David Byrne: If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here

If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here | David Byrne | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Rampant inequality is squeezing out the artistic genius that made New York such a vibrant cultural capital. We can’t let that happen

for Creative Time Reports,

part of the Guardian Comment Networktheguardian.com, Monday 7 October 2013

Aerial Shot Of New York City

An aerial view of lower Manhattan, NYC.
.

I’m writing this in Venice, Italy. This city is a pleasantly confusing maze, once an island of fortresses, and now a city of tourists, culture (biennales galore) and crumbling relics. Venice used to be the most powerful city in Europe – a military, mercantile and cultural leader. Sort of like New York.

Venice is now a case study in the complete transformation of a city (there’s public transportation, but no cars). Is it a living city? Is it a fossil? The mayor of Venice recently wrote a letter to the New York Review of Books, arguing that his city is, indeed, a place to live, not simply a theme park for tourists (he would like very much if the big cruise ships steered clear). I guess it’s a living place if you count tourism as an industry, which I suppose it is. New York has its share of tourists, too. I wave to the doubledecker buses from my bike, but the passengers never wave back. Why? Am I not an attraction?

New York was recently voted the world’s favorite city – but when you break down the survey’s results, the city comes in at No 1 for business and only No 5 for living. Fifth place isn’t completely embarrassing, but what are the criteria? What is it that attracts people to this or any city? Forget the business part. I’ve been in Hong Kong, and unless one already has the means to live luxuriously, business hubs aren’t necessarily good places for living. Cities may have mercantile exchange as one of their reasons for being, but once people are lured to a place for work, they need more than offices, gyms and strip clubs to really live.

Work aside, we come to New York for the possibility of interaction and inspiration. Sometimes, that possibility of serendipitous encounters – and I don’t mean in the meat market – is the principal lure. If one were to vote based on criteria like comfort or economic security, then one wonders why anyone would ever vote for New York at all over Copenhagen, Stockholm or some other less antagonistic city that offers practical amenities like affordable healthcare, free universities, free museums, common spaces and, yes, bike lanes. But why can’t one have both – the invigorating energy and the civic, intelligent humanism?

Maybe those Scandinavian cities do, in fact, have both, but New York has something else to offer, thanks to successive waves of immigrants that have shaped the city. Arriving from overseas, one is immediately struck by the multi-ethnic makeup of New York. Other cities might be cleaner, more efficient or comfortable, but New York is funky, in the original sense of the word – New York smells like sex.

Immigrants to New York have contributed to the city’s vibrancy decade after decade. In some cities around the world, immigrants are relegated to being a worker class, or a guest-worker class; they’re not invited to the civic table. New York has generally been more welcoming, though people of color have never been invited to the table to the same extent as European immigrants.

I moved to New York in the mid 1970s because it was a center of cultural ferment – especially in the visual arts (my dream trajectory, until I made a detour), though there was a musical draw, too, even before the downtown scene exploded. New York was legendary. It was where things happened, on the east coast, anyway. One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn’t move to New York to make a fortune. Survival, at that time, and at my age then, was enough. Hardship was the price one paid for being in the thick of it.

As one gets a little older, those hardships aren’t so romantic – they’re just hard. The trade-off begins to look like a real pain in the ass if one has been here for years and years and is barely eking out a living. The idea of making an ongoing creative life – whether as a writer, an artist, a filmmaker or a musician – is difficult unless one gets a foothold on the ladder, as I was lucky enough to do. I say “lucky” because I have no illusions that talent is enough; there are plenty of talented folks out there who never get the break they deserve.

Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don’t buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down. I don’t romanticize the bad old days. I find the drop in crime over the last couple of decades refreshing. Manhattan and Brooklyn, those vibrant playgrounds, are way less scary than they were when I moved here. I have no illusions that there was a connection between that city on its knees and a flourishing of creativity; I don’t believe that crime, danger and poverty make for good art. That’s bullshit. But I also don’t believe that the drop in crime means the city has to be more exclusively for those who have money. Increases in the quality of life should be for all, not just a few.

The city is a body and a mind – a physical structure as well as a repository of ideas and information. Knowledge and creativity are resources. If the physical (and financial) parts are functional, then the flow of ideas, creativity and information are facilitated. The city is a fountain that never stops: it generates its energy from the human interactions that take place in it. Unfortunately, we’re getting to a point where many of New York’s citizens have been excluded from this equation for too long. The physical part of our city – the body – has been improved immeasurably. I’m a huge supporter of the bike lanes and the bikeshare program, the new public plazas, the waterfront parks and the functional public transportation system. But the cultural part of the city – the mind – has been usurped by the top 1%.

What, then, is the future of New York, or really of any number of big urban centers, in this new Gilded Age? Does culture have a role to play? If we look at the city as it is now, then we would have to say that it looks a lot like the divided city that presumptive mayor Bill de Blasio has been harping about: most of Manhattan and many parts of Brooklyn are virtual walled communities, pleasure domes for the rich (which, full disclosure, includes me), and aside from those of us who managed years ago to find our niche and some means of income, there is no room for fresh creative types. Middle-class people can barely afford to live here anymore, so forget about emerging artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, journalists and small business people. Bit by bit, the resources that keep the city vibrant are being eliminated.

This city doesn’t make things anymore. Creativity, of all kinds, is the resource we have to draw on as a city and a country in order to survive. In the recent past, before the 2008 crash, the best and the brightest were lured into the world of finance. Many a bright kid graduating from university knew that they could become fairly wealthy almost instantly if they found employment at a hedge fund or some similar institution. But before the financial sector came to dominate the world, they might have made things: in publishing, manufacturing, television, fashion, you name it. As in many other countries, the lure of easy bucks hoovered this talent and intelligence up – and made it difficult for those other kinds of businesses to attract any of the top talent.

A culture of arrogance, hubris and winner-take-all was established. It wasn’t cool to be poor or struggling. The bully was celebrated and cheered. The talent pool became a limited resource for any industry, except Wall Street. I’m not talking about artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians – they weren’t exactly on a trajectory toward Wall Street anyway – but any businesses that might have employed creative individuals were having difficulties surviving, and naturally, the arty types had a hard time finding employment, too.

Unlike Iceland, where the government let misbehaving banks fail and talented kids became less interested in leaping into the cesspool of finance, in New York there has been no public rejection of the culture that led to the financial crisis. Instead, there has been tacit encouragement of the banking industry’s actions from figures like Mayor Bloomberg. The nation’s largest financial institutions are almost all still around, still “too big to fail” and as powerful as ever. One might hope that enlightened bankers might emulate the Medicis and fund culture-makers – both emerging artists and those still in school – as a way of ensuring a continued talent pool that would invent stuff and fill the world with ideas and inspiration, but other than buying blue-chip art for their walls and donating to some institutions what is, for them, small change, they don’t seem to be very much interested in replenishing the talent pool.

One would expect that the 1% would have a vested interest in keeping the civic body healthy at least – that they’d want green parks, museums and symphony halls for themselves and their friends, if not everyone. Those, indeed, are institutions to which they habitually contribute. But it’s like funding your own clubhouse. It doesn’t exactly do much for the rest of us or for the general health of the city. At least, we might sigh, they do that, as they don’t pay taxes – that we know.

Many of the wealthy don’t even live here. In the neighborhood where I live (near the art galleries in Chelsea), I can see three large condos from my window that are pretty much empty all the time. What the fuck!? Apparently, rich folks buy the apartments, but might only stay in them a few weeks out of a year. So why should they have an incentive to maintain or improve the general health of the city? They’re never here.

This real estate situation – a topic New Yorkers love to complain about over dinner – doesn’t help the future health of the city. If young, emerging talent of all types can’t find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been. Those places might have museums, but they don’t have culture. Ugh. If New York goes there – more than it already has – I’m leaving.

But where will I go? Join the expat hipsters upstate in Hudson?

Can New York change its trajectory a little bit, become more inclusive and financially egalitarian? Is that possible? I think it is. It’s still the most stimulating and exciting place in the world to live and work, but it’s in danger of walking away from its greatest strengths. The physical improvements are happening – though much of the crumbling infrastructure still needs fixing. If the social and economic situation can be addressed, we’re halfway there. It really could be a model of how to make a large, economically sustainable and creatively energetic city. I want to live in that city.

• This article was originally published by Creative Time Reports, and is crossposted by permission of the editor

Occupy Wall Street reflects increasing frustration

October 13, 2011 |

By David Suzuki

It may seem like there’s no hope for change, but we have to remember that most of these developments are recent, and that humans are capable of innovation, creativity, and foresight


with contributions from Ian Hanington, David Suzuki Foundation editorial and communications specialist

I’m not the only one unhappy with economic systems based on constant growth and endlessly increasing exploitation of finite resources — systems that concentrate wealth in the hands of a few while so many people struggle.

Since September 17, protests have spread from New York to a growing number of cities across the United States, Europe, and Canada, in a movement dubbed “Occupy Wall Street.” The protesters’ aims aren’t always clear; in some case they seem downright incoherent or absurd — such as calls for open border policies and increased trade tariffs at the same time.

It’s interesting that those credited with spurring the movement did so with a single question: “What is our one demand?” The question was first posed in my hometown of Vancouver by Adbusters magazine. Editor Kalle Lasn said the campaign was launched as an invitation to act more than an attempt to get an answer. Focusing on a single demand may or may not be a useful exercise, but the conversation itself is necessary. Thanks to the attention these protests are generating, union leaders, students, workers, and others have a public forum to raise questions about our current economic systems.

Why have governments spent trillions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to bail out financial institutions, many of which fought any notion of government regulation or social assistance, while doing nothing for people who had life savings wiped out or lost homes through foreclosure? And why have governments not at least demanded that the institutions demonstrate some ecological and social responsibility in return?

Why do developed nations still give tax breaks to the wealthiest few while children go hungry and working people and the unemployed see wages, benefits, and opportunities dwindle — and while infrastructure crumbles and access to good health care and education diminishes?

Why are we rapidly exploiting finite resources and destroying precious natural systems for the sake of short-term profit and unsustainable economic growth? What will we do when oil runs out or becomes too difficult or expensive to extract if we haven’t taken the time to reduce our demands for energy and shift to cleaner sources?

Why does our economic system place a higher value on disposable and often unnecessary goods and services than on the things we really need to survive and be healthy, like clean air, clean water, and productive soil? Sure, there’s some contradiction in protesters carrying iPhones while railing against the consumer system. But this is not just about making personal changes and sacrifices; it’s about questioning our place on this planet.

In less than a century, the human population has grown exponentially, from 1.5 to seven billion. That’s been matched by rapid growth in technology and products, resource exploitation, and knowledge. The pace and manner of development have led to a reliance on fossil fuels, to the extent that much of our infrastructure supports products such as cars and their fuels to keep the cycle of profits and wealth concentration going. Our current economic systems are relatively new — methods we’ve devised both to deal with the challenge of production and distribution for rapidly expanding populations and to exploit the opportunities.

It may seem like there’s no hope for change, but we have to remember that most of these developments are recent, and that humans are capable of innovation, creativity, and foresight. Despite considerable opposition, most countries recognized at some point that abolishing slavery had goals that transcended economic considerations, such as enhancing human rights and dignity — and it didn’t destroy the economy in the end, as supporters of slavery feared.

I don’t know if the Occupy Wall Street protests will lead to anything. Surely there will be backlash. And although I wouldn’t compare these protests to those taking place in the Middle East, they all show that when people have had enough of inequality, of the negative and destructive consequences of decisions made by people in power, we have a responsibility to come together and speak out.

The course of human history is constantly changing. It’s up to all of us to join the conversation to help steer it to a better path than the one we are on. Maybe our one demand should be of ourselves: Care enough to do something.

via Occupy Wall Street reflects increasing frustration | Science Matters | David Suzuki Foundation.

Occupy movement plans to take protests to Canadian streets

Occupy movement plans to take protests to Canadian streets – The Globe and Mail.

One week before Occupy Wall Street-style demonstrations are expected to begin in hundreds of locations around the world, organizers in several Canadian cities are holding meetings to muster their numbers and iron out their plans for the event.

Demonstrators in New York have occupied a park in the city’s financial district for three weeks, holding frequent marches through the streets to express their frustration with the gap between the world’s wealthiest individuals and everyone else.

‘Occupy Wall Street’ growing more organized

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labour union rally in Foley Square before marching on Zuccotti Park in New York's Financial District on Oct. 5, 2011. Jason DeCrow/AP

Thousands join ‘Occupy Wall Street’ march

Protesters sit in front of the entrance of the Finance Ministry during a blockade by employees in Athens September 29, 2011.

Protestors take over Greek ministry offices

In Vancouver, organizers are expecting the B.C. Federation of Labour to add its clout – and organizing skills – to the occupation that is set to begin Oct. 15 outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

In Toronto, nearly 300 people gathered in Berczy Park on Friday for a three-hour meeting on this week’s demonstration. Protesters in the city plan to occupy a space near Toronto’s financial district, but they have not yet settled on a location.

Vancouver police are being kept informed of plans in that city in a bid to keep the demonstration family-friendly, said Min Reves, one of the organizers. “In Vancouver we have a huge number of people who don’t consider themselves activists. Having opened the channel of communication with police, allows them transparency they wanted so they can safely bring their kids,” she said after a packed meeting Saturday set a loose framework for what she promised will be an indefinite occupation.

“We plan to isolate and identify any individuals with violent behaviour. Kids come first.”

Organizers in Toronto, however, have cut off communications with police, reflecting residual anger over policing response to last year’s G20 protests.

The Toronto group has no recognized spokespeople. Its most active organizers are reluctant to speak publicly out of a concern that they could be viewed as leaders in a movement they are trying hard to keep open and leaderless.

Occupy Vancouver is also operating on a consensus basis. Ken Keslo, another self-identified organizer, said a number of participants objected to plans to co-operate with police but they did not win over the crowd that gathered Saturday to strategize.

He is hopeful the BC Federation of Labour and other unions will join to help deliver a mainstream, peaceful demonstration. “I believe the BC Fed will officially announce their support on Tuesday. They definitely have their concerns but I believe they will be there.”

A spokesman for the BC Fed said Sunday no decision has been made.

In Toronto, where the Occupy movement has attracted a mix of experienced activists and newcomers to protests, even coming to an agreement on process was a challenge. “There’s no consensus on having consensus,” one man shouted following a long discussion about the relative merits of voting.

Dave Wakely, president of the local paramedics union, said he plans to help staff a medic station at the Toronto occupation site. He said the movement is just getting off the ground, and it will take time for it to become more cohesive and organized. “People have to work hard to figure out what they want. The general assembly, hopefully, will get us there,” he said.

Michael Goodbaum, president of Rock the Vote, has pledged that organization’s support for the movement. He says he’s aiming to make the event as fun as he can, and avoid the chaos that hit Toronto streets during the G20.

“What we’re trying to achieve is just the most peaceful protest possible,” Mr. Goodbaum said.

Janet Conway, a Brock University professor who is the Canada research chair in social justice, said the Occupy Wall Street movement is different from many protests in recent years because its participants have eschewed uniting under a single demand.

“Issues of clarity around messaging and focus have certainly sparked lively debates,” Ms. Conway said. “But there’s actually quite a lot of resonance on what different individuals are saying [about why they’re participating].”

Groups in Calgary, Victoria and Edmonton are also planning action on Oct. 15.

Occupy America: protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities

Occupy America: protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities | World news | The Observer.

The generation that opposed Vietnam has joined Facebook anarchists amid anger at tax breaks for the rich while ordinary folk tighten their belts

Garth Carroll, who calls himself Professor Gizmo

Garth Carroll, who calls himself Professor Gizmo, wears the American flag as he demonstrates at Occupy Seattle at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Marcus Donner/REUTERS

The Wall Street protests against economic inequality and corporate greed that targeted the nerve centre of American capitalism are no longer merely a New York phenomenon. This weekend, from Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast to Providence, Rhode Island, and Tampa, Florida, on the east, as many as 70 major cities and more than 600 communities have joined the swelling wave of civil dissent. The slogan “Occupy Wall Street” has been suitably abbreviated to a single word: “Occupy”

“This could be the tipping point,” said Dick Steinkamp, 63, a retired Silicon Valley executive at the Occupy Seattle protest being held in the heart of the city’s shopping and restaurant district . He and his wife had driven two hours from their home in Bellingham, north of Seattle, specifically to join the rally and give it support from more conventional professionals.

“I marched against the Vietnam war before I was drafted into the army and this movement is now getting towards that critical mass,” he said.

One of the favourite messages of the protesters is that almost 40% of US wealth is held in the hands of 1% of the population, who are taxed more lightly than the majority of Americans. Steinkamp was holding a sign saying “I am the 99%”. And there is widespread anger that ordinary people have born the brunt of the financial crisis with dire job losses and house repossessions.

“I came here because I wanted to show it wasn’t just young anarchists,” said Deb Steinkamp, also 63 and a retired marriage counsellor, wearing a green cagoule and sensible shoes against the damp, chilly Seattle weather.

Protests broke out last week in Chicago, Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Austin, Louisville, Atlanta and dozens of other cities. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are set to add themselves to the ranks next weekend.

Motorists honked their support as they passed the Seattle demonstration, which was around 500 strong on Friday and likely to swell as the weekend progressed. Earlier in the week the police forced protestors to clear away tents that had been multiplying across the square. Seattle’s liberal mayor Mike McGinn supports the protesters – but drew the line once they started camping in the middle of downtown.

In New York more than 700 people have been arrested while marching on the stock exchange and over the Brooklyn Bridge in the name of Occupy Wall Street and 20,000 marched in lower Manhattan last Wednesday.

The sheer proliferation of the rallies across 45 states has drawn attention. “It expresses the frustrations the American people feel about the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” President Obama said. “There has been huge collateral damage all across ‘Main Street’ [from the financial crisis] and some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly are now trying to fight a crackdown on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place,” he added.

In Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa handed out rain ponchos to demonstrators when there was a downpour. A thousand people gathered outside the city government offices for Occupy Austin, as well as similar crowds in Dallas and Houston.

After joining Occupy Wall Street, alongside a group of university professors, Obama’s former head of blog campaigns Sam Graham-Felsen pointed out that the movement was maturing. He said that although it would not have started without radical idealists taking to the streets it has gone to the next level with the inclusion of “seasoned organisers and pragmatists”.

Asher McCord, 31, a shopworker in Seattle, was at the protests before starting his shift at a department store, and was wearing a neat woollen blazer and designer jeans. “There is that saying, ‘Dissent is patriotic,’ and I agree with that. I was unemployed for a while. I just started my new job and I think lower income people are taking all the pain and the anxiety in this recession,” he said.

Protesters are complaining about tax breaks for oil companies, excessive lobbying in Washington, astronomical pay and bonuses for financiers, and the bailout of the banking sector.

The movement was sparked in part by Vancouver-based Adbusters Media Foundation, an anti-consumerism organ with a magazine, which urged people to occupy Wall Street to protest inherent inequalities in the economic system. There is no central organisation or formal co-ordination between cities but instigators use web tools such as Twitter and Facebook to pass information and now hope that the demonstrations will build towards the G20 economic summit in Cannes next month.

Detractors have mocked protesters for using social media, when those brands are increasingly corporatised. But hospital nurse Angela Silling, 41, who was staffing the first aid post in Seattle’s Westlake Park, said: “The Arab Spring demonstrators used social media very successfully and no one has criticised those rebels.”

House of Representative majority leader Eric Cantor dismissed the protesters as “mobs” who were prompting “Americans to fight Americans”. That prompted a storm of criticism, because he has praised the Tea Party as a legitimate expression of conservative grassroots anger.

Seattle demonstrator Ted Lang, 26, who has just qualified as an English teacher and is considering moving abroad, said the Occupy demonstrators had much in common with the libertarians who first started the Tea Party movement. “But it got hijacked by right-wing religious conservatives,” he said.

Who would he not want to see the Occupy movement hijacked by?

“The Democrat party,” he said.

Anti-Wall Street protests take off thanks to a Canadian idea

Several thousand kilometres from the heart of the growing anti-Wall Street protests in New York, Kalle Lasn says he is astounded that an idea he and a few others hatched in Vancouver is now expanding across North America and beyond.

“Of course, we had some hopes and dreams, but we had no idea it would turn into a movement in the United States, then into Canada, and become global,” said Mr. Lasn, co-editor of the influential, Vancouver-based, anti-consumer publication Adbusters, which first called for a people’s occupation of Wall Street.

More related to this story

Activists throughout Canada set to show solidarity with Wall Street protesters

More than 700 Wall Street protesters arrested on Brooklyn Bridge

A demonstrator from the Occupy Wall Street campaign stands with a dollar taped over his mouth as he stands in Zucotti Park near the financial district of New York September 30, 2011.

Photos

Occupy Wall Street demonstrations move into third week

“The way this has bubbled to the top is quite amazing. We really didn’t expect it.”

After the weekend arrest of more than 700 demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge, American unions are joining in. The next big protest is scheduled Thursday in Washington and strategy sessions are being called in Canadian cities to plan similar actions.

The escalating wave of protests stems from a routine brainstorming session of five or six people this past summer at Adbusters.

“We just felt America was ripe for a Tahrir moment of its own,” said Mr. Lasn, referring to the throngs who congregated in Cairo’s central square earlier this year to bring down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The group conceived a centre spread in the magazine’s July edition, depicting a ballerina delicately balancing on the iconic Wall Street bull, with the words: “What is our one demand?….#OCCUPYWALLSTREET, September 17, Bring tent.”

The slogan quickly captivated Adbusters’ 90,000-strong network of self-styled “culture jammers.” Word began to spread.

“We just did this thing and watched as it started to grow and grow,” Mr. Lasn marvelled. “Then some groups in New York got behind it. The buzz grew, and suddenly it took off, and now it’s a real movement.”

Mr. Lasn believes that the swelling anti-corporate protests, which have yet to focus on specific demands, have the potential to revive the long-dormant left wing in the United States.

“I was scared the loony left would take over again, and the whole thing would fizzle into nothing. But real, substantial people are turning up, people with a bit of backbone,” said Mr. Lasn, who describes himself as being old enough to remember the sixties.

“They are starting to have the same sort of chutzpah that the Tea Party has. That’s what the political left sorely needs.”

Protests have been slower to come to Canada, Mr. Lasn said, because economic conditions are much worse in the United States.

“They are losing their jobs, their houses. Nearly 40 per cent of young people between 19 and 25 can’t find work. There is a lot of anger out there. I think that the moment was absolutely ripe for this to happen.”

In the United States, protests are springing up from Florida to Boston to Los Angeles.

“This could have legs to it,” observed Moneyball author Michael Lewis, who has also written about Wall Street and global economic turmoil.

Activists in Toronto and Vancouver are holding meetings Friday and Saturday to plan protest occupations starting Oct. 15.

Young people, with their Internet and social media savvy, are in the forefront of Occupy Wall Street, Mr. Lasn said.

“Egypt and Tahrir Square proved that a few smart people on the Internet can call for something and, if it captures the public’s imagination, it can get tens of thousands of people out on the streets.”

Adbusters, meanwhile, is relishing its role in what Mr. Lasn calls one of the most hopeful moments in the magazine’s 20-year history.

“This was all cooked up right here at Adbusters. It’s a Canadian adventure,” he said.

In the past, the publication has galvanized action around campaigns such as Buy Nothing Day and Digital Detox Week. “But this takes the cake,” Mr. Lasn said.

With a report from The Associated Press

via Anti-Wall Street protests take off thanks to a Canadian idea – The Globe and Mail.

Wall Street protests spread nationwide

NEW YORK (AFP) – As anti-corporate demonstrations spread across the United States, the protesters claim they are inspired by the revolutions in the Middle East, but protests over economic grievances in Europe would be a closer comparison.

When anti-capitalist activists first unfolded sleeping bags and brandished handmade placards in a small park near Wall Street two weeks ago, they said they were following the example of Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square.

In reality, the differences outweighed any similarities: numbers of protesters were tiny compared to Cairo, no one was attempting to bring down the government, and there was zero risk of being shot by security forces.

Yet, as the Occupy Wall Street protest entered its third week Monday, it is being taken more seriously. Similar sit-in demonstrations have popped up from Boston to Chicago and Los Angeles and this week the New York protest expects to swell with support from trade unions.

So what do these would-be revolutionaries want?


Ask 10 of the mostly young, often well-educated demonstrators bedding down in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and you might get 10 different answers.

Anger over the government bailouts of big Wall Street institutions, joblessness, student debt, global warming, police brutality: these are just for a start.

Finding a leader to speak for the group is harder still.

Even one man who could be clearly seen organizing logistics in the camp refused to admit he was in a position of responsibility.

“Everyone has a different reason and goal for being here,” Anthony, 28, said.

His own, rather esoteric aim was to turn the camp around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange into permanent utopia: “a safe space autonomous from the rules from outside.”

But as their numbers grow, the US protesters could yet coalesce into something more resembling a genuine protest movement.

In Los Angeles, some 300 people have been demonstrating since Saturday. In Boston, about 100 people were camped out.

In Chicago, where some 50 people have been camped in the financial district for 11 days, grievances were as diverse as in New York, but the determination was as strong.

“It took Vietnam to get people my age into the street and we changed things. I’m seeing the same thing happening here. It always starts small, but time will tell. All great movements start from scratch,” says Eleanor Buckley, 61, who came with water and food for the mostly young protesters.

Probably the closet parallels are not in Tahrir Square but Europe, where simmering frustration and anger at the fallout from recession and financial crises have spilled onto the street.

Spain has seen mass protests dubbed the “indignant” movement against politicians’ handling of the economy. Last month, thousands of leftists demanded a referendum to be held on a plan to enshrine balanced budgets in the constitution.

Similar street demos have spread across Italy, while Greece has seen major unrest as young people and government employees facing cuts in jobs, pensions and salaries take over public buildings.

A little further away, angry crowds are challenging the government with tent cities in Israel.

Apart from heavy use of social networking sites, all the demonstrations from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv share bitterness at what is seen as the disconnect between governments and ordinary people in an era of stressed budgets and economic uncertainty.

Even the riots and looting this summer in London and elsewhere in Britain are seen as being fueled by hopelessness.

In America, similar worries are reinforced by leftists’ disillusion with President Barack Obama and anger on both sides of the political aisle at the political and business elite.

On Monday, even George Soros, one of the world’s richest men, expressed support for the protesters, saying they had been provoked by “bumper” bonuses paid by Wall Street banks.

“I think I can sympathize with their views,” he said.

The Wall Street protesters had trouble getting media coverage when they began their sit-in. Not any longer — even if their goals are still hard to define.

“It’s becoming impossible to ignore and we’re still here,” Anthony, the organizer at Zuccotti Park, said.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

via Activist Post: Wall Street protests spread nationwide.

‘Occupy Wall Street': Obama’s term is four more years of Bush

‘Occupy Wall Street': Obama’s term is four more years of Bush — RT.

Published: 03 October, 2011, 10:12
Edited: 04 October, 2011, 04:36

A wave of public discontent in the US shows no sign of abating following weekend protests against corporate greed which saw hundreds of peaceful demonstrators arrested, sparking accusations of heavy-handed policing.

­Defiant anti-Wall-Street activists are refusing to back down, saying more marches against corporate greed and social inequality are in the pipeline.

A new season in a different nation: the Arab Spring has become America’s Autumn.

And on Saturday, New York’s Brooklyn Bridge reminded many of a scene from Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Nearly 800 protesters were trapped, cuffed, arrested and jailed as thousands of activists continued their second week of “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.

The grassroots movement is campaigning against social inequality and corporate influence over US politics. In the interim, police conduct against peaceful protesters has been called into question.

Just last week, New York City Police attacked “Occupy Wall Street” protesters with pepper spray, prompting public outrage and an internal investigation.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

­

“Many didn’t believe that there would be another dramatic confrontation this weekend after what happened last weekend, after four women were pepper-sprayed while they were corralled by the police, after the NYPD used heavy-handed tactics, punching some protesters,” television journalist Ryan Devereaux told RT. “I think many people didn’t expect that there would be something like that again this weekend. Though I have no reports of pepper-spraying, there were aggressive arrests and there were thousands of people stopped and hundreds arrested.”

Hundreds of activists were charged with disorderly conduct and summonsed to appear before a criminal court. By Sunday, they were back on Wall Street, determined to continue their fight against corporate domination.

“Once you are not afraid to be arrested anymore, the whole entire control of the police state disappears,” says Robert Cammiso, one of those detained. “And when that happens, there are incredible possibilities that are open to us, and suddenly you can imagine a different world and you believe you can be an agent of change.”

The group says it aims to raise national awareness and heal America’s deepening social and economic divisions. “Occupy Wall Street” describes itself as a resistance movement inspired in part by their Middle East and European counterparts.

“We can follow the lead of our brothers and sisters all over the world. The Arab Spring, in Greece, in Spain – we can see that it did send a powerful message,” “Occupy Wall Street” activist Makeba Judge explains. “Ordinary people are not going to stand for corporate greed anymore, and we’re getting up and we’re doing something about it.”

And the reason these activists are focusing on Wall Street, rather than Washington, is because they say you have to follow the money and begin where the largest campaign contributions, donations and lobby groups are coming from.

“We have corporate presidencies. We were told Obama was for change, and we got four more years of Bush again. Before that – his father, the Bush dynasty,” activist Phil Budenick explains. Corporate greed goes all the way up to the president and this is where the artery, the main pulse of it starts – on Wall Street.”

It is true that these demonstrators have come here with a variety of different messages, but what unifies them is a growing frustration over the US economy, social inequality and corporate influence on US politics. They say if American leaders cannot act, then American citizens will take matters into their own hands to ensure ordinary people’s rights are protected.

Exclusive Kings Point Village On Long Island Plans Extensive Surveillance Network Covering Every Corner « CBS New York


April 26, 2011

Surveillance Cameras (file / credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Reporting John Slattery

KINGS POINT, NY (CBSNewYork) – If you visit Kings Point, big brother will be watching.

The affluent community is hoping to prevent crime by going high-tech — by setting up a sophisticated network to screen every vehicle that goes in or out of town.

Kings Point is one of the wealthiest villages on the North Shore, and residents want to keep it that way with the latest security.

“I think it’s great,” one resident told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

To protect its 3.3 square miles, Kings Point plans to install 44 cameras and license plate readers at each of the 19 points of entry. The devices will take pictures of every vehicle and license plate and compare them to data bases.

“It will alert us to suspended registrations, felonies, stolen cars, order of protection, sex offenders, things like that,” Kings Point Police Commissioner Jack Miller said.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs: It May Become The Most Extensive Municipal Surveillance System In The United States

A week and a half ago, CBS 2 reported on a Kings Point woman being followed into her garage and robbed of her diamond ring by two guys who haven’t been caught.

“If they came into the village again with those cameras up, they would pass three of our locations with cameras,” Miller said.

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the NYPD put in its so called “Ring of Steel” camera system in lower Manhattan, modeled after the one in London. Kings Point residents Slattery spoke with said they support the plan.

“It doesn’t bother me. I have nothing to hide,” Nancy Roth said.

“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful idea and they should,” Nahal Zelouf added.

“There’s cameras on almost every intersection now. It’s the harsh reality of today’s world,” another resident said.

Privacy advocates call the cameras “overreaching.” The New York Civil Liberties Union said it may not be illegal, but there are privacy concerns.

“Giving up our liberty and our privacy in the name of security doesn’t always make us safer,” the NYCLU’s Samantha Fredrickson said.

Like the police, resident Barbara Stein, used a recent rash of home burglaries in the village to defend the surveillance.

“I mean if it’s caught on video, you know, they’ll have a better chance of apprehending whoever is doing this,” Stein tells WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Aaron Freedburg said you have to balance people’s security and their right to privacy.

“[It's a good balance] as long as you’re respectful to the extent possible of people’s privacy and the things that enhanced security, especially in this day and age, I tend to be in favor of,” Freedburg told 1010 WINS reporter John Montone.

1010 WINS’ John Montone: Burglars Have Menaced Women And Girls

There’s no way of knowing whether the project will reduce crime. It may just send it off to other towns that are less secure.

Police said the project will cost $1 million, and will be paid for over several years. They also stressed only police will have access to surveillance information.

Exclusive Kings Point Village On Long Island Plans Extensive Surveillance Network Covering Every Corner « CBS New York.

New York City photos reveal 1940s life in the Big Apple

New York City photos by Charles W. Cushman reveal 1940s life in the Big Apple | Mail Online.

By Mark Duell

13th September 2011

It’s been 70 years since an Indiana photographer visited New York City and returned home with an amazing collection of holiday snaps.

But Charles Weever Cushman’s pictures are even more impressive today, as they were taken on pricey colour Kodachrome and look far more recent than they actually are.

He went around the city taking photos of architecture such as the Brooklyn Bridge and other parts of the Manhattan skyline – and it’s hard to believe they were taken while World War Two was going on.

Land and water: The Liberty Street ferry in New York City on September 27, 1941

Land and water: The Liberty Street ferry in New York City on September 27, 1941

Horse and cart: Men and boys are seen collecting salvage on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1941

Horse and cart: Men and boys are seen collecting salvage on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1941

Daily life: This street seen from October 3, 1942, is just one from a huge collection by Charles W. Cushman

Daily life: This street seen from October 3, 1942, is just one from a huge collection by Charles W. Cushman

Pub: McSorley's Old Ale House, still open today, is pictured on East 7th Street on October 7, 1942

Pub: McSorley’s Old Ale House, still open today, is pictured on East 7th Street on October 7, 1942

Compared: McSorley's Old Ale House in the East Village today, hardly changed from the above photo

Compared: McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village today, hardly changed from the above photo

But what is even more intriguing are the street scenes and daily life Cushman documented in his photos, showing 1940s New Yorkers going about their daily business.

Pictures of children smiling for the camera, businessmen sitting down outside and street traders are a fascinating insight to what life was like in the city all those years ago.

Many of the areas have been demolished or rebuilt since they were pictured in 1941 and 1942.

But others such as McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village look almost identical now as they did back then, with the same store front and shop logo.

Park life: A suited man walks through Bowling Green in lower Manhattan on October 1, 1942

Park life: A suited man walks through Bowling Green in lower Manhattan on October 1, 1942

Smoking: Three homeless people from South Ferry doss houses are in Battery Park on June 6, 1941

Smoking: Three homeless people from South Ferry doss houses are in Battery Park on June 6, 1941

Crossing: The East River is pictured below Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, on June 6, 1941

Crossing: The East River is pictured below Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, on June 6, 1941

Portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green Oct. 1, 1942
On New York's lower East Side. Sep. 27, 1941

Around town: A portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green on October 1, 1942, left, and a Lower East Side street scene on September 27, 1941, right

The images are even more significant at a time when Americans are remembering the fallen World Trade Center, showing that a city ultimately transcends its buildings, reported The Atlantic.

Mr Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana, in 1896 and read English at Indiana University, where he was sports editor on the student newspaper.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Illinois in 1918 before leaving three years later and began working in New York City in 1928. He moved back to Chicago in 1929 and died in 1972.

His second wife, Elizabeth Penniman, said: ‘He loved life – music, good books, sports, the outdoors, travel, integrity – and could not tolerate ignorance.’

Read more about the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection here.

Hosepipe: Looking up Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan on September 27, 1941

Hosepipe: Looking up Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan on September 27, 1941

Street in New York's Chinatown Oct. 7, 1942
Lower Manhattan Oct. 3, 1942

Business as usual; A street in Chinatown, left, and another in lower Manhattan, right, both pictured in October 3, 1942

Battery Park New York City. Jun. 6, 1941
Brewery adr. Lower end, Broadway Oct. 1, 1942

Downtown life: A man looks out from Battery Park on June 6, 1941, while a horse and carriage can be seen at the lower end of Broadway on October 1, 1942

Boat trip: The Statue of Liberty is seen across the water from downtown Manhattan on June 6, 1941

Boat trip: The Statue of Liberty is seen across the water from downtown Manhattan on June 6, 1941

Looking up: A tower of Brooklyn Bridge is seen from South Street in Manhattan on September 27, 1941

Looking up: A tower of Brooklyn Bridge is seen from South Street in Manhattan on September 27, 1941

Say cheese: Residents of lower Clinton St near the East River on a Saturday afternoon in September 1941

Say cheese: Residents of lower Clinton St near the East River on a Saturday afternoon in September 1941

Shops: Near the corner of Broome Street and Baruch Place in the Lower East Side on September 27, 1941

Shops: Near the corner of Broome Street and Baruch Place in the Lower East Side on September 27, 1941

Smiles: These two live in a big new housing project near the East River and are pictured on October 4, 1942
Reading: A woman sits in front of a doorway in the Lower East Side on a Sunday morning in October 1942

New Yorkers: These two, left, live in a big new housing project near the East River and are pictured on October 4, 1942 – while a woman, right, sits in front of a doorway in the Lower East Side in the same month

Barrels: People walk on a sunny day on the corner of Pearl Street on October 7, 1942

Barrels: People walk on a sunny day on the corner of Pearl Street on October 7, 1942

Chinatown: Chinese store windows are pictured in New York as men walk past on October 7, 1942

Chinatown: Chinese store windows are pictured in New York as men walk past on October 7, 1942

Hot sweet potatoes on sale on Oct. 4, 1942
Wall Street New York. Jun. 6, 1941

Traders: Hot sweet potatoes, left, on October 4, 1942, and Wall Street, right, is pictured on June 6, 1941

City buzz: A crowd gathers during a salvage collection on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1942

City buzz: A crowd gathers during a salvage collection on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1942

Long shot: Lower Manhattan is pictured from a Jersey City ferry boat on September 27, 1941

Long shot: Lower Manhattan is pictured from a Jersey City ferry boat on September 27, 1941

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2036932/New-York-City-photos-Charles-W-Cushman-reveal-1940s-life-Big-Apple.html#ixzz1XvSUdYIR

9/11 anniversary: Chalk drawing ‘premonition’ from 1980s of Twin Towers attacks emerges

9/11 anniversary: Chalk drawing ‘premonition’ from 1980s of Twin Towers attacks emerges | Mail Online.

9th September 2011

A chalk drawing created in the 1980s may have been a terrifying premonition of the tragic events of 9/11.

The decades old artwork shows a forlorn young girl flanked by two jet planes and twin towers swamped by flames, but many have expressed disbelief that it was drawn more than 10 years before the atrocity.

Its creator Willie Gardner died on November 27 last year at the age of 78, making it impossible to know exactly what inspired him.

His artwork shows the falling locks of the child’s hair spiralling downwards, which looks like fire and smoke billowing into the sky from one of the towers.

Premonition? Artist Willie Gardner's sketch could be a prediction of the events of 9/11, which happened more than 10 years after he created it

Premonition? Artist Willie Gardner’s sketch could be a prediction of the events of 9/11, which happened more than 10 years after he created it

The drawing looks so much like 9/11 that people viewing the picture, hung in the reception of Grangemouth‘s Community Education Unit, in Stirlingshire, thought it was a tribute to those who perished in the New York terror attacks.

But just days before Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the atrocity the picture has been brought to the public’s attention.

Lex Cook, who was the education unit co-ordinator in the late 1980s, said it had hung in an office for years before 9/11.

Recently it was moved in to the reception and visitors started to comment on it.

He said: ‘It was maybe 1988 or 1989 that I first saw Willie’s drawing. The boss here at the time liked it and Willie kindly gave it to him for the centre.

As the north tower of the World Trade Center burns after being struck by hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 nears the south tower of the World Trade Center
As the north tower of the World Trade Center burns after being struck by hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 nears the south tower of the World Trade Center

Path of destruction: As the north tower of the World Trade Center burns after being struck hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 nears the south tower (left) and then the terrifying moment it hit (right) 

‘I think Willie did it when he was a member of the centre art club. I can remember at the time standing looking at it and trying to figure out what it was showing.

‘It was quite eye-catching, but strange at the same time. I never even thought about it being linked to the Twin Towers attacks because I’ve been looking at it so long.

‘Then you get someone with a fresh pair of eyes who sees it and asks if it is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.’

The picture has hung for years in an office at Grangemouth's Community Education Unit, in Stirlingshire

Overlooked: The picture hung for years in an office at Grangemouth’s Community Education Unit in Stirlingshire

Jody Cannon, unit manager, said he was told the picture’s age before he saw the image, but admitted he would have believed it was some kind of artistic memorial.

‘The guy who first showed it to me ruined it by telling me it was painted before 9/11. Now when I show it to someone new I don’t say anything and they usually say it must be some kind of tribute. When I tell them it was painted before it happened they don’t believe it,’ he said.

Mr Cannon said he would allow the artwork to be put on show at exhibitions if people were interested in seeing it.

The artist’s daughter, Aileen Currie, 53, said: ‘I do know it was done years before the twin towers were destroyed. He was always interested in art and had been painting since he was young.  ‘He was a member of the art group in the education unit. It was just one of his drawings. I think it had been lying in the back office for years before they moved it into the reception area.’

Aftermath: A view of the World Trade Center North Tower memorial pool at the National September 11 Memorial

Aftermath: A view of the World Trade Center North Tower memorial pool at the National September 11 Memorial

Mrs Currie said she could not explain her father’s apparent prediction – while he had artistic talent, he had no ability to see into the future.

She added: ‘He was interested in science fiction though.’

Centre co-ordinator Emma Allardyce said: ‘In hindsight, its significance is remarkable, but people can make their own minds up.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035419/9-11-anniversary-Chalk-drawing-premonition-1980s-Twin-Towers-attacks-emerges.html#ixzz1XXSqEx86

Ignacio Torres’s images that move

By Lee Moran

8th September 2011

He’s the dreamy drawer whipping up an intergalactic storm with his series of stellar portraits.

Inspired by the theory that humans are made from the cosmic matter from a star’s death, Texan animator Ignacio Torres has produced this startling series of moving images combining the two.

Bathed in heavenly light, the models are seemingly suspended in mid-air as the wonders of the galaxy pass them by.

Torres explains: ‘This project (Stellar) began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death’

The artist says: ‘I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies’

Revealing how he created his wonderful works of art El Paso-born Torres, who now lives in New York, said: ‘I created the images shooting the subject from four different angles, taking the pictures all at the same time with a synched flash.’

The magic was completed with a sprinkling of dust and reflective confetti.

In the beginning: ‘The models’ organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation’

Moving images: ‘In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs

He explains on his website: ‘This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a star’s death.

‘I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies.

‘The models’ organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation.

‘In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs.

‘Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.’

Spaced out: ‘Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time’

Sun in the eyes: Ignacio Torres was born in the border city of El Paso, Texas

Jumping for joy: In the autumn of 2010 he received his BFA in photography from the University of North Texas

Starburst: His work has been exhibited in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex

The shining: He was awarded the Cora E. Stafford Scholarship for an emerging photographer in 2010

Finger on the pulsar: Torres works on projects that explore youth, identity and scientific theories through the use of photography, animated gifs and video

Shooting star: Stellar is featured on The Ones 2 Watch, an online magazine ‘showcasing the people behind the lens’

Here we go round: Torres lives and works in New York City

Lord of the dance: To see other examples of Torres’s work, visit ignacio-torres.com

Ignacio Torres’s images that move | Mail Online.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2034767/Ignacio-Torress-images-move.html#ixzz1XMWZz1ba

Hospital patients now being microchipped with “electronic tattoos”

Electronic inspired blackwork sleeve tattoo

Image by Zak Henry via Flickr


Soon we we will all have cool electronic tattoos

(NaturalNews) Being microchipped is now being spun as a method of protecting the health of hospital patients. To help mask the practice of this bodily invasion with a trendy, high-tech appearance, microchipping sensors are being referred to as “electronic tattoos” that can attach to human skin and stretch and move without breaking.

Supposedly the comparisons of this hair-thin electronic patch-like chip to an electronic tattoo are being made because of how it adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo using only water.

The small chip is less than 50 micrometers thick, which is thinner in diameter than a human hair. It is being marketed as a “safe” and easy way to temporarily monitor the heart and brain in patients while replacing bulky medical equipment currently being used in hospitals.

This device uses micro-electronics technology called an epidermal electronic system (EES) and is said to be a development that will “transform” medical sensing technology, computer gaming and even spy operations, according to a study published last week.

The hair-thin chip was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore and is described in the Journal of Science.

Pet microchips have become increasingly common over the past few years. These chips are marked with a small barcode that can be scanned just like the tags on grocery items.

This seems to suggest that microchips are meant to turn the wearer into an object that can be tracked and catalogued. Once inserted in an animal, the chip stays there for the entirety of its lifetime and can be used to identify the pet if it should be found on the street or turned into a shelter. The subdermal chips are often recommended by vets and animal care experts as a way to ensure lost pets find their way home again.

But research suggests that despite their proclaimed usefulness, pet microchips may cause cancer. Multiple studies have clearly linked pet microchips with increased incidence of cancer and tumors in mice and rats.

In the past, public disclosure of these suggested links between microchipping and cancer in animals stirred widespread concern over the safety of implantable microchips in living beings. The animal microchip study findings that created such an uproar were so persuasive that Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was quoted in an article about microchipping as saying, “There’s no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members.”

A 2001 study found that 1% of rats with implanted microchips developed cancerous tumors near the chip location. At least a dozen animal studies have been done between 1990 and 2007 and most concluded that microchips significantly increased the risk of cancer at the microchip site.

All the electronic parts of the new EES chip are built out of wavy, snake-like components which allow them to be stretched and squeezed. They also contain tiny solar cells which can generate power or get energy from electromagnetic radiation. The sensor is mounted on to a water-soluble sheet of plastic and attached to the body by brushing the surface with water – hence the comparison to a temporary tattoo.

This new device being implanted in hospital patients certainly looks and acts like a microchip – yet it is persistently being referred to as an “electronic tattoo” in order to make the concept appear harmless, friendly – even trendy!

Scientists claim the supposed advantage of the EES chips is their ability to cut back on the bevy of wires, gel-coated sticky pads and monitors that are currently relied on to keep track of the vital signs of hospital patients. Apparently these traditional forms of bulky equipment and monitors are overly “distressing” to patients.

It appears scientists believe these new microchips are convenient enough that they outweigh the potential risks.

In test trials, the microchip was purposefully attached to the throat of a human and used to detect differences in words such as up, down, left, right, go and stop. Researchers used these functions to control a simple computer game.

Is the convenience of not having to manually operate equipment great enough to justify the implantation of an electronic sensor beneath the skin of humans? Would you trust a microchip to monitor your bodily functions without causing health hazards in the process?

Researchers believe the technology could be used to replace traditional wires and cables, but this sounds remarkably like an excuse used to cover up the real truth: that this new microchipping method is a way to ensure all of us are eventually microchipped and able to be tracked and monitored. Soon, everyone will be required to wear chips or “tattoos” that prove they got their vaccinations, to link to health records, credit history and social security records.

If the government can require Americans to carry microchipped documents including your work, financial and health records, it seems it is only a matter of time before these chips will be implanted for the sake of “convenience” or “security.” According to them, all of this is being done “for our own good.”

Read more and watch videos about the government’s agenda to microchip all humans by 2017 here: http://yedies.blogspot.com/2010/11/…

Sources used and further reading:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14…

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?
id=CNG.6e1e2ad90e2d94b12b6258b7e9c5b33d.611&show_article=1

http://www.suite101.com/content/do-…

Hospital patients now being microchipped with “electronic tattoos”.

Connecticut: Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Is Now Law


Paul Armentano, Deputy Director
NORML

Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy signed legislation into law on Thursday, June 30 ‘decriminalizing’ the possession of small, personal use amounts of marijuana by adults. The new law, Senate Bill 1014, took effect on Friday, July 1.

Senate Bill 1014 reduces the penalties for the adult possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a non-criminal infraction, punishable by a $150 fine, no arrest or jail time, and no criminal record. The new law similarly reduces penalties for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Connecticut’s new law is similar to the existing ‘decriminalization’ laws in California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.

Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska law imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

Lawmakers in California and Kentucky previously enacted laws this year reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

Activist Post: Connecticut: Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Is Now Law.

New York tops the bed bug chart again

Friday, 27 May 2011

a glass vial containing live bedbugs

AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda

New York has retained its spot as the United States’ most bed-bug infested city, according to research released May 25.

The ranking, compiled by pest control firm Terminix, ranked New York as the bed-bug hot spot for the second year in a row, although there were some new additions to the list of cities which have everyone’s least favorite roommate.

Baltimore, Dallas and San Francisco appear on the list for the first time this year, replacing Indianapolis, Cleveland and Minneapolis, said Terminix.

The number of infestation reports has risen since this time last year, the company said, with most states seeing an increase of the tiny pests – the ranking was compiled using data from 350 Terminix branches across the US.

New York received considerable notoriety last year when news of the infestation spread, leading Mayor Michael Bloomberg to announce a comprehensive strategy to tackle the problem – although it doesn’t seem to be working.

Terminix said that the problem is growing in scope and severity, adding that the movement isn’t expected to slow any time soon.

Checking hotel sheets and mattresses for spots, hanging clothes in cupboards and storing baggage away from the bed are all tips recommended to avoid infection, along with washing clothes on a hot wash as soon as you’ve returned home.

For the really paranoid, a clever new electronic bed bug detector might do the trick – it can identify the pests’ pheromones in the air and could go on sale soon for about $200, reports CNet.

The 2011 most bedbug-infested cities include:

1. New York
2. Cincinnati
3. Detroit
4. Chicago
5. Philadelphia
6. Denver
7. Washington, DC
8. Los Angeles
9. Boston
10. San Francisco
11. Columbus, OH
12. Dayton, OH
13. Baltimore
14. Louisville, KY
15. Dallas

http://www.terminix.com/

New York tops the bed bug chart again – Health & Families, Life & Style – The Independent.

One in Ten Americans Receives Food Stamps

Wow, where do you go from here? Fifteen percent?

The Associated Press reports that more than 32 million Americans now use food stamps at the grocery store checkout line and the bad news is that things will probably get worse.

Given that labor markets are a lagging indicator, likely to get much worse before any net job creation begins, the number of food stamp recipients may go much higher this year.

Food stamps are the major U.S. antihunger program and help poor people buy groceries. The average benefit was $112.82 per person in January.

The January figure marks the third time in five months that enrollment set a record.

“A weakened economy means that many more individuals are turning to SNAP/Food Stamps,” said the Food Research and Action Center, an antihunger group, using the acronym for the renamed food stamp program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Well, if the government can’t do anything about the underlying causes of families not being able to put food on the table, at least they have a new “snappy” acronym.

Tomorrow’s labor report is likely to provide a pretty good indication of whether they’ll have to add another shift for the food stamp printing presses. If economic reports so far this week are any indication – new highs for weekly jobless claims and new lows for the ADP employment report – they might want to start placing some help wanted ads.

Food stamp enrollment rose in all but four of the 50 states during January, said Agriculture Department figures. Vermont, Alaska and South Dakota had increases of more than 5 percent. Texas had the largest enrollment, 2.984 million, down 65,000, followed by California at 2.545 million, up 43,000, and New York with 2.211 million, up 37,000.

<a class="wpGallery mceItem" title="gallery2" href="http://www.iaconoresearch.com/BlogImages/09-04-02b_food_stamps.jpg&quot; rel="prettyPhotoIMAGE

Food stamp benefits get a temporary 13 percent increase, beginning with this month, under the economic stimulus law signed by President Barack Obama. The increase equals $80 a month for a household of four.

If those statistics and my math are both correct, benefits for a family of four go from a little over $600 a month to almost $700 a month.

You can actually buy a lot of groceries for that amount of money, particularly the high-calorie, processed variety.

One in Ten Americans Receives Food Stamps? | Before It’s News

Astonishing 3D Art from Kurt Wenner

Kurt Wenner has been astonishing passers-by for many years now – but if anything his latest designs are his most stunning yet.

The street artist extraordinaire, a former NASA employee, uses a clever technique that makes his creations appear 3D.

And his most recent works, ranging Spider-man in Japan to gateway to the Caribbean in New York and a rainforest pathway on London’s Embankment, are brought together in a new book.

San Francisco
Spiderman

Wenner produced a Northwest Fantasy in April 2010 in San Francisco for the British Columbia Tourist Board, but his Spider-man in Febuary 2011 at Universal Studios is even more impressive with a huge cardboard cutout completing the comic-book scene

Bringing pavements around the world to life, Kurt, 52, a former NASA employee, uses a clever technique in his street drawings that make them look perfectly 3D.

When viewed from the correct angle, street-goers standing on top of them look like they are floating in thin air and solid concrete appear as gaping chasms in a colourful illusion.

Kurt, 52, from Michigan, started up in 1982 using pastels and paints to decorate the streets of Rome.

He has since using complex calculations from his old job – creating conceptual drawings of extraterrestrial landscapes at NASA – to bring floors and walls to life.

Using his unique knowledge inventor Kurt fused the concept of murals like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings – frescoes that give extra depth – with 16th century Italian street art.

Pathway to glory: British Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins poses on his bike by A Forest Path in October 2010 on London's South Bank  

Pathway to glory: British Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins poses on his bike by A Forest Path in October 2010 on London’s South Bank

QUERETARO, MEXICO
GRAZIE DI CURTATONE

Wenner first came to prominence with models who appeared to be gazing at their reflections in Curtatone in 1987, right, and he used a pool in the ground again in Mexico in Queretaro, in 2010 when he produced three magi leaping out of water

Kurt said: ‘The book explores the birth Britain’s street artists in the 1800s, and going back to its roots.

‘Pavement art like this began in Rome in the late renaissance period, so it’s been around for 100s of years.’

An image from Curtatone, Italy, in 1987 shows how he created amazing mirror images of real models on the concrete below them – the first ever interactive 3D street painting.

He added: ‘The pieces look real because they are calculated to be perfectly and mathematically accurate. It’s exactly how they would look if the objects in my paintings were actually there.

‘I use a piece of string to measure fixed points between the viewing location and the painting. This lets me calculate exactly how the perspective should be.

‘It takes me around five to seven days to complete an average-sized piece.

His book, Asphalt Renaissance is published by Sterling Innovation.

Wenner created this visual feast in October 2008 at Waterloo rail station in London. Notes appear to float off the ground in The Moneypit  

Wenner created this visual feast in October 2008 at Waterloo rail station in London. Notes appear to float off the ground in The Moneypit

The cover of Kurt's new book Asphalt Renaissance displays some of his most memorable desings  

The cover of Kurt’s new book Asphalt Renaissance displays some of his most memorable desings

Prepare Yourselves. Contact with Aliens is Inevitable

From  Dr. Kaku. Professor of theoretical physics. New York university.

Jan. 2011

YouTube – WHAT IS COMING TO EARTH? HAVE PORTALS BEGUN TO OPEN 2011? PART 1.

Mafia nicknames: Are you calling me ‘baby shacks’?

In the latest Mafia bust, one thing became clear: ‘Don’ is just too plain a title. Guy Adams sheds light on mobsters’ exotic nicknames

 

You probably don’t want to mess with Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio, an 83-year-old Italian gentleman with puppy-dog eyes who has just pleaded not guilty to charges of extorting cash “protection” payments from New England‘s strip clubs for the past two decades.

Mr Manocchio, who owes his nickname to his taste in women (he likes them young and skinny) is the reputed head of the Patriarca family, an underworld organisation which controls much of Rhode Island. He was arrested on Thursday as part of an FBI “bust” that saw 119 alleged Mafia dons taken into custody.

Also now speaking to lawyers are such figures as “Vinny Carwash”, “Jack the Whack”, “Junior Lollipops”, “Tony Bagels” and Benjamin Castellazzo, a rotund New Yorker charged with running illegal loan-sharking and gambling operations, who answers to the name of “The Claw”.

Mafia nicknames: Are you calling me ‘baby shacks’? – Americas, World – The Independent.

On New Yorkers

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

Image via Wikipedia

I have had this love/hate relationship with New Yorkers all my life.

I grew up in Montreal, Quebec, and New York as a kid was the holy mecca of cities. All trends and ideas seem to come from that mythical city just south of the border.

I have since lived  in Europe, Ottawa, Central America, and finally found paradise on the West coast of Canada in a small island.

New York is still important in my universe but it has lost its magic. The shiny luster of its cultural trinkets are just baubles to be discarded  once used.  Not only the emperor has no clothes but the emperor is old, senile, and smells.

Now, New York represents just about everything that is wrong with our American friends. New Yorkers come through as abrasive, obnoxious, uneducated loudmouths that believe they are the center of the universe. Wrong. I mean, New Yorkers think that David Letterman is funny. Give me a break. New Yorkers go gaga over Regis and Kelly. Give me another break. It’s not that hard to look cute and pretty when all you have to do is look cute and pretty. And they pay them millions of dollars to do that ?

Can New York regain its lost status ? I don’t think so. In the past you had to go to a big urban center in order to acquire “culture” and knowledge. These days you don’t need a location. The World Wide Web has changed all that.

A poor kid in Calcutta has access to the same knowledge that a wealthy one has in New York. This excites me. The Internet is equalizing everyone on the planet.  You cannot control the dissemination of knowledge anymore.

As the Internet reaches its adolescence we are bound to see its rebellious ways. And it will give the finger to all these mothballs institutions, personality icons, and cities who think they are the center of the universe.

The masses might still flock to New York but the really clever ones will stay away and create another kind of center of the universe where the mind itself will be the new super city. And this ultimate cyberspace city won’t have corruption, ignorant loudmouths, rats, bed bugs, or rampant and absurd crime. More importantly it won’t have Regis and Kelly.

Finally, how many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb ? Go to hell!