Monday, April 30, 2007

Blueprint for Dictatorship?

From Justin at antiwar.com:

Blueprint for Dictatorship

Recent legislation sets us up for tyranny
by Justin Raimondo

America is headed for a military dictatorship – and recent legislation makes this all but inevitable. Last September, Congress passed the Defense Authorization Act, which empowered the president to declare martial law with very little provocation, namely in the aftermath of a "terrorist attack or incident." Having determined that "the execution of the laws" is hampered by the "incident," the president can unilaterally impose martial law – without the consent of Congress, which need only be informed of the event "as soon as practicable." The only condition attached instructs the president to report to Congress after 14 days, and every 14 days thereafter.

This use of the military to enforce domestic order is a new development in American history, one that augurs a turning point not only in terms of law, but also in our evolving political culture. Such a measure would once have provoked an outcry – on both sides of the aisle. When the measure passed, there was hardly a ripple of protest: the Senate approved it unanimously, and there were only thirty-something dissenting votes in the House. Added to the Military Commissions Act [.pdf], this new brick in the wall of domestic repression creates the structure of a new imperial system on the ruins of the old constitutional order. George W. Bush and his hard-core neoconservative henchmen may have lost the war in Iraq, but they have won a virtually uncontested victory at home: the conquest of the old republic by an emerging imperial order. This recalls the opening of Garet Garrett's 1952 philippic, Rise of Empire, wherein he diagnosed the essential indeterminacy of the transition:

"We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night; the precise moment does not matter. There as no painted sign to say: 'You are now entering Imperium.'"


Salaam E Ishq - Better in a different Format and Context

the NYT had an article today on old shows being delivered in a new online format:
Coming Online Soon: The Five-Minute ‘Charlie’s Angels’
By BILL CARTER
The question probably never occurred to viewers in the 1970s and 1980s, but suddenly it is highly relevant: exactly how much worthwhile entertainment content was there in shows like “Charlie’s Angels,” “T. J. Hooker,” and “Starsky and Hutch”?

The Sony Corporation and its production studio, Sony Pictures Television, which controls the rights to those and many other relics of a distant era of television, have come up with an answer to that question: three and a half to five minutes.

That’s the length Sony has shrunk episodes down to in order to create what the company hopes is an appealing new business in retooling old shows for a new era of entertainment. Sony even has a name for these shrunken slices of television nostalgia: minisodes.


This got me thinking about Salaam E Isque, which after a long wait in my netlfix queu finally arrived. Though was extremely disappointed with the film when I saw it in the theaters, I have actually spent quite a bit of time watching it on DVD - the differance? I can flick around to the good parts and watch them again, whearas I had to sit through the 3 + hours in the theatre of a poorly told storyline. The production values are good, the music great - and there are some moments here and there (like between John A and Vidya Balan), but the stories were all disjointed and not very interesting...all of which means in this format - non linear form - where I can control the content, its enjoyable to watch.

(and yes, I do have a thing for Vidya Balan)



Unfortunately, its a crappy Eros DVD,with no extras - and one of the best numbers- Mere Dil - was cut from the film:

What's a Few Historic Buildings When You Consider How Much Brooklyn Can Use More Parking Lots?

That, is according the "Boss Greed" Mike Bloomberg, who has, from day one, began a relentless campaign of unsustainable 'growth' that only benefits himself and his friends. Short term it makes the numbers look good, long term it seriously lowers the quality of life for New Yorkers. There's no thinking of future.




Meanwhile, Brooklyn loses buildings like the Duffield houses (on the right) and Ward's Bakery (on the left) to parking lots...then Bloomberg and others turn over land and resources to 'genius' developers who grace Brooklyn with treasures like this:


If this continues, Brooklyn will look more like a more crowded version of the blandest, poorly designed suburb. Building parking lots, ignoring infrastructure, increasing auto traffic, tearing down historic buildings, wasteful, flamboyant architecture....are Bloomberg and Ratner trying to relive their youth of the 1960s, when super blocks, auto-based infrastructure and wiping out the past were considered progressive?

Anyway you can do something:

TOMORROW: Duffield St. Hearing

City Hall

10AM, Press Conference on the City Hall steps with Councilmembers and supporters of the Duffield Street owners.

11AM, Hearing

Come out for the hearing to help save the Duffield St. homes from seizure by eminent domain. The City is planning to condemn 227 and 233 Duffield Street to build more parking in Downtown Brooklyn, despite evidence that these historial homes were part of the Underground Railroad network and that the firm hired to evaluate these claims, AKRF, lied and withheld evidence.

AKRF is the same firm that wrote the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement, which dozens of neighborhood advocacy and public-interest groups found to be flawed and incomplete.

Tomorrow's hearing is being held by the NY City Council's Landmarks Subcomittee, chaired by Councilman Leroy Comrie, and will cover the AKRF's report on the Underground Railroad findings.

More information can be found here: http://nyprotest.flactivist.org/?p=7262.

More Fake "democracy"

Bush's rhetoric about democracy came to a halt when Palestinians elected the 'wrong' government. Likewise neoconservatives like Bush are remarkably reticent about this development in Turkey:

Turkish poll crisis goes to court
Turkey's disputed election of a new president - pitting secularists against the ruling Islamist-rooted AK party - has gone to the constitutional court.

The court is now examining a petition from the opposition to cancel the election of a new president.

As many as one million people marched through Istanbul on Sunday, opposing presidential candidate Abdullah Gul.


As with the so called 'colored' revolutions in East Europe which were nothing more than Western backed coups - well funded, often backed by western owned or funded papers, so goes the 'secular' 'revolutions' in Turkey and Iran. Similarly, in Europe when the 'wrong' party wins the election is often nullified. Which is what appears to be happening in Turkey. Meanwhile, even when there are elections, real power is in the hands of an unelected bureaucracy .

The increasing religious fervor represents a real mystery for "end of history' theorists like Fukiyama. How could people possibly step 'backwards' when given MTV, drugs, and Gap clothing?...perhaps he should read "the world on fire"

Fundementally Flawed

I attended the Unity Workshop thingy on Saturday and one graphic that really stood out was one illustrating flow of water from Vanderbilt yards to the gowanus canal- which is accomplished by gravity - that sewage water must then be pumped uphill, - back to Brooklyn Navy Yard - where it is treated.

One commentator, forgot her name, pointed out that the site was never built on because it was at the bottom of several hills - and thus a natural collector for rain water. This is already a problem without Atlantic Yards - raw sewage often goes directly into the Gowanus canal, adding 16,000 residents will exacerbate it beyond capacity.

No provision has been made for this, its yet another problem being passed off to future generations for immediate profit.

Double Standards

Steve Sailer predicted that reporters would eventually come to realize that Obama belongs to what is essentially a race-based faith - its hard to imagine a white candidate belonging to such a religion and being seriously considered for office:



A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith

By JODI KANTOR
CHICAGO - Members of Trinity United Church of Christ squeezed into a downtown hotel ballroom in early March to celebrate the long service of their pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. One congregant stood out amid the flowers and finery: Senator Barack Obama, there to honor the man who led him from skeptic to self-described Christian.
Twenty years ago at Trinity, Mr. Obama, then a community organizer in poor Chicago neighborhoods, found the African-American community he had sought all his life, along with professional credibility as a community organizer and an education in how to inspire followers. He had sampled various faiths but adopted none until he met Mr. Wright, a dynamic pastor who preached Afrocentric theology, dabbled in radical politics and delivered music-and-profanity-spiked sermons. …

It is hard to imagine, though, how Mr. Obama can truly distance himself from Mr. Wright. The Christianity that Mr. Obama adopted at Trinity has infused not only his life, but also his campaign. …
Still, Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy. Mr. Obama had never met a minister who made pilgrimages to Africa, welcomed women leaders and gay members and crooned Teddy Pendergrass rhythm and blues from the pulpit. Mr. Wright was making Trinity a social force, initiating day care, drug counseling, legal aid and tutoring. He was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views. …
Mr. Wright preached black liberation theology, which interprets the Bible as the story of the struggles of black people, whom by virtue of their oppression are better able to understand Scripture than those who have suffered less. That message can sound different to white audiences, said Dwight Hopkins, a professor at University of Chicago Divinity School and a Trinity member. “Some white people hear it as racism in reverse,” Dr. Hopkins said, while blacks hear, “Yes, we are somebody, we’re also made in God’s image.” …
Mr. Obama was baptized that year, and joining Trinity helped him “embrace the African-American community in a way that was whole and profound,” said Ms. Soetoro, his half sister. …
In the 16 years since Mr. Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard, Mr. Wright has presided over his wedding ceremony, baptized his two daughters and dedicated his house, while Mr. Obama has often spoken at Trinity’s panels and debates. Though the Obamas drop in on other congregations, they treat Trinity as their spiritual home, attending services frequently. The church’s Afrocentric focus makes Mr. Obama a figure of particular authenticity there, because he has the African connections so many members have searched for. …
Generally, Mr. Obama emphasizes the communal aspects of religion over the supernatural ones. …

In other words, Sen. Obama’s much celebrated “faith” is essentially a religion of race, an exercise in black solidarity through antipathy toward white America that is only nominally linked to Christianity. That would be his own business, if he wasn’t trying to get elected President by misleading the public about it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Other Green in Bloomberg’s Plan

Nicole Gelinas
The Other Green in Bloomberg’s Plan
Money.
24 April 2007

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his plan for a “Greener, Greater NYC,” acknowledges a key problem: New York’s transportation infrastructure, the backbone of the city’s private-sector economy, is badly out of date and insufficient to meet the needs of a 21st-century city. But the mayor is murky on the $31 billion question: how will the city pay to fix its infrastructure, and how will it create the accountability necessary to ensure that the repair funds are spent wisely?

First Look At Cheeni Kum




The site is up here. The title song sung by Shreya is catchy. Though websites and trailers are are often far more entertaining than the films they promote, this looks like an intelligent, witty comedy. With two pros like Tabs and AB, its pretty hard not to be entertained. Should be releasing in May.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Living in the Age of Anti-Satya

Now that the Baby Boomers are at the crest of their power, it is no accident that ethics have reached an incredible new low. The generation that said 'anything goes' is doing just that. The generation that said there's no right or wrong is acting accordingly.

I don't idolize Gandhi but he did espouse one concept I agree with - Satya - live truthfully (forgive the fancy sanskrit - i only learned if from a great bollywood film :) ). We can see the direct consequences of a society that doesn't do so. Lying - as long as you can get away with it - is not only acceptable - it's encouraged. As Edith Hamilton pointed out in "The Greek Way" when society no longer rewards good men and virtue that society is on its way to falling apart.

We were lied into the Iraq war by Fiefth, Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney and Bush. Their lies didn't stop there. They went on to hire dishonest contractors, and loot the very people they intended to help and had the gaul to send American soldiers into the field without proper equipment by pocketing the money intended to arm them. Now not only are billions of dollars (and thus power) being transfered from taxpayers to corrupt contractors. Now the equivalent of a Virginia Tech massacre is happening daily in Iraq - sometimes two fold that number. Yet no one has yet been charged with any crime - because they now tell new lies - that they thought the intelligence was real.

Locally, Ratner has lied his way into robbing the public coffers of literally billions of dollars- by creating a false air of virtue and making promises he has no intention of keeping. We have a multiple industries of specialized liars- PR firms, Ad Agencies, "consultants" that find legal ways to lie, and justify it to themselves that i f 'falls within the rules'. Thus consultants hired by the city to assess the Duffield Street houses historic value can ignore obvious evidence and draw a legal conclusion that says they were never used in the underground railroad. As long as they create a false reality on paper, their consciouses are clear.

As long as we continue to reward people like Ratner, and as long as people like Charney can continue to do the dishonest business they do, more and more people will act like Ratner and Charney.

Liars for Hire

Along with fake community groups, Ratner also relies on fake pollsters:
Atlantic Yards Report goes over the mundane task of dissecting Charney's lies in this op-ed today which he humorously but accurately calls trolling for developer business:

A BLUEPRINT GROWS IN B'KLYN
By CRAIG CHARNEY

April 26, 2007 -- DEMOLITION began this week to clear ground for New York's biggest urban redevelopment project in decades, Atlantic Yards. That marked not just a crucial defeat for New York's militant anti-developers - the dreaded "NIMBY" (not in my backyard) lobby - but also the emergence of a possible blueprint for future victories.



I'll spare you the lies and nonsense, and just mention that Charney's "poll" did what Forest City tried to do all along - hide the truth from the public. Nowhere did it cover the huge public outlays or abuse of eminent domain, which curiously, Charney didn't think was an issue. How he could not when 85% of Americans are opposed to it is beyond ludicrous - it is a lie. Charney is typical of the liars -for-hire Ratner and other unethical developers regularly employ. Their job is to have the air of objective analysts, but deliver forgone conclusions in favor of their clients.

But his first line -calling us 'dreaded NIMBY's " clearly illustrates he never intended to, nor was capable of, conducting an honest poll in the first place. Unfortunately, he will be rewarded handsomely for his dishonesty.

A Small Taste Of Bruce Ratner's Competence

Yes, accidents will happen...and happen and happen:

WABC Eyewitness News

- The parapet of a vacant building under demolition as part of the Atlantic Yards project collapsed onto the street in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn Thursday morning.

Officials say the parapet on the former Ward Bread Bakery Complex came crashing onto the sidewalk and Pacific Street just after 9:45 a.m.

The parapet is the barrier at the edge of a structure employed to prevent persons or vehicles from falling over the edge.

No workers were reported injured, and there were no pedestrians struck, officials said.

Emergency services personnel are now in the process of evacuating nearly 100 apartments after a parapet fell.

Officials are worried about the stability of the building and the possibility of additional collapse, so they are evacuating the building next door at 800 Pacific Street. There are unconfirmed reports that perhaps 350 people could be displaced.



It is literally criminal for Bloomberg and the ESDC to allow this voraciously greedy and desperate developer to continue without oversight. Already in the small amount of work he has done in the footprint, Ratner has racked up one illegal demolition fine, shut the water off for residents, collapsed a street and now this. Imagine if he were given a free hand.

No doubt Ratner's spin machine is hard at work - I predict that Ratner will use this accident to justify razing Ward's Bakery on the grounds its structurally unsound.

Over at Brownstoner someone commented:
All the residents of the adjacent homeless shelter were evacuated. Women with babies in arms and many young children could be seen standing around on Dean St. I hope the city will find somewhere for those families to go. Especially since there have already been complaints by residents of Dean St that the asbetos abatement going on at the Ward Bakery is being done in a very sloppy way.
Bruce Ratner is more than greedy - he's so greedy that he's williing to kick out 87 year old tenents, kick high school kids out of their building, steal land, divert state funds for personal profit and now, have kids breathe in asbestos. This is the new 'elite' of New York City. This is whom Mayor Bloomberg and Spitzer thinks worthy of receiving billions in state and city funding and land.

"Accidents will happen"...

...more frequently as Bruce gets desperate to get Altantic Yards off and running before bonds dry out and skepticism rises. Being a low-life has it's advantages, it allows you to have an absolutely clear conscious when you try to kick kids out of a high school so you can build luxury condos, and when called on, it you can pay someone to deny you ever proposed it. Now we have a convenient 'road collapse' that auspiciously helps to advance closing Fifth avenue ("hey its broken anway!") and advance Ratner's agenda. Like Jososha Guttman's convenient case of arson, its helps create a reality on the ground and effectively kill debate. Look for more of these 'accidents' to occur in the future. Its just a coincidence, but they'll always somehow be a boon a for the developer.

Bloomberg, in relentless campaign to bring more tax revenue (at the expense of more future cost, and lower quality of life) will make sure officials are disinterested in pursuing justice. The message is clear to developers: burn, cheat, destroy, flout the law - as long as you can promise future tax revenues (even if the claims are false) you're Mike Bloomberg's friend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hypocrisy Check If Imus Had Called Mother Theresa a "ho" he'd still have a job

I nabbed this off of Taki's Top Drawer (a new favorite blog of mine). I think it's pretty clear by now this double standard exists (I would LOVE to here some justifications for it and big media by and large ignores it)

If Imus Had Called Mother Teresa a “Ho” He’d Still Have a Job

Posted by F.J. Sarto on April 20, 2007

In case you were planning a career as a nasty, mean-spirited shock-jock, who makes his living using his media pulpit to slam people who mostly can’t (or won’t) fight back, here’s a handy tip: Stick to attacking our culture’s designated pinatas. Working-class whites, Southerners, all white Protestants (but especially Evangelicals), stay-at-home moms, and Mormons are all safe targets. In most circles, Arabs and the French are fair game, too.

Feel especially free to trash Catholics, of course. The admirable Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights has highlighted the extent of the double standard applied to the defamation of Christians and of other groups in the U.S. League president Bill Donohue commented on the way Catholic bashers are treated as compared to Don Imus:

“Two years ago, Penn Jillette (of the comedy team Penn and Teller) went on Showtime calling Mother Teresa ‘Mother F—king Teresa’ and called the nuns who worked with her ‘f—king c—ts.’ Showtime is owned by Viacom and that is why I wrote to its chief, Sumner Redstone, to register a complaint. He wrote back extolling the merits of ‘artistic freedom’ and ‘tolerance.’ Last year, on Viacom-owned CBS radio, Jillette said Mother Teresa ‘had this weird kink that I think was sexual,’ compared the saintly nun to Charles Manson and said she ‘got her [sexual] kicks watching people suffer and die.’ Again, nothing was done about this.


.....


“Similarly, Joan Walsh on Salon.com said the chocolate Jesus was not ‘a big deal,’ and advised people not to go see it if they didn’t like it. She has now called on Imus to be fired. Even New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said ‘don’t pay any attention’ to the chocolate Jesus, but he now finds it necessary to brand Imus’ comments ‘repugnant.’





Guess Atlantic Yards isn't the only thing the Mayor is a big hypocrite about. I would love it, if one day some enterprising 'artist' took all the things sacred to people like Bloomberg and Walsh (and we all know what they are) and, using them, created mirror images of the chocolate Jesus and Elephant Dung Virgin Mary, and made similar comments about the 'saints' of their "religion". I am not Catholic, but this gross hypocrisy and flagrant double standard is mind boggling - or maybe not: It is a boast of those in 'power' - it's a way of establishing a pecking order of values. But they - and we - don' t realize they only have power from our consent (i withdrew mine long ago).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jury Duty.

Given the choice of a. fine, imprisonment or both b. report for jury duty. I chose 'b'. Rather limited choices; even my SATs/ACTs had 'none of the above'. Nonplussed, I asked a young law clerk, "considering the only reason I showed up today is because the alternative is fine or jail, how in the name of God do you expect me to serve as an impartial juror?

After asking this question at appropriate times, eventually I was sent home. No more or less productive than some work days, got some reading in - a recently purchased copy of the "The Chronicles of the Conquest of Granada" By Washington Irving, and discovered, on Tuesdays, Borough Hall has a nifty Farmer's market where I got lunch and some goodies I am enjoying now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Mayor's Great Exception

The Mayor has some grand ideas for greening the city...with one exception - the area where Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Park Slope meet. Its always the mayor's 'great exception' to every sensible environmental, urban planning and preservation principle in existance.

From a Municipal Arts Society NewsLetter:

PlaNYC 2030: A Fine Start The Municipal Art Society congratulates Mayor Bloomberg for his bold leadership and the unprecedented creativity he invested in PlaNYC 2030. Forward-looking proposals like congestion pricing, planting a million new trees in the city and the development of a public plaza in each community district are among the many thoughtful goals to begin planning for now


Hmm were is "public" (not publicly accessible) 'plaza' in the neighborhood Mr. Gehry claims they are creating from scratch? Where's the trees? the congestion pricing? The preventing of congestion in the first place?

Shakespeares Birthday


I used to hand this out to bewildered collegues on Shakespeare's birthday. Now rather than create some landfill, I'll do it here:

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I were dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the dickens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare. (Bernard Levin. From The Story of English. Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil. Viking: 1986).

St. George's Day -April 23

Come back again to England,
To England, April England,
He'll come home to rest in England
where the golden willows blow

Congestion Pricing and other Band-Aids.

Is it just me or is there something paradoxical about a mayor who eagerly wants to encourage adding a million new residents to the city and then offer quick-fix solutions like an $8.00 congestion fee (-more tax revenue for Bloomberg to gain more power) ? .

While I welcome a greener city and greener solutions - the mayor is missing the big picture - actively encouraging more traffic and population growth by endorsing megaprojects like Atlantic Yards and car based urban plans that require razing properties to build parking lots -there is a direct correlation - if the mayor has his way in Brooklyn several people will lose their homes - and Ward Barkery - a potential for condo renovation - will be torn down to build parking lots. It should be obvious by now that building more parking lots creates more of an incentive to drive.

The Mayor's environmental concerns are much like Ratner's - all for show. Ratner claims that 70% of Wards will be recycled...forgetting to mention that its unnecessary to tear it down in the first place and the end results will be more pollution.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Today's Lesson in Free Enterprise and Atlantic Yards

from Atlantic Yards Report:
FCR's Beekman tower, AY face same problem: scarce tax-exempt financing
Forest City Ratner's annual report acknowledged "the potential for increased costs and delays" to Atlantic Yards as a result of, among other things, "our inability to obtain tax exempt financing or the availability of financing generally."

That looks to be an increasing concern. Take the example of the developer's other Frank Gehry-designed tower, on Beekman Street in Lower Manhattan.

In this week's New York Observer, in an article headlined Ratner Scrambles for Funding for Gehry-Designed Tower, Matthew Schuerman reports:
One portion—presumably the top—would be entirely market-rate rentals and could be financed with Liberty Bonds, which continue to be reserved for the project. The middle portion would consist of mixed-income rentals, 20 percent of which would be priced for low-income households. The school would occupy the lowest five floors, along with retail and possibly a medical facility.

In a request filed last year with the H.D.C., Forest City said it was planning to apply for up to $450 million in tax-free bonds that would cover up to 750 of the units in the middle portion of the building. But the developer will have to wait in line for these bonds because the city largely depends on the state for tax-exempt bonding authority. The state has received billions of dollars in requests that it cannot accommodate this year.

“By the end of June this year, the H.D.C. is completely out of volume cap,” said Emily Youssouf, the president of the H.D.C. “[The developers] are trying to figure out their financing.”


Scarce resource

The amount of bonding required for Atlantic Yards would be considerably more. Perhaps pressure from developers seeking this scarce resource will prompt the relevant government agencies, with the assistance of the federal government, to expand the availability of bonding authority. (Here's Schuerman's exposition of this complicated issue.)


Here is the Knickerblogger's not so complicated opinion: When your scheme to build luxury condos is all but impossible in the free market because the costs are prohibitive and the ROA to low and risk too high then chances are your plan isn't a very smart one. If the market rate bonds won't support Ratner's project and the only way to finance it is through the government than its a clear indicator this is bad project for taxpayers because we are in essense, paying for it.

The short of it: in order for Ratner to build AY, he has to rely on goverment handouts usually reserved for nonprofit projects like public parks - but in Ratner's case its a for profit cluster of luxury condos.

Why Mass Shootings Are on the Rise...according to MSNBC

While some see connection to guns, others blame erosion of community.
Why are mass shootings on the rise?
While some see connection to guns, others blame erosion of community
The Associated Press
Updated: 10:02 p.m. ET April 21, 2007
Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox blames guns, at least in part. He notes that seven of the eight deadliest mass public shootings have occurred in the past 25 years.

Yet Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota State Department of Corrections, said the availability of guns was not a factor in his exhaustive statistical study of mass murder during the 20th century.


Criminologist Fox speculates that the increasing popularity of workplace killings, and public shootings generally, may be partly due to decreasing economic security and increasing inequality. America increasingly rewards its winners with a disproportionate share of wealth and adoration, while treating its losers to a heaping helping of public shame.


But there has also been an erosion of community in America over the past half-century, and many scholars believe it has contributed to the rise in mass shootings.


Remarkably, violence in today’s media seems to have little to do with mass public shootings.
Only a handful of them have ever cited violent video games or movies as inspiration for their crimes. Often they are so isolated and socially awkward that they are indifferent to popular culture.



Well that was a convenient conclusion for a mass media company to come to, wasn't it? Steve Sailer writes:

The earliest well-known example of an art work having a disastrous impact is the "Werther Effect" of copycat suicide, named after the great Goethe's 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, which is said to have set off a wave of suicides across Europe. Oliver Stone's 1994 film "Natural Born Killers," with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as trashy young lovers who set off on a killing spree, was the favorite film of a number of young idiots who committed pointless murders after watching it repeatedly.


I would think it was common sense that art did indeed effect how people behave- the overwelming majority of people who watch violent films will of course not commit similar acts of violence, but I cannot help but think that being constantly inundated by violent media effects behavior, and provides a 'template' or outlet for psycotic behavior. In other words had Cho grown up in a world of Werther type films, he might have just dressed up as the character placed a flower in his hand and taken poision. Of course the 'solution' is another one that's convenient for big companies- get kids hooked on prescription behavior medicine.

Bring Back the "Well Regulted Milita"

Alexander Cockburn makes a well reasoned argument in "Counter Punch":

Bring Back the Posse

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Since there undoubtedly will be a next time, probably in the not so distant future, what useful counsel on preventive measures can we offer students and faculty and campus police forces across America?

There have been the usual howls from the anti-gun lobby, but it's all hot air. America is not about to dump the Second Amendment to the US Constitution giving people the right--albeit an increasingly circumscribed one -- to bear arms.

A better idea would be for appropriately screened teachers and maybe student monitors to carry weapons. A quarter of a century ago students doing military ROTC training regularly carried rifles around campus. US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently recalled regularly traveling on the New York subway system as a student with his rife. Perhaps there should be guns in wall cases, behind glass, at strategic points around campuses, like those fire axes, usually with menacing signs about improper use.

Five years ago Peter Odighizuwa a 43 years old Nigerian student killed three faculty members at Appalachian Law School Dean with a semi-automatic handgun, but before he could wreak further carnage two students fetched weapons from their cars, challenged the murderer with guns levelled ,and disarmed him.

When the mass murder session began in the engineering building the police cowered behind their cruisers till Cho Seung-Hui finished off the last batch of his 32 victims, then killed himself. Then the police bravely rushed in, started sticking their guns in the faces of the traumatized students, screaming at them to freeze or be shot. Similar timidity was on display in Columbine, where Harris and Klebold killed students in the library over a period of 15 minutes and then committed suicide. The police finally mustered up the nerve to enter the library over two hours later.

......

The answer is to disband SWAT teams and kindred military units, and return to the idea of voluntary posses or militias: a speedy assembly of citizen volunteers with their own weapons. Such a body at Columbine or Virginia Tech might have saved many lifes. In other words: make the Second Amendment live up to its promise.

I....... If you confer the task of social invigilation and protection to professional janissaries--cops -- and deny the right of self and social protection to ordinary citizens, you end up with crews of over-armed thugs running amok under official license, terrorizing the disarmed citizens. In the end you have the whole place run by the Army or the federalized National Guard, as is increasingly evident now with the overturning of the Posse Comitatus laws forbidding any role for the military in domestic law enforcement.

What should be banned from campuses are not weapons but prescriptions for antidepressants. Eric Harris, co-slayer (with Dylan Klebold) of twelve students and a teacher in the Columbine school shootings in 1999, was on Luvox, a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) of the same class as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Initially Harris had been prescribed Zoloft, but told his doctor he was having suicidal and homicidal fantasies. So the doc shifted him to Luvox.

16-year Jeff Weise, who killed 10 schoolmates at Red Lake High School on an Indian Reservation in 2005 was on Prozac. The manufacturer said 4 per cent of children in one of its tests of Luvox developed short-term mania. Other studies of the SSRI anti-depressants have claimed they have a 15 per cent chance of prompting suicidal or homicidal reactions.

Cho Seung-Hui was on a prescription drug for his psychological problems. What exactly it was not yet been disclosed, though the likelihood of it being an anti-depressant is high, since doctors on campuses dispense prescriptions for them like confetti.


I agree on both points - while I advocate the right to bear arms, it comes with responsibility and obligation to protect society. I believe we should take Cockburn's citizen militia argument one step further and develop an army like Switzerlands- strong, competent but for defensive purposes only ....of course the empire builders like the Neocons don't like that idea- all the more reason it ought to be initiated.

Of course this and other freedoms in the constitution require a cohesive society - and deep understanding of the culture that brought them about - another thing glboalists don't want....its no surprise that the Neocons like John Podhoretz came down on the side of gun control and chastized people like John Derbyshire and Michelle Malkin for calling the military service age males cowards for running away (while a 76 year old professor - survivor of Facism and Communism gave his life protecting his students).

Saturday, April 21, 2007

$8 'congestion fee' for Manhattan - congestion for Brooklyn

The ever duplicitous Mayor Bloomberg seems awfully concerned about traffic in Manhattan :

Drivers To Be Charged $8 To Enter Midtown
Bloomberg Ready To Fight Albany For Congestion Fee
Yet, ready, willing and able to pour millions of city money into a plan that would create more congestion for Brooklyn - including building more parking lots - which of course encourages people to drive (and destroying historic properties like the duffield street homes - and using eminent domain to obtain them). Pointing out this double standard isn't just academic - hap-hazard application of such principles could actually mean sky rocketing traffic rates for parts of the city, like, well, Brooklyn - by creating a dis-incentive to drive into manhattan - and an incentive to drive to Brooklyn (readily available parking lots).

Perhaps the Mayor realizes that Ratner's ill conceived boondoggle can't survive without surburban style strip mall parking....which is the more reason to indicate that it's bad for Brooklyn.

Why Is Al Sharpton Still the Media "go-to" guy?

Lost among the Don Imus 'scandal' (while in poor taste his comment was mild compared to what comedians like David Chapelle and Chris Rock say about whites - and blacks - and are paid millions for their trouble - Imus's crime is he's a white male), and the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech was the Al Sharpton scandal - yet again he made gross unfounded, libelous charges against the Duke Lacrosse players - and was part of an active conspiracy to send innocent young men (who again, are guilty of nothing more than poor judgement and taste and being white) to jail for 30 years.

Any apology from him? Any sense of wrong doing? Nope, the same week all charges were dropped against the team Sharpton was the 'go to' guy for media concerning the Imus 'scandal' who made this buffoon some arbitrator of good behavior or even representative of blacks? Why not Thomas Sowell? Or Alan Keyes (okay that's going a little far). Why, again, is there no scrutiny of this man -who is now being 'embraced' by democratic party and is nothing more - and this is putting it mildly - a race hustler.

The answer comes in the form of Atlantic Yards, which Sharpton supports (right there that ought to tell you something is amiss) - Sharpton is the establishment media's 'go to guy' because he is a supporter of the establishment - our current elite - as outlined in Sam Huntington's Who are We - have their agendas -internationalism - which can only be carried out by a war on the middle class, an overall contempt for middle class mainstream America - they wish to see the "anglo-protestant core' as Huntington describes it, done away with, because both he (prof. Huntington) and them realize it is the key to preserving our borders and the US constitution. Just as Ratner and the super elite in New York see the local middle class in Brooklyn (both black and white - this part of Brooklyn is one of the few areas with a long established, solid black middle class) as an obstacle for building atlantic yards. This was alluded to in a bizarre - funny if it were not true 'fan letter' for Bruce Ratner from a chap identifying himself as a black retired police detective (god help us if the latter is true) humorously called 'fan mail' by NolandGrab:

This no more than economic racism coming from the power elite, I have read Carl Marx' Communist Manifesto and understand that the authority of the bureaucracy is threatened by a strong middle class."
As I have often said here, we have an elite that is out of touch with this country and has agenda that goes against the needs and wishes of the bulk of America- its middle class - the policies they are encouraging - from open borders, to 'free' (one sided) trade policies to funding luxury condos benefit them enormously - and hurt the middle class - many of the middle class realize this and try to stop these polices - the elite trying to carry them out realize that the middle class is the obstacle - and go to war against them. Sharpton's racial politics are crude, but they are enough to scare most of mainstream America and guilt-trip liberals, so he is an effect tool in this war.That is why Ratner started the 'NIMBY" campagins, racial demography and class arguments. Sharpton hasn't been a big player in this - Ratner recruited similar hustlers for this local, specialized task.

Both the Sharptons and the local Sharptons actually inhibit initiatives that might actually help - locally - ones supported by Tisch James - who actually is concerned about the community but is not paid by Ratner for her trouble - that might actually bring real affordable housing - and even if it didnt' would at least be making a sincere, real effort rather than just a veneer to loot the public coffers, as Ratner is doing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ham is now a hate crime

You can't make this stuff up:
'Hate incident' in city

,
Thursday, April 19, 2007 LEWISTON - One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.

On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive


First thing I would suggest Muslims get used to ham if they are going to come to Christian countries, we have it for Easter, Christmas and school lunches - which now, apparently is a crime. While Christmas trees are forbidden in public schools, one can imagine some 'tolerance officer' mandating a ha'el kitchen to accommodate the sensitivities of somalies.

Secondly the idea of a "hate" (read thought) crime is an absurd notion but clearly, except in the rarest of cases, is nearly always politically motivated and specifically targeted towards the whites. It is away for enforcing politically correct orthodoxy and nothing else. It is hopeless, senseless solution to a society increasingly volatile because the 'great experiment' of multiculturalism is failing and the only solution is an increasingly intrusive and heavy handed government and regulation of individual behavior.

But since it exists to enforce an orthodoxy, it is not concerned with violent illegal behavior within the orthodoxy. Thus the 'tolerance' for the now regular occurrence on college campuses - conservative newspapers and news offices being ransacked and speakers assaulted (as at columbia) and shouted down.

So on one end of the spectrum, a crazy korean immigrant who shows repeated signs of bizzare behavior, violence, and stalking is allowed to flow through the system on the other some eighth graders (a time I recall of particular mischievousness) are being investigated for 'hate crimes' because they offended a minority - mind you they did not physically harm them nor threaten them, they simply behaved in a way the minority in question did not like. ( the people of Lewiston did not want, but got, a boatload of Somali refugees who are responsible for a vast increase in crime in violence in that once peaceful city.)

As an editorial points out:

So why did they all tolerate his abusive behavior for so long?

Was it because he was a foreign student? Was it because he was a minority? Was it because multiculturalism has robbed us of our last sense, even our instinct for survival? Or was it simply because the campus lifestyle, more than the real world, tends to accommodate, even nurture, idiosyncratic behavior?
[Victims Of Tolerance? IBD 4/19/07]


I don't mean this as a tirade against immigrants - again there are sensible degrees of everything - i'd be the last to complain if for example we got a windfall of physicists because they were fleeing some brutal regime - but rather, multiculturalism - it's obviously a dead letter, one gets the feeling most everyone knows this but doesn't know what to replace it with.

As for the eighth graders- back in my day this wouldn't have even been enough to send someone to the principal's office - it would have resulted in simply a rebuke from the lunch monitor - if that!...now its cause of a police investigation? Is there any more elquent illustration that officials themselves fear that engineered diversity and multiculturalism create such volatile societies that the smallest incident is cause for alarm?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

as predicted - blame the shootings on Americans

It didn't take long for the liberal side of the media to find the culprit, along with, of course, the right to bear arms, mainstream america:

Former high school classmates say Virginia Tech gunman was picked on in school
The Associated Press
BLACKSBURG, Virginia: Long before he massacred 32 people in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui was bullied by fellow students at school who mocked his shyness and the strange way he talked, former classmates said.

First thing - there are very few bullies and bullied - we've all been a little bit of both as Cho prooved. ..... bullying is sad and ongoing problem in schools, long before multiculturalism and people with 'funny' accents. Prior to the PCage, books like Tom Brown's School Days taught kids to stand up to bullies. But was he really bullied- or just made fun of - yes there is difference- which apparently the reporter is incapable of distinguishing..and yes making fun of kids can be incredibly cruel but I wouldn't call it bullying.... but this article implies that he was bullied...and therefore he has a right to kill people?
apparently, some people think so on the the New York times blog i found this;

I understand why the the student turned into a gunman. I knew that something like this was going to happen, and this may be the beginning, unless Americans become more respectful to non-white people (both verbal and nonverbal). Racism is constant, mostly nonverbal. I came from a similar background, although not exactly the same. During the junior high school, I was one of the few Asians at the school. Many students are racists and people called me many names. I also spoke constantly about killing people. I started lifting weights, and at the end of that year, I was the strongest in my school. I played with lots of bb guns and paintball guns. I started playing various sports (fball, wrestling, etc). My parents were also poor. Many immigrants either join gangs or some people play sports to release their anger. Fortunately, I was able to overcome the environmental factors, became very popular in high school, and overcame the adversity. It is a special challenge for immigrants and non-caucasians in America. I have an incredibly strong will power and through the help of God, I overcame adversities and constant racism. Now, I am very successful. Many people will not overcome racial adversities and this shooting could just be the beginning… My advice to all Americans:
1. Be respectful to all people (both verbal and nonverbal), all the time.
2. I don’t understand the gunlaw(biggest problem)
3. American media is full of junk (violence(WWF), sex(OC), drugs, and violent music. Get rid of them, now.
4. Understand that many people from other countries that have poor english accents are better educated than many americans here, with masters and PhDs. Be respectful to people in all places, but most Americans will never know what it feels like to be non-white, because white people are nice to white people.
5. The gunman had personal problems, but it is the media, and the americans that influenced the gunman. Again, the gunlaw is also incomprehensible.


The message must be free and clear to the rest of the world now - Americans, westerners are such wimps you can come to their countries, demand special privileges and threaten them ...anyone with an even superficial knowledge of the Orient knows they are among the most 'racist' and xenophobic of all peoples and, across the board have closed immigration policies, yet immigrants from those countries can come here and make demands such as this? How long will Americans and Europeans put up with this nonsense. I don't blame the immigrants, I blame our so called elite and ...well, you and me..for putting up with it. The future of America doesn't look pretty, that's for sure.

As with the development of Vanderbilt Yards, its not an either or, rather finding an acceptable balance. Right now both issues are swung to the extreme.

Reminder: Swiss Gun Laws

Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.

The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.

This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.

Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.

Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home.

cowardice

I don't know what I would have done. I would like to think courage, but having been more conditioned by the post-60s world than the brave professor who died, I might have been more like this:

"The technical name for not fighting back is “cowardice.” One professor died bravely, giving his life in order to door protect his students. That’s courage, and he should be awarded some kind of medal. But compare it to the behavior in this email Michelle Malkin received":

We heard pretty much continuous shooting for the next minute or so, and I said, “Shouldn’t we barricade the door,” because we were sitting ducks with no way out inside that room if he opened the door. A couple more people floated the idea that “We need to barricade the door, NOW.” But I was too scared to even move, much less move the teacher’s desk.

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn’t get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn’t put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.[Michelle Malkin: Carnage at Virginia Tech;]

This is cowardice, and the student in question, (I won’t name him) should receive some kind of non-medal.

It starts with him being too terrified to move, even to barricade the door, the a different, slightly braver student barricades the door, which later in the email becomes “if we hadn’t put the barricade up when we did” and they are all happy to hear the gunman go away and kill some other students.

And here’s another point: the professor I mentioned, Liviu Librescu, 76, died protecting a bunch of young men and women of military age who were bravely, bravely, bravely, running away.

Somehow, that doesn’t compute. Perhaps it was because he was born before the modern age of cowardice.


In our post 60s touchy feely world I guess we can't use the word cowardice...perhaps that's why there's so many of them

Where are the Great Public Projects?

Personally, I am for limited government and limited government involvement in commercial matters. Obviously, I don't condone "public" private ventures like the those coming out of the ESDC, which become nothing more than boondoggles.

But if there has been one type of project that has been successful in the past it is the public park. Central Park , Prospect Park, Fort Greene, Riverside Park...could you imagine the city without them?

The only thing that has come close is Brooklyn Bridge Park, but as it turns out that is simply a vehicle to build luxury condos on public land, with the excuse that it is needed to fund the park (funny, I don't recall any luxury condos necessitated for Prospect or Central Park).

So in this sea of wealth and extra revenue, why have there been no great civic projects? Is it land? Well there's plenty of that at Atlantic Yards? Money? There's no shortage of wealthy people nor extra revenue, but it seems, there is a shortage of true public spirit.

And that's the big difference between the old guard of the 400 days and the current "elite" the old guard might complain about the government interfering in its affairs or of income tax but voluntarily put their influence and money behind projects of true philanthropy like Metropolitan Museum of Art or Central Park. The new elite seeks to profit from and mine revenue from the government at the expense of tax payers, and use public resources for private gain. In doing so they give the projects the 'veneer' of public good (affordable housing, publicly accessible space)but the primary beneficiaries are themselves. Bruce Ratner is perhaps the best example of this new 'public spirit'. Considering their extremely poor taste in art, architecture, and well, everything, I would just as soon have it they did nothing at all. Unfortunately they are transforming the city to degrees not seen since the days of Robert Moses. God help us.

Courage

when i first glimpsed at this headline to be honest my eyes rolled and thought 'how did they spin the holocaust into the shootings' but this guy had some guts he survives fascism, communism ...only to die on a college campus in Virginia it also illustrates i think that younger people are cuddled and taught to be passive sheep:

Holocaust-survivor professor eulogized as hero for saving students from gunman
BY VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press
LA Daily News

NEW YORK - A Holocaust survivor who escaped the Nazi killings to become a world-class scientist was remembered Wednesday as a hero for saving his Virginia Tech students from a rampaging gunman.

Witnesses said Liviu Librescu blocked the door to his classroom with his body so students could escape the assailant by jumping out windows. The 76-year-old professor was shot to death, one of 32 victims of Cho Seung-Hui.

"He gave his life for his students," Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind told mourners at a Brooklyn funeral home. "It is the ultimate sacrifice, and the ultimate goodness, after all that he went through in his life."

The neighborhood's Jewish community volunteered to hold the service before Librescu's remains were flown to Israel for burial.

The professor's wife, Marlena Librescu, arrived with Israeli consular officials. She was greeted with bear hugs from strangers who praised her husband's bravery.

Although she was initially composed, she broke down as someone handed her her husband's gold wedding band - 42 years after their marriage.

"He saved them. He saved them," she said quietly of her husband's students as she slipped the band on her finger, next to her own.

Librescu had been an internationally respected aeronautics engineer and lecturer for 20 years. After Monday's shooting, his students sent e-mails to his family recounting his actions in the classroom.

"He was a very human person," his wife said after the service. "He wanted to help everybody."

When his native Romania joined forces with Nazi Germany in World War II, Librescu was imprisoned in a labor camp, and then sent along with his family and thousands of other Jews to a ghetto in the city of Focsani. Hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews were killed during the war.

After the war, Librescu found work at a government aerospace company. But his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the communist regime. He was later fired when he requested permission to move to Israel, according to his son, Joe Librescu, who spoke by telephone from his home near Tel Aviv.

In 1977, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the family an immigration permit, the son said.


As Michelle Malkin alluded to:
There's no polite way or time to say it: American colleges and universities have become coddle industries. Big Nanny administrators oversee speech codes, segregated dorms, politically correct academic departments and designated "safe spaces" to protect students selectively from hurtful (conservative) opinions—while allowing mob rule for approved leftist positions (textbook case: Columbia University's anti-Minuteman Project protesters).

Instead of teaching students to defend their beliefs, American educators shield them from vigorous intellectual debate. Instead of encouraging autonomy, our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance.

And as the erosion of intellectual self-defense goes, so goes the erosion of physical self-defense.
To which I add, with the erosion of physical self defense, so goes society.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I don't get it -why is Spitzer's ESDC

Defending ratner's project? from atlantic yards report:

Delay demolitions? Not in public interest, say ESDC, FCR

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) have responded forcefully to the lawsuit trying to invalidate the environmental review for the Atlantic Yards project.


Is Gargano/Pataki running the ESDC by stealth or is Spitzer's "reform" a lot of hot air? Obviously, if Spitzer and the 'new' ESDC were serious about reform they could use these lawsuits to 'stop the clock' on AY, step back and negotiate a sensible plan. Obviously Spizter isn't interested, and in turn is defending the project. Why? Perhaps Ratner's grimy fingers go deeper into pockets than people think.

Is this the Dope everyone is calling "articulate"?

Skip over the PC dumb ass giving the long winded empty introduction and listen Barack Obama speaking in Milwaukee. Gawd, I did better job giving my testimony at the ESDC hearings, a performance I never would have classified as articulate... Is this guy on drugs? Good Gracious. Articulate? We'll have to redefine the word.

He talks about 'verbal violence' as another form of violence, presumably comparable to the tragedy at Virgina Tech. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to be hit by a verbal 'bullet' over a lead one. Are people seriously considering nominating this idiot to run for President?

At this point the only thing that will get him elected is liberal white guilt. Is that enough to elect someone who shows obvious signs of being a manic depressive, and is clearly unqualified and unremarkable? I hope not because it won't do Americans, black, white or other any good. At this point we need strong leadership and tough decisions, not empty rhetoric referring to the 1960s.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

I stumbled on this extraordinary combination of lack of imagination and poor taste from Curbed:
Leaning Tower of 87 Lafayette Explodes Our Brains

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, by Lockhart

2007_04_87laf1.jpg


Welcome the Frank Gehry/Post Modern age of Gimmick architecture....lets' turn New York into a giant, condo-crazed flashy glizy funhouse for novelty seekers.

It obviously is meant to defy basic engineering principles - and in doing so requires an enormous amount of resources. (ironically gimmick 2.0 of this design is that he's 'reusing' shipping containers) Were it for lasting beauty it might be justified - but clearly it is not.....Such is the age Frank Gehry helped usher in - novelty flashy 'architecture' that critics can coo over....it reminds me of the increased gimmickry towards the end of the dot com bubble.

I find it amazing frivolous waste would be contemplated in age of increased environmental concern.

ScumLord

From Lost City:
The article spends its first 16 paragraphs detailing the miserable lives led by people who live at 56 Bedford. Among the plagues: mice, lack of heat, caved-in-ceilings, non-working fireplaces, collapsing bathrooms and illegal construction. It's weird to think of people living in slum-like conditions in the middle of one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.

Articles like this make you ask yourself fundamental questions about the way we live, such as: how is a person that allows other people to live under such condition not thrown in jail?; and, can it be that such landlords only care about money, that they have no shred of human decency or concern for the welfare of their fellow beings. I know these are naive questions. But you've still got to wonder. Such behavior just doesn't neatly fall under the usual dodge of "it's just business."

The article also contains the depressing news that the Buildings Department has issued no permit yet for the work needed to shore up the facade.

I believe in free enterprise and property rights - in fact I think property tax ought to be done away with, because with it you don't own your land, but rather, rent it from the state. But with ownership comes stewardship and responsibility. In the world of go-go neocon free trade open borders "capitalism" there is no responsibility, no consequences for the behavior of people like Margaret Streicker Porres. When there is no sense of community - which is the basis of nations and what the EU elite and NAFTA advocates are trying to destroy - then there is no sense of shame for this behavior.

The times article Lost City refers to outlines some of the conditions;

These neighbors — whose building, at 56 Barrow Street, is just down the block from Chumley’s — see the problems that shuttered Chumley’s as another element in a long-simmering fight with their landlord over slow repairs, questionable construction work and troubling living conditions.

Their long list of complaints includes hallways that were without lights for several weeks last summer, fireplaces that can no longer be used and apartments where mice are regular visitors.

Nestor Palacios, who lives in a studio apartment at 56 Barrow, said he and his 6-year-old daughter, Isabella, slept in their coats last week because there was no heat. But he said there was another problem when he turned out the lights: The mice came out.

“I have a hard time falling asleep, waiting for them to crawl over me,” he said.

He said that his kitchenette was unusable because of mouse droppings, and that even though he cleaned the countertop and the sink at least once a day, one afternoon last week he found droppings at the edge of the sink.

“I have now been living with it for so long that I know, if I look behind my bed, what I’m going to find,” Mr. Palacios said. “The smell has alerted me.
....
Mr. Palacios’s building, the Chumley’s building and the others that open on a little courtyard off Barrow Street are owned by companies with ties to Margaret Streicker Porres, who controls a number of old buildings in Chelsea and Greenwich Village that the city has designated as landmarks.

Last year, after taking legal action against tenants in some of her other rent-regulated buildings, she moved to evict two tenants at one of those buildings, saying she needed their apartments for her family.

The tenants in that eviction dispute took issue with the idea that she needed their apartments for her brother and sister. They noted at the time that her father, John H. Streicker, is the chairman of a real estate company that manages a $5 billion portfolio that includes 50,000 apartments.

A call to New Castle Realty Services, which manages the Greenwich Village buildings, was transferred to a man who identified himself only as Michael and refused to give his last name or answer questions. A later request for comment that was faxed to New Castle went unanswered.


Wow, sounds like a real upfront organization, hmm? This woman should not only be fined but be going to jail for endangering people's lives.

Of course in Mayor Bloombergs New York, such landlords are rewarded - after all they are the Mayor's friends and fellow cocktail party and 'charity' fund raiser attendees. (these 'charities' are nothing of the kind - they are tax write-offs for lavish entertaining and social status).

the times seems reluctant to mention her name so I will: Margaret Streicker Porres, Scumlord.

Hmm Maybe This is why Blair Supported Bush

UK pound vs US dollar since 2000
Sterling has risen to its highest level against the dollar since 1981, breaking through the $2.010 mark.

The currency rose above $2 on Tuesday after unexpectedly high UK inflation figures indicated further interest rate rises were likely.

Brace Yourself, You're Going to Agree With Patrick Buchanan

Buchanan on the corruption at the World Bank:
He ordered Xavier Coll, bank vice president for human resources, to assign Riza[Wolfitz's girlfriend] to the State Department and raise her salary by some 50 percent, to $193,000 today, tax-free. She would take home more than Condi Rice. Coll was then directed to assure that Riza receive annual pay hikes of 8 percent and be put on a glide path to the highest position of any civil servant at the bank. By 2010, she would be making $245,000, tax-free.

And what has been Wolfowitz's big cause at the bank? Fighting corruption.

According to the Washington Post, Wolfowitz also had super-agent Robert Bennett negotiate a pay raise to $400,000 for him, equal to that of President Bush, only tax-free. He then brought over two Bush aides from the White House and installed them "in senior positions and rewarded them with open-ended contracts and quarter-million-dollar, tax-free salaries, despite their lack of development experience."

As this spilled out into the press, Wolfowitz, by week's end, was barely hanging on to his job. But Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the West Wing were behind him. In the GOP of Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham, this doesn't qualify as sleaze.

Well, let Wolfie stay on as poster boy of Bush ethics, and let the nation decide whether they wish to continue with this crowd in 2008.

But there is a larger issue than the love of Wolfie for Shara. That is the systematic looting of our country by parasites who are paid the world's fattest public salaries, working in Washington, supposedly to alleviate the suffering of the world's poorest people.



much like on the state level, Bruce Ratner is looting the public coffers under the guise of helping the poor. Haven't people had enough of this? Wolfitz was a key figure in lying us into a war where now hundreds of thousands of people have died, and billions, approaching trillions of the US coffers have been bled, and our country's reputation sank - Bush rewards a known traitor (he was caught wiring classified info to Israel in the 1980s) a high paying ,tax free job at bank allegedly created to help the poor but is nothing but a tool for political agendas. Ratner gets massive tax breaks huge public subsidies that aren't just an aid, but the core of business - who pays for it? You, me, taxpayers...

Where is the diligent press? at the same cocktail parties with the Ratners and Wolfitz's of the world, unfortunately.

Under the guise of a plain talking honest church going cowboy George Bush has become (and I say this as a Republican, though it may be time to leave the party) a far more damaging corrupt president than Bill Clinton, an accomplishment that i have up till now thought impossible.

The problem with his liberal opposition is this: they always try to portray him as stupid, and in doing so, underestimated him. He's quite shrewd, and bloody vicious too. At the same time liberals always thought they had more in common with neoconservatives - after all they were were ivy educated conservatives, from urban backgrounds, and conditioned (by neoconservatives!) to believe that the Buchanans' of the world were ogres with SS uniforms in the closet ready to join the Party at any moment. Strange how things turn out isn't it? Or is it? Neoconservatives were always quite vocal about their use of army to impose ideology on the rest of the world. But the liberal elite, with its sympathy for idealogical engineering, turned a blind eye. All we on the 'old right' said was that US Army should only be used for what the constitution allows - the defense of US borders and upholding the consitution. For our trouble we were called nazis, antisemites, unpatriotic, and everything else under the sun.

In our super touchy, ultra PC world I suppose I should be offended, but let me quote another fine old american "sticks and stone may hurt my bones but names may never harm me"...to which i might at "I TOLD YOU SO"

Sorolla

Always liked his stuff. The biggest kitty of his paintings is at one of New York's Forgotten tresaures: the Hispanic Society.
The other is the Museum of Sorolla in Madrid.






















This is a painting of his daughter, Maria a favorite subject:





















Though not as innovative as Sargent, Sorolla's pallet was a bit more vibrant, his subject matter (though not here) a bit more sensual. But his best work seems to be his most intimate - when he was painting his family. Though this tiffany portrait is rather good too:

Male Journalists Urge Media Not to Mention Sex of Virginia Killer

That's only slightly more ridiculous than this press release from the "Asian American Journalists Association" urging the media to not reveal the ethnicity of the Virginia Tech shooter:

Asian-American Journos Urge Media Not to Mention Race of Virginia Killer
By E&P Staff
Published: April 17, 2007 2:50 PM ET

NEW YORK The Asian American Journalists Association has issued a statement calling on the media to avoid references to the race of Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 33 people at the Virginia Tech campus yesterday.

"There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people," the journalists' group said in a statement. "The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage."

Additionally, the group's statement said that it wished to remind the media that "the standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no matter the platform or medium, including blogs."

Cho was a 23-year-old South Korean immigrant who had been in the U.S. for 15 years. Early reports of the horrific massacre on Monday mentioned sources who incorrectly said the shooter was a Chinese national who had come in on a visa last year.


"avoid references to the race of Cho Seung-Hui, "
Do they see the stupidity of their own statement? Do they, for a moment think people are going to mistake someone named Seung-Hui for Hispanic or White? How many Black Seung-Hui's do you know? and if Seung-Hui turned out by some fluke, to be a white male, what do you want to bet that the "AAJA" would be lobbying to have the race known of the murderer so people wouldn't assume he was oriental - oopps, sorry, "Asian" (even ultra-pc Canadians are baffled of how this word came to be 'offensive').

Two funny points here, number one, we have a group of journalist who identify themselves by ethnicity yet don't want the rest of society to identify the murderer as such (why is he called a 'gunman' would someone wielding a knife and killing people be called a 'knifeman").

Secondly their first reaction is not revulsion but to circle the wagons. It rather neatly illustrated the conclusion that Prof. Putnam did want to come to - diversity causes mistrust. It might even exacerbate the pathologies the gunm- murderer - displayed. Its well known that, for example the Soviet secret police was made up of people from the fringes of mainstream society - because they were less likely to be squemish about murdering people. After all, all things being equal, its probably easier to kill a innocent stranger than your innocent neighbor (unless of course you really hate your neighbor)

My guess is many, many of 'asians' don't feel this way - but its amazing how its that % of asians, whites, blacks, whatever ,that always seems to get the attention of the media or control of key institutions that create a perception of consensus.

Fortunately not all 'asians' agree: michelle malkin writes:

Asian American Journalists Association:
Don't call shooter Asian!
By Michelle Malkin · April 17, 2007 01:26 PM
An important media advisory from the AAJA: Only they can use ethnic descriptors. Everyone else: Back off!
Too.
Ridiculous.
Reader Doug in Colorado writes:
Unbelievable. If there were any consistency, they would be lauding the fact that he made great strides in bringing greater diversity to the ranks of mass murderers, a segment in which the Asian-American community has been historically under-represented.


further she has a brilliant column today :
Missing At Virginia Tech: A Culture of Self-Defense

By Michelle Malkin

There's no polite way or time to say it: American colleges and universities have become coddle industries. Big Nanny administrators oversee speech codes, segregated dorms, politically correct academic departments and designated "safe spaces" to protect students selectively from hurtful (conservative) opinions—while allowing mob rule for approved leftist positions (textbook case: Columbia University's anti-Minuteman Project protesters).
Amen Mrs. Malkin

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

protest cancelled , demolitions delayed

from atlantic yards report::
BREAKING NEWS FROM Atlantic Yards Report

Hold everything, at least a few days.

At a hearing today before Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden, lawyers for the coalition challenging the legitimacy of the Atlantic Yards environmental review argued for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block demolitions on the Atlantic Yards site.

After consultation, developer Forest City Ratner, which had scheduled demolitions to begin tomorrow, agreed not to begin such demolitions this week, and the judge said she'd have a decision on the TRO by Friday.

(I wasn't at the hearing, but this was relayed to me by a courtroom observer associated with the plaintiffs.)

In light of that, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, which had scheduled a protest rally for 8 a.m. tomorrow, has postponed the rally pending the judge's decision. If a TRO is not granted, the rally will be Monday.

The Power of the Herd Mentality.

an interesting article from the New York Times:
Idea Lab
Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage?
By DUNCAN J. WATTS

As anyone who follows the business of culture is aware, the profits of cultural industries depend disproportionately on the occasional outsize success — a blockbuster movie, a best-selling book or a superstar artist — to offset the many investments that fail dismally. What may be less clear to casual observers is why professional editors, studio executives and talent managers, many of whom have a lifetime of experience in their businesses, are so bad at predicting which of their many potential projects will make it big. How could it be that industry executives rejected, passed over or even disparaged smash hits like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and the Beatles, even as many of their most confident bets turned out to be flops? It may be true, in other words, that “nobody knows anything,” as the screenwriter William Goldman once said about Hollywood. But why? Of course, the experts may simply not be as smart as they would like us to believe. Recent research, however, suggests that reliable hit prediction is impossible no matter how much you know — a result that has implications not only for our understanding of best-seller lists but for business and politics as well.

Conventional marketing wisdom holds that predicting success in cultural markets is mostly a matter of anticipating the preferences of the millions of individual people who participate in them. From this common-sense observation, it follows that if the experts could only figure out what it was about, say, the music, songwriting and packaging of Norah Jones that appealed to so many fans, they ought to be able to replicate it at will. And indeed that’s pretty much what they try to do. That they fail so frequently implies either that they aren’t studying their own successes carefully enough or that they are not paying sufficiently close attention to the changing preferences of their audience.

The common-sense view, however, makes a big assumption: that when people make decisions about what they like, they do so independently of one another. But people almost never make decisions independently — in part because the world abounds with so many choices that we have little hope of ever finding what we want on our own; in part because we are never really sure what we want anyway; and in part because what we often want is not so much to experience the “best” of everything as it is to experience the same things as other people and thereby also experience the benefits of sharing.

From FCE, (boilerplate) doubt about AY timing; Nets losses prompt $13M loan

Atlantic Yards Report offers analysis of Forest City's Annual Report:
While Atlantic Yards supporters have criticized opponents for delaying the project by filing a lawsuit challenging the environmental review, it turns out that developer Forest City Ratner has much more than legal delays on its mind.

Also, while the rate of losses for the New Jersey Nets has slowed, the parent company must still offer a $13 million loan to fund the team this year.

According to the annual report issued at the end of March by parent Forest City Enterprises, other factors, including increased construction costs and the availability of tax-exempt financing, also play into potential delays. The language is required boilerplate, but it does stand in contrast to the sunny predictions, despite countervailing evidence, that the project will be completed in the promised ten years.

Warning on losses

Investors are warned that only a move to Brooklyn, and perhaps not even that, will bring profits to the Nets. Again, that's boilerplate, since obviously the developer expects big profits from a suite-intensive arena:
Losses Are Expected for the Nets
On August 16, 2004, we purchased a legal ownership interest in the Nets… The relocation of the Nets is, among other items, subject to various approvals by the NBA, and we cannot assure you we will receive these approvals on a timely basis or at all. If we are unable to or delayed in moving the Nets to Brooklyn, we may be unable to achieve our projected returns on the related development projects, which could result in a delay in the return of, termination of, or losses on our investment. The Nets are currently operating at a loss and are projected to continue to operate at a loss at least as long as they remain in New Jersey. Even if we are able to relocate the Nets to Brooklyn, there can be no assurance that the Nets will be profitable in the future.


Forest City/Ratner projects have proven results in Brooklyn: they ruin neighborhoods, don't bring jobs and cost the public money...when the projects inevitably fail, as Metrotech and Atlantic Mall did, the city and state move agencies in the empty office space, or offer mass tax breaks to big corporations who do. Perhaps Spitzer should seriously contemplate the financial costs of having to bail incompetent-but-well-connected Bruce Ratner out of the largest proposed project in NY history.