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Posts tagged ‘Free speech’

McPherson Square: Occupation or Hobo Camp?

General McPherson oversees a Hobo Camp in February

I work in Washington, DC, two block from McPherson Square.  My commuter bus drops off and picks up right at the square, so twice a day, 3 days a week, I come face-to-face and nose-to-smell with Occupy DC.

I watched them move in last fall, sometimes swallowing my anger, at times voicing it out loud as I witness the destruction of all that tender, brand new grass.  The National Park Service spent $440,000 of stimulus funds renovating McPherson Square last summer.  Nearly half that amount went into sod.  Those of us who work near the square had just begun to enjoy taking our lunches to the square, which was also seeing visitation by a variety of upscale food trucks, when –oh joy–the Occupy movement came to town.

The National Park Service granted a permit to the Occupy Wall Street movement to erect tents and state a 24-hr, full-time protest for 7 months on Freedom Plaza, near the hub of government.   Those folks had a plan, a message and an understanding of the law, unlike the parasitic growth inhabiting McPherson Square.

I’m all for free speech, but if you want to exercise it, for Pete’s sake


The occupants of McPherson Square have no designated leader.  There is no coherent message.  They have published no demands to be met in order for their “occupation to end.

Day after day, I see a collection of unwashed, unkempt, disrespectful hippies loitering around the square or nearby cafes (who, for the most part, have removed their outdoor furnishings to discourage loitering) who do nothing more constructive than paint nonsense on signs.

WHOM to you represent?

Not me.  Not the other 2-3 dozen people standing the line for the bus with me every day.  I asked.  Not the people with whom I work, either (I asked).  We are the “99%”, too.  We didn’t ask a bunch of hobo hippies to come destroy our newly-restored park and run all of our cafes and eateries out of business.  We didn’t ask you to run up a $2 million tab for police protection and other city services.  We pay taxes and we’re pretty fed up about it.  Oh, and one other thing.

We want you to take that FUGLY tarp off General McPherson’s statue, too.   This isn’t Hogwarts, and you aren’t Harry Potter.  Slyther back into your dens with the rats you are hosting.

Within the past week, a federal judge has TWICE heard petitions from the hobo camp, seeking to block the National Park Service from evicting these illegal campers from a national park.  The judge ruled, citing appropriate SUPREME COURT rulings, that the NPS has every right to evict the protesters, provided proper written notice has been served.  That notice was served, that effective this past Monday at noon, evictions would begin.   An NPS spokesperson stated that evictions would be conducted “incrementally.”

The evictions have begun.  I witnessed NPS employees picking up and tossing into a trash truck the garbage (plastic, tarps, milk crates and other junk) left behind by occupiers who had, presumably, voluntarily left the square.  I also saw at least one occupier strike his tent.  It was a small, but important step.


Yahoo: Censorship under the cover of a “filter glitch”

I created a funny caption for a cat photo on the popular website this afternoon.  I thought it was funny enough to share, and was tired of my comic genius going unnoticed.  I have a sparse following on Twitter (@angelablair58) and not many Facebook friends.  Posting the LOLs on these venues wasn’t getting them any votes.

I tried to send a link to my newly captioned kitty ( by clicking the “select all” box in my contacts in Yahoo mail, then clicking “compose email to selected contacts”.  So far, so good.  I typed a brief message, inserted the hyperlink, clicked send, and got the message showing to the left.

Yahoo! answers (as of yesterday) shows that the question of why this is happening to users had 188 queries on the same problems.  Yahoo is apparently “aware” of the problem (which has been occurring periodically since at least 2007) and “working on it.”  Yahoo calls it a “Glitch” in their spam filter.

How oddly coincidental that the “glitch” is happening again during the Wall Street protests.  Has Yahoo! cranked up the dial on their censorship meters?  Suddenly no user is allowed to send any email, regardless of content, to everyone in their address book.

What incenses me most about this move, is not that I was blocked from distributing my funny cat photo.  It’s that not only was my outgoing email blocked, my ability to send emails was completely disabled.  I am now a threat to Yahoo!, or the Internet, or free society, as someone defines it.

What gives THEM the right, who are THEY, and how do I get that away from THEM?    The Yahoo! email Terms of Service Agreement states:  By using the Services, you consent to allow Yahoo!’s automated systems to scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account (such as Mail and Messenger content including instant messages and SMS messages) including those stored in your account to, without limitation, provide personally relevant product features and content, to match and serve targeted advertising and for spam and malware detection and abuse protection. Unless expressly stated otherwise, you will not be allowed to opt out of this feature.

Nothing in TOSA states that Yahoo! will (or that the user grants them rights to) block or shut down your account) if you send content with which they disagree.

After 12 years, I think it’s time to go over to Googarola…..

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