Category Archives: New York City

Thoughts On Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Presidential Run

Just when we thought that the drama surrounding the 2020 Presidential Election was reaching its crescendo, another candidate has thrown his hat into the race.

Late last week, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he is running for President.

From the perspective of an undecided voter (which I suspect many voters are), his presence in the race makes sense. In the spectrum of Democratic candidates, he is neither too far the right or too far to the left. He also has experience in the executive offices of government. To Bloomberg’s credit, he led the city out of the darkness that was 9/11. To say that it was not an easy feat is far from an understatement.

However, Bloomberg does have a few shortcomings, as all the candidates do. He changed his political party affiliation twice before declaring himself to be an independent. He is an older white man running in a crowded field with other candidates who are not the traditional Presidential candidates. When asked a few months ago if he would run, Bloomberg said no. Now he says yes.

It’s understandable that he changed his mind about running, given what is at stake. However, flip-flopping is not going to win him the nomination or the Presidency. Nor will it come in handy if he takes the oath of office. If Bloomberg can win is also a matter of opinion. I suspect that if asked, some New Yorkers would say that they were not happy with him while he was in office.

Only time will tell who eventually wins the nomination. Whomever they are, they had better be prepared. They are in for a fight that has the potential to change this country for generations to come.

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Can Kristallnacht Happen Here?

81 years ago tonight, the semi-comfortable world that European Jews knew came to an end.

Up until Kristallnacht or the Night of the Broken Glass, the uptick in antisemitism that German Jews had experienced was mostly non-violent. November 9-10, 1938 changed everything. Jewish synagogues, homes, and schools were destroyed. Around 100 German Jews were killed and 30,000 German Jewish men were sent to concentration camps.

Given the current political and social climate that we live in in 2019, I feel like I have to ask if it can happen here, in the United States?

The scary answer is yes. The shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and Chabad of Poway in California occurred less than a year apart. In my hometown of New York City, the number of hate crimes against Jewish residents is rising quickly.

I sometimes take for granted that I live in a country that guarantees me the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I also take for granted that I live in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

I wish I could say that I live in a better world that German and European Jews lived in. But I don’t. Antisemitism is still alive and well. Until such day that antisemitism is dead and buried, a small part of me will be concerned that another Kristallnacht can happen here.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Katriona “Kat” Tamin

*This will be my last character review for Law & Order SVU. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is….you will have to come back next week.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is a certain advantage to being the youngest and the newest employee. Unlike an employee who is experienced both in the job and within the company, this new employee may have an energy and an enthusiasm that overtakes their lack of experience.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the new detective on the squad is Katriona “Kat” Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). A transfer from Vice, Kat is young, eager and takes her job seriously. Her first case is going undercover as a young actress who is nearly assaulted by Tobias Moore (Ian McShane).

As dedicated as she is to her job, she understands that a little delicacy is sometimes needed. When a transgender woman comes forward with a rape accusation, Kat gently pushes the victim to provide the information needed to close the case.

To sum it up: To be young and enthusiastic about work is a unique experience that only comes during a certain time in our lives. Though we may become dejected or cynical later in life, it is this time that teaches us about the workplace. As a character, Kat stands out because of her youth, her energy and her dedication to her job. It is a lesson about work that should not fade, regardless of how long we are in the working world.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Law & :Order SVU Character Review: Casey Novak

*I apologize about the late post. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way last night.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For many of us, the first few years in our careers can be defining years. They can also be challenging, forcing us to submit to the idea that the reality of our job does not match what we thought it would be. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Casey Novak (Diane Neal) is one of the many District Attorneys who assist the SVU team with putting away criminals. Young, ambitious and serious about her job, Casey keeps her emotions and her private life to herself.

Her job would be simple if she worked for another unit within the NYPD. However, she works with SVU, where the crimes are often physically and emotionally messy. This leads Casey to lean on the steady and reliable law, especially when the case she is trying verges into a morally grey area.

Though she tries to keep her emotions and private life separate from her work, both inevitably bleed into her work. A previous relationship with a mentally ill ex-boyfriend nearly cost her life and affected her judgment when she purposely sabotaged a case involving a schizophrenic child rapist.

Though her work ethic is admired by the SVU detectives and her supervisor, her zeal nearly ruins the professional relationships with her colleagues. But in the end, there is a mutual respect that develops from her drive and her ability to open emotionally to her colleagues.

To sum it up: It takes courage and time to come out of one’s shell, especially in the workplace. But Casey does it in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural. She remains dedicated to her work, but she also bonds with her colleagues in a way that allows them all to do their jobs. That is why, as a character, Casey Novak stands out.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television

Late Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Brian Cassidy

*I apologize for the delay, life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Finding one’s path in life is not easy. It requires one to take chances, not knowing if your going in the right direction or you have taken a mis-step. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) is just trying to find his way. Like many who are trying to find their way, he makes a few mistakes.

Cassidy is one of the younger members of the SVU squad. Though he is dedicated to his job, he has a long way to go before he is the ideal SVU detective. The gravity of the cases he works on often stretches him emotionally, sometimes forcing him to react inappropriately. It takes his older and experienced partner, John Munch (Richard Belzer), to calm him down and teach him to become a better detective.

If the pressure of work was not enough, Cassidy’s long time crush and one night stand with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) does not end well. This leads to an explosion in which he realizes that working as an SVU detective is not the right path for him and asks for a transfer.

But this is not the end of Cassidy’s time with SVU. He comes back 12 years after the transfer and nearly sends his former boss, Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) to prison for prostitution. He also starts dating Olivia secretly and it seems like everything is settling down. But then an accusation by another prostitute forces Cassidy to take stock of his life and reveal his secret relationship with Olivia.

The next time we see Cassidy, he and Olivia realize that they are different people and they break up. Later, Cassidy accuses Olivia abusing her adopted son, Noah. When it is revealed why he made the accusation, Olivia says that she never wants to see him again.

The last time we see Cassidy, he is in court, facing the man who abused him as a child.

To sum it up: Life is never a straight path. It is a series of curves with potholes, brick walls and challenges, forcing us to adapt and change. Like all of us, Brian Cassidy has to adapt. Though it is not easy, he does and finds the strength that he didn’t know he had.

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Law & Order SVU Character Review: Mike Dodds

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes time to choose a career, some of us choose to go into the family business. This may lead to taking advantage of a family connection to move up the professional ladder. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mike Dodds (Andy Karl), is a second generation policeman. His father is Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher. He got the job with SVU because of his father.

Dodds temporarily becomes second in command and then the head of SVU when Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is removed from her post. Though he does not get to his position by merit alone, he proves his worth as a policeman.

Like many police officers, Mike Dodd’s dies a hero’s death. He is fondly remembered by his colleagues as a top rate cop.

To sum it up: Though Dodds receives a hand up from his father, he still earns his stripes and the respect from his colleagues. It’s one thing to get a leg up because of your family, however, one must still earn their stripes. As a character, Dodds stands out because he knew that his father helping him only went so far. He had to go the rest of the way himself.

For that alone, I think that makes him a memorable character.

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New Randy Rainbow Video-“GIULIANI! (Here He Goes Again) – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

Those of us who are above a certain age remember the dark days just after 9/11. It was nothing but chaos and grief. Back then, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) was a light in that darkness. He was one of a handful of officials who helped to get New York City and the country back on it’s feet.

These days, he’s a joke. Known more for being you know who’s personal legal lackey, he is not the man the public thought he was 18 years ago.

Enter Randy Rainbow’s new video, entitled “GIULIANI! (Here He Goes Again) – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”. Using ABBA‘s classic song “Mamma Mia” as a cornerstone, this song perfectly explains that this former NYC mayor is not what he used to be. He is not only talking out of his behind, he is one of the idiots who is putting America on the road to Hades in a hand basket.

Just another reason to get you know who out of office.

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Filed under Music, New York City, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Yom Kippur and the Appreciation of the Small Stuff

Earlier this week, like millions of Jews around the world, I fasted and prayed that on Yom Kippur, I would be written in the book of life for the coming year.

Yom Kippur is not easy physically, spiritually or mentally. It requires a strength and a will to push through the hunger and the wish that sundown would finally come.

As I fasted this year and finally chowed down, I began think about how much I appreciate the small things, especially food. Most days, I don’t think about where my next meal is coming from. But when I cannot eat during the 25 hours of Yom Kippur, it makes appreciate the easy access for food that I take for granted.

I live in New York City. It’s not hard to find a homeless person begging for spare change. Normally, as bad as it sounds, I pass by a homeless person without a second thought. But this year’s fast made me think. I have much to be grateful for. It’s time to be grateful for what I have.

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Filed under Life, New York City

Law & Order SVU Character Review: Declan Murphy

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Some jobs require everything from us. Nothing else matters, except work. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) is first introduced to the characters and the audience while undercover. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is at the height of her gambling addiction and is unaware that Declan is undercover. After that case is closed, he is moved the SVU where he is temporarily assigned as the commanding officer.

During this time, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is caught up in her finale battle with William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber). By the time the battle is won, Declan has decided that his skills are best used in undercover and Benson rises to the commanding post of SVU.

To sum it up: In the annals of SVU, Declan Murphy is one of the most intense characters. Though fans have seen or heard of some part of the home life of most the characters, Murphy is a character whom we know only of by his work life. By that alone, his work ethic is respected, even if his methods are unorthodox. But even unorthodox methods cannot undo a work ethic the results in getting cases closed.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Melinda Warner

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to criminal investigations, science may provide a clue that otherwise may remain buried. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) is the medical examiner that the SVU squad turns to when all other avenues have been traveled upon.

A veteran of the Air Force, Dr. Warner is often the rational face of science when emotions and messy human behaviors prevent the detectives from closing the case.

To sum it up: when human emotion and human messiness gets in the way, science provides a way out. Dr. Warner’s knowledge and medical abilities are the logical science that works hand in hand with the humanness of crime fighting that helps to put the bad guys or girls in jail.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television