Illustrating Absurdity: The Occupy Wall Street Expanded Edition

20 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

As our own village idiot, Mayor Villiaragosa, passed out 100 ponchos to rain-soaked protestors last week, and City Councilmember Richard Alarcon rides this wave of unrest by pimping his “responsible banking” ordinance, it’s clear that the OccupyLA movement has been fully embraced by our supposed city leaders.  You know, the ones that are tasked with balancing our budget shortfall and and bringing back jobs and industry to Los Angeles. How’s that working for them? We already know how it’s working for us.

Well, the lovefest may be coming to a screeching halt: Los Angeles is broke, and complying with the rabble’s demands of cracking down on banks could cost at least $58 million. A pull quote on the potential “damage” of sticking it to the Man:

“Last week, lawmakers asked city analysts to continue developing a plan to use the city’s financial heft to punish misbehaving financial institutions. On Tuesday, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana issued a dire warning: Such a move could cost the city at least $58 million.

“Severing agreements with major lenders could trigger sizable termination fees and lead to higher interest rates, Santana said. That could in turn complicate financing for an array of city initiatives, from replacing deteriorating sewers to rebuilding part of the Convention Center to make way for an NFL football stadium, he said.”

Official’s embrace of OccupyLA loosens a bit over fiscal issue.

Hell, just tell Angeleans about the kabosh on NFL football in L.A. and I betcha the sports fans would pour into the streets and kick the occupiers out!

And the Kabuki theater is now being peddled to children as education. This just in from the Los Angeles Times.

“The fifth- through eighth-grade students from Sequoyah, a private school in Pasadena, munched on their lunches while protesters engaged them in discourse about how democracy works.”

Students visit OccupyLA for a lesson in democracy.

And this gem came from one of the teachers who organized the field trip:

“‘My goal as a teacher, regardless of my own personal beliefs, is to expose the students to as many viewpoints as possible,’ Barkataki said as she watched her students explore the Occupy L.A. encampment. ‘We’re here to get first-hand experience.'”

I thought influencing with viewpoints was the role of the parent, and the teacher’s job was to teach them the Three Rs? I wonder how much any of these children are learning about the the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution? Johnny don’t know much about history, but he sure knows how to protest!

LA Weekly at its snarky best, keeps it real. Their commentary on the first of the OccupyLA protests:

“The turnout was less than rousing:

The blog LA Activist says about 70 protesters showed up Saturday outside City Hall. And if you’re in L.A., class warfare is really about Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods (we kid).”

They may kid, but I do not. That statement is exactly on the money. It’s very hard to take a movement seriously that offers “Yoga with Raquel” at their medical tent as part of “wellness”.

As far as I’m concerned, the supposed 99 percenters of OccupyLA would be more effective if they marched due west and parked their protest at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. LADWP holds every Angelean hostage with their rate increases to support massive CEO salary and lactation classes for employees.

Apparently Steven Crowder is finding the same “lack of seriousness” in the Occupy Dallas bunch, who were on, wait for this… lunch break! when he arrived to interview them. He had great fun talking to some 9/11 Truthers and LaRouchites, then makes an effort to comprehend what is truly incomprehensible:

And from the New York Zuccotti Park crowd, this self-described 99 percenter has been outed as part of the 1 percent. It seems Edward T. Hall III is a  Columbia graduate student and a trust fund baby –so I’m sure he doesn’t carry any student loan debt. Wish I could say the same.

Mr. Hall appears to be starving… for attention. Language alert here:

The pushback over all this silliness gets little to no attention from the L.A. Times or any other mainstream media outlet. But thankfully, it does exist.

Tumblr has a great blog, We Are The 53%, for all of us who actually pay taxes so the supposed 99 percent can whine, protest, clog streets, and stink up parks and city property.

And Heather Mac Donald pulls no punches in her City Journal article,  “Get A Job“:

“There are times when mass protest carries an undeniable dignity and grows out of an unbearable necessity; the civil rights marches and sit-ins in the 1950s South were one of those moments. But our culture’s glamorization of protest—most celebrated when the message is a leftist one—scants the unsung virtues of showing up and doing your job.”

What a concept. One that is lost in the rush to legitimize this illegitimate movement.

 

 

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In My Orbit..

16 07 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here with a bunch of great people, discussing “Blogging Effectively” at Career Camp SCV.

Jennifer Oliver O'Connell discusses 'Blogging Effectively'. Photo courtesy of Teresa Howard

CCSCV Attendees listen to 'Blogging Effectively'/ Photo courtesy of Teresa Howard





Illustrating Absurdity

22 06 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

Headline today in the Los Angeles TimesReport says big Southland quake would have huge effect on workforce and economy.

Sorry San Andreas, I think the Great Recession fault beat you to it….





D.C. Bound Part 2: The Main Event

25 05 2011

Awesome view of the Capitol!

I arrived safely in Washington, D.C. and find the veneer of the city to be old world professionalism  and polish, coupled with understated modernism. This sense is not dissimilar to my years in Chicago trolling Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. Reagan International Airport is quite stylish, but in an understated way, without a flash or corporate overkill. Most of the food kiosks are regional (no Chili’s Too or Starbucks that I could see!), and since I have to be at the airport quite early tomorrow for my return flight, I plan to stop by one of them for breakfast!

The people of D.C. are quite friendly and helpful, exhibiting a practical, about business sense of style; from their sensible shoes (because, like Chicago, you walk most everywhere) to understated dress. A total antithesis to Los Angeles on a number of fronts.

Our gracious lodging hosts

My lodging hosts, Rev. Paul and Mary Sherry have been more than gracious, and we have had great conversations about the state of the employment market and the importance of the work done through Tuesdays with Transitioners and other job clubs. Steve Colella, who runs a job club in Rhode Island, is also staying at the Sherry’s home, and we got a chance to get better acquainted as we walked from their Capitol Hill brownstone to My Brother’s Place, a well-known D.C. pub, which was the chosen place for a Monday night mixer for all the job club leaders.

Rev. Phil Tom, Director of the Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Associate Director Ben Seigel, and Coordinator Ashley Gerwitz hosted this great opportunity to get acquainted outside of the conference calls that had been conducted over the past month or so. I appreciated getting more inside baseball on the Center’s vision for partnering with the job clubs, as well as the opportunity to hear what fellow coordinators Joy Maguire-Dooley (Lisle, IL), Ken Soper (Grand Rapids, MI) and David Mackoff (Washington, D.C.)  were up to in their groups.

Joy Maguire-Dooley, Steve Colella, Tracy Washington and the DOL team

The DOL’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Team

Vera Hurst, Diana Miller, and Tracy Washington

Today’s main event was beyond expectation, as we all got to meet and network with other Department of Labor personnel. Diana Miller, Vera Hurst, and Tracy Washington (job club coordinators  and speakers who came in that morning from Ohio), presented further opportunity to hear about the joys and challenges of helping others get back to work. Diana created a powerful video featuring stories from members of her group, and the work she is doing through the Stow Community United Church of Christ Community Job Club is quite inspiring!

And what a privilege to meet U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Assistant Secretary Jane Oates. Secretary Solis presented us with a gift of a pin featuring the official seal of the Department of Labor, then spoke briefly about how important the job clubs are to the work the DOL is trying to accomplish. That is an honor I never would have imagined, and it will be a cherished memory.

The Live webinar has been posted at the Department of Labor website, and I encourage you to give it a listen, as there was so much information and wisdom shared. To see the magnificent work and commitment that so many in our faith communities and nation are employing to see their fellow Americans locate work is both encouraging and energizing.





D.C. Bound Part 1: Airline Purgatory

23 05 2011

 

I'm leaving, on a jet plane--a lot of them.... Photo: Bobby Mikul/PublicDomainPictures.net

The Girl’s work through Tuesdays with Transitioners has reaped a big reward: I have been invited with other job club leaders across the nation to participate in a webinar forum on Job Clubs and employment ministries, sponsored by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Tuesday, May 24 in Washington, D.C. “Tech Tuesday” has become a model in helping 20th Century workers get up to speed with 21st Century technology, and this information will be helpful to other job clubs. So I was given the honor of speaking about this.

Through a generous grant from the United Church of Christ (my church’s denomination), I was able to secure an airline ticket and have a bit of traveling money–so I am very excited!

Having never been to D.C., I thought I would try to squeeze in a few hours of city exploration before the forum on Tuesday. So, I booked a Sunday red-eye flight in order to arrive in D.C. by Monday, early morning. Once there, I had planned to drop my bags and meet my guest host (former UCC President Rev. Paul Sherry), then spend the rest of the morning/afternoon roaming the Capitol.

Mother Nature effectively derailed those plans. Storms and tornadoes out of the Midwest first caused a cancellation of my original flight, and I was booked on a later flight scheduled to leave after midnight. When I got to Los Angeles International, I found out this flight was delayed, and we would not be boarding until 12:50 a.m., departing at 1:20 a.m. By the time we left LAX, it was after 2 a.m., and all bets were off in making my original D.C. connecting flight in Dallas/Fort Worth.

I haven’t traveled by air in a few years, but am happy I still maintain some travel savvy. When I first learned of the first flight’s delay, I asked the attendant to change my connecting flight to one that I could potentially make. She gave me a choice between a flight at 7:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m., giving me reassurances that the flight from LAX would probably make it in time enough to get me on the 7 a.m. connection.  I chose the latter time, as I detest rushing from place to place in any airport. I also recalled from past travels that DFW wasn’t the easiest airport to navigate, and not knowing what gate I would be leaving from, I’d rather have a cushion.

Boy, was that ever prescient! Not only did we not arrive in time to meet the 7 a.m. connection, but the 7 a.m. connection ended up being cancelled! I breathed a sigh of relief, while sympathizing with all the other passengers (who had traveled from further parts than Los Angeles) who had no idea what flight they would be rerouted to, and what time they would get home. Despite cutting into my tourist time, I was blessed that I at least was getting to D.C. in a reasonable time frame.

The differences in the country’s airports are always striking. I left the slick and modern Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and now sit in the drab and dreary DFW. Functional, definitely–but for sure no bells and whistles. It’s only concession to glamour is a large flat-screen video display of international cities like London, Paris, and Dubai. Save for the same standard kiosks like Chili’s Too and Starbucks, it’s a stark contrast. Even the attendants look different: less makeup, less flash and polish. Until I’m outside of L.A., I forget how the city’s image and veneer seeps into every aspect of life, including air travel.

Looks like my connection is boarding soon.  It will be interesting to see what type of presence permeates Reagan International.





In My Orbit…

19 02 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a rainy Friday here in Los Angeles, so after an afternoon Yoga class, I’m laying low and orbiting around the unfolding push/pull of the State of Wisconsin and its battle with the public-sector unions. I’ve never thought much about this sister State to my home State of Illinois. About the only things to which I have paid attention were its cheeses and the Dells. It is rightly considered the Berkeley/Bay Area of the Midwest, with its radical left-wing politics and campuses. I can get that in warmer climes, and I do!

But this Scott Walker, I’m liking the cut of his gib. I’ve watched union strong-arming from my days in Chicago and here in Los Angeles, and I’m glad someone is taking a stand in asking them to act like the rest of the citizenry and contribute toward the common good.

Like many of the institutions that were formed to assist the working man, public-sector unions have become a special interest that is intent on lining its own bed, as opposed to actually helping any of its members.

An editorial in the Chicago Tribune speaks to exactly that:  Lost: the common good. You look at certain news and blogs, and they are painting it as some noble protest against Governor Scott Walker’s trying to destroy the unions, which is anything but the truth. A pull quote:

“No, he is not seeking to eliminate unions, though you might get that impression from the heated rhetoric of the employees and even from President Barack Obama, who called this an ‘assault on unions.'”

Asking people to contribute something toward their pension and retirement in order to save the State is an assault? News to me.

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has demanded that state workers contribute roughly 5.8 percent of their wages toward their retirement. He wants them to pay for 12 percent of their health-care premiums. Those modest employee contributions would be the envy of many workers in the private sector.”

Amen to that. I wish I had a pension or health-care premiums to contribute to–oh, that’s right, I don’t have a job! I’m among the ranks of those 99ers who have been out of work for more than two years–and–newsflash: my unemployment benefits were pulled over a year ago, because I tried to at least work part-time, and was honest enough to let the EDD know. That was an exercise in futility and how backward their bureaucracy is, but I digress….

So these teachers walking off the job, and the cowardice of the Democrat Senators of Wisconsin who decided to go MIA truly chaps my hide. Typical Democrats: they pick the union coffers when they want to get elected, but when it’s their time to stand and be counted, they bail. Reason #9,997 that I am not affiliated with that party.

Then there is President Obama. According to a Washington Post article, he’s right in the thick of things:

“The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.”

Those other state capitals include Ohio (who also has a Republican Governor) Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Another telling quote:

“The White House political operation, Organizing for America, got involved Monday, after Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy M. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, spoke to union leaders in Madison, a party official said.

“The group made phone calls, distributed messages via Twitter and Facebook, and sent e-mails to its state and national lists to try to build crowds for rallies Wednesday and Thursday, a party official said.”

Talk about stomping all over state’s rights here. I thought he was supposed to be President of all of Americans? I hold no surprise here–Obama has been in bed with unions since his days as a Chicago pol– and he needs their support and money in order to get reelected in 2012.

Even the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is calling this brouhaha a temper tantrum, and a mockery of the democratic process. I agree. I hope Scott Walker and the other Governors stand strong and do what their constituents elected them for: to trim the budget and get the state out of debt for all of their citizens. Many people in Wisconsin (and those of other states) do not care for these strong arm tactics–it is not the America we know.





In My Orbit…

4 01 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year!  And California has a Happy New Governor.  Can you tell I’m thrilled?

In a no-frills ceremony, Scary Brown was sworn in, while Gray Davis and outgoing Governator Arnold smiled, both probably gloating over the mess they left Governor Brown x3 that he’ll probably not get cleaned up in the next four years.  My husband and I are contemplating the celebrity threat of 2000-2008: we’re moving to Europe.  But first we have to find work, so basically, we’re in the same boat we’re in here.  Sigh. Might as well stay…

One of those controversial messes the Governator left was reducing the manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nuñez, former Assembly speaker Fabian Nuñez’ son.  Arnie cut the young man’s sentence from 16 years to seven.  Wonder what Fabian did for Arnie to get such a hurried and huge favor?

Apparently the San Diego County District Attorney is pissed, and looking into the legalities of this executive commutation, as it was done in a hurry, and didn’t follow proper procedure.  I’m sure Arnie has already put it behind him.  He will simply go back to Hollywood, make more movies and rewrite his legacy, whatever that may be. Thankfully, he can’t run for President, so we’ll be content with his celluloid/digital creations for some time to come.

And on a lighter, and much more well-written note, the only thing worth reading on Newsweek/The Daily Beast: George Will’s 2010 recap.  Read it, marvel and laugh.  More Stimulating than the Stimulus.








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