Happy Saturday night, folks! It's Blue Gal from The Professional Left Podcast, bringing you this week's podcast round up. Be aware that these podcasts are also available on i-Tunes, and may not be safe for work.
The Bugle - The Daily Show's John Oliver and Comedian Andy Zaltzman cover immigration from both sides of the pond
An employee is a cost center. Everybody is replaceable. Somebody above you is trying to get rid of you to save costs. You have to understand what you are and make sure that you're always adding value, so that you're the last person to be whacked. --- Kevin O'Leary, "Shark Tank"
I caught some of "Shark Tank" for the first time the other night (it was an old episode), and I was absolutely appalled by one segment.This nice young couple came out with a nice, attractive sippy cup that had a bendable straw which allowed your kid to get all the liquid out of the bottom of the cup, it was made with BPA-free plastic that wouldn’t disrupt your kid’s hormones, and it was made in the good old U.S.A. — on purpose. This couple wanted to make an American product. Good for them!
Vulture capitalist Kevin O'Leary was quite insistent that the product should be made in China because it was cheaper. Hanna Lim explained that moms often go into children’s stores and say, “Show me what you have that isn’t made in China.”
O'Leary looked annoyed. Why would they do that? he wanted to know. (Oh, I dunno, maybe their long-established habit of lying about hazardous ingredients so they get contracts to make products CHEAPER FOR PEOPLE LIKE HIM?) You could tell he didn’t believe her, either. Just another bleeding heart, getting in the way of his God-given profit margin.
And it never even occurred to him that many of us are willing to pay extra to keep jobs in America. Because the only thing he thinks about is money, money, and more money.
Back when I was a department head for a Fortune 500 company, there was a story in the Times that impressed me enough to cut it out and keep it for many years. The author talked about the ethics of the bottom line -- that when officers and managers demanded certain impossible standards -- cheaper prices, impossible deadlines -- what they were really saying to their employees was, "I don't care how unethical you have to be, just get it done." Then they had the luxury of saying later, "I'm shocked that someone was cutting corners like that."
The author said they were just as guilty, because they made unethical behavior inevitable. (See "Jamie Dimon.")
If the only thing a vulture capitalist should care about is the bottom line, and abstract concepts like the greater good only get in the way, why stop there? Why not sell human organs, or run a specialty brothel for pedophiles? After all, when your job is shareholder value, why draw these artificial moral lines?
This kind of thinking, and the fact that these moral ciphers are hailed as heroes, is just another reason why we’re so very fucked.
On the bright side, it also makes it even more likely there will be some corrections when the class war pendulum swings back the other way. So we got that going for us, which is nice.
If you visited Crooks and Liars Thursday evening you may have had an unpleasant surprise. Instead of being able to read your most favorite blog, you were quickly taken to this Facebook page:
Even if you clicked the Okay button on that page you still weren't brought back here. Instead you just ended up on a blank page. You can actually see this in action on this YouTube video.
I noticed the problem early on and decided to remove the only Facebook code we had running on our home page, which was for the Facebook Like button that used to appear on the bottom left. As soon as that code was removed things went back to normal. Within minutes of fixing the problem on Crooks and Liars, I decided to look into the problem a little more and saw an article isolating it to Facebook Connect:
On Thursday, many major websites were taken down by an error that stemmed from Facebook, as Internet mainstays like MSNBC.com, CNN, Yelp and New York Magazine all sent users to redirect pages almost immediately upon loading.
Upon visiting the sites, users were redirected to an error page inside of the Facebook website, which seems to suggest that the error lies in Facebook Connect, the software platform that snakes Facebook’s reach throughout the entire backbone of the Internet. Connect is seen on many third-party-publisher websites in the form of the “Like” button — especially BuzzFeed, the viral news site which relies primarily on social media to spread throughout the Web.
Facebook Connect and Facebook Like are two separate beasts. Connect allows you to sign into a site with your Facebook login. We have that capability here at Crooks and Liars, but we don't use the traditional Connect method. Instead we have a custom implementation that works better with our user management system.
Boy, Philadelphia really dodged the Nemo bullet. We got maybe one or two inches of snow, while New England was hammered. Hope you all made it through okay and still have heat -- more than a half-million New Englanders are without power this morning:
BOSTON - A behemoth storm packing hurricane-force wind gusts and blizzard conditions swept through the Northeast overnight, where more than 650,000 homes and businesses in the densely populated region lost power and New Englanders awoke Saturday to more than 2 feet of snow.
More than 34 inches of snow fell in Hamden in central Connecticut, and an 82-mph wind gust was recorded down the coastline in Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched at least 2 feet , with more falling. Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and the three major airports serving New York City as well as Boston's Logan Airport closed.
Flooding was also a concern along the coast, and the possibility led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, Mass., said Fire Deputy Gary Smith.
All roads were ordered closed Saturday in Connecticut, where the storm made travel nearly impossible even for emergency responders who found themselves stuck on highways. In Maine, officials said numerous vehicles, including several state police cars, were also stuck in deep snow and warned stranded drivers to expect long waits for tow trucks or other assistance.
I am really excited that the long overdue battle over immigration reform and a path to citizenship has finally begun in earnest. While I am heartsick at the reason, it is good news that common sense gun safety laws are once again being discussed in this country almost two decades after we finally passed the Brady Bill. And the on-going, never ending budget fights remain urgently important in terms of stopping more damage to middle class and poor people in America. I know I will be engaging daily in the vitally important battles over all these issues, and I expect my progressive allies all over the country will be as well.
But I remain troubled, profoundly troubled, by the fact that fundamental economic issues seem to be the last thing on anybody’s minds in DC. Our economy may be slowly getting better, but we still have a very serious jobs crisis in this country- nowhere near to full employment and not on a path to get there for many years to come. Our manufacturing sector is still only limping along and our trade deficit remains catastrophically high. Our infrastructure is still badly in need of repair. Wages for most workers are still stuck in neutral or slipping compared to inflation, and a third of those who found new jobs after losing them in the great recession are being paid less than in the old job. Our housing market is getting stronger in some metro areas, but is still very weak overall in terms of prices, homeowners under water, and numbers of foreclosures and empty homes.
And looming over these economic problems is quite literally the elephant in the room: these gargantuan Too Big To Fail, and apparently Too Big To Jail, Wall Street financial conglomerates.
Obviously, George W. Bush has a lot of time on his hands these days. Apparently, he's using this time to explore his artistic sensibilities. Good for him. I find painting and creating art to be therapeutic and gratifying myself. While he was proud enough of his work to share it with his family, I'm not sure that he wanted to share it with the rest of the world.
Personal information stolen from several email accounts belonging to people close to the Bush family reveals the nation’s 43rd president has developed an affinity for painting himself bathing, of all things.
Photos included in an information dump turned over to The Smoking Gun include President George H.W. Bush in the hospital, the elder Bush posing with President Bill Clinton, a family photo of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and even President George W. Bush posing with a cardboard cutout of himself wearing a mustache and beret.
A hacker going by the name “Guccifer” claimed the stolen messages include addresses, phone numbers and email addresses that go directly to both former presidents and their families, along with a security code for a gate outside the younger Bush’s home in Dallas.
In addition to the beefcake shots imagined by Shrubby, the hacker uncovered information that George HW Bush was far more ill when he was hospitalized late last year for bronchitis than was previously released. Contingency funeral arrangements were being made, and reportedly, W felt petulant about the thought that Bill Clinton might be asked to speak at his father's funeral instead of him.
At this time, the Bush family has issued no comment, but given the warrantless wire-tapping that occured under the Bush administration, I'd be curious if they would try to claim this an outrageous violation of their privacy.
Lots of talk in the media this week about Chris Christie and his weight, a topic on which he is a little touchy. Well, so am I. So is just about everyone in America who struggles with excess pounds.
And I don't believe in blaming people for their weight, because there are so very many factors out of a person's control, things that only make obesity worse. (Like our GMO'd, HFCS-saturated Frankenfood.) So this isn't fat shaming. (Except for the fat between his ears that makes him act like a wingnut douchebag. Sorry, couldn't resist!)
After Hurricane Sandy, he was running all over the central and northern New Jersey coast, telling reporters how he was just fine and how it proved he was healthy. Well, there's a big frickin' difference between the North Jersey coastline (about 100 miles) and the entire United States.
I was the press secretary on a Philadelphia mayoral campaign, and let me tell you, those four and a half months were the most stressful thing I ever did -- and by that, I mean the physical stress. Down time is extremely rare, every hour of the day is scheduled and you're always on the run -- or putting out fires. It is incredibly stressful. (It was the only time in my entire adult life that I drank. At lunch. When there was enough time to eat, I mean.)
If I was lucky, I got to bed by midnight and was in the office at 8 a.m. And if I was really lucky, the campaign manager didn't wake me up at 3:30 a.m., screaming over the phone about how a local news outlet covered our candidate. I was usually part of the entourage when the candidate did an appearance, and was sitting in the audience every time he was on a panel. (There were a lot of them.) I went to the town halls, the neighborhood forums, the spaghetti dinners.
When the election was over, and our candidate lost, I crawled into bed and stayed there for weeks. I didn't even read a newspaper for six months -- I had to detox. And I decided then and there that I would never work on a campaign again. I didn't think I'd survive.
And unlike presidential campaigns, I wasn't flying all over the country.
I remember reading somewhere that the reason you see so many inexperienced young reporters on the White House beat is that they were the only ones healthy enough to tolerate the campaign lifestyle and follow their candidate wherever he went, and that if their guy won, they automatically got the promotion. (I also read that the more experienced reporters just refused to do it. I can relate to that!)
During his 2008 run, Barack Obama was quoted as complaining about how exhausting his schedule was, and how much he wanted a day off. (That's how I knew Newt wasn't a serious candidate -- when he and his wife took a vacation at the height of primary season. Just. Not. Done.)
Chris Christie is the guy who took a limo because he couldn't walk the 100 yards from his helicopter to his kid's baseball game. This is not a guy who's going to be able to travel all over the country for the kind of insane two-year campaign cycle we have now. I just don't believe he's physically capable of it. Hell, neither am I.
So unless he suddenly loses a whole lot of weight and gets in shape, I'm not going to take him seriously and neither should you. He may mount a campaign, he may hire people, but I seriously doubt he can get the job done.
This ain't fat shaming. It's plain old common sense.