The Wall Street protests against economic inequality and corporate greed that targeted the nerve centre of American capitalism are no longer merely a New York phenomenon. This weekend, from Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast to Providence, Rhode Island, and Tampa, Florida, on the east, as many as 70 major cities and more than 600 communities have joined the swelling wave of civil dissent. The slogan “Occupy Wall Street” has been suitably abbreviated to a single word: “Occupy”
Evening Reads for “Columbus Day”Posted: October 10, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, American Jobs Act, Barack Obama, jobs, Main Stream Media, Politics as Usual, Republican presidential politics, SDB Evening News Reads, The Media SUCKS, the villagers, U.S. Politics, unemployment, Voter Ignorance | Tags: Herman Cain, New Hampshire 21 Comments
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.
Sunday Morning…Posted: October 9, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, abortion rights, Afghanistan, American Jobs Act, Baby Boomers, Barack Obama, China, Drone Warfare, Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Iraq, Libya, MENA, morning reads, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Russia, Syria | Tags: evolution, Madeleine Albright 14 Comments
Good morning, it is a beautiful fall day here in Banjoland…we have a lot to get to, because there is so much going on in the news.
A few things first, things are still hot over in Libya, the rebel forces claim to have taken control of some key locations in Gaddafi’s hometown. In Syria, Washington Post is reporting Iraq is siding with Iran by offering financial support to Assad’s regime. They have hosted official visits with Syrians to build business relations and offer political support.
I don’t know why this is such a surprise to the US, it seems like a good way to put the screws on the Obama Administration…and assert their own government control, by joining Iran in support of Assad. Lets just wait and see, this is going to build and give Obama a reason to stay in Iraq a bit longer.
In other Syrian news, this past week the UN Security Council had a rare double veto, With United Nations Veto, Russia and China Help Syria
By vetoing a Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its oppression of antigovernment forces, Russia and China effectively tossed a life preserver to President Bashar al-Assad, seemingly unwilling to see a pivotal ally and once stalwart member of the socialist bloc sink beneath the waves of the Arab Spring.
Russia enjoys military and commercial deals with Syria worth billions of dollars annually, plus its alliance and only reliable Arab friend give it an entree into the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. In addition, Moscow maintains perks left over from its superpower days, for instance, a naval base at Tartus, Syria, that accommodates visits by warships like Peter the Great, a nuclear-powered missile cruiser, during its Mediterranean jaunts.
China worries that the reverberations from falling Arab despots will inspire civil disobedience at home.
But beyond those concerns, and a stated interest in averting violent change in Syria, China and Russia are also increasingly allied in shutting down what they see as Western efforts to use sanctions and other economic measures to put the United Nations seal of approval on Western-friendly regime change.
Hillary Clinton had some harsh words for Russia and China, Clinton says U.N. Security Council failed Syria
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the U.N. Security Council failed its duty by not passing a resolution on Syria and said Russia and China would have to explain their vetoes to the Syrian people.
“We believe the Security Council abrogated its responsibility yesterday,” Clinton told reporters, saying the measure vetoed by Russia and China represented the “bare minimum” of what the international community should do in response to the bloody crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“The countries that chose to veto the resolution will have to offer their own explanations to the Syrian people, and to all others who are fighting for freedom and human rights around the world,” Clinton said in the Dominican Republic, where she was on an official visit.
This past week also marked the tenth anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. Some of the #Occupy protesters marked this decade of war…Atlanta’s Occupy was one of the cities that timed their protest to correspond with the anniversary. Group begins Day Two of ‘Occupy Atlanta’
On Friday, several hundred members of the group rallied in the park to protest, among a number of topics, corporate greed and the war in Afghanistan. By early Saturday, a few dozen milled about the park enjoying the warm sunshine and cups of coffee.
The protests are timed for the 10th anniversary for the war in Afghanistan and patterned after an Occupy group that has been encamped in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan since mid-September.
Anti-war protests in Washington DC forced the closure of the Air and Space Museum. Some of our Banjoville 8th graders are on a field trip this weekend in DC…I hope this did not affect their planned trip to the museums. Stop the Machine Protest Closes National Air and Space Museum
A spokesman for the Smithsonian, John Gibbons, said a large group of demonstrators, estimated at 100 to 200 people, arrived at about 3 p.m. and tried to enter the museum. When a security guard stopped the group from entering, saying they could not bring in signs, the demonstrators apparently held him, Mr. Gibbons said. A second guard arrived and used pepper spray on at least one person, and the crowd dispersed.
A number of groups have been demonstrating in the city in the past week. The group at the museum Saturday included people affiliated with the October 2011 Stop the Machine demonstration, which has been taking place in Freedom Plaza in protest of war and what the group calls corporate greed. It also included protesters affiliated with Occupy D.C., which is modeled on Occupy Wall Street in New York.
The group was protesting a drone exhibit at the museum. #Occupy protest are getting some notice in the foreign press, Guardian has a reporter in Seattle covering the protest there. Occupy America: protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities | World news | The Observer
This article focuses on some of the older people joining the young college students.
“This could be the tipping point,” said Dick Steinkamp, 63, a retired Silicon Valley executive at the Occupy Seattle protest being held in the heart of the city’s shopping and restaurant district . He and his wife had driven two hours from their home in Bellingham, north of Seattle, specifically to join the rally and give it support from more conventional professionals.
“I marched against the Vietnam war before I was drafted into the army and this movement is now getting towards that critical mass,” he said.
One of the favourite messages of the protesters is that almost 40% of US wealth is held in the hands of 1% of the population, who are taxed more lightly than the majority of Americans. Steinkamp was holding a sign saying “I am the 99%”. And there is widespread anger that ordinary people have born the brunt of the financial crisis with dire job losses and house repossessions.
“I came here because I wanted to show it wasn’t just young anarchists,” said Deb Steinkamp, also 63 and a retired marriage counsellor, wearing a green cagoule and sensible shoes against the damp, chilly Seattle weather.
Sensible…hmm, not fashionable. I guess Deb has reach the age where sensibility outweighs cool hip and chic style.
The protest is also getting the notice of some powerful people in Washington… Pelosi Supports Occupy Wall Street Movement
House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she supports the growing nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on the streets of downtown New York City in mid-September.
“I support the message to the establishment, whether it’s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen,” said Pelosi in an exclusive interview with ABC News “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour. “We cannot continue in a way this is not relevant to their lives.”
Pelosi said she sees the protestors’ anger stemming from unemployment, which remains pinned at 9%. Pelosi added that the failure of TARP, or commonly known as the bank bailout, to add liquidity to the Main Street marketplace is fueling Americans’ animosity towards Wall Street.
“The thought was that when we did that [pass TARP], there would be capital available and Main Street would benefit from the resources that went largely to Wall Street,” said Pelosi. “That didn’t happen. People are angry.”
Wait…isn’t Pelosi part of that 1%? That quote about TARP, it bothers me for some reason. The to small to succeed stimulus that was just the right amount to bail out the banks that were too big to fail. Oh yeah…that any of that cash was going to trickle down to main street was such a pile of stinking bovine excrement.
“We’ve needed jobs for a while,” Pelosi added. “What he [the President] is proposing is job creating. And it’s really important for him to explain what this is about, or at least keep saying it over and over.”
Ugh…I don’t have the will to post more of this article from ABC…just click the link if you want to read the rest of it…I’ve lost respect for Pelosi years ago. Anything she says now is just empty words…Like these:
“Count me among those… who object to the way Congress is conducting itself,” said Pelosi. “We have a responsibility to try to find common ground.”
Moving on to another talking “democrat”…I just want to see Obama do his best impersonation of Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect!” Dakinikat had a post last night that you should take a look at. In it she discusses a rather long op/ed in the Washington Post…so here is the link and a bit of her post: The Big Beltway Chill « Sky Dancing
Autumn brings campaigns and the chilly season. This year also seems to be bringing chilly retrospectives on the Obama Presidency. This Presidency has disappointed many. I think there’s finally some introspection going on within the Washington Press Corps as well as the retrospection. They may be wondering how they became so enamored of some one who seems so detached from leadership basics.
People have been leafing through their copies of Confidence Men. I read an article today by Ezra Klein called “Could this time have been different?” Klein almost steps outside of his Beltway Bob mentality. Almost. Klein is still making excuses for how the administration got the economy so wrong even though the tick tock and the economic rationale make sense. Now, politicos will have to read this one from Scott Wilson–the white house correspondent at WAPO–with it’s interesting title: “Obama, the loner president”. It seems the defining campaign moment should’ve have been “Why can’t I just eat my waffle” because Wilson says that’s how the president handles in job.
Just read her post, it is awesome.
A couple of more links for you today, Michele Bachmann is pulling the PLUB card, I guess it is just a “Hail Mary” move to gain more exposure and support from her wacko base. Michele Bachmann Proposes Mandatory Ultrasounds For Women Seeking Abortions
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) proposed a bill on Thursday that would force women in the early stages of pregnancy to have a physically invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before they can legally consent to having an abortion.
The “Heartbeat Informed Consent Act” requires doctors to make the fetal heartbeat visible and audible to the woman prior to the abortion procedure and to describe the ultrasound image to her in detail, even if she prefers not to hear about it. If the woman is between four and five weeks pregnant, the doctor has to perform a “transvaginal ultrasound” in order to hear the heartbeat, which involves a probe and can be physically uncomfortable for the woman.
“It’s similar to a pelvic exam, which can come with discomfort for the woman, and it’s invasive,” said Dr. Nancy Stanwood, an obstetrician and board member of the health advocacy group Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. “It’s also medically unnecessary. Some politicians might see it as ideologically necessary, but it’s medically unnecessary, so the government telling you that you need to have one sounds ridiculous on many levels.”
She backs up her new bill with highly scientific research from a study done by Focus on the Family…she is so quick to cite various sources that seem to spring from her ass. It is all a show, because in Texas, a similar bill was struck down by a Federal Court. But Bachmann says she doesn’t care if the bill passes or not…she is committed to protecting life, and protecting what ever primary votes she can wrangle by this display of wingnut legislative action.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: This article from earlier in the week caught my attention, Population study suggests we’re still evolving – Technology & science – Science – LiveScience – msnbc.com
Humans, like all other organisms on Earth, are subject to the pressures of evolution. New research suggests that even in relatively modern societies, humans are still changing and evolving in response to the environment.
“Whether humans could or could not evolve in modern times could have interesting implications,” study researcher Emmanuel Milot, of the University of Quebec in Montreal, told LiveScience. It could help us understand changing trends for the different traits of a population.
By studying an island population in Quebec, the researchers found a genetic push toward younger age at first reproduction and larger families. This is the first direct evidence of natural selection in action in a relatively modern human population.
The study used data from 30 families who settled on île aux Coudres, located in the St. Lawrence River outside of Quebec City, between 1720 and 1773. A church on the island held historical records of all births, deaths and marriages on the island, from which researchers were able to build extensive family trees.
The researchers analyzed the data from women who married between 1799 and 1940, comparing their relations, any social, cultural or economic differences, and the age they had their first child.
The researchers found that over a 140-year period, age at first reproduction dropped from 26 to 22, with somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of this variation being explained by genetic variation in the population, not by other factors, such as changes in cultures or social attitudes.
“We think, traditionally, that the changes in human population are mainly cultural, which is why a non-genetic hypothesis is given priority over a genetic or evolutionary hypothesis, whether or not there is data to support that,” Milot said. “We have data that we analyzed from the genetic and non-genetic point of view, and we find that the genetic factors are stronger.”
The researchers didn’t look at which genes might have changed over time, but they suggest reasons for the age change could include differences in fertility and how early a woman hits puberty, or even heritable personality traits that would nudge a woman to procreate earlier. These genetic factors would be changing in response to the natural selection for a higher number of kids overall.
“In that particular population, selective pressure seemed pretty constant for the study period,” Milot said. “Maybe it has to do because it has a newly founded population and it was not disadvantageous to have big families.”
The study says that larger families would have been an advantage by increasing the likelihood that one’s genes would carry on.
Seeing natural selection in modern populations is incredibly difficult. Because this population was highly related and relatively cut off from outside populations, the correlation between genetic factors and age at first reproduction was easier to see.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: I have always been fond of Madeleine Albright, in fact one of her quotes is very special to me…“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Anyway, Madeleine Albright’s Famous Pin Collection Is Coming To The Denver Art Museum In April 2012 (PHOTOS)
Political junkies and feminists alike may be delighted about the pins and needles exhibit coming soon to the Denver Art Museum in April 2012.
“Read My Pins” is the emblematic collection of former U.S. Secretary Madeleine Albright’s pins worn during her history-making diplomatic tenure. Secretary Albright was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State, and the highest ranking woman in politics of her time. Many of the delicate-looking ornaments were worn by her to relay a symbolic message or tone during her trips abroad.
“I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal,” Albright has said of her collection.
One of Albright’s most famous is a gold snake pin, which she tells CNN she wore to Iraq after Saddam Hussein called her a serpent.
“So I decided I had a snake pin that I bought earlier sometime, so I thought ‘I’ll wear it when we do Iraq’ so I in fact did wear it. President Bush had said ‘Read my lips’ so I said, ‘Read my pins.’
Well, that is all I have for you this morning. I will again point out a couple of yesterday’s post by Dakinikat and Wonk the Vote, they are excellent, so please give them a read if you missed them. Have a wonderful Sunday, and I hope to see you in the comment section later today.
Friday Evening News Reads: Best answer to Florida’s unemployment? Dwarf Tossing…Posted: October 7, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, abortion rights, American Jobs Act, Barack Obama, Corporate Crime, immigration, income inequality, jobs, Main Stream Media, Media, SDB Evening News Reads, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, unemployment | Tags: #OWS, Alabama, Dwarf awareness month, Florida, little people, midget tossing 20 Comments
Alright its Friday!
When I saw this bit of news on MoJo, it just had to be the top link for today’s evening news reads. Florida Jobs Plan: Let’s Revive Dwarf-Tossing | Mother Jones
In his fight for smaller government, Florida Rep. Ritch Workman wants to do something for the little people: He wants to let ’em fly. The Melbourne Republican has decided that the state’s 22-year-old ban on dwarf-tossing in bars is keeping height-challenged residents from realizing their full career potential in a recession. “To me it’s an archaic kind of Big Brother law that says, ‘We don’t like that activity,'” Workman told Florida Current reporter Bruce Ritchie. “Well, there is nothing immoral or illegal about that activity. All we really did by passing that law was take away some employment from some little people.”
Once a staple of spring-break barrooms from Key West to Pensacola, dwarf-tossing (once incorrectly and more offensively referred to as midget-tossing) involves seeing which PBR-pickled frat brother can throw a Velcro-encased dwarf higher up a fabric-lined wall. State lawmakers banned the practice in 1989, finding it not only demeaning but physically taxing on the small subjects. But Workman’s introduced legislation that would repeal the ban, taking his lead from such high-minded libertarian thinkers as TV newsman John Stossel. (That pundit’s reaction to a dwarf-toss ban: “Give me a break!”)
What is so significant about Workman taking up this cause celebre now and becoming the champion of a bill reversing the ban on Dwarf tossing? October is Dwarfism Awareness Month…perfect timing huh?
Chopping government regulations is kind of his thing; the St. Pete Times has described him as possessing “a zeal for repeal.” However, it may be that he’s just got the pleasure-seeking heart of a frat boy: In addition to opening the dwarf-tossing floodgates, he’s crafted legislation to loosen restrictions on minors getting tattoos and restaurant patrons getting snoggered, and he’s fought for Floridians’ right to not control or report “dangerous fires.” And though he identifies as Christian and conservative, the legislator’s got no problem sponsoring a bill that would absolve unmarried adults for “lewdly and lasciviously” living together. Live and let live, as Workman might say.
Well, not entirely: He’s also co-sponsored restrictions on abortion, and he advocates an Arizona-style law to roll back immigration. “Our legislators cannot allow political correctness and misinformation to obstruct Florida’s right to do the job the federal government refuses to do,” Workman has said. Translation: Workman will make sure unborn dwarves grow up with the option of being hurled by drunks to pay the rent…assuming, of course, the dwarves are born in America.
Isn’t that a great post! It just tickles my fancy…sort of a mix of my two obsessions…midgets and politics. The dwarf site says that they prefer the term Little People, which is seen as being more Politically Correct than say midget…munchkin…or Dennis Kucinich.
With the 2012 campaigns in full swing, I want to bring a touch of nostalgia to this post…a link to an HuffPo article back in 2007: Zach Kanin: Does Height Matter in Politics?
Speaking of undocumented dwarfs…if they live in Alabama, they will have to search high and low for water service…a big thank you to Atrios for this link: Eschaton: Crazy And Evil
Welcome to Alabama.
The Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board began enforcing a section of the new law on Sept. 1 by requiring new applicants for service to first prove they are legally in the United States, according to the filing. The water board suspended the policy after being notified that Blackburn had temporarily suspended implementation of the state law.
Allgood Water Works also posted a sign on its office that “to be compliant with new laws concerning immigration, you must have an Alabama driver’s license or an Alabama picture ID card on file at this office before Sept. 29 or you may lose water service.”
Freedom. Smell it.
This is ridiculous…of course if you are an “illegal” dwarf or normal sized domestic working for some big hot shot…don’t worry. Remember domestics are exempt from Alabama’s immigration law.
The law says that, starting April 1, every business or employer in Alabama must use the E-Verify system, either directly or through the state Department of Homeland Security, to check a new hire’s employment eligibility. But the law also defines an employer to exclude “the occupant of a household contracting with another person to perform casual domestic labor within the household.”
The law’s sponsor, state Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, said he and other supporters of the law wrote in that exception to keep homeowners from having to use E-Verify each time they try to hire someone for “incidental labor.” That someone could be a neighborhood kid hired to baby-sit, said an attorney familiar with the law.
“We decided we needed to exempt homeowners,” Hammon said. “When you start having E-Verify, we don’t want homeowners all over the state to have to do that when someone cuts their grass or cleans their home. This is just incidental labor that happens time to time.”
He said he and other supporters of the law didn’t want to hassle homeowners, and they believed other parts of the law would lead unauthorized immigrants to leave the state.
Hell yeah! We don’t want Alabama’s rich politicians and attorneys and elitist assholes to have the hassle of using E-verify to make sure Juanita is legit…
I noticed that Hammon includes lawn care as part of the “temporary” labor exempted from the law, they have all their bases covered, don’t they?
In other maddening news, President Clears Wall Street Of Crimes | Firedoglake
Barack Obama slept through his securities law class at Harvard. That’s the only explanation I can offer for his answer to Jake Tapper’s question at a press conference Thursday. Tapper asked him about the failure of his administration to prosecute a single Wall Street executive. From the transcript.
Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless….
By “a lot of stuff”, the President means everything that happened, from fraudulent sales of real estate mortgage-backed securities, to Repo 105, to filing false affidavits in foreclosure proceedings. He knows this even though there have been no criminal investigations, no FBI inquiries, no Grand Jury subpoenas, and apparently no review of independent investigations. For him, this isn’t about law. He just knows that the immoral and inappropriate and reckless behavior that caused the Great Crash and the Lesser Depression wasn’t a crime.
Obama’s blanket pardon isn’t newsworthy. No one in the national media picked it up. I checked the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune (which published the AP report). None of them mentioned the Q&A. I checked Google News and couldn’t find any mention of it except in live blogs. Obama’s dismissive response reflects the view of the American Oligarchy, the financial elites who run the country, and the media they own and operate.
Nope, the media has really been sitting on their thumbs…and the only time they take those fat little digits out of their ass is when they want to belittle the people who are trying to make a difference by becoming involved in the #Occupy protest around the country.
Back to the FDL piece:
Tapper asked the question in the context of Occupy Wall Street, pointing out that one theme is the failure of his administration prosecute a single Wall Street executive. The President refused to acknowledge the pervasive fraud documented by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Senators Levin and Coburn, ProPublica, and every other independent investigation. Yves Smith lays out some of the crimes here.
That connection might have alerted him to the anger throughout the country at his failure to prosecute, but he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see that only the American Oligarchy believes that no one should be held accountable for the frauds that led to the Great Crash. All the people he talks to share that view, and he can’t imagine that average Americans, the people he keeps asking for $3 for his re-election, want the law to be enforced and want banksters to go to jail. He has his own explanation of the anger.
What I think is that the American people understand that not everybody has been following the rules; that Wall Street is an example of that; that folks who are working hard every single day, getting up, going to the job, loyal to their companies, that that used to be the essence of the American Dream. That’s how you got ahead — the old-fashioned way. And these days, a lot of folks who are doing the right thing aren’t rewarded, and a lot of folks who aren’t doing the right thing are rewarded.
Yeah, I remember those commercials…the rich “basturds” make money the old-fashioned way…they “earn” it. Or in Obama’s case…get elected to do nothing and write a couple of books about his father and the audacity of hope.
Obama is half-heartedly trying to co-opt the disruptive occupiers and the rest of us by claiming that we all share the same goals. That explains his bizarre claim that his support for the trivial changes in Dodd-Frank and the coming cave-in on regulation and enforcement is an adequate response. It’s only half-hearted though. You can see from the look on his face that he wants to call us a bunch of ingrates, unaware of political limitations and how hard it is to try criminal cases. He shows disdain at the refusal of the masses to let the financial elites play today’s version of the Great Game without pesky questions from those whose lives are wrecked by “immoral” but totally innocent speculators.
The good news for Obama is that if everyone on Wall Street is as pure as the driven snow, or only a little smudged by “inappropriate” behavior, or at least “not guilty”, then it’s fine for him to raise tens of millions of dollars from them to pay for his shot at re-election.
Well that is it for me today, short post…about short people…and people with short narrow points of view. What you all doing this evening…me? There is a big fat hamburger in the kitchen with my name on it…I’ll catch you later in the comments.
Wednesday Reads: Giant snails, Trade Agreements and Samuel L. JacksonPosted: October 5, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, American Jobs Act, Barack Obama, China, Economy, Foreign Affairs, George W. Bush, just because, morning reads, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Commerce, free trade agreements 11 Comments
I have to start the post off with a hilarious cartoon from Mike Luckovich.
Fabulous isn’t it!
And with that lets dig in for this Wednesday morning reads. I have a few links for you on Trade Agreements, US Factory Orders and the new bill regarding Chinese Currency.
Susie Madrak over at C&L, has this to say about the trade bills: Obama Sends Bush Trade Agreements to the Do-Less-Than-Nothing Congress | Crooks and Liars
My father used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” So I have no comment:
President Obama submitted three free trade bills with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress today after a years-long holdup of the deals since the most recent Bush administration. Speaker John Boehner announced immediately that the House will act on them quickly along with Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for displaced workers.
“Now that all three agreements have been transmitted, they will be a top priority for the House,” Boehner said in a statement. “We will quickly begin the required process to consider these bills and intend to vote on them consecutively and in tandem with Senate-passed TAA legislation.”
Earlier today, Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters “we intend to address this and hopefully put a win on the board for the people of this country.”
He said the House would act on the bills next week.
“I am glad President Obama has finally sent Congress the long-awaited free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea which will help create thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth,” Cantor said in a Monday statement. “Moving forward on these agreements will provide manufacturers with the help they need to increase exports and increase production. The more manufacturers produce, the more workers they need and that means job creation.”
The agreements would ease trade restrictions between the United States and the three countries. According to the International Trade Commission, the easing of tariffs with South Korea alone would boost exports by up to $10.9 billion. The agreement with Colombia would mean around 75 percent of all U.S. exports to that country would be duty free.
The three pacts have been held up for years over disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over the need to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a government program that provides job training, income support and health care assistance for workers displaced by free trade agreements. Passage of TAA is a requirement for the White House before they will send to Congress trade bills with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. But Republicans see the program as duplicative, expensive and ineffective.
Public Citizen, however, has a lot to say – none of it good.
According to a new survey, One Third of Americans One Paycheck Away From Homelessness « naked capitalism Of course that is no surprise to me, but the survey finds that more affluent Americans are still one paycheck away from living in a cardboard box.
The implications are grim. The odds of an economic recovery any time soon are close to non-existent. Many large companies (like Bank of America) have announced layoffs. Flagging top lines and a likely to be weak Christmas season, if Chinese shipping volumes are any guide, means more cuts are likely go be announced next year. And that’s before you factor in the impact of a strengthening dollar, state and local government belt tightening and a possible financial crisis.
With so many citizens on a knife’s edge financially, a slackening of demand will have a more severe impact than usual. I strongly suspect that most macroeconomic models don’t allow for the shock of job losses leading so quickly to the loss of the primary residence or extremely rapid curtailment of spending (as regular readers once know, once a homeowner misses a mortgage payment or two, pyramiding late fees pretty much assure they are on a path to foreclosure). In other words, if we have another economic leg down, it will feed on itself in a more pernicious manner than most experts foresee.
Some of the experts seem to be “off” when it comes to predicting more suckass economy figures…Here is another economy link for you… : US Factory Orders Fell Unexpectedly in August – CNBC
New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in August for the second time in three months, suggesting a possible softening in the manufacturing sector which has carried the economic recovery.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.2 percent after a downwardly revised 2.1 percent increase in July.
Economists had forecast orders to be unchanged after a previously reported 2.4 percent increase in July.
Why is it all these downward or upward numbers indicating the economy is getting worse always “unexpected?” I am no economy expert, but I know crap when I see it…
Bernanke spoke about the recovery yesterday: Bernanke Warns Recovery ‘Close to Faltering’ – ABC News
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned Congress on Tuesday of what most of America has sensed for some time: The economic recovery, such as it is, “is close to faltering.”
The central bank chief spoke on a day when the stock market spent most of the trading hours in bear market territory — down 20 percent from its most recent highs in April. A late-day rally helped the market finish higher.
Bernanke’s exchange with lawmakers seemed to capture the growing belief that no one is prepared to help the global economy in any meaningful way anytime soon. Speaking in unusually frank terms, he also captured the nation’s sour economic mood.
He also criticized China and its role in obstructing the recovery of global economy: Bernanke criticises China over currency – FT.com
The chairman of the US Federal Reserve has accused China of damaging prospects for a global economic recovery through its deliberate intervention in the currency market to hold down the value of the renminbi.
Speaking just hours after the Chinese government sharply criticised a US congressional bill that would punish Beijing for alleged currency manipulation, Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee that an undervalued renminbi was preventing the rebalancing of global demand towards emerging market economies.
“Right now, our concern is that the Chinese currency policy is blocking what might be a more normal recovery process in the global economy,” he said. “It is to some extent hurting the recovery”.
More on the Chinese currency debate in a moment. The Washington Post has a debate coming up that they will host with Bloomberg…so they are asking for some photo contributions from the real people out there. What does the economy look like where you live? Show us with your Instagram photos (#EconDebate) | 2012 Unfiltered – The Washington Post
“2012 Unfiltered” aims to strip away the political rhetoric through photos — specifically your photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is your chance to speak volumes, showing political leaders and the country what’s on your mind.
From now through the 2012 election, we’ll be asking you to share your “unfiltered” view of the issues through the popular iPhone app Instagram. We’re launching our project in conjunction with the Washington Post/Bloomberg presidential debate next Tuesday, Oct. 11, with a simple question: What does the economy look like where you live?
To participate, snap a photo that visualizes the current economic climate where you live with Instagram, a photo community of over 10 million users. Be sure to include anywhere in the caption the special tag #econdebate and a quick thought on how your snapshot shows what the economy looks like where you live.
I don’t know, but that sounds like an advertising nod to one of WaPo’s paid sponsors. However, that gives me the incentive to go out and take a snapshot of the economy in my little backwoods town. What the Washington Post should do is take a snapshot of the Occupy protest or even better, grab some of the images on the We are the 99 percent site.
Sticking with this theme, the Senate has debated a new bill that would require the Treasury Department to investigate the possible manipulation of China’s currency, and if they find China is manipulating their currency, they will impose tariffs on trade goods. China Criticizes U.S. Senate’s Currency Manipulation Bill – NYTimes.com
China expressed strong objections on Tuesday to a bill in the United States Senate that would threaten higher tariffs on some Chinese goods in response to what the bill’s sponsors call China’s policy of keeping its currency artificially depressed to give its exports a price advantage.
Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the bill “seriously violates rules of the World Trade Organization and obstructs China-U.S. trade ties.” The statement, reported by Xinhua, China’s official news agency, urged senators to “rationally understand Sino-U.S. trade cooperation, which is mutually beneficial in nature, and stop pressuring China through domestic lawmaking.”
The statement did not specify what steps, if any, China might take if the legislation were to pass. But Mr. Ma said the bill would “further escalate the exchange rate issue by adopting protectionist measures with an excuse of ‘currency imbalance.’ ”
As far as Boehner, the White House and Reid, they have expressed the expected sentiment.
“It’s pretty dangerous to be moving legislation through the U.S. Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of their currency,” Mr. Boehner said.
The White House has also reacted coolly to the bill. While administration officials have not rejected the measure outright, they have suggested that it could create trade problems with China.
Though some Republicans suggest that the bill would set off a trade war, others, as well as some Democrats, say the bill is needed to save American jobs. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told reporters in a rejoinder to Mr. Boehner, “It’s dangerous for our country to continue to be bullied by China.”
When I read about this, the comments Hillary Clinton has made in regards to China holding the purse strings ring true.
As with anything dealing with the economy, I will defer to the woman from New Orleans. I know that she is busy, but there was so much going on with the links up top, I had to include them in today’s post.
Occupy protest has gotten a big endorsement: Unions endorse, will join Occupy Wall Street protests – CNN.com
Several unions endorsed the two-week-old Occupy Wall Street movement and plan to join the protesters’ street theater in New York on Wednesday, labor leaders said.
“It’s really simple. These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years,” Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which has 20,000 member in the New York area, told CNN.
That is a bit of good news…
Transport Workers Union Local 100 spokesman Jim Gannon said the Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces social inequities in the financial system and draws inspiration from the Arab Spring revolutions in Africa and the Middle East, has advanced issues that unions typically support.
“Their goals are our goals,” Gannon said. “They brought a spotlight on issues that we’ve believed in for quite some time now…. Wall Street caused the implosion in the first place and is getting away Scot-free while workers, transit workers, everybody, is forced to pay for their excesses.
“These young folks have brought a pretty bright spotlight,” Gannon added. “It’s kind of a natural alliance.”
I think it is good that unions get involved in the protest. From what I have read, there are many teachers participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement. It seems like a welcomed move to me.
And finally, this little diddy over at the New York Magazine is a nice diversion. In Which We Inform Samuel L. Jackson About N-ggerhead — Daily InIn Which We Inform Samuel L. Jackson About N-ggerhead
On Sunday morning, the Washington Post ran its bombshell story about the racist name of the a hunting camp that the Perry family has leased on and off since the early eighties. But by Monday night, when we caught up with Samuel L. Jackson at a benefit for the Children of Bellevue’s Reach Out and Read Program, the actor still hadn’t heard about it. So we looped him in. All things considered, he took it pretty well. In fact, he wasn’t surprised at all.
NYM: What do you think about the controversy surrounding the name of Rick Perry’s hunting camp?
SLJ: How do I not know about it? What’s the name?
NYM: I’ll show it to you.
NYM: Yes. Does that surprise you?
NYM: Really? You honestly aren’t surprised?
SLJ: I grew up in the segregated South, nothing surprised me. [Laughs.] That’s not surprising at all.
NYM: I guess Herman Cain came out condemning it and he caught a bunch of backlash from other Republicans.
SLJ: Well, that’s just what they’re going to do. But it’s not going to hurt Perry’s reputation in a whole lot of places, so it’s not a big deal.
NYM: You don’t think so?
SLJ: He’ll be fine.
NYM: You don’t think he’ll be affected by this scandal?
SLJ: No! Are you serious? He’s a Republican and this is America.
NYM: Can you elaborate?
SLJ: He’ll actually gain respect from a lot of people that he didn’t have respect from before. He’ll be all right.
I think Sammy is right on that point…He goes on to agree with the comments made by Morgan Freeman last week about racism in the GOP.
Lets just end with this news out of Miami: Giant Alien Snails Attack Miami, Though They’re Not in Much of a Rush – WSJ.com
Floridians have grown accustomed to invasions of exotic creatures, like the Burmese pythons slithering throughout the Everglades. But residents here are especially grossed out by the latest arrivals: giant African land snails that grow as long as eight inches, chew through plants, plaster and stucco, and sometimes carry a parasite that can infect humans with a nonlethal strain of meningitis.
The gastropods are among the most dangerous in the world, agriculture officials say. They each have male and female reproductive organs and can lay 1,200 eggs a year, allowing them to proliferate rapidly. Thousands of them have infested at least five separate neighborhoods in the Miami area.
Homeowners who discover the creatures in their yards often find them disgusting. The snails’ engorged bodies extend far from their shells, and they eat so ravenously that they leave trails of excrement on walls and the ground.
Federal and state agriculture officials have responded with a large-scale eradication effort. They’ve deployed 70 people to hunt for the pests house by house in the affected areas. Since the snails were first detected on Sept. 8, workers have collected about 10,000 of them from 114 properties.
So if these snails have male and female reproductive parts…does that make them as bad as Tribbles? Hmmm…I see a new reality show for Animal Plant: Trouble with Giant African Land Snails. Ah, it doesn’t flow as well as the classic Star Trek episode. I am sure a suitable title will eventually come to me…of course it will have a “porno” sort of ring to it, keying in on the hermaphrodite angle.
Well, I am feeling a bit out of sorts. While writing this post, Tron Legacy was on the tube. Even watching it a second time did not help, I still don’t get it. So with an evening of economic reads and this seizure inducing movie, my mind is fried. What are you reading about today? Share your links…and if someone can explain that Tron movie to me, please give it your best shot.
SDB Evening News Reads for 100411: Patchouli, Empty Houses and Empty PromisesPosted: October 4, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, American Jobs Act, Barack Obama, immigration, income inequality, Main Stream Media, Republican presidential politics, SDB Evening News Reads, U.S. Politics, unemployment | Tags: Alabama, The Simpsons, Wall Street 13 Comments
Wow, I have plenty of news links to share with you this evening.
Last night Dakinikat and Boston Boomer wrote some great posts, they were posted late so some of you may have missed them.
There have been a lot of posts on various left leaning blogs about the Occupy campaign. So here are a couple for you…the first one is from FDL. Kevin Gosztola, who took over the civil liberties topics when Emptywheel went out on her own, has been live blogging from Wall Street since the beginning. Live Blog for #OccupyWallStreet: Day Eighteen, ‘A Beautiful Democracy in All This’ | The Dissenter
Since the weekend, the amount of media coverage has increased substantially. The discussion of it all seems to be evolving among the commentators, hacks and pundits in the establishment media. It used to be that the occupiers were disorganized. That has had little effect on the ability of the movement to grow.
Then the issue of disorganization became an issue about a lack of demands. Members of the media requested demands as if the occupiers somehow are holding the economy or US politics hostage and they must produce so something can be done and people can move on. And now, the media is deconstructing the launching of occupations in communities across the country by asking whether what is forming is the “liberal Tea Party” or not.
Nothing captures how the media just doesn’t get it like this question from CNN anchor Susanne Malveaux to CNN Business Correspondent Alison Kosik,
“I understand this is a group that’s kind of a bit disorganized, to say the least. It’s not clear who is actually participating. But tell us who is behind these protests. And really, what are they protesting? What’s the main point here, if there is one?”
The question is garbled amalgamation of all the talking points critics have had toward the occupation. Casting doubt as to whether the occupiers have a point or not is a clear sign of ignorance. The main point could not be more obvious. I’ll give Malveaux a hint. It has to do with Wall Street.
Now, compare Gosztola’s post with this one from Ian Murphy on C&L…I Slept in Zuccotti Park for This Report | Crooks and Liars
Dubbed “Liberty Square,” the park is home to Occupy Wall Street. And it’s not a park. It’s got a few small trees and a couple flowerbeds, but not one soft blade of grass. The concrete was lined with roughly 150 mummified protesters, rolled up in tarps, ominously looking like a fresh crime scene. Cops in raincoats, walking the perimeter. The gatekeepers.Credit: Ian Murphy
I don’t want to say this, but my first impression – after rolling up in my own tarp and failing to sleep for a few hours – was that the place looked, and smelled, like the parking lot of a Phish concert. Patchouli does not a movement make. And as much as I want to say reports, like this much-derided New York Times piece, have cast an unfair light on these young occupiers, they’re not entirely inaccurate.
My first contact was with a woman named Chris. “You want a vitamin? You want a chewable Airborne?” I took them, not having the heart to tell her that Airborne cold “remedy” does absolutely nothing. Was Airborne a perfect metaphor for #OccupyWallStreet? I cynically wondered.
Chris was a medic volunteer. The medic station is accompanied by the kitchen, the media area, the comfort area (dedicated to sleeping bags, socks, etc.), and the General Assembly. There are other volunteer duties, such as sanitation and security, which consist of walking around with a garbage bags and walkie-talkies, respectively.
This is the part I want to focus on:
The press has generally portrayed the protest as disorganized. Some protesters even expressed their frustration over the disorganization to me during the weekend. But without any sort of hierarchical structure, it’s amazing and inspiring that anything gets done at all. People are being fed, clothed, sheltered (as much as the no tent law allows), live-streaming speeches and Tweeting the latest developments, and receiving medical attention if they need it. It’s a real ground up grassroots thing, powered by personal responsibility to participate in the democratic process.
“The lack of focus is unfortunate,” a woman named Christine told me, “but I think if we stay here long enough, other groups will be pulled in.” That’s essential, and it’s happening as I type. Hippies thrive in protest environments, and they can even be useful in procuring humus, for instance, but the face of this movement can’t be obscured with dreadlocks. It’s what wonks call “bad optics.”
“It would appear to a lot of people that it’s disorganized,” said Mark Jacobs, the head of a nonprofit from Santa Fe, “but it’s not.”
The organic nature of the occupation makes traditional reporting nearly impossible. No one’s in charge; there’s no spokesperson; there are no agreed-upon talking points. And a lot of the time, people have no idea what’s happening.
“There’s a lot of misinformation,” a guy named Fumaini told me. “I heard that Blackwater was here.” That was probably my fault, as I was wearing a Blackwater baseball hat. Don’t ask.
“People are fed up,” Fumaini said. “They don’t know what to do, and they’re looking for an outlet.”
Give the rest of the Murphy article a read, it is entertaining…He does make one observation that makes sense to me. With the fluid nature of the protest, it does mean traditional ways of reporting are difficult…but I don’t think the main stream press is working on finding unaccustomed ways to report on the protest. It just adds another barrier, an annoying one, but not as financially beneficial as the corporate and big bank sponsors who by advertising time on the MSM networks.
On to the Empty Houses…I have more updates on the effect of the recent immigration law in Alabama. This long article from the New York Times, After Ruling, Hispanics Flee an Alabama Town
The vanishing began Wednesday night, the most frightened families packing up their cars as soon as they heard the news.
They left behind mobile homes, sold fully furnished for a thousand dollars or even less. Or they just closed up and, in a gesture of optimism, left the keys with a neighbor. Dogs were fed one last time; if no home could be found, they were simply unleashed.
Two, 5, 10 years of living here, and then gone in a matter of days, to Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Arkansas, Mexico — who knows? Anywhere but Alabama.
The exodus of Hispanic immigrants began just hours after a federal judge in Birmingham upheld most provisions of the state’s far-reaching immigration enforcement law.
The judge, Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, upheld the parts of the law allowing state and local police to ask for immigration papers during routine traffic stops, rendering most contracts with illegal immigrants unenforceable and requiring schools to ascertain the immigration status of children at registration time.
Even though the Justice Department is filing an appeal on Blackburn’s ruling, the law went into effect immediately. In one small town alone 123 students withdrew in one day, according to the article.
Statewide, 1,988 Hispanic students were absent on Friday, about 5 percent of the entire Hispanic population of the school system.
Critics of the law, particularly farmers, contractors and home builders, say the measure has already been devastating, leaving rotting crops in fields and critical shortages of labor. They say that even fully documented Hispanic workers are leaving, an assessment that seems to be borne out in interviews here. The legal status of family members is often mixed — children are often American-born citizens — but the decision whether to stay rests on the weakest link.
But the supporters are hailing the law as a success…
there were already signs that the law was working, pointing out that the work-release center in Decatur, about 50 miles to the northwest, was not so long ago unable to find jobs for inmates with poultry processors or home manufacturers. Since the law was enacted in June, he said, the center has been placing more and more inmates in these jobs, now more than 150 a day.
The poultry plant had a job fair, which did attract some local residents who had been out of work for over a year. But my question is this…when these workers start there new jobs, how long will they be at these jobs before they leave because of the hard work and low pay.
Remember the 2008 campaign…Obama, and the empty promises that spewed from his mouth. Those empty promises have continued throughout his presidency. Now the jobs act he so dramatically defended is getting reworked. Possibly for the better, I don’t know. But it makes one think about the partisan compromise mantra that Obama uses as a crutch. Anyway…He has traveled around the country…pimping his jobs bill. Here are some links for you to look over:
Dems Seek Unity On Obama Jobs Bill…By Changing It | TPMDC
GOP moves to introduce Obama jobs bill in Senate; Dems object – 2chambers – The Washington Post
Obama to House GOP: No surrender on jobs bill – The Plum Line – The Washington Post
Obama’s Jobs Bill May Get Tweaked To Pick Up Democratic Votes
That should get you caught up on everything.
I want to bring you a few items that you may have missed and overlooked.
There have been demands from the National Jewish Democratic Council, they want the GOP candidates to give back the Koch “tainted” money: NJDC Demands Perry, Others Return ‘Iran-Tainted’ Koch Donations | Crooks and Liars
As much as the Koch brothers would like this story to go away–and the corporate media does appear to be helping them–I have some hope that it might not be that easy:
Following the disturbing revelations reported in today’s Bloomberg article “Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales”-and the fact that the company’s political action committee gave $50,000 to Texas Governor Rick Perry and donated to Representative Michele Bachmann in the past as well-the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today called upon all Republican presidential candidates as well as the GOP national party committees to return any past Koch Brothers donations immediately, and directly address exactly where they stand on trading with Iran. “It’s shocking, dangerous and hypocritical in the extreme for the Republican Party and national GOP figures to be courting the Koch Brothers and their money while those funds were obtained in part by ‘thwarting a U.S. trade ban’ on Iran, to use Bloomberg’s words,” said NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris.
Did you all hear…Cain is moving up in the polls, from the TPM Editor: Strange Days | Talking Points Memo
I mentioned this morning a poll coming out today showing Herman Cain leading in some states. It’s out now. Cain is ahead in North Carolina, West Virginia and Nebraska.
One of the GOP House members is speaking out against Norquist: GOP Rep. rips Norquist for ‘paralyzing’ Congress – Seung Min Kim – POLITICO.com
In a short but powerful speech, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), laid out a remarkable indictment against one of the most powerful figures in conservative politics. He cited Norquist’s ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as well as charges that Norquist was associated with two terrorist financiers. Wolf also raised Norquist’s lobbying for Fannie Mae and the Internet gambling sector, and his reported support of moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
Now that is rich, isn’t it…
News out of Ohio, John Kasich is getting a raise…Ohio Governor Gets a Raise While Slashing Public Services | Mother Jones
While we’re all at being (rightfully) mad at some really rich people, let’s splash some more fuel onto the class-warfare fire. Think tank Innovation Ohio has released some stats about that state’s governor, John Kasich, who is trying to kill collective bargaining with a bill called SB 5 and who recently slashed funding to services people sort of need, like schools and firefighting.
But the Ohio legislature isn’t spreading the pain equally—namely, not among themselves. According to IO’s most recent report, Kasich took a raise of more than $10,000 over the last governor’s salary, bringing his pay to $148,165. And exempted the salary from the SB 5 provision that cuts automatic annual raises for other public employees. And lied about how much he pays his staff, whose senior members make $110,000. Also unaffected by the recent massive budget cuts is the Ohio General Assembly’s minimum salary of $60K—for a part-time job in a state where the average worker makes $40K. Of course, 62 of the 70 legislators who voted for SB 5 make more than that minimum. Those 62 receive annual bonuses up to $34k. No wonder there was so much protesting going on when I was there.
Just a couple more, Meredith Kercher family has vowed to support the outcome of the Italian Appeals Court that overturned the verdict on Amanda Knox. Meredith Kercher family vows to support appeal – Europe, World – The Independent
Mr Kercher said they accepted the ruling, but added that questions still remained about what really happened.
“While we accept the decision that was handed down yesterday and respect the court and the Italian justice system, we do find that we are now left obviously looking at this again and thinking how a decision that was so certain two years ago has been so emphatically overturned now,” he said.
This next article about a football kicking homecoming queen is fantastic! Homecoming Queen and Winning Field Goal on Same Night – NYTimes.com
In his 18 years at Pinckney Community High School, Jim Darga, the principal, said, the homecoming queen had always been crowned at halftime of the school’s football game. Never before, though, had she had to be summoned from the team’s locker room.
And that was just the beginning of Brianna Amat’s big night.
If being named homecoming queen is a lifetime memory for a high school student, so, too, is kicking a winning field goal. For Amat, 18, they happened within an hour of each other.
Brianna is a world class high school soccer player, and she also kicks for the high school football team. Cool beans! She was given the nickname “Kicking Queen” and that sure fits.
Lastly, it could be an end of an era…After 23 Years, The Simpsons May Be Nearing Its End | Mediaite
After 23 years, 500 episodes and billions of d’oh!’s later, money disputes have shown Fox studio executives ready to pull the plug on their beloved The Simpsons.
“The show has made billions in profits over the years and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see down the road. The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third, but that’s not good enough for Fox,” explain a Simpon‘s insider quoted in Grove’s piece. “Now Fox is basically saying, ‘If you don’t take this deal, we’ll shut down the show,’ and they’ll continue to make a ton of money. They’re free to sell it to cable and a second round of syndication, and they figure that the cast has very little leverage.”
That should give you lots to chew on…I’ll see you later in the comments!