Saturday, August 16, 2003

Round Round Get Around, We Get Around...

via The New York Times:
Air travel and mass transit continue to be affected by the blackout. Commuters can contact their local bus or transit lines for updates on service.

New York City Transit
Most subway lines were restarted by 3:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. There will be regular bus service citywide. The information line for subways and city buses is 1-718-330-1234. Information will also be posted at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Web site, www.mta.info.

La Guardia and Kennedy Airports are running partly on emergency power, and delays are expected. Newark Airport is experiencing minor overcrowding. People should go to the airports only if they have a confirmed departure flight or if they are picking someone up.

Long Island Rail Road
Long Island Rail Road trains are expected to be running on a Saturday schedule. Long Island Rail Road riders should call 1-718-217-5477 or consult the M.T.A. Web site.

Metro-North trains are expected to run on a Saturday schedule as well. Riders in New York City should call 1-212-532-4900 for updates, and those outside the city should call 1-800-638-7646. The M.T.A. Web site will also contain service updates.

PATH trains are running on all stops from 33rd Street in Manhattan to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark.

New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Transit expects to operate on a Saturday schedule for its bus and rail system. Riders should call 1-800-772-2222 for updates, or check the Web site, www.njtransit.com.

Amtrak trains will operate on a normal schedule. Amtrak riders can call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) for updates.

New York Waterway and New York Water Taxi will be running on normal weekend schedules, though extra ferries may be added if necessary.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Take a fair and balanced look

A Fair and Balanced Blackout
Much of the fair and balanced northeast, from Boston to Cleveland, was without power last night and into today. Even now over 2 million people are without electricity in NYC, and the subways won't be running until the afternoon rush hour.

Apparently some of Maplewood was electricity-free - but my house had power (albeit browned out from time to time). I was out last night in South Orange, and they had powere everywhere I could see. Ahhh PSE&G - a Fair and Balanced power company.

Happy Fair and Balanced Friday

Thursday, August 14, 2003

George Soros can't do it all by himself

He ain't no Richard Mellon Scaife, or Kenny Boy Lay either ... so how about YOU folks click on that big 'Boot Bush' button over there to the right and give the Dems some money. Every little bit, y'know . You'll even be helping our country to be a little bit more fair and balanced!

I don't know WHAT to believe anymore!

A friend of mine works for Chris Christie in the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark and, although of far different political leanings, he has a lot of respect for Christie ... so I don't know how to take this ABC News story (via The Agonist):

Less Than Meets the Eye?
U.S. Government Sting Operation Criticized as Setup

By Brian Ross

Aug. 13— Administration officials are leaving out key facts and exaggerating the significance of the alleged plot to smuggle a shoulder-launched missile into the United States, law enforcement officials told ABCNEWS. They say there's a lot less than meets the eye.

The accused ringleader, British national Hemant Lakhani, appeared today in federal court in Newark, N.J., and was ordered held without bond on charges of attempting to provide material support and material resources to terrorists and acting as an arms broker without a license.

Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie called Lakhani an ally of terrorists who want to kill Americans.

"He, on many occasions, in recorded conversations, referred to Americans as 'bastards' [and] Osama bin Laden as a hero," said Christie.

But what he did not say was just how much of the alleged missile plot was a government setup from start to finish.

For example, Lakhani had no contacts in Russia to buy the missiles before the sting and had no known criminal record for arms dealing, officials told ABCNEWS.

"Here we have a sting operation on some kind of small operator … who's bought one weapon when actually, on the gray and black market, hundreds of such weapons charge hands," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Court documents show much of the case is based on the government's key cooperating witness, an informant seeking lenient treatment on federal drug charges, officials told ABCNEWS. He was the first person who led the government to Lakhani.

‘Something They Created’

The missile shipped into the New York area last month was not a real missile — just a mockup — also arranged entirely by the government. The government also arranged the meetings at a New Jersey hotel and elsewhere, where Lakhani allegedly told undercover agents posing as al Qaeda terrorists about his support of bin Laden.

"One would have to ask yourself, would this have occurred at all without the government?" said Gerald Lefcourt, a criminal defense attorney.

In London today, Lakhani's neighbors described him as a quiet man who worked in the garment industry and had faced serious financial problems.

"I would have hoped the United States is thwarting real terrorism and not something manufactured because here all they're doing is stopping something they created," said Lefcourt.

Government officials said the case will show that Lakhani went along with the scheme willingly and was not entrapped. But the question remains whether any of this would have happened if the government had not set it up.

Aren't there enough dangers out there without us needing to create bogus new ones?

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

This is a fair and balanced blog!

Faux News is suing to prevent publication of Al Franken's new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." Why? They claim it violates their trademark. Excuse me? Fair and Balanced is a trademark? I thought commonly used words and phrases, used in context, are not protected by trademark law ... not to mention that satire, especially political satire, generally trumps trademarks and copyrights (and don't get me started on the implicit lie in Faux' use of the phrase to begin with). Anyway ... as documented at Blah3, in protest of this blatant attempt to censor via misused trademark law, several hundred blogs (this one included) have added the "Fair and Balanced" tag to their titles.

Neal Pollack and Atrios have declared this Friday, August 15 2003, Fair and Balanced Friday:

Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites. My cosponsor in this effort, Atrios, informs me that many of you are already using "Fair And Balanced" in your taglines. Very good. Sometimes, I swear you don't even need instructions from me. But we can go further. Tell Fox News to take its Fair And Balanced slogan and shove it up its Fair And Balanced hole. Feel free to be more subtle than that, if you wish.

To repeat. This Friday is Fair And Balanced day. Use the slogan at will. I will not be keeping track of the uses on this site, because it made me tired last time, but I still trust that you will spread the virus in funny and creative ways. We cannot let Fox News beat us, people. If they sue one, they can sue all. Al Franken has resources. Fox News' next victim might not be so lucky.

You know what to do...

Don't say you weren't warned.

They had an invited speaker at last week's Township Committee meeting - Peter Beronio, the Economic Development Director for Englewood NJ. He spoke about how Englewood has turned their town around, adding new businesses and reversing many years of decline and decay. Apparently they've done quite a good job at it.

What was also apparent from the kind of questions asked of Mr. Beronio was the focus of our TC members. Jerry Ryan mostly asked questions about money - how much new tax revenue did they get, what change in commercial/residential rateables, how much money did it take to implement the changes. Fred Profeta, on the other hand, kept asking questions intended to bolster his case for a full-time economic planner. Unfortunately for Fred, Mr. Beronio described how Englewood's planning was done by a troika of municipal employees who'd already been on the municipal payroll for years, learned their planning skills as they went, on the job, and combined that role with their other jobs. He made a point of the fact that planners the town could hire were likely either to be too inexperienced, or too tied to specific developers, and that it was far better to use the talent of people already in place.

Another notable point from Mr. Beronio's presentation: Englewood has indeed increased commercial ratables over the past few years - by about 3% - in Maplewood terms, that would amount to about $0.10/$100 assessed ... and Englewood had to condemn a hundred or more homes to do it. And at that, Englewood has a much bigger selection of large commercial sites, One of them as much as 60 acres. Compare that to Maplewood's largest tract, of about 2 acres.

What did I glean from all this? Fred, like all modern Republicans, is interested in buying votes with promises he can't keep and money he can't really afford to spend. Jerry is watching out for the bucks we spend.

Don't say you weren't warned.

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