A Scarlet Service Threat

It's my duty as a patriotic American to send up this warning flare to the Republican Congress. Their very lives are in peril. THIS IS NOT A TEST! They have unknowingly stumbled into a dangerous situation that threatens them to a degree of which they are blissfully unaware. The fact that none of them will heed my advice saddens me a little, but not as much as it makes me giggle.

Let me explain. The GOP-dominated Congress just barely missed pushing through a bogus minimum wage bill that also would have finally accomplished their thickheaded goal of eliminating the estate tax... making sure that Paris Hilton gets every damn penny she deserves. Well, perhaps that's imprecise phrasing.

Anyway, that's not the scariest part. As part of the bill, the majority passed, on straight party lines, an amendment to the bill mandating a DROP in the minimum wage for workers that live in the seven states with a higher minimum wage for tipped employees, meaning in California, the pay for bartenders, waitresses, bellmen, and valets would have fallen from 6.75 an hour to 2.65.

In other words, the minimum wage hike would have cut the yearly pay of tipped employees by about $9,600. Besides being more cynical than dyeing oval shaped rocks and passing them off as easter eggs to contestants in the Special Olympics, this situation would put thousands of Americans at risk. Especially members of our distinguished Congress.

Now, it goes without saying that these privileged lords and ladies have the same working relationship with the service industry that a giant cephalopod has with the gear ratio of Toyota Camry, but my question is: are they out of their Mother freaking minds? Do they harbor a secret death wish? What, exactly, is their long term plan, to never eat in a restaurant or drink in a bar or park their car again?

Back in Milwaukee, at a classy joint known as Century Hall, I was Will the Cosmic Waiter for a year and a half, and remain eminently knowledgeable of how very very very long that journey between the kitchen and the table actually is. Many a twixt between cup and lip doesn't even begin to cover the circuitous trip that appetizers may be subject to. Quick and dirty detours are always available. What lies at the bottom of the murky depths of your soup? You don't want to know.

I'm not just talking about ptomaine and salmonella and e coli and Hepatitis C, I'm talking about foreign objects such as grated pencil shavings and excess saliva in the béarnaise sauce. How many of our distinguished representatives are prepared to wear diapers full time to guard against the surreptitious drop of Visine in their Vodka Cran? And good luck getting the bathroom attendant to hand you more paper. You might want to ask the Senator in the next stall for change for a five.

A Republican leader said the bill may be scuttled for now, but plans are to revisit it as soon as possible. Someone, please, for the sake of humanity, warn these simpletons that a minimum wage bill is supposed to RAISE the wages of our neediest. And they do not want to put themselves in jeopardy by even CONSIDERING such a regressive measure. I am only thinking of their welfare at this point. To root out every possible sabotage would be like picking out a pubic hair in a sprout sandwich. Does a dead fish under the passenger seat of your Town Car have any meaning here?

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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