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I have been busy. I have been actively involved with the Occupy Wall Street protests, in a number of Caucus and Movement groups (including Occupy the SEC which is a part of the Alternative Banking group). I’m long overdue to post to tell you about how I feel like a lawyer these days as I comb through The Volcker Rule text looking for loopholes the banks will use.
But today, I march in solidarity with my fellow protestors at Foley Square at 5pm in New York City. If you are in NY, I urge you to come out. I know many of my friends have been wary to join in. They question the efficacy, they question the tactics, they question the point.
The point is simple: unlimited campaign donations by corporations is free speech, per the Citizens United Supreme Court Case. But tents in a park is not free speech. Instead, it requires a military-style show of force at a time when our city is ostensibly unable to afford anything. And now I am hearing that Brookfield Properties who owns the park is not even allowing signs into the park. Free speech, indeed?
Here is an excellent video of the scene at the night of the eviction, set to Frank Sinatra:
I used to work on Wall Street, so I do think I have a sense of what is good and what is bad (and what is egregious) there. I do think that marching on the NYSE is not the best strategic move. The NYSE is a public, transparent exchange where listed products trade. This is not a warehouse of opaque CDOs that trade Over-the-counter in numbers no one knows and, per the 2000 “Commodity Futures Modernization Act” no one could regulate.
But the movement overall has shone a light on a fact Wall Street wished we’d simply forget: that they are not playing by “free market” rules, though they expect us to.
I lost all sympathy with the executives and producers of major banks in 2009. Here, after having gotten massive, hugely visible rescues, and continuing support in the way of super low interest rates (a massive transfer from savers), they did not do the right thing, which was to lay low for a couple of years, cut pay, and rebuild their balance sheets. Instead, banks fell all over themselves to repay the TARP simply to escape its think restrictions on executive pay, and Wall Street bonuses in 2009 and 2010 exceeded the 2007 record.
As we’ve argued, banks, particularly in this era of extraordinary support (rock bottom interest rates, regulatory forbearance, underpriced insurance schemes) enjoy far more government support than any other industry, including defense contractors. They can’t properly be considered to be private companies. They are utilities and need to be regulated as such. And if they won’t rein in pay levels on their own, it should include restrictions on pay.
And so, today at 5pm I will march on Foley Square. If you have been on the sidelines up until now, come join us today. Come see what we are up against. And come feel your heart soar, as mine has, as you stand side-by-side with a community of people who are finally getting out from behind their laptops and into the streets to make lasting change that’s been so long overdue.
Filed under: activism, OWS | 1 Comment
Well, it just so happens that JP Morgan invested significantly in a fund with a $400 million share of twitter back in March of this year. While at the time I’m sure they just thought it made good business sense, what it may well mean now is that they have say over one of the primary mediums the Occupy Wall St movement is using to get the word out.
More chilling is the $4.6 million donation that JP Morgan has recently given to the NYPD’s New York Police Foundation. Here it is emblazoned proudly on JPM’s corporate site.
In my mind, there are two possible interpretations here. The first is this is an attempt at suppression from multiple levels: communication and law. If you control the medium, you control the message. If you control the enforcers, you can supplant the law.
Another interpretation? That Chris Hedges was right. That JP Morgan is running scared.
Hedges recently gave a lengthy interview at Occupy Wall Street (which was so good I stayed up until 4am last night watching every part of it. He is so articulate and moving that I think my brain exploded a little listening to him), and one of the things he said is relevant here:
The real people who are scared are the power elite. Of course, they’re trying to make you scared and us scared. But I can tell you, having been a reporter for the New York Time, that on the inside, they’re very, very frightened. They do not want movements like this to grow.
Which interpretation is right? Perhaps both. We shall see.
Filed under: activism, Occupy Wall St | 0 Comments
It looks like a number of people running WordPress on Dreamhost fell victim to this.
There is a great write-up of the issue here: http://www.travelswithakazoo.com/2011/09/how-embarassing/ and here http://sucuri.net/new-malware-sweepstakesandcontestsnow-com.html
script src="http://do not go to sweepstakesandcontestsnow.com/nl.php?nnn=1"[/code]
So, what about this site? It looks like I was saved by some of the custom tweaks I made to this particular WordPress install, as it appears that the malicious script tried to do the same to this site, but, well, failed (the script tried the wrong directory).
I haven’t heard back from Dreamhost on how this all went down, but I have since changed all my logins and thoroughly chastised myself. If you have visited alexisgo.com in the last 10 days, especially if you were running IE, you will want to do a full system scan. I deeply apologize for this.
If you use Dreamhost and run WordPress, you should check out your sites while running NoScript in Firefox, and make sure you don’t have cause to feel as embarrassed as I do right now. Here is the cleanup for the effects of this should your site have been a target: http://blog.sucuri.net/2010/05/simple-cleanup-solution-for-the-latest-wordpress-hack.html
Filed under: FML | 0 Comments
A little over a year ago, I quit my job on Wall Street. I made great money. I worked with smart people. I was eligible for promotion to Director. And yet, I was deeply unhappy. I felt trapped. The journey to get to the day I resigned was a long one. So, I’ve decided once and for all describe my journey out of the golden handcuffs, out of a job I didn’t believe in.
I hope you find my process enlightening, or at the very least, amusing. If you follow these steps closely, you too can be an
successful entrepreneur unemployed hippie incredibly happy human being.
1. BE DISSATISFIED WITH YOUR JOB.
Find it hard to wake up in the morning. Feel the weekdays crawl by. Wonder what you could do if you spent all day working on YOUR projects instead of sweating for someone else. Have a melodramatic attitude about what you’ve done in your career (“Nothing!”) and life (“I’ve accomplished nothing! Nothing I do matters!”).
Suffer malaise and ennui.
Complain to all your friends about how much your job sucks until they can’t stand to hear anymore. Complain to them some more. Complain until your social circle consists only of your equally complain-y coworkers, or friends you see once every two months who always forget that you just bitch about your job the whole time.
Difficulty level: EASY
Filed under: Burning Man, change is hard | 12 Comments
HTML5′s Microdata allows us to use custom vocabularies to add better markup to our pages. It allows us to tell search engines things like “Hey, Google! I know I’ve got twenty images on my blog but this image is my bio pic!” This is so important that Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft have teamed up to work together on these vocabularies at schema.org. They’ve created vocabularies for everything from Event, Restaurant, Product and Review, to Person, Organization, Corporation, and NGO.
So why haven’t you heard more about it? Well, if the google analytics on Mark Pilgrim’s Dive Into HTML5 online book are any indication, people are generally uninterested. Pilgrim’s book covers Microdata in a dedicated chapter. But if you look at his analytics, you’ll find that that is the least read chapter. Mark writes:
Seriously, the shit that nobody gives about my beloved Peeks, Pokes & Pointers chart is rivaled only by the shit that nobody gives about Microdata.
In my mind, that’s an edge for those of us who do give a shit. Continue reading ‘Why you should give a shit about Microdata’
Filed under: HTML5 | 2 Comments
Um, should I be worried that KitKats cause cancer? Because Nestle just acquired a company, Prometheus Labs, that makes products to treat cancer and gastrointestinal illness. Uh, since this smells like vertical integration, I should be worried, shouldn’t I?
Filed under: activism | 2 Comments
I wrote a guest blog on HTML5′s Drag & Drop for Sitepoint.com. It’s a very simple example that builds a little Scrum Planning Board using a bit of CSS and the new Drag & Drop API. You can view the sample code up on github.
Filed under: programming | 1 Comment
You’d think now would be a time for kindness and charity. A time for companies, if they were to say anything at all, to offer to lend a hand.
But not SEARS! No, Sears looked across the south at all this devesatation, and you know what they saw? Big, fat dollar signs! So they sent me, and who knows how many thousands of other idiots that bought something from them once and receive their SPAM ever after, this email: “Affected by the storm? Sears can help you clean up.”
And here’s a handy graphic:
Filed under: profits not people | 1 Comment
Yesterday, I was treated to the amazing article “Startup America needs to look more like America: The Minority Led Startup Gap” by Kalimah Priforce.
Let’s sidestep for a moment the “I lived on the B train” comment (as tempting as it may be to question “what exactly is THAT supposed to mean?”), and focus on the positive: Jason’s willingness to engage and even change the panel given a list of “qualified black judges.”
Jason, to save you some time and research, I wanted to elaborate a bit on the suggestions I made, so you can get busy.
Continue reading ‘Seven Black Judges for @Jason’s Launch Conference’
Filed under: challenge | 21 Comments
He is known for his fierce views on modern cinema. He has said that “most people are visually illiterate” and that “Our educational system teaches us to value text over image. And that is one of the reasons we have such an impoverished cinema.” — Greenaway in Rembrandt’s J’Accuse…!
Now, you may think, here is a filmmaker lamenting the fact that people do not see films. But, Greenaway is quite the critic himself of the cinema.
Filed under: 11for11, art | 0 Comments
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