Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Reading

Occupy the World — Yesterday the world took to the streets… or at least a lot of people in a lot of places came together to show their feelings about the state of the world.

Ever since protesters inspired by the Arab Spring took over Zuccotti Park in New York City to protest Wall Street’s greed, people nationwide have been inspired to take part in their own protests and occupations, taking aim at corporate greed and economic injustice. Thus, the 99 Percent Movement was born, aimed at seeking social justice for the bottom 99 percent of Americans and taking aim the greed of the top one percent.

Today, this movement went global as there were planned demonstrations in in 951 cities in 82 countries. The protests, which were built partly on the foundation of demonstrations in Spain that began on May 15th, included hundreds of thousands of people worldwide taking part in protests and occupations. Although their causes varied — they ranged from everything from protests against European austerity programs to Japanese nuclear power regimes — their demand had one global aim: to seek justice for the vast majority of the world’s population being left out of the dominant global economic and political systems.

There was a large turn-out in Miami’s Bayfront Park.

More than 1,000 people showed up for Miami’s 1:30 p.m. rally, according to a police estimate. Around 3 p.m., most of the demonstrators marched from their permitted protest site in Bayfront Park to the plaza in front of the Miami-Dade County Government Center.

By late evening, 100 people remained, along with more than a dozen tents and supplies.

“It’s time for new political parties in Washington, D.C., who don’t accept corporate donations,” said Andrew Kirschner, an education professor at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale. “I’m incredibly inspired by all the occupy protesters. I feel like I’m transported back in time to when the Patriots were fighting for their rights against the British.”

The national “Occupy” movement, which started in Wall Street, went global on Saturday, with protests as far away as Rome, which according to a CBS News report turned violent, with torched cars and looting. In Miami, things were vocal but docile. Demonstrators organized through social media, on the website occupymia.com, on Twitter @OccupyMIA and at the Facebook page Occupy Miami, which as of Saturday night, had over 9,600 “likes.”

More below the fold.

Leonard Pitts, Jr.
— Explaining Herman Cain.

He thus neatly encapsulates what has become an article of faith for many white conservatives; namely, that it is they, not black and brown people, who are the true victims of bigotry. Mind you, they have not a shred of a scrap of a scintilla of evidence to support this cockamamie idea, but they believe it anyway. And now they find support for their idiocy in this Negro from Atlanta.

One of the least-discussed impacts of the black experience in America is its emotional toll. African Americans were psychologically maimed by this country, the expression of which can still be seen in the visceral self-loathing that afflicts too many.

Meaning the black child who equates doing well in school with “acting white.” Meaning the famous black man who bleaches his skin. Meaning the famous black woman who rationalizes her use of a certain soul-killing racial epithet. Meaning Herman Cain.

In his diminution of African-American struggle, he comes across as a man profoundly at odds with the skin he’s in. He seems embarrassed he’s black.

For what it’s worth, I suspect black folks aren’t real happy about it, either.

Rick Perry versus The WorldThe Guardian reports on the Texas governor’s attempt to scrub a report on the damage that is occurring from global warming.

Officials in Rick Perry’s home state of Texas have set off a scientists’ revolt after purging mentions of climate change and sea-level rise from what was supposed to be a landmark environmental report. The scientists said they were disowning the report on the state of Galveston Bay because of political interference and censorship from Perry appointees at the state’s environmental agency.

By academic standards, the protest amounts to the beginnings of a rebellion: every single scientist associated with the 200-page report has demanded their names be struck from the document. “None of us can be party to scientific censorship so we would all have our names removed,” said Jim Lester, a co-author of the report and vice-president of the Houston Advanced Research Centre.

“To me it is simply a question of maintaining scientific credibility. This is simply antithetical to what a scientist does,” Lester said. “We can’t be censored.” Scientists see Texas as at high risk because of climate change, from the increased exposure to hurricanes and extreme weather on its long coastline to this summer’s season of wildfires and drought.

However, Perry, in his run for the Republican nomination, has elevated denial of science, from climate change to evolution, to an art form. He opposes any regulation of industry, and has repeatedly challenged the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Texas is the only state to refuse to sign on to the federal government’s new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. “I like to tell people we live in a state of denial in the state of Texas,” said John Anderson, an oceanography at Rice University, and author of the chapter targeted by the government censors.

Doonesbury — Gravely speaking.