this blog is exists for discussion about the drinking liberally chapter in the williamsburg/greenpoint neighborhood of brooklyn, ny, as well as issues facing our little corner of the world. our drinking liberally chapter meets every tuesday at THE LEVEE, 212 berry st. @ 8pm. come on out and see us sometime.... saving democracy one pint at a time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn Endorsed by 32BJ, Nadler and Working Families Party
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn interviewed by Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn
Brad Lander housing advocate is running for City Council in Brooklyn
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and is supported by a wide range of people
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and calling for checks on Bloomberg's education policy and more parental participation
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and supports marriage equality
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and wants to end the double taxing of freelancers
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and is listening to the community to inform his platform
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn and is testifying against the Department of Buildings
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn fighting for affordable housing
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn endorsed by State Senator Daniel Squadron
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn Daily News update
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn supports superfund designation
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn critic of Atlantic Yards
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn New Yorkers Green Sustainable City
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn because we are threatened by out of control development
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn critic of Housing & Preservation Development plans for Queens West Luxury Housing
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn page on facebook
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn Gets United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 endorsement
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn Atlantic Yards
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn Director of Pratt Center for Community Development
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn
Brad Lander is running for City Council in Brooklyn

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Our Obligation

Last week, as Congressman Jack Murtha prepared to end his press conference calling for withdrawal from Iraq, a reporter eager to squeeze in one last quote blurted, "[Senators Warner and Stevens] said they have yet to meet a single soldier in Iraq, or at the hospitals here, who thought it was time to pull out of Iraq." Murtha replied "What do you think they’re going to tell you? We’re here to talk for them! We’re here to measure the success. The soldiers aren’t going to tell you that! I told you what the soldiers say. They’re proud of their service! They’re looking at their friends!" He paused before exclaiming "We are here—we have an obligation to speak for them."

I don't necessarily agree with Congressman Murtha on a withdrawal. But I respect his opinions. Unlike the young reporter (and our President and Vice-President), Murtha is a decorated former Marine who served in the military during two wars, volunteering to fight in Vietnam. A frequent visitor to wounded troops and an advocate for veteran’s rights, he is considered the military’s closest friend in Congress. His experience losing friends on the battlefield inoculates him to the administration’s worn-out refrain that we cannot let those who have been killed die in vain. Going by that perverse logic, the bigger the military blunder, the less we would be able to extricate ourselves.

Despite the grandstanding of the politically-engineered vote on withdrawal last Friday, I second the hope of this newspaper’s editors that Murtha's statements will stimulate what needs to be an ongoing debate about the nature of our involvement in Iraq. Our troops ought to know that we will support them regardless of what we decide to do. But it is up to us, the citizens of this country (most of who are not soldiers) to decide what to do. Born in authoritarian China, I have only been a citizen of this country for a few years, but I understand all too well the seriousness of this responsibility.

The best way to support our troops is not with token displays of yellow stickers, but by being educated and vigilant against not only our foreign foes, but those within our government with the authority to send them off to war. It is our obligation.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once wrote that it is the paramount duty of the free press to "to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell." That is true of us, the readers, as well.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Letter to the LA Times

Dan still needs to get back to me with comments, but Im planning to send this off by 2pm PST. Let me know if you have comments:

By Randy Xu
Proofed by Daniel Berdichevsky

The fact that the intelligent design movement has gained such traction speaks highly of their PR-saavy campaign. Unfortunately, it also speaks lowly of our nation's level of education, both in scientific specifics and philosophical fundamentals. While the state of the former is a perennial subject of newspapers articles and studies, few seem to wonder about the latter: whether Americans know the difference between ontology and teology, or spend time pondering free will and the limits of human knowledge. That such metaphysical questions never enter the public consciousness is disappointing, because they help us to understand
understanding itself.

In the case of evolution, the distinction between normative and positive
propositions is crucial to understanding why scientists reject
intelligent design. A normative statement cannot be disproved. It is
often an opinion or a belief: "Social Security ought to be privatized."
In contrast, a positive statement is falsifiable. That is, it has the
potential to be disproved: "The Social Security trust fund will run out
by 2020."

Academics work in the world of positive statements, those that can be
verified through new discovery or application of existing rules.
Ironically, creationism and intelligent design are rejected by academics
because they are simply too perfect; they can neither be tested nor
disproved. Hence, their conclusions can only be their premise.

Science is very limited in its scope and methods. Science cannot
provide answers to normative questions such as "What is our purpose in
life?" but religion can. Scientists can only tackle the unknown with
tools cured from the known, but the religious can answer anything with
faith alone. An omnipotent being can even nullify all the laws we have
labored so assiduously to divine.

Science fills our need for positive knowledge and can never disprove
God's existence. Religion can give us a normative foundation but can
never prove God's existence. Since they occupy such different spheres,
it is baffling why there is any controversy at all.

Randy Xu graduated from Harvard College in 2004 with a B.A. in Science Technology and Public Policy. He is a managing editor in economics for DemiDec Resources.

Daniel Berdichevsky graduate from Stanford University in 2002 with a
B.A. in Science, Technology and Society and a M.A. in History. He
graduated in 2005 with a M.P.P. from Harvard's Kennedy School of
Government. He founded DemiDec Resources.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Levee (in Panorama)

(get Quicktime VR if you don't have it)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sunday, June 05, 2005

enough is Enough is ENOUGH! it's TIME to STOP THIS WAR!

(cross posted at Daily Kos.)

There's a criminal who may be a tad mad in the White House. He's waging an atrocious war halfway across the globe and his administration tells nothing but lies about its progress and its real costs. Young Americans are getting killed and maimed to back up his bullshit. They are stuck in a war in a faraway place where they can't tell friend from foe. The war is costing us a fortune in blood, treasure and prestige.

His VP is demonstrably corrupt and beholden to powerful, monied interests. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld stalk the corridors of power. The FBI regularly infiltrates and intimidates those who wish to bring this war to an end.

The US Army is coming apart in spectacular fashion halfway across the globe.


Is it 1969, 1972 or 2005?

The answer of course is that couldn't possibly matter less. There is an evil, pointless and hopeless war being waged in our names halfway across the globe and, once again, people of conscience are being called upon to end it.

It's time.

We are now entering our THIRD summer of combat in Iraq, a war that was supposedly over in the spring of 2003. If the two previous summers of conflict are any indication, it will be hot, bloody and utterly fucking pointless. It will be another summer of more dead GIs, more dead Iraqis, "shrinking insurgencies" and corners turned, of bogus body counts, of more loss, of more graft and corruption, of digging ourselves further in to the bloody sands of Mesopotamia. It will be a summer when far too many Iraqis are blown to fucking bits while trying to go about their daily business, where far too many stateside spouses, parents, sons and daughters will have to answer the door to two men in uniform accompanied by a chaplain. It will be a summer when the American people will be lied to some more about how things are "getting better" in Iraq.


It's time to make a full on assault on the senses of the American people, the ones so callously lied to in the run up to the war, the ones played for suckers by these murderous bastards in the White House and Pentagon. They, the ones who believed that we had finally "learned the lessons of Vietnam", need to be made fully aware of the fact that apparently these idiots learned nothing from that awful conflict save how to control information. A good portion of the American people already know that they were suckered in to this quagmire. It's time to go after the rest of them. There is a tipping point in there somewhere and we damned sure need to find it and find it soon.

The American people need to know that, much like Vietnam, that Americans are indeed engaged in a war in which they have no chance of winning. Just like the NVA and VC of that past conflict, the Iraqi insurgency has all the time in the world, while we most certainly do not. The insurgents, and the healthy portion of the Iraqi population that supports, them aren't going anywhere. WE are the ones that have to maintain a 10,000 mile supply line seemingly forever. They will continue to fight us and our hand (s)elected Iraqi government as long as it takes. There's something on the order of 25 million Iraqis and they live there. Much like 35 years ago, our foes know that we can't keep this up for forever. Much like 35 years ago, our foes are correct.

The American people need to be made fully aware that their sons and daughters and fathers and mothers are being asked to perform a task that is utterly fucking futile as long as the administration continues to deny them the personnel and equipment they need to do the job. They also neeed to know why this is. They need to know that the "support the troops" administration has no one left throw into this mess and that, even if they did, they wouldn't do it for fear of pissing off too much of the electorate. They need to know that this administration does not have the political will or the tactical smarts to win this thing. It's really that simple.

They thought they could pull this off on the cheap and they were wrong. DEAD WRONG.

And, apparently, there ain't no plan B.

We now find ourselves in a situation where we really have no true "allies", no "friends" other than the goons we've allowed to assume "sovereignty" of a country we apparently know precious little about. And, folks, they're dropping like flies. The Iraqi security forces are infiltrated from top to bottom. Hell, apparently some of those Iraqis who have joined the Iraqi security forces are now refusing to be trained by the Americans because of the (well founded) fear that they and their families will be killed for doing so. Just being seen to assist us in any way is a now a death warrant in today's Iraq. Hopefully, this should tell folks just how lost this particular cause is.

Every time we kick in a door and drag folks off in the night, every time we shoot first and ask questions later, every time we level a city of 300,000 people in order to "pacify" it, the insurgency grows. It really is "Vietnam on crack" and the American people need to know this. It's fucking quicksand and we just keep kickin'.


This war must be brought to an end and that process needs to begin in earnest RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

A couple of generations ago, folks in this country were faced with a very similar dilemma. They had a crooked nutjob in the White House, a thoroughly corrupt Executive Branch and a horrible, un-winnable, bloody fucking war on their hands that was eating up their youth, their money and their standing in the world. The odds were most definitely stacked against them. Their ranks were infiltrated by soulless ghouls. They were arrested and beaten mercilessly in some cases. Many fled the country because they had no other option. Some just lost their fucking minds.

We now find ourselves at a very similar place in history. Do we stand by and watch this shameful legacy repeat itself or do we, as many before us did, make this thing personal and shut this fucking evil down?

We need to make the case in no uncertain terms that these greedy, murderous bastards who were supposed to have learned all those "lessons" from vietnam have now gotten us into one hell of a debacle, one of their own making through rank incompetence and arrogance. Do you really think that those same folks who have mismanaged this war to the point of failure can salvage it?

Much like it was for those who stood against this war a generation or two ago, there are absolutely no guarantees of success and the certainty of much hardship, intimidation and coercion ahead. No one told those folks that it would be easy to stop the warmongers and we shouldn't think that it will be easy this time either. There is king-hell evil afoot in this world being done in our names. Like generations previous, it falls to us, by Fate or Fortune to bring this madness to an end.

Got guts?

Ask yourself this: What will the Iraq war Memorial look like? How many names will be inscribed upon it? When your children or grandchildren ask you about this war and your part in it, what will you have to say?

It's time.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

State Supreme Court Judge sides with Bloomberg/MTA in Stadium Suit.

(cross posted at Daily Gotham)

Score a big win for Bloomberg and the Jets. State Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn ruled today that there were "no irregularities" in the MTA's bidding process that, amazingly enough, awarded the West Side rail yards to the Jets, the lowest bidder. OK....

From the Times

In Victory for Bloomberg, Judge Dismisses Stadium Site Suit

The contentious $2 billion stadium proposal, the key to New York's Olympic hopes in 2012, scored a major victory Thursday when a Manhattan judge ruled there were no irregularities in the bidding process that awarded the West Side rail yards to the New York Jets.
The decision by state Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn came at a key juncture for New York's Olympic organizers, since members of the International Olympic Committee will receive an evaluation of the city's bid on Monday. Without the stadium, the city's chances of winning the bid on July 6 would be slim.
"We are extremely pleased with today's court decision regarding the Olympic Stadium," said Jay Kriegel, executive director of the NYC2012 organizing group. "The court has ruled in favor of the stadium, and totally rejected all of the bogus arguments intended to stop the project."
Madison Square Garden, owned by Cablevision Systems Corp., had charged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority with conducting "a sham bidding process" in making its decision. Cablevision had submitted a higher bid for the property than the Jets. But a judge sided with the NFL team and the MTA.
"An analysis of the MSG arguments and the MTA powers leads to the conclusion that the MTA did not act in an arbitrary and capricious manner," Cahn ruled. His decision also dismissed three other lawsuits brought against the stadium plan by politicians and watchdog groups.

(-- emphasis mine)


Look, the Jets were shamed into raising their bid for the rail yards after MSG made a substantially higher bid, and were still awarded the property even though their new bid was still lower than MSG's. The final price is less than a third of its appraised value and not the highest bid. Now a judge says that there were "no irregularities" in the process. Sweet.
This deal has stunk to high heaven since before it was announced and now the stench is just that much greater. The MTA, who has enacted two fare increases in the past couple of years and claims that they have no money to improve L train service in my neighborhood, apparently can let its most valuable assets go for pennies on the dollar to friends of the Bloomberg/Doctoroff machine. And now a State Supreme Court Justice concludes that there's nothing odd going on here. Peachy.
I bet this judge works cheap too. I betcha Bloomberg and Pataki didn't have to spend anywhere near the $800 million they dropped into Sheldon Silver's district last week to get this judge to debase himself in favor a $2 billion dollar boondoggle that most New Yorker's don't want.