Thursday, September 29, 2011

Transgender Attacks in DC - Troubling Trend

This morning I listened to a report on NPR that gave chilling details of the attacks on transgender DC residents in recent days.  The most abhorent of these was described in the article.
"On Aug. 26, an off-duty police officer stood on the hood of a car and shot through its windshield, hitting two transgender women and a male friend, wounding one critically. The officer is a 20-year veteran of the city's police force and is currently in jail, awaiting trial."
This is more than disturbing, and when coupled with the DC Police reluctance to call these attacks Hate Crimes it gives a picture of violence against transgender citizens that is pervasive. 

A study, conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, surveyed nearly 6,500 transgender Americans.  In that study they found that 26 percent of people surveyed had been victims of physical assaults because they were transgender.

These assaults and this trend needs to be brought to a higher profile, perhaps if enough people are as horrified as I am by this something will be done to stem toe violence.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rosh Hashanah In The House Tonight!

Actually tomorrow night, but enjoy anyway!

Lawrence O'Donnell Exposes NYPD Police Bruitality

Whether you agree or disagree with the Occupy Wall Street people this report is worth a view.  The NYPD is looking like a bunch of thugs and they are trying their best to cover it up.  They are attacking people with cameras and inncoent folks. Time for an investigation and specifically some changes made!

China's High-Speed Rail - Progress or Propaganda?

From the People's Republic of Chairman Mao to the current capitalist economic powerhouse, China has seemingly been a lesson in turnarounds.  The latest example of progress is the high-speed rail network that has been constructed at a breakneck pace to show the world how progressive and modern China is.

The reality is much less impressive.  Since the deadly crash on the new rail line in July that killed 40 people that progress is being exposed as an exercise in corruption and incompetence.  In a recent NPR report it was revealed that the blame for the crash keeps shifting, looking more like a political issue than a real investigation of the cause. 

Shoddy workmanship, substandard materials and poor engineering have led to the system slowdown from what promised to be 217mph trains are now limited to 186mph for safety reasons.  Worse still are indications that corners were cut to cash in on profits from construction across the system.  One example was the new terminal building at Nanjing.  The huge glass encased station developed leaks in the roof that resulted in parts of the building to sink into the ground. Outside the entire newly paved square had to be reconstructed due to shoddy materials.

Anyone who has bought goods manufactured in China has undoubtedly been aware of the quality control problems faced in a country where capitalism seems to have run amok.  Though the new high-speed rail system was intended to be a showcase for Chinese engineering and progress, it is tainted with the same cache as anything labeled "made in China". That label translates to, "let the buyer beware" in many cases and it seems from the smallest cheaply made Walmart products to the biggest projects in China, the problems of quality will persist.  God help Chinese astronauts in the future!

Occupy Wall Street - Frustration Without Focus

After trying to get a handle on the Occupy Wall Street protests I find I am at a loss to understand exactly what these people are protesting. I personally think the current state of Corporate America is badly broken and the folks on Wall Street are merely the super-wealthy making side-bets in the casino. The frustration the protesters feel, the being diss-empowered and cogs in a big machine they have no control over is palpable, but their message is so scattered it is not getting through to the media.

If they want to really have an effect they need to pick one big grievance that everyone can get behind and jettison the hangers on and distractions.  They need to look more like a popular revolt and less like a neo-hippy street fair.

I support the idea that we need to stop the kind of corporate looting of our economy that has gone on for the last 30+ years, but changing that will take more than buskers and students who can't express a clear concise vision for the protest.

Remember folks, America suffers from societal ADD, and unless you can encapsulate your message into a sound bite, it will be lost.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Brutality by NYPD - Pepper Spray on Peaceful Protestor

This is getting way out of hand in NYC at the Occupy Wall Street protest.

A policeman walks up to a protestor who is corralled in a temporary fence and sprays her with pepper spray without provocation, then calmly turns and walks away.  Watch the slow motion video.

NYPD Using Excessive Violence Against Peaceful Protestors

The Occupy Wall Street protest is getting ugly, and it's the police that are becoming violent.  This video clearly shows a protestor being violently thrown to the grown for doing nothing.  His hands are raised in a gesture of surrender to the police and he is just talking when the officer wrenches his arm and throws him to the ground.

Though I think the protestors are really scattered in their message, they have a right to be there and the NYPD is doing itself no favors by abusing them. 

"Occupy Wall Street" Spreads to LA

A small group of protesters has started demonstrating in Los Angeles with the same message as the group on Wall Street.  A spokesperson for the group gave a much more succinct message than the group on Wall Street.

"Corporate interests seem to be controlling both parties,” one protester told “The ‘little man,’ the ‘American every man,’ just isn’t getting their voice heard. When you need $35,000 to donate to a campaign to get your voice heard, to have a meeting, that’s not democracy.”

That is the kind of message that will resonate.

Tommy Wi Show? From the Man Who Brought You the Room!

Tommy Wiseau, the man who brought you the amazingly bad movie "The Room" now has a web series.  I guess he figures we just can't get enough of him.  Maybe he is right.  After struggling to watch the movie, to see him in this series, playing video games is more of the same pointless drivel, yet it is strangely compelling.  Maybe it is a Dada-esque take on new media, or maybe it is just a megalomaniac with too much money. 

Watch at your own peril.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Occupation of Wall Street - Haven't Heard of It? Not Surprised.

for the past several days a really grass roots effort to make a point has been going on and the media has been largely ignoring it.  A group of predominately young activists have set up camp at Liberty Square in the financial district of New York City.  Essentially they are occupying Wall Street.

Why?  Well these are the folks who stayed in school, got saddled with a load of school loans and debt and now emerge into a world where there is just not that much opportunity.  A place where the super-rich control the money and banking and the average American is just SOL.

There are people who have just awakened to the realization that our economic system is being perverted for the benefit of a few very powerful people who have gamed the system for their own purpose.  They have discovered that we are living in a 3rd world economy masquerading as the 1st world. 

Harsh assessment?  Well that is the assessment the people occupying the financial district have made and I tend to agree with them.  My fear is this is only going to get worse and I am amazed that more people haven't heard about it.  If you want to learn more and support the cause go here.

Due to media blackouts and police harassment of the media, this revolution is not being televised, so far.