I can guarantee you that in the seconds between the first blow to the right shoulder and the second blow to the left, you’re not thinking about anything else or anywhere else, and your full attention is on the here and the now.Water Dissolves Water: The Kyosaku
So, I’ve only read the lengthy quote I posted below, but I can’t help thinking the whole Amazon drone delivery thing was timed to distract from this amazing reporting which was clearly deeply researched and, in a different news cycle, would have distance-runner’s legs. It’s one thing to have nagging suspicion that it’s unpleasant to package up Amazon orders as your day job. This Guardian article is another thing.
The first item I see in Amazon’s Swansea warehouse is a package of dog nappies. The second is a massive pink plastic dildo. The warehouse is 800,000 square feet, or, in what is Amazon’s standard unit of measurement, the size of 11 football pitches (its Dunfermline warehouse, the UK’s largest, is 14 football pitches). It is a quarter of a mile from end to end. There is space, it turns out, for an awful lot of crap. […]
On my second day, the manager tells us that we alone have picked and packed 155,000 items in the past 24 hours. Tomorrow, 2 December – the busiest online shopping day of the year – that figure will be closer to 450,000. And this is just one of eight warehouses across the country. Amazon took 3.5m orders on a single day last year. Christmas is its Vietnam – a test of its corporate mettle and the kind of challenge that would make even the most experienced distribution supply manager break down and weep. In the past two weeks, it has taken on an extra 15,000 agency staff in Britain. And it expects to double the number of warehouses in Britain in the next three years. It expects to continue the growth that has made it one of the most powerful multinationals on the planet. […]
If Santa had a track record in paying his temporary elves the minimum wage while pushing them to the limits of the EU working time directive, and sacking them if they take three sick breaks in any three-month period, this would be an apt comparison. It is probably reasonable to assume that tax avoidance is not “constitutionally” a part of the Santa business model as Brad Stone, the author of a new book on Amazon, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, tells me it is in Amazon’s case. Neither does Santa attempt to bully his competitors, as Mark Constantine, the founder of Lush cosmetics, who last week took Amazon to the high court, accuses it of doing. Santa was not called before the Commons public accounts committee and called “immoral” by MPs. […]
Because Amazon is the future of shopping; being an Amazon “associate” in an Amazon “fulfilment centre” – take that for doublespeak, Mr Orwell – is the future of work; and Amazon’s payment of minimal tax in any jurisdiction is the future of global business. A future in which multinational corporations wield more power than governments. […]
"They dangle those blue badges in front of you," says Bill Woolcock, an ex-employee at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Rugeley, Staffordshire. "If you have a blue badge you have better wages, proper rights. You can be working alongside someone in the same job, but they’re stable and you’re just cannon fodder. I worked there from September 2011 to February 2012 and on Christmas Eve an agency rep with a clipboard stood by the exit and said: ‘You’re back after Christmas. And you’re back. And you’re not. You’re not.’ It was just brutal. It reminded me of stories about the great depression, where men would stand at the factory gate in the hope of being selected for a few days’ labour. You just feel you have no personal value at all." […]
It’s taxes, of course, that pay for the roads on which Amazon’s delivery trucks drive, and the schools in which its employees are educated, and the hospitals in which their babies are born and their arteries are patched up, and in which, one day, they may be nursed in their dying days. Taxes that all its workers pay, and that, it emerged in 2012, it tends not to pay. On UK sales of £4.2bn in 2012, it paid £3.2m in corporation tax. In 2006, it transferred its UK business to Luxembourg and reclassified its UK operation as simply “order fulfilment” business. The Luxembourg office employs 380 people. The UK operation employs 21,000. You do the math. […]
"It’s a form of piracy capitalism. They rush into people’s countries, they take the money out, and they dump it in some port of convenience. That’s not a business in any traditional sense. It’s an ugly return to a form of exploitative capitalism that we had a century ago and we decided as a society to move on from." […]
It’s a mirror image of what is happening on the shop floor. Just as Amazon has eroded 200 years’ worth of workers’ rights through its use of agencies and rendered a large swath of its workers powerless, so it has pulled off the same trick with corporate responsibility. MPs like to slag off Amazon and Starbucks and Google for not paying their taxes but they’ve yet to actually create the legislation that would compel them to do so.
It turned out a city was exactly what I needed at that moment. Only cities can shoot you down in this way, without any regard. I was not special, I realized, standing in the dark at the 40th street transit center.Emma Eisenberg: “The Last City I Loved: Philadelphia”
And yet, somehow, a great many people who are privileged seem to forget this – indeed, they seem to think exactly the opposite. They convince themselves that they have made successes of their lives from raw talent and intelligence and that everyone else who hasn’t succeeded must have failed either because they’re too stupid - as the recent speech of Boris Johnson seems to suggest – or too lazy (as the whole ‘strivers vs scroungers’ agenda supposes) or because they’ve made terrible decisions, can’t budget and so forth.A Few Words on Privilege (via tonyhschu)
To reject a pull request that eliminates a gendered pronoun on the principle that pronouns should in fact be gendered would constitute a fireable offense for me and for Joyent.The Power of a Pronoun - Blog - Joyent
In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death [and Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell], we’ve seen a lot of discussion of the larger societal issues that play into how and when people are perceived as criminals. There were hoodies, there were marches, and there were frank talks from parent to child about how to minimize the danger of being a young person of color. On the other side, there were justifications of George Zimmerman’s actions: a smear campaign against Martin’s character, and plenty of writers explaining that statistically, blacks are simply more dangerous to be around.
That framing ignores the realities behind the numbers. Here are five myths about crime and people of color.
In response to my Ms. Male Character video someone made this clever image illustrating what “female as default” might look like. Because we live in a strongly male-identified society the idea of Pac-Woman as the “unmarked” default and Mr. Pac-Woman as the deviation “marked” with masculinizing gender signifiers feels strange and downright absurd. While Pac-man and the deviation Ms. Pac-Man seems completely normal in our current cultural context.
Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.the brilliant Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (via mangolily)
I’ve read outraged responses to his column, from Ta-Nehisi Coates, to Hunter here at Daily Kos, to Salon and more, but still haven’t been able to shake off my own anger at Cohen (and his WaPo bosses)…
A week now and I’m still furious.
'How the hell kids gonna stay straight and help they neighborhoods if these schools getting shut down,' the man says with passion in his voice.LOLadelphia!: Walter George Smith Elementary School