Another week rolls by and the injustices of the world continue to require our attention and vigilence.

An interesting look inside the Indian call centre industry. Yes, you may be annoyed with having to talk to an Indian on the phone, but also spare a thought for what they are going through as well. Direct your energy towards the companies and policies that cause jobs to go offshore, not the fact that this is a rare shot for thousands of poor people to make a ‘decent’ wage. Buy an answering machine to screen calls if you have to.

In Australia, the furor over the introduction of the carbon tax has overshadowed the reality for a lot of people that they are currently living through a recession, despite all the ‘official figures’ saying otherwise. There’s also the issue of the government shooting Australian internet users in the foot over wireless internet. A “prohibition on Telstra “promoting wireless services as a substitute for fibre-based services for 20 years” “!?!? 20 years ago – in 1991 – NO ONE had internet access in Australia. Not a single person. My university got internet in 1994. In twenty years the rest of the world will be downloading entire full-sensory movies into their minds to be experienced in all five senses, and the internet users of Australia will be clinging on to their legacy DVDs and Blu-Rays. Ridiculous.

This was an interesting piece looking at the underlying racism behind unemployment figures in the USA. One highlight of the piece was an experiment done where four types of job applicants applied for work and the reponse rate was measured. The worker types tested were all male, of similar age and educational background. The only differences were if the applicant was white or black, and if they were a felon or not. The white applicant without a criminal record achieved a 34% rate of callback and the white felon received a 17% rate of callback. What made the experiment devastatingly eye-opening were the callback rates for the black applicants: 14% and 5%. The white felon was preferred over the college-educated black man with a clean criminal record. The experiment’s results have been reproduced, so it seems apparent that racism, and a glaring disparity between blacks and whites, is still alive and well in the USA.

Despite what the American politicians say, the next election is all going to be about jobs. No one is talking about that giant elephant in the corner and while ‘austerity’ is the word in the air, you can bet your bottom dollar that the situation will not improve, which may well affect us all. You can certainly bet on cutting services to most Americans, whereas if just the top 25 hedge fund managers were forced to pay taxes like most ordinary Americans, they could cut the deficit by US$44 billion over the next ten years. That’s a lot of money to help fund actual policies that help actual people. Will it happen? Don’t bet on it.

The global situation over food, water, climate and energy continues to unravel. The wars of the 21st Century will continue to be about control of the world’s resources – that’s if the fundies don’t kill us all first.

Maybe North Korea is getting close to implosion since it can’t even feed its army any more.

This was a moment of journalistic beatup and hysteria-mongering that almost defied description. Victoria experinced a small earthquake that rattled some windows in Melbourne, so the next day The Age ran a story about how Victoria’s volcanoes were ‘overdue’ for eruption. The writer ignored most of the science on the issue (such as the hot spot under Mt. Gambier being well and truly dead) and focused on the law of averages as referred to by one single piece of research. It was scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of a story. Good fun to read though. 

Almost as entertaining, but not quite as harmless, the same newspaper (amongst others) ran a piece on how the next terror threat involved surgically implanted bombs. The Department of Homeland Security think the terrorists are getting their ideas from Batman movies and are going to set off bombs on planes by remotely detonating explosives hidden inside suicide bombers. I’m sure the terrorists are saying ‘thanks’ for the idea and we should all look forward to CT scan machines making an appearance at boarding gates before too long.

Oh, and I’ve said this for years, but now Cracked has picked up on the idea that major events in the War on Terror™ mirror Starship Troopers in no small way.


With Opt Out Day just 24 hours away (in Japan anyway), let’s have a quick look at what’s going on regarding the TSA policy of sexually assaulting its customers. The movement has grown to the point where the authorities have asked people not to participate since it will cause delays. Ummm… that’s kind of a) what’s happening when the TSA pull people out of line for pat downs, and b) why they are protesting!

The vox populi chosen for quotation in this interview make interesting reading though. One Leah Martin, 40, of Houston, said, “Whatever keeps the country safe, I just don’t have a problem with,” That’s nice. She’s totally sold out her liberties for the security theatre which has, up to now, not caught a single terrorist. Not one. What has stopped the terrorists has either been intelligence on the ground stopping plots before they could be hatched, or passengers in the air noticing someone doing something they shouldn’t, like trying to set their shoes or underwear on fire. The other person quoted said, “I mean, they <the scanners> make you feel like a criminal for a minute, but I’d rather do that than having someone touching me.” So it’s OK to be made to feel like a criminal for doing nothing aside from wanting to fly? Slowly trading their liberties for the appearance of safety one step at a time…

At least the head of the TSA, John Pistole, is ruling out full body cavity searches, for now.

TSA agents are felling the heat, and saying they feel harassed by passengers who resent being touched in places they would rather not. Gee, what a surprise! You treat your customers like crap, and they complain about it? What is the world coming to? Perhaps if passengers make the agent feel bad about what they’re doing, they might not do it….

Meanwhile the horror stories continue to seep out. Other passengers come up with their own ways of dealing with the situation.

(TSA Pedobear comes courtesy of here, but is a very apt comment on the TSA feeling up kids…)