Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
rose of sharon (hibiscus)
red bud tree
hostas, multiple varieties
sedum, regular and autumn glory
japanese anenome flower
wild mustard (?)
the clover-like ground cover
the succulent-like ground cover
variegated rush grass (juncus effusus, "Goldstrike")
another dwarf conifer (?)
a holly bush (Ilex meserveae 'Blue Princess')
the perennial with little white flowers and minty leaves
creeping red fescue
several varieties of perennial ryegrass
succulent unknown identification
blackberry bush ("Thornless Chester")
astilbe (false spirea)
lettuce ("simpson elite")
a sapling pear or cherry tree (non-fruiting)
Petunias (white, red, purple)
New Guinea Impatiens (red)
French Marigold ('Antigua' yellow and orange)
Dusty Miller 'Silver Dust'
And here are some of the fauna who live in or visit the yard (so far this spring):
robins hunting for worms in the grass
a pair of bluejays gathering twigs (May 13)
a lady bug
two cats (they're black with white on their paws and their neck, almost identical)
the next door neighbor's dog "Stella"
the downstairs neighbor's dog "Rosie"
lots of ants (boo...)
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
"I live in Juhsey (NOT "Joisey"): specifically Newark. I went to school in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and live in New York. Does that make me an expert?
The word "corrupt" is a funny one. Each state has its own political culture. I remember when calling yourself a "Republican" in Rhode Island only meant that you weren't a love child of Raymond Patriarca. There were some liberal Republicans; some conservative Republicans. There were even some Republicans on the take. But at least a Rhode Island Republican wasn't a certified made Mafioso. Or at least some weren't. The pond scum of Narragansett Bay were insulted when compared to Freddy St Germain. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are destroying a fine old Rhode Island tradition.
There were some echoes of this in CT, but it didn't really compare to RI.
New Jersey? Our politicians don't take much salary; they work on the commission system. However, they do provide reasonable services in return for their commissions. Sharpe James was a good example. (Jon Corzine and Cory Booker, neither of whom need commissions, are not. Corzine didn't need commissions because he made so much money at Goldman Sachs. Some say the same is true of Booker, at least insofar as his campaign financing goes.)
The politicians don't take many commissions in New York. But that's not because they're particularly honest; it is because New York has many many many many many la(w)yers of control. There is so much control that very little gets done in NY, unless you can find a rabbi who can circumvent the lawyers. It's kind of like late Soviet Communism, except that some of the New York rabbis are actually Jewish."
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Reading this article also inspired me to collect a few old posts from Changing the Court under a label, "Learning about large public bureaucracies and urban politics."
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A city that was designed for travel by foot and horses loses some of its charm with modern traffic congestion. A deep snowfall is the perfect antidote, as it adds beauty, muffles sounds and discourages automobiles. The broad streets and sidewalks reveal their grandeur when covered with snow instead of cars.
From a blog post by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore), here. (thanks to Talking Points Memo for the link).
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The weather was beautiful today and I spent almost the whole day finishing off the end of fall clean-up in the garden. In front, I finished potting the two junipers I put in wooden barrels next to a big planter box stuffed with daffodils and hyacinths. I pulled out the sweet potato vines and put in tulips. In back I cut down the morning glory vine after collecting a bowl of seeds, and swept all the leaves and compost off the porch and stairs.
That's when I took this picture: the woodland tobacco flower (nicotiana) is still huge, fragrant and glorious, and some other flowers and perennials are enjoying this last breath of warm weather...
I finished working in the bed last weekend - I moved some of the perennial flowers - echinacea/coneflower, Japanese anemone, and toad lily - to sunnier spots, and put in a few more hostas.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age.The conclusions are summarized here:
- Have a healthy outlet
- Don't take yourself too seriously
- Happiness must be shared
Thursday, June 18, 2009
These are the offices of city council candidate Evan Thies. According to an article in the Greenpoint Gazette, the saloon-like offices of the John Smolenski Democratic Club are being used by Evan as his campaign headquarters. The young new president of the nearly defunct old-line club hopes that Evan will revitalize the club and voter participation in North Brooklyn in general, where turnout has been low in recent elections. The snake-like 33rd council district stretches from Greenpoint, through Williamsburg, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Gowanus, ending in north Park Slope.
For the record, this blog endorses Evan Thies for the 33rd District and Brad Lander for the 39th. (Of course, observers in the political world have been on the edge or their seats waiting to see who would gain our influential backing.)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
The ocean floor where the debris is being recovered is a tangle of mountains towering two miles above ocean valleys, which will make the recovery of the flight recorders — or black boxes — very difficult. The recovery, however, is paramount for investigators, as without them, said James T. Francis, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the Air France case will be “a tough, tough cookie.”
I found this graphic to help me visualize the ocean floor in the middle of the ocean between Brazil and Africa (click for full view). It also reminds me of old fashioned maps in high school classrooms.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Everywhere you look around Brooklyn, there are condos and highrises under construction. Some of the ones that are finished are being marketed to renters instead of buyers. But, I suspect many of these buildings may be left half-built, the dreams of housing developers never realized. Can these stacked concrete slabs be put to creative use? Here's one case study: "Second Life: Locals look to nab foreclosed condos for affordable housing."
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here's an article from yesterday's Washington Post about one of Washington's true characters, in this case, Paula Smith, a bit of a "strange bird" who's made wandering this urban wilderness her whole life and maybe knows more about what goes on in this unusual urban wilderness better than anyone else:
Washington Post Article
Incidentally, Ms. Smith is concerned about an increase of illegal deer hunting ("poaching") on National Park Service land. A sign of the economic times?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I thought this analysis of our financial crisis was very insightful:
The Quiet Coup, by Simon Johnson (Atlantic Monthly, May 2009).
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
1. Interdiction of illegal firearms flowing from the US into Mexico for use in the ongoing drug war raging there.
2. Reducing the demand for illegal drugs in the United States
3. Reducing poverty in Mexico
If Barack Obama wanted to propose serious programs on each of these issues, I wonder what he would propose. Especially on numbers two and three, I wonder if good public policy could deliver a lot more results than we're currently getting from our "war on drugs".
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I think this approach is very much a kindred what I see in a lot of the gardens of Brooklyn. I've always thought someone should really write a great field guide to the gardens of Brooklyn....!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
1) We have the right to fresh air, clean water and healthy soil.
2. A government that cannot provide them loses legitimacy.
3) The earth is in crisis.
4) Cities are not the problem, the're the solution.
5) Cities are alive and should be treated that way.
6) Biodiversity is the best measure of a healthy place.
7) Humans have evolved to live in harmony with nature.
8) The public creates the best public spaces.
9) People will care for a place they plant themselves.
10) Engaged ecology creates a community.
To survive in prison, one must develop ways to take satisfaction in one's daily life. . . I saw the garden as a metaphor for a certain aspects of my life. A leader must also tend his garden: he, too, plants seeds and then watches, cultivates, and harvests the results. -Nelson Mandela
The experience of being in a place where the forces are resolved together at once is completely restufl and whole. It is like sitting under an oak tree: things in nature reolve all the forces acting on them together; they are, in that sense, whole and balanced.
From Guerilla Gardening, A Manualfesto, by David Tracey.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
...human attention is a scarce resource -- focusing in the morning makes it harder to focus in the afternoon...
...[researchers] measured the two groups on a variety of tasks, from basic tests of attention to surveys that looked at how the women were handling major life challenges. She found that living in an apartment with a view of greenery led to significant improvements in every category.
...Related research has demonstrated that increased "cognitive load" -- like the mental demands of being in a city -- makes people more likely to choose chocolate cake instead of fruit salad, or indulge in a unhealthy snack. This is the one-two punch of city life: It subverts our ability to resist temptation even as it surrounds us with it, from fast-food outlets to fancy clothing stores. The end result is too many calories and too much credit card debt.
...City life can also lead to loss of emotional control. [Researchers] found less domestic violence in the apartments with views of greenery. These data build on earlier work that demonstrated how aspects of the urban environment, such as crowding and unpredictable noise, can also lead to increased levels of aggression. A tired brain, run down by the stimuli of city life, is more likely to lose its temper.
... [A] recent paper demonstrated that the psychological benefits of green space are closely linked to the diversity of its plant life. When a city park has a larger variety of trees, subjects that spend time in the park score higher on various measures of psychological well-being, at least when compared with less biodiverse parks.
...When a park is properly designed, it can improve the function of the brain within minutes. As the [one] study demonstrates, just looking at a natural scene can lead to higher scores on tests of attention and memory.
[Other] research ... used a set of complex mathematical algorithms to demonstrate that the very same urban features that trigger lapses in attention and memory -- the crowded streets, the crushing density of people -- also correlate with measures of innovation, as strangers interact with one another in unpredictable ways. It is the "concentration of social interactions" that is largely responsible for urban creativity, according to the scientists. The density of 18th-century London may have triggered outbreaks of disease, but it also led to intellectual breakthroughs, just as the density of Cambridge -- one of the densest cities in America -- contributes to its success as a creative center. One corollary of this research is that less dense urban areas, like Phoenix, may, over time, generate less innovation. The key, then, is to find ways to mitigate the psychological damage of the metropolis while still preserving its unique benefits.
From an article in the Boston Globe. Click here to view the article.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
"The 2009 schedule is To Be Determined, but will likely kick off in April and run through November with another exciting season of battle between the Mayhem, Bombshells, Gridlock and Pain."
Friday, January 2, 2009
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"This is the last apartment in the building to turn over. All the 'bad' people are gone, and now the building is full of 'good' people like you."
Friday, October 24, 2008
1. No More Evictions. It's bad for neighborhoods and it's bad for cities. It is better in every case to keep people in their homes, and arrange realistic payments that they can keep up with.
2. Anticipate possible problems in neighborhoods already effected by the foreclosure crisis
Visualize the impact of subprime foreclosures: Look here, for U.S.
What does the crisis look like in New York City?
(Click on images for enlarged photos and map)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Here's what she's writing about:
"Hi there, I am blogging about my cross-country road-trip/book tour on behalf of The Heaven-Sent Leaf, a new book of poems about, er, money. The title is taken from the second part of Goethe’s Faust, in which Mephistopheles has discovered a way to make gold—what alchemists had been seeking to discover for centuries—by printing paper money (“the heaven-sent leaf”). Once Mephistopheles has printed this imaginative money, thereby releasing an impecunious emperor from debt, what we would now term an economic “bubble” ensues; viands, wine, and labor are purchased with nothing so substantial as delusion and credulity. By the end of the story, the proverbial bubble has burst, and the emperor has fallen into ruin. Destinations on the tour include: Austin, Tallahassee, Ithaca, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Sonoma, Portland, Missoula, Boise, Denver, Lawrence, Iowa City, Lincoln, Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Providence, Hudson, Buffalo, Northampton, Athens, Atlanta, and Richmond."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The Times They Are A Changing
Cracker Jack Docker
Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
and my favorite for classic hip hop: The Bridge.
Some of the videos I saw on a recent re-run of the show, I was able to find on YouTube:
Hanging Out, Large Professor
Which features a sample of that great party record that the folks in Philly always seem to play. It's by "Sister Nancy" apparently:
Supa Star, Group Home
Faking the Funk
Fever for the flavor...
Similac Child, Black Sheep
And, Mushroom Jazz 6 just got released
I hadn't visited Streets Blog in a while, and as usual, I found interesting info.
I'm hoping that political will in our country can coalesce around an "Invest in America" agenda. Education, Health, Energy, Food, Infrastructure, Economic Growth.
Robert Reich makes a pretty strong argument for massive spending on infrastructure, here
some cost issues, story here
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here are a bunch of resources for seeking employment, benefits, and getting your finances together:
Access NYC Back-up link
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
A business has discharged its functions when the customer buys the product, pays for it, and is satisfied with it. Government has discharged its function when its policies are effective. The "non-profit" institution neither supplies goods or services nor controls. Its "product" is neither a pair of shoes, nor an effective regulation. Its product is a changed human being. The non-profit institutions are human-change agents. Their "product" is a cured patient, a child that learns, a young man or woman grown into a self-respecting adult; a changed human life altogether.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
This is the kitchen sink post. It's the place I put anything that I've found while blogging that I think is really interesting, but hasn't yet worked it's way into a formal post of its own on Changing The Court (or doesn't fit there). So far, some incomplete notes on urban revitalization and preservation and a few of my favorite non-criminal-justice-related blogs and websites.
This highly discussed article from the Atlantic Monthly suggests that as more of the population returns to urban centers, car culture wanes, and the subprime mortgage collapse proceeds, the McMansions and ex-urban subdivisions of the past decade may be the slums of the new century. Some places are already experiencing social problems - drugs and crime - that are normally associated with urban decay.
Here's an enjoyable, New York-Centric blog on public spaces - things like "placemaking" - what are the charactoristics of safe, vibrant public spaces? Bird to the North
Fascinating blog: Ecology of Absence: The Biocultural Geography of Abandonment, Deindustrialization and transition in St. Loius and the Greater Midwest.
Urban Planet: The BBC's great coverage of emerging urban trends world-wide.
Rebuilding Space in the Urban Place: "This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging." Amazing links sections on a variety of urban issues.
How much debris and litter is on the average mile of highway in America?
(click to enlarge)
I found a fascinating report by the Milano School of Public Policy: A Schoolyard in Brooklyn: Strengthening Families and Communities through the Innovative Use of Public Space. It's a case study of how a community organization can partner with government to transform a public space.
User-friendly, very informative map of homicides in nyc. (Plots three years worth of data in Google Maps, with date/time, location, demographic information of victim and suspect, and motive, if known in all homicides citywide)
What makes a place safe?
More walkers and bikers means greater safety
Safe Haven Program is in decline: On the Upper West Side of Manhattan... According to the Westside Crime Prevention Program the number of members in the Safe Havens network (stores, marked by decals, where children can take shelter if they are being harassed or bothered on the street) has declined from 350 to 250 in the past two years. The bank branches and national chain stores that are replacing mom-and-pop establishments aren't suitable for the program - employee turnover is high and corporate headquarters have refused offers to enroll their franchises. (from this article in the New York Times).
One picture of what a very safe space looks like:
Monday, August 4, 2008