SocraticGadfly: 10/2/11 - 10/9/11

October 08, 2011

Who really is the #99ers in #OccupyWallStreet?

First, I did something I hadn't originally thought of: I did a WhoIs lookup on the website

Domain purchaser is Wild West Domains, which is itself a website set-up/build company ... or a pass-through for somebody who would know how to build a website themselves. The company's 480 area code is in Arizona, not the likely location for a progressive movement like this. Dunno why the creators chose this particular "filter," assuming that's what it is.

The biggie, though, is the date of URL purchase: June 24, 2010.

Here's more:
Daniel Acker
291 Mountain View Drive
York, Pennsylvania 17404
United States

He owns two other websites, neither of which is politically oriented. And, per another website, 99ers is actually located in Provo, Utah.

One more bit of interest. Mr. Acker uses the email address A search for a person by that name plus "99ers" got no Google hits. A similar search for Acker got no hits beside WhoIs type sites.

So, leaderless? No. Leader-enshrouded? Yes. Why? (I wasn't going to pay to use U.S. Search or a similar website, especially if I don't even know whether or not Acker isn't a front for someone else. Or even a created "persona," for that matter.)

Occupy Wall Street's WhoIs, on the  other hand, is straightforward and is registered to an Adbusters rep.

Was this the Phillies' last, best chance?

IT sure looks the Philadelphia Phillies could age overnight, at least at the plate. The AP confirms that 1B Ryan Howard did tear his Achilles tendon in Friday's NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Per Cot's Contracts, their biggest player contract decision is on Roy Oswalt, followed by Jimmy Rollins. Raul Ibanez is a no-brainer to let go, unless he comes back cheap.

Given that he's not had a killer full season since 2008, I can't see Philly agreeing to the $16M mutual option. Will Oswalt agree to something like 2/$24 or 3/$33? Would Philly do that? Would it do that with an eye to a sign-and-trade?

Rollins hasn't played above replacement level since 2007. He's gone, unless he comes back for what he made this year.

Per position player free agents, Philly could aim for Jose Reyes and/or look for an outfielder on the cheap if it doesn't trust John Mayberry Jr. to step up and replace Ibanez.

And, the Phillies' outlook next year also depends on what the Atlanta Braves do. Late-season meltdown aside, the Braves' record was about what I thought it would be at the start of the season. Coming back angry next year, especially if management takes a free-agent plunge, I think the Braves have to be considered NL East favorites.

October 07, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: Vote #GreenParty

Whether or not Occupy Wall Street is "leaderless," and whatever mythmaking may lie behind that, and whether  or not it, leaderless or led, has any specific goals, it's been getting plenty of suggestions.

One is to address consumer debt. That's a good issue and a serious structural issue that's been building for decades. But, behind it is a more serious structural issue.

That's that our two-party system, especially at the national congressional level with political campaign cash corrupction, and even more at the executive level, with its campaign-cash-corrupted executive presidency at home and imperial presidency abroad, is broken.

And, no, appeals to the "real Barack Obama" won't work because what you have now IS the real Barack Obama.

Therefore, beyond the structural change of consumer debt is the structural change of third-party voting support.

Are you going to follow the real solution?
And, if you're not ready to take this step, you're part of the problem and not part of the solution. It's that simple.

If you think Obama worrying more about medical marijuana than financial plundering is the answer,  you're part of the problem and not part of the solution.

If you think Obama lying about Keystone XL as the latest in environmentalist "caves" rather than confronting the Wall Street that funded his election is the answer, you're part of the problem and not part of the solution.

If you think the Obama already undercutting financial regulations himself just six months into office really wants to fix the problem, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

If you think the Obama to whom the financial system that gave more 2008 campaign money than John McCain in his NON small donor campaign,  the financial system whose Goldman Sachs was his No. 2 donor, with JPMorgan Chase No. 6, Citigroup No. 7, UBS No. 15 and Morgan Stanley No. 19, actually wants to lift a finger to address the structural issues, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

After all, this is the man whom Democratic national procurer Vernon Jordan walked before a dog-and-pony vetting show of Wall Streeters back in 2003, before he even had won a Senate primary.

Ken Silverstein besides providing the dog-and-pony show details mentioned above, adds to that with his message of how Obama had already become a trimmer by 2006.

If you're still listening to MSNBC or other slightly-left news channels, programs and broadcasts that never mention, let alone tout, the idea of looking outside of the two-party box, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution. 

If you aren't ready to at least go to the Green Party website and find out more, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Because, part of the "revolution" MUST BE a revolution at the ballot box. Read on below the fold.

October 06, 2011

#SteveJobs had no #BigBrother ... he was one ... #OccupyWallStreet

Great op-ed column from the New York Times, which puts yet another stake in the Jobs hagiography.
Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.
And this:
If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to “think different,” in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.
But, it's all true. The design and showmanship? The best this side of Obama and better.

And, the not thinking different? It's true about both the traumatized serf workers at Foxconn and the iConsumers here in the U.S.

Has an iPhone really made your life that much better? I doubt it. More to the point, has it made your life that much better than a generic Android-OS smartphone would? I'm totally sure it hasn't ... unless you're into conspicuous consumption.

If you are, you're part of the problem that Occupy Wall Street is addressing. And that's why the blog post has this second header.

And, yes, the Occupy Wall Street folks do ... "timing" or not ... need to march to Cupertino, Calif.

Because, Steve Jobs, by failing to "think different" when he was smart enough to do so ... by failing to ACT different, was also ultimately part of the problem. He could have, as part of his "branding," touted "made in the U.S.A." But he didn't. He could have undertaken a fraction of Bill Gates' philanthropy. But he didn't.

That's because, in addition to being Big Brother, he was an economic elitist. Auletta calls him, though, a "liberal Democrat." Only if "liberal" really means "neoliberal."

And, so, as an economic elitist who like Barack Obama branded himself as a new-generation populist, he sold a mix of suckers and hypercapitalist wannabes on how the magic Apple branded them. It's like sex images, only more twisted, and with a total control freak.

#TigerWoods still struggling ... and may continue

Alan Shipnuck of Illustrated says that Tiger is still so afraid of going far left with drives he often blocks right.(Yeah, I know, insert joke here. And, insert joke about "insert," too.) That was just one of several problems on display in the Open.

And, Greg Norman is the latest to say Tiger will never win another major. The Shark: "I think he's reverted to a deeper hole. ... He has a hard time being a person."

Norman adds what others think, that Tiger doesn't have street smarts, that IMG, among others, coddles him too much, and more.

Norman has also apparently talked to Steve Williams more than once before Tiger canned him, and possibly afterward, too.

Bottom line? On dealing with distractions, etc., Norman thinks Woods is going backward.

Well, Tiger made the cut; but, let's remember, post-Masters, he's normally, in his limited stints, had one good round out of four. Maybe today was it.)

One #IgNobel yet to be awarded - to #Zuckerberg?

If the Nobel Peace Prize committee's hints are right about social media getting "honored" as part of this year's prize, giving it to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would be a truly Onion-esque parody or farce, especially coming just a couple of years after the Nobelers honored Dear Leader with the prize as what was seen as a deliberate slap at President Bush and, as has been shown by subsequent events, was not warranted.

First, Robert Fisk, in his latest dispatch engages in shooting down inside-Iran rumors, showing how Twitter was "problematic" in rumor spreading during the Iranian election crisis in 2009.

Related: As Foreign Policy notes, starting with the fact of the hashtag "#iranrevolution" being in English, not Farsi, Twitter had almost no impact inside Iran during last year's post-election tumult.
A number of opposition activists have told me they used text messages, email, and blog posts to publicize protest actions. However, good old-fashioned word of mouth was by far the most influential medium used to shape the postelection opposition activity. There is still a lively discussion happening on Facebook about how the activists spread information, but Twitter was definitely not a major communications tool for activists on the ground in Iran.
Beyond that, the idea that there was a "Twitter revolution" sounds more like Western blogger/online guru vanity than anything else.

And, on the home front, Facebook and Twitter both, but especially Facebook, is part of the Internet's social media dark side.

Related to that is the fact that, like their predecessors with newspapers, savvy authoritarian governments will allow just enough social media to serve as a release valve while spying on its users.

(To his credit, Marky Mark downplays how much value FB was in the Arab Spring.)

Almost as IgNobel would be giving the prize to the EU, after still-not-over Libya war with rebel "coalition" that has decoalesced rapidly in recent days.

#RickPerrysTexasMiracle is DEAD

Not just Tricky Ricky's Texas miracle, but the "Texas miracle" in general, the one fueled by migration from the north along with legal and illegal immigration.

First, the National Weather Service is confirming drought is likely well into 2012. And conditions favorable to drought will last until 2020.

This isn't Texas of the 1950s, where such drought hurts just farming. East Texas' metropolitan areas have triple the population of then, Northerners expecting water amenities such as suburban lawns, etc. Business/industrial water users at East Texas manufacturing sites will also be crimped. So, this affects legal immigrations and U.S. citizens; they, too, not just illegals, won't be coming here so much.

The AP story still doesn't directly discuss global warming issues under the "favorable to drought" portion, but, folks, that's there, and neither Rick Perry's prayers nor his science denialism can obscure that.

Second issue? Migration from the Rustbelt to the Sunbelt in general has come almost to a halt. And probably won't recover any time soon. That migration, not so much in Texas as in Arizona, Florida and Nevada, but still somewhat here, fueled a housing boom, a retail boom, a restaurant chain boom and more. Well, now, Texas is going to have to live within its means more. And Tricky Ricky's going to have to fix the franchise tax and other things to pay for teachers, or eventually, his small town supporters are eventually going to wisen up enough to rebel.

Back to the bottom line, though. It's not just Rick Perry's Texas miracle that's dead. The whole GOP (and conservative Democrat) idea of poaching Northern union-heavier states for companies to move to right-to-work Texas is going to be on life support for a while. So, too will be the "multiplier effects" of new stores and restaurants.

Obama goes hypocrite on #OccupyWallStreet

Obama says that OccupyWallStreet reflects Americans' frustration with the financial system.

Uhh, that would be the financial system that gave you more 2008 campaign money than John McCain in your NON small donor campaign? The financial system whose Goldman Sachs was your No. 2 donor? With JPMorgan Chase No. 6, Citigroup No. 7, UBS No. 15 and Morgan Stanley No. 19?

You do know, Dear Leader, that the "occupiers" think you're a fake, don't you, at least the knowledgeable ones? You do realize the tea partyers don't buy your weak semi-answers, don't you? You do realize you're talking to the neoliberal crowd which worships your brand still almost as much as Apple's, don't you?

Well, maybe you don't. I've come to believe that you have a fairly high self-delusion skill set along with the BS one.

October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs is dead - long live the myth of Steve Jobs!

It's official Steve Jobs is dead; see Apple's homepage. And, Wikipedia wasted no time either.

And, while this isn't a joke, any eulogy, if you will, must give an houest ranking of Jobs as a businessman.

As a newspaper editor, until my current gig, I've always used Macs. So, the graphic user interface and other things during Jobs' first run? He deserves definite credit as an innovator/creator. He continued to show that at NeXT and in the Pixar work. No doubt about that.

After his return?

I'll be honest that the man is a marketing genius. He was already some degree of that during his first stint. The products? Good but not earth-shattering. I will give Jobs credit for the whole idea of "apps," which is software creativity as well as marketing.

Ahh, there's that word.

For me, the bottom line with Jobs is "marketing genius." Already with XP, Windows narrowed many of the PC differences/shortcomings. And, Windows 7, I think, narrowed them further.

Phones? Android, overall, stacks up decently against iPhone. IPods? There's other MP3 players.

And, his decision to cut off cloning of Macs? Maybe it was right, maybe it wasn't. I think the verdict is against it, and that, if Jobs hadn't come up with the iPod, and the branding thereof, we wouldn't be putting him on an altar today.

But, it IS about marketing. The Mac vs. PC commercials. The iPod silhouette commercials. Marketing genius running circles around Windows in particular. And, that marketing genius carried over to the iPhone, even though, in terms of price, functionality, and .... openness, Android phones are better.

What's the word around the wires? Wired calls Jobs "mercurial and mysterious." Sounds about right; surely that was the source of his intimidation power. The BBC notes he was a lifelong Buddhist as an adult. Too bad that didn't help Foxcomm workers. Indeed, the Beeb's obit goes into that in other ways;

Unlike his contemporary, Microsoft's Bill Gates, Steve Jobs showed little inclination to use his personal wealth for philanthropic purposes.
And, strangely for a self-professed Buddhist, he did not embrace environmental concerns, with Apple coming under fire from Greenpeace for its reluctance to produce easily recyclable products.
 Well put.

Beyond that, the labor cost on an iPhone is only $8; there's simply no excuse for outsourcing these jobs. Period. Mike Daisey notes:
"My job is to shine a light on and through something," he says. "My job isn't actually to stop people from buying devices. My job is to ensure that these circumstances are part of the conversation."
Then adds:
"I have to say, all the mourning for my hobby aside, there's a real joy to being freed from the infantilism of the tech world. There's a real infantilism in being obsessed with just how fast you can render a web page," he says. "I never really appreciated how imbedded I was until I stepped out of it."

A Yahoo column has another good take on Jobs. Throw out the marketing guru, and he's above average, but not great, as a businessman.

Macworld gushes, as you'd expect.

That, then, leads to the "cult of Steve Jobs" critique. Look at Facebook and Google+. It's like a virus. And, why? If Steve Jobs' death is the worst day of your life, that probably says more about your life and about Steve Jobs' cult-like marketing skills than it does anything else.

Will "OccupyWallStreet" take a day of mourning? That would be ironic, as between outsourcing to China and overcharging for crap, Jobs is an epitome of modern hypercapitalism, complete to "branding." And, beyond and behind the myth of Steve Jobs' genius is that myth of Steve Jobs as liberal icon. Of course, behind THAT is the myth of Silicon Valley as "liberal." As long as you confuse "liberal" and "social libertarian," it might be true. But, if liberal for you includes not just fighting against job outsourcing, but protecting workplace safety, employee rights, and the position of unions here in the U.S., Silicon Valley in general is far from being liberal.

And, I said "no Steve Jobs jokes," but, for those of you who do worship at the shrine, I have no doubt people are already Photoshopping the silver Apple logo onto the lids of black walnut Mac AirBook caskets, Photoshopping Apple aficionados crying silver Apple logo tears and more.

And, that said, probably because it was hashtagged and this post wasn't, my "top Steve Jobs jokes" post has gone viral.

Steve Jobs dead

Stay tuned for details. No, this is not a Steve Jobs joke.

It's official; see Apple's homepage. And, Wikipedia wasted no time either.

And, while this isn't a joke, any eulogy, if you will, must give an houest ranking of Jobs as a businessman.

As a newspaper editor, until my current gig, I've always used Macs. So, the graphic user interface and other things during Jobs' first run? He deserves definite credit as an innovator/creator. He continued to show that at NeXT and in the Pixar work. No doubt about that.

After his return?

I'll be honest that the man is a marketing genius. He was already some degree of that during his first stint. The products? Good but not earth-shattering. I will give Jobs credit for the whole idea of "apps," which is software creativity as well as marketing.

Ahh, there's that word.

For me, the bottom line with Jobs is "marketing genius." Already with XP, Windows narrowed many of the PC differences/shortcomings. And, Windows 7, I think, narrowed them further.

Phones? Android, overall, stacks up decently against iPhone. IPods? There's other MP3 players.

But, it's about marketing. The Mac vs. PC commercials. The iPod silhouette commercials. Marketing genius running circles around Windows in particular. And, that marketing genius carried over to the iPhone, even though, in terms of price, functionality, and .... openness, Android phones are better.

That, then, leads to the "cult of Steve Jobs" critique. Look at Facebook and Google+. It's like a virus. And, why? If Steve Jobs' death is the worst day of your life, that probably says more about your life and about Steve Jobs' cult-like marketing skills than it does anything else.

There's no need to "sex up" #skepticism or #science as #NewAge

There's no need to sex up decent scientific research in New Age dress. And, there's no need for another skeptical outlet to let that stand, when one skeptical outlet goes along with that.

So, why? Why does a decent psychologist, a A-list skeptical insider of sorts, feel the need to do that? Why does one skeptical magazine feel the need to go along? Why does a second skeptical magazine's blog site feel the need to go along with that?

Do professional skeptics give each other a "pass" at times?

After reading a Skepticblog post about a questionable new article in Skeptical Inquirer, one must wonder at times.

First, let's look at the SI article. Starting with the title and other information in this precis on the author's website.

"The Luck Factor"?

"Luck"? Rather than "chance"? Luck has often had, connotatively, metaphysical implications. It sounds too woo-ish. There's no need to "sex up" the article.

That said, his “reframing” is nothing new. Martin Seligman was talking about that 20 years ago.

But, let's look at the whole article, or at least the precis on the SI link:
The Four Principles
Prof Wiseman has identified the four basic principles that lucky people use to create good fortune in their lives.

Principle One: Maximise Chance Opportunities

Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches

Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune

Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good

Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

Luck School

Prof Wiseman's work also involves developing techniques that help people think and behave like a lucky person. The efficacy of these techniques has been scientifically tested in a series of experiments referred to as ‘luck school’. The project has proved highly successful, with almost all participants reporting significant life changes, including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, confidence and success.

Seriously, if a known New Ager, like "The Secret" author Rhonda Byrne,, or Laura Day of "Practical Intuition," wrote something like this, SkepticBlog, and SI, would have ripped it apart, I think.

Since they won't, I will.

"Good fortune" under the Four Principles? Same as "luck." Wooish/sexed up.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches …  what’s a “lucky hunch”? Plenty of potential for the bullseye fallacy and others, here; plenty open to ex post facto re-explanation.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good … first, again the word “luck.” Second, per the psuedo-Chinese proverb, what appears to be “bad luck” may be fortuitous, or vice versa.

Also … the BBC experiment? That’s hardly an “experiment.” Could be some third factor involved, for example, that affects both general perception and “luck.” Anxiety, for example, could affect the perception for which he tested, and the results of acting on the same opportunity as “lucky” people. What he seemed to be finding was that some people have less anxiety than others, not more “luck.” From the story:
Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense and anxious than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected.
Frankly, I have to seriously question SI, and Wiseman in his research, for … pandering? by talking about “luck.” A simple psychological story about anxiety wouldn't be so "sexy," though.

Finally, the whole "four quick tips" idea. Again, sounds like something a New Ager would have whipped up.

#KeystoneXL work has already started

Well, gee, what a "shock" that TransCanada is already doing ... er ... illegal ground clearing along parts of the proposed pipeline pathway in Nebraska. What a shock that both Obama and Hillary Clinton are letting this happen.

Stuff like this isn't new, nor is it surprising. That's why, beyond the mantra of "occupy Wall Street," people need to vote Green at the ballot box. Only a third party progressive movement will realistically address campaign finance issues and more that's needed to end bipartisan corruption and sellouts.

October 04, 2011

#PeakOil: China has one reason to be interested in Italian entities

There's one reason, and one reason only, that China is interested in buying up a bunch of Italian state-owned businesses. And, that's ENI, the Italian oil company. (Here's a more detailed list of what's for sale.) ENI, per Wikipedia, is a major producer of light, sweet, quality North African crude, as well as having operations around the globe, incliuding China.

Beijing gets ENI's drilling expertise, a new foot in the door in cis-Saharan Africa, possible new angles on Middle Eastern oil operations and more. What's not to like, if you're China?

If you're Italy, sounds both dumb and desperate.

October 03, 2011

For prez: The token vs. the racist - with dogwhistles

The culturally amnesiac black token, Pizza Man Herman Cain, based on superior debate performances and other things, has surged in Florida past the "some of my state Supreme Court appointees" are black (more below) racist Rick Perry. And it really gets fun now.

First, although Fox played up Cain's tepid ("insensitive" is all you can say when you lived in Civil Rights Georgia) response to the Perry family's hunting lease, wingnut bloggers are turning on ... Cain! Apparently, "insensitive" is stepping too far outside the token role, as a Mother Jones roundup notes.

Second, Pizza Man, after some of these wingnuts said he was playing the race card, ... caved.
"I really don't care about that word. They painted over it," he said, referring to a sign painted on a rock at the property the Texas Governor once leased. The Washington Post first reported Sunday that the slur appeared on the hunting grounds' gated entrance.

The matter "doesn't bother me at all," Cain added, emphasizing that he was satisfied by Perry's explanation of it and that he was "not playing the race card. I am not attacking Gov. Perry."
 Then why DID you raise it? Either you were playing the race card in a bank-shot way, or you have even less backbone to stand up to wingnuts than .... Obama does.

Next, we have the saga of Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Jefferson, fluffing Rick Perry in a way that would get a defendant in a case before Jefferson's court up on a perjury charge.

Jefferson, appointed by Perry, claims he's not a racist. So do black Dems in Texas like Ron Wilson and Royce West. Well, I don't know Ron Wilson, but I do know Royce West. And, it's not surprising he'd say this, whether or not it's true.

What all these people ignore is ... stuff like this:
In his first statewide race, Perry defeated Jim Hightower for agriculture commissioner in part by highlighting Hightower’s endorsement of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson for president, filming a television ad that aired across East Texas — and that many believed was meant to alarm white voters.
While Perry was agriculture commissioner, his deputy was accused of using a racial slur while talking to two men seeking a loan. Perry called the allegation “vile and offensive”; the assistant commissioner resigned.  
Later in his term, when Perry was attacking Bill Clinton for accepting campaign contributions from trial lawyers, Perry was quoted as saying, “Every Jose in town wants to come along and sue you for something.” (He later apologized.)
And he has at times gotten crosswise with minorities for what has appeared to be his defense of the Confederate flag. Most famously, at his 2007 gubernatorial inaugural ball, Perry dismissed the outcry after rock star Ted Nugent showed up to perform in a shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag. Later, a Perry spokesman said the governor would never wear the flag himself, but that Nugent was perfectly entitled to do so.
These stories all have the same "dogwhistle" to them that the Niggerhead rock does. Do/tolerate/support/put up with something racist, or racist-lite, or racist-winking ... until the public outcry rises, then, have an apology if necessary, but a carefully nuanced one that never fully admits to a change from the original stance.

Is #OccupyWallStreet REALLY like Tahrir Square?

It claims it is, per this story in The Nation which describes one of the leading ... er ... organizational ... groups.
Get ready for jargon: the General Assembly is a horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist thought, and it’s akin to the assemblies that have been driving recent social movements around the world, in places like Argentina, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and so on.
Let's compare reality.

If, by "anarchist," OccupyWallStreet claims to be in a line with the Seattle 1998 WTO protests, etc. (which I think it is to at least some degree), then it's NOT like Tahrir Square, at least. Anarchy was neither a strategic device, nor a goal, nor "part of the process," nor an end in itself.

Leaderless? Bullshit. The story says the protest was organized. That involves leadership. Truly leaderless movements become amorphous mobs, truly leaderless true anarchist actions, or else get leadership. Beyond that high-level thought, the setting of dates, the decision on the site to make "ground zero," etc., all involved ... leadership!

Nearly 50 years ago, folks from Tom Hayden through Martin Luther King Jr. understood that.

Next, the size of the movement, versus the MSM's alleged conspiracy in "ignoring" it at first, etc.:
The original Adbusters call envisioned 20,000 people flooding the Financial District on September 17. A tenth of that probably ended up being there that day. Despite a massive Anonymous-powered online social media blitz, lots of people simply didn’t know about it, and traditional progressive organizations like labor unions and peace groups were uncomfortable signing on to so amorphous an action.
"A tenth" is probably generous by twice. Uhh, if the younger generation is so "connected," too, lots of people knew about it, too. Some of them may have written it off as kabuki-like, especially if they were half as skeptical and one-quarter as cynical as I am, and have been for 15 years, about Adbusters.

Oh, and the claim, per a person in my Google Plus circles, that Occupy Wall Street must be leaderless because of the example of "Spartacus"? Well, Rome killed everybody after everybody said he was Spartacus. So, first of all, you might want to rethink that example. Second, continuing the true parallelism, Rome probably would have killed everybody anyway. Third, Spartacus was the leader of the revolt; just because others tried to protect him doesn't change that fact. Beyond that, I stand by what I've said on this blog post already about issues and leaders.

Finally, if Jeff Jarvis thinks the myth of a leadership, self-organized Occupy Wall Street is great, that:
1. Shows just how wrong the myth likely is;
2. Is another good reason to be skeptical of the myth;
3. Is probably another good reason to be skeptical of the reality, too.

As for the "what can I do," how many of the people already there are overloaded with Apple "devices" and other consumer tech? What the people who organized this can do is what they should have been doing years ago, if they're really that concerned.

Stop buying so much. Given that most of it's made in China, anyway, it wouldn't cost that many American jobs. Those that were threatened, in the ever-narrowing middle of the middle class, would either recognize the issues sooner ... or not.

Wall Street's excesses are, in part, a symptom of larger consumer excesses. Branding. Hyper-individuality. And more.

Update: This story about the formation of A(( is making the rounds as allegedly being further proof of determination, dedication, etc., as well as leaderlessness. Rather, I saw it as being as much about egotism and Americo-centrism as anything.

October 02, 2011

The hollowing out of the 'creative class' - including by new media

Working at a newspaper, I can of course attest to this personally. But, it's artists, musicians and others, too, as this excellent Salon column notes. I hadn't don't a blog post in my "dark side of the Internet" series recently, and this piece (h/t Leo Lincourt) makes a good foundation for that.

The reality of this hollowing out?
Some of these employees are young people killing time behind a counter; it’s hard for them, but they will live to fight again. But education, talent and experience — criteria that help define (Richard) Florida’s creative class, making these supposedly valued workers the equivalent of testosterone injections for cities — does not guarantee that a “knowledge worker” can make a real living these days.
“It’s sort of like job growth in Texas,” says Joe Donnelly, a former deputy editor at L.A. Weekly, laid off in 2008 and now pouring savings and the money he made from a home sale into a literary magazine. “Gov. Perry created thousands of jobs, but they’re all at McDonald’s. Now everyone has a chance to make 15 cents. People are just pecking, hunting, scratching the dirt for freelance work. Living week to week, month to month.”
Now, I don't think Florida, or New Urbanism, is/are the antichrist. But, I do think a fair amount of people who buy into his ideas are the same white, Volvo-driving, latte-sipping, Meyer-lemons-for-lemonade-squeezing white liberals who bought into Barack Obama, too.

Here's the nut grafs of this hollowing out:
Optimists like Florida are undoubtedly right about something: This country doesn’t make things anymore and never will. What the United States produces now is culture and ideas. Trouble is, making a living doing this has never been harder.
Wait a minute, says Allison Glock, a magazine journalist and writer who’s just returned to her native South because she and her novelist husband could no longer afford life in New York. “Wasn’t the Internet supposed to bring this class into being?”
Well, yes, theoretically. However, non-Chicago School non-Randian non-economics libertarians underestimated the power of big biz. AOL, though, should have been a wake-up call. But, because blogs offered us all a sliver of "idea space," and the hope of not working for the corporate media man, we "bit."

Problem with that? As Bill Gates notes when saying he thinks we need larger inheritance taxes, a lot of life, for both individuals and movements, is about luck. And timing. And ... per modern terminology ... about bandwidth. (More on that below.)

So, yes, we do need a new Dorothea Lange.

And, no, new media isn't the answer, contra the blogging PR chief for a certain science magazine. After all, Scientific American's parent, Nature Publishing is itself part of an international, monstrous conglomerate that owns Holt, Rinehart, Winston; McMillan; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and major German publisher S. Fischer, among other things. So, sorry, Bora Zivkovic; working for a multinational corporation that is determined, like similar other multinationals, to use digital rights management laws and other things to extend its dominance from the $3 billion or more in annual sales worldwide isn't exactly "new" from the capitalism side.

More below the fold.

#RickPerrysTexasMiracle: N-head fallout

The offensive appearance of the word "Niggerhead," painted on a rock, at the entrance to a hunting camp possessing that name, a hunting camp his father, then Rick Perry himself, rented from the landowner, is going to have political fallout.

It may be having that fallout already. If Faux News is giving extended airtime to Pizza Man Herman Cain, the one black GOP presidential candidate, to call this "insulting," well, this story is going to gain GOP legs. And, there's probably some old reasons behind that, which I'll discuss below.

First, the basics of the story.

Perry claims:
“My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984,” Perry wrote. “This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.”
But, that's directly contradicted by several others, at the start of page 3 of the story:
Of those interviewed, the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s. One, a former worker on the ranch, believes he saw it as recently as 2008.
 And, no, this apparently wasn't a pebble, or a small stone:
“I was just so taken aback that it was so blatant, so in your face,” said a person from the Dallas area who visited the camp once in 1990 or 1991 and did not want to be named in a story potentially critical of Perry. “It was just, ‘whop.’ It was a big rock, big enough to write that whole thing out.”
Actually, I should say "isn't" and not "wasn't," because, as of earlier this year, the Post says the rock was still at the entrance, with the word still visible underneath a thin coat of white paint. The easy thing to do would have been to broken the rock up, not just paint it over.

That said, Pizza Man Herman Cain, the one black GOP presidential candidate has awakened from his earlier denialism about the history of Republican racism.and called Perry "insensitive."

And the rock "insulting":
There "isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country," said Cain, who is running against Perry and a group of others for the Republican presidential nomination.
If Fox is giving it this much play, that's a BIG trouble sign for Tricky Ricky.

And, the Cain anointing continues, this time from Michael Barone.

Perry himself has issued a boilerplate  press release denial, with a heaping helping a weaselry, through his staff.
Governor Perry and his family never owned, controlled or managed the property referenced in the Washington Post story. The 42,000-acre ranch is owned by the Hendricks Home for Children, a West Texas charity.
So, you couldn't have said anything? Done anything? But .. .you DID! Your dad was the one who allegedly painted over the name. Or halfway covered it up.

It appears like Perry's dad, Perry himself, or both, wanted to have their cake and eat it, too. Cover up the name enough to make it look like they were racially sensitive, but still leave the name showing enough to others to indicate that, if not racist, at least they had no problems with what was accepted old heritage for most of white Texas not so long ago. (See my original post for more on the story, the sundown town background of the area and more.)

Now, where did the sourcing on this story come from?

Two words: Karl Rove. Coming just two weeks after the AP ran a story about how George W. Bush, at Rove's prompting, refused to name Perry's brother-in-law to a state appeals court vacancy, where else would this come from? The number of people whom were interviewed, etc.? The initial information, and specific people to contact, came from Rove, certainly.

Unless Perry wants to get really dirty in fighting back (and wouldn't THAT be fun?) he'd be best suited by finding a graceful way to pull out. Who knows what else is in Rove's holster?