....LMB: "School Pride"....

October 12, 2004

I graduated from UCLA back in 1998. Didn't go to a single football game, didn't own a single UCLA t-shirt, and was barely aware when the basketball team won a national championship.

But I am feeling a bit of school pride this morning. Y'see, ever since I first visited the campus, there has been a Taco Bell stand near one of the outdoor quad areas. Very popular, very simple. I don't like Taco Bell so I never ate there.

For several years now, the Taco Bell corporation has been involved in a labor dispute. The workers who pick the tomatoes that go into Taco Bell products are paid miniscule starvation wages. On top of that, bizarre Florida labor laws prevent the workers from forming a union. Unfortunately, the workers are not directly employed by Taco Bell, but by an agricultural company called 6 Ls, which makes things more difficult. Most big corporations are very protective of their public image, so things like boycotts and campaigns to publicize a company's immoral actions can be very effective. But an unknown agrictultural company can't be pressured in such a way. So, these farm workers have little choice but to try to use public tactics against Taco Bell in hopes that it will pressure 6 Ls into negotiating with their workers.

(I've always thought that Taco Bell was something of bystander in this conflict, but new info posted on the farmworkers' website shows that Taco Bell puts great pressure on their produce suppliers to offer the lowest possible prices. Which means that the produce companies keep prices low by keeping costs low by keeping wages low. So Taco Bell actually has a near-direct effect on keeping these farmworkers in poverty)

Anyhow, I had heard about several universities where students concerned about the farmworkers pressured their campuses to kick out existing Taco Bell franchises on their campuses, but never dreamed that my apathetic, profit-driven alma mater would ever do something like that. But today, I read that the main student government organization at UCLA is recommending that the school terminate their contract with Taco Bell.

Nice work, Bruins.

Posted by Jake at 10:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

I agree- this movement has been gaining support very strongly, very quickly. At the beginning of my high-school 'political' club (bunch of radicals) this was the first issues I raised, and the Coalition of Im. workers were in town.

Ive seen quite a few people who know about this but are in the dark on several other issues.

I feel the same about college.

Posted by: Brian at October 12, 2004 03:10 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.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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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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