Occupy OccupyWallStNYC

A bunch of the founders of the Occupy movement are suing one another over access to the @OccupyWallStNYC Twitter account. One of the members took control of it when he thought the others were being too censorious.

Group members took on the task of limiting others to “1 to 2 tweets per day” (or week) on a topic, a form of censorship that would never have been allowed in the earlier days of the boat. I had to say enough!

The others want back in.

We can either go and beat him up or we can go to court.

The group is seeking control of the Twitter account as well as $500,000 in damages.

Follow the money.

Why Is It Always the Drummer?

Back when I was in the music business, I did some live sound mixing. It is normal practice in a recording studio to have a “drum cage,” an enclosed booth for the the drum kit that isolates it from the other performers. The drummer can wail away without leaking into other performers’ mics. That sort of isolation isn’t normal on stage, so if the drummer plays too loud (and they often do), it can be hard to get a good balance on the mix. Often the other instruments, especially electric guitar and bass, crank it up to 11 in an attempt to keep up. Then the vocal mics have to be turned up, and the system goes into feedback. If only the drummer would try to balance with the rest of the band …

So now we hear that rogue drummers are a problem for leaders trying to orchestrate Occupy Wall Street. I’m not surprised. Down twinkles!

BONUS JOKE—Q. What do you do with a musician who constantly plays the wrong notes? A. Give him two sticks and send to the back of the orchestra.

Q. What do you do if he can’t keep time either? A. Take away one stick and put him out front.

Drum and Bungle Corps

In the radio serial The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the hero Arthur Dent winds up on a spaceship that has been dispatched from the planet Golgafrincham with the useless third of the planet’s population (consisting of hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, management consultants, telephone sanitisers, and the like). This crew winds up settling on prehistoric Earth. The meetings they hold as they attempt to organize a government are mirrored in the “community boards” among the occupiers. For a marvelous example, click here to see how the critical problem of adequate support for drummers is handled.

These boards and working groups are more than just a nascent bureaucracy, they are the first stage of the “natural” leaders asserting themselves. It won’t be long before the pigs move into Farmer Jones’ house and we see which animals are more equal.

Occupy K Street

It’s no surprise to me that the Washington, DC, area is the wealthiest in the nation. It is filled with overpaid bureaucrats, contractors feeding at the federal trough (including this writer), and lobbyists. If the occupiers were really serious about affecting change, they would be camped out on K Street in DC, the center of the lobbyists’ infrastructure.

I work at Goddard Space Flight Center as a contractor. I took a substantial pay cut to go there, but I make enough to get by and the job is a whole lot more rewarding that what I was doing before. I work as a contractor because I can’t afford the additional pay cut that would come with joining the Civil Service. While many civil servants are overpaid for what they do, that is not true for certain technical employees–especially aerospace, chemical, electrical, and nuclear engineers. I suspect that one of the reason why NASA has so many contractors working in its facilities is its inability to pay competitive salaries for certain key skills. Because contractors have a more tenuous attachment to the agency, we are more likely to leave than permanent employees, and that turnover makes a dent in the agency’s collective experience base.

This is a worked example of how the government misallocates its resources.

My $5,500+ Mac Laptop

It seems that some of the occupiers aren’t willing to share their stuff with others. There’s a story going around about how some girl’s laptop has gone missing. There’s also a good deal of chatter wondering why her laptop cost $5,500. See here or here.

I don’t have any sympathy for what the occupiers are doing. I certainly question whether an 18 year old who either can afford an Mac laptop or has parents who can provide her with one is sufficiently disadvantaged to be considered a genuine member of the 99 Percent.

OTOH, I can believe that the total bill from the Apple Store for her laptop purchase could have been $5,500 if she bought software at the same time. The full up version of Microsoft Office is $279.95. Adobe CS5.5 Premium is $1899.95. Maybe she’s a graphic arts major who isn’t smart enough to buy student versions of software.

My Mac laptop cost about $2,500, but the replacement cost of it and all the software on it would be well north of $5,500.

Time to Go

The owners of the land where the Occupy Wall Street gang is camped out want the area cleared so that the property can be cleaned. The OWS crowd are asking for help:

Call 311 and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to not interfere with #OWS. If you are calling from outside NY use this number 212-NEW-YORK.

Right to assemble? How about “the right of the people to peaceably assemble”? Since when is trespassing on private property peaceable assembly?

Mayor Bloomberg says he will clear the place tomorrow. Allahpundit has some speculation about the possible fun ahead.

2011, Meet 1932

Allahpundit wonders why Mayor Bloomberg is telling the Occupy Wall Street gang that they are welcome to stay as long as they want so long as they don’t break the law.

The NYPD has already had bad PR from it’s handling of the protests, especially at the Brooklyn Bridge. Perhaps the mayor sees a parallel with 1932 and wants to avoid history repeating itself.

Rather than evicting the Bonus Army OWS protestors from their camp, let them keep demonstrating for their bonus stuff. Winter is coming, and the mayor is probably right when he observes that weather will have something to do with the end of the protests. That way, MacArthur Bloomberg doesn’t have to appear to be Hoover’s Obama’s bully.

Pogo Was Right

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

David P. Goldman has an analysis of our collective reactions to the financial situation of the first decade of the century that led to the housing bubble. He shows home values have actually done better than the stock values of the major banks. During the first part of the decade, Americans stopped savings as the influx of foreign capital distorted the economy.

We didn’t save a penny. Why should we? Our home equity was our retirement account. Our smartest kids got MBAs and went to Wall Street derivatives desks. Engineering was for dummies. Home prices rose so fast that local governments swam with tax revenues and hired with abandon. Everybody went to the party. Now everybody has a hangover, especially the bankers. We thought we were geniuses because we won the lottery. Now we actually have to produce and export things, and we have to play catch-up. Our kids are competing with Asian kids who go to cram school and practice the violin in the afternoon. This isn’t going to be easy, and the sooner we decide to roll up our sleeves and get back to work instead of looking for bankers to blame, the better our chances of coming back.

Read the whole thing.

The occupiers have the wrong targets in their sights. They should be going after those who convinced them that a BFA in Sculpture was as good a career ticket as a BS in Structural Engineering.

UPDATE–Jim Geraghty, who writes the Campaign Spot blog over at NRO, has a daily email newsletter (subscribe here) called Morning Jolt. Today, he begins by asking the question, “Can we start calling Wall Street the ‘Occupied Territory’ now?”

UPDATE 2–Bryan Preston has A Second Open Letter to the So-Called ‘99%’ at PJ Tattler. He concludes:

The fact is, indebted students like … the ones who are still posting their pictures at the “We Are the 99 Percent” site have been scammed. That much is true. Or rather, they bought into a scam and are now reaping their reward. The scam wasn’t perpetrated by the corporations, and not by the banks, but by the educational establishment that keeps coming up with ever more irrelevant degree programs to keep more and more professors tenured and insulated from the real world. The benefit to students and to the future of the nation isn’t even close to being an afterthought in most of the ivory tower.

99 Percent of Whom?

Go take a look at We Are the 99 Percent, a site put up by some of the Occupy Wall Street folks. Very few of the featured sad tales mention Wall Street institutions, but most talk about college loans. I guess my generation’s occupations of college administration buildings took the glamour off confronting the schools who tricked these folks into majoring in studies which lead to few, if any, employment opportunities. Another set of bad guys had to be found, and bankers made the loans.

In the course of my education, I studied lots of subjects not directly related to my degree in Engineering, but if I’d had to rely on the my study of French, I’d have spent most of my career asking, “Voulez-vous pommes frites avec ca?”

When asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests, White House Chief of Staff Daly said,

I don’t know if it’s helpful. I wouldn’t characterize it that way.

If the protests helped to focus rage at millionaires, billionaires, and corporate jet owners, I’m sure that the White House gang would find them helpful. But to the average voter the occupiers come off as, for the most part, a mix of crackpots and spoiled brats. Their big PR blunder was failing to put some normal looking people out front.

Allahpundit has a review of reactions similar to mine. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE—Bookworm writes at PJ Tattler,

It’s pretty clear that a core issue animating these protesters is the ridiculous debt obligations that they voluntarily assumed. It’s therefore almost funny to see the working class union types leaping on board to help out kids whose demands, if acceded to, will pile ever greater debt on the ordinary working stiffs in America.


Full of Sound and Fury

Karl at Hot Air notes the futility of the “occupation” of Wall Street. He describes it as full of “sound and fury” and opines that real beneficiary will be the GOP.

Perhaps a more complete quote from Macbeth better describes the situation:

… [I]t is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

UPDATE—House Progressive Democrats Embrace the “Occupy Wall Street” Campers

To quote Jonah Goldberg,


UPDATE 2—Joan Wile has a blog report up describing Charlie Rangel’s visit to support the “occupiers” last Saturday.

Dennis the Peasant on Wall Street

Lots of folks seem to be making a connection between the Occupy Wall Street crowd and the Socialist Peasant scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

For example, here. And here. And here. These links range from right to left across the political spectrum.

The Python line that popped in to my mind when looking at coverage of the Wall Street “occupation” was the one that referred to the Loonie Detector Van.