Monday, September 30, 2013

Tish James For Public Advocate

You already know I support Tish James for Public Advocate.  Now if you're a registered Democrat, get out and pull the lever for her Tuesday morning.

You don't need another boring testimonial.  Get out there and make it happen. 

But if you insist, here's what I wrote before the primary September 10:

Tish James is a fighter well suited to the role of Public Advocate.  Most people will recall her for her role in opposing Atlantic Yards and promoting better development options for the site.  But she's also been a fighter for transit improvements.  Tish is an engaging and accessible person that I think is ideally suited to fighting for the little guy in NYC.  Honorable mention goes to Dan Squadron, a friend and neighbor here in Carroll Gardens.  In other circumstances I might support Dan for office.  For now, I think Dan can best serve the community in the State Senate, where he still has a seat.  ....
I'm voting for Tish James for Public Advocate.

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Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Gowanus Canal Superfund Plan Is Set

A Monumental Day For Gowanus: EPA Releases Its Finalized Plan To Clean Up the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site
It's been a long few years but things have been progressing steadily.  Now the EPA has released their Record Of Decision for the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup.  It's amazing what a well organized community can get accomplished. In 8-10 more years and we'll have a much cleaner canal.
"The ROD represents the blue print for the remediation. The clean-up will cost $506 million, last 8 to 10 years and will include dredging of the toxic material, caping, controls to reduce sources of contamination from uplands, as well as removal of contamination from the 1st Street Basin. Most importantly, the ROD will address and control the flow of contaminated sewage solids from the Combined Sewer Overflow. The EPA is requiring that discharges from two major outflows be captured in retention basins . This will reduce CSOs in the canal by an estimated 58 to 74%."
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Republican Party As Violent Schizophrenic: It Isn't Both Parties, It's An Internal Fight

Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead - Atlantic Mobile
All of this:
As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement,represents a failure of journalismand an inability to see or describe what is going on....This isn't "gridlock." It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us -- and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too... 
In case the point is not clear yet:there is no post-Civil War precedent for what the House GOP is doing now. It is radical, and dangerous for the economy and our process of government, and its departure from past political disagreements can't be buffed away or ignored. If someone can think of a precedent after the era of John C. Calhoun, let me know."
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Hell On The F Train

F Train Hell: 1,300 Commuters Stranded For Hours After Track Snap
I narrowly missed being on this train last night.  Had to be creative in my commute home, but it only took an extra 20 minutes. I was grumpy then, but I am very very grateful now.
a southbound F train ran over a broken rail south of the West 4th Street station around 7:10 p.m.; the train didn't derail, but it couldn't move anywhere on the snapped track. And as you can see in th…
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Our Allegedly "Liberal" Media Catapults War Propaganda

Is Iran out of the US War Queue? The Twilight of the Hawks
It has been this way since before I was born.  People need to understand just how thoroughly propagandized our population is. 

It's getting harder and harder to pull off these kind of lies and exaggerations - and I'm hopeful that the times are starting to change. 

Is Iran out of the US War Queue? The Twilight of the Hawks
"The point of having an enemies' list is only in part in order to curb an enemy. It serves to scare the public and rally them around the politicians and make them willing to give up personal liberties or forget about being upset at being ruled on behalf of a handful of large corporations. Putting a country in the war queue requires demonizing its leader, twisting his words to make him seem aggressive, and exaggerating his capabilities versus the US. Even Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced Stalin's crimes, was depicted in the US as a menace who pledged, "We will bury you!" What Khrushchev actually had said was, "We'll still be here when your capitalist system is dead and buried." He was wrong but he wasn't threatening to bury anyone. The Soviet Union's economy was never more than half that of the US, and its military was no match for the American, but Americans were taught to be mortally afraid of the Soviets, what with their challenge to … gasp … the supremacy of private property. Likewise, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's quotation of an old statement by Ruhollah Khomeini that "The occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" — a hope that Zionism would collapse the way Communism had in 1991, was transformed by American "journalism" into an aggressive threat to wipe Israel off the map. This, despite repeated Iranian assertions that they had a no first strike policy, and that they would never slaughter noncombatants, and despite the laughable character of the proposition that a weak country very distant from Israel could menace it despite Tel Aviv's stockpile of hundreds of nuclear weapons, and its poison gas and other weapons capabilities. Iran does not have an atomic bomb or chemical weapons."
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Moving On Up: Best to Capt. Schiff

Thank you to 76th Precinct Captain Schiff

We've been blessed to have a series of great commanding officers in the 76th Precinct. Good luck in your future assignments, Captain Schiff. 

"For more than a year, Cobble Hill's safety has been in the hands of NYPD veteran, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff. Yesterday he passed along word of his reassignment to Queens' 106th precinct and we thank him for his service. Please read his message below in full and also be sure to soon welcome our new head of the precinct, Captain Justin Lenz. "

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Hormone disruptors rise from the dead : Nature News & Comment

We could learn a few things from the EU on food and agriculture regulation. 

"He and his colleague David Cwiertny, an environmental engineer at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, decided to find out whether the breakdown products of endocrine disruptors could be boosting their environmental impact. Their team focused on trenbolone acetate, a synthetic anabolic steroid used as a growth promoter in more than 20 million cattle in the United States each year (this practice is banned in the European Union).

Cattle metabolize the steroid into compounds such as 17α-trenbolone, a potent endocrine disrupter commonly found in agricultural run-off water. In laboratory tests, just a few tens of nanograms of these compounds per litre can skew sex ratios and decrease fertility in fish23. Some manufacturers have argued that these metabolites pose little risk in rivers, however, because sunlight breaks them down rapidly."

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Rutgers Kid Burns Lying Cretin Ted Cruz

The Guy Ted Cruz Said Was a Victim of Obama Actually Likes Obama

Nicely done kid, nicely done.  
""Maybe he should've spent less time reading Dr. Seuss and more time looking into the policies that he's talking about,""

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McCain Hires Pro-War Syria Shill Who Lied About Credentials

Wingnut Welfare

Perfect.  Just perfect. 
"Sen. John McCain has hired Elizabeth O'Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials, The Cable has learned. She begins work Monday as a legislative assistant in McCain's office."

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Unorthodox Behavior

When the Feds Knock, Best to Hide the AK-47
Puns, not guns.
"in Brooklyn's Sunset Park, they found an AK-47 and 100 rounds of ammo on the table and Orthodox trying to flee out the back, the New York Daily News reports. "Also recovered were jet-black morph-masks, sun visors with wigs attached, handcuffs and fake federal badges." "
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Stealing All The Money

Looting the Pension Funds: How Wall Street Robs Public Workers | Politics | Rolling Stone
The main concern I have with Cory Booker is he will be another Gina Raimondo.

 "What few people knew at the time was that Raimondo's "tool kit" wasn't just meant for local consumption. The dynamic young Rhodes scholar was allowing her state to be used as a test case for the rest of the country, at the behest of powerful out-of-state financiers with dreams of pushing pension reform down the throats of taxpayers and public workers from coast to coast. One of her key supporters was billionaire former Enron executive John Arnold – a dickishly ubiquitous young right-wing kingmaker with clear designs on becoming the next generation's Koch brothers, and who for years had been funding a nationwide campaign to slash benefits for public workers.
Nor did anyone know that part of Raimondo's strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb's Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina's Mason Capital got $64 million and $70 million went to Paul Singer's Elliott Management. The funds now stood collectively to be paid tens of millions in fees every single year by the already overburdened taxpayers of her ostensibly flat-broke state. Felicitously, Loeb, Garschina and Singer serve on the board of the Manhattan Institute, a prominent conservative think tank with a history of supporting benefit-slashing reforms. The institute named Raimondo its 2011 "Urban Innovator" of the Year. "

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joe Lhota Reeks Of Rudy's Taint

Lhota's 'Marxist Playbook' Charge Straight Out of Giuliani Playbook

Rudy Giuliani is a stain of a man, and in his desperation Joe Lhota embraces his disgraceful tactics. It's a shame, because that taint won't wash off easily once the election ends. 

"Asked about the similarities between Mr. Lhota's remarks and Mr. Gliuliani's, Lhota campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud said the candidate couldn't recall his boss's anti-Marxist rhetoric. "He has no recollection of that," she said. But Baruch College professor Doug Muzzio said the strategy reminded him very much of Mr. Giuliani. "It's part of the playbook. It's the fear mongering and the aliens are going to take over," Mr. Muzzio explained, slamming the tactic as "dumb" and ineffective. "He shouldn't be using it at all.""

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sensible Advice On NYC Bike Policy From Sam Schwartz

A way forward in the bike war - Daily News

This is a good starting point for policy tweaks for the next Mayor. 

 "Who's right? We spent a few hours out on busy Manhattan streets counting violations. Not a scientific examination, but better than pure anecdote. We saw about 50 violations an hour by bikes (meaning the pedestrians aren't crazy) and one to two an hour by cars, as well as countless by pedestrians (meaning the bikers aren't crazy).

So, starting to solve the problem should start with an acknowledgment of reality. It's not zero-sum. Yes, we are a pedestrian city first. But at the same time, bike commuting can be encouraged and multiplied. Meanwhile, bike riders need to recognize that more than a million and a half people enter Manhattan every day by car; they are not evil beings, but essential to our vitality.

We recommend getting tougher and more lenient at the same time. Here's how."

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A way forward in the bike war - Daily News

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NSA Spied On Senators

Secret Cold War Documents Reveal NSA Spied on Senators - By Matthew M. Aid and William Burr | Foreign Policy

Granted that was under Nixon.  But if the power is there it will be abused.  It is foolish to imagine the NSA has not grievously abused its powers since.  
"As Vietnam War protests grew, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) tapped the overseas communications of prominent American critics of the war -- including a pair of sitting U.S. senators. That's according to a recently declassified NSA history, which called the effort "disreputable if not outright illegal."

For years the names of the surveillance targets were kept secret. But after a decision by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, in response to an appeal by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the NSA has declassified them for the first time. The names of the NSA's targets are eye-popping. Civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young were on the watch list, as were the boxer Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker, and veteran Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald. But perhaps the most startling fact in the declassified document is that the NSA was tasked with monitoring the overseas telephone calls and cable traffic of two prominent members of Congress, Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.). As shocking as the recent revelations about the NSA's domestic eavesdropping have been, there has been no evidence so far of today's signal intelligence corps taking a step like this, to monitor the White House's political enemies."

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Secret Cold War Documents Reveal NSA Spied on Senators - By Matthew M. Aid and William Burr | Foreign Policy

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Views From Inside the Second Avenue Subway

Photos: The 2nd Avenue Subway's Progress (And Rails!)

Having been on a similar tour of the East Side Access project I can tell you it is awe inspiring. Pictures don't do justice to the scale of these works … but they're still fun to look at. 
Yesterday the MTA's President of Capital Construction, Michael Horodniceanu, led members of the press 160 feet below the streets of Manhattan for a tour of portions of the Second Avenue Subway. Visibl…

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Ripe Opportunities

The Squandered Potential of Train Station Parking Lots
Yesterday's squandered potential is today's low-hanging fruit.  If I was a developer with the resources, I'd be pursuing transit oriented projects around Metro-North, LIRR and NJTransit stations. The demand is there.
"There's a lot of squandered potential in the New York City metro area, says Joseph Cutrufo, on the Tri-State Transportation Campaign blog Mobilizing the Region. Vast rail station parking lots are "dead zones," Cutrufo says, where housing, retail, and offices could be sited instead."
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The NYT Is Not A Liberal Paper

Hilariously, the New York Times Tries to Smear Bill de Blasio and Now Everybody Like Him Even Better
Get that through your head. It's a well written paper. It is liberal on gay rights and women's rights and some other areas, yes. But above all the NYT is the voice of the wealthy establishment. The more enlightened wing of the establishment perhaps, but the establishment all the same.  And when it comes tax policy and foreign adventures, the NYT is far from progressive.  It's no surprise that the Times would try to sandbag the first viable progressive Mayoral candidate in twenty years. The owners of the NYT care more about low taxes than pre-k for the hoi polloi. 
"Maybe the Pope will be the next to endorse Bill de Blasio for Mayor of New York, now that the New York Times, in an amusingly bungled attempt to depict a young de Blasio as possibly a radical, ends up makes him sound like a saint. People we've spoken to about the article "exposing" de Blasio's early volunteer work with a Catholic social justice organization in Nicaragua said it made them like de Blasio even more than they had before. What a guy! "
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A Scandal With Potentially Large Ripples

Met Council's Rapfogel said to have kept $1 million out of $5 million stolen; gave $100,000 to help a son buy home
This one is going to be interesting to watch.  I can't fathom how people think they can get away with this sort of thing. I'm just not wired that way.  One has to wonder if this takes out a weakened Shelly Silver.
The charges against former charity macher William Rapfogel are so serious that it makes you wonder if he'll make a deal and bring down any associates, such as longtime friend Sheldon Speaker, the Asse…
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Joe Lhota: Ridiculous and Desperate

Why Does Joe Lhota Support the Murder of Nuns?

Joe's scrambling for any preposterous fingerhold to stay above 20% in the mayor's race. For the life of me I'll never understand why he took on this fool's errand. 

Also, that whole criminal enterprise with the Contras in the 80s?  A lot more people should have rotted in prison for it, including Reagan and Bush. 

"But if we're relitigating the '80s, that's only one prong of anti-Sandinista policy. The Lhota campaign also, implicitly, endorses: • Planting floating mines in harbors, in violation of international law. • Selling arms to Iranian terrorists who have taken American hostages. • Intentionally violating United States law to direct funds to the Contra rebels. • The murder of Catholic nuns. The Lhota campaign has not responded to emails or phone messages seeing comment about the full extent of the candidate's support of the covert Nicaraguan terror war. Till then, we will assume that killing nuns, like killing kittens, is something Joe Lhota supports."

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Alternate Side Rules Suspended Thursday and Friday, September 26-27

Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended Thursday and Friday, September 26-27 for Shemini Atzereth and Simchas Torah. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tonight: CB6 Environmental Protection, Permits and Licenses Committee Meeting

An unusually light schedule tonight.  Joy!

  • Orientation: Rules, regulations and procedures governing committee participation.

  •   Review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of Mad Dogs & Beans Mexican Cantina at 276 Smith Street(between Sackett /De Graw Streets) in our district.

  •   Review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of La Bottega Red Hook LLC at 215 Columbia Street (between Sackett /Union Streets) in our district.

  •   Presentation and review of a renewal revocable consent unenclosed sidewalk cafe permit application submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs on behalf of Stinky Vine, LLC dba The Jake Walk at 282 Smith Street (between Union/Sackett Streets) to permit 8 tables and 16 seats.

    BROOKLYN, NY 11201 
    6:30 PM

    Obama Endorses deBlasio

    I've got to be honest, I was not expecting this. I mean, it's not surprising when you think about it, but nonetheless caught me off guard. 

    ""I am deeply honored by President Obama's endorsement," the city's public advocate said. "If I am fortunate to earn the trust of the people of New York on November 5th, I will work every day to advance our shared value of making sure everyone has a fair shot. On health care, tax fairness or the economy, the President is no stranger to addressing big problems with big ideas and big solutions. I will emulate the example he has set, and if elected I stand eager to work with him on an urban agenda that grows prosperity for all."

    In 2009, Mr. Obama endorsed Democratic nominee Bill Thompson--but only a the last minute and indirectly, via his spokesman, who never actually mentioned Mr. Thompson by name. This time around, with Mr. de Blasio dominating in the polls, it's a different story."

    Barack Obama. (Photo: Getty) Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign just landed the most high-profile endorsement of all: President Barack Obama. With the end of the primary and the Democratic nominee cl…

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    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Life In Gowanus

    Literally. Totally industrial scene, and there's a sunflower doing
    its own thing.

    13 Hour Friday

    The wood paneling in the elevator was wearing the same expression as
    me after a long day yesterday.

    Weekend Subway Work

    The local:

    From 11:15 p.m. Friday, September 20 to 5 a.m. Monday, September 23, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M line after 36th Street, Queens to 47th-50th Sts due to station work at Lexington Avenue-63rd Street for Second Avenue Subway Project.

    From 11:30 p.m. Friday, September 20 to 5 a.m. Monday, September 23, Coney Island-bound F trains run express from Jay Street-MetroTech to Church Avenue due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking.

    From 11:30 p.m. Friday, September 20 to 5 a.m. Monday, September 23, there is no G train service between Church Avenue and Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking. Customers should take the F instead. To connect between F and G service, customers should take the A or C between Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts and Jay Street-MetroTech.

    G service operates in two sections:

    • Between Court Square and Bedford-Nostrand Avs.
    • Between Bedford-Nostrand Avs and Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts, every 20 minutes.
    And the global:

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    Friday, September 20, 2013

    Beating Swords Into Solar Panels « naked capitalism

    Just imagine for a moment what we could do if we spent a fraction of our military budget on more productive investments instead.  Not tax cuts, not even services - just for a moment imagine us spending on infrastructure and research and development in key industries

    These are promising examples of how to begin the process of converting from a war economy to a civilian one, and they provide reason for optimism, but they are also small potatoes when compared to what might be possible. Consider the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, a vast facility that repairs and rebuilds submarines. It spans 800 acres, contains 30 miles of paved roads and four miles of waterfront, employs 6,750 civilian workers, and has its own police and fire departments. Examining the current job categories at the shipyard reveals a skills base ready to be tapped to develop and produce green-energy technology. From electrical engineers and chemists to machinists, metal workers, and crane operators, there's plenty of overlap between existing man- and womanpower in military industry and what's needed for the robust growth of this country's green energy sector.For now, though, the shipyard is still doing submarines. And it will keep doing them until Congress makes new and different plans for this country.A great deal of good can happen if military contractors and militarized communities, one by one, see the writing on the wall and move away from economic dependence on Cold War weapons systems, investing instead in new energy technology. But for such a transition to happen on a national scale, there would have to be a lot more of that writing on far more walls.  Even though cuts to the military budget have gone from fantasy to reality, many lawmakers still don't support substantial reductions in military spending and hope to prevent additional cuts from taking place in 2014. To really move this country in a new direction, the Pentagon budget would have to be cut substantially. Not by 7% as now, but by at least 20%, and for that to happen, the American global military mission and posture would have to be downsized in significant ways.  Recent polling around the Syrian crisis indicates that the public might indeed be ready to consider such changes.  Whether Congress and the rest of Washington's elite would be is obviously another matter.Right now lawmakers are loath to cut funding if it means erasing military jobs in their districts, and the military-industrial complex has been particularly clever in the way it has spread its projects across every state and so many localities. Converting military contracts into green energy contracts would make redirecting wasteful military spending more politically feasible, and the federal government already operates an array of programs — including the Pentagon's own Office of Economic Adjustment — that could be expanded to help businesses and communities make the transition.

    The Republican Establishment As Dr. Victor Frankenstein

    The Crazy Party -
    It would be hilarious if the monster they created wasn't hellbent on burning our society to the ground. 

    How did we get here?Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama's fault. Why can't he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O'Neill? But O'Neill didn't lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O'Neill didn't face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise.No, this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.But now we're in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can't be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say "hoist with their own petard"?
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    Virtually Our Entire Beltway Media Class Should Be Fired

    Syria And The Beltway Media Crackup | Blog | Media Matters for America
    And by fired, I mean "fired into the sun by means of a rocket". An expensive undertaking, to be sure, but worth every penny. 

    Has the chattering class made itself perfectly clear? Obama's ability to strike a deal with the Russian government to convince a Middle Eastern dictator to begin handing over his arsenal of chemical weapons represents an unmitigated disaster for the White House and it's "a terrible setback for America."  Why? Because the process was all wrong.  No matter how many times you re-read that premise, it's never going to make any sense. (An international disarmament agreement is a bad thing?) But that's the story D.C. pundits have been peddling all month.
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    Future/Past: Garbage Tubes for NYC?

    Smell no evil: A proposal to collect New York's trash by tube | Capital New York
    I'm agnostic on (but intrigued by) this proposal as I simply don't know enough yet.  But there has to be a better system than the one we use today. 

    Salvation often only arrives early in the morning, in the form of loud, dangerous, particulate-spewing garbage trucks. Benjamin Miller, the former head of policy planning at the New York City Sanitation Department, has a radical solution to the problem of New York City's trash removal: pneumatic tubes."In my dream world, we've got much of the far West Side tubed up and chunks of the East Side tubed up," he told me on Thursday. "And then we would change the building code so that if you want to build a new building, you have to put in a sewer and put in a tube."

    Steiner Studios To Expand

    Steiner Studios to Build More Sound Stages on Vacant Navy Yard Lot
    Sounds pretty good.  This is an industry that supports a lot of good jobs.  And the prospect of diverting some productions from shooting on location in one's neighborhood is appealing.
    "Steiner Studios, NYC's largest movie studio complex, presented plans Wednesday night at a community board meeting to expand its empire by building six more stages on a vacant lot in the Navy Yard. They plan to construct six 16,000-square-foot sound stages at the northeast end of the Navy Yard, on a lot, above, bounded by Clymer Avenue to the north, Keap Street to the south, Kent to the east and Wallabout to the west. And they want to build a New York City street backlot to help alleviate traffic problems and inconveniences caused by production companies filming in Brooklyn neighborhoods. Steiner also plans create a noise barrier by "artistically" stacking the shipping containers already on the lot and interspersing them with landscaping. See the rendering after the jump for an idea of what this might look like on Kent Avenue."
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    Bloombergian Dystopia

    Michael Bloomberg Thinks He's a 'Godsend'
    And if we're lucky we can all be employed as servants, gladiators and sex workers for the amusement of our billionaire betters. Whee!
    "Mayor Scrooge McDuck echoed his comments to New York's Chris Smith about how amazing wealthy people are for NYC ("Wouldn't it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?") in his weekly radio interview today. "You picture this income inequality measure, but if we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a godsend," said Bloomberg. "They are the ones that spend a lot of money in the stores and restaurants and create a big chunk of our economy. And we take the tax revenues from those people to help people throughout the entire rest of the spectrum." Bloomberg is now worth an estimated $31 billion"
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    iPhone 5C and 5S On Sale Today


    Of course.  When else are there lines like this at the phone store?  Not in the market for a new phone this year (5 in hand) so I haven't paid much attention, but once again the product looks great

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    Bush And Reagan Are Responsible For Our Entire National Debt

    We don't have a spending problem we have a revenue problem
    Those fiscally conservative Republicans manage money about as well as MC Hammer.  The attached dwells on Bush II but Saint Ronnie the Spendthrift shouldn't get a pass.
    "The best chart on this is the so-called "parfait chart" by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), which breaks down what specific policies caused the big increase in the U.S. federal debt in the 2000s. Strikingly, the current debt was almost entirely caused by events in the past 13 years. The most important factor was the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which greatly reduced federal revenues and put the federal government into deficit after the surpluses of the late '90s and early '00s, but the economic downturn, the stimulus and other recovery measures, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan all played important roles too. "
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    Bloomberg's Personal Fortune Skyrocketed During 12 Years As Mayor

    Helpless Mayor Bloomberg Can't Stop Himself From Getting Richer
    Spending copious millions to get elected and working without a salary lo these twelve years has worked out pretty well for our Mayor. No wonder he thinks everything is smiles and chocolate.  The guy is swimming in what is, in practical terms, limitless wealth.
    Last month, in the New Yorker 's attempt to summarize the legacy of grumpy moneybags mayor Michael Bloomberg, reporter Ken Auletta left one of the mayor's contradictions unresolved. Auletta wrote of B…
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    Henry Kissinger And The Original 9/11

    Hitchens on Kissinger
    It was particularly galling earlier this month to see John Kerry honoring (by association) the war criminal Henry Kissinger on what was the 40th Anniversary of one of the more shameful excesses of US foreign policy in the 20th century. 

    Kissinger is a man that should be rotting in a prison, but instead is a fabulously wealthy man of influence in our society. At least he was forced to withdraw from participating in the 9/11 Commission. The report was an utter whitewash, but at least Kissinger's bloody prints weren't on it.
    "Well, you may have seen the photos of John Kerry with Henry Kissinger yesterday, which also happened to be the 40th anniversary of the U.S.-backed (that is, Kissinger-backed) coup in Chile."
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    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    No Runoff

    Looks Like De Blasio Really Did Meet the No-Runoff Threshold
    For mayor.  Unfortunately we will still have one for Public Advocate. And there's nothing to be done, either.  Even if, for example Dan Squadron conceded to Tish James in a display of team spirit, fiscal responsibility or what have you, we'd still have a runoff. The law as written is not discretionary. There shall be a runoff if none of the candidates exceed 40%. 

    Nevertheless, we are well on our way to the Mayor deBlasio administration.
    It's not quite official, but it's close: After finally finishing its count of lever machine and paper ballots, the Board of Elections announced on Wednesday that Bill de Blasio won last week's primary…
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    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Clintons On Board deBlasio Freight Train

    Clintons Endorse Bill de Blasio
    You know, the one that's going to run over Joe Lhota in November.  I still don't know what Lhota was thinking.  Leaving MTA after less than a year for this?  What folly.
    (Photo: Getty) Bill and Hillary Clinton are officially backing Bill de Blasio for mayor. In a joint statement issued by their respective spokesmen, the former president and secretary of state praise…
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    The Vapid Idiocy Of Tom Friedman

    Tom Friedman Goes Pink
    The NYT has seen fit to give this navel-gazing drool producer a prime column for as long as I can remember. Why?
    "Observing all this joie de vivre, I thought to myself: "Wow, wouldn't it be nice to be a Swiss? Maybe even to sport some pink hair?" Though I can't say for sure, I got the feeling that the man with pink hair was not agonizing over the proper use of force against Bashar al-Assad. Not his fault; his is a tiny country. I guess worrying about Syria is the tax you pay for being an American or an American president — and coming from the world's strongest power that still believes, blessedly in my view, that it has to protect the global commons. Barack Obama once had black hair. But his is gray now, not pink. That's also the tax you pay for thinking about the Middle East too much: It leads to either gray hair or no hair, but not pink hair.  "
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    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Vintage Crime Scene Photos Superimposed on Modern NY Streets (Warning: Graphic) | Fstoppers

    This is pretty amazing work. The tricycle one is still heartbreaking
    … and still happening on a regular basis in our city.

    Mental Illness and Guns

    Navy Yard Shooter Treated for "Hearing Voices," Other Mental Illnesses
    Mental illness is nothing new.  But the ready, easy availability of automatic and semi-automatic weapons to mentally I'll people is a fairly recent development. It's a problem.
    "More details have emerged about the troubled life of Aaron Alexis, the man who allegedly shot 12 people to death Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard. In addition to his discharge from the Navy and multiple arrests, Alexis reportedly had a long history of mental illness. Sources told NBC News that Alexis had been treated multiple times for psychological issues like anger, sleep deprivation, and paranoia, and the Associated Press is reporting that Alexis was treated by the Veterans Administration for "hearing voices," among other problems."
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    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Official Asks Citi Bike to Roll Out Station at Vacant Smith Street Lot - Carroll Gardens - New York

    Joan Millman's office deserves praise for the effort to convert a public nuisance into a Citibike location.  Great minds think alike - I wrote to DOT a while back with a similar proposal.  Using a site like this will take some doing - coordination among local officials, the law department and DOT to make the necessary arrangements is key to overcome bureaucratic inertia. Fortunately I believe Joan Millman, Brad Lander and DOT can make it happen.  Oh, and I was quoted in the article:
    The "derelict lot" would be a "great size and shape for a Citi Bike location," said Gary Reilly, a Carroll Gardens resident, who had also previously written to the DOT with the idea.Since the land is privately owned, it would be an "unusual spot" for the DOT to consider but there are few other options for the paved strip of property, said Reilly, a Community Board 6 member, adding that the DOT has worked through projects despite challenges.

    deBlasio Avoids Runoff; Will Face Lhota And Assortment Of Clowns In General

    'Nothing More Beautiful Than Democratic Unity': Bill Thompson Endorses Bill de Blasio
    I'll confess, I actually love to say I told you so.  And now we move on to the next victory!
    Bill Thompson concedes the mayoral primary to Bill de Blasio today. Bill Thompson's mayoral dream has officially ended. At a City Hall press conference flanked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some of Mr. T…
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    Thompson Expected To Concede Today

    Thompson Expected To Concede Mayoral Race As Recount Continues Today
    Well, yeah.  Should have done it on Friday, unless there's something I missed.
    Unnamed sources tell The Amsterdam News and other outlets that mayoral candidate Bill Thompson will drop out this morning, just as the Board of Elections begins a hand-count of some 78,000 paper ballo…
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    New York's EDCs and a Paucity of Ideas

    Thoughts on getting to, and around, Staten Island
    Whatever the problem, the NYS and NYC EDCs solution always seems to involve a ton of parking.  One of  the things I'm looking forward to under a new mayor is a shakeup of the status quo.
    "There's no easy solution to this problem, and many Staten Islanders are OK with that. They don't necessarily want the density that comes with transit or the crowds that come with tourist attractions. The city though is intent on turning at least a part of Staten Island into a destination for better or worse, but they're doing it without addressing fundamental problems of access and accessibility. We may not want a giant Ferris wheel sitting in the harbor, vulnerable to whatever weather may come its way, and we certainly don't want a Ferris wheel, mall and hotel without a way to get there that doesn't involve more cars on the road. But that's what we're on the verge of getting."
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    The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists

    The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    Juan Cole has been at times far more sympathetic to the rebels in Syria than I am, but this is spot on.  By Prof. Cole:
    It is human nature to think, when we see an ongoing great slaughter, that something must be done. But because of the ease of availability of high explosives and other weapons and the breakdown of social consensus, there is little the outside world could hope to do. Arming the rebels, as Obama has pledged to do, will not, let us say, reduce the death rate. It may be a positive that the question is even being broached. Millions were polished off in Congo in the 1990s and it didn't get mentioned on the evening news in the US. Likewise, the Algerian civil War of the 1990s and early zeroes passed without comment in America. But if the US couldn't stop a civil war and a growing guerrilla war in Iraq while actually running the place, it can't likely do anything about Syria. It is a sad fact of 21st century life. What the US and its allies can do is improve the conditions of the 2 million Syrians displaced abroad, and try to figure ways of getting food and necessities to internally displaced noncombatants. The US hasn't been bad on refugee aid, but it can do substantially more, as can Europe and the Arab League. Ignoring the plight of a third of the country (the DPs) while strategizing how to scramble fighter-jets is the opposite of humanitarianism.
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    Post-Racial America

    But...of course
    We've come so far.
    America, fuck yeah. Nina Davuluri has been hit with Twitter abuse after becoming the first woman of Indian descent to be crowned Miss America. After her victory in Atlantic City, the 24-year-old beau…
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    A Tale of Two Americas

    Joe Stiglitz: The People Who Break the Rules Have Raked in Huge Profits and Wealth and It's Sickening Our Politics
    From economist Joseph Stiglitz speech to AFL-CIO:
    We have become the advanced country with the highest level of inequality, with the greatest divide between the rich and the poor.  We use to pride ourselves--we were the country in which everyone was middle class.  Now that middle class is shrinking and suffering.  The central message of my book, The Price of Inequality, is that all of us, rich and poor, are footing the bill for this yawning gap.  And that this inequality is not inevitable.  It is not, as Rich said yesterday, like the weather, something that just happens to us. It is not the result of the laws of nature or the laws of economics. Rather, it is something that we create, by our policies, by what we do.  We created this inequality—chose it, really—with laws that weakened unions, that eroded our minimum wage to the lowest level, in real terms, since  the 1950s, with laws that allowed CEO's to take a bigger slice of the corporate pie, bankruptcy laws that put Wall Street's toxic innovations ahead of workers. We made it nearly impossible for student debt to be forgiven. We underinvested in education. We taxed gamblers in the stock market at lower rates than workers, and encouraged investment overseas rather than at home.Let us be clear:  our economy is not working the way a well working economy should.  We have vast unmet needs, but idle workers and machines.  We have bridges that need repair, roads and schools that need to be built.  We have students that need a twenty-first century education, but we are laying off teachers.  We have empty homes and homeless people.  We have rich banks that are not lending to our small businesses, but are instead using their wealth and ingenuity to manipulate markets, and exploit working people with predatory lending.