Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The USA is losing badly to ISIS / ISIL


In 2003 I was one of tens of thousands of New Yorkers who tried to protest Bush's decision to start a war with Iraq.

Unfortunately, the mayor of NY (the leader of NY) - Bloomberg - had thousands of police blocking the protesters so that we could not get to the UN to protest. 

Bush attacked Iraq for no reason and when Obama took office as president he indicated he would end and fix this situation.

No, Obama has made it worse. Now there is a crazy organization called ISIS/ISIL which cuts off people's heads and destroys ancient art work. ISIS is growing stronger and stronger every day. They are taking more cities, killing more people and creating more harm daily.

What is shocking is that people in the US government do not even want to tell the truth about what is really going on. Basically, the USA has already lost this war. ISIS has taken several cities and is running its own government. People suffer every day because of this group.

Here is an article about a US politician who says he is a little worried about ISIS and how Obama is dealing with this situation. He should be VERY worried since, basically, ISIS has won. Obama will do nothing to stop the situation he helped create by removing US soldiers from Iraq too soon. Bush should not have started the war, but Obama made the situation worse and will not admit it.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026695869

Vocabulary:

to sound alarm bells - to indicate that something is worng and we should be aware of it

rhetoric - empty words; meaningless talk (something Obama is great at)

extremists - people who are extreme or the worst possible examples

a setback - something that is not only not good, but, in fact, pushes a person back

the metrics - the measurement

sorties - flights by airplanes that drop bombs





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Is Central Park Becoming More Dangerous?


Believe it or not, Central Park is not 'natural'. A neighborhood of houses was torn down in the 1800s and the park was built as a place where people could escape from the city. Dirt, trees, stones...almost everything...was brought in to create this park.

Now it looks as if the park is becoming more and more dangerous. A large group of teenagers attacked a couple over the weekend. The couple was just simply resting there. In fact, two other people were also attacked this weekend.

The newspapers in New York City are pointing out that more people are being shot by guns in NY City these days. I think this is due to the fact that there is way too much poverty in this city.  You have too many violent and poor neighborhoods where young people are not being allowed to grow up in safety and security. 

So the newspapers will demand more and more police, but instead the city needs to create economic development in poor neighborhoods so that families can live safely and have some money not only to meet their needs but also to be able to live better lives.  

The city provides free housing, free food and free medical care to many poor people - but these are basic services and not solutions to the problem of poverty. It is easier for politicians to just give out free stuff than to work with businesses to create meaningful opportunities for the poor.

The article:

http://nypost.com/2015/05/11/cops-step-up-patrols-in-central-park-amid-crime-spree/

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

cops deployed - police officers have been sent into Central Park

a rash of something - a lot of something suddenly happening; a rash is a skin problem, when parts of a person's skin suddenly turn red

a roving gang - a wandering gang, a gang that moves around

stepping up - increasing

to deter crooks - to scare criminals; to deter means to scare someone from doing something

beefing up - increasing

a mugging - an attack to steal something

an aberration - something not normal but not a trend; something weird that probably won't happen again

the surge - increase

civilians - in this case, people who are not criminals

a thug - a criminal

a chokehold - a way to hold a person around his neck using your arm

a crime spree - a sudden increase in something; you can also go on a shopping spree (you do a lot of shopping in a short amount of time)

the robberies were unrelated - different people or groups committed the three crimes

skyrocketed - gone up quickly and a lot

anti-police sentiment - a lot of people in NY City do not trust or like the police any more because of a number of negative stories about police around the USA and NY City

to back the police - to support the police; I disagree - we need to have more anti-poverty programs that create jobs in poorer neighborhoods. We give poor people free stuff, but they need more than just superficial services.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

NY City's Mayor becomes angry about the horrible subway system (and accidentally emails the NY Times about it)

photo from reuters

If you come to New York City, the first thing you will notice is that the subway system here is horrible. It is a very old system - 115 years old, and it looks old.

It is a dirty system and there are rats all over the place.

photo from ny-info.com

Furthermore, the subway cars are always packed full of people and the system is unreliable. People are ALWAYS late in New York City because they never know when their trains will arrive and they often wait for long amounts of time.


Who is to blame? The Governor (leader) of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is totally to blame - since the State of New York, and not the City of New York, operates the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). There used to be a truly good and competent person in charge of the MTA named Jay Walder, but he was very popular and he was changing the MTA for the better. It seems he was TOO popular - Cuomo doesn't seem to want anyone to be more popular than he is and so Walder mysteriously left his job at the MTA when Cuomo became governor (Walder is now running the Hong Kong subway system). Before he left, I remember seeing Walder on TV one time talking about the MTA and crying - yes, the MTA is that bad.

So here's a funny story. The Mayor of New York City (the leader of NY City) decided to take the subway to an important meeting. He stood and waited and waited and waited and waited. After waiting 20 minutes, he decided to leave.

So he became frustrated and left the subway but his car and driver had already left. So he became upset about all of this and sent an angry email message to his staff (it wasn't his staff's fault - it's the MTA!). But he also accidentally sent a copy of the email to a reporter at the NY Times. Ooooops.

In the e-mail he asks his staff to find out ahead of time, in the future, whether the trains are going to arrive on time or not. He doesn't say: "Change this horrible system!" he says, "When I am supposed to ride the subway, make sure it will work!"

Now at least he knows what every other person in New York City knows: THE MTA SUCKS! And we know what we should have known before we stupidly elected this guy: de Blasio sucks!

Here's the article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-de-blasio-accidentally-emailed-the-new-york-times-2015-5

Vocabulary from the article:

a sternly worded missive - sternly means strongly, missive is a fancy term for a letter or message; DeBlasio sent an angry email message

a recipient - someone who receives something

declared - stated

confounded - frustrated, stopped, prevented from doing something (confounded isn't used very often)

the express train - there are express trains and local trains. The express trains are supposed to travel faster. In fact, they travel just as slowly.

the detail - his group of body guards and the driver

to confirm - to make sure

NYPD - the police

to keep track of - to be aware of

hassles - problems

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Swedish cops who 'arrested' a black man in NY City - heroes or criminals?

A couple days ago 4 Swedish police officers who were tourists on their way to a Broadway show heard that there was a fight in a nearby subway train car. An MTA employee called for police help, so they volunteered to help.  They are being called "heroes" for this, yet, I would have to disagree.

If you look at the videotape below, they have a black man on the ground in a painful arm hold. The man is yelling and screaming. They are SWEDISH cops, not New York cops. They had no authority to take action. They are illegally holding a man against his will in a painful and potentially dangerous hold. At times the man even states he is having trouble breathing and the Swedes refuse to release him. Thank God they didn't kil him the way Eric Garner was killed.

Furthermore, I have lived in NY City for over 15 years now and have helped break up two fights in the subway system. I did not throw anyone to the ground, I did not put anyone into a dangerous and harmful hold - after a few of us broke up the fight everybody just went on their way.

Now, because of these Swedish cops, some guy has a criminal record because these tourists had to hold him there to be arrested. These fights happen all the time. people break them up and go. I think these Swedes over-reacted and then did everything they could to get their 15 minutes of fame.

Here's the video:



South Koreans demand the truth about the Sewol disaster and Yoo Byung Eun's corrupt business/government connections


Last year a ship which the government had never bothered inspecting for its safety sank off the coast of South Korea and over 300 Korean students drowned to death.

The owner of the ship was named Yoo Byung Eun. It turns out he seemed to be a totally corrupt (dishonest) businessman who also ran his own private religion. Basically we call this type of guy a religious 'cult' leader - someone who makes money from a fake religion. He also claimed to be a world-class photographer and artist - but it was revealed after his death that he had been giving money to many powerful people in the art world and institutions. After he had donated over $1 million dollars to the Louvre Museum in Paris, he was given a major art gallery show there.

The ship carrying the 300 students was owned by Yoo and was in terrible shape - there had been illegal construction on the ship so that extra passengers could be carried. This seems to be one of the reasons so many Korean children died. It was also revealed that Yoo had many connections in the Korean government as well as the business and entertainment industry and that he may have been involved in many corrupt (dishonest) business dealings with lots of Korean and foreign companies.

After the Sewol sank, Yoo disappeared. After many weeks the Korean government claimed it had found his dead body, although they also said the body was badly decomposed (falling apart because it had been dead for so long). Because the current South Korean government does not seem to be completely honest, there are many Koreans who feel that Yoo may still be alive and that he did not commit suicide as the government claimed.

Furthermore, the government focused its attention on prosecuting (bringing to justice) members of the ships crew.  The government blamed them almost completely for the disaster.  So many Koreans feel that the crew is being used as 'scapegoats' - they are being blamed for something other people were responsible for.  It's true that Yoo's son was arrested and put on trial, but he only received a sentence of two years in jail. So 300 Korean children died, they died because the government inspectors were being bribed not to do their jobs (apparently), and nobody really responsible for the tragedy has been punished.

An article about this situation:

http://www.dw.de/south-korean-protesters-demand-independent-ferry-probe/a-18408500

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

protesters - a group of people who publicly show their disapproval over something that has happened; also called: demonstrators

to demand (something) - not to ask for something but to indicate that something specific must be done

a probe - an investigation

to take to the streets - to go into public areas in order to protest and show disapproval

an inquiry - an investigation

to salvage - to save, in this case to bring the boat up from under the water

ill-fated - unlucky

a rally - a gathering of people for some type of issue or purpose

a surge - a sudden increase

a ferry - a ship used to transport people from one shore to another

to capsize - to turn upside down

lax safety standards - not strict, lax standards are easy standards

the plight - the problems, the troubles

camped - they have been living there since their children were killed due to a corrupt government and business sector in Korea

to disperse - to force people to leave

a vigil - when a group of people gather publicly and peacefully in silence for some issue or purpose

clashed - a clash is when two groups violently meet each other; this was not a clash, however, as the police attacked the protesters

Sunday, April 19, 2015

An American sports reporter is videotaped acting very nasty


Britt McHenry is a reporter for the American cable channel ESPN - a sports channel.

Apparently her car was parked illegally and a towing service took it away.

This is a tow truck:

When McHenry came to get her car back from the towing service, she verbally attacked the person at the business.

This has become a hot issue in the USA because it shows the arrogance (feeling of superiority) that celebrities sometimes have and it just shows a human being at her very worst. McHenry has not even had the decency, apparently, to apologize to the woman she attacked.

Also, it points to the fact that even if a person is angry he/she does not have the right to attack another person in the way McHenry attacked this poor woman. We don't teach ethics or kindness in this country. 

Furthermore, it looks as if there was an attempt to cover up this story - it took several days for the videotape to finally go public.

http://bustedcoverage.com/2015/04/16/britt-mchenry-tow-truck-video-gina-michelle/

This is a good opportunity, however, for you, the English learner, to be exposed to some truly nasty words in the English language. Here are some things McHenry said:

McHenry: "I'm in the news sweetheart. I'll fucking sue this place."

The term 'sweetheart' is often used toward someone you love or feel affection for. Here the word 'sweetheart' is being used 'sarcastically'.

to sue - this means she will hire a lawyer and take the company to court to punish the company. But, the company didn't do anything wrong.  So this was perceived as an example of a celebrity threatening an innocent person with the power that a celebrity has.

fucking - many low-class people in the USA use the word 'fucking' as an adverb. I'll fucking kill you! I'll fucking sue you!  I'll fucking + verb + object pronoun.

McHenry: "That's why I have a degree and you don't."

McHenry insults (makes a statement to hurt the employee) the employee by saying that she, McHenry, went to college but the employee didn't. Actually, McHenry went to a little college in Florida which does not seem to be such a great school.

McHenry: "I wouldn't work at a scumbag place like this."

Scum is dirt. If a person is a scumbag, he/she is like dirt, something very low and disgusting. A scumbag place is a crappy, ugly, dirty place.

McHenry: "Makes my skin crawl just being here."

It makes my skin crawl just being here <--- It makes me feel disgusted being here; I feel as if bugs are crawling on my skin.

McHenry: "Yep that's all you care about is just taking other people's money."

For having a university degree, her English kind of sucks. "Yep, that's all you care about: just taking other people's money.

McHenry: "With no education, no skill set, just wanted to clarify that."

Again, this is in broken English. I think she meant to say: "You don't have any education nor any skills. I just wanted to point that out."  Dear foreign students!!!!  If you are going to verbally attack someone, please do it in grammatically correct English - it sounds much better!

McHenry: "So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?"

I'm not sure what skill sets are required to be a sports reporter but she attacks the employee again but implying she does not have an education.

McHenry: "Why cause I have a brain and you don't."

Well, if McHenry truly had a brain she wouldn't have destroyed her career like this. Also, please use "because" and not 'cause' <--- frankly, only stupid people use 'cause'.

McHenry: "Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?"

She makes it seem as if the employee is so poor that she can't properly take care of her teeth. Actually, this is an unreal situation so it should have been: "..if I were missing teeth..."  I guess reporters for ESPN do not have the skill set to use the subjunctive mood in English.

McHenry: "Cause I'm on television and you're in a fucking trailer, honey."

So fucking can also be an adjective. A trailer - some poor people live in trailer parks. Honey is also a term one usually uses for someone he/she likes. Here it is sarcasm again.



-------------------------

Please consider buying my amazing ESL book:

http://www.amazon.com/York-Sucks-Youll-Wanna-Anyway-ebook/dp/B004TSPAQS

Friday, April 17, 2015

Korea Herald - May 2010 - JYP admits Wonder Girls lack insurance (archived)

archived story involving me - Daniel Gauss 

JYP admits Wonder Girls lack insurance

khclose

Published : 2010-05-13 21:47
Updated : 2010-05-13 21:47
Agency says Wonder Girls entered the United States on student visas

The head of JYP Entertainment Jung Wook on Wednesday confirmed allegations by its former employee that their client the Wonder Girls had not been covered by health insurance since January and their $2,500 citation from the NYC Department of Buildings is in default status.


Wonder Girls with new member Hye-lim                                                       (JYP Entertainment)
He also revealed the group had been on student visas when they first arrived in the U.S. last April .

He said the group had been registered at an undisclosed language institute as students but applied and received O-1 visas upon learning of the possible legal repercussions.

United States law states that F-1 visa holders are allowed to work part-time -- under 20 hours a week -- while still enrolled in an academic institution.

An O-1 visa is a type of employment visa under U.S. immigration law that applies to people who are deemed to have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

“We knew it was illegal before we switched the girls to an O-1 visa,” Jung said in a telephone interview with The Korea Herald.

“However, the girls didn’t start getting to work as soon as they entered the United States, so we didn’t anticipate there would be problems regarding that matter,” he said. “So at first, our girls entered with a student visa while they were registered at the language institute.”

Although Jung did not state the exact day and month the group had been given the visas, he said the switch came “immediately.”

Jung was asked about the name and location of the institute for confirmation purposes but maintained he did not know specific information on the whereabouts of the academy the group were allegedly attending in order to stay legally in the United States.

“But that’s a minor issue -- an issue our stateside branch handles that I have no knowledge of,” Jung said.

On the matter of the group’s health insurance, Jung said they had been covered until January, when the group was still registered with the language institute.

“You do realize over 50 million Americans don’t carry health insurance and most Korean nationals there don’t as well, right?” he asked. “With that said, up until January they did have health insurance.”

“That was possible because they were legally allowed to apply for health insurance as students, but because the girls had been flying back and forth from Korea to the U.S., they stopped attending classes which took them out of coverage once they left the school.”

So if the group had maintained legal status as O-1 holders, why would they be required to attend the language institute until January?

“They needed to continue their linguistic studies,” Jung explains.

“Dan was hired to further teach them along with another tutor named Claire.” He was referring to Daniel Gauss, the band’s former English tutor who spoke about JYPE’s alleged mistreatment of the girls to The Korea Herald.

Jung said JYPE was under no obligation to provide the members of the group with health insurance because the company ”did not maintain an employer and employee relationship.“

He refuted claims of medical neglect saying “there was never a time when they weren’t given medical attention if they needed it.

“If you’re a top class star like the Wonder Girls, your health is our first priority.”

Jung was also asked about the $2,500 fine handed down to the company’s Manhattan office.

“The title holder of the property prior to its acquisition by JYPE had remodeled the entire structure to be suitable for office use,” he said.

“We then made the appropriate renovations that would allow the girls to live there.”

According to the citation administered by the New York City Department of Buildings, it has placed the unresolved case into default status after representatives of JYPE failed to make a court appearance on April 29, 2010.

“We didn’t show up to our court hearing because the contractors who had originally commissioned the construction of it had said they would appear on behalf of us after we filed a complaint to them,” Jung explained.

The JYPE president bluntly responded to allegations from the group’s tutor, Daniel Gauss.

“I don’t understand why the entire country has to hear about what this guy has to say. He is just a disgruntled ex-employee who quit because he thought we weren’t treating him well.”

Gauss refuted local reports that said that he had been sacked after he demanded a pay raise to JYPE.

“I was never fired, I quit because they treated me like garbage,” Gauss told The Korea Herald.

“I was being paid $20 an hour to teach the group.”

Gauss said he saved most of the e-mail correspondence between himself and JYPE to prove his claims.

“The day before I was supposed to go back to JYPE on May 3, I had a conversation with one of my other private students who told me JYPE probably wasn’t paying me enough money,” he said.

“At that point I just decided to quit because I didn’t want to go back and negotiate. At that point, I was already set on leaving the job. But I was hesitant because the girls were so nice and I was convinced the girls were not being treated well.”

After Gauss quit his position as the band’s tutor, he decided to look into a “hunch” he had about the “strange” look of the Manhattan JYPE office.

“I thought the building looked strange because they had an office in the basement and they had people living on the second and third floors,” he said

“Of course I was surprised when I found out that they had been busted by the city. So I made inquiries and I spoke to somebody from the NYC Department of Buildings and that person confirmed JYPE’s violation.”

Gauss’ allegations against JYPE included charges of illegal housing, lack of health insurance coverage, and the coercion of one of its members to perform a private concert for corporate executives in China.

Meanwhile, group members Sun-ye and Ye-eun addressed Gauss’ allegations yesterday through their online fan club and micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Sun-ye wrote on the official Wonder Girls fan club site, “There is no truth to what our former English tutor has said. The fact his allegations involved my private life was embarassing. A few months ago, my father’s pre-existing ailment had gotten worse and was sent to the hospital. I flew back immediately upon hearing that news.”
A screen capture shows Ye-eun, a member of Wonder Girls, wiping her tears while talking about her stint in the U.S. on a MBC TV talk show in November 2009.

Ye-eun wrote on her Twitter account, “One day while in the recording studio I showed some flu symptoms and our management provided me with a box of vitamins to take on a daily basis. Another time, I was given five jars of organic honey and told me to have honey water every morning. These are the so-called ‘mistreatment’ we’ve been receiving from our management.”

By Song Woong-ki (kws@heraldcorp.com)



[Korean News]

[단독] 원더걸스 건강보험 없이 美 활동 공식 확인

JYP 엔터테인먼트 정 욱 대표는 12일 코리아헤럴드와의 인터뷰를 통해 원더걸스가 1월부터 건강보험에 가입이 되어있지 않았으며 뉴욕사무소에 대해 부과된 2,500 달러 벌금도 아직 납부하지 않은 상태라고 밝혔다.

이는 11일 코리아헤럴드가 단독 보도한 내용의 핵심 부분을 인정하는 것으로 정 대표는 또한 원더걸스가 2009년 4월 미국에 처음 도착했을 때 학생비자를 가지고 왔다고 말해 주목된다.

원더걸스의 전 영어과외 선생 Daniel Gauss는 JYP 측으로부터 해고되었다는 국내언론 보도를 정면으로 반박하며 “해고 당한 것이 아니라 스스로 그만 둔 것” 이라고 잘라 말했다. Gauss는 “그들은 (JYP) 나를 쓰레기처럼 대해 왔다”고 말해 파문이 예상된다.