Posts Tagged ‘Occupy movement’

A sickening re-confirmation, if re-confirmation was really needed, both that the American legal system is ridiculously litigious, and also that “suffering” now includes being publicly shamed for behaving in an egregiously violent and unnecessarily offensive manner to people who are merely exercising their constitutional rights.

Some points to consider:

  • The concept of reasonable force. Was this in any way “reasonable”?
  • Americans are supposed to have the right to protest peacefully. Or do they?

We also think it is very helpful to read the full Wikipedia transcript on the incident, which puts this incident in the broader context of unnecessary violence used against students at UC (including being beaten by batons) and elsewhere during “Occupy” protests.

John Pike

John Pike

Anyhow: according to HuffPost, Pike was fired in July 2012 after eight months of paid administrative leave. Apparently, he and his family received death threats. Needless to say, no-one could, in all conscience, excuse that. Nevertheless, the compensation payout to him is surely yet another example of a world gone mad.

Not to mention $38,000 the University won’t get to spend on education.

Report begins:

Former police Lt. John Pike, who became infamous after cameras captured footage of him using pepper spray on protestors at the University of California at Davis, was recently awarded more than $38,000 in workers compensation from the University for “suffering he experienced after the incident,” SFGate has reported.

In the 2011 incident, students were protesting a tuition hike. Footage of Pike’s actions went viral, resulting in a popular meme, in which people digitally edited photos to include Pike pepper-spraying things and people.

Pike reportedly received more than 17,000 angry emails and 10,000 texts after the incident.

After the ensuing outrage, Pike was suspended with pay.

Citing a database of state employee salaries, SFGate reports that Pike earned $110,243 in 2010. He left the police force in 2012.

In a statement to SFGate regarding Pike’s workers compensation, U.C. Davis spokesperson Andy Fell said, “This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit.”

Last year, U.C. Davis settled a lawsuit with 21 of the students who were pepper-sprayed during the protest. Each student received a $30,000 settlement.

In discussing the events, Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly called pepper spray a “food product, essentially,” sparking some to hilariously suggest she test her theory by drinking pepper spray on the air.

(Materials sourced from SFGate/Yahoo/Seven News)

A digitally altered photo of a river worth more than $4 million

A digitally altered photo of a river worth more than $4 million?

Yahoo and the Daily Mail reports

A photo of an “accurate image of a modern river” has been sold for $4.38 million, earning the highest ever price for a photograph at an auction.

The photo, which depicts a bland scene of a river, was digitally altered by artist Andreas Gursky to remove pesky distractions such as dog walkers, cyclists and factory building to focus on the river itself, the Daily Mail reported.

The picture, called “Rhine It”, fetched the mammoth auction price at Christie’s in New York.

It was described by the auction house as “a dramatic and profound reflection on human existence and our relationship to nature on the cusp of the 21st century”.

The purchaser of the expensive print is not currently known. The previous record for a photo at an auction was Cindy Sherman’s 1981 print ‘Untitled’, which earned $3.7 million.

To which I say: this is a nonsense. The photo is little more than a happy snap, with some simple photoshopping. Millions of people do the same every day on their home PCs.

What’s more, it’s not merely bland, it’s utterly meaningless, tedious and boring. And secondly, and much more importantly, did the investor (he/she could hardly be called an art lover) consider what that $4.38 million might have done feeding children in the Horn of Africa? Or, indeed, how it might have impacted upon any other worthy cause?

Did they pause for one moment, in their rush to acquire something which they hope will increase in value, to consider how many lives they could have changed for the better, perhaps utterly and profoundly, before buying a print to sit, presumably, in a  temperature-controlled vault, somewhere?

Well may the occupy movement cry “Tax the 1%, we are the 99%”. No wonder the purchaser is unknown. His house would be the next place with a tent city springing up on the front lawn.