Explaining Southern California's economy

Tweet of the Day: The Occupy Wall Street Hipster Cop Halloween costume?

Today's tweet comes from KPCC's own Madeleine Brand Show, which has evinced a preoccupation with a character being called the "Hipster Cop." The New York Times has the full exposé on this NYPD law-enforcement icon, now a symbol of his times. The beauty of his look? It's oh-so now. You can show that you're down with #OWS and also give your skinny pants, slim ties, and snug cardigans, not to mention your nerd-frame glasses, a workout.

Protesting the financial elite never looked to fashionable.

No sign yet of an LA hipster cop. Which is a bit sad, as police HQ is right across the street from City Hall, where Occupy LA has camped out. Maybe a hipster cop isn't our thing, however. I think possibly...Surfer Cop?

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

Read More...

Slide Show: The slogans of 'Occupy LA'

OLA-Emperor-MDB

Matthew DeBord

It never gets old: the Emperor Has No Clothes. Although in this case it might make more sense to say that the Wall Street Banker Has No Pinstripes.

OLA-RichCannot-MDB

Matthew DeBord

Hard to get more basic that this: a marker and a hunk of cardboard. Presto! Protest sign. DIY at its very, very best and most simple. Anyone can do it!

OLA-GoToHell-MDB

Matthew DeBord

Monopoly iconography still resonates, as does the old-school graphic approach of this sign and slogan. But so modest!

OLA-NoNukes-MDB

Matthew DeBord

No Nukes?!?! What do nukes have to do with protesting a Wall Street financial elite? Well, to each his own...

OLA-DumpCongress-MDB

Matthew DeBord

"Dump the Crony Do Nothing Congress." Plus a visual rundown of all the jobs said Crony Congress isn't creating. A hideous sign, but right on message.

OLA-OccupyHood-MDB

Matthew DeBord

A poetic offering. And also a bold prediction. But so far, an accurate one: Occupy Wall Street has spread across the country and across the globe.


I made my way down to Occupy LA yesterday. The movement has for all practical purposes surrounded City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. To my eye, it looked as if there were hundreds of tents. Some of the protesters were a bit scruffy, but the area was peaceful and calm.

Unfortunately, a tour of the scene quickly revealed a BIG PROBLEM: Occupy LA lacks a uniform graphic indentity. It has a common, unifying slogan: "We are the 99%." But the leaderless Occupy Movement has so far resisited a common signage. 

As a result, there's a serious proliferation of slogans, to go along with the 99%er complaint. I photographed a few, so enjoy the slide show! If I have a criticism, it's that they were all over the place. But the ad-hoc nature of the slogans, taking issue with everything from nuclear power/weapons (I guess) to Congress, fits with the spirit of the Occupy protest. I suppose I can say I was there before they sold out the movement's original, inclusive energy in the interest of talking points.

Read More...

Visual Aid: How the 1 percent have fared since 1981

This is one of those charts that speaks for itself. It comes from a report I was directed to by Catherine Rampell of the New York Times. It shows how drastically pay in the securities business has diverged from pay in all other private sector fields, in New York City since 1981. 

If you want to know what the Occupy Wall Street — and Occupy LA — movement is protesting, look no further.

The chart tells a tale about the New York City economy, which was dominated by the financial services industry prior to the financial crisis and is still seeing very high compensation levels in that world, even after the near-collapse of the system, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and the taxpayer bailout of the big banks. The bailout money, by the way, came from the people represented by the red bars.

Read More...

Is the Occupy movement this generation's 'Radical Chic?'

Eric Richardson

Demonstrators gather in Downtown Los Angeles for the "Occupy L.A." protest

The Occupy movement has spread its influence so far now that it's inappropriate to limit it to just Occupy Wall Street. Some common cause is also emerging. Occupy Wall Street, which started out on the lawn in front of City Hall, has declared its intent to march on Los Angeles' financial sector this weekend. This is not Burning Man. This is a movement with a mission.

I know, I know — You didn't even know LA had a financial sector, right? It does, but more importantly, the Occupy movement is now focusing on a coherent foe. "We are the 99%" has decided that they're protesting the 1% — and by that they mean the financial elite. Those who control most of the nation's wealth and through their leverage with high finance, have plunged the U.S. and the world (Hello? Greek debt default?) into chaos and misery.

Read More...

Public intellectuals adopt 'Occupy Wall Street' and 'Occupy LA'

In this three photo combo, Professor of

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Paul Krugman supports Occupy Wall Street, but he has some ideas about its agenda.

The floodgates have officially opened. New York Times columnist and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has thrown his weight behind Occupy Wall Street (and I'm assuming Occupy LA and Occupy Everywhere Else), endorsing the inchoate anger of the 99%.

Krugman doesn't mince words. The enemy is in his sights, he takes aim, and fires: "What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right."

Krugman is just the latest intellectual personality to lend support to the protesters. Last week, Krugman's fellow Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, visited Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Former Labor secretary Robert Reich also spoke up for the movement at a conference in Washington this week. 

Read More...