Morning Musing: The #BrooklynRiot

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 • no responses - be the first

That was the hashtag for what was a typical demonstration in the world today. Think those kids are outliers? Let Me Google That For You. Protests today often turn violent. Think about what it takes to get people into the streets today. The 60′s are long gone. I generally believe that marching nowadays is worthless (for reasons that have much to do with our media & political class), but I understand why people do it. I frequently understand the anger. Especially when it’s another young Black man/boy shot to death by the police. No matter what the circumstances were surrounding the shooting people are angry. As Martin once said “…in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

But what happened last night in Brooklyn was not a riot. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I lived through a riot once. And as I read the #BrooklynRiot tweets last night it was plainly obvious that what was going on was not a riot, but lots of people attempting to be heard. People exercising a right that is often severely curbed by the NYPD, NYC govt & the police departments & governments of many other cities:

Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And as happens sometimes in this situation, some people took the protest as an opportunity to stir up some trouble. I make no excuses for those who destroyed people’s property, but make no mistake about it, some of those people were/are filled with anger. An anger that had nowhere to go, but out. And anger that we refuse to discuss except with lip service.

I don’t know who decided to declare that protest a riot when some folks turned bad, but my money is on the NYPD. They are almost universally adversarial towards Black & Latin@ people. If they want the anger to begin to subside then their tactics & attitude must change.

The irony of this so-called riot is that without the trouble there would be almost zero coverage of last night’s demonstration.

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Quote Of The Day: NY Times On The NYPD & Guns

by TKOEd • Friday, Dec 14, 2012 • no responses - be the first

From a NYT report on guns & training by Alan Feur:

Some of Mr. Kelly’s troops disagree, going so far as to approach reporters with unsolicited views. One officer, who joined the force with a military background and spoke anonymously because he feared reprisals, said the problem was training. The department has “a factory line” approach to weapons training in which officers “get the basics — breathing, trigger control,” but not much else, he said. “It’s very brief, minimal.”

“Firearms training is important — it’s very important,” the officer concluded. “And it’s something that is not taken seriously.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but the NYPD has participated in enough wild shootings over the years that I was already convinced that our cops get very little/and or very poor weapons training. This is basic shit folks.


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The New Yorker On The Social Worth Of Wall Street

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010 • no responses - be the first

What Good Is Wall Street?: Much of what investment bankers do is socially worthless.

This is an epic article. It’s a must read of the highest order if you care at all about what’s happened to our country not just over the last few years, but over the last 30.

Giełda na Wall Street

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s an excerpt where the writer, John Cassidy, is talking to an ex finance insider, Paul Woolley:

At first, like most economists, he believed that trading drove market prices to levels justified by economic fundamentals. If an energy company struck oil, or an entertainment firm created a new movie franchise, investors would pour money into its stock, but the price would remain tethered to reality. The dotcom bubble of the late nineteen-nineties changed his opinion. GMO is a “value investor” that seeks out stocks on the basis of earnings and cash flows. When the Nasdaq took off, Woolley and his colleagues couldn’t justify buying high-priced Internet stocks, and their funds lagged behind rivals that shifted more of their money into tech. Between June, 1998, and March, 2000, Woolley recalled, the clients of GMO—pension funds and charitable endowments, mostly—withdrew forty per cent of their money. During the ensuing five years, the bubble burst, value stocks fared a lot better than tech stocks, and the clients who had left missed more than a sixty-per-cent gain relative to the market as a whole. After going through that experience, Woolley had an epiphany: financial institutions that react to market incentives in a competitive setting often end up making a mess of things. “I realized we were acting rationally and optimally,” he said. “The clients were acting rationally and optimally. And the outcome was a complete Horlicks.” Financial markets, far from being efficient, as most economists and policymakers at the time believed, were grossly inefficient. “And once you recognize that markets are inefficient a lot of things change.”

Woolley is also quoted making statements like this: “Why on earth should finance be the biggest and most highly paid industry when it’s just a utility, like sewage or gas?”, and: “It is like a cancer that is growing to infinite size, until it takes over the entire body.”

I encourage you to read the whole thing. It shed light on some things without the use of much finance jargon.

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