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Comments by YACCS
Friday, December 30, 2005

The Glue Trap

Do not fucking use these

Jen here.

For those of you who don't like my politics, it's okay; keep reading. Sometimes I post just because I feel the need to write, and now is one of those times.

I just walked in to my apartment about fifteen minutes ago.

I had an average day at work. I have tomorrow off. After work, I was too tired to haul downtown to have a (huge) mudslide at the Continental, so I aimed to go straight home to drop off my laundry and get some milk.

I had two beers at the Bohemian Beer Hall in Astoria, where I caught up with the regulars, read 70 or so pages into the novel I'm trying to get through, and helped two bridge and tunnelers figure out the menu. I was feeling good. After getting back to the apartment and throwing down my messeger bag, I took out my garbage and made ready to drop off my laundry. So far, so good as far as beginnings of long weekends go.

I dropped of said laundry across the street from my place, and hit the bodega next door to the laundromat. Got milk. Didn't win my scratchoff ticket. As I waited for the light, I tore up my lottery ticket and started to throw it in the trash can on the corner.

Then my evening changed.

I heard tires screech as a car dug in to an empty space about 4 cars behind me. Doors slammed, and I heard loud male voices. I ignored them; a sports bar was across the street. As they came up on me from behind, I smelled Too Much Cologne and heard a "bang" noise. Soomething landed in the trash next to me, so hard and so close I almost jumped.

"Hey Mike, whydja bring the book with you? Leave that shit in the car!" I looked up-one of the loud young white guys had an accountant's ledger under their arm. I always suspected that the sports bar ran books. They were very loud and a little scary. "Yo, last time I left it in the car, it got stolen, and Paulie almost killed me!" They crossed the street. Once they were in front of me, I looked in the trash, expecting a bottle.

Instead, I saw two glue traps.


Each one had a mosaic of roaches large and small, flies, and ants stuck to them.

And one small, live, struggling mouse on each one.

My Mom called earlier today. A bat had gotten into the house a few days ago, scaring the crap out of her. She hadn't been able to find it. She discovered it in the middle of the living room today, half dead.

She put it in a shoebox and threw it out, but couldn't bring herself to kill it.

She had seen my stepfather die--awfully and slowly--from crushing in a car accident. And she just couldn't do it. He used to have glue traps around, and my Mom would freak if a mouse was stuck to it that wasn't dead. Now, she does not allow glue traps in the house (we have a cat--at least the little guys have a fighting chance) but she couldn't "have the nightmares" from crushing this poor bat--which was sick/wounded beyond repair--either.

When she called me, I tried to convice her to kill the bat, but to no avail.

As seconds ticked by, I watched the two mice struggle in the cold and the starting-again rain on their traps.

I felt like it would be cowardly to just walk away.

Carefully, I fished the two filthy, hellish glue traps out of the trash. I realized that there was no way I could pull the mice off. I was afraid to touch them, but tried moving them with my foot, bits of lottery ticket, etc. It just made them more stuck.

I couldn't watch them twitch--to wait to die, by freezing or rats or bugs or starvation.

I put the two traps on the sidewalk, after prying the sticky corners off of my fingers.

I was wearing my Fluevog boots. I just had them polished today.

I crushed the two little mice.

Once quick stomp and twist each, full force.

As I stepped in a muddy curbside puddle to wash off my boots, I didn't care if I got a waterline of grime on the fresh polish.

I felt like crying.

I felt like I had done the right thing.

I looked down again, and each mouse was now a smear of red, white, and purple on the traps.
I re-rinsed my boots in the puddle, and carefully put the traps back in the trash.

I got in and wiped my boots on every welcome mat and strip of industrial slip-proofing on my way up the stairs. I washed my hands three times before I even put my milk away--twice with softsoap and once with dish detergent.

I lit my Chanukkah candles--and a stick of cheapass incense from Ricky's--somehow the whole incident left an almost spiritual stench in my nostrils. How could those guys just toss out two little creatures like that?

I'm not an Animal Rights Freak. But if you're going to kill something, at least don't make it suffer.

I still feel sad over all of this. But at least I can feel better for having acted decisively. I hope I alleviated at least a little tiny bit of suffering somewhere.

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:00:00 AM

12:00:00 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Transit Strike Over

Rolling right along again

Jen here, posting in Gilly's absence.

The New York City Transit Strike is over. Regular service expected to resume in 10-18 hours, with bus routes expected to be up first.

I'm not going to post much commentary now; may later; I'm sure Gilly will have a lot to say, but in the meantime, comment away.

posted by Jenonymous @ 3:48:00 PM

3:48:00 PM

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My 2c on all of this

It's not about this

Okay, I know a lot of you disagree with me and think I'm some kind of big, bad, right-wing fascist for daring--just daring--to say that maybe the TWU shouldn't have gone on strike, and that *gasp* they are actually hurting other working-class people by doing so.

I personally do not think this is about race. If the TWU really was thinking that way, they would keep stations in and out of minority neighborhoods open (for instance) or take the clever tack that strikers in Australia did and simply refuse to collect fares. Instead, guess who is taking the biggest hit paying for car services to get to work?

I think all parties are wrong in this conflict.

The MTA, as I have stated before, is corrupt, rotten, bad, and ridden with cronyism in a way that will get them a page in the history books next to the Tammany Hall gang. Arguing over a $20 million dollar pension change over a decade is indeed stupid, greedy, and hardheaded.

However, the people waiting for hours at Jamaica Station and elsewhere who are trying to get to work--working-class people who are paying $50 and up to basically "work for free" after their transit fees are counted in--are not exactly donning Che Guerva T-shirts and marching arm-in-arm with the TWU.

To say that supporting the TWU is part of a greater social good that will eventually benefit all workers would a) get you beaten up at any of the contingency-plan sites, where people have been freezing their asses off to get to work and b) is remarkably similar to the far-right tactic of saying that (for example) if you want to stop abortion, outlaw it (while skipping over all that tiresome stuff about birth control, etc). A competent legislature would have opened the MTA's books long ago and got this straightened out before a strike. But the TWU's actions are causing much more harm than good here.

I know it's not fashionable, but the "on the street" interviews and comment boards all over the Internet are full of venom for the TWU and the MTA both. You know why there's no sympathy strikes from the LIRR, Metro-North, and NJ Transit? Because there's no sympathy. Remember the bluster from the TLC saying that they wouldn't "carry" the load of the TWU in case of the strike? Well, they're feasting at the trough now, and reports of gouging roll in every time a news station cuts to strike news.

The TWU parent union didn't even support this strike. One could say that they did this to dodge fines, but that isn't the whole story. I think that the Union local head is a loose cannon who got in too far, and now he's stuck. The fact that the TWU is resisting arbitration efforts shows a level of bad faith almost equal to the MTA's.

The one thing that nobody here seems to want to talk about is the impact that this strike is having on the city's economy. How about that Daily News front page: "MAD AS HELL?" People are furious and they're hemmorhaging money trying to get where they need to go.

If pointing this uncomfortable fact out makes someone a right-wing anti-labor fiend, so be it.

Ok, here's my opinion.

Jen, the Daily News front page is bullshit. In a poll from WABC, shows a clear majority of support for the union. EVERY person I talked to, despite the inconvience, SUPPORTED the strike. Even getting breakfast, a Con Ed worker agreed that they had to get a decent settlement.

We're talking 52-40 here. Which is pretty fucking large considering the weather and time of year.

It's the people walking to work who understand the stakes here. If the MTA can break the TWU, their pensions are not safe. It is the black and latino government employee who made the city stable and kept a middle class within the city. The workers of the TWU keep neighborhoods functioning with their relatively high wages (the lowest among major transit systems), support entire neighborhoods.

Simply put, this isn't Australia, you can't not take fares, that's a firing offense. And the subway can't only open on some stops, the A line alone takes two hours to complete their run.

The fact is that there is plenty of sympathy for the TWU, but why shut down the entire rail system now? If they move to jail union leaders, then I wouldn't count on riding Metro North. You always need another card in your pocket.

And if you read the Daily News today, on page 2, you'd see an openly racist cartoon of Toussaint as a bare chested savage. Mike Bloomberg would have NEVER called a white union thugs. The word would never have crossed his lips. It may not seem like race to you, but from my side of the world, it's as racist as one can be.

Yeah, a lot of people online are attacking the TWU, but when Roger Toussaint went to Grand Central Station, he got a fairly warm reception, a lot of thumbs up. In fact, I'll go into the DN later, but I find this concern for the working poor amusing.

People seem to forget that it takes $40K to live in New York, yet they now care about people making less. Most of the time, they never give them a second though. But now, the burden of these people is placed on the union? Jen, the MTA forced this strike over $20m in pension savings. Don't lecture the TWU on how their relatives are suffering, that they know, Why not lecture the MTA on their recklessness and lack of concern for New York

posted by Jenonymous @ 9:33:00 AM

9:33:00 AM

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