Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Do you mind if I whine?

I'll share the wine.

I've done some stupid things in my life.  Like the time I'd stopped at the store, fell  out of the car with my butt on the pavement and feet still in the driver's seat; with my daughter, then tiny, screeching "whar's my ice cream?"

Or, the time I was coming out of B*ger K*ng (after getting ketchup I'd forgotten in those little cups for my then little brother) losing a flip flop and going down on my knees; with the ketchup all over my face in front of God and everyone, then my bro asking "where's the ketchup?"

Or, the time I was walking out of a restaurant and stepped off the curb leaving my butt in the air & face planting on the pavement.

But, none of those things left me in too much pain, mostly embarrassed and I could laugh after it was over.

Sunday, playing with Hunter; I was sitting on the floor with her trying to help her find a crayon that had rolled under the cedar chest.  I went down sideways trying to get a better view under there, and fell hard on my elbow.  I heard two pops.  Yesterday, I went to my doc, and YEP two fractured ribs.  At least this time, no one saw me except Hunter. But, I will say even with pain pills, I couldn't sleep last night; every time I moved, it hurt like HECK!  So, that's my whine for today.
Now, with it being leap year my friend Emmy Lou and I went out to find us some dudes to propose to.  We got dressed up for the occasion!  I don't understand what happened, do you?
Have a great day,
and I'll try to keep my whining to a minimum!

Mike Daisey: The Man Who Outed Apple’s Abysmal Labor Practices in China - The Daily Beast

Mike Daisey: The Man Who Outed Apple’s Abysmal Labor Practices in China - The Daily Beast:

For one, he said, there was an internal email by Apple CEO Tim Cook, shortly after the Times’ first article, in which Cook said that “Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive.”

“I was amazed that he chose to make the dominant tone of that email fury,” Daisey said. “I think that was the honest moment of that email and it speaks to something very sad about Apple. At the heart, Apple’s been infected with a very serious arrogance and has been for a very long. They’re really a great company when they’re fighting the odds. When they’re not, it’s bad. I have a good friend who’s a vice president at Microsoft, and years ago he told me, ‘The only people you would not want to see with a monopoly more than us is Apple. You think we’re assholes. You have no idea.’ And I think we’re seeing that come true.”

Night Patrol


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Playgoer: MTC's Big Buy

The Playgoer: MTC's Big Buy:

So I'm up early today and I decide to tune into "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, and what do I see a commercial for? Manhattan Theatre Club! No, not one of those 15-second blips at the end of the commercial-reel that stations reserve for cheap local ads. A proper 30-second glossy spot that I assume is going out nationally--or at least on the East Coast (6-6:30am time slot), or just the greater metro area if that's possible.

I can't find any video online yet to post, but basically it's Cynthia Nixon telling us all how wonderful MTC is. Yes, also a plug for her star turn in Wit, but that's just mentioned along the way. (And, no, she's not bald in this one.)

Why do I find this at all interesting? Well, it seems pretty unprecedented--a nonprofit theatre company spending BIG bucks on a nationally broadcast cable news show to basically advertise its brand. (Using Nixon and Wit as a hook, their latest "product.")

East River Snub: Macy's 2012 July 4th Fireworks Will Be Over Hudson River AGAIN: Gothamist

East River Snub: Macy's 2012 July 4th Fireworks Will Be Over Hudson River AGAIN: Gothamist:

For the fourth year in a row, all Macy's is giving to most of New York City on July 4th is a giant middle finger. The company has quietly announced that they've chosen to bring their fireworks spectacular back to the Hudson River this year, meaning residents of Brooklyn, Queens, and the east side of Manhattan will be screwed on the holiday, while the west side and NEW JERSEY get to gaze up at the beautiful fireworks show.

Be still my heart.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Went to the Pre-Oscar Celebrity Gifting Suites and All I Got Was This Sense of Disgust

I Went to the Pre-Oscar Celebrity Gifting Suites and All I Got Was This Sense of Disgust:

Beverly Hills is not a real place in the real world. Beverly Hills is what happens when you take the "Beverly Hills" pavilion at Epcot Center, expand it a thousandfold, and populate it with actors playing real people.

I had never been to L.A. before, avoid watching the Oscars at all costs, and am incapable of identifying celebrities on sight, and yet I went to Beverly Hills this week to write about "gifting suites," those peculiar little pre-Oscar-week institutions that exist in order to shower America's neediest celebrities with free luxury items. Companies that want to promote themselves pay PR firms for the privilege of setting up a table at the gifting suite; the PR firm wrangles celebrities to show up and collect a ton of free crap; the media covers it as an event, making the whole thing worthwhile.

I was there in search of free stuff. Foolish. In Beverly Hills, nothing is free unless you absolutely, positively don't need it.

Hot New Smartphones from Mobile World

Smartphones are exploding onto the scene in the week at Mobile World Congress, a veritable smorgasbord of hot new mobile technology in Barcelona. whereas keeping phones that do not begin with "i" straight isn't a straightforward task, we've collected some highlights from this week's mobile extravaganza to assist you kind the wheat from the chaff. From absurdly high resolution cameras to pill copycat capabilities, makers are going all out to form their phones stand except the pack.

1. HTC One X
Mobile gadgets could also be multiplying like rabbits over at Samsung, however HTC desires you to understand that it's still simply as relevant as ever. the corporate that broke mobile ground with the HTC Evo 4G features a new flagship phone in store: the HTC One X. The One X can run its own flavor of the recent new Android four.0 operating system out of the box, and with support for 4G LTE, NFC for nifty tricks like Google Wallet, Beats audio, and a large four.7", beautiful 720p Super LCD2 screen. sadly, the the U.S. version will not pack a monster quad-core processor like its European counterpart, however this powerhouse still appearance to offer Samsung's army of Galaxy devices a run for its cash. look forward to it on AT&T among ensuing few months.

2. Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia features a handsome new line of top-notch Windows phones, however the corporate likes to pull out all the stops when it involves cameras. The Nokia 808 PureView is not up to the Lumia line's standards in nearly each regard, however it will boast an completely absurd 41MP camera. The phone includes support for up to 48GB of expandable memory for all of these pixels, however since it runs on Nokia's own operating system instead of Windows Phone or Android we will not imagine it seeing any quite mainstream adoption. Nokia's 808 PureView could also be very little over selling stunt, particularly considering that HTC's Titan II Windows phone combines mega-megapixelage with an really otherwise respectable phone, however it's still a motivating feat from an organization wanting to revitalize its whole with some seriously beautiful smartphone optics.

3. Samsung Galaxy Beam
Your head may well be reeling from attempting to untangle the net of Samsung's Galaxy-branded devices, however the Galaxy Beam will have a reasonably notable trick up its sleeve. As its name would counsel (in a refreshing flip of logical gadget-naming), the Beam packs a built-in projector thus you'll be able to share pictures, video, or shows on your surface of alternative up to 50" wide, that positive beats taking turns peering into its 4" screen. The notably bright fifteen lumens projector will keep its charge for 3 straight hours of projected video playback, that ought to meet most skilled desires — we'd positively go to sleep somewhere within the second hour of PowerPoint slides. The phone runs on an older version of Android (2.3) for the time being, however Samsung claims that Android four.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is en route.

4. Nokia Lumia 610
Windows smartphones are arguably simply as capable because the Android and iOS devices on the market, however they've remained a tricky sell attributable to Windows Phone 7's late entry into the mobile fray. With the Lumia 610 — a brand new entry-level Windows handset — Nokia hopes to lure customers in with a listing of options and a bare-bones value purpose.

Being touted because the "most affordable" Lumia smartphone, the 610 is supplied with all the social networking and media functionality you'd expect from a Windows Phone device, together with Twitter, Facebook, yet as integrated GPS and music apps. The phone is being marketed to a somewhat younger audience, and its rounded chassis are offered in multiple colours to broaden its attractiveness. If your interest is piqued by Nokia's Lumia line however the high-end Lumia 900 sounds like overkill, the 610 may simply be the phone for you.

5. Asus PadFone
While some corporations try to blur the road between pill and smartphone, Asus features a totally different plan: a phone that matches within a pill. The new PadFone — other than having the foremost literal name of any handset we've ever seen — could be a high-end Android four.0 smartphone that includes a four.3" HD show, 8-megapixel camera, and a speedy Snapdragon S processor.

These stats alone would create it a worthy contender for your smartphone greenbacks, however the PadFone has another trick up its sleeve: an optional pill accent that not solely stretches the smartphone's show to ten.1", but also. extends its battery life. When plugged in to the pill, you'll be able to use the PadFone simply as you'd the other Android pill, and even take calls as you normally would employing a Bluetooth headset. The PadFone is scheduled to ship in April, though pricing for the handset and its accessories haven't however been revealed.

Keep in mind that almost all of those phones will not be hitting shelves for a moment however, thus carrier and pricing details are scarce. Still, it is not a foul plan to understand what is on the horizon before you register blood on your next two-year carrier contract — particularly since this wave of devices has some compelling quirks.


Weekend with Punkin Pie...

Photo's out of order.
Don't ask me why.

Serious business.

Hopper Henry was a Prince, or
should I say Princess!

Hunter Emilee, today you are six years old.  I can hardly believe it.  You are my sunshine, my hope,
my heart.  Happy Birthday, Punkin!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

At home: Ai Weiwei -

At home: Ai Weiwei -

The conditions of his release from arbitrary detention are extremely restrictive and are the same as those often used to persecute dissidents and political activists in China. He cannot leave Beijing and is required to call the secret police to let them know every time he wants to leave his house so they can follow him everywhere he goes.

“They follow me in cars and take photos of me from bushes and when I go eat in a restaurant they book the table next to me and try to record everything I’m saying,” Ai says.

He is also not supposed to do any interviews, especially with foreign reporters, who are not under the control of the oppressive, pervasive Chinese censorship regime. But Ai wants to speak up for the many supporters, far less famous than he is, who have also been subjected to persecution because of his refusal to back down or stop questioning one-party rule and abuses of power in his country.

He talks about Liu Zhengang, his former business manager, who almost died while in detention at the same time as Ai. And he speaks with great respect for human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, who he says lost his licence to practise law five months ago for nothing more than saying Ai’s detention was illegal.

“Police made fun of him because other lawyers have mistresses and luxury cars and make so much money but here he is doing human rights,” Ai says. “They told him they could break him and his family and make them all die.”

Foxconn Hires Disaster Specialists


Foxconn has hired Burson-Marsteller—a global public relations company which specializes in dealing with enormous PR disasters.

They handled the Tylenol poisonings, the Bhopal disaster, Three Mile Island, the private military group Blackwater when it was accused of murdering and torturing in Baghdad, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, and the Argentinian military junta led by General Jorge Videla who helped 35,000 people to disappear.

Read the details
here. "The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"- A Powerful Mixture of Humor and Truth "The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"- A Powerful Mixture of Humor and Truth:

However The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is not meant to be a searing indictment against big business through a burst of idealism, but rather an offering of information in an attempt to remove blinders the audience never realized they had on in the first place. Daisey also avoids the trap of so many message theatre pieces; that of hitting the audience over the head with the same point time and again. Instead he also fills his story with numerous moments combining humor and familiarity, pointing out issues all computer users can relate to. Such as the problem of forced upgrades, "just when you have everything on your computer synched the way you like it," or Jobs' habit of discontinuing one popular product and replacing it with another, leaving the faithful no choice but to follow him to the next big thing. It's Daisey's amiability and quiet manner that gives him a sort of everyman quality, making him the prefect guide on this sometimes sobering journey. Daisey also talks directly to the audience at points, discussing theatre and its cultural impact while charting Jobs' rise, fall and rise again in the world of Apple. One of the funniest moments in the play occurs when Daisey imagines what it was like when Apple executives asked Jobs to return to the fold and save the company, after his being previously forced out.

Direction by Jean-Michele Gregory is quite good, letting the story unfold under Daisey's cadence, with moments shifting from the hysterically funny to the quite serious and back again. The lighting by Seth Reiser is nicely appropriate - though there's an interesting reason for the techniques used, as the show explains.

Funny, shocking, and at times painful to hear, The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is a story that all computer lovers, human rights advocates and everyone else should make a point of seeing.

LeRoy Bowen, 1930-2012


LeRoy Bowen, my father-in-law, will have a memorial today in the house he loved, overlooking Puget Sound in West Seattle, where he knew the neighborhoods and businesses like the back of his hand. He'll be remembered there by his family and friends, but I will be missing—because I am of the theater, I am here instead of there, so I wanted to set down a few words on this day.

My favorite times with LeRoy were always when Jean-Michele and I had just flown back from New York—we'd be jetlagged a little, it would be evening, and when we got to the West Seattle house it would be dinner time. LeRoy would cook, because Virginia, my mother-in-law, had abdicated that job a long time ago, and he would make his LeRoy Dinner—basically, exactly the same meal over and over again, with minor variations. It looked like this usually:

—Chicken or pork, which was often very tender, cut off the bone in pieces, made with "LeRoy's Recipe"—which, now that he has passed, I am allowed to finally reveal is Tony Roma's Spice Rub, which he would often reveal with a flourish and laugh, which made him look like a crazy elven cook.

—Root vegetables, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and a few more, broiled in a dish in the oven, often made with "LeRoy's Recipe".

—A salad, made with simple lettuce, slices of tomato and cucumber, with dressing on the side to taste.

—A side dish of some sort, often a few artichoke hearts or asparagus roasted on a pan in the oven with a little olive oil.

—Wine, and plenty of it, if Virginia had her say, which she usually did.

This is a pretty humble meal, and if it doesn't sound humble it becomes so because in an OCD-like manner this was what dinner was, night after night. I really can't possibly express how often they make this exact meal. I've had this meal almost a hundred times, if not more. Now, there are other recipes—for instance, for special occasions LeRoy could cook an amazing salmon, because he bought the best in Seattle and he had a trick to it...the trick being that he used "LeRoy's Recipe".

But on that first night it was never salmon—it was always the standard dinner, which I have learned to see as being very special in its own right. We would sit around the dining table, and it was like a debriefing—and that's often what it would feel like. At that table we told some of our first stories of India, I talked about Shenzhen, I filled them in on what it was like to barter on Tanna—we would trade the stories back and forth, and exotic locales were weighed equally with family news and the latest from the yarn shop.

When I look back now at those dinners, I see a chain that illuminates my evolution—checking in this way, relaxed after a long trip, on a night spent for travel so there is nowhere else to be, there was always this magical breath that hung there. Ruth, Jean-Michele's sister, would often drop by and be part of this ritual as we made sense of our lives to each other each time on that first night. And as we would talk we would often find ourselves discovering the real paths we were making in the world—what we expected and wanted, what we were looking for, a whole universe over that meal had again and again and again.

LeRoy was not an easy man—he was difficult, impetuous, and prone to outbursts. But he could also be extraordinarily generous, with the kind of generosity that demands nothing in return—he supported an enormous family unstintingly, and in the leanest, darkest years he helped us enormously when the work was very new, and we were finding our way.

This was less about the money, which helped when it got the hardest, and even more about the way he treated the work Jean-Michele and I were making. He would always come and see the monologues, and the same thing that made him difficult made him sometimes wonderful—he was passionate. He would feel things bubble up in him and you could see the sparks fly out of him. I think of how angry he would get at the injustices in the world, how he laid his heart open even when he knew it would cut him, and how his rage at the shape of things, even when inarticulate, was a beacon like a fire in the night because it was better to feel than to not feel.

He often said he was a simple man, and he would judge himself for this. I think he had a kind of greatness in him—he was small, but we are all small when we stand in front of the world. He understood tenacity, had made an art of perseverance, had the salesman's art of persistence down not because he was naturally charismatic but because he worked. He was a fighter, and we fighters are not always easy to deal with.

I wanted to do something for him, so I did what I could from here in the theater—on the day that he passed away I dedicated a performance to him.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Politics, Art, Representation (For the Umpteenth) - Parabasis

Politics, Art, Representation (For the Umpteenth) - Parabasis:

I happened to be talking to a student about this yesterday, and brought up the example I always bring up in these instances: Dune. Dune is a novel that comes out the same year that the pill is introduced into the marketplace and that positions as the its true villains not the fascistic, cruel Harkonnen, but rather the Bene Gesseret, a society of psyhcic women who control the Universe through deciding when they will have children.

I think that's worth interrogating for a bit. Part of having a rich and complex understanding of Dune is thinking about the implications of that world-building choice and talking about how there's a kind of panic at women gaining more control over their bodies that runs throughout the book.



TATESJ Update:

Over 60,000 downloads of the transcript. Over a dozen productions going up, including Germany, Spain, Warsaw, Kurdistan, Chicago, Winnipeg, Buffalo, and many more. Some people already adapting as a transmedia piece with texts to find a secret theater, versions with video—it's all already happening. This is only people who have reached out, and I'm too buried to even see all of that. It's intense, and humbling, and I'm already very glad I did it.

Download the transcript here.

Underground ghost station explorers spook the security services | UK news | The Guardian

Underground ghost station explorers spook the security services | UK news | The Guardian:

From Holborn they noticed the rails turn rusty and saw piles of flyers collecting at the tunnel's edges. And then, like hikers who'd reached the best view from the mountain, they saw the forest-green tiles of the platform edge.

For the next four hours they photographed the ticket halls, deserted walkways and antique lift system. Like their other trips – to the roof of St Paul's cathedral, the London Olympic Stadium, Battersea power station – they were careful to leave things as they found them; graffiti is taboo for urban explorers. When the battery on their camera went flat, they got ready to leave. They were interrupted by a shout: "Get on the ground!"

CCTV operators had alerted British transport police, who had issued a terror alert. After infiltrating 200 sites across the city over 10 years and getting away with it, they were busted.


Monologue about Steve Jobs gets one-night performance in Chicago - Chicago Sun-Times

Monologue about Steve Jobs gets one-night performance in Chicago - Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago actor Lance Baker has taken up performance artist Mike Daisey’s challenge.

Daisey is the author-actor whose monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” is now a major hit at New York’s Public Theatre. But the monologist recently announced his script would be made available to the public as an “open-source, royalty-free” work, downloadable from his website, and available to be adapted and performed by “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

Baker, a member of the ensemble of A Red Orchid Theatre (who has performed monologues by Will Eno and David Sedaris, and is currently at work on his own meta-monologue about death called “Spalding Gray’s Big Fish”), decided to bite. He will perform the Chicago premiere of this piece — which delves into the more troubling issues of how all our Apple devices are manufactured in Chinese factories — in a one-night-only benefit for the company.

The performance is set for March 5 at 8 p.m. at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. Tickets: $20. Call (312) 943-8722 or visit

Ms Brenda Photo Challenge....

Some of my favorite things...
I found this document where my great grandmother, Martha, after her husband died, homesteaded 160 acres in W. Fla in 1899; rigned by President McKinley.  I like to think I come from a line of strong women.
The bean pot that my mom's best friend, Gracie, gave to Mom on her 30th birthday in 1948.
Hand sewn quilt by my grandmother; one of my very favorite people ever!

I'm sorry I don't have time for more, Hunter is back to spend the weekend and she's demanding all my

Friday, February 24, 2012

Is Prosperity Strengthening Beijing's Iron Grip? -

Is Prosperity Strengthening Beijing's Iron Grip? -

This is the historic price and promise of industrialization: It is no fun, but it is better than subsistence living back on the farm. And, modernization theorists like Seymour Martin Lipset have argued, as people get richer thanks to dismal jobs like those at Foxconn, they are able to demand more rights.

That is a powerful argument, and it has been true not only in the Western developed world, which industrialized first, but also in 20th-century stars like Japan and South Korea. But Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warns that we should not assume that the happy connection between prosperity and democracy will automatically hold true for China. That is because China is industrializing in the age of Apple — in an era of globalization and the technology revolution.

But globalization and the technology revolution mean that China’s authoritarian rulers have been able to deliver strong economic growth without surrendering political and social control: “Instead of having to develop an entire industry, an emerging market economy can house just some of the tasks such as assembly and operation. This not only enabled China to grow very rapidly by relying on world technology and leveraging its cheap and abundant labor force, but has also mollified demands for structural, social and institutional changes that previous societies undergoing catch-up growth had experienced,” he writes.

Mr. Acemoglu sees a powerful, and worrying, paradox at work. It is the triumph of the open society in the West, with its focus on individual rights, independence and iconoclasm that created the technology revolution. But the impact of those discoveries on the world’s mightiest dictatorship may be to prolong its reign.

John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74 -

John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74 -

At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.

At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.

Mr. Fairfax was among the last avatars of a centuries-old figure: the lone-wolf explorer, whose exploits are conceived to satisfy few but himself. His was a solitary, contemplative art that has been all but lost amid the contrived derring-do of adventure-based reality television.

David Pogue Is Only Competent To Review Gadgets



David Pogue weighed in yesterday about the Nightline piece.

I have been trying to engage with Mr. Pogue, but it hasn't gone well.

I hate to take the gloves off, but I feel like there's little choice after this latest column. Pogue has the platform of the NYT to use as he wishes, and after a certain point you have to take him behind the woodshed. Mr. Pogue has developed a habit of repeating Apple talking points with such fervor that he is often leaving out crucial details and context.

And at a certain point good will dissipates, and all that is left are two choices: Mr. Pogue is ignorant, or Mr. Pogue is manipulative.

That's quite a charge, so let me walk you through the piece.

First Pogue summarizes the situation, which I would take some issue with the details of, though it isn't the heart of what I object to. He writes:

Apple responded by vowinf to take Chinese worker safety and welfare even more seriously, and it hired the Fair Labor Association to survey 35,000 Foxconn employees about their working conditions. The results of the audit will be made public next month.

To be clear—having yet another audit, particularly from a group Apple has hired to do the job, isn't taking anything more seriously. Apple's own internal auditing, with no oversight, has already found serious problems in its supply chain for years and years.

Apple doesn't contest its own findings, does it? No, they don't. They know there have been severe problems for years and years, and have done nothing to attack the problem at its roots. There's no universe where hiring a group to give people iPad photo op tests in classrooms 30 at a time is a substitute for actual labor remediation.

This is PR.

For its part, Foxconn responded by raising factory workers' salaries as much as 25 percent.

Not so fast. This has become a talking point in favor of Foxconn that has been repeated again and again.
As SACOM has been reporting, "The new basic wage only applies to the workers in Shenzhen. In inland provinces, where two-thirds of production workers are based, basic salary remains meager. Given that inflation in China is high. Foxconn is just following the trend of wage increases in the electronics industry in China."

So it is more accurate to say that Foxconn is raising workers salaries in the specific location where the inspections are happening, at the time of the inspections...and at a time when due to inflation, they would probably be forced to raise them relatively soon.

This is PR. This is not substantive change, from Apple or Foxconn.

Then Mr. Pogue addresses what he feels he learned from the Nightline piece:

It didn't look like a sweatshop, frankly. The assembly-line work was certainly mind-numbingly repetitive — one woman files the burrs off the iPad's Apple-logo hole 6,000 times a day — but that's the nature of assembly-line work. Meanwhile, this factory was clean and modern.

This is where it starts.

Look, can I be frank?

I don't mind it when I hear this talking point from people who wandered into this conversation midway—it's broken into the mainstream, and not everyone has spent two years working exclusively in the realm of Chinese labor practices, and so you need to educate people.

But why do I have to educate David Pogue?

Why is David Pogue unaware of the nature of assembly lines for the creation of the devices he reviews every day? Doesn't he know that they are of course "clean and modern"—they are assembling electronics, and people are in clean suits!

What are my choices here?

A) David Pogue has done so little reading and thinking about these issues that he is genuinely surprised. He had thought it might "look like a sweatshop"—which, I gather from context, is some dank Dickensian room filled with 19th century misery. But this is globalism in the 21st century, and the tech columnist for the NYT should be well-versed in these issues and know the contradictions.


B) Pogue does know this, but he is condescending to his readers to further his argument.

More tellingly, the broadcast showed 3,000 young Chinese workers lining up at the gates for Foxconn's Monday morning recruiting session.


Pogue, this isn't telling. Anyone who has been working on this, or following it even a little, knows that there is enormous pressure for these jobs in China. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

The fact that there is such pressure is actually part of the constellation of reasons why abuses flourish—the demand for that work from the rural regions creates a steady supply of new workers who can then be abused. The monthly turnover rate at Foxconn is 20%—20%! That is absolutely extraordinarily high, and says something about how their model works.

But nothing about that demand excuses breaking local Chinese labor law daily, which is what Foxconn does. Because a job is in demand from rural workers in an authoritarian country with tight controls doesn't magically mean that human rights abuses are ok.

This doesn't stop Pogue—he doubles down:

Now, these workers know about the 2010 Foxconn suicides. They know that the starting salary is $2 an hour (plus benefits, and no payroll taxes). They know they'll have 12-hour shifts, with two hourlong breaks. They know that workers sleep in a tiny dorm (six or eight to a room) for $17 a month.

And yet here they are, lining up to work! Apparently, even those conditions, so abhorrent to us, are actually better than these workers' alternatives: backbreaking rural farm work that doesn't prepare them to move up the work force food chain.

Pogue: workers choices in a broken system with very little personal freedom, and very restrictive economic choices, are not excuses for corporate malfeasance.

The violations are documented, even by Apple, and are violations of Chinese labor law. THAT ALONE is enough to merit remediation. And your own paper made clear, the situation is actually a lot worse than the Apple auditing had shown.

You can't get "informed consent" in a country without real personal freedom. These arguments are pathetic—they're structurally nearly identical to the ones made in the 19th century justifying slavery. The fact that workers take these jobs because they feel they have no economic, social, or political choice, and this is the only path, is not an endorsement of the current system—it's actually a condemnation.

It is cute how he makes a point of noting that there are no payroll taxes on your $2 an hour.

Do you think Mr. Pogue verified that, or that he's spent any time digging through Foxconn's history of deceptive paying practices—like how it pretended that it raised employee salaries 30% in 2010 by simply moving money around?

No, I don't think he did, either.

Then Pogue writes:

That's also what a former Apple executive told me this week: that Foxconn is not a career. You don't see 30- and 40-year-old heads of households on the assembly lines. The young Chinese see it as "something like a first summer job," he told me — a way to make some bucks for a few months before heading home, or to get some work experience before moving up.

"First summer job"? "Heading home"? "Moving up"?

What the hell, Pogue?

First, it is sad that a former Apple executive is this out to lunch...but typical, based on the hundreds of Apple employees who have contacted me over the years. People create all kinds of delusions to justify their decisions and frameworks.

But, Pogue—you?

This isn't a "summer job"—it's people who never left their villages uprooting their whole lives. It's not a summer—it's often at least a few years, often longer, at first at Foxconn and across the SEZ.

And the stakes are ENORMOUS for these people—the money they make can save their families back home.

My "first summer job" didn't have 20 people in a village in a rural area praying I would send money back home on my one day off a month, once I managed to walk down to the Western Union after working 12 and 14 hour shifts every single day. My "first summer job" never got me poisoned, nor did anyone gather a group of my coworkers around me to scream at me to humiliate me, nor did I have to do military exercises to break down my will. My "first summer job" never started with me as an "intern" who gets worked to the bone for starvation wages because it is an "educational experience".

There is just about NOTHING in this situation that is like "a first summer job".

The fact that Mr. Pogue would publish this morsel, without comment, as explanation or context raises the same questions.

Does Mr. Pogue simply know very little about this situation?

Or does it further the portrait he is painting to ignore these things?

The second enlightening twist, for me, was a note sent to me from a young man, born in China and now attending an American university.

You can read the entire note at the article, but the short version is that the student's aunt was a prostitute before she got a job in a factory, where work was hard but better than being in the rural area. He asks that we think before calling to shut down sweatshops, because they enable people to escape harsh circumstances. It ends on a nice note—the aunt is now in America, and the job at the sweatshop made that possible.

It's a nice letter—and substantially, I agree with it.

Factory work can lift people out of wretched situations. No one, NO ONE, who is on the side of equitable labor standards disagrees with that. NO ONE.

That's why this is so disingenuous for Mr. Pogue to print it this way. It's one thing for the writer of the letter, who probably isn't following this situation closely, to be worried that what people are agitating for is the shutting down of factories.

But the fact is that no one has ever been talking about that in this entire debate. In fact, the only time it comes up is as a fear-based talking point, built around the delusion that the very people who want humane working conditions are actually trying to take away jobs.

Pogue must know this. He must. Yet...he publishes the whole letter, paragraphs and paragraphs, and refers to it as an "enlightening twist".

Is Pogue so ignorant of the ongoing discussion that he doesn't know that no one has been advocating for shutting down factories?

Or is publishing this letter a great way for Pogue to insinuate that argument, without having to actually make it?

Plenty of Westerners remain unconvinced, too, even by ABC’s report and Apple’s investigation. “Nightline,” for example, is a production of ABC News, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company; its chief executive serves on the Apple board, and the Steve Jobs Trust is Disney’s largest shareholder. (To its credit, ABC mentioned that potential conflict of interest in the broadcast.)

I haven't talked about this very much, but yes—inviting Nightline, of all people, to evaluate Apple is an incredible conflict of interest. I really wonder why Apple invited Nightline? They could have invited anyone. Isn't it strange that they would invite the group that raises the most questions with regards to objectivity?

I love that we now say "to its credit" ABC mentioned it. "Credit"? Have we fallen that low?

You don't get credit for mentioning the MASSIVE CONFLICT OF INTEREST your corporate masters have. That's a requirement.

Or maybe it feels that way to Mr. Pogue. After all, it's not as though he talks about his bestselling books, all about the Mac, the iPhone, the iPad, and all the Apple products he has been writing manuals about for years. Since he never feels any need to talk about
his conflicts of interest, perhaps he's impressed when others do.

Mr. Pogue wraps it up with:

In other words, the lessons of this controversy have more to do with China than with Apple. This is only marginally a technology story.

Is this Mr. Pogue's tacit admission as to why he's so ignorant of its facts? Because even though it is about the circumstances under which his technology is made, it is not a technology story?

Presumably that is because technology stories involve blinking lights, whirring sounds, and someone foursquaring from Silicon Valley while they update their Tumblr. It doesn't involve, in Mr. Pogue's view, such unsightly things as labor, work, and the real cost of an actual device.

We don't have time for this anymore.

Whether it comes from ignorance or deception, the stakes in labor, for working people's lives every day, are too important to be left to the likes of Mr. Pogue.

He had an opportunity to study this story. He's had the time to read and get up to speed. He could have been in the forefront, telling it, and instead he's in the rearguard, behind the mainstream press who is doing technology journalists' job for them, picking at the leftovers, making faces, and wondering when he can get back to slagging off the new Samsung tablet and embracing the next Apple device.

I'm not asking that Mr. Pogue agree with me. I'm saying he has shown he isn't competent to have this conversation from the platform of the New York Times.

If Mr. Pogue won't do his work and know enough about the situation to write articles that live up to what's really at stake here, he can stop. Now there are journalists doing the yeoman's work of holding this industry accountable who do not have as many conflicts of interest as Mr. Pogue has.
He can go back to reviewing gadgets. I will read him where I always have—after
Mossberg and Ars Technica.


People have been asking where they can find the transcript of the show. It's at the top of the sidebar, or you can download it
here to read the story.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

4Gs (Gray, Gloomy, Gusty & Girls)

I was wondering if I’d get my walk in at all today after we had another shift in the weather.  The sun has been fighting with the cold fronts passing through for a couple days now.  The one thing that is really awesome is the way the lighting is right now…I’m not an expert mind you but I like how it looks.  No matter what…I will always love this view!  I mentioned the colors of the day but now to see why girls were a part of the blog title today.  A friend of ours had twins and we got to visit them today!  The twins were born naturally and have done well all in all.  This is the larger of the two…she was sleeping quite soundly!  She hardly fit in her cute little outfit!  Gabby wanted to know when they could play!  Just look at the wonderful little hats that one of the nurses at the hospital makes!  Here they are together!  They say two heads are better than one!  Mike got to hold one of them…Gabby thinks it’s a pretty serious matter!  It was time to head home again and let the family enjoy their new addition…and the scenery outside was calling to me again.  The wind was really frigid but the clouds in the fronts passing by were really fun to see.  These cumulonimbus clouds are another reminder of spring’s approach.  Reaching the halfway point of my walk I really liked the break in the clouds with this sign in the foreground…seems like it’s saying:  we’re heading towards a breakthrough!  The fronts were rolling in and out over the plains all the way as I returned home.  The sun continued its brave battle with the gloom.  It seemed that it exhausted its heat with this fight but still shown so very brightly that it encouraged me.  Here is the my final and best view of the prairie before reaching home…it is always a glorious sight!  I pray that this blog finds you blessed, thanks for visiting!

A Touch Of Nature




IMG_3231 Chickadee

Chickadee In A Tree





IMG_3222 Black-Capped Chickadee

A Black-Capped Chickadee





IMG_3221 White Breasted Nuthatch

A White Breasted Nuthatch





Oh cage me not, lest I become a prisoner of man’s ego.

Deny me not my right to fly in God’s blue sky

And spy upon these mortals there below.

Then when I see a friend, I may desend to serenade.

And when my song is o’er,

away on freedom ‘s wing to soar.

-May Hickman


IMG_3242 Freedom's Wing






IMG_4499 Nuthatch and DS.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

– Shakespear





IMG_4476 Nuthatch

  In Harmony with Nature

Up Close and Personal,

The Look of Trust ,

Eye to  Eye,

It touched my Soul.

Written by - Dianne © dsphotocats





IMG_4464 Chickadee

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir




I Was Looking For Owls

I was looking for Owls, and I found  Chickadees, 

or should I say , “they found me”.

I was looking for Owls, and I found a Nuthatch,

and again, it found me.

If you truly love Nature you will find Beauty wherever you go.

Look! Expecting to find,

Leave your tunnel vision behind.

You may not find what you are looking for,

but treasures you are sure to find,

and you will be touched by nature of some kind.

What a Joy to be in Harmony with the Beauty that surrounds you, whatever that might be.

I believe it is God’s  intended plan for all of humanity,

and  Nature, of His Own  Creativity.

Written by- Dianne © dsphotocats



It was funny, while driving home on the 401 hwy. I saw a big beautiful owl perched in a tree along side the 4 way hwy. I admired its beauty for a moment, and then shook my head and laughed. It didn’t bother me that I didn’t get a photo with my camera. I treasured the moment with a thankful heart and I had just come from having little Chickadees and a Nuthatch in the palm of my hand. There little talons felt wonderful as I experienced a touch of nature that I will never forget. Now how special is that!!!

Hope to find you all well. Take care and God Bless each and every one who passes by.

ox Dianne :)

Special note: Pictures of me were taken by my hubby. Steve is legally blind but has great insight, and not bad with the camera either. I think he is pretty amazing. I am  Blessed to have him in my life.  :)


I'm on my way, baby.....

Memaw, where is my cell phone?
Awwww, there it is!
How do you like my new arm rest?
And, let us not forget my Sissie:
She was making her own lunch!
She's a big girl now!
She'll be SIX on Monday.

I sure enjoyed the girls today, and I know it did my daughter a lot of good to spend time with her grandchildren.

Patti told me that when I was feeding Rylan, Hunter asked her: "How long has Memaw been holding Sissie?"

When I was putting the seal belt on Hunter, I told her I loved her, and she said:
"I love you too, but I think Sissie was getting all the

The end.



Frequent readers will know that I have been trying to get Mr. David Pogue to contact me, in any form, since he commented on my work. You can read the details of the original post

Since that time I have pinged Mr. Pogue on Twitter, emailed him three times, and spoken with his colleagues to seek their advice. Nothing but silence.

In the time since he posted a
rather weakly constructed piece on labor, he has found time to post about candy packaging:


And today, the miracle of apps that let you deposit your checks by taking a picture of them, AKA "2010 is calling with breaking news":



If anyone sees Mr. Pogue, recently spotted investigating breaking stories on Snickers bite sizes (ARE THEY...REALLY?) and felt they could direct him to a response from someone whom he found the time to talk shit about, it would be appreciated.


Let's recall that this is an ardent Mac fan and Apple journalist who lives near NYC, where this show has been playing nightly since October. The invitation stands to the show, and I'd still welcome that drink.

You can tweet him at the above handle—@pogue.

He likes Skittles, and depositing checks. Dialogue? Not so much.

I would be happy to finally be proven wrong.