Friday, May 29, 2015
There are a lot of people who aren’t fans of President Barack Obama, and TV veteran Byron "The New Al Jolsen" Allen seems to be one of them. Allen, host of Comics Unleashed and Entertainers With Byron Allen, shared a few choice words about the president with TMZ accusing him of not helping out black people more. Oh, so Byron Allen is suddenly a back person who cares about black people?!?
“I’m disappointed that President Obama called those young men out in Baltimore thugs. I’m not condoning violence, but I don’t think we should call them thugs. Because we positioned them to fail and the system has failed them,” Allen said.
Allen then went on to offer advice for the president, saying that the president needs to stand up and that people would respect him more if he acted like a black man. I ask you. What in the world does Byron Allen know about being a black man?!
“I say to President Obama, you have to remember who you are. Don’t forget who you are. I have grave concerns. I feel that ... it’s factual ... check the numbers. Black people have fallen further behind under President Obama. We’re being murdered in the streets. We’re being murdered in the boardroom,” Allen said. “President Obama is, at this point, a white president in blackface. Black America would have done much better with a white president.”
At the end of his rant, he informed the president that he has let down black people tremendously.
From the reactions of people on Twitter, Allen has no room to talk about who has let down black people.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
"I guess the bouncers were arguing with him for being loud or whatever," said Johnson.
When police arrived, Johnson started recording.
"Kept a safe distance - just videotaping," he recalled.
That's when the situation took a turn for the worse. Minutes into the recording, you hear an officer tell Johnson they're going to take his phone.
"He grabbed my other hand that was not in a cast and twisted it back and was trying to slam me on my face which eventually happened," said Johnson.
The next thing you hear in the recording is the officer trying to turn it off.
"How do you stop your phone?" the officer asks.
Johnson was arrested for resisting and obstructing an arrest. Within just a few weeks, the charges were dropped and he got his cell phone back.
But he says the experience is having lasting effects on his efforts to turn his life around. He's on probation for an assault in 2013, so his probation officer had to be notified and the arrest still shows up online.
"It looks bad if I try to get a job, I go to school, it just ruins a reputation," he said. "You should never get your phone taken or taken to jail just for videotaping an arrest."
Johnson said he's filed a formal complaint and is now contemplating a lawsuit, and rightfully so, if that police officer was not guilty of anything, or had no intention of doing anything then why would they object to being recorded?
A spokesperson for the police department acknowledged the officer made a mistake but couldn't elaborate.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Ahmed Mohammed, who peddles dogs at Greenwich and Albany streets, was caught on camera charging the exorbitant price.
“I asked for a hot dog and a Dr Pepper. ‘$30." I said, ‘You’re joking, right?’ ” a New Jersey customer named Ben said. “He was like ‘$15, maybe $10.’”
The high-priced hot dog man appeared to target customers with accents, who might be tourists.
Another customer, David, who has a thick French accent, said he lives in New York and knew he was being ripped off when Mohammed demanded $15 for a hot dog and pretzel.
“I am not a tourist, so I know the price,” David said after storming away from Mohammed’s cart.
Street vendors are free to charge whatever they want, but prices have to be clearly posted, according to the business advocacy group Alliance for Downtown New York.
“It gives New York a bad name,” said group president Jessica Lappin. “To rip off someone, to charge them $35 for a hot dog and pretzel, that leaves a terrible impression.”
When WNBC reporter Melissa Russo approached Mohammed and asked why he was charging so much, the hot dog man had no answers.
“Me?” Mohammed said.
“Yeah, you,” Russo said.
“Maybe they [complaining customers], don’t speak English,” Mohammed said.
“We have videotape of you talking to people in English,” Russo responded.
This sound crazy because it is. But that is only because everybody knows how much a hotdog should cost. But here's some food for thought. Imagine how much more we pay for other things that are not worth our hard earned money to increase someone's profit margin.
In a swift miscarriage of justice, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority viewed the actions he took to help the trainee as dangerous, and they suspended the subway motorman without pay.
According to local media outlets, 59-year-old Quincy Calhoun was training a motorman on the No. 5 train in April when the student suddenly collapsed after feeling chest pain. Before he collapsed, the trainee had gone through a red-stop signal, which caused the train’s emergency brakes to activate.
Calhoun immediately tried to reach out to the MTA’s Rail Communication Center, but could not get through because he and the trainee were in a dead zone. That was when the veteran MTA worker, who has been with the agency since 1989, said he made the only decision he thought he could make.
“I was only trying to do the right thing by that gentleman who was laying in that cab,” Calhoun said. “That’s what I was thinking about. All I know is when you grab your chest and slump to the floor, it isn’t a good sign.”
And so Calhoun went onto the tracks to disable the red-light-signal mechanism so that the train would continue on.
“All I was thinking about was getting this guy medical help,” Calhoun recalled.
He pulled into the next station going less than 10 mph and the trainee was rushed to Jacobi Hospital shortly thereafter.
However, the MTA slammed the act of desperation as unsafe and pulled Calhoun from passenger service, and to add insult to injury, Calhoun was suspended without pay.
“Even all this stuff started coming down at me, I didn’t feel bad because I knew I had done the right thing,” he said.
Kevin Harrington, vice president of rail traffic operations for the Transport Workers Union Local 100 told the Post that Calhoun’s was the “most outrageous case in my union career,” calling the MTA’s response “an all-time low.”
“The Transit Authority is being absolutely unreasonable, and it shows their contempt for human life, particularly their employees,” Harrington added.
However, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz insisted that Calhoun did not employ proper protocol to execute the maneuver used to get the train moving.
After all, everyone knows that getting the train moving is WAY more important than saving a life!...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
In a brilliant move to defang venomous law enforcement agencies across America, President Obama has announced new efforts to demilitarize America’s police departments on Monday, telling an audience in Camden, New Jersey that heavily-armed police forces have left many local residents feeling alienated and intimidated.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force,” The President said. “We’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for those police departments.”
His announcement on the ban on the transfer of some types of military weapons to local police departments signals a continued draw down sparked by the militarized show of force inFerguson Missouri aalast summer that exacerbated withered trust between police and communities.
The ban is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to ease tensions between police and communities of color across the country, including Ferguson and Baltimore, theaters of unrest following the deaths of unarmed black men killed by police.
It includes the transfer of military weapons and gear, including armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers and .50-caliber ammunition, the kind ubiquitous on foreign battlefields and increasingly in recent years, have landed in the hands of local police officers.
The new restrictions are being rolled out as a policing task force. A 116-page report will urge the country’s police agencies to “embrace a guardian – rather than a warrior— mindset to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.”
Obama’s announcement on Monday afternoon in Camden, perennially one of the most dangerous cities in America, was no accident. Obama was in the city to tout it as a success story after wide policing reforms. Policing in the city has been transferred from city police to the Camden County Police Department, which has instituted a number of reform initiatives including strengthened community policing efforts.
“Communities like some poor communities in Camden or my hometown of Chicago, they’re part of America, too,” Obama said. “The kids who grow up here are America’s children. They’ve got hopes, they’ve got dreams, they’ve got potential. We’re not investing in them.”
The president riddled off a number of promising stats since the county’s takeover of the department. Violent crime in Camden is down 24%, murder is down 47% and open air drug markets have been cut by 65%, Obama said. The response time for 911 calls plummeted from an hour to five minutes. But perhaps the most significant gain has been growing trust between the police and local residents.
“I’ve come here today to do something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, that is to hold you up as a symbol of promise to the nation,” Obama told an audience of local residents, officials and law enforcement. “This city is onto something … I want to focus on the fact that other cities across America can make similar progress.”
The federal government’s practice of offering military-grade weapons and gear through grants and sale to local law enforcement agencies was ramped up following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when Congress made the funnel from weapons depots to various cities in the name of fighting terror much wider. Through the Defense Department’s excess property program, also known as the 1033 Program, local police landed grenade launchers and high-caliber guns and ammunition. Since its inception in 1997, the 1033 Program transferred more than $4.3 billion in equipment to police forces, including nearly a half billion dollars in 2013 alone, according to reports.
Monday, May 18, 2015
In addition to the Ivy League schools, Ronald Nelson rejected Stanford, John Hopkins and New York University in favor of attending.............the University of Alabama!
"It's an experience that I'll absolutely never forget, being able to open up eight different letters and then seeing, 'Congratulations, welcome to our class of 2019.' It's definitely something to put on my tombstone," Nelson said.
The 17-year-old from Germantown says the reason was partly financial, noting that the Ivy League schools offered little in aid. The University of Alabama is giving Nelson a full scholarship.
Nelson took 15 AP classes and earned a 4.58 G.P.A. in high school. He scored a 34 on the ACT and 2260 on the SAT.
Cellphone footage captured the moments when Saraia Collins begs the other children to leave her alone as they tease her.
“Get out of my face. I’m not going to fight you!” little Saraia can be heard shouting.
The attack then turns physical as she is repeatedly hit in the head as she cowers in an attempt to protect herself. On the recording, she can be heard sobbing, “Leave me alone.”
According to the report, Saraia suffered a concussion from the assault, but her family says it’s the emotional damage that is hard to deal with.
“I’m afraid that if they do the same thing, it’s going to happen all over again,” Saraia says.
The family took the issue to Highland Park Elementary School and the Prince George’s County Police Department. Authorities deferred to the school, which reported on Tuesday that the child seen on the video dealing out the most vicious blows had been suspended.
Students are still being interviewed, and more suspensions may yet be handed out, according to local media outlets.
As for the bus driver, he is currently under investigation by the Transportation Department and could face disciplinary action.
“Even if it’s not his job to break up fights, it’s still his job to try to prevent it,” Saraia said.
Saraia has taken the week off from school to get over her injuries, but her mother is not sure where the 9-year-old will resume school next week. Saraia does not want to return to Highland Park.
When asked why the students were so mean to her, Saraia responded, “I don’t know. I guess that’s just the way that they want to be.”
There is another question that nobody ever asks. Why is it becoming increasingly more important to record video footage than it is to step in, intervene, or diffuse the situation, and since when has helping someone in need become a spectator sport?
Friday, May 15, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
"Ephraim is both developer and landlord. His thick beard and heavyset frame make him look much older than his 26 years. He is a Hasid, and he started buying buildings a few years ago, in the wake of the housing crash.
A real-estate agent introduced us. "Anything for that guy," Ephraim told me when I asked if I could interview him. We met in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens where I found him sitting in his parked car with the engine running. I hopped into the passenger seat and went for an afternoon ride-along through the neighborhoods where he does most of his business: Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights.
It is important to remember that Ephraim is one voice on a wide spectrum. And it is important to know that Ephraim is a pseudonym for reasons that will become obvious.
Do you know anything about property? There’s a deed and there’s a note.
Like with a car, if you have a lease, the title is in your name but you don’t actually own the car. The deed to the house is the same thing. If you have a mortgage, the actual thing, the house is the bank’s. So they have a note, and they can transfer it to other banks, they can sell it to big companies, they can make packages of notes. You still own the deed — that’s yours. And if the bank wants to take it from you, they have to go through the process of foreclosure. If the house has a small mortgage, that’s fine — you can sell the deed — but if the house is underwater, you can’t really do anything with it.
So we came up with the idea: The bank takes a long time before they take the property away. It can take them up to five, six years. So we go to the owner, buy from him the deed, and then we rent it out. When the market went up a little bit, about 10 percent of the mortgages were almost at market value, so we’d pay them off and keep the building. If it’s a big mortgage, I don’t have any choice; I just sit until the bank takes it away. I’m just sitting, collecting rent. And that’s it.
It’s not 100 percent — I mean, it’s legal, but sometimes in the mortgage there’s a clause that says if you sell the deed, you have to notify the bank and if you don’t notify them the bank can take the property. But even if you didn’t notify them, the bank has to go through the whole process of getting the property and that takes some time.
And the banks don’t care. They actually like when people take care of the building. Because it will actually cost them $100,000 a year — people breaking in, pipes busted. As long as everything is good, everything running, they just leave it alone until they’re taking it.
People that have small mortgages, they’re going to want a lot more for their deed, to give over ownership. A person that sells a deed with a big mortgage usually wants to get $5,000. They don’t care. They didn’t pay the mortgage for, like, two years — the property’s shit. So we would give them $5,000, $10,000, and they give us the deed.
We started out with this, buying over one hundred deeds, all over the place, and we collected the rent. I used to love it. But the bad part was, come Monday, I used to go to the buildings in my car, and knock on every single door. This was like five years ago. And they didn’t give me payment. One out of 10, one out of 20, maybe. And they were yelling at me, “You fucking Jew! Leave me alone!”
I got used to it. And I understand it. Not all Jewish people are nice people. Every tree has a bad apple. Some of them are really nasty and can trick their tenants. But some of the tenants put up such a fight that you have to trick them. I used to do that — but I don’t do that anymore. I did that once four years ago. I told someone, “I’m going to give you twenty grand to move — just move out first, and then I’ll give you the money.” And then I screwed them. I gave him something but not the money I told him. And he couldn’t come back to me because he wasn’t even legally supposed to live there.
Some Jewish people, they’re going to come in and they’re going to try to rip off the black tenants — and the tenants know it, there’s word of mouth. So it’s like, “Oh, a Jewish guy again?” There’s a lot of Jewish guys moving around. Like a lot, a lot, a lot of investors who are either Hasidic Jews or a little bit less, but they’re Jewish. They’re holding Bed-Stuy like this — he squeezes at the air in front of him, strangling it. So sometimes it’s like, “Hello, this was our neighborhood. What are you doing here?”
We started in East New York, but we sold everything we had. We didn’t want to be there. Most of them are either Section 8, other government programs, and even the person that pays with cash is too much headaches. So we sold everything over there and we came out all the way to Park Slope. Then we started backing up, backing up, slowly, all the way to Bushwick. This is one of the houses we’re finishing now.
Having shed the deed-buying business, Ephraim’s now involved with acquisitions and development. And he prefers to hold and rent buildings as opposed to renovating and flipping them.
We’re small, so we look into places that haven’t caught on — we just did a place on Nostrand Avenue. People are not even there yet. We put in $600,000 and everyone was laughing at us. “It’s crazy, you’re over there. A building for yuppies, white people? It’s not going to work.” The building was full of tenants — $1,300, $1,400 tenants. We paid every tenant the average of twelve, thirteen thousand dollars to leave. I actually went to meet them — lawyers are not going to help you. And we got them out of the building and now we have tenants paying $2,700, $2,800, and they’re all white. So this is what we do
My saying is — again, I’m not racist — every black person has a price. The average price for a black person here in Bed-Stuy is $30,000 dollars. Up over there in East New York, it’s $10,000 dollars. Everyone wants them to leave, not because we don’t like them, it’s just they’re messing up — they bring everything down. Not all of them.
Most of them don’t believe you at first. "Oh, you Jewish people you’re a bunch of thieves, you’re never going to give me my money." But once you start actually having a base of people who know you, who you actually gave the money, it’s better. Sometimes it’s really tricky because you’ll have one person willing to leave for $2,000 and another wants $20,000. And the second this guy finds out that guy is getting 20 he says, “Hell no, I’m not leaving. I want 20, too.”
They don’t know — here he lowers his voice — that even if they get the money and they left, they could always come back. They don’t know that part. And it’s so scary sometimes because they could come up in the middle of construction and say, “It’s my property, I didn’t understand what I was signing, and I want to come back.”
Some blacks have an attorney and everything. So I try to make them happy, even if they’re going to go for $7,000 or $8,000, I’d rather give them an extra grand so they’re happy and they’re not going to think about it too much. Again, I don’t want to be a racist, but when I have a building—I can’t even say it because it’s not going to sound right.
He lowers his voice again:
If there’s a black tenant in the house—in every building we have, I put in white tenants. They want to know if black people are going to be living there. So sometimes we have ten apartments and everything is white, and then all of the sudden one tenant comes in with one black roommate, and they don’t like it. They see black people and get all riled up, they call me: “We’re not paying that much money to have black people live in the building.” If it’s white tenants only, it’s clean. I know it’s a little bit racist but it’s not. They’re the ones that are paying and I have to give them what they want. Or I’m not going to get the tenants and the money is not going to be what it is.
The scary part about doing this is, if the black guys start to realize how much the property will sell for. This is a new thing now, the past year. A million, two million dollars—it’s crazy, crazy numbers. None of them realize yet—some of them do—the amount of money you can get. The scary part is they’re going to realize they can get the same exact house in East New York for $400,000, $500,000 and they can get paid $1.5 million for their home in Bed-Stuy, they’re going to start dumping houses on the market and the market’s going to be flooded and it’s going to cool down. It’s already cooling down.
It’s so hard to get empty buildings. When you have an empty building it’s like gold. So we never flip buildings. One building we sold because in the Jewish religion there’s a weird thing where you don’t cut down a fruit tree. Some people really don’t give a shit about fruit trees. But most of the Hasidic Jewish people will not cut down a fruit tree. There’s one house in Borough Park where they cut down a fruit tree and there was nine fires over there in the last two years. Sometimes weird stuff happens. So we had a building, and the only way it’s working for us is if the fruit tree comes down. We spent $50,000 doing the plans and then found out there’s a fruit tree. We didn’t know about it. So we had to sell the building. It’s the only way I’m going to sell a building. A building is not really a selling thing. Buildings are for keeping".