Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Everywhere’
But while DC is promoting The Green Team series as the adventures of the “1%,” its companion title,The Movement, is teased as a chance for us to “Meet the 99%… They were the super-powered disenfranchised — now they’re the voice of the people!”
“It’s a book about power,” explained The Movement writer Gail Simone. “Who owns it, who uses it, who suffers from its abuse. As we increasingly move to an age where information is currency, you get these situations where a single viral video can cost a previously unassailable corporation billions, or can upset the power balance of entire governments. And because the sources of that information are so dispersed and nameless, it’s nearly impossible to shut it all down.”
* The next Kim Stanley Robinson novel! Shaman: A Novel of the Ice Age.
* McSweeney’s: “I’m an English professor in a movie.”
* The University of British Columbia is striking a blow at gender inequity in professors’ pay, promising all tenure-stream female faculty a 2 per cent pay hike by the end of the month – a rare approach expected to cost the school about $2-million this year. I asked on Twitter and nobody answered — is this legal in Canada? I don’t think it would be here.
* Expelled Student Activist Wins $50K Court Judgment Against University President. The president is being held personally liable for his decisions.
An environmental activist expelled from Georgia’s Validosta State University (VSU) has won a $50,000 award in a lawsuit against the university president who kicked him out of school in 2007. In a dramatic rebuke to President Ronald Zaccari, the federal jury that heard the case found Zaccari personally liable for violating Hayden Barnes’ due process rights.
* Amy Bishop, a neurobiologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, sat down at the conference table just moments before the faculty meeting began. It was three o’clock on February 12, 2010, and thirteen professors and staff members in the biology department had crowded into a windowless conference room on the third floor of the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The department chair, a plant biologist named Gopi Podila, distributed a printed agenda. Bishop was sitting next to him, in a spot by the door. Inside her handbag was a gun.
* School closings are a popular method of cost-cutting for big-city districts, but critics say the savings are exaggerated. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for up to 100 school closings this year. New York City just announced 26 planned closures.
But studies refute claims of savings. School buildings are difficult to sell. They cost money to maintain, and when vacant can become blights on their communities. Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee closed 23 schools in 2008, claiming she would save $23 million—and instead cost the district $40 million.
* Being touched against your will has become a twisted rite of passage for American females. It’s a reminder that you’re never safe anywhere. That your body is not really yours—but instead public property, there to be rubbed against by an old man or pinched and videotaped by a young one.
* It was a startling assertion that seemed an about-face from church doctrine: A Catholic hospital arguing in a Colorado court that twin fetuses that died in its care were not, under state law, human beings.
We believe that even the trickiest challenges confronting mankind can be diverted via human centrifugalization. Spinning people around at a sufficiently high G-Force will solve every problem.
* Canada ends the penny. This means the U.S. will start talking seriously about ending the penny in about fifty years or so.
My friend Matt O’Brien has a short piece in the Oakland Tribune documenting the “undoccupations” that helped force Obama’s immigration announcement. Meanwhile, I’m bit surprised to see that the new policy won’t apply to Jose Antonio Vargas; the attractiveness of a big round number aside, you’d think given the attention he brought to the issue they’d have found some way to include him.
* 10 “Occupy” Candidates Running for Congress. Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin is singled out for praise as the likely new senator from our upcoming new home.
* Personally, of course, I belong to the Optimism! party.
* Salon on “the new oil reality.”
* “This desperation starts once you realize how much you’ve lost, and then you feel like you can’t stop because you’ve got to win it back,” she told me. “Sometimes I’d start feeling jumpy, like I couldn’t think straight, and I’d know that if I pretended I might take another trip soon, it would calm me down. Then they would call and I’d say yes because it was so easy to give in. I really believed I might win it back. I’d won before. If you couldn’t win, then gambling wouldn’t be legal, right?”
* Barack Obama is currently leading Mitt Romney in the polls by anything between 12 and -2. Can’t argue with facts.
* And from New York Magazine, dateline 1970: “Mugging as a Way of Life.”
Malcolm Harris, who is building his Internet celebrity on this issue, doubles down on all of the bad impulses this kind of thinking engenders. He is here using the language of revolution to justify what is, at its essence, a dispute among the ruling class. He reminds me of nothing so much as the autoworker who curses the “foreigner” who he imagines has stolen what he thought was coming to him. Because Harris knows that his complaint is ultimately a direct expression of entitlement, and the entitlement of those who presumed they would be rewarded by our corrupt system, he has to build a case that is simply antithetical to the left-wing project: the notion that recent college graduates are the dispossessed around which a revolutionary movement deserves to be mustered. Read his piece. I don’t exaggerate.
It should go without saying that this is a project I want nothing to do with. I feel for those struggling under student loan debt, in part because I am myself, but I will not engage in the sophistry and dishonesty that asserts that they are the class that most requires liberation.
Freddie deBoer takes on the New Inquiry issue on “youth” I linked to yesterday. My response to Freddie would just be sure, sure, yes, everything you say is also true—but we can think about more than one type of thing at once.
Malcolm Harris in The New Inquiry #2: Class politics have become intelligible as a generational politics, the forces of what is and what has been arrayed against what else could be. For some the divide is the result of a promise betrayed, whether that promise was that they could maintain their inherited class positions or improve them. For others it’s a recognition that existing institutions are so riddled with predation and corruption, or tied inextricably to ecological devastation, that even their maintenance is unthinkable work. For still others it’s the trauma of service in the latest set of American wars, always declared by the old and fought by the young, or the accumulation of years of police harassment. Some occupiers hardly know why they’re there…
* Maryland votes in gay marriage! 42 to go.
* Map of the night: U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II.
* Two terrible tastes that taste bad together: Rick Santorum and for-profit colleges.
* Republic Windows and Doors has been re-occupied. Elsewhere in Occupied America: Rebecca Solnit rhapsodizes—but maybe also eulogizes—Occupy Oakland, while a group affiliated with Occupy Wall Street will host a national convention in July.
“We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go,” an organizer told the AP.
I propose we rethink that.
* The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has confirmed that scientists have found errors in a physics experiment that recorded particles traveling 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light in late 2011. But now, the agency says that one of the errors means the particles could have been traveling faster than that!
* And today’s chilling vision of things to come: “Mutated Trout Raise New Concerns Near Mine Sites.” Enjoy your weekend!
* You had me at hello: Soviet Space Propaganda Posters.
DJ: In my most cynical days as an academic, I thought of a professorship as the carrot that the establishment offers to make sure that smart people don’t run amok. “Give them a nice little office and a job that’s very stable, and put them in the ivory tower, and they won’t cause any trouble.”
DG: Did you ever read C.B. Macpherson’s theory of the university? It’s similar to that, and it’s actually quite clever. He makes the argument that universities have traditionally fulfilled a kind of court jester role. What is the problem you have if you’re the guy in charge, if you’re a king? It’s that you’re surrounded by yes-men. So there’s nobody there who’s going to tell you if you have a really bad idea. They’ll agree with anything you say. So you need someone who will actually point out when you’re going off the tracks. You’ll also need to make sure that person isn’t taken seriously. So you get a hunchbacked dwarf to tell you a silly rhyme, telling you why your plan is idiotic. And you get to know that your plan is idiotic and think about it, and everybody else says, “OK, hunchbacked dwarf, you talk to the king, that’s fine.” Universities are pretty much the same thing. They’re there to come up with all the reasons why current policies are misguided, why, you know, the current economic systems might not be ideal. They come up with all the alternate perspectives, but they frame it in a way that nobody takes it particularly seriously or can even understand it.
2) The rest of us should be happy to be ruled over by a group of predatory overlords who will devour us whole should we become sick or weak. Someday, eventually, in a vague and symbolic manner, karma will even things up.
3) Physical strength and charm are the defining characteristics for a leader; someone smart is probably just evil anyway. Don’t listen to them.
* Ever since I taught The Sheep Look Up last week I see something Brunner predicted in the news nearly every day. Today’s depressing entry: Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Decline in Women. Now, the dataset was all women, so it’s probably really “air pollution linked to cognitive decline in everyone.” Enjoy your weekend!
* …over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multiagency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s gone from first to worst.”
He does, however, see cause for optimism. “The Occupy Wall Street movement has been powerful about changing the national conversation. The Tea Party set the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic equality. That’s a conversation America hasn’t had for 20 years.”
There is also a religious dimension to Springsteen’s latest songs. The album shifts towards the spiritual uplift of gospel music in its rousing finale, evoking Jesus and the risen dead. “I got brainwashed as a child with Catholicism,” joked Springsteen, who says biblical imagery increasingly creeps into his songs almost unbidden. “Its like Al Pacino in The Godfather: I try to get out but they pull you back in! Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.”
You’d Think It Would Be Self-Evident That Killing Thousands of Babies—So That Citibank Avoids Losing One Percent of Its Interest on a Loan Which Is the Tiniest Percentage of its Portfolio and Will Not Actually Affect the Lives of Their Shareholders in Any Way—Is Wrong
That common-sensical notion not only that it’s moral to pay one’s debt, but also that morality essentially is a matter of paying one’s debts can bring people to justify things that they would never think to justify in any other circumstance. For the most part, decent people tend not to think killing lots of babies is justifiable under any circumstances. But debt somehow changes all that. Why is that?
“A riot is the language of the unheard,” said Martin Luther King. And Oakland is a city of the unheard, a city of tremendous institutionalized violence, a city of empty and blighted bank-owned homes, a city that saw riots and mass arrests just a year ago in response to police brutality, all before Occupy has a name or public face.