Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Twitter employs only 49 African Americans despite diversity pledges

On the heels of Facebook's report here goes Twitter:
Twitter employs just 49 black people out of a total US workforce of 2,910. The tiny number of African American staff – 35 men and 14 women – represents just 1.7% of Twitter’s US staff.
And what do they do?
The Rev Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, who has long campaigned for tech companies to be more transparent about their lack of minority employees, told the Guardian that black people are “becoming intolerant” of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies’ lack of progress in making their offices more diverse.
And just what are black people going to do about it? Go to their own twitter? Oh wait. Right. There's a black search engine. How's that project going? Imagine being upset because someone built something themselves, that you voluntarily use.
and as Twitter actively exploits its large number of minority users to bring in more advertising revenue.
Twitter be like a slave master yo!

Seriously though. Are we to believe that Twitter management is on some "Lets sell these niggas hard on this advertisement auction block!" Are we to believe that Twitter is not interested in leveraging EVERY SINGLE USER that VOLUNTEERS to use it's "service"? I mean really. If black folks being mad about Twitter is like a slave volunteering to stay on a plantation after the Civil War. If you like it so much you don't wanna leave, then don't complain about the beatings.

African Americans account for 13.6% of the US population, according to the 2010 US census, and Pew Center Research shows that black people use Twitter disproportionately more than white people.
Black people do a lot of things disproportionate to their population. Do we really want to have a conversation about that?
Twitter’s vice-president of diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse, said: “We are committed to making inclusiveness a cornerstone of our culture.”
I would think the most important cornerstone of a business would be say...profitability and hiring the most productive employees (while human employees are needed). Lets be totally real here, how exactly does "inclusiveness" (whatever that's supposed to mean when folks can be subject to mob rule if they have the wrong opinions) affect the profitability of Twitter?

And if the results of the VP's work is 49 people, shouldn't this person be dismissed for lack of results?

It showed that 93.8% of employees were white or Asian, with just 180 people out of a total workforce of 2,910 being drawn from other minorities.
Interesting. Tell me what two groups are largely responsible for the invention of the computing hardware and software in use around the world?
Twitter’s lack of minority employees contrasts starkly with the rainbow nature of its users. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 27% of black adults and 25% of Hispanics use Twitter, compared to just 21% of white people.
Because all companies should have staff that reflects its users. Before you agree with that...you think really really hard...
“I am very disappointed,” Jackson said. “Black people are greater users of the product and capable of doing the jobs, but there has not been an adequate commitment to hire, train and maintain [black people].
That a certain group represents a "greater user" has squat to do with who should be employed by a company. Secondly the issue has never been whether there are black people that can "do the jobs" (and we are assuming these are programming jobs). The actual relevant fact is how many black people there are with the necessary qualifications. We already know that only about 4% of African-American college graduates have a computing degree and that number shrinks dramatically when you move to the level of PhD. Therefore anyone who understands the entire concept of supply and demand as it pertains to skilled labour knows full well that there aren't that many black high level programmers to go around. And really people. just because you can tweet does not mean you can program. And no, just because you set up a WordPress website does not qualify you to program for Twitter or any other high tech company.
“Some people call it ‘Black Twitter’ because we over-index so much, but they still don’t hire more black people. We are becoming intolerant with these numbers, there’s a big gap between their talk and their implementation.”
Translation: We waste a disproportionate amount of time tweeting so hire us.
Jackson said Twitter “should set a timetable to make their workforce look like the market place, and a commitment to make the board of directors more diverse”
Have a seat Mr. Jackson. How about since black people are 13% of the population, the engineers at Boeing ought to be 13% African-American regardless of qualifications. Think hard on that one.....
He said that at the moment, Twitter is benefitting from black people’s love of its medium – which often leads to black issues trending worldwide – without paying enough back to the community. “They hire people they know, they trust and like,” Jackson said. “We’re not in that the circle.”
Twitter owes pay to black communities? Is this that new reparations? I will agree with the latter part of the statement. There is a lot of hiring of buddies and people in certain circles which leads to exclusion. Absolutely. That can be addressed without the untenable comparisons to population demographics.
“It appears that the tech companies seem to treat it as a public relations issue rather than addressing the actual problem. African Americans use social media more than others, the corporations continue to build and profit from that, so it is especially problematic that they do not have an employee base that in any way reflects its users. They have really failed on this.”
A problem for WHO? Twitter needs to be profitable. That is all. If it isn't, that's the only problem they have that is important to Twitter. Notice that COC hasn't even addressed that. Color of Change could give a hoot about what Twitter needs. And this is the bottom line that none of the critics can bring themselves to even discuss:

If this lack of diversity is so bad for business how the hell did all these companies come to be so successful? It's abundantly clear that the product isn't damaged by the makeup of the employees and management. It's pretty clear that Twitter could be just as successful with 0 non-white employees (and I'm certain at one point it was like that). Furthermore I would make a very large wager that if all the black users of Twitter disappeared tomorrow, it would continue to be successful (I can't say anything about profitability). Why would I make such a statement? Wiebo

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

So The EU Paid The Bankers....

From The Guardian:
Only a small fraction of the €240bn (£170bn) total bailout money Greece received in 2010 and 2012 found its way into the government’s coffers to soften the blow of the 2008 financial crash and fund reform programmes.

Most of the money went to the banks that lent Greece funds before the crash. [my underlines]

They could have just written the cheque to RBI and cut the middle country man out. But really, if this is true then it's pretty clear that it wasn't a Greek bailout it was a bank bailout.
The troika of lenders first stepped in during the spring of 2010 after Athens could no longer afford to finance €310bn borrowed from a wide range of major European banks...

Greek government debt is still about €320bn, 78% of it owed to the troika.

I saw a credit card statement like that many years ago. I advised that person to cut the card up and toss it into a fire.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Wal-Mart apologizes for turning down Confederate flag cake, baking an ISIS cake

And the reason?
“For that reason we did not make the cake. [Netzhammer] brought in the other image of ISIS and really, what happened, was our associate didn’t recognize what that image was and what it meant or it wouldn’t have been made.”
I say that generally that fits for more than Walmart. A lot of people don't recognize the signs and don't know what they mean until they've already FUBAR.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Facebook only hired seven black people in latest diversity count

*laughs hysterically*

Ok I'm done.

The most recent EEO filing available shows Facebook hired an additional seven black people out of an overall headcount increase of 1,231 in 2013. At that time Facebook employed just 45 black staff out of a total US workforce of 4,263.
Really?
Facebook’s black female headcount increased by just one person over 2013 to 11, and the number of black men increased by six to 34. There were no black people in any executive or senior management positions.
Just like where I work. Seems to be standard operating procedure.
Over the same period the company’s white employee headcount increased by 695. There were 125 white people holding executive and senior management positions at the firm.
Similar to where I work. They get hired and run up the ladder, quick fast and in a hurry. What actually bothers me about this though is the sheer hypocrisy of Facebook, Apple, etc. in that they talk a whole lot of game about "diversity" but the senior offices have "No negroes allowed" policies.
“We need a team that understands and reflects many different communities, backgrounds and cultures. Research also shows that diverse teams are better at solving complex problems and enjoy more dynamic workplaces.
Now now Zuckerberg. If that were the case then Facebook wouldn't be doing as well as it is. The fact of the matter is that Facebook does just fine hiring (and not hiring) the people it does. if it were in the shitter then Zuck could say something like that. But the fact is that the hiring practices of Facebook are serving Facebook very well. There is no economic incentive to do anything differently.

Guardian UK

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rise Of The Robots: An Interesting Note On American Spending

So my new read is Rise of the Robots. There is an interesting note on page 53:
Second, although it may appear that virtually everything sold at Walmart is made in China, most American consumer spending stays in the United States. A 2011 analysis by Galina Hale and Bart Hobijin, two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, found that 82 percent of the goods and services Americans purchase are produced entirely in the United States; this is largely because we spend that vast majority of our money on nontradable services. The total value of imports from China amounted to less than 3% of US consumer spending.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Is Sick

After yesterday's ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States made yet another ruling in which it shows that it's membership has no regard for the Constitution or it's own purpose. Just yesterday Justice Roberts released a ruling in which he said:
(e) Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid. Pp. 20–21.
Get that? It doesn't matter what the legislation actually SAYS. It's what we think the congress thought when they voted on it and we should be concerned about the "Calamities" that would ensue if we did our jobs.

Now with the gay marriage ruling we see this from Roberts:
But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized co urts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment....

Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal argu - ments for requiring such an extension are not. The fun - damental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand ma rriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.

And this is his dissent!!

He is using the same language and even references from the dissent in yesterday's ruling to justify is current dissent. How can a neutral judge use two very different lines of reasoning on the very same set of issues? Either the court cannot legislate and think up what is and isn't good law or it can.

It's pretty clear here that the SCOTUS is a corrupted institution that can't keep it's thinking straight and is hell bent on ruling on emotion rather than the law. Peeking at Alito's dissent I saw many references to other countries and the past, but not ONE mention of English common law that is the basis of common law in the US. At this point we can stop saying the US is a country based on the rule of law and say that it is ruled by popular opinion.

Edit: Alito did not mention English common law but Roberts did. For that reason I have struck the sentence from the original. Also Thomas (wow...I'm referencing Thomas...) deep dives into Blackstone, the Magna Carta and the rights of Englishmen.

"Plain Meaning Arguments"

Allow me to present a thought argument. Imagine if you will that you have a child in school and they had a test. A math test. Say that little junior said that two plus two equals three. imagine that the teacher marked the answer correct. Imagine that for every question that junior answered incorrectly, the teacher actually marked it correct. You'd be very concerned right? Concerned enough to go to the school (or at least call) to find out what's going on right? Because since we all know that two plus two equals four, why would any teacher mark any other answer as correct??!! How would you feel if upon asking about the clear discrepancy the teacher told you:

"Although in plain meaning, your argument that two plus two is four are quite strong the context and structure of the problem as well as a desire to not have a calamity lead me to just mark the answer correct."

If you are a sane person your next move would be to the principals office to have the teacher removed.

Lets try another one. imagine you are on trial for murder. And you're in a death penalty state. Say we have an expert witness who is supposed to testify as to the time of death of the person you are accused of murdering. Your alibi is that you couldn't have done the crime because you were too far away to have possibly made it to the crime scene, committed the crime and then arrive back at the location where you said you were. Say that the expert witness had data that showed that the body's drop in temp showed the murder took place 2 hours [ago] but on the stand said it was something like 7. That time difference puts you in the execution chamber. Upon cross examination your attorney challenges the clearly wrong interpretation of the data and the prosecution objects saying that though the plain meaning of the argument is strong, the context and structure of the testimony as well as a desire to not have to go find another witness or are more likely suspect which would be calamitous means we should just let that testimony stand.

Yeah. me too.

Now imagine that there is no appealing this objection, which of course was granted. Well you're dead.

This my friends is what the Supreme Court of the United States did yesterday. In their ruling in favor of the Obama administration we find the following in the summary:

(e) Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid. Pp. 20–21.
I haven't read past that. It is unlikely I will because the statement here is so powerful that it will undoubtedly have a profound effect on future courts and the nation as a whole. How is it that "plain meaning arguments" in a court of law be less important than congresses duty to write law properly and for the courts to enforce the laws as written? Consider the recent case in Mass. where a man was caught filming up women's skirts in a store. He was arrested and prosecuted based on what the state thought was the law. They thought that surely the statute meant to include that kind of behavior. The judge in that case read the law and saw that whether the intention was there or not, the law as written did not criminalize the actions of that person. The Mass. legislature did what they are constitutionally bound to do: legislated and created a law that added upskirting as a crime.

This is exactly what the courts are supposed to do. If the legislature wrote a law in a manner that excluded something they may have wanted to included, the legislature must amend that law. It is not for the courts to change the "plain meaning" of the laws to fit whatever views that the justices may have. This is what is meant to be governed under LAW and not men. Consider their very brief explanation for dismissing the "plain meaning" argument:

Petitioners’ arguments about the plain meaning of Section 36B are strong. But while the meaning of the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]” may seem plain “when viewed in isolation,” such a reading turns out to be “untenable in light of [the statute] as a whole.” Department of Revenue of Ore. v. ACF Industries, Inc., 510 U. S. 332, 343 (1994). In this instance, the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.

Reliance on context and structure in statutory interpretation is a “subtle business, calling for great wariness lest what professes to be mere rendering becomes creation and attempted interpretation of legislation becomes legislation itself.” Palmer v. Massachusetts, 308 U. S. 79, 83 (1939). For the reasons we have given, however, such reliance is appropriate in this case, and leads us to conclude that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.

I would agree with this IF the "context" was that there was only that one statement. However I wrote extensively on the subject and showed that the term "state" was used a number of times in relation to Fed and that the paragraph in question, not just the quote in contention clearly never mentions the federal government even though in the context of the legislation, when they wanted to put the federal government on the hook, they were not shy about doing so. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that these justices, like many of the congresspeople who voted for the ACA didn't actually read the document.

But here's another thing with the statement by the court. If the "context of the entire document" is going to be the standard then it's probably time to let the gun control people have a go at the second amendment. It has been pointed out by many that the second amendment's right to bear arms is in the context of a well maintained militia.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
So it is veryeasy with the context argument to say that individuals not connected with a militia have no right to keep and bear arms. It's an easy argument to make on both "plain meaning" and "context" grounds. But perhaps they don't want to in order to avoid "calamity".

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Did He Say That?

Doing my morning reading when I saw the following:
This year’s attacks on Jews in Paris and Copenhagen have led to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on European Jews to immigrate to Israel.

If Jews do it, that would trigger a serious economic crisis in Europe, Kantor warned.

"I think out of three million Jews that are living in Europe at least one million, a very active part or young part, self-sufficient part are going to leave and it will be a disaster, an economic disaster for Europe in general because first of all some supporters, non-Jewish supporters will come with Jews. It's a lot of cash and money currents are going to leave Europe and also businesses," he said.

Three million Jews in Europe out of a population of around 740 million total. That's what? Not even one percent of the total population? If the exit of less than one percent of the total population of Europe would lead to an "economic disaster" then one would think that this extremely small population must have an inordinate amount of economic power in Europe. No? And isn't it usually the case that those holding inordinate amounts of economic power also have inordinate amount of influence in government policy?

I suppose if I were in France and published this, I would be soon hearing that knock on the door.