99% Movement – 1970 Style

A Facebook friend who has become taken by the Occupy XXX movement of late can’t understand why I’m so cynical about it, particularly since she perceives me as being somewhat left of center.

I tried to explain to her that I’ve been the protest / demonstration route, got the T-shirt AND the gas mask.

When I was working at The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio in the late 60s, early 70s, we didn’t get up to Columbus all that much. I don’t have any idea why I shot this Tax Reform demonstration in the state capital on April 18, 1970. It has a lot of the trappings of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

(You can click on any photo to make it larger.)

These guys are wearing blazers and wingtips

A number of things caught my eye in this photo

  • The two black guys in berets in the front row. You generally didn’t see blacks involved in demonstrations in Athens unless it was a Civil Rights issue. They understood how things could suddenly get ugly and they were pretty sure who would be the first targets when the cops started taking off name tags, covering badge numbers and breaking out the bats and hats.
  • There are frat-type business majors in suits and blazers walking next to some neatly scruffy students. Some of these guys are wearing loafers and wingtips and TIES, no less.
  • There’s a conspicuous absence of stereotypical hippies in tattered clothes and long hair.

How is the message being received?

Based on the expressions on the faces of these two women, it looks like a mixture of curiosity and “What’s the awful smell?”

Youth response isn’t much different

This boy’s furrowed brow and crossed arms reads to me that he’s wondering “What’s this all about and what does it mean to me?”

Deja vu

So, why am I cynical? Our political system is broken. It’s all about politics, posturing and fundraising, not about governing. I’d love to see it changed, but I don’t think that 99% of the people feel that way. Even when young males had a personal stake in not being shipped off to a war in Southeast Asia, there wasn’t 99% acceptance of the antiwar movement.

The folks who are in the Occupy XXX may be in the group of the population that is not in the top 1% of the wealth, but they are far from having 99% of the country behind them. If I had to do a breakout, I’d say you have the 1% who control the wealth and have the focus to keep it; you have the .0001% who are in the movement, and the remainder of the population is watching Dancing with the Stars.

What happened to these kids?

I wonder what happened to the people at this demonstration? They have a serious look to them, for the most part. They have a mixture of union support, black militants, preppies in ties, a Clean for Gene overall appearance (referring to the kids who made the ultimate sacrifice – cutting their hair and dressing up to campaign for Gene McCarthy) and an air of seriousness.

The young man on the left looks defiant and challenging with his clenched fist salute, but the young fellow on the statue at the right, is delivering his salute with a smile. In fact most of the faces show a mixture of smiles or boredom.

What a difference a few weeks makes

The envelope sleeve says that these photos were taken April 18, 1970.

  • President Richard Nixon announced the Cambodian invasion on April 30.
  • Ohio Governor James Rhodes said student protestors were“worse than the Brownshirts and the Communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes. They’re the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we’re up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America. We’re going to eradicate the problem, we’re not going to treat the symptoms.”
  • Four students were shot dead at Kent State on May 4.
  • Ten days later, on May 14, police fired for about 30 seconds on a group of students at Jackson State in Mississippi, killing two and wounding 12 others.

For What It’s Worth

So, where are we headed? This demonstration’s import was so little that I don’t even recall what it was about.Whatever it was about was buried by the events of the next few weeks.

The Buffalo Springfield’s song For What It’s Worth has become a cliche for the 60s. I’m beginning to hear it being played again.

There’s battle lines being drawn.
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
Getting so much resistance from behind.
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly say, “Hooray for our side.”
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.

Here’s an excellent interpretation of the song, by the way.

Is the next verse going to be a replay of OHIO?

I wonder if this generation will have a Neil Young song to commemorate it?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Sorry for getting all political on you. Someone on Facebook posted that journalists have the right, if not the obligation to take political stands. I argued that was wrong. As soon as you are seen as an advocate, then you cease to be effective. People assume that you are unable to cover an event objectively. For that reason, I never actively supported a political candidate, sported a bumper sticker nor participated in any action groups. I commented in the thread that I was sure that no candidate I ever covered had any idea what my personal feelings were.

“One of these days you’re going to have to choose a side”

My biking partner, also a journalist, said she was discussing the thread with a friend who mentioned my comments. I was pleased to hear that he told her, “I worked with that guy for 16 years and I never had a clue where he stood [politically].”

I had some classes at OU with a young activist I truly admired. She was smart and did more than talk about being involved. In her spare time, she worked with poor Appalachian children and took up other causes that weren’t mainstream.

One afternoon I was at the jail when a busload of protestors was being brought in for booking. I recognized my friend and asked if she was OK or needed anything. I’ll never forget the look she gave me when she said, “Ken, one of these days you’re going to have to put down that damned camera and choose a side.”

She was wrong.


Seattle Harbor Tour

While we were out in Seattle in August, we signed up for a tour of the harbor on the Spirit of Seattle. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, gave us a nice overview of the city and learned some interesting factoids from the tour guide. (If it came from China, there’s a good chance it passed through this harbor, for example.)

This wraps up the photos from the trip. If you’re looking for a place with a variety of things to see, and you don’t mind dealing with traffic gridlock, Seattle is a great destination.

Other stories about Seattle

Photo Gallery of Seattle Harbor tour

Palm Beach Bike Rides

I’ve pulled out my Surly Long Haul Trucker in the past few days and have found out that it’s just like riding a bicycle: I really haven’t forgotten how to do it.

Saturday morning, Son Matt called to ask if I’d like to join him and Grandson Malcolm, 7, on a ride of the Palm Beach Lake Trail bike path. How could I resist?

Path blocked by house

Before we got to the turnaround point, we found the path blocked by a landmark cottage being moved. Sneak on over to my bike blog to see a video of the ride and the house move from a golf course to a waiting barge. Matt was kind enough to shoot some really nice stills while I was concentrating on videos.

Ladies Cycling Society ride

Tuesday night I joined the Ladies Cycling Society of the Greater Palm Beaches for a ride over to the beach to watch the nearly full moon drag itself out of the ocean. Several of the riders brought kites to fly and some went for a night swim. Here’s the whole story of the ride on my bike blog.

Glow of the smartphones

In this eight or 10-second exposure, the moon is just coming out of the ocean. A generation ago, this beachcomber might have been lit by a campfire. Today, the glow comes from a smartphone.

Groggy Geeks Work Magic

It’s been a challenging few days in the data world. Son Matt maintains my blogs, leaving me to worry about the content side. He decided to move them to a newer, faster, better, spiffier, shinier server.

At about the same time, Son Adam, President/CIO of DedicatedIT (also known as DIT because DedIt sound too much like DeadIT),  wanted to move his company’s servers to a new, more bulletproof hosting center in Miami. He provides managed services to a bunch of companies all over the region. He and his engineers are sort of like remote IT staffs who keep the hamsters turning for companies who find it better to contract for his services than to have their own staffs.

Colohouse is first class

When you have, not only your own business, but all of your clients depending on you, then you have to have as much redundancy and security as possible. That’s why DedicatedIT elected to move its equipment to Colohouse in Miami. The Category Five hurricane-rated building used to be a phone company central office. To give you an idea of how well THEY are built, BellSouth didn’t lose a single central office when Hurricane Andrew ripped through South Florida in 1992.

Does the finger have to be attached?

Even though the building is located in a somewhat shaky neighborhood, security is tight. You have to be buzzed into the building by a security guard who is on duty 24/7. Your ID is checked and a photo is taken. You’re then issued a swipe card that will give you access to an elevator that will take you to the floor you are approved for. When you get to the actual data center, you have to have a second swipe card for that room AND have your fingerprint scanned by a biometric reader. (I’m not sure if the finger has to be attached to the body, which gives me a bit of pause.)

Casual dress code

Wife Lila, who is Executive Vice President of the company, was excited about being issued a biometric ID card.  I’m secretary of the company, but all that means is that I get to sign my name a couple of times a year on papers they assure me that I don’t really need to read. I didn’t even get an access card. I think that’s because they want to keep me as far away from the hardware as possible.

A Brazilian bytes of storage

DedicatedIt has a Brazilian bytes of data storage. Well, maybe not a Brazilian, but one of those ‘illion things. It’s got dual power supplies fed by separate circuits coming in from diverse commercial power grids, backed up by building UPSs, backed up by generators.

These guys are connected

You’re not limited to one Internet service provider: there are more than a dozen carriers in the facility and it’s a landing point for international underseas cables (not that DIT needs that). Suffice it to say that Colohouse has its act together. There are bank after bank of equipment cabinets used by smaller clients like Adam’s, then there are the BIG players who have enough equipment that their racks are surrounded by black chain link fencing.

If it was on I-95 it’d get a speeding ticket

Their new Internet connection is blinding fast. To geek out, it has a ping of 4ms, download speed of 94.7 Mbps and upload speed of 77.19 Mbps. Putting that in perspective, my home connection, the fastest business class service that Comcast offers, has a 12 ms ping, download speed of 23.15 Mbps and upload speed of 4.79 Mbps.

You get what you pay for

So, if Sons Matt and Adam have it all figured out, why were we down for two days? Well, the first and best answer is that I got the service I pay for. The paying clients had to have their stuff up and running within the middle-of-the-night maintenance window. I got taken care of after the folks who pay the bills.

55-gallon drum of coffee

Our part of the process started at 2:30 Sunday morning, when our home was invaded by a horde of techs bearing donuts and a 55-gallon drum of coffee. They needed to borrow our two vans to haul equipment and staff to Miami. In addition to Matt, who doesn’t work for DIT, these folks were involved in the big move: Paul Vedder – Support Engineer; Nick Yastremski – Support Engineer; Ben Posner – Lead Support Engineer; Scott Maulsby – COO, and Aaron Underhill – Account Manager. The guys were so psyched that they practically vibrated, and that was BEFORE they tapped the coffee.

Eventually, the coffee wears off

I have seen – and worn – this expression on the morning after a big cutover.

Where ARE those electrons going?

Wife Lila and I were like the generals who came down from the mountains after the battle was over to shoot the wounded. Matt had finished his piece and had headed home.

We drove down to Miami late mid-morning after all the heavy lifting was over. The wires were plugged in and lights were flashing all over the place. Adam was hunched over a laptop trying to figure out why some of the electrons were getting lost getting from Point A to Point B while some of the other guys were standing by with buckets to capture any errant 1s and 0s that escaped. (Well, that’s what it LOOKED like.)

Like changing your home address

One of the things that made the process more complicated was that they were creating “virtual” servers to replace physical equipment. It makes it easier to administer, is more efficient and doesn’t require as much rack space and power as a bunch of individual computers.

The Post Office makes mistakes, too

It’s sort of like taking a big subdivision where everybody lives in separate houses and moving all the families into a big apartment building. It takes awhile for all the magazine subscriptions and bills to arrive at the right new address. That’s one of the reasons I was offline. When you change your ip address the word has to go out to DNS servers all over the world (those are the things that tells the computer world that CapeCentralHigh.com is really address, not 321.321.21.101).

Just like not all magazine companies get your address changed at the same time, neither do the DNS servers. Comcast, my ISP, was particularly slow, so I couldn’t connect to do updates. It was like the mailman delivering your Playboy magazine to the little old lady next door.

To make matters worse, the person who had my email ip address before me must have been a spammer because the mail I was sending was being blocked at the far end. I had the same thing happen when I changed from BellSouth to Comcast.

The cat licked my monitor

That’s probably way more than you ever wanted to know about why I didn’t have new content for two days. Next time I’ll just say that my cat licked the monitor and erased it.