Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bloomberg '09: Jobs

Mike Bloomberg for NYC Top Banner
With Mike Bloomberg's 8-year experience and proven leadership, he can help bring NYC through these tough times and into a better future.

Video Link

Mike Bloomberg for NYC Bottom Banner

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Weird Dream

Not to keep reiterating my adoration for Ms. Swift, but I just had to write about this. I dreamt last night that I was in class one day, and the Professor was trying to fix one of the new motorized window shades, which broke. I offered help, but they said, "I don't need your help" in a bossy tone. I turned around and whispered to my fellow classmates, "What a bitch."

All of a sudden, I noticed someone with blond hair sitting a row or two in front of me. For some reason, I had my laptop with me, with Facebook open. I typed into my status: Is that Taylor Swift sitting two rows in front of me? After hitting enter, that 19-year old star turned around, smiled at me, and turned back. I then saw her typing into her laptop (what is this, the future where everyone has a laptop for class?). I then saw in response to my status a comment from her, Yes it is. I absolutely freaked out to my friends sitting next to me (even though she was sitting right there). Of course, this probably had something to do with the fact that I was just too shocked seeing Ugly Betty stars America Ferrera and Dylan Baker last week that I did not get a picture or autograph.

Shortly after, when the teacher returned to teaching, she strapped on her guitar, jumped out of her seat, and ran out the classroom. Several people followed her. I was in shock (again) for several more seconds until I followed in pursuit. I went up the stairs (shockingly looking like the ones leading to LL1), ending up on street level. I saw those people standing on a pedestrian island which had a Fox News van parked on top of it. I ran over and into the van, where she was standing. I then heard her say to some guy, "Please don't cancel the AIDS benefit concert." I felt sorry for her. The dream then ended. This was probably one of the best dreams I've had that made me happy in-dream.

When Reality Mixes with Fantasy

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Monday, September 28, 2009

David Yassky for Comptroller

Despite the fact that John Liu is Asian and he represents nearby Flushing, I'm supporting Democrat David Yassky for Comptroller. Surprised? So am I. But with his primary opponent John Liu always flip-flopping on major issues and his poor, if not uneducated performance while he was (and still is) on the City Council's Transportation Committee, there needed to be a better candidate.

The Comptroller Race: Who Will Stand Up for Transit?

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

AAA: You're BSing Me Right?

You read it here first: AAA, the automotive company, just published an article blasting the "environmental and congestion benefits" of the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. They also doubt the safety improvements brought on by eliminating car traffic from Broadway. Let's look at it this way - taking back the streets from the gridlock, pollution, and hazards of car and truck traffic makes it safer for pedestrians. Every time I have visited Times Square before this makeover involved overcrowded sidewalks filled with passersby and tourists, and many people frequently have to walk out onto the asphalt. And it's funny how they believe that the diagonal orientation of Broadway fits into "New York’s no-nonsense grid–pattern street design." Then again, AAA is basically a lobbyist for car drivers...

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooper Union's New Bldg Gets Ugly (Betty)

Exclusive pics from the Thom Mayne-designed New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square for The Cooper Union in New York City will follow up soon, but this just could not wait. Ugly Betty, played by America Ferrera, started filming today in and around the building. Guest star Dylan Baker was also on hand. Here's how it all went down...

Along Lafayette St and Cooper Sq by Astor Place, loads of trucks and trailers were parked on the sides. One trailer, which I had previously seen before, had the words, "Lucy" and "Desi" and "Stunt Driver" on a few doors. It also had the sign with the word, "Daybreak" on the side.
Trailers on 4th Av
As I approached 41 Cooper, I saw two white sheets set up with lights directed at it in front of the building, on 3rd Ave. Entering the building, I then realized that my own school was going to be the star of the ABC TV show, Ugly Betty (their staff had name tags with the show's name on it.) How often does something like this happen? - I was pretty much elated for the rest of the day...
In front of building
Boy was it hectic the entire day. Coming out from class in the basement, where the director and staging was setup involved encountering a large amount of crew and hurrying quietly to the next class. At first, they were filming in the Basement's Ladies bathroom. They then moved onto the grand staircase/entry. This is where most of the publicly-seen action took place. Dylan Baker didn't look too pleased at us students moving slowly through the set-I saw and somewhat heard him muttering, "Come on, come on." Description and dialogue are in the video links (on Youtube). Although the first video was shot at around 1 PM, they setup a huge bright white light at the top of the 4 story staircase, making it look as if it was morning - probably explains the name of the episode taped to the trailer: "Daybreak"?
Shot locations (as of today): Lobby/Grand Staircase, Upper atrium, Alumni Terrace (which would explain why there was a scissor lift on St Marks Pl with some blue lights directed at the Terrace-for a morning glow?).
Dylan Baker standing on Grand stairs
Although I did say hi to Baker later in the day, and he said, "Hi, how are you?" I would've asked for an autograph but I had no pen or paper with me at the time and he was on his way to his next scene up on the 8th floor Alumni Terrace. Good thing I didn't-I thought he was William H. Macy after someone else said she saw him earlier. Shortly after, my fellow classmates and I also saw Ferrera waiting for the elevator...with two huge, Black bodyguards. I barely recognized her in her black dress without her glasses until she turned around Good thing I'll have plenty of opportunities to get a signature and a picture: according to a source, the crew will be here for 3 days, each day for a fee of $20,000...I'll be bringing my better camera tomorrow!

Link to album:
Link to Youtube clips-be sure to rate!: Clip 1
Clip 2
Clip 3

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

'09 MTV VMA: Taylor Swift Performance Analyzed

Country/Pop star Taylor Swift made a new kind of music video last week-she did it live. For her live performance of her song "You Belong With Me" for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City, hosted at the famous Radio City Music Hall, she took to the subway and the street. And her earlier disruption by Kanye West when she accepted her Best Female Video award, making her the first country star to win a VMA, did not affect her performance one bit. And thanks to Beyonce, who gave Swift her a chance to finish her speech when Beyonce won for Best Video of the year.

Starting out (supposedly) on the F platform at 42 St/Bryant Park, she started her song with a small ensemble on a mostly empty platform. Several seconds into her song, she tore off her jacket, revealing a stunning red dress, and walked onto a just-arrived F train.
  • (Note: The authenticity of the F train is questionable, as the train shown in the intro and the train she got on (#1937 and #1928 respectively), but F trains typically use R46s. In addition, no F train stops at a station like that.
Then it became a party. Several dozen teens and fans (hired, of course) sang and danced along as the train left the station for its next stop: 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center, where Radio City Music Hall was. She made her way down the car, which was propped with additional exposed fluorescent lights and colored ones, for when the car was turned into a club-like experience.
  • (Note: At this point, it definitely is not a regular F train: the specially added "F" rollsigns onto the exterior along with interior signs resembling the new R160 'FIND' displays saying "F - 47-50 Sts Rockefeller Center" as the destination.)
Upon arriving at the station, the camera cut to the mezzanine, where Swift pushed through the emergency exits, prompting the alarm to ring, and rushed up the stairs along with her supporters. Turns out it was justified in her using the exits, as she was going out to finish her song in a huge crowd in front of Radio City, so it was an emergency...haha. And it was a huge crowd...performers on top of the Radio City sign, so many fans on the street that they had a taxi as a prop for her to stand on. She finished the song with, "THANK YOU NEW YORK!"

Of course, for an eyewitness account, check out this Youtube video of a passerby's account only an intersection away from the performance, and check out his account for more videos on this pretty rare event.

But of course the truth has to come out eventually, and as this Youtube user puts it,
"If you were wondering, the subway part of her performance was pre-taped, I saw the set and extras for it, but she didn't come til after midnight, and I couldn't stay that long :/ The part where she was outside on the taxi was live though."

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

US Open: Serena Quits, a Disappointment

Serena Williams (USA) has just quit her semifinals match against Kim Clijsters (GER) because she believed she was wrongly accused of a foot fault. She argued with the line referee and judge, and then proceeded to argue again. She then quit, leaving the match. Clijsters, looking disappointed, won by default. But Williams had been losing, and this is no way to treat another player or the fans. Lose gracefully, and it would have been better appreciated.
At her press conference/Q&A immediately afterwards, she repeatedly asked the reporters "Pardon?" and "I'm sorry I don't understand your question." Could be a sign of shock of not winning again, or feeling guilt?
[edited 11:20]

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Bloomberg '09: 5 Boro Economic Opportunity Plan

Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

With Mike, we can work together to help bring NYC through these tough times and into a better future.

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The Case for Healthcare Reform, Part 2

This is Part 2, for Part 1 click HERE.

In addition, a national development of a computerized records system, such as those pioneered by the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics which have helped enhance the outcome of its patients and have reduced the cost of healthcare, is an important goal. As for opportunities for the private sector in healthcare reform initiatives such as computerized records, many companies have already stepped in with their programs, such as Microsoft HealthVault, Google Health, and Dossia. Healthcare reform would mean a greater use for these services. This is an example that while private industry is integral in innovations in a free market, when there is an exclusive product or service that, if made more accessible to the entire population, would benefit all, then the government has a right to step in and make that happen.

These and other actions proposed by the President as well as countless economists and independent research organizations leads to lower long-term healthcare costs and a better lifestyle for everyone, with fewer worries. Take a look at Canada, the UK, France, or even Cuba; they have a nationalized healthcare system which includes 'perks' such as paid maternity leave that led to healthier, longer lives for their citizens and a more productive economy. Worries in the US about paying for the healthcare of illegal aliens is simply untrue, and is one of many lies fanned by such closed-minded reactionaries such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, who recently has conjured up terms such as "Obama's Death Panel."

The public option is also a major component of healthcare reform since it allows individuals and families to do what makes America a great capitalist nation: purchase the health plan of their choice. This creates more competition and makes HMOs lower their ridiculously high premiums and provide better value for the money to compete. The President's plan to also make individuals pay for basic health insurance (with certain exemptions) will ensure that the responsibility of staying healthy is shared by everyone, since an illness here will affect everyone else.

The need for healthcare reform in this great nation is best summed up by a quote from John Locke, one of the great Enlightenment philosophers whose ideas helped patriots establish the American government. In Locke's Second Treatise of Government, he said,
"This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name, property."
When our freedom is attacked, do we all not band together to defend it? This is the question we must ask ourselves now but for healthcare - can we risk continuing to fear whether or not our guardians of our health (doctors) and their employers (private insurance companies) are truly caring for our well-being whenever we get sick? More and more, we see doctor's pledges to the Hippocratic Oath being more and more overshadowed by the promise of pay from insurers. Or will we form a better society by investing in our physiologic and economic future by ensuring that everyone has the same fair access to healthcare that people better off get? Let us honor the late, great Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for better healthcare for Americans. Let us make the right choice as a united country for the betterment of ourselves and for our future generations. Let us say yes to the President’s healthcare reform.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Case for Healthcare Reform, Part 1

We need healthcare reform NOW. This can be accomplished in two ways: 1) Regulating insurance companies; the word regulate being one of the most hated words in the Republican dictionary, and 2) Overhauling what HMOs can do and providing a Public Option, as the President has proposed. Frankly speaking, the most likely reform to pass will undoubtedly be the second option, although this does not mean I am on the GOP’s side. This article addresses why we need healthcare reform.

For too long, we have let the people of this country go without a security that if they get sick, they will be provided the necessary health coverage to get better. Insurance companies cannot be trusted based on its 30+ years history - they terminate a patient's health insurance when it becomes too costly for them. They pay doctors and hospitals for the amount of tests they conduct, rather than how much better the patient gets. They deny coverage to people which ends up costing everyone more through higher premiums by not giving them the proper care they deserved originally. A sick worker leads to lower productivity and increased costs for businesses as well as higher long-term costs in the world economy and increased burdens on future generations.

Republicans and Conservatives claim that the government will not be able to handle national healthcare since it already cannot effectively handle Medicare and other government-regulated industries. They claim that Medicare is bloated and that people should instead go and buy their own insurance. But if someone is sick, how can they possibly afford the time to review the offers of private insurance companies when the companies are only in for profit? President Nixon started Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) because it provided a way for private companies to earn a profit off our illness. True, having perfect competition is a key value of democracy and capitalism in America, and a free market with individual choice is key to ensuring the best quality. But when it comes to healthcare, something that is so integral to our lives, we just cannot trust large corporations who pocket our money for their happiness to ensure that we will be better off. From an insurance companies' point of view, if a patient is going to be too expensive to keep insuring, then they just cut them off, regardless of the fact that the patient has paid them continually beforehand for an assurance that they will be taken cared for in times of need. Is that not what insurance is for?

And trust me, I am not only behind healthcare reform for myself, I am also writing for my uncle, who for nearly a year has been in and out of area hospitals and has most recently been diagnosed with leukemia. What made my family’s dealing with this crisis worse was brought on by his insurance company's ridiculous terms. When the hospital chose to place him in a 1-person room, his HMO denied payment since they would only pay for his hospitalization’s room and board if he stayed in a "semi-private" (2-person) room. This dispute took place at a time when he was suffering immensely as a result of sometimes-failed treatments and numerous blood transfusions. Another incident was when he had to be rushed to the hospital after being released due to a sudden change in his condition. The HMO accused him for not notifying them beforehand about a hospitalization, but in an emergency, would anyone really be willing to spend precious time waiting on a phone with their insurer to let them know that they needed to go to the hospital? Besides, the hospital, with its numerous staff and resources, should have the responsibility to notify the insurance company.

Having the government step in and level the playing field is critical in the healthcare industry because they realize that since our tax dollars are being used to pay for it, there has to be a good return for the investment. Instead of waiting until a patient is sick to treat them, more emphasis is placed on ensuring that patients get better preventative treatment by increasing the availability of tests which help spot problems before they occur. Rewarding health practitioners for the quality of care rather than the quantity of care they give, the reverse of which was the status quo, is also a key goal of healthcare reform since it does not make sense for hospitals to release patients before they fully recover to only have them return soon for the same problem.

Part 2 - Conclusion - will be available tomorrow.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New MTA Ads for Door Blockers Ineffective

Don't Hold the Doors: MTA, Second Avenue Sagas

I saw the above ad the MTA installed as part of its renewed PR campaign to stop door blockers on subway trains today. It was located inside of the subway car, on a square ad located next to a door. Then I realized something as a passenger blocked the door with his arm and held it there for 5 seconds before the conductor relented and reopened the doors. Shouldn't the ads be placed on the windows of the doors or to its sides on the EXTERIOR of the train instead? Using a sticker for the door or to its sides would allow passengers rushing to the train from the platform to see the "Please Don't Hold the Doors" sign and may actually do just that. Instead, they will only see the ad after they have successfully delayed the train and the ones behind it.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bloomberg '09: United Food & Commercial Workers - Local 1500 Endorses Mike

United Food & Commercial Workers - Local 1500 Endorses Mike for Re-election

With Mike, we can work together to help bring NYC through these tough times and into a better future.

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Health Reform is NOT Socialist

President Obama's Healthcare reform is not socialist: just take a look at this TIME cartoon which illustrates that if Republicans had their way, there would be no such thing as public school in America. Where would we be without public options?

TIME Cartoon, Nick Anderson [,29489,1918017_1924071,00.html]

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Better Cash for Clunkers Deal?

Cash for Clunkers was a failure in not only my mind, but others as well - even car dealers. Called the "Auto Stimulus Plan," it aims to offer,
several features that the government plan was criticized for lacking. It allows consumers to buy used cars, and its rebates are tiered in proportion to the level of fuel-efficiency improvement that is achieved by the trade-in.

After all, it made no sense that it rewarded the people who had purchased the clunkers that had horrible mpg ratings by giving them a $3500 or $4500 rebate, and screw over the people who had made a more responsible choice by getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

As “Cash for Clunkers” Sputters, a Privately Funded Spinoff Picks Up

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