Why I’m Supporting Bernie Sanders

O decision we make as Americans more dramatically affects the direction of our country than our choice for president. He or she is more than the manager of the executive branch, commander in chief or appointer of judges. The president reflects, but also helps define, our national values, priorities and direction.

After considering the biggest challenges facing our nation and the future I want for my children and our country, I have decided to become the first member of the Senate to support my colleague Bernie Sanders for president.

I grew up in working-class Oregon. On a single income, my parents could buy a home, take a vacation and help pay for college. My father worked with his hands as a millwright and built a middle-class life for us.

By Jeff Merkley, The New York Times


Higher Education student experience conference

Dearest Someone,


Currently I’m in Belgium at a conference exploring the European First Year Experience within higher education, with topics covering matters such as social aspects, academic aspects as well as health and wellbeing. At the moment I’m sat in the canteen of a pretty ace international college, drinking coffee with my colleagues, and awaiting the next session. I feel incredibly comfortable, and of course inspired. I never anticipated that wellbeing would be so highly integrated within the sessions throughout the conference. But of course wellbeing and stress management is such an important aspect of the transition for a first year university student.

Working within a university with over 24,000 students, as well as previously being a student myself has allowed me to get a pretty hands on experience and knowledge of adapting to and dealing with university life – primarily dealing with the stresses of being a student (as well as external…

View original post 163 more words

PHAROAH SANDERS: live at Jazz Cafe London

Jazz You Too

Pharoah Sanders has a rich and heavy sound, one of the rawest and most disturbing of the jazz scene, Pharoah is glorified by free jazz lovers, he kept that aggressiveness and immoderate passion. His latest more mature music touches lyricism, exploring gentler and more rational paths without losing the intensity of an apprentice to Coltrane. Coltrane after listening to a Pharoah’s engagement at the Village Gate, invited him to play with his band, Sanders has never become an official member of Coltrane’s ensemble. Before meeting Coltrane, Sanders went through a very difficult period in his life, unable to make a living with his music he had to pawn his saxophone and he even slept on the subway.  His first record as a leader was in 1964, Coltrane’s death was in 1967, his legacy of experimentalism and spiritualism still resonates today, many claimed to be the next Coltrane, Sanders was able…

View original post 35 more words

Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 Is Actually Happening (and Making Progress)

Just weeks after allocating an additional $66 million in funding for the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway, the MTA is actually doing something with that momentum: The organization announced that it will seek requests for proposals (RFPs) “for the first three contracts, which include design, environmental and community outreach services.” The first two will deal with the actual infrastructure of the station, while the third will involve getting community input on the project (including the staffing of a Community Information Center, similar to the one that opened on Second Avenue in 2013).

The second part of the long-delayed subway line will extend from the northernmost point of the first phase, at 96th Street, to stops at 106th, 116th, and 125th street. The first phase, which is due to open in December of this year (fingers crossed), will run from 96th to 63rd street.

“Our goal is to fast-track Phase 2 to every extent possible, and if these efforts to speed up the project timetable are successful, the MTA will amend our Capital Program and seek additional funds to begin heavy construction sooner,” MTA head Thomas Prendergast said in a press release. The agency is hoping to award contracts by the summer, though it didn’t give any sort of timetable for when construction on this phase might actually begin. (Our guess: later rather than sooner.)


Sanders and Clinton Square Off in Brooklyn, Who Won?

The ‘Brooklyn Brawl’ is shaping up to be toughest debate yet

t didn’t take but a minute for Bernie Sanders to suggest Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was a liar, as the pair clashed Thursday night in yet another debate.

From there, the night only got more heated. Sanders hit Clinton on trade deals and foreign affairs. Clinton hit back by pointing to Sanders’ disastrous interview with editors at the New York Daily News. It was the feistiest debate yet, and the night could leave each candidate badly bruised as they hobble toward another two months of primaries.

Clinton at one point late in the debate seemed to marvel that Sanders continued to challenge her, even as his pathway to the nomination was closing. “Describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it,” Clinton said.

The increasingly acidic tone of the Democratic primary barreled into Brooklyn as the two debated for a ninth time. After months of benign—and, at times, banal—debates on substance, the Democrats have finally started to catch up with their Republican counterparts in terms of pointed jabs. The increasingly antagonistic timbre of the race mirrors Sanders’ increasingly difficult pathway to winning the nomination. (To be fair, Democrats are still miles away from the GOP brawl that has featured Donald Trump describing his genitals during one memorable debate.)

Still, it was a stunning start. “We’re doing something truly radical. We’re telling the American people the truth,” Sanders began the night. It was a less-than-subtle suggestion that Clinton was not doing the same. As the night progressed, he shouted over the former Secretary of State and repeatedly cut her off. He then went in for the kill over a 1990s quote from Clinton. “It was a racist term and everyone knew it was a racist term,” Sanders said, casting her support for her husband’s crime bill as implicit racism.

“We recognized that we have a set of problems that we cannot ignore and we must address,” Clinton said, saying the crime bill Sanders was referencing had unintended consequences for minority communities.

Clinton also came ready to parry. She then urged voters to read his transcript from a meeting with New York Daily News editors, in which Sanders was woefully under-prepared. “Talk about judgment. Talk about the kinds of problems he had answering questions about his core issue, breaking up the banks,” Clinton said.

Trying to shrug it off, Sanders repeated his claim that Clinton was too cozy with Wall Street—an industry she represented for eight years as a Senator from New York. Yet when asked for an example, Sanders could not. “Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs,” Sanders said.

Clinton, who collected hefty checks as a speaker, said Sanders was simply wrong. “This is a phony attack that is designed to raise questions when there is no evidence or support,” Clinton said. “He cannot come up with any example because there is no example.”

In one of the most remarkable moments in the debate, one perhaps unprecedented in recent presidential politics, Sanders pointedly challenged Clinton’s support for Israel, saying that the United States needs to be less “one-sided” in its support of the Middle Eastern democracy. Sanders’ line was a significant departure from the usual American line, which requires candidates to pay lip service to the United States’ commitment to Israel.

“You gave a major speech at AIPAC that obviously deals with the Middle East peace crisis,” Sanders said, “And you barely mentioned the Palestinians.”

Sanders said that Israel’s response to the Gaza missile attacks in 2014 was “disproportionate.” Clinton, however, did not directly address that charge, but noted that she had been critical of Israeli leaders in her State Department memoirs.

Gone was the once-civil tone between the Democrats. Bitter sniping from Sanders has driven the race in recent days. He called Clinton too “ambitious” and unqualified to be the President. Clinton has responded by casting him as a pie-in-the-sky idealist with zero understanding of how Washington actually works. Clinton defended her statements that Vermont guns were fueling New York violence. Sanders said Clinton was an unreliable ally for workers, and he was their only champion. Their supporters, meanwhile, are digging in, urging them to continue their fight all the way to the Democrats’ nominating convention in Philadelphia.

“Does Secretary Clinton have the experience and intelligence to be President? Of course she does. But I do question her judgment,” Sanders said. He went on to criticize her record on trade, foreign policy and campaign finance. “I don’t believe that is the kind of judgment we need to be the kind of President we need.”

Clinton laughed at Sanders’ suggestion that she was unqualified. “I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime. That was a first,” Clinton said. “President Obama trusted my judgment enough to be Secretary of State.”

The debate, broadcast on CNN, is likely the last time the pair will meet. The negotiations over the debate itself played out publicly, with the typically behind-the-scenes dealing becoming a proxy fight for the Democratic Party itself. Officials at the Democratic National Committee were exasperated by the whole process and were only half-heartedly considering adding more debates between the two warring candidates.


Philip Elliott, TIME

Americans Spend 30 Billion Hours a Year Commuting. And It’s Killing Them

Commuting can be one of the most frustrating parts of having a job — a dull, talk-radio-filled, coffee-fueled drive every morning with all the other schmucks on the road.

I experienced it once while living in North Carolina: an awful slog through traffic lights and sprawl that annoyed me so much that I moved. Now, my commute is on foot, an easy mile walk to downtown Seattle, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainer. Rather than dread my commute, I enjoy it. But I am one of the lucky few.

According to a new study, the average American spends 26 minutes traveling to work each way, and for over 80 percent of Americans, that time is spent in a car, usually alone. And the worse part is, it’s only getting longer. The Washington Post reports that 26 minute is:

the longest it’s been since the Census began tracking this data in 1980. Back then the typical commute was only 21.7 minutes. The average American commute has gotten nearly 20 percent longer since then.According to the Census, there were a little over 139 million workers commuting in 2014. At an average of 26 minutes each way to work, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that works out to something like a total of 1.8 trillion minutes Americans spent commuting in 2014. Or, if you prefer, call it 29.6 billion hours, 1.2 billion days, or a collective 3.4 million years. With that amount of time, we could have built nearly 300 Wikipedias, or built the Great Pyramid of Giza 26 times — all in 2014 alone.

Instead, we spent those hours sitting in cars and waiting for the bus.

The Post concentrates on the negative effects on the commuterPeople with longer commutes are more likely to suffer from obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, back and neck pain, divorce, depression, and death, according the Post, as well as to be less politically engaged, more likely to be poor, miss work, and have other problems. There’s also issues of lost productivity, says the Post: Think of how many more apps we could invent with all those hours! But there’s another issue they didn’t mention. That’s right: climate change.

The vast majority of those nearly 30 billion hours spent commuting every year are by people alone in their gas-powered cars. The carbon footprint of that is just massive, and as commutes grow, it’ll only get worse. It’s a complex problem: Commutes are so long both because cities are so expensive and because mass transit in most American cities is so inadequate.

Take Seattle: If you can’t afford to live close to the city center (or if you’re not willing to live in a studio the size of a jail cell, as I do), you’ll have to contend with either driving yourself to work in the fourth worst traffic in the country, or relying on an often unreliable bus or train.

The current system isn’t working as the myriad of negative effects on both us and the planet show. But until we can figure out how to make cities more affordable and build robust transit systems and carpooling options, the answer may be simply to work from home when it’s possible. We might not be able to teleport yet, but for those who can, there’s always teleworking.

Comets Special Teams Thrive in Win Over Crunch

The Utica Comets stormed back in the third period to upend the Syracuse Crunch 3-1 Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Clad in their lucky green sweaters, the Comets entered the third period trailing 1-0. Two power-play goals, and their league-leading 16th short-handed goal of the season, powered the Comets to a 5-4-0-0 edge in the Galaxy Cup series.

Ronalds Kenins (1-0-1), Joseph LaBate (1-0-1), and Andrey Pedan (1-0-1) provided the goals for the home team, while Joe Cannata turned aside 18 of the Crunch’s 19 shots on goal. Brendan Gaunce (0-1-1) recorded an assist in his first game back with the Comets. Alexandre Grenier (0-1-1) inched closer to a 50-point season with his 48th point of the season.

It didn’t take long for the first goal as Syracuse got on the board just nine seconds after the opening face-off. Anthony DeAngelo controlled the puck off the opening face-off and sent a laser of a pass to Joel Vermin, who split the Comets defense for a breakaway goal.

No more goals would be scored in the first, and the second period followed suit. After being outshot 11-5 in the first period, the Comets held the Crunch to just two shots in the second period, and six shots in the third period.

Kenins tied the game for the Comets in the third period and breathed some life into the Utica crowd that was waiting for a reason to get into the game. Jordan Subban rifled a pass to Hensick who was stationed on the goal line. Hensick found Kenins as he streaked across the slot and set the Latvian up for a one-time slap shot that whistled its way past Kristers Gudlevskis.

The Comets fed off of the momentum and took their first lead of the game with 4:40 remaining. From the top of the circle, Grenier one-timed Gaunce’s pass on net. LaBate expertly redirected the shot through the Crunch netminder for his 10th of the season.

Despite being shorthanded, the Comets capitalized on an empty net to finish off the Crunch. After Carter Bancks Pedan bounced the puck down the length of the ice, and into the empty Syracuse net to put the game out of reach and seal the deal.

The Comets finished with 25 shots on goal, and the Crunch had 19 shots on the night. Gudlevskis saved 22 shots in net for Syracuse.

Utica improves to 37-25-8-4, while the loss drops Syracuse to 32-28-10-4.

The Comets will travel to Syracuse on Saturday for one last meeting against the Crunch before returning home Sunday for the final game of the regular season, when they take on the Binghamton Senators. Saturday’s puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m., and Sunday’s game will start at 3 p.m.