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2011 November » North of Center
 

Notes from Community Night in Lexington, KY, the longest continuously running occupation in North America.*

Early evening, Night 61, the grounds of JP Morgan Chase:

At the Libertarian Municipalism reading group, held 5:30 PM at Natasha’s, Martin, Michael, Danny, and Jaclyn decided to focus on organizing 2-4 markets spaces throughout the city. The goal is to open things in March—new spaces for gathering and exchange. The group felt this would be a good way to practice and enact group readings on “libertarian municipalism,” otherwise described as a set of directives for taking over city leadership through a network of neighborhood General Assemblies. This week’s original readings seemed too theoretical and several steps beyond where we’re at in Lexington, so Marty’s digging up another reading for next week that will have more nuts and bolts on connecting local action to the theory of municipalism. Contact Mudd at Martin.Mudd@gmail.com for more information, or just show up to the Occupation on Mondays at 5:30 to join in the fun and market planning. Continue reading »

Nov 232011
 

The photo credits for Beth Connors Manke’s inquiry into feminicide on the U.S./Mexican border, “Ciudad Juarez” (November 9) were mis-attributed. Photos were taken by Dana Rogers. We thank Dana for the use of her images.

 

I am a junior faculty member at University of California Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.

You are not. Continue reading »

 

From State College to Berkeley and back to Lexington

By Jeff Gross

Like many on the morning of November 10, I woke up to the swell of news about what had happened overnight at two major public universities. In State College, P.A., an estimated 2,000 students took to the streets after the Penn State University Board of Trustees announced the dismissal of university president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno for their alleged roles in covering up the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Angry that media attention had pressured the school to end Paterno’s reign, students hurled rocks at television reporters and overturned a news van. By the time the streets were cleared, the police had made no arrests.

Across the country, at the University of California-Berkeley, students gathered in front of Sproul Hall (site of famous 1960s protests) to Occupy Cal and draw attention to the increasing cost of tuition and the long-term impact of student loan debt. In defiance of university administrators’ orders not to set up an encampment, a group of nearly 1,000, made up of students and faculty members, attempted to set up tents to occupy their campus. Refusing police orders to disperse, protestors knowingly committed an act of civil disobedience when they linked arms to protect the individuals setting up the encampment. Continue reading »

 

Scapegoating the occupation

There have been large amounts of pressure lately from pro-capitalist forces to shut down the Occupy protest encampments throughout the country. One tactic often used by these forces is scapegoating—attempting to send the message that the Occupy movement is a fringe group filled with the problematic misfits of society. For example, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid recently stated of his local Occupy protest that it has been a major setback for the area while attracting sex offenders, mentally ill and homeless people, and anarchists. In essence, Reid avoids discussion of the deeper issues and instead attempts to deter people from supporting the Occupy movement by associating it with persons in marginalized segments of society.

This biased argument is a microcosm of the greater narrative where those in power try to distract the American people from understanding the root causes of our increasing economic stratification and, at the same time, to blame the many for the wrongs of the few. Thus, while the 1% try to categorize Occupy as the sick people of society, in truth, Occupy represents courageous people coming together to bear witness to what IS SICK in our society—economic inequality, corporate greed, and political cronyism.

PS—Perhaps there needs to be a registry not only for sex offenders but also for the financiers and their elected counterparts whose selfish and irresponsible actions led to an incredibly disproportionate amount of wealth and power in the hands of too few.

Sarah Rhomberg

Stanton, Ky

Bringing change to the system

This is how real change can come to the system (“Too big to fail, too big for me,” (October 26) . If everyone simply moves out of the too-big-to-fail, too-globalized-to-care-about-us banking system, it WILL fail. And the world won’t end. Real change will come because the citizenry not only demanded it but acted to make it happen. A revolution need not be bloody to be effective.

Hedgehog2

Smirking Chimp blog

Wall Street investment money is not insured. So, why are we keeping it there? When the economy tanks, all of those retirement plans are going to suffer huge losses of principal. By transferring it into a CD at a federally insured credit union or community bank, we are protecting our futures and screwing wall street at the same time. Naturally, check with a tax advisor, or someone you trust to make sure it is economically feasible to do so.

Eyuckk

Smirking Chimp blog

 

Benton sweeps first night of league play

NoC Sports

Under the distant gaze of two fans drinking at Sidebar, Michael Benton rolled his way to a pair of victories on the soggy grounds of Courthouse Fields for opening night of the Lexington Guerilla Bocce League (LGBL). In the night’s first match, Benton and League non-commissioner Danny Mayer rolled a closely fought match. The two players traded leads until Mayer surged ahead 10-8 with a late-match perfect botch. At the ensuing rolling of the jack, Benton responded with a perfect botch of his own to pull off an improbable, thrilling, come-from-behind 11-10 victory. Continue reading »

 

Italian movie poster for Il Grande Dittatore.

On Wednesday, November 30 the Bluegrass Film Society will screen Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 satire of Nazi Germany, The Great Dictator. After a distinguished career as director and actor of silent films throughout the 1920s and 30s, The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first serious foray into the world of “talkies.” Chaplin stars in a double role as a Jewish barber enlisted as a private in a fictionalized European war, and as the fascist dictator Hynkel (clearly modeled on Adolf Hitler) the Jewish barber has enlisted to fight. At the time of The Great Dictator‘s release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin’s film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts.” It ultimately became the silent-actor’s most commercially successful film.

Bluegrass Film Society screenings take place in the Oswald Auditorium at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, located on Cooper Drive nearby Commonwealth Stadium. Screenings are free and begin at 7:30 P.M.

 

How we got here

By Austin Parker

A fifteen minute channel-surf of cable news will offer many villains for who’s to blame for our collapse. There are Wall Street bankers who point their finger at irresponsible homeowners who signed off on loans they couldn’t possibly pay back. There are the likes of New York City billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg who wag their proverbial finger at Washington, claiming that laws passed under prior administrations forced lenders to make loans to people who would not be able to repay. There are economists like Paul Krugman look to the banks, accusing them of designing these exotic financial instruments and then misrepresenting them to prospective clients—all the while minimizing dangers and falsifying paperwork on their behalf in pursuit of larger bonuses at the end of the quarter. And then there are the centrists, people like Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke who say that it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, that we just have to knuckle under and not point fingers—and certainly not investigate anyone in particular for malfeasance or wrongdoing. Continue reading »

 

Pedestrian take on Lexington development

By Danny Mayer and Beth Connors-Manke

As Lexingtonians continue to adjust to the reality of dwindling city finances, last week elected leaders began soliciting bids for outside consultants to develop plans for two-waying a number of Lexington streets. These include the north-south running Limestone and Upper Streets, and the one-way downtown cross streets Short, Second, Main, Vine, High and Maxwell.

Public support for two-waying derives from numerous studies that claim one-way streets inhibit vibrant urban activity. The reports generally cite two, seemingly contradictory, environmental effects that one-way streets have on traffic. First, car-goers find them inherently confusing and difficult to navigate. Suburban shoppers frustrated at navigating downtown’s one-way thoroughfares rationally choose the easier option of patronizing outlying malls. Second, one-ways compel traffic to move faster. Thus, those who do pass through town naturally travel too fast to stop at urban retail shops and restaurants. Continue reading »

 

Lexington native comes home for the holidays—in cinematic form

By Lucy Jones

There’s a lot to like about Michael Shannon.

He’s a native Lexingtonian, so that should earn him the instant affection and allegiance of anyone with a UK sweatshirt in her closet or a Local First sticker on his car.

Of course, if you’re an impossibly hard sell who somehow demands greater credentials for devotion than that, consider that at age of 37, Shannon is an Academy Award nominated actor who has worked with cinematic legends ranging from John Waters to Werner Herzog to Martin Scorsese.

I was more than happy to accept that statement as the most impressive thing about him, until I heard this: when Sony Pictures Classics began the platform release of his new film, Take Shelter, Shannon not only made his wishes clear that he’d like the film played in Lexington, he also specified that he wanted it shown at the Kentucky Theatre. A loyal friend of the Kentucky Theatre? In my book, there’s nothing more adoration inspiring than that. Continue reading »