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Occupy Wall Street prostesters. (mediaform jasonkim photograph)

It was just a matter of time when highly regarded New York academic institution, known for their progressive and creative actions on higher learning, was to offer credit courses on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The protests which sparked such heightening of consciousnesses throughout the US and in the world, will be taught in classes at two acclaimed institutions, New York University and now at Columbia University.

NYU was the first to announce such an offering. Not to be passed by their down town rival, Columbia University followed suit with their own courses. Both offerings will start in Spring semester 2012.

One thing’s for sure. This tells us how New Yorkers take pride in things that bloomed to significance in NYC.  And why not.

Read rest here:  Gothemist.Com

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Concept kiosk (MetroChange.Org)

For those of us who take the metro (subway), we’ve had those days when we had some money left over.

It is just an odd amount and never enough to hit zero. It is by design, of course by the vendor and the city who has these infernal machines working. “The flimsy plastic MetroCards are often chucked or ignored when the balance runs below the value of a ride, amounting to more than $52 million in unused fares each year,” Zak Stone, editor for The Daily Good.

It is part of city mass transportation life, however.

But what if there was a way to make use of that amount to help a good cause.

A group of NYU students have come up with a concept. It’s called the “MetroChange”.

What it is, is a transactional kiosk which enables the commuter to donate amounts from that metro card.

“There is a kiosk with Arduino, ethernet shield, LCD screen, IR transmitter and receiver, and mag-stripe reader”), and that each person donating would be able to choose on the kiosk which charity to donate to.

Easy peasy, I do declare.

“According to MetroChange, the idea would work best if the kiosks targeted tourists, who are less likely to refill their cards. But while it sounds like a simple, effective idea, founders Stepan Boltalin, Genevieve Hoffman, and Paul Maywill need to convince a key partner to sign on: the MTA.”

Pretty sure the MTA and the city will be hard nuts to crack, but lets see how things shake out.

Additional reading here:  Good.Is and here: SpringWise.Org

Their website is:  www.metrochange.org

MetroChange.Org’s Flickr page:  Flickr

Swipe and Donate. (MetroChange.Org)

LCD info. (MetroChange.Org)

Photo Credit: DailyHarrison.com

Newark. Core city revitalization in the making. But will it be quick enough?

Looking at the city of Newark on Google Maps, it has all the potential for a super city. Superb location… check. Diverse gateway infrastructure… check. Dynamic downtown large business base… check. Blue collar industrial workforce… check. Within arms-length from powerhouse neighbors (i.e. the Meadowlands, Jersey City, Morristown, NYC)…. check. Large population…. check. And hub for national and international transportation infrastructure (i.e. Newark Liberty International Airport)… check.

So, with such potential, why has there been such slow progress.

And is it too late for Newark? Will it be permanently, a slumbering giant which will never achieve its full potential- again?

“The mayor of Newark wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark”- Conan O’Brian 2009.

Like any other “Gotham”, it has its dark sides and the scars to prove it.

Newark NJ‘s story is long and socially checkered. But recent and large scale efforts have been planned for the next decade. Developed for the betterment of the community, this human endeavor has driven the city to how it is now- with substantially wider stance and athletic poise.

That seems to be the first phase of the plan.

As cities go, Newark has had its ups and downs. And no other social earthquake more represented the downward spiral than the Newark Riots of 1967- historically noted as the most central event which officially helped accelerate Newark’s economic and social disintegration.

Fast forward to today, the scars are still apparent. The city has 28.4% of its population and 25.5% of families below the poverty line (that is less than $11,000 per year for an individual). City’s unemployment rate has been hovering at 9.4-10%.

Progress has been slow and the middle class of Newark hasn’t grown enough, in the past 40 years.

Directly born out of mis-management of its policies and corruption from it’s head executives (6 prior mayors identified in corruption since the 1930’s), Newark had major hurdles and difficulties. Of course, the city wasn’t the only one to be affected by rampant corruption. But it surely had defaulted in systematically trying to catch up to the levels of today’s comparable cities. Newark simply was at a stand still and “wasn’t functioning”.

Since the hay-days of the 1940’s, Newark had lost 100,000+ of its populous, ever lower production, and wider gap in income levels. Crime had accelerated at a steady pace throughout the city. Deaths had grossly solidified the public’s attitudes. In 1996, TIME magazine elected Newark as the most dangerous city in the Nation (although by 2007, Newark made great headway and was better ranked at #22). This was non more apparent, then when Conan O’Brian and Mayor Cory Booker (current mayor) was in a 2009 public “feud”. Conan fired the first large salvo stating in a monologue on his show:“The mayor of Newark wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark”. Although, the two protagonists shook hands and ‘made up’, the sentiments on the ‘brand’ of Newark, was still dark and tarnished in the eyes of the public.

Despite of it all, Newark is (and still can be), a large and important part for the State of NJ– helping drive the narrative for the state as a whole…

The Strengths, Strengthened::

Despite of it all, Newark is (and still can be), a large and important part for the State of NJ- helping drive the narrative for the state as a whole- successfully developing and nurturing its middle class, strengthening its resolve, communities, and revitalizing the city’s brand. Although it can be seen as a ‘drain’ on resources, in many ways, but there’s no doubt that the history of Newark (both good and bad) is the soul of NJ.

Newark’s biggest strength is that it’s a gateway nationally and internationally, and being a hub of air, road, rail and ship traffic. For example, Newark Liberty International Airport is the 2nd busiest in NYC area airports and the 14th busiest in the US. Port Newark is the 15th busiest in the US. Largest port in the eastern seaboard. The city easily has access from major arteries, including NJ Turnpike and the Garden State PWY. All significant railways stop at Newark’s Penn Station including PATH, NJ Transit, AMTRAK, Newark Light Rail, AirTrain Newark

The city also boasts the NJ Performance Arts Center, The Prudential Center, Newark Symphony Hall, NJ State Opera, Garden State Ballet, Newark Library (largest in NJ); the Newark is also the home of NJ Devils (NHL), NJ Nets (NBA), Red Bulls (MLS), Newark Bears (Can-Am League), NY Liberty (WNBA), and so forth.

These income pillars will give Newark the leeway, which it will need.

With a renewed “Citizens First” criteria, the plan has been to move light speed forward to a newer economy, which would attract, settle, and develop higher paid and higher educated Newark citizens.

The Future of Newark::

Yes. There certainly can be a bright future for Newark and its residents.

Leap Frogging” can summarize what Newark and its administration has been pushing, in the last several years. With things being equal and the city not made a “police state”, it certainly is an energizing initiative.

The plan has been to (1)leverage the strengths of Newark, (2) benefit by strengthening the core attributes of Newark, (3) strengthen its educational philosophies & practices, and (4) supply opportunities to its citizens- both residents and businesses. The city aims to tackle these by implementing smarter land development, better business partnerships, water protection, green neighborhood initiatives, smarter energy consumption, green workforce, and public health agendas.

It’s a hearty and hefty task, to be sure. A legacy like Newark will be hard to steer on to the better rails, quickly. However, the vision is high and achievable- albeit a plan that can take decades.

With a renewed “Citizens First” criteria, the plan has been to move light speed forward to a newer economy, which would attract, settle, and develop higher paid and higher educated Newark citizens.

And the very important middle class, can return.

Summary::

Founded in 1666, by Connecticut Puritans, Newark’s glorious decades started in the industrial revolution- initially powered on the back of leather refining. It has come a long way, and has even a longer way to go. But in some sense, the city has turned a corner and out of that hole it had dug itself in from its past.

Simply, the city is getting ready for the ‘money shot’. And the public and its residents can’t wait to see the city get there.

The question is, will Newark be ‘lost’ in its way, again? Who knows.

But as a premier NJ powerhouse city, Newark no doubt has the constitution to recover (sans government corruption).

And for opportunity seekers, out there, Newark can be a great place to look.

Lets just keep the fingers crossed.

—-

Article by Jason Kim appears on CityJuJu.Com HERE

In a 2010 survey done by the US government, there were close between 650,000 and 1.45M individuals who were homeless.  Depending on the season, can fluctuate as high as 3.5M.

In NYC, an estimated survey number of about 36,000 individuals were accounted as homeless.

In NJ, a 2008 estimate hit a total close to 25,000

Nationally, nearly 1-in-200 persons who live in the US are likely in situations like this.

—–

We may call him “Arthur”. I’d met him on the street looking for sympathy from passer by drivers. I approached him, and at first he slightly looked away (in suspicion, I suppose) then we locked eyes.

Arthur was such a nice man. He was a gentleman. I knew he tried everyday to keep as much dignity in his day to day, as possible. And you could feel it when talking with him.

“I don’t stick my arm out”, Arthur exclaiming about the way he pan handles. “I don’t ask verbally, either”. He finished telling me that all he does is walk up and down this stop light, for some kind gestures.

“It’s been too long,” he said with a laugh. “My children don’t know I do this.”

As a matter of fact he said he’d been doing this for 4 years. I noticed a tinge of shame & embarrassment in his voice. Unfortunately, he has no choice.

—–

Click HERE to see the essay.

Image copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

Veterans supporting OWS on Veterans Day.

1919-to-2011

Our modern Veterans Day evolved from the first days of inauguration by Woodrow Wilson and his administration way back in 1919. Which is, for practical sake, another time.  The point of the day, of course was to celebrate and remember the sacrifices of the fallen soldiers who died fighting in the first World War.

Fast forward to 1953, a man in Kansas had the timely idea of celebrating and honoring the fallen soldiers and the currently living. His campaign started in his home town, which reverberated through to the national stage. From there in 1954, Dwight Eisenhower helped pass it to the current form we see it today.

2.5 Million

There are many estimates, but the general number of dead & wounded soldiers is around 2.5 Million. This is including many of the foreign ‘conflicts’ and to all of the well known wars we have heard about in modern times (i.e. Revolutionary, Civil, Vietnam, Korea, WW 1 & 2, etc).

Top 3 Wars

The top ranked war/conflict which caused most of the fallen and wounded are:

1. American Civil War with around 650,000

2. World War II with around 410,000

3. World War I with around 120,000

Top 3 Wars compared to TTL Population

The top ranked war/conflict which caused most compared to the TTL population at the time are:

1. American Civil War with close to 2% of TTL pop

2. American Revolutionary War with close to 0.89% of TTL pop

3. World War II with close to 0.31 of TTL pop

TTL dead and wounded in the War on Terror (2001-present)

In Afghanistan, there have been TTL of 1,803 who have died and TTL of 9,971 who have been wounded. For a grand TTL of 12,035.

In Iraq, there have been TTL of 4,477 who have died and TTL of 31,965 who have been wounded. For a Grand TTL of 36,395.

—–

Whether one agrees with the protests of Occupy Wall Street or not, there had been real support from veterans who’d attended. It posed some poignant moments and significant assertions, provided by living and proud soldiers.

And at the least that means something, doesn’t it?

Sure does.

Joan Baez lending some time to the cause.

Joan Baez.

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

 

Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is an inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly include clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 Billion people (of the world) are estimated to live in absolute poverty today. Relative poverty refers to lacking a usual or socially acceptable level of resources or income as compared with others within a society or country.

*2010 UN study (link)

*2010 US Census study (link)

*KCCI-8 Des Moines News (link)

You can see, we work and live in a country that has worked hard to become the biggest power in all of history. Our economy, even in a recession, is still a formidable force. The US is a dynamic and flexible country. Always on a teeter, on the effort of being fair to its minorities, but it does come back and try to give back.

And this “resilience” is based on our remembering or trying the shoe from the other side- the “non-greener” grass patch on the other side of the fence.

Fairness is always warranted. But some sympathy and awareness keeps us all humble. If we don’t give, lets at least keep up on what’s going on.

Well, anyhow, there’s no way to determine which charities are effective or not. But here are some charities ranking search sites that could make things a bit less challenging.

Lets keep on, keepin’ on!

—–

*Charity Navigator (website)

*The Chronicle of Philanthropy (website)


All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

 

6 scores and 5 years ago (1886), New York City’s (and subsequently the whole of the republic of the United States was deemed complete.

Since then, the Statue of Liberty has been an enduring symbol of human endurance, heartaches, remembrance, and eventual triumphs.

Originally, the statue was proposed by the French and primarily followed through by Frédéric Bartholdi. Much fund raising and planning was done by Bartholdi and company to get it to such level. It wasn’t an easy ride.

Some rarely talked about facts, and items, myself, wasn’t aware.

  1. Bartholdi and Laboulaye (co-designers) considered how best to express the idea of American liberty.
  2. Bartholdi’s early models were all similar in concept: a female figure in neoclassical style representing liberty, wearing a stola and pella (gown and cloak, common in depictions of Roman goddesses) and holding a torch aloft.
  3. The face was modeled after that of Charlotte Beysser Bartholdi, the sculptor’s mother.
  4. Bartholdi considered having Liberty hold a broken chain, but decided this would be too divisive in the days after the Civil War
  5. Bartholdi was a sculptor, in profession.
  6. Bartholdi’s passion to build a large sculpture was from his prior year proposal to the Viceroy of Egypt; to erect a similar statuesque symbol just like the Colossus of Rhodes: an ancient bronze statue of the Greek god of the sun, Helios.
  7. The finished statue does rise over a broken chain, half-hidden by her robes and difficult to see from the ground.
  8. Bartholdi chose to inscribe “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” on the tablet, associating the date of the country’s Declaration of Independence with the concept of liberty.
  9. Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel wasn’t the first choice for construction.
  10. Eiffel’s design made the statue one of the earliest examples of curtain wall construction, in which the exterior of the structure is not load bearing, but is instead supported by an interior framework.
The Statue has been with the country for a long time. Lets appreciate it for just 1 minute, as a symbol for the best of what our country offers.
All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

My memory of Noel and Claudia’s wedding is as follows:  “family to die for”.

I’ve mentioned before how awesome I thought their family members were. From the two of them and the kids, I believe they are just so lucky to be together.

But it all starts from Noel and Claudia.  The love and affection they have for each other is imminent and evident. They seem like very old souls, holding hands on the new and bright adventure they’d agreed to undertake.

However, all this cannot be complete with out their kids. They are the (sorry for the un-romantic term) ‘cement mix’ in this ultra high-rise project of a family. They will make both Noel and Claudia, even prouder someday.

I know, I know. Too sentimental and unrealistic?? I don’t believe so. The family is rock strong and I was honored to have the opportunity to glimpse (however short), by proxy, a special occasion as this.

Claudia and Noel looked just fabulous. The kids were just gleaming with joy. The parents were so very proud. And the extended family just had so much fun!

For this opportunity, I appreciate you Noel and Claudia, and forever be huge fan!  Hope you know this.

—–

Location:                 Liberty Hall Cathedral of Praise, Brooklyn, NY

Caterer:                   Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors  (Facebook) (Website)

Flowers:                  Joan Forbes

Photographer:         (me) mediaform jasonkim photograph (Facebook) (Website)

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

As human beings, I think we love thing from “higher up”. I mean views of view points that give us a glimpse of how birds look at our world every day. I think we humans are very jealous =D

We are, after all, terrestrial beings. Animals that have occupied the dry lands (as temporary Inn keepers) for a time, expanding, spreading, cultivating, devastating, and at the same time innovating.

But just like the Wright brothers (and countless other humans), who just wanted to be flying like birds, we terrestrial beings just aren’t satisfied with the view which we have.

That’s why we have persons and groups that love traveling to the tops of the highest mountains, tops of the highest buildings, flying in dare devil planes, and flying out (trying hard) towards the vast cosmos.

Of course, we all do not carry such “first person” ambitions for adventure, but we all do sometimes profess the odd, “ohhs”, and “ahhs”, when we see photographs and videos showing us the seldom bird’s eye view.

Most of us (and this is my inkling) love the Discovery Channel, Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, and so forth. This is because, in the safety of our sofas, we can enjoy and get a “glimpse” of how birds always see the world. Or we love those big zoom perspectives of the Himalayas, or Mount Kilimanjaro from our ant’s view, because the magnitude and scale of those colossal leviathans in wide angle is “unimaginable”.

Yep. We as species appreciate nature’s giants. Structures that make us go, whoa!

As for me, I’d love to be able to fly like a bird. That would be just fab!

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

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