Friday, May 27, 2016

NYPD Corruption: Hasidic Jews Beat a Gay, Black Man; the NYPD Tries to Cover It Up

To be completely honest, the New York Police Department is the most corrupt police department in the world (corrupt = dishonest - you cannot trust them to act rightly).

This is the way a gay black man looked after he tried walking through a neighborhood (area) of Hasidic Jewish people in New York City.

Apparently these folks don't want gays or blacks or a combination of the two in their neighborhood. The New York Police Department refused to arrest (take to the station or put on trial) any of the many men who did this.

Only after this man's mother went to several newspapers did the police finally take action. The men who attacked this man were arrested and went to trial, but they received very light sentences (punishments).

This is disgraceful. If a poor guy who is gay and black gets beaten by Hasidic Jews, the police won't do anything? How much power do these folks have in this city? There was recently another news article stating that the city government funds (pays for) much of the housing for Hasidic Jews  in NY City.

What's a "Hasidic" Jew?

These are super conservative Jewish folks who live in their own little neighborhoods and who apparently don't want gays and blacks walking through. And if you are gay and/or black, they will apparently just beat you until you are almost dead if you walk through their neighborhoods and the police will apparently allow it.

And then people ask me why I wrote a book called New York City Sucks!

Please read this article:

Vocabulary from the article: 

to memory-hole something - in the novel 1984 there is a device where any information goes that the government doesn't like. It is called a memory hole. So that information disappears. The New York Police Department wanted this information to disappear.

a cop - a police officer

to deep six something - to eliminate something completely, as if you are killing it and putting it 6 feet under ground

a beatdown - when someone is badly beaten

allegedly - apparently, supposedly

brutal - overly severe, harsh, cruel, showing no mercy

neighborhood watch members - these are volunteers who wander around the neighborhood (the area in which they live) supposedly looking for criminals

the case - the investigation

to make a fuss - to cause trouble, to create problems for others, to complain

a misdemeanor assault - a misdemeanor is a minor crime, an assault is also a minor crime, it means basically that someone scared someone else. But in this case several men BEAT an innocent man. This was aggravated battery, not assault.

labeled the case closed - officially closed the case

pounced on him - to pounce - to jump on as a wild animal jumps on prey

prosecutors - lawyers for the state who try to get people found guilty

accused him of doing something - claimed he had done something

to flee - to run away

a pummeling - a beating

ceased - ended

stomping - stepping on him very hard with their feet

swollen - overly large

intoxicated - drunk (so the police tried to blame the victim saying that he was drunk)

incoherent - not understandable

a blitz - a brief period with a lot of action in it (blitz is the German word for lightening)

a publicity blitz - a lot of action to get publicity or public notice 

indictment - pronounced in dite ment...a formal process of accusing someone of a crime

imitation - similar to

vigilantism - punishing people instead of allowing the police to arrest them

the revelation - the revealing of something, when something finally becomes known

mishandling - not handling the situation rightly, not acting the right way toward an official situation

federal scrutiny - the government in Washington D.C, is investigating cops

to halt - to stop

reassessing - re-thinking

a vendor - a business partner or someone who sells something or provides some service

to condemn something - to say it is wrong

their charges dropped - they are no longer in danger of going to jail

a slew of felony charges - many accusations of very serious crimes - a felony is a serious crime. Actually, a couple days ago, a judge let them go with a very light sentence (punishment) jail time.

to sue - to take someone or some organization to court to get money for something wrong that was done

to be dead wrong - to be completely wrong

Thursday, May 19, 2016

20 fill-in-the-blank sentences based on 31 intermediate level English vocabulary words

Here are 20 fill-in-the-blank sentences using 20 of the 31 words below.  

a bouquet 
- a bunch or collection of flowers; usually a guy will buy a bouquet (pronounced boo-kay) for his girl friend

vigilant -  to keep vigil is to watch for something.  Vigilance is watchfulness.  If people want to protest something they will have a candlelight vigil (they will stand silently in a public place just holding candles). To be vigilant is to be watchful.

to obliterate - to wipe out completely. to eliminate

a prophecy -  a prediction of something.  Nostradamus made many accurate prophesies about the future.

to infringe on - to violate something is to infringe on something.  He infringed on my privacy by listening to our conversation at the cafe.

a penchant - a disposition or strong desire for something.  He demonstrated a penchant for the violin early in life.

coercive - forceful. Obama's new health plan is, to Republicans, too coercive - he will force people to buy insurance against their will and punish people who don't buy health insurance.

to dislodge - to force something loose.  A bone was stuck in the child's throat and the doctor had to dislodge it.

to bestow - to give something to someone.  The Nobel Prize for economics was bestowed on two Americans today.

to make accusations - to claim that someone did something wrong.  Roh Moo Hyun killed himself because he was faced with many accusations which he found embarrassing.

to unleash - to let go as if you have been holding back.  The US military unleashed its terrible power on the nation of Iraq after Saddam Hussein refused to allow UN inspectors to look at his weapons facilities.  You usually keep a leash on a dog or other wild animal.  To unleash it is to let it go so it will attack someone.

elusive - hard to capture or catch.  Winning a gold medal was elusive for Dan Jansen. He finally won one in his last race.

paternity - fatherhood.  There is a paternity test: although Jim denied he was the father of the child the DNA paternity test proved he was the guy.

stray - not on the "right" path.  The child was killed by a stray bullet.  When i was young i used to feed the stray dogs in my neighborhood (dogs living on the streets).

delusion - an illusion.  a mistaken idea.  The belief that Israel and the Palestinians will make a peace treaty soon is a total delusion.

to shatter - to break (i.e. glass or a mirror) into many pieces.

brutal - especially cruel, mean, harsh.

an interloper - someone who is somewhere that he doesn't belong.  An intruder.

to ferment - to allow to develop.  Wine is a form of fermented grapes.  The anger in Burma began to ferment into violence.

inflammatory - causing a fire, causing violence

bustling - exciting, busy. The streets of Flushing are always bustling with people.

profanity - vulgarity, dirty language

a disposition - the way one feels at any time.  His was a peaceful disposition - but he could easily become angry.

to stumble - to trip on something as you walk is to stumble.

to curb - to shorten.  Please curb your aggression!  He needed to curb the amount of alcohol he drank.

bluntness - being too straight forward or too candid. i.e. 'Dan your haircut sucks!' is an example of bluntness.

impeccable - blameless, pure, innocent

to bemoan - to criticize something or someone

to summon - to call someone to someplace

mitigating - having a softening effect.  I was angry my child was late for dinner but the fact that he was helping a neighbor was a mitigating factor and I stopped being angry.

to rejuvenate - to make someone or something feel or look young again

to be hooked on - to be hooked on something means to be addicted to something

Verbs can take any form in the answers below:

1) Bob would sometimes spend as much as 7 hours a day on the internet; clearly, he felt he needed to __________ the amount of time he spent online.

2) On Valentine's Day it is customary to buy your sweetheart a ____________ of roses or some other type of flower.

3) Because the two children were as white as could be, many people openly doubted the ____________ of Michael Jackson.  Indeed, after his death it was revealed that he had not been the actual, "biological" father.

4) Although the Mayor of New York claimed that police searches of bags and containers at MTA stations was essential to combat terrorism, I feel that it is not only a waste of time but that the searches ____________ on the privacy rights of passengers.

5) Although Susan Lucci had been on a television series for 20 years, she had never won an EMMY award.  Nobody was quite sure why this award had been so  _____________ for her.

6) Because I used to drink a lot of sugary soft drinks as a child, I am now __________ on soda and have a hard time going each day without a bottle of it.

7) The world was outraged that North Korea would fire a Taepodong 2 missile over Japan.  The Obama administration did not take any action, but indicated that the USA would be more ___________ toward North Korea and might punish them later if more missiles are shot.

8)  The United States Congress chose to __________ a human rights prize on the Dalai Lama, despite protests from China's Mr. Hu.  Obama suggested that Hu and the Dalai Lama should have a beer together with him at the White House. (joking)

9)  People are often surprised by how __________ Chinatown is in New York City. The streets are crowded with people shopping in the markets.

10)  Many politicians and public figures are expected to have ___________ reputations, yet they are often the most boring and incompetent people; perhaps less pure people would be better public servants.

11)  The man was clearly crazy as he ran through the crowd trying to stab people with a huge knife.  After he was caught and subdued by several men, it was quite a challenge to ___________ the knife from his grip.

12)  The movie 2012 was based upon the strange ____________ that in that year life on earth would change drastically and perhaps end.

13)  It is now thought that the dinosaurs were ____________ by a giant asteroid that collided with the planet earth 65 million years ago.

14)  Although everyone seems to agree that everyone has the right to affordable health care, many people are _______ many aspects of Obama's plan, such as the provision to fine people who do not buy insurance.

15)  Although Ted Kennedy seemed to have taken his job as a Senator seriously, he seemed to have an unquenchable _______________ for alcoholic beverages and women that seriously harmed his reputation.

16) There are, basically, two types of murder in the US - cold-blooded murder and hot-blooded.  The court system feels that killing under strong emotions is a ______________ factor and such a person's sentence will be less than the sentence of someone will plans or plots a murder.

17)  Kim Jong Un is the ___________ dictator of a regime which has falsely imprisoned thousands of its own people and executed numerous political prisoners.

18)  After Bob took his two week vacation in Aruba he felt completely _____________ and ready to go back to work as if he were a new person.

19)  Some officials of a certain large Asian country's government accused the Dalai Lama of inciting protests during the preparations for the 2008 Olympic games through ______________ speeches.  Many Americans wondered how a speech containing the sentence "Love your neighbor and forgive all who have wronged you." could be considered a statement calculated to incite violence, however.

20)  Although I value candor, I do not appreciate _______________; there is always a polite way to convey something to someone.

Answers are below:


1. curb
2. bouquet
3. paternity 
4. infringed
5. elusive
6. hooked
7. vigilant
8. bestow
9. bustling
10. impeccable
11. dislodge
12. prophecy 
13. obliterated
14. bemoaning
15. disposition
16. mitigating
17. brutal
18. rejuvenated
19. inflammatory
20. bluntness

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Japanese vagina-kayak artist was found guilty of obscenity

The judge in Japan said that her kayak is ok - it is a work of art - but because the artist sent out data allowing people to reproduce her vagina in a 3-D format, she was found guilty of violating Japan's obscenity laws.

A kayak is a type of boat created by Native Americans living in the far northern Pacific. It is a very slim boat for one rider, usually. A vagina is a woman's sexual organ. Obscenity refers to anything considered to be dirty or that might cause shame - obscenity is, basically, pornography which is considered very offensive.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

to be fined - to be punished by being forced to pay an amount of money to the state

genitals - her sex organ, her vagina

a case - any legal matter is called 'a case'

ridicule - when people make fun of something or mock something

female genitalia - the vagina

pseudonym - a fake name

arrested - she was taken away by the police

recipients - receivers

the penalty - the punishment

prosecutors - lawyers for the state who try to get people punished

convicted - found guilty

obscene - very dirty, very pornographic

cleared of a charge - found not-guilty of an allegation or claim that she broke the law; a charge is a claim by the state that someone broke the law. He was arrested for the charge of murder. He was charged with murder.

inorganic - not alive

to arouse - to make one want to have sex, to make one horny

a legal appeal - when lawyers go to a higher court and ask for help to change a lower court's decision

a public petition - when people sign a document saying they don't agree with a government decision

moulded - when a shape is created by pouring a liquid substance into a mold and then allowing it to get hard

a pussy - a slang term for a vagina

a diorama - a recreated landscape scene

hypocrisy - when a person says one thing but does another; in Japan the government allowed pornographic images of children to be shown in manga, but objected to reproductions of a manko (vagina)

pixelated - obscured, messed up so you can't see it clearly

The Waterboys frontman - the singer for the English rock group Waterboys

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Corrupt NY Politician Goes to Jail (but the More Things Change the More They Stay the Same)

Sheldon Silver

When foreign students ask me what the difference is between Republicans and Democrats, I tell them that this answer is easy: Republicans are evil and Democrats are corrupt.

What does corrupt mean? If someone is corrupt he/she is not ethical and does not act rightly. A corrupt politician might take bribes or use his/her position to make extra money or to help people he/she knows in return for favors from them.

Frankly, Republicans are evil. They believe that America is about strong individuals who can take care of themselves. They don't want to have any social programs and if you were starving (without food) a Republican would say, "Well, either get a job or starve. And if you do starve to death, be happy, you are helping to make sure that weak people like you die so strong people like us can survive." These "strong" Republicans usually come from families with lots of money.

It's funny because most Republicans don't believe in Darwin's theory of evolution (they are often super religious) but they refer to Darwinian survival principles when they explain their political philosophy.

Frankly, Democrats are corrupt. Super corrupt. I doubt there's even one honest Democratic politician. They are always doing favors, taking stuff for favors, doing all kinds of unethical things. The irony is that they like to present themselves as good people. They are always giving away free things. NY State has a Democratic Governor (leader) and now if you are poor and want a sex change (you are a guy and want to be a girl or vice versa) NY State will give you a FREE sex change. Isn't the Governor such a wonderful person! >_<  This is why NY State taxes are so high.

So here's an article about a guy (Sheldon Silver) who was corrupt for many years. He was one of the most powerful politicians in NY State. Everybody knew he was corrupt. The NY Post would publish articles basically saying: "Wow! This mother father is really corrupt!" (The NY Times supported the guy - they support all Democrats as long as they haven't been thrown in jail yet.) 

Nobody did anything. For 20 years nobody did anything. They worked with him because they were corrupt themselves. The Mayor of NY City (leader of NY City) even said that Silver was a "man of integrity" - a man of great honesty who never broke the law and cared about acting rightly.

What really irritates me is that the guy is an Orthodox Jewish guy. "Orthodox" means that they try to live according to the Bible. Where does it say in the Bible that you can be so corrupt as to help to destroy NY State government for generations? 

Any way, the Federal Government (Washington D.C.) finally arrested the guy and he'll be thrown in jail. 

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

federal court - this is a court established by the US government. NY State government loved Silver and protected him. 

former Assembly Speaker - former means he used to hold this position. The Assembly is NY State's Congress - where the laws are made. Corrupt people can make a lot of money by getting into a Congress. He was the "Speaker" of the Assembly - the leader.

to be sentenced to - when someone is found guilty a judge will 'sentence' him/her to a punishment

a penitentiary - a jail

a judge -

scheming - someone who makes plans to do things that are illegal

to fork over - to hand over money (this is slang);to provide money

ill-gotten gains - money made illegally, gains would be money...the money was gotten (was received) in an 'ill' or wrong manner

disgraced - the opposite of honorable; to be disgraced means everyone looks down on you, you are ashamed, deeply embarrassed

ex-pol - ex politician (he used to be a politician - someone elected to a government office)

criminal counts - specific crimes

fraud - making money illegally

extortion- threatening people to get money, scaring people to make money

money laundering - getting illegal money but processing it to make it seem like legal money

concurrently - one after the other

hefty - big

capped - it is the very top of something

stellar run - an amazing number of successes (steallar means like the stars, a run is a series of events) 

Preet Bharara - an honest lawyer for the US government who has been throwing lots of corrupt politicians in jail.

justice meted out - the justice delivered

a stiff sentence - an extreme, harsh, punishment

humbled - no longer arrogant; very embarrassed

I let down my family - I disappointed my family

constituents - the people who voted for him (no...they elected one of his friends to take his place)

rendered - delivered

stoic - strong, not showing any emotional pain

lit into her husband - to light into someone is to verbally attack the person for something the person did that was wrong

extra-marital affairs - he had sex with women who wanted things from him

filings - extra papers to the judge

a lobbyist - someone who tries to influence politicians to make laws favorable to their clients

cushy - easy, a cushy job pays well and is easy

a minimum security camp - instead of a real jail, they are going to send him to a camp where he can play tennis every day and take classes,watch movies, eat nice food etc.

to impose on someone - to force on someone

a kick-back - when you help someone make money and he gives you a share

for one's better angels to take over - for one's better part of his/her nature to help the person make the right decision

put him on the straight and narrow - the straight and narrow refers to a life where you follow a narrow road of doing good things

legislator - someone who makes laws

slammed - criticized, attacked

the max - the maximum sentence

draconian - after Draco an ancient Greek leader who killed people for minor crimes. A guideline sentence is a sentence the Congress recommends for a criminal.

leniency - mercy, showing forgiveness, making the punishment lesser

home confinement - forcing someone to stay at home

a modest upbringing - growing up without much money

incarceration - to be thrown in jail

rendered - given

to weather a storm - to get through a difficult period of time

devastated - a feeling of being destroyed, shocked, 

an obituary - a notice that someone has died

deliberation - thinking, considering

cozy - comfortable

hooking them up -connecting them

to sustain each conviction - to preserve, to keep

an appeal - an attempt to g oto someone higher in a system to get a better decision

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Dutch woman sought medically assisted death because she could not live with the effects of child sex abuse

This is really a terrible story. A woman in Holland who had been raped (sexually attacked) as a child suffered daily psychological pain that was so severe that she requested euthanasia (when a doctor helps one to die).

Holland was the first European country to allow euthanasia (in 2002) and about 5,000 people, each year, choose this. Anyone over 12 years old can request euthanasia in Holland. You can read the article below and judge for yourself whether this person - in her 20s - should have been allowed to die.

I, personally, would say 'no'. They just gave up on this girl. What good is psychology or medicine if women like this cannot be helped? Also, many people in Holland who kill themselves through euthanasia seem to do so because they are lonely or socially isolated. 

It seems obvious that we all have to work to try to create more humane societies where people do not feel so isolated that they have to kill themselves. (Frankly, we also need to make sure that our children are as safe as possible and don't experience the type of situation that leaves them with incurable psychological pain.) 

I think each of us has to demonstrate a greater compassion and concern for others on a daily basis and really help others feel their lives are of value and meaningful. One of our social goals and values has to become compassion, instead of greed and competition. This story has challenged me to try to take a sense of compassion with me into the streets and in my every day dealings regardless of how rude, nasty and malicious others can be. 

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

sought - seek, sought, sought (to seek - to look for)

Dutch - if you are from Holland you are called Dutch. Another term for Holland is The Netherlands...nether means 'under' - much of Holland is actually under sea level.

to euthanize, euthanasia - eu means good in ancient Greek; thanatos means death. So euthanasia means a good death or a merciful death. It is when medical professionals help a person who is suffering to die. There are 4 or 5 states in the USA which allow this...most states do not because the USA is a predominantly Christian country.

incurable - can't be cured, the person cannot be helped, the pain cannot be lessened or eliminated

post traumatic stress syndrome - post means after, trauma is something horrible that happens to a person, stress is psychological discomfort and pain, a syndrome is a group of symptoms or things that help to define a situation. So if a person has PTSS, the person has experienced something horrible and is suffering psychological pain from it.

competent - she had the ability to do this. To be mentally or psychologically competent to decide something means you have the ability to make a decision. I would argue that this woman was NOT competent to make this decision. She just wanted the terrible suffering to end and it was easier to do that than to help her. This story has made me feel so sad...

anorexia - when a person refuses to eat because he/she wants to appear attractive

chronic - it won't go away

mood swings - when one goes from one emotion to another very quickly and without any apparent reason

a tendency - something one does over and over again

hallucinations - seeing things which are not real

an obsession - a strong desire to do something over and over again, or a desire to do something that doesn't have to be done but one feels one needs to do it

a compulsion - basically the same thing as an obsession. If a person has obsessive-compulsive disorder, he/she might wash his/her hands 30 times a day, be worried about things nobody else worries about etc.

that lay at the root of the problem - that is causing the problem

lethal injection - a deadly shot, poison injected into one through a needle

paradoxically - this is a paradox because she chose to die when she wasn't feeling any pain or depression.

to decriminalize - to make something legal which had been illegal. For example, marijuana has been decriminalized in Colorado in the USA.

infamous - famous for the wrong reasons; famous because it was horrible

a precedent - something that comes before something else and inspires the new thing

dementia - an inability to remember or think clearly

advocating - to advocate for something or to advocate something means to believe it is good and to encourage it

to quadruple - to increase by four times

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tipping - Restaurant Owners in the USA Are Too Cheap to Pay Good Wages

Restaurant owners in New York City like this (a lot!):

So they pay their waiters and waitresses very low wages, as low as the law allows them to pay, and they expect customers to give the waiter/waitress a tip. 

A tip, in case you don't know, is an additional amount of money equal to 15% to 20% of your bill. So if your bill is $20, you are expected to leave a tip of $3 or $4 dollars.

Restaurant owners will even say,"Don't be cheap! Give your waiter a good tip!" Well, people in the USA are starting to say to restaurant owners, "Hey, don't be cheap! Pay your waiters what they should get as human beings! Stop making the customers pay extra! Share your wealth with your staff!"

Here is a nice article about this type of situation:

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

to con someone - this means to deceive or trick or fool someone. If you con a person you make the person pay or give you extra money he/she shouldn't have needed to pay for something. For example: "How much did you pay for that pen? $3? Oh my God, that store clerk conned me into paying $15 for the same type of pen!"

brilliant - super intelligent

taking in profits - you can also say 'making a profit'

to foot the bill - to pay for the bill; this is slang...for example: "Hey, let's ask our boss to take us out to dinner; he'll probably foot the bill and we can save some money."

to range from ___ to ____ - to be from one point to another point along a common continuum. "College tuition in the USA can range from free to $50,000 per year."

to subsidize the rest - to pay for the rest of the worker's salary

a server - a waiter/waitress...someone who takes your order and delivers your food

literally- this is a term of emphasis. i.e. He literally said he hated me! (He really said he hated me.) He literally jumped in the air he was so angry! 

And that how it will continue - an example of bad editing, it should be: And that's how it will continue

until the people speak out - until people begin complaining

while we're working this out - while all of us are solving this

the gumption - the courage, a strong motivation which overcomes fear (like the word audacity i.e. He had the audacity to ask me such a personal question.)

to split tips - to share tips with other servers

uneasiness- a feeling of discomfort, in this case because you have caught them doing something wrong

by a mere .13 - by the small amount of .13

condiments- ketchup, mustard etc.

to kiss someone's ass - to be very very very very nice to someone just because you have to. Actually this person is wrong...even if your waiter/waitress is horrible you are expected to tip him/her.

snuck out - sneak, snuck, have snuck (actually it should be a regular verb of sneak, sneaked, have sneaked). To sneak out means to leave secretly, without anyone noticing you.

out of my own pocket - by myself

do you see how servers get fucked? - can you understand how unfair things are to servers? to get fucked means to be treated unfairly (be careful, 'fucked' is considered very vulgar, dirty language)

take a cut of your tips - take a certain percentage of your tips

to be blacklisted - when everyone in an industry knows you are a trouble-maker and they won't hire you 

to make ends meet - to make enough to survive

don't kill the messenger - don't blame me for telling you the truth

to be stiffed - to not get any tip

slandered and vilified - verbally attacked by people who do not tell the truth about you

the other NRA - when Americans see NRA they think of National Rifle Association. The 'other' NRA is the National Restaurant Association.

holding the poor down -keeping poor people from becoming successful

being scammed- being conned, being cheated, not getting what we deserve

to call the industry out - to tell the truth about the industry


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Don't make me beg :P, but I can use a little money these days, since we do-gooders often struggle to do good things for free. 

......But if you can't afford to buy the book, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via pdf file. :)