Call it macaroni.

Leftovers & Links #65

Alcoa built this town, owned this town, divided the town by race, gave black workers the most dangerous jobs, and killed a lot of people in this town. Yet the company still says, “Alcoa is a values-based company, and the safety and health of our employees is paramount.”

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There’s a whole lot wrong in America today, and much of it’s intentional, but here's one rare thing that's being done right:

Step inside one of New York City’s safe drug spaces. 

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Study: Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides little or no protection against Omicron.

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There’s no money for anything that might help ordinary people, but always more and more money for the military. 

Meanwhile, here’s probably the only military cuts I’ll see in my lifetime: 

More than 100 Marines discharged for refusing Covid vaccine as troops across services face discipline.

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One-word newscast:


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Amazon threatened driver’s job for leaving route during tornado.

"If you decided to come back, that choice is yours," replied the dispatcher. "But I can tell you it won't be viewed as for your own safety. The safest practice is to stay exactly where you are. If you decide to return with your packages, it will be viewed as you refusing your route, which will ultimately end with you not having a job come tomorrow morning. The sirens are just a warning."

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Sorry about this. It’s been an effort writing it, and I’m doubtful that it says what I’d hoped to say, or that it says anything at all. I’ve spent about three hours struggling with these four paragraphs, though, and I refuse to delete them simply because they suck. If I did that, well, there wouldn’t be much left on this whole website.

In Stephen King’s sci-fi novel 11/22/1963, there’s a restaurant where the owner has a neat trick to keep his costs down — he goes back in time to the late 1950s, buys beef at ‘50s prices, and then brings the meat back to the present day (2011). He buys the same beef over and over again, giving the restaurant an endless supply of very nearly free food. The bit about the beef is not at all the point of King’s (well-written and worth reading) book, but it’s a clever workaround that reduces the cost of running a restaurant.

It’s wrong, though, ain’t it? To whatever extent there’s fairness or equilibrium in the laws of supply and demand, the restaurateur is cheating. He gains an unfair advantage over any other restaurant, except perhaps other restaurants that can also find a way to obtain a free and perpetual supply of ridiculously low-cost foodstuffs.

Outsourced third-world labor is just as much of a cheat. Instead of using underpriced meat, companies hire labor at wages far less than they’d pay in America — pennies instead of dollars. American minimum wage laws are circumvented, by having the work done outside America, in a cheap economy, at cheap wages, but then the product is brought back to America. That’s a cheat, but it’s said to be ‘good business’, and it’s even fucking recommended by the Small Business Administration. It ought to be illegal. 

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My knowledge of the ‘60s is mostly from reading about it, well after the fact. The decade, the music, the scene have all doubtless been romanticized in my mind, unrealistically idealized. But also, damn, I wish I'd been there.

If I’d been a few years older, 15 instead of 10 or 11, I hope I would’ve been tempted to run away and come to San Francisco, stick a flower in my hair and call it macaroni.

Which I did, I guess, but a few decades after the '60s.

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Another great episode from the Dig history podcast, this one looks at Birth of a Nation (1915), a movie I’d always heard was a classic, somewhat marred by some racist elements, but holy shit, no. Sounds like it’s racist front to back, and nothing’s ‘somewhat’ about it. I have never seen the movie and will never, but it sounds like something only a monster could claim as a classic without enormous caveats.

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West Side Story is actually set in Los Angeles? 

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Tenth Circuit Appeals Court says Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights are meaningless when ‘national security’ is on the line.

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California’s smash-and-dash retain thefts are a problem for businesses, but they’re lying about the extent of the problem.

It’s easy to get attention for sensational claims, however, particularly when they come from official sources. Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Assn., told the San Jose Mercury News that in San Francisco and Oakland alone, businesses lose $3.6 billion to organized retail crime each year.

That would mean retail gangs steal nearly 25% of total sales in San Francisco and Oakland combined, which amounted to around $15.5 billion in 2019, according to the state agency that tracks sales tax.

Can that be right? In a word: no.

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The rise of the internet caused the collapse of old-time print media, and it's imperiling old-time brick-and-mortar retailing, turning more and more once-thriving malls into echoes of emptiness.

I hope it soon imperils old-fashioned broadcast television, as fewer and fewer people watch the national broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, and a few others. Shoving the networks out of the way could possibly [?] make it worthwhile to have a television set.

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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


 Sing along with Doug:
Dialogue, by Chicago

Sincere tip 'o the hat:
Linden Arden • BoingBoing
Captain HampocketsFollow Me Here
John the Basket • LiarTownUSA
Messy Nessy ChickNational Zero
Ran PrieurVintage Everyday
Voenix Rising

Extra special thanks:
Clayton Barnes • Becky Jo
Name Withheld • Dave S.

Leftovers & Links 

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