Tuesday, May 19, 2015
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.
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
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.
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:
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