Paul Ryan's Life Misled

What does it say about a man if he dedicates his entire life to taking a massive amount of money and resources away from the poor and middle class and handing it to the world’s wealthiest people — especially when the nation’s richest 1% own 38.6% of the country’s wealth and the top 0.1% have aboutthe same amount of wealth as the bottom 90%?

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In Sugar Hill: Convent Garden and its Determined Caretaker

For almost ninety-years, a wedge in the uptown grid at the quirky intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and Convent Avenue, designated a park by the Board of Estimate in 1909, sat misused, abused or neglected.

Initially, the triangle contained a gas station until the Parks Department discovered its rights to the rare patch of land and razed the pumps there in 1985. A group of neighbors then developed the first iteration of Convent Garden, but after the city uprooted their landscaping to remove the underground gas tanks, weeds grew and trash accumulated in the triangle. The chain link fence around the perimeter began to collapse and police officers from the nearby 30th Precinct commandeered the lot to stash seized vehicles or park their own cars.

In 1998, Juliette Davis, who lives on the fourth floor of a building across the street and who neighbors call Miami, decided to rejuvenate the so-called garden. Today, the .13-acre park, full of flowers, trees, a gazebo and an assortment of decorations donated by friends and neighbors, stands out as a colorful oasis amid the Sugar Hill brownstones and a testament to Davis’ determination.

“You can sit around and wait for days and months and years for somebody to do something for you and never get it done, but maybe with a little knowledge you can do it,” Davis said as she sat in the shade beneath a rosebud tree near the garden gate and reflected on the history of Convent Garden and her neighborhood. “I just started doing the work. I started cleaning the place up and doing things myself. I cleaned off this entire lot because my first thought was, ‘I want grass.’ It was like the wilderness here. Garbage. Weeds growing up above your head.”

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Demonstrating to put Trump and his enablers on notice

Conservative Republicans continue to call themselves the Silent Majority. That's fine.

Meanwhile, those representing the actual majority — the Americans who delivered Hillary Clinton a +2 million popular vote victory — have been gathering across the country to declare they will not tolerate Trump stoking hatred and exploiting prejudices to enact discriminatory policies. I joined Sunday's huge demonstration between Columbus Circle and Trump Tower and wrote about it for The Progressive and The Indypendent. I found that few attendees seemed to condemn the legitimacy of the presidential election, a notion critics (including liberals) have hammered to invalidate and diminish such events.

Such demonstrations are important because they A) assert our Constitutional right to assembly, a fundamental feature of our democracy B) affirm love and support for immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, women and other groups targeted by Trump and his enablers C) inform the rest of the world that most of us are unhappy with and indeed stunned by the election result and D) put Trump on notice that we will not tolerate bigotry and injustice.

Keep the energy up. Keep it moving.