Monday, July 03, 2006

Just Say "No!" When Jesse Jackson Comes Calling

Judicial Watch has released a report that details the shakedown tactics that have been used by Jesse Jackson and his Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition against some of the biggest companies in the world. Jackson's current target is oil giant British Petroleum. Using one of his almost patented malapropisms, Jackson has informed BP that "We don't want charity, we want parity," as he mouthed a laundry list of what the oil company needs to do in order to get the "Reverend" to go away.

This isn't the first time Jackson has gone after a big business, typically claiming poor minority hiring practices by the business until the "offending" company caves in and comes up with cash for some of PUSH's pet projects.

His first shakedown of a corporation was directed at brewing giant Anheuser-Busch in 1982. Jackson, whose command of facts and figures often seems to change as the situation demands, claimed at the time that African-Americans were spending about $800 million yearly on AB products, yet only one of the brewery's distributors was black-owned. He also claimed that blacks made up somewhere between 15 to 20 percent of AB's customers.

Compare these charges from 24 years ago with those recently made by Jackson against BP. He claims that while British Petroleum gets 30 percent of the money African-Americans spend on gas, BP has few minorities in executive positions and few African-American distributors. In addition, fewer than 20 of its 13,000 retail stations in the United States are owned by blacks, adds Jackson, with nothing to substantiate any of these claims.

Now let's compare the facts in both situations.

AB at the time, actually had two African-American vice-presidents on their board, had established a $5 million fund to help finance additional minority ownership of its distributorships, and had set in place in 1969 a minority hiring practice that encompassed eighteen-percent of its 14,000 employees.

BP was a $10,000 sponsor of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's 35th annual conference. In addition, about 20 percent of its independent BP and ARCO dealers come from minority groups, and two members of the company's board of directors are African-American.

Anyone see a pattern here? It's an old playbook that Jackson's is still using, but some companies are finally closing the door when Jackson tries to come in, hat in hand.

Hopefully, BP will ignore Jackson, as has the New York Stock Exchange since 2003 when it severed its relationship with Jackson's "Wall Street Project," a collective shakedown of some of America's biggest corporate names. That still leaves, however, too many businesses that continue to pander to Jackson, including Citigroup, Coca Cola, AOL Time Warner, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Enron, WorldCom, General Motors, IBM, Kodak, Boeing, Merrill Lynch and the DaimlerChrysler Corporate Fund.

It's time for shareholders to tell these publicly-owned businesses to just say "No!" to this "civil rights" carpetbagger or take their dollars elsewhere.



Bouncing in the back yard has long been a favourite pastime for Queensland children but new research shows that trampolining is one of the most dangerous activities for those aged six and under. In Queensland, about 1500 children visit hospital emergency departments with trampoline-related injuries each year, most with a broken bone from falling off the equipment. The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit found that 93 per cent of trampoline accidents happened at home and 20 per cent were admitted to hospital.

Christopher Mobbs, an emergency medicine specialist at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital and co-author of the study, said that of trampoline injuries in children aged under 15, 48 per cent were in children under six. "The big outcome from this study is that children under the age of six are the most commonly injured and that was nearly half of all injuries we saw in that age group in this study," Dr Mobbs said. "Children under the age of six shouldn't be allowed to use trampolines because of the increased risk of injury to that age group." The study was done on children presenting at Sydney Children's Hospital in 2004 and last year, during which time 152 trampoline injuries were recorded.

Olympic trampoline silver medallist Ji Wallace, from Logan south of Brisbane, admitted it was just luck that prevented him being injured when he used to play on the family trampoline when he was a child. He said parents needed to be more aware of the seriousness of trampoline injuries and be in the back yard when children were using the trampoline. "It's just like a swimming pool - you don't throw the kids in the pool and say, 'there you go, see you later'," Mr Wallace said.

Dr Mobbs said one of the major recommendations to come out of the study was the need for proper and constant adult supervision for children old enough to safely use a trampoline.....

National Trampoline Sports Management chairman Chuck Smith said there were many benefits to trampolining, including aerobic exercise and learning acrobatic skills. "Children learn how to move, how to control themselves in the air and they learn how to have fun doing what they can't do on the ground - it's a bit like being weightless or being in space," Mr Smith said...


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