Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts

Monday, February 06, 2023

6: NYC

Visiting Congo, Pope Francis Embraces the Poor and Exploited The Central African country is wracked by war, poverty and environmental plunder — and it may be the future of the Catholic Church........ The turnout to welcome Francis was overwhelming in Kinshasa, the capital. Tens of thousands of people lined the road from the airport, cheering and waving flags in colorful local dress and Catholic school uniforms under enormous billboards of Francis (often alongside the country’s president). ......... terrible forms of exploitation, unworthy of humanity and of creation ......... South Sudan, where the church is deeply involved in peace negotiations and democracy building ........ Congo is home to one of the world’s most intractable conflicts. It is fueled by a legacy of colonialism and the genocide across the border in Rwanda, which has helped fill refugee camps with more than 5.5 million people. .......... Rebel groups, some supported by Rwanda and Uganda, pillage villages, steal livestock, murder residents and rape women. Vast rainforests are plundered for gold, cobalt and other resources, partly to pay for weapons and war. Some local church officials say widespread corruption is at the heart of the problem. ......... About half of Congo’s more than 95 million people are Catholic, making it the faith’s deepest well in Africa, the continent many hope will replenish the church as

attendance shrinks in the West

. ......... Africa’s 265 million Catholics made up about 20 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion followers. And that number is growing. ......... the church provided health care, food programs and education to many millions of Congolese. ......... The Congo bishops’ conference, the most vocal in Africa, did not shy away when President Joseph Kabila postponed elections after the completion of his term in December 2016. It organized protests and brought the issue to international attention, helping to force Mr. Kabila to renounce a third term. ......... The church later deployed about 40,000 observers for a presidential election in 2018, announcing that there was a clear winner, but stopping short of saying who it was. Experts agreed that it was Martin Fayulu, the leading opposition candidate, but another opposition figure, Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi, took power. Still, it was the country’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since it achieved independence from Belgium in 1960. .......... “Power is meaningful only if it becomes a form of service,” Francis said, admonishing authoritarianism and greed. ......... Catholics have remained politically engaged. After celebrating Mass on some Sundays, congregations across the country have marched straight from church in large-scale demonstrations, making it more difficult for the authorities to crack down on them. Protesters have demanded fresh elections and an end to the war in the east. .......... M23, or the March 23 Movement, which refers to a failed peace agreement signed on that date in 2009. ......... There are also more than 120 other armed groups and self-defense militias fighting for land and power in the North and South Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika provinces. .........

“For more than 90 percent of people, it’s extreme poverty, extreme insecurity.”

........... Congo, a country rich in gold, copper, diamonds and two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. ........ China and the United States have been racing to gain control over the global supply of cobalt, an essential part of electric car batteries. Almost all of Congo’s gold ends up in the hands of regional powers, and is then smuggled out to international markets. ......... “Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” Francis said. “We cannot grow accustomed to the bloodshed that has marked this country for decades, causing millions of deaths that remain mostly unknown elsewhere. What is happening here needs to be known.”

Russian Attacks Intensify in East, Ukraine Says
The Ukrainian military reports attacks at dozens of points across the eastern front. Russian forces attacked dozens of Ukrainian positions across the eastern front, the Ukrainian military said on Monday, as Moscow’s assaults widen and intensify ahead of what Kyiv has warned could be the Kremlin’s largest offensive since the first weeks of the war. ....... the chaotic nature of the Russian effort — including waves of inexperienced recruits and former convicts belonging to the Wagner paramilitary group — was limiting its effectiveness. ......... “There was a complete lack of coordination and interaction among the servicemen of Russian occupation troops and the so-called Wagner Group’s mercenaries” ........ Just as Russia used its overwhelming advantage in artillery early in the war to grind out gains in eastern Ukraine, it is now deploying hundreds of thousands of newly mobilized soldiers, in small groups, to probe for vulnerabilities in Ukrainian defensive lines. ......... The eastern front has remained largely the same, running along a 140-mile stretch of territory that forms the shape of a jagged crescent moon. ........ Moscow is determined to break through Ukrainian defensive lines before the anniversary of its invasion, on Feb. 24.

For Better and for Worse, Elon Musk Is His Own Spokesman Under its new owner, Twitter has done away with its press department. One reporter who writes about the company compares it to a “giant black box.” ........ for the journalists who cover the company, the subsequent experience has defied expectations. ....... He has also been cooperative with Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein and is now working on a book about Mr. Musk. ........ Like Twitter, Tesla does not have a designated public relations team. Mr. Musk addressed the decision to do without a Tesla press office (over Twitter, natch) in 2021: “Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product,” he wrote.

The Road to a Supreme Court Clerkship Starts at Three Ivy League Colleges The chances of obtaining a coveted clerkship, a new study found, increase sharply with undergraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton..... When Ted Cruz attended Harvard Law School, he liked to study with people who had undergraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton. “He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown” ........ the finding was disturbing. ........ “We don’t really live in a meritocracy,” he said. “The Supreme Court is guilty of perpetuating some of the worst pathologies in American society.” ......... “Elite law school degrees don’t repair or overcome a lower-status undergraduate degree,” she said. “You can’t scrub your undergraduate degree with a law degree.” ......... There can be a clubby quality to the justices’ remarks about the schools they attended. Chief Justice Roberts, who has two Harvard degrees, was asked in 2009 whether Supreme Court justices “could relate to ordinary folks.” ........ The chief justice said he wanted to dispel a myth. “Not all justices went to elite institutions,” he said. “Some of them went to Yale.”

DeSantis Takes On the Education Establishment, and Builds His Brand A proposal by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to overhaul higher education would mandate courses in Western civilization, eliminate diversity programs and reduce the protections of tenure. ....... Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as he positions himself for a run for president next year, has become an increasingly vocal culture warrior, vowing to take on liberal orthodoxy and its champions, whether they are at Disney, on Martha’s Vineyard or in the state’s public libraries. .......... rejected math textbooks en masse for what the state called “indoctrination.” .......... If enacted, courses in Western civilization would be mandated, diversity and equity programs would be eliminated, and the protections of tenure would be reduced. .......... His plan for the state’s education system is in lock step with other recent moves — banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, shipping a planeload of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and stripping Disney, a once politically untouchable corporate giant in Florida, of favors it has enjoyed for half a century. ........ His pugilistic approach was rewarded by voters who re-elected him by a 19 percentage-point margin in November. .......... While expressing her love for both the college and its students, Dr. Okker called the move a hostile takeover. “I do not believe that students are being indoctrinated here at New College,” she said. “They are taught, they read Marx and they argue with Marx. They take world religions, they do not become Buddhists in February and turn into Christians in March.” ............ “It seems many of the students that come here have determined that they don’t necessarily fit into other schools,” Ms. Braden said. “They embrace their differences and exhibit incredible bravery in staking a path forward. They thrive, they blossom, they go out into the world for the betterment of society. This is well documented. Why would you take this away from us?” ......... DeSantis’s attack on diversity, equity and inclusion programs coincides with the recent criticisms of such programs by conservative organizations and think tanks. ......... Examples of such initiatives include campus sessions on “microaggressions” — subtle slights usually based on race or gender ........ Critics of the programs say they sometimes gloss over the pitfalls of Western thinking and ignore the philosophies of non-Western civilizations. .......... “The core curriculum must be grounded in actual history, the actual philosophy that has shaped Western civilization,” Mr. DeSantis said. “We don’t want students to go through, at taxpayer expense, and graduate with a degree in Zombie studies.” ........... Manhattan Institute who is known for his vigorous attacks on “critical race theory,” an academic concept that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions.

Why Black Families Are Leaving New York, and What It Means for the City Black children in particular are disappearing from the city, and many families point to one reason: Raising children here has become too expensive. ......... She grew up in mostly Black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, graduated from public schools and attended a liberal arts college on a full scholarship. She went on to start her own event-planning business in the city. ......... But as Mrs. Rodney’s own family grew, she found herself living in a cramped one-bedroom rental, where her three children shared a bunk bed in the living room. It was hard to get them into programs that exposed them to green spaces or swim classes. As she scrolled through friends’ social media posts showing off trampolines in spacious backyards in Georgia, the solution became clearer: Leave. .......... a national trend of younger Black professionals, middle-class families and retirees leaving cities in the Northeast and Midwest for the South. ......... one main cause: the ever-increasing cost of raising a family in New York. ......... Black households have a median income of $53,000, compared with roughly $98,000 for white households .......... In late 2019, Ms. Horry moved to Jersey City through a New York City voucher program, known as the Special One-Time Assistance program, which relocates vulnerable families into permanent housing with a full year’s rent upfront. ......... New York City’s loss of Black residents has been a gain for the South especially. The region’s economy has boomed as newcomers from the city and other urban areas in the North flock there. ........ Bedford-Stuyvesant lost more than 22,000 Black residents while gaining 30,000 white residents. ........ Citywide, white residents now make up about 31 percent of the population, according to census data, Hispanic residents 28 percent and Asian residents nearly 16 percent. While the white population has stayed about the same, the Asian population grew by 34 percent and Hispanic population grew by 7 percent ........ Overall, the public schools have lost more than 100,000 students in the past five years, a crisis facing other urban districts like Boston and Chicago. In 2005, Black children comprised 35 percent of K-12 students in New York City; they now make up closer to 20 percent........ Her oldest son’s Brooklyn Heights school was largely white. In his final year there, fewer than 5 percent of the students and only a small number of teachers were Black. She noticed him growing increasingly insecure about his natural hair; classmates would sometimes try to touch it. ........ “He was starting to feel different,” Ms. Brooks said. “He needed to be around more diversity and see more kids who looked like him.” ....... After a trip to North Carolina in the spring of 2020 revealed how much cheaper life could be elsewhere, the Brooks family chose to move to Charlotte, where a growing Black population makes up more than a third of residents. Most of her sons’ new teachers, and more of their classmates, are Black.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Andrew Yang Has Thrown His Hat Into The Ring

Andrew Yang is running for Mayor of New York City. And my first thought is, that is a great way to keep alive the national and global conversation around Universal Basic Income. 

I do think he is a serious candidate. He has a greater name recognition than anyone else running. But that takes you only so far. He brings sexy to the race. But running NYC is nuts and bolts. I think the Brooklyn borough president is also a serious candidate. 

I am left asking, what is his agenda? What is his agenda for the city

His big selling point could be that he will turn this into the number one tech city. And, obviously, he would have to deliver UBI at the city level. 


  1. Cash in the fact that you have more name recognition than anyone else and find ways to keep it that way.
  2. National brand name equals national fundraising.
  3. Rejoice that you have no footprints in city politics. Dems eat Dems in NYC.
  4. Let your top campaign promise be that you want to make NYC the top tech city in the world.
  5. Also, that you will offer a version of the UBI in the city even if only to the bottom 20%. That will be the springboard to your future presidential campaign. Never say never.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Green New Deal Nation

Inequality And Climate Change Are Existential: A Blueprint For Survival
Towards A World Government
AOC 2028    

Friday, September 13, 2019

Hong Kong: A Crisis For Capitalism As Much As Communism

Hong Kong 2019: This Is 1989 For Asia
Hong Kong Should Take The Plunge
Universal Basic Income (aka Freedom Dividend) Is Not Free Money
Could Andrew Yang Become President?
Hong Kong Protests: The World Should Not Watch A Possible Massacre

The knee jerk way to interpret what is happening in Hong Kong is, well, China wrong, America right. Both are wrong. The 20th-century dichotomy no longer explains aspirations. Capitalism is in crisis in America. Communism is in crisis in China. And the trade war between the two puts the whole world in crisis mode. Something fundamental is not working. There is a need for a rethink.

A big reason capitalism is not working in Hong Kong is because the Hong Kong capitalists control half the legislature. That is not sustainable. You can't have a Chief Executive who answers to Beijing but not to the ordinary citizens of Hong Kong.

That is where you start.

But then you quickly have to move to things like Universal Basic Income.

There is an acute housing crisis in Hong Kong. It is a big city problem. Singapore does it much better. Hong Kong can learn from Singapore. But it does not have the option to learn unless it can elect its own leaders.

Election day should be a public holiday. People should be able to vote from their phones. Or maybe no holiday, and a week-long voting period.

Citizens also have the responsibility to regularly meet in-person to engage in political dialogue.

Hong Kong is showing the way for the 100 biggest cities in the world. This is a turning point in world history. New Yorkers should also march. Not for Hong Kong, but for New York. Demand UBI. Demand voting rights for all residents, citizen or not.

Hong Kong’s protests are just the tip of the iceberg: capitalism is in crisis across the globe While Hong Kong is embroiled in unprecedented social and political upheaval, a silent revolution is unfolding in the capitalist heartland of the world...... This transition from “shareholder capitalism” to “stakeholder capitalism” is more than semantics. ..... The lopsided emphasis on maximising profits has been responsible for a disproportionate share of social, environmental and political problems in contemporary society – notably, extreme economic inequality, distortion of human needs, environmental destruction and climate change, corporate tax evasion and, above all, the integration of economic power with political power...... Hong Kong has for a long time had one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world, rising from 0.533 in 2006 to 0.539 in 2016. The number of poor households reached 530,000, with more than 1.3 million people living in poverty (over 15 per cent of the population)...... In May 2018, the total net worth of the wealthiest 21 tycoons amount to HK$1.83 trillion, approximately the same as Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves. But, for low-income workers, real wages have only increased 12.3 per cent in the past decade....... In a city in which seven out of the 10 richest people are in the real estate business, financial assets are the major source of income polarisation........ Hong Kong’s case is special in that its government is not accountable to the populace; Lam was “elected” by a 1,200-strong committee and is expected to follow Beijing’s line....... These same issues plague the capitalist West. Because of the presence of a nominal democratic system, some of the mass revolt has found expression in outcomes such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president, as well as the Yellow Vest movement in France. ....... their fate is bound up with the fate of “capitalist” development in China, which is also heading towards a major crisis...... There is a huge amount of repressed unrest on the mainland; it is just not visible because of the powerful social control mechanisms in place: China’s budget for maintaining social stability is already greater than its defence budget and it is still growing....... All this points to the urgency of reinventing capitalism.

Trump on thinner political ice than Xi in trade war
Xi brings in 'firefighter' Wang Qishan in bid to calm Hong Kong

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Amazon Walking Away Was A Loss For AOC

I was not even following the developments closely. I thought it was a done deal. Past tense. And then Amazon announced its exit. I was surprised. I still have not had the time to dig into the details. I did read the NYC Mayor's op-ed on the topic. And the AOC celebratory tweet. And there is this Wharton podcast, that I read. (I did not listen)

If it was a botched deal, maybe the NY Governor, and the NYC Mayor did not sell it to the people hard enough. Or maybe Amazon made the mistake of not engaging. Or the protestors did not see the full picture. It comes across as a political victory, but an economic loss.

When I think of the Green New Deal, I see a lot of high tech entrepreneurship. Otherwise, under the current economic paradigm, the Green New Deal can look really, really hard. Pricing out dirty energy is much smoother than trying to shut down an industry. There is no shutdown valve.

Just like the original New Deal created a new middle class and a new age of prosperity, I see the Green New Deal as ushering in an Age of Abundance.

You probably don't want to come across as anti-entrepreneurship. On the other hand, maybe Amazon should not be so stand-offish when it comes to ordinary people and their elected representatives. The local community matters. The city might have gotten 25,000 jobs. But what was Long Island City going to get specifically?

I see no evidence AOC was the central figure in the protests. (Some New Yorkers will protest a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g) But she obviously was supportive, and she obviously was celebratory after the fact. If it was a political victory, it was a grand one. Hey, not everything is business.

But I do think AOC should work harder to come across as pro-entrepreneurship.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Happy Holi

Monday, February 13, 2017

An Actor Can Not Exceed The Script

The script is everything. A show or a movie floats or sinks on the strength of the script, or lack thereof.

In India there is a saying. A bad cook adds extra chili powder to everything. Mindless plot twists, and mindless use of sex and violence are often used as that extra chili powder.

There are countless movies about people falling in love. But the theme of deepening of love in an existing relationship is not much explored. How do you go deeper after you have been married 15 years? Such themes are not much explored.

Law enforcement is another perennial topic and rightly so. But law enforcement does not only struggle with those that might cross the law. Law enforcement struggles with itself, it struggles with diversity issues.

Why only law enforcement? What about commandment enforcement? The complex organizational structure of something like the Catholic Church is not any less fascinating than that of a large police department or intelligence agency.

And the four constantly intersect: human love, divine love, law enforcement, commandment enforcement.

Diversity is not just about sprinkling a few different kinds of faces on to the screen. Culture is a body of knowledge. Gender is its own culture. And gender, as we know by now, is not binary, but a spectrum, not just in society but also inside individuals. Inside every man there is a woman.

Technology changes the basic assumptions. Digitization is a huge force. For one it creates numerous fragmented markets of different sizes. Costs can go down.

Story telling is as old as humanity. Movies might be a new art form. But not story telling. Art speaks to society. Society speaks to art. Movies as an art medium are uniquely positioned to help humanity make progress on race and gender issues. I am talking social science fiction.

A better actor can better respond to the script but an actor can not rise above the script.

In the post 9/11 era intelligence agencies from different countries with fundamentally different languages and cultures have tried to collaborate. But pre 9/11 the two major intelligence agencies in this very country acted like they were in different countries.

Cultural diversity is not just skin pigments. Were that so it would be so much easier. Diversity is primarily sociology. You can have everyone speak English and try to cover it up, but it does not go that way.

This is now the era of global movie making where you confront diversity head on. You actually immerse into the different cultures in their natural settings across continents. Stereotyping falls flat. Intellectual laziness falls flat. The texture of diversity is real.

God has decided to come into mainstream movies and music, big time.