive and controlling are positive attributes?


Papa John’s is done with Papa John… but he will not go away. You can remove him from the pizza boxes and commercials, but you can’t remove the man himself (unless Steve Ritchie is feeling particularly vindictive after this, then maybe). And like a distraught ex-lover, Schnatter will not go away or take “no” for an answer…


Google will deliver a laboratory to your dorm room

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Virtual reality laboratories… allow you to skip the classroom, danger, and social aspect of biology class in college. These remote virtual labs are brought to you by Google and Labster, a remote virtual lab company. The courses available (30 of them) include gene therapy, cytogenetics, and RNA extractions.


It is better than real life… according to an Arizona State University student who was impressed with the VR labs ability to enhance the real world experience. It’s realistic, too – even requiring you to go to the eyewash station after spilling chemicals on yourself. Thus, students can make mistakes that won’t end in disaster. Other features include chatting with virtual patients and the use of virtual microscopes.


Making education more convenient… because these VR labs give students the option to get lab work done on their own time. In the past, the online aspect of college has been mostly limited to lectures and not available for hands-on projects. But, as with any new technology, they are still working on the limitations – such as bringing multiple classmates into the experience at once. Do we really need that?