Fashionistas in our time: an anti-review

    In B School, there's a classic tale of unbalanced industry influence in Vlasic Pickles v Wal-Mart only a decade ago, where Wal-Mart got Vlasic to offer a gallon of pickles at bargain basement prices, and then wouldn't let them stop til bankrupt - a variant of Sinbad's Old Man of the Sea.

    A similar case of riding it to the bottom is portrayed in Andrew Morgan's The True Cost, an expose on the effects of "Fast Fashion", when a Bangladeshi sweatshop manager notes the pressure to lower his cost per shirt from ridiculous to subridiculous, all to allow the US shop to sell a shirt for $3.

    One of the claims of international trade is that the low pay of workers will eventually rise to pull people out of poverty, that a rising tide lifts all boats. This is true in the case of China, which has seen wages rise hugely over the last 3 decades. But it's arguably a fantasy or missing context in the case of the Bengal shop where a female seamstress starts at $10 per month and even after years is forced to send her daughter to live with her mother, seeing her twice a year, in order to afford the cost of living, all the fees from child care to school to food. It's a fantasy in the Cambodian factory where workers asking for $160 a month are locked in a room and beaten. 

    librewolf's picture

    Can We Arrest the Congress for Robbery and Attempted Murder?

    open gravesMy life is on the line as are the lives of millions of others. My continued existence depends upon access to an expensive mix of medications and medical care for I live with a double-lung transplant. My yearly out-of pocket expenses are already over $20,000 a year. With the "improvements" proffered by Trump and the Republicans, that amount will at least quintuple - just for the insurance, and forget about deductibles and co-pays. Without a medical "lifeline" I will die. I suspect that most of us will have someone we know or love who will lose their lives.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Today in Jedi Studies (Self-Promotion Edition)

    Yesterday, I had a small humor piece published by McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

    It's called "Questions for the Jedi Vice-Chair of Graduate Studies"

    Do I absolutely have to construct my own lightsaber to graduate?

    Will you accept 30 hours of transfer credit from the Dark Side?

    How will being at one with the Force prepare me for today’s job market?

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Moral Necessity of the Civil War

    So, Donald Trump said some stupid and ignorant things about the Civil War. Not much of that is worth discussing: the man says stupid and ignorant things because, well, he's stupid and ignorant, so there isn't much to analyze. The one part we should stop to think about is Trump's conviction that the Civil War should have been avoided. That's not an idea that he came up with on his own. He doesn't come up with ideas on his own. He picks them up from outside. This idea has been around a long time.

    Topics: 
    Richard Day's picture

    TRUMP FEELS OUR CONSTITUTION ARCHAIC

    Constitution of the United States, page 1.jpg

     
    ALLRIGHTY THEN
     
    And many others follow this lead.
     
    Of course this just underlines the fact that the Main Stream Media sucks?
     

    Abortion: Unifying Issue

    There are some who focus on class and economic issues, others who look at social fairness and identity politics. Abortion rights are critical to both.

    A UCSF study notes "Women who attempted to get abortions but were denied are three times as likely to fall into poverty than those whose efforts were not blocked," adding " one of the main reasons women sought abortions in the first place was monetary: 45 percent were on some form of public assistance and two-thirds had incomes below the federal poverty line".

    So cutting access to abortion is an attack on the poorest classes,and a direct cause of increased poverty, "statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line" as well as more likely to stay in an abusive relationships.

    Views on abortion have become a litmus test for the Supreme Court, 31 abortion clinics closed in 2016, as have 75% of clinics open in 1990, especially accelerating since the 2009 assassination of George TIller and the GOP's full-court press 3 years later.

    War by Other Means: Citizens United v. Hillary

    When the Supreme Court ruled for Citizens United in early 2010, it was largely seen as opening the floodgates for untracked money, including corporate gifts, into presidential races.

    The ruling was especially significant for Hillary Clinton, as the challenge to the FEC was over small non-profits being able to pool whatever money to create DIY attack ads on... (drum-roll please)... HILLARY!!!

    Of course the FEC still maintained some control over the process, as PAC money can't be directly coordinated with the candidate - an arm's length relationship must be maintained.

    HA HA HAAAAAHHHH HHEEEE HEEE GIGGLE KERPLAT SNICKER GUFFAW WHEEEE HAWWW WE BE HAVING SUM FUN NOW!!!!!! PANT PANT PANT....

    Sorry, I'm back. Yes, that's what the law claims.

    Now check out the "arms length" relationships for just 1 such PAC, the eponymously named "Make America 1 Again", aka "Defeat Crooked Hillary" or "Keep the Promise I"...

    Why Bernie Matters

    Opponents of Bernie Sanders have been having a field day. Over the past couple of weeks, the Vermont Senator has taken a number of shots. A writer at Slate rather absurdly knocks him for 1) hosting a popular podcast allegedly characterized by shoddy production values and softball questions.

    Eric

    In the spring of 1953, we suddenly shifted from being occupiers to allies. In Bonn the US Representative was no longer High Commissioner, just an Ambassador.

    And we were no longer required to wear our uniforms off duty but rather encouraged not to.

    The personal consequence was that my contact with Eric rather than being mildly disapproved by the battery commander became a non-issue. That contact mostly consisted of Saturday nights drinking white wine at the main local bar, the University Club, or rather the German of that. University was something like Universitatis, and I haven't a clue what the word for Club was.

    Interview with the Umpire

    Having put off reading Michael Wolraich's "Unreasonable Men" on the Roosevelt/La Follette saga for almost 3 years, the following exchange sprung from my wish to snapshot my reactions before I forgot, as well as take advantage of having the author in our midst. Being historical but somewhat akin to our times, the book provides the opportunity to look at a more crystallized version of today's issues, institutions and personalities. Rather than trying to keep the cross-hairs on a confusing, ever-moving target, we can evaluate these events more leisurely, with the luxury of hindsight and room to contemplate, without getting mired down in too much "he said, she said", thus avoiding the trap of “having a dog in that fight”. Sometimes our emotional attachment to events seems to be our biggest hindrance to grasping them.

    This "Entrevista" took place over email on Michael's return from Mexico ("don't destroy Dagblog while I'm gone!") largely as a single block of questions focused on the book's events and a couple followups. Many thanks to Michael for playing along and giving us a chance to play hookie from the exhausting current political chaos. A followup installment is expected to dig more into contemporary parallels.

    For readability, my questions and comments are in bold or brackets, Michael's in normal type.

     – Peracles Please

    Richard Day's picture

    THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES

    Hca33.jpg

    The Emperor's New Clothes is a famous fable from afar.
    Or created in another age OF REASON?
    The fable posits that there are these two con artists who invade the empire and somehow become part of the King's Entourage.
    And somehow, these cons talk the king into believing that they are tailors who might produce the perfect line of clothes and that this king would prove himself to be at the forefront of this new line.
    So these con artists feign to present to the leader this new line of clothing that involves invisible thread.
    And they enthrall this great leader with their invisible threads.
    And this King ends up parading naked in front of his throng of adorers.
    In front of his dominion.
    So this six or seven year old speaks up:
    THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!
    And the crowd goes nuts, so to speak.
    And the crowd laughs in unison.
    And the King is embarrassed.
    hahahahhahahahah

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Who's Really Woke?

    I wanted to share a piece I wrote about a troubling rift inside the black community.

    http://thyblackman.com/2017/04/21/whos-really-woke/

    Unrisible Irrascible Men

    Michael Wolraich's Unreasonable Men is an engaging exercise in political map making, following the fashions of the times with the entrenched interests of every year. The period in this case is the turn to the 20th century up to pre-WWI America, when her social development lagged significantly behind her economic success, but I found myself wishing for similar vignettes in other ages and historical climes. It's not the most weighty of tomes - finished in 1 day - but I'm not alone in not having time for say Carl Sandburg's 6-volume set on Lincoln - Unreasonable Men is more in the spirit of Hamilton, the Musical - a theater piece you can enjoy and put down, though revert to and contemplate with pleasure.

    Maleing it in: Masculine Mystique & the Savior Complex

    Elaine Chao, Washington veteran, noted at Politico's recent "Women Rule" that, 'Men don’t prepare that much, so why do we have to?' and continues "“I prepare so much more than some of my male colleagues,” Chao tells POLITICO editor Carrie Budoff Brown in the latest “Women Rule” podcast interview. “And I know women who are prepared more and we get ridiculed and it's like, ‘Oh, my gosh. She's just preparing so much. She's such an automaton. Can't she just like, wing it?’”"

    The reason, of course, is our millennia-old mythos of men being born for glory and greatness, ready to roll, walk-ons for greater things. We call this "The Natural", like that Robert Redford movie.

    You might think of it as Magic Johnson vs. Larry Byrd - roughly comparable skill & success, but in popular lore largely "the guy with the screaming God-given talent vs the Hoosier who always had to work so hard". 

    A Path to the Maryland Governor's Mansion for Ben Jealous

    Former NAACP President Ben Jealous has indicated that he will compete for Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and the right to square off against Larry Hogan in next year's general election. Mr. Jealous faces a daunting task. In order to take on the "deeply popular" Republican, he'll have to beat a slate of other Democrats while likely facing staunch opposition from Maryland's Democratic Party. 

    Read the rest of my op-ed here. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-governor-jealous-201...

    Chicago Cops Live Up to Their Reputation

    Bad enough that United decided to bump four seated passengers on a short hop for Chicago to Kentucky. Bad enough it was not for other passengers but for 4 United employees who United at the last minute wanted to get to Louisville fast. Even worse followed when only 3 passengers accepted offers to leave the flight.

    No, what was the worst thing about it was that a Chicago cop treated a 69 year old Asian American physician like.....well like Chicago cops treat people in Chicago every day. The Obama DOJ summed the Chicago Police Department business as usual in a report from Jan. 13, 2017:

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    #GolfLiesMatter

    “I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

    Donald J. Trump

    Topics: 

    Charting Progress: Workers' Pair of Dice

    In discussing Kaep & whether he's being blackballed, I came across some graphs at Business Insider showing the typical NFL player's increase in salary - and the steadily decreasing chance he'll make it there:

     

    And then I thought of the implications for workers in general - what's our expected salary and performance trajectory, how many times will we be "traded", or have bad seasons or not make the cut in spring training and be pushed down to the minors?

    Where would *you* chart? Because we have the technology, the analytics to chart *everyone*, whatever industry. Like in sports, we have a window of productivity, peak performance, and then we often fall off or find a different groove and work from there.

    Projection Some: Russia's Sea Change

    In 2014, with Russia's shipyard lease in Crimea to expire in 2017 and the deal to extend it another 30 years on the rocks with Yanukovich's ouster, Putin brazenly occupied the peninsula militarily, invoking historical precedents and the image of "Greater Russia". But despite Donbas Ukrainians dreams of uniting with Russia, Putin's heart didn't seem to be into the conflict so much as reinvigorating Crimea, and the only significant action since was a brief push towards Mariupol in the presumed attempt to give Russia an easy land route to Crimea. But aside from laughable attempts to get Russian tourists to keep Crimea afloat economically with horrendous lines at the ferry, the Russians started rebuilding their Sevastopol fleet, where most of their global naval power is housed, within weeks of occupation (scroll down for better pics of the whole fleet).

    But perhaps Putin had a change of heart or wisdom about maintaining the bridge or land route to Crimea, as Russia's new $1.4 billion base is meant to open in 2020, not in Sevastopol, but in Novorossiysk heading down the Black Sea's east coast towards Sochi - firmly in undisputed Russia.

    This Black Sea investment might not have seemed the greatest idea what with Russia's relationship with Turkey on the rocks, but suddenly amidst significant surprise, Russia's Turkish relations vastly improved (with Turkey & Russia now arrying out naval maneuvers together in lieu of the short-term gas embargo). Erdogan also took advantage of the "beginning of a beautiful relationship" to crack down on Islamic dissenters at home and take off the gloves as to Kurdish rebels in Syria. [Some think Erdogan is just playing East off West, but it's hard to see what he wants from the West at this point, aside from a foil and scapegoat]. Putin's obvious benefit? Anything in the Black Sea comes out the Bhosporus Straits, i.e. through good ol' ancient Byzantium, aka Istanbul.

    Hannah Drake's picture

    Dear Colin Kaepernick: All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy.

    All you had to do was throw the ball, boy. We concealed this auction block well, didn’t we, boy? You didn’t know you were on sale, boy? Didn’t we tell you to just run, boy? Entertain us, boy. Win championships for us, boy. Stay in your place, boy. Don’t you dare get these other slaves, Black men riled up, boy. Didn’t we pay you enough, boy? Why can’t you just be satisfied, boy? Stand up and salute this flag, boy. Honor your allegiance to the system, boy. Didn’t we give you enough money to entice you, boy? How dare you reject your master, boy. Didn’t you like your name in lights, boy? Didn’t we stroke your ego, boy? All you needed to do was play the game, boy. Keep dancing for us on Monday Night, boy. Make us rich, boy. We don’t care if you get hurt, boy. Our job is to break bucks like you, boy. Didn’t you know boys like you come a dime a dozen, boy? We can replace you with no thought, boy. Make sure our new boy is a controlled boy. Thought you knew we don’t trust Negroes to be the quarterback anyway, boy. We did you a favor, boy. How dare you turn your back on us, boy. If you are kneeling, it will be before us, boy. Ain’t this game your God, boy? Don’t you see how everyone else bows down before us, boy? Don’t you know what we do to Negroes like you, boy? Back in the day, we let Negroes like you sway from the trees, boy. Make an example outta you, so other Negroes will stay in their place, boy. Don’t you smell that strange fruit in the air, boy? All you had to do was just shut up, boy. We don’t have to kill you, boy. All we have to do is silence you, boy.

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