07/15/2012 archive

Let’s Talk ‘Decolonization’ by Unaspencer

I write today to, hopefully, start a dialogue and ongoing series about the concept of decolonization. I’m fairly new to the term. Some of the concepts have been in me for a while, but I did not have connection to a philosophy or political movement, much less a name. So, I’ll share my entry point and early thoughts about decolonization. I invite you to share yours.

When I left my house in Boston and headed to New York City to be present in Liberty Square last September, I was going as an “Occupier”, I suppose, since the action was called “Occupy Wall Street”. So many of us felt so strongly that the message about the deep layers of corruption in our economic and political systems resonated, that we didn’t even think about the word defining this burgeoning movement.

For me, the Occupy movement was connected to Arab Spring and the Encampanadas of Spain and even the Green movement in Iran. And Palestine.

Palestine. How could I even think for one moment that “occupying” was a good thing? Well, clearly, I didn’t think.

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher (1-27-12) – New Rules

“Who the f**k is Saul Alinsky?”

Sermon On The Beach

Lifeguard’s ordeal is parable about outsourcing

By Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

Published: July 14

Because they are generally free from union contracts and the unwritten norms of pay equality that exist within any enterprise, contractors are able to pay lower wages and benefits – in many cases, a lot lower. That was certainly the case with Ellis and the Hallandale lifeguards.

The second big advantage that outsourcing firms enjoy is the economies of scale. A firm that specializes in one function and does a lot of it can generally do it at a lower cost simply by spreading fixed costs over a much larger base of business.

Simply by having more experience, a specialty contractor is also more likely to hit upon the most efficient and effective ways of doing things and can quickly adopt those improvements throughout its operations.

There is, however, an important trade-off that is made by outsourcing that contractors reflexively deny but is inherent in any firm that derives its competitive advantage from having carefully constructed systems for doing just about everything.

It is these systems – the rules, the procedures, in effect the operational software – that allow companies to take relatively low-skilled, low-paid workers with relatively little experience and have them do tasks that were once done by people with higher skills, higher pay and more experience. And it is the very nature of these systems that workers are discouraged, if not prohibited, from exercising their own discretion. Their only job is to follow rules, stick to the script and leverage the experience and expertise that are embedded in the system.

That’s why the person in the airline call center in Bangalore can’t do what is necessary to help you catch your honeymoon cruise after your flight has been canceled because a co-pilot failed to show up on time. Her computer simply won’t allow her.

The reason these various systems can deliver reliable service at lower cost most of the time is precisely because front-line workers are willing and able to act like cogs in a machine. So when two of Lopez’s colleagues later told supervisors they would have done the same thing, they were fired as well.

If you want discretion and judgment, if you want workers who really understand and relate to customers, if you want the flexibility necessary to respond to individual needs or unforeseen circumstances, then you can go back to paying twice as much to have your own, longtime employees doing the work. That’s the outsourcing trade-off. It may be a good trade-off – most of the time I suspect it is. But it is an unavoidable trade-off, no matter how good the contractors or their systems.

On This Day In History July 15

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 15 is the 196th day of the year (197th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 169 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day 1789, Lafayette selected colonel-general of the National Guard of Paris

Only one day after the fall of the Bastille marked the beginning of a new revolutionary regime in France, the French aristocrat and hero of the American War for Independence, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, becomes the colonel-general of the National Guard of Paris by acclamation. Lafayette served as a human link between America and France in what is sometimes known as The Age of Revolutions.

National Guard, Versailles, and Day of Daggers

On 15 July, Lafayette was acclaimed commander-in-chief of the National Guard of France, an armed force established to maintain order under the control of the Assembly. Lafayette proposed the name and the symbol of the group: a blue, white and red cockade. On 5 October 1789, a Parisian crowd, composed mostly of rough women working in the markets selling fish, marched to Versailles in response to the scarcity of bread. Members of the National Guard followed the march, and when Lafayette said that this march is non-sense, the National Guard’s men openly defied his power and according to some sources, they said “We are going with you, or over you”, then Lafayette reluctantly led the National Guard army to Versaille. At Versailles, the king accepted the Assembly’s votes but refused requests to return to Paris. That evening, Lafayette replaced most of the royal bodyguards with National Guardsmen. At dawn, the crowd broke into the palace. Before it succeeded in entering the queen’s bedroom, Marie Antoinette fled to the king’s apartments. Lafayette took the royal family onto the palace balcony and attempted to restore order. The crowd insisted that the king and his family move to Paris where they were installed in the Tuileries Palace. At the balcony, King Louis simply appeared, and everyone started chanting “Vive le Roi!”. Then when Maria Antoinette appeared with her children, she was told to send the children back, afterwards, when she came out alone, people shouted to shoot her, but when she stood her ground facing almost certain death, no one opened fire. After several seconds and the lowering of rifles, people started to chant “Vive la Reine!” (“Long live the Queen”, now the crowd is including the Queen)As leader of the National Guard, Lafayette attempted to maintain order. On 12 May 1790, he instituted, along with Jean Sylvain Bailly (mayor of Paris), a political club called the “Society of 1789” . The club’s intention was to provide balance to the influence of the Jacobins. On 14 July 1790, Lafayette took the civic oath on the Champs de Mars, vowing to “be ever faithful to the nation, to the law, and to the king; to support with our utmost power the constitution decreed by the National Assembly, and accepted by the king.”

He continued to work for order in the coming months. On 20 February 1791, the Day of Daggers, Lafayette traveled to Vincennes in response to an attempt to liberate a local prison. Meanwhile, armed nobles converged around the Tuileries, afraid the unprotected king would be attacked. Lafayette returned to Paris to disarm the nobles.[89] On 18 April, the National Guard disobeyed Lafayette and stopped the King from leaving for Saint-Cloud over Easter.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris tomorrow are: Edward Conard, former partner at Bain Capital from 1993-2007 and author of “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy is Wrong;” Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein), Occupy Wall Street activist and former vice president of information technology at Merrill Lynch; William Black, associate professor of economic and law at University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry;” Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Communications Director for Latino Decisions and visiting scholar at University of Texas-Austin; Dedrick Muhammad, senior economic director of NAACP; Alyona Minkovski (@thealyonashow), host “The Alyona Show” on RT, the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel; and Stephen Carter, law professor at Yale University and Bloomberg View Columnist. Author of “The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln.”

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests are Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and Romney supporter and potential vice presidential nominee Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH; James Carville and Mary Matalin join the “This Week” powerhouse roundtable along with ABC News’ George Will, Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile; and political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter and Senior Advisor to the Romney Campaign Kevin Madden. Joining him on the economic roundtable are Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, TIME‘s Rana Foroohar, National Review‘s John Fund, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and on the political panel are New York Magazine‘s Frank Rich, Washington Post‘s Michael Gerson, as well as CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Joe Klein, TIME columnist; S. E. Cupp, NY Daily News columnist; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; and Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP guest are Mitt Romney’s senior adviser, Ed Gillespie; Assistant Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) and Assistant Republican Leader Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ); and Bob Costas of NBC Sports.

The political roundtable guest are president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist; NAACP President Ben Jealous; GOP strategist Mike Murphy; Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen; and the Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Joining Ms. Crowley this week are Romney Senior Campaign Adviser Ed Gillespie and Obama Senior Campaign Adviser David Axelrod; Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack;

Or instead of listening to the same old babble, you can join ek hornbeck and I for the Live Blog of Le Tour de France 2012 as the bikers ride into the Pyrenees. Even if you don’t like cycling or sports the visuals are magnificent

2012 Le Tour – Stage 14

Limoux / Foix (119 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So Wiggins rode point for Boasson Hagen (Geipel won anyway) and the commentariat can’t wait to proclaim him the new “boss”. Le Tour has reached that gossipy point where Vilager Idiots are talking about “respect” and not wanting to be too dominant.

Fools.  Tiger Woods is already coming to win on Thursday and your quaint 20th century notions of “sportsmanship” are obsolete.  This race is just little over half over but it’s already done.

I suppose a bus.  First day of the Pyrenees and someone could put it away or back in contention over the one 2 and two category 1 climbs.  The Point award is well after the initial category 2, but even in Point competition the margins are all in favor of the current leaders and it’s unlikely here shall be much change unless someone gets caught out on the time limit.

Tom Veelers and David Moncoutie withdrew Friday and Robert Gesink did not start.  Tony Gallopin withdrew yesterday.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
2 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING +02:05
10 PINOT Thibau FDJ-BIGMAT +08:51

Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon, 2:30 pm, 8 pm, and midnight.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Sites of Interest-

The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Where Obama failed on forging peace in the Middle East


By Scott Wilson, Sunday, July 15, 12:57 PM

It was their first meeting with the new president, and the dozen or so Jewish leaders picked to attend had made an agreement among themselves: No arguing – either with each other or their host.

The pledge would be hard to keep.

Five weeks earlier, President Obama had traveled to Cairo to ask for a “new beginning” between his government and an Islamic world angry about the United States’ wars in two Muslim nations and its perceived favoritism toward Israel. Now, he was calling in these influential Jewish leaders to explain his thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Libor scandal – the net widens

Indian campaign confronts fear of baby girls

African Union urges speedy transition in coup-wracked Mali  

Wikipedia: Meet the men and women who write the articles

Haiti earthquake camps clearing out; problems now become hidden