Today, Mayor Bloomberg reportedly "accepted responsibility" for the slow cleanup of Sunday's snowstorm. It caps a three-day odyssey of stupidity that is not typical of Michael Bloomberg. Next up is a January 10th City Council hearing on why it took so long to clear the streets.
Following is the press release Mayor Bloomberg should have released:
This past Sunday, the city was buried under almost two feet of snow. It was the sixth worst snowstorm in the city's recorded history. Since then, there have been numerous complaints about the slow pace of street clearing by the Department of Sanitation. read more »
I have often complained about how here in NYC we have seen mass transit quality fall sharply (my wife even recently said she feels it is just starting to get as bad as it was in the 1980's) while the rates per ride continue to go up, up, up.
But recently, while going over the finances of my apartment co-op, I realized that there is another area where New Yorkers are being charged more and more and more...our water rates. I noticed how starting in 2007 water rates started going up far more sharply than before, and realized that this made little sense when one considered the rate of inflation. So I decided to compare on a year by year basis our water rate increases to the rate of inflation over the past decade. Here's what I found:
WATER RATE INCREASES FOR THE PAST DECADE:
(taken from the NYC Waterboard Website and from Bureau of Labor Statistics)
2011: + 12.9%
2010: + 12.9%
2009: + 14.5% (inflation: -.4%)
2008: + 11.5% (inflation: +3.8%)
2007: + 9.4% (inflation: +2.8%)
2006: + 3% (inflation: +3.2%)
2005: + 5.5% (inflation: +3.4%)
2004: + 5.5% (inflation: +2.7%)
2003: + 6.5 (inflation: +2.3%)
2002: + 3% (inflation: +1.6%)
2001: + 1% (inflation + 2.8%) read more »
Matt Titone, my State Assemblyperson (Democrat Staten Island AD 61), has launched the "Boycott Amnesia" campaign to call attention to U.S. Senators opposing the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act and their donors.
The campaign calls for boycotting amnesia, the forgetting about the first responders, exhibited by those opposing the 9/11 health care bill, but not an actual boycott of any corporation or product.
Instead, Titone is encouraging people to voice their outrage at the Senators not standing with the first responders and the donors that enable them.
Two documents are attached. One lists contribution details and the other corporate and PAC contact info.
Remember that Mike Bloomberg keeps pushing for a WalMart in NYC...and community after community has fought back. Even Staten Island. The fact that WalMart destroys local businesses like the Borg destroying a Starfleet armada is one of the main reasons even Staten Island fought back against the Bloomberg/WalMart push.
But I think in many communities the fact that they lost one of the biggest sexual discrimination suits is another factor. That court decision is under appeal in the Supreme Court, and WalMart's case isn't that they didn't discriminate. It is simply that they are "too big to fail."
On Dec. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear retail giant Wal-Mart's challenge to a class-action lawsuit against the company involving more than 1.5 million women. Wal-Mart did not ask the high court to review the actual charges that the company routinely discriminated against its women employees. Instead, the challenge seeks to halt the largest-ever discrimination case in the country before it even gets to trial. read more »
I am always suspicious when political movements call themselves "independent" or "moderate." Usually it is a thinly veiled cover for yet another faux-populist Right Wing group funneling money from wealthy CEOs into ways of getting out the vote for Republicans.
The Teabagger movement (again let me remind my readers that they came up with that label for themselves, so they can stop whining about our using it) is a prime example. Funded by a billionaire to stir up discontent and channel it into supporting right wing, pro-billionaire policies.
Well the "No Labels" brand strikes me as much the same. Pulling together such pro-upper class politicians as billionaire Michael Bloomberg and failed Republican candidates from Florida and Delaware to push a "moderate" and "independent" agenda that sounds amazingly like standard Republican trickle down pap doesn't really seem to be anything new to me. Just another marketing scheme funded by the rich to keep people voting pro-rich policies.
And at its inception the "No Labels" marketing scheme has fumbled. Turns out their logo (now taken off their site) was a barely modified version of a logo someone else came up with. read more »
This month's Central Brooklyn Eating Liberally meeting will be Tuesday, December 14, 7 PM at the excellent Middle Eastern restaurant Zaytoons in Prospect Heights.
594 Vanderbilt Ave
(between Bergen St & Dean St)
Come join us for some good food and some intense political discussion. I am sure there will be much discussion about tax breaks for the rich and what's up in Brooklyn politics.
Next month will probably be at Taqueria De Los Muertos for some good Mexican food.
There's a dearth of Chanukah songs compared to the sheer volume of Christmas music, although much more exists, both sacred and secular than "Maoz Tzur" (Rock of Ages, traditionally sung after candle lighting during all eight days and describes the miracles saving Jews from Egyptian slavery, the Babylonian exile, Persian genocide attempts and Greek oppression), "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" and Adam Sandler (Here's a link to what I hope will become a classic for Hassidic Reggae star Matisyahu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv-7WdpB72o). Ironically, Jews such as Irving Berlin ("White Christmas"), wrote some of the best known Christmas songs.
One of the most ubiquitous holiday songs is the "12 Days of Christmas" AKA "A Partridge in a Pear Tree". The song has been spoofed countless times, including some attempts at producing "Eight Days of Chanukah" (Chanukah is an eight day festival) songs sung to the 12 Days tune. Here's my version.
Well, some people aren't going to like this column, but what's new? I think I have found a good female candidate for the next election for the office of Brooklyn borough president. If she runs and wins, then history will be made, since she will be the first female borough president of Brooklyn.
In 2006 we finally got a female NYC council speaker in Christine Quinn; and I know that for the forces of empowerment, inclusion and diversity, she fits two bills: she is also a lesbian. Fine.
I know we have 33 men and 18 women presently in the city council, and I suspect this represents the highest number of women elected in the council's history (358 years next February).
Presently, of the five borough presidents, only one is female: Helen Marshall/Queens. We have no female District Attorney in any of the five boroughs. The mayor, public advocate and comptroller are all male. We have never had a female mayor ever. My research also shows me that Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island have never elected a female to fill the boro-prez spot. I am sure Gatemouth can enlighten us as to the veracity of this research. read more »
Had an odd experience today and it may have affected others in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Was at work this morning when I got a call from my building's managing agent, on the ball this morning, who had noticed police near our building. They talked with the cops and then called me...
Seems a suspicious package was found on 7th Ave in Park Slope near where I lived...with my name and address on it! Cops were called and contacted our managing agent and they contacted me.
I have heard two very different descriptions of the suspicious package: one vaguely fits an old suitcase, originally my step-father's, that my wife and I threw out more than a month ago. I remember taking all identifying tags off it before putting it with my building's trash, but it is possible we missed something. If this description is accurate, then things kind of make sense. read more »
It was written by a young Otto Rene Castillo: a Guatemalan born writer -now deceased.
the apolitical intellectuals of my country
will be interrogated by the simplest of our people.
They will be asked:
“what did you do,
when your nation died out slowly;
like a sweet fire, small and alone?”
On that day,
no one will ask them about their dress,
or their long siestas after lunch.
No one will want to know about their sterile combats with the idea of the nothing,
nor would they be asked about their absurd justification
born in the shadow of the total lie.
No one will care about their higher financial learning;
they won't be questioned on Greek Mythology,
or regarding their self-disgust,
began to die the coward's death.
On that day
the simple people will come:
those who had no place in the books and poems of the apolitical intellectuals,
but daily delivered their bread and milk,
their tortillas and eggs;
those who mended their clothes
and drove their cars
and cared for the dogs and gardens
and worked for them.
And they will ask again:
What did you do when the poor suffered? read more »
When I was growing up, one of my dad's favorite sayings was "Don't let anybody ever tell you you're a dumb Mexican."
Our mom definitely taught us that there are times when we must stand up for our convictions and not back down.
Loretta Sanchez became my hero when she defeated the disgusting right wing extremist Bob Dornan in an upset victory in Orange County, California. Several years later, her sister Linda Sanchez was elected to a nearby district and they became the first ever sisters to serve in Congress.
As the children of Mexican immigrants, their story is obviously one of overcoming great odds and prejudice. But they have overcome those odds with grace, intelligence and great skill.
In 2008 Loretta and Linda (along with Richard Buskin) published their story, a book called Dream in Color. I love the title as much as I love the Sanchez sisters. And I always meant to buy the book. But I tend to read either ancient history or pure escapist science fiction or fantasy. The stupid turn to the discredited and failed right wing Republican agenda in the 2010 midterm election was what made me finally buy the book, because I knew it would be an inspiring story, and I needed an inspiring story. And I was not wrong in my expectation. read more »
It's a waste of time to compromise with Republicans. The Lame Duck Congress must prove it's not lame. The House must pass the repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top two percent and the Senate should use reconciliation to avoid a filibuster. The Bush Tax Cuts were originally passed via reconciliation.
The savings from the cuts' repeal could then be used as pay-go for extending unemployment benefits. I don't know if the unemployment benefit extension is deem and pass eligible, but linking them to the repeal may mean reconciliation is a legal tactic.
I hear little talk in the liberal media and blogosphere and zero from the Obama administration and elected officials, about using reconciliation to permit the upper income cuts' expiration.
The cuts will be extended if deem and pass isn't employed. The Republicans will definitely filibuster any legislation that doesn't extend the cuts, if not make them permanent and the Democrats will cave in the game of chicken over the extensions of the middle class tax cuts. The President's "I didn't reach across the aisle enough" comment foreshadows Democratic wimpdom on the cuts. read more »