Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.
In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.
Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.
The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…
At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.
This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.
When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.
Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.
The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.
Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.
Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit
Contact congress and tell your Reps and Senators to negotiate on the budget in good faith and stop the stupid political posturing. Everything must be on the table, including entitlements and taxes.
Yesterday Vice President Joe Biden and House Republican Leader John Boehner gave dueling speeches about the state of the economy and the effects of the stimulus package that was passed as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It?s really hard to sift through the partisan haze of the speeches to really see what we got out of the record deficit spending.
The is according to a CBO report that was also put out yesterday.
- They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent
- Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points
- Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million
- Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise (see Table 1). (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers).
The full report is after the break.
There are hundreds of thousands of schools scattered across America and the costs of educating our young people continue to rise every year, forcing higher taxes on all of us either through property tax increases or through state budgeting. When schools are in session, the class rooms use huge amounts of electricity, not to mention the costs of heating and providing water. During the summer months these large buildings and properties often sit largely idle aside from normal maintenance.
So here is my idea:
Install solar and wind power generating capabilities to every school building. Most schools are generally built with large flat roofs. These are great open spaces for the placement of solar panels. The idea of course is to generate as much electricity as possible, and preferably as much as the building would normally use during high usage days. This would make the building electrically self-sufficient during the winter months when class in session. During the summer months when the schools are sitting mostly idle, the power generated by these systems could be sold back to the power grid, generating money for the school districts that can be used for books, computers, etc to help educate our kids.
In the town of Grinnell alone we have 2 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and the high school. That’s 4 buildings in this one town of just under 10,000 people that could be generating power for sale to the grid and improving the financial situation of the town.
The downsides of course is the initial investment. It can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 to retrofit a home for solar power which would obviously have far lower electrical needs in comparison to a school building. That is money that would have to be paid for either through bonding or higher property taxes unless private enterprise were to volunteer and donate the monies, but in the long run there is serious potential for school districts to generate revenue by turning their buildings into power generating stations.
The surge in US auto sales that has been a result of the government?s Cash for Clunkers program has prompted both Ford and GM to increase their planed production rates for the second half of 2009.
The No.1 U.S. carmaker said it would build 60,000 more vehicles than planned for the third and fourth quarters by increasing overtime, adding shifts at several North American assembly plants.
The move will bring about 1,350 hourly workers in the United States and Canada back to assembly lines, GM said.
There are obviously a lot of questions about the program, like will the growth in auto sales be sustainable or will it fizzle once the program runs out of cash again? How will the increases in production trickle down through the supply chain and thus to the rest of the economy? We have seen companies running side by side add on programs and matching programs which I think they can run with even after the end of the program, so I?m fairly optimistic, but like most things the government does, it?s still in essence a gamble. So far it looks like it?s paying off.