Monday, October 17, 2011

Update, A Bit on Occupy

Hey!  How are you guys?  Just wanted to check in.
Amy was out of town this weekend.  It was only a few days, but I missed her.  After my having been away to Tulsa the week before last, and then Amy being gone this weekend, well... I just missed her.  Glad she's back.
Friday night I hung out with Jamie and Ryan a bit.  Saturday I went with my parents and with Reed to watch UT play OSU.  UT lost, but the game was better than I expected, and, I thought, better than the score reflected.  Fozzy Whitaker and Malcolm Brown both did a better than expected job with the running game.  I'm still not entirely sold on the idea that we ought to be 100% committed to David Ash over Case McCoy as our primary quarterback, but I do think that Ash is getting better.  He's got a good arm and he runs pretty well.  He's young, and he needs to develop a little more awareness out there on the field (both in terms of pass coverage and pressure in the pocket).  Hopefully he'll learn these things.  On the other hand, if he doesn't learn (and sometimes college quarterbacks just never seem to develop an ability to quickly make good tactical decisions), I hope the coaches don't give up on the possibility of using McCoy.  The coaching staff at UT is willing to demonstrate a lot of confidence in their players (which helps recruiting), but I think that sometimes they assume that a plaeyr needs time to grow when, in fact, the player has peaked (e.g., Garrett Gilbert).  Obviously we haven't gotten to that point with Ash, and he's done pretty well, but I think the coaching staff should keep all of their options open.

What else?  One month after they started, the Occupy Wall Street protests have spread to Austin and a lot of other places.  The messages of the protests are sort of amorphous and the agenda varies a bit, depending on which protester you talk to, but the broad themes of the movement seem to deal with frustration regarding the American corporations, the government, and the ways in which the two things intersect.  Among other things, people are angry about corporate influence in the American political process (lobbying and paid political ads by companies) and taxpayer bailouts for companies that helped to create the recession in the first place (with very risky investment strategies and bad lending practices).  Companies which have taken assistance government assistance are felt to have had too little accountability and have done very little to create new middle class jobs (while overall corporate profits have done just fine).  People may not really understand the intricacies of the linkage between the financial, corporate, and government realms, but they see the middle class in decline, poorly run companies repeatedly receiving taxpayer help ("too big to fail"), and corporations continuing to make really good profits, although many of these same companies (particularly in the financial sector) were responsible for the decision making that put the American economy in the hole in the first place.
The Occupy protesters have a long way to go in terms of advocating solutions instead of just voicing complaints, but I can see why people are irked.  In particular, I think the focus on the private sector is long overdue.  The government isn't the only boogeyman contributing to America's problems, and I think that Occupy's focus on the financial system is a good start.  (I'm not sure that encouraging everyone to move their money to credit unions will really fix our problems, but it's at least bound to get the attention of the private sector.  Predatory lending practices have helped lead to our recession, and with national banks slipping in stealth fees in areas like access to checking accounts- which banks are holding for free and loaning out to others at interest- it's easy to see why consumers are annoyed).
Anyway, Occupy needs to get more cohesive, organized, and eloquent if they want to create real change.  With all of the disparate elements that they've collected under one tent, it might be difficult to bring focus to their agenda.  But I understand the frustration.

What else?  Hope you're still reading because Mono Ensemble has a gig on November 4th!  Come on out and see us rock at 9:00 at the Carousel Lounge.  Mono Ensemble will be playing from about 9:00 until about 10:15, with our friends Venus Fixer playing from 10:30 until midnight.  Hope everyone can make it!  More reminders to come!

Take care!

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