D. P. Dwiggins, PhD

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This page will be maintained in backwards chronological order, with the newest posts
listed at the top and the oldest posts found by scrolling down to the bottom.
After enough posts have been made I'll create a link directory.

What Are We Protesting Against?

And these are only the most recent headlines in our local paper, describing corruption and selfishness at the city, county, and state level.

This doesn't even mention the chancery court employee who resigned after one million dollars turned up missing, I guess because that's old news.
(See Insurer drops Shelby County's fraud coverage after $1M Chancery Court claim for a Sep 27 update.)

Minnie Pearl, beloved Grand Ol' Opry humorist, said she used to work for the local newspaper in her home town of Grinder's Switch (alias Centerville, Tennessee). She said people didn't read the paper to find out who was doing what, since local gossip kept everyone up on that. Instead, she said the only reason people checked the Grinder's Switch Gazette was to see who had been caught.

Every day we read about people getting caught. Go to any search engine and type in two words: "memphis" and "embezzle". You will find links to at least a dozen different articles appearing during the last year or so. Now take everything you see and imagine it at the level of the playing field in Washington DC and on Wall Street. What seems picayune at the local level becomes monstrously evil on the national and international level. And remember, the only time we read about corruption and greed at this level is when someone insufficiently bulletproof gets caught. But here are some things we have heard about:

I could keep going, but can usually only stomach about three of these at a time.

These are things I am in protest about, but I don't see how wanting to protest about high-level corruption and greed makes me an anti-captialist. The anonymous John Public says I have courage to have my name associated with a group that protests these same things. I can't speak for others in this group, but I feel that many of them would agree with what I am about to say. Wanting to protest about such things does not make me against capitialism, nor does it mean I seek a communist, Marxist, totalitarian, or Nazi regime, no matter what occurs in the imaginary universe living in the minds of Ann Coulter and her ilk.

I will admit to being a socialist, but this is by birth, not by choice. The country I was born in began instituting socialist practices during the 30 years before I was born. These practices included an income tax and a social security program to protect the eldery, disabled, and otherwise unemployable from, basically, being "kicked to the curb". After I was born other socialist practices, such as the civil rights movement and the battle for gender equity, took hold in my country, and today we still fight for similar causes. I was born in 1958 in Rushville, Indiana.

If you believe "business as usual" should not only continue but should also be allowed even more freedom to rip off whatever can be taken from an increasingly impoverished population (the 99 percent), then it is no wonder you wish the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Memphis groups would go away and shut up.

To the rest of you reading this message, as this important October 15 weekend begins, please consider how you might be best able to support this cause.

And to those who still don't know why we're protesting, I think one way to sum it up would be that we share the same goals as Superboy did in those old Filmation cartoons, and those are:
To Fight Against Wrong
To Preserve the Peace
To Search for Truth

D. P. Dwiggins
Memphis 38117
October 14, 2011

But now it is time for my second post, which is also the first blog entry I created for Occupy Memphis.

There Must Be Something We Can Do!
(or, don't just gripe about it, get up and do something)

I just finished helping my wife look up her checking account information, to see if something had cleared.
At the top of the transaction listing were two new items called Monthly Fees, the first time they had ever appeared.
Digging through last week's mail, we found the envelope informing us of enclosed changes to our accounts.
These "changes to our monthly fees" were not changes at all, but brand new fees, foisted upon us with hardly any warning.

We now have to pay $8 a month for the privilege of maintaining an operating checking account.
This fee is waived if we meet the minimum balance requirement, which was not given on the letter informing us of this fee. Instead, we had to consult an accompanying brochure, which says that people who can afford to have $1500 sitting idle in their checking account do not have to pay the monthly fee. This $8 charge is only for people who cannot afford to have $1500 sitting idle each month in their account.

In case you haven't guessed, the other new fee is a $4 charge for using the bank's debit card.
When my wife's bank, which had managed her and her family's accounts for over 50 years, was bought by another entity, I told her this kind of stuff was going to happen as soon as they thought they could get away with it. She has remained their customer out of some sort of tradition or loyalty, but maybe now she'll take my advice and switch to a credit union.

I have just finished telling Comcast, or Xfinity, or whatever they will be called next, that I will be picking up two digital converter boxes from them, even though I don't want digital cable service. The website tells me that (at least for now) this will not result in an increase in my bill, although this also means the television in the bedroom will from now on only receive channels 2 through 19. (Fortunately channel 15 is my favorite channel.)

And this past summer I switched to a new cell phone service, because the one that had been serving me well for many years was bought by ATT. (After the switch, when I asked to talk to a customer service agent, the ATT employee had to flat out tell me to leave, because "There is no customer service department." (His exact words.)) I rode out the mandatory two-year contract so I could cancel my service without being additionally charged. And now, again if you haven't already guessed, my new cell phone company no longer exists, going by a different name in order to provide me with more service I never asked for in the first place.

Having three things like this happen to our household in the span of one week isn't quite the normal pace of things,
but they illustrate how ridiculous corporate shenanigans have become in this country, how much is being forced on
people, and how little choice any of us seemingly have, in searching for something to do about it. Using a forum to
rant and rave about this is why I volunteered to start this blog. I am also about to leave to attend a meeting of the
Occupy Memphis group, to see what else we might be able to do. If you are reading this, then please join us.

This is just a preliminary mockup, created 7 Oct 2011.
Content will be added later.

And it is now later, 12:18 a.m. 8 Oct 2011, so I might as well make an entry in this,
my personal weblog, the first one I have ever started. I guess the first thing to do
is to let you, the Gentle Reader, know something about who I am.

I am a 53-year old white male. (I learned recently from my wife that "Caucasian" is
no longer PC. It actually makes sense, though, since my ancestry comes from Ireland,
not Asia Minor.) I live in Memphis, Tennessee, with my wife of 22+ years and a lot of cats.

I am an employee of the University of Memphis, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution
funded by the State of Tennessee, and, as such, I am an employee of the government.
I am invested in TCRS, the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, as well as a
401(k) account and a tax-deferred annuity.

Since I intend to rant and rave about how greedy bastards have been
ruling and ruining this country for quite some time, I felt I should
be up front with my personal financial situation.

A couple of hours ago, I volunteered to host a weblog for Occupy Memphis, a local group
inspired by the recent Occupy Wall Street protest group. I learned about OM from the
local daily newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, in an article which appeared 7 Oct 2011.
Later that day I again read about the group, in an article (which included the group's
web address) which appeared in this week's edition of The Memphis Flyer, a weekly
publication that comes out each Wednesday (which means this information was available
to the Flyer staff no later than Tuesday 4 Oct 2011).

Here is the website: Occupy Memphis

After reading through the forums, it looked like they were looking for volunteers
to type stuff up in this kind of format, and so after contacting them I decided I might
give this a shot. I will know more after the next organizational meeting, but I'll
probably post something else before that.


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