Occupy Wall Street Update: What are the Occupiers Occupying?

(Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Hey remember the Occupy Movement? Well in case you’ve been wondering, its legal battles continue, and Occupiers continue to wield their sleeping bags and their persistence to (purportedly) fight for the rights of the 99%.

A man who refused to leave Zuccotti Park during the “eviction” of Occupy Wall Street last November is currently fighting a criminal charge of trespassing. Earlier this month, a Manhattan Criminal Court judge ruled that New York City and park owner Brookfield Properties had a right to evict Occupiers from their encampment in the park if necessary to remedy unsafe conditions. However, the judge found that a trial is required to determine whether the conditions actually were unsafe, as both NYC officials and the park’s owner claim.

According to the judge, if the allegations in the criminal complaint are proven true, the park conditions at the time of the eviction not only interfered with the public’s ability to use the park, but also posed a hazard to the health and safety of the public. Therefore, the judge found that these allegedly deteriorating conditions justified the park owner’s temporary removal of the park Occupiers for cleaning so that alleged safety hazards could be addressed.

Notably, the judge rejected the argument that evicting the Occupiers ran afoul of the First Amendment, agreeing with another Manhattan judge who rejected a civil challenge to the eviction the day after it occurred. In allowing the trespass case to proceed, the Criminal Court judge held that while some symbolic or expressive conduct is considered speech under the First Amendment, it is well settled that not all conduct meant to convey a message amounts to expressive speech.

According to the Manhattan DA’s office, about 2,020 people associated with Occupy Wall Street have been arrested in NYC since the protest began last September.

As the Occupiers are still fighting the eviction from Zuccotti Park, they also developed a new tactic – sleeping on Wall Street sidewalks near the New York Stock Exchange. According to an Occupy Wall Street spokesperson, last week protesters began sleeping in front of banks in lower Manhattan to highlight the issue of income inequality.

At least one attorney says that, as long as the sleep-puts are not incompatible with the public space, the protesters cannot be arrested because of a 2000 court decision allowing people to sleep on sidewalks to express their political views.

Occupy movements in other U.S. cities remain active despite setbacks. Occupy Detroit vacated its downtown encampment in Grand Circus Park last November – about the same time that campers had to leave Zuccotti Park in NYC. But nonetheless, members continue to work throughout Detroit on projects such as foreclosure prevention and homelessness.

On Friday night, Occupy Louisville (Kentucky) campers had to vacate the city park where they had been living for over four months, after their application for a permit to remain in the park was denied. The city’s chief of public safety claimed that the Occupy campers impeded the general public’s access to the park and caused serious damage to the property. But Louisville Occupiers remain confident that they will not disappear; they will remain active in the community.

Although I admire their moxie and I applaud them for taking advantage of all this free camping, can anyone tell me what the Occupiers stand for? And also, will they eventually put “Occupier” on their resumes after their camping trip is over?

Hilary Rosen Apologizes to Ann Romney — Blah, Blah

When Democratic “strategist” Hilary Rosen said that stay-at-home mother Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life,” a firestorm emerged. Predictably, she has now apologized, saying, “As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.” First, I wasn’t aware that “pundit” is another word for asshole. Second, I love how the offender always wants to declare “peace.” I’m The Dishmaster! There’s no peace until I say so!

The Supreme Court Allows Strip Searches for Minor Offenses — Outrage Ensues


I have once again commissioned the services of my Contributing Editor, Rik Sault, to write about all the smart things that are far beyond my comprehension. I deliberately surround myself with very intelligent people so that I can abuse them at a later date to write articles for The Dishmaster, and so far my plan is working. Read below for a very succinct summary of a very insane issue.

Written By: Rik Sault, Contributing Editor

On Monday, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jailers may Constitutionally strip-search people arrested for the most minor offenses – like failing to use a turn signal or riding a bicycle without an audible bell – even if there is no reason to suspect that the arrestee is carrying concealed contraband.

The case was brought by a New Jersey man arrested after a traffic stop; the police mistakenly believed that he had failed to pay a fine. While he was jailed for a week, in two different facilities, he was twice required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search. He brought suit alleging violations of his privacy rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendment, and arguing that jail officials must have reasonable suspicion of concealed contraband before they can strip-search people arrested for minor crimes.

At the Supreme Court, the justices split 5-4 along ideological lines. Justice Kennedy, the famed “swing” vote, wrote the opinion. He and the Court’s conservative faction found that it’s difficult for jails (strictly speaking, the term does not include prisons) to know which of the 13 million arrestees taken in each year are dangerous. Therefore, “courts must defer to the judgment” of the jailers “unless there is substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security.” Kennedy offered three reasons for rejecting a rule requiring reasonable suspicion before conducting a strip search: (1) deterring contraband, (2) the danger of introducing lice or contagions into the jails, and (3) the “identification and isolation” of gang members by looking for gang-related tattoos and markings.

Justice Breyer wrote the dissent, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. The four liberal justices found that the searches permitted by the majority were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy,” and that the Fourth Amendment should be understood to bar strip searches for minor offenses which do not involve drugs or violence unless there is a reasonable suspicion of concealed contraband.

But in spite of the dissenters’ qualms, the majority’s opinion appears to be fairly limited. In a concurring opinion, conservative Justice Alito explained, “The Court holds that jail administrators may require all arrestees who are committed to the general population of a jail to undergo visual strip searches not involving physical contact by (guards)… the Court does not hold that it is always reasonable to conduct a full strip search of an arrestee whose detention has not been reviewed by a judicial officer and who could be held in available facilities apart from the general population.” Because the decision applies only when the arrestee will be admitted to a jail’s general population, it is unlikely that the decision will directly affect lawsuits in which arrestees allege that they were unlawfully strip searched but not placed in a general population. Moreover, the strip searches upheld by the decision involve only a visual inspection – no touching. And the decision certainly does not require that all jails conduct the strip searches. It merely holds that the Fourth Amendment does not forbid them. Jails are free to set their own policies on whether to conduct visual-inspection strip searches of all arrestees.

The High Court’s decision can be viewed here

Why High-Powered Men Cheat on Their Wives — Using Craigslist

By Guest Blogger: Josh Pey

Because so many high powered politicians get in trouble for cheating on their wives, I’ve asked my good friend to explain the phenomena to me.  I’d do it myself, but that would mean I’d have to think like a man — and I hear that if you shut your brain down for too long it could cause permanent damage.  That’s a joke, guys.  I know you use your brain — some of the time.  Anyways, Josh wrote a very funny (or insulting) guest post explaining the infidelity, with particular emphasis on Republican Congressman Christopher Lee’s recent resignation for sending naked pictures to his mistress on Craigslist.  Enjoy!

Powerful men don’t get that way by accident.  They are driven individuals.  You have to sacrifice a lot of time, fun and other opportunities to become an NFL QB or a U.S. Congressman.  What does that mean for relationships and random play and what does it say about the character of many of the men in these positions?

1.            They’re egomaniacs.  Not all of them, but the ones who get in trouble, for the most part, are.  Huge egos need massaging and satisfying.  That kind of satisfying.  In the words of Dave Chappelle, if a man could fuck a woman in a cardboard box, he wouldn’t buy a house.  Well, these guys know that and they have accordingly built really nice houses to go with their really big egos.

2.            They don’t have a lot of time for dating and drama.  They’ve been busy since they were kids and haven’t had the time to spend on girl problems.  When they get successful and that becomes an advantage instead of a handicap when they’re trying to get laid, they naturally capitalize on it.

3.            They feel entitled to it.  They worked hard to get to where they are and its time for them to screw some of the hot pieces of ass they’ve seen other guys with.  For as long as they can.  This ride can’t last forever, can it?

4.            It’s right there.  Chicks (very hot chicks) like to sleep with these guys.  SEE: Tom Brady

5.            Women are hypocrites.  Most women pretend this conduct is disgusting, but ask them if they have a guy, or guys, they are fascinated with and most either admit it or blush and walk away.  They hate it until they have the opportunity.  We know this.

That’s all I’ve got.  If you’ll excuse me, I am going to go back to eating a roast beef sub and watching NCAA Women’s Gymnastics.  Who says female sports are boring?