Behind the Occupy Take Down

This is terrifying.

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy {the guardian}.

Happy New Year!

Let’s Use Loyalty Reward Cards to Feed the Homeless

This is a cool idea:

If every customer of Qdoba used the same shared loyalty rewards card to earn free meals, a lot of food could be donated to hungry families.

That’s the Project Burrito idea that Chris Overcash brought to Random Hacks of Kindness this weekend. Today, you could start using the above loyalty rewards account to help earn free food for needy families, beginning here in Philadelphia.

I’m not big on Qdoba, but I suppose it could make a difference nonetheless. What other loyalty rewards cards give actual stuff (as opposed to just points)? Also seems like it could be a logistics nightmare.

Go to the Project Burrito site to get the barcode {via technically philly}.

Reminds me of that debt buyback initiative Occupy Wall Street recently started.

Friday Link List

1. The People’s Bailout {huffington post}.

Cartoonist David Reese’s take on the latest Occupy Wall Street initiative:

Like a lot of people, I used to think Occupy Wall Street was just a bunch of weirdos eating day-old bagels and banging pots and pans downtown. Not that there’s anything wrong with day-old bagels — they make excellent doorstops — but I always wondered what would happen if OWS took all their energy and applied it towards specific, practical goals…

The Rolling Jubilee has one simple purpose: To buy distressed debt for pennies on the dollar and then abolish it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT.


2. A Young Reporter Recounts Her Descent into Madness {npr}.

This one strikes a personal note with me (although hers was way more rare/intense than my experience.

As Najjar put it to her parents, “her brain was on fire.” This discovery led to her eventual diagnosis and treatment for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of “demonic possession” throughout history.


3. Symcat {via very short list}.

Cool site.

Tell Symcat your symptoms! It estimates, based on hundreds of thousands of patient records, which ailment you most likely have.


4. Ross Mantle.

Ross Mantle is a photographer who splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and his native Pittsburgh, Pa. His work often focuses on contemporary American life and the relationships between person and place.


5. Is the Web Driving Us Mad? {daily beast}.

An article about Jason Russell, the man who began the “Kony 2012” viral video sensation, and his subsequent breakdown:

Afterward, Russell was diagnosed with “reactive psychosis,” a form of temporary insanity. It had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol—his wife, Danica, stressed in a blog post—and everything to do with the machine that kept Russell connected even as he was breaking apart.

“Though new to us,” Danica continued, “doctors say this is a common experience,” given Russell’s “sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention—both raves and ridicules.” More than four months later, Jason is out of the hospital, his company says, but he is still in recovery. His wife took a “month of silence” on Twitter. Jason’s social-media accounts remain dark.

Word of the Year

Occupy is linguist Geoff Nunberg’s 2011 word of the year {npr}. In part for its flexibility as a verb, and in part due to Nunberg’s selection criteria, including an “item that shaped the perception of [an] important event.”

An excerpt:

Now, it’s true the protesters weren’t really occupying Wall Street in the old sense, taking it over the way workers in the 1930s occupied a factory or students in the ’60s occupied the dean’s office. This is a new meaning of the verb, for a form of protest adapted to the age of smartphones and Twitter, not to mention REI. Once the new occupy grew capital letters, you could export it to places that had no direct connection to finance, as franchises of the original: Occupy Oakland, like Macy’s San Francisco. They could have just been called protests, but it wouldn’t have felt as much like a movement.


I’m not shy about my love for the weekly radio show Left, Right & Center. It’s the Gilligan’s Island of talk radio — that is — there’s a token member of each level of society or in this case, each political persuasion (sort of). There’s the optimistic, if not denialistic (is that a word?) Tom Hanks-look-alike from the political center, Matt Miller. Then there’s your affable, conservative Brit — a combination that never fully sets in the first time you hear it. Then there’s the on-again off-again Arianna Huffington, from the “independent progressive blogosphere,” whatever that means.

Last but not least is Robert Scheer, the outspoken, banks-must-die advocate for the left. Despite the fact that three of those four could be considered on the left (it is California after all…), I appreciate the intellectual rigor present in their conversations.

Then again, maybe the real reason I like the show is the way the other three seem to set it up so perfectly for Scheer in almost every episode. His rant from last weeks’ show is a good example of any of what I’m talking about, and makes such an awesome point about the hypocrisy coming from the media/right/left about the Occupy movement.

Scheer, wrapping up a soliloquy about the police presence in L.A. as Occupiers set up camp near Bank of America, next to the headquarters of Wells Fargo:

I think that the Constitutional guarantee of the right of people to assemble and demand a redress of grievances — if you can’t do that over this kind of issue, it makes the Constitution hollow, it mocks it. And for our government to have celebrated demonstrations that are certainly more disorderly than these, more of an inconvenience to people, in places like Cairo, in China… we said “no, so what if they disrupt traffic in these places, they have the right to assemble,” and now here people are talking about keeping the sidewalks clean, let’s not inconvenience people, I think it’s nonsense.

Nonsense indeed. From last weeks’ episode, Occupied by Occupy {kcrw}.