Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, May 28, 2021

Author Ed Morales, proudly displaying his Nuyorican roots, submits a most eloquent reflection on New York’s historical role in the Western Hemispheric island chain — economically and culturally:

As is the case in the Caribbean, New York repeats itself in slightly different versions on each island, each borough. Its rivers make strangers of Bronxites and Brooklynites. It is diverse almost beyond comprehension. Its architectural face changes daily. Its symbols unite all faiths and political points of view, albeit sometimes in a messy way.

New York is also a place whose hybrid culture is constantly being changed by the tides of humanity that flow through it, from borough to borough, even neighborhood to neighborhood. And the islands of the Caribbean have always played a critical role in that process.

New York’s Caribbean roots go back to the days of New Amsterdam and the Dutch trading empire. Peter Stuyvesant, the famous last mayor of the Dutch colony, came to the job after serving as the commander of Dutch political and military operations in the Caribbean, based in Curaçao.

And in “The Island at the Center of the World,” Russell Shorto reminds us, “Manhattan began its rise as an international port not in the 18th century, as the Port of New York, but in the 1630′s, as a cog in the circle of trade moving from the Netherlands to western Africa to Brazil and the Caribbean, then to New Amsterdam, and so back to Europe.”

That Caribbean influence withered, as the English ousted the Dutch and the Americans threw out the English, followed by the great European immigrations of the 19th century. But after the Spanish-American war of 1898, which made the United States the dominant power in the Caribbean, an influx of immigrants — from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico — rekindled New York’s island spirit.

I am convinced that when my forebears came to this city, they felt that spirit lurking. Maybe not while shivering atop tenement rooftops while sticking out their tongues to catch their first mysterious snowflake. Maybe not the first time they heard the el rumbling over their heads and thought that the sky was falling.

But I do know how comfortable they must have felt when the tide was running and the wind flew in from the sea and the tang of salt flooded the air. I know because that is how I feel.

Through geography, politics, and socioeconomic fluctuations, New York was destined from the start to be anything but homogenous.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/28/2006 11:38pm
Category: History, New Yorkin', Society
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SEC Insight is an investment research firm with a unique operating methodology: It relies upon Freedom of Information Act requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to snoop out an early-warning system on a public company’s short- and mid-range performance.

It’s a classic data drill-down approach that’s afforded the firm a comfortable niche business. And you’d think that the law would be on SEC Insight’s side, as far as the FOIA mechanism sustaining the business model.

Alas, we’ve already seen how FOIA requests can get gummed up in governmental bureacracy, sometimes for several years. And that seems to be the case again, as SEC Insight chief John Gavin has resorted to suing the SEC over their inertia in releasing the crucial investigative communiques (“comment letters”) that the firm relies upon for its analysis.

The SEC is pleading resource deficiencies: Too many documents, not enough people/time to sort through and release to either specific requestors or through its EDGAR public disclosure website.

Not that that’s an excuse to blatantly disregard the FOIA law, but I can believe that the SEC is organizationally hamstrung. When I was researching Florida’s public companies, I pored over hundreds of public filings. I was always amazed at how shoddy the majority the 10-K and other reports were; often they’d barely relay the financial and operational data required of a publicly-traded concern. I’d wondered why the SEC allowed such crap to pass muster. Then I realized: With a couple of million public filers out there — the vast majority being rinky-dinky sub-$20 million revenue outfits — there’s no way to actively police that corporate universe. The best the SEC can do is keep an eye on the prominent high-fliers, and cross its fingers on the rest. Small wonder the Commission can’t keep up with special requests.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/28/2006 11:10pm
Category: Business, Political
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Is the rising price of oil a preview of a future with fewer resources in general? If so, what kind of future will it be?

Assuming past periods of innovation replicate themselves, it’ll be a world with alternate raw materials and energy sources, and a labor/land scarcity that will be near-perpetual.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/28/2006 09:51pm
Category: Business, Society
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The name “National Association for Information Destruction” has a most nefarious sound to it. Brings to mind an aggressive group of censorship advocates. Maybe even a real-life Legion of Doom — a group of book-burning supervillains terrorizing intellectual property everywhere!

In reality, the NAID is the trade association for all those corporate record-shredding outfits like Iron Mountain. Like any association, its job is to promote reasons why companies should hire someone to chop up their reams of printouts. It goes beyond paper these days, of course, which is why the catchall of “information” is used in the name.

I wonder why this industry hasn’t spawned an outfit that promotes the burning of records as the ultimate in data destruction. Shredding massive mounds of hard- and soft-copy records is fine, and recycling is a good end result. But it seems to me that if you really want to delete that data beyond retrieval, setting a match to it would be the most foolproof way.

Which would give more teeth to the “Information Destruction” tag. Incineration is way more supervillain-ish than shredding!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/28/2006 08:49pm
Category: Business, Tech
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