aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
One man’s truth about Iraq
I ran into a guy, a former police officer from around here who is now training the police force in Iraq. He’s home for a break after a year’s service and returns next month. I asked how was it going?
He’s gung ho.
He says that eleven months ago he thought it was hopeless; that the older guys he’s trained are worthless, it’s the young ones “who have experienced oppression and are ready to fight. The old guys were used to it and just accepted it. They’re worthless.” And being weeded out.
He said he’s more optimistic than President Bush; that “in a couple years, no fourteen months, things will, uh, improve.” My sense was he started out to make a much more optimistic prediction, but pulled back.
He said some things about the people there that I wouldn’t quote even if I could precisely remember them; things not exactly biased or bigoted but that would have sounded so quoted here. He gave me his honest opinion and I was interested to hear it. He was glad to tell it.
He and I wouldn’t likely see eye to eye, but it was an interesting conversation. When it was over I shook his hand, said thanks and wished him good luck.
Living here I am much closer to the people who fight the war than I think I would have been living in New York. I’ve met soldiers on leave at parties; folks I know and work with have sons and daughters over there.
I prefer a draft because I think it is both more fair and just, and that it spreads the cost of war more evenly and makes us consider such actions more carefully.
But I have to say that the people I experience here who are closer than I or over there fighting, they’re foursquare behind it.
A new Brooklyn
The massive building plan surrounding a new Nets arena east of Downtown Brooklyn will include a ridge of a half-dozen skyscrapers as high as 60 stories sweeping down Atlantic Avenue, along with four towers circling the basketball arena, according to new designs completed by the developer Bruce C. Ratner and the architect Frank Gehry.
The project, the largest proposed outside Manhattan in decades, would include much more housing than originally announced in 2003, growing to about 6,000 units from 4,500, according to a plan made available to The New York Times. But the real impact would be in the size and density of the buildings, which are taller and bulkier than once envisioned.
With 17 buildings, many of them soaring 40 to 50 stories, the project would forever transform the borough and its often-intimate landscape, creating a dense urban skyline reminiscent of Houston or Dallas.
I don’t get the Houston/Dallas comparisons at all; neither Houston nor Dallas is known for its density. Atlantic Avenue is known for its density; it’s a real urban center (is Brooklyn on its own still the fifth largest city in America?) with a major transit hub.
It’s my old neighborhood and I still generally favor it. It can sustain more development. We’re talking New York City for crying out loud! This happened to the Upper West Side while I lived there; people who live there now love it.
I never understand the “we move in then development should stop” mentality. Of course what we want is modest reasonable development, and this plan will never be built.
This is how the game is played: put a plan out there that pushes development to the limit. It gets modified and pared down and ultimately something smaller is built.
That’s the future of Brooklyn.
A pol who’s a Fair Use fan
Rep. Rick Boucher is a rarity in Congress when it comes to digital media. He’s taken the side of consumers—not Hollywood and the music industry—in the sundry controversies surrounding digital entertainment.
When it comes to file sharing, Boucher says he’ll fight attempts to stifle it.
He thinks tech companies shouldn’t be held liable for products that can be used for unlawful purposes, like pirating media.
He says the balance of copyright law has tipped too far toward the entertainment companies’ interests, hampering consumers’ rights to use digital media.
And he wants government sponsorship of universal broadband.
Read the full Wired interview. He’s a rural southern Democrat to boot!