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October 21, 2011

eric cantor cancels

This is sad.  Remember how Eric Cantor was going to make a speech at Wharton concerning income inequality and protecting the haves from the have-nots?  He cancelled, on the day-of.  No reason given yet, but Occupy Philadelphia decided that they wanted to also hear this speech, no doubt the launching pad for the Draft Eric Cantor movement of 2012, so maybe he got a little pee shy?

Maybe answers will follow, if Cantor can stop photoshopping himself into the Oval Office long enough to issue a prevarication.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:28 PM

that's the last time i'll have to spell that

I'm too time-pressed to look it up, but I'm pretty sure I wrote something six months ago or so voicing my concern that while the soft/hard revolutions popping up in the tail of the Arab Spring were largely awesome, the actual hard results of the overthrows might not necessarily be to our liking.  That they were enough to make you say, "Huh," if not make you outright think about things like the difficulty of identifying moral absolutes, especially in the context of countries that are foreign to you.

Well now, I was no fan of Gaddafi (in fact, I've met two different people who lost family on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, so I had a very IRL antipathy for the fucker), but being bombarded by visuals of either his dead-ass body, or him being mistreated moments before he was executed, or his dead-ass body being desecrated filled me with exactly zero admiration for the Libyan rebels.  In fact, probably a negative value of admiration.

I know that revolutions have always been messy things, but that doesn't mean that I have to approve; act like a bad guy and then you are the bad guy.

And I also understand that every media outlet had to run the footage because everyone else was (cf. the cover of every daily paper in NYC this morning), but a mild and general fuck you to whoever was the first to put their thumb on their forehead on that one, really.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:56 AM

October 19, 2011

i hope eric cantor never goes away

Lost in all the Occupying Everything and the endless series of Republican presidential (?) debates is the news that Eric Cantor, who as you know is a GOP representative from the Commonwealth of Virginia and greatly resembling a stronger-jawed Don Knotts, will be giving an important policy speech on Friday.

Ordinarily a speech by a House representative, even from the Speaker, is not so much news.  But Cantor's ambition is only exceeded by his willful ignorance, so someone on Cantor's payroll found a venue (the International Business Times) that would run the item.  It's a speech about economic inequality!  It's a speech that will be at Wharton!  Presses stopped!

Here's the bit that you should take with you as Friday looms:

An aide for Cantor told Politico that the speech will address how lawmakers in Washington can help average citizens such as single mothers and small business owners, as well as "how we can make sure the people at the top stay there."

Finally, someone in the government brave enough to stick up for the top, and committed to make sure that they stay there!

I hope everyone at Wharton will bring a hat on Friday, to slip on once Eric Cantor BLOWS THEIR MINDS.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 AM

October 18, 2011

#ows and the dogma-free zone

God I'm busy.

But I've been talking pretty much constantly and without exception about Occupy Wall Street for a calendar week, and here's one thing that I've come to accept as truth: the lack of talking points demands, or at least the circumspection used to arrive at talking points demands, is a quality and not a sin.

Frankly, it's just a more genuine expression, to have a cohesive protest movement that didn't, to a man, memorize the goals of the protests from an AM radio call-in show.  But what are their demands?  Consideration, maybe a conversation with you about what you think the demands should be.  It's like a mirror right now, and in it you see the reflection of your own discontent and not a rigid ideology that may or may not accord with your own.

It's refreshingly dogma-free right now, and I think that's a good thing.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:56 AM

October 17, 2011

is the andy rooney gig open yet?

Is there no more obvious conspiracy than that of engine-driven leaf blowers against rakes and brooms?  I'm not sure how it is where you live, but here in NYC they are unavoidable.  In my quiet Brooklyn neighborhood, where there is actually a strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street, the leaf-blowing starts around 7am, in the fall.  And then it continues until dusk, as the same crews work in circles, blowing every yard twice a week, in sequence.  And then, here in Manhattan, the city crews leaf-blow the grounds of the public housing, and even London Terrace (an enormous and stately apartment building occupying the entirety of 9th/10th Avenue and 23rd/24th Street), they leaf-blow the entrances.

I know that raking leaves can be a chore (and was for me, growing up), but is it so bad that it can only be solved by a tiny internal combustion engine on a stick, or strapped to your back?

A trivial complaint, and maybe it seems that I don't like progress, but mostly I don't like noise.  And maybe miss raking leaves a little bit.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:48 AM

October 16, 2011

enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame, thomas ryan

Adrien Chen has a nice bit of reportage up at Gawker concerning Occupy Wall Street and the forces arrayed against it.

It's the story of a somewhat hapless, self-styled security consultant by the name of Thomas Ryan, who gained access to a listserv used for some of the preliminary planning for the protests, and shared the email with the Feds, the NYPD and various companies that were potential protestees.

How was his identity revealed?  When he slipped the archive of emails to an Andrew Breitbart site, he forgot to wipe his own whistle-blowing emails to the authorities.

His rationale, as told to Chen:

My respect for FDNY & NYPD stems from them risking their lives to save mine when my house was on fire in sunset park when I was 8 yrs old. Also, for them risking their lives and saving many family and friends during 9/11.

Don't you find it Ironic that out of all the NYPD involved with the protest, [protesters] have only targeted the ones with Black Ribbons, given to them for their bravery during 9/11?

Hopefully we're grown up past the point of the Internet vigilantism that Ryan might be subject to, but in the full interest of the exercise of First Amendment rights, Ryan is a person I would not like to share a meal with, no matter how charmingly he propelled himself into the spotlight by stepping on his own dick.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:19 PM