If you see something, say something…

Time for another occasional introspection…

All of us New Yorkers have probably heard of this famous MTA slogan. They only drill it to us every time we ride the subway. Today, I definitely saw something. I saw a backpack just sitting there in the platform of the 7th Ave and 53rd St station. I stared at it for a couple seconds and thought to myself, is this one of those times when I definitely see something suspicious? But first, I had to make sure. I walked over to several people in the platform to see if that backpack was theirs. They looked at it, and yes, like stereotypical New Yorkers, ignored it. They just went on to doing what they were doing. So, I went back up in the lobby of the station to look for MTA employees. There were none. Cops? Nowhere to be found. OK, I see a poster with a phone number. “To report a suspicious activity, call 888…” it says. OK, I would call but I’m underground. I have no signal in that d***ned station! Alas, I heard my train arrive, and I just had to take it because I was in a hurry. Just when I took it, I kept thinking to myself, what if it was really something? What have I done? How could I not have done more to report it? But then again, there was NOBODY in the station to report it too. I would’ve called the number, but that would’ve required for me to exit the station, and then wait 10 minutes until I could use my metrocard again. So, when the train came, I just automatically took it.

But, as I think more about this, I ask this question: why are there no employees in the whole station? When I was coming home for the day, I saw in another station a sign indicating that the booth will no longer be operational. Yes, I have heard of lay offs at the MTA (surprise surprise), and more price hikes will probably come our way. But what are we really getting? And it’s amazing how easy it could be for someone to leave a backpack and just do damage to a whole station. ESPECIALLY at this time when there is nobody around to turn to!

The voters are always right…

It has been a while since I wrote something. Since the last post, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about different things that I keep meaning to post here. But it keeps getting pushed back, and eventually forgotten. What I want to say is that I have been so busy that I could hardly find the time to sit down and reflect to myself over a gin and tonic. But that’s not really the case. I just spent my free time doing other things…like just sitting around doing nothing. But now, I finally have the time to write something. Right when I am about to sleep.

So, if I have to choose something that I have been thinking about for a while, it would have to be politics and the recent election. Yes, it has been four weeks to this day since the election and I am just writing about it now. But I think it is always relevant if not for this last election, but for the next election.

If you haven’t noticed, the Republican Party is the clear winner in this last election. They didn’t take the Senate, but they did gain a considerable amount of seats from the Senate not to mention taking the House. How did this happen? It’s all about the voters. It is clear that the people who voted the incumbents out are not happy with the way the government is handling things at this moment. What are they so unhappy about, one might ask. Perhaps these voters haven’t had a job for a long time. Perhaps they are scared of “big government taking away their freedom”. Perhaps they are just scared that the liberals are now taking over. I don’t know. I can’t speak for everybody. But if there is one issue people should be concerned about, it should be the economy. People really have a short-term memory and seem to have forgotten that we were in a recession. Things are *just* starting to turn back around for this country, but people simply just can’t see that. People seem to have forgotten what happened the last time the Republicans controlled the government. From the time the Democrats took over until now (and that was only two years ago), I think we are where we SHOULD be. A recession is not something one can fix overnight. It’s not something that we can just flip a switch and voila, we’re not in a recession anymore. The truth is that it takes a tremendous amount of work and sound decisions to get a huge country out of recession, and I honestly don’t think that 2 years is enough to turn the country around back to where it was. I think we are where we are, and it is exactly where I expected we would be in 2010. I think it’s a big mistake to turn back to where we were before the recession and implement the same regulations (or lack thereof) that got us into trouble in the first place.

Of course, the reality is that the voters are always right. Yes, politics is like a business establishment where the voters are NEVER wrong. Well, I’m not in politics and I don’t intend to be, so I’m going to say something that no politician would dare say to the public. Guess what, the public is just as responsible for the recession as the politicians and Wall Street. Time and time again, this country is runs on credit cards, loans, or better known as debt. I’m not saying credit is all bad. I think getting yourself into debt knowing that you can’t afford it in the first place is bad.

But first, I want to divert briefly to a TV show that I saw for the first time just because there was nothing else on. The other day, I saw an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. It was the first time I saw that show, and I happened to catch an episode where one of the housewives was throwing a birthday party for her 4-year-old daughter. Usually, this would be the point where I go and look up the exact details about this particular episode, but I don’t want to waste my energy researching it. It is already draining my energy just thinking about it now. But, to (loosely) quote the housewife, she roughly said that the age of 3 happens to be the age when young girls should start appreciating the value of expensive jewelry. I remember that quote very well, and I also remember the $60,000 birthday party for her daughter. For the rest of us non-housewives, I would say that this is insane! There are people out here that would feel very lucky to even have a birthday party. But, at the same time, there are lot of people here in the US that view this as the “American Dream”. To live in luxury.

OK, maybe not everybody wants a $60K party for their 4-year-old daughter. But there are people out there that want that 5-bedroom house, 4 cars, a pool, or a big backyard. There are a lot of people out there that want that life of excess when they don’t really need it. And these are the type of people that go into debt, knowing that they can’t afford these things in the first place. And of course, the banks prowled on these people and offered them subprime mortgages. And again, yes, they were able to do so because there was nothing in the regulations that preventing them from doing so. So yes, it’s not just the politicians’ fault. It’s not just Wall Street. It’s also the people. It’s also the fact that some people just want that life of excess that they can’t afford. But when it comes to the elections, the voters are always right.

Net neutrality…is…bad?

Earlier this year, just this past April, actually, you may have come across this: a ruling that favored Comcast over the FCC’s effort to promote net neutrality. Here is the NYTimes article that describes this.

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law. The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver their content faster to users.

The court decision was a setback to efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to require companies to give Web users equal access to all content, even if some of that content is clogging the network.

The court ruling, which came after Comcast asserted that it had the right to slow its cable customers’ access to a file-sharing service called BitTorrent, could prompt efforts in Congress to change the law in order to give the F.C.C. explicit authority to regulate Internet service.

Check out the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html

The internet as it is now has been great. It has provided everybody a platform to voice their own opinions. Discussions are much more dynamic and anybody can join in, whoever you are, wherever you are. That is the essence of net neutrality. And it is clear that the FCC wants to preserve net neutrality and sometimes it is imperative to impose regulations to make sure that we don’t take this platform away from people who don’t have the money or power. Just like what they have done to cable companies and network televisions. Regulations sometimes are important and inevitable to make sure that our rights as ordinary people are protected.

Now, let’s take a look at this commercial. I just came across this ad on TV. Granted that I am now on vacation and that I have to say my peace of mind about this ad, that should indicate how much this video just got to me…


Now, I don’t know what kind of lies the people of Americans for Prosperity are trying to convey. OK, I’m going to try and be diplomatic about this, and if they can convince me that the FCC is unnecessary and are “anti-net neutrality”, then I’ll listen. But so far, from what I know, what FCC has done so far (and unfortunately,failed in terms of the Comcast ruling) is the opposite of what the AFP people are claiming. They understand we should not take net neutrality for granted any longer. Knowing that there are greedy people out there who craves control, power, and money, the FCC understands that regulation IS necessary to preserve our rights to free speech and also to keep us away from economic downfall. It’s amazing how people are already starting to forget that we are still in recession, and what caused it in the first place…