Posts Tagged ‘NY Times’

Bloomberg on the Mosque

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

So by now you’ve heard of the mosque planned for two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center in New York – you know, the one Sarah Palin wanted “peaceful Muslims” to “refudiate”.

The whole story here: “Planned Sign of Tolerance Bringing Division Instead.”

Anyway, on Tuesday New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a pretty fantastic speech about immigration and freedom of religion, and how New York works.

Here’s a little bit of it, the complete text can be found here:

This morning, the City’s Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted not to extend landmark status to the building on Park Place where the mosque and community center are planned. The decision was based solely on the fact that there was little architectural significance to the building. But with or without landmark designation, there is nothing in the law that would prevent the owners from opening a mosque within the existing building. The simple fact is this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship.

The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right – and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.

The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves – and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans – if we said ‘no’ to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.

Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies’ hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that.

Good stuff.

iPhone Drama

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I’m actually glad I didn’t buy an iPhone 4.0.

And I’m not even being facetious.

Did you see how “Apple Offers Free Cases to Address iPhone Issue” and that Apple even admitted “iPhone 4 Drops More Calls Than iPhone 3GS“?

Yep, I’m waiting for iPhone 5.0. Well that, and a job.

Daily Show is Spot On

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

You probably saw late last week Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele called the country’s conflict in Afghanistan “a war of Obama’s choosing.” Here’s the New York Times piece: “G.O.P. Leader Draws Criticism Anew.”

This guy is nuts. Completely detached from reality.

And there’s really only one answer to why/how he’s acting this way; Larry Wilmore and the Daily Show had it dead on back in April with a piece they called “Republicans Want Michael Steele to Fail.”

Quick synopsis: “Instead of Republicans trying to tell America that a black man will steer us all to ruin, they’re using Michael Steele to show us.”

It’s completely genius, although it has some salty language, so be advised:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Republicans Want Michael Steele to Fail
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Les is More

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Gail Collins had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times last week: “The Rise of the Richies“.

Made me think of Maine’s own Les Otten.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Paul Krugman has an interesting post on his New York Times blog: “How Will They Spin This?

Check out his graph and you’ll agree, “global warming” does have a nice ring to it …

Urban Farming

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The New York Times City Room blog had a neat post the other day, “High Above Queens, the Dirt Is Deep, and Good.”

It’s a 40,000-square-foot farm on the roof of a building in Queens. Apparently they will “grow tomatoes, eggplants, chilies and various leafy greens to be sold at a farm stand on the premises and to a few restaurants”.

Fantastic idea!

French Press To Go

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Wow, I just saw this article at the New York TimesCoffee to Go That Brews While You Carry It.”

It’s a fully-recyclable single-use French Press cup called the “XPress cup” made by California’s SmartCup, available at NYC’s BKoffie.


Lost Languages Found, in New York

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Fascinating article in the New York Times the other day about the languages that are more commonly heard in New York than anywhere else in the world, even from where they originated: “Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages.”

Key quote is a short one but a good one: “some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages.”


But it seemed like such a good idea four years ago …

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Yep, the ‘Armani Hotel Dubai’ opened this week in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building: “Armani Debuts in Dubai.”

Wonder how tough it’ll be nowadays to fill those 160 rooms that start at $750 a night …

New Baseball Idea

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Another cool Freakonomics blog from the New York Times: “A New Kind of Starting Pitcher?

The suggestion is start a baseball game with “the Opener”, kind of like a closer, someone to pitch lights-out for the first two innings and then hand over the next six or seven innings to, well, the starting pitcher.


So, why ask starters to pitch until they fail? Why not ask them to pitch for just six innings, the third through the eighth? Most starters would be delighted by this “light” load and pace themselves accordingly. I’m not a pitcher or even a baseball player, but I just think there’s a lot of weakness in not knowing how long you’re going to be out there.

Pretty clever stuff …

Vacations For All of Europe

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Again with the Freakonomics blog on the New York Times: “An Important Human Right.”

Subsidized vacations for citizens over 65, kids between the ages of 18 and 25, and families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances.

Lucky bastards.


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Months that should be summer’s prime,
Sleet and snow and frost and rime.
Air so cold you see your breath,
Eighteen hundred and froze to death.

Oh that Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times has another interesting one: “The Next Great Scary Story?

They’re linking the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland to the 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that caused the year without a summer a/k/a “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

Oddly they see it in a positive light, which I equate with making lemonade out of lemons.

Personally I don’t care much for frozen lemonade, though.

Read the wikipedia article about the summer, but for a more local perspective here’s a clip from “The Weather” section of Portland’s long lost Eastern Argus from June 12, 1816:

The extraordinary cold state of the atmosphere during the week past, surpasses the recollection of the oldest person among us. The wind from N. to N.W. continued extremely high till yesterday [June 11] accompanied with a winter chill that rendered a fireside very comfortable – but a check is given to all vegetation, and we fear the frost has been so powerful as to destroy a great portion of the young fruit that is put forth. – On Saturday last [June 8] a gloom was cast over the face of nature by the appearance of snow which fell plentifully about 7 o’clock in the morning. On Monday [June 10] the coldest since 25th of May, thermometer stood in the morning 34 above 0 – much ice made in various parts of town the preceding night; and in the country we are told it was more severe.

Yes, snow on June 8th, ice on June 10th.

That’s not what I’m looking for in my summer vacation.

Just to prove how weird this all is, I’m going to quote another poem; Darkness was written by Lord Byron in July 1816 … during that summer.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind the blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day…


Fixing the Currency

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Freakonomics blog over at the New York Times had a good post yesterday about money in the United States – specifically what to do with the dollar bill and one cent piece. It’ll never happen, but it’s still a good thought: “Cutting the Currency Gordian Knot.”

No Need For Speed

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Freakonomics blog over at the New York Times is always an interesting read.

The other day they had a good post about the speed limit, and how, according to a recent scholarly paper “the lifting of the federal 55 mph speed limit in 1995 was responsible for 12,545 deaths between 1995 and 2005.”

So slow down, speedy.

LHC Works; We’re All Going to Die

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I feel the New York Times is missing half a headline today: “Large Hadron Collider Finally Smashing Properly; Black Hole Imminent.”

Ten bucks says they create a strangelet and we all blink out of exist–


Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Articles like this make me want to throw up: “Overqualified? Yes, but Happy to Have a Job.”

None Too Secure (part 3)

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I talked about Social Security’s woes back in January and August of last year (None Too Secure and None Too Secure (part 2)).

But it’s a whole lot worse now: “Social Security to See Payout Exceed Pay-In This Year.”

Key quote:

This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

It’s not quite clear when they’ll totally run out of money, I’ve seen 2035 and 2037, though I’m sure those’ll be revised soon.

Of course, I’ll reach my normal retirement age of 67 in 2043, much too late.


98 Years of Health Care

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I love the New York Times interactive timelines. Here’s one that’s just fantastic: “A History of Overhauling Health Care.”

John Lewis

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Have you seen this yet: “Spitting and Slurs Directed at Lawmakers?”

Tea Party protesers apparently spit on House of Representative members, yelled gay slurs at Barney Frank and the “N-word” at African-American members.

That’s it. The Tea Party has jumped the shark. Everyone out of the pool.

Now, I don’t side with the demonstrators – I’d very much like government health care, please – but I think it’s fair that they’re allowed to display their opinion. Everyone should be allowed to assemble peaceably.

But racial epithets slung towards John Lewis?

That gets my ire up. My blood boiling.

Although he does it so often it’s a bit like crying wolf, this deserves a Keith Olbermann rant.

So I’ll take a shot.

John Lewis is, well if not a “hero” then he’s certainly “heroic”. He’s faced the darkest, most evil aspect of America, risen up and changed the system.

John Lewis is, by my account, the living embodiment of the possibility of America.

Here he is after being attacked by white segregationists at a bus station in Montgomery, Alabama during the Freedom Rides:

The caption that I cut off? “Jim Zwerg [the white Freedom Rider on the right] is checking how many teeth he has left.”

Here’s Lewis, as the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, being beaten by state trooper during an attempt to march on the Alabama state capitol in March of 1965:

I don’t even have a photo from his beating during the Selma to Montgomery marches, which left head wounds that are still visible 45 years later.

The Tea Party crowd, and before them the Militia-folk of the 1990s, like the Thomas Jefferson quote “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants”.

John Lewis, patriot, has shed his blood for our country.

Our country.

Part of the reason that protestors today are not mercilessly beaten is the lessons we as a country learned after the Civil Rights movement. The photos of dogs, water hoses and billy clubs being used on human beings as they tried to exercise their right to peaceably assemble were so violent, so excessive that it sickens us still a half a century later.

Disagree with his politics, that’s fine. Assemble in peaceful manner to do so. Heck, go on Fox News and complain. But don’t do this.

National Education

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I’m still mulling over Susan Jacoby’s Op-Ed from yesterday’s New York Times: “One Classroom, From Sea to Shining Sea.”

Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason is a brilliant book, but I’m very wary of her plans for a national school curriculum.

Oddly, this week actually I went to my first school board meeting in 16 years – have I mentioned here that Lake Region was branded as one of the ‘lowest-achieving’ in Maine?

I’m against removing the principal (and possibly half the staff) in that case.

I find issue with several parts of the process in that case – testing with the SAT (only reading and math), trending over only three years, the legality of charter schools in Maine … it’s a mess.

But more importantly, I think the teachers should teach what they want. Local issues, local heroes, local science – in eighth grade we made maple syrup (40 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup) partly because there were maple trees on the Middle School property, and partly the teacher (who happened to be my father) knew that it was a fun learning activity.

Oh, wait, no – it was hands-on, designed for multiple intelligences to promote life-long learning.

(That’s the correct jargon, right?)

Either way, now, 20 years later, I’m still looking forward to Maine Maple Sunday in two weeks.

But then there’s the flip-side: the crap in Texas with the board of education changing history, literally re-writing the books.

In that case I’m all for federal standards.

See my quandary?