This weekend I attended the Teen Book Festival with Brynn in Rochester, New York. It was fantastic and I will be sure to write about my experiences a little later. For now though, I want to write about what other people have been and are up to on this beautiful May weekend.
Yesterday, my brother Josh and several of my friends traveled with PUSH Buffalo to the annual conference of the National People’s Action and to participate in NPA’s Showdown on K Street. The Showdown and the conference are focusing financial reform and the struggle to take back our government from the big bank, corporate interests that currently holds power. Fox News’ Glenn Beck, by the way, has labeled this group “dangerous” and full of “Maoist madness.”
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening about the Wall Street takeover, and it’s depressing. While I continue to believe in the work and potential of local governments, I feel totally disillusioned with our state and federal governments. Corporate interests and self-interest are steering the wheel. Democracy and courageousness are so marginalized that even when leaders reference them it’s some sort of doublespeak f*ckery.
It helps (tremendously) to know that my friends and family are bearing witness and standing up to this injustice. I am inspired by them and wish I could join them tomorrow at the Showdown. Keep them in your thoughts.
Here’s my reading/listening list from the past week:
- My brilliant and humble friend Kevin Connor wrote a report about the insidious connections between bank lobbyists and our government. In short, most of those lobbyists used to be employed by our government as congressional staffers, Treasury department officials, and even elected representatives themselves. You can download the report and/or read a synopsis at the Campaign for America’s Future website. Fun fact: Josh is rooming with Kevin at the conference so I know that my little bro is in good and capable hands.
- While driving to and from Rochester, I listened to the last three podcasts from the now-off-air Bill Moyers Journal (at 76, he decided to end the Journal broadcast so he could focus on other projects–I can’t wait to see what he does). These three programs focused almost-exclusively on financial reform and corruption and are a great introduction if you are not sure what the hell is going on. This subject is obviously a passion of Mr. Moyers; he believes our move towards a plutocracy is the the most serious issue facing society. His last show and podcast are found here and you can download many of his recent podcasts on iTunes.
- Somewhat related: when PUSH Buffalo tried to meet with National Fuel executives on Friday in Buffalo, they were greeted with locked doors and a whole bunch of Amherst police officers. A PUSH organizer told me that an officer shook a can of pepper spray at reporter Mark Sommer in effort to get him to leave.