Archive for the ‘NYC Politics’ category

Respect for Rationality largely missing from US political mainstream

September 27, 2009

BehindTheScenesGlennBeck.flv Every night the eternal political soap opera machine whirs into action. Millions of Americans , filled with human hopes, and fears, and too often an acute disdain for rationality sit neutrally before their telescreens, waiting to be programmed. Enter Glenn Beck, enter Keith Olbermann, enter the era of postmodern journalism.

In a country farmhouse in rural Iowa, a man fearful of the sexualization of everyday life tunes into Bill O’Reily of Fox news, because his appeal to the moral climate of  small town christian culture is in keeping with his own. Satisfied and vindicated at hearing the “Hollywood left” chastised and villanized, he says a prayer for his family and his crops and his country at war and falls peacefully asleep.

In a Lower East Side flat, 20 minutes from the center of the media universe,  a hysterical laughter echoes through the cramped living room of a young NYU graduate student offended and demoralized by what he sees as an attack on rationality, freedom of expression, and truth. Keith Olbermann’s witty characterizations of Bill O’Reilly are to him a humorous transfusion of  rational blood into the toxic, hostile, irrational climate of American politics.

Somewhere in Georgia, an unemployed former machinist-turned militia member polishes his prized possession—a scoped M14 assault rifle passed to him through the generations. But this instrument of violence is not the only thing passed down to him from his predecessors. On a small, color television in the corner of his garage, the Aryan features of Glenn Beck maniacally oscillate from unmitigated rage to tears of defeat as the drama of American racism marches on.

A young man sits in Jamaica Queens, writing a blog for his college’s Democratic organization wondering how it is that his nation’s major source of information became an incessant middle school shouting match complete with name-calling, gossip, and intense clannishness.

It is clear that modern media had always been distorted, manipulated and influenced by economic and political elites for the purposes of social control, value impregnation, and economic gain. But the postmodern media is something even more sinister than the belated objectives of social engineering.

The main function of  modern US political media is to serve as a distraction from the realities of the political questions of our times. By turning the objective into the interpretive, fact into opinion, and distortions into topics for serious consideration we get a country where  millions of citizens seriously debate whether public health care could lead to death panels, or health insurance for illegal immigrants,  or socialized everything. This “debate”  over misinformation distracts people from serious critical questions  about American democracy and balancing the need for free-enterprise with answering the moral call to ease  human suffering.

Our irrational media has allowed irrationality into the mainstream, if only because irrational, faith-driven people are easier to herd than a questioning, skeptical populace. Why is it that in a country where 40% of the population identifies as Athiest or Agnostic that presidential candidates, if not all candidates are terrified to admit they do not “believe in God,”  which is a striking difference to most industrialized democracies with the exception of  Ireland and Italy. So who is speaking for us, the real outcasts of the American political mainstream?   Who will speak for us?

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MTA Unveils Plans For 2009 Fare Hikes

December 31, 2008
MTA Budget proposal outlining fare hikes.

MTA Budget proposal outlining fare hikes.

( New York) – In a move which will affect the majority of New Yorkers and even more so during these trying economic times the MTA released their final proposed 2009 budget along with a four year financial plan for 2009-2012.

According to a report facing a small budget surplus in 2009, the next three years will spell disaster. The total deficit will wipe out the MTA’s finances. Here is a breakdown of the numbers:

Regular MetroCard fare: $2.25
Cash / Single fare ride: $3.00
Bonuses previously allotted to MetroCard purchases of 15% will be eliminated.
7-day MetroCard: $31.00
14-day MetroCard: $57.00
30-day MetroCard: $99.00
Express Bus Fare: $7.50

The report also outlines the resulting service cuts to trains and buses in New York City and Nassau County: (more…)

State Senator Elect Hiram Monserrate Arrested

December 19, 2008
Hiram Monserrate

Hiram Monserrate

(New York) Today State Senator Elect Hiram Monserrate, known for being in the “gang of four” Democratic State Senators who would not vote to name Democrat Malcom Smith Majority Leader, was in jail. He was arrested early Friday on charges of assault.

The person injured was his girlfriend Karla Giraldo, 30. She suffered lacerations near her left eye. Police sources say the injury was a result of a beer bottle.

Monserrate was a former NYPD officer himself and now finds himself on the other side of the badge being charged with felony assault. In an ironic turn of event while on the city council he procured $100,000 for a program to help women protect themselves from domestic violence.

His office could not be reached for comment.

Bailout to save the MTA

December 9, 2008
MTA Subway Map

MTA Subway Map

Last week a panel composed of current and former MTA employees including former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch unveiled a plan to save the MTA from a fiscal disaster.

Due to the recession the MTA isn’t able to get money from Albany or even the city to bridge the difference between income and expenses. The MTA would need $2.5 Billion to get out of this hole. Many people were expecting a rate hike as usual from the $2 it is now.

This panel however came up with various ideas to save the MTA and help alleviate riders from higher fare hikes than expected despite a general perception poor service. Listed below are the different recommendations the panel has proposed. (more…)

Republicans vs Students

December 2, 2008

Here in SD-11 the Republican party has it out for the students of St. John’s University. After challenging the votes of some voters in the district (as is usual for elections) the Republican party is challenging the votes of students here.

Senator Frank (the tank) Padavan has subpoenaed a handful of students at St. John’s.

The New York Times reports:

“Republican lawyers have challenged the votes of students, mostly from St. John’s University, saying that they filled out affidavit ballots with addresses that were not their permanent residences. In the paper ballot count, Mr. Padavan is leading by about 600 votes, but about 1,000 more ballots remained to be counted and the validity of an additional 2,000 must still be reviewed.

While the challenges and subpoenas have angered students, who are being forced to appear during exams, they underscore the high stakes attached to winning the Senate seat in Queens.”

The Republican party has gone out of its way to hassle students who were excited to vote in an election for the first time in decades.

Yesterday, I spoke with a classmate of mine who was recently featured in the Times article who was incensed that the Republican party has challenged her vote in court not only forcing her to prove she voted legally, but the fact that it’s during the final exams.

I’m glad this race is finally getting the attention from bigger media outlets it deserves. From what I know, students are upset but will show in court. I ask you, don’t let this discourage you from voting in the future. Do not let anyone take away your right to vote. I leave you with a quote from Lyndon B. Johnson.

“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

Lets break down this wall of injustice.

MTA: Mass Text Alerts

November 28, 2008

“Oh what the…”

Those are usually the first words out of peoples mouths when they walk down the stairs only to find a crowded subway platform. There’s either a track fire, a sick passenger, or some other thing wrong with the subway.

Years and years of taking the subway to school, work, and anywhere in between have built up New Yorkers immunity to poor subway service. There was no other choice short of pulling your hair out from frustration. Taking the subway or waiting for a bus was a crap shoot, but New Yorkers have a reason to rejoice.

text-message1

MTA Text Message

The MTA has devised the Email and Text Message Alert System. This new $10,000 per month system is free to use and will send you emails and text messages alerting you to any service disruptions for any subway, bus, or commuter line you’d like. Also included are the Port Authority Bridges and Tunnels.

This is great news for New Yorkers especially among news reports of warnings issued due to terrorist plots. The Associated Press news agency said it had received a leaked memo that al-Qaeda “may have discussed targeting transit systems in and around New York City”.

Security is usually beefed up around the holiday season every year, however with the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, New Yorkers should be on their toes.

If your interested in signing up for the alerts, here is the link:
http://mymtaalerts.com/LoginC.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fDefault.aspx

9 Days away: Obama calls on volunteers to help

October 26, 2008

I can’t believe it’s almost over. At times it seems like the longest campaign ever, at times the shortest. Today in Colorado in front of an audience of 100,000 Barack Obama reminded us why we are here.

“The reason that all of us are here is because somewhere in the past we had a parent or a grandparent who said, you know I may never go to college, but I’m going to work hard. I’m going to save that little bit, maybe my child or my grandchild will go to college. I may not ever own my own business, I’m going to have to work in this dirty tough job but you know maybe if i work hard I can give my child a better future and maybe they’ll own their first business someday.

Maybe some of your parents or grandparents, they were born in another country without freedom of speech or freedom of worship but they said you know what, we know there’s this land across the ocean called America where it’s a land of opportunity and a land of freedom and we’re willing to take the risk to travel to that place to create a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

In this audience there are people who’s parents or grandparents couldn’t cast a vote but they said to themselves maybe my child or my grandchild, if we march, if we struggle maybe they will be able to run for the Untied States Senate maybe they might run for the presidency of the United States of America. That’s what this election is about, that’s why you’re here today.

And if you will organize with me, and march with me, and knock on doors with me and make phone calls with me for 9 more days then I promise you we will not just win Denver, we will win Colorado. We will win this election and you and I together, we’re going to change this country and change the world

Thank you everybody. God bless you, God bless the United States of America”

I personally urge all of you, reach out to your fellow Americans. Pick up the phone, dust off those walking shoes, even drive to another state. Rarely in your life will you get an opportunity to say you played a major part in changing the direction of the most powerful country in the world for the better.

Here below is how you can help.

Barack Obama for President
If you want to reach out and make phone calls click here.
If you want to drive to another state click here.
If you want to volunteer then click here.

If you want to help out locally and affect change you will see everyday, help out your local races for State Senate. We have some very urgent State Senate races here in Queens and Suffolk County to take out some long time Republican incumbents and turn the State blue for the first time in decades!

Take a moment out of your day, to make a change on the local level. Change starts with you. Let’s make sure Republicans not only know this is our country, but this is our state. Let’s take it back!

James Gennaro for State Senate

He’s a Democrat in North Eastern Queens looking to unseat 18 term Republican incumbent Frank Padavan. He’s done enormous work in protecting the environment and keeping this part of Queens from being overdeveloped. Frank is no friend of the College Democrats, and I will not hide the fact that getting him out of office would be a dream come true.

If you want to help out the efforts just call HQ at (347) 438-1420.
Tell them the College Dems sent you, you’ll be welcome with open arms.

Joe Addabbo for State Senate

Another Democrat looking to unseat 20 year incumbent Serphin Maltese. Joe Addabbo along with Jim Gennaro voted No on extending term limits without hearing the voice of the voters so both of these men have my respect and gratitude. Let’s make sure we elect honorable politicians like these into office.

If you want to help out Joe in South Western Queens call HQ at (718) 366-4057
Tell them St. John’s sent you!

Brian X. Foley for State Senate

What can I say about Brian that hasn’t been said about him before? He’s great! As Brookhaven Town Supervisor he’s made it the only Long Island town that wont see a Tax Increase. Brookhaven is no longer Crookhaven and he’s going up against a man who seems to have lost his bearings. This is another race close to the hearts of the College Democrats, Stony Brook University has been doing a hell of a job out there, but they’re overtaxed.

Help out Brian in Suffolk County call HQ at (631) 846-8503
Tell them St. John’s sent you!