Wednesday, January 26, 2005
- Information I didn't know. Infojunkie that I am, scavenging for tidbits is second nature and often provides a broader picture of aspects of the world.
- Fills in some gaps. I might know some of the entries on a list but not others. Again, this provides a larger pool of information.
- Probably the main reason is opinion comparison, particularly in matters of popular culture. A list of the "Top 100 Albums" says something about the person/people who drew up the list but it also evokes opinion in me about agreement and disagreement. This becomes a learning experience which also encompasses self-knowledge about my own judgement of the items on the list.
It is never easy choosing the 10 Worst Corporations of the Year – there are always more deserving nominees than we can possibly recognize. One of the greatest challenges facing the judges is the directive not to select repeat recipients from last year's 10 Worst designation.
The no-repeat rule forbids otherwise-deserving companies – like Bayer, Boeing, Clear Channel and Halliburton – from returning to the 10 Worst list in 2004.
Abbott Laboratories: Drug Pricing Chutzpah
Chutzpah. Webster's defines the Yiddish term now incorporated into English slang as: 1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall. 2. audacity; nerve.
In the next edition, they may want to add: 3. See Abbott.
In December 2003, the company raised the U.S. price of its anti-AIDS drug Norvir (generic name ritanovir) by 400 percent. That is, unless the product is used in conjunction with other Abbott products – in which case the price increase is zero.Coca-Cola: KillerCoke.org vs. CokeKills.org
On KillerCoke.org, you'll find a raft of information on Coke and its bottlers' operations in Colombia. There is extensive documentation of rampant violence committed against Coke's unionized workforce by paramilitary forces, and powerful claims of the company's complicity in the violence.
An April 2004 report from a fact-finding delegation headed by New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate contends:
"To date, there have been a total of 179 major human rights violations of Coca-Cola's workers, including nine murders. Family members of union activists have been abducted and tortured. Union members have been fired for attending union meetings. The company has pressured workers to resign their union membership and contractual rights, and fired workers who refused to do so."
"Most troubling to the delegation were the persistent allegations that paramilitary violence against workers was done with the knowledge of and likely under the direction of company managers."
Dow Chemical: Forgive Us Our Trespasses
[Dow's record is so amazingly horrible, I'm going to put the whole entry in another blog post.] At midnight on December 2, 1984, 27 tons of lethal gases leaked from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, immediately killing an estimated 8,000 people and poisoning thousands of others.
Today in Bhopal, at least 150,000 people, including children born to parents who survived the disaster, are suffering from exposure-related health effects such as cancer, neurological damage, chaotic menstrual cycles and mental illness. Over 20,000 people are forced to drink water with unsafe levels of mercury, carbon tetrachloride and other persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals.