Recent Posts in general

May 28, 2014

I tried to copy Maya's fluid voice early on but failed miserably. But because of her I found my own... RIP Maya Angelou and thank u - @QtipTheAbstract

And we have lost our wisest woman - the maker of the most beautiful words. I couldn't love you more Dr. Maya. Thank you. Fly free. - Kimya Dawson (@mrskimyadawson)

Momentarily took the air out of me hearing you passed over. Then I smiled for you. REST IN GLORY MAYA ANGELOU. Luv! - @Nas

"I was thinking about her lately. GOD Bless the Soul of one if my heroes. Dr Maya Angelou" - @Common

"i was very fortunate to meet and have dinner with maya angelou some years back in nyc. what a remarkable woman we've lost." ― @Moby

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark book of 1969, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" -- which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South -- was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Her death was confirmed by her longtime literary agent, Helen Brann. No immediate cause had been determined, but Ms. Brann said Ms. Angelou had been in frail health for some time and had had heart problems.

As well known as she was for her memoirs, which eventually filled six volumes, Ms. Angelou very likely received her widest exposure on a chilly January day in 1993, when she delivered the inaugural poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton, the nation's 42nd president, who, like Ms. Angelou, had grown up poor in rural Arkansas. - [NY Times]

We lost one of America's most distintive voices today. Rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Your words live on.

Watch her read "On the Pulse of Morning" at Clinton's inauguration and read President Obama's tribute to her, below...

Continue reading "Maya Angelou, RIP"

May 2, 2014

by Wyatt Marshall

(photo via Vice)
hail satan

In 2012, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze paid to have a statue of the Ten Commandments placed outside the state Capitol. Usually that would be a no-no due to the separation of church and state, but the donation was considered OK as he paid for it with his own money. Seeing open season for religious monuments at the Oklahoma Capitol, The Satanic Temple -- prominent proponents of the First Amendment -- announced it would donate a monument of The Evil One to the capitol building.

The Satanic Temple (who last year tried to adopt a highway in New York City) started an Indiegogo campaign hoping to raise $20,000 to pay for a statue, and, according to Vice, the campaign ended up raising nearly $30,000. The Satanic Temple then hired a classically trained sculptor to make a statue, and it totally rules. Behold and hail. Unfortunately, any chance for the statue to land in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol are stalled while an ACLU suit against the placement of the Ten Commandments statue is resolved.

According to Vice, who spoke with Satanic Temple spokesman Lucian Greaves, the Temple wants to cast a mold so they can make as many copies of the statue they want. You can buy Satan gear at The Satanic Temple's website and, Vice writes, the profits go towards funding the completion of the statue.

November 1, 2013

iPod

After years of being told to turn off your electronic devices during airplane takeoffs and landings, you'll finally be able to use them (MP3 players included), as was revealed in a new announcement by the FAA (via CNN)...

Until now, passengers in the United States were prohibited from using the devices until their plane rose above 10,000 feet. The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines, but an FAA statement said it expects "many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year."

"Each airline will determine how and when this will happen," FAA administrator Michael Huerta told reporters at Reagan National Airport.

The periods of flight in question are fairly short. The ascent of an aircraft to 10,000 feet usually takes 10 minutes or less, depending on the airport and weather conditions, said Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot and Askthepilot blogger.

Delta Air Lines and JetBlue wasted no time announcing Thursday morning that both airlines have filed plans with the FAA to allow for use of approved electronic devices below 10,000 feet on their flights. Both carriers had representatives on the FAA advisory panel.

...

he FAA had long claimed that using electronic devices during takeoff and landing posed a safety issue and that radio signals from the devices could interfere with an aircraft's communications, navigation and other systems.

But a panel the FAA established last year to study the issue concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals.

Before an airline switches to the relaxed rules, it will have to prove to the FAA that its aircraft can tolerate the interference. Airlines have, over the years, built newer planes with portable electronics in mind, hardening them against electromagnetic interference.

The FAA did outline an exception to the new rule: "In some instances of low visibility -- about one percent of flights -- some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device."

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October 31, 2013

20-year-old Chance the Rapper will not be able to buy his cigarettes when he visits NYC
Chance

Heads up to the young smokers in NYC: buying cigarettes is about to get (theoretically) harder, at least until you're 21. The New York Times reports:

The legal age for buying tobacco, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos will rise to 21, from 18, under a bill adopted by the City Council and which Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said he would sign. The new minimum age will take effect six months after signing.

The proposal provoked some protest among people who pointed out that New Yorkers under 21 can drive, vote and fight in wars, and should be considered mature enough to decide whether to buy cigarettes. But the Bloomberg administration's argument -- that raising the age to buy cigarettes would discourage people from becoming addicted in the first place -- won the day.

"This is literally legislation that will save lives," Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, said shortly before the bill passed 35 to 10.

...

The new law is a capstone to more than a decade of efforts by Mr. Bloomberg, like banning smoking in most public places, that have given the city some of the toughest antismoking policies in the world.

In one concession to the cigarette industry, the administration dropped a proposal that would force retailers to keep cigarettes out of sight. City officials said they were doing it because they had not resolved how to deal with the new phenomenon of electronic cigarettes, but others worried that if the tobacco industry lodged a First Amendment challenge to the so-called display ban, it could have derailed the entire package.

The smoking age is 18 in most of the country, but some states have made it 19. Some counties have also adopted 19, including Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island. Needham, Mass., a suburb of Boston, raised the smoking age to 21 in 2005.

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Continue reading "NYC raising cigarette-purchasing age to 21"

September 4, 2013

Jay Z at Yankee Stadium in July (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Jay Z

Earlier this year, Jay Z announced he'd be selling his 'miniscule stake in the Brooklyn Nets,' and it's now being reported that part or all of that stake will be sold to Nets coach Jason Kidd. Reports NY Post:

We're told Kidd will take over Jay's .067 percent (1/15th of a percent) stake in the team for about $500,000.

The move comes as Jay was forced to sell his Nets shares over a conflict of interest after he started a sports agency, Roc Nation, signing clients including Yankee Robinson Cano and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.

A source told us, "Other owners want to give Jason a part ownership of the team, and urged Jay to sell his shares to him."

Amazingly, Jay was introduced to the team in 2003 by Drew Katz, the son of one of the Nets' principal owners, after Kidd, then the Nets' marquee point guard, suggested the music mogul buy the team.

According to reports, Jay helped design the team logos and choose the Nets' stark black-and-white color scheme, and personally appealed to National Basketball Association officials to drop their objections to it.

Jay is still the director of Barclays Center though (where the Nets play). Upcoming shows there include Phoenix, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Beyonce (all four of whom just played the Jay Z-curated Made In America fest), Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Justin Timberlake, Drake, Vampire Weekend, and more.

June 26, 2013

(via @racineinthecity)
DOMA

A landmark win for gay rights today, as the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, aka the Defense of Marriage Act:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking for the 5-4 majority, said DOMA was unconstitutional because it violated the right to liberty and to equal protection for gay couples.

"By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute" violates the Constitution, he said.

Dissenting were Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling means that more than 100,000 gay and lesbian couples who are legally married will be able to take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and other benefits that are available to other married couples.

Four years ago, several gay couples who were married in Massachusetts launched a lawsuit to challenge DOMA, arguing it denied them equal protection of the laws. They won before a federal judge in Boston and before the federal appeals court there. - [LA Times]

November 7, 2012

Tammy Baldwin photo via Buzzfeed
Tammy Baldwin

An African-American president for a second term; Weed is legal; Same sex marriage passes in more states. And Tammy Baldwin won tonight in Wisconsin - our first openly gay senator! A historical night all around. Seems like a good time for America to take a minute to celebrate...

Continue reading "Tammy Baldwin becomes first openly gay senator"

November 6, 2012

Obama

As of 11:21pm, even Fox News is saying it looks like Four More Years for Obama.

October 31, 2012

Subway

Governor Cuomo is talking to press as we speak. The Daily News summarizes:

Gov. Cuomo announced that limited commuter rail service on Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road will begin at 2 p.m. today--and some subway service will follow tomorrow.

The subway service, he said, will be supplemented by a "bus bridge" from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

While he didn't specifically say which lines will be back up, he did explain that there will be no service in Manhattan below 34th Street because there is no power for that service.

Bus service is back up and running fully today in the city, he said.

Meanwhile, three of the seven East River tunnels have been pumped and are free of service.

More service will be up and running " on a day to day basis," he said.

Cuomo appealed for continued "patience and tolerance" from New Yorkers.

NY1 says the subways most likely to come back soon are 4, 5, 2, 3 and F. Least likely: R, A, C, L, and 7. But they also point out things will be rerouted, and we don't really know exactly what they'll do yet.

UPDATE, Pat Kiernan says Subways open Thursday:
1,2 train north of 42nd Street, 4 north of 42 and btw Borough Hall and New Lots
5 train in Brooklyn, 42nd St Shuttle
A train in two sections - 34th to 168th and Jay St to Lefferts
D train in two sections: 34th to 205th and Atlantic to Bay Parkway
F train in two sections: 34th/Herald Sq to 179th in Queens and in Brooklyn from Jay to Ave X.
J train between Jamaica and Hewes.
L train only between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Park.
M between Myrtle and Metropolitan, N between Ditmars (Queens) and Herald Square.
R in Brooklyn btw Jay St and 95th Street.
Special 'Bridge Buses" Thursday: Atlantic Ave to 57/Lex, Jay St to 57/Lex and Hewes to 57/Lex.
No service of any kind on Thursday: 3, 7, B, C, E, G, Q.

We'll keep you posted on all related NYC show cancellations (Halloween show cancellations here).

October 30, 2012

tree down near Prospect Park on PPW - 10/30/2012
hurricane

"In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which left a trail of deadly destruction, devastating power failures and extensive flooding, millions of people in the New York metropolitan region spent Tuesday assessing the damage and preparing for the possibility that it could be days or even weeks before life returned to normal.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, there were reports of daring rescue operations as people began to grasp the magnitude of the damage done by the violent winds and lashing rains that transformed the landscapes of New York City and the wider region into tableaus of destruction both stark and unprecedented..." [NYTimes]

As a quick perusal of our "hurricanes" and "Hurricane Sandy" tags will prove, we've been keeping busy this unprecedented hurricane. One glance at our "pictures" category and you'll see that we also like to post pictures taken by an assortment of BrooklynVegan photographers. Here's another post about the hurricane and some more original pictures. They continue below...

Continue reading "more Hurricane Sandy pics - before, during & after (from Williamsburg, Park Slope & Upper Manhattan)"

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