Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oops

OPD6543


That would be the Oakland PD...

So, I'm trying to have a relaxing day, clear my head of everything, right? Supposed to rest up for the big week. Went to SF, saw some sights, generally tried not to think about much. I'm coming home, reading e-mails on the train, and I'm alerted to some trouble happening at Occupy. Something about tear gas and rubber bullets being used earlier in the day. Ogawa Plaza is filled when I get there - and no cops. Very odd, because usually they are all over the place.

Occupy decides they are going to try and take another vacant building, and they start to move. Completely shut down the intersection at Broadway and 14th - a major intersection in downtown Oakland. Start marching down Broadway. I tag along, even though the light is starting to leave the sky and I know I won't get much of anything in the way of pictures.

One lone motorcycle cop is set up at 17th Street to stop traffic from coming up Broadway - and then here come the white vans out of the side streets, filled with police. The march turns down 16th, and heads to San Pablo instead. It's about this time I decide to turn back and head home; I don't know where they are going, and I didn't feel like walking in the dark...

So I turn around, and there's the line of police, trailing the march. Not wanting to be arrested, I stayed with the crowd, which marched to a park on 19th. At the park, there is a plaza with statues and art at the head of a grassy area. Chain link fencing has been set-up on the grass section to either a) keep people out so they won't camp, or b) keep people out so they can plant more grass or something. Don't know, the ground is a mess. Anyhoo, the cops had smartly blocked all four streets leading into this park/plaza area - and the crowd was trapped at the plaza section. No way out. And they panic.

The police helicopter above starts lighting the area, which freaked people out even more. Tried to push down the fence, and the cops rushed towards them, rubber bullet guns drawn. Protesters retreat. Behind me, a couple of flash bang grenades go off, and the tear gas starts. Didn't even realize what was happening until my eyes and throat started burning. Nasty stuff. Got away from there and back to the fence, where a larger crowd was now pushing the thing down.

Run.

And I did.

They pushed a 2nd fence down at the other end of the park too, and the crowd was free, back on the street. Started marching down Telegraph. I slipped away and got the hell out of there.

No Pulitzer for me, but no zip-tie handcuffs either, and for that I am very grateful. They are arresting a lot of people tonight, and this has now made the national news. As I write this at nearly 10pm PST, the helicopters are still circling out there, and the Twitter feed says something is happening back at 14th and Broadway...

How was your day?

Update 5:00am: Leading the national news stories on some of my sites:

Here's a Reuters photo of the scene I described above.

Reuters: "Police fire tear gas at Oakland, 200 arrested"
New York Times "Occupy Protesters and Police Clash in Oakland
CBS News "300 arrested in Occupy Oakland protests"
USA Today (AP): "Oakland police arresting about 300 'Occupy' protesters"

Some jackass burned a flag, and of course that incident is making the stories, even though it was an isolated event - and there is the problem.

There are a few in this crowd that seem to want confrontation with the cops, but it's certainly not the majority. The police are responding by arresting everyone in sight, journalists included. Someone from Mother Jones and (I believe) the SF Chronicle got caught up in the melee according to the Twitter feed. I had heard of such things before, and that's why I stayed with the crowd when I saw that line of police behind me, blocking my escape.

Are there some jerks in this movement? Yes. Are the police over-reacting and using tactics that inflame the situation? Yes. The end result is escalation of tensions, leading to what you read above.

They are supposed to go at it again today. Stay tuned.

occupy6483

Crowd gathers at the Ogawa amphitheater.



occupy6488

Social concerns.



occupy6452

Directing traffic on 14th. Crowd is moving into the street at this point.



occupy6499

Intersection of 14th and Broadway, the heart of downtown Oakland, filled with people. Ogawa Plaza is behind and to the right.



occupy6537

Marching down San Pablo, which led to the first picture at the top of the page. At this point it's getting really dark, and I didn't get much after that. All the running and tear gas didn't help the situation either.

Moral of the story: What was planned to be a relaxing and restful day ended up with me getting tear-gassed. Just goes to show you, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans....


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Elk Mountain

wyoming3602


The things they miss when they fly over.

Also available in 1000 px.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Turbines in the Wyoming Sunrise

wyosunrisewind3535


Wyoming was beautiful, desolation etched in snow. There were wind farms in a few places along I-80; this was one shot I caught as the sun was coming up behind me on New Year's Day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Couple of Things to Note

Comcast e-mail address is shut down now, so start using the new one. If you need the new one, drop me a line in the comments, and I'll be in touch.

Happy 175th birthday today to the great state of Michigan! Check out Michigan Radio's roundup of links for some excellent info on that.

Stay warm everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home Run

You know when they hit a long home run to right at AT&T Park in SF and it splashes into the Bay?

This would be the place.

atthdtest4969


To the left are openings in the wall where you can stand there are watch the games. I guess they come around and clear people out after the third and sixth (?) innings so everyone gets a chance to see.

Very nice park, looking forward to catching a game there.

I'm testing out hooking up my TV as a monitor to process pictures, so bear with me if this changes/disappears...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday Night at Occupy

Occupy Oakland, earlier in the day.

occupy4455

Getting ready for a march. The police are always around Ogawa Plaza, or wherever these folks congregate. Heavy presence in the city yesterday.

occupy4459

So later, I'm sitting in the apartment, the Pats finished up destroying the Broncos, the TV is nattering on in the background, I've got my eyes closed and am partially drifting off... and all of a sudden, motorcycles. Loud. I thought maybe they were just passing by, but it kept up.

And then the chants started.

By the time I got up, found the glasses, found the camera, they had marched by the window... and I caught them walking down MLK, followed by 9 vans filled with cops, regular OPD cars, and unmarked police cars too. It was quite the procession. Two helicopters started circling later. The police actually generated more noise than the protesters.

occupy4488115

Half tempted to throw on a jacket and go join them, but I hate shooting in the dark, and I really have no desire to tangle with the Oakland PD. This hardcore group has been confrontational in the past; last night only two were arrested in what the press described as a "peaceful" protest. Or, put it this way, there were more people ticketed at the 49ers game, so this was pretty tame in comparison.

Right now I've got a bandwidth limit on the phone modem (thanks Verizon!) and I'm testing the limits of that, so I can't put up a lot of pictures at this point. Plus, I'm not going to have a lot of time for such things for the foreseeable future - but if they march in the day and I'm around, I'll be sure to go shoot.

And eventually, other pictures too, promise. :-)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Michigan RPS Ballot Proposal: 25% by 2025

Yes! So happy to see this. From my man Paul Egan:

A group wants to amend Michigan's constitution to more than double the existing requirement for how much of the state's electricity must come from renewable sources by 2025.

Proposed ballot language filed Wednesday for the Nov. 6 election would require the state's utilities to reach 25%, well beyond the current law passed in 2008, which requires 10% of Michigan's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015.

Consumers and DTE are already grumbling about it, but too bad. The original should have been set higher, but of course the Republicans wouldn't allow it, so it's time for the people to take matters into their own hands.

30 states now have RPS goals, most are along this line, if not higher. West Virginia, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois and Delaware are all shooting for 25% by '25. Colorado wants 30% by 2020. California, 33% by 2020. The big winner is Hawaii at 40% by 2030. Most states are using a combination of methods and broadening the term "renewable" to include hydro or so-called "clean" natural gas, but the point is they are doing it, and they are creating jobs and attracting industry to their states because of it.

President Obama had proposed a national 25% by '25, but with Congress being Congress, we will have to settle for this patchwork approach from the states for now. Confusing, yes, but it needs to be done. Expect the Kochs to throw a bunch of money at misleading ads (think Detroit bridge), but I sure hope the people of Michigan know better, get this on the ballot, and vote it in.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ogawa Plaza, Yesterday

In the darkness you could hear the people's microphone....

ogawa4354_0200_filtered


One of the tree-sitters, from last Saturday...

ogawa4160



Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy "Blue" Year 2012!

welcome to wyoming

If you would have told me a year ago that I would wake up on the first day of 2012 in Laramie, Wyoming, well... just goes to show, you never know what is going to happen.

Make it a great year everyone - will write more on my adventures when I am able.

Onward to victory!