The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sparky: Friday's Fodder for the Guru

Let's expand on the theme of Sci Fi babes then? Enjoy ...

Tonight's guest was in this movie below:

Grace Park

Grace Park (born April 8, 1980) is a Canadian actress born in the United States of America, and who is of Korean descent. In just a few short years, Grace Park has managed to rack up an impressive list of credits, including the feature Romeo Must Die, the telefilm L.A. Law: The Movie and the popular CBC teen series Edgemont, in which she played Shannon Ng in the ensemble cast. She plays Lt. Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii in Battlestar Galactica, as well as Shannon Ng in the Canadian television series teen soap Edgemont.

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Raptor pilot. Not long out of flight school, she's the squadron's rookie -- less sure of herself than the other pilots, and more vulnerable.

She has appeared on such series as Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, The Outer Limits, Dark Angel, The Immortal (in which she played the recurring role of Mikiko) and the SCI FI Original Series Stargate SG-1. She holds a degree in psychology and speaks English and Korean, along with some French and Cantonese; she is currently studying Spanish.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Park and her family moved to Canada when she was 22 months old. Grace Park holds a degree in psychology from University of Victoria and speaks English and Korean, along with some French and Cantonese. She is currently studying Spanish. As of 2005, Park lives in Vancouver with her extremely lucky husband.

External links

Perhaps not safe for work - you may judge for yourselves -

There. I feel dirty Cary. You owe me ... - Sparks

Sparky: Attention All You “Rove Truth Squaders!” And is it yet Miller Time? The New York Times' Bill Keller will show us Sunday ...

Karl Rove, president George W. Bush's chief political advisor
Karl Rove, president George W. Bush's chief political advisor
AKA “Turd Blossom”

Bush administration mishandling of pre-war intelligence

Background on the Plame Investigation

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give eleventh-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.

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“Judy and "Scooter" sitting in a tree - KAY EYE ESS ESS EYE EN GEE ... !?”
Miller met with an unnamed government official — later revealed to be "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff — on July 8, 2003, two days after former ambassador Joseph Wilson published an Op-Ed in the Times criticizing the Bush administration for "twisting" intelligence to justify war in Iraq. (Plame's CIA identity was revealed by political commentator Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.) ...
On September 29, 2005, after spending 86 days in jail, Miller was released after a telephone call with Lewis Libby. He had reaffirmed a release of confidentiality that he had given her a year earlier that she had already known about. She testified at Fitzgerald's Plame Case hearings the following day, September 30th. BBC News Report.

I give you the full article knowing some of you'd not click a link to read it ...

Washington Post: Leonnig & VandeHei: Rove to Testify Again in Grand Jury's CIA Leak Probe

Prosecutor's Warning That Bush Adviser Could Be Indicted Suggests New Information May Have Emerged

Washington Post Staff Writers: Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei
Friday, October 7, 2005; A04

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove will again testify to a grand jury that is in the final stages of investigating whether senior Bush administration officials illegally leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media more than two years ago, a source familiar with the arrangement said yesterday.

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald contacted Rove last week to seek his fourth appearance before the grand jury -- but warned Rove's lawyer that he could not assure that Rove would not be indicted, according to the source. Rove could appear as early as today, when the grand jury is next scheduled to meet.

Fitzgerald's request -- which comes just weeks before the grand jury term is set to expire on Oct. 28 -- suggests that new information has come to light in other witness testimony, or other questions remain that Rove needs to address, according to lawyers who have been involved in the case.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in an interview yesterday that Rove has not been notified that he is a target of the investigation, and does not fear testifying despite Fitzgerald's warning. Luskin declined to say whether he knows the topics Fitzgerald wants to question Rove about.

"Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed to me that he has made no charging decisions, that he believes Karl continues to cooperate fully with the investigation, but beyond that, I don't want to comment at all about any communications with Mr. Fitzgerald's office," Luskin said.

A source close to Rove said Bush's chief political adviser and his legal team are now genuinely concerned he could face charges. But, the source said, his lawyers are hoping that Fitzgerald's warning of the chance of indictment is simply the move of a conservative, by-the-book prosecutor wrapping up a high-profile investigation. Prosecutorial guidelines require prosecutors to warn witnesses before they appear before a grand jury if there is a chance they could face criminal charges.

For the past 22 months, Fitzgerald has been investigating whether any Bush administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's identity in July 2003 as retaliation for public criticism by her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, of the government's case for war in Iraq.

On July 6, Wilson contended in an opinion piece that administration claims that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear materials in Niger were false. Wilson had been sent to the African nation by the CIA to investigate the claims. Eight days later, on July 14, Plame's name and CIA employment appeared in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak.

Rove has testified that he talked with two reporters about Plame in that time period, but only referred to her as Wilson's wife and never supplied information about her status as an undercover CIA operative. Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, also testified that he discussed Plame with at least two reporters but said that he, too, never mentioned her name or her covert status, according to lawyers in the case.

The news of Rove's upcoming testimony comes at one of the more difficult moments of the Bush presidency. In recent months, Bush has faced steady criticism for his handling of Iraq, gas prices and Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, a number of prominent conservatives who have backed Bush since 2000 have been sharply critical of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House would not comment on the probe.

"That's an ongoing investigation . . . and the president directed that we cooperate fully with that investigation," he said. "As part of cooperating fully, that means not commenting on it from here."

As recently as a week ago, people familiar with Rove's role in the affair said they believed he was in the clear because, after Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper testified in July about his conversation with Rove, Rove had not heard back from Fitzgerald.

Rove offered then to come back and answer any questions that might arise from Cooper's testimony, Luskin has said.

It is highly unusual for a person who has any risk of being indicted in a white-collar case to offer to go before the grand jury, say veteran defense lawyers and former prosecutors. But the rare exceptions, they say, are almost always high-profile figures and politicians. Public figures can expect that an indictment will end their careers, and that refusing to cooperate in an investigation could do the same, criminal lawyers said.

A witness who has already appeared several times may be recalled to explain why earlier answers appear to conflict with accounts of other witnesses, said two former prosecutors. Or the prosecutor may simply want to inquire about new topics that have arisen in the investigation.

Under Justice Department guidelines, prosecutors must provide witnesses the opportunity to testify again if they want to recant previous testimony that may have been false. That does not necessarily prevent a prosecutor from bringing charges but can be part of that person's defense.

Besides Cooper, at least two other people have testified before the grand jury since Rove last answered questions: New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was questioned after initially refusing to appear and serving 85 days in jail, and Rove's secretary.

Under an agreement with Fitzgerald, Miller's testimony last Friday focused on her conversations with Libby. Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, did not return telephone calls seeking comment yesterday.

Rove's secretary was questioned about why a phone call from Cooper to Rove in 2003 was not recorded in White House phone logs, according to sources familiar with the probe. She reportedly explained that Cooper called the main switchboard and his call was not logged because it was rerouted to Rove's office.

One apparent conflict between Rove's and Cooper's accounts centers on Rove telling the grand jury that he and Cooper talked primarily about welfare during their conversation, according to lawyers familiar with Rove's account. Cooper has said the grand jury asked him repeatedly about the welfare portion of his discussion with Rove, but Cooper said that, although he left a message for Rove about welfare reform, their conversation that day centered on Wilson.

Randall Eliason, former chief of public corruption prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, said it is difficult to speculate about Rove's possible exposure.

"Obviously, some more questions were raised since the last time he testified that Fitzgerald wants to answer," Eliason said. "It would be unusual for Rove to go back in if he felt he was going to be indicted."

A notable example of a public figure voluntarily going before a grand jury despite the risk of indictment is Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.). He had been notified in 1992 that he was a target of an investigation into illegal wiretapping of a political opponent. When he learned the Justice Department had authorized bringing charges against him, his attorney pressed to let him reappear before the grand jury. He was not indicted.

Staff writers Walter Pincus and Susan Schmidt contributed to this report. © 2005 The Washington Post Company - cite links and fair use

New York Times reporter sent to jail in leak case
July 6, 2005

On Wednesday, in a case that toes the line between a search for the source of criminal activity and the right to freedom of the press, a New York Times reporter was jailed after she refused to reveal her confidential source to a grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name to the media.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ordered correspondent Judith Miller to jail immediately and said she must stay there until she agreed to testify or for the rest of the grand jury's term, which lasts through October.

"If journalists cannot be trusted to keep confidences, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press," she said in the courtroom.

"I do not make confidential pledges lightly, but when I do I must honor them. If I do not, how can I expect people to accept my assurances."

"Your honor, in this case I cannot break my word just to stay out of jail," Miller told the judge during the hearing which lasted about an hour.

Miller also noted that she did not consider herself to be above the law and that she had thought long and hard over the July 4 Independence Day holiday about her decision.

She said her decision was necessary to help ensure an independent free press.

Judy Miller connects to the Iraq War — She's one of the reporters who have sold out to the current administration ... (as per her Wikipedia article)
A picture named judith_miller_scooter.jpgMiller has come under heavy criticism for her reporting on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). On September 7, 2002, Miller and Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of metal tubes bound for Iraq. Her front page story quoted unnamed "American officials" and "American intelligence experts" who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed "Bush administration officials" who claimed that in recent months, Iraq had "stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb."[4]

Miller added that "Mr. Hussein's dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq's push to improve and expand Baghdad's chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war." Although Miller conceded that some intelligence experts found the information on Iraq's weapons programs "spotty," she did not report specific and detailed objections, including a report filed with the US government more than a year before Miller's article appeared by retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory physicist, Houston G. Wood III, who concluded that the tubes were not meant for centrifuges.

Shortly after Miller's article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld all appeared on television and pointed to Miller's story as a partial basis for going to war. Subsequent analyses by various agencies all concluded that there was no way the tubes could have been used for uranium-enrichment centrifuges.

Miller would later claim, based only on second-hand statements from the military unit she was embedded with, that WMDs had been found in Iraq. (NYT, 4/21/03) This again was widely repeated in the press. "Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun," Miller said on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "What they've found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we've called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them, firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions." This story also turned out to be false. [5]

On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of that newspaper's coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles bent on regime change. It also regretted that "information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged." While the editorial rejected "blame on individual reporters," others noted that ten of the twelve flawed stories discussed had been written or co-written by Miller. [6]

Miller has reacted angrily to criticism of her pre-war reporting. In a May 27, 2004 article in Salon, published the day after the Times mea culpa, James C. Moore quoted her: "You know what," she offered angrily. "I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.' But I was proved fucking right." This quotation was originally in relation to another Miller story, wherein she indicated that trailers found in Iraq had been proven to be mobile weapons labs. That too was later shown to be untrue.

On November 11, 2004, the Times published an obituary for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat written by Miller. Critics say it contained a number of factual errors with regard to historical context.

Arianna Huffington: “So, as the image of Judy as a principled, conscience-driven defender of the First Amendment gives way to the image of Judy wearing her "new" waiver as a fig leaf allowing her to get out and sing, the big question remains: What is she hiding? ... But her role is actually much, much more complicated than that. Any discussion of Miller's actions in Plamegate cannot leave out the key part she played in cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq and in hyping the WMD threat. Re-reading some of her prewar reporting today, it's hard not to be stunned by just how inaccurate and pumped up it turned out to be. ... Miller was also given special treatment -- even after her deeply-flawed reporting on WMD, even after the paper was forced to apologize for four of her WMD stories, even after her highly-irregular behavior while embedded in Iraq, even after she was forced off the WMD beat in hope she would quit, even after a number of her colleagues refused to share a byline with her. Even, even, even…”

Digby writes: “[I]t seems obvious now that Jeralyn was right; Judy's real issue was being asked about her other sources under oath. It looks like they came to some sort of agreement about that.”


So why aren't Rove, Libby, Novak, et al in Leavenworth awaiting execution for being traitors? Let's ask Fitzgerald and the Whitehouse! Leave comments and let's reach a consensus. - Sparky

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sparky: Trying to avoid playing the asshat card — Trying real hard ...

Xemu died for your sins ...

When Sparky was young and 12¢ comics were racked in supermarkets (soon to jump in price to 15¢) - he came across a reissue of The Shadow amongst the Doc Savages and such. He found a book that opened his eyes a little wider than most. Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea wrote these books called the The Illuminatus! Trilogy : The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan. This books were rather frightening. It lead to him reading Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati by Robert and Timothy Leary. In it he read that so-called alien visitors (the Greys and the anal probing dudes) had a transcultural precedent with other strange visitors - among which were the Virgin of Guadalupe that many kids seem to favor along with leprechauns and that sort of ilk.

Those few of you who read this know how I feel about organized religions that focus on misunderstood dogma and hate. Science has shown there are reasons folks imagine that they are paralyzed and see aliens; it is part of a physiological reaction.

Today I read a story (thanks to Warren Ellis) about a loon who claimed an alien shredded his dog. And then he hung out with the fellow for a week and a half afterwards. This guy needs to be committed. There are all sorts of danger signs in his statements.

I hate lying pyschos who hurt animals and then try to escape justice.

Alien abduction: Interpretations, Analyses and proposed explanations

There have been a variety of explanations offered for abduction phenomenon, ranging from sharply skeptical appraisals to uncritical acceptance of all abductee claims. Others have elected not to try explaining things, instead noting similarities to other phenomena, or simply documenting the development of the alien abduction phenomenon.

  • Proposed psychological alternative explanations of the abduction phenomenon have included hallucination, temporary schizophrenia, and parasomnia—near-sleep mental states (hypnogogic states and sleep paralysis). Sleep paralysis in particular is often accompanied by hallucinations and peculiar sensation of malevolent or neutral presence of "something," though usually people experiencing it do not interpret that "something" as aliens. Occasionally it is also theorized to be a confused memory of past events (such as sexual abuse).
  • Skeptics argue that the raw details of abduction accounts have been featured in science fiction since at least the 1930s, and that these details have had widespread currency, thereby influencing and shaping expectations of what an encounter with extraterrestrials might entail. (Others have argued against this idea; folklorist Eddie Bullard asks, "If Hollywood is responsible for these images, where are the monsters? Where are the robots?" (Bryan, 50)
  • It is worth noting that many events reported during purported abductions often have parallels in anthropology, folklore and religion: Especially frequently correlate with certain imagery persistent in shamanic experiences (e.g., surgery-like procedures, foreign objects implanted in the body) and faerie contact stories, for instance. It has also been noted that post-modern anthropologist and modern shaman Terence McKenna described seeing Machine Elves while experimenting with Dimethyltryptamine (a.k.a. DMT). The description of Machine Elves is often consistent with the description of aliens. In a 1988 study conducted at UNM, psychologist Rick Strassman found that approximately 20% of volunteers injected with high doses of DMT had experiences identical to purported Alien Abductions.
  • In The Demon-Haunted World astronomer Carl Sagan wrote about the theory that the alien abduction experience is remarkably similar to tales of demon abduction common throughout history. "...most of the central elements of the alien abduction account are present, including sexually obsessive non-humans who live in the sky, walk through walls, communicate telepathically, and perform breeding experiments on the human species. Unless we believe that demons really exist, how can we understand so strange a belief system, embraced by the whole Western world (including those considered the wisest among us), reinforced by personal experience in every generation, and taught by Church and State? Is there any real alternative besides a shared delusion based on common brain wiring and chemistry?" (Sagan 1996 124)
The alien abduction phenomenon has been the subject of conspiracy theory and as such has become a staple of popular science fiction works such as The X-Files. An inventor by the name of Michael Menkin claims to have had success in stopping alien abductions with the creation of a hat known as the Thought Screen Helmet.
Now Leary and Wilson already made the connection others see earlier in an out of print book called Cosmic Trigger. They were reasonable smart folks.
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic icon, is the title given to the Virgin Mary after appearing, according to legend, to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec convert to Catholicism, in the village of Guadalupe (the present-day Gustavo A. Madero, D.F.) near Mexico City in 1531. The icon is currently located behind the main altar of the Basilica of Guadalupe.

Less famously, the same name also refers to a statue of Mary that dating from 1326, found in the city of Guadalupe in Spain.

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Alleged image of a bearded man found in a magnification of the Virgin's eye by Dr. Javier Torroella Bueno.
The image

The apron Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin wore was studied by Philip Serna Callahan in 1981 (The Tilma under Infra-red Radiation) with infrared rays. He reported that the portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches or corrections and no paintbrush strokes. The Nobel Chemistry prize recipient Richard Kuhn said in 1936 that the colouring was not from a mineral, vegetable, or animal source. Studies started in 1956 and continuing to the present by several ophthalmologists, including Dr. Javier Torroella Bueno (1956) and Dr. José Aste Tonsmann (El Secreto de sus Ojos, 2001), claim to have found images reflected in the eyes of the Virgin after amplifying the photographs to 2500x magnification. The pupils reflect a group of Native Americans and Franciscans. Some experts from the textile industry said they cannot understand how the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been conserved since 1531, exposed to dust, heat, and humidity, without wearing down, and without discoloration. On November 14, 1921, a factory worker placed a bomb a few feet away from the apron. The explosion demolished the marble steps of the main altar, the windows of nearby homes and it bent a brass crucifix, but the fabric suffered no damage. Since 1993, the apron has been protected by bullet-proof glass in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Other studies dispute these assertions. The claim of a supernatural painter is challenged by a formal investigation of the apron conducted in 1556, in which it was stated that the image was "painted yesteryear by an Indian", specifically "the Indian painter Marcos". This may have been the Aztec painter Marcos Cipac de Aquino, who was active in Mexico at the time the Image of Guadalupe appeared. Disputing the claims that the paint used on the apron could not be identified, the Spanish-language magazine Proceso (2002) reported the work of the art restoration expert José Sol Rosales. He examined the cloth with a stereomicroscope and identified calcium sulphate, pine soot, white, blue, and green "tierras" (earths), reds made from carmine and other pigments, as well as gold. All in all he found the work consistent with 16th century materials and methods. Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer, reporting in Skeptical Inquirer in 1985, found that the images seen in the Virgin's eyes may be the result of the human imagination's ability to form familiar shapes from random patterns, much like a psychologist's inkblots, a phenomenon known as pareidolia.

Origin of the Name
The origin of the name "Guadalupe," in the American context, is something of a mystery. According to a report at the time, the Virgin identified herself that way in a later apparition to Juan Diego's uncle. Those who doubt the story of Juan Diego and the apparitions argue that the 1533 church was dedicated to the Spanish Our Lady of Guadalupe (see above), with the American version developing later. Others have suggested that the name is a corruption of a Nahuatl name "Coatlaxopeuh", which has been translated as "Who Crushes the Serpent". In this interpretation, the serpent referred to is Quetzalcoatl, one of the chief Aztec gods, whom the Virgin Mary "crushed" by inspiring the conversion of the natives to Catholicism. This explanation has been adopted by some who hold that the motive of the Catholic Church in the Americas was to harshly wipe out native beliefs.

Popularity of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Despite disputes as to the veracity of claims about the image, the Virgin of Guadalupe has proved very popular in Mexico over the years. A church was built in 1533, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Thereafter, Spanish missionaries used the story of her appearance to help convert millions of indigenous people in what had been the Aztec Empire. Our Lady of Guadalupe still underpins the faith of Catholics in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and she has been recognised as patron saint of Mexico City since 1737, with her patronage extended piece by piece until it included all of America by 1946. Much of the recent increase in Marianism in the Catholic Church, including the call to recognise Mary as co-redemptrix, stems from the cult of Guadalupe. Today many make the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe, on the Cerro of Tepeyac, some crawling on their knees for kilometres, or even from their homelands in other cities, or even states, to pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe. It is said that she can cure almost any sickness. Also, many problem drinkers, instead of going to Alcoholics Anonymous or similar programmes, go there to promise her that they will never drink again, or abstain for a certain period; it is reported that the majority of these find the strength to fulfill their promise. That can illustrate how much love Mexicans pay to their Virgencita, the affectionate diminutive by which she is called.

The apron containing her image has been hung in the church built on the spot through the building's various versions, including today's Basilica of Guadalupe. The picture is of a woman with olive skin, rather than the white skin of European iconography, that appealed to both indigenous Mexicans and their mestizo descendants as one of them. Similarly, the man to whom she is supposed to have appeared, Juan Diego, was an Indian, not a Spaniard. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been used by advocates of indigenous rights throughout Mexico's history, most recently by the Zapatista movement.

Replicas can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and numerous parishes bear her name. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe today is widespread among Catholics in every part of the globe.

María Guadalupe or just Lupe is a frequent female name in the Spanish language.

External links —————————————
Thanks for reading the ramble .... - Sparky

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sparky: What's what -

If you read Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century , you'll come to really understand when you're dealing with corporate greedheads who'll fuck a company over in order to justify their high salaries and perks ... Our pal the Guru is jobless due to a blatant Ageist illegal job action in the hopes of committing his old firm to an outsourcing contract with dubious gain or merit. It's what makes you realise how much corporate America is Dilbert's world of woe. The working poor are wage slaves with different bread and circuses - but it how the rich elite view us — if they can see us at all instead of playing golf like "W" when Katrina struck ...

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Will Coat join the Grey Panthers? Here's more from WikiPedia

Ageism is bias against a person or group on the grounds of age. When that bias is the primary motivation behind acts of discrimination against that person or group, then those acts constitute age discrimination.

The two most common forms

Although ageism can refer to bias against any age group, ageism (and age discrimination) are usually focused on two targets:



An example of ageism is thinking that all teenagers like rock music, are immature and insubordinate, use slang and profanity, and watch R-rated movies; or that all elderly are slow, weak, senile, and dependent.

Age discrimination

Although like all forms of discrimination, age discrimination has always been a problem, it is most severe at present in the entertainment and computer industries. Many elderly actors, musicians, scriptwriters, programmers, and electrical engineers have all complained that it is difficult for them to find work, even though they are overwhelmingly well-qualified in terms of education and experience. But what lets them down, is their age.

In a survey for the University of Kent, England, 29% of respondents stated that they had suffered from age discrimination. This is a higher proportion than for gender or race discrimination. Dominic Abrams, Social Psychology professor at the University, concluded that ageism is the most pervasive form of prejudice experienced in the UK population. How Ageist is Britain? - Age Concern survey (PDF).

Grass-roots activism

Many groups have been set up in various countries to combat age discrimination, including:


Many unions have thrown themselves into the battle against age discrimination. At present, the most prominent example is the Writers Guild of America West, which since 2002 has been waging a huge legal battle against much of the entertainment industry to get rid of the age discrimination commonly faced by elder scriptwriters.


There are many laws against age discrimination, including:

Further reading

See also —————————————————
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Tech Support Jobs Outsorced to India.
Outsourcing (or contracting out) is often defined as the delegation of non-core operations or jobs from internal production to an external entity (such as a subcontractor) that specializes in that operation. Outsourcing is a business decision that is often made to focus on core competences. A subset of the term (offshoring) also implies transferring jobs to another country, either by hiring local subcontractors or building a facility in an area where labor is cheap. It became a popular buzzword in business and management in the 1990s.


Outsourcing is defined as the management and/or day-to-day execution of an entire business function by a third party service provider.

Outsourcing and out-tasking involve transferring a significant amount of management control to the supplier. Buying products from another entity is not outsourcing or out-tasking, but merely a vendor relationship. Likewise, buying services from a provider is not necessarily outsourcing or out-tasking. Outsourcing always involves a considerable degree of two-way information exchange, co-ordination, and trust.

Organizations that deliver such services feel that outsourcing requires the turning over of management responsibility for running a segment of business. In theory, this business segment should not be mission-critical, but practice often dictates otherwise. Many companies look to employ expert organizations in the areas targeted for outsourcing. Business segments typically outsourced include Information Technology, Human Resources, Facilities and Real Estate Management and Accounting. Many companies also outsource customer support and call center functions, manufacturing and engineering. Outsourcing business is characterized by expertise not inherent to the core of the client organization.

The overhead costs of customer service are typically less where outsourcing has been used leading to many companies, from utilities to manufacturers, closed their in-house customer relations departments and outsourced their customer service to third party call centers. The logical extension of these decisions was of outsourcing labor overseas to countries with lower labor costs, this trend is often referred to as offshoring of customer service.

Due to this demand call centers have sprung up in India, Pakistan, Canada and even the Caribbean. Many companies, most notably Dell and AT&T Wireless, have gained significant negative publicity for their decisions to use Indian and Pakistani based labor for customer service and technical support; one of the most prominent complaints being the expectation that the replacement staff will have more trouble communicating with customers.

A related term is out-tasking: turning over a narrowly-defined segment of business to another business, typically on an annual contract, or sometimes a shorter one. This usually involves continued direct or indirect management and decision-making by the client of the out-tasking business.

Criticisms of Outsourcing

The term "outsourcing" became more well known largely because of a growth in the number of high-tech companies in the early 1990s that were often not large enough to be able to easily maintain large customer service departments of their own. In some cases these companies hired technical writers to simplify the usage instructions of their products, index the key points of information and contracted with temporary employment agencies to find, train and hire generally low-skilled workers to answer their telephone technical support and customer service calls. These agents generally worked in call centers where the information needed to assist the calling customer was indexed in a computer system. The agents were often not able to tell the customer they did not actually directly work for the original manufacturer. In some cases, the agents are not allowed to even give out their real name.

Because the workers were not actually paid agents of the company, it has been argued that there is less incentive for the agent to show loyalty or work ethic in its representation of said company. It has been therefore argued that quality levels of customer service and technical support of outsourced tasks are lower than where they have remained 'in-house'.

Criticisms of outsourcing from the public and media tend to concentrate on perceived lackluster customer service and technical support being provided by either local workers who are not actually employees of the company, or by overseas workers attempting to communicate with Americans in broken or incomprehensible English.

There are also security issues concerning companies giving outside access to sensitive customer information. In April of 2005, a high-profile case involving the theft of $350,000 from four Citibank customers occurred when Indian call center workers in Pune, India, acquired the passwords to customer accounts and transferred the money to their own accounts opened under fictitious names. Citibank did not find out about the problem until the American customers noticed discrepancies with their accounts and notified the bank.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry blasted firms that outsource jobs abroad or that incorporate overseas in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of US taxes during his unsuccessful 2004 campaign, calling such firms "Benedict Arnold corporations," in reference to the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold.

Arguments for Outsourcing

A recent poll of economists by the Wall Street Journal found that only 16 percent of them saw outsourcing as having a significant impact on the over-all job picture. [1]

One criticism of outsourcing is that product quality suffers. But the outsourcing firm has freedom to move a firm department or division back home if its profits are suffering as a result of poor quality. In fact, many American companies like Dell have moved customer service divisions back to America as a result of poor quality [2]. The decision to outsource is like any other business investment decision in that there is risk. Critics of outsourcing often talk about outsourcing failures without mentioning instances of outsourcing success. The decision to outsource is like the decision to expand a business overseas, to incorporate computer technology, or to hire new workers. If the company does it correctly, it benefits from higher profits. Proponents of outsourcing believe that arguing that outsourcing leads to lower product quality is pointless because if it were true, consumer demand will force firms to shift back to producing the good or service in-firm rather than out-firm. That many large businesses outsource and continue to outsource suggests that in many cases outsourcing is successful in that it increases product quality, lowers costs substantially, or both.

Some economists have argued that outsourcing is a form of technological innovation analogous to machines on a car assembly line. American Motor Company Ford relied heavily on workers in the past to assemble car parts. Today these workers are replaced by machines because they are cheaper in the long run, produce better quality products, or a combination of both (the firm is trying to increase its quality to cost ratio, quality being defined by the consumer and inferred from revenue). Economists argue that machines on the car assembly line must have a higher quality to cost ratio than workers because, if they didn’t, there would be no incentive for the firm to replace workers with machines. Although workers’ jobs were lost from this replacement of workers with machines, the Ford Motor Company made more money by lowering costs (or increasing quality, thereby increasing revenue). Some argue that greater profits to the labor owners lead to higher consumption, which leads to further job creation, allowing those who lost jobs to gain jobs in other sectors of the economy. However, economists do concede that labor is not always perfectly mobile and that some workers may have difficult getting new jobs. Some economists suggest that government training programs be provided.

A firm's motivation for replacing workers with machines is identical to the motivation for outsourcing, i.e. the firm is trying to maximize the quality of its product given cost (its productivity). Because outsourcing allows for lower costs, even if quality reduces slightly or not at all, productivity increases, which benefits the economy on aggregate.

Economist Thomas Sowell from the University of Chicago said “anything that increases economic efficiency--whether by outsourcing or a hundred other things--is likely to cost somebody's job. The automobile cost the jobs of people who took care of horses or made saddles, carriages, and horseshoes.” [1] Walter Williams, another economist, said “we could probably think of hundreds of jobs that either don't exist or exist in far fewer numbers than in the past--jobs such as elevator operator, TV repairman and coal deliveryman. ‘Creative destruction’ is a discovery process where we find ways to produce goods and services more cheaply. That in turn makes us all richer.” [2]

Professor Drezner reports that for every dollar spent on outsourcing to India, the United States reaps between $1.12 and $1.14 in benefits. [3] Drezner also points out that large software companies such as Microsoft and Oracle have increased outsourcing and used the savings for investment and larger domestic payrolls. Nationally, 70,000 computer programmers lost their jobs between 1999 and 2003, but more than 115,000 computer software engineers found higher-paying jobs during that same period. [4]

  1. This view is born out by a recent study by Richard Freeman at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Washington. He found that in the year 2000, 17 percent of university bachelor degrees in the U.S. were in science and engineering compared with a world average of 27 percent and 52 percent in China. Universities in the European Union granted 40 percent more science and engineering doctorates than the United States, with that figure expected to reach nearly 100 percent by about 2010 according to Freeman's paper.
  2. “Outsourcing” and “Saving Jobs” by Thomas Sowell
  3. Should we “Save Jobs”? by Walter Williams
  4. "The Outsourcing Bogeyman" (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004)
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