Monthly Archives: February 2012

Facebook third world contractor employee strikes back.

Now I’m not condoning what the employee of a third world contractor that Facebook employs did in releasing sensitive information, but this is what happens when you have people working in rough conditions.

A secret list curated by social network giant Facebook was published online recently after an employee for one of the company’s third-world contractors, upset at his poor working conditions and meager wage, decided to fight back.

The document reveals exactly what Facebook’s censorship brigade looks for on the social network, which boasts over 850 million users spanning the globe.

Despite whether you love outsourcing and think that neoliberalism is the way to go; the truth is, that if you don’t treat people the right way, they will fight back. I also find it interesting that the employee or “hire” did their work through ODesk. Now I wonder if this worker had an issue with ODesk or if it was the contractor for Facebook that used ODesk to hire him.

And the entertainment industry wants to know why people pirate?

The RIAA and MPAA are always fighting for their intellectual property rights. They’ve gone after numerous file sharing sites  over the years. We’re supposed to be supporting the industry they say; thousands of jobs depend on it! We were supposed to be in favor of SOPA and now ACTA! So why don’t people listen?

Well, it’s because they go and do greedy and crony capitalistic things like this:

Want to watch The Bodyguard? No worries; it’s one of Netflix’s streaming titles. Or it was — until the studios removed it, and all of Whitney Houston’s movies, from the streaming video site after the singer’s death, allegedly to goose DVD sales.

Google Plus Week host Dan McDermott noticed that The Bodyguard had been pulled from Netflix streaming right after Houston’s death (as testified by several angry and disappointed “reviews”).

Isn’t that ridiculous? Who gives them the right to profit off the passing of an entertainer? It’s not like this is a new release after all.

Mitt Romney, the auto industry and Michigan


Will Michigan hand Mitt Romney a defeat for his stance on the auto bailout?

Personally, I’m one of those on the left who can actually find common ground with those on the right like Mitt Romney, when it comes to the bailout of the U.S. auto industry. It’s government welfare for corporations and if we (unfortunately) give such a hard time to American citizens who seek help in their time of need; then we should not be giving corporations a free pass.

When a corporation comes upon hard times, I’m more of the mind that they should go through a restructuring phase; where they right themselves and emerge from bankruptcy. I would like to add that I’d like to see as many jobs preserved in the process as possible. Mitt Romney says he was advocating for a restructuring vs. bailout strategy in regards to the auto industry.

There’s one problem with Mitt Romney’s thinking as it is applied to the U.S. auto industry however:

To go through the bankruptcy process, both companies needed billions of dollars in financing, money that auto executives and government officials who were involved with Mr. Obama’s auto task force say was not available at a time when the credit markets had dried up. The only entity that could provide the $80 billion needed, they say, was the federal government. No private companies would come to the industry’s aid, and the only path through bankruptcy would have been Chapter 7 liquidation, not the more orderly Chapter 11 reorganization, these people said.

In closing, there are established figures in the auto industry like Bob Lutz, the man behind the Chevy Volt, who are so furious with Mitt Romney that he’s mailed in an absentee ballot in the Michigan Republican primary for Rick Santorum. A lot of industry executives believe that there came a time where you had to put aside ideology and face reality.

Scott Walker’s terror campaign spreads to Spain

Using the catch-all excuse of austerity, Spain’s government is echoing that of Britain and Wisconsin’s governor Walker to roll back collective bargaining rights along with other laws that protected Spain’s workers.

In echoes of Wisconsin, the labor ‘reforms’ proposed by Spain’s conservative government would make it easier for companies to fire workers and pull out of collective bargaining agreements.

The country’s two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT, organized demonstrations in at least 57 cities under the slogan: “No to the Labor Reforms – Unfair to Workers, Ineffective and Useless to the Economy and for Employment.”

Limiting the rights of workers will do nothing to help the economy. It wasn’t workers who got us into this economic catastrophe. Furthermore, austerity is not helping matters in Britain either. As one American small business owner has said the problem for him is finding customers. Good luck doing that with all your doomsaying austerity.

So why don’t we listen to small business owners?


Instead of allowing the GOP and the NFIB to co-opt the voice of the small business owner; why don’t we actually listen to what the real ones have to say?

From the Atlantic Magazine:

As a business owner, I can tell you my challenge today is not policy uncertainty, tax liability or regulation. It’s finding customers. You’re not going to fix the consumer problem by putting band aids on businesses.

Listen, all the things you mention are the entrance fee to playing the game, but they won’t make you any more competitive than the next guy, and they don’t help me find new products & services or customers to buy them. Caveat: I’m a small business so I don’t get a huge benefit from corporate lobbying, etc.

I completely agree with you on the housing and especially mobility. Tough pill to swallow, but maybe we should be disincentivizing home ownership and giving more support to owners that rent their property.

They want customers! They have goods and services that need to be bought. So shouldn’t we be helping them get more customers in the door? Giving the 1 percent and bigger corporations tax holidays won’t get more customers in to the doors of these small businesses.

Wal-Mart unleashes terror campaign at Elwood Warehouse


When a warehouse in Elwood, IL violated Wal-Mart’s own ethics policies and denied workers the wages they have earned; instead of bringing justice to the situation Wal-Mart fired all 65 employees and let their contractor off scott-free. This occurred after the warehouse workers sued the contractor for wage theft.

Determined not to take it lying down, workers showed up Feb. 17 to fight back at a newly opened Walmart Express store here. And they brought with them a host of supporters from the public, including community, business, and political leaders.

I’d love to see these guys show up at major Wal-Mart stores all throughout the country. This can’t be the only instance of injustice against warehouse workers in the country either.

Race in America: White men can’t have black grandkids

Of course I really, really want to dig in to the Austin, TX police department for their apparent lapse in judgment, but we need to also analyze this a bit further.

Henson says he was put in cuffs and Ty was whisked away from him, then questioned repeatedly about whether she’d been kidnapped. After repeatedly informing the officers that they’d “screwed up” and demanding someone get on the phone to verify his relationship to Ty, Henson was finally released without an apology, and instead had to sit through multiple lectures about how the police were just doing their jobs.

While I’m glad to see that a female employee of a local recreation center and the APD, treated what they believed to be the kidnapping of a child of color seriously, the situation was not handled properly. While the APD said they were responding to a civilian call that the child was being kidnapped; this begs the question as to whether we as a society are able to believe that a white man can have a black child or grandchild. Also, if it was just the APD responding to a kidnapping call and treating it as such until they were able to discern the truth, then they should have issued a full-throated apology.

Principal in Philly encouraged cheating

This is the problem with the current mindset of education reform that has set in since the era of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind. When the utmost effort is made to solely judge teachers and schools by test scores, you’ll end up with principals promoting cheating like this story talks about.

And a state-commissioned review of 2009 PSSAs found a suspicious pattern of erasures on Cayuga’s fourth-grade reading tests, with the odds of them occurring naturally greater than 1 in 100 million.

“My son came home one day and said his teacher kept telling him to erase his answers and write different answers,” one parent said.

This is also similar to what we’ve heard about Michelle Rhee’s “eraser-gate” problems here in Washington, D.C. Now no one is saying that tests aren’t important, but there are also other factors that should be considered when judging a teacher and their school’s performance.

Religion used to justify everything that is historically wrong

This is really pathetic but it’s a truth that we need to remember. Religion is used to justify many hateful acts. This is one reason why I am not subscribed to any religion.

From Mother Jones Magazine on Loving v. Virginia:

Just over a month after the Lovings’ homecoming, police raided their place at 2 a.m., arrested the couple, and threw them in jail. Leon Bazile, a judge for the Caroline County Circuit Court, convicted them on felony charges. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents,” the judge wrote. “The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Photo by Thomas Hawk

So what’s wrong with the entertainment industry, or is it society?


Yesterday, the entertainment world lost another one of its icons in Whitney Houston. Before her there was Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and I’m sure a few others I’m forgetting at the moment. Many of these entertainment personalities had known issues with the fame and stress associated with their careers. In this regard, we can also look at music stars like Britney Spears and Mariah Carey who also suffered mental break downs. Even without the stress and fame, a celebrity often has the access and the ability to delve into an addictive lifestyle.

These issues aren’t just related to the music industry but they can be seen across the entire world of entertainment from actors to TV and radio personalities. It seems that the industry devours its stars from the inside out, then it moves on to a new batch. When you’re hot, you’re on fire and the entertainment industry will use you for all that you’ve got—until you’re star is no longer bright. In truth, many entertainers have issues adjusting to a “normal life” after their days of glory too.

As Jim Ruebens details in his book OverSuccess, we worship fame as a society. Everyone dreams of being a famous star of some sort. Look at the enormous lines of people waiting for hours to audition for shows like American Idol or the X Factor. The tragedy of it all is that once one of these aspiring fame-seekers make it, they can end up being damaged by the life they sought.

It’s seems to me that you should do your art because it’s something you truly love to do, not because it will bring you fame and fortune. You have to remember that the entertainment industry needs to make money and that often involves hyper-promotion of an individual to sell product.