In last week's New York Times, I found a fascinating article about Congressman Charles Rangel and newly released information about his home in New York. I was particularly interested because Rangel's home actually consists of four rent stabilized apartments in Harlem.
As many of you may not know what rent control and rent stabilization is, here is a quick primer. From Wikipedia: "Rent control refers to laws or ordinances that set price controls on the renting of residential housing. It functions as a price ceiling." Actually the original premise of rent control is founded upon good intentions; the idea being that in a city, we should be able to provide a stock of affordable housing for lower income families. If only good intentions won the day!
So let's consider a number of things. How likely is it that Congressman Charles Rangel heads a low income family? Well, according to the NYTimes article, his net worth is somewhere between $566k and $1.2 million. Not Bill Gates worthy but certainly not low income. How did Rangel come to acquire not just one rent-stabilized apartment, but FOUR?
Certainly there is some sort of income requirements in order to qualify for rent stabilized apartments? Nope. Actually there isn't. So how does one acquire one of these coveted apartments? According to my friends that live in New York City, there are three ways that one acquires a rent stabilized apartment: inheritance, by knowing someone, or by paying what is referred to as "key money" (which, while illegal, is not uncommon). And so how likely is it that low income families acquire rent stabilized apartments through these means? Almost never.Read more
Part 1 covers the energy crisis.Read more
I may be getting older but I still love a great rock concert. Recently I went to a show and was so blown away that I realized that it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. So what makes a great rock concert? There are many criteria that someone might use to rate a show but it all comes down to one thing for me - energy. Am I moved? Do I get goosebumps? Do I scream my lungs out to the point of losing my voice? Am I utterly exhausted at the end? Is that moment cemented in my mind forever?
I started thinking about all my favorites and then decided to do a little research. To my amazement, I found a handful of videos online from great shows I had been to. So I give you the Top 10 Concerts I have been to. These aren't necessarily my favorites bands but ones that left an incredible impression on me.
1) New Order @ The Reading Festival, Reading, England - August 1993 The setting was everything here. In 1993, my brother and I went to the Reading Festival aways outside of London. The last show of the night was close to midnight. I'm standing in an English pasture. Full moon overhead. Someone asked me today if it had anything to do with anyone I was with. I don't think I even noticed a person around me I was so entranced. This video was taken at the exact show I was at.Read more
In this week's podcast, I interviewed my friend Chris Heuertz, International Director of Word Made Flesh. In an time when Christianity has often been reduced to ugly stereotypes or pragmatic self-help cloaked in quotes from the Bible, Chris is advocating a very simple (not simplistic) Christianity that has called him to befriend the poorest of the poor.Read more[audio-player]
I am in the midst of reading Os Guinness's new book, The Case for Civility. I have had high expectations for this book and so far I am not disappointed. In my mind, Guinness is the foremost expert of this topic, which is too often misunderstood. He makes this point in the first chapter.
"This short essay is a proposal for restoring civility in America, as one model for fostering civility around the world and helping to make the world safe for diversity. But civility must truly be restored. Is it not to be confused with niceness and mere etiquette or dismissed and squeamishness about differences. It is a tough, robust, substantive concept that is a republican virtue, critical to both democracy and civil society, and a manner of conduct that will be decisive for the future of the American republic."
Update: I thought it would be good timing to re-post this.
Yesterday I was listening to a piece on NPR about Fred Thompson's presidential campaign and how he was making sure that Republican audiences knew for sure that he is conservative enough. There was a mention of Thompson being adequately pro-life and adequately anti-gay rights to satisfy social conservatives and especially evangelical Christians.Read more
Last week I wrote Regretting Bush about my gradual disillusionment with the Bush administration. More than most things I write, I was particularly interested in the response of various readers to this piece. I cross-posted this article at both RedState and DailyKos ( I regularly cross-post at both) as a way of gaging the response of the more partisan and ideological.Read more
I have decided to repost this article that I wrote almost exactly two years ago. As I had just started blogging when I wrote this, it is tempting to re-write and edit this piece. But I have decided to leave it as is. I'd love comments on this piece.
Faithful Progressive left me a very nice comment last week regarding a post I wrote about his characterization of the "Religious Right". I very much appreciate his desire for good dialogue rather than the typical stupid attacks back and forth that often happen with those of differing viewpoints. Fortunately we have a common bond as brothers in Christ that transcends any political viewpoints.
"Thank you for your thoughtful comments, I have posted them on my site. At some point I hope to answer them. "- FP "I would also appreciate your thoughts on my continuing series on the Christian Right and the Enlightenment--there is no one bogeyman, but there are many Christian extremists on the right."- FP
FP wrote this post encouraging others to have this kind of dialogue. I would like to give some perspective on the "Religious Right" for FP and any of his readers that might care. I have found that few people really understand the "Religious Right" or even try to.Read more