Tag Archives | Corporation Watch

The Scent of a Cabbie

Bluury Streets of SF

Tuesday

5:05am:
The sun’s been coming up early. (Ok. And I’ve been “sleeping in.”) Regardless, I do feel the unrelenting compulsion to race in to work, to beat its rise, like a vampire trying to make his casket before turning to ash. Hopefully, mine will be full of coffee grounds. I need a buzz.

5:30am:
I’m finished greasing Tony’s palms back in the Citizen’s Cab office, and I head out to the lot.

Aside: Yeah, I chanced a $5 bribe on Tony for an airport this morning. I don’t actually expect to see one come my way from dispatch. But I gotta check-in now and then, if only to keep Tony on his toes.

5:31am:
I’m in new ‘ol 137 and I’m immediately overcome with a strong wave of fruity… Well, just strong, fruity. I look around hard, but I cannot find the offending Christmas Tree air freshener, however hard I try.

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Mind Your Own Business

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Barbara Ehrenreich writes at the Baffler:

At about the beginning of this decade, mass-market mindfulness rolled out of the Bay Area like a brand new app. Very much like an app, in fact, or a whole swarm of apps. Previous self-improvement trends had been transmitted via books, inspirational speakers, and CDs; now, mindfulness could be carried around on a smartphone. There are hundreds of them, these mindfulness apps, bearing names like Smiling Mind and Buddhify. A typical example features timed stretches of meditation, as brief as one minute, accompanied by soothing voices, soporific music, and images of forests and waterfalls.

This is Buddhism sliced up and commodified, and, in case the connection to the tech industry is unclear, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist blurbed a seminal mindfulness manual by calling it “the instruction manual that should come with our iPhones and BlackBerries.” It’s enough to make you think that the actual Buddha devoted all his time under the Bodhi Tree to product testing.

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Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

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Nam’s Mission

137

Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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Ann Lewis GILF activist artist’s SHATTERING catharsis

They-dont-realize-we-are-seeds1

Ann Lewis (gilf) “They don’t realize we are seeds”, Mixed Media

Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present SHATTERING, a solo exhibition of new work by Ann Lewis, also known as gilf!,

Opening Reception:
Thursday, May 7th | 6-9 PM
in Chelsea at 548 W 28th Street, suite 232.

Exhibition Dates: May 7-May 30, 2015 April 16, 2015 (New York, NY)

Based in Brooklyn, Ann Lewis (gilf!) is one of NYC’s most recognized and provocative female street and activist artists. She creates bold public work and gallery work that inspire thoughtfulness, while simultaneously motivating progressive change within communities. Earlier this year, the artist garnered national media attention when she installed a colossal banner resembling police caution tape that read ‘GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS’  at the former graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Queens, New York. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin Madison, her work has been reviewed in Blouin Art Info, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, Brooklyn Street Art, Gothamist, and Wooster Collective.

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Eau de Fracking? Companies Try to Trademark Scents

One imagines that if the frackers pay their lobbyists enough, the US Patent & Trademark Office will somehow find a way to issue a federal trademark for fracking scents. I kid you not, this is really happening, as described by the Wall Street Journal:

Federal trademark officials in Alexandria, Va., recently received an unusual package: a hand-delivered parcel containing vials of a clear liquid that smelled of oranges.

The sender wasn’t a crank. It was a corporate trademark lawyer representing Flotek Industries Inc., a Texas producer of hydraulic-fracturing fluids used to extract oil and gas from rocks deep in the earth.

Scent-bottles 01

The little bottles in the box were samples of a branding brainstorm that might be called eau de fracking: a specially developed scent that is supposed to make Flotek’s product smell like a glass of OJ. Flotek says its customers have come to associate the orange scent with its line of fracking chemicals and wants the U.S.

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LEAKED: Lockheed Martin CEO Says War Is Good For Business

While wars are raging all over the place, the US managed to get a nuclear deal done with Iran. Sounds like a good thing. But weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s investors are getting skittish. Less war, less profits. Watch the CEO calm them down by promising widespread instability…

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Meditation Sweeps Corporate America, But It’s For Their Health. Not Yours

There must be money in meditation: its going corporate. Oliver Burkeman explains at the Guardian:

As a fairly regular meditator, I naturally responded with only a slight smile and a deep sense of imperturbable inner peace to the latest crop of articles asserting that mindfulness has conquered the highest levels of American corporate life.

Sidhasana.JPG

Photo: Jemasty (CC)

This most recent coverage has been triggered by Mindful Work, a new book by the New York Times reporter David Gelles, which documents – and largely celebrates – the discovery of meditation by hedge fund managers, health insurers, Ford, Target, Goldman Sachs and the Bank of America as a way to reduce stress and boost employee productivity. Arianna Huffington is thrilled by the news; the Wall Street Journal is excited; even the Marine Corps is interested. Now, obviously, I wouldn’t want to suggest that Goldman SachsBank of America or the US military don’t always have humanity’s best interests at heart in everything they do.

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Chevron Whistleblower Leaks ‘Smoking Gun’ in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill

chevron_tapes

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. More of Lauren’s posts here.

In what is being described as “smoking gun evidence” of Chevron’s complete guilt and corruption in the case of an oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, internal videos leaked to an environmental watchdog show company technicians finding and then mocking the extensive oil contamination in areas that the oil giant told courts had been restored.

A Chevron whistleblower reportedly sent “dozens of DVDs” to U.S.-based Amazon Watch with a handwritten note stating: “I hope this is useful for you in your trial against Texaco/Chevron. [signed] A Friend from Chevron.”

The videos were all titled “pre-inspection” with dates and places of the former oil production sites where judicially-supervised inspections were set to take place. The footage was recorded by Chevron during an earlier visit to the site to determine where clean samples could be taken.

According to Amazon Watch’s description of the tapes:

Chevron employees and consultants can be heard joking about clearly visible pollution in soil samples being pulled out of the ground from waste pits that Chevron testified before both U.S.

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