Danny, We Hardly Knew Ye

St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was completed and consecrated in 1799. It is one of those old buildings you come across all the time in the city. More prominent than most, its architecture and the skewed angle in which it sits next to Second Avenue ensures it will not ever fade into the background. In a city that boasts thousands of buildings competing for the eye’s attention, anything that busts through the mold has an instant leg up on the competition. Continue reading “Danny, We Hardly Knew Ye”

Turd Blossom Hits the Bricks

If ever there were evidence that President Bush has become a lame duck, it would have to be Karl Rove’s departure from his administration. A man Bush has referred to as “the architect,” Rove was exactly that. Where Vice President Cheney wields immense power in the foreign policy sphere, Rove managed what he so lovingly called the “permanent Republican majority” here at home. Alas, that did not come to pass. Continue reading “Turd Blossom Hits the Bricks”

Bugle Call?

Draft. There’s that word again. From the mouths of generals to the souls of babes, a military draft has about as much weight to it as any other subject in this country. And for good reason. In many respects, being forced to serve in a nation’s military is the most vile form of subjugation. A normally peaceful person can be forced to pick up arms, fight and kill for a cause for which they have no belief. But, in the face of existential threats, a military draft becomes necessary to ensure the survival of the nation. The sacrifices that we demand of the draftee become secondary to the fate of all of us. That’s quite a burden to place on a person who did not sign on the dotted line voluntarily. And that is why there has not been a draft in over thirty years. Continue reading “Bugle Call?”

Morning Ritual

We pulled into Union Square and the doors slid open. Two-thirds of the passengers all swarmed the doors. There was no mad rush, however. How could there be? No room. But there was a press. An inexorable shove. Anxiety grew with every half second still stuck in the car. Every one of these ticks was one closer until the conductor would hit the switch, and the barnyard door would try to snap shut, about a hundred pounds of torque on anyone who hadn’t quite made it through. One second, two seconds, three, and any progress towards the waiting platform is impeded by the asshole with the book and the iPod blocking half the doorway. Continue reading “Morning Ritual”

Do Not Trust Them

The most benevolent government on the face of the earth still needs laws and restrictions to prevent it from abusing the rights of its citizens. In a democracy like the United States, these restraints are doubly necessary, due to the transitory nature of our leadership. Successive administrations are subject to the same laws. Removing the levers of power from angels does the same for demons. Continue reading “Do Not Trust Them”

Collateral Damage

Terrorists set off explosives among a civilian throng celebrating the Iraqi national football team’s semifinal victory in the Asia Cup, and dozens of civilians are killed. American warplanes bomb a suspected terrorist gathering, which turns out to be a wedding reception or any such innocuous event, and dozens of civilians are killed. What is different about these two circumstances, and scores like them over the past years? Continue reading “Collateral Damage”

Nothing in the West

When I was young, I didn’t care for the west. Actually, I hated it. It seemed to me the land of the dead. The desert was dry, dirty, devoid of anything other than the most prickly of life. And it was hot. Unbelievably hot. I was nine when I stepped off a plane in Phoenix for the first time. There was a jetway, but there was a small gap between the jetway and the aircraft door. As I moved from plane to jetway, my eyes opened wide and my mouth gaped. I uttered a childish ‘whoop!’ as I was blasted by a stream of superheated air. I had never felt something so hot before in my life. It was akin to a supercharged hair dryer. I couldn’t understand why the Phoenix airport felt it necessary to blow hot air on passengers as they left the plane. What devilish art was this? Why was it done? Were they trying to blow dust off the plane, or something else? I had no idea. Until I was led out of the concourse and into the parking lot towards my uncle’s car. Of course the hot air wasn’t the machinations of man, it was merely Arizona in August. Continue reading “Nothing in the West”

Mike Bloomberg Will Never Be President

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he has dropped his tenuous affiliation with the Republican Party, becoming an independent. This news has the political junkies all atwitter, as it now appears the 2008 presidential race has a bona fide dark horse candidate. Bloomberg made no accompanying announcement that he has indeed entered the race, but he has spent a good deal of his time the past few months raising his national profile, and rhetorically challenging Republican and Democratic leadership in Washington. Continue reading “Mike Bloomberg Will Never Be President”

An American Parable: Life’s Too Good for Fighting

Last month, the United States Army missed its recruiting goal of 5,500 new recruits by almost 400. The army cited the war in Iraq, and a strong economy, as reasons they fell short of the goal. It’s understandable that young people would be wary of joining the army during wartime. Even more so while we wage a war that is so unpopular and fruitless. But by citing economic factors in explaining the recruiting shortfall, the army is being refreshingly candid, something that politicians would do well to take note of. It has never been a secret that the United States has depended heavily upon those less fortunate to bear the burden of national defense. Military pay is low, the hours are long, and during a war, the risks are high. We have every reason to be proud of those who sign on the dotted line and put on the uniform, but it is unseemly that so many people take a hard look at their lives and feel getting shipped off to war is a better alternative. That alone is evidence we still have some nation building to do here at home.