“Voluntary” Work Program Run in Private Detention Centers Pays Detained Immigrants $1 a Day

Sure, now people are starting to take notice.

If you thought we had made great strides in getting rid of slave labor, yes, we have.

If you weren’t aware that the oligarchy has been making great strides in reinstituting it, well, that’s by design.

How do you get around paying workers below minimum wage, legally? When many don’t have work permits?

This is how.

“Voluntary” Work Program Run in Private Detention Centers Pays Detained Immigrants $1 a Day.

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Most Honest Women’s Magazine Cover Ever | Adweek

This is what I used to do for a living.

(not exactly, but in a way)

The Most Honest Women’s Magazine Cover Ever | Adweek.

Honesty? Honestly...

You cannot continue to push a machine to its limits without something eventually breaking.

The Communist Daily

Savas Metoikidis is the 45-year old teacher who hanged himself as a form of political protest in the evening of April 21 in his hometown of Stavroupoli, in northern Greece. What follows is a translation of a text he had penned for the uprising of December 2008 (greek original).

“Who are, after all, the hoodlums?

Violence is to work for 40 years for crumbs and to wonder whether you will get to retire.

Violence are the financial bonds, the looted insurance funds, the stock exchange scam.

Violence is to be forced to take out a mortgage which you end up paying as if it was made out of gold.

Violence is your boss’ right to sack you at any moment they please to do so.

Violence is unemployment, precarity, the 700 euros [monthly wage] with or without insurance contributions.

Violence are the labour “accidents” because bosses cut down their running…

View original post 241 more words

Published in: on April 30, 2012 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Trayvon Martin’s Death and What it Says About Race, Privilege, and Homicide

Trayvon Martin’s Death and What it Says About Race, Privilege, and Homicide.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hoodies – your choice of color


your choice of color


Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kids in Hoods Scare Me, Too

Kids in hoods scare me, too

Kids in hoods scare me, too

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Good Enough To Pay For

Entertainment has always been available for free. The street corner musician. The traveling actors troupe. The [*shudder*] the mime. The “digital revolution” doesn’t represent a change so much as a return to the way things used to be.

You know, where your only entertainment options were what was directly in front of you and you had little to no control over how good it was.

There are many file sharing sites today where musicians—struggling or no—can post their works where the understanding is people can download them for free, and have an option to pay what they wish if they think it worthy.  This used to be called “passing the hat,” where a performer’s hat was literally passed through the crowd and people could contribute what they wished. Or not. You were interested enough to stay through to the end, and this is probably how they’re going to pay for their next meal, so you throw in a couple coins. Perhaps out of guilt. You see, they’re standing right there.

Fortunately you’re spared that guilt hiding behind your keyboard.

But what if they’re not any good? What if they’re more annoying than anything else? What if they’re just a couple of guys who can acceptably carry a tune (and it’s always the same tune, isn’t it?) as stroll through the subway car with their hands out? It’s certainly better than the ones who simply walk through with their hands out with nothing besides guilt to offer in return.

What if you want to hear something enjoyable? What if there’s no cello player at your train stop? No saxophonist near your car park? No one playing guitar outside your office? Of course you’d be willing to pay for it, but again, only for the good ones. How much effort are you willing to put in searching for it? How much crap are you willing to sift through to find something you like? So you need a middle man—someone to match your need to be entertained with an entertainer. A good one. You need a curator. And they expect to be compensated.

You pay the guy who owns the space for performers to perform because he’s done the work of getting performers that people will pay to see. The record company determines which musicians people will pay to listen to. The record store decides which albums go the shelves. The radio station picks which songs people will sit through advertising to hear. It’s worth their while to curate—to find the good stuff—because you’ll take your money elsewhere if you don’t get what you like.

And so we have the commercialization of Art. It’s now a Thing You Can Sell™.

Unfortunately there’s power in being the one who collects the box office receipts. Hence the stereotype of the cheap theater owner paying a pittance to performers; the ruthless record producer entrapping musicians with crippling contracts; the sleazy studio executive ripping off writers. Even the sanctimonious publisher, self-appointed arbiter of quality.

Walk into a book store (the ones that are left) and look at the staggering number of books. Then just try to imagine the even more staggering number of submitted manuscripts for every one that eventually gets published. There’s a running gag in Hollywood that you can walk up to virtually any random stranger and ask, “how’s your screenplay coming?” and they’ll tell you. Even the best-written screenplay needs teams of people to produce into a film. Now, thanks to the internet and the democratization power of technology, anyone can “publish.”

You want something to read? Oh, there is no shortage of things to read, no matter what your tastes are. But how much of it is any good? And how much crap do you want to wade through to find it?

Oh, I’m sure there are just as many people who enjoy Twilight fan fiction as there are who enjoy checking out whatever bands happen to be playing locally. OK, maybe not that many. But I know people who prefer independent film to major studio releases; people who’d much rather sit and listen to who ever is playing at a local jazz club than the homogeneous drone of pop radio; people who’d rather crack open Charles Dickens again than read about Swedish girls getting tattoos and playing with things.

Amazon.com, a retailer, has decided to get into the publishing game. Personally I find that laughable. They had better do a damned good job of curating talent if they want to be taken seriously. You can find good books on Amazon, but going to Amazon doesn’t mean you’ll find a good book. Anyone can publish anything on Amazon. I can publish a book on Amazon. I can publish this on Amazon. But Amazon isn’t betting they’ll make any money selling my inane ramblings. No, if I want to be published on Amazon I have to pay them.

But what happens when it’s no longer a Thing You Can Sell™? Look at porn. OK, let me rephrase that—let’s use the Adult Entertainment industry as an example. How do you continue to charge for your wares when you’re competing with every third co-ed with a web cam, coupled with everything you’ve ever produced—everything you’ve paid to produce, paying models, camera and lighting people, lawyers, et al.—repeated endlessly across Tumblr, for free? When you figure it out, tell someone who works in porn. You’ll make millions.

Playboy, the long time gold standard of the Naked Chick™ industry, has decimated its staff over the past few years. Hemorrhaging cash, they exist for the sake of nostalgia. Like the music industry found out, it’s a lot harder to charge for something that’s available for free almost everywhere.

Turns out, it’s the producers, the manufacturers, that end up hurting—the theater owners, record companies, publishers—and it’s those producers from whom people feel most comfortable and rationalize it’s OK stealing. The creators? Well, it’s not like too many of them were terribly well off any way. You’ve at least heard of them, which is better than the obscurity they were plucked from.

If those companies want to survive they have to shift gears from producing talent to curating it. I don’t mind paying a cover charge if I know the band’s going to be good.

teh Javascript

teh Javascript

T’was filling up the SEO
Conspired to Google up the rank,
All missing were the meta tags
And the keywords, they stank.

Beware teh Javascript, my man!
The flaws that munge, the memory leaks!
Beware the visual basic and
Those dubious system tweaks.

He took his Drupal code in hand:
Long time the CMS he sought;
So tested he the decision tree
And errors they were caught.

And in the bloated code he wrote,
Teh Javascript embeds iFrames,
And floods his inbox with harsh notes,
And inappropriate names:

“You n00b! you n00b! You view YouTube
with Drupal code in wrong syntax!”
He marked them Read, and hung his head,
And recompiled Ajax

And has thou learned teh Javascript?
The forum mods and admins say,
“We hate your sig, your gifs too big.
We took some ranks away.”

T’was filling up the SEO
Conspired to Google up the rank,
All missing were the meta tags
And the keywords, they stank.

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 9:06 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Problems with gov’t employees? Have ya’ read Dilbert?

Ever read Dilbert? Have ya’ noticed Dilbert doesn’t work for the government?

There’s been a lot of talk lately—I’ve seen it and heard it and read about it in a number of sources—denigrating the public employee; the government worker. Everyone has at least one anecdote about an ill-tempered, inefficient, ineffectual, lazy, disinterested leech, sucking down a taxpayer-provided paycheck they perceived owed to them, without any regard to producing any actual work for said paycheck. But whenever I hear someone proclaim that such a “worker” is endemic to people who are paid with tax dollars, I wonder, has this person ever worked with more than a dozen people, anywhere?

First, let’s get one thing straight, the “government employee” covers not only clerks at the DMV and IRS, but your local firefighters and teachers. (And don’t try to sidetrack my discussion with stories about ineffectual teachers, who only retain their position because of tenure–yeah, I have those stories, too. But for every one of those, I have more about teachers who did what they did for love of what they did, whose mission it was to impart some amount of knowledge onto those unwilling to learn it–some of whom made a real difference in the way I see the world, for the better. No, do not denigrate teachers around me.) And as I write this, I do realize there are those who believe even the fire department a waste of tax money, who feel it should be all volunteer, funded by generous donations from the wealthy (who would be able to if only they didn’t have to pay taxes), and if no one showed up to put out the fire in your house then it should be your problem. No, I will not point out where that attitude is likely to find them. To those people, well, I would tell them to get the fuck off my blog, but they’re incapable of reason.

Has anyone here ever worked for a large corporation? How about a company with more than two-dozen employees? In more than one location? Ever had to deal with someone who was, shall we say, less than efficient? Did you ever have a coworker who was only in their current position because it was the only place that would tolerate their personality? Or enjoyed their job because, no matter how trivial, how menial, it afforded them some small amount of authority over others?

And yes, the stereotype of the “government employee” exists for a reason. I have family who’ve worked within the government, and they’re full of stories of employees they couldn’t coerce to actually do any work. But I feel that reason is because so many of us come into contact with them, more than the employees of any other company. We’ve all been to the DMV and the Post Office.

But think about the other, private, for-profit companies we’ve all had to deal with. The cable company. The phone company. Certainly those are models of efficiency, aren’t they, since profit is their only incentive?

The one thing the government agency doesn’t have is sales people. When you call the cable company to inquire about service, you can hear them smiling over the phone while bending over backwards to get you to sign up. “We’ll even send over a masseuse, to rub your shoulders and ease away any stress caused by the install.” You want to share anecdotes? Tell me about all the times you called this private, profit-making company asking for satisfaction.

How about the phone company? “Would you like a decaf soy latte while you wait for me to transfer all the numbers from your old phone to your new one? Shouldn’t be but a moment. Sorry for the delay.” Tell me about what happens when you call back to that company whose stock is traded publicly on the market. Surely they’ve managed to cut through bureaucracy and red tape, right?

And I haven’t even gotten to the real irony. Those pedagogues railing against “government waste and inefficiencies?” Do I need to point out that many of them are government employees? Politicians whose very job it is to be in charge of those bloated systems, who continue to proclaim, year after year, no matter who is in charge, that they could fix everything, if only everyone else would let them—they are the ones touting “smaller government,” and (gads) “privatization,” attempting to perpetuate the myth (yes, that’s right, myth) that a privately run corporation, with only profit as its motive, is somehow more efficient than government.

Because private corporations, like Enron, aren’t prone to the corruption we see in government. You see, opening the field up to private companies, like Comcast and Cablevision, fosters real competition, and with increased competition, among companies like AT&T and Verizon, prices will come down. And with reduced government interference through regulations, international conglomerates like British Petroleum would be able to better address the needs of their customers, who are free to go elsewhere if they’re dissatisfied.

Oh, no, let’s not have Big Brother further their socialist takeover and monitor the water we drink and food we eat. Let’s take some personal responsibility for the contaminants we ingest. If we’re not happy with our private water supply, or electric company, we’re free to employ someone else. Let’s make sure our money doesn’t go to anyone undeserving—and if they need it, that only shows how much they don’t deserve it—and pay for schools for other people’s kids. I mean, the only reason someone would become a cop in New York City is for the government pension, am I right?

Let’s all agree to call bullshit when we see it. No, I am not asking you to excuse the woman at the Social Security administration who got angry with you for filling out a form wrong, nor the person in the unemployment office who spent 20 minutes reading to you out of someone else’s file—after you pointed it out. No, I’m not suggesting it’s excusable because you can’t get Verizon to take off a download fee you swear you never incurred, or a bank to reverse the insufficient funds fee they charged you when you withdrew too much money from their own ATM. I’m asking you to remember that these are people. People who are being told what to do by other people. And those people don’t always have interests that are in line with yours.

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

If this is parody, it’s not very good

That the author clearly meant it in all seriousness makes it pretty fucking hysterical.

On the evangelical Christian blog, christwire.org, I recently came across (if you’ll excuse the expression) this post: How to Spot a Masturbator. What the fundamentalist is wrong with these people?

If I could say just one thing, it would be, “BWAH AHAAHHAHAH AHAHAHAH AHAHHAHAHA!!!”

I mean, come on. (to use a phrase) I wasn’t sure this site wasn’t a cheap imitation of The Onion after reading the sidebar [screengrab]:



Not only is masturbation something “that can be dealt with in the privacy of your own home,” (HA!)  it “also threatens workplace safety and the overall productivity of our economy.” (WTF!)

Wait, it gets better. Wanking it also causes people “to think more about sex and less about their work at hand.” [emphasis mine]

The author maintains that, despite all of the drawbacks, “masturbation still remains very popular in America.” Ya’ think?

Also, “this degree of self-manipulation goes too far in familiarizing men and women with their bodies.” How far? Not that far. (Most people stop after the second knuckle.) Evidently the god in whose image we’re supposedly created is a vile and shameful creature we should be ashamed of.

So how do you find these masturbators? “There are people who claim they can identify a masturbator with one glance.” I have but one criterion myself: do they appear to be breathing?

Get a load (for lack of a better word) of these images [which I jacked (ahem!) from their site]:

does anyone you know look like that?

The text reads: “If pushed, he will lie, cheat and steal to support his habit.” Wait, we’re still talking throttling the little German soldier, not heroin, right? “Many college students fall victim to this lifestyle.” Well it’s about time, I’d say.

OK, A) how did you become privy to the size of Snooki’s “marital aids,” or is this just something you picture in your mind – a lot? (“Tunnel of Fun” was his description, not mine.) B) Even if the size were relevant, I don’t see how the color would be, even if she used said sexual aid to apply her makeup. By contrast, I doubt sweet Penny could use her pencil-thin makeup applicators the same way. (And don’t get me started on what those lips look like they’re plumped up from.)

The last picture on the page suggests that Matt Damon’s clean cut appearance is due to abstention from personal pleasure.

Now, get this: in his bio, the author, one Stephenson Billings, is noted as a “Children’s Party Entertainer and Antique Soda Bottle Collector all in one special, blessed package!” Hey now! Sounds perfectly innocent, I swear! Get your minds out of the gutter!

And let’s not overlook the suggested links at the bottom:

Suggested Moral Readings for You
  • Courageous Kansas State Student Gives Up Masturbating For Jesus
  • Gay Homo Agenda Makes New Penis Toy For Children
  • The funniest part? The absolute irony? In all of the comments at the bottom, the author’s own replies have been (excuse me) “thumbed down” enough to not be visible, while everyone else makes ridiculous fun of him.

    OK, let the pud pullin’, unemployed hand-shakin’, Darth Vader battlin’, chicken chokin’, Onan the Barbarian euphamisms begin.

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