Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Like A Good Democrat . . .

Obama Breaks Forcefully With Ex-Pastor Over Fiery Remarks

Like his Democratic "opponent," Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama conveniently buckles under pressure from the right-wing media, loses another chunk of integrity, and forgets his past in hopes of saving his political future.

Why is it that Democratic candidates always equivocate on every issue that the media decides to turn into a scandal?

Just once I'd like to see Obama or Clinton have the courage of their convictions, and stand by their past statements, past relationships, and past decisions when the media turns them into scandals.

Obama's former pastor is no more despicable than millions of other Americans across the racial, political, and religious spectra. It's despicable that Obama, in hopes of becoming President, dismisses a man he once respected.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Mac!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oil Profits Soar

The sky-rocketing cost of oil seems to be hurting everybody but the oil refiners.

Shell and BP report record profits inthe first quarter, with a combined net income of seventeen billion dollars (US $17,000,000,000).

The high cost of crude oil is good news for oil refiners like Shell, BP, Mobil/Exxon, et al., because there is no limit to what they can charge us for petroleum. They can argue that they have not incresed their profit margin, and technically they would be correct.

Say crude oil costs fifty dollars a barrel and the refiners build in a 100% profit on the investment, then they make $50. When crude costs $100, that built-in 100% profit earns them $100.

The refiners have no intention of maintaining a respectable profit margin, they have every intention of taking advantage of the rise in crude prices to increase their own profits.

The cost of labor has not increased in the past year, the cost of real estate has not increased int he past year, the cost of refining has not increased in the past year, taxes have not increased inthe past year, only the margins of profit demanded by the oil producers and oil refiners have increased.

These same oil companies then spend money to support political candidates that drone on and on about protecting the American people (conservatives), but the candidates supported by the oil companies (conservatives) protect only one thing: oil company profits.

The only chance we have of reducing oil prices is to reduce the amount of oil we consume. We have to stop driving everywhere and start walking more, we have to turn down our air-conditioners, and turn off one of those televisions that nobody is watching. If we can lower the demand on the supply of oil, then the price will drop, too.

We must be conservative about our natural resources. And since the conservatives won't conserve, it's up to liberals and leftists to do it for them.

BP, Shell profits soar on sky-high oil prices

Dick Mac Recommends:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tips for Single People (Who Don't Want To Be Single)

I have been single a few times in my life; but, it wasn't until the last time I was single in the late-1990s that I began to notice my decision-making process when looking to meet someone.

I suffer some of the standard hurdles, prejudices and preferences when looking for a mate: a classic beauty or a Hollywood beauty is going to catch my eye before someone with less comely, more homely, or simply 'interesting' looks. A well-dressed, well-groomed person is going to catch my eye before a more slovenly or less-hygienic person. A man of color is going to catch my eye before a woman of color; and a woman of Northern European heritage is going to catch my eye quicker than a man of similar heritage. These are my prejudices and preferences.

I have pretty broad taste in people, and what I find attractive in people. Women, men, tall, short, dark, light; I have a pretty open-mind, irrespective of the above-mentioned preferences that come into play.

When it comes down to brass tacks, of course, it's never really the looks that make me interested in a person -- it's the whole package.

In the late 1990s, when I was dating around again, I noticed two dynamics that I created into theories that I believe hold water in a test. At that time in my life I was dating women; but I realize now (a decade later) that these notions are valid across the lines of sex, gender, and/or sexual-preference.

Dynamic/Notion/Theory #1: Single men looking for a partner are less likely to approach a woman if she is wearing rings.

Yes, of course I know that not every ring signifies partnership with another; but partnership with another is very often signified by the wearing of a ring. I know this because I wear a wedding band on the ring finger of my left hand and everyone knows that means I am married.

The only women who would hit on me today are women who sleep with married men (which is a joke I told a group of buddies while smoking cigars at my wedding reception, only to discover that my new mother-in-law was standing behind me -- not funny).

But, I digress.

I know that people purchase rings themselves and that rings are often gifts from family members, especially estate pieces that have been handed-down through the generations. Rings are jewelry, and jewelry has been part of the human costume for millenia. People wear rings.

While prowling social events, bars, cafes, libraries and museums looking to meet women in the late 1990s, I saved myself a lot of time by simply ignoring every woman wearing rings. Why? Because I couldn't be bothered trying to determine if the ring was on the right hand or the left hand, if the ring was on the ring finger of whichever hand, if the ring on the ring finger of the left hand was a wedding band, an engagement ring, a friendship ring, or the such. I just couldn't be bothered. It's a waste of time trying to glean all of this information just to determine if I should bother saying 'Hello' or not!

Sure, it is totally acceptable for women to wear whatever jewelry they want; but if you are interested in meeting single men for potential partnership you should lose the rings. Wear them again after you find a partner!

Dynamic/Notion/Theory #2: People who keep pets, especially dogs, are not available for a committed relationship.

Dogs are a huge commitment, and the dogs never grow-up and start taking care of themselves. Dogs are completely dependent on the humans with whom they live, and are inflexible about attention and bowel-movements. People with dogs have made a commitment that is of the same magnitude as parenting.

Children can learn to bond with extended family, neighbors, and professional care-givers, and will eventually get to an age where they prefer to care for themselves. Dogs can learn similar bonding, too; but, my experience is that single people who live with dogs rarely have people in their lives with whom they share the rearing and care of their pets.

Women with dogs (like women with children) have to put the relationship with their dependents before their relationship with a suitor. This is not bad, and I am not making a moral judgment. The truth is that women with dogs are not available for a committed relationship because they already have a committed relationship with Fido.

So, my tip to my single readers who would like to find a partner: put the rings in a safe-deposit box, and get rid of your pets.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Religious Truths

During these serious times, people of all faiths should remember these four religious truths:

1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people.

2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.

4. Baptists do not recognize each other at a strip club.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Religion and Social Discourse

In 1993, a ranch in Waco, Texas, was stormed by the cavalry and everyone remaining inside was slaughtered.

One might say that nothing less would be expected in Texas, except that the ranch was owned by a group of Seventh-Day Adventists calling themselves Branch Dvaidians, and Texas alleges to be a pro-religion state.

In 2007, the cavalry stormed a ranch in San Angelo, Texas, owned by a group of Mormons calling themselves the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, another religious group.

Fortunately, this time they only took the 400+ children from their parents, they have not yet killed anyone.

We live in a society where religion has been raised to a most sacred place in the public discourse, where anyone with a cross to bear and an ax to grind can force themselves into the public eye and lower the negotiation of social discussion to the level of sex and biblical fairy tales.

I want to sympathize with the Branch Davidians, who did not deserve to die, and the Fundamentalist Mormons, who did not deserve to have their children taken from them. It's hard to be sympathetic, though, towards religious groups.

The pain caused to homosexuals, single-mothers and intellectuals by backward-thinking religious people from The Vatican to Washington, D.C., to Texas, and beyond is far greater than the pain felt by religious people in Texas; and the damage to our national pride by religious wackos, is far more damaging than the loss of life in Waco or the emotional terror of San Angelo.

Religion has to be removed from our public discourse before I can begin to sympathize with religious people who are harmed by our right-wing, reactionary government the religious have worked so hard to build.

As soon as the religious remove their gods from our public discourse, I will sympathize with their right to religious freedom. As long as they have their gods in our bedrooms, schools, health clinics, and governmental budgets, my sympathy is tempered.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clinton Takes Pennsylvania

As of this writing, it is a landslide: 55% - 45%.

Now it's on to Indiana and North Carolina.

This is the most exciting Democratic Primary in my lifetime.

Can either Clinton or Obama beat McCain?

Three Senators vying for the Presidency, and I don't like any of them.

What's a leftist to do?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Girl's Eye View Of The Subprime Solution

I have written about cavebat before. She is a very smart woman who lives in The Bronx and has excellent opinions about things. She's one of those people whose opinions are usually heavily rooted in actual facts, unlike me who roots his opinions in emotion and pop-culture reference. I share many of cavebat's political positions and try to read her blog regularly.

She is the only person who remembers that the subprime mortgage crisis happened previously, in the early 1990s, and everyone seems to forget that. Everyone is acting as if this is a freak accident, a once-in-a-lifetime event! Wrong!

In an article earlier this month, cavebat laid out a plan for addressing the subprime mortgage crisis and preventing it in the future. Her steps:

1. Require that the CEO and Chairman of the Board be two different people.

2. Require that exercised pay-for-performance compensation options be held for 1-3 years after exercise.

3. Return the GSEs to non-public status.

4. Require the GSEs to purchase problem sub-prime mortgages from originators at appropriate value.

5. Require the GSEs to return to their mandate of housing for low-income Americans.

6. Reduce leverage.

7. Don’t create or eliminate any agencies or regulators.

Read If You're So Smart.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pope And Bill Maher Both Have It Wrong

The Catholic Church has earned its reputation as a criminal organization involved in the systematic, institutionalized corrupt racketeering of child sex crimes. The Vatican is refuge to men who should be in prison.

United States RICO laws should be used to indict, arrest, prosecute, convict and imprison every member of the Church (especially management) involved in the crimes, starting with the current Pope, who personally wrote a business plan to keep sex crimes suppressed until the statute of limitations expired, all the way down to any cleaning lady or janitor who knew it was going on. And they all knew it was going on.

The Pope was in the United States this past weekend, and he committed yet another sin. In his speeches and homilies he continued to propagate the fallacy that the priests who raped children were "gay" men. Wrong! They were pederasts, not homosexuals.

Gay men do not rape children. Gay men are homosexuals: they have sex with other men. Pederasts (or pedophiles, if you prefer) rape children. Pederasts and pedophiles are not gay men, they are not homosexuals; their sexual orientation is unique: they have sex with children. Homosexuality is not a crime, nor should it be; pederasty is a crime and for good reason.

This Pope, the prior pope, and thousands of other homophobes in the church (who may or may not be homosexuals themselves) consistently link the criminal priests to "gay" culture, gay men, the gay community, and homosexuality. There is no connection.

Pederasts hide out in many communities, and are less likely to found in gay communities than they are to be found in wholesome, family communities where there is actual access to children.

The belligerent refusal of the church, the media, and homophobic apologists to speak clearly and accurately about this is sinful. To lump homosexuals with pederasts is repugnant because there is no similarity, there is no connection. By constantly inferring this connection, those in power fail to protect the children they claim to care so much about. If you want to protect little Catholic children from pederasts, then look for them where they live, talk about them as who they are: they are not gay men and they are not homosexuals, and as long as you look for them in the gay community and keep public focus on homosexuals you are going to be unable to find them.

It has been my hope that intellectuals, thinking people might help expose the hysteria; but they don't.

Come forward now, Bill Maher, who passes himself off as enlightened. Week after week he commits the same sin as the Pope and church he so readily criticizes. He refers to the criminal priests and the criminals who protected them as "gay." He does this consistently and regularly.

Mr. Maher, your ignorance is embarrassing! You claim to be too smart and sophisticated to fall for religion, yet you help the Church perpetrate their favorite political line: "gay people are bad, gay people hurt children, gay people are sinners." When are you going to stop this?

This is not just a matter of semantics, this is a matter of life and death! Promoting this homophobic line of thinking encourages continued violence against homosexuals and is an obstacle to our society becoming more accepting of homosexuals.

Pederasts are criminals and homosexual men are not. There is a huge difference between men who rape children and men who form loving, sexual relationships with other men.

Bill Maher and Pope Bendict are to be condemned for their continued attacks on gay men, and they should both be held responsible for promoting a line of thought that prevents us as a society from protecting the children they claim to want protected. They will have us focus attention on gay men as the problem, instead of looking at Aunt Mabel's annual family reunion or the Evangelical Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart of Jesus Jamboree in the Bible Belt.

Both men ought to be ashamed of themselves. I expect this sort of crap from the Pope, but Bill Maher ought to be taken to task.

Thursday, April 10, 2008



Dick Mac (alive!) will be on hiatus for the foreseeable future.

To receive notification when Dick Mac (alive!) resumes, please use the "Subscribe" box to the right and you will recieve an email when the next article is published!


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Olympic Torch In Paris

The French succeeded at completing what the British started. The running of the torch to China was abandoned. This is good news. China should not be hosting the Olympics and every attempt to prevent it is a noble attempt.

I have not heard word yet about actions taken in San Francisco to halt the torch. Let's hope there is disruption there, too.

Hillary Clinton suggests that President bush should boycott the Games. That is unlikely, but it is noble of her to suggest it.

The United States boycotted the 1980 Games because of the political situation in Russia. The political situation in China is much worse and any President with a functioning moral compass would boycott the 2008 Games. The United States is a country without a moral compass.

Olympic organizers are now claiming that they will no longer run the torch in future Olympics, as if the protesters are the problem. The problem is that the IOC awarded the Games to a nation that is a symbol of much that is bad in the world. If the IOC wants to avoid protests, then they should be more careful about the countries to which the Games are awarded.

Protests cut short Olympic relay

Video of action in Paris:

URL Link to video clip:

More links:

West Brom Blog

Schneider Home

Beijing Olympics Fan

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Olympic Torch In London

God bless the English!

For good reason, many people around the world oppose the Communist regime in China. Most of the world is offended not by the socio-economic structure of Communism in China, but their expansionist policies that have been in force since the mid-20th Century.

For fifty years China has enslaved its neighbor Tibet. Killing or imprisoning any Tibetan who objected.

The rest of the world has stood by and few people have spoken up.

Under Richard Nixon, the United States government decided that China was A-OK with the American people, and neither four other Republican nor two Democratic presidents that have sat in the White House in the past 40 years has thought otherwise. So, in four decades, China has become America's primary trading partner; and preservation of cheap labor and cheap imports trumps any concern for human rights.

So China is hosting the Olympics this Summer. I can think of no other nation that so represents the opposite of Olympic ideals than China; but since the Olympics were turned into an orgy of Conservatism in 1980, Olympic ideals seem not to matter much to the Olympic Committee anyhow.

Fortunately, some citizens of the world still care about human rights and the Olympics and those citizens of the world object to China hosting the Olympics. God bless them.

Of course, there is little objection to China in American media, but one only need look to England to hear the voice of reason and see the importance of civil action.

A series of protests greeted the running of the Olympic torch through London today. One protester actually got both hands on it, and almost pried it away from Konnie Huq before being wrestled to the ground, and another protester nearly put the flame out with a fire extinguisher. During the majority of the run through London most people could not see the torch because it was surrounded by police! Now THAT'S they spirit of the modern-day Olympiad: police state security for advertising driven telecasts.

Thirty-seven protesters were arrested, but no serious injuries were reported.

English Prime Minister Gordon Brown greeted the torch at 10 Downing Street and although he shook the hands of all involved, he wisely did not touch it.

Sure, he could have done more, but at least he did that.

God bless the English!

Clashes along Olympic torch route from the BBC online

More news and information

Tibet Online with information about the coming protests in San Francisco

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

Boycott Beijing Olympics 2008

Free Tibet Campaign

Reporters Without Borders

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ethics for the New Millennium
Dalai Lama

Friday, April 04, 2008

Deregulated Transportation Is Working Just Fine

ATA and Alhoa airlines have declared bankruptcy, Delta and Northwest have discussed merging to save themselves, and the most successful airline in recent history has been exposed as a menace. These are the successes of deregulation.

One dynamic of deregulation that is rarely, if ever, discussed is the gutting of the federal regulatory agencies; in this case the Federal Aviation Administration.

Historically, the FAA represented the people of the United States and ensured that airlines flew safe airplanes. Under the Reagan administration a generation ago, it was announced (and the citizens accepted) that regulatory agencies were unnecessary and only hurt business. By eliminating "over-regulation," we were told, industry would flourish, self-regulate, and bring untold fortune to the entire nation. So, agencies like the FAA were stripped of inspectors and the managers were replaced with industry hacks whose only goal was to eliminate all restriction and regulation, including safety inspection.

Southwest Airlines has been held-up as an example of a successful business in a deregulated industry. Come to find out, they have been neglecting the maintenance of their fleet, and have been enabled by the FAA.

When FAA inspectors warned FAA managers about the problems at Southwest, they were ignored and intimidated. See, FAA Whistleblowers: Southwest Probes Stymied.

So, a former FAA supervisor takes a job with an airline he had previously been auditing, and knowing all the ins and outs of the agency for whom he previously worked, uses his influence to prevent action that should be taken against the airline. Inspectors are threatened and it's not until staff jeopardize their careers by blowing the whistle that anything is done about it!

Now that, my friends, is the true success of deregulation: moral bankruptcy, lying, cheating, stealing, and criminal neglect. That is what supply-siders want: profit at any risk to the consumer, complacency at any cost to the taxpayer, and a government that is not blind when it comes to justice but is blind when it comes to inspection.

This problem is not isolated to the airlines. All government agencies have been gutted, inspection and regulation is almost non-existent, and the consumer is left unprotected. Travel, food, drugs, banking, and every other industry whose regulation for fifty years made America a great nation are all industries that are eating themselves and destroying America thanks to deregulation.

On a more humorous note for the airline industry (wait, is this really funny?): Heathrow International Airport, in London, England, considered to be just about the worst airport in Europe, opened a fifth terminal last week that is expected to make the airport more efficient and help it improve its tarnished reputation. Terminal 5 opened to much fanfare and the result has been:

deep embarrassment for British Airways and the London airport's owners. Flights are still delayed, and thousands of passengers are still without their luggage.
Heathrow's New Terminal a National Joke.

My favorite part of the story is that after only seven days, there is so much 'lost' luggage in the new terminal that it cannot possibly be sorted by the entire nation of Great Britain and it is being loaded into trucks and driven to a terminal in Italy where it can be sorted and sent along to its owners! The English (who did to their economic system under Thatcher what the United States did under Reagan) are now so bad at running an airport that they have to send the work to Italy (Italy of all places, a nation known for inefficiency and ineffectiveness) to get the job done!

Ahhhhhhh! Deregulation!

Dick Mac Recommends:


Ethics for the New Millennium
Dalai Lama

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Subway And The Mayor

As Michael Bloomberg attempts to run a city thought by many to be the center of the universe, it is easy for you to see the magnitude of his failure by using New York City's public transportation system.

Of course, his apologists will tell you that the unions are to blame, that the subway doesn't run because of the drivers and conductors. As a commuter, it appears to me that the drivers and conductors are actually doing their jobs, but management hasn't a clue how to run a railroad; as, clearly, Mr. Bloomberg has no idea how to run a city.

The subway is a mess:

Cars that originate in the outer boroughs are packed full long before they get anywhere near Manhattan.

Cars are dirty, with sticky floors, filthy windows, and poorly adjusted public address systems. I have seen cockroaches on F and V trains three times in two days, having not seen them on a subway car for a very long time.

The artificial-strawberry room deodorizer used to change the smell of filthy cars, creates its own cloying stench that makes breathing on even the shortest ride a challenge.

Trains are randomly declared 'express' trains, bypassing stations and leaving commuters stranded on outside platforms, even on bitter cold days.

Entire lines (9) have been eliminated or shortened (Q, G, B), while unneeded bastard lines that go half-way to almost nowhere have been put in place and fail to do anything but delay the lines on whose tracks they are squatting.

Construction and repairs are done during the day, instead of overnights, which impacts the ability of the workers to move the commuters from place to place.

The cost of riding the subway increases while the government (busy bailing out billionaires and providing tax breaks to corporations) cuts funding for this most fundamental part of civilization and commerce. And the dialog continues to include discussions of further service cuts and reductions.

At the same time, Hizzoner sits on his throne and insists that people should be using public transportation instead of automobiles. He insists that a congestion tax will make the city a better place. That reducing traffic in the city is a smart plan. And he is correct: people should use the subway, automobile traffic should be reduced and the city will be a better place with fewer cars; but, you have to offer a viable alternative, you have to make mass transit work!

Giuliani was a terrible mayor who sold the city to the lowest bidders in exchange for two elections, but at least Giuliani got the corporations to clean the streets and support the arts. Bloomberg lords over a filthy, malfunctioning New York that harkens back thirty years, but without the edginess, titillation and rock and roll.

Bloomberg is clueless, and like all billionaires, he is happy to blame anybody but himself and the other billionaires for our failings. Everything is the fault of the workers and the unions and the poor and the disenfranchised. If only everyone would do what he says, the city would be a better place. None of us could get to work, or the hospital or anywhere else, but the New York for and by billionaires will be a success -- if only we let him have his way.

Perhaps he isn't an idiot after all, perhaps those who voted for him should look in the mirror to see the idiots!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How Does Congestion Pricing Help A City That Can't Manage Public Transit?

The future of congestion pricing was displayed yesterday morning on the subway platform at Ditmas Avenue: the outdoor platform was chock-full of people (on a thankfully mild morning) while a train (expected to make all local stops) barreled through the station, blowing air horns, making express stops only, leaving everyone on the platform.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks people should use their cars less and use public transportation more; but as a New Yorker with a prince's view of commuting in New York, he has no idea what it is like to have to spend three hours a day commuting WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS, watching trains pass you by for no apparent reason other than incompetence.

In theory, a subway line has two terminals, a beginning and an end, if you will; and these terminals are sort of like parents. The terminals are where the trains are cared for and provided orders and guidance. Without terminals, trains really have no chance of succeeding.

I want to introduce the notion of bastard subway lines, a term I am coining for the subway lines put in place during the Giuliani and Pataki administrations that serve no useful purpose, and lack a terminal at one end of the line or the other. The four lines I am primarily concerned with are the Q, V, W, and G lines that go half-way to almost nowhere and fail to do anything but delay the lines on whose tracks they are squatting (primarily, Sixth Avenue and Broadway locals).

Bastard lines are an albatross around the necks of commuters.

When I moved to New York, the Q ran from Coney Island, Brooklyn, through Manhattan along Sixth Avenue, into Queens. It has been dismembered and replaced by a shortened Q that runs along the Broadway Line, ends at 57th Street in Manhattan and is supplemented (Monday through Friday) by the bastard V line which starts its journey as a Sixth Avenue Local at Second Avenue in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and runs through Queens.

The bastard W line that starts at Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan on the Broadway express track runs as a local to Astoria, Queens.

None of 57th Street, Whitehall Street, nor 2nd Avenue that now serve as terminals are actually designed as terminals. They have no facilities to provide the services that are needed at terminals. Express tracks that are not otherwise used (for no good reason) have been turned into switching tracks. Switching the trains from Local to Express tracks and Northbound to Southbound, and/or any combination of those events, during rush hours causes delays for all trains sharing those rails.

These delays create the need for local trains to be run as express trains and inconveniencing thousands of commuters daily.

The F train, a vital local train running under Sixth Avenue, suffers not only the indignity of disruption by the bastard V line, but then suffers in Brooklyn disruption by the bastardized G line. During the week, the F train is delayed along its route to allow V and G trains to do their bastard switching.

The G line is a local train that used to run from Queens to Coney Island, Brooklyn, never entering Manhattan. Though not a terribly popular line, it is a useful line. Sadly, some supply-side economics re-engineering freak paying homage to the destruction of America that is Reaganomics, determined that the G should go from nowhere to nowhere.

The G now begins its trip at Court Square, in Long Island City, Queens, a station that is NOT a terminal, and ends at Smith & Ninth Streets (also not a terminal) atop a massive viaduct spanning the Gowanus Canal, in Brooklyn. This Brooklyn terminus is just one stop shy of a stop that would connect the bastardized G to the Fourth Avenue locals (M, R), allowing easy connection to Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Also, one further stop would have brought the bastardized G into the subway at Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, providing shelter to those who must switch to the now-delayed F train.

Having the G end inside the subway may help prevent desperate announcements during the Winter that it is very windy and dangerously cold standing on the terminus platform atop the viaduct, and advising commuters to switch at Bergen or Carroll Streets for the F train.

When an F train, in its arduous effort to make its way to Coney Island, approaches Bergen Street, in Brooklyn, it must wait for the bastardized G to make its way to its non-terminal terminus, wait while the conductors change positions to the opposite ends of the trains, then limp over to the (unused) Express track to delay an additional F train when it wants to head back to Queens.

The Coney Island-bound F must then make up its lost time by running express and inconveniencing thousands of commuters.

Why this re-routing? Lines seem to have been re-routed for no good reason, it seems, than to make way for bastard lines that interrupt service. The only reason I can see for the W and V lines is to create additional cleaning contracts to be given to private companies that take the tax dollars but fail to clean the cars.

Cleaning a subway car takes more effort than dumping a bottle of artificial-strawberry room deodorizer into a pail of dirty water and sloshing the grimey concoction around the linoleum-covered floor. But his is all that is done to the V train at 2nd Avenue.

The G trains cannot be cleaned in Brooklyn because they are on a viaduct high above the Gowanus Canal trying to change direction with no platforms to aid conductors, inspectors or cleaners.

Under Republicans Giuliani and Pataki, subway lines have been destroyed, distorted, and made ineffectual, but the contracts for maintaining the subway by private companies have skyrocketed even when no effective work is performed and no gainful employment is realized by the citizenry. Another Republican (albeit a fake Republican), Bloomberg, does nothing to fix the subway, because he has no grasp of what it means to actually live as a person in a city; he lives as a prince and must assume the rest of us enjoy his privileges (yachts and helicopters and limousines, to enhance the occasional subway ride).

Mike Bloomberg is not fit to run New York. He has done less for New York than Giuliani. Bloomberg should be blocked from thinking up any new ideas for 'improving' New York until he shows he can fix that which once worked and is now broken; namely, the subway!

Until Bloomberg can make needed improvements to the subway, New Yorkers should work to block his plan to implement a congestion tax.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Congestion Pricing

The mayor of New York City wants to charge a fee to drive into Manhattan. I wrote about this last Summer: New York Congestion Pricing

Living in an outer borough and commuting into Manhattan is a bit of a nightmare. I spend up to 90 minutes (each way) commuting to work, for a total of up to three hours on some days. This is not because I drive and the roads are congested, it is because Republicans have gutted the mass transit system and privatized what little of it used to work. The cars are filthy, the schedules are ignored, entire lines have been eliminated or reconfigured to ensure delays during rush hour, all under Republican leadership.

One of the benefits of living in New York City, even in an outer borough, is the proximity to the cultural institutions in Manhattan. Most of us who work for a living and live in the outer boroughs make use of those institutions only on the weekends.

The mass transit system on the weekends is almost non-existent, so I often drive into the city by paying a five dollar toll to go through a tunnel, then I pay about thirty bucks to park. Then I can take my family to an over-priced museum, show or restaurant. Then I pay five bucks for the toll back to the borough in which I live.

All of this because using the subway (which barely works during the week) is a joke on the weekends.

I think the forty dollars I spend on tolls and parking is enough of a penalty for the privilege of being a New Yorker. The idea that the mayor (who knows nothing about commuting, the subway, parking, or surviving in an urban setting) and other elected officials think I should pay an additional fee for this privilege is absurd.

Michael Bloomberg, Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, Maria Baez, Gale A. Brewer, Inez E. Dickens, Simcha Felder, Daniel R. Garodnick, Alan J. Gerson, Eric N. Gioia, Sara M. Gonzalez, Robert Jackson, Leticia James, G. Oliver Koppell, Jessica S. Lappin, John C. Liu, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Miguel Martinez, Michael E. McMahon, Rosie Mendez, Hiram Monserrate, Annabel Palma, Christine C. Quinn, Domenic M. Recchia Jr., Joel Rivera, James Sanders Jr., Larry Seabrook, Kendall Stewart, James Vacca, Albert Vann, Thomas White Jr., David Yassky (all members of the city council) ought to be ashamed of themselves for supporting the congestion tax.

If they want a city of millionaires where we niggers are kept out, out of their museums, out of their restaurants, and out of their theaters, then they should just buy up all the property in all the boroughs, raise the rents so high that we all must leave, and keep this filthy shit-hole of a city that barely works anymore to themselves. But scum like this will just run the city into the ground anyhow.

Bloomberg and most of the rest of the crooks on that list have nothing to lose in this battle because they will be moving on to bigger office in the state or federal government when their respective elections come around. I encourage all New Yorkers to keep this list handy and vote against every single one of these officials. Bloomberg will get no vote from me, and I will work against any of these bastards who try to run for office again.

Fortunately, my local councillor voted against the congestion pricing plan, and for that I am grateful.

Congestion tax!


Council Votes 30-20 for Traffic Fees

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ethics for the New Millennium
Dalai Lama