Archive for the 'Big Jerks' Category

Crosstown Traffic

Last night, I jumped in a cab from the West Village (Bleecker and Grove).  As he dropped me off and I began to get my wallet to pay the fare, a warning message flashed across the in-cab television: “Warning, you have been charged an out of town fare.”  You would think that after this NYTimes expose, and the resulting communal outrage, that cabbies would have known better than to try this scam. In any case, after the warning message flashed, I checked the meter, and sure enough, the number “4” was right on the side (higher fare code for Nassau and Westchester cab rides).  I was furious, and told the cabbie I wasn’t going to pay him a cent, since he tried to scam me.  I exited the cab and he came after me, getting in my way, demanding payment, and ignoring the fact that I caught him.  After some short words, a bystander informed me there was a cop nearby, who I flagged down.  Once the cabdriver realized that I was going to involve the police he jumped back quickly into his cab to make a getaway, but it was too late.  The cops flagged him down, checked his hack license, and quickly determined he was a cabbie for 15 years, which led the cop to believe that the overcharge was not a mistake.  The cop issued the cabbie a summons and will be testifying against him, and invited me to do the same.  Hopefully, he gets his license revoked like these guys.  The worst part was, we were both Punjabi – whats with the Indian on Indian crime?

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

I just read a story at the Washington Post about a man who chronicles examples of New York City law-enforcement officers breaking the law.  Calling himself “Jimmy Justice,” usually targets illegally parked traffic cops blocking fire hydrants, double parked, or in no-parking zones.  You can read the article here.

This man is a hero.

Unsurprisingly, this “infuriates” James Huntley, the president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1182, a union which represents the city’s traffic cops and sanitation workers.

“Sometimes we do have to make U-turns. Sometimes we do have to park here and there,” Huntley said.

Us too, DICK.

In my view this video vigilante is doing the city a public service.  When citizens witness law enforcement openly flouting the law, it causes distrust of law enforcement, encourages people to break laws they think are unfair or are being unfairly enforced, and ultimately, erodes their faith in the rule of law.

Typical of a union president, Huntley openly threatens Jimmy Justice, and presumably anyone else with similar intentions:

“We can have him arrested for menacing or stalking,” Huntley said of Jimmy, signaling a possible new confrontation in the streets.”

The union president’s response is especially slimy.  Rather than admit to a problem and take steps to remedy that problem, he decides that the only solution is revenge.  Where he could have taken the high road and garnered newfound respect for traffic cops, by his response he ensured the continued loathing of all traffic cops by New York’s citizens, even by those of us who do not have cars.

Dirty Canadians

For some bizarre reason, Canadians have this reputation as being really nice people. I think that is total bullshit. First of all, many Canadians are actually French. Q.E.D., right there. Secondly, the last time I went to Niagara Falls, I remember the people there being total A-holes. And finally, there’s this:

A-Rod plunked in Yankees’ win over Jays
Roger Clemens made sure the Blue Jays paid for hitting Alex Rodriguez.

Four innings after Rodriguez was hit in the calf by Josh Towers’ pitch, Clemens plunked Alex Rios in the middle of the back. Clemens was tossed, and the Yankees went on to beat the Blue Jays 9-3 in Toronto on Tuesday night.

Towers (5-9) hit the Yankees’ slugger on the first pitch his second at-bat. Rodriguez immediately took a few steps toward the mound before he was cut off by umpire Angel Hernandez. The Yankees and Blue Jays spilled out onto the field. Toronto’s Matt Stairs had to be restrained by New York’s Andy Phillips as he tried to go after A-Rod at first base.

Several Blue Jays were angry at Rodriguez after he distracted Howie Clark on a key popup late in a game May 30, yelling at the infielder as A-Rod approached third base. Jesse Litsch threw behind Rodriguez’s legs in A-Rod’s first at-bat in Monday’s series opener. “I guess yesterday wasn’t a mistake,” said Torre.

Clemens (4-5) threw six shutout innings before he hit Rios with his first pitch of the seventh. “We got warned,” Torre said. “I guess in his (Hernandez’s) estimation, Roger hit him on purpose. It’s automatic at that point in time if he feels that’s the case.” Torre came out of the dugout and the Yankees infielders surrounded the entire umpiring crew as Clemens argued with Hernandez before leaving the field. It was the first ejection of the season for Clemens and Torre’s third.

I never had much respect for Clemens after he beaned Piazza, but fucking A, that is badass. Clemens will fuck with anyone. I’m with Clemens on this one. Toronto was owed.

Mother#$!@$ Panasonic.

My downward spiral continues. This Saturday, my $2600 TV blew out. I have a PT-50LC13, a Panasonic LCD rear projection unit. Apparently, I am not the only one with this problem, because there was a class action litigation regarding defective units such as mine. They even have a slick webpage – Anyway, you have to have your lamp blow 3 times in order to be eligible for (1) a $1000 rebate towards a TV $1500 or greater, or (2) a replacement set, using DLP technology (I have heard it is a 56″ DLP set). Well, thats special. Problem is, I have a problem with my ballast. Supposedly this is the thing that supplies adequate and controlled power to the lamp. Mine is blown, and its gonna cost me like $500 bucks to fix it. And I don’t think it’s covered by the settlement. I am not entirely sure whether or not the settlement, which was made in a state court in California, and of which I wasn’t properly notified of, is binding upon me. So I might take Panasonic to small claims court. Get ready, Bitches.

Why no ban on Chinese food imports?

The Pet Food Crisis. A few months ago, a scandal erupted when Americans discovered that hundreds of pet deaths in the United States were attributed to poisoned pet food manufactured in China. More than one pet food manufacturer was involved, it quickly became clear that the poisoning was intentional. More importantly though, it was clear that the substituting of one ingredient for another was intended as a cost-saving measure. In other words, it was completely profit based. Disgustingly, China denies blame out of one side of its mouth while out of the other side it takes action against the manufacturers. Wikipedia has a comprehensive summary of the pet food crisis if you want to read more.

Poisoned Toothpaste. Two days ago, the Times ran a story (free reg req’d) that toothpaste found in Panama and manufactured in China was found to have the poison diethylene glycol. That story followed on the heels of a previous instance in Panama where diethylene glycol marked as glycerin (a sweet syrup you find in all kinds of processed food), manufactured in China, was mixed into cold medicine, killing 100 people there. According to the article, deaths linked to food manufactured in China have occurred in Haiti, Bangladesh, Argentina, Nigeria and India. In fact, the same Chinese company implicated in the Haiti poisoning also shipped about 50 tons of counterfeit glycerin to the United States in 1995, to an American bulk pharmaceuticals manufacturer.

Poisoned food. In addition, hundreds of shipments containing thousands of tainted products including food products, medicines, dietary supplements, and cosmetics manufactured in China have been discovered by U.S. officials. While they stop a small percentage, a much larger percentage is making its way into American homes. Moreover, unscrupulous Chinese entrepreneurs callously ignore poultry and meat import bans to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds of tainted flesh.

So what the hell is the matter with our government? Why aren’t they trying to stop this? After all, isn’t the first function of a government to protect its people? After all, didn’t other first-world countries like Japan and the UK ban US beef after the mad cow scare?

According to the Washington Post article, the contemptible reason nothing is being done is money. Because our trade is so inextricably intertwined with China, and because Americans are so obsessed with the desire to import items in to China, we take a weak approach to exports out of China to the U.S.

The Math Ain’t Right. Fine, I get that our representatives lie prostrate in front of the Almighty Dollar. But here, even the math doesn’t make sense. According to the Post, agricultural exports to China total only $5 billion a year, while the Chinese enjoy a $232 billion annual trade surplus on the US. So where is the economic benefit? It seems to me we could kill two birds with one piece of pet food if we reduced the trade deficit with China by enforcing some REAL restrictions on the import of agricultural products. If you think that is a good idea, it takes only a quick call or email to your representative in order to let them know you care about not being poisoned by Chinese imports.

From April showers to May flowers

So the last week has been incredibly busy but I’ve got a much improved outlook on life. I was in DC for the last few days, and it was an exhausting, but very rewarding trip. Throw in a barbecue, a visit to my terrific parents, and a few accomplishments at work, and I am riding pretty high!

Washington, DC is a great town. I was there my summer after freshman year as an intern for Senator Pete Domenici (NM). I loved it so much I went back my sophomore summer, and took any old job, just so I could be back in the city! This was the second time I’ve been back since then. It has changed a lot, and I had a blast. We then took the long train ride (but not long enough that a flight is more convenient) back up to New York and had a championship barbecue. Then it was off to the races – the drinking races that is. Guess what? Everybody won!

I am very much a believer that positive and negative energy of people around me has a profound impact, and my experience yesterday reinforced that belief. Here is what happened:

It being Mother’s Day yesterday, I was in a flower shop in Chelsea’s Flower District picking out an arrangement for my Mom. Of course she was going to love it and then immediately scold me for spending any money on her, but it makes me happy too, so I do it anyway.

Back to the flower shop. Obviously it was very busy there, and I patiently waited for one of the staff to free up so I could get some help picking flowers, since its not my forte. The girl waiting in line behind me, however, was anxious and fidgety, sighing loudly and muttering under her breath as to the slow service. When I finally was up to bat, she actually interrupted the employee and me and asked “Are you the only person working here?,” to which the employee answered politely but firmly, “No, there are others working here, but we are very busy, and if you cannot wait then I am sorry.” In other words, wait your turn or leave. The customer responded by huffing and puffing, saying “You didn’t answer my question,” etc., but the message was clear. Turns out the employee wasn’t an ordinary employee, but the wife of the owner, and she wasn’t taking crap from anybody. And I don’t blame her one bit for replying like that.

But the effect was immediate. On what should have been a happy day, anxiety and stress had won out, and gloom had entered like a fog. What bothered the employees (I’m sure) was that they were working hard and it was thankless. So I opened up with the assistant handling my arrangement by joking “Slow day, huh?” It lightened her mood and the other employee next to her. I continued about how I was surprised that it was so stressful here since it was a beautiful day and we were picking out beautiful flowers – and what could be stressful about that? I was kind and helped out the owner by handing her a box when everyone else was clearly occupied. I talked flowers and showed genuine interest in the arranger and her profession. The gestures worked, and suddenly everyone was in a better mood. Even the unhappy customer, who was within earshot, was calmer and was no longer acting annoyed (or annoying). Probably because even she knew any outward exhibition of her bad attitude would be amplified by my kind one.

In any case, I believe deeply that a rising tide lifts all ships, and even more reliably, a falling tide lowers them. I’ve had incessantly negative people in my life and learned that ultimately the only way is to let them go. I even believe that even when you are depressed, if you can trick yourself long enough into believing that you aren’t, you can squeak by just long enough for things to actually change for the better. And just as often, the perception becomes reality. Positive people are absolutely essential for my well-being.

What are your thoughts?