The OB Media Rundown for 12/25/11

Boston PD’s bizarre Occupy subpoena to Twitter

A reader writes, “Boston PD subpoenas Twitter for info on users tweeting about Occupy Boston; they say it relates to a ‘criminal investigation’. Also notice their ignorance when asking for account info on tags such as ‘#occupyboston’. Smart cookies over there.”

Note that they’re also looking for IP addresses for Guido Fawkes, a well-known, right-leaning British blogger (real name Paul Staines) who — as far as I know — has nothing to do with Boston (let alone Occupy Boston). My guess is that they’ve somehow mistaken Guido Fawkes for some kind of superdistributor of Guy Fawkes masks or similar (the historical Guy Fawkes did adopt the name Guido while fighting in Spain in the the 16th cen), which is to say that they’re not just on a fishing expedition, they’re on a fishing expedition that’s grounded in profound ignorance.

And yup, they don’t know the difference between a hashtag and an account.


Suffolk District Attorney subpoenas Occupy Boston Twitter info

The subpoena requests “available subscriber information, for the account or accounts associated with the following information, including IP address logs for account creation” but, inexplicably, includes not only account names, but also hashtags and a term which is neither account name nor hashtag. The “accounts” which Goldberger has subpoenaed about are Guido Fawkes, @po0isAn0N, @OccupyBoston, #BostonPD and #d0xcak3. “Guido Fawkes” appears to be a reference to Guy Fawkes, the stylized mask of whom has come to be associated with the hacker group “Anonymous.” That same group might be referenced in the “@po0isAn0N” user name. “#d0xcak3” seems to be a reference to “doxing” i.e. releasing personal information about people over the Internet.


2011 Year in Review: Top 5 Topics in U.S. Politics

1. Occupy Wall Street

But something happened that people didn’t expect: Occupy Wall Street caught on. The protesters did not leave. They set up camp in Zuccotti Park and stayed there for two months before the New York Police Department evicted them in mid-November — and after that, they regrouped and continued to organize marches and other actions throughout the city.

More importantly, Occupy Wall Street inspired similar actions in dozens of cities across the country and around the world, many of which are ongoing. In Washington, politicians from both parties have been forced to take sides on the issue of economic inequality, bringing the protesters’ talking points into the national spotlight in a way they had not been before. Many people blasted Occupy Wall Street’s positions, but nobody could ignore them. Even the people cursing them out were talking about them — and that was the point. It’s too soon to guage Occupy Wall Street’s impact on U.S. public policy — the movement has not experienced even one congressional election yet — but it is safe to say that the Occupy coalition has changed the political culture in the United States — it has “restructured the debate” to the point that income inequality is now on the mind of senators and representatives.


The corporations that occupy Congress

These and other companies have access to lawmakers and regulators that are unavailable to ordinary Americans.

 Doubt that? Dial the Capitol switchboard at 1 (202) 224-3121, ask for your representative’s office and request a five-minute audience, in person, at the lawmaker’s convenience back in the home district.

In more than a decade of lectures recommending this, I have yet to have a single person email me (see address to the right) about having scored a private meeting with the representative called.


Mentally ill flood ER as states cut services

 Across the country, doctors like Sullivan are facing a spike in psychiatric emergencies – attempted suicide, severe depression, psychosis – as states slash mental health services and the country’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression takes its toll.

This trend is taxing emergency rooms already overburdened by uninsured patients who wait until ailments become acute before seeking treatment.

“These are people without a previous psychiatric history who are coming in and telling us they’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost sometimes their homes, they can’t provide for their families, and they are becoming severely depressed,” said Dr. Felicia Smith, director of the acute psychiatric service at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.


Another face of the U.S. recession: homeless children

 As her mother sat in a homeless shelter in downtown Miami, talking about her economic struggles and loss of faith in the U.S. political system, 3-year-old Aeisha Touray blurted out what sounded like a new slogan for the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

“How dare you!” the girl said abruptly as she nudged a toy car across a conference room table at the Chapman Partnership shelter in Miami’s tough and predominantly black Overtown neighborhood. There was no telling what Aeisha was thinking as her 32-year-old mother, Nairkahe Touray, spoke of how she burned through her savings and wound up living in a car with five of her eight children earlier this year.

But how dare you indeed? How does anyone explain to kids like Aeisha and countless others how they wound up homeless in the world’s richest nation?


Consumer, business spending point to slower growth

 The Commerce Department said non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, fell 1.2 percent last month after declining 0.9 percent in October.

Shipments of these so-called core capital goods, which go into calculations of U.S. gross domestic product, dropped for a third straight month.

This suggests that business spending, which has been robust since the start of the recovery in mid-2009, could slow considerably from the third-quarter’s 15.7 growth percent pace.


 Tens of thousands of protesters pressure Putin

 Tens of thousands of flag-waving and chanting protesters called Saturday for a disputed parliamentary election to be rerun and an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule, increasing pressure on the Russian leader as he tries to win back the presidency.

The protesters shouted “Russia without Putin” and “New elections, New elections” as one speaker after another called for an end to Putin’s 12-year domination of the country at the second big opposition rally in two weeks in central Moscow.


Museums are collecting Occupy Wall Street artifacts

Occupy Wall Street may still be working to shake the notion it represents a passing outburst of rage, but some establishment institutions have already decided the movement’s artifacts are worthy of historic preservation.

More than a half-dozen major museums and organizations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly collecting materials produced by the Occupy movement.

Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity. And museums have approached individual protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera.

The Museum of the City of New York is planning an exhibition on Occupy for next month.