....LMB: "Anti-Mega"....

November 19, 2002

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Wal-Mart. They sell products made in sweatshops. They work as a force of censorship on the music and magazines they sell. And the fact that their enormous size and purchasing power end up driving small surrounding retailers out of business. PBS put together an interesting documentary last year about the crisis a small Virginia town faced when Wal-Mart wanted to open up business there. Good stuff.

There are two interlinked protests going on against Wal-Mart in the near future. The first is a union drive by the AFL-CIO. Wal-Mart workers often receive low wages, and their efforts to form or join unions are vigorously opposed by the company.

The second effort is a broader campaign which includes the first. November 21 is the Wal-Mart National Day of Action, to protest against all of these anti-social practices. That's this coming Thursday. If you want to jump on that bandwagon, you can click the link just above and find out what's going down in your neck of the woods.

Posted by Jake at 08:16 PM

Yeah, in my town, Wal-Mart is a supermega monster with a grocery store, department store, and even mall stuff like hair salons and food courts combined. It's pretty much running KMart and Kroger (a regional midwestern grocer infamous for covering up Cosmopolitan magazines) out of business. So I either have to do my shopping at the lesser of evils or do my shopping at a freaking 7-11.

Ah, the free market...the garden of free choice...

Posted by: Eric at November 20, 2002 12:59 PM

I'll never forget a sign I once saw in Wal-Mart. Yes, I was in a Wal-Mart a couple of times, but I...uh...didn't buy anything.

Anyway, the sign at the electronics section: "Wal-Mart is a family store. We reserve the right to censor our products." Or words to that effect.

Posted by: Eric at November 20, 2002 01:02 PM

Oh and one more thing:

A local Methodist church down the my street has this sign outside its door: "Wal-Mart is not the only saving place."

Does this church have a chance?

Posted by: Eric at November 20, 2002 01:04 PM

Let's face it. The US has a serious totalitarian streak, and it gets even more bloated in times of war (or "war"). Censorship, no free choice over where to shop or find culture, government always peeking over your shoulder, citizens afraid to speak up freely or protest, rabid flag-waving boosterism--is there any difference between us and any other fascist regime? I think living in Iraq could be quite similar to living here (ok, not totally, but there are so many parallels)--just shut up, don't criticize the government, don't have strong opinions, toe the line, do your job and like it, look like everyone else, it's all about God and country---

what's the damn difference anymore?

Posted by: michele at November 20, 2002 02:51 PM

Cheer up, michele, apparently there is some long standing economic embargo on the Iraqis and, to top it off, the embargo people for reasons unclear regularly bomb their infrastructure into rubble. So at least in that respect, and for the moment, we are much better off here. Hmm, I wonder if President Bush wants my kids to send their kids a buck, too, so we can save them like we saved Afghanistan.

Posted by: doesn't matter at November 20, 2002 03:44 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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