Saturday, August 13, 2011

give me puberty or give me death

When British Prime Minister David Cameron learned this week that the rioting in London was directed by kids barely out of puberty over social networks like FaceBook, Twitter and Blackberry messaging, he immediately called for a review that could lead to legislation to take down those networks in the event of another technology-fueled looting. 
Minds more open---albeit with arguably less responsibility---immediately reminded him that when Hosni Mubarek took down the communication networks in Egypt during their period of unrest, Mubarek was widely criticized for a very similar action.
Then San Francisco got into the act.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit, their version of our MTA, caught wind of a burgeoning civil action of protest to take place within four of their stations so they went directly to cell phone service providers and asked them to temporarily interrupt service in those stations. It worked. From the San Francisco Times:
“According to the statement published in the BART web site, the protesters were planning to disrupt BART service on Thursday, claiming that they would "use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. “To provide, safe, secure, efficient, reliable, and clean transportation services,” BART took this measure "as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform." BART emphasized that the cell phone service was only interrupted inside their stations, not outside of any station."
“Outrageous!” cried civil liberty advocates, suggesting the people on the platforms were now at risk for not being connected at least as much as they would be subjected to any rush-hour protest. Those with longer memories might recall a time when being out in public without a cell connection wasn’t considered being at risk, it was just being out in public. Still, the criticism is clear and compelling so the question is this:
Does government have an obligation or right to cut off a communication network when there is solid evidence that the system is being used to direct rioting and looting as we witnessed in the UK last week? Were we wrong to criticize Mubarek?
How about a municipal transportation system like the MTA?
And if they do have that right then does exercising it trespass on constitutionally protected speech, freedom of assembly, perhaps a Fourth Amendment “right to bear phones” ?
Conversely, if they don’t have that right and must allow a network to be used to facilitate lawless behavior, would Cameron’s government or BART then reasonably qualify for a limit of liability to damage, injury or even a related death when they are blocked from taking control like this?
Riot curtailment or freedom of Tweets? 
What do you think?

Friday, August 12, 2011

the river at twilight is dreamy

Take a walk and dream tonight.

Did you buy the first iPod back in 2001?

If you had purchased $399 in Apple shares instead of the original iPod when it was released in October of 2001, you would be sitting on a return on investment of $16,073.78 on your original $399. That’s a return of 3928.52%. 

Steve Jobs has been a defining influence in computers, telephones and music, and no other CEO in history has had that kind of impact three times over.

The launch of his elegantly addictive iPhone, iPad and the expansion of the Macintosh OS platform recently made APPLE the largest publicly held company.

So how does the future look?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

and Miles to row before I sleep

With apologies to Robert Frost

The beautiful Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse has an inspiring story.

Bette Midler sensed the need back in the 1990’s and founded New York Restoration Project’s. Robert A.M. Stern Architects was hired in 1998 to plan and design while Sharp came up with the cash.

The Swindler Cove Park site was a polluted construction dumping ground along the Harlem River. It was meticulously cleaned and since 2004 has featured this Victorian-inspired shed, the centerpiece of the Harlem River’s rowing program.

Taking their cue from oars and waves, rudders and the passing river traffic...

...the architects designed this house to float atop a 300 pound barge. The walkway is hinged so it can rise and fall with the tides. When I visited the tide was out.

The barge was conditioned in Vancouver and the house was built in Maine. They were assembled in Norwalk Connecticut and then floated through the Long Island Sound to the East River, then down around the Battery past the Statue of Liberty, up the Hudson River, in through Spuyten Duyvil and then back down the Harlem River to where it is docked at Dykeman Street.

aerial courtesy Bing

Miles "to row" Davis provides the 3:45 sound track.

It’s the first new community boathouse on the river 
in over 100 years. 
Hope Floats.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

yellow balloon just hangin

216th and 10th

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

in the meantime, rub my feet

"stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts"

37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-0008

Sunday, August 7, 2011

eat the rich

Tax discussion has lately centered around a belief that the rich don’t pay their fair share and our income tax system must be more progressive. I decided to look into this.
According to the US Treasury Department back in 1990 the richest 1% of Americans were paying a fairly stiff 25% of all taxes. Ten years later that rose to 37%.

By 2005 that same 1% was paying 39% of all taxes. And by 2007 41% of New York State tax revenue was taken from the top 1% of all New York State earners. That increased yet again by another 6.54% by 2009.

So at present, 1% of the people in New York State bear 47.54% of the taxes, a rate that has almost doubled from 25% back in 1990. 
And this isn’t considered “progressive”? 
There’s more.

According to the Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008, the 50% of all Americans earning below the median national income paid 2.9% of all income taxes. Just 2.9%. 
The 50% earning above the median national income paid the remaining 97.1%. 

Which half are you in?

And the public still thinks the top half don’t pay their fair share.

We don’t just tax our better-than-average wage earners in this country.

We crucify them. 
Did you know that?
I didn’t know that.