Friday, August 8, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

we doh need no steenkin OSHA

Take a sunny day stroll on the Third Avenue Bridge and you’d be forgiven for not looking down.

But look down next time.

And notice the cast iron sewer grates.
Flipped, it appears made in New Jersey by General Foundries, a cast-iron concern with a wide range of grates and manhole covers.

I even found the spec sheet for this particular grate
 on the bridge.

Except there’s a dirty little secret. 
This wasn’t actually made in New Jersey at all.

A New York state law requires the city to buy the cheapest products it can find that fit the specs sent out for bid.

Last December we ran a story about Bangladeshi garment workers, sewing clothing for the GAP.

These sewer grates are actually made in India, in West Bengal, right across the border from Bangladesh.

American foundry workers once earned $25 an hour or more. 

Their Bengalese counterparts with no safety standards
 make about $2 a day.

Working with molten metal at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, they wear no shoes or clothing because the sparks and heat would just set their clothing on fire.


We may as well give up this discussion about enforcing minimum wage when even basic manufacturing is in a global race to the bottom. 

And especially when our purchasing laws require it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

a tire by another other name would smell as


Just south of 37th Street along Broadway in midtown Manhattan is a tall, black rubber, very cool, sculptural something or other.

It’s fabricated from sliced auto tire riveted to a stainless steel armature, so it feels organic in the style of an insect or something that lives in the sea.

The artist is Chakaia Booker, a tall, 50-something African American woman of high style and imposing physical strength.

Says the artcore journal: 
“Her ability to link stereotypically masculine industrial objects – such as tires and steel — 
with the traditionally viewed feminine craft of weaving excels in these public works.”

This piece is wonderful but it’s not “GRIDLOCK” as the placard says it is.

This is actually “SHAPE SHIFTER”, another of her works as identified here.

They are all part of the SENTINEL installation along Broadway in the 30’s.

This is what GRIDLOCK actually looks like.

Perhaps the installation team got the info panels mixed up.

Might have been tired. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

freedom for the taking

There was a revelation last week that CIA officials actually hacked into the Senate Intelligence Committee servers.


This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, but Americans today could hardly care less.

Spying was always some other guy’s fear. 

Now spying is unremarkable.


How did we get from there to here so quickly?

Collect and store all your data. 
15 years of searches and email, your calendar and pictures, all your contacts and maps, where you go each day and what you do.

Google does business with every spy agency in the world.

We all know this, too.

We just don’t care anymore as long as our free stuff
 keeps working.

And that, in itself, is remarkable.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

and soon a one horse town

The English are facing harsh religious challenge within their school system.

In Birmingham, grade school curriculums teaching diversity and religious accommodation are being confronted by Islam.


Back in March, commissioners in Birmingham discovered a covert Muslim operation for the "Islamisation" of Birmingham public grade schools.

Dubbed “Operation Trojan Horse”, 

a 72 page detailed “blueprint” was discovered to curtail evolutionary teaching and cease recreational dancing, and to schedule a regular call to prayer via bullhorn from adults standing just off the school property.

Led by Muslim activist Tahir Alam, Islamic Parent Associations are demanding concealing wardrobe standards for Christian children.

Lesson plans introduced by Muslim teachers include ‘Western women are white prostitutes’, ‘homosexuals are to be stoned’ and my favorite, ‘evolution is not what we believe in’.

Local students are also being indoctrinated in Sharia law against their British parents wishes, and it is all getting to be too much.

For his part, the British Education Secretary Michael Gove has stated that England’s 20,000 schools will be required to actively promote “British Values” of tolerance, fairness, respect for other faiths, and the rule of law and democracy.

This has enraged local Islamic leaders.

One Christian teacher who testified to authorities about the violent intimidation used by Muslims in her school gave her testimony hidden in a supermarket parking lot, to conceal her identity and keep her family safe from harm.

Confrontation is brewing.

Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that refusing to accept British law and way of life “was not an option.”

I guess we’ll see about that.