Help! Ann Leary is hopelessly confused about Occupy Wall Street!

November 19, 2011
Wall Street Sign. Author: Ramy Majouji

Image via Wikipedia

I really have no idea who Ann Leary is other than that she’s comedian/actor Dennis Leary’s wife…and apparently she’s got a blog. This second thing I learned today when I discovered a piece she wrote attacking the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Now once again, I’m delving into political territory here, but really my response to Ms. Leary here is about addressing some very popular pieces of bullshit that she’s perpetuating, whether deliberately or not. As far as I’m concerned, people are free to disagree with OWS. I just want them to be disagreeing with them for legitimate reasons and not because of misinformation.

Leary begins her piece by saying that until yesterday, she supported OWS…which is odd because she spends the bulk of the piece as well as the bulk of her replies in the comments section insisting that for the life of her, she just can’t even figure out what OWS is all about. Another issue she had was the anti-cop mentality seen among some protesters. The final big criticism she makes that stands out in the article is reflected in her title, “No, Please, Not….DRUM CIRCLES!” Remarking about the presence of individuals at the OWS protests playing drums as well as embedding a video of two young female protesters going topless to draw attention, it’s clear that Ms. Leary is embracing the popular negative stereotype of the OWS movement as just a bunch of hippies.

Now most of her commenters state that they support Leary’s opinion “100%” which is worrisome on its own. One would be hard pressed to find anyone who I agree with “100%” on any issue. If someone told me they agreed with me “100%” on something, I’d advise them to think harder about it.

But I digress. After several comments, one brave soul calling himself Todd finally stepped up to challenge Ann Leary. Todd, like me, doesn’t agree with a lot of things about how OWS has been operating. However, he did a fairly decent job of politely pointing to sources explaining some of the goals of the movement as well as his own grievances. He also linked to this amusing little comic strip, though I think the strip’s defining the OWS mission as simply protesting “economic injustice” is too vague to be really meaningful.

But since this “I can’t understand their message” rhetoric is so common right now and since Ann Leary is so utterly, utterly lost, I decided to help her out by listing some of the very specific goals/solutions being championed by OWS. It’s not a complete list and certainly not every single protester will necessarily agree with each item but it’s a start:

-close the loopholes that allow corporations to shirk paying their fair share in taxes
-stop corporations from bribing our government officials. Elected officials are elected to represent the people who elect them, not just the donors who give them money.
-Remove the overarching effect that big business has on our government. Reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which decided that corporations are people. Take corporate money out of the election process and eliminate the super-political action committees that have turned our elected officials into myopic, self-serving zombies. Reform the business of lobbying our elected officials so there are no more meetings between elected officials and lobbyists at private retreats or expensive restaurants–and let everyone know what the conversation is about by doing it out in the open.
-Reform the tax code so it’s understandable and fair to everyone who contributes to the economy.
-Provide incentives for companies to create jobs here in the U.S.

That’s just a few very specific goals of this movement. There’s also a great piece on the Daily Kos about OWS here. And here’s a fairly concise video from The Young Turks addressing both the specific goals of the movement as well as the transparent media bias:

Now regarding the whole drum circle and topless girl thing, part of me wishes the minority fringe hippy/Commie/etc. elements would just get out of the way because they paint a negative picture of the whole movement, but those people have shown up at EVERY protest I’ve ever been a part of so it’s unreasonable to think the OWS organizers have greater power to get rid of them.

What DOES bug me a great deal is the OWS vs. NYPD mentality. While there have been several examples of a few individual cops who seem to have abused their power and used unnecessary force, by in large, the NYPD has done a phenomenal job of keeping the peace in a difficult situation. The other day, I even briefly spoke with some cops at Zuccotti Park. They were very friendly and sympathetic to the movement. One even said he had walked through the park himself on his day off. They didn’t want to have to be there but it was their job. So I strongly oppose this anti-NYPD rhetoric coming from OWS. And I’ve personally seen one protester try to claim the right to be belligerent to the cops. He was given a friendly warning and escorted across the street. I also have no patience for those claiming “America’s the most fascist nation in the world” with no sense of irony. The very fact that they feel comfortable saying that in public without fear that secret police will disappear them in the night proves the absurdity of this statement better than anything. But even at its worst, the U.S. wouldn’t make the top 100 most fascist nations in the world. Anyone who makes such a claim is obviously just saying “don’t take anything I say seriously because I’m crazy.”

I also strongly condemn OWS for some serious lies they’ve made. After the first attempt to cross the Brooklyn Bridge led to massive arrests, they claimed the cops gave them the okay to do it even though video later surfaced showing cops with bullhorns telling them NOT to march over the bridge. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, I was at Zuccotti Park as protesters waited for the judge to rule on whether they could restore their camp. At one point, protesters claimed that they’d gotten word that the judge had ruled in their favor and demanded the NYPD step aside. Many accused the cops of violating a court order because they were following their original orders until they got word otherwise from their more legitimate sources. The crowd got very riled up. But there was no judge’s order. It didn’t come for hours later, and when it did, the judge ruled against the protesters. Such lies do not help the movement and it is despicable that anyone would make up such lies in order to incite violence.

Still, however, over all I support this movement and condemn the easy stereotypes the media pushes. If these people were lazy, would they commit themselves to working 24 hours a day for two months maintaining their encampment?

Here’s how one commenter described the impression Ann Leary gave them of what OWS is all about:

BRAVO… I couldnt not have said it better. You have put the whole OWS into perspective. I am the wife of a retired police officer and the mother of a firefighter. When i was growing up if a cop told you to move and you were sitting on your stoop you MOVED. These people just look like a bunch of new age hippies with no respect for people. I admire your outspokeness and insight.

thank you

Of course, when out of thousands of people, Ann only focuses your attention on the two (count ‘em, TWO) naked, hippy women yelling at a cop, it’s understandable that you’d get the impression that the movement is just “a bunch of new age hippies with no respect for people.” Of course, having been down there numerous times now, I’ve found most of the movement to be fully dressed, non-new age, normal people with legitimate grievances and who treat the NYPD as well as many others around them with respect.

Ann Leary doesn’t need to agree with this particular movement, but I have to insist she stop perpetuating biased, inaccurate ideas about it. She also stated that she felt the protests should be targeting Washington, not their bosses here on Wall Street.

Ann, I hope I’ve helped you to understand just a little bit about this movement that you found so very confusing.

And just because I enjoy ridiculous, topless, young protesters as much as the next guy:

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Whose fault is the crappy economy? Atheists!!!

April 6, 2009

i_dont_want_youYes, according to David Lebedoff, the atheists are to blame for the bad economy because of hidden messages in the writings of dead atheist author George Orwell.

If you only go around once, then the main thing is to have fun. If you start by admitting that from cradle to tomb it isn’t that long of a stay, then life is a cabaret, old chum, and so, by the way, is Wall Street. There is a bumper sticker favored by some of the recently rich that proclaims “he who dies with the most toys wins.” This is indeed the moral philosophy of those who believe that death is the final closing bell. Materialism, hedonism and Stairmasters are what people do until the clock stops ticking.

Um, actually I’ve talked with hundreds of atheists and I’ve yet to meet any who hold this “moral philosophy” you ascribe to them. Please name 1. And since when did atheists rule Wall Street or the government? In fact, the number of out of the closet atheists in Congress can be counted on 1 hand:  Pete Stark. Done. And of course no Christians or Jews have any interest in material possessions, right? Please.

Lebedoff is a bigot who doesn’t understand anything about atheists or reality. But since he doesn’t care for material possessions like us evil atheists, I feel I have to ask:  Lebedoff, can you please give me all your money? Afterall, you can’t take your money with you to heaven, so it’s worthless to you. And your being such a non-materialist guy and all, right?

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.29.08

October 30, 2008

Antivaccinationist David Kirby admits that mercury is no longer “the smoking gun” – Apparently this one managed to slip by Jersey’s Bergen Record reporters but made it into Jersey’s Star Ledger. I guess after a while these guys have no choice but to refute themselves. Makes my job easier.

Why We Believe – Newsweek takes a look at the world of woo woo and seems to present a positive view of skepticism.

Religious fundamentalist Tim Tingelstad is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court – Not in PZ Myers’ state you don’t!

Pray to golden calf…err, I mean bull of Wall Street – That’s not the only bull I see in this story. Yes, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened and gullible religionists came to accept the terrible consequences of their past voting decisions as a reality but instead of thinking to actually do something about it, they’ve turned to the silliest response possible, praying to an idol for good fortune to come their way. Sorry folks, it doesn’t work that way. Only you can prevent forest f–well, you get the idea. Fantasy solutions only work in fantasies but real problems require real solutions. But here’s one thing you can do to improve your circumstances: Vote Obama!

Supplement trial for prostate cancer canceled

A large trial (35,000 men were enrolled) involving vitamin E and selenium for the prevention of prostate cancer was recently stopped because of lack of any benefit, and the small chance of risk, from the treatments.


Hate crimes against atheists: not reported or not happening? – Apparently there were only 6 hate crimes against atheists last year. For the sake of comparison, the number of anti-Jewish crimes was 969. Anti-Islamic? 115. Anti-male-homosexual? 772. Anti-black? 2,658. This this 6 sound implausibly low to anyone else?


The NY Times debunks the myth that drinking lots of water is good for your skin


Warming Kills Yellowstone’s Frogs, Salamanders? – “Frogs and salamanders, those amphibious bellwethers of environmental danger, are being killed in Yellowstone National Park. The predator, Stanford researchers say, is global warming.”

Brain’s ‘Hate Circuit’ Identified – “People who view pictures of someone they hate display activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a ‘hate circuit’, according to new research by scientists at UCL (University College London).”

New Cell Division Mechanism Discovered – “A novel cell division mechanism has been discovered in a microorganism that thrives in hot acid. The finding may also result in insights into key processes in human cells, and in a better understanding of the main evolutionary lineages of life on Earth. The study is published October 28 in the online version the American National Academy of Sciences.”


Richard Dawkins has died, been resurrected, and has been said to now perform miracles – Boy does someone have egg all over their face.

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.30.08

October 1, 2008


Not all religiously-motivated terrorist attacks on U.S. soil are caused by Muslims – Some nutty American Christians sprayed gas into a mosque filled with kids. Some suspect this is connected with an anti-Muslim “documentary,” Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

Consequences of Pulpit Sunday – As I mentioned in my blog 2 days ago, a group of religious organizations planned to preach from the pulpit to tell their parishioners who to vote for, deliberately violating the rules that afford them tax exempt status on Sunday. Americans United for Separation of Church and State is already filing complaints with the IRS.

Religious sentiment in New Zealand – A recent New Zealand survey suggests only 40% of the people believe in a god, and 10% do but have doubts. Only 52% believe in an immortal soul, and 80% accept evolution. Not surprisingly, this secular paradise is not the crime-ridden distopia theists would have you believe. Quite the opposite.


Creationists are losing the battle in North Carolina! YEA! – I blogged about the creationist goings-on in North Carolina 2 weeks ago (here). Apparently the creationist Newspeak gambit isn’t working no matter how many times they insist:

Religion is Science

Science is Religion

Bill Gates funding the Discover Institute? – Et tu, Bill? As if there weren’t enough reasons to switch to a Mac.


Mayor of Fort Mill, South Carolina sent a chain email around that said something to the effect of, The Bible says the anti-Christ would be a Muslim, Barack Obama is a Muslim, ergo, Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. Can’t argue with that bulletproof logic.

Christian Civic League of Maine blames Wall Street crash on gays – One would have thought the Jews would make better scapegoats for this one. But then again, who am I to tell the bigots how to do their bigotry?

“Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause,” writes Michael Heath. “I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God’s judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively.”



Conservative Christian reviewer calls Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast the “Mouthpiece of Satan” – Apparently he’s under the impression that all they do is sit around mocking god-belief. Though oddly, having heard every episode, I somehow must have missed that one. Oh, and also he also believes that autism is a “disease” and is one of many “judgments from God.” He calls it, “liquid blasphemy” (I guess it’s liquid because vaccines contain liquid). Of the podcast, he says:

“There is nothing redeemable in this podcast. It’s a propaganda mouthpiece for Satan and his followers.”


Jenny McCarthy fires back at Amanda “My Future Wife” Peet – I dare you not to laugh when you read this quote by Jenny:

“(Peet) has a lot of [nerve] to come forward and be on that side, because there is an angry mob on my side, and I like the fact that I can say she’s completely wrong.” She added, “I look at (Peet) now and say to myself, ‘That was me before I had autism in my life,’ and until she walks in our shoes, she really has no idea.”

Wah! Wah! Also, the national autism advocacy group Autism United is calling for a boycott of all of Amanda Peet’s movies:

“Our community will not support the continued misinformation that is funneled into the media by organizations like ECBT and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We are not against vaccines, rather we are for safe vaccines. Until they understand that, we won’t back down.”

Flash forward to a month from now when they’ve backed down. The difference between McCarthy and antivaccinationists at Age of Autism is:

“There’s a big difference. One teaches. The other proselytizes. May Amanda never need our help.”

Oddly, I agree on both counts. Peet teaches while McCarthy proselytizes nonsense and it truly would be a tragedy if Peet ever needed these delusional fools’ help. But yeah, as everyone knows the pediatricianazis are next to traitors in the center of Hell. Damn you, you pediatrician!!! Stop protecting our children!!!

Also McCarthy apparently couldn’t understand why Barbara Walters didn’t believe that her son, Evan, had recovered from the currently uncurable autism until Jenny found some convoluted explanation for Walters’ skepticism.


In Defense of Food – Here’s another blog recommending we stop listening to nutritionists and stupid fad diets and just eat rationally, citing the eating advice of one author who breaks it down to 7 words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Though blogger Harriet Hall makes a slight alteration to this advice: Eat a variety of foods. Not too much. Mostly plants.

What does a scientific consensus mean?

The Times investigates alternative medicine in a series of articles – But apparently in the most recent article, the author doesn’t take into account Bayes’ Theorem, which states that the more implausible the hypothesis, the less likely that any numerical data can confirm it.

Phil Plait interviewed for Popular Science Magazine regarding Moon Hoaxers


Congratulations to PETA for making the Epic Fail 2 consecutive weeks in a row!! That’s quite an accomplishment – Okay, I found last week’s stunt nothing but mildly amusing. But this time it’s personal! Now they’re blaming the genetic disorder autism on milk consumption. Anyway, Orac delivers a crushing debunking of their ludicrous, repulsive propaganda taking advantage of the current hysteria surrounding the disorder.


Homeopathic/herbal scam artist sentenced:

A Shelby County man who scammed thousands of hopeful customers worldwide with bogus health-remedies pleaded guilty Monday to computer fraud and agreed to forfeit cars, motorcycles, bank accounts and other property. . . “We have victims from virtually every continent and there allegedly are several thousand victims,” said Steve Crossnoe of the District Attorneys Office White Collar Crime Prosecution Unit. “People were not receiving what they thought they were receiving. The medical research was fictional. The doctors were fictional.”


Mass Extinctions And Evolution Of Dinosaurs – “Dinosaurs survived two mass extinctions and 50 million years before taking over the world and dominating ecosystems, according to new research published this week.”

New Dinosaur Had Bird-Like Breathing System – “The remains of a 30-foot-long predatory dinosaur discovered along the banks of Argentina’s Rio Colorado is helping to unravel how birds evolved their unusual breathing system.”

Mars Lander Sees Falling Snow On Red Planet – “NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth.”

Second-hand Smoke May Hook Kids On Nicotine – “Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes beware – second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children.”