thoughts of a goldfish
  • goldfish: nice rock
  • goldfish: nice rock
  • goldfish: nice rock
  • goldfish: nice rock
  • goldfish: The country’s economy and labor market remain in deep disrepair. Whereas our various post-market institutions (e.g., the safety net, educational institutions, health institutions) have a mixed record of coping with the rising poverty and inequality that has been handed to them by a still-struggling economy and labor market.
  • goldfish: nice rock

novicesuperhero  asked:

Hi there, quick question, what's UBI??

universal basic income is a form of social security system in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere. (Imagine if you will, if the government simply gave every citizen over the age of 18 $35,000 every year. Enough money to cover the BASIC NEEDS of a person.) The free market and labor market still exist, people still work for money, people still buy stuff with money.

Some links if you are curious as to how this works:

The wikipedia article on Basic Income.

The Reddit for Basic Income

Basic Income.Org

Thinking Utopian: How about a universal basic income?

The Economic Case for a Universal Basic Income (Part 1 of a series)

How Universal Basic Income Will Save Us From the Robot Uprising

i’ve talked about this before but the model minority myth has functions beyond creating a schism between asians & other people of color or justifying racialized income/education inequality by using asians as a gotcha.

it serves to make asians (and asian labor) simultaneously invisible and exploitable, while obscuring capital-driven destruction and manipulation of asian laborers in asian countries. 

asians are invisible not just numerically; quantity is not a sufficient enough explanation for our invisibility because asian immigration to the US is increasing and we’re populating multiple urban and suburban centers. we are invisible because of how white supremacy, specifically in this case the model minority myth, works to portray us as obsequious, robotic, hardworking, emotionless, and quiet, not prone to resistance or protest of any form. white supremacy does this through exploitation of labor + a series of rewards and punishments, rewards being assimilation to american society (if that can truly be considered a reward) or punishments being not hired or accepted by employers and universities. 

here’s the thing. you have a wave of immigration from asian countries that encompass asians who are middle-class, educated, and probably know english. they have an easier (not an easy but easier) time settling into the country, adapting american norms, and becoming financially stable and successful. they are the face of the model minority myth - the asian doctors, bankers, engineers, etc, the ones who “remain quiet and work hard with their head held high”, and get “great grades in STEM subjects” and provide intellectual/technological labor to the flourishing markets. 

you also have a wave of asian immigrants who do not fit this picture. they know little to no english. they may be undocumented. they’re working-class and don’t have college degrees. these are the asians who live in places like edison, new jersey, or chinatown and koreatown in NYC, or dearborn, michigan. they’re the ones who run laundromats and dry-cleaning stores, drive your taxis and ubers, own cheaply priced restaurants and grocery stores, work in manufacturing, cut, dye, or style your hair, paint your nails, wax your facial hair, maintain and work at your gas stations, dunkin donuts, and 7/11 type convenience stores. 

how is it that the model minority myth can exist alongside the “indian 7/11 worker / chinese restaurant owner / korean dry cleaner / afghan nail lady / arab taxi driver” stereotypes? how can one group be simultaneously stereotyped as “privileged, educated, assimilated, hardworking, technical geniuses” AND “provincial, smelly, backward, poor, scary, cheap”? how can one group be invisible yet also stereotyped as the population-heavy thieves of ol red white n’ blue good american labor and education? how do you have asians who do “succeed” under american capitailsm and asians who are exploited and even killed by american capitalism? 

because of the model minority myth, which impacts the first vs second group in different ways. 

the first group does have to work really hard to get “acknowledgment” by the state/by white supremacy. consider why asian-american students suffer so much from mental illness and suicidality. we are driven to work hard to exceed expectations, to outpace white american labor, to justify our presence in the country. we need to please not only our parents and communities but also appease employers and admissions officers who think that there are too many of us. i’m sure you’ve heard of harvard’s quota on asian admission. the school i attend, the university of michigan, also has “a lot” of asian students and in fact i often hear white students complain about that. it’s a complaint i’ve heard my entire life. so that’s where you get studies that show that people with “asian sounding” names don’t get hired, or why asian students who are deemed “too similar” to the “asian average” (which is higher than the “white average” because we are held to a higher standard because of white mediocrity) don’t get accepted. universities have to make room for their white alumni and rich students and because white people hate affirmative action, the best solution for universities and employers is to discriminate against us. 

of course this all happens under a quota system which means that they’re still using our academic prowess and labor to enhance their reputations or profit. their logic is to accept just the “right” number of asians to, say, prettify their research program or attain skilled workers for some financial or technological company. the “right” number of asian workers or students will drive up the image or profit of a certain institution but it won’t offend white people or “take up” white space. 

the second group, the one that is impacted by poverty, homelessness, income inequality, etc, is invisible precisely because of the model minority myth. since the myth posits that ALL asians are equally privileged and educated, poor asians are veritably nonexistent. and these asians cannot defend themselves - they do not have the financial, political, or communicative means to do so (language and financial barriers prevent them from speaking out). terrified of poverty, deportation, instability, assault, or police brutality, these working-class asian americans are forced to remain silent because if they don’t they will also lose their job or home or risk the threat of actual physical retaliation. this then feeds into the “asians are robotic and obedient” stereotype as much as the first group, comprised of “smart asian students and workers” does. it’s an insidious cycle. 

so this is the dual-function of the model minority myth. we are made invisible by a deliberate stereotype pushed forth that obscures the reality of our diversity, and this invisibility allows us to be exploited, whether we are being exploited by universities or by multinational corporations or by startups or any other institution or employer. 

donald trump campaigned on a kind of populism that recalled the good ole days where lower middle class people in rural middle america could graduate high school and get a job at the local plant and make a decent living for themselves. and those days are never coming back bc of globalization and the onset of the information age and the export of production/industry to the global south where labor markets are much less regulated and workers are hired for dirt cheap wages. “but how are we supposed to revitalize the rust belt if those days are never coming back?” the answer is socialism, karen

The idea that minimum wage doesn’t need to be a living wage because there needs to be room for growth and it’s mostly for kids or people wanting spare cash is nonsense. 

The majority of people that would be helped by an increase in the minimum wage are people well into their thirties. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t just help the disproportionately young people making the minimum wage, or in many cases below it, it also raises the income of everyone that is immediately above the proposed wage as well by also raising their income. 

It’s really common to toss around the fact that 45% of minimum wage workers are between 16 and 24, but the reality is the numbers skew older for the next income brackets above that. There are A LOT of people who have been in the labor market for years that are just above the minimum wage, work full-time and are disproportionately women, particularly women that are mothers. There is nothing for these millions of people to work up to. 

Women are disproportionately not promoted, and most of these low-wage people are working in retail and the service industry, which is notorious for not having an up for people to work up to.

Black Consciousness presupposes self-love; self-love presupposes reflecting on being passed over in relationships

Note from BW of Brazil:

Well I must say that it is now getting interesting! What I’m speaking on is an increasing number of Afro-Brazilians, normally women, but increasingly men, who are questioning how romantic choices are made, what certain choices say about the black community as a whole and the effect on how Afro-Brazilians relate to each other. The issue goes far beyond the common question of how it seems some black men and women choose partners of another race and enters into the sphere of simply love, support and unity among black people. Is there a problem here or are people simply making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary? I ask this question as I am increasingly reading material online suggesting that there is a peaking fissure between black men and women in both Brazil and the United States. I’ve been thinking about this for many years and today I read a post by my friend Daniela whose shared a recent personal incident that touched on another angle of the lack of unity between black men and women.

Note cont.
Daniela is a black Brazilian woman but the incident took place in Austin, Texas, in the United States. Having grown up in the US, I can honestly say that just 10 years ago, most black men wouldn’t have sided with a white man over a black woman who felt offended by the actions of that white man. The incident has nothing to do with a romantic relationship but it does fit into the ongoing discussion because it approaches the issue of how black men see black women and begs some basic questions. Do we have each other’s backs? Are we in this together? Do we have any unity? Or are we slowly being conquered by a discourse that says “we’re all equal” in terms of race, color and solidarity? As I’ve argued before, Brazil has been there for years, but we are increasingly seeing this idea becoming stronger in the US. With that said written, I must again ask, in what direction are we going black people?

Black Consciousness presupposes self-love; self-love presupposes reflecting on being passed over in relationships

Among so many themes we could write together, and they’re not few, we decided to revisit a thorny subject. Every time a new text appears on the issue of the black woman’s affective loneliness, the black side of the internet goes into a rampage. Black men, in their vast majority, run to say that black women are also palmiteiras, or else to reinforce that they are not palmiteiros. Not to mention the discourse that love has no color. But if it does not, if the diagnosis that black women experience loneliness in a brutal way is a fallacy, how could Ana Clara Pacheco even write a doctoral thesis addressing this topic?

By Winnie Bueno and Caio César 

The social passing over of which black women are targets is not restricted to the labor market alone, they expand to all spheres of society, including in the affective sphere. We have already written about these issues relentlessly. But it’s little. The narratives about the deep feeling of loneliness among black women don’t diminish, on the contrary, it seems, although we are increasing our possibilities to recognize ourselves as subjects, distancing ourselves from the logic that Frantz Fanon explains in Pele Negra, Máscaras Brancas (Black Skin, White Masks) that approaches the connection of citizenship with the performances of whiteness on the part of the black population, even with the strengthening of the black racial identities, nevertheless, black women continue dealing with the feeling of insufficiency.

The idea of this text is to bring a hybrid approach, in which it is possible in a single writing to reflect on the consequences of affective loneliness for blackness in a broad way. It’s necessary to say that affective solitude is not restricted to the passing over of the black women in the affective relationships of the dating and marriage type. The socio-cultural aspect of this question goes beyond the private of the relationships. And that’s where we want to start this dialogue. 

I believe that addressing the subject of loneliness is speaking directly, also, to black men. Talking about how much these men can love and be loved. And understand that this passes, first, through loving oneself, your culture, your people. It goes through understanding imposed masculinity, the stigmas and the stereotypes. Every masculinity that the world imposes on men falls even more heavily on black men. The necessity of being strong, hard, rigid all the time. Not showing emotions, or weakness or feelings. And this reflects also in loving relationships. On how treatment is given between men and women, especially black women. Add to this the construction of the black man’s image as a threat by international society.

Homens negros (black men) are the image of the enemy, that that is regarded as a voracious, uncontrollable animal, which, if not controlled by the coercive force of the state, can at any moment unleash their natural violence (see note one). The idea that these men need to be isolated from society so that it is protected is the projection of a discourse that has such an ideological force that even blackness is conditioned to perpetuate these ideas. Therefore, the deconstruction of this ideology between us is fundamental. Branquitude (whiteness), the media, the white social structure will not do this, it maintains itself from these assumptions and draws power from them. Of them there is not much to expect, but among us, it is possible to potentiate these reflections, talk about them and reduce their impacts on our social relations. 

The solidão da mulher negra (solitude/loneliness of the black woman inevitably passes through the way men see themselves within society and within relationships. All the imposed roles, the social rules, everything, everything counts on how we act next to a woman. Bringing a racial perspective, I have always observed how romanticism didn’t belong to black men. This was like showing weakness, being less of a man. I remember liking to write letters, I remember the other boys saying that this was not a coisa de homem (man thing). It was as if this was denied to me, love was denied me. I remember hearing countless times that “homens negros não são românticos” (black men are not romantic) and things like that. And that is one of the most rigid molds in the male world. Romanticism, the romantic lyric, is absolutely European. It doesn’t match the patterns of bestiality that these same Western standards relegate to black masculinity.

Caio remembers the letters he liked to write. Winnie remembers the letters she would like to have received and never received. While the meninas brancas (white girls), back in high school, were getting pretty notes, Winnie helped the boys demonstrate their interests. She wrote in the letters that were sent to her colleagues, that which she would like to read. The discovery of sexual and affective interests in school age, the narratives of mulheres negras (black women) about their being passed over in this environment, shows that from an early age we have the construction of an image about black women that fixes their social roles in sexual-affective relations. As servants, to serve in domestic activities, to serve fetishized sexual desires, but never to build solid relationships, after all, they are bodies without minds, in the words of bell hooks.

This idea, of a mindless body, is what underlies a series of patterns about relationships. And it is also what constitutes the phenomenon of palmitagem, these men who are constantly described as threats imprint on their unconscious that the affection of a white woman consensually destroys this paradigm. We know, therefore, that not only does it not eliminate it, it strengthens the contexts that represent black women as bodies-objects whose affection is not necessary. After all, if not even their equals are able to bond with these women, how will others do it? 

When you add this to an imposed standard beauty, we may have the least notion of why black women are so abused. Black men taught that demonstrations of feeling are weaknesses; taught that relating to white women brings them a higher status in society, more value and respect among friends. Men, who for not seeing value in black women, deny themselves the demonstrations of feeling. Because loneliness is not only the absence of someone at your side, but also the devaluation of those who say they love us. It is also the one without the use of derogatory jokes, about hair, hips and moodiness. Homens negros que, ao odiarem mulheres negras, odeiam a si mesmos (black men who, hating black women, hate themselves). In this constant is that the social ascension of the black man connects itself with the choice of a white partner, even though of an inferior financial status. Obvious that this phenomenon in Brazil occurs in a mitigated way, the social ascent of black men is insignificant, it occurs almost exclusively from the same means. But to make invisible (the fact) that black men who achieve some social prestige, even if it is hypocritical, since whiteness does not recognize this prestige in a total way, whether in the midst of entertainment or in the academic world, give almost exclusive preference to relating to white women would be, at the least, dishonest.

The affectionate loneliness of the black woman expands. The permanent feeling of solitude is common for black women, to the point of being a constant. We know that we are meant for emotional solitude, yet we are at a time when strategies are being built among black women themselves to overcome the anguish of loneliness. Other forms of affection that are not based on these historical repetitions, but this is a conversation for another text.

The key here is to try, once again, insistently, to talk about the need for mutual recognition, for ways of achieving self-love between us and upon us. The full appreciation of your equal, the consolidation of forms of love that establish themselves from the possibility of affection by the feeling of affection, and only for that. An affection in which the appreciation of negritude is possible. Loving not for interest, not for being with someone who gives us, before society, a value that is empowering of our wills as subjects, of all of them. Love for love of ourselves. Love for self-love. 

Source: / @winniebueno

Note: Examples of this stereotype are numerous in Brazil as well as on a global level. For examples in terms of representations in Brazil’s media 


“Ultimately, what we’re doing is driving wealth down to the people,” Chris Lehane, the strategist at Airbnb says.

It is, of course, driving wealth down unevenly. A study conducted by the New York attorney general in 2014 found that nearly half all money made by Airbnb hosts in the state was coming from three Manhattan neighborhoods: the Village-SoHo corridor, the Lower East Side, and Chelsea… 

A service like Uber benefits the rider, who’s saving on the taxi fare she might otherwise pay, but makes drivers’ earnings less stable. Airbnb has made travel more affordable for people who wince at the bill of a decent motel, yet it also means that tourism spending doesn’t make its way directly to the usual armies of full-time employees: housekeepers, bellhops, cooks.

To advocates such as Lehane, that labor-market swap is good. Instead of scrubbing bathrooms at the Hilton, you can earn directly, how and when you want. Sure thinking, though, presumes that gigging people and the old working and service classes are the same, and this does not appear to be the case.

A few years ago, Juliet B. Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College, interviewed forty-three mostly young people who were earning money from Airbnb, Turo (like Airbnb for car rentals), and TaskRabbit. She found that they were disproportionately white-collar and highly educated, like Seth F. A second, expanded study showed that those who relied on gigging to make a living were less satisfied than those who had other jobs and benefits and gigged for pocket money: another sign that the system was not helping those who most needed the work.

Instead of simply driving wealth down, it seemed, the gigging model was helping divert traditional service-worker earnings into more privileged pockets - causing what Schor calls a “crowding out” of people dependent on such work. The distillation-coil effect, drawing wealth slowly upward, is largely invisible. On the ground, the atmosphere grows so steamy with transaction that it often seems to rain much needed cash. 

“The Gig Is Up: Many liberals have embraced the sharing economy. But can they survive it?,” The New Yorker, May 2017.
Trump budget casualty: After-school programs for 1.6 million kids. Most are poor.
Administration says the efforts are ineffective. Researchers say that isn’t true.

The program Trump is seeking to ax — known as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers — helps school districts, churches and nonprofit groups serve more than 1.6 million children nationwide.

The administration argues that there is no evidence the program has been effective. But Heather Weiss of the independent Global Family Research Project — who has studied after-school programs for nearly 20 years — said that’s not true.

“There is a lot of evidence,” she said. “Engaging kids in high-quality after-school programs, many of which are supported by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, results in kids doing better in school. They’re more likely to graduate and to excel in the labor market.”

This administration does not want the disadvantaged to excel. It wants them too tired, impoverished, and scared to care beyond the next paycheck.

not yours to take

*requested —> Anonymous said: i honestly love your plots. can i request a fuckboy!yuta? like the jjh one.

Originally posted by sour-satang

author’s note: 2,272 words. 

*mentions of alcohol, drugs and sex. sins aplenty. read at own discretion.*

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White-led anti-racism groups have existed for hundreds of years, and they’ve often been problematic, counterproductive, and just fucking weird since their inception. Take, for instance, the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society of 1833, which believed that slave owners were missing out on a business opportunity by not putting slaves on the payroll. They argued that paying slaves “would make them doubly valuable to [their] masters,” because paid laborers are more motivated than forced laborers. That’s the whitest thing I’ve ever heard, and I own two Hanson records. I can think of a thousand better reasons not to own a person aside from increased productivity. The Anti-Slavery Society was equally concerned with growing the free labor market in order to sustain capitalism as ending the gruesome practices of slavery — and these were among the most radical white folks of the day. Even Frederick Douglass used to chill with them. And while Frederick was no-doubt working with what he had at his disposal, we have to acknowledge that sometimes what we have at our disposal leaves much to be desired.

Today, we have a myriad of predominantly white-led racial justice groups to choose from, with memberships booming thanks to frantic constituents still in shock from the latest political regime change. That’s a recipe for disaster; and I’ve personally observed problematic behavior, lack of accountability, and outright anti-Blackness from predominantly white-led groups like Resource Generation (RG), White People Challenging Racism (WPCR), Unitarian Universalist (UU) churches and Association (UUA), Anti-Racism Collaborative (ARC), and Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration (CAAMI) — to name a few. But arguably the most visible (and potentially harmful) white-led anti-racism group in recent years is Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

SURJ, for those who don’t spend their weekends dodging pepper spray, is a chapter-based network intent on “organizing white people for racial justice.” It was founded, in 2009, by white folks brimming with enthusiasm following the presidential victory of Barack Obama. According to their website, SURJ believes “white people must partner across race and other differences to create social change.” They go on to say they are “here to provide resources and support for white people to make this happen.”

Setting aside how problematic it is to tackle white supremacy by “providing resources and support for white people,” SURJ has evidently been in crisis for quite some time. Last fall, the Charlotte chapter promptly disbanded and released a statement noting, “The end of white supremacy will not come from a room of white people talking to each other about racism. We need to take action, and now.” I’ve gone on record as being critical of SURJ’s strategy for dismantling racism, but this was the first time I stood in whole-hearted agreement with a chapter. It’s telling that this statement of disbandment, unlike other initiatives and calls-to-action from SURJ, was shared so widely among Black organizers. It seemed that one chapter finally got it right, and they did so by realizing they got it wrong. As more and more (and more, and more) troubling testimonies criticizing SURJ came to light, I became increasingly vocal in my opposition. This prompted pushback and defensiveness from SURJ members and affiliates.

Recently, I spoke with a member of Community Change Incorporated (CCI) — a predominantly white-led anti-racism organization providing oversight and guidance to SURJ Boston. The member expressed genuine concern that if I continued to publicly admonish the organization I would potentially alienate white allies, effectively discouraging them from doing anti-racism work. This is something Black organizers hear endlessly. It’s usually framed as friendly advice, but I recognize it for what it is: a thinly veiled threat. “If you’re not nice to us, we won’t help end your oppression!” Ironically, that sentiment is the main reason I believe it’s important to be critical of white racial justice groups. I’m exploiting their fragility. It helps weed out allies and accomplices who think “Black lives matter” is a conditional phrase. Black lives ALWAYS matter, even when they’re making white people uncomfortable. In fact, I’d argue that’s when they matter most.

And believe it or not, challenging white anti-racism groups is a matter of life and death.

Getting a solid job nowadays is a crapshoot. We’re constantly told things like “Just do what you’re passionate about, and things will allllllll work out, man!” or “Stay in school! People love to know that you spent your 20s studying 19th-century British fiction.” But neither of these is a surefire method. The truth is, surviving in our ever-shrinking labor market means evolving to match its needs. So it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a look at one of these helpful online professional courses. (And the Cracked Dispensary!)

For some, leadership comes naturally. Take your William Wallaces, your FDR’s, your Freds from Scooby Doo. They all knew how to properly guide a team. But there’s no shame in realizing when you need help learning how to be a manager. Grab this Project Management Professional Certification Training here for $49.99. Because seriously, once you learn how to delegate tasks like a professional, you’ll never have to lift a finger again! Think of all the time you’ll have to plan your next step up the career ladder!

7 Career Courses That’ll Make Your Resume Sparkle
Laziness isn’t why people are poor. And iPhones aren’t why they lack health care.
The real reasons people suffer poverty don't reflect well on the United States.

Since the invention of the mythic welfare queen in the 1960s, this has been the story we most reliably tell about why people are poor. Never mind that research from across the social sciences shows us, over and again, that it’s a lie. Never mind low wages or lack of jobs, the poor quality of too many schools, the dearth of marriageable males in poor black communities (thanks to a racialized criminal justice system and ongoing discrimination in the labor market), or the high cost of birth control and day care. Never mind the fact that the largest group of poor people in the United States are children. Never mind the grim reality that most American adults who are poor are not poor from lack of effort but despite it.

I went to a great yardsale yesterday and took some pictures. The only issue was that there was a bin of photos and the guy tending the shop said I could select whatever I wanted and make an offer… but the guy who owned the place said he didn’t want to sell them individually (not at the price I offered anyway) and wanted to get rid of the whole bin though it wasn’t priced.

The dude sells at Packwood’s Labor Day flea market, it turns out, so let’s see if I get a second crack, at individual prices, in a few months.

A podcast made a good point abt the liberal drive to get everyone into STEM/coding as every other job in this fuck country gets automated out of existence

that isn’t some altruistic charity of the tech or engineering industries

I mean, these are the guys who are spiteful of unions, some of the most aggressive union busters & strike breakers since the pinkertons packed their guns back up

they aren’t encouraging people to get into these industries so everyone can make 75-100k a year, so everyone can be a millionaire by getting a worthless app a high valuation from venture capitalists

They’re doing it to pump up the labor market for these industries so they can crush the few unions that have emerged and, using the labor surplus, drop wages for researchers, coders, developers, engineers, designers… everyone

People at the top? They’re gonna stay at the top, they’re gonna make more money than anyone can possibly conceive of but everyone that works for them us going to be making barely anything because the labor market will be flooded.

treflev  asked:

Do you think Cosette would've been happier/better raised if Fantine took her to Montreuil sur Mer? (since she could afford it, as Mr. Madeleine would've let her work for him anyway)

Taking as a given for the moment the idea that Fantine could have gotten employment with Cosette. and assuming that Fantine’s ailment wasn’t tuberculosis but something like chronic bronchitis that might have stayed manageable if she hadn’t been pushed to the very edge like that?

I think Cosette would have been just as happy, for sure. She’s a very happy kid in canon, once Valjean saves her; so that part’s trading one happiness for another. Definitely those years with the Thenardiers would have been better spent with her mom!

–And of course in M-sur-M, if Fantine HAD a job, there were actual childcare options– Cosette could still have gone to school, since Madeleine was funding one! Fantine was obviously ready to be an awesome single mom. 

Cosette would still have been a working-class kid in that timeline, which means she would have WORKED– but that could mean anything from piecework at home (like Fantine’s sewing) to factory labor to even maybe being a shop girl, depending on who she met and how things went. With the basics of reading and writing, Cosette would have had a real advantage in her labor market; she might even have gone to Paris some day, to seek her fortune. She’d have been well loved, and clearly Fantine WAS making enough money to support her (assuming, always, the bead factory stays there and Madeleine doesn’t get ousted), so there’s no reason her life would have been notably unhappy! She just wouldn’t have been a bourgeois lady, is all (and so *probably* wouldn’t end up with Marius).  

This all also applies to what happens if Fantine just stays the heck in Paris and gets a job too– if we assume no tragedies of illness or accident, they’d be fine! Fantine is super tough and super caring. 

Of course in both these scenarios, Valjean misses out on raising Cosette, so we have to come up with a different scenario– maybe a couple of ex-innkeepers from Montfermeil wander through and he rescues THEIR kids when he sees how badly they’re treated?? But I am willing to go through a lotta AUs to keep Fantine and Cosette happy and together!
Memo To The Resistance: Label Trump
What label could be grafted onto "Trump" to achieve maximum, long-term damage to his brand?

Nick Knudsen at Huffington Post:

The right is historically much better at strategic labeling of prominent figures than the left. An effective label can wiggle into the subconscious and plant a key impression that becomes a filter for all future information. It is instructive to reflect on how brilliantly Trump’s label “crooked” damaged Hillary Clinton’s brand. This moniker, unfair as it was, poked Clinton in just the right spot.

Trump itself is a four-letter word to many on the left, but to another broad swath of the country, the president’s name elicits strong feelings of patriotism and pride. His supporters hear Trump and think: plain-talking; disrupter of the status-quo; businessman-savior. Meanwhile, his “disruptive” policies (bank deregulation, ACA repeal, etc.) will cause great economic harm for his core supporters.

Could the Resistance co-opt the Trumpian tactic of strategic labeling, followed by unwavering message discipline, to help erode the positive connotation some have when they hear his name? It’s not too late. A succinct, pointed and ubiquitously-used refrain deployed at every reference to Donald Trump could influence millions of peoples’ perceptions of the man and his team, in the way that “crooked” sowed seeds of doubt about Hillary Clinton.

So the question: What label could be grafted onto Trump to achieve maximum, long-term damage to his brand, his presidency and his agenda? “Crooked” worked so well because it reinforced core misgivings about Secretary Clinton, and resonated directly with ongoing storylines that dogged her political career and candidacy. Ideally a simple word or phrase, plainly descriptive, could help message Trump’s core weakness to the country.

A quick scan of left-leaning blogs and social media sites uncovers a potpourri of labels that demonstrate the color, creativity and enthusiasm the left has employed in describing Trump: #SoCalledPresident, #OrangeJulius, #CheetoJesus, #Drumpf, #AgentOrange and #SCROTUS, to name a very few.

While these memes are snarky and certainly cathartic for frustrated liberals, they aren’t strategic. “Crooked Hillary” spoke to the center – those who were on the fence about Clinton. Plain insults won’t help to change the perceptions of those in the middle/right. Phrases like “So-Called President” and even the widely-used “Not My President” only sound whiny to these groups and don’t make a strategic point. “Crooked” allowed Trump to diagnose and articulate his warped view of Hillary’s essential character, which fit snugly within and worked to drive the media’s narrative.

So what is Donald Trump’s essential character? There’s an obvious answer: he is an accomplished, relentless liar with no moral compass. This week alone, Trump invented an Obama wiretapping scheme in a transparent attempt to divert attention away from the Russia story. Track backwards through time and countless other examples pop out, like his inauguration crowd claims, proclamations of voter fraud, and of course the years-long birther lie. His refusal to sell off his stake in the Trump organization points to his intention to profit from the office: Donald Trump is selling out America to help his family and his friends in the 1% earn maximum profit. It’s a con job, and it always has been.

Which brings us to: Con Man. Donald Trump is the carnival barker who takes your money in a game designed not to work. He’s the phone call scammer who records you saying yes to an anonymous question and then charges you for a service. He’s the shady character casing your house and stealing packages off your porch. He is literally the man who charges you $30K for a “university” degree that carries no labor market value. He plays you for a fool to make a profit, to inflate his ego, or both.

Con Man Donald Trump. Don the Con. Con-Man-in-Chief. Or simply, “The Con Man.” A suite of labels that all get back to one idea: you cannot trust a word this man says, and there is an ulterior motive lurking behind each statement, tweet or proclamation. He is a swindler and bullshit artist.

Universal use of a “Con Man” label by the Resistance could impact the long game by supporting a slow and low-key erosion of confidence in the man. Refer to him as “Con Man” Donald Trump instead of “President” Donald Trump. Likewise, use “The Con Man” or “Con-Man-in-Chief” in place of POTUS. Light a fire under #DonTheCon #ConManDJT and #TheConMan as social media hashtags. Throw in synonyms to liven things up – swindler, carnival barker, scam artist.

The goal of the Resistance is not just to fight the Con Man’s agenda - it is to apply pressure and force the release of his tax returns, push for an independent investigation into the Administration’s ties to Russia, and eventually to march toward impeachment and removal from office. We’ll need doubt and activism from all patriotic Americans – both right and left – to apply pressure on Congress to act, and that means winning some people over.

When candidate Trump labelled #CrookedHillary, he had the advantage of using his fame and media penetration to spread the message. A “Con Man” campaign would necessarily be more of a grassroots effort to influence the national narrative, which could then be further popularized by resistance leaders who catch on, late night comedy personalities (Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers, Bill Maher and John Oliver hold a lot of sway), and others. Eventually, the label would trickle up to Democratic politicians strong enough to use it (I’m talking to you, Maxine Waters).

The key message here to all you resisters - I know you love to be creative in describing Con Man Donald Trump, but how about this strategy: they go low, you get smart. Rip a page right out of Don the Con’s playbook. Coalesce around a label. The Resistance can then resume its efforts in a more organized way - metaphorically marching, slowly but surely, up Pennsylvania Avenue to evict the Con Man from the People’s House.
Robots Are Replacing Workers Where You Shop
The U.S. retail industry’s 16 million workers are at risk of seeing their jobs replaced by automation as large chains, under pressure from Amazon, increasingly use technology to do rote tasks.
By Sarah Nassauer

Robots, AI, and Amazon are placing increased pressure on retail operations to automate, and axe or redeploy workers:

Last August, a 55-year-old Wal-Mart employee found out her job would now be done by a robot. Her task was to count cash and track the accuracy of the store’s books from a desk in a windowless back room. She earned $13 an hour.

Instead, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. started using a hulking gray machine that counts eight bills per second and 3,000 coins a minute. The Cash360 machine digitally deposits money at the bank, earning interest for Wal-Mart faster than sending an armored car. And it uses software to predict how much cash is needed on a given day to reduce excess.

“They think it will be a more efficient way to process the money,” said the employee, who has worked with Wal-Mart for a decade.

Now almost all of Wal-Mart’s 4,700 U.S. stores have a Cash360 machine, turning thousands of positions obsolete. Most of the employees in those positions moved into store jobs to improve service, said a Wal-Mart spokesman. More than 500 have left the company. The store accountant is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour.

“The role of service and customer-facing associates will always be there,” said Judith McKenna, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief operating officer, in an interview. But “there are interesting developments in technology that mean those roles shift and change over time.”

Wow. ‘Interesting developments’ is some serious doubletalk.

Now for the numbers:

Nearly 16 million people, or 11% of nonfarm U.S. jobs, are in the retail industry, mostly as cashiers or salespeople. The industry eclipsed the shrinking manufacturing sector as the biggest employer 15 years ago. Now, as stores close, retail jobs are disappearing. Since January, the U.S. economy has lost about 71,000 retail jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The decline of retail jobs, should it occur on a large scale—as seems likely long-term—will make the labor market even less hospitable for a group of workers who already face limited opportunities for stable, well-paid employment,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Wal-Mart has long squeezed efficiency out of its business, both in stores and throughout its vast supply chain. Although it employs 1.5 million people in the U.S., it has around 15% fewer workers per square foot of store than a decade ago, according to an analysis by the Journal.

Some Wal-Mart stores are experimenting with touch screens to let shoppers process returns. Self-checkouts are becoming a larger percentage of its total registers, according to a person familiar with company strategy.

So they automate the back office, and ‘free’ those employees to work on the store floor. But they also are automating check-out and customer support in the front of the store, ‘freeing’ associates to… do what, exactly?
North Carolina needed 6,500 farm workers. Only 7 Americans stuck it out.
When you have an agricultural economy and no immigrants, getting business done gets tough.

The NCGA is the nation’s largest user of the H-2A guest worker program, which is designed with agricultural workers in mind. Under that program’s regulations, Clemens explains, NCGA “must submit an application to the US Department of Labor proving that it has actively recruited US natives and native workers will not take NCGA jobs.”

That data is interesting, because it describes the labor market before any immigrant workers are recruited. That, as Clemens says, “allows us to assess the willingness of native workers to take farm jobs before they can even be offered to foreign workers, meaning that this study does not miss any impact caused by people who self-select out of an area or occupation because of competition with foreign workers.”

That willingness, he finds, is basically nonexistent. Every year from 1998 to 2012, at least 130,000 North Carolinians were unemployed. Of those, the number who asked to be referred to NCGA was never above 268 (and that number was only reached in 2011, when 489,095 North Carolinians were unemployed). The share of unemployed asking for referrals never breached 0.09 percent.

When native unemployed people are referred to NCGA, they’re almost without exception hired; between 1998 and 2011, 97 percent of referred applicants were hired. But they don’t tend to last. In 2011, 245 people were hired out of 268 referred, but only 163 (66.5 percent) of the hired applicants actually showed up to the first day of work. Worse, only seven lasted to the end of the growing season.