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China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the wait-what dept.
hackingbear writes: Burdened with Alabama's highest unemployment rate, long abandoned by textile mills and furniture plants, Wilcox County, Alabama, desperately needs jobs. And the jobs are coming from China. Henan's Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group opened a plant here last month, employing 300 locals. Chinese companies invested a record $14 billion in the United States last year, according to the Rhodium Group research firm. Collectively, they employ more than 70,000 Americans, up from virtually none a decade ago. Powerful forces — narrowing wage gaps (Chinese wages have been doubling every few years), tumbling U.S. energy prices, the rising Yuan — up 30% over the decade — are pulling Chinese companies across the Pacific. Perhaps very soon, Chinese workers will start protesting their jobs being outsourced to the cheap labor in the U.S."
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China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US

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  • First post (Score:5, Funny)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:18PM (#47308109) Journal

    Welcome Chinese overlords!

    • Cue worker migration and Star Spangled Red-and-White Peril in China.
    • I think you mean: (Hunyíng zhngguó bàzh!)

    • Re:First post (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @03:07PM (#47308631)

      Actually we've seen this happen in the US for many years with a lot of foreign companies. Often because US companies fail to resolve labor or regulatory issues and a foreign company cuts through the issue to find a way to produce products in the same place without incurring many of the previous costs.

      Toyoda for example has done this repeatedly and been able to produce cars more cheaply in the US then many of their American competitors using the same labor.

      A lot of it boils down to legacy corporations that have grown too large and inefficient.

      Things need a reboot on occasion. Many large companies should go through a serious reorganization top to bottom including the renegotiation of all contracts to take into consideration new opportunities and concerns.

      • Sometimes what they do is set up in the US but in a different part of the US. This allows them to sidestep protectionist import restrictions while also drawing from a different labour pool and avoiding existing unions.

        Toyota has a number of factories in the US but none in detroit or even in mitchagan.

        • actually, it's not so much about being domestic or international as it is where you build your shizz. Car manufactuirng is exploding in the South, across KY, TN, AL, and many other states. it's all the major companites. toyota, honda, hyundai, GM, Mercedes, BMW. The plants in the south are non-unionized. and its especially appealing for foreign automakers cuz then their cars are "made in america" for the purposes of taxes and international trade issues.boeing also wanted to move from WA to the south, I forg
          • Well... the point is that the legacy contracts in the rust belt are not competitive.

            Those contracts either need to be renegotiated such that they are competitive or the wise business move will be to sunset ALL operations in those areas and relocate elsewhere.

            To keep everything on an even keel they're going to want to do it slowly so they don't disrupt their supply chain. However, if the unions do not get reasonable very quickly they're going to die.

            Period. Full stop. Negotiate or operations will be terminat

      • Toyoda for example has done this repeatedly and been able to produce cars more cheaply in the US then many of their American competitors using the same labor.

        Toyota has been building new factories in depressed areas, low wage areas, and union free areas. Their American competitors aren't quite so free to do so.

        Many large companies should go through a serious reorganization top to bottom including the renegotiation of all contracts to take into consideration new opportunities and concerns.

        That is...

        • Re:First post (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @05:08PM (#47309863)

          They are free to do it. Just as free as Toyota was to do it.

          Will the Unions whine? Its a question of rights. The unions have a right to whine. They don't have a right to stop it.

          If the unions want to buy the car company and then decide how to run it, that is fine... buy the car company.

          If they want to have no investment in the car company and just work for it like employees... then that is what you are... an employee. You don't decide as an employee where a company builds a factory.

          Full stop.

          Now through the labor department unions can use special interest politics to make life difficult for companies. But those companies can't be forced to keep factories open. Open a new factory some place the labor department isn't going to stop... if that means another country then that's what you have to do... then you shut down the factories in the union areas. Utterly shutter them.

          Its not a question of whether something is easy or not. Its an existential threat to the company. They don't have a choice. They must do things in a competitive fashion or die.

          Must.

          Do or die.

          If the unions refuse to cooperate then they can't be involved in the company's future. Retaining them in that position means accepting death. The only companies that will survive are the ones that either get a new contract with the unions that is competitive or that cut the unions out entirely one way or another.

          I suppose you could get a lot of back door government handouts... but then your business is less about selling cars and more about getting corrupt politicians to give you subsidies.

          Which is fine as far as it goes... just be honest about your business model at that point. You're a subsidy company at that point... not car company.

          • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:51PM (#47311405)
            No? You're entire post is based on the idea that Unions are inherently bad. For a capitalist they are. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Marx predicted that capital would flow to where ever labor's cheapest in a constant race to the bottom, but all anyone can remember about him is that a few dictators borrowed one of his books for rhetoric.

            Did it ever cross your mind that there is a _reason_ Unions formed? Have you ever heard the phrase "Nasty, brutish and short"? Have you seen pictures of the Mini-Guns used by "private" security employed by mines in the 70s to intimidate workers?

            Whatever else you think, you _want_ Unions. You _need_ Unions. Unions are labor organized to seek better and safer working conditions. Nothing more or less. Hell, there's another story on /. here today talking about the death of the 40 hour work week in America. It's a statistical fact that wages have declined and productivity has increased. What in God's name are you planning to do by your little lonesome against multi-billion dollar corporations? Seriously, do you think Toyota is going to keep paying a living wage out of the kindness of their Hearts? It's the sacrifice of the Union man and the competition for those Union Jobs that's why Toyota is paying those wages in the first place. And before you bring it up, no, they don't need you to buy their cars. They have plenty of other buyers, and they really don't need that many. They can just raise the price and sell fewer.

            I could go on, and on, and on, but seriously man. You don't know of what you speak. Go work in a meat packing plant for a decade and tell me you don't need Unions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        A lot of it boils down to legacy union shops that have grown too large and inefficient.

        I don't normally do a "FTFY", but this one sort of needed it.

        Most car companies are on par with each other insofar as management and the organization thereof, with a few degrees of slop either way. The big variable is that the Toyota/Kia/Hyundai/etc plants in the US are generally non-union shops in "Right to Work" states. The advantage of that is while they still pay a decent wage, they don't have to pay the massive UAW-blessed wage and headcount demands, let alone the added drag of bureaucracy, negotiation

        • No one has to pay that though. Ever.

          Its a choice. As a company, it is your money. You can do what you want with it. You can invest where you want. You can employ who you want. You can pay them what you want.

          The government can invalidate contracts but they can't force you to sign contracts or force you do things you don't want to do.

          You just have to be willing to call their bluff. This means in many cases shutting down operations or relocating because local officials are interfering with local business activ

          • The government can invalidate contracts but they can't force you to sign contracts or force you do things you don't want to do.

            You missed the batshit Obamacare ruling, didn't you?

      • "Toyoda for example has done this repeatedly and been able to produce cars more cheaply in the US then many of their American competitors using the same labor."

        Good at building cars, they are! Follow the dark side, they do not.

  • oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

    by k6mfw (1182893) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:20PM (#47308123)
    can't wait for those whining on the forums, "damn Americans stealing jobs from hard working people."
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bluelip (123578)

      China's downfall in production will come when the factory workers start having unions that are too powerful.

      • Re:oh boy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @03:09PM (#47308657)

        China's downfall in production will come when the factory workers start having unions that are too powerful.

        Isn't it strange how success is always the accomplishment of awesome management but failure is never the fault of incompetent one?

        In any case, you're wrong. The world is running out of hellholes that tolerate slave labour, so those companies that can't turn profit without it have nowhere to go and no future save bankruptcy auction. That should make this the time of great opportunity for every businessman who can actually live up to their own hype; based on the amount of whining we're hearing instead of eager expectation, I guess most of them know the truth about themselves...

        • Failure is an orphan.

        • ...The world is running out of hellholes that tolerate slave labour, ...

          This. Exactly that. People are not made to work like machines until they die of exhaustion, people are made to live as people. And the work is only a means to live, not the reason of the life.
          • by DM9290 (797337)

            ...The world is running out of hellholes that tolerate slave labour, ...

            This. Exactly that. People are not made to work like machines until they die of exhaustion, people are made to live as people. And the work is only a means to live, not the reason of the life.

            you can work now and die in a few years of exhaustion, or else not work and die in 3 weeks from starvation. What did you say about human beings? I couldn't hear you over the sounds of all the other people lining up to beg for your job.

        • I think that's a bit optimistically premature. When Asia finally does eventually get around to stopping that practice, Africa will probably be the next, last bastion for poor and oppressed labor. It's always been the way of third world countries trying to compete in a global market.
          • by Firethorn (177587)

            Africa will probably be the next, last bastion for poor and oppressed labor.

            I think India still has a few 'last gasps' for cheap labor, after that it's down to really small countries. But I agree, and consider this people:
            China: 1.35B people
            India: 1.24B
            Africa: 1.07B

            The ENTIRE continent, short of a population boom that puts any previous baby booms to shame, isn't going to be able to take on the demand for 'cheap labor' when China and India start looking to outsource for cheaper labor like the rest of the world did. And that's without addressing the stability issues Africa has. Ch

        • The world is running out of hellholes that tolerate slave labour

          And you're saying that's a bad thing? It tends to point out the complete failure of charity, well-wishing, and flowery language to lift people out of absolute poverty and the massive success of the invisible hand of capitalistic greed accomplishing this social good without even wanting to.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          In any case, you're wrong. The world is running out of hellholes that tolerate slave labour, so those companies that can't turn profit without it have nowhere to go

          Oh there's plenty of hellholes left, but the remaining ones are mostly plagued by civil war, crazy dictators, massive corruption, lack of basic education and infrastructure or some other form of ethnic, religious, economical, social or political instability that make them unsuitable for running a business no matter how low the wages get. The extremely poor but stable countries are quickly running out, India is still lagging quite a bit behind China but after that if gets tougher and tougher.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        Ma, the anti union troll is talking again.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The inevitable result of an exploitative management.

    • The problem is while the money is going back to the US. It isn't a 1 for 1 improvement in American jobs.
      American Companies are efficient, they are getting damn too efficient for the average working Joe.
      Automation, electronic quality checks in the like. Means a a factory 30 years ago needed 500 people to keep up with demand needs about 50 people to today. Most of these 50 people are paid more, however there will be some at minimum wage too.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      GÄisÇ dà mÄiguà rén, cÃng xÄnqÃn gÅngzuà de rén tÅu de gÅngzuÃ
  • Funny ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705)

    Powerful forces â" narrowing wage gaps (Chinese wages have been doubling every few years)

    Funny, ours have been halving.

    So it really is a race to the bottom.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      More like "dropped on average a few percent in real purchasing power from its peak a couple decades ago".

      Considering how many of the world's problems are caused, enabled, or exacerbated by abject poverty, it seems a small price for bringing a couple billion people in the BRICS nations out of it.

      Unless you're one of those who think you were born deserving more than everyone else in the world.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Oh, I have no problems with fighting poverty.

        But I also think it's large multinationals who benefit the most, as they just shop around to find the people they can abuse for the least amount of money until they move on elsewhere.

        It's the huge profits reaped by gutting your domestic workforce and applying a zillion times markup on your product like Nike does I dislike.

        Because that's pretty much corporate serfdom.

        • Re:Funny ... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jythie (914043) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:54PM (#47308491)
          It also can not last. The reason multinationals are raking in such large profits from cheap labor is OTHER companies are still paying well. It only works as long as your target customer is well off but your own work force is poor, but if the pattern continues then the target customers will bit by bit also be replaced by poorer workers and that ripples though.
        • Well, the rich have always benefited the most from business, and will most certainly continue to do so.

          But corporate serfdom is a result of a lack of labor opportunities, from the mining towns and workhouses of the 1800s to sweatshops and factories in third world countries today. So I'll turn your idea on it's head: A world where labor pools can court business from all over the world is far better than one where workers are beholden to the local oligarchs.

    • So it really is a race to the bottom.

      No, it's just that at last, the Invisible Hand is taking all those historical inequities and smearing them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider to be prosperity.

  • by Old VMS Junkie (739626) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:24PM (#47308175)
    Businesses will continue to take advantage of poverty, wherever it exists and whoever it is. Greed is blind to creed and color. All it cares about is profit.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:39PM (#47308309)

      Alternatively: Businesses will continue to reduce poverty, wherever it exists and whoever it is. Greed is blind to creed and color. All it cares about is profit.

      • by synapse7 (1075571)

        I don't think so, if they could get people to labor for nothing they would. Think of the profit margin.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I'm told that "least cost country" is used in manpower discussions so much now, it's been abbreviated to LCC to save time.

    • You realize that the reason a billion Chinese were poor in the first place is because of the Cultural Revolution, their violent Communist revolutionary past? But yeah, it's those "evil businesses". The main reason Chinese wages have been rising for the past few decades is because they partially ended the Communism and began partial market reforms.

      It's also a helpful reminder of why the effect of Chinese wages on global inflation and wage inflation (e.g. flooding the world with cheap Chinese products) was l

  • by TigerPlish (174064) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:27PM (#47308195)

    I was thinking some years ago "If all the jobs went to China because no one in the US wants the factory worker life, who is gonna build Chinese doohickeys when *they* get tired of the factory life?"

    I was thinking India. Or Malaysia, or Chile or something..

    But not the USA. I never even considered that possibility.

    WTF. This world no longer makes any sense to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kick6 (1081615)

      I was thinking some years ago "If all the jobs went to China because no one in the US wants the factory worker life, who is gonna build Chinese doohickeys when *they* get tired of the factory life?"

      I was thinking India. Or Malaysia, or Chile or something..

      But not the USA. I never even considered that possibility.

      WTF. This world no longer makes any sense to me.

      It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

      • It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

        I can make sense of it at an intellectual level, it's just my gut reaction to go "WTF" -- it's a bit counter-intuitive.

        The news is welcome, I just wish American companies would start making things in USA again. I know we can do it. I suppose in time, we will.

        • It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

          I can make sense of it at an intellectual level, it's just my gut reaction to go "WTF" -- it's a bit counter-intuitive.

          The news is welcome, I just wish American companies would start making things in USA again. I know we can do it. I suppose in time, we will.

          Once you factor in productivity and transportation costs, amongst others, the cost gaps narrows and possibly even closes. They're not doing a 1 for 1 replacement of workers so hiring fewer, but more expensive and more productive US workers, begins to make sense. In addition, there can be political considerations as well.

          Of course, being Alabama, they will promptly arrest and jail the Chinese managers who come over to check on the plant unless they can prove they are in Alabama legally.

          • Of course, being Alabama, they will promptly arrest and jail the Chinese managers who come over to check on the plant unless they can prove they are in Alabama legally.

            its Alabama not Arizona

            • Of course, being Alabama, they will promptly arrest and jail the Chinese managers who come over to check on the plant unless they can prove they are in Alabama legally.

              its Alabama not Arizona

              I know. Arizona arrests you for looking Hispanic, Alabama, so far, for driving while German. In the name of equal opportunity they may extend that welcome to the Chinese as well.

        • by bledri (1283728)

          It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

          I can make sense of it at an intellectual level, it's just my gut reaction to go "WTF" -- it's a bit counter-intuitive.

          The news is welcome, I just wish American companies would start making things in USA again. I know we can do it. I suppose in time, we will.

          It's already turning around. Tesla builds its cars in Fremont, CA and they're planning to open a battery factory somewhere in the US. SpaceX makes rockets in Hawthorne, CA. SolarCity bought Silevo and is planning to build a solar panel factory in NY. Now we just need to convince someone besides Elon Musk (which is actually happening [thomasnet.com].)

      • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:49PM (#47308445)
        The only people who were disparaging manufacturing jobs were corporations who moved them overseas.
      • Being richer than 95% of the world sure is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Plus, we get to complain about it the entire time, so theres that.

    • by Krishnoid (984597) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:41PM (#47308337) Journal

      WTF. This world no longer makes any sense to me.

      You're apparently about ten years [dilbert.com] behind the times. But considering history probably repeats itself, you're likely also about ten years ahead of the times.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I'm not sure how these thoughts connect, but I was thinking some years ago "If all the jobs went to China because it improves profit margins, who will be able to afford the products that are shipped back to the US?" I mean isn't outsourcing by its very nature a strategy that only work if you're riding the leading edge? Because what comes afterwards is a lot of companies fighting over a smaller and smaller pool of consumer discretionary income.

    • by jythie (914043)
      In general the pattern has indeed been to move labor to places like India, this case is a bit of an anomaly or a change.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:41PM (#47308339)

    Are not trivial for moving heavy products from continent to continent.

    Labor with automated systems is sometimes no longer a large expense.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:44PM (#47308381)

    Thats what is being touted for the Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. greenfield mill being built near Richmond VA, and to break ground in 2016

    Chinese paper company to set up shop in Richmond suburbs [washingtonpost.com]

    Sure I don't expect 2000 permanent full time jobs, but injecting $2 billion into a community ain't so shabby

    • Is this for recycled paper?

      The amount of wastepaper sent to China is absolutely staggering, on the order of several billion dollars a year from the US. In sheer volume and weight that's several thousand containers on a ship a week.

      http://www.gltaac.org/us-china... [gltaac.org]

    • Sure I don't expect 2000 permanent full time jobs, but injecting $2 billion into a community ain't so shabby

      The problem with your argument is that "2 BILLIOB" *WILL NOT* be "injected" into the Local Economy. Much of the design, contracting, and building supplies will come from elsewhere.

      Sure, there are the shit wages that will be paid to the Paper Factory Serfs, but just about everything else will come from elsewhere. And by all means, let's not discount jobs in the South that pay little more than Dairy Queen...

  • ... and us Americans won! I'll never doubt a cheap labor conservative again.
  • by guanxi (216397) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:54PM (#47308493)

    The Chinese government is very strategic about creating 'soft power' (political, cultural, economic, and diplomatic influence; as opposed to 'hard power', which is typically military force or economic sanctions). Look up Confucius Institutes and the Three Warfares, for example. China also uses its market power to get what it wants politically; look up how Hollywood studios allow Chinese censors to edit their movies (and not just for Chinese distribution).

    It's not a new idea to use jobs to create influence. Government contractors locate jobs in the districts of key members of Congress in order to get votes; when Japan's auto industry was viewed as a threat, the built factories in the U.S.

    In the locations where Chinese companies are placing jobs, how likely is it that the people or their representatives will support sanctions, force, or any actions detrimental to China?

    (China isn't the only country to do such things, of course, but they have a lot of money, an aggressive outlook, and their government has a lot of involvement with and influence over their businesses.)

    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @03:08PM (#47308635)

      The Chinese government is TERRIBLE at soft power.

      When the Philippines got hit by that Typhoon and they had the opportunity to inject soft power into the Philippines and offset public opinion about their territorial claims that are in conflict with the Philippines you know what they did? The offered a couple million dollars cheap tents that were probably worth less than a million dollars.

      You know what the US did? We deployed a carrier group and starting rescuing people directly, feeding them, setting up housing and providing medical care onboard the navy ships including emergency surgery for those critically injured. That relatively cheap soft power exercise for the US bought long term good will in the Philippines, in fact they actually started talking about maybe letting us open a base there again (it's bared by their constitution). We didn't really spend that much more than the Chinese claim to have spent but we got 200000x the value from it.

      The Chinese don't get soft power at all.

      • by guanxi (216397)

        That's just one example, and they do make their mistakes (as does everyone). Here are some successes:

        * Bloomberg and other news organizations openly refuse to publish reports critical of the Chinese government.
        * Major US universities sacrifice academic freedom in order to get funding for Confucius Institutes
        * Hollywood films that you may have watched last night are written and edited to appease Chinese censors.
        * Norway's government refused to meet the Dalai Lama, to appease C

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      This isn't soft power at all.
      As the cost differential between Chinese manufacturing and US manufacturing decreases, it makes perfect sense to move the manufacturing closer to where the products will be consumed.

      US companies have been slowly moving their manufacturing back to the USA (or to Mexico), because it isn't that much more expensive than China + the lack of language barriers and 12 hour time shift makes resolving problems easier.

      The fact that the Chinese are now moving manufacturing to the USA means

  • by spitzak (4019) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @02:56PM (#47308517) Homepage

    If the manufactured items stay in the USA (or are shipped to any place where it may be cheaper than shipping from China) then this is just putting the factory where the product is being used and is not really "outsourcing". The term "outsourcing" should be limited to when jobs move to follow cheap or available labor but otherwise defies any business logic.

    The article is not clear on where the factory output is going, or where the raw materials come from. There is one mention of a glass factory who's "site puts Fuyao within four hours' drive of auto plants in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana." All the others don't seem to say whether delivery to the USA is part of the reason for the relocation.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @03:04PM (#47308591) Journal

    As if it wasn't hard enough to learn Chinese to talk to your suppliers directly, now you've got to learn to understand people in Alabama? That's fucked up.

  • that we can't speak proper Chinese.
  • So, they sell tons of goods to US that pay them in dollar. What are they supposed to be doing with all that cash? Change it to yuan, that would be bad for the currency? Buy government bonds, at such a rate, no way! Buy gas to Russia, that's not done in dollar anymore. What's left? Investing all that money in the US maybe, that's still better than leaving idle on a reserve account. Yeah, why not.

  • The likely reason the Chinese want to build factories here is that most states will bend over backwards to accommodate them. In this case, the town of Pine Hill is offering the Chinese factory a massive tax break - probably zero taxes for something like 20 years - and a place where their company has more financial freedom. I wouldn't be surprised if the town or state is also offering them tax money to stay. It's a problem all over the US: companies holding jobs hostage because someone else is offering them

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @03:53PM (#47309055)
    When US companies outsourced their jobs, it was said that they outsourced the jobs to China, or to India.

    .
    Why, all of a sudden has the terminology changed?

  • I predicted this sort of thing back in 2006. [slashdot.org] And let's be honest: It's not that suprising, is it? Globalisation is once around the globe by now. In the US, entire landscapes are out of jobs and glad for anything. In China more than a decades worth of 8%+ growth has started to saturate markets and upped the price for labor, shrinking the margins.

    Next up will be robots. And they don't care where they stand, neither does the corp that owns them. They will be placed closest to the buyer to reduce transport cost

  • by knorthern knight (513660) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @05:35PM (#47310075)

    The ultimate combination

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:09AM (#47313203)

    We all knew it was coming. Alabama has now officially joined the Third World.

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...

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