Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New York Police Handcuff and Interrogate 7 Year Old Boy

A few days ago I posted a story of how the NY Police Department arrested an Italian tourist because he had forgotten to bring his wallet to a restaurant.  A couple days before that I posted a story about how the New York Police Department arrested a couple (in their 50s) for dancing on a subway platform.  Today, here's an incredible story of how the NY Police Department arrested a 7 year old child.

To be honest with you, most of my private students seem to realize that the NY Police Department has a terrible reputation and wonder why, every few days, there seems to be another scandal.  Just today I was discussing an incident that happened last year, in Times Square, where the police shot a man who was carrying a knife.  The police shot numerous times at this man even though there were many hundreds of people standing by the area. My student assured me this would never have happened in her home country. She was shocked that this occurred.

Why does the NYPD act the way it does?

This could be a legacy of the Giuliani years.  Giuliani was a NY Mayor who seemed to encourage the NY Police Department to be super aggressive.   Giuliani wanted to demonstrate that he was tough on crime, but seemed to encourage the police to overstep professional standards in his quest to fight crime.  This kind of "cowboy" mentality still seems to pervade the department.

Until New York City finds a Mayor and a Police Chief who are interested in justice and interested in ending these police abuses, these abuses are going to continue.
Postscript:  Again today there is ANOTHER bizarre story of NYPD abuse.  A police officer killed himself because he apparently was being sexually harassed by a superior officer. The NYPD really seems to be like an unregulated zoo.

1)  Compared to the NYPD, what is your home city's police department like?

2)  What do you think the Mayor or Police Commissioner should do about all of these obvious police abuses?

3)  Last year 2,004 law suits were filed against the NYPD.  That means 5 law suits were filed each day.  Does this seem to indicate that there is a problem with the NYPD that the Mayor and Police Chief are ignoring?

Yes, I'm the guy who created the scandal in Asia two years ago :P

Restaurants Which Include a Tip on Your Bill

Here's a brief article about "tipping" in American restaurants.  Please be careful.

A "tip" is supposed to be a voluntary act from a restaurant customer to show appreciation to a good waiter or waitress.  Many Americans, however, are accustomed to leaving a 15% tip after a meal regardless of how good the service was by the waiter/waitress.

Some American restaurants, however, now seem to be trying to trick or deceive customers by placing a tip on the bill when the bill is presented to the customer.  Indeed, in New York City, it is common practice for waiters and restaurants to place tips on a bill if they can determine that the customers are foreigners.

Many times the customer does not realize this and adds an "extra" tip to the money given to the waiter. So the customer is mistakenly giving the waiter two tips.

Why is there tipping in the USA?  Basically, restaurants are too cheap and irresponsible to pay their waitstaff a living wage.  They put the burden on the customer.  The restaurant industry in America is probably one of the shadiest (dishonest) in the country. 

For instance, restaurants regularly hire illegal immigrants (paying them substandard salaries - and not fulfilling their tax obligations to the government).  The restaurant industry claims that "tipping" and hiring illegals is necessary for their very survival and necessary to keep restaurant bills low.  Yet, these same restaurants make huge profits by not paying their workers what they should be paid and by under-paying illegals.

In a further development, it used to be that a good tip was 15% of the total bill; now many restaurants are asking for 18% for their waiters.

Here's an article in which a man was upset that an 18% tip was included on his bill.

1)  How do you feel about tipping?  This practice does not occur in Europe or Asia and restaurants there make profits. 

2)  Do you think it is right for a restaurant to place an automatic tip on a receipt?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

NY Restaurant Throws Italian Guy in Jail for Forgetting His Wallet

I really don't understand how nasty people can be to each other.  I also still don't understand why police officers in New York City can't develop their problem solving skills. 

In this story, an Italian tourist forgot his wallet at his hotel after eating at a steak restaurant in New York City.

The restaurant called the police and had the man arrested, even though he offered to leave his iPhone behind and offered to take an employee with him to his hotel room.

The restaurant is called Smith and Wollensky.

1)  Do you think this restaurant had to have the man arrested?

2)  Some of my private students have felt that perhaps this Italian man WAS trying to steal a free meal from the restaurant.  Apparently he was alone and ate over $200 worth of food.  Does his story sound strange to you?  If he didn't have his wallet, how did he get to the restaurant?

3)  Couldn't the police, perhaps, have driven this man to his hotel to get his wallet?  Wouldn't that have been the SMART thing to do?  Is it too difficult to expect NYC restaurants and police to do the SMART thing?

4)  Would you ever eat at Smith and Wollensky after hearing about how they treat people who make simple mistakes?

5)  Do you think this restaurant should now apologize?

6)  Do you think the Italian man should sue the restaurant and the New York Police Department?


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Does John Galliano Deserve a Second Chance?

In 2011 a drunken John Galliano stated that he liked Hitler and seemingly indicated that he wished two Jewish ladies (who were speaking to him at a bar) and their families had been killed during the Holocaust.  For this Galliano lost his job at Dior and was convicted of criminal offenses in France.

Now, Oscar de la Renta is offering him a temporary position at his enterprise.

1)  Based on what Galliano did, do you think he deserves a second chance?

2)  Galliano seems to be saying that "alcohol" was doing the talking, and not him.  What do you think?

3)  Do you think he is truly sorry?

4)  In American sports, people seem to have short-term memories.  Kobe Bryant was arrested for rape and seemed to "settle" the case out of court with a monetary payment to the potential victim, and he has continued playing basketball.  Michael Vick engaged in bloody and deadly 'dog fighting' activities, spent two years in jail and then was rehired by an NFL team.  Do you think people in the fashion world have such short-term memories as well?  Why is this?

5)  Would you ever financially support anything John Galliano is involved with?

Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

The Republican Party Wants Advice, So I Gave It to Them

In America there are two political parties: The Democrats and The Republicans.  The Democrats are considered liberal and the Republicans are considered conservative. (The Republican Party is also referred to as the Grand Old Party or GOP).

To be honest with you, I think that, basically, the Democratic Party is corrupt and the Republican Party is evil.  So America will continue to lose as long as the Democratic Party condones the corruption that has seen many of its politicians go to jail and the Republican Party continues to be the party of "whiteness" and rich people.

The Republican Party is now asking "average" people for advice. (Or pretending to ask people for advice..)

My favorite Republican President (Eisenhower):

Here's what I wrote to them (I have no doubt they ignored my e-mail):

I am happy to see that the GOP is soliciting feedback from non-politicians who care about the future of the country.  I would like to please offer some advice.

I am a MA graduate of Columbia University and have become disgruntled with the Democratic Party after voting Democratic in many elections (I was born and raised in Chicago).

It really bothers me that the Republican Party, basically, has no room, nor wants to make room, for diversity.  The GOP was and should be the party of economic development and equal opportunity
for advancement for everyone.  

Yet, the GOP has never, to my knowledge, launched an anti-poverty program. Approximately 15% of Americans live beneath the poverty line and need help rising above it.  The Democratic Party has no plans to do anything about poverty.  The Democratic Party offers services, but no solutions.  Why can't the Republican Party challenge business to address this issue?  Why can't the GOP come up with creative plans to eliminate poverty and help create greater wealth for America?

During the era of slavery, Hamilton (a proto-Republican) pointed out that slavery was not only wrong but an ineffective economic system. Human potential was being wasted.  More wealth and a healthier society could be developed by eliminating slavery and assisting everyone to enter the economic system.

Poverty is also wrong.  And, it is wasteful.  If the Republican Party wants to reclaim its heritage and demonstrate a more human side, it has to show that business development is not just meant to make fat cats fatter, but to advance the entire society.  Basically Romney lost because Obama was able to frame him as a fat cat out to protect other fat cats, instead of a person interested in more idealistic issues involving the full integration of all members of our society into the economic system.

Four years from now, I am convinced, the economic situation will look nearly exactly as it does now (but with a greater amount of debt to pay).  The Republican Party has to reclaim what made it a dynamic force for good in the history of the USA.  The greatest republican presidents were the presidents who favored equality of opportunity: Lincoln, T.R. and Eisenhower.  I think you folks have to step back to the icons and take a lesson from them.

Thank you for allowing me to provide this feedback -

Daniel Gauss


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago by pointing out that Korean pop stars were not being treated as well as they should have been in NY City. This was the 6th biggest story in Korea for the year 2010.

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dear NYPD: It's NOT Illegal to Dance in NY City

In one of the most absurd stories I've read about New York City Police Department abuses in the city, we can read about how two people were arrested by the NYPD (NY Police Department) for DANCING on a subway platform.

A couple (in their 50s) had gone to a jazz performance at Lincoln Center (where a person can hear alot of different types of musical performances) and decided to dance a little while they were waiting for their train to go home.

They were arrested for this by two (idiotic) cops.  Of course, this couple decided to sue the city and will now receive $75,000 for being falsely arrested while innocently dancing.

In the article you'll see they received a settlement.  A settlement is an offer of money by the party being sued to end a case before a trial.

They are not the only people who decided to sue the NYPD recently. Last year there were 2,004 law suits filed against police officers from the NYPD.  The city has had to pay millions of tax-payer dollars to people because of the illegal and abusive behavior of some New York cops.

1)  Does the number of law suits against NY Police Officers surprise you?

2)  How do you feel about the fact that these two (harmless) people were arrested?  Do you think the police officers might have been justified in arresting them?

3)  Do you think that the cops who arrested this innocent couple should be fired? Should they be disciplined?

4)  The police officers who break the law and abuse people do not have to pay for these law suits.  The people of NY City have to pay the victims of police crimes.  Is this right?

5)  What kind of message is the police sending to the rest of world by arresting people for dancing in New York City?

6)  It seems as if these types of activities by NY police officers are relatively common.  Why do you think such abuses occur?  How can they be stopped?  Is the Mayor responsible?  The Police Chief?

7)  When something like this happens, some people say, "Well, you can't judge the entire NYPD based on the crazy and irresponsible actions of one or two cops."  Do you agree or disagree? If 2,000 law suits were filed against police last year, that is an average of 5 law suits a day.

Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bizarre Internet Story: Athlete Falls in Love with Fake Woman

I am not even sure I understand the following story.

An American college athlete apparently fell in love with a woman he met online, but it turns out that
it was not really a "woman."  It was some type of "hoax."  A hoax is a plan to deceive or trick a person to gain some benefit.

So apparently someone pretending to be a woman contacted this college sports star and after many e-mail exchanges, he fell in love with the fake person.

At some point, the fake person was said to have died of a terrible disease.  Apparently the star athlete used this information to gain sympathy from journalists in order to advance his career.

In any case, welcome to America in the internet age.   Here's a weird story about a celebrity and the internet and deception.  I don't have any discussion questions after this story because even I don't understand what is going on.

Yes, I was responsible for this amazing scandal in which I exposed something I felt to be wrong:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Teacher Was Fired Due to Participation in "Porno" Films

Apparently a young woman made various pornographic films in the mid 2000s, and then gave up this line of work in order to become a teacher.

She received good reviews as a teacher and was respected by her fellow teachers and students, yet, when some of her pornographic films were discovered last year (online), she was fired.

She attempted to regain her job through the court system, but a judge has ruled that she is not qualified to be a teacher because of her past.

1)  Making a pornographic film is not illegal, yet she cannot be a teacher anymore.  Is this fair?

2)  Should we be capable of forgiving a person for past actions, or does participation in the porno industry constitute something unforgiveable?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Hero Takes A Fall: Lance Armstrong

The big news in the sporting world is that it looks as if everyone's suspicions about Lance Armstrong were correct.  Based on news reports, it seems he used performance-enhancing drugs in order to defeat other athletes in competition.

He gave an interview to the American TV host Oprah Winfrey and this interview will be broadcast on her cable chanel.  However, in the article below, you can see that she states he "didn't come clean" to the extent to which she had hoped he would.  To "come clean" means to honestly admit the truth about something you did which was wrong.

What is terrible about this situation is that Armstrong sued various people who had accused him of taking drugs and in almost every situation he won his lawsuit.  Now, it's Lance's turn to get sued.

1) Do you think all cyclists do this? Do you think all athletes do this?

2)  Have you lost faith in the integrity/honesty of cyclists because of this news?

3)  It seems that many baseball players have taken steroids.  Many could still be taking steroids.  Do you think that any sport is free from steroids?

4)  Can you watch athletic events anymore and enjoy them knowing that most, if not all, athletes are probably trying to cheat by using these drugs?

5)  Do you think that the international cycling organization referred to in this article helped Armstrong to cover up his drug usage?  Why or why not?

6)  When many athletes are accused of taking these drugs, they point out that they all passed the "drug tests" that were given to them.  What does this mean?

7)  Honestly, I stopped watching all sporting events years ago, except for the Soccer World Cup, because I honestly believe most athletes are taking drugs to cheat and unfairly win.  What do you think of my attitude?

8)  What can be done to stop the spread of steroids in sports?  Can anything be done?


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Members of the Kennedy Family Believe in "Conspiracy"

One of the big mysteries of American history is whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot President John Kennedy in 1963.

His nephew has publicly stated that members of the Kennedy family did not believe The Warren Report, which was a report by the government claiming that Oswald acted alone.

Many in the Kennedy family, as you can read, seem to believe that the mafia assisted Oswald.

1)  Who, do you believe, killed JFK?

2)  If Oswald was in contact with mafia members, doesn't that prove he did not act alone?

3)  Why did the US government cover up this situation? (If they covered it up...)

4)  If Robert Kennedy did not believe in the Warren Report, why didn't he come forward at that time
and argue against it?


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Woman's Identity Stolen by Illegal Immigrant

If Candida Gutierrez had not suffered for so long because of this issue, this story might be funny.

In order to get a job in America, an illegal Mexican immigrant "stole" Candida's identity.  She used Candida's name, social security number...everything.

When Candida learned about this, she complained to the Federal Government, but the illegal immigrant claimed that SHE was the real Candida and that the real Candida had stolen HER identity.

The US Government literally believed the fake story of an illegal immigrant over the story of a tax-paying, law-abiding American citizen.  Finally the "fake" Candida was arrested (after 10 years of the real Candida struggling to get the truth out).

1)  Many illegal immigrants use "fake" social security numbers in order to get jobs illegally in the USA.  This is considered a "minor" crime and it is not considered identity theft (because the illegal immigrant is randomly creating a number).  Should falsifying a social security number be a major offense?

2)  Many people in the USA favor a new system in which a person's social secrurity number is verified before he/she can take a new job.  Do you think this would be a good idea?

3)  The person who stole Candida's identity and made her life hell was only sentenced to 18 months in prison.  Was this sentence too light?


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are These Stray Dogs "Political Prisoners"?

The following story is very meaningful to me since I used to be a real dog lover.  In fact, in the neighborhood in Chicago, where I grew up, I used to try to feed stray dogs and often took stray dogs home and tried to keep them. (A 'stray' dog is a dog without a home.).  My parents had a two-story house with a backyard, so at one point we had FIVE (big) dogs.

In this story we see that there is a huge stray dog problem in Mexico City.  In fact, it initially looked as if there were groups of wild dogs (feral dogs) which were attacking and killing people in a Mexican park (now it is believed drug gangs are killing the people and leaving them for the hungry dogs to eat).

The authorities are now rounding up stray dogs and would like to "euthanize" (kill) them.  Residents of Mexico City, however, are very upset about this issue and one person even claimed that these dogs are "political prisoners" or scapegoats (someone or something innocent which is blamed for someone else's harmful action) and that the "killer" dogs are a myth to hide the fact that drug gangs are so powerful in Mexico City.

(update: Now many people are asserting that the dogs did not kill the victims.  It is being asserted that drug gangs are killing these people and leaving them for the dogs to eat them.)

1)  What do you think should be done about this stray dog problem?  Will spaying and neutering be enough? (Spaying and neutering means that veterinarians - animal doctors - perform an operation to make sure a dog cannot reproduce.)

2)  If people are being killed by packs of wild dogs, this is certainly a serious problem.  Do you think the authorities are justified in rounding up these dogs and euthanizing them?

3)  What else can the authorities do in regard to this situation?

4)  What can the people of Mexico City do?

5)  There are many human political prisoners in jails around the world, but it seems that an entire city has become obsessed with justice for 25 dogs.  Does this seem peculiar to you?  Why do we sometimes seem to care more about animals than our fellow human beings (and I ask this as a dog lover myself!)?

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Best Country in Which to Be Born in 2013

The Economist magazine ran this story a few weeks ago.  The purpose was to identify, basically, the best countries in which to live.  As you can see, the first several countries are small nations with little or no diversity.  Indeed, Singapore, a dictatorship, is ranked highly, while Turkey, a dynamic and democratic society, is ranked toward the middle of the list.  Also, I've been reading a great deal about the nation of Vietnam lately, which is a developing and beautiful country, yet it is not ranked highly on this list.

Please take a look at the list and form your own impressions.  My impression is that the standards used are too random.  My "perfect" country would be one with freedom, diversity, exciting things to do and interesting people (maybe that's why I live in New York City :P).

1)  Do you agree with these rankings?

2)  Just looking at the listings of the countries, which criteria do you think are favored most?

3)  Specifically, which countries do you think should be higher or lower?

4)  Would you want to live in any of the upper-ranked countries?  Why or why not?

5)  Do you think this listing reflects the prejudices or biases of the organization that ranked the countries?

6)  Which nation do you think is most desirable in the world these days?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Is Wikipedia Total Garbage?

Here is a story about how someone or some people deliberately created a fake historical event on Wikipedia, and how it lasted for five complete years.  Indeed, many people believed the event to be true and cross-referenced it.

Not one teacher and not one professor in the USA allows students to use Wikipedia as a resource in a research paper.  Indeed, it is generally found that the information on Wikipedia can be found in more reliable and reputable sources and that the writing quality and, indeed, overall quality of Wikipedia is substandard.  It seems that serious scholars consider Wikipedia to be a joke.

1)  Given the fact that anyone can add anything, either true or false, to Wikipedia, can you really trust this source of information?  Should a person just dig a bit deeper and find a more reliable web site?

2)  Does it bother you that any time you type anything into a Google search engine, a potentially unreliable Wikipedia link pops up?

3)  Given that not one teacher or university professor in the world will allow a Wikipedia citation, does this affect your impression of this site?

4)  Jimmy Wales, the creator of the site, claims that he has a small paid staff and that most of the work on the site is by volunteers.  Yet, volunteer editors deliberately promoted false information for many years and openly laughed at the internet users who believed the lies.  Would you ever support or donate to this type of organization?

5)  Have to ever added anything to Wikipedia?  What types of people do you think control this site?

6)  From now on I intend to look for other sources of information than Wikipedia.  It is just too unreliable and I have no idea who is adding or changing information.  Many sites concerning celebrities and politicians, for instance, seem openly biased and controlled by fans or employees of the celebrities or politicians.  Do you think my attitude is justified?


Yes, I'm the guy who caused the "scandal" in Asia two years ago

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway