giandujakiss: (fandom)
At CIA Starbucks, even the baristas are covert
The new supervisor thought his idea was innocent enough. He wanted the baristas to write the names of customers on their cups to speed up lines and ease confusion, just like other Starbucks do around the world.

But these aren’t just any customers. They are regulars at the CIA Starbucks.

“They could use the alias ‘Polly-O string cheese’ for all I care,” said a food services supervisor at the Central Intelligence Agency, asking that his identity remain unpublished for security reasons. “But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn’t work for this location.”

This purveyor of skinny lattes and double cappuccinos is deep inside the agency’s forested Langley, Va., compound.

Welcome to the “Stealthy Starbucks,” as a few officers affectionately call it.

Or “Store Number 1,” as the receipts cryptically say.

The baristas go through rigorous interviews and background checks and need to be escorted by agency “minders” to leave their work area. There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents.

It is one of the busiest Starbucks in the country, with a captive caffeine-craving audience of thousands of analysts and agents, economists and engineers, geographers and cartographers working on gathering intelligence and launching covert operations inside some of the most vexing and violent places around the world.
CIA and coffee shops? Fandom, you disappoint.
giandujakiss: (Default)
I don't want this to suggest that the show is not terrifically fun just in terms of storytelling - also, wildly inaccurate about how the legal system and law schools work, so please take it with a pillar of salt - but let me just point out that Viola Davis, a black woman, gets to be the rebel who plays by her own set of rules, and a POC is the audience-identifier character. Plus, other POC in the cast, and at least one canonically gay character.

Oh, and Paris from Gilmore Girls. Everyone always loved Paris.

So happy the ratings for the pilot were through the roof.


Sep. 27th, 2014 08:36 am
giandujakiss: (festivids)
I'm barely around these days because real life is killing me (which is why I'm so grateful to [personal profile] odessie for shouldering [community profile] festivids modding responsibilities - she's saving my life - and also, hey, nominations for [community profile] festivids have started, so you should nominate things!)

But I do have one comment about the Scandal premiere:

Very small spoiler )
giandujakiss: (Default)
via [personal profile] yhlee, I read this article:
For my birthday a few months ago, my buddy Matt gave me Justice League: Axis of Villains, a superhero board game by DC Comics and game maker Wonder Forge. “It say ages 8 and up,” he tells me, “but I read the rules. Cassie’s smart. She can handle it if you play together.”

We’re old, so we don’t really get gifts for each other anymore, but we do buy stuff for the kids. A really thoughtful gift, it was a way to connect with my kid via something we both love, and simultaneously teach her gaming, math, and strategy. Hours of quality time with my kid. Geek dads FTW.

But then I looked at the box. There were plenty of DC heroes and villains depicted, but they were all male.

A decade ago, I might not have noticed. Or noticed, thought it was lame, shrugged, and moved on. But I look for these things now, because I have a little girl and I want her to feel included.

“Are there any girl characters?” I asked.

Matt had a flash of concern cross his face. He has two daughters himself, and understood immediately. He tilted his head to take a closer look at the box.

“They must,” he said at last. “It’s the friggin’ Justice League. They’ve got to have Wonder Woman, at least.”
As it turns out, no, they didn't have girl characters. And the daughter was excited about the game and heartbroken when she saw there weren't any girls, and didn't want to play anymore.

This particular story ends happily, sort of - the dad goes online and finds that some other person was annoyed by the game and created a really beautiful set of alternative female characters, so he downloads those and the daughter is happy and they have fun playing.

But leaving aside everything else, what really angers me is thinking about the boys. Because I will bet you ten thousand million dollars that no parent of a boy goes out of their way to download girl characters for their son to play, or even see - so maybe girls, via their parents' extra efforts, learn that they can be superheroes too. But boys? Boys keep learning that heroism is just for boys.
giandujakiss: (Default)
while listening to the Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack.

Good to know.
giandujakiss: (Default)


Sep. 6th, 2014 07:37 pm
giandujakiss: (fandom)
Vidders, your help is needed
Fan Video & Multimedia is once again working with our Legal Committee as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we’ll be pushing to add Blu-Ray. Right now we’re in the data-gathering stage: asking fan video makers to talk with us about how they get Blu-Ray source and why Blu-Ray is important.

RivkaT adds:

The exemption will expire if not renewed! The big copyright industries fought really hard last time, and renewal is not a foregone conclusion, even though we’re still right. As always we need (1) examples of vids that make a critical commentary on the original source, particularly examples from the past 3 years, as well as (2) vids that need very high quality source, in technical terms, to do what they do. With Blu-Ray, we need (3) explanations of how getting Blu-Ray source can be done, so we can educate the Copyright Office, and (4) explanations for why Blu-Ray source is important.

If you can help with any of these, please let know!
giandujakiss: (Default)
These Jon Stewart clips on the Kirsten Gillibrand thing. Not just because they're hilarious and not just because the panel of women defending catcalling just highlighted everything wrong with society as even they seemed to begin to realize as they spoke, but because of what was apparently Jessica Williams's ad lib commenting on her scripted lines, basically calling out Jon Stewart for dated pop culture references.
giandujakiss: (Default)
More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft’
Week after week, Guadalupe Rangel worked seven days straight, sometimes 11 hours a day, unloading dining room sets, trampolines, television stands and other imports from Asia that would soon be shipped to Walmart stores.

Even though he often clocked 70 hours a week at the Schneider warehouse here, he was never paid time-and-a-half overtime, he said. And now, having joined a lawsuit involving hundreds of warehouse workers, Mr. Rangel stands to receive more than $20,000 in back pay as part of a recent $21 million legal settlement with Schneider, a national trucking company.

“Sometimes I’d work 60, even 90 days in a row,” said Mr. Rangel, a soft-spoken immigrant from Mexico. “They never paid overtime.”

The lawsuit is part of a flood of recent cases — brought in California and across the nation — that accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees’ tips. Worker advocates call these practices “wage theft,” insisting it has become far too prevalent.

Some federal and state officials agree. They assert that more companies are violating wage laws than ever before, pointing to the record number of enforcement actions they have pursued. They complain that more employers — perhaps motivated by fierce competition or a desire for higher profits — are flouting wage laws....
David Weil, the director of the federal Labor Department’s wage and hour division, says wage theft is surging because of underlying changes in the nation’s business structure. The increased use of franchise operators, subcontractors and temp agencies leads to more employers being squeezed on costs and more cutting corners, he said. A result, he added, is that the companies on top can deny any knowledge of wage violations.

“We have a change in the structure of work that is then compounded by a falling level of what is viewed as acceptable in the workplace in terms of how you treat people and how you regard the law,” Mr. Weil said.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

His agency has uncovered nearly $1 billion in illegally unpaid wages since 2010. He noted that the victimized workers were disproportionately immigrants.


Aug. 30th, 2014 01:02 pm
giandujakiss: (Kirk)
[personal profile] thirdblindmouse has posted a fairly tragic holograms'-eye-view of the Star Trek universe, here.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Burmese beauty queen 'vanishes with tiara' from pageant
A Burmese beauty queen who was stripped of her title for allegedly being rude and dishonest has run off with the £60,000 jewelled crown from a South Korea-based pageant, according to organisers.

May Myat Noe is said to have vanished from the competition after officials were adamant that she have breast enhancement surgery.
giandujakiss: (Default)
(Mostly) male reporters doubt Gillibrand's account of sexual harassment unless she names names, which she of course has a responsibility to do. Let it never be allowed that a woman discuss her experience on terms not dictated by men.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Michael Brown's Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them

This is why it's really impossible to separate conservatism as a movement from racism. Because - and we saw this with Trayvon Martin, as well - it seems as though conservatives find it absolutely impossible to look at these murders of teenagers and say "Yes that's a tragedy, and it's terrible that it happened, but given the balance of harms, the importance of certain values, etc, I still think it's better that we have heavily armed police/free gun rights/etc." Instead, it's always "Well, that child who died was really a thug who doesn't even deserve a memorial."

It seems as though there is no death of a black person that wasn't, in the minds of at least the conservatives who have the loudest voices, justified.

If they can't acknowledge the humanity of the people who are injured by their preferred policies, that suggests that the politics are rooted in something other than high ideals or policy preferences, and instead are rooted in a basic disbelief that some people are human.
giandujakiss: (fandom)
Seriously needs to write the meta on Captain America, fandom, and how fandom uses the Captain America canon (including the fact that he is canonically a celebrity, and a symbol of America, with a fandom) to argue for progressive politics as part of the American ideal.

Or to put it another way - slash inherently has a political subtext, but when you slash Captain America, the politics is textual, and fandom just runs with that.

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