How to Start a Conflagration? (#occupyboston)

The Occupy Wall Street movement may have met its first major challenge tonight as police have reportedly raided the protest camp in Boston.

Later reports suggested a possible coordinated effort across various U.S. cities, but Dave Roberts of Grist — working the Twitterverse for updates — had the following to share.

Paul Krugman penned an article today “Panic of the Plutocrats,” which opined that the wealthy financiers being targeted by the #occupywallstreet protests were getting nervous.  I’ve pulled in a segment from Professor Krugman’s article below.  Take a look and see if you think there might be a connection with tonight’s raid.

What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage.

I’m excited by the prospect of positive social reform that would redirect the U.S. to a better path, but worry that each of these protests could serve as an Archduke Ferdinand-like tinderbox.  So far, it seems the protesters have managed to remain peaceful.  I hope they will be able to stay resolute as I doubt this is the last they’ll see of the police.

The Best Lack All Conviction

Post-A-Day: Day 9


Quick post tonight.  The following Twitter post caught my attention:

I harbor no illusions of being the best in anything, but I constantly struggle for certitude in my views on any important matter.  In contrast, those whose views seem least plausible from my perspective, seem so cocksure as to be promoting absolute truths.  Therein lies the crux for me.  If you’re willing to question your assumptions, beliefs and convictions, you do.  You’ll probably even figure out the idea which, if proven, would reverse your conviction.  If you’re not willing to question them, it’s possible that you’re right.  It’s also possible that you’ve hardened your views in defense of ideas that are dangerously wrong.  Regardless of your current position, my respect goes out to those who are willing to question.

The Second Coming – W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Miracle of Ethanol?

Post-A-Day: Day 9

I just read an interesting post over on the big picture agriculture blog.  The post, “The U.S. Corn Crop Accounts for 65% of Nitrogen Use by Farmers,” shares data from a recent USDA research report on Nitrogen fertilizer use.

Per the post, corn accounts for, “65 percent of the 8.7 million tons of nitrogen applied by farmers each year.”

Continue reading

For What it’s Worth, Paul Krugman’s Got Game

Post-A-Day: Day 7 (Post 2)

I can’t seem to pull myself away from the music of my youth lately.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are getting heavy rotation as well as their predecessor’s (Buffalo Springfield) “For What it’s Worth.”  As such, I had a good laugh when I saw the opening to Paul Krugman’s take on the Occupy Wall Street protests.  The song in question and the link to the article are posted below.

Confronting the Malefactors

Published: October 6, 2011

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.

Read Professor Krugman’s full article here.

Lyrics to Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

It seems appropriate to close the reference loop from this post’s title.

Public Enemy – “He Got Game’