Archive for the tag 'barack obama'

marine-one

Marine One, a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King carrying President Obama, flew over West End Avenue apartment buildings on Friday. Also, a bird.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): The neighborhood received a presidential flyover this week, with President Barack Obama soaring over Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach on his way to some fundraisers Thursday. He took off from John F. Kennedy airport with three choppers – Marine One and an escort of a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King and an Osprey. Cool fact: the Osprey attachment, pictured below and which carries Secret Service, White House staff and reporters, is ultra-lux, decked out with leather seats and other amenities. Fits right in with Brighton Beach, no? His trip home was delayed due to a suspicious package at the White House. No matter what your political persuasion, seeing these in the air is pretty badass.

Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

We have real osprey’s in Jamaica Bay, but here’s that big, ol’ metal one with leather seats flying over the Manhattan Beach building I’ve always referred to as Saddam’s other palace:

marine-osprey

I bet Obama hates this painting, which hangs in an Indian art gallery, as much as he hates our children. (Source: ssquah.blogspot.com)

I bet Obama hates this painting, which hangs in an Indian art gallery, as much as he hates our children. (Source: ssquah.blogspot.com)

It might be the worst thing President Barack Obama has ever done.

The commander-in-chief is neglecting to make time for teenagers from Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L), who were crowned national student chess champions, winning the title for the eighth time this April.

While Barry Obama has made time for the San Francisco Giants, the Indiana Fever, and even the 1972 Miami Dolphins, he’s got no time for pawn-pushers – even if his predecessor did meet with the team in 2004.

New York Daily News has got the scoop:

[Coach Eliot] Weiss has made numerous requests of the White House via email and post, but has been rejected each time — and each time, the White House suggests that the leader of the free world is just too busy.

“Due to the volume of inquiries and the time constraints of his schedule, the President must decline the majority of meeting requests he receives,” the White House wrote to Weiss in October. “We have reviewed your invitation, and unfortunately, President Obama will be unable to accommodate your request for a meeting.”

It’s particular distressing, Weiss said, because Murrow’s 2013 victory may have been its greatest, with the pride of Midwood besting 1,500 teams from 49 states at the tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

… As leaders themselves, Weiss’ team members know how important an Oval Office could be to their sport and their school.

“A meeting with President Obama could have a positive effect in this neighborhood and even the borough,” said Alexis Paredes, 17, a senior and star player who is originally from Moscow and ranks as an international master. “So many schools have great basketball teams or soccer teams, but not many schools can say they chess team that has won so many nationals.”

While the U.S. President isn’t saying much for himself, Brooklyn’s Borough President Marty Markowitz has a mouthful for him.

“Edward R. Murrow High School and the surrounding Midwood community are understandably proud to be home to America’s reigning ‘kings and queens’ of chess,” the borough president told the News. “Our borough has a growing tradition of excellence in ‘the royal game.’ which also includes the stars of ‘Brooklyn Castle’ in Bushwick. They are all stellar role models of mental mastery, and we here in Brooklyn celebrate their triumphs both day and ‘knight’!”

We have no idea what the president could be doing that’s more important than this.

Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

The racial diversity of Brookyn (Source: University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service)

It might be hard to believe but every single pixelated dot represented on the map above is a person living in Brooklyn in 2010 and the colors correspond to their race. Dustin Cable, a senior research associate at the University of Virgina’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, created the interactive map using data from the 2010 census.

The zoomable “Racial Dot Map,” astonishingly places a different colored dot for everyone of the 308,745,538 people tracked in the last census. Incredibly, according to a report by National Geographic, if you zoom to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the location of the White House, you see can see 5 green dots (representing black Americans) signifying the first family and Barack Obama’s mother-in-law.

More locally, we can see how race fans out over Brooklyn. The predominantly white population (represented by blue dots) of Sea Gate abruptly gives way to the black, Hispanic (orange) and Asian (red) enclaves of Coney Island. The western section Brighton Beach is almost entirely white. A mix of Asian and Hispanic people are tucked neatly away in the land side of Brighton Beach, away from the more desirable waterfront, while the majority of Manhattan Beach is clearly made up of white people.

Sheepshead Bay is actually surprisingly integrated. It’s predominantly white but blended – especially as you approach Avenue U – with smaller pockets of Asian and Hispanic people lining the edges. We’re not particularly integrated when it comes to black Americans, though, which are appear confined to the greenish, orangish square of the Sheepshead-Nostrand Housing projects.

It’s quite the eye opener to see just how Asian and Hispanic the historically Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst has become. Anecdotally, and through census numbers, we know the area has transitioned drastically over the years, but seeing it visualized like this brings it to life. Bath Beach and the Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst border are real bastions of integration, if only because it’s still in flux.

Surprisingly, based on the unscientific eyeball test, some of the most diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn are Red Hook, Park Slope and South Slope (which we’re not entirely committed to recognizing as a real neighborhood yet).

Another interesting note is that the further you zoom out, the more you see the colors blend in ways that indicate greater diversity. Purple and teal colors signify great diversity and when the map is pushed back to reveal the entire tri-state area, it is clear that Brooklyn and New York City is mostly a purplish blob. This is evident in most metropolitan areas across the United States. Still, the closer you zoom in, the more you can racial divides, even on a street by street basis. Interesting stuff, indeed.

You can play around with the map by clicking here.

UPDATE (August 30 @ 3:32 p.m.): In response to a request from bill, in the comments, I’ve attempted to overlay district lines on the map above. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close and the best I was able to do:

district-census-overlay2

It was actually a great suggestion that helps us visualize exactly how districts were shaped to either bolster representation of some ethnic groups (either to match requirements set by the Voting Rights Act or concentrate a voting base, depending on your perspective), and to diminish others.

Some examples? Looks like Bensonhurst’s Asian community was divided up among four different council districts. In Sheepshead Bay, the housing projects by Nostrand Avenue, once part of the 48th District, were drawn into the 46th, pretty much removing all of the black vote from the district and putting it safely in a minority-majority district.

This is probably one of the most politically enlightening maps I’ve seen yet, so thanks to bill for suggesting we put it together.

Source: 10000birds.com

Source: 10000birds.com

Federal and city officials announced the formation of an ambitious new research group that will focus its studies on the area in and around Jamaica Bay. According to a press release, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the forming of the Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute (JBSRI), a project led by the City the University of New York (CUNY).

The JBSRI’s main focus centers around the natural storm defense barriers of Jamaica Bay, which include tidal wetlands, salt marshes and dunes. The hope is that a more extensive study of these barriers will allow officials and scientists to replicate them in other areas. The home base for the JBSRI will initially be located at Brooklyn College until a $3 million center is built by Jamaica Bay.

Bloomberg hoped that the new research project would also lead to an overall strengthening of Jamaica Bay itself.

“Jamaica Bay is one of the greatest natural treasures any city has within its borders, and our Administration is working hard to make the bay an even greater, stronger, and more resilient natural resource for decades to come. The new consortium we’re announcing today is an all-star team of research institutions and non-profits who will do important work to protect and preserve urban ecosystems from development and from the effects of climate change,” Bloomberg said in the release.

In agreeing with mayor, Jewell stressed that the research done at Jamaica Bay would serve as a model for fighting global warming and climate change.

“And now, in CUNY and their academic partners, we have a consortium of world-class institutions to advance our understanding of climate change and its impact on our natural systems. Working together, we will develop and coordinate approaches to coastal resiliency for Jamaica Bay that can serve as a model for communities around the world threatened by climate change,” Jewell said.

Interim CUNY Chancellor William Kelly promised groundbreaking science in this latest effort.

“Together with our distinguished partners, we will engage in a groundbreaking effort to revitalize the Jamaica Bay ecosystem. This will include extensive research to enhance our understanding of the ecosystem and its resilience, and the coordination and implementation of a comprehensive revitalization and restoration program for Jamaica Bay and the entire watershed,” Kelly said.

The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement by the Obama administration which looked to establish Jamaica Bay as a hotspot for hiking, biking, boating and camping. The goal of that plan is to put places like Jamaica Bay on par with the nation’s most popular national parks, in an effort to expand the accessibility and popularity of national parks located near big cities.

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuse. Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. (Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr)

The Obama administration is looking to transform Jamaica Bay and other parks located in urban areas, into hotspots for hiking, biking, boating and camping, putting them on par with the nation’s most popular national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. The Queens Chronicle is reporting that the US Department of Interior and the National Parks Service (NPS) announced a general management plan for Jamaica Bay and the Gateway National Recreational Area that would turn the area, especially the Brooklyn parts, into major hubs for outdoors activity.

The Queens Chronicle described some of the plans proposed by the NPS:

Among the ideas being proposed in the NPS’s preferred plan are increased opportunities for camping in and around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and means of connection, such as bike lanes and trails, between sites around Gateway like Charles Park and Hamilton Park, which would also be eyed for “small-scaled” visitor centers that may include food and bicycle vendors — a plan proposed by the Parks Department to Community Board 10 in April that was shot down because board members wanted to see the park, notorious for being dilapidated and dirty, given an overhaul first.

Many of the drastic changes were proposed for parts of Brooklyn, such as Floyd Bennett Field, Plumb Beach and Canarsie Pier, and the Rockaways, where Fort Tilden would become a major hub for park activities…

The plan also includes suggestions for improving infrastructure, and dealing with the post-Sandy reality of flood risk. In the proposal the NPS outlines plans to construct new buildings to meet the flood elevation criteria set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and build roads that have sufficient drainage and can be passable in a flood.

NPS’s management plan also calls for increased public transportation — including ferries and better train service — to the area to bring visitors in from Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

While environmentalists were pleased on the NPS’s plans to get people excited about the parks, Don Riepe, president of the American Littoral Society, cautioned that conservation should remain the top priority when it comes to the parks.

“My only concern is that I feel that there should be a major focus on protecting natural resources,” Riepe told the Queens Chronicle. “The recreation is fine. I think they should get their house in order. I’m asking ‘Who is going to manage it? Are the resources going to suffer?’”

Park of the Obama administration’s goal in pouring money into urban park environments is to get city kids to connect with nature.

The plan also stems from the Obama administration’s desire to pour more resources into federal parkland in or close to major cities — part of the White House’s larger plan to bring inner-city children to the outdoors.

In October 2011, then-U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mayor Bloomberg signed the agreement in Marine Park, Brooklyn that allowed the two entities to coordinate management of Gateway, which was created in 1972 as an attempt to protect and restore New York’s coastal wetlands that had been severely damaged by industrial pollution during the previous century.

“We are asking ‘How do we connect urban populations to the outdoors?’” Salazar said in 2011. “New York may be the greatest opportunity we have.”

The Queens Chronicle laid out information for the public comment period and other open house meetings for the federal plans:

Public comment is being accepted on the proposal online at parkplanning.nps.gov, where the entire plan can be downloaded and read. Open houses discussing the plan are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ryan Visitor Center in Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

There has been a media parade in recent days calling for Anthony Weiner to quit running for mayor. Ever since the ‘Carlos Danger’ revelations become public, a slew of media sources have been speculating and recommending that Weiner exit the race but thus far, Weiner has remained defiant.

A New York Times report listed several prominent national figures calling for Weiner to leave the race including top Obama aide David Axelrod:

“At this point, it’s absurd,” David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama, said during an appearance on “Meet the Press” on NBC, which devoted a segment to Mr. Weiner’s scandal between reports on the American economy and tumult in Egypt.

“He is not going to be the next mayor of New York; he is wasting time and space,” added Mr. Axelrod, who had no qualms about his animus toward Mr. Weiner. “It’s time for him to go away and let New York have its mayor’s race.”

Polls have also showed that Weiner’s support has sunk, dropping him to fourth place. Even Sydney Leathers, the woman Weiner had been ‘sexting’ with, expressed her thoughts that Weiner is unqualified to be mayor, albeit very obnoxiously.

“As funny as it would be to have a mayor Carlos Danger,” Leathers told Howard Stern, “I think he’s a little to busy jacking off to do anything for the city.”

Still, in the end, news editors, prominent national political leaders and even Sydney Leathers, an Indiana resident, do not get to decide if Weiner should be mayor. That is a right reserved for the people of New York, and it still remains to be seen where they stand. And when Weiner resigned from Congress, he did it at the behest of his colleagues and media voices – not those of his constituents, who likely would have reelected him despite the scandal.

That is why we are putting up a modest poll asking you, actual New Yorkers, whether or not Weiner should quit the race.

I’ll get the discussion rolling by letting you know how I voted. I think Weiner should stay in. Weiner has done nothing illegal and his wife, Huma Abedin, has forgiven him. And on a more technical note, I have heard worse stories of marital indiscretion in real life and in the world of politics. There are things about this case we may never know. Maybe Weiner’s wife always knew of Weiner’s predilection for phone and internet sex and simply didn’t care. There is no story or evidence that Weiner ever actually cheated on her. Are we really going to judge a man for the way he ‘gets off’ especially when his wife, who is the only person it should really concern, has excused him?

The list of politicians throughout American history who have betrayed their wives in one way or another is practically endless. Some of the best presidents in our history have cheated on their wives while some of the worst have remained faithful. In the end, has all the hysteria over the private sex lives of politicians done anything but sell tabloids, newspapers and give professional bloviators another opportunity to stand on soap boxes and spout hypocritical nonsense over the sanctity of god knows what?

Sex isn’t going away, unless the human race does, and by extension, politicians are never going away. I personally find it ridiculous how the Weiner ‘scandal’ has gotten so much attention, especially when New York state politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are swimming in accusations of corruption and graft. What do you think?

David Storobin. Photo By Erica Sherman

David Storobin. Photo By Erica Sherman

City Council Candidate David Storobin issued a strongly worded op-ed piece in NYC Elects concerning the reaction to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, admonishing those who, in his opinion, are stoking fears to score political points. Here is Storobin’s editorial in full:

In 1937, my great-grandfather Baruch was having dinner with his wife and 8 children in a small Belarus shtetl when he heard a door knock. The sight of him leaving the kitchen to go open the door was the last time his wife and kids saw him, as he was arrested by the NKVD for espionage. For twenty years, his wife was writing to find out his fate, the last of which begged, “Five of our sons died fighting for this country in World War II. The others aren’t asking for Baruch to be let out. We just want to know if he is alive.”

My grandfather, a WWII hero, died never knowing what happened to his dad. We only found out in 2009 that Baruch was accused of espionage and when he refused to confess, was tortured to death. Then the dead man was somehow still convicted because that is what the Soviet politicians wanted.

This is why I’m a lawyer. And this is why I abhor the conduct of the Democratic Party politicians who are fanning the flames of race-baiting in the George Zimmerman case.

The man has been found Not Guilty. That’s the difference between the US and the Soviet Union – a jury independent of the politicians, a defendant who has real rights. No, dear liberals, nobody cares what you think. You did not hear the full extent of the evidence, only a few clips from whatever side you chose to hear it from. Your conduct in condemning the jury and assigning to these people the worst qualities, including racism, is shameful.

The facts stand: 1) On July 13, 2013, the jury found the defendant not guilty; 2) On March 12, 2012, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman. 3) On June 12, 2012 the Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator Chris Serino said that his investigation had turned up no reliable evidence that cast doubt on Zimmerman’s account, that he had acted in self-defense. “The best evidence we have is the testimony of George Zimmerman, and he says the decedent was the primary aggressor in the whole event, everything I have is adding up to what he says.”

For a strange reason, a special prosecutor was appointed to this case, an extremely rare occurrence, particularly where the defendant is not a politician. Then the prosecutor refused to allow the Grand Jury to hear whether the defendant should be indicted or not. And even the President decided to chime in on this to try to sway justice!

Let me make it very clear: Democratic Party is trying to score political points by getting their base excited using language that can only divide our communities. There is no other reason for the shameful, abhorrent conduct of all the liberals in the media and in politics. The verdict is not guilty. Liberals, stop dividing us to win elections!

It should be noted that although candidates running for mayor and for other city positions have issued statements regarding the Zimmerman case, no Democratic candidate in the 48th City Council district race, for which Storobin is running, has issued any message regarding the matter.

Park Ranger Colleen Sorbera Set Coley Free (Source: jamaicabayosprey.org)

The privacy of Coley, the majestic Osprey, has finally been restored after months of intense and warrentless  government tracking. Coley’s release was seen as a calculated move by the Obama administration in their overall effort to quiet critical response to the revelations that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed the Associated Press’s phone records. Park rangers tracking Coley removed the GPS tracker attached to his leg, according to scientists updating the status of the bird.

Outside of being caught in the middle of a brewing Washington scandal, Coley has had an eventful year. Highlights included his winter migration to sunny Colombia, his dramatic flight back to Jamaica Bay, the discovery of his loose GPS tracker that if left unchecked could have endangered him and his mating habits, which has produced a new family of little ospreys.

Lately, the priority set by Coley’s trackers was the removal of his GPS tracker, which they successfully managed after weeks of difficulty in catching him. It took several attempts, but once park rangers finally nabbed him, they were able to safely remove the tracker, which hadn’t hurt him, and set him free.

With Coley set loose, the scientists now plan to track a new osprey to help complete their research. Whether or not the government researchers get direct permission from the future osprey in question remains to be seen.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

Let the river of green flow. After reversing their decision to bar Sandy aid reimbursements to those who had spent out of pocket money on home repairs last week, the city sent their revised plans to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for federal approval. SI Live is now reporting that those plans were approved and the first round of Community Development Block Grants, which total $1.77 billion, will be unleashed.

This first round of spending will be focused on housing, businesses and infrastructure, primarily on costs not covered by insurance companies. Approximately $838 million is expected to be spent on a plethora of housing programs and $415 million will be spent on economic revitalization programs.

Shaun Donovan, who is the secretary of HUD and chairs President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce announced that the funding will have safeguards to protect against misuse.

“[HUD has] imposed internal controls and accountability measures … to ensure that all funds are used as intended — to help families, small businesses and communities get back on their feet and rebuild.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo signaled optimism at the announcement.

“[It's a] tremendous boost of support for homeowners, businesses and local governments that lost so much in Superstorm Sandy.”

Source: Jhawk/Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Happy Holidays to our seniors. Here are a few of the benefits that the re-election of Obama has made possible for you:

The ‘Donut Hole’ is Being Eliminated: Seniors are responsible for a co-pay of their prescription drugs as well as for 100 percent of these medicines until they have paid an amount, known as the ‘gap,’ or ‘donut hole.’ This gap was projected to be $6,000 by the year 2020. Now, it will be totally eliminated by 2020. In 2010, Medicare recipients who hit the donut hole received a $250 rebate. In 2011, recipients received a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs, as well as a discount on generic drugs. (In New York for 2012, 126,907 seniors are projected to save an average of $663.)

Annual Wellness Visits are Now Free: There are no deductibles or co-payments for essential preventive care such as screenings for pelvic exams, pap smears, or diabetes or prostate cancer.

Hospital Stay Policy: Many times a patient will pick up a condition they did not have before being admitted to the hospital. The new policy will reduce payments to hospitals that are in the bottom 25 percent of patients contracting new health conditions after being admitted.

‘Readmissions Reduction Program’: If a patient is readmitted for the same or similar condition shortly after being discharged, the hospital will have a ‘payment adjustment’ from Medicare.

Purchase of Durable Medical Aids: The cost is reduced significantly by allowing competitive bidding for the purchase of items such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and nebulizers.

Support for Women: As of the policy renewal date on or after August 1, 2012, women will receive free preventive care for: wellness visits; gestational diabetes screening; ‘domestic and interpersonal’ violence screening and counseling; contraceptives as well as contraceptive education and counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling; HPV DNA testing (over age 29); sexually transmitted infections counseling; HIV screening and counseling; as well as mammograms, cholesterol screenings, and flu shots. (More info at www.healthcare.gov/prevention.)

Nursing Home Short-Term Medicare Coverage Progress Not Required: If a Medicare-covered patient has a chronic condition like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, or stroke, Medicare coverage will continue, even if no improvement is shown. The coverage is still limited to 100 days, and only if skilled nursing care is required, but improvement is no longer a part of the equation.

‘Extra Help’ Program: This is estimated to be worth about $4,000 a year. The program requires the person to be receiving Medicare, enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan, have Medicare Part A and/or Part B, no more than $26,120 in savings, investments, and real estate if living with a spouse, $13,070 if not married or not living with spouse.

Personal homes, vehicles, personal possessions, life insurance, or burial plots are not counted towards that amount.

Protection of Patients who are Gay, etc.: Hospitals (including the V.A.) are mandated to grant visitation rights to gay men and lesbians. In addition, medical decisions for partners will be easier to make.

Medicare Prescription Drug Premium: There will be no increase in the Medicare prescription drug premium for the third straight year, which is about $30 a month.

Community Health Centers: These centers provide comprehensive and quality primary health care to communities which are medically underserved. Their plan is provide support services like education, translation, and transportation to promote access to health care. These services are available to the entire community, with fees adjusted based upon the ability to pay. Of the $128.6 million in new grants, L’Refuah Medical and Rehabilitation Center, the only one in Brooklyn, received $650,000.

Congress is now trying to figure out how to pay for this. Any thoughts?

Tax Tip: CP-2000 for Individuals and Businesses: Although there have been a number of CP-2000 notices telling taxpayers that some information reported to the IRS is not shown on their 2011 tax returns, many more are scheduled to be sent out this month. Last year, the IRS sent about 4.7 million notices, of which about half were not correct. In addition to notices to individuals, this year many businesses will receive letters because their credit card sales are less than their reported gross sales. (Want more tax tips. Sign up at www.TaxHelp1040.com.)

Joseph Reisman, of Joseph S. Reisman & Associates, has been serving tax prep and business accounting expertise from his Coney Island Avenue office for more than 25 years. Check out the firm’s website.

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