It doesn’t serve Singaporeans to have the government acting as our nanny, covering our eyes while clutching her pearls. When it seizes the power to decide whether the people are “reading the right thing,” it is depriving Singaporeans of opportunities to develop media literacy, exercise critical thinking, and become savvier navigators of online spaces. This benefits the government because it fosters among the people a culture of dependency on those in power to exercise control over all aspects of people’s lives. But it hurts Singaporeans by curbing our agency and freedom, trapping us mentally within authoritarian frames and environments.Source: Kirsten Han, Rest of World
Carrying an extra passport
In ways that are hard to explain, working for a bigger tech company is like carrying an extra passport. Everyone else has to commute to work. You get driven in an air-conditioned private bus with dedicated wifi. Work visa failed to renew? No worries, do an intra-company transfer to one of several global hubs.
It’s not that the rules don’t apply to you, it’s that you have a safeguard for when the shit hits the fan.
And this week, that’s exactly what happened. The Supreme Court of the US overturned Roe v Wade and a bunch of tech companies rushed in to reassure their employees. Yes, the law of the land just changed. But, don’t worry. We will fly you out of state, we will approve relocation if you wish, we will take care of you. You will be insulated against the worst of anti-choice laws, regardless of where you live. This is a massive change in reproductive freedom for Americans, but not for you.
We’re not opposed to employers taking care of their employees. We’re not even upset that companies got gold stars for their employer brand in an otherwise hot talent market. But the extra passport is tricky. It has two profound impacts and whether those things are intended or not is hard to say.
An extra passport can make you feel like you have a perpetual plan B. Like whatever is going on in the world is someone else’s problem to solve. That untethered, unmoored thing means you pay less attention to the fucked-up-ed-ness of San Francisco. You can always move to Miami. Or Austin. Taxes are lower there anyway. Pulled all the way through, tech people resemble locusts. We come, we eat, we leave at the first signs of blight. Even when it’s blight we caused.
The other reason it’s tricky is that it reduces scrutiny on the issuing body. The company paying for the air conditioned, wifi-enabled shuttle or the round trip airfare to a blue state. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. They are doing all of this to take care of you. And it’d help out a whole awful lot if you didn’t ask what the public policy team has been up to for the past few years.
So here we are. Faced with this disastrous ruling. And it makes us wonder: how coherent are your organization’s actions on this one? We heard about the relocation policy, what other actions are they taking? Do they line up? Or are they shielding their employees from a political reality with one hand, while they help bankroll that reality with the other? The twitterverse has been quick to call out the companies whose statements don’t match their political spending. But that critique, lobbed at a brand’s social account, often stops at the social media manager.
It’s harder for organizations to ignore the questions that come from their own people. It’s harder to ignore questions from you.
What are our company’s policy/lobbying priorities right now?
Which candidates have we donated to that helped make this mess, and have we cut off that support?
How are we making our position clear, and what concrete steps are we taking to advance that position?
Those questions may produce some awkward shifting in seats. If this were about product strategy, the conversation would be all coherent actions and strong point of view. But when it comes to their role as political actors, many executives have shown that they don’t have the range. So, when you ask these questions, you may get a patronizing smile, and some version of, “we can’t do that. Donating across the board is how you play the game. If we want influence on the things we care about, we need to be in the room.”
You deserve better answers than that. You deserve better than to have your employer tell you that criminalizing abortion is “playing the game.” Some of you, when you push, will find out that your labour has been supporting an organization that helped fund what’s unfolding right now. And when you discover that, you deserve better than, “we don’t claim to get everything right.” You deserve better than, “we’re not all going to agree on everything anyway.”
We don’t need you to agree on everything. But, if you are one of those lucky humans who found yourself with an extra passport you didn’t know you had, we’re invoking Spiderman rules.
That company-issued passport affords you a set of privileges. Like the ability to flit between jurisdictions when the need arises. It also comes with an extra set of responsibilities. We need you engaged, informed, and asking tough questions at this week’s all hands. Even if you’re not American, or married to an American, now is a good time to get clear on how your organization is using its influence in the world. Particularly when your company’s public stance and their actions don’t line up.Source: Jonathan & Melissa / rawsignalgroup
I’m pro-Becky who found out at her 20-week anatomy scan that the infant she had been so excited to bring into this world had developed without life sustaining organs.
I’m pro-Susan who was sexually assaulted on her way home from work, only to come to the horrific realization that her assailant planted his seed in her when she got a positive pregnancy test result a month later.
I’m pro-Theresa who hemorrhaged due to a placental abruption, causing her parents, spouse, and children to have to make the impossible decision on whether to save her or her unborn child.
I’m pro-little Cathy who had her innocence ripped away from her by someone she should have been able to trust and her 11-year-old body isn’t mature enough to bear the consequence of that betrayal.
I’m pro-Melissa who’s working two jobs just to make ends meet and has to choose between bringing another child into poverty or feeding the children she already has because her spouse walked out on her.
I’m pro-Brittany who realizes that she is in no way financially, emotionally, or physically able to raise a child.
I’m pro-Emily who went through IVF, ending up with SIX viable implanted eggs requiring selective reduction to ensure the safety of her and a SAFE number of fetuses.
I’m pro-Jessica who is FINALLY getting the strength to get away from her physically abusive spouse only to find out that she is carrying the monster’s child.
I’m pro-Vanessa who went into her confirmation appointment after YEARS of trying to conceive only to hear silence where there should be a heartbeat.
I’m pro-Lindsay who lost her virginity in her sophomore year with a broken condom and now has to choose whether to be a teenage mom or just a teenager.
I’m pro-Courtney who just found out she’s already 13 weeks along, but the egg never made it out of her fallopian tube, so either she terminates the pregnancy or risks dying from internal bleeding.
You can argue and say that I’m pro-choice all you want, but the truth is:
You don’t get to pick and choose which scenarios should be accepted. It’s not about which stories you don’t agree with. It’s about fighting for the women in the stories that you do agree with and the CHOICE that was made.
Women’s rights are meant to protect ALL women, regardless of their situation!
Overturning Roe does not stop abortions, it stops SAFE abortions!
Abortion is healthcare.Source/Author Unknown, reposted
I’ve not been in Paris since 2015, I believe. Feel like I should probably pop-by again and see if it really changed that much. I remember it to be mostly one big traffic jam with all the 2 and 3 wheeled motorcyclists racing in between.
It would be interesting to see if other major cities in Europe follow suit.
I’m actually quite looking forward to the biking future: riding (e-)bikes, a proper last-mile method (i.e. combing rental bikes or e-scooters with public high-speed railway).
Bike Highways are becoming a thing in a few cities in Belgium (but not in Wallonia; and sadly, the one in Vilvoorde will take 4+ years to build). But I’m excited to see what this will become once all this is finalised.
Would love to see Singapore work on something similar.
For a very brief moment, we had rental bikes in Singapore that were hugely popular. That is, until the gahmen decided to regulate rental bikes because of stupid wild parkers; a lot of these companies either pulled out of Singapore or went bankrupt.
And we had e-scooters, that were banned pretty much overnight (or well, “only allowed on biking lances” — however, Singapore probably only has 5, or some absurd low number, biking lanes across the entire island; so it was an effective ban).
Since then, the desire of car ownership only went up (there is technically a cap — which is good, but leaves little alternative for families that need a car for things that are impractical with ride hailing). Speaking of, ride hailing companies are doing tremendously (prices nearly doubled in the past 2-3 years with the lack of competition).
So dear Singapore, please please please build a city that does not revolve around cars (the plans are there, but all new development seem to still have all roads on top, with little to no cycling lanes).
Make it easier to use (e-)bikes, (e-)skateboards, unicycles and what not!
Several layers of corruption. Bring forth the criminal charges and put these people in prison.
Last year she found out her 65-year-old mother had 1,100 micrograms of PFOS per liter of blood—a concentration more typically found in industrial wastewater. Her 68-year-old father had about 800. Her 19-year-old daughter tested at 300. D’Hollander’s own level had come down to about 100, which she attributes to not eating eggs and to breastfeeding, a theory backed up by studies showing mothers pass on high amounts of the chemical through their milk. She and her mother both have malfunctioning thyroids, a condition now associated with PFOS, and doctors have told them that at some point the drugs they take for the condition will stop working. Other health problems associated with high PFOS levels include high cholesterol, diabetes, hormone and immune disorders, and even diminished vaccine efficacy.
One sample showed 257,000 micrograms per liter, according to a 3M-commissioned study submitted to the Flemish waste management agency. For context, Minnesota’s current safe limit is 0.015 micrograms per liter.
After more than a decade of fighting, Flemish officials were eager to go ahead with the Oosterweel. They needed 3M’s help. In November 2018, Lantis and 3M signed their secret pact allowing the most dangerous of the toxic dirt (with 70 to 1,000 micrograms of PFOS per kilo) to be dumped on 3M’s site. Lantis argued Flemish regulations allowed it to move the soil without treating it as toxic waste as long as it served a function, in this case a security wall. Lantis estimated it would cost €63 million to move all that soil. 3M’s cost would be €75,000.
The Province of Antwerp planned to move roughly 4 million cubic meters of soil from the tunnel-highway project to a nature reserve far south.
Alongside health anxieties, farmers in the area have lost business. Koen Doggen grows organic vegetables that he sells to consumers through a subscription service. He says tests last summer showed his soil had more than twice the level of PFOS at which the government says sanitization is required. “I considered quitting,” he says. “I didn’t know if I wanted to work on contaminated soil. I breathe it in daily in the summer and wash it off my skin every evening. I wondered how I could ever sell this product again now that Zwijndrecht has become PFOS land, like it’s Chernobyl.”
High concentrations of PFBSA had made it into fish in the estuary of the western side of the Scheldt leading into the North Sea, according to a study paid for by residents of Zwijndrecht late last year. Flounder in the estuary had 24 micrograms of PFOS, seven times above safe limits for people who eat fish once a week.
Last autumn, 3M’s chief medical officer, Oyebode Taiwo, flew to Antwerp from the US to defend the company in Parliament. He argued that blood tests showing high PFOS levels weren’t proof the chemical caused the health problems that individuals were experiencing. “It could be due to reverse causation, meaning that it’s not the exposure that is causing the health outcome, but it is the health outcome that is causing the exposure to build up,” he said.
In other words, he argued certain people with specific health conditions are more prone to build up PFAS chemicals in their blood. Scientifically, the idea is dubious. Legally, it’s absurd, says Berezofsky. She points to the “eggshell skull” rule accepted in US law. “If I walk down the street and I hit somebody over the head, a normal person with a normal skull may just feel a bump. Somebody who has a skull made of an eggshell might die,” she says. “I’m still responsible. The fact that they have an eggshell skull does not relieve me of the liability of what I did.”