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Archive for January, 2010

The MBTA: The pride and joy of Boston…wait, is that right?

The MBTA has definitely been a work in progress in Boston since anyone can remember.  It seems that there are never enough things to complain about when it comes to Boston’s beloved transit system.  But what are other Boston blogger saying about out beloved T system?

One clever post by ‘Librarian on the Run’ got into the holiday spirit and used a familiar holiday carol to get across her feelings about the MBTA in a recent post titled “The 12 Days of MBTA”:

On the 1st day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 1 grimey pole!
On the 2nd day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 2 frost bitten toes!
On the 3rd day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 3 busses too full to stop!
On the 4th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 4 medical testing ads!
On the 5th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 5 blasting iPods!
On the 6th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 6 red lights!
On the 7th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 7 seats occupied by shopping bags!
On the 8th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 8 seconds to read my monthly pass!
On the 9th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 9 bottles rolling around the floor!
On the 10th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 10 discarded Metros!
On the 11th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 11 coughing passengers!
On the 12th day of Christmas the MBTA gave to me, 12 minute stall between South Station & Downtown Crossing!

I’m sure we can all relate.

How about those who are taking the T for its economical value?  Some bikers in Boston have been pushing for more bike cages at the T stops in Boston as stated in their online blog site.  Apparently they’ve made victories at Alewife station where a few bike cages have been installed, but most bikers are still forced to chain their cycles to iron fences around the city and risk having their bike taken.  Come on Boston, give our two-wheeled friends a break, will ya?

But in good news an article that came out in the Globe today stated that crime on the MBTA has hit a 30 year low in crimes occuring on their public transportation systems, preventing everything from shootings to stabbings to your occasional gropings (a major problem on the MBTA and one that keeps many residents, both male and female, from riding the T).

Adamg points out in his Universal Hub post that fare evasion has been one of the biggest crackdowns in the new MBTA crime reduction (with citations for fare evasion going up about 1000!).  This is the second biggest crackdown next to robberies, which are down 26%.

So it appears that Boston locals tend to keep their cynical attitude towards the T, but nevertheless are campaigning to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.  And you got to admit, to quote the Beatles, things are gettin’ better…right?

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Northeastern ‘Rocks Out for Haiti’

Northeastern recently held a benefit concert for the benefit of the Haiti earthquake victims at AfterHours on Thursday night, which was, in fact, Northeastern’s first Haiti fund raiser thus far.

Michaela D’Amico, a Northeastern senior and member of the NU group Net Impact, part of the Social Enterprise Institute (a social Entrepreneurship program), explains how the event got started:

“Basically we heard about the earthquake, and we’re all do-ers and asked ourselves ‘what can we do’.  So I called AfterHours and asked if they had any space…so they gave us Thursday.  This was last Friday.  Little did we know that usually plan a month or two for these kinds of fundraisers, but it’s emergency situation, y’know?

“So then we called the student planning office and they told us that Northeastern was not even running a fundraiser event thus far, which we thought was crazy.  So we figured that we would get as many groups as possible together and make it a University goal.”

She then proceeded to call her friends in the local Boston band Baylock, comprised of Chris Parry of NU, and Tim Crowley, Matt Kirby and John McLauglin, all of Umass Lowell.

“I also decided to call the band Mission Hill (who has a good following in the Boston area, who usually plays for about 100-150 people crowds), but didn’t expect them to do it.  I was excited to hear that they would come out.  And I also wasn’t worried about turnout at that point.”

Looks like the call to help Haiti is one that many are happy to respond to, and with good reason, too.

MISSION HILL

D’Amico says that their initial goal started out as $1000 dollars.  But last night’s performance drew in about $3500 dollars in raised funds, all going directly to the people of Haiti.  Mission Hill and Baylock also pledged to donate a portion of the CD sales that night to the relief of Haiti.

The final count of people who attended the benefit was about 555 attendees, a good turnout for a last minute event.

On a related note, if you are still interested in donating to Haiti but did not make it last night, check out this site.  It’s called Hope for Haiti, and is featuring artists like Wyclef Jean and celebrities like George Clooney and Andersen Cooper asking you for help for Haiti.

If you want to learn more about the bands, you can also check out Mission Hill’s website and Baylock’s Myspace page.

Categories: Uncategorized

Here comes the cavalry – U.S. aid arrives in Haiti

The U.S. has begun to send in aid to the desperate nation of Haiti as of last night and early this morning to help with the earthquake crisis relief.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is, according to the Detroit News website, expected to arrive off the coast of Haiti this morning.  The military is also expected to send a brigade of Marines (about 3500 troops) to help with first aid efforts and play sheriff as well with UN troops (you can find the article here).

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have pledged full assistance to Haiti.  In an impassioned speech by Obama filmed by the AP that I found on the NYT website, Obama called together a “swift, coordinated and aggressive effort”  in Haiti, and that Haiti is  a “top priority” for many agencies right now.  He referenced both the sending of relief workers as well as sending a military presence to assists in the chaos that is surely present.

You can see both Obama’s and Clinton’s videos.

According to The Guardian, Obama has also vowed a 1oo million dollar care package to Haiti as well.

Here is a raw video of a relief arriving on the ground.  No sound in this one.

Bill Clinton has expressed a strong opinion on how to handle this current crisis.  He recently published an article in Time titled “What Haiti Needs”.  You can find that article here.

But while Clinton is hopeful, he believes, according to an article on CNSnews.com, that Haiti would not be in this “fix” (that’s such a Bill word) if the U.S. had given more attention to Haiti.  The U.S., after all, is Haiti’s number one contributor, and has been since 1973.

It’s a shame that hindsight is 20/20.

I’ll finish off with a hope inspiring quote that Bill said in his Time article that was also on the NYT site:

Haiti isn’t doomed. Let’s not forget, the damage from the earthquake is largely concentrated in the Port-au-Prince area. That has meant a tragic loss of life, but it also means there are opportunities to rebuild in other parts of the island. So all the development projects, the agriculture, the reforestation, the tourism, the airport that needs to be built in the northern part of Haiti — everything else should stay on schedule. Then we should simply redouble our efforts once the emergency passes to do the right sort of construction in Port-au-Prince and use it to continue to build back better.

Before this disaster, Haiti had the best chance in my lifetime to fulfill its potential as a country, to basically escape the chains of the past 200 years. I still believe that if we rally around them now and support them in the right way, the Haitian people can reclaim their destiny.

Categories: Uncategorized