Evening Reads for “Columbus Day”Posted: October 10, 2011
This morning was the first day of fall break and given the chance to sleep in, the insomnia that comes and goes struck once again. As I lay there for hours, with a bit of annoyance deep within my right ear, a feeling of dread reached my toes. When you have no insurance and no money that feeling which precedes an inner ear infection is something that brings about anger, frustration and an all around resigned feeling that best expresses itself in the quick yet elongated blurted out word…”shit.” (More along the lines of, Sheiiiit, in two syllables, ending harshly on the t.)
So with that, today’s evening reads may have a characteristic cranky ring to it. Since that constant sting of irritating pain is radiating from my ear to the other parts of my head, more specifically the brain, which reacts by shutting down.
Now that the warning has been issued, here is the evening news reads for this Monday, Columbus Day.
I remember when I was little, Columbus Day gave the teachers reason to teach about the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria…we got a chance to make murals of Columbus setting foot in the new world, and happy Indians greeting him with gifts and smiles. It was not until 5th grade, when I did a report on the indigenous people of the Hudson Valley that I fully “got” the jest of what really happened. So I do like Dakinikat’s references this morning to Native American or Indigenous Peoples Day.
However it seems that Columbus Day has morphed into the very thing the Occupy protester are bringing attention. The commercialism and capitalism that has turn Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the other “bank” holidays into nothing but a showcase for loud obnoxious announcers pitching spectacular sales and no interest for a year financing. (Well, that list bit about the financing is not as readily available these days.)
On with the show…
Last week I pointed out the irony in the presidents chosen group of CEO’s to perform the job of pushing job creation here in the US. Here is an article that articulates it better than I could. Obama’s jobs advisors include job-cutting executives – latimes.com
In another public demonstration of concern about the struggling economy, President Obama will meet in Pittsburgh on Tuesday with the business and labor leaders he has chosen to counsel him on job creation.
But many of the chief executives have cut American jobs and adopted tactics that weaken organized labor — even as their businesses post record profits.
The executives are members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama created in January by appointing 26 leaders of companies including American Express, Comcast and Intel. (A 27th member was added in June.)
This article puts the CEO’s into a specific light, check it out:
Just days before the president appointed Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express, to the council, the company announced a massive restructuring that closed a facility in North Carolina and eliminated 550 jobs, or about 1% of the company’s workforce. At the same time, American Express announced it had made $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 48% from the same period the previous year.
Xerox, whose chief executive, Ursula Burns, sits on the board, has cut 4,500 jobs in the first six months of 2011.
Jim McNerney, chief executive of Boeing, shrank the company’s California operations because of the end of the space shuttle program and defense cutbacks. In January, Boeing said it was cutting 1,100 U.S. jobs, including 900 in Long Beach, and has since announced further cuts in Alabama and Kansas, while adding jobs elsewhere. At the same time, Boeing reported that profits rose 20%, to $941 billion in the second quarter of 2011.
Some companies have been cutting jobs for years. Eastman Kodak, whose chief executive, Antonio M. Perez, is a member of the council, has completed a number of layoffs at its Rochester, N.Y., manufacturing facilities. Between 2004 and 2011, Kodak’s Rochester workforce shrank by 9,200 to 7,100.
A handful of companies with leaders who serve on the council have received government funding for research and job creation projects under the Obama administration. General Electric, for example, received $210 million in stimulus funds, making it one of five companies on the council that received a combined $610 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to data posted on Recovery.gov, the government website that tracks stimulus dollars.
Some economists say the records of these businesses indicate that the U.S. can no longer look to corporations to boost job growth.
No kidding…but the thing that really pisses me off is the response from the White House to the legitimate doubt that these CEO’s will offer up any constructive action to create jobs in the US.
“Nobody should expect this group to come up with innovative ways of investing in the American workforce and generating not only more jobs but higher wages,” said Robert Reich, who was Labor secretary during the Clinton administration. “That’s just not what these big companies do.”
The White House says members of the council serve as independent advisors. The council meets with the president every quarter and presents him with job creation proposals that have included decreasing regulation for small businesses and increasing foreign investment in U.S. companies.
Regardless of their track records, the council members “have offered a wide range of recommendations to the president,” White House spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said. “While decisions about which policies to pursue are ultimately the president’s alone, he values the wide array of advice and input he gets.”
I have some interesting links for you regarding the Occupy protest. One of our readers, RalphB has let us know about the OccupyAustin protest he has attended. (Thanks Ralph!) It looks like that city’s group is moving in the right direction.
History News Network has this post up from Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Lessons from History for Occupy Wall Street on How to Build a Movement
Far from signifying social dysfunction (“anarchy,” as some commentators suggest), mass political protest is conventional. It is as old as the nation itself. Participatory democratic action of the sort seen today on Wall Street exists along a spectrum of political forms that includes boycotts, demonstrations, strikes, and town hall meetings, among myriad other ways that citizens make their voices heard in public policy debates. The country has sometimes even witnessed violent rebellion against titans of industry—real, not figurative, class warfare.
Then there is the question of whether political protest is futile. History says no, or at least, not necessarily. Mass political action has given rise to momumental changes in law and society. Industrial strife and social unrest during the early twentieth century yielded legislation during the New Deal that fundamentally changed Americans’ relationship to the workplace. The right to collectively bargain and the eight-hour workday, among other innovations, grew out of these protest movements. Citizen protests also produced revolutionary socio-legal changes in American race relations. Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of widespread social protest. That historical moment is now so acclaimed that the nation has seen fit to memorialize the likeness of the movement’s foremost leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, on the national mall. Of course, citizen mobilization certainly can come to naught. However, the most striking feature of the American political landscape in recent decades has been the failure of citizens to even engage in sustained public protest—about anything.
Brown– Nagin continues to discuss the technical aspects of a “movement” which he argues requires,
Movements require structure and organization, unifying themes, concrete goals, effective symbols, tools for engagement with the public, and methods to influence policymakers. Thus far, these protesters do not appear to constitute a full-fledged movement.
He believes that once the movement gains that structure and organization, and pins down key demands, it will command attention.
Even if the protesters develop a coherent agenda, organization and so forth, the resulting structure will not function like an interest group or political party—as some commentators seem to expect. By their nature, protest movements are spontaneous and unpredictable rather than poll-tested and packaged. Social movements gain leverage precisely because they are unscripted and exist outside of the normal political channels. Observe the Tea Party movement. This historical moment is pregnant with possibility.
Which brings me to Jesse LaGreca, you may have seen him interviewed in the street…a great interview that seems to have taken the journalist by surprise…no he is not a hipster doofus. Jesse LaGreca And George Will | This Week And ABC News| Occupy Wall Street Video | Mediaite
It started as just a minor “gotcha” moment–a YouTube clip of an Occupy Wall Street protester criticizing Fox News coverage of the movement to Griff Jenkins popped up on the Internet, as these things tend to do. It was later discovered that the protester was Jesse LaGreca, a Daily Kos blogger. On Sunday, LaGreca appeared on ABC’s This Week to talk about the protests, and–agree with his point of view or not–he came across as well-spoken, smart, and level-headed, which seems to be an outlier from the blanket media coverage of an OWS supposedly littered with uninformed, anarchist, silly sign-holding masses.
LaGreca made a point to say that he doesn’t want this movement to turn into an anti-government protest–it’s actually just the opposite:
“I find it ironic that when people demand action from their government, suddenly people tend to overreact and say, ‘Well, that’s out of control government.’ Our government is a function of our democracy,” LaGreca said. “By attacking the government, we are attacking democracy…I think we should ask our government to represent the will of the people, and if the will of the people are demanding action, then they should follow suit.”
LaGreca’s best quote was when he said he’s likely the only working class person who will appear on the Sunday news; his quick answers and honest presentation may just keep bookers putting him on throughout the week. And this is exactly what OWS needs.
Okay, I am going to just quickly post some other links for you to look into.
Michael Bloomberg has announced that the protesters in can stay in Zuccotti Park indefinitely. Hmm…what does this change of “heart” mean? I don’t know, but I don’t trust it.
Paul Singer, a republican activist, hedge fund manager and Clarence Thomas BFF, is the money-man behind the “journalist” in Saturdays protest that closed the Air and Space Museum in DC. What is it with these rich GOP donors?
Glenn Beck is spewing the hate and fear over the airways yet again…
“Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsie with these people, you are wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you. They will do it. They’re not messing around. Those in the media – and I am included in this – they will drag us out into the streets and kill us. If you’re wealthy, they will kill you for what you have. You cannot tolerate this kind of stuff. You certainly do not encourage it.”
Damn, where is Gretchen and the other Fox & Friends to condemn this violent rhetoric? (Crickets)
Speaking of the idiots…Herman Cain is moving up in the latest New Hampshire poll. (A trend that started last week.) Dak has more on that here.
This past week Ezra Klein wrote yet another apologetic/excuse ridden piece. David Dayen has a rather long post today over at FDL that points out inconsistencies. (If you can call it that…I just think it is only rationalization from one of Obama’s love struck reporters.)
Oh, if only the Obama encountered the kind of journalistic water hazards like these when he plays golf…Shark Infested Golf Course Lake | Australian Golf Course With Sharks | Video | Mediaite
The term “water hazard” takes on a whole new level at a golf course in Australia. It seems that the broken banks of a flooded river in Queensland, Australia led to six bullsharks to live in a lake in th emiddle of Carbrook Golf Clube in Brisbane.
Water hazards are a challenge for anyone who plays golf, but on the 14th tee at the Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane there is another reason to be concerned.
Half a dozen man-eating bullsharks live in the lake in the centre of the course where their fins poking through the water have become a regular sight.
The sharks got onto the Queensland golf course when it flooded some years ago after a river broke its banks.
Just imaging those bull sharks wearing sharp film noir Fedoras, you know the ones…with the press label sticking out of the band. Oh, and a little notebook and pencil in one fin…and a non filtered cigarette hanging precariously out of the shark toothed mouth.
Real journalism…Yup, that would be something to see. What you doing this evening? Give us the low down…comment section is below.