Random ramblings.

Tuesday
Oct302012

How To Vote On Nov 6 (And Why)

I'm sharing this to try and help ease the confusion/stress of voting, in the hopes that it'll get more people to the polls. Also, it's to encourage people to pay attention not just to the presidential race, but to all the other choices we'll be making on November 6. This mostly applies to SF and CA; I hope that you seek out something like this for wherever you are. A good place to do that is (http://theballot.org). 

Basically, if you're anywhere to the Left of the GOPTP, the choices I suggest that are the closest to being in line with mainstream progressive ideals (more on this later). Even if you're voting 3rd-party for president (I beg you not to, especially if you're in any sort of battleground state), please take the time to vote on the other races and the propositions, measures, etc. 

This list isn't necessarily about my personal opinion on these issues. I try to be transparent about any personal bias throughout. Mostly, though, I just took various sources (newspapers, smart friends, entities for and against, etc.) and cross-referenced them, then went from there.

First off, here's a really easy version first that you can take with you when you vote. Then, after the list, there are concise, plain-english explanations as to why those choices make sense. 

HOW:

PEOPLE (MOSTLY CA/BAY ONLY):

President: Barack Obama

Senate (CA): Dianne Feinstein

House, District 8 (SF-ish): Nancy Pelosi

House, District 9 (Oakland-ish): Barbara Lee

House, District 12 (Peninsula-ish): Jackie Speier

Assembly, District 13 (SF): Tom Ammiano

Assembly, District 19 (SF): Phil Ting

State Senate, District 11 (SF): Mark Leno

BART Board, District 9: Tom Radulovich

BART Board, District 7: Zachary Mallett

PROPOSITIONS:

(CA ONLY)

Prop 30: YES

Prop 31: NO

Prop 32: NO

Prop 33: NO   

Prop 34: YES   

Prop 35: NO

Prop 36: YES

Prop 37: YES   

Prop 38: NO    

Prop. 39: YES

Prop 40: YES

(SF ONLY)

Prop A (Taxes For Community Colleges): YES

Prop B (Parks): YES

Prop C (Affordable Housing): YES

Prop D (Consolidating Elections): YES

Prop E (Taxing Businesses To Help The City's General Fund): YES

Prop F (Study Water Resources): NO

Prop G (Corporations Aren't People): YES

========= 

WHY:

PEOPLE:

I don't mean to minimize the individual attributes of any of the people listed, but as I go to write about the individual races, it really is a similar story: In most cases, the only other people running in these races (that have any chance of winning) are extreme Right-wing ideologues. Their views and policies are largely based on some unholy combination of irrational biblical interpretation and/or racism and/or greed. I've never voted Republican, but it's common knowledge that Reagan, Nixon and many other conservative icons look like decadent communists compared to the current state of the GOPTP. To vote third-party at this point just doesn't make sense if you want to keep congress and the presidency sane and reasonable. I still consider 2000-2008 to be a time that we'll feel the effects of for decades. All the while, I heard people talking about how Bush and Gore were the same, then how Bush and Kerry were the same. In the meantime, extreme Right-wingnuts from Bush and Cheney on down the line did terrible damage to our schools, our environment, our Supreme Court… on and on. For a moment, President Obama was actually able to do some really great stuff, and then in 2010 we lost a bunch of seats in congress to people hellbent on blocking anything the Democrats attempted, which led to a very frustrating couple of years. It could be an absolutely disastrous bunch of years if Romney/Ryan wins and/or we lose any more seats in congress. After November 6, I'm all for doing grass-roots organizing on progressive issues and building on that momentum; getting important issues onto ballots, getting great progressives onto school boards, city councils, anything we can do. For now, though, next week, these are our choices. Most of them aren't anywhere near perfect for many of my progressive friends with regard to war, drugs, civil rights, privacy and many other very important issues. They're not perfect for me, either. I'll just say the same thing I've said a lot this election cycle: Every choice you'll ever make is inherently the choice between the lesser of two evils. Think about that. I think the Left is falling prey, ironically, to the rhetoric created and popularized by the Right (Reagan in particular) that says politicians and government are inherently bad, dishonest, etc. This irrational stereotype creates apathy. Apathy creates low voter turnout. Low voter turnout, historically speaking, leads to candidates further and further to the Right (why that is merits a whole other discussion), leaving so many of us ever more scared and hopeless. We're on the same side here. Let's keep building the future we want, together. Right now, that means voting thoughtfully and reasonably. Please do.

========

PROPOSITIONS

Prop 30 (Tax For Education): YES

This one is simple and urgent. It'll give our schools $6 billion annually for the next several years to prevent even more (and more severe) cuts to our already crowded, underfunded public schools, which in turn affects our public safety, our future… you get the idea. It's crazy that in California we have so much innovation, wealth and everything else… and our public schools are dying. We’ve got to pass this.

Prop 31 (Budget Stuff): NO

Lots of confusing money stuff here. In the face of complex, hard-to-figure things like this, I check with the folks that have really studied up. In this case, the League of Women Voters, California School Employees, the California League of Conservation Voters, half the major newspapers, the Democrats and others I respect are against it. They all say that it just creates new and more complicated bureaucracies… and that it’s not well written, which will inevitably make for tons of legal messes. Notably, some folks for it are the California Republican Party, a lot of chambers of commerce, the California Business Roundtable, and others. I generally find that entities with terms like 'business' and/or 'taxpayer' in their names are 'conservative' entities that want to further gut public education, social services and infrastructure in favor of the mega-rich getting even more mega-rich.

Prop 32 (Political Spending): NO

So many propositions are sneaky like this. They sound great until you read the fine print. If this proposition actually took the money out of politics, I’d be all for it. But it doesn’t. It says that unions and corporations can’t contribute directly to candidates, BUT this leaves a lot of businesses that aren’t corporations free to donate, and corporations free to fund SuperPacs. More importantly, this proposition also prohibits using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. This is a very important point, because only unions work this way. It leaves corporations free to throw money at candidates and PACs from their operating funds, while completely neutering unions (meaning progressive causes would lose major donors). It’s very important to defeat this. The League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party, and the California Teachers all oppose it. Fittingly, The Koch brothers (hyper-conservative zillionaires) have provided most of the financial support for this proposition. It's always smart to follow the money when figuring out what to support (and what not to).

Prop 33 (Car Insurance): NO   

Another sneaky one. It sells itself as a proposition to allow insurance discounts to drivers who have continuous insurance coverage. What that really means, though, is that it allows insurance companies to raise their rates on anyone who, for any reason, drops their coverage and then reinstates it, which just makes no sense. Interestingly, this was voted down in 2010, but they're trying it again 

Prop 34 (Death Penalty Ban): YES   

Bans the death penalty. Personally, I'm opposed to killing people in general (what a concept), especially in light of the fact that way too many people have been put to death, only to discover after they're gone that they were innocent. Beyond the heavy moral/ethical stuff, it’s also a big moneysaver. Death row is really expensive, as is the (very necessary) appeals process involved in that punishment. Current death row inmates would have their sentences converted to life in prison. That's expensive too, of course, but that's a whole other conversation. Anyway, even with that in mind, it will still save money. Those savings would go to investigate unsolved murder cases (there are more of those than you could ever imagine). This seems like a really reasonable compromise around a really tough, ugly but all-too-real issue. 

Prop 35 (Human Trafficking): NO   

This is a tough one for me; I actually switched on this one at the last minute. Of course human trafficking is horrific. We need to take it seriously. This would help to do that. What changed my mind, though, was finding out that this proposition was essentially created and paid for by one very rich person (former Facebook exec Chris Kelly) looking for a cause to advance his political futures. This isn't bad in and of itself, but it's always a reason to dig deeper. Turns out that this bill, along with doing some good to combat trafficking, would also cast really wide nets and inevitably mess with many in the sex industry that aren't evil monsters. Frankly, I'm not generally a fan of stripping, porn, prostitution, etc, but I'm even less of a fan of people with different views than mine being unnecessarily harassed and disproportionately punished. Also, there is apparently another bill in the works (by state Senator Mark Leno) that would do the good this one would without the unnecessary stuff.

Prop 36 (Three Strikes Reform): YES

This would revise the Three Strikes law to impose life in prison only when the third strike is “serious or violent.” There are an astonishing number of people serving ridiculously disproportionate sentences because of the dogmatic, one-size-fits-all nature of this truly terrible law. This would authorize the justice system to re-examine Three Strikes sentences that weren't overly serious or violent. The people who voted for Three Strikes in the first place didn’t intend life in prison for many of the people no serving those sentences. It’s time to at least begin to fix this insane law. 

Prop 37 (GMO Labeling): YES   

Labeling any food that contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms) really has no downside. We're just learning about this technology, and we deserve to have all the information we need as consumers to decide what we feed ourselves and our children. Monsanto (impossibly rich and powerful king of the GMO freaks) is very against this proposition, which is a great reason to be for it.

Prop 38 (Tax For Education): NO    

This one's confusing. It sounds a lot like Prop 30 in many ways. It also raises money for education, BUT it taxes the mega-poor as well as the mega-rich; the tax lasts for twelve years; the money it would generate doesn't get to the schools fast enough… you get the point. Also, even if both this one and 30 pass, this one could cancel out 30 if it gets more votes, which is too risky. It's not supported by the governor or any major newspapers. 

Prop. 39 (Multistate Biz Tax): YES

Through various loopholes, the law around this right now essentially encourages outsourcing of jobs. This proposition would change that and simply require multi-state businesses (hello, Amazon and other internet giants) doing business in California to pay income taxes in California, even if they’ve moved their offices, jobs, etc elsewhere… again, usually to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. With Prop 39, if you’re selling here, you’ll have to pay your taxes here. Pretty simple and sensible. 

Prop 40 (Uphold Current Redistricting): YES

Redistricting is a tough thing to figure, seems everyone does it to try to get advantages in elections, etc. A Yes vote on this just confirms that voters want to keep the redistricting that was decided already and went into effect this year. The courts have similarly ruled that the current redistricting works for now, but apparently someone with a lot of money didn't like their decision. Vote yes on this to uphold decisions that have already been made and agreed upon. 

=============

SF-ONLY STUFF

Prop A (Taxes For Community Colleges): YES

This is trying to make up for 25 million in state budget cuts. It will raise 16 million dollars by adding a small tax ($79) to every property lot. It's not perfect, but our community colleges desperately need this money.

Prop B (Parks): YES

This gives 195 million (from money raised by property taxes) to help keep our city pretty and functional for all. While the Parks & Rec dept. could do a way better job and should be pressured along those lines (serving public interests and poorer neighborhoods better), it doesn't mean we should say no to supporting our city's infrastructure.

Prop C (Affordable Housing): YES

This helps keep home ownership affordable and neighborhoods more diverse. It's not perfect (still goes pretty easy on mega-rich developers and doesn't do anything to help renters like me), but some really thoughtful people fought hard to get this on the ballot.

Prop D (Consolidating Elections): YES

This just makes it so the city attorney and the treasurer have their elections along with the mayor, the sheriff and the DA. As far as I'm concerned, the more choices we get to make every time we vote, the better.

Prop E (Taxing Businesses To Help The City's General Fund): YES

This raises 28.5 million to help out with any number of things the city needs (helping the mentally ill, community policing, so much) by taxing the gross receipts of SF businesses 1.5%. Big business, predictably, has been fighting this in every way they know how. Given how much SF's General Fund has lost in the past five years (1.5 billion, yikes), this money is desperately needed and will bring good things for all of us.

Prop F (Study Water Resources): NO

This seems innocent enough, even really cool. It's only asking for 8 million this time, to do a study of their proposal. The thing is, they'd eventually be asking for several billion if this passes. I'd vote for something that encouraged a lot of what this bill and it's proponents eventually want: more recycling of water, more renewable energy and other sensible ideas. The thing is, one of the main stated goals of the eventual proposal would be to drain Hetch Hetchy, which is such a major water source that the whole concept leads to all sorts of trouble. Until there is a more thoughtful long-term plan, we shouldn't waste millions studying it.

Prop G (Corporations Aren't People): YES

This is a statement, not a law. It doesn't require money, nor does it change anything legally. It's just a declaration that corporations aren't people and that all this insane money isn't doing our political process any good. We have to figure out a sane, fair way to hold elections in our massive, flawed, functioning democracy. This points us in a more reasonable direction.

==========

Some information sources:

http://theballot.org

http://www.smartvoter.org/ca/sf/

http://www.easyvoterguide.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/EVG-Nov12-Eng-v5x.pdf

http://www.sfbg.com/2012/10/02/endorsements-2012-state-and-national-races

http://content.sierraclub.org/voterguide/#.UJBf_Wl25Ac

http://ca.lwv.org/ballot-recommendations

http://dccc.org/pages/redtoblue

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

 

Sunday
Jun032012

Letter Of The Moment #16,233,241

I'm consistently amazed and humbled by the great stories I hear of the music being in people's lives. Sometimes, they're quite emotional and heavy (in great ways). This one, however, is just fuckin awesome:

--------

"About 12 years ago, a friend of mine worked at a place that had a t-shirt printer. I brought him a white under shirt and the artwork for Far's "Tin Cans with Strings To You" album. I made a shirt of the main artwork. That became and continued to be my favorite shirt for a VERY long time. 

Fast forward about ten years and it was still my favorite shirt. It had grown so many holes in it that I could no longer wear it in public. I would wear it around the house and my girlfriend at the time HATED it. Finally, we were moving and doing a lot of spring cleaning and I said fine, it's time for the shirt to go. I put it in a box and set it outside on the sidewalk (this is in Brooklyn, thats just where the trash goes). 
About a year later, that same girlfriend and I, after 6 years, go through a really nasty breakup. She did a real number on me. Shortly after, I am hanging out in Brooklyn (I don't live there anymore) and I run into an old neighbor. A neighbor I always had a thing for. Well, her and I hang out that night and wind up back at her place where I stay the night. A very successful evening, right? The next morning, I go to use her bathroom and hanging on the wall, I find my shirt. My shirt of your album. She found it in the box a year earlier and liked it (not knowing who Far was). She used it to paint in until it got too used and then framed it and hung it on her wall. A year after she does that, I break up with my girlfriend, run into her, sleepover at her place and find it the next morning. It blew me away. Still does.
 
Here's a picture:

 

Oh, and also, I owned a operated a recording studio in Brooklyn named Tin Can Lab and that artwork was the inspiration behind the name. I had a friend paint tin cans in the control room and live room and a string connecting them. Here is a picture of that…

 

Anyways, I mostly wanted to ask you for those tracks, but also wanted to add in a little positive reinforcement and let you know that what you are doing is important in many ways. Thanks man. Keep it up."

---------

See? You really do never know where your ideas will go.

Wednesday
Mar282012

The Lonesome Death Of Trayvon Martin

 

I came home from an amazing Speak Out event about Trayvon Martin's killing at Glide (the incredible church I sing at) and knew it was time to sing this. It's based on a tune by Bob Dylan called The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, which is simply one of the greatest songs ever written, sociopolitical or otherwise. I couldn't ignore the sad symmetry between that awful tale and this one, decades later, still so similar. I kept as many of the lyrics intact as I could. As with Dylan's tune, all the details I included are based on verified news reports.

The video is verified, unedited footage of George Zimmerman arriving at the police station after stalking and killing Trayvon Martin. After he called in and told the police he was following Trayvon (and they told him not to follow him), he then shot him point-blank and admitted it, saying it was self-defense. Zimmerman claims that Trayvon had punched him in the face, bloodied his nose and slammed his head head on the ground repeatedly. Some things to think about:

- Can you see any signs of an altercation looking at these tapes? I can't. 
- Please listen to the call Zimmerman made (and bear in mind that he made over 40 911 calls in the recent past). Listen to his voice, his description of Trayvon. Does he sound rational and sober. Does his account od Trayvon heading towards him, then turning and running, make sense?
- Please listen to the 911 calls on which you can hear someone screaming for help. Does that sounds like someone beaing beaten up, or someone begging for their life because there's a gun pointed at them?
- Note that Zimmerman was arrested for assault on a police officer and cited twice for domestic violence. All of those cases were closed for some reason. 
- Note that Zimmerman's dad is a retired judge. 

I have no interest in characterizing George Zimmerman beyond sharing information that would be pertinent to figuring out what happened that night. I don't care what race he is, nor do I care if he's a racist. I think the real story (and the real racism) here is this: Why did the Sanford police let George Zimmerman go that night, after he'd admitted to killing Travon Martin, with no drug testing, despite a story that just makes no sense given all this information? If it were a dark-skinned young man named Trayvon Martin who'd just admitted to shooting a light-skinned young man named George Zimmerman, do you think he would have been let go that easily?

Trayvon's Martin's death is an unspeakable tragedy. Imagine if that were your son, brother, friend. Feel it. Let's at least learn from this horrible situation, be honest with each other, with ourselves. Let's be honest about guns, about race and privilege, about our fear of young black men, about all the many things this tragedy brings up. Let's start by focusing on and fixing the corruption and/or incompetence of the Sanford police and justice system -- and by taking a serious look at ourselves and the racism that still hurts us all in ways we can't even comprehend.

Please feel free to share all of this in any way you like. If you want to download the tune, you can pay as much you like, safely and securely. Any money generated will go directly to Trayvon's family, of course. Mostly, just please speak up in every way you can.  

=======

The Lonesome Death Of Trayvon Martin

-----------
C          Am            Em
George Zimmerman killed poor Trayvon Martin 
With a gun that he carried as a neighborhood watchman
In a gated community in Sanford, Florida 
And the cops was called in to see what had happened
And they rode him in custody down to the station 
And asked him some questions and wrote down the answers
    F   G   C            Am           F    G        C
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take your hands away from your face. Now ain't the time for your tears.

 

George Zimmerman, who at twenty-eight years
Has a dad who's a judge who keeps speaking for him
And over the years, he's tried to protect him
With his high court relations in the politics of Florida,
Like when his son fought drunk with policemen
Or when he was noticed for concerns about safety
Ignored that and told stories, and his tongue it was snarling,
About what Trayvon did, and why he deserved it
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take your hands away from your face. Now ain't the time for your tears.


Trayvon Martin was a young man in high school
On his way from the store with a drink and some Skittles
Like so many kids, sure, he'd been in some trouble
And like so many kids, he liked to wear hoodies
And watch games with his family and learn how to grow up
In a country that fears him and still tries to enslave him
By painting a picture of an angry young black man
And then shot in the chest by a gun at point-blank range 
That echoed through the streets of the small, quiet neighborhood
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And he never did anything to George Zimmerman
And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take your hands away from your face. Now ain't the time for your tears.


On the night of the shooting, the cops questioned Zimmerman
To show that all's equal and that the police are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the light-skinned get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'
And the cops in their uniforms, most deep and distinguished,
After asking their questions most seriously decided
To let Zimmerman free on his weird, flimsy story
With no alcohol tests or arrests or, well, anything
Just let him walk free so he could keep self-defending
While poor Trayvon Martin was cold, dead and stiffening
Oh, so you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Bury your face deep in your hands, for now's the time for your tears.
======
ps - Truly weird trivia: Bob Dylan's real name is Robert Zimmerman -- the same as George Zimmerman's dad.
Thursday
Mar152012

We

I've been slacking. I've got big ideas for this place. Not this big, though. Right now, we are all touching the sun. I knew it!

Sunday
Dec252011

This-mas

Dec 25 2011

Whatever this day means or not, it has as great a chance as any other to be a time of presence, reflection and love. Maybe it has more, just for all the tradition and memory that is here with it. Whatever it has been, whatever it will be, whatever it's supposed to be; it can be just like a baby that was a mysterious surprise in arriving, bringing with it wonder, maybe even worry, so many emotions... and bringing nothing so much as a present that is is real as it gets. A gorgeous, infinitely possible present. May yours be merry and bright, silent and holy, beautiful and happy, with time for joy and time for cheer. This-mas time is here.

 

Thursday
Nov242011

Bye, Thursday. Thank You.

I'm getting on a plane to the UK. We played somewhere there once, I remember. With Aereogramme (however that's spelled) on the bill too, I think. We played lots of places. We made some really fun noise from Hellfest to Hollywood. You let me ride on the bus with you when we toured, if I wasn't chasing you in a rental car. I'd irritate that one merch guy of yours to no end, selling my little mess of stuff sliding-scale next to the mountains he took care of, talking to people for way too long and clogging up the merch area. He'd laugh, though, and he'd always help out when I took a break to go play. You're definitely the band that I always felt the most at home with. You endured the implosion of a scene and an industry with grace and creativity; humble wants, high ideals. I kind of sidestepped all that by touring smaller and smaller. You had the infrastructure of a band to handle, both personally and logistically speaking. You stuck with it. You stuck with each other. I will miss seeing your name on the posters of cities I travel through. I hope that I'll see you all individually; on stages or in studios or in homes. As far as this Rock weirdo is concerned, you did it right. Yea, you stayed true.

Friday
Oct072011

Official Statement From Occupy Wall St. Folks.

This is what passionate, reasonable and real looks like.

http://nycga.cc/2011/09/30/declaration-of-the-occupation-of-new-york-city/

"As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers' healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people's lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. 

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!" - Oct 2011

http://occupywallst.org

Thursday
Oct062011

Caninetynine Percent

Thursday
Oct062011

What I Love About This 'Occupy' / 'We Are The 99%' Stuff

There have been a lot of movements/trends/scenes that I've been reticent to really get on board with. Most of them seem exclusive, extreme and other things that don't jibe with my idea of community/democracy. This feels different.

What I Love About This 'Occupy' / 'We Are The 99%' Stuff:

I love that it's exactly what it says it is: The vast majority of us simply announcing ourselves, announcing that we're aware that we're a vast community working together on solving problems we all know are there: Unchecked corporate greed, rising income disparity, the destruction of the working middle class, failing infrastructure, badly compromised systems of education and justice, hypocritical foreign policy... We know it in our brains and feel it in our bones. We are taking responsibility.

I love that there is no discernible 'focus'. Media folks are whining about this. I think they're doing so because they don't get it and/or it makes it hard (impossible) to define it, caricaturize it and marginalize it. I say the shapelessness is the greatest strength of the movement.

I love that it's decentralized and seemingly happening naturally all over the place.

I love that there is no recognizable 'leader'.

I love that it's bringing out people and ideas of all shapes, colors & sizes. Whether you've got no money or plenty of it, you are the 99%.

I love that it gets to include me and people that I may not agree with on any number of specifics. I'm optimistic that this will lead to truly productive consensus and action that will benefit all of us. We may not get our individual utopias right now, but those entitled insta-utopias are part of the problem anyway.

I love that it's encouraging us to be the active, inspired electorate (that means people that get to help make choose stuff) we have the right and the responsibility to be.