Did you ever wonder where the metaphor of falsely shouting fire in a theater comes from? Several years ago, I was co-writing a book about American political repression with Ellen Schrecker, the brilliant historian of McCarthyism. We came across a fantastic article by University of Texas legal scholar Lucas Powe that made a strong case for where Oliver Wendell Holmes, who came up with the metaphor, might have gotten the idea for it. Ellen followed up Powe’s hypothesis with some extensive sleuthing in the Michigan archives, and what follows is the result of her research and our writing.
Amazon is at the centre of a deepening scandal in Germany as the online shopping giant faced claims that it employed security guards with neo-Nazi connections to intimidate its foreign workers.
Germany’s ARD television channel made the allegations in a documentary about Amazon’s treatment of more than 5,000 temporary staff from across Europe to work at its German packing and distribution centres.
The film showed omnipresent guards from a company named HESS Security wearing black uniforms, boots and with military haircuts. They were employed to keep order at hostels and budget hotels where foreign workers stayed. “Many of the workers are afraid,” the programme-makers said.
The documentary provided photographic evidence showing that guards regularly searched the bedrooms and kitchens of foreign staff. “They tell us they are the police here,” a Spanish woman complained. Workers were allegedly frisked to check they had not walked away with breakfast rolls.
Meanwhile, in the USA:
Online retailer Amazon grabbed the top spot for corporate reputation in the 2013 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, beating out firms like Disney and Coca-Cola, but also besting tech rivals Google and Apple.
The Harris Poll surveyed 14,000 members of the general public, gauging their feelings about the 60 most visible companies in the country. In the 2012 poll, Apple held the number one spot in reputation perception among consumers. This year, Amazon’s composite score of 82.62 barely edged out Apple, which scored 82.54.
The poll gauges consumer perceptions across 20 attributes grouped into six dimensions of reputation. Those dimensions are Products & Services, Financial Performance, Workplace Environment, Social Responsibility, Vision & Leadership, and Emotional Appeal.