Archive for the ‘Corporate’ Category

Apple’s Grapple

Monday, February 29th, 2016

UNMAC_NELSON_WHERE EXCUSES GO TO DIECreation of Homeland Security not enough?

Office of Total Information Awareness left for the day?

Is the heart-shaped flower of police militarization wilting?

Did D.A.R.P.A. go dark?

Has the Patriot Act pooped out?

Nope. Nor have the corporations and power brokers of the surveillance state yet tapped out American taxpayers. 

In other words, the FBI does not need the Genius Bar. 

From Feds to street-corner cops and home security companies, law enforcement has more than enough control, technology, and boots-on-the-ground for continued counterterrorism success. And probably lots of fun civil liberties secrets, too.

The FBI has all the tools it needs and plenty more to keep American citizens safe. And when I say “safe,” I mean relatively safe, just as we’ve been since September, 2001. Stuff will happen; that’s just the trajectory of history, especially when we’ve been messing around with it as much as we have. But in trying to force Apple to write new software that will help them unlock an iPhone belonging to the perpetrator of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the Bureau is overstepping its constitutional bounds. Apple worries that, if they comply, anyone who can grab or mimic their software will have access to every confidence Americans hope to keep electronically secure. (more…)

Born into Phone Plans

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Bigger than your worst nightmaresGUEST POST: 17-yr-old Grant Calderone on the future of phone plans.

If you’re asking me to shell out $749 for a smartphone, don’t market it to me like it’s a hamburger.

It’s hard to imagine Apple, Inc. desperate for anything, but the company has been squirming to return to prominence under the smartphone spotlight following the failure of its cheap and synthetic iPhone 5C.

We didn’t see the fall of tech’s Holy Roman Empire, but it was pie in the face of Steve Jobs’ legacy nonetheless. Now, with the the length of the iPhone 6+ exceeding six inches, infamous media manipulator Apple has detoured the public’s attention from design brilliance to bigness in one product. What’s next? A lifestyle clothing line featuring pockets fit for a smartphone king? A true visionary, MC Hammer sported iPants years ahead of their prime. (more…)

The Feast and the Furious

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Slower fast food drive-thru times may indicate less of a shit given

DRIVE-THRU_Where Excuses Go to DieWith the furious pace of America’s dumbing down, de-skilling, and low-waging, it’s no surprise that drive-thru speed of service is suffering. Yet after catching sight of a pedestrian nursing a chocolate shake, his facial expression as blank as a feeding infant’s, it suddenly becomes critical that I not have to wait too long for my own. The notion now planted, the countdown from image to intake shouldn’t be longer than six minutes, and two have been annoyingly consumed by the two block drive.

YOU SHUT YOUR FACE - WE PAY YOU IN PEANUTSWhen I finally reach the drive-thru, I’m certain that anything beyond four more minutes would be un-American. So the foreign-American up there pulling various levers and pushing little buttons is just going to have to snap it up. But wait! That’s not a compliant brown person at the window: it’s an uppity white kid! What’s he doing here? Oh, right, he’s one of those college grads pushing lower-skilled workers and immigrants even further down the occupational staircase.

No wonder my Jalapeno Chicken Squeezer isn’t already running down my neck-slide! The chow line is slow ’cause Hamilton just doesn’t care. And he’s not some trophy-collecting, millennial foot-dragger, either: he’s as boxed in as the fast food coworkers with whom he stood last month, demanding a bump in the $7.25 federal minimum wage. (more…)

EVIL INCARNATE: Lock-up Quotas

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Taxpayer penalties for unfilled corporate prison cells are a thing.

In hopes of extending this infographic’s reach (Huffington Post’s smart use of BJS data) I now present the biggest argument for the growing national dialogue on prison reform in America: Lock-up Quotas.

For years,  Morgan Stanley, Ameriprize, Barclays, Invesco, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, among others, have invested heavily in for-profit detention. So, if you’re someone who still dismisses incarceration as being for “those people,” perhaps you should follow the money. You see, the same idiots who mistakenly foreclose on people’s homes, may wind up deciding just how long your brother, sister, son or daughter are detained for public drunkenness. Operating at such a competency level, and with occupancy the highest priority for private prisons, all bets will soon be off with regards to who fills those beds.

Sound crazy? Sure it does, but at the rate we’re going it’s not hard to imagine a day when banking institutions and financial investment companies open pop-up prisons like so many Wal-Marts.

Without a complicit criminal justice system, ever more influenced by these financial entities, today’s lock-up quotas wouldn’t be so easily and enthusiastically enforced across the country. Have a look:

HuffPo_Private Prisons Infographic

Great Struggles in Reading

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Apple Inc. is named ringleader in bullying of book readers.

Apple Inc. is no longer just a monster; it’s more like the Eye of Sauron.

Bad AppleUS District Judge Denise Côte ruled against Apple Inc. last week, confirming that Apple, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Macmillan, and News Corp. ganged up on readers to fix e-book prices. Last year, Bad Apple settled a separate antitrust case over e-book price-fixing with the European Commission without admitting any wrongdoing. Here in America, the company maintains the role of iSavior, insisting it was just trying to break Amazon’s control of the publishing industry.

I’ve been watching this story irregularly, as these are unhappy events.

Back in the mid-90s, Apple Inc. was a failing company, so much so that by 1996-97 it was forced to swallow its meager pride and borrow loads of money from Bill Gates and Microsoft to stay afloat. Steve Jobs got $95 million in operating capital by selling $150 million in non-voting Apple stock to Microsoft, and he sweetened the deal with Apple’s silence over allegations that Microsoft had stolen its intellectual property in building Windows.  (more…)

The Future of the Internet? It’s Selling You Access.

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Nothing sells better than the manifestation of exclusivity

Let’s get something straight. While there may be good reason to be angry about new revelations related to our civil liberties, arguing over whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero isn’t where our focus should be.

TIME TO PAY UP SUCKERS_Where Excuses Go to DieRight before our eyes we’re watching ground being broken for a new marketplace: our recent national lack-of-privacy fear just created a commercial demand for PRIVACY™

Get it?

The conservative drumbeat that ObamaCare, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records represent expanded abusive government and/or a “continuation of policies” is a diversion. And CNN’s idiotic prizefights between privacy advocates and backers of the doozy that started it all – the Patriot Act, are distracting millions from the real government data collection issue. In fact, the part of this week’s surveillance state revelations that stinks the most is the one thing we’re not hearing about: money.

Fact is, telecom corporations don’t need to listen to your phone calls for you to fear they’re listening to your phone calls. They only need you to think that the tools and laws are in place in order to sell you a federally guaranteed “communication plan” or Internet “privacy.” Yup: this whole controversy is about the future of the Internet and monetizing our civil liberties. Anyone who thinks differently is naïve – or not paying attention. (On the other hand, considering that sales of Orwell’s 1984 rose by 7,000% this week, at least some are trying to widen their perception.) (more…)

There’s No Excuse for Die Hard 5

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

A GOOD DAY TO COPOUTWay too many things in this world feel like approximations of authenticity, and this one’s no exception.

It’s remarkable how often mimicry and repetition stand in for faithfulness these days, with fewer and fewer of us even bothering to learn the subtle skills it takes to know the difference (maybe ignorance is bliss?). The original Die Hard movie is an example of how much things have changed: its creators were enormously faithful to the novel on which it was based—late author Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever.

But four films later, what do the makers of A Good Day to Die Hard have to be faithful to? Apparently, only the franchise.  Where once the Die Hard series drove pop cultural references, the current film’s creators seem content to simply regurgitate and impersonate the franchise’s signature words and deeds. (more…)

Which Will Be Worse, iPhone 5 Anxiety or Presidential Attack Ads?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Last week, Apple took orders for 2 million iPhone 5s in less than 24 hours. Ha! In the coming weeks, I’m not sure which I’ll want to throat-punch first, the iPhone 5 or presidential campaign spots.

With those twin tsunamis crashing atop us all, which will bring out the worst in us? Will an unflattering video or photo taken on an iPhone 5 determine the outcome of the election? Will the next mass maiming happen at an Apple Store? In the back-and-forth about whether iPhone 5 will save the economy or fail in the marketplace, which candidate will take credit for its success, and which will blame the other for its failure? I can just feel it, too: at some point on November 6, one of my friends will have an excuse for not voting that will somehow be iPhone 5 related. 

While this anxiety may seem silly in many parts of the U.S., these questions are pieces of conversations I’ve been a part of or have overheard around town. In L.A. – a city where people pretend $4.20 a gallon doesn’t hurt and where keeping up with the Joneses or staying with the pack is a quality of life issue – this noise means something. Hence my prediction that some folks will be too caught up in the chatter to remember their right to vote, or too overloaded to care. (more…)

Home Depot’s Excuse for Data Mining – A Labor Day Special

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Home Depot’s profits are on the rise, after the company fired up its low-wage turnover meat to come out of hiding and help those intent on spending money. On the surface, it’s a new day and a new fiscal quarter for the home improvement giant. But the company’s government-like “Customers First Initiative,” the sensitivity training at the center of a renewed interest in customer satisfaction, is a both a clever exploitation of all things superhighway and a shotgun wedding for employees and customers. 

Having coddled the big spenders and contractors of a bygone building boom, Home Depot has now begun to capitalize on the socioeconomic similarities between its employees and its more typical patrons. Its new Customers First Initiative is a product of regime change at the company and includes action items like “Power Hours,” where employees drop what they’re doing and seek out wanderers who may need help.  (more…)