Archive for the ‘Seriously?’ Category
I mean really take 9 minutes out of your day and watch this.
Big brother is always watching. Whether his presence is as obvious and egregious as Facebook’s recent sale of 100 million users’ personal details, or as simple as having all of our credit card transactions recorded and stored–it’s apparent that everything ever is being packaged and sold, often without the owner’s awareness. Take yesterday’s WSJ article published in their style section about America’s shopping patterns – I learned a lot about how my credit and debit card information is being used to track the luxury spending market and the nation’s fiscal recovery. Which is cool and all, except kind of creepy. For instance, one would think that Detroit would not be so high on the list of luxury spending but:
Detroit led the list, with growth of 18% in the first quarter of 2010 from the year-earlier quarter. Lo and behold, Ford stock is up, too, suggesting that Detroit’s local investors are feeling more optimistic than they were when auto executives were driving hybrids down to Washington to beg for bailouts.
I also learned that:
[B]anks have nearly as much information about our purchasing habits. “We know where the customers live and we can track their behavior back to where they live,” says Ed Jay, senior vice president of American Express’s Business Insights unit, which mines its credit-card data for consumer trends and sells reports to clients. American Express says it doesn’t provide data on individual consumers.
Some of the data confirm regional stereotypes. Southerners bought more white, green, and pink than other regions’ residents, for instance, according to data from private-sale site Hautelook.com, which caters to young, urban professional women. Now I know, too, why I feel like such a loner wearing brown in Los Angeles, where black, white and gray are preferred.
Now I don’t care that American Express has sold my credit card history to Joe Shmoe so that they could confirm that residents on the Upper East Side buy more Jimmy Choos than their Upper West Side constituents. But, you know, it is a little nosy of them.
For those of you who are regular readers of my blog (mom, close friends), you probably already know of my crazy letter that I sent to Dieppa Restrepo yesterday in an act of desperation to get my hands on a pair of their nude patent leather oxfords. Well guess what? My timing was perfect and they just got a new shipment in a few days ago. After hearing back from Maryam Nassir Zadeh the very next day (what a wonderful lady), I called them early this afternoon and put aside a pair for immediate pick-up/consumption. In just a few hours, all of my hard efforts will be made whole. They.will.be.mine.
In order to get to this point, however, I had to send a really embarrassing letter. Did I mention that I wrote a crazy letter to the company to get them?
Stephanie Grace is a Harvard 3L who wrote a really troubling email detailing why she believes it’s possible for genes to influence intelligence, and therefore, why she believes blacks are intellectually inferior to whites. This argument is crazy. But what’s even more crazy is the fact that my one of my coworkers attempted to make the very same argument she did–in a softer manner–and didn’t see anything wrong with it. I’m posting my response (to a long email thread we had) here, but I encourage everyone to Google her and read up on the whole spectrum of what’s been written in the past 48 hours.
And I would (controversially) note that discussions like these are best left unsaid. I’m serious- I don’t care if you only believe “it’s possible” for one race to be superior-I have no interest in entertaining your argument. And if you must make an argument alleging superior genetics/race/intelligence to a group of people, have a better argument than pointing to the color of one’s skin or hair, or by telling me that black people can run faster.
A friend adds: “And if you are truly interested in this argument, then you should read “Mismeasure of Man,” which is considered one of the strongest answers to Stephanie’s (which is, fyi, a watered down attempt on the arguments presented in “The Bell Curve”) theories.”
Spare me, Bob McDonnell. Or at least acknowledge that in re-instituting April as Confederate History Month, you are not actually bringing awareness to something which “all Virginians” can appreciate, but instead are conveniently forgetting what the succession was really about: Southern States rights…“to own black people as property.”
I’m not quite sure what the implications of this new phenomenon are, but the face of terrorism over the last few weeks has changed. Past preconceptions of terrorism painted the image of a brown, bearded man with an AK-47 in one hand and a Koran in the other. However, after the Moscow attacks by two female suicide bombers (suspected to be from the North Caucusus), the arrest of Jihad Jane, and the FBI raid of the Midwestern Christian militant group, the Hutaree, a new class of terrorists has emerged, shifting the perception of what it means to be a Jihadist. I’m fascinated by all these groups of people willing to kill others and themselves in the name of religion and God. In light of Easter (because it’s only the holiest of holidays for Christians) and because all three books (the Bible, Koran, and Torah) acknowledge that we have the same God, I ask the terrorists this: WWGD? Seriously.
Yahoo News – Jihad Jane terrorist suspect cooperated
Update: NYMag – Are the Members of the Michigan Militia Terrorists?
Graduating from school in the middle of a recession has got people going all sorts of crazy. Not only is it hard to stay employed, but it’s hard for even the most qualified candidates to find a job. In these times, everyone is feeling the pinch of the recession. Even hipsters. That’s why Salon is putting the spotlight on them in their latest exposé. Young people – who don’t look like Ronald Reagan’s carefully crafted “Welfare Queen”- are using food stamp debit cards to buy ingredients for their dinner parties and to stock up on luxury items like organic whole chickens and glass bottles of Perrier. “They’re young, they’re broke, and they pay for organic salmon with government subsidies. Got a problem with that?”
I really don’t have a problem with people buying nice produce with food stamps – if – they – qualify – for – it. I would much prefer to see people buying apples, berries, more expensive whole grains, and grass-fed beef instead of little debbies, pringles, kraft cheese, and hot dogs. But. When I read an article that interviews a woman (who might just be the extreme case) who admits she has a penchant for expensive clothing but uses food stamps to sponsor her chic dinner parties, I am floored. At least it’s interesting to see that the stigma on food stamps has shifted? I guess what I’m trying to say is on the one hand, I’m glad Ronnie’s “Welfare Queen” image looks different. But on the other hand, at least I believed a poor black single mother qualified for it?