Sunday, February 27, 2005

Subway Riding Part Two

This urban planner that I just met was explaining to me that the MTA is a state agency whose head is appointed by the Governor, so there really isn't any difference between The MTA and Pataki. "The MTA is Pataki," he said, and when Hevesi goes after them for mismanagement he's being a clever Democrat who's showing the people of NY that he's "looking out for us" - although of course that may be all about image and not much about substance. Aha! so, I didn't understand this at all when I made my last post, as I thought that the MTA was a city agency that was being starved by the state, sort of like CUNY, which also doesn't get enough money and then makes up the differences through tuition hikes and reduced services (such as cutting the counseling services).
Given that, I'm a bit confused about the way that the Straphangers' campaign is presenting the problems. What's the long story behind their backing of the five year capital plan? Some of the people on the "riders' diaries" on their page seem to see the whole plan as a boon-doggle while others feel that the Governor is on the right track. I don't get it. I hope that some expert in local politics who's reading will weigh in with an informed opinion here.

Meanwhile....in other news:
The weekend edition of Counterpunch is especially good today, and features an interesting, if
typically distressing article by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky mentioned this plan of the scary military-industrial complex types to put nuclear weapons in space the last time I heard him speak in NYC, about a year and 1/2 ago, and yet, as he points out in the article, despite plans to move ahead w/the strategies, there has been virtually no news coverage of it at all.
Also in this issue is an article about the royal coup in Nepal. The only problem with this article is that it assumes a good deal of prior knowledge of the Nepalese/British/and Indian politics, and unfortunately, I'm guessing most Americans don't know a lot. This would include me, although I went on a NJrve date last Summer with someone who explained a little bit to me about the Maoists, and the royalists and the rest. He had some interesting things to say about the role that the Buddhists play in the economy there, as well, but I didn't know enough from other sources to be able to evaluate any of what he said. I wrote to Chandra, and I'll post his response here if I get one. Counterpunch authors usually respond personally to letters, which makes me feel special. In fact, Alexander Cockburn, in this week's column, quoted extensively from several readers. Now, isn't that a nice way to run an online magazine?
Oh right, how could I forget? There's going to be a super-duper important and expensive awards show on TV tonight. I'm sure that will be the headline coverage on Monday's mainstream news shows. And the more people who do cover it, the more that people feel it's news and that they need to actually watch it. It's such a scam, although I've usually watched it, mostly in hope that someone will say something against American foreign policy. This year, because certain people would only go see movies at the Film Forum, I've barely seen any of the movies that are nominated, but I think that this is a good thing, generally.

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