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Occupy Wall Street—We’ll See What Happens

(Update 10/03/11—Here is information about the Occupy Houston event that will be held on October 6.)

The Occupy Wall Street protests are entering a third week.

I don’t know if the protests will lead to anything of consequence or not.

The Los Angeles Times has written that the effort lacks a clear focus at the moment but that it may have some potential.

Liberal columnist Charles Blow of the New York Times is not so far hopeful that a movement will take off from these protests.

Here are some facts about Occupy Wall Street from The Nation magazine.  The Nation is a weekly liberal magazine.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

Various Occupy Facebook sites are being created. There is one for Houston and one for Dallas.

Go on Facebook and see if there is one for a place near you.

We’ll see how this all turns out over the long haul.

In the meantime, see how you can get involved and support these protests.

No matter how it all ends up, these Occupy demonstrators are taking responsibility for their nation.

The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

This fact is something that many Tea Party supporters understood well in 2010.  Tea Party folks are still motivated as 2012 nears.

Every day is a new day. Every day offer a new chance to move in a hopeful direction.

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October 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Woman In Snow In Central Park—She Is Strong Enough To Resist The Prevailing Winds

My friend Alison Rusza, who lives in New York City, made this print or however it would be properly termed, of a person in the snow.

(Update–It is glass and paint.)

Since it has been snowing so much in New York City this year, and since trees are in the picture, I’d say it is a representation of a woman in Central Park while it is snowing.

You see that she is confident by herself.

You see that the woman is not deterred by the fact that the snow pile and blowing trees are much bigger than she.

You see that she is leaning in the opposite direction of the wind.

This is a person who does more than just move in whatever direction the wind is blowing.

In the top left, you see that the sun is making an appearance. The light of the sun is reflected in the snow drift even as the snow flakes continue to fall.

Life is many things at once. It is natural that some of these things contradict each other.

This picture is good-natured and it has substance.

Good-natured and substantive at the same time is a useful thing to accomplish.

Thanks to Alison for allowing me to use it on the blog.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Seemingly Separate Aspects Of Our Lives Tell One Story—Ideology, Metaphor, Advocacy & Biography

Because all things are connected, here is four-in-one post that involves ideology, metaphor, advocacy and biography.  Seemingly separate aspects of existence and of our lives are in fact all part of the same story. These connections are found in simple day-to-day observations about the world around us and are found in how we live our lives each day. The things we need to be creative and hopeful are all around us. With effort, these things are accessible to all of us.

Ideology —Because day-to-day acts and viewpoints require context.

We need government to protect citizens from hate crime attacks such as the recent one in New York City where a gay man was mauled by a gang of young people. We need government  to investigate these crimes when they take place and to punish the wrongdoers.

Metaphor—Because it is the shadow that sells the substance.

Like the ships in the Houston Ship Channel, we have the ability to stay the course even in polluted waters.

(Below–The Houston Ship Channel on a rare cold day in Houston.)

Advocacy—Because everyone is able to do their best to make a difference.

In this time of big money in politics, Linda Chavez-Thompson brings a real working person’s perspective to the race for Lt. Governor of Texas.  Please consider Ms. Chavez-Thompson in 2010.

Biography—Because understanding ourselves help us connect with the world.

I was born in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts. My parents met while working as reporters for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

October 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Adams, Barack Obama & American Liberty—The Tea Party Knows Nothing Of Liberty

Many on the right on are criticizing Barack Obama’s support of the mosque near the former World Trade Center location in New York City.

Some of this criticism has come from backers of the so-called Tea Party.

(Above–Paul Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre based on a drawing by Henry Pelham.)

Yet as these angry Tea Party folks attempt to claim they are the heirs to our Founding Fathers by calling themselves “Tea Party”, they forget one of the bravest acts of the Revolutionary era.

John Adams represented the British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre. He did so in the defense of liberty and in the face of great public anger.

Here’s a great web page about the Boston Massacre trial.

(In saying this, please make note that the people building the N.Y.C. mosque are guilty of nothing. And in fact, despite the public outrage over the Massacre, only two of the nine originally charged  were convicted. Public opinion does not always get it right.)

Our modern Tea Party would not know the kind of honor and courage John Adams showed back in 1770.

The Tea Party is a movement that knows nothing but anger at a world not of their own design. They pick on immigrants and the poor. They are the type of bullies who would kick you when you’re down.

Our Constitution protects religious freedom.

The Tea Party asserts they know something about the Constitution.

But the truth is, like a political movement that flourished  briefly in the 19th century, the Tea Party folks are Know Nothings.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York City Mosque Near World Trade Center Should Proceed

Plans for a mosque to be built near the former World Trade Center are moving ahead.

People are calling this the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0 to allow the mosque to go ahead.

Here is the home page of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Either we have freedom in this country or we do not.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg got it right.

Here is what Mayor said said about the mosque as reported in the first story I link to in this post—

“With the Statue of Liberty as his backdrop, the mayor pleaded with New Yorkers to reject suspicions about the planned 13-story complex, to be located two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, saying that “we would betray our values if we treated Muslims differently than anyone else.” “To cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists — and we should not stand for that,” the mayor said. Grappling with one of the more delicate aspects of the debate, Mr. Bloomberg said that the families of Sept. 11 victims — some of whom have vocally opposed the project — should welcome it. “The attack was an act of war — and our first responders defended not only our city but also our country and our Constitution,” he said, becoming slightly choked up at one point in his speech, which he delivered on Governors Island. “We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights — and the freedoms the terrorists attacked.”

The 9/11 attacks were not an attack on a building. They were an assault on our values. A building can fall down in a way beyond our control. Our values will collapse only if we allow them to collapse.

While it is understandable that this mosque makes some people angry, I stand with Mayor Bloomberg in favor of the great American values of full inclusion and freedom of religion.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Enjoying The 4th Of July & All Summer In New York City—From The Texas Liberal N.Y.C. Correspondent

(Blogger’s Note–This is a post from Texas Liberal New York City correspondent Lyuba Halkyn. Lyuba posts at Texas Liberal roughly every couple of weeks. She’s a great addition to the blog and I encourage you to read her posts.  If you type Lyuba’s name in the search engine box to the right, you’ll be able to access all her posts on the blog.  Lyuba wrote this post and took the pictures of Riverside Park. I’ve added a few links. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

With the 4th of July holiday behind us, I wanted to share that New York City is a great place to celebrate.  I was privileged to watch spectacular fireworks over the Hudson River.  I am a big fan of fireworks for no particular reason except the dynamic colors in the sky.  Also, enjoying hot weather, 4th of July festivities always indicate that summer is full on.

I was able to stake out a great place to view the fireworks near the 79th St. boat basin. The crowds watching the fireworks show, were not only enthusiastic with the oohhs and the aahhs, but also very civilized.  Ever since I have lived in NYC, I have noticed an extra exuberance among crowds here.  Watching President Obama win the election was thrilling on the big screens in Times Square.  Even when seeing a movie at the theater you can count on extra participation from the audience.  I find New Yorkers and the tourists among us fun and entertaining.

If you are visiting NYC, this is a great spot to view the Hudson and get some summer grub at a nearby café that is right in the park.  Riverside Park is yet another of NYC’s great parks where one can walk, jog, bike, etc.  Standing at the pier overlooking the Hudson, New Jersey is in full view across the river.

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is a great time to join in celebration & festivities even if many times the barbecues and fireworks overshadow the meaning of the holiday.  I think it is great to remember why we celebrate holidays but just as important to get together with people and be a part of something great.

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

King Phillip IV & Queen Mariana On New York’s 72nd Street—Latest From Texas Liberal New York City Desk

(Blogger’s Note—This is the latest offering from Texas Liberal New York City correspondent Lyuba Halkyn.  Ms. Halkyn wrote the post and took the pictures. I added the links.)

Two large, bronze sculptures of female abstracts seemed to appear overnight in my neighborhood several weeks ago.  These sculptures fit right into the landscape at the entrance of the subway at 72nd Street.  This is the subway that I frequently use.  It is a wonderful convenience to have a subway stop right outside my front door.  Now to enhance my daily mass transit experience, a Spanish, contemporary artist, by the name of Manolo Valdés, will be displaying his work throughout the Upper West Side neighborhoods of Manhattan from May 20, 2010- January 23, 2011.

These sculptures that are at the south entrance of 72nd Street, are two out of six large ladies called Reina Mariana and depict Queen Mariana as immortalized by the artist Diego Velázquez. Velázquez was Spain’s greatest baroque artist in the 17th century.  He became King Phillip IV’s official painter.  One of his greatest masterpieces was Las Meninas painted in 1656.  This painting depicted the daughter of King Phillip IV and Queen Mariana.  If you are not familiar with this painting, it is most definitely worth checking out.

I was not familiar with the background of either of these artists but found myself digging deeper into the history of these sculptures and finding out more about its influences.  I also found the connection between a modern day artist/sculptor, Valdés, and a baroque, 17th century artist, Velázquez intriguing enough to mention.

Living in a vibrant city, such as New York, free art pops up everywhere.  It’s even better when it pops up right outside my front door.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Practice Of Yoga In Hectic New York City—From The Texas Liberal N.Y.C. Desk

Here is the latest report from Texas Liberal New York City Correspondent Lyuba Halkyn. In this post, Ms. Halkyn write about practicing yoga in New York City. I don’t know anything about yoga. However, if Ms. Halkyn’s post makes you think yoga would be a good idea for you, maybe you should consider looking into the matter. I’m certain we all need a way to slow down. Living at a pace where we can manage our lives helps us be more thoughtful, creative and decent people.

(Above–The view of New York from Ms. Halkyn’s apartment. Both pictures in this post were taken by Ms. Halkyn.)

From Ms. Halkyn–

I often attend my favorite yoga class, which meets twice a week on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  It is my favorite class because of the teacher who continues to inspire week after week.  Another reason that I prefer this class is because many of the same students consistently attend.  I have found attending class more beneficial than following along at home to the many yoga DVDs that I have purchased throughout the years.  The connection that is felt by coming to class is different than popping in a DVD at home.  Having a daily practice at home and being able to attend class would be ideal.

If you have never tried yoga, it could be confusing to figure out what kind of yoga or where to take your first class.  I found that staying in a basic Hatha class has allowed me to progress further.  I have taken more vigorous classes as well and may take advanced classes from time to time.  Some yoga instructors may teach one class at different levels by giving options to students that may be more advanced or new to yoga.

Yoga focuses on breathing and stretching.  I have been told that when you do this type of yogic breathing, you release toxins that would otherwise store in your body.  Yoga also includes a variety of postures and poses that you will become familiar with the more you do yoga.  Some yoga postures massage your internal organs.  Inversions are yogic poses that can reverse the effect that gravity has on our bodies, in essence keeping us looking younger.  Because we are on our feet much of the day, an inversion can help release tension in our legs.  A simple, yet very effective example of this would be lying on the floor with your feet up against the wall.

Throughout the last ten years, I have taken classes with many instructors, at many different studios here in Manhattan.  Keeping an open mind, while studio hopping, eventually helped me find a consistent practice.

My most difficult challenge, in my yoga practice throughout the years, has been consistency.  Weeks or months would go by and I would not have attended class.  A suggestion that was given to me, however basic it may sound, was to write it down in my planner as if I had an appointment.  This suggestion worked and I have been going to several classes consistently for the past two years.

We normally begin and end class by chanting Om.  Om is the oldest and most sacred sound in yoga.  Om creates an inner vibration and can be very calming.  My yoga teacher talks extensively about Om and other yogic principles.  She relates these things to everyday life.

Yoga is an activity that can combat stress and fatigue.  It has also been known to slow the effects of some diseases.

I have been able to incorporate yoga, a very peaceful activity, into my sometimes busy, hectic NYC lifestyle.

(Below–The Om symbol. Here is some basic information about yoga from the American Yoga Association.)

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Closing Of St. Vincent’s Hospital In New York City—From The Texas Liberal New York Desk

(Blogger’s Note—Here is the second post from Texas Liberal New York City Correspondent Lyuba Halkyn. I inserted the links, but the words and pictures are from Lyuba.)

In these times of intense healthcare controversy, New York City suffers a great loss with the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. St. Vincent’s is located in Manhattan’s West Village. For those not familiar with Manhattan’s neighborhoods, the West Village makes up the west side of Greenwich Village and spans from 14 th Street to Houston Street (pronounced how-stun).

St. Vincent’s Hospital opened in 1849 and has a rich, 160-year history.  The history of this hospital ranges from aiding Titanic survivors to it being the premier location of patients from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.  This hospital was known in the charity spectrum, as it took in homeless and those who were not able to pay.  St. Vincent’s was a pioneer in the AIDS/HIV crisis of the late 70’s/early 80’s, taking patients that were turned down at other hospitals and clinics.  St. Vincent’s was leading in its care with the elderly.

What can I assume from reading a bit about the hospital’s history?  This is a hospital that really cared to take care of people in need regardless of circumstances and a necessity in a city like New York.  Where will some of these people go to get care?  I suppose to other hospitals, if they have the money.

This private, non-profit hospital was $700 million in debt at the time of its closing.  There had been proposals to partner up with other NYC hospitals.  No one wanted to take on the debt.  Consultants had been hired at a point to help the hospital stay afloat.  There had been speculation of misuse of funds related to the consultants.  So the board of directors finally voted to close the hospital. (Here is a New York Observer article on the closing.)

Where is the bailout money for St. Vincent’s?  I had to ask myself this question.

Fortunately, certain outpatient services, such as the Cancer Center and the HIV/AIDS Center will continue to provide care without interruption.  These services will be transferred to new sponsors or other alternatives.  St. Vincent’s level 1 trauma center will be converted to an urgent care center run by Lenox Hill Hospital.  It will be equipped to handle only non-emergencies, nothing as serious as a heart attack.  If a person were to come in with an emergency, he/she will be taken by ambulance to another hospital. I wish these patients well, as they are being transported in the thick of Manhattan traffic.

St. Vincent’s was the only hospital in the City that supported home births. According to state law, midwives must partner with a doctor or hospital.  The closing of the hospital could put an end to home births.  This is another fact that contributes to the uniqueness of this hospital.

The neighborhood is losing a hospital, and approximately 3,500 people are losing jobs. And the unemployment rate continues to rise.

Some of these facts, I have shared, I was already aware of and some, I was not.  I have visited people at this hospital and know someone who was born at St. Vincent’s.  (I probably know more than this person who was born here, but just one that shared with me recently.)

St. Vincent’s will be missed my many in the community and remembered with great respect in its humanitarian efforts.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Texas Liberal Now Has New York City Correspondent

I’m glad to announce that Texas Liberal now has a New York City correspondent.  My friend Lyuba Halkyn will post on the blog at least every two weeks. Lyuba is pictured above. I’m very glad to have Lyuba on-board. I’ve long wanted to report that Texas Liberal had a correspondent somewhere in thee world. Below is Lyuba’s introductory post. I’ve put in bold to indicate how glad I am to have now a far-flung network of bloggers at Texas Liberal—

When I first moved to New York City from the Midwest in 1998, I was told that after living in the City for ten years, one acquires official New Yorker status.  So that means that I have been official for about two years.  I still love the lifestyle that NYC provides.  It can be a love-hate relationship at times.

It is a city in which you practically have to give a DNA sample in order to get approved for a rental lease.  What New Yorkers go through, in order to legally be on a lease, is what people in other cities go through to purchase dwellings.  Not to mention, if you would like to purchase a humble abode on this island of Manhattan, you should probably plan on selling your first-born.

Once you have found a place to live, you really can never get lonely in this city, literally people everywhere. Free entertainment is one of the perks of living in the City.  Some of the places that you can find worthwhile entertainment is on subways and subway platforms, certain street blocks, and especially underground walkways that connect all of the subways (some of the best).  The variety of entertainment ranges from symphony worthy string performers, a mariachi band, to blues band.  In a busy NYC life, it is easy to take such entertainment for granted.  Knowing it’s there is a comfort.

Having Central Park for a back yard is pretty cool too.

‘Being a New Yorker’ as my official title, I would like to introduce myself as a jetsettin’, New York livin’, first generation from Ukrainian parents, thirty-something, dog & people lovin’, female (and then some) who will be your NYC correspondent.

Victory for our doormen and apartment workers, whose Union was able to negotiate a four-year contract with a ten percent wage increase and no givebacks in benefits while avoiding a strike.  Yahoo!

(Below–Manhattan in the early 1930’s)

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

The First Inauguration/Washington Hugging Lincoln Because They Are Both Happy

The first Presidential inauguration took place on April 30, 1789 in New York City. The above painting of the event was completed in 1899.  It does not appear that the general public was invited. 

I guess the bloggers and media of the day had to stand out on street corners ringing bells and yelling out the day’s events.

Though members of the public who wished to mark and remember the event could buy buttons to note the day. The souvenir trade is a longstanding enterprise. 

Here is some good information about George Washington from the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. 

Here is President Washington’s first inaugural address.  

And here are pictures of the handwritten text of that address.

The swearing in took place in Federal Hall which is located at 26 Wall Street. This building, which still stands, was the first capitol of the United States. Below is what Federal Hall looks like today. Federal Hall is now run by the National Park Service. Here is the web home for Federal Hall.

Below is a rendering of George Washington and Abe Lincoln celebrating the election of Barack Obama. They are very happy.

While progress is not inevitable, nor once made irreversible, there is much to be said from the progression, and I think progression is the correct word, from the days of George Washington to the days of Barack Obama.

It is progress from the closed circle in 1789 evident in the painting at the top of this post, to the open festivities we will see later this month. ( Though what would President Washington have made of all the security our celebrations later this month will require?) 

Hopefully, President-elect Obama will conduct the office in a way that will continue to enlarge the circle of American opportunity in these hard times.  Though we hope that we can trust Mr. Oabma, we must not forget that we as citizens will need to keep on him all the time.

January 2, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment