Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bowery Bums

I remember 50 years ago, before anyone ever heard of the term "homeless" in New York, driving through the Bowery and seeing my first homeless person.

I was shocked to see these gaunt, filthy men, trying to wipe off our car's windshield with dirty newspapers (leaving more dirt than there before) in exchange for a handout.

My father had a pat explanation. They were "bums."

I got the idea that bums were a different species.

But later when I was old enough to realize my father's classification did nothing to improve things, I found it very disturbing to see the ever-increasing ranks of homeless on the streets.

This really hit me when I moved to LA in 1973 .

My father had an explanation for this too. In New York the cold winters kill them off but in LA they proliferate (this time it sounded like the species he had classified them with was bugs).

I realized later that there are certain common aspects to homeless people, which opens the door to helping to resolve the problem:

1. Many are the victims of psychiatry. They get hauled in to psychiatric facilities where the social services system pays for a certain number of days of commitment and then kicks them out onto the street with their prescriptions, paid for, again, by our tax dollars. These keep them in a permanent state of stupefaction so that if they ever wanted to improve things they would no longer be able to do anything to change their condition.
2. Many of them are alcoholics or drug addicts.
3. Many suffer from illiteracy
4. As with people who turn to crime as a way of life, many homeless have self-esteem issues.

I believe in charity that helps resolve these problems and so gives people a hand up. That's why I am a member of the International Association of Scientologists, where my membership dues go to support social betterment programs that get to the root of these problems and provide real help to people so they can improve their lives and pull themselves out of unwanted fixed conditions.


One of my favorite spots in NYC is Chinatown.

The best food anywhere in the city.

Very little pretense.

Crowded, noisy, cramped, delicious.

New York Taxis

Don't ever try to cross a New York Taxi.

You might think these are cars. You might think the taxi drivers are just ordinary people.

But they are a species unto themselves, and , like the cockroach, they will survive any thrashing and continue to survive.

Also like the cockroach they scare some people witless.

But, alas, where would we be in New York without the ubiquitous taxi?

It's a love/hate relationship.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Cloisters

One of my favorite spots in NYC is the Cloisters.

It is amazing what was done to create this museum. Even the transporting of an entire cloister, stone by stone, from Europe to New York and reassembled. Brilliant.

And the armor and tapestries are incredible.

Last time I went there was also an absolutely awsome concert of period music on period instruments in one of the chapels.

A Nice Touch - Thanks, Mayor Bloomberg

I thought the press release I'm reprinting here was a nice touch. It makes higher education more accessible to everyone by making it possible for all kids to take the standardized tests upon which acceptance for college is based:

PR- 300-06
August 21, 2006


System-wide PSAT Testing Will Better Prepare High School Students for the SAT and Increase the Pool of Students Eligible for National Merit Scholarships

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that a new partnership has been created between the Department of Education (DOE) and the College Board to offer the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) free-of-charge to all 10th and 11th grade students. The PSAT is the preliminary SAT for 10th and 11th grade students and serves as the National Merit Qualifying Test for 11th grade students. The SAT is recognized as one of the exams commonly accepted in the college and university admissions process. DOE will also use the test to identify students who have potential for advanced high school course work and encourage these students to consider post-secondary school options. The Mayor and Chancellor were joined by College Board President Gaston Caperton and Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott for the announcement at the DOE headquarters in Lower Manhattan.

“Providing a sound education for our children also means preparing them to take on the rigors of higher education and the college classroom,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Regardless of the career path individual students choose, we want to ensure that each and every student receives an education that will prepare them for college and beyond. Offering every 10th and 11th grader the chance to take the PSAT will start more of our students on that path to success and I encourage every student to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

“We must continue to raise the bar and set high expectations for our students and focus on making sure they are afforded every available opportunity,” said Chancellor Klein. “So many of our students have the potential to succeed in high school and beyond and this new partnership represents our commitment to continuing to remove the barriers that keep them from realizing their potential and reaching their goals.”

On Wednesday, October 18, all 10th and 11th grade students enrolled in New York City Public Schools will be able to take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test at no additional cost to the students or the schools. DOE has allocated $1.2 million to pay for up to 150,000 students to take the test.

Before this year, most students who chose to take the PSAT were responsible for the cost and making arrangements to take the test, often on a weekend. This year, the free PSAT is being offered on a weekday, providing more students the opportunity to participate. Studies have shown that there is a substantial scoring advantage for those students who take the PSAT and SAT multiple times.

Over the past three years, DOE has focused on increasing college readiness initiatives and opportunities for students to take the PSAT. The number of students taking the test grew by nearly a third between the 2002-2003 and 2005-2006 school years, with a total of 44,488 students participating last year. Part of the increase was due to an earlier phase of the college readiness initiative, launched in fall 2005, under which the PSAT was offered to 10,000 students at schools traditionally underserved by Advanced Placement courses.

Under the new partnership, in addition to all 10th and 11th grade students, English Language Learners, Special Education students and students attending transfer schools will also have the option of taking the PSAT. Schools will encourage students to participate by distributing information on the test to parents at the start of the school year. For more information on taking the PSAT, visit or call 311.
Over the summer the NY State Education Department has held a series of training sessions for the following purpose:

Training for Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR):
A series of day-long training sessions on Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) are being scheduled for public schools, charter schools and BOCES personnel during the month of August. This was previously announced on July 7 in News and Notes.

It is very important that a team of four from your district attend one of these training sessions. This training will assist schools with the legal requirements on what and how to report violent and disruptive incidents. The teams should include the superintendent or designee, a building principal representative, a representative of the teacher’s union, and a person with primary responsibility for accurate completion of VADIR forms. The schedule of training dates and geographic locations is provided below. Pre-registration to attend one of the training sessions is required. The name of a contact person for additional information and to pre-register is also provided. Additional information may also be obtained from the New York State Center for School Safety on their web site at

There are techniques in the Scientology Handbook that are very effective in helping bring classes under control, reducing the risk of violence.

First of all, when students don't know how to study and don't understand the words and symbols they are reading or hearing they can become much more prone to violence and other behavior problems.

Additionally, teachers who are in good communication with their pupils are far less likely to encounter violence than those who are not.

Both of these are covered in the Scientology Handbook.

If I were teaching today I would use this technology to the hilt.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Great Review for Anti-Drug Pop Song

I thought this review was refreshing - not just the album but Alex for coming out with the good review too

“I'm Straight,” The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
A truly rare pop song: a fervently anti-drug message delivered without pretension, a new wave anthem sung by a square. The singer wants to replace the "always stoned" current lover of the object of his affection, Hippie Johnny, and shouts defiantly, "I'm straight, and I want to take his place."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What is Scientology

More than a system of belief, Scientology is an applied religion that plays a vital role in both the lives of its congregation and the community at large. It brings spiritual enlightenment to man by way of religious practices that advance him to higher states of spiritual ability and understanding, while providing practical solutions to every facet of day-to-day living.

There is a very good description of Scientology by Mr. David Miscavige in the speech he gave, called This is Scientology

Friday, August 18, 2006

Black New York frets the changing face of Harlem

Rueters is running a wire about big (white) money moving in to Harlem and raising the prices for everyone, not just the big rollers who want what one developer describes as the "gritty quality" of the neighborhood.

I'm all for making Harlem into the most beautiful, clean, safe community in New York. But not if it means those who live there now will be muscled out.

And while I'm on the subject, there is a Scientology church and Dianetics foundation in Harlem.

Here's the contact information:
2250 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10035
Tel (212) 828-1825

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Our Mayor!


"Mayor Bloomberg is independent and takes absolutely no political contributions," mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser said, "but he does make political donations if he thinks they will help New Yorkers or New York City."

Bloomberg built his wealth from the financial information company he founded, Bloomberg L.P., but stepped down as CEO when he first ran for mayor. His fortune is estimated at $5.1 billion, making him the 112th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yankee Environmentalism

There's a big hoo-hah over the Yankees tearing down a part to build their new stadium. They're spending a billion on it. Why don't they pop for a few more hundred million and create a new park too?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New York Sets the Pace

The Church of Scientology of New York is a trend setter. If the Church in New York does something, you can pretty much bet that other Churches as far away as Japan and Venezuela will be doing it soon too.

An example is the way members of the Church of Scientology of New York go out on the streets to give stress tests to people and show them how to handle the major points of stress in their lives with Dianetics.

Monday, August 14, 2006

World Trade Center

The Oliver Stone Movie started showing this week. It took a director of his calibre to take this on. Here's a snippet about it from the Buffalo News.

"Stone has wrapped this true story about rescuers trapped in the Sept. 11 wreckage into a red, white and blue tribute to the American spirit. His film focuses on two men stuck in a dark, claustrophobic elevator pit - this from a director whose last film was the epic "Alexander."

"Before you start to trumpet the arrival of the new Oliver Stone, he has something to say. Forget it. The way he sees things, the drama is vintage Stone: a detailed account of what he considers to be one of the most important events in the country's history.

"'I want people to remember that day as it was,' he said in Chicago recently at a press briefing that also included producers and cast members. 'I had a feeling that we should memorialize some of this. This was a story that was begging to be told.'"

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Youth for Human Rights Summit

There is a Youth for Human Rights International summit about to be held at the United Nations in New York -- 2 weeks from today.

It takes a lot to pull off an event like that so a lot of us are putting in time after work to help get it organized. Signs, confiming attendees, picking people up from airports, chauffering them around town while they're here, you name it.

But it is going to be quite an event, and I really look forward to sharing the human rights PSAs with UN officials. Talk about something to help the UN accomplish its purpose!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Times Square

When I was in high school I used to love going into the City. I lived in Queens and as soon as you crossed over into Manhattan you could feel it. It's just a different pace and feeling altogether.

My first memories of Times Square were of a huge billboard there used to be there, that had a man smoking. I think it was Camels or Lucky Strikes. There was this h-u-g-e head with smoke billowing out every few seconds as he "puffed on his cigarette."

Now Times Square means my church to me - the Church of Scientology of New York. And the fondest memory I have in recent years was the day 47th Street was closed off for the grand opening and David Miscavige came to New York to welcome us to the church.

I remember so clearly the day Mr. Miscavige announced that the new church was going to be restored and renovated for us. It was at the anniversary of the founding of the Interenational Association of Scientologists in late October or early November 2001. It was only a short while after 9/11 and Mr. Miscavige honored us, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers of New York, by presenting the IAS Freedom Medal to three Volunteer Ministers who coordinated the relief effort we did for the rescue workers. I was so proud to have been a part of that team and to have Mr. Miscavige commend us it was such an honor knowing that Scientologists in every church around the world were seeing the event too.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Celebrity Center in New York

There is a Celebrity Center church in New York in addition to the main one in Hollywood.

Of course we don't have the kind of Gala here that they hold in LA. No one could top Celebrity Center Int for putting on a party. But there is a great Scientology community in New York and it's growing daily!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Needed -- Real Solutions

In his speech at the Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology of New York, Mr. David Miscavige made a very important point. Mr. Miscavige said:

"...the high technology of this 21st century science can't yet prevent war. And what about the terror alerts that are a part of everyday existence?

"The upsets at home that are so common it's considered a routine part of life? Or what about raising a child today? If it's not the drugs, then it's the all too common worry that they'll actually get an education.

"The answer to this planet's problems will not be found in the material. Of this there can be no question.

"For if those solutions can't prevent war, nation to nation, how then can it be expected to answer questions like love, happiness or compassion?"

There are effective Scientology solutions to each of these problems.

Anyone wanting help is welcome to come to the Church of Scientology of New York. We're open all day, 7 days a week.

Other speeches by Mr. David Miscavige at church Grand Openings:

Church of Scientology of San Francisco
Church of Scientology of Spain
Church of Scientology of Buffalo
Speech at Church of Scientology of Johannesburg and article about the event.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Revisiting the Grand Opening of the New York Church of Scientology

I know I have talked about this before but this was a momentous event and bears repeating.

Mr. David Miscavige spoke at the grand opening of the Church of Scientology of New York.

He talked about the humanitarian work done at Ground Zero by the Scientology Volunteer Ministers of New York City.

He said the following:

"New York is the greatest city on earth. Yet even that doesn't say it all. Rather, this one is special for another reason. Because, what we are bringing to New York Scientologists today, with this new church, is what you inspired across the rest of the world three years ago. In fact, it can be said in a single phrase that now drives a global movement bringing hope and salvation to millions, world over. For in the darkest of times and worst of places, you stood tall amongst it all, as a shining beacon of light, proclaiming in action that: SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT."

Mr. Miscavige went on to say:

"Also inherent in Scientology itself is that one take responsibility, not only for himself, but the world at large.
So yes, as we look out across the world, we can speak of international conflict, of economic instability, and yes, of terrorism. But if we do my friends, let's not speak in terms of those problems. Let's speak in terms of solutions. Solutions for that which can solve every one of them.

"For the conditions we face today are but symptoms of the real disease behind cultural decline. A society is comprised of individuals. And if solutions are what we seek then let’s revitalize the individual himself."

Other grand openings of interest were:

Church of Scientology of San Francisco
Church of Scientology of Madrid
Church of Scientology of Johannesburg