From an emailed press releas:
Brooklyn, NY) Senator Parker has introduced a bill (S.2981) that would raise the price of cigarettes from an average of $10 a pack to an average cost of $11.65 a pack. The expected earnings of this increase will be $191 million dollars, this doesn’t include the immeasurable societal health benefits. Under Senator Parker’s legislation the money from the cigarette tax will not be used to balance the budget. Instead he has created a dedicated fund to be used for smoking cessation and prevention programs for adults, teenagers and youth.
You know, that's quite lovely, caring and involved, for want of a better word. But if Senator Parker really wants to make this world a better place, maybe he should start with some anger management classes, so he doesn't completely lose it when someone tries to take a picture of him.
This began at dKos. In a discussion I think about the origin of Jews (one of those stupid "they're all Europeans!!" BS diaries) the origin of the Indo-Europeans came up. This was a topic I was very into and up on...about 6 years ago or so. Kind of moved on to other topics since then and my knowledge on Indo-Europeans stagnated a bit. So, another Kossite, blue jersey mom, recommended a more recent book on the subject: David Anthony's The Horse, the Wheel, and Language. Which I have now begun to read. Good book so far, if you love the ins and outs of history and archaeology like I do.
I am not going to talk much about the book or Indo-Europeans. I want to ruminate about language in general based on a short section in the book. Particularly how language itself shapes our patterns of thought even without our knowing it.
Americans tend to be unilingual (monolingual?). Which means to most of us, even if we learn a foreign language in school, are shaped by a single language structure. We are completely unaware of the fact that the way our language is structured forces us to shape our thoughts a particular way. read more »
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, is in Harlem tonight to headline a fundraiser for the DNC. So at least for the day, the most powerful Democrat in the state isn't budget-slasher Andrew Cuomo.
Enjoy it while it lasts, New Yorkers.
As has been widely discussed, mocked, lamented, the New York Times today is introducing a subscriber model for its award-winning web site. Users can access twenty articles a month for free, anything more will set you back fifteen clams. It remains to be seen whether or not the new model will work - pay sites tend to be either business-oriented, leaving your boss to pick up the tab, or pornographic - and the Times' previous trial run with a paywall, TimesSelect, didn't really work out that well.
That said, this is just awesome: from Arthur Ochs Sulzberger himself.
A letter from the publisher of The New York Times about the beginning of digital subscriptions in the United States and the rest of the world. [emph. added]
Anyone else remember the famous headline, Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off?
In the never-ending battles over a woman's constitutionally protected right to choose, one issue comes up again and again: the lack of information. Anti-choice extremists have done a reasonably effective job of curtailing women's access not just to safe and legal methods to terminate a pregnancy, but to the tools that make an informed choice possible.
Enter the internet.
Now, I've never had an abortion myself, or been even tangentially involved with one. Nor am I saying it's always the right choice. But it is not my choice. I'm not going to get pregnant, no matter how hard I try. That's what matters.
This could very well turn into an endless post, with a finely filigreed and nuanced analysis of the ethics involved, the costs, and the questions of God and Woman neatly addressed. That's not, however, within my scope. I'm a guy. A guy who likes guys, so this, for me, is well within the realm of the theoretical. read more »
It's Sunday, the weekend is in full bloom, so we can take a moment off from analyzing the relentless decline of the state, the Democratic Party and everything that is good and right in the world, and get down to gossip.
In this instance, gossip about Diane Savino, hard-hitting State Senator from Staten Island, founding member of the enough-Sampson-already Independent Democratic Caucus in the Senate, and, since her passionate speech in the unsuccessful marriage equality debate of 2009, something of a gay icon as well.
CHOMP AND TALK Usually around 10 a.m., I’ll eat breakfast. I kind of chomp while I’m on the phone. I’ve found I’m more of an Italian than anything else when it comes to breakfast. Italians don’t eat a lot for breakfast.
TIDYING UP I’m a neurotic cleaner. Most people will tell you my house looks like nobody lives there. And when I’m on the phone with people, I’m constantly cleaning and spraying. Right now, I’m actually sweeping the floor.
Deep stuff, no?
So in the spirit of the Times piece, when next I see the Senator, I think I'll forego asking her about, say, her view on labor rights, and will instead meekly inquire whether she's interested in lending a hand to clean my messy desk - gotta start somewhere - and what precisely her connection, if any, is to Savino's Quality Pasta, a neighborhood gem I always run to when I need to really impress with dinner.
Occasionally, the Metropolitan Transit Authority does something really useful. On their web site, developers can access the plethora of MTA data streams, free of charge as an open source resource.
So what does that mean to you, the non-geek passenger fuming at a delay or just trying to get from point A to point B with a minimum of delay or discomfort?
Easy: grab a smartphone - which, unless you live in a cave, you most likely have - and download the apps developed independently of the MTA by some enterprising ventures, here, or just go to Apple's iTunes store and grab an app there. They're free, do all sorts of useful stuff, are available in languages as diverse as Afrikaans and Yiddish, and work beautifully.
There you go. Now catch your train.
This is adapted from something I wrote some years ago when I actually worked in the building where the Triangle Shirtwaist fire took place. But it is a part of American history, labor history, and Jewish-American history that Teabaggers want us to forget. And we must not EVER forget because the women who lost their life that day died so that today we have fire regulations and unions. The Teabaggers are desecrating the memories of those women who died 100 years ago.
On March 25th 1911, 146 people died in the very building I used to work in before our lab moved to the NYU school of medicine. The result of their deaths was the rapid growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and the real beginning of the fight against sweatshops. These are the very advances that right wing extremists in the Republican party are trying to eliminate, forgetting those 146 deaths. It also was the beginning of fire regulations in American cities.
The story of the fire and the missed opportunities to prevent it are chilling. But what is more chilling is the fact that America has forgotten why we need unions. Even some unions have forgotten what unions are all about, but I want everyone who doubts the need for unions to remember the events of March 25, 1911.
The sheer blindness of Teabaggers (again, THEY chose that name, so they can stop whining about our using it) is really quite amazing. They say (may even believe) that they are for the average American, but then they do the bidding of the Billionaire Koch Brothers in opposing everything that actually helps average Americans and support everything that helps billionaires. Complete blind hypocrisy.
But then sometimes the hypocrisy is even more blatant. I mean sometimes it stares you in the face and yet the Teabaggers STILL are blind to it. Take the Staten Island Tebagger Supreme Frank Santarpia. This guy rants and raves against "sweetheart deals for the well-connected" yet he is part of the organization funded by the Billionaire Koch Brothers and supports tax breaks for the very rich, the ultimate "sweetheart deal for the well-connected" that is best known and reviled as "trickle down economics" or, in the words of an intelligent Bush, "Voodoo Economics." read more »
WILL CONGRESSWOMAN YVETTE CLARKE GET A PRIMARY CHALLENGE FROM NYC COUNCIL MEMBER DARLENE MEALY NEXT YEAR?
File this column under the category “Where The Hell Does Rock Get His Information”? I know that such a category exists because an erected (yes!) official told me so years ago. Truth be told, it is really the category called “Deny-ability”.
Look, I didn't speak to either NYC council member Darlene Mealy (41st Council District) , or to congresswoman Yvette Clarke (11th Congressional District) before writing this column. And in fact, I didn't really care to: since I am not sure either one would have given me the real scoop here. So I am out here flying on my own with no bungee chord; who knows how far, and where I will land. You the reader can make your own mind up as to the veracity of this column.
I recently wrote another column stating that if Junior Boyland (55th AD/Brooklyn), was to go down for the count -given his recent indictment- that I felt Darlene Mealy will become the next assembly member from that district. Let me give you my rationale. read more »
Actually, the title is a bit premature, but I will be speaking on the subject tonight at CBID (for the uninitiated, that's "Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats"). Details:
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Park Slope United Methodist Church
6th Avenue (Between 7th/8th Streets)
I look forward to an excellent discussion.
There's been a bit of a kerfuffle recently regarding the decision by the New York City Gay and Lesbian Center to cancel an event to be held at the Center by an anti-Israel - or, if you prefer, pro-Palestinian - organization. The group, Siege Busters, is engaged in activism targeting the Jewish state, and specifically the military closure of the Gaza Strip.
Without going into the precise details - my own personal view is one of sympathy to both Israelis and Palestinians, and a desire for both nations to live in peace - this controversy raises some interesting issues.
First, given that gays and lesbians, to say nothing of transgender Americans, still labor under discriminatory laws, are we right to draw lines that cut us off from other oppressed peoples, which both Palestinians and Jews by any objective measure are?
Second, if we consider the passions stirred by this particular debate, which presumably obtain within the LGBT community as they do elsewhere, is it right for the Center to come down firmly on one side of it?
Third, what do we do with and about Palestinian queers, who come to New York City from one of the most extravagantly homophobic societies on earth expecting a safe harbor?
I'm not going to commend the Center on its decision or, for that matter, criticize it either. What's done is done. But it would behoove the Center, and all New Yorkers interested in its work, to give some more thought to the matters raised here. read more »
As I implied in my last “Vines” column: relative to the five boroughs of New York City, Brooklyn is usually where the political action's at. And sure enough, when the Daily News came with their expose on the many NYC council members (almost 20 -the last time I looked) whose ethics can be put to challenge, Brooklyn had more than just a few of their electeds represented on the “Council of Shame” list. This story broke last Sunday (3-20-2011); and that was fine; but I still have a big problem with the Daily News. And coming to think about it: likewise the New York Times, Newsday, the Post, and many other newspapers (local, regional and national) plying their trade in this state. I will get to that in a lil bit: so hang on like Sloopy. read more »
For Immediate Release: March 21, 2011
Contact: Roy Moskowitz, Reciprocal Results (718) 370-3977 Mobile: (917) 992-1873 Email: R2ceo@aol.com
Richard Reichard, SIDA ((718) 440-6717 Email: ReichardRA@aol.com
Staten Islanders protest Congressman Michael Grimm's "Obamacare" repeal support
Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA) rally celebrating "Affordable Care Act" anniversary
2:30 p.m. Wednesday March 23 outside Grimm's Staten Island office, 265 New Dorp Lane
SIDA will cite 10 reasons why healthcare bill repeal would be bad for families, seniors and the deficit
(Staten Island) The Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA) will protest Staten Island and Brooklyn Congressman Michael Grimm's Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) repeal support during a press conference celebrating the healthcare bill's anniversary, 2:30 p.m. Wednesday March 23 outside Grimm's Staten Island office, 265 New Dorp Lane.
SIDA cites 10 reasons why repealing the legislation would be a mistake.
1. Under Obamacare Children, up to the age of 26, can be covered under their parent's health insurance. read more »
Oh Great...Indian Point is the nuclear plant in the US MOST at risk of core damage from an earthquake
So the advantage of living in a place that has relatively frequent earthquakes, like California, is that people KNOW they have to build for earthquakes.
The current nuclear disaster in Japan has everyone considering the risks of nuclear power right here at home. Our current energy dependence on coal, oil and nuclear power basically is focused on some of the most toxic, nasty energy sources around. The nuclear industry is arguing that even in the worst case scenario, nuclear power is still overall not as bad as coal and oil when you take into account all risks. I am pretty sure they are ignoring the whole mining and transport of the fuel, but they have a point that oil and coal are pretty damned bad too. So to me the solution is avoiding BOTH and focus on cleaner, safer energy sources like wind, solar, methane from waste, etc.
But be that as it may, America has 104 nuclear power plants, mostly from the 1960's and 1970's. These plants are built pretty well. But as was shown in Japan, even when you know the risks it is hard to plan for the worst case scenario. The combination of a 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami were too much for even fairly well built plants in Japan. read more »
This comes from the Global Fund for Women:
Upcoming Events with City Winery and Global Fund for Women
In honor of International Women's History Month, NYC's City Winery is hosting a month-long party to celebrate the women who inspire us everyday! The winery is featuring women wine makers from around the world, as well as several evenings of special performances. City Winery is a dedicated supporter of the Global Fund for Women (GFW) and will be graciously donating proceeds from some of the events to GFW. A limited label of Global Fund for Women Cabernet will also be sold throughout the month.
Thursday March 17th, 7pm - Dirty Wines Done Dirt Cheap
Saturday March 19th, 8pm - Lisa Loeb
Tuesday March 22nd, 8pm - Paula Cole
Wednesday/Thursday March 23/24th, 8pm - Lila Downs
Sunday March 27th, 8pm - Kathy Mattea
Wednesday March 30th, 7pm - Wines of Argentina
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.citywinery.com/events/132359
We hope to see you there!
155 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
In my most recent “Vines” column, I was a bit hard on council member Jumaane Williams; I would admit that. I even felt it was justified based on the information I was working with. So it wasn't at all surprising when he called me to defend his position. This column essentially delves into the gist of the council member's response.
Readers should note that it is not unusual for incoming council members, to replace community board members appointed by their predecessors. In fact, it is practically a norm -as these things go. I will suggest that if you haven't read my last column, then you should do so now before you move forward in this column. It will give you a better understanding of what I am writing about here. read more »
It has been a while since I did a “Vines” column: so here goes. As I always caution, this type of column is a bit different to my regular columns, and as such, it should not be held up to the same rigorous scrutiny (and standards) as the others. Here I do a bit more speculating than I normally do: so keep that in mind as you search for ways to jump my blog-bones (lol). read more »
[NOTE: Videos seem to have disappeared in the Daily Gotham version...not sure why but it sure detracts from the impact if the diary]
The opening scenes of the Japanese Anime movie, Whisper of the Heart (Mimi o Sumaseba) shows the distant skyline of Tokyo, as seen from the suburb of West Tokyo, emerging from the evening mist. The first images give you a feeling of an almost endless city, overwhelming yet beautiful in the morning mist, then normal street scenes of life in West Tokyo...all accompanied, seemingly incongruously, with a version of John Denver's "Country Roads."
(From the English dubbed version's opening scenes)
To me those opening scenes of Whisper of the Heart always brings a nostalgic tear to my eye because it captures perfectly what life in Japan is like. As I see the scenes from Japan now, after such devastation, I can't get these scenes out of my head. read more »
This comes from the National Center for Science Education:
I thought that you would like to know about a screening of "No
Dinosaurs in Heaven," a new documentary directed by Greta Schiller
about the creationism/evolution controversy, to be held at 6:00 p.m.
on March 15 in the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the Graduate Center of
the City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street) in
Manhattan. The event, part of the Science & the Arts Series, is free
and open to the public.
According to the filmmaker, "No Dinosaurs in Heaven" is "a film essay
that examines the hijacking of science education by religious
fundamentalists, threatening the separation of church and state and
dangerously undermining scientific literacy. The documentary weaves
together two strands: an examination of the problem posed by
creationists who earn science education degrees only to advocate
anti-scientific beliefs in the classroom; and a visually stunning raft
trip down the Grand Canyon, led by Dr. Eugenie Scott, that debunks
creationist explanations for its formation. These two strands expose read more »
About 5 years ago I wrote an article about a relatively new but spreading problem: bed bugs. Since I wrote that the problem has gotten bad enough that it has sparked a whole industry of detection and extermination of bed bugs and has led to hundreds of articles all over the mainstream medium reporting on this growing problem.
Last summer the building I live in had a bed bug scare. Turns out probably only one apartment ever had them, but had we not acted rapidly it could well have spread. As it was we spent tens of thousands of dollars to pinpoint possible affected apartments and proactively treat apartments. During that time we became quite informed about the pests. The bad news is much of what is being down is probably not the best and is leading to pesticide resistance. The good news is there are some very simple things you can do that will prevent them from coming into your living space.
Just a reminder, this coming Tuesday, March 8th at 7 PM will be the March meeting of Central Brooklyn Eating Liberally. This month's meeting looks to be a great one for two reasons. First, we are likely to have people from a variety of groups attending, if all goes well. Second, we are meeting at one of the best restaurants around.
Kaz an nou is a French/French Caribbean fusion restaurant with amazing food at reasonable prices. Only draw backs are that they are cash only (be warned), they are BYOB, and they fill up, so we need to all be there by 7 PM to make sure we get a table. But believe me it will be worth it! Don't believe me? Check them out:
This month there will also be a lot to talk about. If we get a good cross section of local politics attending I will happily shut up and let everyone else do the talking. Otherwise I will be pushing for how important it is for progressives all over the country to be helping out our pro-union friends in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana...and even possibly IDAHO!
Hope to see you there.
Central Brooklyn Eating Liberally
Tuesday March 8th, 7 PM
at Kaz an nou
53 6th Avenue
PISSED-OFF ENOUGH TO DO ANOTHER COLUMN ON BROOKLYN'S 54th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT: WHICH WILL PROBABLY COST ME BIG TIME (AS USUAL).
There have been times over the past six years of engaging these blogs, when I have wondered if it's even worth it. I had hoped that local races -hardly covered by mainstream media- would be dealt with on the blogs, by local electeds, staffers, community activists, and the sort. I had hoped valuable info would be disseminated to the voters in time to further inform the choices being made. Alas, I have come to the conclusion that this hardly ever happens: too many people come to the blogs to ridicule rather than inform. To them, all this blogging stuff does, is just give them opportunities to display their mental illnesses and/or character flaws. Plus, I get the sense that there aren't too many good writers around anymore: where are Maurice Gumbs and Colin Moore when you need them? read more »
I believe that what has started in Wisconsin, and is spreading to other states, particularly Ohio and Indiana, is a real sea change in American politics...IF we come together and fight back as a united front. And New Yorkers can and should be at the forefront of this labor fight...as we have been at the forefront all along (see below). Plus we have to counter the bad image the Koch brothers are giving NYC.
Doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers, the NYC Billionaires, the Teabagger Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are trying to destroy the unions that brought us the 40 hour work week, overtime pay, child labor laws...the WEEKEND! Now the governor of Indiana saw which way the wind was blowing and backed off a bit, but these three states are currently the main battle ground between the pro-Billionaire Teabagger Republicans and regular working class Americans. And we have to win in these three states BIG time to slap down the right wing attack on our firefighters, cops, teachers and nurses.
The Republicans have bitten off more than they can chew. The American public, who basically prefer unions, firefighters, police, teachers and nurses better than billionaires, are not happy at all at the right wing attack on unions. In fact, the American public is telling the Teabaggers and their Billionaire Masters:
We're angry and we are NOT going to take it anymore... read more »